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[XTalk] Re: Mark 12:17 Pay Caesar...

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  • Jan Sammer
    ... You mean thin ice? I don t think so. Chapter 18 contains direct exhortations to attack Babylon the Great and describes the city in flames. ... I didn t say
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 2, 1999
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      > Jan Sammer wrote:
      >
      > >The kind of Christian writing you get
      > > after the persecutions start is the book of Revelations, with its thinly
      > > veiled exhortations to an all-out war against Rome.
      >
      Bernard Muller:

      > "thinly veiled exhortations to an all-out war against Rome."
      > Where did you get that from? It looks you are running on very thin air
      > here.

      You mean thin ice? I don't think so. Chapter 18 contains direct exhortations
      to attack Babylon the Great and describes the city in flames.

      > The book of Revelations was not the only Christian book written after
      > 62. These books (gospels, epistles) were either totally unconcerned
      > about relationship between Christians and authorities, or advised
      > obedience. Revelation is the only book which is anti-Roman. It is the
      > exception and not the rule.

      I didn't say it was the rule. And we obviously have very divergent views on
      the chronology of the NT writings.

      > Revelation has a long history,
      > see http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/danrv.shtml for more info,

      I have read your views of Revelation a while back and I find little to agree
      with.

      > but let's say here that the Christianized version appeared around 95
      > (almost every scholars agree on this date, me too), at a time when
      > emperor Domitian was getting paranoiac in his last years (93-96) and
      > wanted to be recognized as a God. Most historians think that the
      > persecution then was not aimed at Christians per say, but also Jews, or
      > anyone else who would not accept Domitian as "my Lord and my God". So
      > Domitian's persecution certainly cannot be considered as a proof of a
      > long lasting official Roman policy against Christians (which started in
      > 62!)

      My preferred date for Revelation is 62 A.D. The reasons are too complex to
      go into here and may be viewed as off-topic by the powers that be. OK, so
      it's not the majority view.

      > > > >After 70 A.D. all the
      > > > > malice shown in the synoptics, and particularly GMatt., towards the
      > > "chief
      > > > > priests and the elders" would have been pointless as well.
      > > >
      > > > The same GMatt. clearly describes Pharisees turning into rabbis which
      > > > started to happen around 80-90 (Mt23:2-3,6-7). "the chief priests and
      > > > **the elders** (and teachers of the law)" likely represents Jewish
      > > > leaders and religious elite generally:
      > > > Mk8:31 "He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer
      many
      > > > things and be rejected by the **elders**, chief priests and teachers
      of
      > > > the law, ..."
      > > > Please note that the elders and teachers of the law were still kicking
      > > > around after 70.
      > >
      > > What's important is that the chief priests were no longer around and it
      is
      > > they who are the major target of the synoptic writers' wrath.
      >
      > So what's your point?

      My point is that the gospel writers are pointing an accusing finger at
      somebody who according to your dating is no longer around at the time of
      writing.

      > For Matthew, the major target are Pharisees turning into rabbis.
      > For Mark, the major enemies are teachers of the law.

      In Mk 14:10 it's the chief priests who pay Judas to hand over Jesus to them.
      Those who order Jesus' arrest are "the chief priests, the teachers of the
      law and the elders" (14:44). The enemies are the chief priests and their
      supporters.

      > Are you trying to say that the synoptic gospels (or only GMark) had to
      > be written when the chief priests were still around?

      Precisely. Their guilt is meant to disqualify them from their posts. That
      only makes sense if they're still in their posts at the time of writing.

      > > The point is that Mark is catering to Roman
      > > sensibilities.
      >
      > Mark is catering to a few Christians which may have thought about not
      > paying taxes (just like Paul did earlier in Romans) and therefore get
      > the whole Christian community into trouble. Please note that this
      > thought can be entertained by anyone, anytime, and of any religious
      > belief (or none). Yes, it is perfectly natural, isn't it?

      It's even occurred to me, but I'd rather not have to wear striped pyjamas
      all day. Seriously, I meant much more than taxpaying in referring to Mark's
      catering to Roman sensibilities. E.g., making Pilate into a model Skeptic
      prince corresponding point by point to the clement ruler of Seneca's De
      Clementia.

      Jan Sammer
      Interpres
      Prague-Czech Republic
      sammer@...
      www.interpres.cz
    • Ron Price
      Jeffrey, Your article on _The Tradition of Jesus Tax Question Temptation_ available on http://www.ameritech.net/users/jgibson000/Taxtest.htm gives an
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 5, 1999
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        Jeffrey,
        Your article on _The Tradition of Jesus' Tax Question Temptation_
        available on
        http://www.ameritech.net/users/jgibson000/Taxtest.htm
        gives an excellent account of why a pious Jew would not support giving
        taxes to Caesar, and I agree that in its original setting, the saying
        would have been interpreted by pious Jews as a refusal.
        I think that the subtlety of
        the saying reveals Jesus' ingenuity. The saying was a rallying-cry to
        his supporters, yet on the surface it contained nothing tangible to
        which the authorities could object.
        You rightly point out that Mark uses PEIRAZW in a similar sense
        elsewhere. But Mark's fondness for PEIRAZW suggests to me that Mark
        himself was the pioneer of its use in connection with Jesus.
        On the issue of **Mark's** understanding, I think Mark understood it
        as a refusal to pay taxes but deliberately presented it as an
        acceptance. "Who's head is this, and whose title?" is a Markan addition
        to the tradition, and hints at acceptance. This is consistent with
        several other indications of pro_Roman and pro-Gentile attitudes in his
        gospel.

        Ron Price

        ron.price@...

        Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
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