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Re: [XTalk] Re: Tribute Payment

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  • dagoi@aol.com
    In a message dated 2/01/3 10:18:23 PM, Frank wrote:
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 1 10:04 PM
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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 2 of 14 , Feb 2 9:02 AM
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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 3 of 14 , Feb 2 12:49 PM
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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 4 of 14 , Feb 2 1:18 PM
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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 5 of 14 , Feb 2 8:33 PM
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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 6 of 14 , Feb 3 4:26 AM
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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 7 of 14 , Feb 3 8:32 AM
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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 8 of 14 , Feb 3 8:44 AM
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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 9 of 14 , Feb 3 9:05 AM
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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 10 of 14 , Feb 3 4:45 PM
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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 11 of 14 , Feb 4 8:06 AM
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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 12 of 14 , Feb 4 10:53 AM
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- 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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