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  • Zeba Crook
    In a fit of frustration, caused in part by a most frustrating response from Steven Avery which was sent to me off-list (because he suspected its quality
    Message 1 of 42 , Sep 21, 2005
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      In a fit of frustration, caused in part by a most frustrating response
      from Steven Avery which was sent to me off-list (because he suspected
      its "quality" would not pass by the moderators?) and in which he
      continues to let me talk past him, I've been given to wonder. . .

      My mother always said, "The more you know, the more you realise you
      don't know." Never were these words more true to me than when I
      completed my PhD, after which I felt in many ways I knew less than when
      I had finished my MA, both in NT studies. She also said, "A little
      knowledge is a dangerous thing."

      Is there something inherent to religion that makes people feel
      qualified to have an opinion? I encounter this in classrooms, on
      mass-transit, in bars: everyone feels qualified to spout off their
      position on some issue pertaining to religion. And worse yet, if
      they've done "a little reading," they're suddenly experts, and they
      feel free to question your own considerably studied position! What is
      it about religion that produces such a large number of untrained or
      self-trained (usually synonymous) *experts* in the field?

      Or to put it another way, what does it say about ME that it would never
      occur to me to challenge a professional scholar's opinion on quantum
      mechanics, surgical procedure, some aspect of engineering in any of it
      manifestations, or even (getting closer things I've actually
      encountered at various points in my education) on the kinship
      structures of aboriginal peoples in New Guinea, archeological evidence
      of any period and people, the authorship of "Shakespeare's" works,
      whether supply-side economics results in social justice, etc. Even
      less would it occur to me to think I was qualified to overturn / reject
      the consensus of these fields with my own untrained opinions.

      This is not a plea to blindly follow the authorities; I do not see
      myself as the new priesthood. But if doctoral level engagement with
      material was pointless, if you could gain the same degree of knowledge
      and perspective with "a little reading" presumably the entire regime of
      doctoral training would fall apart. I suspect that the rewards of the
      process are only truly understood by those who have undergone it, which
      probably fuels the popular sentiment that "a little reading," or
      following the cutting edge work of Internet "scholars" in chat rooms,
      or closely reading the Authorized version of King James himself --
      after all, if the KJV was good enough for Jesus it's good enough for
      Steven Avery --, can bring you up to speed with the professionals.
      This is also not a claim that the untrained cannot make intelligent
      comments -- I'm sure I can too on subjects I'm not trained in. It's
      more a question about how the topic of religion appears to invite all
      these untrained specialists.

      A word of warning: I'm not interested in splitting hairs on the
      terminology or categories I've used, whether "rule" is the best word,
      and what the definition of 'is' is. But I'll respond to posts that
      keep to the broad brush strokes I've used here. Presumably my terms
      and categories are comprehensible as they stand and the phenomenon I
      point out is well known.


      Z.A. Crook
      Assistant Professor, Religion
      Carleton University
      1125 Colonel By Drive
      Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
      613-520-2600, ext. 2276
    • Daniel J. Gaztambide
      On Sat, October 8, 2005 1:30 am, Bob Schacht wrote: Your last sentence is missing a very important word: "known" (re: Jewish sources.) About the
      Message 42 of 42 , Oct 9, 2005
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        On Sat, October 8, 2005 1:30 am, Bob Schacht wrote:
        "Your last sentence is missing a very important word: "known"
        (re: Jewish

        sources.) About the only thing we can be sure of is that we do NOT have all

        of the Jewish sources contemporary to Jesus. Furthermore, texts

        were scribal copies, which just about guarantees that every copy will be

        different in some way. Furthermore, the selection of copies available in

        Galilee might be somewhat different than the copies available in Jerusalem

        (or Qumran)?"

        Touche, but are you perhaps suggesting that the quote on Jesus' lips on
        this passage (I know it was like last week and I took long to answer, let
        me refresh your memory: Mark 2:23-29; Matthew 12:1-8; Luke 6:1-5) may
        reflect knowledge of an alternate version (mention different person as
        high priest) than the one we know?

        "Interesting point, if we could be sure that Mark was Matthew's *only*

        source for that pericope. Besides, have you compared the Septuagint version

        with the Hebrew version for any relevant differences? Both versions might

        have been available to Jesus (or Mark, or Matthew)."

        What could have been another source with that pericope that Mark could
        have used? I'm not aware of any fragments independent of the Synoptics
        with this pericope, do you know of any? (Honest question). As for the
        greek and hebrew, I am by no means a linguistic expert (I haven't had the
        chance to learn any greek in my undergrad training), but I'm going to
        pull on my source for this problem, John P. Meir's "Plucking Grain on the
        Sabbath" (CBQ, 66 2004):

        "Still more embarrassing is the error about the identity of the priest to
        whom David speaks at Nob. BOTH THE HEBREW AND GREEK FORMS of 1 Sam
        21:2 make clear that the priest David addresses is 'Ahimelech the
        priest'; his name is repeated vv.3 and 9 (MT). No other individual priest
        is mentioned... There is, therefore, no basis in the OT text of this
        story for the mistake the Marcan Jesus makes in claiming the 'High
        Priest'- this somewhat anachronistic title does not occur in this OT
        story- in charge at the time was 'Abiathar'...[he] at least according to
        the most reliable OT tradition, was the son of Ahimelech, with whom the
        Markan Jesus has confused him...the recounting of the incident of David
        and Ahimelech shows both a glaring ignorance of what the OT text actually
        says and a striking inability to costruct a convincing argument from the
        story." my caps.

        "Yeah, and even more weirdly, if Mark made it up, why did he
        "botch" the job?"

        You know, that's real tricky. If a tradition of Jesus having quoted that
        passage in the way presented came by Mark, and he had either a Septuagint
        or a Hebrew bible on hand (pure conjecture on my part), why did he allow
        it to go past the radar? If the tradition did not exist beforehand, and
        Mark constructed it based on his/her(?) use of scripture, how could he
        make such a blunder? One possibility that came up when I brought this up
        with Prof. Smith is that perhaps Jesus was quoting based on oral
        tradition, and that perhaps that way he got the names wrong. But it still
        kind of doesn't explain where he got the name of Ahimelech's son. Another
        oral tradition?

        "To the extent that Jesus had a literate education at all, it seems to
        have been an irregular one."

        In what sense? What do you mean by "irregular"? I myself have been
        thinking of a "minimalist" option to this issue. Maybe Jesus just got a
        low-level, non-scholarly education concerning scripture, interested in
        only the specific laws of Torah and the broader themes of the TNKH's
        message: God's kingship/authority and the covenant relationship. It could
        be something akin to going to church without reading the bible from time
        to time. People in the olden days who didn't have access to a bible went
        to church and heard both the specifics of the faith (You must attain
        salvation through Jesus Christ) and broader themes of the NT's message.
        Again, pure concecture on my part.

        "Oh, please. Such dichotomies might please Crossan (and maybe your mentor),
        but historical research is seldom so black and white. Your
        quot;passage" contains many elements, some of which might be
        historical, others not. We do not have to take or leave the passage as a

        Forgive me, perhaps I should have been more specific in what I meant by
        "passage": Did Jesus actually quote 1 Sam 21:2 in such a manner or was it
        read back into his lips? If he did say such a thing, what would it mean
        concerning his education? If it was read back into his lips, what would
        the intent of the evangelist be (setting aside the idea of an exegetical
        blunder for a moment)? And what could we make of Matthew and Luke's
        elimination of all mention of a high priest or Abiathar? Please consider
        these question on hermeneutical grounds, I won't demand that you "take a
        stand" on these issues. What are the possibilities, and what are their

        Maybe the question might be discussed anthropologically? What
        possibilities/chances for education would there have been in 1st c

        Hope to debate some more!



        Daniel Gaztambide


        Henry Rutgers Scholar (Psychology and Religion)
        Rutgers University
        New Brunswick NJ 08901
        31045 RPO Way

        Writer/Co-writer, "AramaicNT.org"

        Moderator, "Aramaic Yahoo! Group"

        Social Chair, "Religion Students Association"

        Student Member, "Society of Biblical Literature"

        Student Member, "American Academy of Religion"

        Student Member, "Person, Culture, Religion Group (AAR)"

        Member, "Ideologies of War and Terror ListServ"

        Email: gazti@...
        AIM: priestwguns777
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