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FW: [XTalk] Jesus was neither Jewish nor Christian

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  • David Hindley
    Looks like we can t just send a response to the group from a digest anymore. Have to use that incredibly inconvenient fully featured (but uneditable) digest.
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 9 7:48 PM
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      Looks like we can't just send a response to the group from a digest anymore. Have to use that incredibly inconvenient "fully
      featured" (but uneditable) digest.

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Newton Falls, Ohio USA

      Yahoo says: <<We're sorry. The reply message you sent to crosstalk2 Daily Digest was not delivered.

      To ensure the best experience for our users, replies to the Yahoo! Groups Daily Digest are only supported through the "reply links"
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
      Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:20 PM
      To: 'No Reply'
      Subject: RE: [XTalk] Jesus was neither Jewish nor Christian

      Clive,

      Would you expand a bit on what you mean by the term "political citizenship?"

      I've seen several commentators who noted that Herod the Great's considerable contributions to the Roman leadership won the "Jewish"
      people a number of very significant concessions. In particular, he got he Romans to agree to treat all "Jews" as members of an EQNOS
      with quazi-political overtones. "Jew" in this context seems to have an ethnic designation, so I cannot find satisfaction with the
      idea that the term is supposed to refer only to residents of the district of Judaea. Herod, an Idumean by region, was king of a wide
      ranging area that far exceeded Judaea alone. He won concessions only for Judeans, but not Idumeans, or Samaritans, or Galileans, or
      Itureans, etc?

      It seems he won concessions for some group that was a common denominator within all these regions within his rule, but also managed
      to extended those same concessions to all people who shared this common factor wherever they lived in the empire. On the other hand,
      it also seemed these concessions were being granted to members of a pre-existing group, nominally centered on the Jerusalem cultus
      and its high priest, with the privileges being extended to members who were by chance distributed throughout the empire.

      In other words, members of this EQNOS no longer had to live in the temple state area (Judaea) to enjoy the rights and protections
      normally enjoyed by members who lived in that region. No matter where they lived in the Roman empire, they were able to form their
      own courts of law, assemble freely to practice their ancestral customs, and no one could force them to live contrary to those
      customs. "Ancestral" customs suggests "Jew" is an ethnic designation. The many gentiles living within the borders of Judaea are
      never called "Judeans" by anybody. Yet the rights granted to "Jews" are like those granted to a formal political body, such as
      citizens of a Greek polis.

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Newton Falls, Ohio USA


      -----Original Message-----
      2d. Re: [SPAM] [XTalk] Jesus was neither Jewish nor Christian
      Posted by: "Frank Jacks" cfjacks@... expcman
      Date: Sat Sep 8, 2007 10:14 am ((PDT))

      [Much clipped...]

      At least, the involvement of the term "Israelite" as the way that at least many of those who we now call "Jews" thought of
      themselves (Paul in his letters being a most important bench-mark for us) is surely something we need to remember, although my own
      suspicion is that it is a term concerning "political citizenship," an aspect of historical discussions which I find all too often
      shunted aside by the current popularity of considering sociological issues, which are also important, just not exclusively so, I
      think. Anyway, thanks for the posting if only because it revives this board after our summer vacation/time-off and for drawing our
      attention to the posted essay.

      Most sincerely,

      Frank

      Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union Seminary, N.Y.C.) Professor of Religion, Emeritus Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY
    • Frank Jacks
      ... Thanks for this invitation although I am not sure that such is needed since your own statement makes the case for what I had in mind ... and does so both
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 10 7:28 AM
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        >
        > From: David Hindley [mailto:dhindley@...]
        > Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:20 PM
        > To: 'No Reply'
        > Subject: RE: [XTalk] Jesus was neither Jewish nor Christian
        >
        > Clive,
        >
        > Would you expand a bit on what you mean by the term "political citizenship?"
        >
        > I've seen several commentators who noted that Herod the Great's considerable contributions to the Roman leadership won the "Jewish" people a number of very significant concessions. In particular, he got he Romans to agree to treat all "Jews" as members of an EQNOS with quazi-political overtones. "Jew" in this context seems to have an ethnic designation, so I cannot find satisfaction with the idea that the term is supposed to refer only to residents of the district of Judaea. Herod, an Idumean by region, was king of a wide ranging area that far exceeded Judaea alone. He won concessions only for Judeans, but not Idumeans, or Samaritans, or Galileans, or Itureans, etc?
        >
        > It seems he won concessions for some group that was a common denominator within all these regions within his rule, but also managed to extended those same concessions to all people who shared this common factor wherever they lived in the empire. On the other hand, it also seemed these concessions were being granted to members of a pre-existing group, nominally centered on the Jerusalem cultus and its high priest, with the privileges being extended to members who were by chance distributed throughout the empire.
        >
        > In other words, members of this EQNOS no longer had to live in the temple state area (Judaea) to enjoy the rights and protections normally enjoyed by members who lived in that region. No matter where they lived in the Roman empire, they were able to form their
        > own courts of law, assemble freely to practice their ancestral customs, and no one could force them to live contrary to those customs. "Ancestral" customs suggests "Jew" is an ethnic designation. The many gentiles living within the borders of Judaea are never called "Judeans" by anybody. Yet the rights granted to "Jews" are like those granted to a formal political body, such as citizens of a Greek polis.
        >
        > Respectfully,
        >
        > Dave Hindley
        > Newton Falls, Ohio USA
        >
        Thanks for this invitation although I am not sure that such is needed
        since your own statement "makes the case" for what I had in mind ... and
        does so both clearly and cogently. Your very last sentence is a most
        excellent summation of my point, that the
        nation-state of Jerusalem/Judea was dealt with by the Romans "back then"
        as having members/citizens who were not limited by geographical
        location. I would only add that the Jews themselves saw themselves as
        just such.

        To illustrate a bit further (while not laying out any formal hypothesis
        since I have not yet myself fully explored this dimension), so much of
        what is often taken as "religious" or even "theological" language turns
        out to be political or at the very least taken from the realm of
        political issues and claims, the most obvious being the central terms of
        "Christ/Messiah" (for a king of the line of David) and "kingdom," which
        we normally explain as metaphors but why not in their simple and
        original meanings?

        Yes, this would place Jesus or at least his follows who were the
        "founders" of Christian traditions and practices as nationalists, who
        proclaimed the coming day when the Jewish nation would once again enjoy
        political independence; certainly "the political" gets attenuated in
        subsequent Christian history (perhaps congruent with its separation from
        Judaism?) until it is repoliticized by becoming co-opted into being
        Constantine's "department of religious affairs."

        Likewise, it seems to me that both the Pharisees and the Sadducees who
        have been all too often perceived as religious denominations behave more
        like political parties, since both aspire to obtaining political power
        and authority if only to enforce their own understanding of Torah upon
        the entire citizenry. As I used to suggest in my classes, you can
        identity which variety of Jew a person back then was not just by such
        religious tests as what he meant by "Torah" but also by whom he
        considered ought to have and to wield political authority.

        Finally, as for "Jesus and Torah" (as the touch-stone of "Judaism"), I
        would respond to the other recent postings by the observation that in
        the gospels at least Jesus is arguing with Pharisaic rabbis about the
        interpretation of Torah which would at least seem to "include him into"
        the cultural/political/ethnic realm I envision; similarly, he goes to
        Jerusalem at Passover in the Synoptics ... as a pilgrim fulfilling the
        obligations of Torah? And what about the other Galileans with him?
        They all seem to be "acting like Jews," much as those from the Diaspora
        hoped to show up at the Temple for the great feasts (mo'edhim). Sure
        looks like "being a Jew" to me (???).

        Truth to tell, before I go further into this, I should confess that I
        have not yet read the several volumes that E. P. Sanders helped create
        about Jewish and Christian identity, so I frankly am not yet ready to
        argue about how "the Jews themselves" saw themselves and so whether or
        not they would have accepted this term by which they were known by other
        cultures and nations.
        Perhaps Paul's letters clue us into the fact (???) that "the Jews"
        themselves saw themselves as "Israelites," not at all meaning
        "members of the northern kingdom" (i.e. Galilee) with its own separate
        traditions and practices; here, I suspect that the Jews saw themselves
        as "Israelites" in the sense of the "kingdom of David" or "the twelve
        tribes," united by "Torah & Temple," even as they argued vociferously as
        to just what that meant in practice!

        Thanks for asking if only because it gave me an excuse for sharing,
        sharing something that is not intended as a argument for any fixed
        position but rather a perspective that I have come to over the years ...
        and fairly reluctantly so, I must admit. Following the example of Matson
        in his recent posting, I might add that much of my graduate work was
        with W. D. Davies who also directed my dissertation ... and who was the
        only member of my examining committee who was interested in its
        content!!! (Smile!) So most of my "oral exam" was a chat he and I both
        enjoyed while the others listened in, with varying degrees of interest
        ... if any! (Smile!)

        Frank

        Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union Seminary, NYC)
        Professor of Religion, Emeritus
        Pikeville College
        Pikeville, KY

        (but now happily retired back home in the metro Atlanta area!)
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