Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [XTalk] Christ divided?

Expand Messages
  • Mike Grondin
    ... About to take off for the cottage for five days, but I should clarify that what s throwing me about your description is the scope of the word Jewish . If
    Message 1 of 20 , Jul 1, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      --- Rikk Watts wrote:
      > Hi Mike, hope you're well and enjoying the summer break.

      About to take off for the cottage for five days, but I should
      clarify that what's throwing me about your description is the
      scope of the word 'Jewish'. If the phrase is understood as
      'Jewish-Messianic Pretender' ('Jewish' modifying 'Messianic'),
      one wonders what other kinds of Messiahs you have in mind that
      are being ruled out there. On the other hand, if understood as
      'Jewish Messianic-Pretender' ('Jewish' modifying the entire
      two-word phrase following it), it doesn't seem to do justice to
      Mark, who was surely worried about Messianic Pretenders of all
      stripes. In either case, the word 'Jewish' seems to be muddying
      the waters unnecessarily.

      Cheers,
      Mike Grondin
    • Rikk Watts
      Hi Bob, ... Sure. Briefly, Winter argues that the elites among the new Christians in Corinth (granted there were not many) applied the same social mores to
      Message 2 of 20 , Jul 1, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Bob,


        On 6/30/06 9:44 PM, "Bob Schacht" <r_schacht@...> wrote:

        > At 01:21 PM 6/29/2006, Rikk Watts wrote:
        >
        >> HI Bob,
        >>
        >> On the 1 Cor passage, have you read Bruce Winter's AFTER PAUL LEFT CORINTH?
        >> He offers a fascinating, and to my mind convincing, explanation of the
        >> Corinthian division based on the impact of the second Sophistic (as per his
        >> PHILO AND PAUL AMONG THE SOPHISTS) on the elites of that Roman colony.
        >
        > No, I haven't read it. Can you say more about his explanation please? I
        > don't have it readily available.
        Sure. Briefly, Winter argues that the elites among the new Christians in
        Corinth (granted there were not many) applied the same social mores to Paul,
        Apollos etc. as had governed their relationships as disciples (mathetes) to
        their secular teachers. I.e. imitation was central, a competitive spirit
        existed between teachers, and disciples were expected to play off the merits
        of their respective teachers against others particularly in terms of their
        rhetorical ability and personal presence both of which were crucial to one's
        status. Take Paul's refusal to play the sophist game in terms of the latter
        two items, and add the parton/client dynamic, and one naturally enough ended
        up with factions in the Corinthian church each led by some elite householder
        along with his clients following and extolling the merits of a given
        teacher. He then goes on to show how a number of problems in the Corinthian
        church are either directly the result of, or are further exacerbated, by
        these social dynamics.
        >
        >
        >> Re Mark, as a matter of interest, I'm wondering why you would assume that a
        >> figure as controversial as Jesus might not, even in his own lifetime, cause
        >> of some division among even those who claimed to be his followers?
        >
        > How do we really know that Jesus was controversial? If he was notably
        > controversial, wouldn't we hear more about him from the likes of Josephus
        > and Philo. As it is, we only have a few disputed sentences from Josephus,
        > none from Philo, an indirect and distant reference from Tacitus, and not
        > much else from the non-Christian literature. Or to put my question
        > differently, how controversial was he? Josephus was hardly reticent when it
        > comes to describing controversies among the Jews.
        I think your distinction is critical. But surely one can be
        controversial‹all the evidence seems to suggest that the response to Jesus
        was divided; getting oneself crucified is hardly the mark of being a Mr.
        Rogers‹without being "notably" so if by that one means must be noted in
        Josephus, Philo, etc. I wonder if we are confusing the fact of being
        controversial and the degree of notoriety in the minds of certain authors.
        >
        >> I can well imagine that various individuals, hearing and observing Jesus
        >> directly
        >> while he was in their locale or, even second hand, decided to act on his
        >> message and to imitate him (which is what disciples were expected to do; cf.
        >> also the sons of Sceva in Acts 19 though without genuine discipleship).
        >> Given the tendency toward factiousness in both Judaism and the Greco-Roman
        >> culture, it is not hard for me to imagine that those who thought they were
        >> Jesus' bona fide mathetes might not be pleased when lesser ones began to
        >> infringe on their power. (I'm not Matt 7 represents a parallel since its
        >> focus seems more concerned with the need for personal ethical standards). In
        >> other words, I'm not sure why this must be a retrojection.
        >
        > I didn't mean to imply that it *must be* a retrojection. And I'm not even
        > sure if "this" refers back to Mark 9:38-42, or something else.
        My misunderstanding. Sorry.

        > However, I
        > am inclined to see some retrojection in this passage of Mark, because
        > otherwise one must envision a quick, fast personal impact of Jesus on a
        > relatively broad horizon, inspiring imitators within a few months. I'm more
        > inclined to think that his influence spread more gradually, building some
        > kind of cumulative momentum in Galilee. If Jesus had become instantly
        > noteworthy, don't you think Herod Antipas would have taken greater notice?
        These are good points, but I suppose it is a matter of degree. Paul ends up
        with imitators during his two year stint in Ephesus (Acts 19), so perhaps
        the same could appertain to Jesus. Re Herod A, according to Luke Jesus and
        he knew of each other, the latter enough to know of Jesus' reputation as a
        wonder-worker (Lk 23:8ff) and earlier to seek to kill him (13.31-32). I
        think that would be enough attention for me :).

        Take care,

        Rikk
      • Rikk Watts
        HI Bob, ... Actually, I d not thought of this; thanks for raising it (and no, I think you understood my point well enough). However, I have to say that I m not
        Message 3 of 20 , Jul 1, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          HI Bob,

          On 6/30/06 10:29 PM, "Bob Schacht" <r_schacht@...> wrote:

          > At 07:04 PM 6/30/2006, Rikk Watts wrote, in part:
          >
          >> . . . The tricky bit is the "in my name" saying "I am (he)." Several
          >> commentators
          >> take the "in my name" to mean teaching in the name of Jesus. But what then
          >> does one do with the claim that "I am (he)" (not least when in Mark this is
          >> Jesus' self-revelatory statement when he walks on the water in 6.50)? Such a
          >> reading leads Harrington and Donahue, along with others, to suggest that
          >> these "followers" of Jesus will even claim to be the returned risen Christ.
          >> This strikes me as exceedingly odd. How could a follower speaking "in the
          >> name" of the one followed claim to be the very one he follows? Does anyone
          >> know of any instance of this (apart from the obvious crazies whom no one
          >> takes seriously)? There appears to be no evidence elsewhere of this kind of
          >> problem. . . .
          >
          > This is not so odd if you consider this one of the charisms, which I think
          > is what Stevan Davies was doing in his Jesus the Healer. In modern terms,
          > it would be like "channeling." Or, to use a more vivid and theatrical
          > example, the Exorcist, in which the girl's body is supposedly at times
          > convulsed by "possession," which is the phenomenon that Stevan Davies spent
          > a lot of time on in his book. The anthropological literature is full of
          > stories about possession and other forms of communing with the spirits, in
          > which the spirit of someone else is said to take control over the channeler
          > or person thus "possessed." Whether you believe in it or not, other people
          > do. Or have I misunderstood your point?

          Actually, I'd not thought of this; thanks for raising it (and no, I think
          you understood my point well enough). However, I have to say that I'm not
          entirely convinced that this is the kind of thing Jesus has in mind here.
          First, does any one have any evidence of this kind of thing going on with
          respect to Jesus' followers? (Didn't Aune deal with this kind of thing, at
          least in terms of putative Christian prophets? As far as I can see this is
          the closest thing to what Stevan is suggesting but even then such prophets
          do not claim to be Jesus, nor are they confused with him). Second, Hooker
          and France's arguments seem to make better sense of the passage at least in
          terms of first century expectations. But I'd be fascinated to know if anyone
          has any evidence of this kind of thing‹i.e. where someone behaving in this
          way actually claims to be Jesus in the sense of being divine? Do any of the
          fathers speak of it?

          Regards
          Rikk
        • Rikk Watts
          Ah... yep, Jewish is unnecessary since I m assuming that Messiah is a Jewish term. Thanks for that. But re the last part of your para, now I am intrigued. Do
          Message 4 of 20 , Jul 1, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Ah... yep, "Jewish" is unnecessary since I'm assuming that Messiah is a
            Jewish term. Thanks for that. But re the last part of your para, now I am
            intrigued. Do you have any evidence of Messianic pretenders that were not
            part of the Jewish worldview? (At the risk of being pedantic, sorry, usually
            a capitalized form of Messiah means the Davidic Messiah in which case it is
            hard to imagine a non-Jewish form thereof, which I think is the well-taken
            point of your earlier comment).

            Enjoy the break.
            Rikk


            On 7/1/06 12:19 AM, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

            > --- Rikk Watts wrote:
            >> Hi Mike, hope you're well and enjoying the summer break.
            >
            > About to take off for the cottage for five days, but I should
            > clarify that what's throwing me about your description is the
            > scope of the word 'Jewish'. If the phrase is understood as
            > 'Jewish-Messianic Pretender' ('Jewish' modifying 'Messianic'),
            > one wonders what other kinds of Messiahs you have in mind that
            > are being ruled out there. On the other hand, if understood as
            > 'Jewish Messianic-Pretender' ('Jewish' modifying the entire
            > two-word phrase following it), it doesn't seem to do justice to
            > Mark, who was surely worried about Messianic Pretenders of all
            > stripes. In either case, the word 'Jewish' seems to be muddying
            > the waters unnecessarily.
            >
            > Cheers,
            > Mike Grondin
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
            >
            > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Gordon Raynal
            Hi Bob, ... Glad you re note surprised:)! You are correct in the clarification that Paul disparages the wisdom of this world, but that disparaging contrast
            Message 5 of 20 , Jul 1, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Bob,
              On Jul 1, 2006, at 1:17 AM, Bob Schacht wrote:

              >
              > Somehow I am not surprised that you manage to turn this around to
              > focus on
              > wisdom, even though Paul wrote here, in 1 Cor 1:17-25, perhaps more
              > clearly
              > than anywhere, of wisdom no less than 8 times, usually in disparaging
              > terms, e.g. about the 'wisdom of this world', and disclaiming to preach
              > wisdom from the outset. It is only the wisdom of God that has any
              > importance, and Paul does not claim that wisdom for himself, but only
              > for
              > "Christ".

              Glad you're note surprised:)! You are correct in the clarification
              that Paul disparages "the wisdom of this world," but that disparaging
              contrast is to lift of that "wisdom come from God," and indeed this is
              the first thing in that list of revelations that the Christ brings
              (1:30). And, of course, Paul does return to this in 2:6ff where he
              positively notes that "among the mature we do speak wisdom..." (again
              not of this age).... but "...God's wisdom...." The imagery that Paul
              uses for these squabbling folks is that they are a bunch of foolish
              babies. The hope, then, of such a rhetorical ploy is to get these
              folks to move towards maturing. But at the beginning he's stuck with
              groups who need metaphorical baby food;)!
              >
              > Later, you wrote:
              >
              >> . . . One of those is just what
              >> "the worthwhile" and so "worthless teachings." Considering that Paul
              >> is no where in sight in this and that Hegessipus focus attention upon
              >> the continuity in the families' leadership from generation one to
              >> generation two, I don't think we're talking Pauline kerygma, but
              >> rather
              >> Jesus' teachings. This will perhaps raise howls of protest:)!, but I
              >> think this passage supports the role of the centrality of lists of
              >> Jesus' words as what was "worthwhile," and so supports not only such
              >> as
              >> the development of a Q Gospel and G. Thomas, but also the sort of
              >> thing
              >> we see at the outset of the Didache (that "teaching" document begins
              >> the interpretation of Torah "Love God... love neighbor as self") with
              >> a
              >> core summary of Jesus' aphoristic language. This helps us, in my view,
              >> understand the drive from lists (remembered and/ or written) to
              >> Sayings
              >> Gospels (Q1 spelling out an opening "Q Sermon"), such as the opening
              >> of
              >> "the Two Ways" we find in the Didache, Mark's choice of a gathering of
              >> sayings in Mark 4, and on to Matthew and Luke's artistry with that "Q
              >> Sermon" into the sermons "on the Mount" and "on the Plain"
              >> (respectively). Hegessipus' focus on family continuity raises up the
              >> idea of a worthwhile continuity of hermeneutics. All these other sorts
              >> "brought their own private opinion" and hence differing hermeneutical
              >> and from that, praxis foci. Back to the former paragraph, it strikes
              >> me what Paul is after is affirming that Jesus, Peter, Apollos, himself
              >> (and James) were fundamentally on the same page as regards Torah
              >> interpretation. As Acts will picture, both Peter and Paul are always
              >> returning to James to report and settle matters. While we know that
              >> they could fight and tussle, Hegesippus' writing clearly affirms that
              >> this is where the safekeeping of the "worthwhile" teaching was
              >> assured.
              >
              > Seems to me that you're still trying to make "wisdom" the issue. I
              > think
              > Paul, at least in 1 Cor 1, disagrees with you about this. And I'm
              > guessing
              > that Paul ran into some people (Apollos?) who were better schooled in
              > wisdom than he was, and who could run metaphorical circles around him.
              > So
              > maybe Paul could take on airs about wisdom in some places, but when he
              > went
              > to the more sophisticated cities, I think his rhetoric shifted, and the
              > crucifixion became central.

              What I'm trying to do is follow Paul's rhetorical logic. Again, "among
              the mature we do speak wisdom" (that's a rather "in your face" put
              down!). Thus his rhetoric is pointed to trying to find a language to
              get these folks to begin to understand so they might start to grow.
              Notably, at the end of this whole rhetorical run which ends at 2:16,
              what Paul affirms is that "we have the mind of Christ." For Paul in I
              Cor. Christ is "the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1:24). The
              cross, which is central in this rhetorical run, is the demonstration
              of this weakness of God and it doesn't show something else besides
              wisdom, but precisely reveals just how wise God is. So I'm not quite
              sure why you think there's "his rhetoric shifted?" It seems to me it
              all fits together and that the whole flow of argumentation builds
              towards I Cor. 13.

              The only other thing I'd add at this point is the irony in Paul's
              rhetoric. What I mean is that the core of wisdom communication is
              based in short sayings (proverbs and aphorisms) and short stories (such
              as fables and parables). As the wisdom heritage notes the very young
              can "get it" and it's entirely possible to be an old fool:)! Per Jesus
              taut aphorism ("Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!" or as Crossan
              nicely puts it in "The Essential Jesus," "You have heads, use them")
              Paul is stepping into a situation where there is much talking going on
              and no listening. There's a nice irony in that his speech is aimed at
              silencing all this contentiousness. Meditation on the cross was lifted
              up in this rhetoric as a good hook, so to speak, to help that happen,
              but Paul here isn't going forward to talk about such as "justification
              by grace through faith," as he does in Galatians, but again to get them
              to move towards having that "mind of Christ." And so he proceeds
              onwards through that whole list of disputes that these folks are
              yammering on and on about. So, to be sure, the crucifixion is key
              here, but as a demonstration of the power and wisdom of God.

              > On that note which I agree with, I'll sign off!

              Good to chat.

              Gordon Raynal
              Inman, SC

              p.s. I'll respond to your PS offline as that is not the topic for this
              group.
            • Mike Grondin
              ... Well, I was thinking of Messianic claimants who may not have been ethnically Jewish. Having a Jewish worldview is another thing altogether and I don t
              Message 6 of 20 , Jul 5, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                --- Rikk Watts wrote:
                > ... re the last part of your para, now I am intrigued.
                > Do you have any evidence of Messianic pretenders that
                > were not part of the Jewish worldview? (At the risk of
                > being pedantic, sorry, usually a capitalized form of
                > Messiah means the Davidic Messiah in which case it is
                > hard to imagine a non-Jewish form thereof, which I
                > think is the well-taken point of your earlier comment).

                Well, I was thinking of Messianic claimants who may not
                have been ethnically Jewish. Having "a Jewish worldview"
                is another thing altogether and I don't know how to deal
                with that, because I don't have a clear idea what it means.
                Would you say that Christians in general had a Jewish
                worldview? If so, then you're not necessarily disagreeing
                with me, since a non-Jewish Christian Messianic claimant
                such as I had in mind would have a "Jewish worldview",
                according to your use of that term.

                To begin to answer your question, I have to return to
                something you said in an earlier note:

                > I'm not sure Mark's Jesus says anything as definitive
                > as taking the movement over from the outside. I.e. I
                > don't think the many refers specifically to Jesus'
                > followers. He does however warn against them being
                > deceived which could mean being led away from the true
                > movement if they get swept up with the many.

                This is a reference to Mk 13:6, which is substantially
                different from 13:21-22. In the former, Mark has Jesus
                speak of "Many (who) will come _in my name_, saying 'I
                am _he_, and will mislead many." You say that you don't
                think "the many" in this passage refers specifically to
                Jesus' followers, but I suggest that it must - for who
                else would follow someone who invoked the name of Jesus?
                Surely not those who had rejected him as authority figure
                all along?

                I think what's going on is that you're conflating 13:6
                with 13:21-22. In the latter, Mark has Jesus speak of
                false _Christs_ - as opposed to false Jesuses. I think
                the reason for this is that Mark has begun concentrating
                on Judea at 13:14. But still, I would suggest that the
                Christian (hence Mark's) notion of "the Christ" was
                different in significant ways from most if not all of
                the Jewish notions of "the Messiah". Given his context,
                it makes sense for Mark to worry that false Christs might
                lead _the elect_ astray - where "the elect" is again
                (as in 13:6) mainly or exclusively Christian - at least
                certainly not ethnically-Jewish in general. All this
                leads me to believe that Mark was mostly worried about
                purportedly-Christian Christ-figures, not ethnically-
                Jewish Messiah-figures. And Christian Christ-figures
                wouldn't have necessarily been ethnically Jewish (though
                they may arguably have had a "Jewish worldview")

                Whether or not this reasoning is sound, I hope at least
                to have given some idea of its basis.

                Cheers,
                Mike
              • Rikk Watts
                Mike, thanks for this. As I ve just noted to Ted, I m up to my eyebrows in preparations for a trip o/seas. Would you mind if I get back to this in a couple of
                Message 7 of 20 , Jul 6, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  Mike, thanks for this. As I've just noted to Ted, I'm up to my eyebrows in
                  preparations for a trip o/seas. Would you mind if I get back to this in a
                  couple of weeks when I return?

                  Rikk


                  On 5/7/06 9:30 PM, "Mike Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:

                  > --- Rikk Watts wrote:
                  >> ... re the last part of your para, now I am intrigued.
                  >> Do you have any evidence of Messianic pretenders that
                  >> were not part of the Jewish worldview? (At the risk of
                  >> being pedantic, sorry, usually a capitalized form of
                  >> Messiah means the Davidic Messiah in which case it is
                  >> hard to imagine a non-Jewish form thereof, which I
                  >> think is the well-taken point of your earlier comment).
                  >
                  > Well, I was thinking of Messianic claimants who may not
                  > have been ethnically Jewish. Having "a Jewish worldview"
                  > is another thing altogether and I don't know how to deal
                  > with that, because I don't have a clear idea what it means.
                  > Would you say that Christians in general had a Jewish
                  > worldview? If so, then you're not necessarily disagreeing
                  > with me, since a non-Jewish Christian Messianic claimant
                  > such as I had in mind would have a "Jewish worldview",
                  > according to your use of that term.
                  >
                  > To begin to answer your question, I have to return to
                  > something you said in an earlier note:
                  >
                  >> I'm not sure Mark's Jesus says anything as definitive
                  >> as taking the movement over from the outside. I.e. I
                  >> don't think the many refers specifically to Jesus'
                  >> followers. He does however warn against them being
                  >> deceived which could mean being led away from the true
                  >> movement if they get swept up with the many.
                  >
                  > This is a reference to Mk 13:6, which is substantially
                  > different from 13:21-22. In the former, Mark has Jesus
                  > speak of "Many (who) will come _in my name_, saying 'I
                  > am _he_, and will mislead many." You say that you don't
                  > think "the many" in this passage refers specifically to
                  > Jesus' followers, but I suggest that it must - for who
                  > else would follow someone who invoked the name of Jesus?
                  > Surely not those who had rejected him as authority figure
                  > all along?
                  >
                  > I think what's going on is that you're conflating 13:6
                  > with 13:21-22. In the latter, Mark has Jesus speak of
                  > false _Christs_ - as opposed to false Jesuses. I think
                  > the reason for this is that Mark has begun concentrating
                  > on Judea at 13:14. But still, I would suggest that the
                  > Christian (hence Mark's) notion of "the Christ" was
                  > different in significant ways from most if not all of
                  > the Jewish notions of "the Messiah". Given his context,
                  > it makes sense for Mark to worry that false Christs might
                  > lead _the elect_ astray - where "the elect" is again
                  > (as in 13:6) mainly or exclusively Christian - at least
                  > certainly not ethnically-Jewish in general. All this
                  > leads me to believe that Mark was mostly worried about
                  > purportedly-Christian Christ-figures, not ethnically-
                  > Jewish Messiah-figures. And Christian Christ-figures
                  > wouldn't have necessarily been ethnically Jewish (though
                  > they may arguably have had a "Jewish worldview")
                  >
                  > Whether or not this reasoning is sound, I hope at least
                  > to have given some idea of its basis.
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  > Mike
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                  >
                  > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.