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11454Re: [XTalk] Jesus, James et al and Their Observant Parents

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Nov 8, 2002
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      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for the good discussion.

      Of course, this is a conjecture and only moves out of the
      >range of speculation to being more likely characteristic of Jesus if it can
      >be shown that he was really in conflict with the ideological bent of his
      >family and Nazareth. I will be interested in your response to my case for
      >that when I post it.

      I appreciate your response here. I'll take a look at your proposal when it
      arrives. From further on this original post you obviously see my
      reservations about inter-family conflict.

      >Hal, at the end of his section on healing (_Jesus before God_, 31) seems to
      >equivocate on the issue of Jesus not being a healer since he was a
      >teaching sage, namely, "In any case Jesus either *performed* or inspired
      >healing in relationship to his uncovering of hidden wisdom and God's
      >surprising domain." I also think that too much emphasis is placed by Hal
      >and others on Jesus teaching "hidden wisdom." The Thomistic Jesus, yes, but
      >the historical Jesus, I do not think that characterization of his teaching
      >is quite correct.

      I would state the teaching part differently as well, but it was his view
      about healing I was after. As I've said before, I don't have anything
      against Jesus being a healer, I just don't see those "healing stories" as
      being any different from the rest of the wonder stories. (namely...
      theological affirmation stories rooted out of midrash and imagination).
      That the effect of "a ministry of reconciliation" (to just borrow Paul's
      phrase) brought social healing... yes. That this had biological benefits
      for those involved and "touched by" this movement... yes. That the movement
      attracted "healers/ exorcists"... yes. I do find it fascinating in this
      regard that when Paul lists "spiritual gifts" in the Corinthian
      correspondence... there is no "like Jesus did" reference at all to the role
      or place of "healers." But again the center of my difficulty is lack of
      evidence. (BTW... a few years ago... Dom and I spent an hour on the phone
      haggling over this!)
      >> d 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"
      >> of reaction. For those in hearing distance who knew their Nevi'im... all
      >> sorts of connections might run through their minds. For those who
      >> about JTB... this might raise some response to what was going on down
      >> 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
      >> double take. I'm simply presenting 3 sorts of responses that might be
      >> aroused via that barb.
      >These are, of course, possibilities. If we only knew the context in which
      >Jesus uttered the saying, n'est pas?


      >I take the position in my forthcoming piece that James was the elder brother
      >in the family. I would be interested in your response to my case, when I
      >post it, for Jesus fashioning the "Prodigal" via the interdynamics of his

      Maybe, but I just don't know for sure how we can know that considering the
      resources we have. But in this regard... you'll guess my comeback:)!...
      namely this is a family with 5 boys, not two... and Jesus could have
      referred to himself as the older brother in this dyad... say in relation to
      one of his younger brothers:)! But here again... I have to differeniate
      between searching out the meaning of parables by robust hermeneutical play
      and making historical claims.

      >I follow your point. I think there can be vastly opposite positions held
      >by persons in families without those differences leading to hostile
      >division. I have also known of many families were differences, not even
      >unbreachable differences, have led to the severing of relationships and the
      >unwillingness to reconcile.

      Surely, but I'll be interested about how you'll posit the turn around such
      that Paul will mention "the pillars" as being James, Peter and John. And
      his standing was such that he would be claimed by multiple trajectories of
      theologizing thus I'll be interested in your rationale for choosing one of
      those over the others as a part of this.

      >As I see it, Jesus repudiates the cultic purity codes, the cultic boundary
      >markers, which distinguish who is in and and who is out of God's favor
      >(read: the cult's favor), in keeping with his egalitarian orientation toward
      >the unqualified acceptance of the clean and unclean together in his
      >kingdom vision. Again, I plan to present my case for this in the near

      I will look forward to it. I just don't see "purity" per se, in quite the
      same way you do. A question... and maybe I missed it in your presentation:
      Do you think Jesus was circumsized?

      >I am not sure how much the war caused the need for "standard proclamations."
      >I doubt the war was that much of an issue among Gentile Christians, and I do
      >not detect in Luke-Acts the war being the motivating factor in Luke's
      >formulation of his Heilgeschichte. I do agree with you that Acts, at
      >least, was written in that time frame. Richard Pervo argued for the same
      >time period for Acts (110-120) at the fall meeting of the Jesus Seminar, and
      >settled on the mean, 115 CE.

      I'm just one of those folks who thinks that Luke-Acts comes after John and
      circa 120. In Luke's case... ne'ertheless... there is continuing concern
      about Jesus' relationship to the Temple religion of the past... expanded
      story about Zechariah and Elizabeth... the telling of the circumcision...
      the old "prophets" and that little ditty about Jesus at 12, of course.
      Luke-Acts really "fills out" both Mark and Matthew's proclamation. And as
      for being "an issue among Gentile Christians"... I'm still wondering about
      the mix in those farflung congregations, namely those of Hebraic/Jewish
      background and former "pagans." With politics in Palestine so up and down
      until the final quenching of Hadrian versus Bar Kochba... I do think this is
      not the only factor, but a key one.

      >> sage... after all... is quite able to cast himself fictionally... if
      >> part of the twist... to arouse the dialogue and thought!
      >Quite so, and what better material for such parabolic casting than his own
      >family experience, a la "the Prodigal"?

      ... again... a "but":)! Were that the case... one can also posit a faux
      conflict or a tease or that Jesus and James just had a big argument over "x"
      and he used those as motivations. Or perhaps he was thinking new thoughts
      about another brother story... Isaac and Jacob... and/or just using his
      creative genius to take a story form (father/ brother... brother conflict)
      and spinning a new yarn whole cloth??? There can be speculations aplenty...
      what I will note is that Luke will place this in the context of one who
      embodies reconciliation... one who will weep over Jerusalem and say "Would
      that you knew this day the things that make for peace." As you can obviously
      tell... this whole business of identifying motivations/ background is very
      dicey business to me:)! But the last thing I'll guestimate about here is
      that if there were a huge conflict... and you're right... then the parable
      seemed to work on old James:)!
      >> Lastly... James... like Jesus is going to be cast in a number of ways.
      >> 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,
      >> and even HPaul!

      Nice to end on agreements!!!

      >Thank you, Gordon, for taking time to respond in a thoughtful and helpfully
      >provocative way. I apologize for the delay in my reply. My schedule in
      >last two days has prevented me from getting back to you before now. BTW,
      >you had indicated in your post of Sunday, 11/3, that you hoped to see me at
      >SBL. I will not be attending SBL this year. I am sorry that I will miss
      >the opportunity to see you there.

      And thanks to you. I'm helped by seeing the fresh ways in which the
      hermeneutical task is taken up. I'm just a very cautious historian about
      all of ancient history.

      Sorry I'll miss seeing you in Toronto. Maybe next year in Hotlanta!

      take care,

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