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RE: [XTalk] News of the "Passion"

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... But it is also important not to read too much into the text, which is a good part of the whole problem. Was John really referring to all those whom we
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 4, 2004
      At 01:49 PM 2/4/2004 -0500, Robert Davis wrote:
      >Jim at al:
      >
      >Fair enough: let's have some "honest discussion about texts and their
      >meanings."
      >
      >... John's use of the term "Jew" as one (or a group) opposed to Christ
      >because they are too much a part of "the world." This sort of "opposition
      >language" simply exists in the texts themselves, and no amount of
      >rationalizing will make it go away.

      But it is also important not to read too much into the text, which is a
      good part of the whole problem. Was John really referring to all those whom
      we would now call Jews? Or was he referring, at least some of the time, to
      "Judeans" (as opposed to Galileans)? When he uses the term Judeans
      (translated as Jews), does he mean to include or exclude Israelites (i.e.,
      Galileans)?


      >... However, we cannot overlook what must be manifestly obvious to anyone
      >who reads them--ie, the Jews do not come off well in the Gospels. Simple
      >as that.
      >... My only point is that we cannot escape what the texts themselves say
      >and mean.

      But that assumes that we really know what the texts themselves say and
      mean. Sometimes, we read too much into the text. Sometimes, we draw
      inferences that were not meant to be drawn. Sometimes we use anachronisms
      in interpreting the text, without realizing it. And in making these
      interpretive leaps, we are often unconscious of the leaps we have made, and
      assert that the texts "say and mean" what we assume that they say and mean.
      So the matter, to me, is not so simple and straightforward as you claim.

      Bob


      Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D., Research Associate
      Northern Arizona University
      Flagstaff, AZ
      (928) 527-4002



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Mike Grondin
      ... Hmm. My bible says that _All the people_ answered and said... And this comes immediately after Pilate washes his hands in front of the crowd, saying
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 4, 2004
        --- Jan Sammer wrote:
        > The text does not refer to all future generations of Jews, as the
        > critics seem to assume; it refers to the the children of Caiaphas
        > and his fellow members of the Sanhedrin...

        Hmm. My bible says that "_All the people_ answered and said..."
        And this comes immediately after Pilate washes his hands in front
        of the crowd, saying (obviously to them - not just to the priests
        and elders) "see to it yourselves". Sorry, but your revisionism -
        unlike Pilate - won't wash, Jan.

        I like what Zeba Crook and Steve Black had to say about implicit
        anti-semitism, but to my own mind, Gibson's statements on TV and
        in print about who he thinks were responsible are even more
        insidious and malicious than that - he thinks _everyone_ is/was!
        To which I think one must say: speak for yourself, Mel.

        On another issue, it won't do, I think, as Loren does, to try to
        blunt Zeba's question about the "point" of a graphic depiction of
        all the gory but well-known details of the man's death by saying
        that it has as much (or as little) point as gratuituous violence in
        totally-fictional films. One has to assume that it has more of a
        point to it than that - more than just the accumulation of mammon
        by feeding the tawdry impulses of people who flock to the theatre
        to get an unhealthy dose of psychic shock. The point, I take it,
        is that Gibson wants everyone to "feel the pain" of a man he takes
        to be "the Savior" - with the assumption that that death had some
        significance that the torture/deaths of other men didn't/don't.
        While this may strengthen Gibson's own radically-traditionalist
        wing of Christianity, and - indications are - will probably be
        used for proselytizing purposes, to most non-Christians, it'll
        just be another horror flick.

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
      • Jan Sammer
        From: Mike Grondin The text of Matthew uses the expression PAS TO LAOS (the whole people) in this connection; a few verses previously
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 5, 2004
          From: "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>

          The text of Matthew uses the expression PAS TO LAOS (the whole people) in
          this connection; a few verses previously this same group is described merely
          as TO OXLOS (the crowd). But where do these people come from? In 27:1 its is
          "hOI ARCHIEREIS KAI hOI PRESBUTEROI TOU LAOU" (the priests and the elders of
          the people) who put Jesus in chains and bring him before Pilate. Now at
          27:15 a crowd is said to have gathered in front of Pilate's residence. These
          would presumably include the priests and elders of the people perhaps joined
          by some of their followers. The text is a not specific on this point, but in
          any event "all the people" at 27:25 cannot be understood otherwise than
          "everyone present." The author cannot have intended it to refer to all Jewry
          and all future generations as it has unfortunately been interpreted in the
          past. He speaks only of the particular group gathered in front of Pilate's
          residence, consisting of the priests, the elders and their supporters, the
          Temple establishment one might call them. These are the very people that
          Paul was trying to dislodge with the help of Caesar's Court and I do
          consider that their calling guilt upon their own heads and those of their
          children, should be viewed in terms of the polemics c. 60 AD. After the
          Temple's destruction Christians would not have had a motive to accuse the
          elders, the high priests and their followers of a crime. But such
          accusations make perfect sense in the context of a trial in which charges
          are being pressed against Paul by this very establishment. The only problem
          was that the people responsible for getting Jesus put to death were already
          dead by then, so Matthew inserted a sentence whereby they helpfully passed
          their own guilt onto the succeeding generation, the one in control of the
          temple at the time of Paul's trial. After the trial the Christians (who
          became a proscribed religion as a result of the verdict rendred in this
          trial) were subject to open persecution and their best hope for survival was
          to try to merge in with the rest of Jewry, who still enjoyed the privileges
          of a recognized religion. This strategy worked to a degree at least until
          the expulsion of the Christians from Jewish synagogues later in the first
          century. Matthew's description of events would have been counterproductive
          to this strategy of self-preservation, had it originated at a subsequent
          date.

          Jan

          >>--- Jan Sammer wrote:
          >> The text does not refer to all future generations of Jews, as the
          >> critics seem to assume; it refers to the the children of Caiaphas
          >> and his fellow members of the Sanhedrin...

          >Hmm. My bible says that "_All the people_ answered and said..."
          >And this comes immediately after Pilate washes his hands in front
          >of the crowd, saying (obviously to them - not just to the priests
          >and elders) "see to it yourselves". Sorry, but your revisionism -
          >unlike Pilate - won't wash, Jan.
        • Loren Rosson
          [Robert Davis] ... [Bob Schacht] ... For John s gospel I have found Bruce Malina & Dick Rohrbaugh s social science commentary (which I ve mentioned on this
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 5, 2004
            [Robert Davis]

            > >John's use of the term "Jew" as one (or a
            > >group) opposed to Christ
            > >because they are too much a part of "the world."
            > >This sort of "opposition
            > >language" simply exists in the texts themselves,
            > >and no amount of
            > >rationalizing will make it go away.

            [Bob Schacht]
            > But it is also important not to read too much into
            > the text... Was John really
            > referring to all those whom
            > we would now call Jews? Or was he referring, at
            > least some of the time, to
            > "Judeans" (as opposed to Galileans)?

            For John's gospel I have found Bruce Malina & Dick
            Rohrbaugh's social science commentary (which I've
            mentioned on this list before) to be a very helpful
            tool. It explores the idea of the Johannine community
            as an ostracized or marginalized "anti-society",
            hostile to the Judean world at large. Deals with the
            nature of anti-language, and what terms like "this
            world", "eating Jesus", "abiding in him", etc mean.

            Loren Rosson III
            Nashua NH
            rossoiii@...

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          • Mike Grondin
            ... Agreed. ... I m not sure what counts as a supporter , but in any case there s no indication in the text that this crowd consisted solely or primarily of
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 5, 2004
              --- Jan Sammer wrote:
              > ... "all the people" at 27:25 cannot be understood otherwise than
              > "everyone present." The author cannot have intended it to refer to
              > all Jewry and all future generations as it has unfortunately been
              > interpreted in the past.

              Agreed.

              > He speaks only of the particular group gathered in front of
              > Pilate's residence, consisting of the priests, the elders and
              > their supporters, the Temple establishment one might call them.

              I'm not sure what counts as a "supporter", but in any case there's
              no indication in the text that this crowd consisted solely or
              primarily of such folks. Furthermore, the extent of Matthew's
              broadly condemnatory attitude is revealed by another kind of
              argument at 23:29-36, where he's addressing scribes and Pharisees
              (if these also are Temple "supporters" in your view, then I guess
              that word would include almost all Judaeans - thus making your
              interpretation of the sentencing scene unfalsifiable because
              uninterestingly tautological). There, he argues that _anyone_ who
              persecutes Christians is calling down upon themselves "the guilt of
              all the righteous blood shed on earth". So I don't think that the
              author's condemnation was restricted to the Temple establishment,
              much as your exclusive focus on one factor would have it so.

              Regards,
              Mike Grondin
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