Enquiry into the nature and person of Yesu the Nazorean

Any inquiry into the nature and person of Yesu the Nazorean may start by considering how the early communities and scholars perceived Yesu, and which of his teachings these various communities decided to emphasize and expound.

The earliest extant sources concerning Yesu and the movements which arose from his many works result from two different worlds, worlds separated not only by thousands of kilometers in distance but also by that great cultural divide which even today seems unbridgeable - the chasm between East and West. The Western or Greco-Roman world of the Roman Empire's church produced the pastoral letter to the Galatians some 20 years after Yesu left Palestine, this seems to be the earliest extant literature about Yesu that the West treasures. Outside of the Roman Empire the Yesu tradition was received and followed quite differently. From the North of India and the eastern mountains of Persia came Mystical Sayings of Yesu, written and circulated already before Yesu's Palestinian ministry ended. When we compare these two works, right from the start we are challenged to understand how the two worlds viewed the same Yesu so differently, and how the two worlds differently emphasized and expounded different aspects of Yesu's teaching. We also see clearly how the western church of Paul understood Yesu as Lord and Messiah of those who heed the Jewish Scriptures while the Eastern church of Thomas understood Yesu as Saviour and Teacher of The Way to perfection.

Later sources of how Yesu was understood by the various denominations and communities are as plentiful as they are varied. Over the next two centuries after Yesu passed over, many books were produced for many different reasons, occasions and readers. Some works are apologetical (explaining) in nature, some are catecheses (teaching precepts) whilst other are more liturgical (ritual and creed), prophetic (ie. Revelations) or narrative (stories not pretending to be history, Gospels, Acts of Thomas, etc.). Eastern devotees produced many books, among which we considered the so-called Thomist Scriptures; Book of Thomas, Acts of Thomas, Apocalypse of Thomas, Sayings of Yesu According to Thomas and Liturgical works which circulated in India, Persia and China. Of the western Scriptures especially the so-called Pauline Scriptures were included in a western church canon of the 3rd century, the Bible, while numerous other works (many extant) were excluded by this Roman Church decree but nevertheless circulated in Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor, the Mid-East and Arabia. Among these so called apocryphal works (apocrypha='falling outside of the measure') the following are important: Acts of Peter, Gospel of Mary, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of James. Church of the East does not regard the Eastern Bible to be apocrypha -- we regard the Western Bible to be apocrypha.

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