Re: [XTalk] what the devil is the Devil "up to" in the wilderness temptation narrative?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
To: "Crosstalk2" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "Christian Origins"
Cc: "biblical-studies" <email@example.com>; "NewSynoptic"
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 3:01 PM
Subject: [XTalk] what the devil is the Devil "up to" in the wilderness
> Apologies for cross posting, but I'd like to have as many people as
> possible see the questions and requests I'm posting in this message.
> I'm revising some older work on what commentators have said with
> respect to the question of what the Devil is "up to" in the Matthean and
> Lukan versions of the story of Jesus Wilderness "temptation" (Mt.
> 4:1-11//Lk. 4:1-13). So far as I can see, there are five positions.
> In the Matthean and Lukan versions of the Wilderness "temptation" story
> the devil is trying to discover:
> (1) if Jesus would act to his own advantage, and independently of God,
> with respect to his physical needs, particularly his need for
> sustenance, and thus fall prey to such forbidden things as "the lust of
> the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life";
> (2) if Jesus would act to his own advantage with respect to his
> psychological needs, particularly the need to be certain that he was
> "the Son of God", and thus show a profound mistrust in God;
> (3) if Jesus would be willing to compel others through Schauwunderen,,
> and more particularly ones that would instantly be recognizable and
> accepted as a phenomenon authenticating a claim to Messiahship, to
> accept him as "the Son of God", and thus not only make concessions to
> unbelief, but render unlikely, if not impossible, the response of
> radical faith which later in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke Jesus
> demands from all who are confronted by what he says and does.
> (4) if, in the interest of securing what God wishes him to secure, if
> Jesus would be willing to chose a way of being God's Son that is not
> God's way and would attempt to use means of obtaining what God has
> determined he would obtain that are not, according to Matthew and Luke,
> God's means.
> (5) how resolved Jesus is to hold on to a particular costly and
> seemingly foolish pattern of sonship -- that of the εἰρηνοποιός -- with
> which he is already familiar and to which he is presented at the time of
> his Wilderness "temptation" as having already been called.
> I'd be glad to hear from List Members if there are any other scholarly
> positions I haven't listed. I'd also like to be as complete as possible
> about who stands where. So I'd be grateful as well if List members
> would give me the names of those you know to be advocates of one or the
> other (or of several) of the listed (and unlisted) stances.
> With thanks in advance for help with this.
I am sure there is a sizeable corpus of literature regarding the temptation
in the wilderness but instead of researching them for others' thoughts, I
will give mine. The story is first told in Matthew if one believes, as I
do, Matthew preceded Luke. The first question I have to ask myself is
where a Syrian Jewish convert to Christianity obtained this story in the
last decades of the 1st century.
My opinion is that this story is tied together with the story of Jesus'
baptism by John and the source for the baptism/temptation was the lost
Gospel of the Hebrews. The story of the Baptism in the GoH was recorded by
Epiphanius Pan 30 13,7-8. It is the only quote among the 10 or so surviving
fragments with a parallel in the Synoptics.
"After the people had been baptised Jesus also came and was baptised by
John. And when he ascended from the water the heavens opened and he saw the
Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending and coming to him. And a voice
from heaven said: Thou art my beloved son, in thee I am well pleased. THIS
DAY I HAVE GENERATED THEE."
I think this was followed by the wandering in the wilderness and the
temptation and the Matthean scribe had a copy or an extract from the
"original Matthew" which was the GoH.
In Judaism, Satan was an angel who was a member of the Divine Council, a
sort of prosecuting attorney for God who tests God's elite such as Job and
Zechariah. Satan had no power of independent action and could only act with
God's permission. I think that was the role of Satan in the Jewish Aramaic
Gospel of the Hebrews, therefore it was GOD who was testing Jesus after
having ADOPTED him on the occasion of his baptism by John. Jesus became the
Bar d'Alaha on the occasion of his baptism but the canonical Matthew moved
that sonship to his birth and Paul moved it to his crucifixion.
Originally, IMO, both stories worked together to have God 1. ADOPT Jesus and
then 2. TEST Jesus.
San Antonio, Texas