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Re: [XTalk] Jesus' apocalyptic speech (was: Paul's silence on Jesus as miracle worker)

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  • Gordon Raynal
    ... Hi Ron, I ll let you take up the matter of circular reasoning with the Jesus Seminar. They are still alive and active and I seriously suggest that you
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 11, 2008
      On Aug 11, 2008, at 6:28 AM, Ron Price wrote:

      > Gordon Raynal wrote:
      >> The core ethical praxis language was presented
      >> by Jesus in wisdom forms of communication. Even if one wants to
      >> affirm Jesus also utilized apocalyptic speech, that speech was
      >> secondary and not primary. Why say that? See the Sermon on the
      >> Mount, Mark 4:33 ff, etc.
      > Gordon,
      > It seems to me that the JSem comes perilously close to circular
      > reasoning on
      > this issue. The 'fifth pillar of scholarly wisdom' rejects an
      > eschatalogical
      > Jesus, apparently before the completion of the source analysis. You
      > appear
      > to be doing the same here, for neither of your supporting texts (in
      > their
      > present form) go back before ca 70 CE when Mark was written - even
      > worse if
      > we take your own date for Mark!

      Hi Ron,

      I'll let you take up the matter of "circular reasoning" with the
      Jesus Seminar. They are still alive and active and I seriously
      suggest that you present this subject to them.

      What I do want to comment about here is the need, as Crossan, for
      example, has talked about, for subject clarification as pertains to
      "eschatology" and related terms. We really need some language
      clarity in this conversation. "Eschatology" gets tossed about, as
      does "apocalyptic" (a genre term) by many as if, a.) that is the only
      kind of eschatology and b.) as a kind of eschatology it is a uniform
      belief structure. I think it would be most helpful if we could have
      some term clarification in this important arena of description.
      Hence the language of millenarian eschatology versus non-millenarian
      eschatology, as the basic frame of options. And then within those
      frames careful descriptions about how different pieces of literature
      nuance those major options. And then, with the use of the
      apocalyptic genre, how it is utilized and framed in relationship to
      other genres. I think these conversations often get very confusing
      as it is not entirely clear what a given person is affirming when
      they use such terms as "eschatological" and "apocalyptic."

      I don't have time today to spell out this analysis in full, but I
      will again simply say here, I do not believe that the mission program
      that we find laid out and then repeated or commented on in a number
      of sources (Q, Thomas, Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke, Didache and
      indirectly in John) is itself "a millenniest" or "apocalyptic"
      program, but rather one that had a very "here and now" focus in it's
      foundation and expectation. And it is one that we see commented
      upon, developed, given rationale and filled out with more theological
      and ethical reflection from a number of different resources. And
      with this, the core speech that I can attribute to Jesus and his
      associates is wisdom speech. Wisdom speech is non-millennarian, but
      then it may be framed by millennarian thought and so utilized in that
      theological manner. In regard to the original program, I think the
      core motivation and expectation is well defined in that term Paul
      uses, "reconciliation." In terms of said original program (and not
      the later framing of it... hence the careful need to differentiate
      the original and the elaborations on top of the original) the "what
      to do" if rejected, is as "here and now" as one can state it (words
      about what to do if the householders don't receive the peace: "let
      your peace return to you," and what to do "the sent one's" only find
      rejection: "shake the dust off and move on." That the program came
      to be framed in a number of ways out of the broad resources found in
      the TANAK, should come as no surprise. And let me just emphasize
      this: If a reconciliation movement actually works, unlike a partisan
      movement that is built upon the gathering of like minded or closely
      similar minded folks, then what one will surely expect is that said
      reconciliation movement will have a number of voices/ viewpoints/
      sectarian views therein. As said movement moves from a first
      generation action plan to an enduring movement complete with a
      growing bureaucracy and therefore greater number of defined roles,
      power structures and rationales, then one should expect to find in
      such a mixed movement a variety of ideas about roles, power,
      rationales, etc. And do we find this? Yes, indeed we do. And
      because we can find these sorts of things it is possible to sketch
      out what was key and core and some of the developments therein.
      > Bearing in mind that the Romans would have had no reason to crucify
      > a mere
      > wisdom teacher, I am curious to know if you have any better defence
      > for your
      > rejection of a primarily apocalyptic Jesus than quoting texts
      > written at
      > least 40 years after his death.

      You state this as if it is a truism. Two things. Let me remind you,
      if you do not know, that the stories tell us that Aesop was tossed
      off a cliff for the telling of his fables. "Mere wisdom teacher"
      makes it sound as if this is a generically safe activity that would
      never rise to the level of making for real trouble. About that
      alone, I disagree. But more importantly this view leaves out the
      very connection of the wisdom speech and "the reconciliation
      program." Need I remind you of the danger of actual reconciliation
      movements in this world? Seriously... just run the list in the last
      century of those who came to espouse serious reconciliation work and
      so consider this list of names: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
      Malcolm X, Anwar Sadat, Yitzak Rabin, Nelson Mandella (the only one
      only to have to spend years in jail). In the face of authoritarian
      regimes or very discordant times in particular places, those who
      espouse reconciliation are hardly doing safe work. And if you go
      down this list, one thing that is notable is that such persons often
      arouse great enmity by doing reconciliation work within "their own
      people." Just taking Malcolm X, as an example, he had a life
      changing experience by going to Mecca and left fiery rhetoric behind
      and was killed by some loyal to those who considered him a champion.

      And to your closing point. I would simply invite you to do a careful
      study of what organized activity Jesus was asking his followers to do
      and a careful outlaying of the different stages of the development
      therein that we can isolate. This isn't "a circular" invitation, but
      an invitation to define an original core and differentiate as best
      you can the stages of development you can find. And even if you
      conclude that the original core is best described as a millennialist
      program, I'll still invite you to focus on that wisdom language
      **as** wisdom language and consider the place/ role/ function/
      meaning of that language in relationship to the program.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
      > Ron Price
      > Derbyshire, UK
      > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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