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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Only Jewish Christianity Got the Core of Jesus' Vegan Message. By Keith Akers. Ed. Dr. Chapman Chen

Not Orthodox Christianity or the modern-day Christianity but early Jewish Christianity got "the core of Jesus' teachings" (Akers 2020:3), which consists of veganism, opposition to animal sacrifice, non-violence, simple living and allegiance to the Mosaic Law (Akers 2020:26). Jesus "never intended to create a new religion separate from Judaism" (Akers 2020:3). Instead, he was "a [Jewish] prophet who came to reform the Mosaic Law -- to return the people to the original [vegan] law of God, which had been given to Moses but then distorted by those who followed after Moses" (Akers 2020:14); in other words, Jesus "strove to make the Jewish law STRICTER than the Jewish tradition seemed to teach" (Akers 2020:8).

Apart from the mainstream Bible and the Gospel of Thomas, Akers bases his understanding of early Jewish Christianity on two early church documents -- the Recognitions of Clement and the Clementine Homilies -- as well as on the Panarion by Epiphanius, which describes Ebionite beliefs, the Ebionites being the most important early Jewish Christian group, and Epiphanius one of their major opponents. The Ebionites regarded Paul as an apostate who distorted Jesus' teachings and denigrated the Law (Akers 2020:28).

As pointed out by Akers (2020:3), in the 4th century, the First Council of Nicaea, following the footsteps of Paul, removed veganism, simple living and pacifism entirely from the core of Jesus' message, and replaced it with a complex and convoluted Trinitarian theology that placed a premium on the virgin birth, on substitutionary atonement, on the sacred meal as Jesus' blood and flesh, and on the Final Judgment, yet nowhere on Jesus' vegan message.

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