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re: from network to organisation

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  • John E Staton
    I can t help thinking, Gordon, that there is a whole lot of wishful thinking in your reconstruction. You re not on your own. Kathy Ehrensperger trying to row
    Message 1 of 6 , May 20 2:23 AM
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      I can't help thinking, Gordon, that there is a whole lot of wishful
      thinking in your reconstruction. You're not on your own. Kathy
      Ehrensperger trying to row back on positions post- Holmberg re- the
      Pauline church is another case in point. We would all *like* for the
      early church, or at least the earliest Christian community, to be
      egalitarian, but there is absolutely zero evidence that it was.
      Holmberg, Theissen, and Andrew Clarke have all shown the church to be
      patriarchal in some form or other. And that is what one would expect.
      Society as a whole *was* patriarchal, and one should not be surprised if
      the church was run the same way all other organisations - inlcuding al
      religious organisations - were run. That is not to say the New Testament
      teaches or endorses patriarchalism. The teaching of the New Testament
      may be normative for Christian believers, but the practice of the early
      church - whatever it may have been - is not. The latter is merely of
      historical interest. The same applies to the community around Jesus in
      Galilee. The reason we see no evidence of a hierarchy here is because
      there was just one authority - Jesus. He ruled supreme. The exact
      opposite of egalitarianism.

      The other evidence of wishful thinking is this bit about all kinds of
      diversity being brought to the table. No movement could get off the
      ground without a clear message. Obviously some diversity appeared later
      (as in Corinth, though I see these as power struggles rather than
      doctrinal differences), but in its ealry stages any movement needs a
      clear focus to survive, and the Jesus movement had that clear focus.

      BTW, "radica" means recalling to the roots. Anyone who calls a group
      back to its roots merits such a title. Those who accept the status quo,
      whoever they are, do not. The original Pharisees were radical, perhaps
      they were "settling down" in Jesus' time. But I bet there were still a
      few firebrands among them - perhaps Saul of Tarsus?

      Best Wishes

      --
      JOHN E STATON (BA Sheffield; DipTheol. Bristol)
      Hull, UK
      www.christianreflection.org.uk

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    • Gordon Raynal
      Hi John, ... So, now you re upholding that these folks were non-radical in this regard:)? To be sure the movement, once it became an organized organization
      Message 2 of 6 , May 20 5:53 AM
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        Hi John,
        On May 20, 2009, at 5:23 AM, John E Staton wrote:

        > I can't help thinking, Gordon, that there is a whole lot of wishful
        > thinking in your reconstruction. You're not on your own. Kathy
        > Ehrensperger trying to row back on positions post- Holmberg re- the
        > Pauline church is another case in point. We would all *like* for the
        > early church, or at least the earliest Christian community, to be
        > egalitarian, but there is absolutely zero evidence that it was.
        > Holmberg, Theissen, and Andrew Clarke have all shown the church to be
        > patriarchal in some form or other. And that is what one would expect.
        > Society as a whole *was* patriarchal, and one should not be
        > surprised if
        > the church was run the same way all other organisations - inlcuding al
        > religious organisations - were run. That is not to say the New
        > Testament
        > teaches or endorses patriarchalism. The teaching of the New Testament
        > may be normative for Christian believers, but the practice of the
        > early
        > church - whatever it may have been - is not. The latter is merely of
        > historical interest. The same applies to the community around Jesus in
        > Galilee. The reason we see no evidence of a hierarchy here is because
        > there was just one authority - Jesus. He ruled supreme. The exact
        > opposite of egalitarianism.

        So, now you're upholding that these folks were non-radical in this
        regard:)?

        To be sure the movement, once it became an organized organization
        became patriarchal. We see early signs of that in Paul. He lists
        precisely 0 women by name in those who had "an opthe." Then again,
        20 years out, he insists that the norm of the apostolic pairs was
        male and female (sister-wife) and that he was the odd one out on
        that. Second, he talks about "there is neither male nor female" in
        Jesus Christ. It is after the war and out there in the Gentile world
        where more and more patriarchy started to rule. Once we get to such
        as "bishops" and "presbyters" then we're off to the races.

        But you end on noting Jesus as "supreme ruler." In his life? Well,
        you continue to uphold that the Jesus going around with 12 guys in
        tow, was history. And you have sided with Bob's proposal in thinking
        the whole thing only gets going with post-Easter proclamation in
        Jerusalem. To be sure Luke (whether writing in the 80's- 90's, or my
        view ca 120... either way) is writing in that post R-J war world, in
        the context of a now more and more Gentile church, and a more and
        more male led church. In your paradigm this follows from the way
        Jesus is presented as "master with students." Sure that is
        patriarchal. Sure it is! I simply don't think that picturing is
        historical. I think it is theological and so undergirding of the
        structures of Gentile Christianity in Luke's day. Thus far I have
        been talking about a Jewish movement in the Galilee, surrounding
        region and perhaps down to Bethany in Jesus' lifetime. I've only
        been talking about the apostoloi and the homey's they connected
        with. I have focused not in some general sociological way about
        egalitarianism and reciprocity, but specifically in terms of the
        actions of the ministry (speaking/ listening, dwelling, dining and
        healing). And I take Paul very seriously that ***the norm*** of
        apostolic pairings was "female and male." I take very seriously when
        Paul talk's about "churches" in women's homes. Per Kathleen Corley's
        work (as opposed to Dom Crossan's), there was a.) a natural kind of
        egalitarianism (as opposed to Crossans' "radical egalitarianism") in
        Jewish society and b.) then, now, always... wives/ mothers do have
        ***plenty*** of their own power in their homes! Once more I'm not on
        the side of "radicalism" here. That was your term in this
        discussion. That I'm focusing on... because Paul says it and the
        Didache suggests it... is:
        a. Home is the center place of this program and b. Apostoloi are
        typically male and female going together.

        >
        > The other evidence of wishful thinking is this bit about all kinds of
        > diversity being brought to the table. No movement could get off the
        > ground without a clear message. Obviously some diversity appeared
        > later
        > (as in Corinth, though I see these as power struggles rather than
        > doctrinal differences), but in its ealry stages any movement needs a
        > clear focus to survive, and the Jesus movement had that clear focus.

        What is not clear about trying to be a good Jew who is focused on
        reconciliation? What is unclear about the communication of, "Say
        peace to this house" by Jewish couples coming to share peace? What
        is unclear about Paul's "fruit's of the Spirit," James' "wisdom from
        above," the Didache's "the Way of Life?" The place I look to find
        clarity is in terms of agenda, purpose and goal language as it is
        connected to social practices. I think we find that. BTW, I think
        the Church at heart has always maintained it (tried to) in the
        practice of the shared meal. The liturgy I use for it (a good old
        Presbyterian one) begins: "Men, women and children shall come from
        east and west, north and south to sit at the table in the Kingdom of
        God...." Expectedly ritualized and stylized language as befits a 2
        millennia old organization now, but yep, the very core of my job is
        to invite people to a table of reconciliation! I'm not confused
        about that task and I think what is still being offered is pretty
        clear:)!
        >
        > BTW, "radica" means recalling to the roots. Anyone who calls a group
        > back to its roots merits such a title. Those who accept the status
        > quo,
        > whoever they are, do not. The original Pharisees were radical, perhaps
        > they were "settling down" in Jesus' time. But I bet there were still a
        > few firebrands among them - perhaps Saul of Tarsus?

        Thanks for providing the dictionary definition that you are working
        from.

        On Paul, what I'll note for you that he came to try to communicate
        once he became Paul the apostle... were letters that all began...
        "Grace and peace to you..." and then such words as I Cor. 13. Giving
        up being a legalistic brand of Pharisee (I do think there were other
        sorts as well) and joining the members of "the Way" calmed the boy
        down significantly:)! He started promoting those "fruits of the
        Spirit!" And the historical Paul (the guy, not the amalgam figure of
        all the writings attributed to him) wrote things like: "Greet Mary,
        who has worked very hard among you. Greet Andronicus and Junia
        (Julia), my relatives, who were in prison with me; they are prominent
        among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was." (Romans
        16:6-7). Men, women, family, homes... "prominent" women and men
        teams... earlier than Paul! That is what the text says! All I'm
        really doing is to suggest that this effectively started when Jesus
        was still around. Hid death, sad as it was, didn't kill what was
        working. And his post mortem glorification (however you want to
        understand that) did not start something brand new, nor actually
        revise what was working. Revisions, expected growth in teachings,
        practices, roles, organization grew over time, but the core was
        maintained. One more time... the very first thing Paul writes to
        every church is the message: "Grace and peace to you..."

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC


        >
      • Bob Schacht
        ... Gordon, Please review the evidence for this. I must have missed it. Bob [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 6 , May 20 9:46 AM
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          At 02:53 AM 5/20/2009, Gordon Raynal wrote:
          >...Apostoloi are typically male and female going together....

          Gordon,
          Please review the evidence for this. I must have missed it.

          Bob


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Gordon Raynal
          Hi, Check out I Cor. 9:5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by as believing wife (as the NRSV puts it) as do the other apostles and the brothers of
          Message 4 of 6 , May 20 10:59 AM
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            Hi,

            Check out I Cor. 9:5 "Do we not have the right to be accompanied by
            as believing wife (as the NRSV puts it) as do the other apostles and
            the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" And we have Paul talking about
            such as Prisca and Aquila and Andronicus and Junia (Julia).

            Once we get to post war Gospels this will be stylized in terms of men
            teams... 6 pairs (the 12... new 12 tribes leaders) and 35/36 pairs
            (new sanhedrin and/ or new bearers of the "word"... playing off of
            the LXX authors). That's later stylization. Maybe, Jesus did start
            with 12 men and their lady friends (so originally 24 initial
            missionaries). We just don't have the info to know, but per Paul...
            male/ sister-wife teams were the norm.

            Gordon Raynal
            Inman, SC

            On May 20, 2009, at 12:46 PM, Bob Schacht wrote:

            > At 02:53 AM 5/20/2009, Gordon Raynal wrote:
            >> ...Apostoloi are typically male and female going together....
            >
            > Gordon,
            > Please review the evidence for this. I must have missed it.
            >
            > Bob
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
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          • John E Staton
            Actually, Gordon, all of this is a castle in the air. There is no evidence in the entire NT of a community which was egalitarian in practice as opposed to
            Message 5 of 6 , May 21 2:14 AM
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              Actually, Gordon, all of this is a castle in the air. There is no
              evidence in the entire NT of a community which was egalitarian in
              practice as opposed to theory (Gal. 3: 28 is theory). This idea of
              egalitarianism is a construct of 20th-21st century wishful thinking
              forced onto a first century situation. As Bob points out, your airy
              declaration that the "natural pairing" is male and female runs counter
              to the actual evidence. A comment about apostles being accompanied by
              their wives plus a couple of well-known couples is hardly sufficient
              evidence on which to declare that this sort of thing was going on all
              over the NT church. (BTW, the textual evidence is for "Junia", not
              "Julia", though we are talking about a female name nonetheless).

              It would appear to me, and I think to most scholars, that it is
              precisely the "master and student" typology which most suits the early
              Jesus movement. Of course, they needed a supporting network, but that
              was not the important thing. The important thing was the message of
              God's kingdom and Jesus as God's messenger. The community of the "sent
              ones" and the network of the "homey's" was no more than a contingent
              necessity, as was the later church. It is the person of Jesus and his
              message that is the centre. Not sure what all this business about
              welcoming people from all parts was about. No-one doubts Jesus preached
              his message to all and called all to follow him. But they were being
              called to follow him and believe his message. It is the message that is
              radical, not the community, and it is the message that is central.

              Best Wishes

              --
              JOHN E STATON (BA Sheffield; DipTheol. Bristol)
              Hull, UK
              www.christianreflection.org.uk

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            • Gordon Raynal
              Hi John, ... Thanks for posting your summary views. I ll not deal with your castle in the air assessment, other than to say, in these notes I ve pointed
              Message 6 of 6 , May 21 5:36 AM
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                Hi John,
                On May 21, 2009, at 5:14 AM, John E Staton wrote:

                > Actually, Gordon, all of this is a castle in the air. There is no
                > evidence in the entire NT of a community which was egalitarian in
                > practice as opposed to theory (Gal. 3: 28 is theory). This idea of
                > egalitarianism is a construct of 20th-21st century wishful thinking
                > forced onto a first century situation. As Bob points out, your airy
                > declaration that the "natural pairing" is male and female runs counter
                > to the actual evidence. A comment about apostles being accompanied by
                > their wives plus a couple of well-known couples is hardly sufficient
                > evidence on which to declare that this sort of thing was going on all
                > over the NT church. (BTW, the textual evidence is for "Junia", not
                > "Julia", though we are talking about a female name nonetheless).
                >
                > It would appear to me, and I think to most scholars, that it is
                > precisely the "master and student" typology which most suits the early
                > Jesus movement. Of course, they needed a supporting network, but that
                > was not the important thing. The important thing was the message of
                > God's kingdom and Jesus as God's messenger. The community of the "sent
                > ones" and the network of the "homey's" was no more than a contingent
                > necessity, as was the later church. It is the person of Jesus and his
                > message that is the centre. Not sure what all this business about
                > welcoming people from all parts was about. No-one doubts Jesus
                > preached
                > his message to all and called all to follow him. But they were being
                > called to follow him and believe his message. It is the message
                > that is
                > radical, not the community, and it is the message that is central.

                Thanks for posting your summary views. I'll not deal with your
                "castle in the air" assessment, other than to say, in these notes
                I've pointed again and again to texts, not theories, and I'd still
                invite you to "breathe in those texts" a bit more.

                As for this and any "most scholars" argument, such an argument has
                never impressed me. When Galileo took out his telescope and looked
                at Jupiter with greater focus, he found circling moons which led to a
                reassessment of the shape of the cosmos. At the time most scholars
                did not agree. What is happening in the 20-21st century is a major
                reassessment of historical assumptions about Jesus, his earliest
                friends and the development of what would become Christianities. At
                present and for surely a good patch of time ahead, there are several
                paradigms afloat about how to grasp a new picturing of all of this.
                Good! What I have tried to do is offer my own understanding as
                related to the original questions I laid out. I am quite happy to
                continue to hear other proposals.

                The sentence, "No one doubts Jesus preached his message to all and
                called all to follow him." Well, actually a lot of students of the
                tradition doubt this model.

                Finally, I don't think either Jesus' message or the community was
                "radical." And I think it is the bonds of trust, courage and love
                and the "way of life" to which they lead in community, is what
                matters most. Yes, that all a message makes and it contains lots to
                talk and think about, but it is relationship and relationships and
                not ideas that are central, in my view.

                Per the above and what I've been up to, I'll leave our conversation
                with a text for you to ponder. I am, of course, happy to communicate
                more about texts and interpretations, but as I wrote to Bruce the
                other day, I'm not interested in just arguing back and forth over
                whether you like my approach. So, thanks for the conversations and I
                leave you with some words from Paul that get to the core of
                reconciled relationships and that being offered as universally
                available for all and offered freely to all is utterly egalitarian:

                "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
                rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor
                height, nor depth, nor anything else ini all creation will be able to
                separate us from God in Christ Jesus the Lord." (from the close of
                Romans 8, of course.)

                Gordon Raynal
                Inman, SC


                >
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