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

once more, Jesus and angels

Expand Messages
  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    Comments and criticisms, please on the accuracy and cogency of the following: Jesus and Angels The evangelists record Jesus as speaking of both heavenly and
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Comments and criticisms, please on the accuracy and cogency of the
      following:


      Jesus and Angels

      The evangelists record Jesus as speaking of both "heavenly"
      and "fallen" angels on a number of occasions. Accepting the
      authenticity of these dominical sayings, several things follow
      with respect to the question of Jesus' view of , and attitude
      towards, these creatures.

      In concert with his co-religionists, Jesus

      1. had no doubts of their existence. He accepted without
      question , and proclaimed as an ontological given, both their
      reality and their division into categories of "heavenly" and
      "fallen" (Matt .25:41);

      2. believed that angels were numerous, that they were arrayed
      in ranks and in hierarchies (Mt 26:53), and that "fallen"
      angels were led by, and were minions of, a "prince of
      demons"(Mk. 3;22ff.);

      3. thought that in the present age angels were superior to
      human beings (though, like men, they were limited in knowledge
      of God's ultimate secrets [Mk. 13:32//Matt. 24:36]; but in
      the world to come the righteous shall stand as their equals
      (Lk 20:36)

      4. believed that the rebelliousness of the "fallen" angels and
      their work was doomed to defeat.


      But if we allow an argument from silence and take as
      significant what is absent from Jesus' statements about angels
      vis a vis what Jewish sources attest their roles and
      activities to be, it appears that Jesus seems not to have
      shared all of his co- religionists (or even the evangelists')
      beliefs about angelic functions. While he accepts the ideas
      that "heavenly" angels act as advocates of the pious (Matt.
      18:10; 26:53; cf. Lk. 16:22) and that "fallen" angels, and
      especially their leader, strive to separate the faithful from
      God (Matt. 6:13; Mk. 8:33//Matt 16: ; Lk. 22:31-32), we find
      no (recorded) emphasis placed by Jesus on their known roles as
      "messengers", "protectors", and intermediaries between God
      and men. Indeed, in contrast with the views of his co
      religionists, it is only the "fallen" angels that he envisages
      as active among men. For Jesus, the work of "heavenly angels"
      is, rather, carried out in the realms above.

      Judging by the content of the bulk of the preserved dominical
      statements about angels,. Jesus regarded their primary role
      to be that of divine agents who at the end of the age gather
      the elect and the wicked before the throne of God and act both
      as witnesses to the declarations of the Son of Man as he
      testifies at a great assize against those who in Jesus' own
      age had been "ashamed" of him and his words, and as the
      implementers of his judgments (Mk. 8:38; Matt; 16:27; 25:31,
      41; Lk. 9:26; 12:8 ; cf. Mk. 13:26; Matt 13:39, 41, 49;
      24:31).

      Though it is beyond the scope of this article to account for
      why it is that Jesus apparently held this comparatively
      circumscribed view of angelic functions, especially with
      respect to those of "heavenly" angels", the answer may very
      well lie in a perception on Jesus' part that he and/or the
      Holy Spirit are the ones who have been empowered with the
      roles of envoy, intermediary, and advocate that in Jewish
      tradition were thought to be angels' provenance.

      Yours,

      Jeffrey

      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
      Chicago, Illinois
      e-mail jgibson000@...



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by Jesus that might
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by Jesus that might have reflected the other functions of angels?

        On the other hand, angels are elsewhere shown in the New Testament in other roles, so perhaps the early Christians would have had no problem with the various angelic functions. This might be an argument for your main point.

        Jeffery Hodges

        "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...> wrote:
        Comments and criticisms, please on the accuracy and cogency of the
        following:


        Jesus and Angels

        The evangelists record Jesus as speaking of both "heavenly"
        and "fallen" angels on a number of occasions. Accepting the
        authenticity of these dominical sayings, several things follow
        with respect to the question of Jesus' view of , and attitude
        towards, these creatures.

        In concert with his co-religionists, Jesus

        1. had no doubts of their existence. He accepted without
        question , and proclaimed as an ontological given, both their
        reality and their division into categories of "heavenly" and
        "fallen" (Matt .25:41);

        2. believed that angels were numerous, that they were arrayed
        in ranks and in hierarchies (Mt 26:53), and that "fallen"
        angels were led by, and were minions of, a "prince of
        demons"(Mk. 3;22ff.);

        3. thought that in the present age angels were superior to
        human beings (though, like men, they were limited in knowledge
        of God's ultimate secrets [Mk. 13:32//Matt. 24:36]; but in
        the world to come the righteous shall stand as their equals
        (Lk 20:36)

        4. believed that the rebelliousness of the "fallen" angels and
        their work was doomed to defeat.


        But if we allow an argument from silence and take as
        significant what is absent from Jesus' statements about angels
        vis a vis what Jewish sources attest their roles and
        activities to be, it appears that Jesus seems not to have
        shared all of his co- religionists (or even the evangelists')
        beliefs about angelic functions. While he accepts the ideas
        that "heavenly" angels act as advocates of the pious (Matt.
        18:10; 26:53; cf. Lk. 16:22) and that "fallen" angels, and
        especially their leader, strive to separate the faithful from
        God (Matt. 6:13; Mk. 8:33//Matt 16: ; Lk. 22:31-32), we find
        no (recorded) emphasis placed by Jesus on their known roles as
        "messengers", "protectors", and intermediaries between God
        and men. Indeed, in contrast with the views of his co
        religionists, it is only the "fallen" angels that he envisages
        as active among men. For Jesus, the work of "heavenly angels"
        is, rather, carried out in the realms above.

        Judging by the content of the bulk of the preserved dominical
        statements about angels,. Jesus regarded their primary role
        to be that of divine agents who at the end of the age gather
        the elect and the wicked before the throne of God and act both
        as witnesses to the declarations of the Son of Man as he
        testifies at a great assize against those who in Jesus' own
        age had been "ashamed" of him and his words, and as the
        implementers of his judgments (Mk. 8:38; Matt; 16:27; 25:31,
        41; Lk. 9:26; 12:8 ; cf. Mk. 13:26; Matt 13:39, 41, 49;
        24:31).

        Though it is beyond the scope of this article to account for
        why it is that Jesus apparently held this comparatively
        circumscribed view of angelic functions, especially with
        respect to those of "heavenly" angels", the answer may very
        well lie in a perception on Jesus' part that he and/or the
        Holy Spirit are the ones who have been empowered with the
        roles of envoy, intermediary, and advocate that in Jewish
        tradition were thought to be angels' provenance.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey

        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
        Chicago, Illinois
        e-mail jgibson000@...



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



        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






        University Degrees:

        Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
        (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
        M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
        B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

        Email Address:

        jefferyhodges@...

        Blog:

        http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

        Office Address:

        Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
        School of English, Kyung Hee University
        1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
        Seoul, 130-701
        South Korea

        Home Address:

        Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
        Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
        Sangbong-dong 1
        Jungnang-gu
        Seoul 131-771
        South Korea

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... Yes, as Oesterly noted some time ago, there is quite a difference between what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels and what they report
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

          > Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by Jesus that might have reflected the other functions of angels?
          >
          > On the other hand, angels are elsewhere shown in the New Testament in other roles, so perhaps the early Christians would have had no problem with the various angelic functions. This might be an argument for your main point.

          Yes, as Oesterly noted some time ago, there is quite a difference between what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels and what they report Jesus as saying. Whether or not this is an argument for my main point, it
          certainly is a curiosity. Why do the evangelists not have Jesus buttress what they believe?

          Jeffrey

          --
          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
          1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
          Chicago, Illinois
          e-mail jgibson000@...
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: XTalk In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others On: Angels From: Bruce In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the rarity of
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            To: XTalk
            In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others
            On: Angels
            From: Bruce

            In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the
            rarity of angels in Gospel sayings attributed to Jesus, as against matter
            seemingly derived from the Gospel writers themselves, "Why do the
            evangelists not have Jesus buttress what they believe?"

            To me, this is one of the basic questions. In general, movement founders are
            pretty plastic in the hands of the later traditions of those movements. But
            there also seem to be limits in particular cases. And when there are limits,
            they are often historically suggestive. In the Buddhist case, though Buddha
            is invariably portrayed as personally answering some question arising from
            monastic practice, he usually does so from offstage, as it were, and not as
            himself the head of a resident monastic institution. This, to me at least,
            reflects a reticence in the later sutra writers about portraying Buddha in a
            role which he could not historically have held. The Confucians too, for at
            least a century after Confucius's death, still retain the image of a
            Confucius who was poor and disadvantaged in his youth (though later on, this
            does change). As for the Christian texts, I have always admired the way gJn
            carefully distinguishes between the disciples, who *did* baptize, and Jesus,
            who "did not."

            So the rarity of angel talk among the sayings of Jesus might usefully
            reflect a historical fact, namely that angels in any serious sense are
            features of later, not earlier, Christian belief. I think it is useless to
            mix the data from all the Gospels together, in defiance of all we know about
            their relative age. I thus find it consequential that angels, in the
            Synoptics, are very much features of Mt/Lk, but are scarce in Mk. [I will
            take up the Mk passages in just a moment].

            Putting the baptism issue the other way, one can see the adoption of baptism
            in the first disciple generation as a reassimilation of Christianity to the
            Baptist movement from which, in all probability, the Jesus movement had
            originally diverged. So also with the question on fasting: Jesus himself is
            made to say in Mk 2:18-20 that though his movement did not observe fasting
            during his lifetime, it would do so after his death. These might then be two
            points of reabsorption of early Christianity into the Baptist movement.
            There are grounds in the Gospels, though not in the earliest ones, for
            thinking that the Lord's Prayer also represents later Baptist influence (Lk
            11:01). That would make three points.

            A lot is going on in the second-tier Gospels (Mt/Lk), including some mere
            retention of earlier tradition from Mk, which somewhat confuses the picture,
            but one of the new things that seems to be going on, at any rate in the Mt
            half of things, is a movement back to Judaism, from which, especially in
            matters of law, the Jesus movement seems at first to have strongly distanced
            itself, whence nearly all of the "conflict stories." Might not angels fit
            into this category also? Angels seem to be highly developed in Judaism, but
            it is, again, only in the second tier of the Christian writings that they
            make much of an effect.

            We might at this point consider the entire roster of occurrences of angels
            in Mk, to see if even that material gives a consistent picture. My
            concordance gives me the following:

            DATA

            Mk 1:13 "and the angels ministered to him." Legendary development of the
            initiation ordeal of Jesus; much further developed in Mt/Lk. It should be
            remembered that not only was Jesus a Jew, so were all his original
            followers. Their imaginations will very naturally have run along angelic
            lines. Here, at any rate, the angels are doing something on their own. See
            further below (ap Mk 13:27).

            Mk 8:38 "of him will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory
            of his Father with the holy angels." Angels here are little more than an
            attribute of God; part of the aura of his presence. They have no separate
            function.

            Mk 12:35 "they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels
            in Heaven." This occurs in a dispute with the Sadducees, who held special
            views about Resurrection questions. Jesus here is made to say that the
            angels in Heaven, and the spirits of the dead in Heaven, are disembodied.
            This of course conflicts with the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body
            (and of the stories of Jesus's appearance, in the body, after his own
            Resurrection). That doctrine can easily be shown to be a late development
            within early Christianity. This passage would represent earlier tradition.
            As in the previous passage, angels are something spiritual that exist in
            Heaven, with God, and accompanying God; see Isaiah 6:1, where the text
            departs from its future predictions to a present-tense vision of God - along
            with angels. If there are two books with which Jesus (on the strength of the
            Markan testimony) was acquainted, they are probably Psalms and Isaiah.

            Mk 13:27 "And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from
            the four winds." Apart from 1:13, this is the only place in Mk where angels
            *do* anything other than accompany the presence of God, or exist in
            disembodied state in Heaven generally. Now, Mk 13 is at variance with the
            picture of the Last Days which one might assemble from the rest of Mk, and
            it has often been described as a bit of Jewish Apocalyptic, somehow included
            (or inserted) in the text. I think this probable. Then this one active role
            of the angels has, or is influenced by, a source other than the sayings of
            Jesus, and should not be used as evidence for his own views about angels.

            Mk 13:32. "But of that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels
            in Heaven, nor the Son . . ." Here the angels are represented as being
            normally privy to the thoughts and plans of God. This agrees, if one likes,
            with their role (see Mk 1:13, 13:27) as occasional messengers of God. But
            the same objection applies as with Mk 13:27. This is in all probability a
            Jewish-influenced construct, not a Jesus-derived memory.

            INTERPRETATION

            As far as Mark goes, and I for one care to go no further (all else is
            commentary, as Rabbi Hillel said in a different context), Jesus most
            probably believed in angels as something disembodied, existing in Heaven
            with God, and accompanying human visions of God, but having neither minds
            nor missions of their own. This, I would say, is a merely pictorial concept.
            Angels have no function in the present scheme of things; they represent the
            future scheme of things. When you see actual angels overhead, not in a
            vision but in the regular blue sky, you will know that the future has
            intruded into the present, like Elfland into "the world we know" at the end
            of one of Lord Dunsany's novels.

            Respectfully suggested,

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
            http://www.umass.edu/wsp
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... Umm .. strictly speaking I said nothing about the **rarity** of Jesus reference to angels. I said that what he is reported as saying **about the
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              E Bruce Brooks wrote:

              > To: XTalk
              > In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson and others
              > On: Angels
              > From: Bruce
              >
              > In his most recent note on this subject, Jeffrey remarked, a propos the
              > rarity of angels in Gospel sayings attributed to Jesus, as against matter
              > seemingly derived from the Gospel writers themselves, "Why do the
              > evangelists not have Jesus buttress what they believe?"
              >

              Umm .. strictly speaking I said nothing about the **rarity** of Jesus' reference
              to angels. I said that what he is reported as saying **about the functions of
              angels*** only occasionally overlaps with what the evangelists say in this regard
              in their narratives about angels.

              >
              > To me, this is one of the basic questions. In general, movement founders are
              > pretty plastic in the hands of the later traditions of those movements. But
              > there also seem to be limits in particular cases. And when there are limits,
              > they are often historically suggestive. In the Buddhist case, though Buddha
              > is invariably portrayed as personally answering some question arising from
              > monastic practice, he usually does so from offstage, as it were, and not as
              > himself the head of a resident monastic institution. This, to me at least,
              > reflects a reticence in the later sutra writers about portraying Buddha in a
              > role which he could not historically have held. The Confucians too, for at
              > least a century after Confucius's death, still retain the image of a
              > Confucius who was poor and disadvantaged in his youth (though later on, this
              > does change). As for the Christian texts, I have always admired the way gJn
              > carefully distinguishes between the disciples, who *did* baptize, and Jesus,
              > who "did not."
              >
              >
              > A lot is going on in the second-tier Gospels (Mt/Lk), including some mere
              > retention of earlier tradition from Mk, which somewhat confuses the picture,
              > but one of the new things that seems to be going on, at any rate in the Mt
              > half of things, is a movement back to Judaism, from which, especially in
              > matters of law, the Jesus movement seems at first to have strongly distanced
              > itself, whence nearly all of the "conflict stories." Might not angels fit
              > into this category also? Angels seem to be highly developed in Judaism, but
              > it is, again, only in the second tier of the Christian writings that they
              > make much of an effect.
              >

              I think you can make this claim only if you neglect the "angel talk" that appears
              in Paul, of which there is a decent amount, yes?

              Yours,

              Jeffrey
              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
              1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
              Chicago, Illinois
              e-mail jgibson000@...
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Now wait a minute. When you write evangelists here, do you mean only the authors of the Gospels? Interesting presentation. For those of us who don t
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                At 02:33 PM 6/6/2007, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:


                >Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
                >
                > > Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of
                > angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by
                > Jesus that might have reflected the other functions of angels?
                > >
                > > On the other hand, angels are elsewhere shown in the New Testament in
                > other roles, so perhaps the early Christians would have had no problem
                > with the various angelic functions. This might be an argument for your
                > main point.
                >
                >Yes, as Oesterly noted some time ago, there is quite a difference between
                >what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels and what they
                >report Jesus as saying. Whether or not this is an argument for my main
                >point, it
                >certainly is a curiosity. Why do the evangelists not have Jesus buttress
                >what they believe?

                Now wait a minute. When you write "evangelists" here, do you mean only the
                authors of the Gospels? Interesting presentation.

                For those of us who don't have Oesterly handy, what are some examples of
                "what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels" that are
                different from "what they report Jesus as saying"? You don't cover that in
                your post, and I should think it would be an important subject. After all,
                you contrast what Jesus was reported to say with what [other] Jewish
                sources attest their roles and activities to be.

                So, ISTM, your article should attest three points of view, and how they are
                similar, and how they are different:
                1. Jesus, as reported by the evangelists
                2. The evangelists
                3. Other Jewish sources-- and maybe for good measure,
                4. Contemporary Gentile Middle Platonists.

                ISTM that would be more interesting.

                By way of explanations, here's what I would look for:
                I would start out from the assumption that the evangelists (#2) were
                steeped in the cosmology of (#3) and (#4). When confronted with what they
                thought Jesus was saying (#1) , they would try to reconcile it with who
                they understood Jesus to be. The easiest thing to do would be to think of
                Jesus in terms of an angelic figure of some kind.

                But they could not merely say that Jesus was like an angel, or was a
                certain category of angel, because then they would be confronted with other
                candidates for the same type of angelic role. They had to make his role
                unique, in order to avoid dealing with imposters. We don't see this in the
                NT until GJohn, because that is the only book in the NT that insists that
                Jesus was God's ONLY son (Chapter 1).

                YMMV,
                Bob Schacht




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: XTalk In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson On: Angels From: Bruce I had suggested, based on the Markan evidence as against the rest of the Synoptic evidence,
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 6, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  To: XTalk
                  In Response To: Jeffrey Gibson
                  On: Angels
                  From: Bruce

                  I had suggested, based on the Markan evidence as against the rest of the
                  Synoptic evidence, that angels were not a strong part of Jesus' worldview,
                  and amounted to no more than decorative enhancement in visions of God. I had
                  further suggested that the stronger and more numerous angels in the later
                  Synoptics might represent a reversion of early Christianity to a Jewish view
                  of things, just as the practice of baptism and fasting in the early Church
                  seems to represent a reversion to the Baptist movement of which it had at
                  first been a part. The last line of a paragraph of mine quoted by Jeffrey
                  went: "Might not angels fit into this category also? Angels seem to be
                  highly developed in Judaism, but it is, again, only in the second tier of
                  the Christian writings that they make much of an effect."

                  JEFFREY: I think you can make this claim only if you neglect the "angel
                  talk" that appears in Paul, of which there is a decent amount, yes?

                  BRUCE: Well, a certain amount. But Paul is perhaps a different story. One
                  point of difference among the various Gospels is how far they are
                  assimilated to the Christianity of Paul. In Mark, those points of
                  assimilation are few and textually suspect; that is, they may be intrusions
                  into, or adjustments in, what at an earlier stage would have reflected a
                  pre-Pauline Christianity. In Luke/Acts, the assimilation is total: Paul's
                  mission defines the direction that Luke/Acts sees Christianity as moving in;
                  he is the hero of the story. If Paul's genuine Epistles show some angel
                  talk, and if Mt/Lk also show some angel talk, there would seem to be little
                  ground for surprise. But all of this would still seem to postdate Mark, and
                  to attest a later stage, or several parallel later stages, of doctrinal
                  evolution beyond the point of which, whenever it was written down, the
                  Gospel of Mark is aware.

                  I take Mark, whenever it was written down, as our best witness for Jesus.
                  One thing you can say about Paul, he sure didn't leave Christianity the way
                  he found it. Mark (and a few other documents; I would include the earlier
                  layer of James) gives us a much better chance to see what Christianity was
                  like before Paul found it. While, in fact, he was still persecuting it, and
                  had not yet, in his masterful way, taken up the chore of managing it.

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                  http://www.umass.edu/wsp
                • Antonio Lombatti
                  There are some online free papers (with full .PDF text), that can be read or downloaded from here: BIBLICA, vol. 88 (2007), fasc. 1 http://www.bsw.org/?l=7188
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 7, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    There are some online free papers (with full .PDF text), that can be
                    read or downloaded from here:

                    BIBLICA, vol. 88 (2007), fasc. 1

                    http://www.bsw.org/?l=7188

                    Among others

                    H. van de Sandt, «James 4,1-4 in the Light of the Jewish Two Ways
                    Tradition 3,1-6» , p. 38-63
                    R. Schwindt, «Mehr Wurzel als Stamm und Krone. Zur Bildrede vom
                    Ölbaum in Röm 11,16-24», p. 64-91
                    A. Hock, «Christ is the Parade: A Comparative Study of the Triumphal
                    Procession in 2 Cor 2,14 and Col 2,15», p. 110-119

                    By the way: What about my previous message about the Tomb of James?
                    Anyone? It seems strange to me that this question was not raised
                    during the world wide debate about the hoax of James's ossuary.

                    Antonio Lombatti

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    ... Yes. Who else qualifies for that title? ... Thanks! ... My post contained only the second half of the article. I sent a draft of the first half -- in
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 7, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Bob Schacht wrote:

                      > At 02:33 PM 6/6/2007, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
                      >
                      > >Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
                      > >
                      > > > Jeffrey, could it be that the early Christians downplayed the role of
                      > > angels in the light of high Christology and thus ignored statements by
                      > > Jesus that might have reflected the other functions of angels?
                      > > >
                      > > > On the other hand, angels are elsewhere shown in the New Testament in
                      > > other roles, so perhaps the early Christians would have had no problem
                      > > with the various angelic functions. This might be an argument for your
                      > > main point.
                      > >
                      > >Yes, as Oesterly noted some time ago, there is quite a difference between
                      > >what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels and what they
                      > >report Jesus as saying. Whether or not this is an argument for my main
                      > >point, it
                      > >certainly is a curiosity. Why do the evangelists not have Jesus buttress
                      > >what they believe?
                      >
                      > Now wait a minute. When you write "evangelists" here, do you mean only the
                      > authors of the Gospels?

                      Yes. Who else qualifies for that title?

                      > Interesting presentation.

                      Thanks!

                      >
                      >
                      > For those of us who don't have Oesterly handy, what are some examples of
                      > "what the evangelists themselves have to say about angels" that are
                      > different from "what they report Jesus as saying"? You don't cover that in
                      > your post, and I should think it would be an important subject.

                      My post contained only the second half of the article. I sent a draft of the
                      first half -- in which I discuss what the evangelists and other NT and Jewish
                      sources tell us about angels -- to XTalk some time ago..

                      I've posted the whole thing below.

                      > After all,
                      > you contrast what Jesus was reported to say with what [other] Jewish
                      > sources attest their roles and activities to be.
                      >
                      > So, ISTM, your article should attest three points of view, and how they are
                      > similar, and how they are different:
                      > 1. Jesus, as reported by the evangelists
                      > 2. The evangelists
                      > 3. Other Jewish sources-- and maybe for good measure,
                      > 4. Contemporary Gentile Middle Platonists.
                      >
                      > ISTM that would be more interesting.

                      Well, except for the fact that I'm not sure if there is a Gentile middle Platonist
                      set of beliefs about angels, I have tried to do what you ask.

                      >
                      >
                      > By way of explanations, here's what I would look for:
                      > I would start out from the assumption that the evangelists (#2) were
                      > steeped in the cosmology of (#3) and (#4). When confronted with what they
                      > thought Jesus was saying (#1) , they would try to reconcile it with who
                      > they understood Jesus to be. The easiest thing to do would be to think of
                      > Jesus in terms of an angelic figure of some kind.
                      >
                      > But they could not merely say that Jesus was like an angel, or was a
                      > certain category of angel, because then they would be confronted with other
                      > candidates for the same type of angelic role. They had to make his role
                      > unique, in order to avoid dealing with imposters. We don't see this in the
                      > NT until GJohn, because that is the only book in the NT that insists that
                      > Jesus was God's ONLY son (Chapter 1).
                      >

                      These are all interesting and intriguing suggestions. But my mandate from the
                      editors of the Routledge Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus was to first set
                      out the idea of angels in Judaism and then move to an analysis of Jesus', and not
                      the disciples' or the evangelists', attitude toward angels -- and to do this in
                      1000 words or so.

                      So your suggestion of how to go about this is something I could not do.

                      Anyway, here's full text of the entry.

                      Jeffrey

                      ******
                      Angels

                      Celestial, numinous, semi-corporeal (2 Enoch 1:5 [A]; but cf. Jubilees 15:27
                      which describes angels as circumcised), powerful beings, anthropomorphic in
                      form in earthly manifestation and often visually glorious (cf., e.g., 2 Enoch 5;
                      Luke 2:9; 9:26; Acts 12:7; 2 Pet 2:10; Jude 8; cf. Acts 6:15), who were regarded
                      by all parties within 1st century Judaism (the Sadducees, despite the apparent
                      testimony of Acts 23:8, being no exception; cf D. Daube [1990]; B.T. Viviano and
                      J. Taylor [1992]) as having been created by the God of Israel before or shortly
                      after his establishment of the world (cf. Job 38:7; Jub. 2:2; Bereshith Rabba
                      3), and who, under the explicit direction or the permissive will of their
                      creator, carry out a variety of functions, depending on their status as
                      "heavenly" and "holy" or as "rebellious" and fallen".

                      The primary function of "heavenly" angels is to serve as divine "messengers" –
                      envoys who speak in the name, and with the authority, of God himself. In this
                      capacity they take on such tasks as announcing the births of important figures
                      within the divine plan (cf. Gen 16:11–12; Gen 18:9–15; Judg 13:3–5; Matt.
                      1:18-23; Lk 1:8-21; 26-38; 28-12), communicating "the word of the Lord" to
                      prophets (Elijah, 2 Kgs 1:3, 15; 1 Kgs 13:18; 1 Kgs 22:19–22; Isaiah 6; Jer
                      23:18, 23), delivering the Torah (Acts 7:53, Gal. 3:19), and relaying (and
                      interpreting) divine injunctions and promises or revealing the future to those to
                      whom they are sent (Zech. 1:9; 4:5-6; Dan. 8:16; 4QSerekh Shirot ‘Olat ha-Shabbat,
                      Matt. 1:20-21; Lk. 1:35; Rev. 1:1)

                      But they also are commissioned as agents whose role is to give assurances to those
                      in fear, to render service to those under trial, to protect those who travel
                      (Dan. 10:13, 20; 11: 1; 12: 1; 2 Macc. I I 3 Macc. 6:18; Sus. 45; Bel 34-39; Enoch
                      20:5; J 35:17; lQH 5.21-22; IQS 9,15; lQM 9.16; . T. Jud. 3:10), to bring the
                      prayers and the petitions of the faithful before God (Tob. 12:15; 2 Bar. 11 G; 1
                      QH 6.13), and to intervene at crucial moments of a person's life to change or
                      guide that person's actions (Hagar, Gen 16:9; Abraham, Gen 22:11–12; Balaam, Num
                      22:31–35; the people of Israel, Judg 2:1–5; Joseph, betrothed of Mary, Matt.
                      1:18-23; 2:19-23).

                      Notable, too, is that they are given the task of requiting disobedience to God in
                      both the present (2 Kngs. 19:35; 1 Macc. 7:41; 2Macc. 15:22-23; Sir. 48:2,
                      Josephus, War 5:388 Sus. 55; LXX Job 33:23; Acts. 12:23) and, especially, at the
                      end of the age, when they will be witness to and an instrument of divine
                      judgement and justice against apostates and all enemies of God's people (Dan 7:10;
                      1QM 17:5; 1QS 4:11-14; CD 5-7; 1 Enoch 10:13; 90:24-26; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 3:5;
                      14:14-20; 15:1; 16:1; 21:9).

                      They were envisaged as an army (2 Baruch 5:11; 70; Test. Levi 3:3; Matt. 26:53;
                      Lk. 2:13-14) which is drawn up in hierarchical orders and distinct ranks, headed
                      by commanders called archangels ( the number of these commanders varies.
                      According to Tob. 12:1 G; Enoch 81:5; 90:21-22; 2 Esdr. 5:20, there are seven;
                      according to Enoch 40; 87:2-3; 88:1, four; according to Enoch 90:31, three), and
                      were expected to participate in a final war against the wicked ((Zech. 14:13; lQH
                      3.35-36; 10.34-35; 1 15.14).

                      And as T.H. Gaster has noted, the "holy ones" were also portrayed as the
                      controlling spirits of such natural phenomena as celestial bodies and winds (Enoch
                      19:1; 40:4-5; 60: 12, 16-21; 61:10; 72:1; Jub. 2:2-3; lQH 1.10-11~ 47.7-13) and of
                      the seasons as well as of such abstractions as peace (Enoch 40:8; 52:5; Test. Dan
                      6:5; Test. Asher 6:6; Test. Benj. 6:1; cf. Isa. 33:7), healing (Tob. 33: 17;
                      Enoch 10:7; 40:9), and death (II Bar. 21:23; cf. Prov. 16:14).

                      "Fallen angels"
                      The primary function of "fallen angels," who, like their "heavenly" counterparts,
                      are envisaged as ranked under the leadership of a prince (s8ar) -- identified
                      variously as Mastema (Jub. 10:8), Beelzebul, Satan (Matt. 25:41; 2 Cor. 12:7. 1
                      Pet. 3:19 f.) the enemy; the evil one, the ruler of this world, the adversary,
                      the devil, Beliar and other names -- is to separate Israel from God by ensnaring
                      them in evil, inciting them to apostasy, and leading the elect astray. But they
                      also, in conjunction with their primary function, and in conformity with their
                      rebellious nature, serve to arouse and direct the "Nations", over whom they were
                      originally set as guardians (cf. Dan. 10:13, 20, 21; 12:1, Jub. 15:31-32; 1 Enoch
                      89.59 among other texts), to dominate, if not to destroy, God's people in an
                      attempt to frustrate or make impossible the implementation of God's purposes in
                      and for the world.


                      Jesus and Angels

                      The evangelists record Jesus as speaking of both "heavenly" and "fallen" angels
                      on a number of occasions. Accepting the authenticity of these dominical sayings,
                      several things follow with respect to the question of Jesus' view of , and
                      attitude towards, these creatures.

                      In concert with his co-religionists, Jesus

                      1. had no doubts of their existence. He accepted without question , and
                      proclaimed as an ontological given, both their reality and their division into
                      categories of "heavenly" and "fallen" (Matt .25:41);

                      2. believed that angels were numerous, that they were arrayed in ranks and in
                      hierarchies (Mt 26:53), and that "fallen" angels were led by, and were minions of,
                      a "prince of demons"(Mk. 3:23-26).

                      3. thought that in the present age angels were superior to human beings (though,
                      like men, they were limited in knowledge of God's ultimate secrets [Mk.
                      13:32//Matt. 24:36]); but in the world to come the righteous shall stand as their
                      equals (Lk 20:36)

                      4. believed that the rebelliousness of the "fallen" angels and their work was
                      doomed to defeat.


                      But if we allow an argument from silence and take as significant what is absent
                      from Jesus's statements about angels vis a vis what Jewish sources attest their
                      roles and activities to be, it appears that Jesus seems not to have shared all
                      of his co- religionists (or even the evangelists') beliefs about angelic
                      functions. While he accepts the ideas that "heavenly" angels act as advocates of
                      the pious (Matt. 18:10; 26:53; cf. Lk. 16:22) and that "fallen" angels, and
                      especially their leader, strive to separate the faithful from God (Matt. 6:13; Mk.
                      8:33//Matt. 16:23; Lk. 22:31-32), we find no (recorded) emphasis placed by Jesus
                      on their known roles as "messengers", "protectors", and intermediaries between
                      God and men. Indeed, in contrast with the views of his co religionists, it is only
                      the "fallen" angels that he envisages as active among men. For Jesus, the work of
                      "heavenly angels" is, rather, carried out in the realms above and at the dawning
                      of the world to come.

                      Judging by the content of the bulk of the preserved dominical statements about
                      angels,. Jesus regarded their primary role to be that of divine agents who at the
                      end of the age gather the elect and the wicked before the throne of God and act
                      both as witnesses to the declarations of the Son of Man as he testifies at a great
                      assize against those who in Jesus' own age had been "ashamed" of him and his
                      words, and as the implementers of his judgments (Mk. 8:38; Matt; 16:27; 25:31,
                      41; Lk. 9:26; 12:8 ; cf. Mk. 13:26; Matt 13:39, 41, 49; 24:31).

                      Though it is beyond the scope of this article to account for why it is that Jesus
                      apparently held this comparatively circumscribed view of angelic functions,
                      especially with respect to those of "heavenly" angels", the answer may lie
                      somewhere along the lines of W.O.E. Oesterley's suggestion that it is due to a
                      conviction on Jesus' part that he, along with the Holy Spirit, are the ones who
                      have been empowered with the roles of envoy, intermediary, and advocate that in
                      Jewish tradition were thought to be angels' provenance.


                      Bibliography and suggestions for Further Reading.

                      Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, Fallen Angels (Philadelphia : Jewish Publication Society
                      of America, 1952).

                      Daube, David, "On Acts 23: Saducees and Angels", JBL 109 (1990) 493-497;

                      Davidson, Maxwell John, "Angel", in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
                      (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006) Vol 1:148-155.

                      Gaster, T.H. "Angel" in The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed George A.
                      Buttrick (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962), Vol. 1: 128-134.

                      Grundmann, W., Von Rad, G, Kittel, G., "aggeloj, arxaggeloj, isaggeloj", TDNT,
                      ed. G.W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964) Vol. 1: 74-87.

                      Meier, S.A, "Angel I" in Dictionary of Demons and Deities in the Bible, Second
                      Edition, eds. Karel van der Toorn, Pieter Willem van der Horst, Bob Becking
                      (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 45-50.

                      Newson, Carol A., "Angels: Old Testament" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed.
                      David Noel Freedman (Doubleday, 1992) Vol. 1: 248-253.

                      Oesterley, W.O. E., "Angels" in Dictionary of the Bible, ed. James Hastings.
                      one-volume edition (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924), 31-53.

                      Page, Sidney H.T., Powers of Evil: A Biblical Study of Satan & Demons (Grand
                      Rapids: Baker) 1995.

                      Russel, D.H., The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (Philadelphia:
                      Fortress,1964) 235-262.

                      van Henten, J.W., "Angel II" in Dictionary of Demons and Deities in the Bible,
                      Second Edition, eds. Karel van der Toorn, Pieter Willem van der Horst, Bob Becking
                      (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 50-53.

                      Viviano, B.T. and Taylor, Justin, "Sadducees, Angels, and Resurrection (Acts
                      23:8-9)," JBL 111 (1992) 496-498.

                      Watson, Duane F. "Angels: New Testament" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary , ed.
                      David Noel Freedman (Doubleday, 1992) Vol. 1: 253-255.

                      ******
                      --
                      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                      1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                      Chicago, Illinois
                      e-mail jgibson000@...
                    • Antonio Lombatti
                      Maybe you re interested in a paper published in an Italian weekly magazine about Raztinger s book on Jesus: Christ, too many errors (Cristo, quanti errori)
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jun 9, 2007
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Maybe you're interested in a paper published in an Italian weekly
                        magazine about Raztinger's book on Jesus:

                        Christ, too many errors (Cristo, quanti errori)
                        http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio/Cristo-quanti-errori/1635347

                        The reviewer of the book underlines all the mistakes that have been
                        done by the Pope: wrong quotation of Mount Oreb instead of Mount
                        Moriah when he writes about Isaac's sacrifice. Multiple erroneous
                        reference to Palm Sunday when that festivity didn't exist yet. He
                        used the Hebrew "sukkot" (p. 362) as a masculine plural noun while it
                        is a feminine one. He wrote that the nominative " 'epistàta" was
                        used, while it is a vocative, and its nominative is " 'epistàtes"; he
                        has a wrong translation of "doxa" and many other errors.

                        Trust me: it's difficult to see such a hard review of the Pope's
                        works here in Italy.


                        Antonio Lombatti




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.