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[XTalk] Re: Tribute Payment

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  • Frank McCoy
    ... Dear Loren Rosson: Are you claiming that Jesus and his disciples had no denarii with them? Are you further claiming that the reason for this was that
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 1, 2003
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      --- Loren Rosson <rossoiii@...> wrote:

      > 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.

      Dear Loren Rosson:

      Are you claiming that Jesus and his disciples had no
      denarii with them? Are you further claiming that the
      reason for this was that they deemed the denarii, with
      their images of Caesar, to be idolatrous and
      polluting? This sounds out of character for Jesus:
      who apparently was a friend of tax collectors and
      rather lax as respects ritual purity. Further,
      doesn't Mark 6:37 imply that Jesus and his disciples
      carried denarii with them?

      Let us look at GThomas 101, "They showed Jesus a gold
      coin and said to Him, 'Caesar's men demand taxes from
      us.' 'Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God
      what belongs to God, and give Me what is Mine.'"

      Here, the only thing we know about the coin is that it
      is gold, but this, perhaps, is all we need to know.

      In Plant (57), Philo states, "Again, silver and gold,
      and other precious things which are kept in the
      treasuries of subjects, belong to the ruler rather
      than to those who have them. But in spite of this we
      speak of sovereigns' private coffers in which the
      appointed collectors of dues deposit the revenues from
      the country."

      So, to be technical about it, all silver and gold
      belongs to the ruler, i.e., Caesar. This being the
      case, the gold coin falls into the category of what
      belongs to Caesar and therefore, if he demands that it
      be given to his private coffers, it ought to be given
      to him.

      I see no reason to think that the point of the Markan
      account is any different. The denarius was a silver
      coin and the image of Caesar on it simply underscores
      that, to be technical about it, Caesar is its owner.
      Therefore, if he demands it, it ought to be given to
      him. Indeed, to do otherwise would be theft and, so,
      would be to break the Law. So, one who is obedient to
      the Law will pay the tribute demanded by Caesar.

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17
      Maplewood, MN USA 55109



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    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... I have my doubts that Philo is helpful in interpreting either the Markan or the Thomas version of the text question testing. But be that as it may, and in
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 1, 2003
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        Frank McCoy wrote:

        > --- Loren Rosson <rossoiii@...> wrote:
        >
        > > 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.
        >
        > Dear Loren Rosson:
        >
        > Are you claiming that Jesus and his disciples had no
        > denarii with them? Are you further claiming that the
        > reason for this was that they deemed the denarii, with
        > their images of Caesar, to be idolatrous and
        > polluting? This sounds out of character for Jesus:
        > who apparently was a friend of tax collectors and
        > rather lax as respects ritual purity. Further,
        > doesn't Mark 6:37 imply that Jesus and his disciples
        > carried denarii with them?
        >
        > Let us look at GThomas 101, "They showed Jesus a gold
        > coin and said to Him, 'Caesar's men demand taxes from
        > us.' 'Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God
        > what belongs to God, and give Me what is Mine.'"
        >
        > Here, the only thing we know about the coin is that it
        > is gold, but this, perhaps, is all we need to know.
        >
        > In Plant (57), Philo states, "Again, silver and gold,
        > and other precious things which are kept in the
        > treasuries of subjects, belong to the ruler rather
        > than to those who have them. But in spite of this we
        > speak of sovereigns' private coffers in which the
        > appointed collectors of dues deposit the revenues from
        > the country."
        >
        > So, to be technical about it, all silver and gold
        > belongs to the ruler, i.e., Caesar. This being the
        > case, the gold coin falls into the category of what
        > belongs to Caesar and therefore, if he demands that it
        > be given to his private coffers, it ought to be given
        > to him.
        >
        > I see no reason to think that the point of the Markan
        > account is any different. The denarius was a silver
        > coin and the image of Caesar on it simply underscores
        > that, to be technical about it, Caesar is its owner.
        > Therefore, if he demands it, it ought to be given to
        > him. Indeed, to do otherwise would be theft and, so,
        > would be to break the Law. So, one who is obedient to
        > the Law will pay the tribute demanded by Caesar.

        I have my doubts that Philo is helpful in interpreting either the Markan
        or the Thomas version of the text question testing. But be that as it
        may, and in response to the issues that Lorren and Frank are raising
        regarding Jesus' attitude toward the tax as well as the questions
        raised by others regarding the meaning of the saying that Mark has Jesus
        utter in response to the tax question, I have uploaded to the XTalk
        files section (in pdf format) the study I made of Mk 12:13-17 some
        years ago where my own answers to these questions are set out.

        It may be found at

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/CHP10LS1.pdf

        I hope some may find my arguments and conclusions useful.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey
        --

        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
        Chicago, IL 60626

        jgibson000@...



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • dagoi@aol.com
        In a message dated 2/01/3 10:18:23 PM, Frank wrote:
        Message 3 of 14 , Feb 1, 2003
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          In a message dated 2/01/3 10:18:23 PM, Frank wrote:

          <<
          Are you claiming that Jesus and his disciples had no
          denarii with them? Are you further claiming that the
          reason for this was that they deemed the denarii, with
          their images of Caesar, to be idolatrous and
          polluting? This sounds out of character for Jesus:
          who apparently was a friend of tax collectors and
          rather lax as respects ritual purity. Further,
          doesn't Mark 6:37 imply that Jesus and his disciples
          carried denarii with them?>>

          Also, it is asserted that Judas Iscariot carried the money bag. If he were a
          few steps further away than the questioners, it would be natural for Jesus to
          make a point from the pocket of those closer to him than from his own.

          Bill Foley
          Woburn
        • Loren Rosson
          ... with ... Frank, Mk 6:37 can hardly be taken as an indication that Jesus closest followers (especially itinerant ones) carried money with them. Don t
          Message 4 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
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            Frank wrote:

            >Are you claiming that Jesus and his disciples had no
            >denarii with them? Are you further claiming that the
            >reason for this was that they deemed the denarii,
            with
            >their images of Caesar, to be idolatrous and
            >polluting? This sounds out of character for Jesus:
            >who apparently was a friend of tax collectors and
            >rather lax as respects ritual purity. Further,
            >doesn't Mark 6:37 imply that Jesus and his disciples
            >carried denarii with them?

            Frank,

            Mk 6:37 can hardly be taken as an indication that
            Jesus' closest followers (especially itinerant ones)
            carried money with them. Don't forget texts like Mk
            6:7-13/Mt 10:5-15/Lk 9:1-6;10:1-12 too.

            But the general answer to your question is yes, Jesus
            and his closest followers (though not necessarily all
            of his followers, nor especially the village-based
            part of the movement) seemed to have shunned Caesar's
            coins like the plague. (And I wish you would start to
            shun Philo a bit more in your work; he hardly stands
            as the most plausible comparison to HJ.) Jewish belief
            dictated that everything belonged to God -- that
            people were created in God's image and belonged to Him
            alone (Gen. 1-2), as the promised land belonged to Him
            alone (Lev. 25:23). Many recognize this; you can look
            over, for instance, Jeffrey Gibson's uploaded work on
            The Tradition of Jesus' Tax Temptation, esp pp
            229-236. "The pious Jew...would feel obligated to
            disavow the tax's legitimacy and deem it necessary to
            refuse to pay it." (236) "Give to Caesar what is
            Caesar's and God what is God's" would by rights imply
            "Give Caesar nothing and God everything".

            However, I do recognize that this is not exactly what
            is implied by Jesus' debate strategy as it stands in
            the synoptic narrative. By publicly shaming his
            enemies with the coin -- asking the rhetorical
            question, "Whose image and inscription is this?" --
            Jesus indicates that the coins belong to Caesar's
            dominion rather than God's. This doesn't necessarily
            imply, however, that Caesar has a legitimate claim to
            taxing people.

            >The denarius was a silver
            >coin and the image of Caesar on it simply underscores
            >that, to be technical about it, Caesar is its owner.
            >Therefore, if he demands it, it ought to be given to
            >him. Indeed, to do otherwise would be theft and, so,
            >would be to break the Law. So, one who is obedient
            to
            >the Law will pay the tribute demanded by Caesar.

            You need to re-examine the question of "theft" -- its
            various manifestations, and towards whom people would
            have been inclined to direct the accusation.

            Keep in mind that if Jesus is really taking the side
            of his adversaries (the moderate Pharisees at best,
            the elite Herodians at worst), then he is doing so for
            the first time in any of the major
            challenge-and-ripostes as reported in the synoptic
            tradition. This makes sense neither on the level of
            history nor literary narrative. I have in mind the
            following 10 incidents:

            1. The scribes accuse Jesus of blasphemy (Mk.
            2:1-12/Mt. 9:1-8/Lk. 5:17-26)

            2. The Pharisees and scribes challenge Jesus for
            eating with outcasts (Mk. 2:15-17/Mt. 9:10-13/Lk.
            5:29-32)

            3. The Pharisees challenge Jesus and the disciples for
            not fasting (Mk. 2:18-22/Mt. 9:14-17/Lk. 5:33-39)

            4. The Pharisees challenge Jesus and the disciples for
            plucking grain on the sabbath (Mk. 2:23-28/Mt.
            12:1-8/Lk. 6:1-5)

            5. The Pharisees challenge Jesus for healing a man on
            the sabbath (Mk. 3:1-6/Mt. 12:9-14/Lk. 6:6-11)

            6. The scribes accuse Jesus of being demon-possessed
            (Mk. 3:19b-30)

            7. The Pharisees and scribes challenge Jesus and the
            disciples for eating with unwashed hands (Mk.
            7:1-23/Mt. 15:1-20)

            8. The Pharisees challenge Jesus on the subject of
            divorce (Mk. 10:2-12/Mt. 19:3-9)

            9. The temple authorities and scribes challenge Jesus
            after his prophetic act in the temple (Mk.
            11:27-33/Mt. 21:23-27/Lk. 20:1-8)

            10. The Herodians and Pharisees challenge Jesus on the
            subject of paying taxes to Caesar (Mk. 12:13-17/Mt.
            22:15-22/Lk. 20:20-26)

            In all of these reports -- whether they are historical
            (as I take them to be, for the most part) or Markan
            creations is irrelevant for the limited point I'm
            making here -- Jesus opposes the stance taken by the
            challengers. But for some reason, scholars and
            laypeople alike persist in viewing him as doing an
            about-face and suddenly adopting the position of his
            adversaries in incident #10. Moreover, Jeffrey
            correctly notes that these challengers are confident
            in the assumption that the tax question "will be an,
            if not the, instrument in bringing Jesus to
            destruction...how could the opponents of Jesus be
            certain that the tax question would have this outcome
            unless they knew beforehand that Jesus did not endorse
            the tax?" (p 239)

            I'm not as convinced about Jeffrey's ideas about how
            Mark has changed and altered the tradition here. But
            regardless of how historical Mk. 12:13-17/Mt.
            22:15-22/Lk. 20:20-26/Thom 100 is, these texts can
            hardly be taken as evidence that Jesus believed the
            Romans had the right to tax people.

            Loren Rosson III
            Nashua NH
            rossoiii@...

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          • mwgrondin <mwgrondin@comcast.net>
            ... Well, of course, Jesus is not presented as taking the side of his adversaries, and I don t see that what Frank wrote suggests that. It s interesting to
            Message 5 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
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              --- Loren Rosson wrote to Frank McCoy:
              > Keep in mind that if Jesus is really taking the side of his
              > adversaries (the moderate Pharisees at best, the elite Herodians
              > at worst), then he is doing so for the first time in any of the
              > major challenge-and-ripostes as reported in the synoptic
              > tradition.

              Well, of course, Jesus is not presented as taking the side of his
              adversaries, and I don't see that what Frank wrote suggests that.
              It's interesting to note in that regard that Mark and Matt indicate
              that the questioners include both Pharisees and Herodians (the
              rhetorical importance of the makeup of the audience seems to have
              escaped Luke). This may have been understood to place Jesus in a
              situation in which his audience was divided between those who would
              say that a tribute should be paid to Caesar (Herodians) and those
              who would deny or question it (Pharisees).

              Only Matthew makes clear why Jesus asks for a denarius - namely,
              because that is the form in which the tribute is to be paid. Mark
              and Luke imply that, but the fact that Matthew spelled it out
              indicates that, for him, the _form_ of the tribute was the crucial
              factor in the story. If, for example, the tribute was to be exacted
              in product of the fields, Jesus could not have been made to give
              such an answer as he was. Now whether this is historically accurate,
              i.e., whether the form of the tribute actually was Caesar's coin in
              all cases is beside the point. The point is, as Frank says, that
              Caesar's coins were man-made objects in patent violation of Jewish
              Law for such objects. It's simply not the case that Judaism regarded
              all things as "belonging" to God in the relevant sense. It regarded
              all _natural_ things as automatically belonging to God, but things
              created by human beings (buildings, foodstuffs, etc) had to follow
              certain rules in order to make them acceptable to God - which
              implies that they "belonged" to God in the strict sense only after
              having been made "acceptable" to "him". Obviously, the denarius in
              question could not have been "made kosher" without altering its
              appearance. And so that must be the point of the story - not that
              Caesar was owed some tribute or other, in whatever form, (which
              would, as Loren says, put Jesus on the side of the Herodians),
              but that those objects created by Caesar which had not been (and
              couldn't be) made acceptable to God "belonged" to Caesar in a way
              that natural objects, and man-made objects which had been
              rendered "acceptable to God", do not. By concentrating on the
              _form_ of the tribute, then, J's response gets him out of the
              rhetorical predicament set up at the outset (by Mark and Matt) by
              specifying an audience (Pharisees and Herodians) polarized on the
              issue.

              Mike Grondin
              Mt. Clemens, MI
            • Loren Rosson
              ... As stated above, this certainly would place Jesus on the side of the Herodians. Following Frank s logic, every single coin in Palestine would be owed
              Message 6 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
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                Mike wrote:

                > Well, of course, Jesus is not presented
                > as taking the side of his adversaries,
                > and I don't see that what Frank wrote
                > suggests that.

                But Frank had written:

                >The denarius was a silver
                >coin and the image of Caesar on it simply underscores
                >that, to be technical about it, Caesar is its owner.
                >Therefore, if he demands it, it ought to be given to
                >him. Indeed, to do otherwise would be theft and, so,
                >would be to break the Law.

                As stated above, this certainly would place Jesus on
                the side of the Herodians. Following Frank's logic,
                every single coin in Palestine would be owed Caesar if
                he simply demanded it.

                On the other hand, Mike, I appreciate your focus on
                the form of the tribute. I'll think more about what
                you've said. Perhaps you can bring up this issue on
                the upcoming Horsley Seminar (if you plan on
                subscribing). Good grist for the mill.

                Loren Rosson III
                Nashua NH
                rossoiii@...


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              • mwgrondin <mwgrondin@comcast.net>
                ... Yes, I see. I ve reread Frank s note and I can t say as I recall any textual evidence indicating that it was believed that all silver and gold belongs to
                Message 7 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
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                  --- Loren Rosson wrote:
                  > Following Frank's logic, every single coin in Palestine would be
                  > owed Caesar if he simply demanded it.

                  Yes, I see. I've reread Frank's note and I can't say as I recall
                  any textual evidence indicating that it was believed that "all
                  silver and gold belongs to the ruler". The Philo quote seems to me
                  to be saying something quite different than that, and GThom 100 is
                  off in an entirely different direction from the canonical version
                  (in GThom, the gold coin is probably a symbol of the worldly wealth
                  which is to be eschewed in favor of spiritual goods).

                  I'd like to clarify a few remarks I wrote earlier, if you don't
                  mind. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that gold and silver _as
                  natural elements_ in general "belonged to God", but if one made,
                  say, a golden calf, one would have created out of God's material
                  an object not pleasing to God, hence that object itself couldn't
                  be said to "belong to God". With that in mind, I think we can see
                  how the canonical Jesus sidesteps the question posed to him in a
                  way that satisfies both sides in the dispute (viz., Pharisees and
                  Herodians). The question on which they were sharply divided was
                  whether tribute should be paid to Caesar, and that's the way the
                  question is posed. Jesus doesn't provide a simple 'yes' or 'no'
                  (which would have angered one side or the other), but rather is
                  made to provide a qualified answer that couldn't fail to be at
                  least partially acceptable to both sides. To the Herodians, J's
                  answer could be understood as: yes, tribute may be paid in some
                  form. To the Pharisees: there's no objection to paying tribute in
                  a coinage regarded as in itself displeasing to God.

                  Of course, the factor on which the legal pronouncement is made
                  to turn - namely, that the image and inscription on the coin make
                  it the property of Caesar - is somewhat cockeyed to our way of
                  thinking, but it may well have made sense in the historical
                  situation imagined. On the other hand, this story is wisdom
                  literature par excellence - cockeyed reasoning in support of
                  eirenic solutions to seemingly-insoluble legal disputes being
                  not infrequently taken as indicative of divine wisdom.

                  Mike Grondin
                  Mt. Clemens, MI
                • Loren Rosson
                  Mike, ... Which means the answer would have also been partially unacceptable to both sides. But more to the point (assuming the debate dynamics as reported in
                  Message 8 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
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                    Mike,

                    Thanks for the additional thoughts. You wrote:

                    >I'd like to clarify a few remarks I wrote earlier...
                    >Jesus doesn't provide a simple 'yes' or 'no'
                    >(which would have angered one side or the other),
                    >but rather is made to provide a qualified answer
                    >that couldn't fail to be at least partially
                    >acceptable to both sides.

                    Which means the answer would have also been partially
                    unacceptable to both sides. But more to the point
                    (assuming the debate dynamics as reported in the
                    synoptics are largely historical), Jesus has publicly
                    humiliated both parties; they thought to snare him,
                    but he got the better of them. Setting aside the issue
                    being addressed, this alone would be enough to leave
                    them steeming.

                    >To the Herodians, J's answer could be
                    >understood as: yes, tribute may be
                    >paid in some form. To the Pharisees: there's
                    >no objection to paying tribute in
                    >a coinage regarded as in itself displeasing
                    >to God.

                    I agree that these are logical implications of Jesus'
                    position, but it's doubtful that his intent was to
                    appease or compromise -- any more than it was to make
                    "partially acceptable solutions" in the other
                    challenge-and-riposte scenarios involving
                    indiscriminate table-fellowship, healing on the
                    sabbath, handwashing, divorce, etc.

                    >...this story is wisdom literature par
                    >excellence - cockeyed reasoning in support of
                    >eirenic solutions to seemingly-insoluble legal
                    >disputes being not infrequently taken as
                    >indicative of divine wisdom.

                    More likely, this story (like too many others in which
                    Jesus is challenged by scribes, Pharisees, Herodians,
                    or temple authorites) shows Jesus gaining honor the
                    only way he can -- at the expense of others, through
                    shrewd one-upsmanship in support of counter-demands,
                    counter-questions, insults, and a peristent refusal to
                    be put on the defensive by answering questions
                    directly.

                    Loren Rosson III
                    Nashua NH
                    rossoiii@...


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                  • Gordon Raynal
                    Mike and Loren, I know we aren t to write hooray notes, but I think is a dandy one! To add to it in relation to the whole history of coinage use in
                    Message 9 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
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                      Mike and Loren,

                      I know we aren't to write "hooray" notes, but I think is a dandy one! To
                      add to it in relation to the whole history of coinage use in Israel... it's
                      just fascinating that the Temple leadership preferred the Tyrian silver 1/2
                      shekels (honesty of silver weight), yet that coinage had the god Melqart on
                      the obverse! And in relation to the bronze coinage... the Hashmonean
                      coinage did use the national symbols... the palm tree, the lily and the
                      cornucopia, but had no gods! Once we get to the Herodians they paid honor
                      to the Roman overlords on their coins. And the prutahs and such which were
                      the more normal money of day to day commerce were dated in terms of the
                      Imperial rule and had symbols of that. Pilate had 2 designs, for instance.
                      One with drooping ears of grain that honored the death of Julia Livia...
                      with the simpulum on the other side and then one with the emperor's staff.
                      The presence of the Roman's, their symbols, their power, their names... was
                      there in the pocket change of daily commerce. Jesus' wisdom tweak, as you
                      well note, is indeed, "wisdom literature par excellence!"

                      So... Mike... we do agree on some things:)!

                      Gordon Raynal

                      >--- Loren Rosson wrote:
                      >> Following Frank's logic, every single coin in Palestine would be
                      >> owed Caesar if he simply demanded it.
                      >
                      >Yes, I see. I've reread Frank's note and I can't say as I recall
                      >any textual evidence indicating that it was believed that "all
                      >silver and gold belongs to the ruler". The Philo quote seems to me
                      >to be saying something quite different than that, and GThom 100 is
                      >off in an entirely different direction from the canonical version
                      >(in GThom, the gold coin is probably a symbol of the worldly wealth
                      >which is to be eschewed in favor of spiritual goods).
                      >
                      >I'd like to clarify a few remarks I wrote earlier, if you don't
                      >mind. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that gold and silver _as
                      >natural elements_ in general "belonged to God", but if one made,
                      >say, a golden calf, one would have created out of God's material
                      >an object not pleasing to God, hence that object itself couldn't
                      >be said to "belong to God". With that in mind, I think we can see
                      >how the canonical Jesus sidesteps the question posed to him in a
                      >way that satisfies both sides in the dispute (viz., Pharisees and
                      >Herodians). The question on which they were sharply divided was
                      >whether tribute should be paid to Caesar, and that's the way the
                      >question is posed. Jesus doesn't provide a simple 'yes' or 'no'
                      >(which would have angered one side or the other), but rather is
                      >made to provide a qualified answer that couldn't fail to be at
                      >least partially acceptable to both sides. To the Herodians, J's
                      >answer could be understood as: yes, tribute may be paid in some
                      >form. To the Pharisees: there's no objection to paying tribute in
                      >a coinage regarded as in itself displeasing to God.
                      >
                      >Of course, the factor on which the legal pronouncement is made
                      >to turn - namely, that the image and inscription on the coin make
                      >it the property of Caesar - is somewhat cockeyed to our way of
                      >thinking, but it may well have made sense in the historical
                      >situation imagined. On the other hand, this story is wisdom
                      >literature par excellence - cockeyed reasoning in support of
                      >eirenic solutions to seemingly-insoluble legal disputes being
                      >not infrequently taken as indicative of divine wisdom.
                      >
                      >Mike Grondin
                      >Mt. Clemens, MI
                      >
                      >
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                      >
                      >
                    • Loren Rosson
                      ... Just as you and I disagree about almost everything, my friend. And not to take the wind out of your sails... but how does anything you ve said below
                      Message 10 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
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                        Gordon wrote:

                        > So... Mike... we do agree on some things:)!

                        Just as you and I disagree about almost everything, my
                        friend. And not to take the wind out of your sails...
                        but how does anything you've said below reinforce
                        Mike's idea about Mk 12:13-17/Mt 22:15-22/Lk 20:20-26
                        /Thom 100 involving "wisdom literature par
                        excellence"?

                        Loren Rosson III
                        Nashua NH
                        rossoiii@...



                        --- Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...> wrote:
                        > Mike and Loren,
                        >
                        > I know we aren't to write "hooray" notes, but I
                        > think is a dandy one! To
                        > add to it in relation to the whole history of
                        > coinage use in Israel... it's
                        > just fascinating that the Temple leadership
                        > preferred the Tyrian silver 1/2
                        > shekels (honesty of silver weight), yet that coinage
                        > had the god Melqart on
                        > the obverse! And in relation to the bronze
                        > coinage... the Hashmonean
                        > coinage did use the national symbols... the palm
                        > tree, the lily and the
                        > cornucopia, but had no gods! Once we get to the
                        > Herodians they paid honor
                        > to the Roman overlords on their coins. And the
                        > prutahs and such which were
                        > the more normal money of day to day commerce were
                        > dated in terms of the
                        > Imperial rule and had symbols of that. Pilate had 2
                        > designs, for instance.
                        > One with drooping ears of grain that honored the
                        > death of Julia Livia...
                        > with the simpulum on the other side and then one
                        > with the emperor's staff.
                        > The presence of the Roman's, their symbols, their
                        > power, their names... was
                        > there in the pocket change of daily commerce.
                        > Jesus' wisdom tweak, as you
                        > well note, is indeed, "wisdom literature par
                        > excellence!"
                        >



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                      • Gordon Raynal
                        ... Hi my LOTR friend! Well... it does have to do with the basic nature of the movement... the basic nature/character of parabolic speech and the polyvalence
                        Message 11 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
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                          >Gordon wrote:
                          >
                          >> So... Mike... we do agree on some things:)!
                          >
                          >Just as you and I disagree about almost everything, my
                          >friend. And not to take the wind out of your sails...
                          >but how does anything you've said below reinforce
                          >Mike's idea about Mk 12:13-17/Mt 22:15-22/Lk 20:20-26
                          >/Thom 100 involving "wisdom literature par
                          >excellence"?

                          Hi my LOTR friend!

                          Well... it does have to do with the basic nature of the movement... the
                          basic nature/character of parabolic speech and the polyvalence of emotional
                          responses that are possible in response. Was Jesus sometimes royally
                          p.o.-ed?, Sure! Did some of those exchanges show that? No doubt. But then
                          again, one of the guises one "put's on" in the telling of parables can be
                          quite the opposite of the underlying actual state of emotions and intention
                          of communication. And then, this gets down to the core speech that defines
                          the character of the rest... the core actions/ locations that actually
                          define the movement... the core theological affirmations that define the
                          very constitution of what's being brought to life. Your friends upon whom
                          you rely for all this honor and shame foci have made their choices about
                          that. And you take them up on it. So, yes, my good Sci-Fi loving buddy, we
                          do disagree about those choices. As for reading these particular scenes...
                          it do depend on how one assesses the above (pardon my southernism:)!) This
                          was a movement about forgiveness, reconciliation, God "counting sparrows"
                          and "hairs...." I want to begin there and not the redactive imaginations of
                          even the earliest collectors to understand these beginnings!

                          Hey, we're in 2003... some dandy Sci-Fi coming out this year! Cheery stuff!
                          Gordon
                        • David C. Hindley
                          Gordon & Loren & Mike & Robert & Bill & Jeffrey & Bob D & Bob S & Frank & ... it s just fascinating that the Temple leadership preferred the Tyrian silver 1/2
                          Message 12 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
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                            Gordon & Loren & Mike & Robert & Bill & Jeffrey & Bob D & Bob S & Frank &
                            Horace & Edgar & Richard (in no particular order):

                            >>To add to it in relation to the whole history of coinage use in Israel...
                            it's just fascinating that the Temple leadership preferred the Tyrian silver
                            1/2 shekels (honesty of silver weight), yet that coinage had the god Melqart
                            on the obverse!<<

                            I wonder if a case can be made for this pericope originating as a tax
                            protest or commentary *on the part of the author of Mark*?

                            According to Bruce Bartlett, "HOW EXCESSIVE GOVERNMENT KILLED ANCIENT ROME":
                            "Tiberius [as opposed to Augustus] ... hoarded large sums of cash. This led
                            to a financial crisis in 33 A.D. in which there was a severe shortage of
                            money." (The Cato Journal, Volume 14 Number 2, Fall 1994)
                            http://ancienthistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww
                            .cato.org%2Fpubs%2Fjournal%2Fcjv14n2-7.html

                            The author is thus commenting about the *lack* of denarii in general
                            circulation, making Jesus say, in effect: "If the emperor wants to hoard all
                            the money, let him. We don't need his money anyway."

                            On the other hand, Bartlett also notes that: "As early as the rule of Nero
                            (54-68 A.D.) there is evidence that the demand for [state] revenue led to
                            debasement of the coinage. Revenue was needed to pay the increasing costs of
                            defense and a growing bureaucracy. However, rather than raise taxes, Nero
                            and subsequent emperors preferred to debase the currency by reducing the
                            precious metal content of coins. This was, of course, a form of taxation; in
                            this case, a tax on cash balances (Bailey 1956). [...] debasement was mainly
                            limited to the denarius. Nero reduced the silver content of the denarius to
                            90 percent [...] Trajan (98-117 A.D.) [further] reduced the silver content
                            to 85 percent"

                            Then the author of Mark could be interpreted as contrasting the debased
                            denarius against the undebased Tyrian 1/2 shekel. The only problem is that
                            it shifts the story from telling us something about Jesus and his time to
                            telling us something about the author of Mark and his time (with the
                            corresponding shift in date for the creation of the account to at very least
                            54-68 CE).

                            All this author invention stuff could, of course, be based on a kernel of a
                            real Jesus story. I could see Jesus recommending the payment of *both* full
                            production-based biblical tithes *and* fixed Roman census-based
                            property/poll taxes. This was, after all, what the Pharisees, or at any rate
                            the rabbis, tried to do. The author of Mark took this ball and played his
                            own game with it.

                            Respectfully,

                            Dave Hindley
                            Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                          • Gordon Raynal
                            Hi David, Interesting note. Thanks for the Barlett quote about Tiberius hoarding. Most interesting! Gordon Raynal
                            Message 13 of 14 , Feb 4, 2003
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                              Hi David,

                              Interesting note. Thanks for the Barlett quote about Tiberius' hoarding.
                              Most interesting!

                              Gordon Raynal
                              ----------
                              >From: "David C. Hindley" <dhindley@...>
                              >To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                              >Subject: RE: [XTalk] Re: Tribute Payment
                              >Date: 3, Feb 2003, 7:45 PM
                              >

                              >Gordon & Loren & Mike & Robert & Bill & Jeffrey & Bob D & Bob S & Frank &
                              >Horace & Edgar & Richard (in no particular order):
                              >
                              >>>To add to it in relation to the whole history of coinage use in Israel...
                              >it's just fascinating that the Temple leadership preferred the Tyrian silver
                              >1/2 shekels (honesty of silver weight), yet that coinage had the god Melqart
                              >on the obverse!<<
                              >
                              >I wonder if a case can be made for this pericope originating as a tax
                              >protest or commentary *on the part of the author of Mark*?
                              >
                              >According to Bruce Bartlett, "HOW EXCESSIVE GOVERNMENT KILLED ANCIENT ROME":
                              >"Tiberius [as opposed to Augustus] ... hoarded large sums of cash. This led
                              >to a financial crisis in 33 A.D. in which there was a severe shortage of
                              >money." (The Cato Journal, Volume 14 Number 2, Fall 1994)
                              >http://ancienthistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww
                              >.cato.org%2Fpubs%2Fjournal%2Fcjv14n2-7.html
                              >
                              >The author is thus commenting about the *lack* of denarii in general
                              >circulation, making Jesus say, in effect: "If the emperor wants to hoard all
                              >the money, let him. We don't need his money anyway."
                              >
                              >On the other hand, Bartlett also notes that: "As early as the rule of Nero
                              >(54-68 A.D.) there is evidence that the demand for [state] revenue led to
                              >debasement of the coinage. Revenue was needed to pay the increasing costs of
                              >defense and a growing bureaucracy. However, rather than raise taxes, Nero
                              >and subsequent emperors preferred to debase the currency by reducing the
                              >precious metal content of coins. This was, of course, a form of taxation; in
                              >this case, a tax on cash balances (Bailey 1956). [...] debasement was mainly
                              >limited to the denarius. Nero reduced the silver content of the denarius to
                              >90 percent [...] Trajan (98-117 A.D.) [further] reduced the silver content
                              >to 85 percent"
                              >
                              >Then the author of Mark could be interpreted as contrasting the debased
                              >denarius against the undebased Tyrian 1/2 shekel. The only problem is that
                              >it shifts the story from telling us something about Jesus and his time to
                              >telling us something about the author of Mark and his time (with the
                              >corresponding shift in date for the creation of the account to at very least
                              >54-68 CE).
                              >
                              >All this author invention stuff could, of course, be based on a kernel of a
                              >real Jesus story. I could see Jesus recommending the payment of *both* full
                              >production-based biblical tithes *and* fixed Roman census-based
                              >property/poll taxes. This was, after all, what the Pharisees, or at any rate
                              >the rabbis, tried to do. The author of Mark took this ball and played his
                              >own game with it.
                              >
                              >Respectfully,
                              >
                              >Dave Hindley
                              >Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
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                            • mwgrondin <mwgrondin@comcast.net>
                              ... Whether or not it was invented by an evangelist (which is a separate issue), I don t think a _good_ case can be made for the pericope being a commentary on
                              Message 14 of 14 , Feb 4, 2003
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                                --- David C. Hindley wrote:
                                > I wonder if a case can be made for this pericope originating as
                                > a tax protest or commentary *on the part of the author of Mark*?

                                Whether or not it was invented by an evangelist (which is a separate
                                issue), I don't think a _good_ case can be made for the pericope
                                being a commentary on financial/economic issues of either J's time
                                or Mark's time - because there doesn't seem to be anything in the
                                internal logic of it that suggests that. The question was whether
                                the payment of Roman taxes didn't in fact amount to a seemingly-
                                objectionable "giving tribute to Caesar", and it's framed in that
                                way. This has nothing to do that I can see with either a shortage
                                or "debasing" of the denarius. That the question of taxes was
                                primarily a religious issue for Christians can be seen from Mt.17:24-
                                27, where the author is concerned with answering the question of
                                whether Jesus paid the Temple tax - a "son of God" being presumably
                                exempt from such taxation. (Matthew evades the issue by the silly
                                little device of having Peter catch a fish with a coin in its mouth
                                sufficient to pay the Temple tax for both himself and Jesus. I think
                                even the miracle-believers shake their heads at that one). Back to
                                the tribute pericope, I don't see anything in the internal logic of
                                it which would indicate that it's anything other than a religious
                                issue being raised - one that would have been of some importance to
                                both Jewish and Hellenistic Christians.

                                Mike Grondin
                                Mt. Clemens, MI
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