Monday, June 25, 2012

Research Paper on Jesus Christ

Research Paper on Jesus Christ

The story of Jesus Christ began in Roman-occupied Judea, later renamed Palestinia by the occupiers. His life and death were chronicled well enough, that his word spread throughout the world. His message, or gospel reverberated for the last two millennia to parts of the world where before, the inhabitants only knew paganism and idolatry. As it slowly crept throughout the Middle-East, then to parts of Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and finally to other parts of the world. It was difficult to convince the natives of the lands to adopt the new religion, many were pagans, who still believed in the god Pan, a half-man half-goat-like creature after whom the concept of the devil came about in Europe. Once the religion was embraced by the inhabitants, however, they were introduced to a story which even fascinates people to this day. The life of Christ, his good deeds, betrayal, trial, crucifixion and resurrection were all recorded for the purpose of spreading his story to the rest of the world. (Johnson 1991)

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The gospel of mark was the first gospel written about the life and death of Jesus according to some scholars. To understand his writings more in depth, it is necessary to understand the man behind the man and his life in order to interpret his writings. He wrote the gospel approximately seventy five years after the death of Christ, just after the destruction of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, from what was analyzed by scholars throughout the years, Mark’s writing style wasn’t as well as well structured as other writers of the time. The language of the other gospels was much better structured than his. The language used for writing the gospel was Greek, which means he was at least somewhat educated in the art of writing, although he by no means was as good of a writer as the gospels that followed him. In recent years, the gospel has become considered as not very reliable by many scholars associated with this field of study. It has also been hypothesized that the work of Mark was actually the work of many people, put together under his name. his works on the gospel portrays Christ in the light of a miracle worker, but moreover, he is portrayed as greater than that, because in those times, miracle workers were a dime a dozen. As the betrayal of Christ was coming near, he met with a High Priest who interrogates him by asking: “are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed?”, to which Christ responds: “I am and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” According to Mark, Jesus is dispatched to Pilates, who later sentencces Jesus to death. It is only then that Christ’s true identity is revealed as the Messiah. Although it is not clear whether Mark was a Jew or a gentile, his gospel steers towards Jesus being the Messiah almost everywhere. It is only when a Roman soldier exclaims that Jesus is truly the Son of Gd, that his identity is truly recognized.(Mellowes 1998) During his arrest, Mark doesn’t make it clear as to whether the betrayer of Jesus was with him. Following that, during his trial, it is quoted that Jesus will destroy the Holy Temple of Gd. Again and again, Mark alludes that the betrayal of Jesus by Judas needed to happen so he could die. Him dying and coming back to life will truly prove that he IS the Messiah for the world, and that a new kingdom will be rebuilt in his name. dring his trial and crucifixion, all the gospels remain on the same page, however at the time of Christ’s death, Mark only mentions of his body being put in a cave.

Matthew described Jesus’ life from the beginning until the end. He went so far as to establish his lineage back a few centuries to prove that he was the king of the Jews. He was a tax collector in the Galilee region of Israel, a profession which was shunned by the rest of the Jewish population, because it was seen as collaborating with the occupying enemy. Although there is some disagreement amongst the scholars now, evidence suggest that Matthew met Jesus first hand and was one of his followers. The entire gospel is written in Hebrew, as opposed to Marks, which was in Greek. Much or most of Matthews writings can be found in Mark’s, which tells us that Matthews accounts were taken from Mark and were given his own twist. One of the most important subjects that Matthew alludes to in many of his writings, is the necessity to spread the gospel of Christ throughout the world and missionize entire communities. This concept spread throughout the world and is still happening today with thousands of missionaries meandering undeveloped and poor parts of the world, looking to save souls. Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ betrayal is divided into three parts: Jesus celebrating Passover, the resolve of the Priestly hierarchy to execute him, Judas’ acceptance of coins in turn for handing him over to the authorities, and the anointing of him by an unnamed woman during the dinner are repeated as in Mark’s gospel, but modified to fit Matthew’s way of dealing with the subject. Matthew points out that everything that is happening, is according to a divine plan, and Christ knows all about it, and moreover has complete control over all the events that are about to occur. When the arrest of Christ comes, Matthew’s words parallel that of Mark as well, but whereas Mark focuses on Jesus and the Disciples in his narrative, Matthew focuses more on Jesus. During Christ’s apprehension, Matthew states that his betrayer was with him at the time. During his trial, Jesus makes it seem as though he will destroy the Temple: “I can destroy the Temple of Gd.” When Jesus is condemned to death, it is Matthew’s intention to show that the Scriptures have been fulfilled and that shame has been brought upon the High Priests. During the crucifixion of Christ, Matthew followed Mark in the events: Christ’s Mockery, the crucifixion, and the derision. It is alluded to the mocking of Christ as the King of the Jews in all of the scriptures, and Matthew as well as Mark state that he is the Messiah. With the sequence of events at the time of Christ’s death, Matthew writes about the placing of Jesus’ body in the tomb, and of soldiers guarding it. (Daniel J. Harrington 1991)

The Gospel of Luke is a special gospel, because it is the first one to be written well in a literary sense. It is the first part, of a two part series in the apostles story, and is the fifth book in the new testament. Its most famous part is Christ’s sermon in the field, as opposed to the mount in Matthew. In the introduction, Luke hints at the fact that a lot of people have already been talking about Christ before the account was written. What is important here, is that it was written around 140 AD, and early Christians, led by Marchion, stated that they wanted to clear the new testament of Jewish influence and testaments. In the writer’s eyes, the New Gd of the New Testament, had nothing to do with the Old Gd of the old testament, because of his violence and jealousy. Hence only the Gospel of Luke was accepted. Around the year 170, the four gospels had a special status, and Tatasian collected them and put them together. Jesus’ last meal, as described by Luke, is distinctive because it combines that last Passover Seder that Jesus has, and the discourse during the meal. Jesus’ praying at the Mount of Olives and his consequent arrest, have the same characteristics as the other writers, but are written in a way that is both sensitive culturally, yet, at the same time very artistically. Time and time again, the accounts hint at Christ’s testing of his faith, and he always triumphs spiritually. During the trial as well throughout the gospel, the Disciples of Jesus are handled gently by Luke, whereas the Priests, are put in a negative spotlight. It is possible to suggest, that distancing Christianity from Judaism, and his portrayal of the Priests in a negative light, paved the road for future anti-Jewish sentiment and anti-Semitism perpetuated by Christians against Jewish communities of the world. In Jesus’ condemnation to death, it is again seen how persistent the Priests (which makes it seem as if all the Jews) wanted him to be executed immediately. It is clear that every aspect of his gospel having to do with the Jews, they are portrayed as blood-thirsty beasts that want to execute the Son of Gd, because their status is at stake. Each charge brought against Christ by the Jews is declares Jesus innocent by the Roman Pilate, which doesn’t make them too happy. (Johnson 1991)

The Gospels tried to illustrate their take on the life and death of Jesus Christ. Mark was the first to write about him, and emphasised that Jesus was the Messiah. Mark, a supposed contemporary of Christ and a tax collectr, emphasized spreading the word of Christ throughout the world. And finally, the words of Luke portrayed the Jews in a negative light, and his well-structured litterary masterpiece was the straw the broke the camel’s back in severing the Christian religion from it’s patriarchal ancestor, Judaism, thus setting the relations between the two religions back centuries.
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