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RE: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    Jeffrey and Jeff: I tend to agree with Jeffrey, though I guess you (jeff) could (and did!) question whether that reading of this Jeremiah citation should be
    Message 1 of 24 , Jun 2, 2008
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      Jeffrey and Jeff:

      I tend to agree with Jeffrey, though I guess you (jeff) could (and did!) question whether that reading of this Jeremiah citation should be assumed as known by Mark and Matthew ... Not sure on a simple reading that there is any sure way to settle it, except ..... (there's always an except, isn't there?)....

      Den of thieves here (sphlaion lhistwn) is a little curious if we are talking about simply a situation where the temple is used as an opportune place to fleece the poor pilgrims. My concern here is the word translated "thief" (lhisths). This word has far more of a sense of violence -- a brigand, a highwayman, an armed insurrectionist (note the people crucified with Jesus are such -- no simple pickpocket is crucifiied). The guerilla or insurrectionist concept -- a violent criminal -- makes better sense if Jeffrey's construct is imagined.

      And that is why (if I remember rightly) Ed Sanders argued for this. Of course since I tend to drink deeply of the Sanders kool-aid, even without knowing it, I happily agree. But sometimes (usually) Ed was right.

      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College
      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm

      ________________________________

      From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com on behalf of peterson@...
      Sent: Mon 6/2/2008 7:11 PM
      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables



      > Jeffrey Gibson wrote:

      > "Den of thieves" is Jeremiah language (as is much else in the story of
      > the fig tree/temple action/fig tree episode) and it signifies a place
      > where "thieves" go to rest up _after_ they have engaged in injustice,
      > */not/* where the perpetrate it. (see Jeremiah 7) So the allegation
      > that the Temple authorities have turned the temple into such a "den" ,
      > even if historical, *is not, and cannot* *be used as*, * evidence*
      > that the overseers of the Temple were engaged in economic exploitation,
      > let alone that decrying economic exploitation was what lay at the
      > center of Jesus' temple action..

      Jeffrey,

      I don't have a particular dog in this hunt, but I don't see why we should
      suppose that the meaning of "den of thieves" in its original context in
      Jeremiah determines what Jesus or the Synoptics meant by their
      appropriation of it. What makes you so certain that it does?

      Jeff Peterson
      Professor of New Testament
      Austin Graduate School of Theology
      Austin, Texas


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    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Jeffrey B. Gibson To: Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 5:53 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning
      Message 2 of 24 , Jun 2, 2008
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 5:53 PM
        Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables


        > RSBrenchley@... wrote:
        >> Pilgrims would also have had to buy
        >> animals for sacrifice, and doubtless a 'spotless' lamb cost more than an
        >> ordinary one.
        > Robert,
        >
        > In addition to my previous comments, I'd also like to ask not only why
        > any pilgrim intent on offering a lamb in sacrifice would buy an
        > "ordinary lamb" (what ever that means) when only "spotless"ones were
        > acceptable and accepted, but what it is that makes you think (as you
        > seem to do) that there were two types of lambs (i.e., "ordinary" and
        > "spotless") offered for sale in the Temple?


        The animal sacrifices were organized into "Holy" and "Less Holy." The Most
        Holy were slain on the north side of the altar and the less holy on the
        south side. The priests got the skins of the most holy and the skins of the
        less holy were given to the offerer. ALL animal sacrifices were to be free
        of the 73 types of blemishes but I wonder if Robert was referring to "less
        Holy" as "ordinary" but still blemish free. "Less Holy" was a type of sin
        offering.

        Jack


        JackKilmon
        San Antonio, TX
      • David Cavanagh
        ... So it is possible that (as N.T. Wright has argued) Jesus was critical of the temple because it had become the nerve-centre of Jewish nationalist
        Message 3 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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          Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:
          >
          >
          > Den of thieves here (sphlaion lhistwn) is a little curious if we are
          > talking about simply a situation where the temple is used as an
          > opportune place to fleece the poor pilgrims. My concern here is the
          > word translated "thief" (lhisths). This word has far more of a sense
          > of violence -- a brigand, a highwayman, an armed insurrectionist (note
          > the people crucified with Jesus are such -- no simple pickpocket is
          > crucifiied). The guerilla or insurrectionist concept -- a violent
          > criminal -- makes better sense if Jeffrey's construct is imagined.
          >









          So it is possible that (as N.T. Wright has argued) Jesus was critical of
          the temple because it had become the nerve-centre of Jewish nationalist
          insurrection (Josephus' favourite term for the insurrectionist bands is
          "brigands")?

          David Cavanagh
          Major (The Salvation Army)
          Naples (Italy)



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Matson, Mark (Academic)
          ... greedy ... in ... How do you know this? Do you have references for this, or is this historical imagination? I have heard this or some similar statement so
          Message 4 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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            Jack Kilmon wrote:

            >

            > Annas and Caiaphas controlled the ancillary businesses on the Temple

            > porch

            > (animal selling, money changing) and corruption was rampant. They

            > derived a

            > "commission" from them and sharing that revenue with Pilatus who, in

            > turn,

            > was "greasing" Sejanus, would have been inevitable. Sejanus was
            greedy

            > and

            > power hungry, situating himself to become Emperor. This takes money.

            > Paying the Praetorian Guards...of whom he was Commander...and who were

            > critical to power transition, was expensive. Caiaphas had found a way

            > to

            > purchase peace for the Judean people and extract leniency from a cruel

            > and

            > greedy Pilatus and it had been working well for twelve or fifteen

            > years.

            > Since history and perceptions of history almost always get things

            > wrong,

            > Caiaphas may not have been a bad guy after all. In Rome, Sejanus'

            > intrigues

            > and manipulations were "outed" to Tiberius by Antonia after whom the

            > Fortress Antonia was named. Sejanus and his followers were executed
            in

            > 31

            > CE.



            How do you know this? Do you have references for this, or is this
            historical imagination?

            I have heard this or some similar statement so often, yet I have yet to
            find any hard evidence for it.



            I am not convinced that, even if the high priest was there by the will
            of the political authorities, they were inherently corrupt. Maybe. But
            I would want some evidence.





            Mark A. Matson

            Academic Dean

            Milligan College

            http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jack Kilmon
            ... From: To: Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 6:11 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables ...
            Message 5 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: <peterson@...>
              To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 6:11 PM
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables


              >> Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
              >
              >> "Den of thieves" is Jeremiah language (as is much else in the story of
              >> the fig tree/temple action/fig tree episode) and it signifies a place
              >> where "thieves" go to rest up _after_ they have engaged in injustice,
              >> */not/* where the perpetrate it. (see Jeremiah 7) So the allegation
              >> that the Temple authorities have turned the temple into such a "den" ,
              >> even if historical, *is not, and cannot* *be used as*, * evidence*
              >> that the overseers of the Temple were engaged in economic exploitation,
              >> let alone that decrying economic exploitation was what lay at the
              >> center of Jesus' temple action..
              >
              > Jeffrey,
              >
              > I don't have a particular dog in this hunt, but I don't see why we should
              > suppose that the meaning of "den of thieves" in its original context in
              > Jeremiah determines what Jesus or the Synoptics meant by their
              > appropriation of it. What makes you so certain that it does?
              >
              > Jeff Peterson
              > Professor of New Testament
              > Austin Graduate School of Theology
              > Austin, Texas


              There are other sources for rampant corruption at the temple. When one
              considers that it was the biggest bank and had the largest revenue stream in
              the ancient world, I usually consider Jesus' words in context with his other
              aphorisms to look for the historical. When he said "Ayka den d'hawe pagra,
              thaman yitkanshun nishrea"
              (Wherever there is a carcass,there the vultures gather) the vultures and the
              "den of thieves" were the same.

              Jack


              Jack Kilmon
              San Antonio,TX
            • James Crossley
              Just a couple of comments on issues that I think have been missed but I could be wrong (I ve just checked email and had millions). The DSS (e.g. Hab.
              Message 6 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                Just a couple of comments on issues that I think have
                been missed but I could be wrong (I've just checked
                email and had millions).

                The DSS (e.g. Hab. Commentary) have plenty of polemic
                against the Temple being corrupt, hording wealth,
                being nasty to poor etc. as do rabbinic traditions.
                Now, we don't have to say this means the Temple really
                was corrupt etc but the *perception* that it was
                corrupt was certainly present. People may have been
                utterly deluded for all I know about the Temple system
                being corrupt but they thought it was so it is
                possible Jesus or whoever could think such a thing
                too.

                Another important texts in relation to perceived
                exploitation and sacrifices is this: 'A pair of birds
                in Jerusalem went up in price to a golden denar. Said
                Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, “By the sanctuary! I shall
                not rest tonight until they be at silver denars.”'
                (Mishnah Keritot 1.7)

                I make no claim for historicity etc. but in line with
                this thought is it not possible for someone else to
                have concerns that poor people could afford sacrifices
                (acknowledging the issue of perception as ever)?

                On the issue of symbolic destruction, yes, it could be
                combined with a critique of corruption as many people
                have pointed out. Yet there are still some worrying
                things about the 'symbolic' view. I may be wrong but
                when prophetic actions in the Hebrew Bible are carried
                out don't we get lengthy and explicit explanations by
                the prophet as to what they mean? If this is fair,
                then we don't really get any explanation in Mk 11,
                certainly not by Jesus. Moreover, would it be possible
                to turn tables over without it being a symbolic
                action? I mean he turns over tables: it might be
                little more than anger and concern.

                For all I know Jesus may well have thought the Temple
                would be destroyed but turning over tables wouldn't be
                the clearest way of showing this. At least he could
                have given us an explanation if he meant this!

                Anyway, apologies for not interacting precisely with
                people and being far too hasty but I thought a couple
                of points may have been overlooked (though in my haste
                I may well be wrong).

                James Crossley,
                Dept of Biblical Studies,
                University of Sheffield, UK





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              • peterson@austingrad.edu
                James Crossley wrote: [W]hen prophetic actions in the Hebrew Bible are carried ... James, Seems to me the attentive reader gets plenty of explanation
                Message 7 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                  James Crossley wrote:

                  [W]hen prophetic actions in the Hebrew Bible are carried
                  > out don't we get lengthy and explicit explanations by
                  > the prophet as to what they mean? If this is fair,
                  > then we don't really get any explanation in Mk 11,
                  > certainly not by Jesus. Moreover, would it be possible
                  > to turn tables over without it being a symbolic
                  > action? I mean he turns over tables: it might be
                  > little more than anger and concern.
                  >

                  James,

                  Seems to me the attentive reader gets plenty of explanation surrounding
                  the temple disruption in Mark. Introducing it is the welcome of Jesus as
                  the bringer of the renewed Davidic kingdom (11:9–10) and therefore, as
                  Donald Juel showed in Messiah and Temple, builder of the eschatological
                  temple. The parabolic cursing of the fig tree, surrounding the temple
                  demonstration, portends a judgment on such trees as do not yield fruit
                  (11:12–14, 20–25). The demonstration itself is accompanied by a scriptural
                  tag that pronounces on those presently administering the temple in
                  prospect of God's eschatological intentions for it (n.b. KLHQHSETAI,
                  11:17), and this is amplified in the parable of the Wicked Tenants
                  (12:1ff, which supplies the implicit answer to 11:28's question "By what
                  authority do you do these things?" -- i.e., such things as the temple
                  demonstration) and the full chapter given over to discussion of the fate
                  of the temple when God's kingdom comes (chap. 13).

                  No one can fault Mark for not providing lengthy explanation of Jesus'
                  prophetic sign; following the Marcan model of parabolic teaching that is
                  disclosed in the course of Jesus' ministry, the explanation grows more and
                  more explicit. Seems to me the prophetic sign is easily the best pattern
                  in which to understand the temple action.

                  Jeff Peterson
                  Austin, Texas

                  Jeff Peterson
                • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                  ... Thanks for this. Yes, I do recall DSS being very critical of the priesthood and especially the Wicked Priest. And of the charges laid against them by the
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                    James Crossley wrote:



                    > The DSS (e.g. Hab. Commentary) have plenty of polemic

                    > against the Temple being corrupt, hording wealth,

                    > being nasty to poor etc. as do rabbinic traditions.

                    > Now, we don't have to say this means the Temple really

                    > was corrupt etc but the *perception* that it was

                    > corrupt was certainly present. People may have been

                    > utterly deluded for all I know about the Temple system

                    > being corrupt but they thought it was so it is

                    > possible Jesus or whoever could think such a thing

                    > too.



                    Thanks for this. Yes, I do recall DSS being very critical of the
                    priesthood and especially the Wicked Priest. And of the charges laid
                    against them by the DSS sect was that they plundered the poor. I guess
                    my tendency has been to (a) somewhat discount the criticisms of DSS, in
                    part because they are part of an attempt to legitimate their separatist
                    ideology, and (b) because "plundering the poor" still does not point to
                    some issues about trading in the temple.



                    But, having said that, this certainly would point to that issue and is a
                    fair rejoinder.



                    > Another important texts in relation to perceived

                    > exploitation and sacrifices is this: 'A pair of birds

                    > in Jerusalem went up in price to a golden denar. Said

                    > Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, "By the sanctuary! I shall

                    > not rest tonight until they be at silver denars."'

                    > (Mishnah Keritot 1.7)



                    Here I have a bit harder time connecting this to any problem in the
                    temple. The main speaker here, Simeon b. Gamaliel, was a rabbi circa
                    125-150 CE (I think). Thus this was post temple, and so the cost of
                    birds could not have involved any temple trading. And in fact, is there
                    really any idea that this is because of "price fixing" or is it simply
                    inflation? But if Simeon b. Gamaliel is speaking in real time (" I
                    shall not rest until...."), then it is not temple or sacrifice issues.





                    >

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                    > ------------------------------------

                    Mark A. Matson

                    Academic Dean

                    Milligan College

                    http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm



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                  • sdavies0
                    ... If we take a somewhat common-sense view of the situation, we have a man come up from Galilee on Passover with a group of associates. They are going to need
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                      > James Crossley wrote:
                      >
                      > [W]hen prophetic actions in the Hebrew Bible are carried
                      > > out don't we get lengthy and explicit explanations by
                      > > the prophet as to what they mean? If this is fair,
                      > > then we don't really get any explanation in Mk 11,
                      > > certainly not by Jesus. Moreover, would it be possible
                      > > to turn tables over without it being a symbolic
                      > > action? I mean he turns over tables: it might be
                      > > little more than anger and concern.

                      If we take a somewhat common-sense view of the situation, we have
                      a man come up from Galilee on Passover with a group of associates.
                      They are going to need at least one lamb.
                      Where will they get a lamb? At the
                      place of lamb-sellers in the vicinity of the temple. Man goes there
                      and, next thing we know, there is a hullabaloo and he is accusing
                      the folks selling lambs of being like a den of thieves. What would we
                      think is going on if we don't know this is Christ? We would assume
                      that the man is enraged at the price he is being charged for a lamb.
                      Or would there be two lambs? How many lambs for a party of twenty-
                      some (13 men at least and "many women?")?

                      This is, I suspect, what happened. It is possible that he would be
                      arrested for the ruckus.But crucifixion? No.
                      Possibly, in retrospect, his followers would have read something
                      symbolic into his actions.

                      I note also that if Jesus were symbolically prophecying the
                      destruction of the temple, as modern scholarship tends to think, the
                      use of his predictions as a vaticinium ex eventu, which grounds the
                      scholarly dating of Mark, would no longer apply. If he prophecied the
                      destruction of the temple in Mark 11, surely what he says in Mark 13
                      would be historically appropriate. But if we do conclude that Jesus
                      predicted the destruction of the temple, why not date Mark at 50 AD?

                      > The parabolic cursing of the fig tree, surrounding the temple
                      > demonstration, portends a judgment on such trees as do not yield
                      > fruit (11:12–14, 20–25).

                      In my visit to Bethlehem on Holy Thursday I saw a fig tree in leaf,
                      as they say, and thought of this passage. The fig tree had barely
                      begun to leaf out. But a little web research discoversthis excellent
                      illustrated site that proves that there should have been figs on Holy
                      Thursday. It may be a question of which species of fig we are talking
                      about.

                      http://www.bibletrack.org/notes/resource/misc/Figs.html

                      > following the Marcan model of parabolic teaching that is
                      > disclosed in the course of Jesus' ministry, the explanation grows
                      more and
                      > more explicit. Seems to me the prophetic sign is easily the best
                      pattern
                      > in which to understand the temple action.
                      >
                      > Jeff Peterson

                      I think the best explanation of Jesus' action is anger over the price
                      of lambs. The idea of "concern" for others maybe, secondarily. Often
                      people become angry on their own behalf about something or other and
                      then claim to be acting on principle in defense of others. Class-
                      action, so to speak.

                      The Markan notion of parabolic teaching could well account for the
                      description of the action as it appears in Mark's gospel, but that
                      doesn't have any bearing on Jesus' own intentions, if any... Anger at
                      high prices doesn't involve "intentions" particularly.

                      Stevan Davies
                    • Gordon Raynal
                      James, Thanks for this helpful note (also to Jeffrey for his good words about what den really signifies). See below for some thoughts. ... Historically
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                        James,

                        Thanks for this helpful note (also to Jeffrey for his good words
                        about what "den" really signifies). See below for some thoughts.
                        On Jun 3, 2008, at 11:23 AM, James Crossley wrote:

                        > Just a couple of comments on issues that I think have
                        > been missed but I could be wrong (I've just checked
                        > email and had millions).
                        >
                        > The DSS (e.g. Hab. Commentary) have plenty of polemic
                        > against the Temple being corrupt, hording wealth,
                        > being nasty to poor etc. as do rabbinic traditions.
                        > Now, we don't have to say this means the Temple really
                        > was corrupt etc but the *perception* that it was
                        > corrupt was certainly present. People may have been
                        > utterly deluded for all I know about the Temple system
                        > being corrupt but they thought it was so it is
                        > possible Jesus or whoever could think such a thing
                        > too.
                        >
                        > Another important texts in relation to perceived
                        > exploitation and sacrifices is this: 'A pair of birds
                        > in Jerusalem went up in price to a golden denar. Said
                        > Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, “By the sanctuary! I shall
                        > not rest tonight until they be at silver denars.”'
                        > (Mishnah Keritot 1.7)
                        >
                        > I make no claim for historicity etc. but in line with
                        > this thought is it not possible for someone else to
                        > have concerns that poor people could afford sacrifices
                        > (acknowledging the issue of perception as ever)?
                        >
                        > On the issue of symbolic destruction, yes, it could be
                        > combined with a critique of corruption as many people
                        > have pointed out. Yet there are still some worrying
                        > things about the 'symbolic' view. I may be wrong but
                        > when prophetic actions in the Hebrew Bible are carried
                        > out don't we get lengthy and explicit explanations by
                        > the prophet as to what they mean? If this is fair,
                        > then we don't really get any explanation in Mk 11,
                        > certainly not by Jesus. Moreover, would it be possible
                        > to turn tables over without it being a symbolic
                        > action? I mean he turns over tables: it might be
                        > little more than anger and concern.

                        Historically speaking, all this business about Jesus (in the 20's/
                        30's) foreseeing the Temple's destruction and being all worked up
                        about it, is a bit much methinks. Now per plenty of earlier
                        discussions on this issue on the list, I don't think the "temple
                        tantrum" is a historical report, but rather a Markan creation that
                        was a key part of the construction of the PN written after the fact.
                        But back to the earlier era, it would seem from the Acts story
                        telling and from Paul and from that snippet in Josephus about Jesus'
                        brother, James, that faithfulness to the Temple (and hence its core
                        Torah mandated practices) was entirely important to the earliest
                        Jesus folk. And then, just in terms of the story telling within the
                        Markan PN, on "Palm Sunday," he has this "tantrum" (Mark 11:15ff),
                        then a day or two later he commends "the poor widow" for her model
                        giving! Seems to me that Jesus would have said, "she's really
                        wasting her money," if he really thought either the Temple operations
                        were either soon to be at their end or so corrupt as to not being
                        worth supporting at all. Theologically these texts make sense as a
                        part of the Markan and later story telling when living in the actual
                        situation of the loss of the Temple. But historically in
                        relationship to Jesus and then at least the earliest Jerusalem
                        followers this "tantrum" story doesn't make sense and all this
                        "theorizing" as to motives and meanings Jesus had are just
                        interesting speculations.

                        Gordon Raynal

                        Inman, SC
                        >
                        >
                        > For all I know Jesus may well have thought the Temple
                        > would be destroyed but turning over tables wouldn't be
                        > the clearest way of showing this. At least he could
                        > have given us an explanation if he meant this!
                        >
                        > Anyway, apologies for not interacting precisely with
                        > people and being far too hasty but I thought a couple
                        > of points may have been overlooked (though in my haste
                        > I may well be wrong).
                        >
                        > James Crossley,
                        > Dept of Biblical Studies,
                        > University of Sheffield, UK
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > __________________________________________________________
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                      • RSBrenchley@aol.com
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                          <<"Den of thieves" is Jeremiah language (as is much else in the story of
                          the fig tree/temple action/fig tree episode) and it signifies a place
                          where "thieves" go to rest up _after_ they have engaged in injustice,
                          */not/* where the perpetrate it. (see Jeremiah 7) So the allegation
                          that the Temple authorities have turned the temple into such a "den" ,
                          even if historical, *is not, and cannot* *be used as*, * evidence*
                          that the overseers of the Temple were engaged in economic exploitation,
                          let alone that decrying economic exploitation was what lay at the
                          center of Jesus' temple action..

                          Jeffrey>>



                          Fair enough, if that was all. Add Josephus' remark that the doctrine of the
                          Sadducees was made known only to a few men, who were 'of the greatest
                          dignity', and became magistrates. Then there's the Mishnaic comment that the
                          Boethusians and/or Sadducees used gold and silver vessels. Doubtless they got their
                          power (such as it was) from their association with the Temple;I wonder where
                          they got their wealth from? Is there evidence that they were perpetrating
                          injustice anywhere else? If Josephus is to be believed, they had little or no
                          real power, and if they were using their wealth to perpetrate economic
                          injustice, then the ultimate source of that wealth is surely implicated. The Jesus
                          movement clearly did reject the existing Temple system over something, after
                          all. I'm not sure the analogy of thieves resting up after their crimes could
                          have been applied strictly here, whatever the original context, since the
                          Temple was a priest's workplace, not a place of rest. The Temple was also acting
                          as a market and central bank, doubtless under the control of the chief
                          priests, but I'm not sure whether the roles would have been distinguished in that
                          way.

                          On the question of charges for changing money, there's an article from
                          the Israel Numismatic Bulletin here
                          _http://israelvisit.co.il/beged-ivri/shekel/teachings/kadman.htm_
                          (http://israelvisit.co.il/beged-ivri/shekel/teachings/kadman.htm) , which argues that denarii found with a large hoard on Mount
                          Carmel constituted dues of 8% on the half-shekels in the hoard. A hoard of 139
                          prutot found in the wall of a house in En-Gedi adds up to a half-shekel (128
                          prutot), plus 8.6% for the moneychangers.

                          Regards,

                          Robert Brenchley,
                          Birmingham UK



                          <<In addition to my previous comments, I'd also like to ask not only why
                          any pilgrim intent on offering a lamb in sacrifice would buy an
                          "ordinary lamb" (what ever that means) when only "spotless"ones were
                          acceptable and accepted, but what it is that makes you think (as you
                          seem to do) that there were two types of lambs (i.e., "ordinary" and
                          "spotless") offered for sale in the Temple?>>

                          I'm not assuming there were two types of lamb on sale in the Temple, merely
                          speculating that the spotless variety, however distinguished, would have cost
                          more. Unless, of course, there was some official charged with the task of
                          certifying a lamb as spotless when brought from elsewhere!

                          Regards,

                          Robert Brenchley,
                          Birmingham UK







                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                          .... foreseeing the Temple s destruction and being all worked up about it, is a bit much methinks. If this were a simple matter of Jesus predicting the
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                            ".... foreseeing the Temple's destruction and being all worked up about
                            it, is a bit much methinks."



                            If this were a simple matter of Jesus predicting the destruction of the
                            temple, with no other aspect involved, I might be inclined to agree.



                            But here I think Ed Sander's extensive discussion in Jesus and Judaism
                            is on point, and really one should engage it as well. Quickly, in Jesus
                            and Judaism (see chapter 2, "New Temple and Restoration in Jewish
                            Literature," and chapter 3, "Other indications of Restoration
                            Eschatology") Sanders points to significant evidence that in Judaism
                            there was extensive restoration eschatological views. This included an
                            expectation of a new temple, which meant that the old temple was to be
                            destroyed. He cites quite a few texts as part of that ideology
                            (including, of interest, Isaiah 56:1-8 quoted in the Synoptic version of
                            the temple incident; to this I would add Zech. 14, alluded to in the
                            John version), and then quotes George Nickelsburg (Jewish Literature
                            Between the Bible and the Mishnah) as follows:



                            "The destruction of Jerusalem and Exile meant the disruption of life and
                            the breaking up of institutions whose original form was never fully
                            restored. Much of post-biblical Jewish theology and literature was
                            influenced and sometimes governed by a hope for such a restoration: a
                            return of the dispersed; the appearance of a Davidic heir to throw off
                            the shackles of foreign domination and restore Israel's sovereignty; the
                            gathering of one people around a new and glorified Temple."



                            And what follows is extensive citation from post-biblical texts (some
                            DSS, 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and many more) to support this ideology and a
                            temple rebuilding or temple destruction concept - often the former which
                            implies the latter.



                            Now if Sanders is correct, then an expectation of a rebuilt temple -
                            which would imply the destruction of the old in order to accomplish that
                            - would have been a major part of any eschatological vision. It would
                            not have required some specific vision of AD 70 destruction. It was part
                            and parcel of an eschatology that included some messianic aspects.
                            Especially note the charge leveled against Jesus - that he would destroy
                            the temple and rebuild it in 3 days!! (cited especially in connection
                            with the temple incident in John, though interpreted in terms of his
                            resurrection. But this same charge is found independently as an
                            indictment of Jesus in Mk 14:58 (and cf. Mk 13:2). This is all part of
                            an eschatological expectation, and may have nothing to do with an
                            vaticanu ex eventu (especially since the way it is used -- the
                            rebuilding in 3 days -- seems to have nothing to do with AD 70, but
                            rather to either unfulfilled expectation or redefined in terms of Jesus'
                            resurrection).



                            In this light it not not be "a bit much methinks." Depends on how much
                            you are willing to situate Jesus in the context of Jewish eschatological
                            expectations and culture.



                            Course if he is simply a Hellenistic Galileean, then maybe Mark made it
                            all up.



                            Gordon Raynal wrote:



                            > Historically speaking, all this business about Jesus (in the 20's/

                            > 30's) foreseeing the Temple's destruction and being all worked up

                            > about it, is a bit much methinks. Now per plenty of earlier

                            > discussions on this issue on the list, I don't think the "temple

                            > tantrum" is a historical report, but rather a Markan creation that

                            > was a key part of the construction of the PN written after the fact.

                            > But back to the earlier era, it would seem from the Acts story

                            > telling and from Paul and from that snippet in Josephus about Jesus'

                            > brother, James, that faithfulness to the Temple (and hence its core

                            > Torah mandated practices) was entirely important to the earliest

                            > Jesus folk. And then, just in terms of the story telling within the

                            > Markan PN, on "Palm Sunday," he has this "tantrum" (Mark 11:15ff),

                            > then a day or two later he commends "the poor widow" for her model

                            > giving! Seems to me that Jesus would have said, "she's really

                            > wasting her money," if he really thought either the Temple operations

                            > were either soon to be at their end or so corrupt as to not being

                            > worth supporting at all. Theologically these texts make sense as a

                            > part of the Markan and later story telling when living in the actual

                            > situation of the loss of the Temple. But historically in

                            > relationship to Jesus and then at least the earliest Jerusalem

                            > followers this "tantrum" story doesn't make sense and all this

                            > "theorizing" as to motives and meanings Jesus had are just

                            > interesting speculations.





                            Mark A. Matson

                            Academic Dean

                            Milligan College

                            http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm





                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Gordon Raynal
                            Hi Mark, Thanks for these nice, terse summaries of Sander s, etc. views. (scroll on down) ... Well, as a proponent of such, himself, I m not:)! To be sure
                            Message 13 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                              Hi Mark,

                              Thanks for these nice, terse summaries of Sander's, etc. views.
                              (scroll on down)
                              On Jun 3, 2008, at 4:10 PM, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:

                              > ".... foreseeing the Temple's destruction and being all worked up
                              > about
                              > it, is a bit much methinks."
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > If this were a simple matter of Jesus predicting the destruction of
                              > the
                              > temple, with no other aspect involved, I might be inclined to agree.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > But here I think Ed Sander's extensive discussion in Jesus and Judaism
                              > is on point, and really one should engage it as well. Quickly, in
                              > Jesus
                              > and Judaism (see chapter 2, "New Temple and Restoration in Jewish
                              > Literature," and chapter 3, "Other indications of Restoration
                              > Eschatology") Sanders points to significant evidence that in Judaism
                              > there was extensive restoration eschatological views. This included an
                              > expectation of a new temple, which meant that the old temple was to be
                              > destroyed. He cites quite a few texts as part of that ideology
                              > (including, of interest, Isaiah 56:1-8 quoted in the Synoptic
                              > version of
                              > the temple incident; to this I would add Zech. 14, alluded to in the
                              > John version), and then quotes George Nickelsburg (Jewish Literature
                              > Between the Bible and the Mishnah) as follows:
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > "The destruction of Jerusalem and Exile meant the disruption of
                              > life and
                              > the breaking up of institutions whose original form was never fully
                              > restored. Much of post-biblical Jewish theology and literature was
                              > influenced and sometimes governed by a hope for such a restoration: a
                              > return of the dispersed; the appearance of a Davidic heir to throw off
                              > the shackles of foreign domination and restore Israel's
                              > sovereignty; the
                              > gathering of one people around a new and glorified Temple."
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > And what follows is extensive citation from post-biblical texts (some
                              > DSS, 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and many more) to support this ideology and a
                              > temple rebuilding or temple destruction concept - often the former
                              > which
                              > implies the latter.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Now if Sanders is correct, then an expectation of a rebuilt temple -
                              > which would imply the destruction of the old in order to accomplish
                              > that
                              > - would have been a major part of any eschatological vision. It would
                              > not have required some specific vision of AD 70 destruction. It was
                              > part
                              > and parcel of an eschatology that included some messianic aspects.
                              > Especially note the charge leveled against Jesus - that he would
                              > destroy
                              > the temple and rebuild it in 3 days!! (cited especially in connection
                              > with the temple incident in John, though interpreted in terms of his
                              > resurrection. But this same charge is found independently as an
                              > indictment of Jesus in Mk 14:58 (and cf. Mk 13:2). This is all
                              > part of
                              > an eschatological expectation, and may have nothing to do with an
                              > vaticanu ex eventu (especially since the way it is used -- the
                              > rebuilding in 3 days -- seems to have nothing to do with AD 70, but
                              > rather to either unfulfilled expectation or redefined in terms of
                              > Jesus'
                              > resurrection).
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > In this light it not not be "a bit much methinks." Depends on how
                              > much
                              > you are willing to situate Jesus in the context of Jewish
                              > eschatological
                              > expectations and culture.

                              Well, as a proponent of such, himself, I'm not:)! To be sure there
                              were those who belonged to the Jesus folk who held to such notions
                              in various ways, but I don't see Jesus in this light at all. Why?
                              Because I think the authentic Jesus speech we have access to is
                              sapiential in nature and that material isn't interested in what you
                              cite above.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Course if he is simply a Hellenistic Galileean, then maybe Mark
                              > made it
                              > all up.

                              If the "he" here is Jesus, then I think he was a good Galilean Jewish
                              fellow whose language shows deep rooted connections to the long
                              wisdom heritage from Israel's past. Regarding Mark, I very much
                              think he created the incident as a part of his broad midrashic
                              imagination.

                              Gordon Raynal
                              Inman, SC
                              >
                            • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                              ... Well, as a proponent of such, himself, I m not:)! To be sure there were those who belonged to the Jesus folk who held to such notions in various ways,
                              Message 14 of 24 , Jun 3, 2008
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                                Gordon Raynal wrote:

                                > In this light it not not be "a bit much methinks." Depends on how
                                > much
                                > you are willing to situate Jesus in the context of Jewish
                                > eschatological
                                > expectations and culture.

                                Well, as a proponent of such, himself, I'm not:)! To be sure there
                                were those who belonged to the Jesus folk who held to such notions
                                in various ways, but I don't see Jesus in this light at all. Why?
                                Because I think the authentic Jesus speech we have access to is
                                sapiential in nature and that material isn't interested in what you
                                cite above.
                                >
                                >
                                > Course if he is simply a Hellenistic Galileean, then maybe Mark
                                > made it
                                > all up.

                                If the "he" here is Jesus, then I think he was a good Galilean Jewish
                                fellow whose language shows deep rooted connections to the long
                                wisdom heritage from Israel's past. Regarding Mark, I very much
                                think he created the incident as a part of his broad midrashic
                                imagination.


                                Gordon:

                                I thought this was in general where you were.... I may have been dangling for a bit more of a Crossan perspective, but this situates you more or less where I remembered.

                                We could argue back and forth on this, but for me too much of the gospels are so deeply eschatological, the residual views of the disciples are so eschatological, the "water that the gospels drink from" seem so eschatological, that I can't excise all that to get to a sapiential, but no eschatological, figure. For me, the scalpel needs to be too sharp to accomplish all that cutting. I guess I have a hard time imagining that Jesus was one way (ie. non-eschatological), and all the writers about Jesus, and the followers who wrote about the church, are another way (ie. eschatological)

                                But we differ on whatis perhaps the very central dividing point on historical Jesus studies.


                                Mark A. Matson
                                Academic Dean
                                Milligan College
                                http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Gordon Raynal
                                Hi Mark, Thanks for the pleasant conversation about differences. Just a few notes to further the conversation... ... I m less convinced than Crossan is about
                                Message 15 of 24 , Jun 4, 2008
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                                  Hi Mark,

                                  Thanks for the pleasant conversation about differences. Just a few
                                  notes to further the conversation...

                                  On Jun 3, 2008, at 10:26 PM, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:

                                  >
                                  > Gordon:
                                  >
                                  > I thought this was in general where you were.... I may have been
                                  > dangling for a bit more of a Crossan perspective, but this situates
                                  > you more or less where I remembered.

                                  I'm less convinced than Crossan is about a number of things he sees
                                  as historical:)!
                                  >
                                  > We could argue back and forth on this, but for me too much of the
                                  > gospels are so deeply eschatological, the residual views of the
                                  > disciples are so eschatological, the "water that the gospels drink
                                  > from" seem so eschatological, that I can't excise all that to get
                                  > to a sapiential, but no eschatological, figure.

                                  A couple of things here...

                                  This for me is a bit of a generalization. First, I note you say,
                                  "too much of the gospels are so deeply eschatalogical, the residual
                                  views of the disciples..." An interesting discussion that flows from
                                  this are "which Gospels," which disciples do you think are behind
                                  those gospels and how, how you see the dating and relationships and
                                  the development of theologies expressed. Second, wisdom theology
                                  does have "an eschatology," of course, it is just not the one you
                                  outlined. And in relationship to this, there's the whole question of
                                  the variances and nuances both within writings and between the
                                  writings as to how apocalyptic scriptures and ideas are mixed with
                                  other strands of Hebraic scripture and thought. Looking across the
                                  early materials what I see is a none to surprising diversity of
                                  viewpoints... none too surprising because the received resources show
                                  a wealth of diversity and what little we know of the era shows that
                                  diversity.

                                  > For me, the scalpel needs to be too sharp to accomplish all that
                                  > cutting. I guess I have a hard time imagining that Jesus was one
                                  > way (ie. non-eschatological), and all the writers about Jesus, and
                                  > the followers who wrote about the church, are another way (ie.
                                  > eschatological)

                                  I like your analogy of scalpel... for your perspective. If I may use
                                  another.... I'll use panning for gold:)! Ye olde historical stream
                                  has lots of rocks in it, but very little gold! Historically speaking
                                  I can't find much data from before the Roman Jewish War... and not
                                  much more after that until we get into the 2nd century. What I do
                                  find and it is what is held in common across the various voices and
                                  across time is a core of wisdom speech which is then remembered,
                                  worked over, developed and built upon across the resources we do
                                  have. And I might think this were odd and completely disconnected...
                                  except that the Israel heritage has a long, rich and vibrant wisdom
                                  heritage that is there in the TANAK and in the inter-testamental
                                  Apocryphal writings. And so I really think that is were the gold is:)!

                                  >
                                  > But we differ on whatis perhaps the very central dividing point on
                                  > historical Jesus studies.

                                  It is a big divide and doubtful it will be closed any time soon.
                                  More the fun, eh! Makes for interesting conversations and debates.
                                  But just for fun (and if you are interested in chatting some more
                                  either on line or off)... list for me what you think are the 5 most
                                  important sayings of Jesus and lets have a conversation about the
                                  theology and ethics (and so related eschatology) of those sayings.
                                  As this isn't a list to talk theology beyond historical or
                                  descriptive theology, perhaps we should do this off list, if you are
                                  interested.

                                  Thanks again for a pleasant chat!

                                  Gordon Raynal
                                  Inman, SC
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
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