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22313Re: [XTalk] once more, Jesus and angels

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    Jun 6, 2007
      E Bruce Brooks wrote:

      > To: XTalk
      > In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others
      > On: Angels
      > From: Bruce
      > In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the
      > rarity of angels in Gospel sayings attributed to Jesus, as against matter
      > seemingly derived from the Gospel writers themselves, "Why do the
      > evangelists not have Jesus buttress what they believe?"

      Umm .. strictly speaking I said nothing about the **rarity** of Jesus' reference
      to angels. I said that what he is reported as saying **about the functions of
      angels*** only occasionally overlaps with what the evangelists say in this regard
      in their narratives about angels.

      > To me, this is one of the basic questions. In general, movement founders are
      > pretty plastic in the hands of the later traditions of those movements. But
      > there also seem to be limits in particular cases. And when there are limits,
      > they are often historically suggestive. In the Buddhist case, though Buddha
      > is invariably portrayed as personally answering some question arising from
      > monastic practice, he usually does so from offstage, as it were, and not as
      > himself the head of a resident monastic institution. This, to me at least,
      > reflects a reticence in the later sutra writers about portraying Buddha in a
      > role which he could not historically have held. The Confucians too, for at
      > least a century after Confucius's death, still retain the image of a
      > Confucius who was poor and disadvantaged in his youth (though later on, this
      > does change). As for the Christian texts, I have always admired the way gJn
      > carefully distinguishes between the disciples, who *did* baptize, and Jesus,
      > who "did not."
      > A lot is going on in the second-tier Gospels (Mt/Lk), including some mere
      > retention of earlier tradition from Mk, which somewhat confuses the picture,
      > but one of the new things that seems to be going on, at any rate in the Mt
      > half of things, is a movement back to Judaism, from which, especially in
      > matters of law, the Jesus movement seems at first to have strongly distanced
      > itself, whence nearly all of the "conflict stories." Might not angels fit
      > into this category also? Angels seem to be highly developed in Judaism, but
      > it is, again, only in the second tier of the Christian writings that they
      > make much of an effect.

      I think you can make this claim only if you neglect the "angel talk" that appears
      in Paul, of which there is a decent amount, yes?


      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Chicago, Illinois
      e-mail jgibson000@...
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