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Re: [XTalk] Social Healing, Movement Constitution and Titling

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... In the early years of this list, there was an extensive discussion of this subject with Stevan Davies, author of Jesus the Healer. I found this discussion
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 1 9:49 AM
      At 03:54 AM 8/1/2008, Gordon Raynal wrote:
      >To all,
      >
      >Jeffrey Gibson's question about Paul and his lack of attribution to
      >Jesus of "miracles" has led to this bit of discussion about that
      >specific issue. And this had led to a brief discussion about
      >whether, in fact, Jesus himself was a healer.

      In the early years of this list, there was an extensive discussion of this
      subject with Stevan Davies, author of Jesus the Healer.
      I found this discussion immensely interesting, so I am inviting Stevan (who
      sometimes still lurks on the list) to respond.

      I will try to find the time to respond later, myself.

      Bob Schacht
      University of Hawaii

      > And this, in turn, has
      >raised the question about whether the NT Gospel stories we have point
      >to historical "kernels" that were in some manner reframed into the
      >"miracle stories" (although I really prefer the terms "signs" (for
      >John's tradition) and "wonders" (for the Markan/ Synoptic
      >tradition). I think I've been fairly clear about where I stand on
      >these issues. What I want to do, therefore, is to perhaps generate a
      >bit of conversation that is related, but goes in another direction.
      >Per the title for this thread I'd be interested in a bit of
      >discussion about "healing" as a social term, the place of that sort
      >of healing in what Jesus and friends were up to, and then more
      >generally the titling that relates to this in the context of the move
      >from an association of people involved with and around Jesus to the
      >birthing of an actual ongoing social structure. Obviously putting
      >all this together makes for a very large set of issues to muse upon
      >and discuss and I'd be interested to see where this leads and what
      >sort of discussions are aroused. That said, let me lay out a few
      >thoughts by beginning with Burton Mack's translation of the Q1
      >"mission strategy" from "The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q & Christian
      >Origins:" (page 76)
      >
      >"Go. Look, I send you out as lambs amidst wolves.
      >Do not carry money, or bag, or sandals, or staff; and do not greet
      >anyone on the road.
      >Whatever house you enter, say, 'Peace to this house.' And if a child
      >of peace is there,
      >your greeting will be received [literally, "your peace will rest upon
      >him"]. But if not, let
      >your, let your peace return to you.
      >And stay in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they
      >provide, for the worker
      >deserves his wages. Do not go house to house.
      >And if you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before
      >you. Pay attention
      >to the sick and say to them, 'God's kingdom has come near to you.'
      >But if you enter a town and they do not receive you, as you leave,
      >shake the dust from
      >your feet and say, 'Nevertheless, be sure of this, the realm of God
      >has come near you.'"
      >
      >First, three brief notes. This is framed in Mark, Matthew, Luke and
      >Paul as a two by two mission. In Mark 6:7ff and Matthew 10:5ff this
      >is the mission for "the 12" (so Judas, too) disciples now become
      >apostles ("sent ones). Luke 9:1ff has this as the mission of the 12,
      >but then Jesus repeats this for "the 70 or 72" in 10:1ff. Paul
      >speaks of the issue of "two" and "the right to food and drink" in I
      >Cor. 9:3 in a little section on the rights of an apostle and I would
      >suggest is talking about the gist of this in his words on
      >reconciliation in II Cor. 5:11ff. ("a ministry of reconciliation" v.
      >18). And G. Thomas 14 there is a brief version of this in a sayings
      >cluster about fasting and what defiles a person. And finally the
      >Didache raises the whole issue of how long apostles should stay, what
      >to do if they ask for money, how to provide hospitality, what to do
      >if they want to settle.
      >
      >Second, I intentionally use Mack's translation of Original Q here
      >because I think his language choice about "pay attention to the sick"
      >is exactly on target and points us to where "healing" on an
      >individual level comes into play. This language choice points
      >neither to "working miracles" nor to any specific healer/ doctor
      >vocation, but rather to a general human activity of dealing with ill
      >persons. This "ministry of reconciliation" (to borrow Paul's
      >language) is inclusive of concern for the ill and paying attention to
      >them as a core part of this ministry program. It does not call for
      >special medical training, nor does it point to this most caring human
      >attention in terms of an apostle being at the ready to perform
      >"divine intervention" activities. Basically anyone can do this. If
      >we are talking Jesus and healing, I would suggest, based on this
      >multiplicity of sources, that this is what Jesus himself did. This
      >general "kernel," if you will, is what is behind the much later
      >creation of Jesus as a "miracle/ wonder/ signs" worker. Related to
      >Jeffrey's question of why Paul doesn't mention "miracles," this is
      >also a piece of that "why" as relates to healing actions in
      >particular: literally everyone involved was doing this kind of
      >attention paying.
      >
      >Third, the "healing part" of this ministry program is an aspect of
      >"home shalom sharing," if you will. Entry sharing of intent and
      >purpose, judgment of receptivity, sheltering, feeding, tending and
      >summary declaration go together to form what I think is nicely
      >described as a social healing action plan (again from Paul, "a
      >ministry of reconciliation"). Personal healing is a part of home
      >healing. Such a program is about making for healthy and peace filled
      >spaces in an occupied and violent time. The immediate effects if
      >this "works" is one more healthy home on the map. There's no forcing
      >this to work, hence the "don't sweat rejection" part of the
      >instructions (and obviously, if one tried to raise a ruckus, that
      >would deny the very spirit and intention of said program). And
      >contra Crossan and others, itinerancy is not so much "a lifestyle,"
      >but rather a functional part of a home missional action plan. This
      >program needs no special training, no special equipment, not even
      >money for those who go and all of that is part of "the message."
      >Again, anyone daring enough to do this in that Roman occupied world
      >could do this. Back to Jeffrey's note and the responses, I also
      >think this is a part of why Jesus was reified as "a miracle worker."
      >It is not hard to understand that this is a very workable plan and
      >that it had success. It is also not hard to understand that any
      >social movement like this in an occupied land, should it take hold in
      >any significant way, could indeed raise the ire of officialdom.
      >There is inherent in this a clear challenge to the Pax Romani. And
      >there is nothing more destabilizing to an authoritarian regime than
      >to have growing numbers of healthy/ happy people who get that renewed
      >sense of vitality and freedom from sources outside authoritarian
      >control. And so I very much think a large piece of understanding
      >Jesus as "a miracle/ wonder/ sign working healer" has to do with the
      >success of the total effort. For those swept up in this "healing
      >ministry," it is not hard to understand the conclusion that this was
      >"miraculous!" Pointedly, I want to connect this not to abstract
      >theological speculations, but rather, for example, to the liberation
      >and energy that was felt in those swept up in the American Civil
      >Rights movement or the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. I
      >think it is most appropriate to talk about Jesus as "a healer" in the
      >sense of social healer. And, of course, that word sod-zo (salvation)
      >is a word with lots of healing in the connotation.
      >
      >With that noted then, three brief points:
      >1. I want to suggest that it is most appropriate to use the language
      >of "constitution" to refer to this program description. The
      >particular directives and the action plan form a social plan pointed
      >towards social change. Together, then these words serve to sum up
      >what constitutes a group of people and the individuals therein.
      >Initially this plan calls for individuals (in pairs) to go and
      >instigate the going and doing. Likewise it includes description of
      >the receiver's jobs (welcoming, peace sharing, housing, feeding,
      >hearing). And with that in mind, once there is any success, a social
      >network is thereby created and thus the instructional words point to
      >the very heart of what got that network started and what keeps it
      >going. Obviously, this, like any social constitution could have
      >failed, but it that it worked is rather obvious! And so this
      >gathering of words (counting that there are differences in the
      >specific words in the different sources) are not just "missional,"
      >but indeed "constitutional" in nature.
      >
      >2. Such an action plan inherently leads to "a social formation,"
      >should it "work." Once this is the case, then the whole question of
      >organizational maintenance and development comes into play. Paul
      >provides for us his take on the necessary personnel for this
      >maintenance and development and the ordering of these personnel in I
      >Cor. 12:28 and note his language:
      >"God has appointed (not Jesus!) in the church first apostles, second
      >prophets, third teachers, then deeds of power, then gifts of healing,
      >forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues."
      >Twenty some years out and now talking about "really out," namely
      >Corinth. It is rather oddly stated in that Paul moves from 3 jobs
      >(apostle, prophet, teacher) to five work descriptions (deeds of
      >power, whatever those are?, healing, assistance, leadership and
      >interpretation). Therefore how many of these kinds of works any
      >given individual could do is left hanging. But in light of the above
      >this text fascinates me because it shows how the constitution led to
      >a growing bureaucracy and it gives us a glimpse of that some 20 years
      >out:)! Then there were a lot of jobs and the need to organize them,
      >rank them and deal with the issue of power and position in terms of
      >them. Paul, himself, spends a fair stretch of words to defend that
      >he belongs up there in the first tier (being an apostle) and yet also
      >wants to talk about the equality in this social movement. And back
      >to healers, once more, the work is listed separately from that of the
      >title of apostle and so one can take from this both that perhaps not
      >all the apostles of the 50's were tending to healing (????) and that
      >there were folks who were adept at this and that this was their
      >special job (????). Notably no indication is given in this passage
      >about Jesus, himself, in regard to any of these jobs and again, it is
      >God who has appointed the jobs and not Jesus.
      >
      >3. And this brings me to giving Jesus titles in relationship to this
      >social constitution. Often the discussion of the titles applied to
      >Jesus takes off from theology or from what he thought of himself or
      >the opinions others had about him. Others begin this conversation in
      >terms of some framework of "myth-making." I think it would be
      >helpful to carry on with a discussion of the titles in relationship
      >to constitution and social formation. From the above paragraph and
      >the notation about constitution leading to bureaucracy, I want to
      >suggest that this social development plays a key role in the choice
      >and then the development of the core titles that were later applied
      >to Jesus and that the growth in those titles goes hand in hand with
      >the social development related to "the success" of the movement.
      >Further, different established and developing communities, not
      >surprisingly, emphasized different clusters of those titles in
      >different ways. And this helps us account for the richness of the
      >titling and so the need to bring some ordering to the titling. In
      >this regard, the language of salvation/ savior does dig to the heart
      >of this work of this social constitution and its success. And
      >finally back to Jeffrey's original note and the brief discussion
      >we've had about Jesus as a healer, I want to suggest in addition to
      >what I said above, that for those who were bound together by this
      >form of social healing, that the real potency of the renown of Jesus
      >as "a miracle working healer" is not found in comparison to quite
      >ordinary individual folk healers (the only kind the ancient world
      >really had), but precisely in the social success of this whole
      >program in both its individual and social effects for those involved
      >in it. So rather than focus on this "myth making" or
      >"theologizing" (whichever you prefer) as primarily an intellectual
      >and speculative endeavor, I would suggest we think of it as a social
      >organization endeavor in light of both the received Scriptural
      >traditions and the received social/ political/ religious realities of
      >the time this titling work was going on. Simply put, a social praxis
      >leads to a social entity which in turn develops. Titling develops
      >with that and the expansion of that titling grows in relationship to
      >the growth of social institution. I think focusing on this will help
      >us better understand the why's and wherefore's of what we see and
      >also help do at least propose some tracing of the development in a
      >time where we have extremely scant resources.
      >
      >Comments? Thoughts? Challenges?
      >
      >One final note about Jesus. I said in my note to Daniel yesterday
      >that I do not believe "prophet" is really a very good description for
      >the man Jesus, himself, but belongs to one of those later
      >attributions about him. Positively this assessment comes from the
      >assessment that I think Jesus' memorable speech is that of aphorisms
      >and parables and the resources we have do provide "a voice
      >print" (and I think some direct quotes) from Jesus. This genre of
      >speech places him in the very long and living Israelite tradition of
      >wisdom communicators (for the ascribed roots of this look at Moses
      >words in Deut. 4:5-8 and for the developed roots of this look at
      >wisdom communications in Job, wisdom Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
      >Song of Songs, the aphorisms in the Prophetic literature and then on
      >to Ben Sira, etc. There **is** a long, broad and strong wisdom
      >heritage in the Israelite tradition!) Aside from that collection of
      >wisdom stories and sayings and a brief list of general biographical
      >details (like born sometimes before or after Herod the Great's death,
      >hometown of Narareth, mom named Mary, dad probably named Joseph, 4
      >brothers, some number of sisters, various kin relations among his
      >earliest associates, put forth this mission praxis in the reign of
      >Pontius Pilate and focused in Galilee and was killed some year in
      >Pontius Pilate's presence via crucifixion... 30? 31?) this is all I
      >can figure out from the resources we have about the life of the man
      >named Jesus. And so to give him a title or job description? Sage is
      >a general term. Speaker of aphorisms and parables is more direct.
      >And actually I like the term of "rabbi," but understand all the
      >troubles that arouses. But then to that "sage" title, I would also
      >say "community organizer" with the above words understood as being
      >constitutional to what it was that was organized. And I want to end
      >this note by saying that I really think all the other titles applied
      >to Jesus make best sense when understood in relationship to this
      >social formation. And so, for instance, when Caesar communicated on
      >coins and temples across the empire was hailed as "son of God,"
      >"Divine," "Savior," "establisher of the Heavenly Pax," and patron to
      >all the temples (including Aesclepius'), I do not think it is
      >surprising at all that a social praxis that became an enduring social
      >movement dug into the Scriptural heritage to counter those Roman
      >social order affirmations with counter affirmations of their own.
      >And so I want to suggest that this approach to thinking about social
      >healing as the heart of this constitution is central to understanding
      >Jesus, earliest Christianity and so the issue of titling of the one
      >reputed to have inaugurated this praxis which became a social
      >movement. And so as regards healing, the real issue of renown is
      >fundamentally tied to the social reality that this movement became a
      >growing institution. Even if Jesus were a particularly effective
      >folk healer (and again, it is fine by me, if he were) the real meat
      >in the attribution is rooted in the social effect that participants
      >experienced by their involvement in said institution.
      >
      >Well, this is a rather long note. But this list has been mostly
      >quiet for a long time. I got my week's work done and so I offer this
      >to stir some thought and conversation. I am mostly interested to
      >hear others thoughts and reflections. So, thank you in advance if
      >this stirs up some interesting thoughts and reflections.
      >
      >Gordon Raynal
      >Inman, SC
      >
      >p.s. as usual... I was a C student in typing in HS:)! To this day I
      >write sermons and lessons long hand. So pardon any goofs in that
      >regard!
      >
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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • RSBrenchley@aol.com
      In a message dated 02/08/2008 11:24:42 GMT Daylight Time, crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 3 1:04 PM
        In a message dated 02/08/2008 11:24:42 GMT Daylight Time,
        crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:

        <<And I want to end
        this note by saying that I really think all the other titles applied
        to Jesus make best sense when understood in relationship to this
        social formation. And so, for instance, when Caesar communicated on
        coins and temples across the empire was hailed as "son of God,"
        "Divine," "Savior," "establisher of the Heavenly Pax," and patron to
        all the temples (including Aesclepius')all the temples (including
        surprising at all that a social praxis that became an enduring social
        movement dug into the Scriptural heritage to counter those Roman
        social order affirmations with counter affirmations of their own. >>



        I like most of what you say, but you're generalising a bit here. the
        inscription DIVI F(ilius), 'son of a god' was used on a few coin issues by Augustus
        only. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, and used the relationship for
        political purposes as he was establishing himself, even taking the name
        'Julius Caesar' at one point. The title refers to his relationship to the
        divinised Caesar, not to God himself.

        Emperors the Senate approved of were divinised after their deaths, hence
        Vespasian's alleged last words, 'I think I'm becoming a god.' If Seneca's
        'Apocolocyntosis Divi Clavdii' is anything to go by, deification was not highly
        regarded by the Romans, at least this early. Divine kingship was, of course,
        long established in the eastern Mediterranean, and under the Romans, city
        coins regularly boasted of their neocorates (temples of the imperial cult). In
        the 280's, Aurelian, who seems to have had a good relationship with the
        church, called himself DEO ET DOMINO on a few of his coins, but it's a rare
        inscription only found from one or two eastern mints. I think you need to look more
        at the specific traditions of the eastern Mediterranean, or the Jews
        themselves, rather than the Roman empire as a whole.

        Regards,

        Robert Brenchley

        Birmingham UK







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Gordon Raynal
        Hi Robert, ... Thanks for the note and this correction. To refresh myself I just looked at the inscription on the coin the numismatic folks like to call the
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 3 4:46 PM
          Hi Robert,

          On Aug 3, 2008, at 4:04 PM, RSBrenchley@... wrote:

          >
          > In a message dated 02/08/2008 11:24:42 GMT Daylight Time,
          > crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:
          >
          > <<And I want to end
          > this note by saying that I really think all the other titles applied
          > to Jesus make best sense when understood in relationship to this
          > social formation. And so, for instance, when Caesar communicated on
          > coins and temples across the empire was hailed as "son of God,"
          > "Divine," "Savior," "establisher of the Heavenly Pax," and patron to
          > all the temples (including Aesclepius')all the temples (including
          > surprising at all that a social praxis that became an enduring social
          > movement dug into the Scriptural heritage to counter those Roman
          > social order affirmations with counter affirmations of their own. >>
          >
          >
          >
          > I like most of what you say, but you're generalising a bit here. the
          > inscription DIVI F(ilius), 'son of a god' was used on a few coin
          > issues by Augustus
          > only. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, and used the
          > relationship for
          > political purposes as he was establishing himself, even taking the
          > name
          > 'Julius Caesar' at one point. The title refers to his relationship
          > to the
          > divinised Caesar, not to God himself.

          Thanks for the note and this correction. To refresh myself I just
          looked at the inscription on the coin the numismatic folks like to
          call "the Tribute Penny," namely the denarius of Tiberius with mother
          Livia enthroned representing the goddess Pax on the reverse. The
          obverse inscription says: "Tiberius Caesar, son of the Divine
          Augustus, so yes, the son of the one who was declared Son of God.
          Of course, the issue wasn't really metaphysics, right! The right of
          rule, control of temples, priests and a piece of the pie was "where
          it was at." Tis an interesting move on the coinage, in general,
          after Julius Caesar. Emperor's faces on the obverse, Jupiter or Mars
          or Diana or Apollo, etc. etc. now relegated to the reverse. That,
          with the inscriptions "preaches," if you will, a lot!
          >
          >
          > Emperors the Senate approved of were divinised after their
          > deaths, hence
          > Vespasian's alleged last words, 'I think I'm becoming a god.' If
          > Seneca's
          > 'Apocolocyntosis Divi Clavdii' is anything to go by, deification
          > was not highly
          > regarded by the Romans, at least this early. Divine kingship was,
          > of course,
          > long established in the eastern Mediterranean, and under the
          > Romans, city
          > coins regularly boasted of their neocorates (temples of the
          > imperial cult). In
          > the 280's, Aurelian, who seems to have had a good relationship
          > with the
          > church, called himself DEO ET DOMINO on a few of his coins, but
          > it's a rare
          > inscription only found from one or two eastern mints. I think you
          > need to look more
          > at the specific traditions of the eastern Mediterranean, or the Jews
          > themselves, rather than the Roman empire as a whole.

          I appreciate this point. With Vespasian and I believe they run up
          thru Domitian there were a whole series of coins that declared: Judea
          Capta. That one denarius of Vespasian where a Jewess mourning under
          a Roman trophy is truly haunting. But then according to Meshorer and
          Hendin, Agrippa II also minted bronze coins that declared the same.
          To say the least the Gospel writers provided a very spirited response
          with their narratives of Jesus Christ, son of God.

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC
          >
        • RSBrenchley@aol.com
          In a message dated 04/08/2008 11:04:13 GMT Daylight Time, crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 5 2:06 AM
            In a message dated 04/08/2008 11:04:13 GMT Daylight Time,
            crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:

            <<I appreciate this point. With Vespasian and I believe they run up
            thru Domitian there were a whole series of coins that declared: Judea
            Capta. That one denarius of Vespasian where a Jewess mourning under
            a Roman trophy is truly haunting. But then according to Meshorer and
            Hendin, Agrippa II also minted bronze coins that declared the same.
            To say the least the Gospel writers provided a very spirited response
            with their narratives of Jesus Christ, son of God.

            Gordon Raynal
            Inman, SC>>



            Agrippa certainly minted coins celebrating the 'victory' of the various
            Flavian emperors. He supported the campaign against the Jewish rebels throughout,
            but he never explicitly mentions the Judean campaign on his coinage. Since
            Vespasian and his sons (Domitian may well have been involved somehow in a
            support capacity) fought two campaigns, one in Judea, the other to seize power in
            Rome, I personally think the 'Judea Capta' thing is often taken too far, and
            the term should be restricted to those coins which explicitly mention Judea.


            Regards,

            Robert Brenchley

            Birmingham UK







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Gordon Raynal
            Hi Robert, ... I dug out my book by Hendin: Guide to Biblical Coins-4th Edition [Note to all: David Hendin lives in New York State and is considered the
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 5 5:40 AM
              Hi Robert,
              On Aug 5, 2008, at 5:06 AM, RSBrenchley@... wrote:

              >
              > In a message dated 04/08/2008 11:04:13 GMT Daylight Time,
              > crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:
              >
              > <<I appreciate this point. With Vespasian and I believe they run up
              > thru Domitian there were a whole series of coins that declared: Judea
              > Capta. That one denarius of Vespasian where a Jewess mourning under
              > a Roman trophy is truly haunting. But then according to Meshorer and
              > Hendin, Agrippa II also minted bronze coins that declared the same.
              > To say the least the Gospel writers provided a very spirited response
              > with their narratives of Jesus Christ, son of God.
              >
              > Gordon Raynal
              > Inman, SC>>
              >
              >
              >
              > Agrippa certainly minted coins celebrating the 'victory' of the
              > various
              > Flavian emperors. He supported the campaign against the Jewish
              > rebels throughout,
              > but he never explicitly mentions the Judean campaign on his
              > coinage. Since
              > Vespasian and his sons (Domitian may well have been involved
              > somehow in a
              > support capacity) fought two campaigns, one in Judea, the other to
              > seize power in
              > Rome, I personally think the 'Judea Capta' thing is often taken
              > too far, and
              > the term should be restricted to those coins which explicitly
              > mention Judea.

              I dug out my book by Hendin: "Guide to Biblical Coins-4th
              Edition" [Note to all: David Hendin lives in New York State and is
              considered the leading, living expert on the subject. He identified
              and numbered many, many of these coins and they are identified now by
              their Hendin number. This book is a terrific resource for studying
              the coinage. Another broader resource to look at the ancient coins
              is found at:
              www:wildwinds.com and there is an easy to use search engine at that
              sight.]

              Robert, I agree about the vagueness of identification that has been
              spun out among coin folk. A classic example is calling that Tiberian
              denarius, "the Tribute Penny" (the one that aroused Jesus to come up
              with the aphorism, "Render unto Caesar...."). It could well be, but
              it just as well could have been any number of other silver denarius'
              that had been produced by Augustus. Augustus produced a lot more in
              numbers and designs than Tiberius did and these coins stayed in
              circulation a long time. Regarding the Capta coins, the one's like I
              sited that picture the mourning Jewess and Judea were clearly minted
              to celebrate the Flavian victory. How many of the ones that show
              Nike and simply say "the Victory of Augustus" are a bit shakier. But
              then this crushing victory that was prosecuted by Vespasian and then
              Titus was a big piece of the foundation of his claim to power. The
              chaos of the last days of the Julio-Claudians under Nero and then the
              chaos of 68-69 C.E. where Vitellius, Galba and Otho took the lead and
              just as quickly lost it, was the sad end to the dynasty founded in
              Julius Caesar and truly established under Octavian become Augustus.
              Regarding "Son of God" language, the Flavians and onward continued to
              use the names "Caesar" and "Augustus" as the titles of the realm, and
              that carried both the political and religious communication about
              what undergirded their power. Having just left July and having now
              entered August, the echoes of this divine claim are still on the
              calendar today:)! And then, of course, it continues on in that next
              month, the 9th of the the way we count years, is still called
              "September," (that 7th month in the Roman calendar and the month of
              Octavian's birth on the 23rd, for those who don't know or have
              forgotten).

              And this leads me to note a quote from the historian, Michael Grant,
              that Hendin includes in his section on the Capta coins: Grant said:
              Roman coins "served a propoganda purpose far greater than any other
              national coinage before or since. This was the means which the Roman
              government, lacking modern media of publicity, used to insinuate into
              every house in the empire each changing nuance of imperial
              achievement and policy. Their unremitting use of this means is
              evidence enough... that in the course of their vast circulation these
              coins were studied with an attentiveness that is quite alien to our
              practices."
              I think this is a helpful and most pointed quote. Regarding the
              issue of the crushing of Jerusalem and Judea this was news spread
              across the Roman world by means of the stuff of daily transactions.
              The victory there and the crushing of ***the*** one and only Jewish
              Temple was not just "local news," but news spread across the empire.
              Whatever one thinks of the gospels, I think pondering such as that is
              very important when one thinks about the whole era, the kinds of
              writings produced and the challenge language as to the significance
              of that Roman victory. By destroying temples many ancient religions
              simply died out (are their any Temples to Isis in your neighborhood,
              anyone?). So again, that Vespasian denarius that says "Judea" on it,
              is truly quite haunting.

              Thanks for this note and your thoughts.

              Gordon Raynal
              Inman, SC
              >
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              > Regards,
              >
              > Robert Brenchley
              >
              > Birmingham UK
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