Re: [XTalk] Re: [X-Talk] John 9:22 and the Birkat Ha-minim
- --- Geoff Hudson <geoff.hudson@...> wrote:
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Frank McCoythat what is described in 9:22, 12:42 and 16:2 is the
> > This is because I currently favor the hypothesis
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.
> >the matter was serious. For the blind man (Jn.9:17)
> If the Sanhedrin was involved (and I think it was),
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
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?
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