Jesus, Women and Race

IN WHICH YOU LEARNED THAT EVERYTHING YOU’D “KNOWN” WAS INDEED DEAD WRONG

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Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well (a mile on foot from her home city of Sychar) that Salvation is from the Jews. The reason why this is unwieldy for someone who has bothered to read the whole Gospel is because, for one thing, the inspired (i.e. spirited or breathed) New Testament preaches an incorruptible God who is no respecter of persons, which is why Jesus continues: the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, since spirit and truth have nothing in common with nations or flesh-and-bloodlines. This radical idea that the true God isn’t given to racism or any other partisanship–that there is no Chosen People or destined Master Race–really gives the Golden Rule theological legs, but tragically it is normally the property of what I would call the faith of the mystics, as opposed to the religionists. But this won’t be the last time Moses is indirectly demonized in Christian circles. Consider, for example, the standard credal Christian’s notions about God’s arch-enemy Satan (not to be confused with the real Satan which the Hebrew scriptures characterize as God’s designated Prosecutor):
– Refused to serve his King (see Romans 13)
– Stirred up a rebellion
– Pulled dirty tricks
– Made his own rules
– Never invented anything, just appropriated from his kingdom of origin
– Caused untold bloodshed in his stride
– Ultimately lowered his following’s quality of life
– Had horns
– Healed using a bronze serpent of all things

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So then why does Jesus say “Salvation is from the Jews”—the same Jesus who’d told the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Justified Publican and others—even as he’s gearing up to ring in the destruction of the Second Temple and all it stands for, especially legalism? Consider that:
(a) he is talking to a Samaritan woman,
(b) in another passage he casually refers to a Canaanite woman as a “dog” (i.e. “the b-word”),
(c) his own mother he addresses as “woman” (“madam”?).

Today it’s trendy to say Jesus raised the status of women (and that Paul [or rather the author of Timothy] brought the Gospel back down to “practical reality” where “men know best”), yet Jesus is quite the Jewish man in this regard, and the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas hasn’t helped matters either!

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But here’s another wrinkle: like many an esotericist, Jesus seems fascinated by generlessness, as his exaltation of children and his elaborate discourse on adult celibacy (doubtless attributable to his Essene background), which he’s careful to clarify is only meant for real adepts not your average “José Six” but that those who can accept the way of the eunuch certainly should do so in the interest of maximizing spiritual productivity, a point the real Paul reinforces even as he seems to repeat the underlying importance of being Zen or indifferent toward one’s carnal state wither married or celibate. This may be why the real Paul ends up saying there are no distinctions of gender, race or status but only a great unity in “Christ Jesus”.

The Kabbalah had an inestimable influence on Christianity’s foundations and those of Western society, and we see later in Europe those who are persecuted for practicing Kabbalah “witchcraft” as modeling purposeful diversity or integration of classes in the Middle Ages, much as Paul’s communities had done in Antiquity.

For the record, I do not assert that the Old Testament is mystically bankrupt. A wild goose chase I’ll grant you. But while the true God, being pure Breath and pure Consciousness, is essentially no respecter of persons, I can see God putting God’s energies into defending the oppressed against the oppressor (so much so that I’m not at all certain Christianity hasn’t called God “Satan”)—it’s just that as soon as the oppressed become oppressors the deal is very much off.