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RE: [XTalk] Re: Messiah in spite of himself

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  • Richard H. Anderson
    Rikk, greetings: You wrote:
    Message 1 of 76 , Dec 1, 2003
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      Rikk, greetings:

      You wrote:
      <Yes I am aware of 4Q521 (Mark Goodacre also mentioned it in a post some
      time
      ago). When it was first discovered it created some interest, but the reading
      you propose I think has largely been rejected. First, it is not clear who
      performs these deeds (as I think Bockmuehl argued), second, given that this
      text comes from Qumran one has to take into account that they elsewhere read
      blindness in Isaiah as metaphorical, and that they envisage the blind and
      lame still being present when messiah comes and are thus to be are excluded
      from the messianic feast and the great battle (so presumably they are on the
      right side but excluded probably because they are perceived in some way as
      unclean). This suggests that the language of 4Q521 has more to do with the
      topoi of Israel¹s restoration than an expectation of Messianic healings. In
      other words, there is surely some later evidence that wonders were to attend
      the Messiah¹s coming (e.g. a repetition of the manna miracle). But none that
      I know of that he was to perform them, nor that they were to be of the kind
      most commonly attributed to Jesus in the gospels.>

      I think you missed what I said:
      Line 11 of 4Q521 reads:
      For he will heal the wounded, resurrect the dead,
      and proclaim glad tiding to the poor.
      In both Matthew and Luke we read of a deputation that John the Baptist sends
      to Jesus while John is imprisoned. John's disciples ask Jesus, "Are you the
      coming one, or do we look for another?" The story is thus tightly framed
      around the question of messianic identity: what will the signs of the true
      Messiah be? Jesus answers:
      Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight,
      the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are
      raised up, the poor have the glad tiding preached to them (Luke 7:22-23 and
      Matthew 11:4-5).
      Your comments about blindness do not seem to be responsive to 4Q521.

      <Re Isa 61.1: several problems here. The MT makes no reference to physical
      healing. The LXX mentions the blind, but it is not clear that physical
      healing is in view. The blindness language of Isaiah is metaphorical (if Isa
      6 is taken as the guide, cf. Israel¹s blindness and deafness throughout,
      which is how the Targums and Qumran elsewhere seemed consistently to take
      it. And given that various figures are anointed, it is not clear that the
      writer is speaking of The Messiah.>

      <What the gospels do with Isa 61 is as you note unusual, as is Luke¹s
      combining additional features. Something inspired them to read this and
      other texts in a strikingly unexpected way, but I have grave doubts it was
      because they thought Jesus was the Messiah (or conversely that they thought
      he was the Messiah because he fulfilled messianic wonder expectations).>


      The Qumran documents are significant for the study of the NT not because NT
      writers, such as Luke, in using words and phrases found in the documents
      necessarily accepted the meaning the Qumran community attached to them but
      because they used the words and phrases to attach new meaning and new
      context to them. I did not propose any reading for 4Q521, but accepted
      Fitzmyer's translation, unless you are suggesting Fitzmyer's translation is
      erroneous. I think you are suggesting that the context is not the same, and
      therefore no significance should be attached to Luke's using those words. I
      merely noted these words and phrases are used by Luke just as he used other
      words and phrases from the Qumran community such as: "son of God"; "son of
      the most high"; and "peace on Earth among men of his good will". For
      instance,

      The Text of Scroll 4Q246 - the Son of God Scroll:

      "He shall be called the son of God,
      and they shall designate [call] him son of the Most High.
      Like the appearance of comets, so shall be their kingdom.
      For brief years they shall reign over the earth and shall trample on all;
      one people shall trample on another and
      one province on another until the people of God shall rise and all shall
      rest from the sword."

      Compare the words in the scroll 4Q246 text to the words found in Luke 1:32
      and 35: "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and
      the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David... And the
      angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and
      the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy
      thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke
      1:32-35).

      Luke's Son of God is the messiah. Luke rejected the interpretations provided
      by Qumran messianism to the context of these words and phrases and provided
      a new interpretation for his community. Thus Luke was in dialogue with
      those using what he labeled as "idle tales".

      In forming new ideas, it is not necessary for all of the elements of the old
      to appear in the new. You yourself noted that Luke "read this and other
      texts in a strikingly unexpected way."
      This then is the answer to the dilemma you seek to pose. You want to find
      the origin of the messiah idea in a document pre-dating the NT and thus
      refuse its appearance in the NT "in a strikingly unexpected way." Jesus did
      not object to being identified as the messiah; he objected to the improper
      vision of the messiah his followers possessed. He identified himself as the
      messiah by his actions healing the man full of leprosy as well as his
      carefully chosen words telling him to show himself to the priests because as
      I suggested the healing of a leper was one of the signs of the messiah. Thus
      the reaction to the healing recorded by Luke immediately after the healing
      is most significant and its impact is muted by Matthew and Mark by their
      relocation of the pericopes. David Stern in his Jewish New Testament
      Commentary states without citing any authority: "By the first century
      Judaism had developed a list of major signs the true Messiah could be
      expected to give as proof of his identity (see 16:1-4). Healing a leper was
      one of them." Luke by his placement of his material apparently also
      believed that the healing of a leper was one of the signs of the messiah.

      Luke and John, unlike Matt and Mark, have a woman pour oil on the feet of
      Jesus which was the proper display of hospitality to a guest who had been
      walking all day. Matt and Mark have the woman anoint Jesus by pouring the
      oil on his head. According to Leviticus 8, Moses poured some of the
      anointing oil onto Aaron's head to consecrate him. In Mark, an unknown woman
      poured anointing oil onto Jesus' head. Aus says this event took place to
      represent Jesus as the High Priest. Thus it is significant that the head of
      Jesus is not anointed in Luke. Luke tells the story of the woman who poured
      oil on the feet of Jesus during his Galilean ministry. The High Priestly
      imagery is missing from this account. Luke avoids presenting Jesus as a
      prophet greater than Moses. He also avoids any hints that Jesus is like the
      High Priest or that Jesus has replaced the High Priest. I believe someone on
      the list stated the messiah has to be publicly anointed. In Luke the people
      do not shout "hosanna" as they do in Matt, Mark and John during the
      procession into Jerusalem. In Luke there is no public anointment by the
      people.

      Luke tells us that Jesus is a "prophet like Moses" not greater than Moses
      and he alludes to Deut 18:15 on a number of occasions. Luke envisions Jesus
      to be a Messiah but modeled after Moses, Elijah and Elisha. The Lucan Jesus
      rejects violence and heals the servant of the High Priest whose ear had been
      severed by Peter. The Lucan Jesus rejected not only Peter's vision of the
      messiah but also the vision of the Qumran community of a priestly messiah
      and he does so prior to the arrival of the Roman armies led by Vespasian.

      Richard H. Anderson
    • Ted Weeden
      Dear Listers, I had indicated two weeks ago that I would submit my own response to responses of others re the thread Messiah in spite of himself in an
      Message 76 of 76 , Dec 18, 2003
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        Dear Listers,

        I had indicated two weeks ago that I would submit my own response to
        responses of others re the thread "Messiah in spite of himself" in an
        article which Jeffrey Gibson has offered to upload to the Xtalk articles
        page. With the demand of other matters, it has taken far longer than I had
        envisioned to complete the article. And with the holidays at hand, it
        looks like I cannot get this article out until after the first of the year.
        I plan in the article not only to deal with matters related to the "Messiah"
        thread but also to incorporate in it issues related to the "4Q521" thread
        and the "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" thread, which I had introduced.

        Happy holidays to you all.

        Ted Weeden
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