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Re: [XTalk] Re: Tribute payment

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  • Loren Rosson
    ... Robert, Dick Horsley and Bill Herozg (especially the latter) would agree with you. And I think Dick will be doing an online seminar with us this month --
    Message 1 of 35 , Feb 1, 2003
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      Robert wrote:

      >I'm wondering whether Mark's answer to the
      >question about tribute is really as clear
      >as the church has traditionally supposed...
      >Could it be an indication that part of the
      >EC saw the tax as involving an unacceptable
      >compromise over Torah, in which case the
      >meaning could be 'Restore to God the
      >obedience you owe him, and have nothing to do
      >with the pagan images on Caesar's coins. Give
      >it back, and get rid of it'.

      Robert,

      Dick Horsley and Bill Herozg (especially the latter)
      would agree with you. And I think Dick will be doing
      an online seminar with us this month -- so this will
      be a good issue to bring up. The chief difference
      between Horsley and Herzog has to do with what one is
      ultimately obligated to do with the coins: Horsley
      says they aren't owed to Caesar, while Herzog thinks
      they are basically the **only** things which are owed
      to the emperor. Much as I'd like to agree with Dick,
      his interpretation really doesn't makes sense of
      Jesus' shaming strategy in the challenge-and-riposte
      as reported in the synoptics. In shaming his enemies
      with the denarius (which he and his disciples don't
      have, of course), Jesus indicates that there is, in
      fact, one thing which belongs to the emperor -- the
      coin minted in his own image. That had to be given
      back, because it was idolatrous and polluting. Here's
      Herzog's commentary:

      "What then is Jesus saying in his famous dictum? He is
      saying in a disguised, ambiguous, and coded way,
      'Return the coins to Caesar. He minted them in his
      image, and they should be returned to the one in whose
      image they are made.'...But this is not a call to pay
      tribute; it is a call to expel the coins from the
      land, to rid the land of their presence... It is
      uttered, like all hidden transcripts, in coded and
      ambiguous speech, not because Jesus wants to confuse
      his hearers, but because he has to exercise caution in
      a situation of entrapment. He certainly spoke clearly
      enough for those with 'ears to hear'." (Jesus,
      Justice, and the Reign of God, p 232)

      So Herzog thinks Jesus told people to give the Romans
      their money as an act of resistance itself, and that
      Caesar had no valid claim to taxing people even if he
      was entitled to his own blasphemous currency.

      Loren Rosson III
      Nashua NH
      rossoiii@...


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    • mwgrondin <mwgrondin@comcast.net>
      ... It was evidently important to provide a justification for complying - perhaps because there were Jewish/Christian factions who argued that they shouldn t
      Message 35 of 35 , Feb 4, 2003
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        --- RSBrenchley wrote:
        > Obviously, they were almost all paying the tax; significant
        > evasion would have brought about action by the Romans, of which
        > we have no record at this time. In practice, therefore, they did
        > not object, whatever private doubts they may have had.

        It was evidently important to provide a justification for complying
        - perhaps because there were Jewish/Christian factions who argued
        that they shouldn't comply. I perceive the tribute pericope as
        essentially providing a legal ruling on a real dispute between
        various factions - either within Judaism or within Christianity,
        or both. Whether it's based on an authentic scene from J's life,
        however, or whether the "Herodians" and "Pharisees" in the tale
        might be stand-ins for later Christian groups, seems not clearly
        decidable.

        > Isn't it possible, though, that an insignificant Messianic
        > group might have slipped through the net, and evaded the tax
        > on conscientious grounds?
        >
        > Could Revelation 13:16-17 be adduced as evidence of the avoidance
        > of image-bearing coin in the EC?

        That passage seems to indicate that everybody (presumably including
        Christians) _did_ use image-bearing coins - though maybe the author
        disapproved of what he saw as hypocrisy among his brethren.

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
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