homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | Register | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » Was Jesus a Populist?

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.    
Source: (consider it) Thread: Was Jesus a Populist?
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

 - Posted      Profile for mousethief   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Right now there is a bit of a buzz about the word "populism" in both the US, and in France. The hard right wing in both countries is presenting itself as the party of the people, and it suckered them in here and remains to be seen how successful they are in France.

The quick and dirty definition of populism is "support for the concerns of ordinary people." The Repository says "Its goal is uniting the uncorrupt and the unsophisticated 'little man' against the corrupt dominant elites...."

Is this not what Jesus was doing when he attacked the Pharisees and Sadducees? We are told he infuriated the leader of the synagogue by healing on the Sabbath, "but the people rejoiced."

Of course the people later turned on him, under the instigation of their corrupt dominant elites. But during the period of his ministry, was he a populist?

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62945 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

 - Posted      Profile for Gamaliel   Author's homepage   Email Gamaliel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
No, because it seems to me that whilst he was certainly capable of the grand public gesture a lot of what he did went unnoticed and was pertinent to the immediate people involved rather than done to court publicity ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

 - Posted      Profile for mousethief   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Is that true of the Entry into Jerusalem? The Cleansing of the Temple? It seems there were things he did that were definitely flashy, done right out in front of God and everybody, and done to teach a lesson & thus to be talked about. We hear over and over about the authorities hearing about his deeds and words, and getting pissed about it.

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62945 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
HCH
Shipmate
# 14313

 - Posted      Profile for HCH   Email HCH   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Was the temple-cleansing an action many of the populace had hoped for, or did it take almost everyone by surprise? Do we have a record of other such actions by other individuals? A populist movement is usually led by not just one man.
Posts: 1476 | From: Illinois, USA | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

 - Posted      Profile for mousethief   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
Was the temple-cleansing an action many of the populace had hoped for, or did it take almost everyone by surprise?

That's a bizarre question to me. Why should that matter? Were people expecting the Bastille riots? Does something have to be expected to be accepted? One assumes people weren't expecting the Triumphal Entry, but they sure as heck turned out and participated.

quote:
Do we have a record of other such actions by other individuals? A populist movement is usually led by not just one man.
"Usually" is not "always."

[ 29. April 2017, 20:26: Message edited by: mousethief ]

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62945 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
rolyn
Shipmate
# 16840

 - Posted      Profile for rolyn         Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Sending the Disciples ahead to towns and villages may have been done to build expectations before Jesus' arrival. This could be argued as being a populist tactic. It did also sound as if strings were being pulled ahead of the Triumphant Entry with donkeys and upper rooms already laid on.

Just how far anyone wants to pursue a line of inquiry heading towards a conspiracy theory that leaves God out is up to the individual. Interesting, but not the basis of a deity.

--------------------
Change is the only certainty of existence

Posts: 3039 | From: U.K. | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

 - Posted      Profile for Gamaliel   Author's homepage   Email Gamaliel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Well, I did say he carried out grand public gestures, which included those you mentioned ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dafyd
Shipmate
# 5549

 - Posted      Profile for Dafyd   Email Dafyd   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
The quick and dirty definition of populism is "support for the concerns of ordinary people." The Repository says "Its goal is uniting the uncorrupt and the unsophisticated 'little man' against the corrupt dominant elites...."

Thoughts on populism:
Which people are ordinary?
Is the populist correctly identifying the dominant elites and their interests? Or is the populist actually acting in the interest of one section of the dominant elites?
Are the non-elites actually non-corrupt?
Is being sophisticated the same as being corrupt?

In so far as the interests of the elites and the interests of the non-elites differ Christianity sides with the humble and meek and looks forward to seeing the mighty thrown down from their seats. But that's not because the humble and meek are non-corrupt. It's because they aren't mighty. It's because the poorest he or she has a life to live the same as the greatest he (or she), and the greatest he (or she) is using his (or her) might to get in the way of the poorest.

So there's good populism and bad populism. Good populism addressing the non-elites as a whole in the interests of everyone and bad populism addressing a section of the non-elites, usually not the least elite section, in the interess of a portion of the elites. Jesus didn't exclude, say prostitutes or tax-payers or Nicodemus from 'the people' and he didn't coverly act in the interests of the Sanhedrin against Herod or vice versa.

--------------------
we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 10309 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
Shipmate
# 14322

 - Posted      Profile for Enoch   Email Enoch   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Since he could have used his ability to perform miracles to seize power, and since it is clear from the New Testament that that is what his disciples wanted him to do - even after the Resurrection, Acts 1:6-8 - the answer should self-evidently be No.

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7235 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
He used populism to raise the hopes of the people and then dash them. He spoke to, challenged power publically and encouraged the oppressed, raised their expectations to the highest possible messianic level ... and dropped them. Failed them. He repudiated populism. And set the scene for transcending it.

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 16595 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mudfrog
Shipmate
# 8116

 - Posted      Profile for Mudfrog   Email Mudfrog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I agree with Mousethief...

... the thud you just heard was the sound of me falling off my chair as I realised what I just typed...

...anyway.
I have sometimes heard that some of the parables of Jesus were the adaptations of popular stories that were told to highlight how God blesses the powerful, because wealth, power, etc, = God's favour.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus and the rich man going to torment and the poor man going to the Bosom of Abraham was exactly the opposite of what the Pharisees would have taught and the poor people were taunted with -
For Jesus to reverse the roles would have been an affront to the wealthy who thought they were automatically in God's good books, and a 'reason to be cheerful' for the poor masses who lived under the assumption that because they were poor God didn't actually like them very much.

I think Jesus would have been very popular with the poor on the day he told that parable.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 8105 | From: North Yorkshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I think the interesting thing is how often the Christ depicted in the gospels is acting against the things that the populous want, toning down expectations, trying to keep things quiet rather than excite the crowd.

We have these stories of great multitudes of people - just thinking of the Sermon on the Mount, the feeding of the five thousand, the entry into Jerusalem - but quite often the crowds seem to detract from what he is doing (he went out in a boat to get away from the crowds) and some of these great set-piece events were apparently done to teach a small group of followers something that the crowd didn't understand.

I don't like crowds. As Kierkegaard says:

quote:
There is a view of life which conceives that where the crowd is, there also is the truth, and that in truth itself there is need of having the crowd on its side. There is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd there is untruth, so that (to consider for a moment the extreme case), even if every individual, each for himself in private, were to be in possession of the truth, yet in case they were all to get together in a crowd -- a crowd to which any sort of decisive significance is attributed, a voting, noisy, audible crowd -- untruth would at once be in evidence...


--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9830 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

 - Posted      Profile for Gamaliel   Author's homepage   Email Gamaliel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I hate to say it ... but surely it's yet another both/and not either/or thing ...

Christ spent time alone with the Father. He also spent time with his disciples and with the wider community. He also went to weddings.

But yes, the Gospel accounts do seem to highlight the thwarting of expectations aspect ...

'Here's the military Messiah we were expecting! Watch out Romans ...'

'Well, no ...'

'Is it at this time that you are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel ...?'

Etc.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I hate to say it ... but surely it's yet another both/and not either/or thing ...

Christ spent time alone with the Father. He also spent time with his disciples and with the wider community. He also went to weddings.

I don't really see how it can be both/and. Surely much of the parables are about the little things (mustard seeds), the forgotten things (coins in a field), the rough path, the narrow doorway, etc. Much of the Lord's work was expressed through the weak, the sick, the disempowered, the wavering, the outcast.

When the Rich Young Ruler went away muttering, the disciples didn't brighten and say to themselves "great, that's sent that Tory-voting self-righteous bastard away with a flea in his ear - let's set up the dictatorship of the proletariat.." - according to the scriptures they were amazed and looked at each other saying "this stuff is really hard, who then will be saved?"

If the life and message of the Lord was about popularism, then it clearly failed in its own terms. When he was hanging on the cross as a political punishment, there were no crowds shedding bitter tears for their martyr leader and promising to use his example to overthrow the religious and occupation powers. There was an old woman, a bit of stick and some vinegar.

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9830 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

 - Posted      Profile for Gamaliel   Author's homepage   Email Gamaliel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Sure, I have no problem with any of that, mr cheesy.

My point was more that sometimes Christ acted publicly, sometimes privately ...

But no, he wasn't 'populist' - being 'popular' and being 'populist' are two distinct things.

Our Lord had the knack and nous - of course - to know the difference and when to act publicly and when privately and individually ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

 - Posted      Profile for mousethief   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm not sure that distinction really matters, Gamaliel. Presumably all populists spend some time alone. They don't shit on TV, nor eat nor sleep. They might conceivably go into the corner to pray even. The question is rather whether or not he was appealing to the masses in contradistinction to the powers that be.

Arguing whether or not the masses were pure is straining at a gnat. No masses are ever pure. From this we can conclude that populism doesn't exist, ever. That's absurd.

Whether or not he turned down the desire of the masses to do this or that is a more interesting question. "Are you going to at this time restore the Nation of Israel?" Which requires the question: must a populist do everything the masses want him (her) to do? If the masses want to destroy infrastructure and Moussolini says, "No, we're not going to tear up the tracks, we're going to make the trains run on time," does he cease to be a populist? I think that's an unreasonable expectation.

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62945 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:


Whether or not he turned down the desire of the masses to do this or that is a more interesting question. "Are you going to at this time restore the Nation of Israel?" Which requires the question: must a populist do everything the masses want him (her) to do? If the masses want to destroy infrastructure and Moussolini says, "No, we're not going to tear up the tracks, we're going to make the trains run on time," does he cease to be a populist? I think that's an unreasonable expectation.

Point me to something that shows he was a populist, MT, because I'm really not getting it.

I don't see how attacking the Pharisees made him a populist. Old ladies on my bus-stop rant about politics, religion and anything else they can think of. Does attacking the powerful make them populist? Or is it only because he did that in front of a lot of people?

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9830 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

 - Posted      Profile for mousethief   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
He led a group of underclass people (a movement) and spoke out against and at least once took violent action against the overclass. Also spoke some pretty angry things in the presence of the masses against the overclass -- "alas, alas for you, lawyers and pharisees, hypocrites! et seq." This may not perfectly fit the definition of a populist, but I can't understand how you can't see that it's in the ballpark.

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62945 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jay-Emm
Shipmate
# 11411

 - Posted      Profile for Jay-Emm     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Hung as one, definitely.
Living, I can't make up my mind, if I say yes there's all the buts, and if no likewise.

Posts: 1596 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

 - Posted      Profile for Anselmina     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Populists propound populism. Most '-isms' are something to be wary of. But surely populism/populist isn't to be confused with popular? And there were times, with some exceptions, when Jesus was evidently considered to be neither by the ordinary populace.

He was certainly of the people given his background, education, occupation. But on the other hand his liberal attitude towards women, Gentiles, 'sinners', Romans, lepers etc would certainly have disgusted many ordinary people; the popular culture being that these categories were not, for varying reasons, entirely accepted as normative in Jewish society, except under certain restrictions.

It was the ordinary people who tried to run him off a cliff, and who were shocked in the synagogue; and who were content to call for his crucifixion. Even his own disciples questioned his allowing a woman to wash his feet (or head), or why he was speaking to a Samaritan woman at Sychar.

Populists are very careful not to be seen doing things that even their own followers might find hard to explain. And Jesus had to explain every other thing he did, so extra-ordinary was his behaviour.

And a very large part of his teaching must have been considered as unpopular - not to say completely non-populist - in his own time, as it remains now. If the current state of the world is anything to go by, we still tend not to forgive enemies, or pray for those who persecute us; give to him who asks, share our possessions with those who have not, turn the other cheek etc.

I'm guessing that more people were intrigued and provoked by what he said, than were self-identifying with his words. Ordinary people might've been delighted at his obvious digs at the religious hierarchy, and his acknowledgement that ordinary people were being put upon by the religious elites. But I doubt if the same ordinary people really wanted to hear that outcasts, prostitutes and sinners might be ahead of them in the queue when it came to the heavenly banquet!

The Entry into Jerusalem, and the general popularity his ministry attracted were perhaps indicative of the culture he lived in. Something clicked with the people; but that's not the same thing as establishing a popular/populist movement that is successful in its own time - such as Marxism, or Scientology, eg.

The ordinary people would've understood his imagery and figures of speech, to an extent, so he certainly would have sounded like one of their own. His ministry attracted a large amount of popular attention, given its context, drama, challenge and his own innate authority. But his message, I would say, rarely genuinely popular or populist.

--------------------
Irish dogs needing homes! http://www.dogactionwelfaregroup.ie/ Greyhounds and Lurchers are shipped over to England for rehoming too!

Posts: 9930 | From: Scotland the Brave | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Hmmm. All of the above!

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 16595 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
Check out Reform magazine
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
  ship of fools