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Mark's Jesus: Why the Home Address

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  • Ted Weeden
    Dear Listers, As a follow-up to my post of March 4, Two Jesuses: the Provocative Parallels, I wish to present here, what I submit, is possible Markan
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 10 7:38 AM
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      Dear Listers,

      As a follow-up to my post of March 4, "Two Jesuses: the Provocative
      Parallels," I wish to present here, what I submit, is possible Markan
      redactional evidence in support of my thesis that Mark drew upon an oral
      form of the story of Jesus, son of Ananias, to serve as a model for the
      development, in part, of his passion narrative. That redactional evidence I
      have in mind can be found in the unusual way in which Mark denotes or
      specifies Jesus’ identity. What do I mean by that?

      Obviously in constructing a narrative featuring a hero whose name is Jesus,
      it is important that one not leave any doubt as to exactly which Jesus the
      narrative is about. And certainly the Jesus who spawned the movement in his
      name was not the only person who was named Jesus in the first century CE.
      Far from it. In fact the name "Jesus" appears to be a fairly common name
      given to male children in Jesus’ time. Josephus, alone, cites in his
      writings thirteen different persons with the name Jesus who lived in the
      first century CE. I list below these Jesuses in the order in which they
      appear in the General Index of the Loeb Classical Library edition of
      _Josephus: Jewish Antiquities_, XX, 279f., along with where Josephus
      initially cites each of these Jesuses in his various works, per the LCL
      General Index:

      (1) Jesus, son of Se‘ (_Ant._, XVIII. 341.
      (2) Jesus, called Christ (_Ant._, XX. 200).
      (3) Jesus, son of Damneaus (_Ant._, XX. 203)
      (4) Jesus, son of Gamaliel (_Ant._, XX.223).
      (5) Jesus, son of Sapphas (_J.W._, II. 566).
      (6) Jesus, the chief priest (_J. W._, VI. 114).
      (7) Jesus, son of Gamalas (_J.W._, IV. 160).
      (8) Jesus, the brigand chief (_Vita_, 105-111).
      (9) Jesus, son of Sapphias (_J.W._, II. 599) and likely the same Jesus
      Josephus refers to in _Vita_, 246 (so indicated by the editors of the
      General Index) .
      (10) Jesus, brother of Chares (_Vita_, 178).
      (11) Jesus, a Galilean (_Vita_, 200).
      (12) Jesus, son of Thebuthi (_J.W._,, VI. 387-389).
      (13) Jesus, son of Ananias (_J.W._, VI. 300-309).

      Given that number of persons with the name "Jesus" which Josephus cites,
      plus the strong likelihood that there were many more Jesuses in the
      first-century not cited by Josephus, it is understandable why there would be
      a need for earliest Christians to identify Jesus, the founder of their
      movement, with more precise identification than simply the name "Jesus," in
      order for it to be clear when they spoke of Jesus those to whom they spoke
      knew exactly which Jesus they were referring to. Yet, strangely or perhaps
      it is not so strange, the earliest traditions associated with Jesus, Q and
      the earliest source behind the Gospel of Thomas, identify the revered
      teacher in these traditions simply as "Jesus" (see e.g., Q 4:1,12: 7:9; and
      the Gospel of Thomas, passim). One could argue that since these sources are
      "in-house" creations of devoted, post-Easter followers of Jesus intended to
      be used "n-house," i.e., in the context of Jesus-community gatherings, that
      the simple citing of their teacher as "Jesus" was sufficient to denote
      exactly whom they were talking about. And Paul does not vary significantly
      from that practice, except that in his letters to his churches, where he
      does refer simply to "Jesus" (Rms. 3:26; 8:11; 10:9; II Cor. 4:10f., 14;
      Gal. 6:17; Phil. 2:10; I Thess. 1:10; 4:14), it is always in a context in
      which Paul identifies Jesus christologically as "Jesus Christ" or "Christ
      Jesus" and begins all his letters by referring to Jesus at the outset as
      either "Jesus Christ" (Rms. 1:1: Gal. 1:1: I Thess. 1:1) or "Christ Jesus"
      (I Cor. 1:1; II Cor. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Phlmn.1). Whether Paul appended the
      title "Christ" or not for identification purposes, beyond his desire to
      declare christologically his faith in and commitment to Jesus, can not be
      known. In any event, there certainly can be no confusion upon the part of
      his congregations who exactly is the Jesus to which Paul refers. It is
      always the Jesus of Paul’s and their faith.

      Similar to Paul, Mark also launches his Gospel by clearly identifying who
      the Jesus is who will be come the focal point of his entire Gospel drama.
      Mark states forthrightly in the superscript of his Gospel that what follows
      is the good news of INSOU CRISTOU (1:1), and, if the Nestle reading of the
      text is authentic, Mark also appends to the christological attribute CRISTOU
      the additional christological identification hUIOU QEOU. Thus Mark’s
      community at the outset knows that the subject of the Gospel is the Jesus of
      Mark’s and their faith. And from that point on Mark can use the simple
      "Jesus" in the course of his narrative with full confidence that his
      hearers/readers will know exactly whom Mark is talking about. Except. Except
      Mark tweaks Jesus’ identity in an unconventional way, at least
      unconventional with respect to what seems to have been normative in the
      Christian community prior to Mark. At five points in his Gospel Mark refines
      Jesus’ identity further by identifying him by way of his village of origin.
      When he first brings Jesus on stage, Mark introduces Jesus as INSOUS . . .
      APO NAZARET THS GALILAIAS ("Jesus . . . from Nazareth of Galilee," 1:9).
      Then shortly thereafter in the synagogue at Capernaum Mark has the unclean
      spirit identify Jesus via his village of origin through the unclean spirit’s
      question to Jesus: "What have you to do with us [spirits], INSOU NAZARHNE
      ("Jesus of Nazareth?": 1:24).

      From that point on until late in the Gospel drama, Mark does not again
      identify Jesus via his village of origin. However, once Jesus travels from
      Galilee to Judea Mark returns to identifying Jesus by way of his hometown on
      three separate occasions. As Jesus is leaving Jericho, Mark informs us that
      blind Bartimaeus, sitting along side of the road, heard that the person
      passing by was INSOUS hO NAZARHNOS ("Jesus, the Nazarene," 10:47). Then in
      the courtyard of the high priest, when Peter is confronted by the maid, Mark
      has her identify Jesus as "Jesus, the Nazarene" (SU META TOU NAZARHNOU HSQA
      TOU INSOUS, 14:67). Finally, when the women encounter the young man in the
      empty tomb, the young man states that he knows that they have come seeking
      INSOUN . . . TON NAZARHNON TON ESTAURWMENON ("Jesus, the Nazarene, the
      crucified one," 16:6).

      Now this particular way of identifying Jesus may not have raised any
      question in our minds previously. We have grown so accustomed to referring
      quite naturally to Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth, not realizing that it is Mark
      who first introduced that way of identifying Jesus, in a departure from the
      normative way up to that point of identifying Jesus simply as "Jesus" in the
      Christian community and in its sources and writings, or christologically as
      "Jesus Christ," or some other christological title, as in the case of Paul.
      Why did Mark choose to depart from the customary, early Christian practice
      and identify Jesus via his home village and at those particular points of
      his narrative?
      Well, one could argue that the first occurrence of such an identification in
      1:9 is a natural way of introducing Jesus. John is at the Jordan baptizing
      and Jesus comes from Nazareth to be baptized. But then why is it necessary
      for the unclean spirit in Capernaum to identify Jesus via his home village?
      And why then does Mark abandon that way of identifying Jesus for ten
      chapters before picking it up again once Jesus is in Judea? And why is it
      necessary for the young man to identify Jesus as IHSOUN TON NAZARHNON
      ("Jesus the Nazarene," 16:6)?

      With regard to the latter, the logic of the narrative would suggest that the
      women know precisely the identity of the person whose burial they have come
      to complete. After all Mark tells us that three of the women who encounter
      the young man in the tomb observed Jesus’ death and two of them observed
      Jesus’ burial (15:40-47). They do not need the young man in the tomb to
      identify the person in the tomb, or formerly in the tomb, for them by his
      hometown address. They know who the Jesus is for whom they have come to
      provide the final burial rites. Why does not Mark just have the young man in
      the tomb acknowledge to the women that he knows they have come to seek
      IHSOUN or IHSOUN TON ESTAURWMENON ("Jesus, the crucified one") rather than
      identifying the Jesus they know via his home village, Nazareth? With respect
      to the later, given Mark’s theology of the cross, it is far more
      understandable why, for reasons of his own theological hermeneutic, that he
      would have the young man in the empty tomb identify Jesus as "IHSOUN . . .
      TON ESTAURWMENON ("Jesus, the crucified one"). There does not seem to be any
      apparent theological reason for Mark to have the young man identify Jesus
      also as TON NAZARHNON ("the Nazarene").

      Even more puzzling is why it is that Mark, when he has Jesus return to his
      home village in 6:1ff., does not state that Jesus returned specifically to
      *Nazareth*? Mark states only that Jesus ERCETAI EIS THN PATRIDA AUTOU ("came
      into his home country?). Why the puzzling euphemism? Why does Mark not state
      that Jesus returned to the village by which Mark insists on identifying him
      in other contexts, namely, Nazareth? Strange, quite strange!

      My proposal is that Mark intentionally links Jesus with his hometown of
      Nazareth to identify him more precisely as a Galilean from Nazareth in order
      for there to be no confusion with the other Jesus whose story is most
      parallel to that of Mark’s Jesus, namely the story of Jesus, son of Ananias,
      which became Mark’s hypotext for his hypertext. That is why Mark states
      clearly at the outset that Jesus comes from Nazareth of Galilee. He then
      proceeds just thirteen verses after that to have the unclean spirit in the
      Capernaum synagogue to reinforce the fact that this Jesus is the one from
      Nazareth and not the boorish peasant of Jerusalem. A unclean spirit is used
      in this case because the unclean spirits seem to know the truth about Jesus
      in the Markan drama anyway (e.g. 3:11f.).. Having had the unclean spirit
      validate Jesus as the Jesus from Nazareth, Mark is content from that point
      on in his narrative to speak of Jesus simply as "Jesus," until of the Markan
      Jesus travels to Judea. Almost immediately upon having Jesus enter Judea, on
      his way to Jerusalem, the territory of Jesus, son of Ananias, Mark once
      again moves to make it clear that the one passing by blind Bartimaeus, this
      Jesus who is headed to Jerusalem, is the Jesus of Nazareth and, I submit, is
      not to be confused with any other Jesus, particularly, Jesus, son of

      As Mark moves to the arrest and the hearing before the Jewish council things
      get a bit dicey for him. Having appropriated the story of Jesus, son of
      Ananias, as a model for his own story of the arrest, and the hearings, Mark,
      in bringing up the charges against Jesus, modeled after the complaint
      against Jesus, son of Ananias, must be careful to avoid confusing his
      hearers/readers again and make the distinction between the two Jesuses, even
      though in his Gospel he has tended to make his Jesus so narratively like
      Jesus, son of Ananias. So Mark has the charges presented against Jesus,
      which are accurate charges (so the saying) presented as false charges. He
      tries to distinguish between the harangue of Jesus, son of Ananias, against
      the Temple and Jesus’ own rejection of the Temple cult.

      Then in the courtyard scene Mark once again makes it clear that the Jesus
      inside facing the interrogation of the chief priest, etc., is Jesus of
      Nazareth and not to be confused with any other Jesus. Finally, in the empty
      tomb Mark feels compelled to underscore again that the Jesus who was buried
      is Jesus from Nazareth who died by crucifixion and not by stoning, a la
      Jesus, son of Ananias.

      As to his failure to name specifically Jesus hometown as Nazareth in 6:1,
      Mark evinces very little interest in Nazareth as a geographical location,
      per se, just as he has no interest in Sepphoris and Tiberias as geographical
      locations important to his narrative, though he must have known of both,
      since he is familiar with the region around the Sea of Galililee, and
      particularly if his own hometown is in the village region of Caesarea
      Philippi, as I maintain. In fact , Mark never again after 1:9 refers to
      Jesus as being APO NAZARET ("from Nazareth"). After 1:9 he refers to
      Nazareth only adjectivally, namely, TON NAZARHNON ("the Nazarene") as a
      specific identity for his narrative persona Jesus. That home address of the
      Markan Jesus serves Mark’s purpose only as an inscription on the Markan
      Jesus’ narrative "name tag" when Mark is taking pains to distinguish, at
      critical points in his narrative, "his Jesus" from the story of the Jesus
      whose seven-year-plus provocative stint in the Temple served as quarry for
      motifs and narrative development of his Gospel.

      Ted Weeden
    • Bob Schacht
      ... [big snip] ... Ted, I suppose you are referring to Paul and Q? There s not much of a corpus before Mark! ... The whole business about Nazareth has been
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 10 10:14 PM
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        At 09:38 AM 3/10/2003 -0600, Ted Weeden wrote:
        >Dear Listers,
        >As a follow-up to my post of March 4, "Two Jesuses: the Provocative
        >Parallels," I wish to present here, what I submit, is possible Markan
        >redactional evidence in support of my thesis that Mark drew upon an oral
        >form of the story of Jesus, son of Ananias, to serve as a model for the
        >development, in part, of his passion narrative. That redactional evidence I
        >have in mind can be found in the unusual way in which Mark denotes or
        >specifies Jesus' identity.

        [big snip]

        >... Except Mark tweaks Jesus' identity in an unconventional way, at least
        >unconventional with respect to what seems to have been normative in the
        >Christian community prior to Mark.

        I suppose you are referring to Paul and Q? There's not much of a corpus
        before Mark!

        >At five points in his Gospel Mark refines
        >Jesus' identity further by identifying him by way of his village of origin.
        >When he first brings Jesus on stage, Mark introduces Jesus as INSOUS . . .
        >APO NAZARET THS GALILAIAS ("Jesus . . . from Nazareth of Galilee," 1:9).
        >Then shortly thereafter in the synagogue at Capernaum Mark has the unclean
        >spirit identify Jesus via his village of origin through the unclean spirit's
        >question to Jesus: "What have you to do with us [spirits], INSOU NAZARHNE
        >("Jesus of Nazareth?": 1:24)....

        The whole business about Nazareth has been kicked around several times on
        XTalk. I'm not sure how it might affect your thesis, but there are
        important variations in the supposed toponym. Since many of those
        discussions took place on the old HarperCollins CrossTalk, whose archives
        are not presently accessible, I take the liberty of posting a synopsis.
        Please excuse the length of the quotations, but some may find some wheat
        amongst the straw. I might also note parenthetically that what is posted
        below is what I consider to be the cream of the crop; there is much else

        Stephen Carlson provided a helpful tabulation in 1997. Unfortunately it is
        difficult to keep the columns aligned properly, but I'll give it a try:

        >Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 22:22:41 -0500
        >Subject: Nazorean/Nazarene/of Nazareth
        >To: CrossTalk@...
        >Although many English (and Latin!) translations blurr the distinction
        >between these terms, there are various Greek spellings for these
        >words and for the Galilean town. Accordingly, I am using the spellings
        >"Nazorean" for Greek NAZWRAIOS, "Nazarene" for NAZARHNOS, "Nazaret" for
        >NAZARET, "Nazareth" for NAZAREQ, and "Nazara" for NAZARA. Here is a
        >synoptic chart, with notes for John and Acts:
        >2:23a Nazaret *** ***
        >2:23b Nazorean *** ***
        >*** *** 1:26 Nazareth
        >*** *** 2: 4 Nazareth
        >*** *** 2:39 Nazareth
        >*** *** 2:51 Nazareth
        >3:13 J from Galilee 1: 9 J from Nazaret 3:21 ** of Galilee
        >4:13 Nazara 1:14 ** 4:14 **
        >(13:54) his hometown ( 6: 1) his hometown 4:16 Nazara
        >*** 1:24 J the Nazarene 4:34 J the Nazarene
        >20:30 J * 10:47 J the Nazarene 18:37 J the Nazorean
        >21:11 J from Nazareth of G 11:11 ** 19:45 **
        >26:69 J of Galilee 14:67 the Nazarene, J (22:56) him
        >26:71 with J the Nazorean 14:69 of them (22:58) of them
        >28: 5 J * 16: 6 J the Nazarene 24: 5 the living
        >*** *** 24:14 J the Nazarene
        >Notes: Asterix denotes lack of parallels. J denotes Jesus.
        >John 1:45 J ... from Nazaret; 46 Nazareth; 18:5 7 19:19 J the Nazorean
        >Acts 2:22 3:6 4:10 6:14 22:8 26:9 J the Nazorean; 10:38 J from Nazareth;
        >24:5 Paul, the ringleader of the sect of the Nazoreans
        >...The pattern of usage is too haphazard to draw firm conclusions, but
        >most strikingly Matthew, John, Acts never say "Nazarene" and Mark
        >never says "Nazorean." It looks like from Ac24:5 and Mt26:71+Mk14:69
        >that Nazorean is the name of a group or sect. ... Jewish
        >Christians continued to call themselves Nazoreans (so Jerome), as well
        >as remnants of followers of John the Baptist (the Mandeans). On the
        >other hand, "Nazarene" apparently means a person from Nazaret(h).
        >If Nazorean was the name of the more Jewish side of the Judaizing
        >Controversy, then Mark's striking avoidance of the term fits well
        >with my Sitz im Leben of Mark regarding the Controversy. Luke's
        >usage of "Nazarene" betrays his knowledge of Mark, and his use of
        >"Nazara" is intriguing.
        >Stephen Carlson

        To compound the problem, English transcription makes some names seem more
        alike than they ought to be, if one assumes an Aramaic or Hebrew
        underpinning. On this thread, Lew Reich commented,

        >...in Hebrew "Nazirite" - "nazir" has the root n-z-r.
        >"Nazorean" - "notzri" has the root n-tz-r. The yod and vav may be
        >easily exchanged; the zayin and the tzaddi strikes me as considerably
        >harder. The difference is obscured in the conventional (and
        >misleading) English transliteration.

        The connection between the Hebrew and Greek spellings came up later (see
        below from Jack Kilmon).

        On 3/27/1997, Carlson added a clarification:

        >Let's be more precise: Nazorean appears in extant texts believed to
        >have been composed slightly later than the extant text which uses
        >Nazarene instead of Nazorean. However, your conclusion (annoyingly
        >presented as mine: please don't do that) does not necessarily follow.
        >Slightly later texts can preserve earlier usage patterns.
        >Luke also retained an instance of Mark's "Nazarene" demonstrating that
        >Luke didn't find it _per se_ objectionable. In fact, the one time that
        >Luke changed "Nazarene" to "Nazorean" is probably an assimilation to
        >Luke's normal term (e.g., Acts). The widespread usage of Nazorean (Mt,
        >Lk, Jn, Ac) and the limited scope of Nazarene suggest that the latter
        >word is a Markan idiosyncrasy.

        The pot then simmered for several months and re-surfaced on 10/6/1997 in an
        exchange I had with Mark Goodacre over Mt 4:13 & Lk 4:16, where the main
        thing they have in common is the idea that Jesus went to 'Nazara'; but Luke
        has him coming and Matthew has him going.

        Thus matters sat for about a year, at which time came the following
        interesting post from Rene Joseph Salm:

        >Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 01:52:40 -0800 (PST)
        >From: rene joseph salm <rsalm@...>
        >Subject: Nazareth
        >To: crosstalk@...
        >The problems with Nazareth as J's home are, as I see it, basically three:
        >(1) The lack of attestation for the place outside the Christian scriptures
        >before II-III CE; (2) the inconclusive scriptural evidence regarding J's
        >provenance; and (3) the 'loaded' denotations and connotations of closely
        >related names in I CE Palestine-- nazarene, nazorite, nazorean, etc.
        >OK, so many of us doubt the Nazareth connection, on the basis of one or
        >more of the above. Then I ask myself the next question, "Why was this
        >false connection made?" Here I find two possibilities:
        >A. There was a compelling reason (to the evangelists) why J's true
        >provenance was unacceptable; and/or
        >B. There was a competing denotation of 'nazarenos/nazoraios,' extant in
        >I CE, one unacceptable to the evangelists yet closely intertwined with the
        >early Jesus-movement. The evangelists couldn't stop rival groups from
        >using the name 'nazarene,' and from claiming to be 'true' followers of
        >Jesus-- the name was already very current-- but they could 'neutralize' a
        >special, prized, connotation enjoyed by a rival group by simply making
        >'naz+' derivative of a location. Somebody could no longer say, for
        >example, "I am a true upholder of the [new] covenant, a true nazarene of
        >Jesus," if Nazarene simply referred to a place.
        >(Compare Jan's position: "The crux of the problem is that the evangelists
        >were concerned with denying a connection between Jesus and a sect of
        >Nazarenes." Jan sees that sect as the Baptist's.)
        >"Nazorean" in I CE has been linked specifically to early Jewish-Christian
        >followers of Jesus. (Eg. Cullman: "Originally, prior to the connection
        >with the name of the locality Nazareth, the term [NAZWRAIOS] was the name
        >of a jewish sect or heresy, derived from the root 'observe,' and meaning
        >'observant', 'devotee,' a term later used of the Christians... It was
        >precisely heretical Jewish Christian groups which perpetuated the ancient
        >designation of Christians as Nazoraioi, according to patristic
        >allusions.") Epiphanius Haer. 29,6 writes about a pre-Christian baptismal
        >Jewish sect of Nasaraioi (with sigma) that at least one scholar to my
        >knowledge (W. Bousset) has argued were in fact Christians. (Acc. to Epiph.
        >this sect kept the Jewish commandments but rejected the Torah, bloody
        >offerings, the eating of meat, fate (eimarmenE), and astrology.)
        >It may be then, that the placement of Jesus as "from Nazareth" may be part
        >of the larger struggle between Hellenistic and Jewish Christians.
        >Some other observations:
        >There is another ancient Bethlehem, 7 miles W-NW of Nazareth.
        >(Cf. Jan S:)
        > >Since his birthplace had to be Bethlehem, according to prophecy
        > >(Micah V. I.), it became essential to link Jesus' entire family as closely
        > >as possible to Nazareth, and by the same token to deny that Jesus' mother
        > >could be from any other place, even nearby Magdala.
        >Regarding the etymology of the word "Nazareth" S. Mimouni writes: [My
        >"We have no aramaic or hebrew attestion for the place-name Nazareth from
        >I CE. However, a very fragmentary hebrew inscription was discovered in the
        >excavations in Cesarea in 1962. This dates to III or IV CE and regards the
        >places of residence of the 24 orders of priests after the destruction of
        >the temple in 70 CE... The place of residence of the 18th class (the
        >Hapises) is Nazareth.
        >"This inscription confirms, in an indisputable manner, that the locality
        >of Nazareth... was written with a {cadhe} and not with a {zayin}, as many
        >exegetes had often supposed before this discovery."
        >(Les Nazoreens: Recherche Etymologique et Historique," Revue Biblique Apr.
        >1998, p. 220)
        >H. Zimmern suggests a further meaning of the root NCR, not only
        >"observer," or "watcher," but also "keeper" as in "keeper of secrets." He
        >sees the nazoreans as a Jewish group keeping some sort of esoteric
        >doctrines. ("Nazoraer-Nazarener" in Zeitschrift der DMG 74 (1920) p.
        >429-438, and 76 (1922) p.45-6.)
        >Kittel notes that "there is an old tradition that links NAZIRAIOS and
        >NOZWRAIOS": Tertullian Marc., IV, 8.

        Rene later made a substantial comment on the link between a pre-Christian
        baptismal Jewish sect of Nasaraioi (with sigma)
        and the Ebionites (11/23/98). Later the same day, he followed this up with:

        >On Mon, 23 Nov 1998, a Crosstalker asked off-list:
        > > With respect to your latest post, may I take it that
        > > nasarenes=nasoreans=Ebionites?
        >Yes. Nasareans = Ebionites is confirmed in my last post. I don't know
        >however why you put the 'nasoreans' in the equation (no existence of them
        >to my knowledge).
        >The etymology of the word "Nasarene" (from which in turn came
        >"NCRT/NasareQ") need *not* follow any particular rules for linguistic
        >derivation if 'Nasarene' is a consciously-devised appellation of
        >the emergent Jesus movement. This would be the case if the name is
        >primarily adopted for theological reasons: (a) the possible desire to link
        >Jesus and his followers with a tradition associated with netzer
        >"observers/watchers, etc", yet at the same time to somewhat differentiate
        >them from that very same tradition (as an offshoot group often does);
        >and/or (b) to do the same with the Nazirite tradition (for though HJ was
        >hardly the proper 'nazirite' in an OT sense, yet he was still uniquely
        >holy to his followers).
        >We have seen that the form nasarene (Epiphanius) refers to the Ebionites.
        >We know that the Ebionites were very early Jewish-Christian followers
        >of Jesus. We also know that Epiphanius considers the 'nasarenes'
        >early (he called them "pre"-Christian). What this means is that the zeta
        >in the Greek form of NazarEne found in the Christian scriptures is
        >secondary: it does not reflect the very earliest stratum of the movement,
        >which was semitic. Also, the Greek zeta in NazarEne does not reflect the
        >continuing poarallel semitic Jesus-traditions (except in the case where
        >later croos-influence between languages is postulated).
        >There is an analogous situation with the place name 'Nazareth.' Given the
        >ancient semitic precedence of cadhe in 'Nasareth/NCRT' as revealed in 1962
        >(see my prior post) which is still extant in III CE, it seems that the
        >zeta in the NazareQ found in the Greek scriptures is also secondary. This
        >is the case unless one postulates an unattested zayin in the semitic form
        >of Nazareth and additionally postulates a change in the orthography from
        >zayin to cadhe in the first three centuries CE.
        >Epiphanius says the nasarenes are a "pre-Christian" group. Lidzbarski
        >argued to make this the Mandeans, for which he postulated a pre-Christian
        >origin. But Epiphanius is strictly correct anyway if we apply
        >'nasarenes' to the early Jesus-people: 'Christian' was not initially used
        >in Palestine where the movement started, but only later (Antioch most
        >likely). The 'nasarenes' were indeed "pre-Christian", and for an ancient
        >heresy-hunter they would never become Christian (due to their Ebionite
        >theology), no matter what the time period.
        >O. Cullmann writes (IDB 1984, 'Nazarene'):
        >"However, Epiphanius lays particular emphasis upon a distinction between
        >Jewish-Christian nazOraioi and a pre-Christian Jewish sect of nasaraioi
        >(Panar.1, Haer.18). If such a sect really did exist, then we have in its
        >name 'observants' the basic term which has been preserved as NZCRYM for
        >Jesus and the Christians, as nazOraioi (= nazoraei) for the Jewish
        >Christians, and as NCZR'Y' for the Mandaeans.
        >To recap, some principle conclusions:
        >(1) The common-era evidence shows that the sigma/cadhe was first, in
        >(and perhaps only in) the two cases of:
        >(a) Nasarene before Nazarene (per my post of 11/22); and
        >(b) NasareQ before NazareQ (per post re: 1962 Cesarea find)
        >(2) The Nasarenes = the Ebionites

        Stephen Goranson added the following on 11/27/98:

        >Here are a few notes and suggestions,
        >in case they are of interest.
        >Raymond Brown wrote: : "Such highly competent Semitists and
        >exegetes as Albright [in JBL 65 (1946) 397-401], Moore, and Schaeder
        >[Theol. Dic. N.T.]...argue on purely philological grounds that the form
        >Nazoraios is quite defensible as a derivation from Nazareth, if one takes
        >into account dialectal phonology in Galilean Aramaic. Nevertheless, if one
        >accepts as correct Matthew's contention that Jesus was called a Nazorean
        >because he came from Nazareth...this does not exclude a secondary messianic
        >association of the term...." (The Birth of the Messiah, 1979, p.210). Brown
        >goes on to discuss N. in Matt 2:23 as perhaps, alternately, derived from
        >Nazir or from Netser (Natsar). In my view, the latter root (along with the
        >place name) is the relevant one, nazir being a later association (as
        >discussed in Anchor Bible Dictionary, "Nazarenes"). The place was settled
        >at the time of Jesus, (doubts that he lived there may have roots in highly
        >polemic texts of 16/17th centries), but it is a fair question when it was
        >first called Nazareth. (And what, if any, might have been earlier or
        >simultaneous names--e.g., mentioned in Ezekiel as was suggested?)
        >W.B. Tatum in The Bible Translator 27 (1976) 135-8 reasonably
        >argued for a translation of Matt 2:23 with indirect quotation and closer
        >transliteration than Nazarene: "...so that what was spoken through the
        >prophets might be fulfilled, that he will be called a Nazorean."
        >Consideration of -aios and -hnos endings might usefully look at
        >sometime alterations when these are attached. Also, it may be worth
        >considering which terms besides Nazarenes (and cognates) are attested with
        >both endings. E.g.,Essaioi/Esshnoi, Ossaioi/Osshnoi, Sampsaioi/Sampshnoi
        >(h=eta). In the case of Essenes there appears to be a tendency of more
        >Hellenistic writers to use -enoi, and of those with possible access to
        >Semitic sources to use -aioi. One might look at NT uses of "Nazarenes" with
        >that in mind. If a term is semitic in origin, the -aioi form may be older.
        >As for Sampsaeans, this probably means servants/worshippers (cf. the
        >correct meaning of therapeutae in De Vita Contemplativa), rather than
        >sun-worshippers (shamash, not shemesh; see Bib. Arch., June 1988, 70-1 and
        >cf. "Essenes" from 'asah).
        >Greek for "heresy" was originally neutral, then negative (cf.
        >Hebrew minut). "Nazarenes" evolved from a Jewish heresy to a Jewish and
        >Christian heresy name. The cognate terms have more than one significance,
        >depending on time, place. language, and speaker.
        >Appearance and absence of place names should be considered in
        >context (Avi-Yonah's Qedem Gazeteer of Roman Palestine, 1976, and Tabula
        >Imperii Romani Iudaea-Palaestina... 1994 are helpful). E.g., none of the
        >sites of the post-Jerusalem Sanhedrin and patriarch are mentioned in NT
        >(Yavneh, Beth She'arim, Sepphoris, Usha, Arav, Tiberias). Only some (12?)
        >of the 24 priestly course sites are mentioned in rabbinic literature. Two
        >of the others are the only two of the 24 mentioned in NT: Nazareth and Cana.
        >Julius Africanus' Epistle to Aristides (in Eusebius, Hist. Ecc. I,
        >7) discussed genealogy of Jesus. Is it possible there is some
        >misunderstanding of a source on "desposynoi" who came from "Nazara and
        >Cochaba, villages of Judah..."? Is it coincidental that these two names
        >correspond to major messianic movements? Admittedly, that would be

        And Finally(?), Jack Kilmon added on 12/2/98:
        >NZR and N(ts)R both have
        >the same ZETA transliteration in Greek. We have both endings in the NT
        >NAZORAIOS AND NAZARENOS and the key verse comes from Matthew 2:23 where
        >Joseph brings Jesus to live in Nazareth so that it might be fulfilled
        >as spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene." Now this
        >is odd given the Matthean scribe's habit of quoting the OT prophets,
        >even if he has to force it, to apply to Jesus..there just is no prophecy
        >that I can find that says such a thing. The debate usually centers
        >around Nazareth or Nazirite but the party-loving Jesus was certainly
        >no Nazirite.
        >"Christians" was applied by non-Christians to Gentile believers while
        >the Jewish followers in Palestine were called "Nazarenes" so it is
        >an important topic to try to sort out. We could go into all the
        >opinions of the patristics who also labored over this but my
        >general conclusion is that they were all confused...I will just
        >add that we have Pliny's Nazerini, Nazareni, Epiphanius' Nasaraioi,
        >Nazorei and the Mandaean's Natzoraia <n)cwr)yy)> and I am sure
        >a few more I could find...I'm going to leave out the pre-Christian
        >Nasarenes to keep you from getting dizzy.
        >Still, the debate focusses on the reference to Nazareth but
        >after all is said and done, I am inclined to draw the derivation
        >from Isaiah 11:1-10, the most messianic thingy in the OT which
        >is wyc) xtr mgz( y$y wncr m$r$yw yprh "And there shall come forth
        >a shoot out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out
        >of his roots." You have the juxtaposition of y$y (Jesse) and n(ts)r
        >(branch) and since Jesus' followers..certainly the Matthean scribe
        >considered Jesus that "branch" than we have a whole gaggle of
        >"branchers" Netzarim.
        >As far as Nazareth is concerned, I have no problem with Jesus
        >having been born there..it was certainly, according to the
        >archaeological evidence a Jewish hamlet at the time...but
        >it might not have been called "Nazareth" at the time. I would
        >not be surprised if an insignificant whistle-stop town just
        >might have been renamed in Christian circles as "Branchville."

        There is much more, but I think all the main arguments are encompassed in
        the above exchanges.
        In other words: Jesus' "home address" may be more than a simple little
        place name!


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