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Re: [XTalk] Seventy(-two) what?

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... Only if you ignore certain features of the text and read into it things that are not there. There is no evidence that in Luke -- or elsewhere for that
    Message 1 of 16 , May 4, 2004
      Linda & Ernest Pennells wrote:

      > [Jeffrey B. Gibson]
      > >Is the collection/payment of this tax really what Luke presumes is going on
      > when Jesus throws out the money changes and the animal sellers?<
      >
      > I'm still working on this, but that is the way I would like to see it. It
      > offers the perfect foil to Caesar's denarius. It also complements the
      > condemnation of wicked vintners. Jesus has preached frequently about the
      > conflict between mammon and KofG. He enters the most ostentatious building
      > complex he is ever likely to have set foot in, denounces the managers as
      > robbers, and scatters piles of revenue they are extorting from every Jew -
      > rich or poor - in the name of devotion to YHWH. It fits rather nicely - No?
      >

      Only if you ignore certain features of the text and read into it things that are
      not there.

      There is no evidence that in Luke -- or elsewhere for that matter that what the
      money changers whom Jesus drives out of the Temple were up to was facilitating the
      payment of the Temple Tax or that they were the people to whom the Temple tax was
      paid. Their service was in the interest of allowing people to buy animals for
      sacrifice in the currency that was accepted for such sales. There's even less
      evidence that they were engaged in extortionary practice or that what Jesus was
      objecting to was economic exploitation, let alone economic exploitation of those
      who wanted to pay the Temple tax. As Borg, Wright, Watts, Barret and others
      have argued, and as the juxtapositioning of this event by Luke with the account of
      Jesus' lament over Jerusalem shows, Jesus' charge (a direct allusion to Jer. 7)
      that the temple has been made into a SPHLAION LHSTWN is not a charge that it has
      become a place where economic thievery is taking place. It is a charge that it
      has become a stronghold of nationalism and a plank in the ideological platform of
      those who ultimately sided with the things that "made for war" and not "for
      peace".

      And the condemnation of the "wicked vinters" does not center in economic
      exploitation or the Temple tax, does it?

      > [Jeffrey B. Gibson]
      > >And what in Luke indicates that the 5000 Jesus fed were gathered for an
      > insurrectionist rally?<
      >
      > Well, Antipas was busy raising an army to ward off an irate Aretas. He had
      > silenced the dissident voice of JBap and was turning his attention to the
      > Galilean rabbi who had appointed twelve lieutenants and sent them out to
      > recruit for his own cause - a rival kingdom. Jesus withdrew from Antipas'
      > territory to safer ground. Lots of men joined him. Maybe they just wanted
      > to avoid the draft, and an unpopular battle against Aretas. However, the
      > wilderness is renowned as a messianic rallying ground - Peter certainly got
      > that message. But the twelve were slightly better at harvesting fish than
      > gathering armies - they overlooked the fundamental logistical challenge of
      > feeding the hoard. Rape and pillage might be more the style of Antipas's
      > recruiting parties, but Jesus had peaceful priorities and sent the
      > volunteers away before he retreated to Mt Hermon, where he was given his
      > marching orders to go to the heart of the problem - Jerusalem.
      >
      > Convincing! Well, would you grant me interesting? It does read a bit
      > like the Gospel According to Ernie.

      Interesting yes. Convincing -- at least on the level of what Luke says -- no. But
      thanks for sharing your view of what historically underlies the account.

      Jeffrey
      --

      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
      Chicago, IL 60626

      jgibson000@...
    • Linda & Ernest Pennells
      [Dave Hindley] ... gentile subjects, as did all the Herodians. While many of their top generals were Jews, I m sure that the princes did not recruit them from
      Message 2 of 16 , May 4, 2004
        [Dave Hindley]
        >I believe Antipas used both mercenary troops and recruited from among his
        gentile subjects, as did all the Herodians. While many of their top generals
        were Jews, I'm sure that the princes did not recruit them from the ranks of
        those who would be attracted to Jesus's message.<

        Jesus sent the 5,000 away. Does that suggest they came because they were
        interested in his message, avoiding a fight against Aretas, or keen to
        oust Roman puppet rulers? Probably an assortment of all three. GJohn says
        that assembly wanted to make Jesus king. Peter wasn't listening straight
        either.

        Josephus says Aretas and Antipas both raised armies for this scrap (Ant.
        18.5.1 (113)). The implication is that their standing army was expanded,
        which seems to me to reflect standard military practice at times of
        conflict, through the ages. Recruitment often takes the form of coercion.
        It isn't only professional soldiers who prepare for war. Antipas was
        expecting an invasion.

        Jews were exempted from service in the legions, but I nonetheless have a
        problem with the notion that the only Jews in any army were Generals.

        [Nancy Jones]
        >Perhaps there is an easier answer -- 12 divides into 72 evenly ...<

        Let me think about this one - is six a "significant" number?

        [Jeffrey B. Gibson]
        >There is no evidence that in Luke-or elsewhere for that matter that what
        the money changers whom Jesus drives out of the Temple were up to was
        facilitating the payment of the Temple Tax. Their service was in the
        interest of allowing people to buy animals for sacrifice in the currency
        that was accepted for such sales.<

        The Tyrian shekel was obligatory for the temple tax. Is there evidence from
        second temple period that this coinage was required for other transactions?

        [Jeffrey B. Gibson]
        >Jesus' charge (a direct allusion to Jer. 7) that the temple has been made
        into a SPHLAION LHSTWN is not a charge that it has become a place where
        economic thievery is taking place.<
        Jer. 7: "deal fairly with one another, cease to oppress the alien, the
        fatherless, and the widow ... you steal ... perjury." That reads as
        economic exploitation, to me! I don't see any call for peacemakers in
        Jer. 7. On the contrary: "What I did to Shiloh I shall do to this house
        ... ... my anger and my fury will pour out on this place."

        LHSTWN carries strong associations with banditry in current scholarship,
        but that is not what Jer. 7 is about, and not what Jesus had on his mind,
        as portrayed in the NT.

        [Jeffrey B. Gibson]
        >And the condemnation of the "wicked vinters" does not center in economic
        exploitation or the Temple tax, does it?<

        I would have thought it does just that. In the parable, the wicked
        vintners set out to secure the benefits of ownership for themselves, by
        foul means.

        [Jeffrey B. Gibson]
        >It is a charge that it has become a stronghold of nationalism and a plank
        in the ideological platform of those who ultimately sided with the things
        that "made for war" and not "for peace".<

        Eisegesis in defence of a particular dating of GTrad - ouch!!! (I wince in
        anticipation of a painful counter-punch).


        Regards,

        Ernie Pennells
        220 - 50 Songhees Road, Victoria BC, Canada V9A 7J4
        http://www.lukeacts.com
        Tel: (250) 381 5674
      • David C. Hindley
        ... interested in his message, avoiding a fight against Aretas, or keen to oust Roman puppet rulers? Probably an assortment of all three. GJohn says that
        Message 3 of 16 , May 4, 2004
          Ernest says:

          >>Jesus sent the 5,000 away. Does that suggest they came because they were
          interested in his message, avoiding a fight against Aretas, or keen to
          oust Roman puppet rulers? Probably an assortment of all three. GJohn says
          that assembly wanted to make Jesus king. Peter wasn't listening straight
          either.<<

          There is likely to be some rhetoric at work there. I tend to look at the
          gospels as apologies for Christian origins more or less in the dress of a
          bios. The 5,000 (or even 4,000) strongly suggests a military size unit, and
          Luke's "groups of fifty" seems to strengthen this idea (although I am not
          personally aware of a specific military organization of the day that used a
          group of fifty).

          To me, the gospel authors were reacting to charges that Jesus had raised and
          was maintaining an army. That they do not flatly deny it suggests that they
          considered a fact that such a number had flocked to him was irrefutable.
          What you do is turn that sows ear into a silk purse. Jesus was simply
          "teaching" them, and any feeding of them was miraculous, not due to
          organization such as would have been required to feed an army).

          >>Josephus says Aretas and Antipas both raised armies for this scrap (Ant.
          18.5.1 (113)). The implication is that their standing army was expanded,
          which seems to me to reflect standard military practice at times of
          conflict, through the ages. Recruitment often takes the form of coercion.
          It isn't only professional soldiers who prepare for war. Antipas was
          expecting an invasion.

          Jews were exempted from service in the legions, but I nonetheless have a
          problem with the notion that the only Jews in any army were Generals.<<

          I wouldn't want to suggest that no Jews were active in the rank and file of
          the armies of the Herodian princes. However, even the later Hasmoneans
          started using mercenaries rather than Jewish soldiers, since they could
          dispense with religious scruples when strategy dictated Saturday offensive
          action or foodstuffs needed to be procured. Don't forget that there were a
          significant number of Greek cities all over Jewish ruled territories, chock
          full of retired soldiers who can be called into service.

          Respectfully,

          Dave Hindley
          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
        • Loren Rosson
          Ernie, Jeffrey -- I would point out to Ernie that while Jesus seems to have shared the outrage of some of his contemporaries over taxation -- whether the poll
          Message 4 of 16 , May 5, 2004
            Ernie, Jeffrey --

            I would point out to Ernie that while Jesus seems to
            have shared the outrage of some of his contemporaries
            over taxation -- whether the poll tax (MK 12:13-17/Mt
            22:15-22/Lk 20:20-26) or temple tax (Mt 17:24-27), as
            I've argued in the past on this list -- it's doubtful
            that the temple incident has anything to do with
            outrage over taxation per se. It seems most profitable
            to interpret the incident in an over-arching
            eschatological sense. Simply put, Jesus (outraged over
            many things, taxation but one of them), rhetorically
            denounced the temple establishment as a "den of
            robbers", promising that God would soon demolish the
            temple and rebuild another in three days. That
            erroneous prophecy was placed on the lips of
            slanderers and false witnesses in Mark and Matthew,
            censored in Luke (or perhaps revised and placed at
            Stephen's trial in Acts), spiritualized in John, and
            revised in Thomas.

            I'm less sure than Jeffrey, however, about the "den of
            robbers" text (though I certainly agree that no
            significant thievery, or swindling, was taking place
            in the temple by the standard commercial activities;
            these would have occasioned no outrge per se).
            Obviously "den" doesn't literally refer to the place
            where a robbery is carried out. So it could be a
            refuge/sanctuary (in the way Borg and Wright suggest);
            but it could also be a storage (the place where
            robbers store their "plunder", as suggested by Malina
            and Rohrbaugh). I incline to the latter while
            eschewing a literal application of the metaphor in any
            case. If historically authentic, Jesus was engaged in
            rhetorical denunciation, and for his purposes the
            revised Jeremiah citation was an appropriate (as uses
            of prophecy often went). That Jesus inverted the
            targets of Jeremiah's rage -- making the "robbers"
            priests instead of incoming worshippers -- strikes me
            as something we should expect rather than be surprised
            by. Jesus was no more saying every member of the
            temple establishment was a thief than Jeremiah was
            saying this about every person in Judah. The latter
            targetted those who oppressed "aliens, orphans, and
            widows"; the former, those who oppressed the poor.

            Loren Rosson III
            Nashua NH
            rossoiii@...




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          • Linda & Ernest Pennells
            [David Hindley] ... dispense with religious scruples when strategy dictated Saturday offensive action or foodstuffs needed to be procured.
            Message 5 of 16 , May 5, 2004
              [David Hindley]
              >... using mercenaries rather than Jewish soldiers, since they could
              dispense with religious scruples when strategy dictated Saturday offensive
              action or foodstuffs needed to be procured.<

              One idea I like to toy with is that the Dominical instructions to the
              twelve/seventy are modelled on a contrast with military enlisting and
              provisioning parties: Visit in pairs, no show of strength. No staff,
              absolutely no offensive weapon. Minimal equipment, no kit bag or boots.
              Accept what is offered, no requisitioning. Stay in one house, no
              scavenging. Message of Shalom, not war. If support is withheld, don't
              even purloin the village dust!

              It fits rather nicely with Antipas and Aretas preparing reluctant people for
              battle.

              [Loren Rosson III]
              > ... while Jesus seems to have shared the outrage of some of his
              contemporaries over taxation-whether the poll tax (MK 12:13-17/Mt
              22:15-22/Lk 20:20-26) or temple tax (Mt 17:24-27), as I've argued in the
              past on this list-it's doubtful that the temple incident has anything to do
              with outrage over taxation per se.<

              But allow me to introduce Zacchaeus, as I believe Luke intended (my reserve
              Ace of Spades): not the titchy penitent beloved of preachers, but a
              political giant who stands astride the principal trade route from the east,
              at the border of a Roman province, scooping up tax revenue for his foreign
              paymasters.

              Luke seems to like ironic contrasts. This particular little man is the
              fiscal boss in no mean city. The name of this social pariah (his neighbours
              actually call him a sinner) means "pure one", and it is a name this high
              profile collaborator also shares with an officer in Judas Maccabeus' army,
              although we can only surmise as to whether Luke actually knew that.

              Luke's story presents Zacchaeus as an honest man. He vows before witnesses
              to give away half his possessions, and compensate anybody he has defrauded
              fourfold, in compliance with Roman law. What this means is that if
              anything more than ten percent of his wealth was acquired by illegitimate
              means, he just wiped himself out financially. Accountants and taxmen don't
              have to sit down and calculate such things - this is reflex arithmetic for
              them.

              So, Zacchaeus is rich, but apparently not corrupt. He shares such virtue
              with another very rich man Jesus met on his way to Jericho who could claim
              he had kept all the commandments, but balked at exchanging his wealth for
              the KofG.

              The Galilean pilgrim band had to run the gauntlet of Antipas by staying in
              his territory as they travelled down the Jordan valley, because they had
              been rebuffed by Samaritans, with good cause. While Antipas was preparing
              for war with Aretas, it was not sensible policy for border villages to
              offer aid and succour to draft dodgers who, rumour had it, had recently
              taken part in a messianic gathering just outside Antipas' eastern borders.

              Jesus (Yeshua to his Aramaic speaking friends, Joshua to those familiar
              with Hebrew) wades across Jordan and approaches Jericho - will those walls
              come tumbling down as this second Joshua sets foot in a Roman province?
              That tension promptly melts: the only walls under attack at Jericho this
              time are the prejudices of zealots who might see Zacchaeus as public enemy
              number one within Judaism; and any adherents of notions of priestly
              purity, who would regard the defiled home of an unclean tax collector as
              the last place they would choose to accept hospitality on the eve of their
              arrival at the Holy City.

              Rich and collaborative Zacchaeus is not only the exception who proves the
              rule that camels cannot pass through the eye of a needle, he is also the
              most offensive of all examples of Jesus embracing the wrong sort of
              people - Damn it, he's filthy rich, a despised tax collector, and
              actually works for the Roman Governor! All this trouble about associating
              with the wrong sort of people originated in a local tax office in Galilee -
              at least that was under the jurisdiction of a Jewish (well, sort of)
              tetrarch!

              Zacchaeus brings several Lukan themes to a point of resolution.

              Doesn't it strike you as odd that Jesus - in conversation with an honest
              collaborator - utters no single word of complaint about Roman taxes, nor
              even hints that Zacchaeus ought to change his job? This really does make it
              starkly obvious what is really on Jesus' mind as he travels to Jerusalem
              (Luke keeps on and on about that), where his first action will be a
              demonstration against traders in the temple, which leads to him having to
              defend himself against malicious charges that he really intended to complain
              about Roman tax. Matt., Mk. And Jn. Specifically mention money changers as
              Jesus' initial target, but Luke himself is a bit coy about some things
              relating to the temple. A well intentioned scribe noted this blatant
              omission, and helped him out with a gloss.

              Luke is rather good at story telling. History, or creative political
              fiction on a theme of public finances? Mammon -v- KofG.

              Returning to your comments, Loren, Zacchaeus is not an apocalyptic figure,
              but highly political, and sets the scene splendidly for Jesus' true agenda
              in Jerusalem.

              Regards,

              Ernie Pennells
              220 - 50 Songhees Road, Victoria BC, Canada V9A 7J4
              http://www.lukeacts.com
              Tel: (250) 381 5674
            • Linda & Ernest Pennells
              [Dave Hindley] ... 4,000) strongly suggests a military size unit
              Message 6 of 16 , May 9, 2004
                [Dave Hindley]
                >There is likely to be some rhetoric at work there. ... The 5,000 (or even
                4,000) strongly suggests a military size unit<

                I'm rather fond of rhetoric!

                Do I scent an interplay between numbers and geography, here?

                When Jesus heads for the wilderness in Gentile territory, he expels a
                legion of demons but is sent back.

                When he steps into Philip's domain (near Bethsaida) he is joined by a legion
                of volunteers, but sends them peacefully away.

                Luke mentions three teams of disciple messengers:

                1. Twelve, who Matt maintains were instructed to confine their mission to
                the House of Israel.

                2. An unspecified number who probe Samaria after Jesus set his face toward
                Jerusalem, but meet with rebuff.

                3. Seventy(-two), to "bring in the harvest," after he just turned away
                three wannabe disciples.

                So, five thousand reflects an insurrectionist option; twelve a
                reconstituted Israel; seventy(-two) ... ... . A medley of revolutionary
                potential.

                Significant numbers crop up in forays beyond the borders of Galilee.

                Just musing.

                Regards,

                Ernie Pennells
                220 - 50 Songhees Road, Victoria BC, Canada V9A 7J4
                http://www.lukeacts.com
                Tel: (250) 381 5674
              • RSBrenchley@aol.com
                ... the money changers whom Jesus drives out of the Temple were up to was facilitating the payment of the Temple Tax. Their service was in the interest of
                Message 7 of 16 , May 9, 2004
                  Jeffrey writes:

                  >There is no evidence that in Luke-or elsewhere for that matter that what
                  the money changers whom Jesus drives out of the Temple were up to was
                  facilitating the payment of the Temple Tax. Their service was in the
                  interest of allowing people to buy animals for sacrifice in the currency
                  that was accepted for such sales.<

                  There is apparently evidence from the Mishnah and the Talmud (yes, I realise
                  its late) that an agio was payable when money had to be changed. According
                  to one source I found, the Mishnah says that it was payable if a half-shekel
                  was paid for one person, but not if a shekel was paid for two.
                  _http://www.begedivri.com/shekel/teachings/kadman.htm_
                  (http://www.begedivri.com/shekel/teachings/kadman.htm)
                  It seems, however, that the Talmud contradicts this, saying that if two
                  people paid together, they still had to pay the fee.
                  _http://amphoracoins.com/articlesfrmst.htm_ (http://amphoracoins.com/articlesfrmst.htm)
                  Unfortunately I don't have access to either; is anyone able to check what
                  they actually say? Is it possible that this could be what Jesus was objecting
                  to?
                  Regards,
                  Robert Brenchley


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Ron Price
                  After complaining that Q scholars didn t treat Q scientifically, i.e. take the 2ST as a hypothesis and check its predictions, I was referred to Jacobson s
                  Message 8 of 16 , May 20, 2004
                    After complaining that Q scholars didn't treat Q scientifically, i.e. take
                    the 2ST as a hypothesis and check its predictions, I was referred to
                    Jacobson's article _The Literary Unity of Q_ in JBL 101/3 (1982) 365-389.

                    To his credit, Jacobson did attempt to set the philosophical scene. But he
                    did so, in my opinion, incorrectly.

                    "... A source hypothesis has no predictive power. Since it cannot predict
                    anything, it cannot be tested and falsified in the way ordinary scientific
                    hypotheses can be tested and falsified." (p.366, n.4)

                    But a source hypothesis *does* have predictive power. For instance the Two
                    Source Theory, based on Luke's ignorance of Matthew, predicts that the
                    double tradition (with perhaps a few small additions) once existed as a
                    stand-alone document. Whether the testing is like that of scientific
                    hypotheses seems to depend on the interpretation of the word "ordinary".
                    However that may be, Jacobson's denial of testability and falsifiability
                    let him off the hook. From that point on he could set aside any worry that
                    his investigation might undermine the basis for Q. How convenient.
                    Yet curiously he seemed almost to come full circle when five pages later
                    he added: "If this double tradition material came from a single document,
                    then it would be reasonable to expect the material to give some evidence of
                    literary unity." The difference is that now he was in a safer world, where
                    failure need not be contemplated.

                    After several more pages of argumentation, he concludes that " ... the
                    deuteronomistic tradition provides the theological framework for Q" (p.386).

                    This would give it a degree of coherence. But how much? Insofar as the
                    deuteronomic characteristic is uniform, the removal of one or more pericopes
                    will not affect the coherence. This means it doesn't stick together very
                    well. For in a strongly coherent document, the removal of pericopes will
                    almost certainly shatter the coherence. Perhaps a small degree of coherence
                    is better than nothing.

                    But the deuteronomistic characteristic is evidently not uniform. For
                    he goes on to perceive the imposing of a deuteronomistic-Wisdom layer on a
                    Son of Man layer (p.388), and "the beginning of a tradition history of Q"
                    (p.389).
                    The ink on his defence of the literary unity of Q is not yet dry, and
                    already he perceives a multi-layered document. Well is it a literary unity
                    or isn't it? Jacobson can't have his cake and eat it, at least not in any
                    self-consistent view.

                    Ron Price

                    Derbyshire, UK

                    Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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