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Re: [GPG] The Rending of the Veil (Messianic Secrets)

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  • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
    To: GPG Cc: Synoptic In Response To: Previous Questions On: The Rending of the Veil From: Bruce I had doubted that Jesus consciously and forethoughtfully
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 19, 2010
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      To: GPG
      Cc: Synoptic
      In Response To: Previous Questions
      On: The Rending of the Veil
      From: Bruce

      I had doubted that Jesus consciously and forethoughtfully intended to
      sacrifice himself for Israel (the Bacon theory). We then had:

      Q: Is it, however, too outlandish to accept as highly probable that,
      after the murder of John the Baptist, Jesus was only too aware of the
      risks he was running in confronting the Jewish power structure.

      BRUCE: Not at all. But please note that this is not the original
      question. In fact, it is an opposite and incompatible question. See
      below.

      Q: Since the Sadducees were hand in glove with the Romans in Judea he
      must have been well aware of what his fate might be if Jehovah did not
      intervene.

      BRUCE: Right again. He was betting everything on the intervention of
      God. Please notice: That is different from saying he intended God NOT
      to intervene, so that he could be successfully sacrificed. No?

      Q: He had to mind his step, too, in Galilee where Herod was concerned.

      BRUCE: Right again. His whole style of preaching in veiled terms, of
      avoiding large towns, of keeping moving rather than staying where the
      crowd he attracted might eventually betray his presence, his
      circuitous return from points outside Galilee, which so convulsed
      Pierson Parker with unseemly mirth and inappropraite merriment, his
      use of signs and countersigns and safe houses in Jerusalem - all this
      speaks to two things. (1) A sense of danger from the authorities. (2)
      A wish not to be arrested by the authorities. It is the last part that
      proves an intention to succeed, rather than an intention to be killed.

      If he wanted to be killed, there were much easier ways of doing it.

      Q: With Isaiah 53 in mind, might he not have conceived himself as the
      Suffering Servant Messiah who would be instrumental in God's
      inauguration of the Kingdom?

      BRUCE: Right again, but note again: The Messiah is not an atoner for
      sins, he is the bringer of God back to Israel, and the restorer of
      Israel to political power and military might and the whole nine yards
      of OT nationalist dreaming.

      Q: I agree that the ordinary man in the Galilean street hoped he would
      be a terrestrial redeemer of Israel in the Davidic mould, but that was
      the role he is shown as rejecting.

      BRUCE: And where in Mark does he reject this? He accepts without
      protest the crowds who hail him as precisely the conventional
      man-in-street Messiah. He even sets up that triumphal entry scene at
      considerable cost in staff time and prior arrangements, by providing
      himself with the right animal, and riding into into the City on it.
      This is rejection? As for his specific Davidic credentials, we see him
      in Mk arguing with the Jerusalem crowds that, from Scripture itself,
      out of the very mouth of David the ultimate witness, the Messiah need
      not be technically David's son. Which, as of that moment in time, he
      indeed was not, and everybody knew it.

      Of course that Davidic idea continued to percolate in later decades,
      even though, technically and logically speaking, it was part of a
      discredited scenario (those who have read the later apologetic
      chapters of the Mencius, which struggle to account for Mencius's
      diplomatic failure in Chi, will have exactly the right sense for it).
      And thus it is that the Second Tier Gospels provide Jesus with - guess
      what? - a Davidic lineage. They do it different ways, but they make a
      point of doing it. And hymnbooks to this day follow suit.

      The amout of Mark that can be read as recording the above scenario is
      very extensive. Not a few passages here and there, but a consecutive
      narrative, amounting to about half our present Mark. (I isolated that
      half in the reconstruction I shared with all comers at SBL 2008). No
      part of that narrative bears obvious signs of having been interpolated
      into the rest of it. All of it attests the same Jesus self-conception.
      Perectly consistent, on the assumptions above spelled out. That, to my
      mind, is a lot of evidence. Uncontradicted in the early texts, albeit
      layered over by later texts, and by later additions to earlier texts,
      to keep pace with a rapidly developing Atonement and/or Resurrection
      theory.

      Or so it looks from here.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      Wrede was and remains a great man, but the fact is, there are TWO
      Messianic secrets in Mark.

      One is in grain, so to speak. It is in the core Markan narrative, and
      it is the point of much of that narrative. The secret is the covert
      purpose of Jesus - covert because illegal - to bring God back to
      Israel, in real time, with himself as the Messiah. That is, as
      providing the initiating event for the Return of God. This leads Jesus
      to speak in indirect terms, to keep away from the police, to cross
      borders at points likely to be unwatched, and all the rest of it.

      The other is not in grain, textually speaking. Rather, it is imposed
      by later layers added to the text, and the fact of their later
      addition - the signs of interpolation recognized by every text science
      on the globe - are manifest in the text itself. The added part rests
      on nothing in Jesus's words or his doings. It arises solely from the
      later community's wish to read a different message into the earlier
      story, to insist that Jesus's historical disciples had misunderstood
      him (a claim not very flattering to the oratorical powers of Jesus,
      but hey, nothing, and no theory, is perfect). These later additions
      insist that what Jesus really meant was quite different from what his
      most intimate companions thought of him as saying. They show him as
      INTENDING to fail at his original Messianic purpose, and as
      theologically rationalizing that failure in advance.

      This I would call, not the Messianic Secret, but rather the Messianic
      Mistake. It converts the term "Messiah" from a patriotic to a personal
      meaning (a saviour of individuals, not of nations), and it builds
      around that reconception a whole edifice of interpretation and
      overlaid claims about the historical past. And even moreso about the
      future, and an increasingly distant future, at that. (And the author
      of 2 Peter was much upset by the jeering which this claim was drawing
      in his day; hence the magnificent and yet mundanely not quite
      satisfactory equation 1000 years = 1 day).

      As I read the evidence, Synoptic and other, the historical early Jesus
      communities were very soon at odds with their own memories of the
      historical Jesus. From perfectly understandable needs and motives of
      their own. It is this tension, and the meaning of it for the actual
      historical past, that the Historical Jesus people so far (and so far
      as I know) have been reluctant to observe.

      But the above scenario for Jesus is itself understandable, in
      contemporary Jewish terms, which are the only ones likely to apply.
      Jesus's thought that he could himself bring off the return of God was
      perhaps a little daring; his family and friends might conceivably have
      thought to dissuade him.

      Come to think of it, isn't that exactly what Mark shows them as doing?
    • Dennis Goffin
      Nineham s commentary on Mark 15:38 is that the veil-rending signifies the removal through Christ s death of some hitherto impassable barrier, most likely the
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 21, 2010
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        Nineham's commentary on Mark 15:38 is that "the veil-rending signifies the removal through Christ's death of some hitherto impassable barrier, most likely the barrier between God and man so strongly emphasized in Jewish religion." Such an interpretation could be held in parallel with the interpretation that the rending signifies Jehovah quitting the Temple.
        On the subject of the Anointed, i.e. the future king of the Jews, Bart Ehrman makes the point that the Baptizer preached the Apocalypse, as did Paul and the early Church. The ethic of Jesus was an "interims-ethik" and he clearly looked forward to the Apocalypse too, as did the Qumran sect. The Pharisees, to whom Jesus' views were closest, were pacifist and exceptionally, there was one Zealot among the disciples. It can be agreed that Jesus accepted Messiahship, but what is highly debatable is that he accepted Messiahship in the terms of the ordinary Galilean, when the evidence would seem to point to one along the lines of the books of Daniel and Enoch . He would have known that any claim to Messiahship of whatever stripe was political dynamite and this accounts for his caution.
        Dennis
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: brooks@...
        To: gpg@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: Synoptic
        Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 7:09 PM
        Subject: Re: [GPG] The Rending of the Veil (Messianic Secrets)



        To: GPG
        Cc: Synoptic
        In Response To: Previous Questions
        On: The Rending of the Veil
        From: Bruce

        I had doubted that Jesus consciously and forethoughtfully intended to
        sacrifice himself for Israel (the Bacon theory). We then had:

        Q: Is it, however, too outlandish to accept as highly probable that,
        after the murder of John the Baptist, Jesus was only too aware of the
        risks he was running in confronting the Jewish power structure.

        BRUCE: Not at all. But please note that this is not the original
        question. In fact, it is an opposite and incompatible question. See
        below.

        Q: Since the Sadducees were hand in glove with the Romans in Judea he
        must have been well aware of what his fate might be if Jehovah did not
        intervene.

        BRUCE: Right again. He was betting everything on the intervention of
        God. Please notice: That is different from saying he intended God NOT
        to intervene, so that he could be successfully sacrificed. No?

        Q: He had to mind his step, too, in Galilee where Herod was concerned.

        BRUCE: Right again. His whole style of preaching in veiled terms, of
        avoiding large towns, of keeping moving rather than staying where the
        crowd he attracted might eventually betray his presence, his
        circuitous return from points outside Galilee, which so convulsed
        Pierson Parker with unseemly mirth and inappropraite merriment, his
        use of signs and countersigns and safe houses in Jerusalem - all this
        speaks to two things. (1) A sense of danger from the authorities. (2)
        A wish not to be arrested by the authorities. It is the last part that
        proves an intention to succeed, rather than an intention to be killed.

        If he wanted to be killed, there were much easier ways of doing it.

        Q: With Isaiah 53 in mind, might he not have conceived himself as the
        Suffering Servant Messiah who would be instrumental in God's
        inauguration of the Kingdom?

        BRUCE: Right again, but note again: The Messiah is not an atoner for
        sins, he is the bringer of God back to Israel, and the restorer of
        Israel to political power and military might and the whole nine yards
        of OT nationalist dreaming.

        Q: I agree that the ordinary man in the Galilean street hoped he would
        be a terrestrial redeemer of Israel in the Davidic mould, but that was
        the role he is shown as rejecting.

        BRUCE: And where in Mark does he reject this? He accepts without
        protest the crowds who hail him as precisely the conventional
        man-in-street Messiah. He even sets up that triumphal entry scene at
        considerable cost in staff time and prior arrangements, by providing
        himself with the right animal, and riding into into the City on it.
        This is rejection? As for his specific Davidic credentials, we see him
        in Mk arguing with the Jerusalem crowds that, from Scripture itself,
        out of the very mouth of David the ultimate witness, the Messiah need
        not be technically David's son. Which, as of that moment in time, he
        indeed was not, and everybody knew it.

        Of course that Davidic idea continued to percolate in later decades,
        even though, technically and logically speaking, it was part of a
        discredited scenario (those who have read the later apologetic
        chapters of the Mencius, which struggle to account for Mencius's
        diplomatic failure in Chi, will have exactly the right sense for it).
        And thus it is that the Second Tier Gospels provide Jesus with - guess
        what? - a Davidic lineage. They do it different ways, but they make a
        point of doing it. And hymnbooks to this day follow suit.

        The amout of Mark that can be read as recording the above scenario is
        very extensive. Not a few passages here and there, but a consecutive
        narrative, amounting to about half our present Mark. (I isolated that
        half in the reconstruction I shared with all comers at SBL 2008). No
        part of that narrative bears obvious signs of having been interpolated
        into the rest of it. All of it attests the same Jesus self-conception.
        Perectly consistent, on the assumptions above spelled out. That, to my
        mind, is a lot of evidence. Uncontradicted in the early texts, albeit
        layered over by later texts, and by later additions to earlier texts,
        to keep pace with a rapidly developing Atonement and/or Resurrection
        theory.

        Or so it looks from here.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst

        Wrede was and remains a great man, but the fact is, there are TWO
        Messianic secrets in Mark.

        One is in grain, so to speak. It is in the core Markan narrative, and
        it is the point of much of that narrative. The secret is the covert
        purpose of Jesus - covert because illegal - to bring God back to
        Israel, in real time, with himself as the Messiah. That is, as
        providing the initiating event for the Return of God. This leads Jesus
        to speak in indirect terms, to keep away from the police, to cross
        borders at points likely to be unwatched, and all the rest of it.

        The other is not in grain, textually speaking. Rather, it is imposed
        by later layers added to the text, and the fact of their later
        addition - the signs of interpolation recognized by every text science
        on the globe - are manifest in the text itself. The added part rests
        on nothing in Jesus's words or his doings. It arises solely from the
        later community's wish to read a different message into the earlier
        story, to insist that Jesus's historical disciples had misunderstood
        him (a claim not very flattering to the oratorical powers of Jesus,
        but hey, nothing, and no theory, is perfect). These later additions
        insist that what Jesus really meant was quite different from what his
        most intimate companions thought of him as saying. They show him as
        INTENDING to fail at his original Messianic purpose, and as
        theologically rationalizing that failure in advance.

        This I would call, not the Messianic Secret, but rather the Messianic
        Mistake. It converts the term "Messiah" from a patriotic to a personal
        meaning (a saviour of individuals, not of nations), and it builds
        around that reconception a whole edifice of interpretation and
        overlaid claims about the historical past. And even moreso about the
        future, and an increasingly distant future, at that. (And the author
        of 2 Peter was much upset by the jeering which this claim was drawing
        in his day; hence the magnificent and yet mundanely not quite
        satisfactory equation 1000 years = 1 day).

        As I read the evidence, Synoptic and other, the historical early Jesus
        communities were very soon at odds with their own memories of the
        historical Jesus. From perfectly understandable needs and motives of
        their own. It is this tension, and the meaning of it for the actual
        historical past, that the Historical Jesus people so far (and so far
        as I know) have been reluctant to observe.

        But the above scenario for Jesus is itself understandable, in
        contemporary Jewish terms, which are the only ones likely to apply.
        Jesus's thought that he could himself bring off the return of God was
        perhaps a little daring; his family and friends might conceivably have
        thought to dissuade him.

        Come to think of it, isn't that exactly what Mark shows them as doing?





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