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Re: Re: Acts as a Legal Brief

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  • Stevan Davies
    ... It s a metonym for Judaic leadership and approach generally. ... I can t find anything here to disagree with. But the specific question is whether this is
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 1, 1998
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      > >STEVAN
      > >The brief does that, and indeed, so far going along with Jan,
      > >is an argument that Xianity is Judaism
      > >and so a religio licta (against Jan it does not argue that it should
      > >supercede, but rather that it is a variety of, Pharisaic Judaism).
      > >And certainly it does argue what you say it does.
      > >
      > JAN: See my response to LEWIS. Paul's words in Galatians are not
      > particularly conciliatory, and do not indicate that Paul would be satisfied
      > with his brand of Judaism coexisting with the traditional kind:
      > "But what does the scripture say? 'Throw out the slave woman
      > and her son; for the son of the slave woman will not share the father's
      > property with the son of the free woman.' So then, my brothers, we are not
      > the children of a slave woman, but of the free woman."
      > The slave woman is "the present city of Jerusalem"--the Temple hierarchy.

      It's a metonym for Judaic leadership and approach generally.

      > Does Paul say anywhere that accepting Jesus as the Messiah was optional for
      > Jews? I'm afraid not. So what talk can there be of coexistence with
      > traditional Judaism? Paul is most uncompromising in arguing that because of
      > the new promise, the gentiles could now have a share in Abraham's blessing,
      > but both gentiles and Jews had to attain salvation through an acceptance of
      > Jesus. There was to be no coexistence with Pharisaic Judaism that denied
      > Jesus' Messiahship.

      I can't find anything here to disagree with. But the specific
      question is whether this is Paul's view in the defense arguments
      found in the latter part of Acts.

      There I don't find Paul arguing
      this way. There he argues that his faith is a form of Pharisaic
      Judaism. It could well be said that Paul here is arguing to save
      himself and fudging things greatly, as he seems to have fudged things
      less in Romans, and not at all in Galatians. Or, if you wish to be
      a sceptic, that he's irrelevant and that Luke is making it all up.
      I'd be interested to know if you can find anything in Paul's defense
      arguments that an imaginary Paul couldn't have explained away as
      consistent with his position in Galatians. Try. You show how it's
      inconsistent and I'll be Paul and show that it isn't.

      > Attacks against the Temple hierarchy are present throughout the passion
      > narratives, so much so that they constitute a pattern whose existence calls
      > for an explanation. My hypothesis is the ambition of the early church to
      > supersede the Temple hierarchy, to "throw out the slave woman and her son".

      I'm sure it is the ambition of EVERY CULT OR SECT THAT EVER WAS
      to supercede the preceding heirarchy and take over. But the specific
      desire precisely to take over the Temple per se and run it I think is
      completely not-the-case. Analogy: it was NOT the desire of Joseph
      Smith to take over the Vatican per se although he sure would have liked to
      take over Christianity generally.

      Steve
    • INTERPRES
      JAN (earlier text) ... Judaism ... STEVEN ... JAN: It s a FORM Pharisaic Judaism alright, with the Messiah Jesus added on (e.g., Acts 28:20). Somewhat like
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 5, 1998
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        JAN (earlier text)
        >> Does Paul say anywhere that accepting Jesus as the Messiah was optional
        >> for Jews? I'm afraid not. So what talk can there be of coexistence with
        >> traditional Judaism? Paul is most uncompromising in arguing that because
        >> of the new promise, the gentiles could now have a share in Abraham's
        >> blessing, but both gentiles and Jews had to attain salvation through an
        >> acceptance of Jesus. There was to be no coexistence with Pharisaic
        Judaism
        >> that denied Jesus' Messiahship.
        >
        STEVEN
        >I can't find anything here to disagree with. But the specific
        >question is whether this is Paul's view in the defense arguments
        >found in the latter part of Acts.
        >
        >There I don't find Paul arguing
        >this way. There he argues that his faith is a form of Pharisaic
        >Judaism.

        JAN: It's a FORM Pharisaic Judaism alright, with the Messiah Jesus added on
        (e.g., Acts 28:20). Somewhat like today's "Jews for Jesus."

        STEVEN:
        >It could well be said that Paul here is arguing to save
        >himself and fudging things greatly, as he seems to have fudged things
        >less in Romans, and not at all in Galatians.

        JAN: He's not fudging on the crucial element, i.e., "I have this chain on me
        for the sake of him for whom the people of Israel hope." His whole strategy
        in the upcoming trial depends on being a better, more authentic Jew than
        those who not only rejected "him for whom the people of Israel hope" but
        even plotted to have him killed.

        STEVEN:
        > Or, if you wish to be
        >a sceptic, that he's irrelevant and that Luke is making it all up.

        JAN: Given that Acts ends before it can record the verdict against Paul ,
        Acts can be regarded as "witness for the defense" material, intended to sway
        the upcoming verdict in Paul's favor. Under these circumstances, even if
        Luke makes things up on occasion, he does so in a way that's consistent with
        Paul's position and purpose.

        STEVEN:
        >I'd be interested to know if you can find anything in Paul's defense
        >arguments that an imaginary Paul couldn't have explained away as
        >consistent with his position in Galatians. Try. You show how it's
        >inconsistent and I'll be Paul and show that it isn't.

        JAN:
        Sorry, I don't really understand what's wanted of me. What "Paul's defense
        arguments" do you have in mind? I do believe the statements he is credited
        with in Acts are consistent with the passage I cited from Galatians, but
        given the purpose of Acts, the emphasis is different. The purpose of Acts is
        to show that Paul is the representative of authentic Judaism. As such it
        emphasizes Paul's Pharisaic credentials, but it nowhere tones down his
        emphasis on Jesus' messiahship, which was the point of the trial.
        >
        JAN (previously)
        >> Attacks against the Temple hierarchy are present throughout the passion
        >> narratives, so much so that they constitute a pattern whose existence
        calls
        >> for an explanation. My hypothesis is the ambition of the early church to
        >> supersede the Temple hierarchy, to "throw out the slave woman and her
        son".
        >
        STEVEN:
        >I'm sure it is the ambition of EVERY CULT OR SECT THAT EVER WAS
        >to supercede the preceding heirarchy and take over. But the specific
        >desire precisely to take over the Temple per se and run it I think is
        >completely not-the-case.

        JAN:
        Why then do the gospels try to lay all the blame for Jesus' death on the
        Temple authorities in general and the High Priest in particular? Does that
        make sense if they were written when the Temple no longer existed and there
        was no high priest in Jerusalem? The High Priest and the Temple Hierarchy
        are accused of having plotted to murder Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. Is
        that just a gratuitous accusation, or one made with the definite purpose to
        have the guilty ones removed from their positions? And who else could remove
        the High Priest and the Sanhedrin except the Emperor? Now if you're Paul,
        how do you get the Emperor to act? The only way that occurs to you is to get
        the backers of the Temple to accuse you of propagating an illicit religion,
        a capital offense. It's risky, but it allows you to appeal to the Emperor
        claiming that all along you've been propagating the authentic version of
        Judaism, (the "Jews for Jesus" version) and that your accusers, those who
        reject Jesus as Messiah, are no longer to be considered as Jews. You have a
        talented hack writer write a tendentious story proving that Jesus was the
        "one for whom the people of Israel hope" and showing what callous schemers
        the Temple authorities were, and how they virtually blackmailed the kindly
        and naive Pilate into giving his consent for the execution. The first
        version has some shortcomings, so you have Luke rework it, adding some Stoic
        elements likely to appeal to people high up in the Roman hierarchy (such as
        Seneca and Burrus). Then you have Luke write the story of the shadow
        Sanhedrin (also known as the early church) being groomed to succeed the
        wicked Messiah-killers in Jerusalem. Present the credentials of some of the
        members of this shadow Sanhedrin, with an emphasis on yourself and your
        trials and tribulations.

        STEVEN:
        >Analogy: it was NOT the desire of Joseph
        >Smith to take over the Vatican per se although he sure would have liked to
        >take over Christianity generally.
        >
        JAN:
        Did Joseph Smith accuse the Pope of murder and sacrilege? If he had, I would
        start suspecting that he wanted the Pope's job.
      • Lewis Reich
        ... It might. ... It might have a purpose other than having the guilty ones removed from their positions. For esample, it might have been intended to show
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 5, 1998
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          On 5 Sep 98, at 23:16, Jan wrote:

          >
          > JAN:
          > Why then do the gospels try to lay all the blame for Jesus' death on the
          > Temple authorities in general and the High Priest in particular? Does that
          > make sense if they were written when the Temple no longer existed and
          > there was no high priest in Jerusalem?

          It might.

          > The High Priest and the Temple Hierarchy are accused of having
          > plotted to murder Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. Is that just a
          > gratuitous accusation, or one made with the definite purpose to
          > have the guilty ones removed from their positions?

          It might have a purpose other than having the guilty ones removed from their
          positions. For esample, it might have been intended to show that Jesus was
          not truly guilty of the offense for which he was crucified (an offense against the
          Empire) but was merely judicially railroaded. That might have the effect of
          reassuring Roman opinion, concerned that the new sect were followers of a
          rebel against the Empire.

          Lewis Reich
          LBR@...
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