Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson shows the Greek origins of Christianity in this episode, by discussing the case of the city of Sepphoris.
There are some who believe that Christianity is a foreign, “third world,” Judaic religion. This is a common error. Old Testament Judaism has no relation either ethnically or theologically with Talmudic Judaism. The latter is the Jew’s rejection of the Old Law. It is replaced with them collectively as the Messiah. Modern pseudo-scholarship in the subsidized universities perpetuates this mythos. Christ was a Greco-Roman in his sympathies, theology and ultimately, his cultural background. This is shockingly easy to prove.
The thesis of this lecture-broadcast is that Christ was culturally a Greek. He abandoned the profoundly corrupt Jewish ruling class and broke with their legal provisions. He followed in the footsteps of the prophets in siding with those who would destroy this hegemony, the Romans.
Jeremiah sided with Babylon against an oligarchic Israel. The broader point is that the boundaries of Europe included North Africa and the Levant before Islam. Christianity was born in a Greek milieu.
Mary the Mother of God was from a Greek city, Sepphoris, with Nazareth being a small suburb. This means that the Holy Family spoke Greek often and was a part of ancient Greek life. Why did Christ choose this region to spread his message? Why not Jerusalem? What is his Greek background telling us? Why were the Jews of the era so vehemently against him from the beginning? Could it be that he was a foreigner? Is this why they kept referring to his place of origin as a pejorative label?
Jesus taught at the local synagogue. His insights were such that he was informally called “rabbi” which meant teacher, it was not a title conferred by the Jewish religion like it is today. He chose Capernaum, another Greek city, in which to teach. Despite being educated at the Temple, he remained outside the Jewish mainstream through his connection with Greek culture. In other words, Christianity is a European, Greek faith. Most of the Apostles had Greek names and all the earliest Apostolic writings are in Greek. The earliest synodal structures conducted their business in Greek. Is this a coincidence?
Galilee was also called Decapolis, a very Greek part of the Mideast. Galilee was under the control of the Tetrarch, Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. The Galilee region included towns such as Capernaum and Magdala. It was a mixed area, but the dominant language was certainly Greek.
Tiberias is a Greek city that became the headquarters of Herod Antipas on the shoreline near Capernaum. Tiberias was named after the Roman Emperor who ruled at the time. It became the new capital city of Galilee. Religious Jews shunned Tiberias during the time of Jesus, since it was built on top of a cemetery. This made it “unclean” under Jewish law. Yet, this is where Christ created his ministry.
Matthew Raphael Johnson is a scholar of Russian Orthodox history and philosophy. He completed his doctorate at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1999. He is a former professor of both history and political science at the University of Nebraska (as a graduate student), Penn State University and Mount St. Mary’s University. Since 1999, he was the editor (and is presently Senior Researcher) at The Barnes Review, a well-known renegade journal of European history.
Dr. Johnson is the author of eight books. Six are from Hromada Books, “Sobornosti: Essays on the Old Faith;” “Heavenly Serbia and the Medieval Idea;” “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality: Lectures on Medieval Russia;” “The Ancient Orthodox Tradition in Russian Literature: “The Foreign Policy of Mass Society: The Failure of Western Engagement in the Middle East;” and “Officially Approved Dissent: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Strategic Ambiguity in His Critique of Modernity.” And two published by The Barnes Review, “The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy;” and “Russian Populist: The Political Thought of Vladimir Putin.”