15. 1 February 1986
Thanks for your latest instalment, again delightfully lively in style though taut and trim in topic and treatment. But I still stumble at the same blocks. The fact that Paul said O.K., Gentiles can have N.T. Christianity, is surely whatproves that this was a Jewish religion? How, otherwise, could the question ever have arisen?
It's not a bit of use pretending that the incarnation is a Christian invention or addition. It obviously belonged to, and was an integral part of, Paul's Jewish faith, which he began by preaching to his fellow-Jews, some of whom accepted it, long before the Gentile question arose. As to `it is even believed that Jesus never conceived of himself as preaching beyond Jewry', I suppose that is believed because Jesus himself said so, which seems to me a good reason. Cf. Matthew 15: 24.
I'm sorry, but even without circumcision that talk about abstaining from blood and things strangled still makes me feel like an eavesdropper in some disgusting madhouse. It is apparently applied to the Gentiles, but I for one want no part of it. I'm not all that keen on the incarnation either, which I see as either meaningless or blasphemous. Among a heaving ocean of religious doubt I have a rock-like certainty about one thing, and one only: the creator of the universe, if there is such an entity, was certainly never made flesh, any more that it was made toffee or India rubber, or sealing wax, or Gorgonzola cheese.