There is not one Moral Virtue that Jesus Inculcated but Plato & Cicero did Inculcate before him what then did Christ Inculcate. Forgiveness of Sins. This alone is the Gospel & this is the Life & Immortality brought to light by Jesus. Even the Covenant of Jehovah, which is This If you forgive one another your Trespasses so shall Jehovah forgive you That he himself may dwell among you but if you Avenge you Murder the Divine Image & he cannot dwell among you [by his] because you Murder him he arises Again & you deny that he is Arisen & are blind to Spirit.
Blake then gets out his pen and jots down some rhymed couplets. The first stanza reads:
What can this Gospel of Jesus beWe find out that, according to Blake, what Jesus "brought to light" was the "forgiveness of sins":
What Life & Immortality
What was [It]
that he brought to Light
That Plato & Cicero did not write
Then Jesus rose & said to [men]
Thy Sins are all forgiven thee
While it may be true that, contrary to Charles Griswold's claim, Plato's (and Aristotle's) use of sungnome doesn't amount to the forgiveness of the Abrahamic heritage, "forgiveness of sins" simpliciter is not unique to Jesus. We should avoid, here, making the same mistake as Hegel in "The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate" when he claimed that Judaism only knew the Law, not love or forgiveness. Such a mistake is similar to those who want to claim that Jesus "died for the truth of the gospels" and then go on to do some fancy intellectual footwork that includes reducing Christianity to some set of religious abstractions (which usually includes forgiveness) and then denying those abstractions (forgiveness) to Judaism. Jesus is doing something else when it comes to forgiveness. He did not discover it, he did not invent it, as if the Jews knew nothing of forgiveness. Rather, the Jews knew quite a bit about forgiveness and what Jesus says about forgiveness in the Gospel accounts would have been met with, at worst, a yawn, and, at best, support. What Jesus says about forgiveness in the Gospel accounts would have been, to borrow a felicitous phrase from E.P. Sanders, " about as controversial as motherhood" to the Jews (E.P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 333).
Unless, of course, we look at Jesus' claims about forgiving "sinners" - the hamartoloi (behind which we see the Hebrew resha'im), the "wicked." This should hold our attention for awhile: the forgiveness of sinners, the forgiveness of the sins of sinners, the forgiveness of the sins of sinners who remain sinners (because if they were repentant and reformed sinners, they wouldn't be sinners anymore). This would be a forgiveness "without Money & without Price" that we saw in the previous post in which we find a quote from Blake's "Jerusalem." For Blake, this is the Jehovah's forgiveness, this is Jehovah's salvation. Perhaps, as we can see in the Benjamin quote from three posts ago, forgiveness maintains its foremost significance by not being a priori referred exclusively to humans. Perhaps this forgiveness is not a human possibility, perhaps there are things that are, as Arendt writes in a footnote in The Human Condition, "unforgivable, at least on earth" - which refers to a realm in which such things are fulfilled; namely, God's forgiveness. However, that doesn't mean that we can simply be satisfied with our human-all-to-human forgiveness, with the calculations we make and the conditions we set. Pure forgiveness, a forgiveness "without Money & without Price," does set our "duty" for us, does "determine and orient our efforts," as we see in the Jankelevitch quote two posts below. We can get "infinitely nearer to" pure forgiveness, to a forgiveness "without Money & without Price," a forgiveness of the sin and of the sinner who remains a sinner, the sinner qua sinner, a forgiveness of the sinner not "despite" the sin and the fact that they are a sinner, not "even though" they have sinned, but "precisely because" they are a sinner and have sinned.
(When I started writing this, I didn't plan on tying all these quotes together, but once I started they just came together. It needs work, but I think it is a good start.)