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Re: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?

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  • Richard Fellows
    Bob, St Francis certainly saw Jesus as a kind of mendicant. St Francis was no scholar, of course, but in his simplicity of spirit he plumbed depths where
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 19, 2006
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      Bob,

      St Francis certainly saw Jesus as a kind of mendicant. St Francis was no scholar, of course, but in his simplicity of spirit he "plumbed depths where learned science could but skim the surface".

      Intriguingly, the earlier biographies of St Francis portray him as a radical who was much in love with 'lady poverty', but the later biographies greatly down-play this. I wonder whether Jesus was similarly made more palatable by succeeding generations of his followers.

      Richard.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Bob Schacht To: CrossTalk Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006 8:48 PM Subject: [XTalk] Jesus
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 20, 2006
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Bob Schacht" <bobschacht@...>
        To: "CrossTalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006 8:48 PM
        Subject: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?


        > During the past 20 years, Jesus has been cast in a variety of major roles,
        > often in book-length development: Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the Magician,
        > Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Prophet, etc. Notice how all of these are
        > Power
        > roles. One might add Jesus the Cynic, which may or may not be a power
        > role,
        > depending on your perspective!
        >
        > Now comes another idea, that intrigues me.
        >
        > Bruce Grindal, a Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University,
        > wrote an article in the November 2006 issue of Anthropology News (Vol 47
        > #8) entitled "Beggars, the Ancestors and Jesus" (p.15). After reciting an
        > experience with a beggar in Accra (West Africa), he tells of an experience
        > in a (Black?) church in Florida on the Second Coming, speculating on what
        > form Jesus would return in. His conclusion: He would come back as a
        > mendicant, "a person who lives by the charity of others." No formal
        > exegesis was revealed, but the idea nonetheless intrigues.
        >
        > "Beggar" is used in a similar sense in the Gospels twice (prosaiteo, Mark
        > 10:46; John 9:8), both relating to a specific person who was blind.
        > Another
        > word (ptochos) was used once in Galatians 4:9 as an adjective
        > ('beggarly').
        > But in this case it may be better to rely on context rather than
        > restricting ourselves to specific words.
        >
        > For example, when Jesus sends his disciples out in Mark 6:7-11 (cf. Luke
        > 9:2-4; Matt 10:5-15)
        >>7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave
        >>them authority over the unclean spirits.
        >> 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no
        >> bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
        >> 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.
        >> 10 He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you
        >> leave the place.
        >> 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you
        >> leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against
        >> them."
        >
        > These instructions essentially mean that the disciples are sent out as
        > mendicants. If one looks at Jesus' typical modus operandi in the gospels,
        > he had no income and seemed frequently to be eating in other people's
        > homes
        > or at least other people's food.
        >
        > Perhaps the question of whether or not he was a mendicant depends on
        > whether or not he was providing a 'service' in exchange for his support.
        > The 'service' set is described as casting out demons and healing people
        > (Mark 6:13), proclaiming the good news, cure the sick, raise the dead,
        > cleanse the lepers, cast out demons (Matthew 10:7-8); and proclaiming the
        > kingdom of God and healing (Luke 9:2). That this might be an appropriate
        > framing for the work of Jesus is suggested by one of Matthew's additions,
        > "for laborers deserve their food" (10:10).
        >
        > The Didache was specifically concerned with differentiating deadbeats from
        > authentic messengers (sorry, I don't remember the term the Didache uses
        > for
        > the non-deadbeats who sojourned with them.)
        >
        > Of course, who's a deadbeat and who's authentic can be a matter of
        > perspective. Anyone remember "Whatsmyname?" who appeared in eastern
        > Pennsylvania a few years ago? I suppose he was a mendicant; he didn't
        > claim
        > to heal anyone, in fact, he didn't claim to do anything, but people
        > treated
        > him as if he were one of the disciples on a missionary journey.
        >
        > Bob Schacht
        > University of Hawaii

        Hi Bob:

        It is interesting and I am always up for theories that break the mold. My
        own is something of the opposite. I think Jesus was the "odd son out" of a
        relatively well-to-do family and the parable of the prodigal son may have
        autobiographical elements.....in fact, I think more of the HJ can be
        harvested from the parables than from the multiply fooled around with
        sayings. A parable <Heb mashal; Aram mathla> is a fictitious story that
        demonstrates a moral or ethical premise. I think it more likely they could
        contain personal experience rather than made up out of the blue. Was Jesus
        the prodigal son? One of his younger brothers? Whatever the case, there
        are clues that the Bar Yahosef family was part of a larger higher income
        clan. First, it goes without saying that Jesus reveals in his dialogues an
        intimate familiarity with scripture and the pseudepigraphat, an education.
        Let's look at what the NT and the patristics tell us about Jesus' family.
        Let's start with his uncle Clopas/Alphaeus:

        First we must look at Matthew's father (and James, the less),
        Alphaeus/Clopas/Cleophas. (Mark 2:14). Alphaeus is a transliteration of the
        Aramic "Khalfy" HET-Lamed-Fe-Yod. Clopas is the Greek rendering where the
        thraty Het is rendered as a K.

        So lets gather up what we know about Alphaeus:

        Matthew 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican;
        James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus

        Mark 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the [son] of Alphaeus sitting at
        the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and
        followed him.

        John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his
        mother's sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas (Clopas) , and Mary Magdalene.

        So we learn that Matthew and James were the sons of Clopas/Alphaeus and his
        wife Mary. We also know that Shymeon, the son of Clopas succeeded
        James/Yaqub as the Nasi of the Netzeraya which in itself speaks of the blood
        relationship of the three sons of Clopas and Mary to James and Jesus.

        It is Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius who writes about "members of the Lord's
        family..." and "..the son of the Lord's uncle, the aforesaid Shymeon, son of
        Clopas.." Hegesippus mentions a brother of Joseph whose name was Clopas
        (Euseb. Hist. III.11; 32:1-4, 6; IV.11.4).

        Hence, Alphaeus name must have been Khalfy bar Yaqub. Matthew and James,
        the "lesser" were Mattaya Levi bar Khalfy and Yaqub bar Khalpy with Yaqub
        named after Jesus' same mutual grandfather as is Yaqub/James, the Just.

        The wife of this uncle, Jesus' aunt known as the "other Mary" travels with
        Jesus, along with Salome (another aunt) and one Joanna and Susannah (whose
        relationship we do not know but were also wealthy) are reported traveling
        with Jesus and supporting the group. Uncle Alphaeus would have supplied the
        money to buy Matthew the border agent franchise from Herod which, judging
        from similar practices, would have cost about fifty grand in today's
        currency. Salome, Jesus' other aunt, always close by, was the sister of his
        mother and the wife of one Zebedy (father of disciples James <the greater>
        and John) who was in a partnership with Peter/Kefa and Andrew's father Yonah
        in a fishing fleet on Lake Kinessaret...a lucrative (and not a "poor man's")
        enterprise. Only Mark mentions Salome (Shalomzion) by name and Matthew
        refers to her as the mother of the sons of Zebedee and John (19:25) refers
        to her as Mary's sister, therefore Jesus' aunt.

        These clues point to Jesus being from a well-to-do clan and his disciples
        having been relatives and associates, not just a dozen men that dropped what
        they were doing to blindly follow Jesus.

        I think Jesus was from a wealthy family...may have been the contrite
        "prodigal son" whose mission was a family enterprise. He has cousins as
        disciples, brothers, aunts and his mother nearby throughout his mission.
        Part of his contrition may have been his disdain of wealth. After all, if
        he was the prodigal son, look what it did to him. All of the things he may
        have done when he was "prodigal" convinced him (when he was repentant) that
        it is harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a camel...well, you
        know the rest.

        Although my position is opposite of the mendicant position, I like thinking
        outside the "traditional" views.


        Jack

        Jack Kilmon
        San Antonio, Texas
      • leeedgartyler@cox.net
        ... snipped for brevity ... Jack. it seems to me that these two nontraditional views synthesize nicely. The notion that Jesus was from a relatively affluent
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 20, 2006
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          ---- Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: "Bob Schacht" <bobschacht@...>
          > To: "CrossTalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006 8:48 PM
          > Subject: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?
          >
          >
          > > During the past 20 years, Jesus has been cast in a variety of major roles,
          > > often in book-length development: Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the Magician,
          > > Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Prophet, etc. Notice how all of these are
          > > Power
          > > roles. One might add Jesus the Cynic, which may or may not be a power
          > > role,
          > > depending on your perspective!
          > >
          > > Now comes another idea, that intrigues me.
          > >
          > > Bruce Grindal, a Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University,
          > > wrote an article in the November 2006 issue of Anthropology News (Vol 47
          > > #8) entitled "Beggars, the Ancestors and Jesus" (p.15). After reciting an
          > > experience with a beggar in Accra (West Africa), he tells of an experience
          > > in a (Black?) church in Florida on the Second Coming, speculating on what
          > > form Jesus would return in. His conclusion: He would come back as a
          > > mendicant, "a person who lives by the charity of others." No formal
          > > exegesis was revealed, but the idea nonetheless intrigues.
          > >

          snipped for brevity

          Jack to Bob:
          >
          > I think Jesus was from a wealthy family...may have been the contrite
          > "prodigal son" whose mission was a family enterprise. He has cousins as
          > disciples, brothers, aunts and his mother nearby throughout his mission.
          > Part of his contrition may have been his disdain of wealth. After all, if
          > he was the prodigal son, look what it did to him. All of the things he may
          > have done when he was "prodigal" convinced him (when he was repentant) that
          > it is harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a camel...well, you
          > know the rest.
          >
          > Although my position is opposite of the mendicant position, I like thinking
          > outside the "traditional" views.
          >
          >
          > Jack
          >
          > Jack Kilmon
          > San Antonio, Texas


          Jack. it seems to me that these two "nontraditional" views synthesize nicely. The notion that Jesus was from a relatively affluent family can account for his erudition; but rich kids have been known to take a course of voluntary poverty. A chosen mendicancy accounts for such sayings as "the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" and the fact that Jesus appears to be flat broke in the "give unto Caesar" pericope and has to have the Pharisees produce a coin with Caesar's image upon it.

          At any rate, if Jesus' family were well off, it doesn't exclude him from taking up mendicancy along with his ministry. Indeed, it makes the mendicancy rather likely, considering what you note he has to say about wealth.

          Ed Tyler
        • Tony Buglass
          Jack Kilmon wrote: I think Jesus was from a wealthy family...may have been the contrite prodigal son whose mission was a family enterprise. Interesting. For
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 20, 2006
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            Jack Kilmon wrote:
            I think Jesus was from a wealthy family...may have been the contrite
            "prodigal son" whose mission was a family enterprise.

            Interesting. For years, I heard folk talk about Joseph having his own business, so in British terms he'd be sort of well-off middle-class-ish (the kind of interpretations you'd get from middle-class Brits, I suppose - stuck out a bit for me as a definitely working-class Brit, at least in my origins!) Then I read Crossan, talking about ceramics as evidence for the growth of local industry in urbanisation and loss of land, ie landless peasants had to earn their way through a trade. That meant that carpentry wasn't an indication of prosperity and higher social class, rather of a landless refugee family having to make their way. Now, you're suggesting he wasn't from a poor peasant background, but a wealthy one. Back to where we started from?

            I suppose Joseph could have done very nicely out of his enforced trade - especially if he profitted from the growth of the new cities at Sepphoris and Tiberias. But Nazareth in the 20s was a very poor place, if the reconstructions in Crossan and Reed "Excavating Jesus" are anything to go by. Capernaum was obviously the place to be - so how does the theory of a wealthy clan fit in with theories of origins in Nazareth?

            I'm intrigued to see how this new angle illuminates the story...

            Cheers,
            Rev Tony Buglass
            Superintendent Minister
            Upper Calder Methodist Circuit

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jack Kilmon
            ... From: To: Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 2:35 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant? ... Makes
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 20, 2006
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: <leeedgartyler@...>
              To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 2:35 PM
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?


              >
              > ---- Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:
              >>
              >> ----- Original Message -----
              >> From: "Bob Schacht" <bobschacht@...>
              >> To: "CrossTalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              >> Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006 8:48 PM
              >> Subject: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?
              >>
              >>
              >> > During the past 20 years, Jesus has been cast in a variety of major
              >> > roles,
              >> > often in book-length development: Jesus the Teacher, Jesus the
              >> > Magician,
              >> > Jesus the Healer, Jesus the Prophet, etc. Notice how all of these are
              >> > Power
              >> > roles. One might add Jesus the Cynic, which may or may not be a power
              >> > role,
              >> > depending on your perspective!
              >> >
              >> > Now comes another idea, that intrigues me.
              >> >
              >> > Bruce Grindal, a Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University,
              >> > wrote an article in the November 2006 issue of Anthropology News (Vol
              >> > 47
              >> > #8) entitled "Beggars, the Ancestors and Jesus" (p.15). After reciting
              >> > an
              >> > experience with a beggar in Accra (West Africa), he tells of an
              >> > experience
              >> > in a (Black?) church in Florida on the Second Coming, speculating on
              >> > what
              >> > form Jesus would return in. His conclusion: He would come back as a
              >> > mendicant, "a person who lives by the charity of others." No formal
              >> > exegesis was revealed, but the idea nonetheless intrigues.
              >> >
              >
              > snipped for brevity
              >
              > Jack to Bob:
              >>
              >> I think Jesus was from a wealthy family...may have been the contrite
              >> "prodigal son" whose mission was a family enterprise. He has cousins as
              >> disciples, brothers, aunts and his mother nearby throughout his mission.
              >> Part of his contrition may have been his disdain of wealth. After all,
              >> if
              >> he was the prodigal son, look what it did to him. All of the things he
              >> may
              >> have done when he was "prodigal" convinced him (when he was repentant)
              >> that
              >> it is harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a camel...well, you
              >> know the rest.
              >>
              >> Although my position is opposite of the mendicant position, I like
              >> thinking
              >> outside the "traditional" views.
              >>
              >>
              >> Jack
              >>
              >> Jack Kilmon
              >> San Antonio, Texas
              >
              >
              > Jack. it seems to me that these two "nontraditional" views synthesize
              > nicely. The notion that Jesus was from a relatively affluent family can
              > account for his erudition; but rich kids have been known to take a course
              > of voluntary poverty. A chosen mendicancy accounts for such sayings as
              > "the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" and the fact that Jesus
              > appears to be flat broke in the "give unto Caesar" pericope and has to
              > have the Pharisees produce a coin with Caesar's image upon it.
              >
              > At any rate, if Jesus' family were well off, it doesn't exclude him from
              > taking up mendicancy along with his ministry. Indeed, it makes the
              > mendicancy rather likely, considering what you note he has to say about
              > wealth.
              >
              > Ed Tyler


              Makes sense, Ed. Much like Prince Siddartha.

              Jack
            • John Sabatino
              Jack wrote: So we learn that Matthew and James were the sons of Clopas/Alphaeus and his wife Mary. John: What leads you to equate Matthew with Levi, son of
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 20, 2006
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                Jack wrote:

                So we learn that Matthew and James were the sons of Clopas/Alphaeus and his
                wife Mary.



                John: What leads you to equate Matthew with Levi, son of Alphaeus?



                Thx,

                John Sabatino

                Austin, TX



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jack Kilmon
                ... From: John Sabatino To: Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 5:12 PM Subject: RE: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 22, 2006
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "John Sabatino" <taurus78@...>
                  To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 5:12 PM
                  Subject: RE: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?


                  >
                  >
                  > Jack wrote:
                  >
                  > So we learn that Matthew and James were the sons of Clopas/Alphaeus and
                  > his
                  > wife Mary.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > John: What leads you to equate Matthew with Levi, son of Alphaeus?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Thx,
                  >
                  > John Sabatino
                  >
                  > Austin, TX


                  Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27 and then Matrthew 9:9. Also Jerome, Preface to the
                  Commentaries on Matthew:

                  The first evangelist is Matthew, the publican, who was surnamed Levi. He
                  published his Gospel in Jud├Ža in the Hebrew language, chiefly for the sake
                  of Jewish believers in Christ, who adhered in vain to the shadow of the law,
                  although the substance of the Gospel had come.

                  Jack

                  Jack Kilmon
                  San Antonio, Texas
                • Jack Kilmon
                  ... From: Tony Buglass To: Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 4:04 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Jesus the
                  Message 8 of 8 , Nov 24, 2006
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Tony Buglass" <tonybuglass@...>
                    To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 4:04 PM
                    Subject: Re: [XTalk] Jesus the Mendicant?


                    > Jack Kilmon wrote:
                    > I think Jesus was from a wealthy family...may have been the contrite
                    > "prodigal son" whose mission was a family enterprise.
                    >
                    > Interesting. For years, I heard folk talk about Joseph having his own
                    > business, so in British terms he'd be sort of well-off middle-class-ish
                    > (the kind of interpretations you'd get from middle-class Brits, I
                    > suppose - stuck out a bit for me as a definitely working-class Brit, at
                    > least in my origins!) Then I read Crossan, talking about ceramics as
                    > evidence for the growth of local industry in urbanisation and loss of
                    > land, ie landless peasants had to earn their way through a trade. That
                    > meant that carpentry wasn't an indication of prosperity and higher social
                    > class, rather of a landless refugee family having to make their way. Now,
                    > you're suggesting he wasn't from a poor peasant background, but a wealthy
                    > one. Back to where we started from?
                    >
                    > I suppose Joseph could have done very nicely out of his enforced trade -
                    > especially if he profitted from the growth of the new cities at Sepphoris
                    > and Tiberias. But Nazareth in the 20s was a very poor place, if the
                    > reconstructions in Crossan and Reed "Excavating Jesus" are anything to go
                    > by. Capernaum was obviously the place to be - so how does the theory of a
                    > wealthy clan fit in with theories of origins in Nazareth?
                    >
                    > I'm intrigued to see how this new angle illuminates the story...
                    >
                    > Cheers,
                    > Rev Tony Buglass
                    > Superintendent Minister
                    > Upper Calder Methodist Circuit


                    If the residence in Nazareth is historical and not an historicized Matthean
                    error (There is no prophecy in the OT that the Messiah would be called a
                    Nazarene) or a play on the "branch" (Netser) from the stump of Jesse in
                    Isaiah, the only advantage for living there would be its close proximity to
                    Sepphoris. Many building projects in Sepphoris at the time of Jesus' youth
                    would have kept a building contractor lucratively busy. According to the
                    Protevangelium of James, Sepphoris was the residence of Jesus maternal
                    grandparents. These building projects would have begun in the rebuilding
                    of Sepphoris by Antipas until late in 4 BCE given the city's destruction
                    earlier that year by Varus. Stone masonry was one of the skills of a tekton
                    and Nazareth is known for its ancient stone quarry. It would have made more
                    sense to live near the stone resource and cart the quarried blocks to
                    Sepphoris. I look to "stonemason's language" as in Matthew 16:18 and the
                    stone/cornerstone language of Mt. 21:42/Mk12:10 and GoT #66. Perhaps the
                    carpentry and stone mason's hand can be found when splitting wood and
                    lifting stone (GoT #77).

                    Jack


                    Jack Kilmon
                    San Antonio, Texas
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