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Re: [Synoptic-L] an eschatological contradiction?

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  • Chuck Jones
    Dennis, Thanks for the summaries.  I agree with both writers.  I think that Lk did in fact manage where the saying appeared in the gospel to soften it. 
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 22, 2009
      Dennis,

      Thanks for the summaries.  I agree with both writers.  I think that Lk did in fact "manage" where the saying appeared in the gospel to soften it.  And I believe that the sayings of Jesus were subject to misunderstanding (and also reshaping) as they were told and retold.

      Which leaves us with these nuggets that, prior to reshaping or placement among "on the other hand" passages, stand out as being unlike anything professed as a belief by the Jesus followers who were crafting these gospels.

      Rev. Chuck Jones
      Atlanta, Georgia

      --- On Fri, 2/20/09, Dennis Goffin <dgoffin@...> wrote:
      From: Dennis Goffin <dgoffin@...>
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] an eschatological contradiction?
      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: gpg@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, February 20, 2009, 2:33 PM












      Chuck,

      Here's my attempt at answering your question. I'm learning all the time !!

      1) Caird maintains that by placing this saying in its present position Luke understood it as a prophecy. He paraphrases this saying as follows: there is no point in keeping watch for the future coming of the kingdom since the kingdom is already present in germ. Jesus then goes on to speak of the final consummation of the kingdom which would come when no one was expecting it.



      2 & 3) Nineham makes the point that the Greek word for parable simply means a comparison or an analogy. Initially Jesus would have used these comparisons to make his point clearer. Unfortunately they were transmitted, initially by word of mouth, without the benefit of the context in which they were spoken. This made many of them incomprehensible in themselves and as the situation and beliefs of the early Christians changed, so did the construction which they placed on these meant-to-be- helpful illustrations. As a result of the loss of context, the early Christians often found these illustrations enigmatic and mysterious and they started to treat them as allegories, which was far away from their original purpose.



      As an illustration of the above, Nineham points out that verse 17 of Mark chapter 4 talks of tribulation and persecution on account of the word. This he says relates entirely to the experience of the early Christians for example in the Neronian persecution of 63 AD .



      Regards,



      Dennis



      ----- Original Message -----



      From: Chuck Jones

      To: Synoptic@yahoogroup s.com

      Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 4:09 PM

      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] an eschatological contradiction?



      Dennis,



      If it wouldn't be too much trouble, could you briefly summarize the observations of the authors you mention?



      I would also add that I'm interested in what you think, Dennis. Don't feel that you need simply to point me to sources....



      Thanks,



      Rev. Chuck Jones

      Atlanta, Georgia



      --- On Fri, 2/20/09, Dennis Goffin <dgoffin@ntlworld. com> wrote:



      From: Dennis Goffin <dgoffin@ntlworld. com>

      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] an eschatological contradiction?

      To: Synoptic@yahoogroup s.com

      Date: Friday, February 20, 2009, 11:01 AM



      Chuck,

      Thank you for going to the trouble of listing in detail those sections which embody for you Jesus as a wisdom teacher.

      I would like however to refer you to two books which may give a different slant on your interpretation of these passages. The first book is the standard commentary on Luke by G B Caird. You will probably have it in your library and pages 196 and 197 give a different translation of the crucial word "within" and a completely different exposition, treating this particular saying as more in line with the expectation of the early church than the actual words of Jesus.

      With regard to points two and three of your e-mail, I would ask you to look at the commentary on Mark by D E Nineham. If you read the pages listed under the index at the back of the book under the heading "Parables", here again I think you will see fresh light shed on passages which are too often treated in terms of purely devotional reading and are not perhaps sufficiently rigorously looked at with regard to the process by which these passages got into the gospel in the first place.

      With kind regards,

      Dennis

      ----- Original Message -----

      From: Chuck Jones

      To: Synoptic@yahoogroup s.com

      Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 2:44 PM

      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] an eschatological contradiction?



      Dennis,



      Thanks so much for asking for more information; that's a refreshing approach to e-dialogue!



      I would offer three teachings, maybe as starters:



      1. "Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, "Look, here it is!' or "There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you" (Lk 17:20-21 = Th 113).



      2. In this pair of parables the work of god's kingdom happens imperceptibly- -powerfully, but slowly and invisibly and by some mysterious power within. Humans can only wait, watch and marvel when they finally notice the magnitude of the result:



      "And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade" (Mk 4:30-32 = Mt 13:31-32, Lk 13:18-19).



      "He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened" (Mt 13:33 = Lk 13:20-21, Th 96).



      3. This parable is like the above except that it emphasizes only the mysterious, invisible, incremental working of the kingdom, without highlighting the dramatic difference between before and after: "And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come" (Mk 4:26-28).



      Would someone proclaiming any 1st century version of a messianic, eschatological or apocalyptic divine intervention describe their expectation in the these terms? It seems to me that someone who is trying to radically redefine what "the Kingdom of God" means would say them.



      Hope this helps.



      Rev. Chuck Jones

      Atlanta, Georgia



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