Monday, September 26, 2005

Christianity's Two Innovations

Not that there weren't others.

So, shouldn't I say "Two of Christianity's Innovations"? Probably, but it's not as catchy.

Anyway . . . early Christianity made two innovations that ensured its divergence from the Judaism that emerged from the first century:

1. An elevated messiah who shared God's divine nature

2. A radical reinterpretation of purity regulations

Both of these are linked to the holiness issue that I've been harping on lately. Here's the connection. High Christology implies high holiness. If the messiah was somehow divine, then he was extraordinarily holy. But the messiah was also Jesus, a human being doing all the ordinary human things, including coming into contact with impurity.

Which is extraordinary.

Why? Because holiness and impurity are dynamic forces in conflict. I think that this is a major theme in the gospel stories, and it's what I have begun to examine in my paper on Mark.

Alas, however, I am far from useful libraries and archives and must therefore await the coming of the internet in all its fullness and glory . . .


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