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Re: [XTalk] Re: Tribute Payment

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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 1 of 14 , Feb 1, 2003
      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 2 of 14 , Feb 1, 2003
        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 3 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
          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 4 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
            --- 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 5 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
              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 6 of 14 , Feb 2, 2003
                --- 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 7 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
                  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 8 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
                    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 9 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
                      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 10 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
                        >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 11 of 14 , Feb 3, 2003
                          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 12 of 14 , Feb 4, 2003
                            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 13 of 14 , Feb 4, 2003
                              --- 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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