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RE: [XTalk] Ransom payment and sacrifice

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  • Richard H. Anderson
    Loren, I see no indication in Luke of a martrydom theology. But I happen to think the reason we find no atonement theology in Luke is because Luke is writing
    Message 1 of 83 , Aug 3, 2005
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      I see no indication in Luke of a martrydom theology. But I happen to think
      the reason we find no atonement theology in Luke is because Luke is writing
      to the High Priest. I rely upon on analysis written by Milgrom which appears
      in JPS Commentary on Numbers. This identification of “most excellent
      Theophilus” as the High Priest offers a possible explanation for Luke's lack
      of atoning view of the cross. Luke is thoroughly Jewish and the earliest
      Christians considered themselves to be Jews. Clearly such a lack of atoning
      view represents primitive Christianity. More importantly, Luke, in my
      opinion, rejected and/or did not develop an atoning significance for the
      death of Jesus because Luke did not want to equate Jesus with the High
      Priest. Luke, ever the diplomat, was very careful in his Gospel not to
      describe Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses. Such a notion would have
      been very offensive to the High Priest. Three examples should illustrate
      this point. In describing the Transfiguration only Luke indicates that
      Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared together in glory. The Lucan Jesus does
      not walk on water nor does he curse the fig tree causing it to wilt and die.
      Luke, as part of his irenical presentation certainly, did not want to offend
      the High Priest. For this reason, Luke does not develop the substitutionary
      importance of the cross. The Jews believed that the death of the High
      Priest had atoning significance. Persons charged with accidental homicide
      who had fled to a city of refuge were permitted to return home after the
      death of the High Priest without facing prosecution (Num. 35: 11, 25, 28,
      32). The death of the High Priest was regarded as atonement for the
      innocent blood that had been shed. Jacob Milgrom in his JPS Torah
      Commentary on Numbers with respect to Num 35:25 states “As the High Priest
      atones for Israel's sins through his cultic service in his lifetime (Exod.
      28:36; Lev. 16:16,21), so he atones for homicide through his death. Since
      the blood of the slain, although spilled accidentally, cannot be avenged
      through the death of the slayer, it is ransomed through the death of the
      High Priest which releases all homicides from their cities of refuge. That
      it is not the exile of the manslaughter but the death of the High Priest
      that expiates his crime is confirmed by the Mishnah: ‘If, after the slayer
      has been sentenced as an accidental homicide, the High Priest dies, he need
      not go into exile.’ The Talmud, in turn comments thereon ‘But it is not the
      exile that expiates? It is not the exile that expiates, but the death of
      the high priest.’” [footnotes omitted]. Furthermore, according to Philo,
      the High Priest is the expiator of sins and the mediator and advocate for
      men. The doctrine of the theology of the cross replaced both the High
      Priest and the Day of Atonement.

      Richard H. Anderson
    • Theodore Weeden
      Bob Schacht wrote on September 2, 2005 ... Actually, Bob, I was trained as a form critic by my mentor James M. Robinson, and fully immersed in Bultmann and
      Message 83 of 83 , Sep 15, 2005
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        Bob Schacht wrote on September 2, 2005

        > At 07:50 AM 9/2/2005, Ernest Pennells wrote:
        >>[Ted Weeden]
        >> >I would wonder if you would not, after reading my thesis, agree with me
        >>that Mark is close to being a literary genius.<
        >>The strongest component of your argument is the parallel motifs in the
        >>stories. The explanation you have explored is that Mark worked from
        >>Josephus. There are other explanations. Unfortunately we have little
        >>information on sources used by Mark or Josephus. It is generally accepted
        >>that literacy was limited - particularly among the peasant community from
        >>which HJ drew his first adherents. Storytellers played a major role in
        >>preserving and shaping tradition. The extent to which the Evangelists
        >>directly upon that oral tradition is not known but is surely the earliest
        >>source. Verbal similarities often suggest copying, but we simply don't
        >>know when that process commenced.
        >>You portray Mark as a literary genius, and your frame of thought is
        >>reflected in this quote: "When Mark sought material to fashion his passion
        >>narrative, he turned to two primary sources which he may well have had at
        >>hand, the Septuagint and, I suspect, Book VI of Josephus' Jewish War."
        >>That grants no acknowledgement to oral tradition. I don't think I am
        >>unfair in plucking this sentence from your essay because, on my reading,
        >>it captures the flavour of your line of thought, focusing upon the
        >>word. ...
        > Actually, I had been meaning to add something along these lines to my 8/17
        > post to Ted, and that is basically this: Ted was trained in the arts of
        > literary criticism, and he does a most excellent job within that paradigm.
        > As I understand it, they are basically trained to look for prior *written*
        > sources-- and as we see in the case of Q, reconstruction of written
        > sources
        > is included. In the literary paradigm, as I understand it, operates with
        > the idea that if you can't find a prior written source, then the author of
        > your earliest known source created it. There is usually some wave of the
        > hand to oral tradition, but their scholarly apparatus (again, as I
        > understand it) does not include much on how to deal with it.

        Actually, Bob, I was trained as a form critic by my mentor James M.
        Robinson, and fully immersed in Bultmann and Dibelius, first courses Jim
        taught in seminary at Candler School of Theology in 1955-56 (when I was his
        student), and then as his Ph.D. student at Claremont Graduate School (now
        Claremont Graduate University) from 1960 to 1964, when I received my degree.
        Robinson introduced me to redaction criticism, particularly
        redaction-critical analysis of Mark, via Willi Marxsen's _Der Evangelist
        Markus_, and with that as a foundation I moved in my own direction with Mark
        as I wrote my dissertation, "The Heresy That Necessitated the Gospel of
        Mark" (1964). In the dissertation and more clearly so in my 1971 book,
        _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I imaged Mark more as exercising the freedom
        of an author, which without me knowing it, was, if I may say so, was
        something of a precursor to the literary-critical study of Mark, though I
        self-consciously wrote from the vantage point of redaction criticism. In
        1966, I presented my redaction-critical thesis on Mark as a paper, "The
        Heresy That Necessitated the Gospel of Mark," (subsequently published in
        revised form in 1968 by _Zeitschrift fuer die neutestamentliche
        Wissenschaft_) at the SBL annual meeting to the entire New Testament section
        of SBL (in those days the SBL was much, much smaller and all New Testament
        papers were read at the New Testament session). Norman Perrin was present
        in the New Testament session that day (along with Dieter Georgi and others
        whose work I had drawn upon in my dissertaation) and read his own paper on
        the Son of Man to the session following my paper. Following his reading of
        his paper, there was a break, and he rushed down to me and asked me, having
        heard my paper, where he could get my work. At the time, he was writing
        his little volume for Fortress Press, "What Is Redaction?" Perrin
        subsequently wrote me and asked if he could have a copy of my paper in order
        to present my argument as an example of redaction criticism of Mark, and he
        did so on pp. 54-56 of _What is Redaction Criticism. Perrin, thereafter,
        encouraged me to produce a book based upon my dissertation thesis and went
        to bat for me with the editors of Fortress Press who were initially
        reluctant to publish my controversial thesis. But under the urging of
        Perrin, _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_ so the light of day. I am very
        indebted to Norman for his advocacy of my work in the guild.

        So I was trained as a form critic, basically following Bultmann's
        perspective on the oral tradition, and became a redaction critic. It has
        only been in the last 20 years or so that I have become interested in
        literary criticism as a methodology. And I do tend to begin with
        literary-critical methodology now in the investigation of biblical texts.
        With respect to oral tradition, I still tend to be more Bultmannian in my
        view of the evolution of the oral tradition. My reading of Werner Kelber,
        James C. Scott and Jan Vansina has only served to enforce that Bultmannian
        orientation, though, unlike Bultmann, I do think that one can recover
        evidence of the oral tradition prior to the Gospels (including Q and Thomas)
        preserving authentic Jesus tradition. And I have posted as much in XTalk


        Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
        Fairport, NY
        Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
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