Ancient times[ edit ] The sociological reasoning may be traced back at least as far as the ancient Greeks cf. Proto-sociological observations are to be found in the founding texts of Western philosophy HerodotusThucydidesPlatoPolybius and so onas well as in the non-European thought of figures such as Confucius.
Today I am post another article written by an Orthodox Christian bishop, this time one of the most outstanding, if at times controversial ones, of the 20th century. You might say that it is not surprising to hear spiritual arguments from bishops, to which I would reply that the time when bishops made spiritual arguments is long, long gone, at least in our post-Christian society.
I think that whether one agrees or not with the arguments presented, they are crucial to illustrate a fundamental point: It is well-known that the Gospel accounts of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus are almost identical in the first three Gospels, but that they differ in content from the fourth; not in the sense that the former contradict the latter, but in the sense that the Apostle John recounts sayings and events which are passed over in silence in the first three Gospels, while failing to make mention of the majority of those events recounted in the first three Gospels.
Yet not only are there no contradictions between the first three and the last, but the attentive examiner of the Gospels readily notes that St. In general, one must say that, beginning with the description of the entry into Jerusalem and the betrayal by Judas, the accounts of all four Gospels blend more thoroughly than in the description of preceding events.
It is precisely this event which provides us with the key to open the subject posed in the title, and which, furthermore, clarifies for us the relationship between the Gospel according to John and the first three Gospels.
One senses something unsaid, something deliberately unspoken. This suggests itself to the reader of the Gospels especially in view of one expression issuing from the pen of Matthew and Mark: Why the haste and urgency? There is no mention; there is also no mention by the three evangelists of the impression produced upon the people by the miraculous feeding, although in recounting other miraculous events — e.
In this case it is John alone who speaks of the impression made by the miracle on those who witnessed it, and from his words it is clear that this miracle, more than all the rest, moved the people to rapture and faith in the Savior, although, as we shall see, not for long.
Of course, the Jews postponed their decision to proclaim Christ a king until the morning; they would not have allowed the Savior to depart from them by boat, but were probably satisfied that He sent His disciples away and remained alone with the Jews, expecting that He would be less able to oppose their intention.
They acted in this way when recounting the earthly life of Christ, and later, when recording their own activities. Such circumspection was totally unnecessary by the time the fourth Gospel was written, i. It was not necessary for St. John to pass over in silence those aspects of the Gospel events, the description of which could have resulted in retribution on the part of the Jewish government, e.
For this same reason the Synoptics keep silence concerning the resurrection of Lazarus, since he had been condemned to death by the Sanhedrin as an alleged criminal who, as is known from the most ancient accounts, was forced to flee to Cyprus, and moreover was exceedingly weighed down by the remembrance of his death and resurrection; for the Jews who were there in great numbers followed the Christians everywhere and incited the pagans against them, and sometimes even those who were the dregs of society, as we can also see from the Book of Acts Regarding Lazarus, his name is not mentioned at all in the first three Gospels, unless one counts the parable of the rich man and Lazarus which doubtless is also connected with what was to take place at his resurrectionalthough Mary and Martha are mentioned; so that John, in giving an account of Lazarus, puts forth the names of his sisters as well-known to the reader: And suddenly, instead of the expected persecution — a triumphal greeting with palm branches!
The perplexity of one who has read the first three Gospels is dispelled by reading the fourth, from which he learns that the greeting was preceded by the raising of Lazarus from the dead, which brought many Jews to believe in Christ Jn. Of the other evangelists, only Luke gives a hint of the special impetus the believing people had to glorify the arriving Savior: For reasons already indicated, Luke was unable to explain that it was not so much the miracles of Christ in general which is to be understood in this passage, as the raising from the dead of one who had lain four days in the tomb, which had taken place only a short while before.
Renan, who rejects this event, was unable to explain in his book either the event of the triumphal entry or the sentence passed upon the Savior immediately afterwards. From the Gospel episodes cited above, another truth, unremarked by biblical science, also becomes clear — that the Jewish revolution came into extremely close contact with the earthly life of Christ the Savior and in general defined by itself of course with the particular permission of God many of the events of the Gospel; further on we shall see that it was the principal reason for the arousing of the hatred of the people against Christ, which brought Him to be crucified.
Have we any other historical data that the uprising of the Jews, which burst into flame with such terrible force in the year 67, had ripened long before and with time erupted chronically throughout the entire first century of our chronology?
Of course we have. We will not expatiate on the extreme freedom-loving and mutinous temper of the Jewish people throughout the whole of its history, which began with the era of King David II Kings [Samuel], chs. The Jews of the time of the earthly life of Christ were also of a similar temper.
Finding it impossible under the ever-vigilant Roman regime to organize rebellions in the cities, their leaders led their followers out into the wilderness; yet even these attempts were, of course, put down by the military might of the Romans.
When the Apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, the chief captain asked him: Thus having taken note of the revolutionary mood of the Jews which was supported by the Sanhedrin, we shall not only grasp with total clarity the events surrounding the miraculous feeding of the five thousand with five loaves, but we will also understand the fateful significance which these events had in the earthly life of Christ the Savior.
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It is now quite understandable exactly why this miracle, and not any other, produced such a reaction in the revolutionary people.
They found in Christ what was most necessary to have, but what was more difficult for a rebellion to obtain — a ready source of bread. At that time it was not possible to equip oneself with cannons and armored trains: What was needed, though, was the force to compel Him to place Himself at the head of the popular uprising.
The Lord escaped their hands in a manner such as none of the people were capable of foreseeing: He walked away over the water, as though on dry land. Thus the purpose of this miracle becomes quite clear. Of course, they could not speak directly of the rebellion they desired, but when the Lord began to unfold His teaching concerning another bread, the spiritual bread, and then concerning the Bread of the New Covenant, the eucharistic Bread which is His all-pure Body; when He promised to the Jews who believed in Him a moral freedom instead of a political freedom and spoke of the scant value of the latter, the ecstasy of the people, which had been prompted by the miracle of the five loaves, gradually changed to grumbling, and subsequently these exchanges, resumed in Jerusalem, conclude with the people taking up stones to kill the One they wished to proclaim king but a short while before.
But let us turn to the Gospel account. The people searched for Jesus where He had fed them with the five loaves, and unable to find Him, in perplexity they embarked in boats which had recently arrived from the other shore and, to their astonishment, found Him in Capernaum, to which it was not possible for Him to have gone earlier, in that since evening there had not been a single boat left.
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