Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Emperor Marcian

The funny thing about the bible is that proponents of pretty much anything can reconcile their beliefs in those pages. Both sides of the Protestant/Catholic wars thought they were reading the bible correctly. Both sides of the US Civil War thought their views on slavery were reinforced by the bible. I've heard that there is a proper way to read the bible and divine information from it, but so far that method remains elusive.

Emperor Marcian had a good idea. He campaigned to have the Old Testament dropped from the new Christian faith. He felt it would be better to start afresh, with a clean slate, give Jesus the start and the end. I believe he did advocate some historical context just to establish Jesus' divinity, but that was all. The Jewish texts for him were simply irreconcilable with the person of Jesus. He knew that shouldering the Old Testament would be an unnecessary burden on the fledgling Christian faith, effectively asking more questions than it answered. In my humble opinion, I think Marcian was on the right track. Unfortunately, he was shouted down and the concurrent councils eventually decided on the bible as we know it. An amalgamation of redacted storylines from multiple sources spread over a long time.

This leaves Christians with the stale and rather bloodthirsty god of the Old Testament contrasted with the relatively benign and good-natured god of the New.

I'm not sure what other texts were around at the time of the Old Testament, but if they made the bible look like a "Mother Duck" tale they must have been enormously bloodthirsty, cruel, arrogant, hateful, genocidal, disgusting, and racist. I would argue that the bible was most likely pretty run-of-the-mill for ancient origin stories.

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