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Re: [XTalk] Re: EdTyler on Vespasian

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Robert and Ed, I m leaving the exchange as is. Thanks to both for the conversation and thanks Ed for your response... this time your keyboard was faster:)!
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 15, 2003
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      Robert and Ed,

      I'm leaving the exchange as is. Thanks to both for the conversation and
      thanks Ed for your response... this time your keyboard was faster:)! But
      another sort of comment below...

      >> Hi Robert,
      >> Am very busy and haven't had time to keep up with all the conversations on
      >> the list. But this sentence just sticks out and I want to simply write "the
      >> same place" as the whole run of titles used for theological and ethical
      >> reflection after Jesus' death (Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, Son of
      >> David, High Priest after the order of Melchizidek, prophet, Lamb of God,
      >> Good Shepherd, etc., etc., etc.). That "where" is the Hebrew Scriptures
      >> mined in numerous ways to reflect on the meaning of the movement, the
      >> ordering of the movement and the iconizing of the central figure.
      >> Gordon Raynal
      >> Inman, SC
      > Sure, I probably didn't express myself well (writing in the aftermath
      >of a nasty accident on a bicycle). But if James didn't see Jesus as Messiah
      >some sense, he was in a perfect position to squelch any such speculation. At
      >the very least, he must have been willing to go along with it, and its
      >difficult to see him agreeing that Jesus was the messiah, if his own brother
      >it. OK, its a roundabout argument, but it may give us a clue as to where
      >Robert Brenchley
      >Birmingham UK
      >Still, all these arguments presuppose that the messiah question was brought
      >up to Jesus during his lifetime. Why suppose that? The only sources we have
      >for that are the Gospels, and they were written by people who were convinced
      >that Jesus not only proclaimed himself Messiah but walked on water and raised
      >people from the dead and--most significantly--was resurrected from the dead
      >himself. If they can invent water-walking, they can certainly invent talk of the
      >The strongest statement we can make is that by some 20 years after his death
      >Paul, Peter, and James all thought Jesus was the Messiah; but their concept of
      >what that entailed was quite foreign to any Galilean peasant Pilate might
      >have crucified.
      >NB: That last statement assumes that Paul, Peter, and James agreed on their
      >Christology, which is something I personally doubt given Paul's words in
      >Ed Tyler

      Let's think, too, about the actual status of the claim and how it functioned
      across time. Again let me refer to Burton Mack's book on Q. He notes on
      page 126:
      "As frequently happens, the ideal models of a social system can be used
      as reflectors to think through basic questions about the system.... The term
      king no longer had to refer to an actual ruler, and kingdom no longer had to
      refer to a political domain. 'King' became a metaphor of a human being at
      its 'highest imaginable level, whether of endowment, achievement, ethical
      excellence or mythical ideal."
      In light of this I can well imagine that in the conversations that flowed in
      response to Jesus' aphorisms and parables a level of "play" about "are you a
      king?" And this being a Hebraic/Jewish movement, I can imagine the
      reflections about "true kingship" in Israel being brought into play via
      reflections on the heritage. In this sense (and just to be **very clear,**
      I'm only imagining here!) I can imagine Jesus saying, "Sure I'm a king. Are
      you one, too?" With the core of Jesus' parables raising reflections upon
      the Kingdom of God these sorts of intellectual reflections and play would
      fit right in. But as is obvious from our earlier exchange and then with the
      above by Ed, I think the formal theologizing whereby the man of parables
      became "the Parable of God" is a post death phenomenon. I see no problem
      with Peter, James and Paul and many others affirming this each in their own
      way. Indeed in iconization/mythmaking "the ideals" of a culture are the
      usual base for such intellectual work. Again what our documents show us is
      the accessing of numerous titles for this work (again: "Son of God, Son of
      Man, High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, etc. etc.). Considering
      the issues raised by the language of Jesus and considering the treasure
      trove of models and metaphors in the Hebraic heritage the directions of the
      iconization/ mythmaking are highly understandable. One need not imagine
      huge intellectual leaps involved in this process. Indeed it sort of seems
      inevitable! Again by way of imagination I can easily see how news of the
      fallen leader at the hands of Imperial authority would arouse some follower
      familiar with the tradition to recite the Servant Song in Isaiah 52-3 and
      yet another remembering Psalm 2 and another remembering Psalm 22 (just to
      cite three rather juicy remembrances!). And so... from ethical and social
      reflection... to grief response... to formal reflection, the use of the
      language changes. First its about dealing with the situation. Second it's
      about honoring the dead who inspired the first. And then third this becomes
      formal constitutional language for defining a movement. I think it is
      important not to collapse this use of language into one category. So to
      close... the first sort of language use can get you killed in authoritarian
      regimes! The second sort of use is the stuff of really caring and dealing
      with the situation of loss and the emotions. The third sort is the
      privileged use of language that moves individuals and communities to work
      out such as "who's out" and "who's in," and such as "what's our message?"
      and "how do we constitute ourselves?" and "who's in charge now?"

      Hope this helps further the conversation a bit.

      Happy Holidays,

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
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