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RE: [XTalk] Jesus Temple Act

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  • Loren Rosson
    ... Gordon replied (surely tongue in cheek, I thought, but maybe not...) ... First of all, the Bank of New Hampshire is never crowded shoulder-to-shoulder with
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 1, 2005
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      I had written:

      > Whether or not the temple incident happened,
      > it was doubtfully the
      > immediate cause of arrest and crucifixion --
      > though following reports
      > about it may have helped drive the nail
      > in Jesus' coffin.

      Gordon replied (surely tongue in cheek, I thought, but
      maybe not...)

      > Again... think through going to the Nashua
      > bank with a whip and
      > spilling out the money drawers across the
      > floor. How likely are you to not get arrested?

      First of all, the Bank of New Hampshire is never
      crowded shoulder-to-shoulder with masses of "pilgrims"
      when I cash my checks there. It's **much** easier for
      authorities to spot and pinpoint untoward behavior in
      modern day banks than the ancient temple during a
      passover festival.

      But more importantly, people get away with bank
      robberies all the time -- at least for a time. Here
      are a few recent examples from NH:

      1. Boden Hughes got away with multiple robberies
      before being arrested.

      http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nh/pdfreleases/May04/DF%20Robbins%20Hughes%20indict1.pdf

      2. This guy robbed a NH Bank and made away before
      being apprehended:

      http://nhmostwanted.org/index.cfm?ac=casedetails&CaseID=20040007

      3. And I believe this guy is still at large:

      http://theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=52257

      So I do share some of Ernie's sentiments, when he
      writes:

      [Ernie]
      > Incidentally, Gordon, you have me very angry with
      > the media for all the
      > fiction they publish as news: Suicide bombers can't
      > possible get past
      > several screens of trained military on high security
      > alert in Iraq. The
      > IRA(?) can't possible penetrate elaborate bank
      > security systems to abscond
      > with umpteen million. You try it! None of this can
      > be historic, but there
      > was gullible old me taking it seriously.

      Maybe the above media citations are, indeed, extended
      April Fools jokes. :)

      In any case, it seems very likely that Jesus could
      have gotten away after the temple incident (assuming
      it happened). This suggestion is one of the real
      strengths of Fredriksen's book.

      Loren Rosson III
      Nashua NH
      rossoiii@...



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    • Gordon Raynal
      Hi Ernie, ... Thanks for writing of how you see this fitting in. ... So, in this case and as regards the coinage, Jesus was stricter in interpretation of the
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 1, 2005
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        Hi Ernie,
        >

        > Quite a contrast with the money changers incident. Both the sum, her
        > sex,
        > and the comparison between the widow's paltry gift and a flourish of
        > wealth
        > by others clearly separate this from temple tax. This is free will
        > offering. So while men line up meet their obligations, or topple the
        > table
        > in protest :-)', and those with surplus wealth brandish it about, the
        > widow slips in a costly expression of genuine devotion, which Jesus
        > applauds even if he did think it misdirected. On occasion, he also
        > applauded prostitutes.

        Thanks for writing of how you see this fitting in.
        >
        > [Gordon]
        >> I know you favor this interpretation. But the utilization of the
        >> Tyrean
        > Shekel began circa 125 BCE ...<
        >
        > I don't see that the provenance should prevent Jesus objecting to being
        > taxed by impostors using pagan coinage.

        So, in this case and as regards the coinage, Jesus was stricter in
        interpretation of the commandment about "graven images" than were the
        Pharisees? As most all the coinage in Israel was produced at foreign
        mints (and all silver coinage, save for the Jerusalem produced T.
        Shekels), and as all of that coinage bore pagan symbols, how do you
        understand Jesus' stance on the coinage use in this case, as opposed to
        just the daily transactions utilizing this coinage?
        >
        > [Gordon]
        >> As for the aphorism about money and God, well, it turns it back to the
        > listeners and crowds to figure this out, eh?<
        >
        > I have figured it out! :-)'

        For yourself:)!
        >
        > Incidentally, Gordon, you have me very angry with the media for all
        > the
        > fiction they publish as news: Suicide bombers can't possible get past
        > several screens of trained military on high security alert in Iraq.
        > The
        > IRA(?) can't possible penetrate elaborate bank security systems to
        > abscond
        > with umpteen million. You try it! None of this can be historic, but
        > there
        > was gullible old me taking it seriously.

        Well, I'll leave your worries about news reporting to you, as well as
        your preferred "self assessment" (which I judge to be an interesting
        rhetorical move, BTW. Have you resorted to fictional self
        representation to score a rhetorical point? <g>). This note was about
        the plausibility of this story. That's not the sole reason I take this
        to be a fictional creation by Mark, not even the first reason. Sure,
        highly improbable things happen and crimes/ terrorist acts that (in
        most of these cited cases) are based on long term study, surveillance,
        planning and teamwork. But back to my assessment of this as a
        fictional creation: [1] I judge that we have one source for this story
        (Mt., Lk. and Jn. copying from Mark), so I have no outside data to say
        "yea" or "nay." [2] This is yet another story that is attached to
        prophetic fulfillment related to a text source we do have (TANAK) [3]
        In Mark it immediately follows another story rooted in fulfillment of
        the Psalm 118/Zech. 9. As I noted this story falls into a whole series
        of stories where in Jesus, the Christ, challenges all the ruling
        powers/ dominions great and small (the power of the native royal
        heritage, the temple, the piety of Pharisees and Saducees and Scribes,
        the Priestly Court system, the Roman Court system and then, let me add,
        the power of the masses and the self assurance of his own followers).
        All are found wanting and so this story fits into this as a piece of
        the high drama Mark is creating. [4] Precisely that John likes the
        story, but was free to move it. And [5] this implausibility factor
        that I've spelled out. These and the judgment that I think Mark is
        creating an extended parable are what goes into my judgment that we are
        not dealing with a report of some past event, but rather another fine
        example of Mark's creative mind to create a powerful drama.

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
      • Gordon Raynal
        Hi Loren, ... What are your sources for this judgment? BTW I looked up in JJ Rouseau s book ( Jesus and His World ). He notes, based on conservative
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 1, 2005
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          Hi Loren,
          >

          > First of all, the Bank of New Hampshire is never
          > crowded shoulder-to-shoulder with masses of "pilgrims"
          > when I cash my checks there. It's **much** easier for
          > authorities to spot and pinpoint untoward behavior in
          > modern day banks than the ancient temple during a
          > passover festival.

          What are your sources for this judgment?

          BTW I looked up in JJ Rouseau's book ("Jesus and His World"). He
          notes, based on conservative estimates, that the annual tax brought in
          14.5 tons... tons!... of silver each year. I would rather suggest that
          considering this amount of riches, the value of each coin that the
          organization of the collection and the care with which it were done
          were indeed high, very high. Could such be overcome (is it possible?),
          well sure, but I take it that it would take much planning and scoping
          out.

          >
          > But more importantly, people get away with bank
          > robberies all the time -- at least for a time. Here
          > are a few recent examples from NH:
          >
          > 1. Boden Hughes got away with multiple robberies
          > before being arrested.
          >
          > http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nh/pdfreleases/May04/
          > DF%20Robbins%20Hughes%20indict1.pdf
          >
          > 2. This guy robbed a NH Bank and made away before
          > being apprehended:
          >
          > http://nhmostwanted.org/index.cfm?ac=casedetails&CaseID=20040007
          >
          > 3. And I believe this guy is still at large:
          >
          > http://theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=52257

          But again... what they did were crimes and the police are on the hunt.
          In the Gospels the authorities after this are still looking for a way
          to trap this guy with a legal charge and he's not rushing in and out
          of anywhere nor hiding. Again, on the basis of this act I'd judge they
          had plenty of grounds to arrest him. I'd also judge that his known
          followers would at least be nabbed for questioning, if not arrested.
          All these crooks are on the lam after committing the crime, not walking
          around Nashua in broad daylight with a bunch of friends:)! Jesus is
          nicely moving in and out of the city and standing right out there in
          the public and challenging all sorts of folks with ties to the
          authorities.
          >
          > So I do share some of Ernie's sentiments, when he
          > writes:
          >
          > [Ernie]
          >> Incidentally, Gordon, you have me very angry with
          >> the media for all the
          >> fiction they publish as news: Suicide bombers can't
          >> possible get past
          >> several screens of trained military on high security
          >> alert in Iraq. The
          >> IRA(?) can't possible penetrate elaborate bank
          >> security systems to abscond
          >> with umpteen million. You try it! None of this can
          >> be historic, but there
          >> was gullible old me taking it seriously.
          >
          > Maybe the above media citations are, indeed, extended
          > April Fools jokes. :)

          Well, do have a good April Fool's Day and as I wrote to Ernie, I'll
          leave such as this for you guys to ponder:)!
          >
          > In any case, it seems very likely that Jesus could
          > have gotten away after the temple incident (assuming
          > it happened). This suggestion is one of the real
          > strengths of Fredriksen's book.

          Are you wanting to go with Fredrickson's idea that Jesus did this near
          the start of his 3 year (Johannine) career? In other words, there's
          really no arrestable offense in this? And if there were, then the
          authorities, what, just ignored it for 3 years? I'd say if it did
          happen, Paula's ideas is the least likely scenario.

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC
        • Ernest Pennells
          [Gordon Raynal] ... interpretation of the commandment about graven images than were the Pharisees?
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 1, 2005
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            [Gordon Raynal]
            >So, in this case and as regards the coinage, Jesus was stricter in
            interpretation of the commandment about "graven images" than were the
            Pharisees?<

            Jesus' complaint is clearly articulated: "robbers cave", "wicked
            vintners" - misappropriation of the temple by a regime he unambiguously
            denounced. The coinage wasn't his primary concern, but scattering it was
            hardly an expression of approval. ISTM that the principle role of that
            coinage would have been to inhibit taking action against Jesus for his
            demonstration because - although this was undoubtedly an arrestable
            offence - the prospect of a counter charge of Torah violation about images,
            compounded by the depiction of a pagan deity, would make prosecution
            embarrassing. So, instead of promptly arresting him as soon as he had been
            identified as the culprit, they bait him on Roman tax. Having them on the
            defensive about the Tyrian shekel, Jesus presses his advantage with the
            denarius.

            As I see it, it wasn't Jesus who was troubled by these coins, but his
            adversaries.

            Regards,

            Ernie Pennells
            Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
            Level 12 Apartment 4
            28 Corniche el Nil
            Cairo, Egypt
            http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
          • Loren Rosson
            [Loren] ... [Gordon] ... Obviously. The point is that it would have been easy for Jesus to get away after raising hell with the money-changers, and evade
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 2, 2005
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              [Loren]
              >people get away with bank
              >robberies all the time -- at
              >least for a time

              [Gordon]
              >But again... what they did were crimes and
              >the police are on the hunt.
              >In the Gospels the authorities after this
              >are still looking for a way
              >to trap this guy with a legal charge and he's
              >not rushing in and out of anywhere nor hiding.

              Obviously. The point is that it would have been easy
              for Jesus to get away after raising hell with the
              money-changers, and evade capture for a time.

              >Are you wanting to go with Fredrickson's
              >idea that Jesus did this near the start
              >of his 3 year (Johannine) career? In other
              >words, there's really no arrestable
              >offense in this?

              I don't think it's necessary to endorse the Johannine
              placement of the temple incident for Fredriksen's
              point to hold. The temple incident could have happened
              hours or days before crowds and pilgrims became
              galvanized enough to attract serious attention. The
              crucial question is whether or not Caiaphas is in the
              driver's seat getting Jesus nailed. Sanders (and
              others) think this is the case -- that the high priest
              wanted Jesus dead for threatening the temple.
              Fredrisken disputes this for (a) archeological reasons
              (the size of the temple mount, especially seen in
              scale to masses of very "small" people), (b)
              historical reasons (if Pilate were just doing a favor
              for Caiaphas, it would explain Jesus being murdered,
              but not crucified), and (c) literary ones (John's
              repositioning). But no, I don't think (c) calls for
              endorsement of the way John actually places it, only
              that a strict reading of the synoptics yields
              problems. (That's old news anyway.)

              >I'd say if it did happen, Paula's
              >ideas is the least likely scenario.

              Fredrisken is convincing by drawing a strong line
              between the "triumphal entry" (or whenever during the
              crowds succumbed to messianic enthusiasm) and the
              crucifixion. She is also persuasive about the chief
              reason for Caiaphas' involvement -- helping Pilate
              pinpopint and apprehend Jesus in order to avoid wider
              bloodshed (Jn 11). I doubt, however, that Pilate
              hitherto "knew" that Jesus' movement was harmless, as
              she claims. Authorities would have been suspicious of
              any kingdom talk. Then too, there seems to have been a
              charge of sedition in the air over the question of
              taxation. Jesus' veiled transcript ("Render to
              Caesar") would have caused alarm while keeping him
              safe at the same time. And threatening the temple was
              obviously no joke, once people could identify Jesus
              and tie him to the incident. I think it's a mistake to
              look for a single reason for Jesus's execution. But it
              makes sense to distinguish between immediate reasons
              and subsequent charges (the latter of which don't
              depend on truth when enaging in a show trial as a
              preliminary to killing a low-life).

              So messianic enthusiasm is a strong candidate for the
              immediate reason for arrest and crucifixion. Charges
              of temple threats and tax evasion only sealed Jesus'
              fate, for the most part serving the purposes of a
              theatrical show trial and more public example. Those
              charges needn't have been true, though I think they
              were.

              You, however, deny all of the above three (messianinc
              enthusaism, temple incident, tax evasion) as causes
              for arrest. (Do I understand you correctly?) So how do
              **you** account for the "King of the Judeans'"
              crucifixion? Or do you?

              Loren Rosson III
              Nashua NH
              rossoiii@...



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            • Gordon Raynal
              Hi Loren, ... What do you think about the pandemonium issue? I don t know how many of these coins (with the other trade ins) would be on a given table, but
              Message 6 of 10 , Apr 2, 2005
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                Hi Loren,
                On Apr 2, 2005, at 7:47 AM, Loren Rosson wrote:
                >
                > Obviously. The point is that it would have been easy
                > for Jesus to get away after raising hell with the
                > money-changers, and evade capture for a time.

                What do you think about "the pandemonium" issue? I don't know how many
                of these coins (with the other trade ins) would be on a given table,
                but if these very valuable coins just started rolling all over the
                place don't you think there would be a large scramble? Such would make
                a getaway more plausible. Any thoughts?
                >
                > I don't think it's necessary to endorse the Johannine
                > placement of the temple incident for Fredriksen's
                > point to hold.

                Thanks for the clarification.
                >

                > You, however, deny all of the above three (messianinc
                > enthusaism, temple incident, tax evasion) as causes
                > for arrest. (Do I understand you correctly?)

                Yes (more below).
                > So how do
                > **you** account for the "King of the Judeans'"
                > crucifixion? Or do you?
                >
                I honestly don't know. I think "the reason(s)" he got killed was
                because he was the recognized "voice" of "a kingdom movement" that was
                taking root in Galilee, H. Philip's domain, Samaria and Judea
                (including Jerusalem). But as to the precise scenario of his
                identification at Passover time, his arrest and crucifixion I don't
                think we have records of that, rather we have a theological (and very
                effective one) drama that is part of a parable created by Mark. Just
                showing up and being identified as "this guy," as far as I'm concerned,
                is quite enough to get hauled off for official state execution by
                tortuous means of crucifixion to send the clear message that the state
                would in no way tolerate any other kingdom allegiances than those
                authorized by the state. I think that this grand drama that Mark
                creates works, as I've said, to raise up the breadth of challenges that
                were and are in Jesus' language about "God's Kingdom." Again... the
                whole messianic heritage as it was popularly interpreted (so often to
                such grievous and violent ends... and I think about the time when
                Archelaus killed 3000 of his own subjects at Passover time because of
                fears of sedition); what was being offered by the Pharisees, by the
                Saducees, by the Scribes; the current rulers of the Temple
                establishment; the current jurisprudence practice of the Temple
                leadership; the Roman system of rule, "Pax" and "law;" the mob
                mentality and even the self-assurance of Jesus' own followers is
                powerfully raised up as being **entirely** wanting. The Markan parable
                works to dramatize the choice being offered and the harsh realities for
                those in the community to live with the choice they have made. In my
                view, Mark written after the R-J war works to show precisely just how
                right Jesus was some 50 years earlier. Popular messianism was squashed
                again and again. The Roman appointed Temple establishment did nothing
                to create unity. The "law" was anything but. The Roman "Pax" was
                murderous. The mob mentality fueled by statist notions of Covenant had
                led to Vespasian and Titus coming and so the utter destruction that
                ensued. And counting on "self-assurance" was a sure path to denial or
                flight into the proverbial night. The drama, in other words, clearly
                works to show that Jesus was correct then and still correct in Mark's
                time. I'd like to no more historical details, but I just don't think
                the data we have contains them. I think what we do have is **far,
                far** more important.

                Gordon Raynal
                Inman, SC
              • Ernest Pennells
                [Josephus] ... grew numerous. They made use of small swords, not much different in length from the Persian acinacae, but somewhat crooked, and like the Roman
                Message 7 of 10 , Apr 2, 2005
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                  [Josephus]
                  >And then it was that the sicarii, as they were called, who were robbers,
                  grew numerous. They made use of small swords, not much different in length
                  from the Persian acinacae, but somewhat crooked, and like the Roman sicae,
                  [or sickles,] as they were called; and from these weapons these robbers got
                  their denomination; and with these weapons they slew a great many; for they
                  mingled themselves among the multitude at their festivals, when they were
                  come up in crowds from all parts to the city to worship God, as we said
                  before, and easily slew those that they had a mind to slay.<

                  Is this fiction; or historical evidence that you could actually get away
                  with murder - repeatedly - in the middle of a festival crowd? The surprise
                  element still works, even when something similar has happened previously
                  (One up for GJohn).

                  Regards,

                  Ernie Pennells
                  Samaa el Maadi Tower No 2B
                  Level 12 Apartment 4
                  28 Corniche el Nil
                  Cairo, Egypt
                  Tel: (20-2)526 6383 Mobile 0121001490
                  http://www.trafford.com/4dcgi/robots/03-1982.html
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