Saturday, February 12, 2005

Thoughts on Hell... Sounds fun, verdad?

From a new book that I cannot seem to put down...

I have always thoughts of the Pharisees of Jesus' day as teh conservatives and the Sadducees as the liberals, but apparently this is a case of our reading our own contemporary definitions back into the Gospels. It turns out that the Sadducees were the more conservative Jews who resisted this syncretism. They wouldn't accept the Persian ideas such as hell, heaven, and angels. For them, a person dies and that's it, with no resurrection. The more liberal or progressive Jews were known as Pharisees; according to my book here Pharisee means Farsi, or Persian. The Pharisees integrated these Persian-Zoroastrianian concepts into their belief system.

In turn...

...they would threaten sinners with hell... [T]hey would use the language of hell to accomplish what they felt they needed to accomplish-to frighten sinners enough to repent and change their ways for the good of the nation.

Interesting stuff. The book continues on to refer to how this is the common practice within the realm of the Christian church.

Remember, before the Babylonian exile, the Jews had no ideas about heaven or hell or angels and demons, particulaly not one called Satan. These notions were all brought into the Judeo-Christian tradition from other foreign cultures and religions.

3 comments:

ashdown said...

muy, muy interesante.

brad said...

Interesting, with much more history and background to be known. I havn't had the pleasure of reading about the saducees on followtherabbi.com yet, but the pharisees and zealots were branches of the hasidic movement to get back to the jewish roots as I understood it...and what was that exchange that jesus has with the saducees? how there was a ressurection but not the kind they were expecting...always more questions than there is life to begin to truely understand

Anonymous said...

Don't leave me hanging in suspense like this -- what was the book?