The historical origins of the Christian notion of the Trinity

Discussion in 'Religion' started by billvon, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Well, when you have finished taking your baby steps, feel free to draw some connection to events that surround the formation of the trinity doctrine.
    There are a few tidbits in the link that might help send you on your way.
     
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  3. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    Yet all of those cottage pies are likely going to have the same ultimate origin, and establishing whether there is just one, or many origins to their pies, for example, is exactly part of the discussion that you seem to refuse to want others to have.
    Yes, the specific chefs may all use slightly different seasoning, or make the potatoe top in different ways, or use different cuts of meat, but in establishing the origin of an individual's cottage pie one is quite in their rights, frankly whether you like it or not, to look at the origin of the pie in general.
    To continue to insist upon no such discussion being valid simply because one still has to tie it into Gordon Ramsay's specific take on it is absurd.
    It simply smacks of you wanting to disrupt other discussion, of wanting to make yourself seem superior, and of not actually having anything to say on the matter but still wanting to hear your own voice.

    And there was me thinking you might actually be wanting to discuss things.
    At least now I know better.
     
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  5. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    You are more than welcome to have that discussion. It's just at the end of the day, you have to tie it into Gordon Ramsey (if, in fact, it was Gordon Ramsey's cottage pie that is under discussion). I mean, it would be tragic to finally come to the origin of the cottage pie, only to find out at the end of the day that Gordon Ramsey has never cooked one in his life.
     
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  7. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    Then why the **** are you doing your utmost to put a stop to it?
    Why not just leave people to have that discussion?
    Eventually, although his name is Gordon Ramsay, not Ramsey, as pointed out to you before.
    His recipe is available in "Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food" book.
    His main slant on it is to add Guinness, btw.
     
  8. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Fancy that, eh?
    Nothing like a bit of context.
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that you are correct that the history of the idea of the trinity is hugely complicated and arcane, as anyone who has done any reading on the development of Christian theology can attest. There's a huge scholarly literature on the subject.

    Here's about as simple and brief a description of it as I know of, written for professional philosophers who need a background briefing in the subject in order to discuss it intelligently.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/trinity/trinity-history.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  10. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for the link .... an excerpt worth noting for the edification of our sudden audience of Egyptophiles :


    Sometimes popular antitrinitarian literature paints “the” doctrine as strongly influenced by, or even illicitly poached from some non-Christian religious or philosophical tradition. Divine threesomes abound in the religious writings and art of ancient Europe, Egypt, the near east, and Asia. These include various threesomes of male deities, of female deities, of Father-Mother-Son groups, or of one body with three heads, or three faces on one head (Griffiths 1996). However, similarity alone doesn't prove Christian copying or even indirect influence, and many of these examples are, because of their time and place, unlikely to have influenced the development of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I agree that "illicitly poached" is much too strong. But I have far less objection to "strongly influenced by".

    Late antiquity was a time of great eclecticism, when ideas from all over were coming together in a mutually influencing mix. There had long been a fondness for triads in traditional mythology and in rational philosophy, I'm not sure why. That's certainly true for the Neoplatonism that was so influential at the time when the Trinity doctrine finally crystalized. Early Christianity didn't exist in a vacuum, influenced only by Hebrew scriptural tradition and by the New Testament.

    All in all, I'm inclined to think that the Trinity was the product of early Christianity's attempt to hang onto three items of doctrine that they felt were essential to Christianity. The first was the single monotheistic God of later Hebrew scripture. The second was the divinity of Christ, whose incarnation and resurrection were the basis of Christianity. And the third was the Holy Spirit, which popular Christian belief held was active among the people. So there was obviously a problem avoiding the charge of polytheism, which groups like the Jews leveled at the new Christians. (And as Islam was later to do.) The challenge was how to hang onto all of these three things, how to continue thinking of all three as divine, while retaining the belief in only one God.

    What's more, the whole thing took place in the shadow of the Christological controversies, in which Christ's nature and his relationship to God were hashed out. Trinitarian theology and Christology needed to be consistent, which greatly narrowed the space in which they could maneuver.

    So I see the trinity emerging from an extended period of controversy and internal negotiation within the early church. While the doctrine may very likely have been influenced by some of the ideas prevalent in the culture around them (Neoplatonism most obviously), it wasn't merely a copy of any of those ideas.




     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Are you now spinning a derogatory story about me after you accuse me of not being informed?
    Doubling down on the fiction, are we? I call that typical of people who make up all kinds of stories about all kinds of gods and "special" people who are capable of understanding, without offering any proof. And withheld all kinds of "elevatorgates" within the walls of the church from the general public. I have nothing to hide, you do.

    Address the issue, which you are still avoiding by creating diversionary tactics.
    A slick sales man can sell an inferior product to many people. But no matter how slick the salesman, the product is and will remain inferior. You are selling an inferior product. I have read about several recent altar-gate stories which the church did not even share with it's own initiates. Keeping them from learning about elevatorgates or altargates? Way to go.

    So who is Honest Abe here???
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
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  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Right , it would be a tragedy for religion if at the end of the day we find out that God (and the recipe for creation) never existed
     
  14. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Regardless, at the end of the day there, is a requirement by such persons to be relatively well informed about the subjects they are intent on critiquing, rather than the popular fanfare of "I know nothing of historical or current events surrounding religion or atheism, but ... ".
     
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Pray tell me your well informed critique of theism, a subject which I assume you have previously examined closely and now offer a favorable critique on, alas without verifiable facts.
    And on what grounds have you come to that conclusion?

    I have given you my unfavorable critique and explained on what grounds, which you, in turn, have unfavorably critiqued from a theist perspective.

    Time to finally fess up Jan, you may even find some unexpected allies if you just present some logical reason (assumption) why theism is warranted.
     
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  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    You mean, where is this imaginary popular fanfare of people who know nothing of historical or current events surrounding religion and theism? I must admit that I have never read a book on the history of atheism. The closest thing is the book The Story of Civilizatin by Will Durant.
    No wonder, atheism has no traceable history. No one keeps track of non-existent things.
    day 1 ; no sign of god.
    day2 ; no sign of god
    day3 - today; no sign of god.

    There is your atheist history. Honest, as compared to the historical mess Scripture has created.

    Atheism has no history, other than having been persecuted by theists for being atheist.
    The list of scientists censured or killed by the church for blasphemy or witchcraft is long and tragic. That's how we know they were atheist in the first place.
    They were officially and historically "fingered" as evil before the stoning would begin.

    Self-declaration of being atheist is a relatively recent phenomenon, because today the threat of atheist persecution by theists has been minimized by secular law.
     
  17. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    It is probably a reference to unitarianism, which appeared circa 1500 and gave a public face for disseminating ideas that the trinity arose from Egypt for the sake of pursuing their own anti-trinity party line with a strawman on hand they can pull out of the carpet bag.

    Whatever was there of eclecticism of late antiquity owes its heritage to the ecclecticism of classical antiquity by the romans. Despite having a sprawling empire, acceptance of the Roman Pantheon at the express exclusion of all others was not the price of membership. Sure, there was a high standard of political affiliation, but there was a broad acceptance of customs and beliefs of different cultures.
    The roman empire was like a thread holding a string of pearls. When that string snapped, you had various groups grabbing handfuls of them, which lent itself to a sort of threshing out of ideology that the Romans had staved off for many centuries ... kind of like a massive overbearing schoolyard bully ushering in an era of conformity due to their capacity to thump any insurgency into submission.

    Tracing the "threeness" of the trinity seems to more hellenistic than hamitic. I guess you can go one better, and try suggesting that the greek notion of three arose from egypt, but even that tends to say more about why the greeks were expressly accepted (and the ancient Egyptians expressly rejected).

    What all the abrahamic religions lacked was a philosophical tradition (which they inevitably hijacked, in subsequent centuries, from southern europe). IOW the missing pieces of christianity were philosophical, and that alone tends to explain one part of what was and wasn't sucked up in the resultant vacuum.

    The other part is that the Jesus movement was very much "thinking on its feet" during its development. There was a lot about the life of Jesus that didn't ressonate with the standard narrative of the kings of jews of yore (for a starter, he died an apparently ignoble death and didn't capitulate the roman overlords), so tweaking certain dates to passover helped implement a certain strategy. There is a lot of questions on how Jesus viewed himself, whether hd really did see himself as a political reformer of Jews, and how political events in post-Herod, post-client king Jerusalem ended up determining a major course for events.

    Jesus didn't really turn up on the Roman radar until he started drawing uncomfortable gatherings in the newly designated roman province state, which seasoned the atmosphere with ideas that had obvious connections to Judaic themes of Jewish people throwing off the shackles of their oppressors under the guidance of a divine king. There is a question on whether this path of political appeal to Judaic revisionism was part of the "mission" of Jesus, or simply something he was thrust in to by others, which led to a substantial anticlimax when events took an apparent reversal.

    And then you see the jesus movement fall upon hard times as they exclusively seek membership amongst (reformed) jews. Despite a tangible status appeal (in certain regions during the state of the the Roman disintegration) of being Jewish, there were various deterrents to converting to Judaism (least of all, getting circumcised in adulthood). Hence there was an audible sigh of relief amongst vast numbers of the adult male population by the time Paul got his gig happening. So there is a point where the early christians scratch their heads and ask themselves why they are beating their heads against a brick wall by trying to only draw membership from Jews. So there you have a second sort of vacuum, determined by bridging the cultural gap between Jews and non-Jews .... which, again, hardly sees an opportunity to throw down ancient Egypt as a major playing card.


    Jesus came and exclusively described himself as the son of God and gave a few teachings in this regard. A few hundred years later there were a range of things being taught in the name of christianity that had no connection to things being spoken by Jesus. For a long time, describing Jesus according to how Jesus described himself was grounds for being killed. An important aspect of the holy ghost is that it provided scope for legitimizing a bunch of doctrines brought forth by various institutions/persons. This gets into interesting territory when you start to examine the historiography of biblical passages that go at lengths to reference the holy ghost.

    IMHO, the detractors of the trinity introduced the charge of polytheism because its easier to strawman your opponent on a slippery slope ("Oh look! Three gods! Before you know it they will have four or a dozen!"). Perhaps it may have been different if there was no hushed or overt accusations of polytheism to dog the proclamation of the trinity doctrine, but there was never any serious spill over in to polytheistic expression in christianity. I guess you could problematize that claim on the strength of conservative islam, but then you wojld be stuck to define such a claim as the moderate ground (as opposed to existing as an extreme within the category) for defining monotheism.

    Given that there was an already established preponderance of thought over two things, the son and the father, one has to wonder whether moving on to three things is not just the logical consequence of having unsatisfactory categories as time and tide brings forth new demands.
     
  18. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    If you get blown out of the water by the mere mention of Tertullian or elevatorgate, what would be the point in entertaining this apparent curiousity of yours?
     
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    And in what way did I get blown out of the water, again? Turtles or elevators all the way down?
    It's all fashioned out of thin air. Knowledge of such trivia is worthless in respect to the veracity of a premise. Your gun to blow me out of the water shoots blanks.

    None of Scripture or theist History is, was, or will be written by anyone but humans. It's all circular thinking. A scientific no-no......

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  20. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Its actually the standard fare for discussion, regardless whether you are for, against or anything in between. You are just like a yokel staring at a giraffe and exclaiming "Der aint no such animal!"
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    It's your standard theist fare. Not mine.
    No I used live a block from one of the finest zoos in the world (appropriately named Natura Artis Magistra) and I know what a giraffe looks like and even how many neck- vertibrae a giraffe has. Do you?

    OTOH, I have never seen a god, in a zoo or anywhere on earth. That's why I exclaim "there is no such being!"

    The curious thing is why theist scholars keep insisting there is an "invisible man who watches everything you do"

    Don't try to lay that at my doorstep. Your duplicity knows no bounds.
    Slick salesman....., met any yokels lately....?

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  22. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    If you want to discuss history yet remain adverse to history, you set a very difficult task before yourself.
     
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I am adverse to scriptural History, it is unreliable to say the least......

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    But I have read a fair bit of the King James Bible (standard edition), although I have 3 other versions of the bible and curiously they don't agree on many historical biblical events.

    Did you know there are three version of the "loafs and fishes" story, each offering supposedly factual accounts, but all three describing different numbers of loafs and fishes.

    You suppose it was a miscount by illiterate storytellers?
    Eyewitness? Hearsay? Rumor? Tall Tales? Mythology makes great heroes, real or not.
     

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