HIGHER ESSAYS! WHAT PROFESSIONAL CHRISTOLOGY DOESN’T KNOW – By Agharowu E. E. (Honsbira).
Essay 1: Comparing and Contrasting the Teaching of Jesus with the Judaism Commonly Practiced in the First Century (byAgharowu E.E. (Honsbira).
To adequately render justice to this piece, it is imperative to hint the meanings of Judaism and Christianity, albeit in few lines each. Judaism, the Jewish religion witnessed in Galatians 1:3, derived from יהדות, Yahadut from the Latin Iudaismus, from the Greek Ἰουδαϊσμός, and so, from the Hebrew יהדות, Yahadutיהודה, Yehudah, is the determined way of life of the Jewish people with monotheism as its manifestation. It has the Torah, a small fraction of the Tanakh, as it philosophy book. Sometimes empowered by oral tradition, Judaism as the historical culmination of Genesis 12, is the physical expression and application of the Sinai Covenant (Ex. 20) and its periodic renewals. There are two forms of Judaism: original Judaism and rabbinic Judaism.
Then Christianity? Christianity, a Greek term coming via Latin, is the belief in what Jesus thought, said, taught and did. If Christian mean “Christ-like” (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16), then Christianity, an abstract noun based on what Christians stand for, is the act of resembling the view-point of Christ. First, the similarities between the Judaism as practiced in the first century and Christianity as rendered by Jesus himself. This, then, will be followed by the differences – in between.
Similarities Between the Teaching of Jesus and te Judaism of te 1st century.
One, both Judaism and the teaching of Christ believed the Messiah would come from the line of David, the king of Zion, readying their minds for the advent of a “True King.” This is based not only in the Judaism of the Intertestamental days, but also on the teaching, fact and act of Jesus as the Messiah.
Both Judaism and the teaching of Jesus at the same time were monotheistic. That God was two had no place in their contents.
Three, both Judaism and Jesus’ teachings as obtained in the period in view claim to have descended from Abraham; and so, both are Abrahamic religions. While Judaism began with the call of Abraham aforesaid, Christianity, as taught by Jesus, also traces its foundation to the Abrahamic Covenant (Matt. 29:3).
Four, the two thoughts were learning-based. Both were wont to quote the Torah. The Jews quoted Matt. 19:7, referring to the Torah; Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy to withstand the legal lashes of Satan (Deut. 8:3; Deut. 6:16; Deut 6:14; Ex. 20:3). The eruditionary trait of Judaism, traced in their role in the Question of Authority (Matt. 21:23) and Tribute to Caesar (Matt. 22: 15-22) equaled by the witticism of Jesus in his responses and in other occasions as the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5 -3) and Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-31), demonstrated much erudition.
Five, both Judaism and Christianity produced tendencies for the establishment and maintenance of sects and sub-sects in the first century. While Judaism had such facets as Phariseeism, Sadduceeism, Zealot, Herodians and the Essenes in both pre-Jesus’ and Jesus’ days, Christianity produced its in the dualism of the Corinthian Church about which Paul complained (1 Cor. 11: 17-34). That diversionary tendencies came into Judaism is natural, since by the law of Dualism of nature, each thing has two facets. Divisionism like those found in Judaism, can also be traced in the socio-ideological removal of Paul from Barnabas, two inalienable pair in the first Missionary Journey. Ah, thus, like Judaism, Jesus taught separatism if the need be (France 1985).
Six, both taught the preaching of their tenets across lands and seas to make following. The leading sect of Judaism, the Phariseeism, always traveled to distant points to produce proselytes (Matt 23:15). Also, Christianity as preached by Jesus emphasized universality by commissioning Christians to transverse lands and seas to amass following (Matt. 28:18-19).
Seven, they both taught fasting as a means of concentration during dedication to God (Matt 7:16). They both prayed too – in a system, now inherited by Christianity as fasting and praying (Matt 7:5).
Eight, they both had their ten commandments: while Judaism looked on to the Decalogue (Ex. 20:1-17), Jesus preached the Beatitude (Matt 5:1-11).
Nine, both Judaism and Christianity had their emphasis on God as a raison de tat. Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the God preached by Jesus (Matt 3:9).
Ten, a further similarity between Judaism and Christianity, as taught by Jesus, is this. Both emphasized the use of blood as a means of atonement for sins of man. In Judaism, it is the blood of goat, bull, ram, doves etc (Heb. 10:4); in Christianity, it is the blood of Jesus, the almighty blood (1 Peter 1:19).
Eleven, both religions, attached to the same umbilical cord, placed emphasis on the role of the Passover. While Jesus’ connectedness to the Feast of Tabernacle is myriad, John 7:10, for instance, his commitment to the Passover is much – John 13:1, for instance.
Twelve, both Judaism of Jesus’ days and the teaching of Jesus paid adequate heed to the law. Yes, it was the pharisaical perceptions and approaches to the law that alienated them from Jesus’ view. Jesus did not challenge the basic teaching of the Pharisees, but their hypocrisy; hence he assured them that far from coming to abolish the law, he only poised to fulfill them.
Though, based on the dept of their teaching, Judaism and the teaching of Jesus could not have been congruent, yet
They could meet and merge –
The Jewish-Jesus divide
On which the times ride.
Differences between the Teaching of Jesus and the Judaism of the 1st century.
One difference between Judaism as practiced in the first century and Christianity as taught by Jesus, is the nature of the belief in the expected Messiah. While Judaism of the period under discussion paid attention to the coming of a politico-socio-economic figure, a nationalistically conquering Messiah, Christianity talked of a Messiah of the most peaceful, neutral kind, one that would decongest Jerusalem as a centre of worship of God.
Two, the availability locus of the Messiah in views of each group constitutes another difference. While Judaism believed that the Messiah was yet to come (as they would not identify any trace of economic, political or social hope in Jesus), Jesus believed the Messiah was Himself, and that he had already come. The later thus, likened “… the unbelief of the former as a man putting on a lantern at night in search of a tree stump whose locale he has already seen during the day” (Ayeanbasor 1998:7).
Three, is this. Judaism never believed (and till will not believe) in Jesus and anything he stands for. Although the christians of the first century, especially of Jesus’ days, like the Jews, did not believe in the real identity of Jesus while on earth, these came to full realization of his nature from the Day of Pentecost up (Acts 2). Even some iota of beliefs smelled around them even before then (John 20:218; John 16: 29-30). But till today, Judaism will not! Like Islam, which hates Christianity, though owing its existence to it, Judaism would not see truth in Christianity of Jesus’ days, those it shared the same umbilical cord with same.
Four, while Judaism held fast to “An eye for an eye” retributive vengeance (Matt. 5:38-48), Christianity as preached by Jesus, held tight to forgiveness, even the need to pluck off ones eye in service to ones enemy (Luke 6:29).
Five, and perhaps the most important, is the specificity and the universality extents of the two. The First century Judaism, and indeed, Judaism of hitherto, scorned all non-Jews, including the biological brothers of the Jews, the Samaritans, pushing them to the Mount Gizerim as against Jerusalem – in fact, the conversion John Antiochus of the Idumeans and by Aristobolus of the Itumeans into Judaism in the few decades preparatory to Jesus is often held as the tangible cause of the Roman conquest of Masada (67 C.E) and Jerusalem (70 C.E.) (Lynn STD 2014). Though, like Judaism, Jesus’ message was initially specific (Matt. 10:5-6; Matt. 15:24), with the passage of time, it, unlike Judaism, became completely non- (John 4: 21-23; Matt. 28:18-20).
Six, while Judaism made use of an idol as the object of worship, Christianity made use of no idols. To Jesus and his teaching, the tenacious cling to The Temple, like the Jewish cling to the Ark in the pre-exilic period, in addition to being canonically unrepresentative – if not obsolete – made God too earth-centered, too like Zeus, Hermes, Demeter, Mercury, Hera and others – nay, too like the Great Artemis of the Ephesians! “No Jerusalem,” Jesus said (Matt. 24:2), “No Jerusalem” (John 4:21) – Jerusalem for whose love the War of the Maccabees was fought!
Seven, in Judaism, the required righteousness is based on law, while in Christianity, it is based on faith through the life, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification of the Son. That is to say, while Judaism based its righteousness on law, morality and visible acts (Rom. 3:20-23), Jesus based his as only faith, all other things addable via faith (Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:31).
Eight, In Judaism, the law is elementary, as though meant for a beginner along the road towards God; but in Christianity, the law has no place, only Faith without Work (Luke 17:6) and Faith With proof (James 2: 14-26 refers).
Nine, while Judaism produced outside show to attract attentions for practitioners, in Christianity as taught by Jesus, all outside shows are forbidden (Matt. 7:2-7). This difference presents the worshipper of God through Judaism as carnal man (sarkikos anthropos) and the first century Christian, brewed by Jesus from Judaism, as a spiritual man (Pneumatikos anthropos).
Ten, in Judaism, priests went to the Holies of Holies to purify himself to be able to purify others. But in Christianity of the first century, in the teaching of Jesus, it was not so. The sacrifice was to be performed by Jesus (1 John: 1:9).
Eleven, In Judaism, mediators for sins and life did not live forever, but coming and changing. Whereas, in Christianity, the mediator is chronologically sole, ever-remaining, ever-living, ever faithful and ever sure (John 11; Heb. 8). It was Jesus himself.
Twelve, the bases on which they rest differ. Many explanations account for this position, that Judaism rests upon written and oral laws while Christianity is predicated upon an incarnate Word. The reality of this lies in the utterances of Jesus “whose authentic record of testimony is found in the New Testament” (Lynn STD, 2014).
No coin has one face.
When the sides are similar,
They show the same case.
Taking the clue from this Eastern thought, one can safely feel the teaching of Jesus and Judaism as practiced in the first century, similar in many important considerations, could be dissimilar in many important considerations.
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Essay 2: Construct two portraits; one of Greco-Roman culture in the first century and one of the culture in which you live.
Culture as an ink,
All the time able to stain,
As a thing too main,
may be defined as the collectivity of thoughts, speeches and actions of a people as its member live their lives. It is the way of life of a people making them removed from other people, as a rational psycho-socio-religio-politico-economic cluster. Culture is not one thing; that is, it is not mono-directional, each culture filled to full with contents that are its characterology, as Karl Manheim (1936) says. This lends credence to the assertions by certain sociologists that no culture is poor: the absence of some contents in the so-called rich cultures is same as the absence of some contents in the so-called poor cultures. In fact, if the idea of rich and poor cultures (full and hollow cultures) is true, the law of social osmosis would have fought it to non-validity since cultural content, like the molecules of solutions, must travel from a region of higher concentration to that of lower concentration across social borders. That culture, though diverse, must mix , accounts for the first century Greco-Roman culture Lynn (2014). That culture, hitherto diverse, cannot remain so for long, accounts for the tendency towards cultural fusion as obtains today (Honsbira: 2012).
Portrait of the Greco-Roman Culture.
The portrait of the Greco-Roman culture means the shape and contents of the Greco-Romans cultural system. This means the characteristics of the culture. The Greeks conquered the known world, and then, the Romans. Greek conquest led to the spread and establishment of the Greek culture in all the places it conquered, including Palestine. When the force behind the cultural conquest expired (323 B.C), Greek culture, like a most valuable chemical catalyst, failed to go. It lingered! Then Rome conquered Palestine, 63 B.C.; and like the croaking male toad, shed the gamete of the Roman culture on the Greek’s, already shed abroad. It is the fertilization of these two socio-politico-economic ideological entities that is referred to as Greco-Roman culture.
Attributes of Greco-Roman Culture
The attributes of the Greco-Roman Culture include the internal contents of the Greco-Roman admixture as well as the cause-and-effect culminations of these attributes.
a. Emphasis on formal education b. emphasis on Religion c. Building and construction d. Social centers and social gatherings e. Arms Race f. Colonial race g. Religious tolerance in colonized territories.
a. Emphasis on Education.
Education was rigorously pursued in both Rome and Greece as the centers of the Greco-Roman culture. There was Elementary Education, Secondary Education and Advanced Education where students were taught such disciplines as Applied Mathematics, Sciences, Philosophy, Astronomy, Astrology and so on. There was a higher school in Samos where Pythagoras learned. There were some in Rome where Herod the Great sent his children to learn – those who, out of frenzied jealousy, he later killed! In the Greek state of Pergamum, learning was vigorously pursued so much the use of the parchment/animal skin, as a writing material was first developed there.
b. Emphasis on Religion
The Greco-Roman culture was deeply religious, and religious to the last extremity. Because the Romans borrowed a greater chunk of their culture from the Greek, there w as cultural congruence between the two. For instance, Zeus, the chief god in Greece, was Jupiter, the chief god in Rome. Athena was Minerva in Rome. Hades was Pluto; Hermes was Mercury and Hera was Juno. In the entire Greco-Roman world, in Greece, and her circumjacent areas, in Rome and Roman territories, or in Israel, major temples were cited at conspicuous parts of the city. The temple of Artemis in Ephesus is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In Israel, the Herodium, built on and artificial mountain neared being one of the seven wonders!
c. Building and Constructions.
Both the Romans and the Geek emphasized building and constructions, not only in the cosmopolitan cities, but also in the acquired territories. These include such structures as the Agora, Stadia, Fora, Theatres, Diodona, Dolkos, Areopagus and the like. There was the Roman baths in Rome and the Aqueducts in both Rome and Greece. These were also true of the conquered places like Ephesus and Palestine. In this regard, massive wall round Jerusalem stands tall upon our admiration!
d. Social centers and social gatherings.
The Greeks, the Romans and their colonies (such as Israel), like all religious people/peoples, are very sociable – for it is hardly possible to alienate Religion from social actions. The baths in Rome was meant for public bathing, social discussions, business arrangement, Gymnasium, friendly discourses and even gossip. There were stadia where games and races were carried out. In addition to the baths, there were centers where prominent socio-religio-political discourses were held. Same was also true of Palestine of the first century AD where the synagogue was prominent. In Greece, whose behaviors proved indecorous was pushed off the synagogue (aposunagogos) (Jon 9:22). Whose actions went contrary to the whims and the caprices of the synagogue was ejected from the synagogue in Israel (Jn. 9:22). In Babylon, such a one must have his/her face licked for him/her by a wild beast, notably the Hyena!
Socio-religious-political groups in Rome included Upper Class and the Lower Class. Augustus included women of worth in the Upper Class in the mid - First century BC. The Upper class included the Senatorial class and the Equestrians while the Lower Class included the Common people, the Lattini (freeborn resident in Italy), Pereginni (other freeborn living outside Rome/Italy, like Paul and his father in Tarsus). This Class also included the libertine (Freed slaves). In Greek States, there were the Upper Class, the Lower Class and the Priestly Class. In Palestine, there were the Priest, the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, Essenes (part of who became the Qumran), the Zealots, the Herodians and the non-ideological conformists. Everywhere, there were groups social.
e. Arms Race.
Greek did not just defeat the known world. She depended on arms. The feeling in the Greeks of having been defeated by the armed Syrians inflaming the urge for acquisitions of arms in other nations, lead to the arms race in the Greco-Roman culture. Assyria was conquered by Babylon; Babylon by Persia; Persia by Greek; Greek by Syria; and Syria by Rome. Romans conquered the Hasmonean Maccabees. Palestine also took part in the arms race, Palestine under Herod the Great. That she was able to accomplish all the gigantic projects in the presence of the jealous world of the Greco-Romans witnesses that she took part in the arms race too.
f. Colonial Race.
A corollary to the arms race was the colonial race. The arms race was not only pushed to keep the runner defended, but also to conquer and annex lands and peoples. That Greece and Rome were major contestants in the arms race is included in the foregoing. That the Jews took part in the arms race even before the birth of the Greco-Roman culture lies in the escapade of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, long , long ago (2 Ch. 17).
g. Religious tolerance in Conquered territories.
An irony in History is that the Greeks and the Romans, as religious as they were, always allowed their subjects to go ahead with their own native religions. This explains why Pontius Pilate would not interfere with the Jewish religion in the time of Jesus. It was why the Roman officials (Consul and Kings) allowed the Apostle Paul to be drifted here and there by the angry Sanhedrin culminating in the appeal of Paul to Rome (62 C.E.). Religiously, though individualistic, were particularly tolerant (Acts 18:25-16).
h. Economy of the Greco-Roman Culture
This included Art, weaving, building, fishing and so on. Works in Art as evidences of art works in the Greco-Roman culture, are well in the Louver Art Gallery in Paris. Ruins of building, archeologically discovered, are still in place in several parts of the Greek-Rome world. Fishing was widely practiced as in Palestine (John 21:3; Mark 1:16 ). Fish caught varied and included the pike, tilapia and other off-shore fish.
Depending on locations geographical (for the Greco-Roman world and its culture is a wide one really), there were such economic activities like primitive hunting and gathering, nomadic transhumance, caravan trading, settled agricultural cultivation, mining, lumbering, orchard Farming (olive, nut trees, hard winter wheat, fresh grapes, cereals etc), wine production, rye, trapping of fur-bearing animals( mink, beaver, muskrat, ermine and silver fox, and fur animals) (Adeleke and Goh, 2009:230) , orange (Sunkist), tangerine, etc (Adeleke and Goh 2009, 214, 217, 225).
i. Food eaten
Foods were many, diversified and regional, depending on specific culture. Generally, all looked at as one, the Greco-Roman food include Dates, Oats, Wheat, Fruits, wine and barley (2 Kings 7:7).
The Culture in which I Live.
The Culture in which I live is the Isekirian Culture of the Warri Kingdom of Nigeria. Its actualities, among others, are a. Religion b. Social c. Education d. Politics and e. Economy (Fishing).
The people hitherto worshipped the Almighty God-minus-jesus – like the ancient Egyptians from whom they originated. This chief God is Orise, analogous to the Osiris of ancient Egypt (Budge 1891; Massey 1881; Massey 1883; Massey 1907). But today, today, with the coming of Christianity since C 1515 AD, up to 25% of the people now worship the Almighty God through Jesus!
Even now, many still adhere to the traditional “Non-God” deities – Umaleokun (god of the sea), Ogunden (a red clothed god in the deep blue sea), Ipi, analogous to the Hippi of ancient Egypt, Adumu, same as the Adumu (Atumu), (the dwarfish water god of Egypt), Sami, same as the Sami of ancient Egypt etc (Budge 1991).
b. Social Activities.
Socially, the Isekiri people of Warri is very high. They engage in many dance types – Ogono, Alala, Omoko, Iyesi, Eguen, Oda, Ukpukpe, Uluomi etc. Their dance and music is so colorful that Her majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II, declared them the best in music and dancing culture in the geo-polity of western Nigeria, August 1956 (Honsbira and St. Ifa 2008).
c. Education Traditional
Education is not formal. Parents, adults and peers (who already, are more educated) pass on their knowledge to the younger ones in whom the lore, yore and more of the society is less concentrated. It is the aggregate of such knowledge that the child build on in his race to adulthood.
d. Politics of the culture I which I live.
Even though Isekiri is a monarchy whose date can be traced to 1480, there were cases of palpable conflicts in the sociology of the people when successions take place. That is not all. In each of the communities forming the kingdom ( in Ebrohimi, Deghele, Daleketa, Omadinor, for instance), troubles at times come when who is to rule the community is the issue, especially now that oil companies and other multi-national organizations are everywhere to interact with. Since such interactions determine who/what the company is to pay for onward transmission to the community entire, and as well as the number of those to be employed by the company, the wages of workers and the survival of the employees, there are crises in most cases when ascensions to the community helm of power (locally call Trusteeship) is at fore.
In the case of the state politics or national politics (for Nigeria is a democratic state) the problem is ominous. Election insincerity and other negative election realities reign supreme in the culture. For example in the last local government elections, there were allegedly no elections in over 100 polling stations: the election materials having been high jacked by the ruling party, the ballot papers filled and returned to their favor!
e. Economy of Warri.
The Isekirian economy includes weaving, building, music and fishing. Fishing is the most important economic activity of Isekiri. Fishing materials include hooks, dragnet, cast net and water poisons. However, the practice of water poisoning as a means of catching fish is being powerfully outlawed in almost all Isekirian communities. Fish caught are pike, tilapia, catfish, tuna, calamiochythis calabaricus etc.
Some agriculture is also carried out in Warri. Products include rushes, stakes, Cassava, yam, lime, and oranges – in order of importance and spread. There are also fruit gathering, hunting and animal rearing in some isolated Isekirian pockets.
f. Food eaten
Food eaten is a part of the people’s culture. Food eaten in Warri are garri, Starch, Akpu, Yam, Tapioca (from cassava), fruits, plantain, banana, fish, animal meat and so on (Illioje 1997: 207).
g. There were Imperial Cult worship in the worlds of the Greek/Romans: Pergamum, Ephesus, Rome, Egypt and others.
Similarities between Ancient and Modern Culture.
Though taking place in distant time locales, the Greco-Roman culture and the culture of my time are alike in some ways; the following being some of these.
One, as education is in three tiers in most parts of the Greco-Roman culture, it is so in my culture – primary, Secondary and tertiary. Because in both cases the education rendered and pursued are meant to prepare for political, economic and social life, the two are similar.
Two, while politics in the Greco-Roman world, in addition to some local appointing, the positioning of persons to run the government is carried out through elections, through democracy. Thus, the two are similar.
Three, the economy of the Greco-Roman peoples, especially in Greece and her city states (Rome, Italy and her other places as well as Palestine) include Fishing, agriculture. This is also the case in Warri where the people fish, build and farm.
Four, Greco-Romans ate fish, fruits and wild animals. The Isekiri of Warri also ate fish, fruits and trapped animals. Thus, here also, the two cultures are similar.
Five, music in the Greco-Roman enclaves were varied, including those for men, those for women as well as those meant for both. Also, in Warri, music and dancing can be for male, female and both.
Six, the Greco-Romans worshipped many Gods, including Jupiter, Juno, Zeus, Hera Artemis, Hermes and others. In the same way, Warri also have many gods – Inama (Nam in ancient Egypt), Ira (Ra in ancient and Sami,(Sami in ancient Egypt). All have their almighty gods. While the Almighty God of the Greeks was Zeus, that of the Romans was Jupiter, that of the Jews was Jehovah, that of Egypt was Osiris, Isekiri has Orise Almighty. The tally of the Egyptian almighty God with that of Isekiri, empowers this survey.
Seven, Isekiri also worship almighty God minus Jesus in the same way as Greece and Romans worshipped the smaller gods. And while the almighty God was the aggregate of all the gods, including the smallest gods, Isekiri see their worshipping of the smaller gods as worshipping the almighty god through the smaller. (See Budge 1891; Massey 1881; Massey 1883; Massey 1907).
Eight, there were Imperial Cults in the Greco-Roman worlds of Ephesus, Athens, and Rome, Pergamum and other places, including Egypt. In Isekiri, the Olu(King) was/is worshipped as a god, too.
Differences Between Ancient and Modern Culture.
a. While the Greco-Romans were nationalistically conquering, Isekiri is a culturally satiated state. Their never-to-end struggle to meet up politically as a micro minority in a geo-polity of over 350 ethnic groups is prime in their mind.
b. While in the ancient culture, especially in the Greco-Roman, such foods as wheat, barley, oats and hey were major food items, nothing like these is known in the Isekirian cultural system, only cassava and cassava products being prime.
c. While large houses were constructed by the Greco-Romans worlds of the Greeks, Romans, Jews, and the Syrians to support public and political discourses, these are abysmally absent in the Isekirian system, only the town halls where socio-economic issues are discussed. Isekiri have no houses set aside for political activities like the Hellenistic Areopagus, Roman bath or the Jewish Synagues.
d. While the Greeks, Romans, Jews, Syrians and others of the ancient world had constructions of large buildings, Isekiri have no such large buildings. Such large buildings include the Areopagus and the Ephesian Temple in Greece, the Capitol in Rome, the Herodium in Palestine, but none in Isekiri where the largest native house is the Nana Palace in Koko, a building of about 80 yards by 50!
e. Also, while the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews and all else have such feasts as the Feast of Dedication and Passover in Palestine, The feast of Lupercelia in Rome, the Ephesians feast of Artemis in the Greek Ephesus, Isekiri has as a national feast, only the Oyo Ekoro, the Olu of Warri coronation anniversary of May 2.
f. F. While temples were built for Imperial Cult worship, there are no special building for Olu worship in the Isekirian Warri. He was only seen and revered as a god.
A Theory for Why Ancient and Modern Culture 1. Differ 11. Are similar.
Theory of why ancient and modern culture are similar.
Ancient and modern cultures can be similar owing to two basics. To begin with, it must be noted that there are three basic types of cultural similarity: Horizontal cultural similarity, Vertical Cultural Similarity and round-about cultural similarity.
Vertical Cultural Similarity. Vertical Cultural similarity is said to have occurred when the cultures of two or more people at two time periods are alike. For example, when a people living today display the cultural traits of a people who lived say, about 2000 years ago, vertical cultural similarity is at play.
Theory of vertical Cultural Similarity.
Because people fail to learn from the unpleasant mistakes in History, they tend to do those bad things people of earlier periods did. When these deeds include culture, then vertical cultural similarity takes place. Also, when a people A deliberately copy the culture of an older people B, A displays the culture of B, resulting in a vertical cultural alliance between the two peoples. The first and the second situations above can be due to failure/refusal of a people to learn from the mistakes in history and the tendency of a people to copy virtues of History respectively.
Theory based on the above. The more modern people fail to learn from the cultural mistakes of ancient people, or the more modern people want to copy the good aspects of the culture of ancient times, the more horizontal cultural similarity takes place.
Horizontal Cultural Similarity.
Horizontal Cultural Similarity takes place when within the same time period, a people (A) copies from or donates to the cultural of a people (B) and vice versa. For example, it is often admitted that the cooking of rice by mixing it with oil while on fire was discovered and done by the Wolof and the Jolof of the Senegal basin of Africa. Today, when Jolof rice is cooked in Warri (thousand of miles away), but within the same time period, horizontal cultural similarity is said to have occurred.
Theory Based on the Above.
When two peoples, A and B, occupying different geography exhibit similar cultural traits, owing to cultural borrowing and donation, horizontal cultural similarity has occurred.
Round-about Cultural Similarity
When the culture of a people (A) attracts the copy work of a people (B); and from a people (B) this culture (or in its modified form) is copied by another people (C) and then to another or others, say D, E, F …, then the original culture, now distributed in a round-about manner, is said to have exhibited a similarity called “Round-about” similarity.
Theory of Round-about Cultural Similarity.
When an original culture (A) diffuses from its original locale to other locales such that its contents seems to be original in all the locales with intense argument as to its point of origin, a round-about similarity is said to have been established by the original culture (A).
Theory on Why Ancient and Modern Cultures are Different.
History is created by the activities of men and women as they interact with their environment. This environment consists of Rivers, Lakes, Mountains, Valleys, animals, plants, fields, oceans, climate, vegetation and, indeed, God and gods – all of which always change. (Do we say God Almighty never changes? If we say God is a God of life as well as God of death, God of peace as well as God of war, God of patience as well as God of anger, it means God is characteristically dual; and if so, changes are a true attribute of God.) Since all the above change, (nay, if God in whose image man was made cannot but be prone to changes), man and his culture cannot be exceptions.
The foregoing produces a theory why ancient and modern cultures are not similar.
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Cultural studies is valuable for many a reason, chiefly, indeed, in the following ways.
a. Studies of Greco-Roman studies shows the constituents of the culture in this enclave of the world as distinct from those of other enclaves taken as one. It also shows the relatedness of the Greco-Roman culture to those of the other places. For instance, the study unfolds the fact that even Egypt of Ptolemy, Palestine of Herold and Syria of Seleucid tally culturally.
b. The study also unfolds the fact that where one culture appears to be of superior characterology (Karl 1936), deeming others as inferior, not only those deemed to be inferior, but also others might view the “inferior” culture as superior in some important considerations. This tallies with what social anthropologist mean when they say “Civilization is relative, not absolute” (Ojelabi 1970).
c. Cultural studies can lead to the discoveries of the facts of cultural monuments in places such as Ephesus, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, America, India etc. The discoveries can create the appetite for tours to know and urges for pleasure-seeking experimental expeditions in man.
d. Cultural studies can lead to cultural borrowing and donation. The knowledge of the features of the Herodium of King Herod in Israel, of the Ephesian Temple of the Ephesus or the Pyramid of Egypt is enough to create in the students the desire to have such structures in his/her place. The present writer laments he has nothing like the Roman bath in Warri!
e. Knowledge derived therefrom can lead to the identification of cultural hollows and so, those cultures whose needs for cultural borrowings are dire. All attempts to fill up these hollows is step to develop the world culturally.
f. Among the most important values of cultural studies is identification of cultures to biblical environments. The interrelatedness of the places/peoples mentioned in the bible grows tall, taking the leap through cultural studies.
g. Allied closely with the foregoing is the interrelatedness of the places mentioned in the Old Testament with prevalent cultures, collectively referred to by Nations University as New Testament Environment.
h. Cultural studies can also be used to determine why peoples quarrel/fight. While those with sparity of cultures want to fight to undo the cultural shine of those with beautifully packed cultures, at times, those with richer cultures want to spite those whose cultural contents are sparse. This can lead to atavistic wars and recurrent frictions among/between peoples as in Warri between Isekiri and Ijaw on the one hand, and between Isekiri and Urhobo, n the other (Honsbira and St Ifa 1997; Dan Kashagana, 1989).
i. Cultural studies can determine why some people behave the way they do; why they find it hard to change to newer cultural circumstances. Taking the clue from the Jews who would allow foreign government, but not foreign religions, cultural studies makes one see the need to allow the status quo in some cases.
j. Sociologist, socialists, historists and social anthropologist can effect cultural amalgamation to ensure peace for the world. Conversely, they can also effect cultural denomination (splitting of cultures into their constituent parts) to producing cultural solutions from which undesirable cultural items can be filtered off – like the man in the Chemistry laboratory!
k. Constructions of cultural symbols can be effected in several places where valuable cultural stumps cannot be found. The world gains her knowledge of the creation of Artificial Mountains from the Herodium and Masada of Jerusalem by King Herod the Great of Palestine. The city of Caesarea and the massive construction around Jerusalem are examples.
l. One study has revealed that culturally similar peoples are prone to disagreement/quarrel/fighting than culturally dissimilar peoples.
Question 3.ii. Benefits of the Study of Culture to a Christian.
A local adage says “The best way to cook the cod is using its own oil.” Thus, the benefits of Cultural studies to Christians can be gleaned from the general benefits of cultural studies aforesaid.
a. Cultural studies show the behaviors of some pro-Christian figures. The escapades of Augustus Caesar, the career of Herod the Great, albeit his massive wickedness, and Agrippa II (not Agrippa I, who ordered the death of James) would make the average Christian lean towards structures like those of these figures. The ready adaptation of such conquerors like Alexander the Great, Ptolemy and Judas Maccabees are duplicable.
b. Studies of culture and cultural variations and cultural alliances, capable of making one identify “superior” and “Inferior” cultures, can enable the practicing Christian know which part of the secular cultures are at tandem with the biblical ideals. He/she could, then, build from there.
c. Cultural monuments like those of Caesarea and Ephesus as they are mentioned in the biblical accounts, can create a greater thirst for biblical studies, the bedrock of Christological accuracy. The consequent pleasure-seeking experimental expedition can be directed to biblical environmental explorations leading to a greater ties with Christology.
d. When the knowledge of the places mentioned in the bible is made to blend with archeological discoveries, the veracity of the claims of the bible is revalidated.
e. Acquaintance with New Testament Environment is tantalizing and inspiring. How one grows inclined to be acquainted with these realities!
f. Knowledge of why people fight or quarrel can be employed by the professional Christian to identify the tendency towards crises, and nip them in their earliest stages. It also imbues the Christian with the ability, not only to make peace, but also keep and sustain peace in those parts of the world where the need for peace is dire (Honsbira and St. Ifa 1999).
g. Some people are unduly uncompromising when the attempt to convert them into Christianity or make them see reason is the issue. Such people might be behaving in league with their ancient cultural background – like the Jews who hitherto accepted the Syrian over lordship, but pounced on them when this tampered with pigs and idols in the Temple! (168 B.C.). When people behave in this way, and so sudden, the proclaiming Christian, knowing that cultural background could be the cause, must treat the issue with understanding.
h. Like the Sociologist, socialists, and social anthropologists, the proclaiming Christian can, through the lore and yore of cultural studies, effect cultural unison between Christology and the secular where amalgamation is possible. However, Bert (2014) is of the view that the Christian must remain impervious when compromising essential Christian teachings such as resurrection, baptism, Monogamy are the issue.
i. Construction of cultural monuments can ally with the Christian efforts to enhance Christianity. These are not to be worshipped but as memorials, a concentrative and meditative mechanism for the Christian to think continually of his God as he prays ceaselessly (1 The. 5:17: Luke 18:1). In this regard, Catholicism deserves some praises.
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