A Conversation for The Council of Nicaea

Comments about the facts.

Post 1


Please feel free to add comments about the The Council of Nicea Guide entry here.

Holy Ghost / Holy Spirit ?

Post 2


Are you assuming that the two entities of Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost are different or the same? I always thought they were the same; and hence, if Jesus did say:

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you
of everything I have said to you." (John 14 v 26 NIV)

And in the KJV:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14 v 26 KJV)

then (unless this was edited in, which I wasn't aware happened at Nicea - I was only aware of them editing out, and the editing out being of whole books) surely the Holy Ghost concept did not "appear from nowhere" as suggested in the entry?

I am also confused as to why the Romans would want to use Christianity and the bible as a desperate attempt to keep their empire together. The bible does not paint a positive picture of the Romans.


Holy Ghost / Holy Spirit ?

Post 3

Researcher 193078

If you would happen to read Elaine Pagel's The Origin of Satan, you will note that not all of the writing was hostile to the Romans, particularly in the New Testament where it was said Pilate had serious misgivings about condemning Jesus to death, and only did so when the Jews demanded it.

There was a historical source, whose name I unfortunately forget at the moment, who was a contemporary of Pilate's who had said that Pilate had no qualms whatsoever about putting a man to death, especially a man who was not Roman. He was known to be ruthless and cruel.

A kinder picture was painted of the Romans for that particular incident because the Jews and early Christians were still under Roman rule at this time, and they could not risk stating the truth if it would tick the Romans off.

Just thought I would clarify a bit.

Holy Ghost / Holy Spirit ?

Post 4


But the point about the trial story in the new testament is that Pilate had absolute authority over the whole situation, and could have chosen to let Jesus go (as indeed, it says he wanted to), but his willingness to satisfy the crowd and prevent a riot in "his city" meant that he handed over a man innocent of the crimes he was charged for over to be crucified.

As for "stating the truth if it would tick the Romans off"... well, if you read the book of Acts in the new testament, that's exactly what, er, didn't happen. And many early Christians died for "stating the truth", most probably at the hands of the Romans, as they were the main power at the time, as you say.


'Christian' teachings

Post 5


Some of the false teachings you pointed out, like Hellfire, the trinity and the celebration of Christmas are certainly taken from other religions. But take care not to hold this against christianity in general; there are christians who refuse to accept these things, for much the reasons you mentioned, and that they are not mentioned in the Bible.
Whatever some dubious gospel says though, it is unlikely that Jesus would have been married. The other gospels would surely have pointed out such an important factor in Jesus life, and since Jesus knew that he was going to die at 33, it wouldn't have been very thoughtful to take a wife who would then have been incredibly upset.

'Christian' teachings

Post 6


I believe the previous correspondent is missing the point of the article, which is that many gospels were rejected for containing information not thought fit for the myth Constantine was trying to create, whilst those remaining were selectively edited. Copies of the bible gospels do exist that say different things to the version in the bible. The fact that none of the bible versions of the gospels say nothing of this means nothing. Remember, we're talking about documents that were written between thirty and eighty years after the events that they describe - we're hardly talking about primary sources.

The reason given for Jesus not marrying - that he knew he would die and therefore wouldn't want to leave a wife behind who would be upset - well, to be frank it beggars belief. Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher, and as such he would not just have been encouraged to marry, as has been expressed it would have been obligatory.

I can never understand the arbitrary process that goes on in the mind of christians when they chose to accept one random secondary source over another. There's a letter, found at Masada, that seems to have been signed by Jesus. You will recall Masada, an outpost where the inhabitants hurled themselves to their deaths over a huge cliff rather than give up to the Romans holding them under siege. What was it that they were hiding, that they were prepared to kill themselves rather than have their secret uncovered?

Now I'm not saying that Jesus was definitely there, far from it. What I am saying is that a document exists that shows Jesus may have been alive at a time when he would have been eighty. Circumstancial evidence says that he might have been, but that's all there is. My point is, why do you chose to believe a document written maybe eighty years after the events it describes, which is then subsequently altered over 200 years later by people who knew they were changing it to suit their own needs, rather than - for example - the Masada letter?

'Christian' teachings

Post 7


>The reason given for Jesus not marrying - that he knew he would die and therefore wouldn't want to leave a wife >behind who would be upset - well, to be frank it beggars belief. Jesus was a rabbi, a teacher, and as such he would not
>just have been encouraged to marry, as has been expressed it would have been obligatory.

But it fits with the rest of Jesus' teaching style. If Jesus was a rabbi he would have been encouraged to "toe the party line" (as it were) and preach in accordance with the high priests and Jewish beliefs. But he did not.

>My point is, why do you chose to believe a document written maybe eighty years after the events it describes, which is
>then subsequently altered over 200 years later by people who knew they were changing it to suit their own needs,
>rather than - for example - the Masada letter?

Firstly, 30-80 years later is a lot closer to the actual date than any other similar article at the time, indeed, writing of any sort at that time was very rare.

Secondly, I don't believe the "altered to suit their own needs" argument. Where is the evidence for this?

Tell me more about this Masada letter... smiley - smiley

me[Andy]g smiley - smiley

'Christian' teachings

Post 8


Thirty to eighty years is still a secondary source, whether it's the only one written at that time or not. Imagine the year is 2082 and you're writing about Sept 11th from a strictly pro-american point of view. How impartial is your testament going to be?

As for the letter, I confess that I am still researching that one. There is one book dedicated to it, but it's out of print and I'm searching for a copy second hand, but with little luck. It matters not. I was only using it as an example, the Dead Sea Scrolls would do fine.

As for the Council itself. it's a matter of public record. Its existence has never been denied, even by the Church. They choose not to publicise it because many of what we think of the fundamental tenets of Christianity stem from this meeting. (You might also want to go away and find out about the Donation of Constantine. Find a member of the clergy, they'll know all about it)

Take the deification of Jesus for example. It has not always been true that Jesus and God were one and the same (in the holy trinity sense). It was put to a vote, and the motion was passed to deify Jesus by 218 votes to 2, with no abstentions. 'The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln makes for a good starting point (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0099682419/qid=1022977223/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_3_1/026-4228196-8802822) but there are plenty of other books that will clue you in. Check the bibliography.

'Christian' teachings

Post 9


No. But then neither it is true now. You're just generalising again - Plenty of us christians accept that Jesus was not God, since the Bible never said that he was.

'Christian' teachings

Post 10

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

Insight, there was a documentary on Radio 4 a year or two back which explored Jesus from a Jewish perspective. In it, a Rabbi said (paraphraseing from memory) "Of course he was married. At that time it was expected, and would have passed without anyone thinking to comment on it. If, by the time he reached his thirties, he hadn't married it would have been the source of much speculation and comment. Asking a Jew of that era over the age of about 25 'Are you married?' would have been tantamount to accusing them of being a homosexual."

Christ was married ?

Post 11


There are some religions who consider marriage an essential ordinance
itself. The Mormon faith (or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
believe that in order to achieve the highest level of Glory a person
must be
married in the Temple. Therefore if this was the case then Jesus MUST
been married and if so probably have had children too. There is a
order, The Priory of Sion, who are supposed to have knowledge of the
line of Christ and it is there role to preserve and protect it. All
aside, it seems only logical that a man in this time should of been
by 33. The logical spouse would of been Mary Magdelene due to the
references to her. In a world that was controlled by men is it so far
fetched to believe that any reference to a woman being in a position of
power be removed from Doctrine ? After all the "Church" has not been
to be the most politically correct organisation and many acts have been
carried out in it's name that are inherantly evil (Spanish Inquisition
anyone ?).

Holy blood etc

Post 12

Researcher 246851

"Holy blood holy grail" is a good fun book. It is not however history. The Priory of sion for example if it exists is supposed to be linked to freemasonry. I am a mason and every thing in the book about masonry is rubbish. The Holy grail never existed except in a novel.
what a damn good page this is only just found it.!!!

Holy blood etc

Post 13

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

Welcome aboard... smiley - evilgrin

comments about the facts

Post 14

Phoenician Trader

I couldn't quite work this article out (apart from the conspiracy angle).

1. The bible wasn't reviewed at the Council of Nicea;
2. Constantine was known as the Great because he restablished the government of the empire, restructured it's army and moved its capital from Milan to Constantinople;
3. Christianity was almost wiped out by the previous Emperor Diocletion - the religion/cult was not strong;
4. The date of Christmas or the Virgin Birth were not discused at the Council; and
5. The previous imperial religion was the Cult of the Emperor.

The perspective on Christianity may be right or wrong but it all has little to do with the Council of Nicea.

smiley - lighthouse

comments about the facts

Post 15

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

"The bible wasn't reviewed at the Council of Nicea"

As far as I'm aware, the review of the Bible was pretty much the only reason for the Council; different sects were fighting and causing trouble over both different interpretations of the books they thought should be "in", and different views on which books they thought should be "out". The Council was called to settle this, by force if necessary.

So, if you believe in the Bible, you must either believe that all the members of the Council were "inspired" by God during their period of bickering and voting (unlikely, as some books made it in by majority vote rather than unanymous agreement) or that the Bible *isn't* likely to be the "True and Complete" Word of God.

comments about the facts

Post 16

Phoenician Trader

Your historical sources are probably different to mine, but this is my understanding about the Council of Nicea and the review of the Bible.

I understand the council was called to settle the issue of Arianism (that is, whether Jesus has the character of God) and, as a minor issue, to try and resolve the date of Easter.

The Old Testament was only in dispute in so far as that the arguments of the Jews of the period regarding what was in and out carried across to the Christians (is "Bell and the Dragon" part of the book of Daniel, a story in its own right or should it be excluded).

For the New Testament, Irenaeus (of Lyons) names and quotes the four Gospels in his work "Against Heresies" (written sometime in the 180's). He also lists the thirteen letters of Paul in the same work. The status of the remaining parts of the New Testament is unclear. Later Cyprian (of Carthage, d 248) names the current New Testament with the books still considered doubtful left out (Hebrews, 2 Peter, James & Jude). This is some time before the Council of Nicea.

Athanasius (of Alexandria) wrote out an 'official’ canon in 365. It contains more books than are now accepted. Anthanasius was at the Council of Nicea and swung the argument against the Arians (who argued Jesus does not have the character of God) but is not understood to have discussed what was authorised to be in or out of the bible at that time.

Jerome compiled the bible that forms the basis of the one that most English speakers know about. He was trained in the East part of the Roman Empire and came to Rome in about 382. This work was undertaken because none of the councils to date had looked at the question of the biblical canon: at that time most recently Nice (365) and Constantinople (381). The Bishop and Patriarch of Rome (i.e. Pope), Domasus, called a synod to resolve the issue within the Western Church. However, it wasn't until Trent in 1546 that the Roman Church fixed, for itself, the contents of the bible beyond discussion.

smiley - lighthouse

comments about the facts

Post 17


At last some real facts! Thank you Phoenician trader.

As the last contributor pointed out the Council was summonsed (amongst other reasons) to deal with the issue of the divinity of Christ. Hence the Nicene Creed - still used by many Churches - which states that Jesus was "God from god, Light from Light, true God from true God" as if to hammer home the point.

Also to suggest that the bible doesn't say jesus is God is misleading. There are many references to his divinity. Everyone has heard of the passage: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with god and the Word was God..." and "The Word became flesh and lived amongst us" (both from the Gospel of st John).

The Council was convened to discuss some very knotty theological problems to do with the nature of Christ - was he human or divine? was he a man that became God? Was he God pretending to become man? It resolved he was God made man - that is fully divine and fully human.

It was not a glorified bible editors' meeting!

comments about the facts

Post 18

Hermi the Cat

Wasn't it convened to address a heresy that cropped up from a specific sect that taught that nothing with a corporeal body could be divine thus claiming that Christ was not divine?

I understood that there were very few votes of the council (like 1 or so) and that the few they had were basically unified except for the individual representing the sect that supported the heresy. (I apologise for not having more concrete facts/numbers. My books are at home.) The sect leader, finding the Council unified against him withdrew from the Council after that decision.
smiley - cat

Key: Complain about this post