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Re: [XTalk] The kingdom of God: Did Jesus get it wrong?

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  • Loren Rosson
    ... Gordon, I have actually never equated prophetic with apocalyptic, nor eschatological with apocalyptic (the latter being a subset of the former). Clerical
    Message 1 of 18 , Mar 3 3:56 AM
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      Gordon wrote:

      >In any event, contra my good sparring buddy Loren...
      >all prophetic acts are not "apocalyptic"/ all
      >eschatology not "apocalyptic."

      Gordon,

      I have actually never equated prophetic with
      apocalyptic, nor eschatological with apocalyptic (the
      latter being a subset of the former). Clerical
      prophets like John Hyrcanus I and sappiential prophets
      coming from the ranks of the Pharisees (like Samaias)
      or Essenes (like Judas) do not seem to have been
      eschatologically driven. But most of the oracular
      prophets and popular prophets were, and some even
      apocalyptically so. It just so happens that Jesus fits
      the description (so I believe) of "apocalyptic
      prophet".

      >Regarding Loren's contention that Jesus' parabolic
      >speech is prophetic and decidely apocalyptic...

      I am saying that Jesus' parabolic speech is
      fundamentally prophetic, with shades of the
      apocalyptic creeping in here and there.

      >...doesn't let the speech function in its own
      integrity,
      >tradition and modus operandi.
      >Parables simply are not prophetic utterances. To go
      to
      >the old sources...Proverbs isn't an apocalyptic or
      >prophetic work. And Ecclesiastes has a
      >different notion of God's rule, the present and the
      >future from Daniel...fer instance. Wisdom speech,
      >communication has it's own integrity.

      My friend, you are simply assuming that parables must
      follow exclusively in the Wisdom tradition of the OT.
      You are wrong. Consider:

      1. OT prophets were certainly known for using
      parables. II Sam 12:1-6 shows Nathan doing so with
      David. Isa 5:1-6 presents a parable in the form of a
      love-song, which provides a segue into the prophet's
      diatribes against the aristocracy for alienating
      peasants from the land (5:7-8). Ekez 17:1-10 is an
      allegorical parable. So on.

      2. Hosea 12:10 has God promising that "through the
      prophets I will bring parables".

      3. Moving into the NT, Mt 13:35 speaks of the
      "fulfillment of what had been spoken through the
      prophet", followed by a citation of Ps 78:2: "I will
      open my mouth in a parable and proclaim what has been
      hidden..." (In this case, the "prophet" is David.)

      There is simply no justification for pigeon-holing the
      parable genre into the wisdom tradition at the expense
      of the prophetic.

      >Brandon Scott, for one, is just great on this...
      >as are Crossan and Borg, of course.

      As you know too well, I believe they are among the
      worst parable interpreters. Will we never agree on
      anything? :(

      Loren Rosson III
      Nashua NH
      rossoiii@...

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    • Loren Rosson
      ... Bob, I was unaware of this; thanks for mentioning. I ll have to look into the archives. Loren Rosson III Nashua NH rossoiii@yahoo.com
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 3 4:08 AM
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        Bob wrote:

        > Those with long memories or good records may recall
        > that David Kaylor was
        > an early member of CrossTalk back in the old days
        > when it was hosted by
        > HarperCollins. He was one of the scholars on the
        > list who gently coached me
        > in matters of NT scholarship.

        Bob,

        I was unaware of this; thanks for mentioning. I'll
        have to look into the archives.

        Loren Rosson III
        Nashua NH
        rossoiii@...

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      • Rbsads@aol.com
        In a message dated 3/2/03 2:07:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, sdblack@telus.net ... Is it possible that Jesus, fully human, might have grown during His ministry,
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 3 5:00 AM
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          In a message dated 3/2/03 2:07:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, sdblack@...
          writes:

          > I guess I would simply want to ask if we have any reason to believe
          > that the HJ would not have "mixed styles"?

          Is it possible that Jesus, fully human, might have grown during His ministry,
          in His theology, His understanding of God's purpose, and in His understanding
          of His mission?

          It seems to me that, especially in Mark, there is evidence of such personal
          growth.

          Perhaps rather than following a minimalist approach with the Jesus Seminar,
          rejecting all sayings but whatever aphorisms do not seem to be
          "christianized,"
          and perhaps rather than thinking that His apocalyptic vision was
          disappointed, there is the possibility that Jesus grew during the ministry in
          the years from baptism to resurrection, and that this mixture of style and of
          proclamation can be partially attributed to this personal growth.

          Taking Mark 1:15 as a starting point, there are at least 2 questions that
          come to me with regard to Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom - the
          apocalyptic view of the kingdom of God and the call to repentance.

          Perhaps Jesus began with a message that actually followed closely with the
          teaching of the one who "among those born of women there is no one greater." 
          And perhaps Jesus grew in understanding, and saw a greater proclamation and
          mission than calling people to repentance, and an understanding of the
          kingdom beyond the soon to come world apocalypse.

          This growth perhaps changed His teaching so much from that which He received
          from
          John, that the mentor actually had to question whether there was to be
          another.

          Richard Smith
          Chattanooga, TN



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Gordon Raynal
          Hi Loren, ... Thanks for the clarification here and sorry for the mischaraterization. (others, as you know, do tend to schmooze prophetic and apocalyptic
          Message 4 of 18 , Mar 3 5:39 AM
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            Hi Loren,
            >I have actually never equated prophetic with
            >apocalyptic, nor eschatological with apocalyptic (the
            >latter being a subset of the former). Clerical
            >prophets like John Hyrcanus I and sappiential prophets
            >coming from the ranks of the Pharisees (like Samaias)
            >or Essenes (like Judas) do not seem to have been
            >eschatologically driven. But most of the oracular
            >prophets and popular prophets were, and some even
            >apocalyptically so. It just so happens that Jesus fits
            >the description (so I believe) of "apocalyptic
            >prophet".

            Thanks for the clarification here and sorry for the mischaraterization.
            (others, as you know, do tend to schmooze prophetic and apocalyptic
            together). The key here remains that we disagree about this last
            sentence... and the reason as we've long ago discussed... has to do with
            what we see as historical evidence versus storied imagination. To be sure
            Jesus is cast as a prophet in the stories and, of course, in the formal
            theology comes to be later affirmed as "Prophet, Priest and King." But as
            my historical evidentiary base is not as large as yours, the question comes
            up as to where Jesus' speech best fits in its modus operandi and
            interpretive schema, and I will continue to maintain that that base fits not
            only according to genre, but also in terms of content with voices from the
            wisdom heritage in Israel (Jonah... who though cast as a prophet as a
            character... is a wisdom work, Koheleth and such as the wisdom materials in
            Torah (Deut. 4:5-8) and from the Psalms such as Psalm 90. I've read and
            heard such as Saunder's take, Allison's take, Wright's take on what to do
            with Q/Th/Luke passage and about the "Our Father." No doubt the "kingdom is
            now" (to paraphrase) saying could be and was interpreted in apocalyptic
            frames and in gnostic frames. Nothing wrong with those later interpretative
            moves. Each has its own value. In the developing lines of kerygma and in
            later historical circumstances they are faithful reflections and extensions
            by various voices in the communities who anchored themselves around Jesus
            and friends. The clearest takes of apocalyptacism as being central for
            communities comes in the likes of the Thessalonian correspondence and
            Revelation, of course (both, in my view, from the Domitian era). But we'd
            need to get into a theological discussion of the works to assess how the
            reliance on apocalyptic resources from the past fit with other theological
            voices to get at the aims and intentions of each work and that's beyond the
            purpose of this group. So this takes us back to HJ... and yes, we'll just
            have to disagree because of how we assess what is historical... actually
            from Jesus and friends in the late 20's and what is midrash, imagination,
            creation, reflection in later times and in other places.

            >
            >>Regarding Loren's contention that Jesus' parabolic
            >>speech is prophetic and decidely apocalyptic...
            >
            >I am saying that Jesus' parabolic speech is
            >fundamentally prophetic, with shades of the
            >apocalyptic creeping in here and there

            My only comment here is that belief that God is going to do something
            dramatic and soon which will alter the course of history and restore
            Israel... is more than "a shade" apocalyptic. If Jesus believed this, then
            the historian can quite simply say he was wrong. That doesn't end
            discussion about what apocalyptic means, its value and what to do with being
            wrong. If HJ was this way and was wrong, I have no problem saying so. Like
            the host of folks before and after him... well, they just keep being
            wrong;)! I'm not going to lose any sleep over this, if I'm wrong. But...
            again... I don't see the historical evidentiary base regarding HJ that this
            is the case at all. More in a moment.
            >
            >>...doesn't let the speech function in its own
            >integrity,
            >>tradition and modus operandi.
            >>Parables simply are not prophetic utterances. To go
            >to
            >>the old sources...Proverbs isn't an apocalyptic or
            >>prophetic work. And Ecclesiastes has a
            >>different notion of God's rule, the present and the
            >>future from Daniel...fer instance. Wisdom speech,
            >>communication has it's own integrity.
            >
            >My friend, you are simply assuming that parables must
            >follow exclusively in the Wisdom tradition of the OT

            No, this isn't my view. Regarding the literature... from Torah onwards in
            the many redactions we see the inclusion of the many voices in Israel's long
            history. For descriptive purposes (although there are combinations and
            permutations in the writings) one can delineate 5 major theological voices
            in TANAK... priestly, royal, prophetic, apocalyptic and wisdom. If folks
            want to get into TANAK in this regard we can go into that, but for brevity
            sake here... there are **real** arguments in Israel's past and the editors
            wisely let those voices be kept. On some matters there were fundamental
            disagreements... and about the future and God's work therein... there are
            just some whopping disagreements and to pick this one... Daniel and
            Ecclesiastes **obviously** disagree about that future. If one accepts such
            as the "coming Son of Man" speech and such as Mark 13 is from Jesus... then,
            yes... of course... Jesus was an apocalyptic thinker. Correct... and
            again... if that's the case... fine and he was wrong. But I don't think
            those sayings are from HJ. And as regards their later inclusion they are
            quite understandable as relates to dealing with the loss of the Temple and
            the later traumas from dealing with those friendly Romans Nero... before the
            War... all the way through those lovely figures of Vespasion, Titus and oh
            so friendly Domitian... and the likes of voices that were aroused as such in
            Josephus who came to the merry conclusion that God had passed his favor to
            the Romans. Great interpretative moves to face this and other issues as
            well. But back to this point... the wisdom voices in Israel's past have an
            integrity all their own. Regarding "God's presence/ rule/ action" there is
            quite clear affirmation in this regard. And yes... some kings, prophets and
            mama's are shown to say one or more things that reflect God's wisdom. But
            ***there are also, to use the outside terms... sages*** in this heritage who
            majored in this theo-ethical voice, paradigm and genre. I take it that that
            core of sayings so important in Q, in the Didache, in the production of the
            Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain... clearly behind Ep. James
            little wisdom summary in James 3... clearly behind Paul's preferred
            vocabulary about the ways of the Spirit in his little summaries... ***is
            rooted*** in the integrity of wisdom sage speech from Jesus and friends.
            This is not my attempt to box HJ at the outset and make him fit some
            pre-existing pattern. It comes from the assessment of what I believe is
            from Jesus and friends... and from the reality of what we see across the
            resources we have. Thing is... when it comes to getting to the core... from
            Mark to Paul to Thomas to James to the Didache all agree about this core.
            And these sayings **are not** prophetic utterances and the speech is
            **certainly not** apocalyptic. And the thing is, of course, neither is the
            action direction that Jesus asks of the two by twos. Hence... until we find
            some new resources... I think there's every reason to say that this is where
            Jesus as an individual contributor fits and this is the intellectual/
            theological heritage that he worked out of.



            .
            >You are wrong. Consider:
            >
            >1. OT prophets were certainly known for using
            >parables. II Sam 12:1-6 shows Nathan doing so with
            >David. Isa 5:1-6 presents a parable in the form of a
            >love-song, which provides a segue into the prophet's
            >diatribes against the aristocracy for alienating
            >peasants from the land (5:7-8). Ekez 17:1-10 is an
            >allegorical parable. So on.
            >
            >2. Hosea 12:10 has God promising that "through the
            >prophets I will bring parables".
            >
            >3. Moving into the NT, Mt 13:35 speaks of the
            >"fulfillment of what had been spoken through the
            >prophet", followed by a citation of Ps 78:2: "I will
            >open my mouth in a parable and proclaim what has been
            >hidden..." (In this case, the "prophet" is David.)
            >
            >There is simply no justification for pigeon-holing the
            >parable genre into the wisdom tradition at the expense
            >of the prophetic.

            See the above... but one more note here. You and I tried to get a
            conversation going... and I checked a note I made... in November of 2001...
            about the base data that people start with to construct their ideas about
            HJ. Thanks for putting your short list back to Andrew. So... let's give
            this a whirl again, shall we. To all... for beginning descriptive
            purposes.... let folks put out there in simple straight forward terms the
            "Top Ten" things Jesus said and the ten that Jesus did/ happened to him. As
            I happened to jot down my list... I'll put them down again:
            Actions:
            1. Baptism... Mark 1:9
            2. Jesus to Galilee Mk. 1:14
            3. Capernaum meal as paradigm for table fellowship Mk. 2:15-17c
            4.Lake side Parabling Mk. 4:1-9, 21-32
            5.Nazareth rejection Mark 6:1-4
            6. Two by two Mission Q/Luke 10:3-9
            7. Last days in Galilee Mark 9:33-37, 50
            8. Parabling in Jerusalem Mark 12:1-9a, 12
            9. Crucifixion Mark 15:25
            10. Women witness death Mark 15:40-41

            Voice:
            1. Mark 4:9 Two Good Ears
            2.Th. 47 Mount Two Horses
            3. Q/Matthew 5:44 Sunrise/Rain Fall
            4. Mark 4:30-32 Mustard
            5. Q/Luke 12:6 Sparrows worth
            6. Q/Luke 6:27 Love of enemies
            7. Luke 11:5-7 Friend at MN
            8. Q/Luke 17:33 Save/Lose
            9. Q/Matthew 28-29 Consider the lilies
            10. Mark 9:50 Salt/peace

            (I did this from the notes... sorry if any verses are wrong).
            At any rate... maybe folks will actually just lay out what they see as core
            and key... and we might actually find in this group where there is any
            beginning agreement. We'll see. But for now... unless Dale Allison or
            anyone else has dug up something new... we're all working from the same
            resources... and... again... as long as there are just base disagreements
            about what is historically rooted and what comes from the wondrous
            imaginations of these early folks... then we're mostly going to disagree.
            I'd just like to see where *** any *** agreements might be found. So...
            let's try this again.
            >
            >>Brandon Scott, for one, is just great on this...
            >>as are Crossan and Borg, of course.
            >
            >As you know too well, I believe they are among the
            >worst parable interpreters

            I know... and no point in belaboring this... my suggestion nevertheless
            remains for folks to consider the integrity of the wisdom heritage past, in
            Jesus and earliest Christianity and afterwards. Whatever else folks want to
            add to that... and there's lots of valuable insights to be had... that
            heritage deserves careful consideration in its own right and in its own
            integrity. These writers work at that and therefore deserve consideration
            for that even if there are other disagreements. I have my own with each of
            them.... but this issue because it gets bowled over or so quickly ignored or
            transmuted into something else deserves its own careful study and these are
            guys who see that.




            . Will we never agree on
            >anything? :(

            Well... the new Dune mini-series is coming out mid-month and we'll probably
            agree on what we think of that;)!

            take care,
            Gordon
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