11442Re: [XTalk] Jesus, James et al and Their Observant Parents
- Nov 5, 2002----------
>From: "Ted Weeden" <weedent@...>Hi Ted,
a bit of time free now for a few brief responses...
>First, I think this saying is from HJ, but I have my doubts that it is self
>Gordon, you are correct with respect to the midrash of the Isaianic servant
>songs, but the Gospel of Thomas has an authentic saying (31), in my
>judgment, in which Jesus speaks of himself, I gather, as a prophet who has
>been rejected by his hometown, and Thomas is not under the influence of the
referential either. It surely is in the way it is framed in the Markan
story... no doubt about that. But a). I don't think Jesus thought of
himself as a prophet, b.) I also disagree with the JS majority that Jesus
was a healer (I like that little section in Hal Taussig's book on prayer on
this for a nice little summation), and c. I think this, like the rest of the
tart aphoristic and parabolic speech works in the direction of arousing
response in the audience... if you will... via "a huh/ what did he say" kind
of reaction. For those in hearing distance who knew their Nevi'im... all
sorts of connections might run through their minds. For those who thinking
about JTB... this might raise some response to what was going on down their
by the river. For those who had their own thoughts about "what's gonna
happen" and their favorite authorities to back it up... this might arouse a
double take. I'm simply presenting 3 sorts of responses that might be
aroused via that barb.
>I will post soon one of my sections of this developing monograph on theI was in Santa Rosa when Mahlon presented the paper and I think this
>"Jesus, the Cultic Prodigal," in which I draw upon Mahlon Smith's article,
>suggesting that the Prodigal Son is an autobiographical parable, as well as
>add my own further support for his theory. I will look forward to your
>feedback on that piece.
metaphor provides a provacative metaphor for **us** to think about HJ. I
also think Jesus in the ditch from Good Sam is another. But this is for
**our** hermeneutical play and I can't figure out any justification for
selecting this over say "the Sower" or "the Unjust Judge" for being
"autobiographical." (And hey... wouldn't that be interesting in
implication... Jesus, a former Judge who changed his ways after dealing with
a woman who wouldn't let him alone:)!) Just for a bit of provacative fun...
for us... in ruminations about HJ.... it might be some interesting fodder to
think of **him** as the elder brother who seeing his father's dealing with
rascally younger James or Simon or Tom(Jude) or Joe, Jr. had to "learn
forgiveness" the hard way. The point being... as ways for us to enter the
play of parabolic speech... such mental play and associations is a valuable
exercize. But to impute to a wisdom saying "autobiographical content" is
something that I don't think we have historical evidence for.
>A few points here...
>> But that it suggests
>> "actual feelings" about HJ and his family? I don't think so. Indeed, I'd
>> suggest that such a saying as Thomas 12, James being also known by a
>> nickname, what Paul says of his leadership in Galatians all go to suggest
>> that James was "a part of" the Kingdom Movement all along.
>If James was a part of the movement, I have difficulty understanding how he
>ended up advocating the very things that Jesus repudiated. What I have
>reference to is Jesus' dismissal of the Judean cultic establishment, its
>codes and its interpretation of Torah.
It being election day... let me borrow an analogy from the political
parties. Dems, Repubs, Indeps, etc. as parties have defining
characteristics common to and LARGE ranges of differences among each
constiuency... thus we talk about liberal dems... to moderate... to
conservative... etc. In the case of the original crowd associated with
HJ... by looking at the earliest sources we have (I judge them to be: the
Common Sayings Tradition between Q/Th... on to Q1 and "Early Thomas"... the
Two Ways section found in the Didache... a bare narrative frame found in
Mark... the Signs Source... and I actually think Ep. James 1-3... and the
authentic Pauline stuff (which I count to be Galatians, Philippians, Romans,
Philemon and the Corinthian Correspondence... although I think All of these
as we have them are redacted texts)... all of this produced somewhere
between the mid 30's to the mid-60's) these writings show "diverse takes,"
"diverse references," "diverse paradigms/ emphases" for communicating the
theology/ ethics/ social praxis of the original circle of
friends/associates. Therein there is a common affirmation base, but also
differences. From this I'd suggest that "the Way" (just to borrow that Acts
title) was a pretty diverse crowd. I'd suggest that there were some major
core agreements... some particular differences in affirmation patterns...
and some wonderful arguments that just sort of go with religio-social
And we are talking about brothers... and family! My eldest brother is a
Barthian theologian through and through. I rather like these Jesus
studies:)! We're both Presbyterians... but we don't always agee!
Third... you use the language of "repudiated" and that's a bit strong for
me. Surely a whole set of authentic aphorisms push the envelope on the
purity issues. But as for "the center of the defining markers of this group
of friends and associates... the common language is about "a ministry of
reconciliation" (Paul)/ "Saying peace to this house" (Q mission speech)/ "if
two make peace in a single house...
mountains move" (G.Th.) "salt and peace" (from that core in Mark)/ "a
harvest of righteousness is sown..." (Ep.James)/ "The Way of Life"
(Didache). As harsh definitions of purity were used to divide people off...
yes... the tart barb from Jesus! But "repudiate?"... I don't think so at
all... thus this group brought folks together who were peasants/ destitute/
retainers/.... apocalyptically oriented/ wisdom oriented/
"spiritualist/mystically" oriented.... pious in observance... some half
pious and some not at all!/ some Judeans/ Samaritans/ Galileans/ folks from
Herod Philips domain....
Indeed I think this accounts for the verve "of the original time"...
accounts for the multiplicity of "framings"... accounts for all the
rowdiness as time went along... accounts for why "standard proclamations"
were so needed after the war (and reactions against them blew up!)... and
accounts for the early moves towards collecting what would fit together
(yes, Galatians and Ep. of James could be saved, but not some of the wilder
Gnostic stuff). [Just one side-bar here... I think this also accounts for
Luke-Acts which I have to place circa 110 to 120 trying to "get the story
So... back to HJ... as you may remember from earlier postings here or when I
used to post on the Westar group... I'm confident about a collection of
aphorisms and parables from HJ... confident about the dining milieu and that
the above mentioned "center constitution" for Jesus and friends. Beyond
that I just don't see the data for such as historical assurance that Jesus
was being self referential in this parable as opposed to that one. A dandy
sage... after all... is quite able to cast himself fictionally... if that's
part of the twist... to arouse the dialogue and thought!
Lastly... James... like Jesus is going to be cast in a number of ways. The
Thomas and later gnostic trajectory will claim him. He will be right in
their with the apocalyptic oriented folks. He will be remembered as
concerned about Purity. He will be remembered for his wisdom. I don't
think we know too much about HJ. I think we know less about HJames, HPeter
and even HPaul!
Thanks for your interest in "another sort of angle" on the Prodigal, issues
of Purity and what this all has to do with the late 20's among a group of
provacative friend and family! My susupicion is that James and Jesus could
probably argue quite healthily, but I see no reason to think that even such
disputes as over certain purity rules would divide them away from common
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