2010-05-07

The Dark Side of Jesus: His call to hate one’s family to be his disciple

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by Neil Godfrey

Image by Srta. Lobo via Flickr

Does Luke 14:25-26 really mean what it says?

Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

The Good News Bible has a different “translation” (whitewash) of this:

Whoever comes to me cannot be my disciple unless he loves me more than he loves his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers, and his sisters and himself as well.

I’ve heard the Luke passage explained away so often by redefining of “hate” to mean “love less by comparison”. Appeal is made to Matthew 10:37 that really does say:

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.

But Hector Avalos in The End of Biblical Studies shows that this sugarcoated meaning is false. Appealing to Matthew is useless. Luke can hardly have written on the understanding that all his readers had already read Matthew and would accordingly understand that he (Luke) did not really mean “hate”.

The Greek word for ‘hate’, μισεο (miseo), never means “to love Y more than X”.

In every place the word is used in Greek biblical texts the word means the opposite of love.

So Samson’s wife wept before him, saying, ‘You hate me; you do not really love me.” (Judg. 14:16 in the Greek Septuagint)

Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:15 in the Greek Septuagint)

No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Luke 16:13)

As Avalos remarks on the other Lucan passage above, it is clear here that the author means that it is impossible to both have love and hate for the same person. They are not matters of degree, but of exclusive either/or.

Those who insist that “hate” really means “love less by comparison” run into a problem when they apply that definition to the Amos passage. It would mean that God commands his people to love evil less than good. It’s okay to love evil a little bit.

Avalos comments on the arbitrary nature of Christian apologetics:

The arbitrary nature of Christian apologetics in Luke 14:26 can also be gauged by an unwillingness to treat occurrences of “love” in the same manner. That is to say, few, if any, of the same interpreters that want to treat “hate” comparatively in Luke 14:26 will do so for “love”. But we could just as well posit that “love X = hate Y more than X.” Indeed, there is a great circularity at work in saying that Jesus cannot mean hate in Luke 14:26 because he preaches “love” elsewhere. But we can reverse this rationale and argue that Jesus probably did not mean “love” literally elsewhere because he clearly meant “hate” in Luke 14:26. (p.51)

 

 

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45 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Jesus: His call to hate one’s family to be his disciple”

  1. Neil, you need to consider the related discussions of the underlying source for “Mark” which is the Jewish Bible. There are a few examples where the Hebrew word for “hate” is used in a context of being the less important of two things with the emphasis on the other thing. Hebrew is a compact, simple language, and there does appear to be an idiom where love/hate is used and the context is “less important”.

    Of course “Mark” loved this usage. The figurative meaning is to prefer but the literal is the maximum ironic contrast love verses hate. This makes for great literature but terrible theology. Here we have the original Jesus narrative where Jesus supposedly “explains” a key to being a disciple in order to obtain eternal life. But Jesus refuses to clarify the usage of hate here. Is it literal, figurative or something in between? God knows. Greek is a much more sophisticated and detailed language and does not have the same idiom here. So someone who only knew Greek and was not familiar with the Jewish Bible would not even know about the related Hebrew idiom.

    Joseph

    1. I think you mean Luke rather than Mark? The fact remains we have a Greek text for a Greek speaking audience. How does Hebrew idiom come into this? I’m not saying it doesn’t, but the connection is not clear to me. What surprises me is that this saying appears in a relatively late gospel. Even if it was a remnant of a Marcionite “ur-Luke” it seems odd that it should be left untouched by the more orthodox reviser.

      I think Charles Talbert has the most satisfactory explanation (almost) when he speaks of it expressing “absolute and total detachment” and “Absolute detachment from all else and total commitment to Jesus are what is demanded of disciples.” p. 175 of Reading Luke (2002). I say almost because he also relates this to Semitic idiom, without explanation or justification. I’m sure there are justifications but I have not sought them out or come across them yet. Till then, I don’t know if there is a need for them. It would appear we have here an explicit call to the full implications of ‘cross-carrying’ and ‘hating one’s life’ — total detachment from all earthly ties, including family. (This is only implicit in Mark and Matthew.)

      Don’t we see here one of the reasons non-Christians spoke against and hated the early Christians for their anti-social and immoral/evil-doer reputations?

      1. Neil,

        >>
        Don’t we see here one of the reasons non-Christians spoke against and hated the early Christians for their anti-social and immoral/evil-doer reputations?
        >>

        No. Non-Christians opposed the early Christians primarily because they were deemed atheists (due to their strict monotheism), and because their rejection of traditional civic rituals (e.g. festivals & the emperor cult) implied a lack of patriotism at best, and treason at worst. Lurid rumours about Christian praxis (Athenagoras responded to accusations of atheism, incest & cannibalism in his “Plea on Behalf of Christians”) were based upon ignorance and prejudice rather than fact. Christianity was also a new religion, which made it highly suspicious in a world that valued antiquity. Celsus’ polemic includes the following brilliant passage:

        “The God of the Jews gave them laws by Moses that they were to become rich and powerful and to rule the earth, and to massacre their enemies, children and all, and slaughter their entire race, which God himself did, so Moses says, before the eyes of the Jews. And God expressly threatened the Jews that, if they were not obedient, he would do to them what he had done to their enemies. Yet his son, the man of Nazareth, gives contradictory laws, saying that a man cannot come forward to the Father if he is rich or loves power or lays claim to any intelligence or reputation, and that he must not pay attention to food or to his storehouse any more than the ravens, or to clothing any more than the lilies, and that to a man who has struck him once, he should offer himself to be struck once again. Who is wrong? Moses or Jesus? Or when the Father sent Jesus had he forgotten what commands he gave to Moses? Or did he condemn his own laws and change his mind, and send his messenger for quite the opposite purpose?”

        Aside from these points, non-Christians frankly admitted that Christian social behaviour was exemplary. Its high regard for marriage, fidelity and the importance of the family unit was particularly attractive to Roman converts. In his “Letter to Arsacius”, Julian the Apostate (a staunch opponent of Christianity) identified Christian moral virtues as a predominant factor in the success of Christianity, and urged pagans to follow this example:

        “Why then do we think that this is sufficient and do not observe how the kindness of Christians to strangers, their care for the burial of their dead, and the sobriety of their lifestyle has done the most to advance their cause? Each of these things, I think, ought really to be practised by us. It is not sufficient for you alone to practice them, but so must all the priests in Galatia without exception. Either make these men good by shaming them, persuade them to become so or fire them… For it is disgraceful when no Jew is a beggar and the impious Galileans support our poor in addition to their own; everyone is able to see that our co-religionists are in want of aid from us.”

        1. No doubt these are all factors behind the persecutions of Christians. But let’s not close our minds at this point and assume there is nothing else involved in many people’s dislike of Christians, either.

          I have read criticisms of certain cults acknowledging the highly moral life-styles of the members (devotion to family, honesty, etc. — all good classical pagan virtues, too) while at the same time deploring their responsibility for breaking up families and removing themselves from normal social activities, etc.

          1 Peter 3 does indicate to us that there were Christians who were suffering as “evil doers”, too. And when Christianity reached a point of power in their communities we see them acting on impulses they obviously had to keep under wraps until that point — and today we have books like “The Archaeology of Religious Hatred” being written about that time.

          Yes Christianity became very popular so it clearly had much appeal to the pagans, in particular with their moral ideals, as I have written about here: http://vridar.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/christianity-won-over-paganism-by-epitomizing-pagan-ideals/

          But even the Gospels themselves warn would-be followers to be prepared to be hated for bringing “a sword” and breaking up families and community life. So let’s admit that our earliest pro-Christian sources also admit that this was a factor in their being hated by others.

          1. Neil,

            >>
            But let’s not close our minds at this point and assume there is nothing else involved in many people’s dislike of Christians, either.
            >>

            Absolutely. At the same time, let’s be certain we’re dealing with evidence rather than assumptions.

            >>
            1 Peter 3 does indicate to us that there were Christians who were suffering as “evil doers”, too.
            >>

            In which verse?

            >>
            And when Christianity reached a point of power in their communities we see them acting on impulses they obviously had to keep under wraps until that point
            >>

            That’s an assumption about early Christian motives, and can be discussed another time. At the moment I’m only interested in reasons for pagan objection to Christian behaviour.

            >>
            Yes Christianity became very popular so it clearly had much appeal to the pagans, in particular with their moral ideals, as I have written about here
            >>

            So we’re agreed that Christianity was highly attractive to pagans from a moral perspective, despite its antipathy to the Roman state. Pagans were drawn to Christian behaviour and appreciated its social benefits. This does not suggest a collective impression of Christians as “evil doers.” Generally speaking, people don’t find “evil doers” attractive.

            >>
            But even the Gospels themselves warn would-be followers to be prepared to be hated for bringing “a sword” and breaking up families and community life.
            >>

            Could you provide specific references, please? Offhand, I can’t recall any passage which says would-be followers would be hated for bringing a sword and breaking up families and community life. In Matthew 10:35-36 Jesus says, “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household”, but this strikes me as a reference to the consequences of conversion (i.e. ideological clashes) rather than a deliberate Christian campaign to destroy the family unit.

            >>
            So let’s admit that our earliest pro-Christian sources also admit that this was a factor in their being hated by others.
            >>

            I’ll be happy to do this when I see concrete evidence for it. Meanwhile, perhaps we could review some pagan sources and see how many of them criticise Christians for “doing evil”, bringing a sword, and breaking up families and community life. Can you think of any? My initial hunch is that Christians were more criticised for what they *didn’t* do, than for what they *did* do.

            1. You overlooked what I considered a key point I made — my second paragraph. The same goes for Christians today. Many of us can well acknowledge that Christians today are “good people”. They are moral, etc, by and large. But at the same time their arrogance (ill-hidden behind masks of “humility”) and judgmentalism does not endear us to many of them and it is easy for them as a whole to be ridiculed despite their moral behaviour. (– And because of it when they are found to be no better than others despite their judgmentalism of others.)

              But the picture is not black and white, then or now. Just because nonChristians could acknowledge the good behaviour of many Christians it does not follow that everyone did or that everyone say ONLY good or that there were not things about their behaviours that many despised, too.

              And one sees today a growing social unease with certain fanatical Christianities that actively seek to expand their influence: e.g. http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011948160923228.html And there is nothing theoretical about the evidence for violent destruction and killings of pagan priests on the part of Christian mobs in late antiquity. That’s not saying that all Christians approved of it. Christianity was a “broad church” then as it is now. And we see Christian mobs acting out the same murderous violence today in Nigeria and Indonesia — of course not all Christians are involved, but we can understand why non-Christians when taking vengeance don’t discriminate as carefully as they “should”. Even in first world countries some Christians have been charged with murder motivated by their faith, as when they have targeted abortion clinics and gays. Thankfully first world countries have tighter controls over potentially violent mob behaviour than found in countries like Indonesia and Nigeria.

              But this is the extreme end.

              Very moral Christians are responsible for breaking up families today. That’s not saying all Christians do. Obviously many don’t. No-one is saying that they are wilfully intending to break up families. But it is the action and the result that counts.

              You may not find a specific quotation that says Christians were not hated for the “sword” that Christ brought, but that is a quibble. If people do not fear what the sword represents then the image is meaningless. Of course people don’t like seeing their families broken up! Are you a parent? How old are you? Christ did speak of his followers being hated — The Gospels contain enough evidence for why this was the case. By the time we read early Christian novels we find the same factors behind Christians being persecuted — it was their rejection of their families and rejection of sexual relations with unbelieving spouses that were well-known.

              And Christians then and now do preach against the ways of society. Even ancient pagans lampooned the hypocrisies that inevitably come to light by those who set themselves up as judges.

              So when in 1 Peter 3 we read “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. . . . So that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” we are reading about non-Christians speaking evil of the ways that Christians themselves believe are right and faith-driven and good.

              I can easily imagine a Christian like Tertullian, righteous man that he so surely was, being absolutely loathed by many non-Christians (and Christians of the wrong branding) for the arrogance of his righteousness.

              As in ancient times the reasons addressed in the New Testament are still with us today.

              1. Neil,

                >>
                You overlooked what I considered a key point I made — my second paragraph.
                >>

                I didn’t overlook it. I ignored it because it didn’t offer the evidence I’d asked for.

                >>
                Many of us can well acknowledge that Christians today are “good people”. They are moral, etc, by and large. But at the same time their arrogance (ill-hidden behind masks of “humility”) and judgmentalism does not endear us to many of them and it is easy for them as a whole to be ridiculed despite their moral behaviour. (– And because of it when they are found to be no better than others despite their judgmentalism of others.)
                >>

                Very true. Now let’s get back to the early Christian period.

                >>
                But the picture is not black and white, then or now. Just because nonChristians could acknowledge the good behaviour of many Christians it does not follow that everyone did or that everyone say ONLY good or that there were not things about their behaviours that many despised, too.
                >>

                Yes, obviously.

                >>
                And one sees today a growing social unease with certain fanatical Christianities that actively seek to expand their influence: e.g. http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011948160923228.html

                Very moral Christians are responsible for breaking up families today.
                >>

                Yes they are, but I’m not interested in what one sees today. This discussion is about what one sees in the early Christian period. Let’s get back to the early Christian period.

                >>
                You may not find a specific quotation that says Christians were not hated for the “sword” that Christ brought, but that is a quibble.
                >>

                It’s not a quibble, because you’d claimed that’s what the Gospels said. If it’s not what the Gospels said, we can’t pretend otherwise. That’s the end of the matter.

                >>
                If people do not fear what the sword represents then the image is meaningless.
                >>

                Agreed. This begs the question: what does the sword represent? Seems to me that it represents pagan violence against Christianity, which prevailed for at least the first three centuries. Jesus’ warning is aimed at Christians and would-be Christians, not pagans.

                >>
                Of course people don’t like seeing their families broken up!
                >>

                Agreed. Christians don’t like it either.

                >>
                Are you a parent?
                >>

                Yes, I have two children.

                >>
                How old are you?
                >>

                I don’t see how this is relevant, but to indulge you: I’m just under 40.

                >>
                Christ did speak of his followers being hated — The Gospels contain enough evidence for why this was the case.
                >>

                Agreed. But did he speak of his followers being hated for the reasons you presented earlier? I can’t see any evidence of that.

                >>
                By the time we read early Christian novels we find the same factors behind Christians being persecuted — it was their rejection of their families
                >>

                Was it? I’ll be interested to see the evidence that Christians rejected their families. There may have been some, but for the most part I suspect the reverse was true: pagan families rejected their Christian relatives.

                >>
                and rejection of sexual relations with unbelieving spouses that were well-known.
                >>

                Which era are you referring to here? Paul assured Christians that the unbelieving spouse was sanctified by the believing spouse and they should continue to live together if they’re happy to do so (I Corinthians 7:12-14). That’s the complete opposite of rejecting family and/or withholding sexual relations from spouses. Perhaps you had a later period in mind?

                >>
                And Christians then and now do preach against the ways of society.
                >>

                Well… yes and no. Early Christians preached against pagan religion, immorality, and the emperor cult. Pagans resented the attacks on their religion and the Christians’ civil disobedience, but as we saw from Julian the Apostate, they were generally delighted with Christian values (many of which accorded with Roman values). So I don’t think it’s as straightforward as Christians simply “preaching against the ways of society.” As you said earlier, the situation is not black and white.

                Where Christian values diverged from pagan values, pagans found often advantages in the Christian system. This was particularly the case for women, who didn’t get much fun out of pagan marriages, as Paul Veyne has observed:

                “Divorce and remarriage were quite common, and nearly every family had children born of different mothers… The wedding night took the form of a legal rape… accustomed to using his slave women as he pleased, [the husband] found it difficult to distinguish between raping a woman and taking the initiative in sexual relations. It was customary for the groom to forgo deflowering his wife on the first night, out of concern for her timidity; but he made up for his forbearance by sodomizing her.”

                (The Roman Empire. 1987, eds. Philippe Aries and Goerges Duby. Cambridge: Harvard University Press).

                The Christian attitude must have come as a welcome relief:

                –Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33
                Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her…
                In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…
                Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

                >>
                So when in 1 Peter 3 we read “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. . . . So that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” we are reading about non-Christians speaking evil of the ways that Christians themselves believe are right and faith-driven and good.
                >>

                Yes, but that’s not the same as Christians being seen as “evil doers”, and Peter himself describes these accusations as “slander.” Even in Luke-Acts the Christians are condemned more for their theology than their praxis. As I said in a previous post, the contention seems to have been more about what Christians *didn’t* do than what they *did* do.

                >>
                I can easily imagine a Christian like Tertullian, righteous man that he so surely was, being absolutely loathed by many non-Christians (and Christians of the wrong branding) for the arrogance of his righteousness.
                >>

                Sure, but that’s still not the same as being hated as an “evil doer” and tells us nothing about pagan views of Christian praxis. How many pagan critics attacked Christians for “doing evil”? There can’t be many, because between the two of us, you and I haven’t found any yet. Even Celsus doesn’t do it.

              2. No, I’m arguing from a predisposition which favours evidence-based conclusions. That’s why I keep asking for evidence.

                I don’t begin with the assumption that the early Christians were “good” while their pagan surrounds were “bad.” In many ways their pagan surrounds were quite excellent. This is clear from the fact that Christians and pagans found agreement on a surprising number of moral virtues, while later Christians happily embraced aspects of pagan academia. We cannot polarise both groups in a simplistic “black vs. white” fashion.

                I’ve already said I am open to the possibility that Christians *were* disliked for deliberately breaking up families. My only proviso is that some proof is offered to support this hypothesis. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

              3. I argue on the basis of our common humanity, universals in human experience and nature, that any group that supports the forsaking of families in order to devote allegiance to a newish cult is not going to be universally applauded. In the mid-second century we have the Acts of Paul and Thecla demonstrating the sorts of family and social tensions that arise from such a scenario.

  2. “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

    Seems to be saying you should hate everything in this life. The meaning is explained in Luke 14:33 “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” But what does that mean? You have to leave your wife and kids to be his disciple? Faustus the Manichean actually seems to understand it that way if you read “St.” Augustine’s Reply to Faustus Book 5:

    Faustus said: Do I believe the gospel? You ask me if I believe it, though my obedience to its commands shows that I do. I should rather ask you if you believe it, since you give no proof of your belief. I have left my father, mother, wife, and children, and all else that the gospel requires; and do you ask if I believe the gospel? Perhaps you do not know what is called the gospel. The gospel is nothing else than the preaching and the precept of Christ. I have parted with all gold and silver, and have left off carrying money in my purse; content with daily food; without anxiety for tomorrow; and without solicitude about how I shall be fed, or where-withal I shall be clothed: and do you ask if I believe the gospel? You see in me the blessings of the gospel; and do you ask if I believe the gospel? You see me poor, meek, a peacemaker, pure in heart, mourning, hungering, thirsting, bearing persecutions and enmity for righteousness’ sake; and do you doubt my belief in the gospel? One can understand now how John the Baptist, after seeing Jesus, and also hearing of His works, yet asked whether He was Christ. Jesus properly and justly did not deign to reply that He was; but reminded him of the works of which he had already heard: “The blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised.” In the same way, I might very well reply to your question whether I believe the gospel, by saying, I have left all, father, mother, wife, children, gold, silver, eating, drinking, luxuries, pleasures; take this as a sufficient answer to your questions, and believe that you will be blessed if you are not offended in me.

    1. We have as early as the second century (arguably when Luke-Acts first appears) praise for heroines like Paul’s convert Thecla for her violating the natural affections of her family and community ties and forsaking marriage and parents. Celibacy was definitely encouraged by Paul and the same author of Luke. Even with the first gospel, the first act of disciples is for two of them to walk away from their father in an instant. And it is interesting that in this passage Faustus compares ties to family with likings for sinful pleasures.

      If early Christians were hated I think we have evidence that it was not because of their virtues, but for their self-righteous aloofness from “the world”.

      1. That’s different though. Forsaking a marriage when you have no kids is not the same as leaving your kids. Faustus goes much further than the Thecla story. Ironically Faustus’ treatise is about the Catholics having made interpolations in the text of the gospels. His very next paragraph begins by saying something to the effect that Manichean believe that believing the gospel is obeying the commands of the gospel but Catholics believe that believing the gospel means believing everything it says. He points out the virgin birth as an addition by the Catholics, but why can’t the idea of leaving your kids be an addition too? I find it astonishing that he would think that was original when he could see the virgin birth wasn’t.

  3. Joseph is completely right. The Jesus Seminar and IQP assume a single Greek document and take the harder saying in Luke as earlier because they don’t address the language Jesus spoke even though this the JS voted that he probably said this. Then they use this ‘hate’ to support their radically subversive anti Jewish historical Jesuses. But Jesus not speak Greek. The main point is that Semitic-speaking people expressed themselves in oppositions some of which may be exaggerated by overliteral translation into Greek or English. Consequently, both the Hebrew sānē and the Aramaic senā are used in circumstances where, in our terms, they effectively mean “love less” rather than “hate”. Examples include Gen. 29.31-5, where Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel, and Deut. 21.15-17, where a man loves one wife more than another. In both cases, our term ‘hate’ is too strong. This is the real importance of Matt. 10.37, where “love more than” is an alternative translation to Luke’s “hate”, and, from a cultural point of view a better one, whereas in this case Luke’s translation is more literal. Literal translations are normal, not least because translators generally suffer from interference as they translate from one language into another. Your citation of the LXX Amos 5.15 simply illustrates the meaning “hate”, which is also the meaning of the Hebrew text in this example, so this translation is very simply correct, as at Judges 14.16. Similar considerations do not apply to the words for “love”.

    1. STEPH
      Consequently, both the Hebrew sānē and the Aramaic senā are used in circumstances where, in our terms, they effectively mean “love less” rather than “hate”. Examples include Gen. 29.31-5, where Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel, and Deut. 21.15-17, where a man loves one wife more than another.

      CARR
      Neither passage in my NIV translation refers to loving one thing more than another.

      And, of course, Steph simply assumes that there was a Jesus who said something else other than what we read today.

      Why do Biblical historians literally make up sayings? Literally just make them up when not one single manuscript has this alleged Hebrew/Aramaic saying?

      I guess people scolded the boy who pointed out that the Emperor had no New Silk Clothes by claiming the Emperor was actually wearing woolen clothes that nobody had ever seen.

      1. Uses of ‘sane’

        Steph will be along to say that in all of these passages, it means ‘love less’, not ‘hate’

        Genesis 37
        Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they HATED him and could not speak a kind word to him.

        Leviticus 19:17
        Thou shalt not HATE thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

        Numbers 10:35
        And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that HATE thee flee before thee.

        Deut. 5:9
        Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that HATE me,

        Deut 7:10
        And repayeth them that HATE him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that HATE him, he will repay him to his face….

        Yes, although you are commanded to destroy people who hate, it actually means ‘love less’.

        So not only does Steph know that Jesus used ‘sane’ , although not one single bit of evidence backs it up, she also knows that Jesus used it to mean ‘love less’, although there is not one bit of evidence to show that Jesus actually did mean ‘love less’, when he used the word Steph claims he used, without any evidence even for that use in the first place.

        Not only can Steph read Aramaic documents she has never seen, but she can also interpret the mind-set of the writer of them, although she has no information about the writer.

        Who can compete with the almost supernatural powers of True Biblical Historians?

        Certainly not sceptics who lack these superhuman powers of perception granted to True Historians.

      2. The Hebrew Bible was not written in English. If Jesus existed he didn’t speak NIV English or even Greek. If Jesus said it he said it in Aramaic. If you can’t understand the difference between translated English from translated Greek from Aramaic, the complexities and sophistication of Greek and limits and simplicity of Hebrew and Aramaic and it’s a bit difficult to discuss. See for example T.W. Manson, The Sayings of Jesus, 1957, p. 131 etc. As any scholar knows, in any discipline, to have any hope of working out what a text means, you have to read it in the original language and have knowledge of that language and how it is/was used.

      3. As for the following comment by Carr, ‘Steph will be along to say that in all of these passages, it means ‘love less’, not ‘hate’: attributing to me interpretations of sayings I didn’t make is about as unscholarly as you can get.

  4. Perhaps to attain the enlightened status of Jesus a disciple must practice nonattachment to all things, including family. Is that not what Siddhartha did; left family and all things to become the Budda? So possibly rather than “hate” family, Jesus meant simply practice nonattachment to all things including family to attain the enlightened status of the Christ.

    I do realize I am outside the “boundary model” of Christianity.

      1. From the perspective of Gnosticism which clearly has more in common with earliest Christianity than modern Christianity does, who cares what the parents think? I mean they viewed the world as evil and banned procreation. They must have in a way looked down on ‘breeders.’ It must have seemed natural to hat the ones who caused your soul to be put into the prison of the body. So trying to figure out what Jesus meant by hating your parents, etc. is fruitless without some reference point. Lets assume a Gnostic reference point. How would a Gnostic hate his parents? Obviously as those who ruined his life by putting him in the body. How would he hate his wife? As the one who would cause him to become guilty of putting a soul into the prison of a body if he were to give in to her feminine charms and do the nasty. How would he hate his children? Obviously if he didn’t have any already, by determining never to have any because the world is evil. But what if he did have some? He would hate them in the sense that they were the proof of his lack of self control (if he had them while a Gnostic) or as the proof of his prior bondage to the world (if he had them before being Enlightened with Gnosis).

        Do you think this is a fair assessment of the Gnostic position here? And if so, does that mean that Gnosticism is truer to the text of Luke than Christianity as we know it is?

      2. It sounds plausible but I don’t know enough about gnosticism to comment on what they might have thought about such things, really. My take on the Lukan passage is that it is essentially about cutting off all attachments to “this world”. If Luke’s gospel began as some form of Marcionite tract (Tyson), and since Marcionites discouraged marriage and sex within marriage, it seems reasonable to think this passage was a survival from a Marcionite text. But Mark and Matthew say the same thing essentially, only not as bluntly. My point about how parents might feel about nonattachment is that even such a more neutral sounding term is really a euphemism for something not much worse than hate. (Some might even think hate is preferable in that hate still acknowledges an attachment.)

    1. If you really think about it, childbearing is the one place where you are allowed by law to force someone into something against their will. Did the child assent to being brought into the body? Did you ask his or her permission to bring them into this world?

      American law recognizes a woman’s right to choose whether or not to kill a child in her womb, but it does not recognize the right of the child to choose whether or not to be conceived. Essentially the Gnostics were in their own way trying to recognize this right. And unfortunately the only way to recognize this right is to not have sex. In that way there is no way you could force anyone into the body who didn’t want to enter one.

      Looking at it that way, all who procreate can be considered tyrants, and who asks what a tyrant feels with any empathy? Who would ask “How would Stalin feel about that?” or “How would Hitler feel about that?” So the question “How do parents feel about their children practicing nonattachment?” becomes just as ridiculous–who cares other than other tyrants? Only Stalin cares what Hitler thinks or Hitler what Stalin thinks–the Jews and the Russians being murdered by them don’t give a rats behind about hurting these guys feelings, so why should the children terrorized by the parents who forced them into the body against their will give a rats behind what the parents think?

      Thus I think runs the Gnostic line of thinking.

  5. STEPH
    As any scholar knows, in any discipline, to have any hope of working out what a text means, you have to read it in the original language and have knowledge of that language and how it is/was used.

    CARR
    SO Steph continues to claim she can read Aramaic documents nobody has ever seen or heard of…. How does she do it? I think that somebody should at least have some evidence that somebody had ever heard of a document before chastising people for not being able to read these New Clothes (sorry, Aramaic sources)

    And she got smashed in her claims that when Jesus used the word ‘sane’, he meant ‘love less than’, as the Hebrew Bible uses the word to mean ‘hate’.

    1. Totally smashed.

      All she can do is whine that when I pointed out that ‘sane’ in the Bible means ‘hate’, all I was doing was quoting the Bible in English.

      She could not even begin to actually dispute what I said.

      No wonder Independent Biblical Historians produce shocking works of scholarship, which aren’t worth being funded by UK taxpayers like me.

      Close Sheffield down until it shows that it is worth my money!

      1. Carr has misrepresented everything I said as usual. The NIV translation of Gen. 29.31-5 and Deut. 21.15-17 is irrelevant: the context makes it clear that Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel, and a man with more than one wife may love one more than the other. In both cases the English term ‘hate’ is too strong. Like the Greek term mis(e)o, however, it is often used because these are perfectly correct translations of the Hebrew sānē in many passages, including those which Carr enumerates so there I have never disputed them.

        The original blog post by Neil Godfrey assumed for once that Jesus existed, in order to analyse this saying in translation and ridicule Jesus. However Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Greek, so any analysis of what Jesus said would have to be based on Aramaic. The implications of Aramaic translation is that we should be careful about the semantic area of words such as the Aramaic senā. Important work on this was done long ago by scholars such as T.W.Manson (Manchester), as I already pointed out, and e.g. Marcus Jastrow, who began teaching at Orthodox Jewish schools in Berlin, and ended his days as a Rabbi, then Rabbi Emeritus, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1866-1903). ]

        Jastrow’s Dictionary of the Targumim (originally 1903, when completed) includes several different translations, including e.g. “be ugly” for the Aramaic senā in his attempt to make clear the meaning of a passage in bT. Ta‘anith 7a, which Manson ‘Sayings of Jesus’, p. 131 translates more literally when he comments “it is said of handsome Rabbis that ‘if they hated their beauty, they would be more learned’ than they are.” They were not supposed to ‘hate’ themselves or their beauty. As Manson correctly paraphrases it, “That is, if they thought less of their personal appearance, they would be better scholars.” In other words, they were supposed to ‘love’ their beauty ‘less’.

        Carr’s comments on Sheffield are entirely destructive, and anti-scholarly. It is also irrelevant to this post and irrelevant to me. Also I am not funded by ‘UK taxpayers’. I am paid from a special fund raised by another university to fund profitable foreign students. But once again, even that is irrelevant and just another sign of Carr’s malicious attempt at ridicule. Also very little work on Aramaic sources of the synoptic Gospels was done at Sheffield. The most important works were written by Meyer and Wellhausen in Germany, later Matthew Black in St. Andrews, and only most recently, taking advantage of recent discoveries of more Aramaic material, Casey at (successively) Durham, St. Andrews and Nottingham, and to a lesser degree Chilton (Bard College), who is said to have done significantly more work than he has so far published. A variety of other scholars, such as Vermes (Newcastle and Oxford) and Lindars (Cambridge, then Manchester), have also done important work, only less of it.

        All such scholars have agreed that the synoptic Gospels used Aramaic sources because of the overwhelming evidence of which I have given a small number of brief examples. An assessment of it requires knowledge of it all, not holding it in anti-scholarly contempt.

  6. “The Hebrew Bible was not written in English. If Jesus existed he didn’t speak NIV English or even Greek. If Jesus said it he said it in Aramaic.”

    Where does this silliness come from? Why does everyone assume all Jews back then spoke Hebrew or Aramaic? Isn’t it obvious that most actually spoke Greek and only Greek. Certainly in the dispersion this must have been the case, but even in Galilee I would think it would be the case or perhaps especially in Galilee since there would be more Gentile influence there than in Jerusalem. I bet you only the scribes and priests and such knew Hebrew.

    1. Scholarship on the Aramaic question goes back before A. Meyer. It was the language of ordinary people and there’s no doubt in scholarship that it was. The evidence is there, it’s not an assumption. And of course there is the evidence in the gospels of Aramaic translation as most obviously in the Aramaic idiom bar(e)nash(a)literally translated quite possibly first by Mark and turned in the title ho huios tou anthropou. Greek would have been spoken in addition by Jews in Herod’s court in Sepphoris and the Temple in Jerusalem, but there is no doubt given the evidence that Aramaic was the spoken language of the ordinary people. But you’re right about Hebrew. The scribes and the scholars read Hebrew and Jesus probably read Hebrew too as he knew the scriptures which were Hebrew. But any prophet or teacher would have talked to the people in Aramaic.

  7. I think you are exactly right in discounting efforts to change hate into love. I also believe that you are completely right in assigning this verse to a biblical hyperbole as in your previous post.

    I recently worked out this and many other hyperbolic verses in Luke in the discussion of my recent dissertation. I chapter four I deal with the statements of reversal used by Luke. Reversal economically (Sermon on the Plain), reversal of the patron-client system (unjust steward), reversal of the honor shame system (the first shall be last), and finally, the reversal of Mediterranean kinship groups under which this Lukan verse fits. In all of these sayings of reversal, Luke is using hyperbole. Take, for example, the Sermon on the Plain. Is Luke giving a social program? Is he advocating that one just flip the social pyramid and make all of the poor people rich, and all of the rich people poor. Well, if he is, then it is nonsensical because then, it is the recently oppressed group that should now be cursed according to a literal reading of the text. But, the blessings and woes in Luke work much more as hyperbole.

    Hyperbole is a use of language that has a dramatic impact and highlights some hidden truth. In the case of the blessings and woes, it highlights the injustice of the present economic system while giving no program for remedying it. Likewise, with the verse about hating one’s family, the hyperbole highlights the problems in Mediterranean kinship groups, but as hyperbole, is not advocating a course of action

    1. I’m wondering where this line of argument leaves “Love your enemies, Do good to those who hate you”. Is this also hyperbole, and not advocacy for a course of action?

      I will be doing a post soon on these sorts of reversals in Mid East literature. I’d be interested in your thought on that if you happen to read it.

  8. STEPH
    And of course there is the evidence in the gospels of Aramaic translation as most obviously in the Aramaic idiom bar(e)nash(a)literally translated quite possibly first by Mark and turned in the title ho huios tou anthropou.

    CARR
    ‘Son of Man’ is , of course, missing in the earliest Christian tradition , from Paul, James, 1 Peter and Hebrews.

    And you don’t need an historical Jesus before the words ‘Son of Man’ could come into the world.

  9. RE: Comment #3: “Examples include Gen. 29.31-5, where Jacob loved Leah less than Rachel”

    There are a number of problems with this example, and the suppositions about Luke’s use of miseo. First, there is no evidence provided that Luke meant to translate Aramaic or Hebrew in Luke 14:26.

    In fact, authors could freely compose speeches for their subjects as is believed to be the case with the speeches of Moses in the Deuteronomistic History, and as in the case of Plutarch (who changed his own wording in Caesar’s speeches), as I noted in The End of Biblical Studies (pp. 206-07).

    Genesis 29:30-31 reads as follows in the LXX:

    30 καὶ εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς ραχηλ ἠγάπησεν δὲ ραχηλ μᾶλλον ἢ λειαν καὶ ἐδούλευσεν αὐτῷ ἑπτὰ ἔτη ἕτερα
    31 ἰδὼν δὲ κύριος ὅτι μισεῖται λεια ἤνοιξεν τὴν μήτραν αὐτῆς ραχηλ δὲ ἦν στεῖρα

    I agree that, in Genesis 29:31 the construction μισεῖται λεια (though here, passive indicative of miseo + subject) is the semantic equivalent of the miseo + object construction of Luke 14:26.

    However, the reading of μᾶλλον ἢ λειαν as a regular comparative expression is not necessarily correct or definitive.

    In BDAG (p. 613-14), one will find at least 3 major meanings for μᾶλλον. In particular, note meaning 3c, where the construction μᾶλλον ἢ is specifically addressed. This construction can exclude what follows from the action of the previous verb. Thus, it should be translated “instead of” or “rather than.” It is an exclusionary comparative expression rather than a comparison of degree.

    Thus, the clause in Genesis 29:30 can be acceptably translated as “He loved Rachel instead of Leah” = “He loved Rachel, not Leah.”

    Corroborative evidence comes from the Hebrew, which the Greek version was presumably attempting to translate (though this claim must be stated with caution).

    Note Waltke and O’Connor’s An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, section 14.4e, where there is a discussion of a “comparison of exclusion.” Here, Waltke and O’Connor translate Gen. 29:30: “He loved Rachel rather than Leah.”

    Accordingly, Genesis 29:30 does not constitute a definitive example where miseo is used in the type of comparison claimed in Comment #3 , nor does it falsify my claim that miseo is used everywhere in the Bible as the opposite of love. Genesis 29:30 can perfectly well be understood to mean that Jacob loved Rachel, and hated (or had no love for) Leah.

  10. I see the blogger here has not considered the hisotrio-cultural contexts of the 1st Century language of Jesus and his Jewish context. In this context, it is frankly obvious what it means” to hate” in its idiomatic expression.

    1. “Obvious”? But you also appeal to “historical-cultural contexts of the first century language of Jesus and his Jewish context” — is that obvious to us? And are you sure you really understand that linguistic-cultural context and that it does truly support such an “obvious” interpretation?

      Or is it a need on the part of faithful believers in Jesus in today’s context where hating is frowned upon that it must by “obvious” that this is what it means?

      Have a look at comment #9 above by the author of the book that is the subject of this post – Hector Avalos. It looks like the “Jewish context” does not support what is “obvious” to you.

  11. In the light of some recent posts, demonstrating “this trajectory from divine to increasingly human, with its implication that Christianity from its earliest days worked to steadily develop a more humanized Jesus” as we see, for instance, a “Jesusology” in the synoptic gospels emphasizing “healer” through creative punning, should we not at least think about a sociological influence as one possible aspect in the mix? And how does that specifically fit in with the curious use of “hate” in Luke as described in this post? “Healer” could refer to many different kinds of healing in the gospels, but which followers are targeted by a healer (or cult leader in “Jesus’s” name) who directs them to hate their present families?

    I’m currently reading The Serpent’s Gift by Jeffrey J. Kripal, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. In Chapter One, he refers to the work of Stevan Davies and in his discussion addresses, among other quotations, the one from Luke mentioned in this blog post. I’ll type a bit of his challenging discussion for readers’ consideration.

    Various quotations from pages 35-38 (without footnotes):

    … Davies has demonstrated that Jesus’s healing ministry can be read fruitfully with the insights of anthropological research on possession cults in colonial peasant societies as a ministry of trance that sought to heal the possessed by removing them from the abusive hierarchies of the patriarchal family (with women and children, and especially female children, all understood to be the rightful property of the patriarch or father) and reestablishing them within a new, imagined family of equals with a single Father in heaven. Put simply, “the family” and particularly “the father” function in the possession and healing scenes and in some of Jesus’s core teachings as social fictions that are essentially abusive; hence his otherwise inexplicable teaching that his followers should “call no man your father on the earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9).

    […]

    There is also a real social critique here. Possession trances, after all, tend to happen in groups, usually groups structured along rigid hierarchical lines that demand the extensive suppression of sexual and aggressive drives. Seldom do happy, unconflicted individuals go into dramatic possession states in solitude. Rather, they act out their aggressive and sexual frustrations – interpreted as “demonic” – in front of the very family and social actors who have frustrated or abused them so, and this in a symbolic code that the actors and culture will not find directly challenging (“It’s a demon speaking, not my pissed-off wife or abused daughter”). Possession, in other words, is a kind of safety-valve mechanism that cultures use to “let off some steam.”

    […]

    Davies’s conclusion is both simple and powerful: “Jesus’s clientele who came (or were brought) for exorcism were probably, more than anything else, victims of abusive family relationships.” This help explains the biblical fact that Jesus counseled his disciples to hate and leave their families. Certainly, it would do no good to be healed from the trauma of physical or sexual abuse by a charismatic healer and then move back in with the violent father or dysfunctional family. Hence the real “family values” of Jesus, that fatherless, unmarried man who encouraged his followers to abandon their families for his new, imagined family of equals and, above all, no fathers: “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26, cf. Gospel of Thomas 55). “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).

    […]

    This same abusive family context explains why many of the possessed individuals Jesus healed suffered from disorders that we now understand to be psychosomatic in nature. As Davies points out, many of the symptoms that Jesus is recorded as healing (loss of voice, deafness, blindness, paralysis, muscle weakness, and excessive menstrual bleeding) are classified as “conversion disorders” in modern psychoanalytic theory; that is, they are symptoms (“conversions,” or symbolic signs) of deeper psychological problems often involving guilt that is not accepted and so is interiorized and expressed through symbolic self-punishment. Demonic possession is essentially a radical version of this same conversion process, here to the point at which the symbolic symptom is converted into an alternate personality that literally takes over the functioning of the suffering human being in order to more dramatically punish the person and, no doubt just as important, his or her abusive family members.

    1. This is a fascinating (and disturbing) study. I wonder if it ties in with the themes of early Christian literature (beginning with Paul) reacting against the idealization of physical love as we find in the “erotic novels” (I bet that term going to invite work for my spam filter to work overtime) — I use “physical” rather than “sexual” because often the themes involve love for parents and children as powerful factors at work in the plots, too. By contrast the earliest Christian novels value asexuality, a rejection of sexuality even in marriage, as well as an ability to rise above the demands of parental expectations and hopes for their children. It’s a theme that Vardis Fisher explores in his novels of early Christianity, too — A Goat for Azazel, Peace Like a River and to some extent in Jesus Came Again.

      1. In this first chapter, Kripal also discusses eroticism at length. His words would definitely tax your spam filter, Neil. 🙂 In fact, he says, “One thing seems certain and beyond dispute, however: the eroticism of early Christian literature, of which the New Testament writings are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, is both immensely rich and richly complicated. Clearly, different early, very early, Christian communities remembered and/or imagined a Jesus in different erotic ways. Some appear to have advanced a homoerotic Jesus who loved men, others a heteroerotic Jesus who loved and kissed Mary Magdalene in special ways, others an entirely sexless Christ who avoided real sex from the very beginning, that is, from his ‘virginal’ conception and birth.” (p. 58)

        He also mentions earlier what he sees “in the elaborate historical silencing of Mary Magdalene, the female Beloved of Jesus, and the eventual victory of Peter, James, Paul, and the (now male) Beloved is a gender pattern that we an detect throughout the history of religions, namely, a move from an expressed heterodox or heretical heterosexuality (Jesus and Mary) to an orthodox sublimated homoeroticism (Jesus and the Beloved), which is in turn often aligned to a frightening misogyny (‘he threatens me and hates our race’).” (p. 57) This last quotation is from Pistis Sophia, in which Mary says to Jesus, “My Lord, my mind is understanding at all times that I should come forward and give the interpretation of the words which [Pistis Sophia] spoke, but I am afraid of Peter, for he threatens me and hates our race.”

        1. There are two sensuous scenes in the gospels involving Jesus and an anointing woman:

          From my notes on the novelistic features in the Gospel of John: http://vridar.wordpress.com/2007/08/05/novelistic-plot-and-motifs-in-the-gospel-of-john/

          The second love scene

          At the commencement of the story of Lazarus the author informs readers that the Mary he is to refer to is the one who will later in the gospel anoint Jesus’ feet with perfume and her hair. Thus we are given a motive for Mary’s later act — she loves Jesus out of gratitude for raising her brother from the dead.

          Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. (12:3)

          The reader knows that the woman is preparing Jesus for burial, but the actors in the narrative do not know this. Rather, the scene is heavy with sensuality, and suggestive of a prenuptial ritual. At the level of the textual narrative (apart from its symbolic meaning) it appears that Mary is attempting to court Jesus, even asking him to marry her.

          The nard is said to be costly and genuine. It was a perfume intended to serve as an aphrodisiac. (cf Cant. 1:3, 12; and Eccl. Rab. 7:11 says it is the perfume that spreads from the bedroom)

          The feet, and the washing of the feet, may be euphemisms for sexual intimacy. (cf Ruth 3:4 and Lev. 18:6-18; 2 Sam. 11:8 and Cant. 5:3; even Deut. 25:9 associates a man’s feet with an obligation to marry; and especially Joseph and Aseneth 20:3-4 — “your feet are my feet . . and your feet another woman will never wash”)

          In drying Jesus’ feet with her hair Mary perfumes her hair. This makes her more sexually appealing (cf Ps. 133:2). For a woman to let her hair down loose may have indicated her marriageable status. (Later rabbinic literature said it was inappropriate for a married woman to allow her hair down in public. Luke’s gospel affirms that the woman was viewed as acting scandalously. Cant. 4:1 also associates loose hair with sexual love.

          But Jesus will turn the role of Mary from a bride into another traditional female role, that of his mourner. The wedding he seeks is his death.

          Luke has maintained and enhanced the sensuousness of this scene (I like the idea of Luke knowing John as well as the other gospels). So Luke 7:

          36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

          39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

          40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

          “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

          41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

          43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

          “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

          44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

          1. Excellent analysis, Neil. And continuing with the “foot” motif, flipping through a couple pages, we arrive at John 13, where traditional gender roles are reversed, with Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Jesus takes off his robe, ties a towel around him that he uses to wipe their feet, paying extra attention to Peter in the process. Terms like “queer” and “homoerotic” have been associated with this passage. And there are more examples showing complexity, of course, but I don’t want to get too far off on a tangent.

    2. “In the light of…this trajectory from divine to increasingly human…how does that specifically fit in with the curious use of ‘hate’ in Luke as described in this post?”

      Over time, when the church realized that its doctrine made no sense, but was nonetheless committed to it, it decided the only option for the survival of the business was hatred of those with common sense. Thus to hate the family member who was smart enough to see that the Christians system was bunk, especially that pesky Jewish family member who knew that Isaish 7 was about Mahershalalhashbaz, become a virtue. What’s more “human” than deifying hate?

  12. In the Q1 (double?) saying QS56 which ended up in Luke 14:26-27; 17:33 and Matthew 10:37-39; 16:24-26, it would seem in Greek that the disciples must hate his biological family. This seems to contradict a number of other sayings in Q1.
    When I looked up the word for hate in Aramaic, it also means ‘to separate from’, which makes a lot of sense if the disciples were to consider everyone indiscriminately (as God is supposed to do in Q1).

  13. So the original mission would have been very similar to missions with monks such as in Buddhism or Tantric guru missions. You leave your family and friends when you start to follow your Guru so your love for all and everything can become universal rather than largely focussed on your own smaller private world.
    Of course if the Greek ‘hate’ was a faulty translation or even a deliberate mistranslation, that would be yet another confirmation there was no real continuity between the original mission of Q1 and Christianity.

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