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Re: [XTalk] Re: [X-Talk] John 9:22 and the Birkat Ha-minim

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  • Frank McCoy
    ... that what is described in 9:22, 12:42 and 16:2 is the enforcement of a Jerusalem Sanheidrin edict that anyone publicly confessing in a Jerusalem synagogue
    Message 1 of 3 , May 29, 2003
      --- Geoff Hudson <geoff.hudson@...> wrote:
      > --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Frank McCoy
      > <silvanus55109@y...>
      > wrote:

      > > This is because I currently favor the hypothesis
      that what is described in 9:22, 12:42 and 16:2 is the
      enforcement of a Jerusalem Sanheidrin edict that
      anyone publicly confessing in a Jerusalem synagogue
      that Jesus is the Christ is to be summarily put out of
      that synagogue. This explains why this punishment
      appears to have been limited to Jerusalem and explains
      why it appears to have been limited to publicly
      confessing Christians and explains why the punishment
      was being put out of the synagogue.
      > >

      >
      > If the Sanhedrin was involved (and I think it was),
      the matter was serious. For the blind man (Jn.9:17)
      to be put out of the synagogue doesn't sound to
      serious, especially compared to his automatic
      exclusion from the temple because of his impurity. I
      would suggest that his parents were afraid of the
      "Jews" for a different reason. The blind man declared
      that Jesus was a prophet (9:17). The "Pharisees"
      said "This man is not from God." � implying he was a
      false prophet, and others asked, how could a sinner(a
      false prophet?) do such miraculous signs." (9:16) So,
      I would suggest that the fear did not come from the
      threat of being "put out of the synagogue", but from
      the threat of being "put to death" for supporting a
      false prophet.


      Dear Geoff:

      Certainly, an authoritative body appears to be
      involved. In History & Theology in the Fourth Gospel
      (p. 41), J. Louis Martyn states, "At some time prior
      to John's writing, an authoritative body within
      Judaism reached a formal decision regarding messianic
      faith in Jesus. Henceforth, whoever confesses such
      faith is to be separated from the synagogue."

      For reasons given above, I currently think that the
      authoratative body was the Jerusalem Sanheidrin, and I
      see that you are inclined to the same opinion.

      I agree with your suggestion that, if the Jerusalem
      Sanheidrin was involved, the matter was serious.

      However, I disagree with your suggestion that being
      put out of the synagogue was not a serious matter.

      Rather, for a pious Jew, ISTM, it was *very* important
      to go to a synagogue on the Sabbath. Regarding the
      Essenes, Philo states (Prob, 81), "For that day (i.e.,
      the Sabbath) has been sept apart to be kept holy and
      on it it they abstain from all other work and proceed
      to sacred spots which they call synagogues. There,
      arranged in rows according to their ages, the younger
      below the elder, they sit decorously as befits the
      occasion with attentive ears."

      So, I think that being put out of the synagogue was a
      serious enough punishment for it to have come from the
      Jerusalem Sanheidrin. Hence, I think it unlikely that
      we ought to look for a "deeper" level of meaning to
      9:22 in which the real fear is being killed rather
      than being put out of the synagogue.

      As you note, in 9:17, the healed blind man refers to
      Jesus as a prophet. However, I suspect that, for the
      author of John, this is either an incorrect
      Christology or else an inadequate Christology. In
      9:35-37, Jesus has to teach the healed blind man that
      he is the Son of Man (or, in some textual traditions,
      the Son of God). I suspect that there is an implied
      criticism of the healed blind man's prophet
      Christology in this. Also, in 6:14-15, people declare
      Jesus to be the prophet and plan to make him a king
      and Jesus reacts in a negative fashion to them.

      Finally, you suggest that Jewish Christians feared
      being killed by the Jerusalem Sanheidrin for
      supporting a person that the Jerusalem Sanheidrin
      deemed to be a false prophet.

      Certainly, Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem did
      have reason to fear being executed by the Jerusalem
      Sanheidrin. This happened to both Stephen the
      Hellenist and James the Just.

      However, as far as I know, neither was executed for
      the reason of being the supporter of an alleged false
      prophet. Can you cite any instances of the Jerusalem
      Sanheidrin executing supporters of an alleged false
      prophet and, if any instances did occur, the legal
      basis the Jerusalem Sanheidrin used for executing the
      supporters of an alleged false prophet?

      Regards,

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



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