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Obras de Brandon Scott

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Wreck-It Ralph [2012 film] (2012) — Actor — 601 cópias
Blair Witch [2016 film] (2016) — Actor — 26 cópias
Campfire Macabre (2020) — Contribuinte — 6 cópias
Feast [2014 short film] — Actor — 4 cópias
Bad Match [2017 Film] (2017) — Actor — 1 exemplar(es)


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I can't claim any background in theology, but since my undergraduate years (I don't want to say how many decades ago that was), I've had a layperson's interest in the early history of what because the Christian church. In particular I've enjoyed explorations of noncanonical texts: books like Paegel's [book:The Gnostic Gospels|110763] and Bart Ehrman's [book:Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew|107273] and [book:Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why|51364]. After Jesus, Before Christianity is another such title and makes a useful addition to the accessible literature on this topic.

After Jesus, Before Christianity emerged from an ongoing, multi-year study group that sought to identify, discuss, and research what we might call "pre-Christian Jesus texts." They open by observing that too many histories of the Christian church are retrospective, how-we-got-here tales ending in the Christianity(ies) of our time—rather like those charts of early homonids that make "modern man" seem foreordained in the fossil record. But in theology as in evolution, contingency is everything. There are any number of possible evolutionary "trees" (Darwin advocated for the image of a bush, growing in multiple directions, not a tree moving steadily upward). There are also any number of possible Christianities, including "Christianities" that remained "Judaism" and Christianities that are nothing like the various forms of the faith that exist today.

So the group behind After Jesus, Before Christianity began with the earliest texts it could find, moving forward through history, examining both commonalities and differences. (Surprise! There are many more differences than commonalities.) Using the body of noncanonical texts and the better known canonical ones, they've identified six recurring themes in the religious communities that sprung up in the two centuries after Jesus. None of these is shared by all groups, but they emerge often enough to give some sense of the various Jesus faiths that existed in the immediate aftermath of Jesus' life. These are—
• resistance to the Roman Empire
• challenging of gender norms
• the creation of families of choice, rather than biological families
• identification with Israel
• diverse organizational structures
• persisting oral traditions

This makes for fascinating, genuinely thought-provoking reading. I can't attest to the scholarly accuracy of each of the book's claims, but most of them seem reasonable enough and grounded in specific textual examples. On the other hand, one discussion moves from the Gospel of John to John's Revelation without noting that these are almost certainly not the same "John." So, read and enjoy, but, as Sue Monk Kidd suggests in the introduction, treat this material as interesting questions, not a definitive history.

I received a free electronic ARC of this title for review purposes; the opinions are my own.
… (mais)
1 vote
Sarah-Hope | outras 2 resenhas | Nov 18, 2021 |
Putting some structure to a blank 200+ year gap feels incomplete. Now I want more. I've spent more that 40 years devolving from the literally interpreted New Testament, from believing the church of Christ began on the day of Pentecost in AD 33. Knowledge - new or old - is to be assimilated and one moves on. Perhaps a reconciling group is better for me, us, the world.
Elizabeth80 | outras 2 resenhas | Nov 8, 2021 |
This book comes out of the same organization that gives us the Jesus Seminar (Westar Christianity Seminar) where scholars attempted to identify the Real Jesus within the Gospels with mixed reviews (frequently drawing criticism from the more fundamental wing of Christianity). This book follows that process with the authors/contributors stating at the very beginning that “One of the core contributions of this book is its rejection of the master narrative.” So buckle up … controversy awaits us.

What we find over twenty chapters is how [these] scholars put together current research and understanding of the first two centuries after the crucification to build a narrative that an incredibly diverse movement that challenges orthodoxy in 6 areas:

1. They resisted the Roman Empire by invoking the compassion and mercy of God, while contrasting God’s perfect kingdom with the cruelty and domination of Rome despite having relatively little power themselves (Not sure how this challenges the prevailing theories, but there you have it)
2. They were extremely egalitarian with gender roles with women taking a more active leadership role in many of the groups (some even cutting their hair and dressing like men).
3. They lived in “spiritual” families or communities centered around their beliefs and practices, often disregarding blood family ties.
4. They were aligned with Israel in nearly everything that they did, regardless of where they were; frequently picking out the traditions of the local jewish communities and adding to them
5. They had a variety of organization structures, with little to no central control … which translates to a very diverse set of beliefs, many of which would become heretical and lose out to the coming orthodoxy (This is the best part)
6. Their tradition were mostly transmitted orally; however, they slowing developed what became canon along side the same process where the Jewish canon was created. (Again … not sure how surprising this really is).

To support these “discovers”, the book opens with a discussion on where we get the word ‘Christian’ and what it actually means. While this was interesting, I am not sure it deserved all of the ink it received. After that, it talked about the power and violence of the Roman Empire … again … I don’t see many folks arguing against this, so the big reveal here seems to be that the relatively powerless underclass that made up the bulk of the communities was very passive-aggressive in their resistance to Roman power. You will find some controversy in the proposed development of the communal meals that would become the Christian communion as it is then also contrasted with common Roman practice with respect to libations for the Emperor.

It was not until Part II that I found more interesting and potentially surprising information as the book lays out the various characteristics of the Christian Communities (aka Clubs). There are some terms used that you need to pay very close attention to as they are using them for a specific meaning that is not at all common today, so the potential for misunderstanding is high. Here we see the Jesus communities experiment with gender roles, national allegiance and family organizations, with the later including a brief exploration of the traditional family/households and how radically different these new "communities" were. Part III moves into early heresies and how they were ultimately suppressed ... starting with [The Myth of] Gnosticism and its incorrect use to categorize and dismiss a significant number of early Christian writings [such as nearly the entire corpus of the Nag Hammadi documents) ... there by giving a false impression of early uniformity [or orthodox] that did not actually exist. Next we re-examine Paul ... who was not so influence during his life time as he would become during the establishment of orthodox belief.

Over all I think this brings important scholarship into the understanding of how we got here and I would recommend reading it with an open mind. Be prepared to be challenged; however, it is important to remember that this is just one view within a wide field and it may not be the end all to how we understand our story … even if you don’t buy into what is being presented here, it should make you think …

Table of Contents

1. The Experiment
2. If Not Christian; What?

Part I: Living with the Empire
3. Engine of Empire: Violence
4. Gospel of Empire, Gospel of Jesus
5. Violence in Stone
6. The Deaths of Heroes

Part II: Belonging and Community
7. Testing Gender, Testing Boundaries
8. Forming New Identities through Gender
9. Belonging to Israel
10. Experimental Families
11. Join the Club
12. Feasting and Bathing

Part III: Real Variety, Fictional Unity
13. Inventing Orthodoxy through Heresy
14. Demolishing Gnosticism
15. Paul Obscured
16. Jesus by Many Other Names

Part IV: Falling into Writing
17. Hiding in Plain Sight
18. Romancing the Martyrs
19. Better Than a New Testament
20. Conclusion

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#AfterJesusBeforeChristianity #NetGalley.
… (mais)
Kris.Larson | outras 2 resenhas | Sep 13, 2021 |

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