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Re: [XTalk] News of the "Passion"

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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