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724[XTalk] Re: Re:Jubilee

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  • Jim West
    Jul 1, 1999
      At 12:16 AM 7/1/99 -0400, you wrote:

      >The article in Bible Review, February, 1999 by Michael Hudson ("Proclaim
      >Liberty throughout the Land!") argues that it was indeed celebrated on
      >certain occasions, and was common throughout the Near East.

      Commonality of practice in literary sources does not mean, necessarily, that
      the jubilee was actually practiced in fact. As a literary trope it sounds
      wonderfully nice to say that so and so cancelled debt. But getting actual
      creditors to agree, wholesale, to forgive every debt owed them would put
      them out of business. It simply makes no practical sense. Do we have any
      evidence, textual or otherwise, from a debtor saying his creditor forgave him?

      >The Rosetta
      >stone, for example, commemorates a debt cancellation by Ptolemy V in 196 BCE.

      But did he actually do it? Or is the function of the claim in the rosetta
      stone simply a way of exalting Ptolemy?

      >He traces its usage to Sumerian; Liz has traced it back to Akkadian. Hudson
      >reviews Assyrian use of *andurarum* and notes its possible connection to
      >Hebrew *deror* in Leviticus 25, as noted on this list by Liz. However, unlike
      >Liz, Hudson connects the practice not to any regular cycle, but to the
      >inauguration of a new reign-- which also has interesting echoes in the
      >present discussion.

      Indeed it does. But again, what better way to exalt a new monarch then to
      say, "he issued an edict requiring the forgiveness of debts". especially
      when he is long dead and no one can prove or disprove the claim.
      Politicians and their mouthpieces of all ages (past and present) are capable
      of saying things that are not true.

      >Hudson takes the interesting tack of noting failures to
      >proclaim the jubilee when it would otherwise have been expected, and the
      >problems that ensued.

      Problems? What sources, from debtors, does he have to suggest there were
      problems if they didn't have legitimate debts erased?

      >
      >According to Hudson, the first debt-cancellation Jubilee proclaimed in Israel
      >was that of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 34:8). Another was recorded in Nehemiah
      >5:7-12.

      Hmmm.... why would anyone want to say something so grand about Zedekiah?
      And why would Nehemiah want to paint such a pretty picture of life in the
      desolate land???? Could it be that he wants folk to move there- and hey, if
      ya do, we practice the year of release and forgiveness of debt. (oops- we
      cant do it this year, economic needs are too pressing!!).

      In other words, I dont think we should confuse a literary device for
      reality. Any more than we accept a literal 6 days of creation (a literary
      device) for reality (or pick your biblical metaphor).

      Likwise, in Luke, the whole function of the Lukan "to proclaim the Lord's
      year of release..." etc. is CLEARLY a literary device intended to exalt the
      new messiah's reign. But, likewise, it is equally clear that Jesus never
      did command that debtors cancel their debts (in anything more than a
      metaphorical way, in reference to the forgiveness of sin!!!!!). Nor do we
      have a shred of evidence that anyone in the day of Jesus ever practiced this
      debt forgiveness.

      best,

      Jim

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Jim West, ThD
      email- jwest@...
      web page- http://web.infoave.net/~jwest


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