Hindley noted that Jon Peter said:
>>I don't see how one can miss the implication that Jesus called for
his followers to join in violating Darius' old decree (which would
have remained in effect as long as the Temple stood).<<
But why would an alleged decree of a Persian monarch, Darius (I, ca.
520 BCE), be considered binding in 1st century CE Judea, especially
since it was governed by Romans who considered the Parthians
(successors to the Persians) their mortal enemies?
My guess is, it remained binding as a sort of mental construct with some muscle behind it provided by the fact that the Sanhedrin was an accepted authority and could pass sentences. A confirmation of this can be found in Josephus� story about a different Jesus who criticized the Temple corruption and was severely flogged despite the defense that he was insane. (Incidentally I think Josephus invented this story as a midrashic rewriting ridicule of Christian history, but that�s another subject.)
The Sanhedrin wanted to maintain the old taboo for obvious reasons, and succeeded, although they had to tweak the legal basis with each new government. My point was not to assert 600 years of Persian influence here (which regrettably it may sound like), but to say that the presence of such a draconian edict and taboo, even if only "in the mind" or by convention, is factual and strongly reflected in the NT.
Perhaps Jesus also wondered the same outdated authority-thing to himself, and thought the time was ripe to challenge the present order. i.e "Why should we refrain from criticizing / subverting the Temple anymore, now that Darius is long gone?" Unfortunately, much to his and other would-be critics� dismay, instead of the Israelite cultus reverting to nativism, its alien clergy managed to reinvent the faith it into a perpetual and autonomous operation capable of issuing kickbacks or doing whatever was needed to whoever the regional power might be. Brandon makes the point here that the ruling Sanhedrin at this time were collaborators with Rome. The low rank priest were itching for revolt, which eventually came to pass.
Even if the Temple
or Civil authorities in Judea would like to impose this kind of
punishment upon a transgressor, would they have had an opportunity to
The Temple could issue corporal and/or capital punishment (from what I gather, largely from Josephus and several posts on xtlk and from the NT) but not crucifixion -- which is why Pilate was required for the final thumbs-down on Jesus.
I do not think that there is much if any evidence that they
could exact the death of a transgressor except as a mob action at the
temple itself. I doubt that pulling down his house and putting the
family on the street would have been allowed (the analogy with the
Israeli tactic of dynamiting or bulldozing the family homes of
suspected terrorists is interesting), and the Romans would not likely
have done so in their behalf unless the acts being punished were
associated with insurrection.
All true, but I was really only arguing that Jesus� literary allusion was to the old decree rather than describing the judicial reality of the day. He could well have thought that he might succeed with his radical Temple reform uprising, for the reasons you state. He may have miscalculated in this estimation, both in terms of popular support he would stir and in the Sanhedrin�s ability to wangle his execution. He challenged, he lost.
>>In regard to the family, note that Thomas 55 links the "take up your
cross" insurrection to the unfortunate necessity of hating of one's
parents and siblings. This makes perfect sense if, and only if, Jesus
is thinking of Darius' decree. You would have to hate your family in
order to be willing to risk turning their home into an outhouse.
Collective family suffering for one member's crime would not be
necessarily be linked to Roman-era law.
Matt. 10:35-38 retains this association between hating the family and
carrying the cross, as does Luke 14:26-27.<<
The "take up the cross" language implies either that Jesus was
represented as knowing the consequence of his actions in advance, or
that the Gospel author's own tendency had been projected back into the
telling of the story, and your analysis seems to gloss over this
Okay, then.. here goes. I think Jesus knew the likely consequences of his actions, i.e., death. He didn�t in fact "miscalculate" as I wrote just above. He rather committed a fatal offence aiming to elicit what he got. He did it on purpose. In Scripture this is called offering a sacrificial lamb. Out here in the West we call it suicide-by-cop.
The lack of evidence for Roman retribution beyond the
execution itself (whether there really is a lack of evidence, I do not
know) is an argument from silence. Romans were very tough on
rebelliousness. That he is represented as knowing in advance that
following him could result in the follower's crucifixion and the
putting of his family out of their home could still signify political
intent, which was the gist of Brandon's theme.
My problems with B�s zealot thesis are too numerous for this forum, but the essential point I make is -- if I can put it in a nutshell -- that the �cross� saying from Jesus fits neatly as a reference to Ezra 6 for reasons stated: family hatred explained; the Temple effrontery throughout the NT; its corroborating historical evidence of anti-Temple feelings here and there for centuries; the NT portrayal of Jesus and Stephen (and indirectly, John Bap.) as martyrs to anti-Temple and antinomian and antiBabylonian a.k.a. brood-of-vipers agitation. Now, IF all of this is sheer artistry and nothing more than Markan cover-story to hide the zealotry, then I ask you, why didn�t Mark lay-on a more heavy handed narrativized embellishment of the "take up cross /hate family" saying, putting all of his fiction into its strongest context, i.e., saying "as it is written.." and solidly showing that the crucifixion had a legal foundation in ancient decrees? Mk Matt Lk don�t do this at all, though. Quite to the contrary, the three simply regurgitate a Thomasine saying that doesn�t make any sense outside of its narrow Jerusalem-v-Galilee political and historical context. "Hate your family" has no logical connection to zealotry. On the contrary, zealotry is patriotism, and the saying to hide SHOULD have been "love your family and your people, take up your cross�" or something. A contrived cover-up would never have juxtaposed these contradictory ideas by design in the first place. And if they were somehow linked in the sayings record in an apologetically awkward unusable way, then a skilled polemicist would have disconnected them, as we know synopticists can do.
If you really stop and think about it, and read the whole book of Ezra, which is the watershed in Israel�s religious history, and realize how Templecentric the confrontational gospel sayings and actions are, and throw in the business about family hating, you come up with "cross-bearing" as an allusion to the Second Temple founding era in Ezra.
Of course, you are treading on the unsteady ground of social/cultural
modeling when you start to mention the attitudes of Galileans or
common people towards Temple bureaucracy or its (taxation &
dues/offerings collection) functions.
I correctly assume some people will always resent coercion of tithes and taxes, but some (i.e. "the widow�s mite") do pay faithfully anyway. There�s always a bell curve with people, just as there�s always a firebrand or two in a population criticizing status quo, and this is sociologically solid ground.
At least this exegesis of mine beats Brandon�s claim that there is not a shred of truth in Mark�s account. When you really think about it, even IF Mark were fictionalizing, then you�d have to say that his choice of a good plausible cover-story *is itself evidence* that the fiction (i.e., anti-temple hostilities) has some historical basis in the times.
I would feel better if you could elaborate your position in relation to studies by Sanders, Horsley,
Crossan or Bill Arnal, on these subjects.
As I recall, both Sanders and Crossan agree with me in acknowledging some role of the Sanhedrin in Jesus� capital case, as well as some provocative incident / statements related to the Temple as the instigating cause. More than this, I can�t say from memory, but these two elements I�m pretty sure about.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
PS: Where have you been lately? Haven't seen you around for some
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]