31 Dec 2012 
#25 Probably the second best evidence for an earthly & human Jesus. With update from Doherty's JNGNM

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Romans 9:3b-5a is an affirmation by Paul about Jesus having a human descent, as from Israelites. Paul would never have written that if he thought otherwise.

Romans 9:3b-5a YLT (which follows the Greek most closely):

" ... [relative to Paul] my brethren, my kindred, according to the flesh who are Israelites , whose [is] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the law giving, and the service, and the promises,

whose [are] the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, according to the flesh ..."

And who else claimed to be from Israelite descent?

Romans 11:1 YLT "I say, then, Did God cast away His people? let it not be! for I [Paul] also am an Israelite , of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin:"

2 Corinthians 11:22 "Hebrews are they? I [Paul] also! Israelites are they [other preachers/apostles]? I also! seed of Abraham are they? I also!"

Doherty never wrote anything about Romans 9:3-5 in his first book, the Jesus Puzzle. Can someone tell me what he said about it in his latest book, Jesus: Neither God Nor Man" (JNGNM)?

Update: I found out. In JNGNM, Doherty wrote:

"Romans 9:5 - ... and from whom (the Israelites) is the Christ according to the flesh [kata sarka] ...
Paul says in Romans 9:3 that the Jews are his "kinsmen according to the flesh ( kata sarka )" in Romans 4:1 he says that Abraham is "our forefather according to the flesh ( kata sarka )." Both statements represent relationships between humans . But being a kinsman and a forefather is automatically a relationship of flesh, of physicality, so that the phrase "according to the flesh" ought here to be superfluous and thus unnecessary. Why then does Paul put it in? We can only assume that he does so because in his thinking the world contains other relationships of being a kinsman and of someone's "seed" that are not the usual fleshly, physical ones."
So, according to Doherty's own words (and without going into his assumptions originating from as little as perceived redundancies), if "according to the flesh" represents relationship between humans in Ro 9:3, why would this expression not mean the same in 9:5?

And I have a more basic explanation on why "according to the flesh" was written to represent a human relationship between Jesus and Israelites:
According to Paul, Christ is also (and more importantly) the heavenly eternal Son of God, therefore the descendance from Israelites is relative only to Jesus' temporary human experience. Without "according to the flesh" in Ro 9:5, Paul would be seemingly denying the pre-existence of Jesus as the firstborn Son of God.

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Doherty} {earthly & human Jesus} {historical Jesus} {mythicism} {Paul} {Romans}
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Comment from: gakuseidon

The text excavation website has a good list of the usage of ''according to the flesh'' by Christians and non-Christians both before and after the NT: