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October 19th, 2012, 03:44
This is one of the more ridiculous threads I've seen here for a while and I want in.

I was at the zoo the other day, looking at the Orangutans, and there was a large sign stating that Orangutans are 97% human. It struck me as a strange thing to put on a sign; I guess it was supposed to be a statement about how we treat them.

Pibbur - would it also be correct to say that Humans are 97% Orangutan? I'd like that sign better. Less condescending.
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October 19th, 2012, 07:45
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
How so? They were largely persecuted, not persecuting.
The idea about Christian Persecutions go back to a tome by Eusebius known as "Acts of the Martyrs". Needless to say, this tome have been heavily analyzed and today it should be taken with a grain of salt as it's more political propaganda to justify the new church (4th century) than actual history. Many times the supposed persecutions probably never happen, or were carried out against Jews, not Christians. This piece of history can partially be seen as an extension of the religious beliefs in the religion itself.

I would recommend a Bart D Ehrman lecture on this known as "From Jesus To Constantine - A History Of Early Christianity".

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October 19th, 2012, 08:14
Originally Posted by badmofo View Post
This is one of the more ridiculous threads I've seen here for a while and I want in.

I was at the zoo the other day, looking at the Orangutans, and there was a large sign stating that Orangutans are 97% human. It struck me as a strange thing to put on a sign; I guess it was supposed to be a statement about how we treat them.

Pibbur - would it also be correct to say that Humans are 97% Orangutan? I'd like that sign better. Less condescending.
Make sense to me.

pibbur who is 97% Librarian

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October 19th, 2012, 08:35
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Being ignorant of history doesn't make you right. First, there are more authorities on Christianity than the Catholic Church and have been since the beginning.
Name me two-three Christian Authorities from the 6th century that wasn't the institution nowadays known as the Catholic Church.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Second, Acts, as it was interpreted before the 4th century doesn't support that. Just because some people got in power and changed the message doesn't mean that the message always said that.
Please root the idea that there's a qualitative difference between what is and what is interpreted. You are engaging in the former question while I engage in the second where it's more important to look at the perception of Average Joe and what he got on the table, than the perception of Modern History.

The idea that there were several competing Christianities of which one branch was the winner is modern history. Go back 800 years and Christianity was The Church (TM) in most of Europe and all lasting interpretations of Christianity at that time grew from this stem. This monolith didn't start to crumble until the 12-14th century and even after that the religions were state-driven up to the 20th century in most of Europe. So please acknowledge that during half of this European history, Christianity have been fueled by a single entity who barely had any clue about groups like the Ebionites or the Marcionites and it is the product of their interpretations that matter. What does this mean? It means that in some aspects, 19th Century Christianity have more in common with 1-3rd century Christianity than 12th Century Christianity because of the almost complete freedom to interpret Christianity the way you like. In other aspects 19th Century Christianity have more in common with 12th Century Christianity than 1-3rd century Christianity because of a millennium of the collected Biblical canon as the major influence on what Christianity contains.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I didn't correct myself, though maybe I could have said it better. Interpreting the texts of the canonical Bible predates the official list of canonical texts. Its not a new phenomenon. Interpretations of the Bible have always changed, even during the period between the 4th century and the Reformation.
The now accepted "Official list of canonical text" weren't mainstream Christianity around the 12th century. There were other texts used and there were texts in the modern Bible that weren't used. "Interpretations" back then weren't just interpretations of texts from a canonical list, there was also interpretations in what texts were authoritative and which weren't and during copying texts changes were often made to correct and adjust it's content to what people believed at the time ("this doesn't sound like the Christ I know, so I change the text").

A lot happened after the Printing Press created a unified tome with both the culture and Christianity in which even copy errors are now mainstream, simply because of the editions that were selected to be copied. Now there were an authorative version of the tome of Christianity, including a finite selection of books and the copy errors of the edition of the texts that they decided to use for this finite copy ("locusts and honey" for example, which is 1 letter from the "pancakes and honey" in other and older editions of the text). This effect on both European Culture and Christianity cannot be understated. Had for example Timothy 2 been known as a fake in the 12th Century, Christianity would in some aspects be very different and had alternate gospels been included, the search for the "historical Christ" would look for a very different person.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Of course some people have used it to justify anti-judism. Anyone can twist any text to their own meaning. That's not the issue here. The issue is what is the basis for anti-judism. Using the New Testament to that effect is not the same as the New Testament being the basis for it.
You say it like the anti-Judaism passages in the New Testament are rather few and the anti-Judaism sentiments in Europe have been few as well. I personally questioned my own interpretation of the Bible when I one day realized I disliked Jews even if I never met one in my life nor had any trace of anti-Judaism in my family or among the people I had around me. I disliked them because Jesus said they were liars or hypocrites, because they killed Christ and showered in his blood and because of Paul's prophecy that they would get punished for what they did in the end. I also hated them for not accepting Jesus Christ and therefore didn't contribute to the salvation of mankind.

I had learned from my social environment that hating Jews were wrong which is why I begin to question my interpretation. And this was long before I had any clue about the depths of anti-Judaism or European history. When I was 14-16 the Bible WAS my history and everything I needed to know.

You can say my "interpretation" were wrong, but that doesn't matter, because the very same passages I interpreted this way have been interpreted by others the same way and it have lead to people getting killed throughout European history.

So accept this; the unschooled laymans interpretation of the Bible is more authoritative than the combined theologians in this world. Their interpretation is the only "true" interpretation of the Bible worth my time as a social psychologist. The way an unschooled layman intuitively interpret the text inspire a physical manifestation of the Bible through those unschooled laymens behavior. That physical manifestation can sometimes lead to actual physical harm.

I hope you understand this conclusion. I hope you can understand why it doesn't matter to me at all what a schooled theologian believes is the correct interpretation of the text. It's his/hers opinion and that opinion doesn't matter.

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October 19th, 2012, 08:44
It's nice to know that my highly trained and learned opinions don't matter; that my years of study and application were wasted; that all my teaching in this area has been futile!! Pity those who consider me to be an excellent preacher wouldn't agree with you.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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October 19th, 2012, 10:05
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
It's nice to know that my highly trained and learned opinions don't matter; that my years of study and application were wasted; that all my teaching in this area has been futile!! Pity those who consider me to be an excellent preacher wouldn't agree with you.
From my perspective you are a God. That is; your opinions are interpreted by your worshippers as the word of God. Culturally this isn't significally different from Egyptian priests and their Pharao, the megachurch or the Taliban that all become godlike by their social status as an interpretor of Gods demands. There's therefore a personal benefit for you to continue to breed/feed the cultural structure that allow you to continue to be a God as it gives you fruit for your hard work, respect and a position of power even if you have to give room for other interpretors (competing Gods). Using your position to preach "be nice to one another because eachother is all we got" would also contribute to a better world but wouldn't be as personally rewarding to you. You are human after all.

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October 19th, 2012, 11:26
Things have certainly changed around here
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October 19th, 2012, 14:09
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
The idea about Christian Persecutions go back to a tome by Eusebius known as "Acts of the Martyrs". Needless to say, this tome have been heavily analyzed and today it should be taken with a grain of salt as it's more political propaganda to justify the new church (4th century) than actual history. Many times the supposed persecutions probably never happen, or were carried out against Jews, not Christians. This piece of history can partially be seen as an extension of the religious beliefs in the religion itself.

I would recommend a Bart D Ehrman lecture on this known as "From Jesus To Constantine - A History Of Early Christianity".
I don't even know where to begin…. Christians were heavily persecuted in the Roman Empire, largely for the same reasons that Jews were persecuted (unwillingness to honor the Roman Gods as well, as required by law). Plenty of Roman historians make note of persecution of Christians, it doesn't just come from Acts of the Martyrs. Just off the top of my head:

Trajan declared that Christianity was illegal, though he also implemented a don't ask, don't tell policy on it. If a Christian was found out though, the punishment was torture to force a renouncement of faith, and failing that execution.
Marcus Aurelius was very anti-Christian, and order several specific instances of mass persecution. During his reign, in Lyon for instance, Christians were forbidden from " public areas such as the marketplaces, baths, etc." Eventually it lead to the Persecution in Lyon where a large number of Christians were tortured and executed.
Things culminated in the Great Persecution in the late 3rd, early 4th centuries. It resulted in the execution of thousands of Christians, and discrimination of hundreds of thousands. 10's of thousands were tortured, but escaped death for various reasons.

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October 19th, 2012, 14:37
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Name me two-three Christian Authorities from the 6th century that wasn't the institution nowadays known as the Catholic Church.
Again, we were talking about the 1st through late 3rd centuries, so what are you asking about the 6th century? Just because one viewpoint became the dominant faith, doesn't negate the existence of other points of view before that. And even in the 6th century, you had several distinct flavors of Christianity (though not as diverse as the earlier Christians differences). The Eastern Church based in Constantinople , though it would not officially break with Rome for a few more centuries, had several important theological differences. The Coptic Church in Egypt had many as well.


Please root the idea that there's a qualitative difference between what is and what is interpreted. You are engaging in the former question while I engage in the second where it's more important to look at the perception of Average Joe and what he got on the table, than the perception of Modern History.
You're not even engaging in the second, because you ignore that there never has been and never will be one universal interpretation.

The idea that there were several competing Christianities of which one branch was the winner is modern history.
No it isn't, it is fact. What we now call the Gnostic Christians were significantly different than the 'Orthodox' faith. Even within the 'Orthodox' faith, there are several different flavors, as I referenced in my previous post, that have distinct differences. Though they share many of the same basic theologies, we would not have had things like the Great Schism in the 11th century. In the various councils of the 4th century, you have 'Orthodox' Christians arguing whether Christ was man, god, or both. They argued whether there was a Holy Trinity. They argued over just about everything!

Go back 800 years and Christianity was The Church (TM) in most of Europe and all lasting interpretations of Christianity at that time grew from this stem.
Again, not really. In the 13th century, you still have distinct Eastern and Western Churches with theological differences. In the west, there were several groups (all of whom ultimately got wiped out unfortunately) like the Cathars that had significant differences with Orthodox Christianity.

This monolith didn't start to crumble until the 12-14th century and even after that the religions were state-driven up to the 20th century in most of Europe. So please acknowledge that during half of this European history, Christianity have been fueled by a single entity who barely had any clue about groups like the Ebionites or the Marcionites and it is the product of their interpretations that matter. What does this mean? It means that in some aspects, 19th Century Christianity have more in common with 1-3rd century Christianity than 12th Century Christianity because of the almost complete freedom to interpret Christianity the way you like. In other aspects 19th Century Christianity have more in common with 12th Century Christianity than 1-3rd century Christianity because of a millennium of the collected Biblical canon as the major influence on what Christianity contains.
There is no doubt that the Catholic Church was a huge force in the west for most of the last 1600 years or so, and that it was intertwined with the governments. I fail to see how that means that anti-Judaism is straight out of the New Testament. The powers that be certainly used their interpretation of the NT as a justification for anti-Judaism activities, but even within that, you have people arguing against those interpretations. Read on the Crusades, there were quite a few arguments going on about whether the Jews, both in and out of the Holy Land, should be protected or persecuted.

It's not nearly as simple or cut and dry as you like to make it out to be. You are sadly letting your anti-religion bias show.


The now accepted "Official list of canonical text" weren't mainstream Christianity around the 12th century. There were other texts used and there were texts in the modern Bible that weren't used.
The official list of canonical text were largely set by the 2nd century, officially set by the 4th century, and only rarely altered since. The Catholics use a slightly extended list than the Protestants today. The bulk of the texts used today have been used since the 2nd century (translations withstanding). I have no idea where you get any other idea.

Now, some non-canonical texts were more prevalent at various times. In the middle ages, for instance, The Shepard of Hermes (perhaps my favorite non-canonical work) and the Infancy Gospel of James were well known, though still not considered canonical.


"Interpretations" back then weren't just interpretations of texts from a canonical list, there was also interpretations in what texts were authoritative and which weren't and during copying texts changes were often made to correct and adjust it's content to what people believed at the time ("this doesn't sound like the Christ I know, so I change the text").
So what you are saying is that people copied and translated the texts, they interpreted them? So now you are agreeing that interpretation has been a constant theme of religion.

A lot happened after the Printing Press created a unified tome with both the culture and Christianity in which even copy errors are now mainstream, simply because of the editions that were selected to be copied. Now there were an authorative version of the tome of Christianity, including a finite selection of books and the copy errors of the edition of the texts that they decided to use for this finite copy ("locusts and honey" for example, which is 1 letter from the "pancakes and honey" in other and older editions of the text). This effect on both European Culture and Christianity cannot be understated. Had for example Timothy 2 been known as a fake in the 12th Century, Christianity would in some aspects be very different and had alternate gospels been included, the search for the "historical Christ" would look for a very different person.[/quote]

Timothy 2 isn't a fake, it just wasn't likely attributed properly. Rather than Paul writing it, its is more commonly believed that it was written by one of Paul's followers.

You say it like the anti-Judaism passages in the New Testament are rather few and the anti-Judaism sentiments in Europe have been few as well.
No one said anti-Judaism sentiments in Europe have been few. The discussion is what is the cause of those sentiments. You assert that Christianity is the cause. The rest of us assert that Christianity has been used as an excuse.

I personally questioned my own interpretation of the Bible when I one day realized I disliked Jews even if I never met one in my life nor had any trace of anti-Judaism in my family or among the people I had around me. I disliked them because Jesus said they were liars or hypocrites, because they killed Christ and showered in his blood and because of Paul's prophecy that they would get punished for what they did in the end. I also hated them for not accepting Jesus Christ and therefore didn't contribute to the salvation of mankind.
Then that is your fault for misunderstanding the Bible (or even being taught wrong).

You can say my "interpretation" were wrong, but that doesn't matter, because the very same passages I interpreted this way have been interpreted by others the same way and it have lead to people getting killed throughout European history.
So because you and others have interpreted the texts in this way, the texts are bad? That makes absolutely zero sense what so ever.


So accept this; the unschooled laymans interpretation of the Bible is more authoritative than the combined theologians in this world. Their interpretation is the only "true" interpretation of the Bible worth my time as a social psychologist. The way an unschooled layman intuitively interpret the text inspire a physical manifestation of the Bible through those unschooled laymens behavior. That physical manifestation can sometimes lead to actual physical harm.
I know plenty of 'unschooled layman' that have never been raging anti-Judaism people, so does their interpretation not count?

I hope you understand this conclusion. I hope you can understand why it doesn't matter to me at all what a schooled theologian believes is the correct interpretation of the text. It's his/hers opinion and that opinion doesn't matter.
Your narrow focus is sad and disgraceful. This is the type of thinking from where hate develops. I sincerely hope you are not teaching this to anyone else.

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October 21st, 2012, 03:37
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
I hope you understand this conclusion. I hope you can understand why it doesn't matter to me at all what a schooled theologian believes is the correct interpretation of the text. It's his/hers opinion and that opinion doesn't matter.
This I find weird, what schooled theologians believe is the correct interpretation is what get preached and what is preached is what most Christians believe. Most Christians don't read the Bible and interpret by themselves, they go to mass and take in what the preacher has to say.

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October 21st, 2012, 04:36
Originally Posted by peko View Post
This I find weird, what schooled theologians believe is the correct interpretation is what get preached and what is preached is what most Christians believe. Most Christians don't read the Bible and interpret by themselves, they go to mass and take in what the preacher has to say.
Yes, most Christians don't read the Bible or interpret by themselves, however, preachers do not necessary follow theologians but their own interpretations. They are the Gods in their churches (as the charismatic leaders within the Taliban are the Gods in their group).

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Last edited by JemyM; October 21st, 2012 at 08:54.
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October 21st, 2012, 17:19
I don't know how that works elsewhere but to become a priest in the swedish church you are supposed to study theology for 5 years, that'd make you a theologian in my book.

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October 21st, 2012, 18:05


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October 21st, 2012, 21:39
Originally Posted by peko View Post
I don't know how that works elsewhere but to become a priest in the swedish church you are supposed to study theology for 5 years, that'd make you a theologian in my book.
Yup. But that's the Swedish Church.

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October 22nd, 2012, 02:20
It's actually very similar in most churches!!

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October 23rd, 2012, 10:51
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Again, we were talking about the 1st through late 3rd centuries, so what are you asking about the 6th century? Just because one viewpoint became the dominant faith, doesn't negate the existence of other points of view before that. And even in the 6th century, you had several distinct flavors of Christianity (though not as diverse as the earlier Christians differences). The Eastern Church based in Constantinople , though it would not officially break with Rome for a few more centuries, had several important theological differences. The Coptic Church in Egypt had many as well.
You're not even engaging in the second, because you ignore that there never has been and never will be one universal interpretation.
You are arguing in absolutes. Institutions/authorities tend to be streamliners of public opinions and influence of highly influental institutions is still highly influental even if they aren't universal.

My stance is that a modern "let's go back to Christ" can't avoid at least a thousand year baggage of influence from a political institution. What I said should make sense in this frame. I give you the eastern church, which I said 2-3.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
No it isn't, it is fact. What we now call the Gnostic Christians were significantly different than the 'Orthodox' faith. Even within the 'Orthodox' faith, there are several different flavors, as I referenced in my previous post, that have distinct differences. Though they share many of the same basic theologies, we would not have had things like the Great Schism in the 11th century. In the various councils of the 4th century, you have 'Orthodox' Christians arguing whether Christ was man, god, or both. They argued whether there was a Holy Trinity. They argued over just about everything!
I have never argued against diversity in that era. I argued that the mainstream public were clueless about this diversity up to very recently and even today most people are blissfully unaware how diversified Christianity was back then since most people do not care enough to take a class in a secular class in Christian History and most of Christianity are invested in the notion that Christianity is a monolith in which Christians generally agree.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Again, not really. In the 13th century, you still have distinct Eastern and Western Churches with theological differences. In the west, there were several groups (all of whom ultimately got wiped out unfortunately) like the Cathars that had significant differences with Orthodox Christianity.
Neither contributed to the "stem" I talk about and both institutions were frequently engaged in cleaning up "heresy". As soon as alternate groups obtained greater influence they were soon gone.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
There is no doubt that the Catholic Church was a huge force in the west for most of the last 1600 years or so, and that it was intertwined with the governments. I fail to see how that means that anti-Judaism is straight out of the New Testament. The powers that be certainly used their interpretation of the NT as a justification for anti-Judaism activities, but even within that, you have people arguing against those interpretations. Read on the Crusades, there were quite a few arguments going on about whether the Jews, both in and out of the Holy Land, should be protected or persecuted.
It's not nearly as simple or cut and dry as you like to make it out to be. You are sadly letting your anti-religion bias show.
If dominant/mainstream groups (a) spoke anti-judaic sentiments and made anti-judaic activities and (b) quoted specific biblepassages in support for political actions, thats good enough for me. Such notions were widespread up to the 2nd WW and you still hear the same passages quoted and still with the same interpretion. For someone as invested in Christian history as you are it surprises me you deny that these interpretions do exist and they were mainstream. The anti-judaic passages aren't few either, I have a list with about a hundred passages that go in that direction. These aren't reinterpreted because they are "wrong" according to the bible, but because of guilt from WW2 that made them unacceptable.

"Anti-religious bias" is an ad-hominem and red herring btw. I study culture and I take the concept of memetics very seriously meaning I put weight on both influental institutions and human psychology as a natural selector of which ideas are spread or abolished.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
The official list of canonical text were largely set by the 2nd century, officially set by the 4th century, and only rarely altered since. The Catholics use a slightly extended list than the Protestants today. The bulk of the texts used today have been used since the 2nd century (translations withstanding). I have no idea where you get any other idea.Now, some non-canonical texts were more prevalent at various times. In the middle ages, for instance, The Shepard of Hermes (perhaps my favorite non-canonical work) and the Infancy Gospel of James were well known, though still not considered canonical.
The winning group had no power in the 2nd century. The strong rift between supporters of Paul and supporters of hebrew religion still raged in the 3rd. Even assembled the Bible is a blend of two distinct cultures with a different world-view. The tome we know as the "Old Testament" is an even later construct.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
So what you are saying is that people copied and translated the texts, they interpreted them? So now you are agreeing that interpretation has been a constant theme of religion.
No. What I have referred to is a cultural change in which interpreting the one printed bible is promoted. Copyists changes were inofficial and made because the copyist believed a previous copyist made error or changes.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Timothy 2 isn't a fake, it just wasn't likely attributed properly. Rather than Paul writing it, its is more commonly believed that it was written by one of Paul's followers.
T2 is politically one of the most important texts in the bible so it's also vital whether or not it's written by Paul. It for example holds the strongest anti-woman passages and the key passage for fundamentalists which makes the Bible the ultimate authority like the Quran.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
No one said anti-Judaism sentiments in Europe have been few. The discussion is what is the cause of those sentiments. You assert that Christianity is the cause. The rest of us assert that Christianity has been used as an excuse.
Then that is your fault for misunderstanding the Bible (or even being taught wrong).
The last bit is part of the "inflential interpretors = God" phenomenon I spoke about.

This comment makes no sense from a theistic view. As a Christian my interpretion was guided by the holy spirit. When you question the teachings of God allmighty and claim your human perspective is better you attempt to block God.

It's also a peculiar statement to someone who studied religion, power structures and psychology. It's like you attempt a human social pressure to cause another human to adapt to your personal opinions. I am perfectly fine, and trained, in making my own textual analysis.

As far as I concern there is stronger and more coherent Biblical support for gay-rights and gay-marriage than being pro-jew or pro-judaism.

I claim attempts to be this is more of a sign of an socially adaptive behavior which is a very human thing to do.

I am not a Christian so I do have such problems.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
So because you and others have interpreted the texts in this way, the texts are bad? That makes absolutely zero sense what so ever.
Would you support an incoherent lawbook that allow for multiple interpretions? I have fought badly written laws many times in my life.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I know plenty of 'unschooled layman' that have never been raging anti-Judaism people, so does their interpretation not count?
Most people follow socially accepted norms and there are no centralised Christianity that enforce one interpretion. Instead you got pop-Jesus who stand for whatever each person like.

Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Your narrow focus is sad and disgraceful. This is the type of thinking from where hate develops. I sincerely hope you are not teaching this to anyone else.
To quoque. I study the development of hategroups for a living and one major issue is when a person do not want to acknowledge that their group have inherent problems that they need to correct for but instead take the stance that it's essentially good and all signs of the opposite is caused by individuals or mistakes. Classic fundamental attribution error.

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October 23rd, 2012, 12:50
@Jemy, I think you misunderstand what he was trying to say at first and it has now become a discussion that is going over smaller details than it should.

@bn and @Jemy, What I understood bn meant was that simply put:
He thinks you meant that anti-Judaism stems/originates from the Bible, so he explained that he thinks it does not originate from the Bible even though there are many points in the Bible, which are either directly or indirectly anti-Jewish.

So this means that bn agrees with you that the Bible has anti-Jewish messages, especially if some things are interpreted in a certain way, then even more. BUT he does not think anti-Judaism originates in the Bible.

@bn, correct me if I'm wrong though
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