Re: [XTalk] Re: Tribute payment
- Robert wrote:
>I'm wondering whether Mark's answer to theRobert,
>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'.
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
"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
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- --- RSBrenchley wrote:
> Obviously, they were almost all paying the tax; significantIt was evidently important to provide a justification for complying
> 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.
- 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
> Isn't it possible, though, that an insignificant MessianicThat passage seems to indicate that everybody (presumably including
> 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?
Christians) _did_ use image-bearing coins - though maybe the author
disapproved of what he saw as hypocrisy among his brethren.
Mt. Clemens, MI