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Re: [GPG] Early Beliefs

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  • Dennis Goffin
    To:GPG In Response to:Bruce On: Early Beliefs From: Dennis Goffin Bruce: There is no evidence that Jesus s brother led the earliest post-Jesus group Dennis:
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 14, 2010
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      To:GPG
      In Response to:Bruce
      On: Early Beliefs
      From: Dennis Goffin

      Bruce: There is no evidence that Jesus's brother led the earliest post-Jesus group
      Dennis: And there is no independant evidence that he did not. I don't see Simon Peter mentioned in Josephus, but I do see James there.
      Bruce: What IS clear is the hatred of the Jerusalemizers for those (Galilean) groups.
      Dennis: Not to me.Where is the evidence ?
      Bruce: That both Jesus and Jacob believed in the Hebrew God is very likely. But from that point on, things seem to diverge.
      Dennis:Why should we believe Mark, who has a Pauline axe to grind as well as , by your own statement, a multiplicity of viewpoints ? Exactly how do things diverge ?
      Bruce: (1) That Jesus accepted the temple sacrificial cult is ruled out by what Mark preserves of his doctrines, which do not include the sacrificial piety part of the Decalogue.
      Dennis: "What Mark preserves", of course, being crucial. Would you vouch for him as an impartial witness?
      Bruce: The conflict stories in Mark also show a Jesus not concerned with the secondary-growth priestly purity laws, which were defended by the Pharisees.
      Dennis: The ethic of Jesus is the ethic of the end-time and the looming Judgement Day. He rightly regarded many Pharisaic obsessions as irrelevant but Judaism was a broad church and accommodated four different approaches as Josephus testifies.
      Bruce: (2) Jacob, on the other hand, seems to have hung around the temple
      Dennis: James was so highly regarded by the nation, that when Ananus had him stoned, the people reacted so strongly that Agrippa was forced to sack him. James was not called "the Righteous" for nothing, he was seen as an exemplary Jew.

      Where and in what way, Bruce, is Brandon sensationalist in his 412 carefully documented pages ?

      Dennis Goffin
















      ----- Original Message -----
      From: brooks@...
      To: gpg@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2010 6:22 AM
      Subject: [GPG] Early Beliefs



      To: GPG
      In Response To: Dennis Goffin
      On: Early Beliefs
      From: Bruce

      DENNIS: . . . Jesus and the earliest post-Jesus group under his brother . . .

      BRUCE: Tilt. There is no -
      possibilities, due to his acceptance evidence that Jesus's brother leJesus group. Jacob has largely obscured other d the
      earliest postby Paul in his own time, and by
      Luke et al afterward. That Jacob was a leader of the Jerusalem group
      is well attested. What happened to any Galilee groups (three are named
      in Matthew) is not so clear. What IS clear is the hatred of the
      Jerusalemizers for those groups.

      And what do you propose to do with the Twelve?

      DENNIS: . . . both being highly committed Yahwehists who still
      regarded the sacrificial Temple cult as a sine qua non of their
      religious belief and observance.

      BRUCE: I don't think the term Yahwehists helps any. That both Jesus
      and Jacob believed in the Hebrew God is very likely. But from that
      point on, things seem to diverge.

      (1) That Jesus accepted the temple sacrificial cult is ruled out by
      what Mark preserves of his doctrines, which do not include the
      sacrificial piety part of the Decalogue. Consistently. The conflict
      stories in Mark also show a Jesus not concerned with the
      secondary-growth priestly purity laws, which were defended by the
      Phraisees.

      (2) Jacob, on the other hand, seems to have hung around the temple,
      and regarded it as a special place from which to make "prayers for the
      people," if Eusebius and company are to be believed. Here is a major
      difference.

      Now, can anything be made of this difference? We have not only these
      citable bits of evidence for the difference between the two brothers,
      we have Mk 3:31f. But what does that passage tell us, in its
      consecutive Markan context? This I will not attempt to outline.

      MARK'S HISTORY OF JESUS

      The awkward thing about Mark is that he seems to show a progress in
      Jesus's ideas. His first teaching, immediately following his encounter
      with John the B, is indistinguishable from that of John: a gospel of
      repentance in apocalyptic context (Mk 1:14-15). This we may call the
      First Phase. Note that his brother Jacob, from what is anecdotally
      known of him, is very much in this ascetic direction, whose idea of
      the Law does not detectable differ from that of Jewish tradition
      generally. So up to this point, Jesus's family were probably all with
      him, and if anything, proud of him.

      Then comes a period when Jesus differs from John, and the text remarks
      on the differences: his teaching astonishes people by its novelty
      (1:22). He becomes a healer (1:29f), which is not posited of John, and
      he associates with unclean persons (Mk 2:15), as John in his
      wilderness (locusts and honey are kosher) did not do. Jesus himself
      remarks on the incompatibility of this new teaching with the old
      familiar teaching (2:21-22). This seems to continue through the early
      part of Mk 3.

      Then comes the Rejection scene, Mk 3:21, 31-34. Why this difference?

      I think the answer is in the next things Jesus is shown as teaching:
      the parable sequence in Mk 4. So drastically opposed to later
      Discipleship doctrine is the first of these (The Sower) that they
      inserted a long passage reinterpreting it in terms of Christian
      Discipleship in Dangerous Times ("persecution"). So enigmatic is the
      third of these (the Seed Growing Secretly) to later exegetes that
      Matthew and Luke both omit it. What is wrong with this sequence?
      Chiefly that a conventional edifying lesson cannot be drawn from them.
      One might speak of "bearing fruit appropriate to repentence" as doing
      good works, but what can it mean to bear fruit "thirtyfold and
      sixtyfold and a hundredfold?" The factor of multiplication is
      inexplicable on the usual basis. But if Jesus was covertly (for fear
      of the police) recruiting people for a radical movement, and at the
      same time encouraging those already in it, these parables make sense.
      The converts are to convert others, and the seed that fell in their
      patch of ground, so to speak, will thus be multiplied by their
      secondary conversions. This is the movement that culminates in Jesus's
      final move on the Temple. Did he go there to pray? No sign of it. Did
      he go there to sacrifice? On the record, he physically abused those
      who were trading in the wherewithal of sacrifice. Whatever it was, did
      it succeed? No, as witness his last despairing words on the cross. To
      whom were those addressed? To God. Then it was God who had let him
      down at the end. How did he do this?

      The answer to this question I have given before, and don't want to
      bore present company. Those who forget will find it in Luke, that
      assiduous researcher.

      Anyway, I note that Mark makes a clear break, in his obviously
      condensed but seemingly well-arranged narrative, at the point where
      the message of Jesus changes from a new take on Mosaic piety (still OK
      with family and friends) to something different, covert, and
      subversive, which led ultimately to his death.

      Brandon is a good enough read. I think he takes the thing into the
      sensational too soon, and in somewhat the wrong way, but I suppose
      that's how you sell books. My estimate of the sales for my own book on
      the subject (preface dated 11 Nov 2015, and counting) is still six.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
      To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: Early Beliefs From: Bruce I here reply to Dennis s second note, closely following on an earlier one. It
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 14, 2010
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        To: Synoptic
        Cc: GPG
        In Response To: Dennis Goffin
        On: Early Beliefs
        From: Bruce

        I here reply to Dennis's second note, closely following on an earlier
        one. It began with this dialogue:

        Bruce: There is no evidence that Jesus's brother led the earliest
        post-Jesus group
        Dennis: And there is no independant evidence that he did not. I don't
        see Simon Peter mentioned in Josephus, but I do see James there.

        . . . A main element in Dennis's half of the dialogue, as it was in
        his previous notes, is a distrust of Mark as a source for Jesus and/or
        the early Jesuine movement. Some of his other points I think I have
        answered in earlier responses, and won't weary any listeners by
        repeating. On Mark, I note yet again that a lot of people affirm a
        belief in Markan Priority, but when the conversational chips are down,
        they tend to desert Mark for later Gospel formulations, or
        Jerusalem-based writers like Josephus, or whatever. I consider this
        ill-considered. If Mark is in fact the earliest Gospel, and to me, the
        arguments are sufficient, then I think we are required to take that
        fact seriously. Seriously means this: Where Mark and Matthew diverge,
        we should prefer Mark. Where Mark and Josephus diverge, we should
        prefer Mark. Where Mark and the silence of the later and more orthodox
        sources diverge, we should prefer Mark. Earlier sources are better.
        This, as I understand it, is pretty close to the fundamental maxim of
        historical research.

        What in fact are the fundamental maxims of historical research? von
        Ranke articulated them several times, in suitably gnomic fashion. One
        piece I recommend for meditation is the following:

        "Etwas zu machen, dazu gehört dreierlei: gesunder Menschenverstand,
        Mut und Redlichkeit. Der erste, um nur die Sache einzusehen, der
        zweite, um vor den Resultaten nicht zu erschrecken, der dritte, um
        sich nicht selber etwas vorzumachen. So dass die einfachsten
        moralischen Eigenschaften auch die Wissenschaft beherrschen."
        (Tagebücher, c1843)

        I think that is well said. Those who prefer a translation will find
        it, and other sayings of Ranke, at

        http://www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/ranke/index.html

        Enjoy.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Dennis Goffin
        Why on earth, Bruce, should we prefer Mark to Josephus when it comes to a matter of history / By all means prefer Mark to Matthew, Luke or John, but Mark is
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 14, 2010
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          Why on earth, Bruce, should we prefer Mark to Josephus when it comes to a matter of history / By all means prefer Mark to Matthew, Luke or John, but Mark is silent on many things that happened in Palestine under the Romans, simply because he thought that to speak of them was dangerous. That is why,for example, he tries to hide the fact that one of the disciples,Simon, was a Zealot. Without Josephus, we would have virtually no information on the period and we certainly wouldn't get it from Mark.
          Dennis
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: brooks@...
          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
          Cc: GPG
          Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2010 7:16 PM
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [GPG] Early Beliefs



          To: Synoptic
          Cc: GPG
          In Response To: Dennis Goffin
          On: Early Beliefs
          From: Bruce

          I here reply to Dennis's second note, closely following on an earlier
          one. It began with this dialogue:

          Bruce: There is no evidence that Jesus's brother led the earliest
          post-Jesus group
          Dennis: And there is no independant evidence that he did not. I don't
          see Simon Peter mentioned in Josephus, but I do see James there.

          . . . A main element in Dennis's half of the dialogue, as it was in
          his previous notes, is a distrust of Mark as a source for Jesus and/or
          the early Jesuine movement. Some of his other points I think I have
          answered in earlier responses, and won't weary any listeners by
          repeating. On Mark, I note yet again that a lot of people affirm a
          belief in Markan Priority, but when the conversational chips are down,
          they tend to desert Mark for later Gospel formulations, or
          Jerusalem-based writers like Josephus, or whatever. I consider this
          ill-considered. If Mark is in fact the earliest Gospel, and to me, the
          arguments are sufficient, then I think we are required to take that
          fact seriously. Seriously means this: Where Mark and Matthew diverge,
          we should prefer Mark. Where Mark and Josephus diverge, we should
          prefer Mark. Where Mark and the silence of the later and more orthodox
          sources diverge, we should prefer Mark. Earlier sources are better.
          This, as I understand it, is pretty close to the fundamental maxim of
          historical research.

          What in fact are the fundamental maxims of historical research? von
          Ranke articulated them several times, in suitably gnomic fashion. One
          piece I recommend for meditation is the following:

          "Etwas zu machen, dazu gehört dreierlei: gesunder Menschenverstand,
          Mut und Redlichkeit. Der erste, um nur die Sache einzusehen, der
          zweite, um vor den Resultaten nicht zu erschrecken, der dritte, um
          sich nicht selber etwas vorzumachen. So dass die einfachsten
          moralischen Eigenschaften auch die Wissenschaft beherrschen."
          (Tagebücher, c1843)

          I think that is well said. Those who prefer a translation will find
          it, and other sayings of Ranke, at

          http://www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/ranke/index.html

          Enjoy.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
          To: GPG Cc: Synoptic In Response To: Dennis Goffin On: Josephus From: Bruce DENNIS: Why on earth, Bruce, should we prefer Mark to Josephus when it comes to a
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 14, 2010
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            To: GPG
            Cc: Synoptic
            In Response To: Dennis Goffin
            On: Josephus
            From: Bruce


            DENNIS: Why on earth, Bruce, should we prefer Mark to Josephus when it
            comes to a matter of history / By all means prefer Mark to Matthew,
            Luke or John, but Mark is silent on many things that happened in
            Palestine under the Romans, simply because he thought that to speak of
            them was dangerous.

            BRUCE: The truth of this statement will depend on where we date Mark,
            won't it. Answer deferred until agreement on that point is reached.

            DENNIS: That is why,for example, he tries to hide the fact that one of
            the disciples,Simon, was a Zealot. Without Josephus, we would have
            virtually no information on the period and we certainly wouldn't get
            it from Mark.

            BRUCE: Well, to each his metier. Without Mark and with Josephus (minus
            pious interpolations), we would know nothing of Jesus. Literally
            nothing.

            As for the mysterious Twelve, that would need a separate treatise.
            Meanwhile, it is interesting that Luke's list gives much more
            countenance to the idea of a desperado gang than does Mark's. Luke
            also quotes a dispirited Jesus partisan, glumly going home after the
            death of Jesus, and saying, We had thought he was the one to redeem
            Israel. That is, Luke reads Mark much the way Reimarus read Mark and
            Luke together. I think that both Luke and Reimarus were right. The
            final Jesus move was a sort of commando raid, meant to purify the
            Temple (of its moneychangers, etc; Jesus was big on commercial
            morality, see the earlier note on Fraud) and so make it a fit place
            for God to return to.

            This was not a rebellion (as some have been pleased to imagine) to
            overthrow Rome. It was a spot operation, designed to get God to come
            in, and let him finish the job. As we know, all witnesses being
            unanimous on this point, it failed, and Jesus was executed by the
            Romans (as is logical only on the previous reading of Mark; why the
            Romans should pay several soldiers overtime to execute some harmless
            itinerant Cynic preacher, as some have held, passes my understanding).
            Hence the dispiritude of the sojourner reported (or imagined; same
            difference) by Luke.

            It is worth noting, in the sense that Luke's sense of it may be worth
            something, that Luke does not show the sojourner as holding a
            Resurrection belief (and thus exulting that now the Scriptures had
            been fulfilled, and the Way to Salvation was open, etc etc), but as
            disappointed in a particular small-forces variant on the Messiah
            theme. That hope had failed, or so says Luke, and there was no second
            hope to fall back on.

            Did Jesus actually preach this Messiah operation? It seems so. Go back
            to Mark 4 and read it, but without the Apostolic intrusion after the
            first parable. Read it as though it were meant to be understood as it
            stands, and not as the Markan interpolator forced it to be
            reinterpreted, and then ask, What was it trying, albeit covertly, to
            convey? Then check out the countersigns, the safe houses in Jerusalem
            (safe until betrayed by an insider), the secret arrangements for the
            beast of burden for the symbolic Entry, the whole bit. And see if you
            don't think that Mark, who is undoubtedly being discreet, agrees
            tacitly with what Luke more openly if also more briefly lets us see.

            If we think of Mark as reporting in a veiled way, and Luke as
            portraying in a more explicit way, the same Messianic attempted
            Jerusalem exploit, I think we will find a certain amount of agreement.
            No?

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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