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Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables

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  • 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 1 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]
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: To: Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 6:11 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re:Overturning the tables ...
      Message 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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.





              >

              > __________________________________________________________

              > Sent from Yahoo! Mail.

              > A Smarter Email http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/nowyoucan.html

              >

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

              Mark A. Matson

              Academic Dean

              Milligan College

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



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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