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Re: [XTalk] Passover and Temple rituals

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  • David Cavanagh
    ... I assume that you are here refering to the so-called cleansing of the Temple (Mark 11: 15-17; parr.). Most recent writers (over the last 25-30 years)
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 3, 2010
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      On 02/08/2010 22:20, Joseph Codsi wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > Jesus is portrayed in the gospels as using the Temple to meet with
      > people and teach. He never partakes in a sacrificial ritual. This
      > suggests to me that he had a problem with those rituals. The gospels
      > acknowledge that he had a problem with the commercial dimension of the
      > sacrificial offerings. But what if this was meant to hide his
      > disapproval of the sacrificial rituals themselves?
      >
      > ===================
      >
      I assume that you are here refering to the so-called "cleansing of the
      Temple" (Mark 11: 15-17; parr.). Most recent writers (over the last
      25-30 years) believe that Jesus was not particularly concerned about the
      commercial aspects of the sacrificial system. Sanders points out that it
      was a useful service to pilgrims because it ensured an acceptable
      sacrifice, and states that there is no contemporary evidence of
      corruption (/Jesus and Judaism/, 1985). He accordingly sees Jesus'
      action as a symbolic enactment of eschatological judgment on the Temple.
      Wright argues that the Greek "lestes" does not refer to thievery, but to
      brigands, because it is so used by Josephus, and accordingly interprets
      Jesus' action as a protest against the nationalistic expectations which
      found their focus in the Temple.

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


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • RSBrenchley@aol.com
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 3, 2010
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        <<Jesus is portrayed in the gospels as using the Temple to meet with
        people and teach. He never partakes in a sacrificial ritual. This
        suggests to me that he had a problem with those rituals. The gospels
        acknowledge that he had a problem with the commercial dimension of the
        sacrificial offerings. But what if this was meant to hide his
        disapproval of the sacrificial rituals themselves?>>

        Or maybe it was the people and communities which produced the gospels
        - after the destruction of the Temple - which saw his involvement in
        sacrifice as either irrelevant or (perhaps less likely) to be disapproved of.
        Luke has Jesus' parents offer sacrifice (2:24), which doesn't suggest
        disapproval, as it would have been so easy to leave out this detail.

        Regards,

        Robert Brenchley
        Birmingham UK



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • jgibson000@comcast.net
        ... The note of crisis that pervades Marks Gospel, and especially the exhortations in Mk. 13 to avoid heeding the call put out by pseudo Messiahs and pseudo
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 3, 2010
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          On 8/2/2010 8:58 PM, Lisbeth S. Fried wrote:
          > Second, it was written after the revolt of the Jews against Rome, a revolt
          > which began in the temple with the priesthood.
          >
          The note of crisis that pervades Marks' Gospel, and especially the
          exhortations in Mk. 13 to avoid heeding the call put out by pseudo
          Messiahs and pseudo prophets to come and take a stand in Jerusalem,
          would suggest that Mark was written at the beginning of the Jewish War
          when a "God will protect his temple " enthusiasm swept through Judea in
          the aftermath of the defeat of Cestius Gallus and caused many who were
          on the fence about the war to come over to the "Zealot" cause. Mark
          can (and in my view should) be read as a Jeremiad designed to turn
          Christians who were tempted to view the war as divinely sanctioned from
          doing so.

          For a full defense of this position, see Joel Marcus' "The Jewish War
          and the Sitz im Leben of Mark" /Journal of Biblical Literature/, Vol.
          111, No. 3 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 441-462 (available through JSTOR
          <http://www.jstor.org/pss/3267261>) and his discussion of the occasion
          and recipients of Mark in his Anchor Commentary.

          As to how Passover was celebrated in the 20's of the first century, is
          there not a discussion of this in Jeremias' /Jerusalem in the Time of
          Jesus/?

          Jeffrey

          --
          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
          1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
          Chicago, Illinois
          e-mail jgibson000@...
        • jgibson000@comcast.net
          ... I would suggest that you have a look at what is said about the motives behind Jesus so called cleansing of the Temple in Marcus Borg s Conflict,
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 3, 2010
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            On 02/08/2010 22:20, Joseph Codsi wrote:
            >
            >>
            >>
            >> Jesus is portrayed in the gospels as using the Temple to meet with
            >> people and teach. He never partakes in a sacrificial ritual. This
            >> suggests to me that he had a problem with those rituals. The gospels
            >> acknowledge that he had a problem with the commercial dimension of the
            >> sacrificial offerings.
            I would suggest that you have a look at what is said about the motives
            behind Jesus' so called "cleansing" of the Temple " in Marcus Borg's
            Conflict, Holiness, and Politics in the Teachings of Jesus (Trinity
            Press International; Revised edition 1998). It is not, he argues,
            anything commercial that stands at the root of this action.

            Moreover, Mark's use of Jeremiah 7 and its criticism of the temple as a
            /refuge/ for "brigands" , not a place where brigandage is done, is the
            incident's interpretative key.

            Jeffrey

            --
            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
            1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
            Chicago, Illinois
            e-mail jgibson000@...
          • Joseph Codsi
            Thank you David for referring me to Casey s book. Here is how he reconstructs the Passover ritual: Jesus and his disciples were in the inner court of the
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 3, 2010
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              Thank you David for referring me to Casey's book. Here is how he
              reconstructs the Passover ritual:



              Jesus and his disciples were in the inner court of the Temple. As leader
              of the group, Jesus slit the throat of a one-year-old lamb or goat,
              referred to as [...] Pascha, and let its blood drain into a gold or
              silver bowl held by a priest (cf. m. Pes 5.5-10). The priest passed the
              bowl back to a priest who was beside the altar, where he dashed the
              blood against the base of the altar, further soaking the bottom of his
              once white robes. The air stank of blood and of burning fat, somewhat
              covered by incense. The Levites, and perhaps many other people, sang the
              Hallel psalms, to the accompaniment of trumpets and other musical
              instruments [...] The animal was flayed, and the next major step was
              obvious: it had to be taken to the place where it was to be eaten, and
              there it had to be roasted and so on.



              Aramaic sources of Mark's Gospel, by Maurice Casey. Page 222.



              This is precisely what is omitted in the text of Mark. This omission can
              be either significant or insignificant. Let me assume that the omission
              was done for an important reason. What if the historical Jesus never
              went to the inner court of the Temple, and did not participate in the
              sacrificial ritual that is described here? What if the Passover meal had
              never taken place? What if Jesus was critical of the Temple sacrifices
              and pronounced them obsolete as far as his conception of the Kingdome of
              God was concerned? What if he had gone to Jerusalem with the intention
              of making his views known?

              What is likely to have happened then? Would not such a scenario have
              become unacceptable to the disciples "after the resurrection"? Are there
              compelling reasons to believe that this could not have been the case?





              Joseph Codsi

              Beirut-Seattle

              Quranic and Gospel studies

              www.jcodsi.webs.com <http://www.jcodsi.webs.com/>

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Quran5-Themeal
              <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Quran5-Themeal>



              ________________________________

              From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com] On
              Behalf Of David Mealand
              Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2010 2:01 AM
              To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] Passover and Temple rituals






              Joseph Codsi asks for information
              about Passover sacrifices:

              There is some discussion of this in relation
              to Mishnah Zev.1.4 in P.M.Casey
              Aramaic sources of Mark's Gospel (1998)
              - Page 223ff
              Some of that can be seen here:
              http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0rseDYnVWlgC&pg=PA223&lpg=PA223&dq=Pa
              ssover+lamb+inauthor:Casey

              A wider search would produce more discussion

              David M.

              ---------
              David Mealand, University of Edinburgh

              --
              The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
              Scotland, with registration number SC005336.





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Joseph Codsi
              I apologize for my cryptic questions about Mark s Passover account and the way the missing part was reconstructed by Maurice Casey. Casey described how
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 4, 2010
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                I apologize for my cryptic questions about Mark's Passover account and
                the way the missing part was reconstructed by Maurice Casey. Casey
                described how Passover would be celebrated under normal circumstances.
                The celebration would have been in two steps. First, Jesus and his
                disciples would have gone to the Temple for the sacrificial ritual.
                Second, the meal ritual would have followed.

                This answered my general question about Passover and Temple rituals.

                Now I will turn my attention to some specific points of the Markan text.

                I see some weird things in that text. First, the instructions Jesus
                gives the two disciples are very strange. Here is Casey's translation:

                * * *
                13And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, 'Go to the city and
                a man will meet you, and he (will be) carrying a pitcher of water. Go
                after him, 14and where he enters, say to the owner of the house, "The
                rabbi says, 'Where (is) the house of my-spending-the-night, where I will
                eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15And he will show you a large
                upper room, set out ready. And there prepare for us."
                * * *

                This is not how business is done in ordinary life.

                Second, the story of the betrayal is very strange.

                * * *
                Jesus said, 'Amen I say to you, that one of you will hand me over, he
                who "eats" with "me". 19They began to be sad and to say to him one by
                one. 'Certainly not I!' 20And he said to them, 'One of the twelve, he
                who dips with me into a dish. 21A/The (son of) man goes as it is written
                concerning him, and woe to that man by whose hand it/the (son of) man is
                betrayed/handed over. (It would be) good for him if that man had not
                been born.'
                * * *

                Jesus is a mind reader who knows that one of the twelve will hand him
                over. He speaks in riddles. He does not sound real to me. Besides there
                was hardly any need for a traitor. By going up to Jerusalem Jesus went
                directly to the lion's mouth.

                Third, the Jesus of this pericope knows fairly well what was going to
                happen and he is quite familiar with the pascal revelation concerning
                him. He knows what is written about him as Son of Man. The institution
                of the Eucharist, on the other hand, anticipates the Christian faith in
                the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

                All this is far removed from ordinary life. It differs from it as a
                dream differs from reality. This is why I would say that this text is
                material for psychoanalysts not for historians.

                What is the point of discussing the exact day of the Passover meal, if
                the entire episode is most likely unreal?

                ============
                Joseph Codsi
                Beirut-Seattle
                Quranic and Gospel studies
                www.jcodsi.webs.com
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Quran5-Themeal
              • E Bruce Brooks
                To: Crosstalk Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Joseph Codsi On: Passover and Temple Rituals (Mark) From: Bruce JOSEPH: I see some weird things in that text.
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 4, 2010
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                  To: Crosstalk
                  Cc: GPG, WSW
                  In Response To: Joseph Codsi
                  On: Passover and Temple Rituals (Mark)
                  From: Bruce

                  JOSEPH: I see some weird things in that text. First, the instructions Jesus
                  gives the two disciples are very strange. Here is Casey's translation:

                  * *
                  13And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, 'Go to the city and
                  a man will meet you, and he (will be) carrying a pitcher of water. Go
                  after him, 14and where he enters, say to the owner of the house, "The
                  rabbi says, 'Where (is) the house of my-spending-the-night, where I will
                  eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15And he will show you a large
                  upper room, set out ready. And there prepare for us."
                  * * *

                  This is not how business is done in ordinary life.

                  BRUCE: Precisely. These are instructions for finding one's way to what
                  people would now call a "safe house," a place previously arranged for, where
                  Jesus and his followers, who are trying to avoid Roman attention, can eat
                  the Passover in the city.

                  JOSEPH: Second, the story of the betrayal is very strange.

                  * * *
                  Jesus said, 'Amen I say to you, that one of you will hand me over, he
                  who "eats" with "me". 19They began to be sad and to say to him one by
                  one. 'Certainly not I!' 20And he said to them, 'One of the twelve, he
                  who dips with me into a dish. 21A/The (son of) man goes as it is written
                  concerning him, and woe to that man by whose hand it/the (son of) man is
                  betrayed/handed over. (It would be) good for him if that man had not
                  been born.'
                  * * *

                  Jesus is a mind reader who knows that one of the twelve will hand him
                  over. He speaks in riddles. He does not sound real to me.

                  BRUCE: I am prepared to side with those who are disinclined to credit mind
                  reading (which Jesus is frequently said to do in the Mark) or predictions of
                  the future (ditto) as real events. I consider them to be either narrative
                  devices or retrospective enhancements of an original story (whether the
                  original story was itself real or not). In this case, I accept the idea
                  that Jesus did give instructions to his agents, not that he foretold events,
                  but that he told them how to recognize previously arranged signs. I further
                  accept that idea that Jesus did in fact eat the Passover in Jerusalem with
                  his followers, or a select subset of them. That Jesus knew exactly what was
                  to follow (his betrayal, never mind his death) is not credible, and I take
                  those portions of the account as later enhancements, designed to make Jesus
                  seem the master, and not the unaware victim, of the events of his own life.

                  I think we have here literal events, reported in some detail, but given a
                  magical cast of foreknowledge by later minds.

                  JOSEPH: Besides there was hardly any need for a traitor. By going up to
                  Jerusalem Jesus went directly to the lion's mouth.

                  BRUCE: Here I would disagree. By going to Jerusalem, given the national
                  Messiah agenda which Luke shows his followers as attributing to him, and
                  which in any case is implicit throughout the Markan narrative (this is
                  especially clear if we take only the earliest layers of this stratified
                  text, though Reimarus saw it clearly enough without any help from such
                  philological results), Jesus was going into danger. So far, so good. That
                  explains the "safe house" precautions and the countersigns and the whole
                  undercover part of it. Otherwise, why this rigmarole? The only answer that
                  works for me is, this rigmarole was protective for a small movement in a
                  hostile environment, but committed to certain pious observances.

                  The story has it that he was betrayed, and I find nothing especially strange
                  about that. His followers, if they did hope for a dramatic appearance of God
                  at the Temple (to prepare which, Jesus had "purified" it by driving out the
                  commercial element), were presumably disappointed. One of them, perhaps more
                  realistic than the rest, may have seen that the thing was not going to
                  happen after all, and that the only way out for him personally was to try to
                  make a little money out of the failure. All he had to work with was
                  knowledge of the whereabouts of Jesus, but this had value in certain
                  quarters. If Judas was among those who had made the arrangments in the first
                  place (and someone had to), then he will have known Jerusalem, and knowing
                  Jerusalem, he will have known where to go to turn his information into cash,
                  not to mention personal safety in the eventually inevitable arrest.

                  So he ratted out Jesus.

                  JOSEPH: Third, the Jesus of this pericope knows fairly well what was going
                  to
                  happen and he is quite familiar with the pascal revelation concerning him.
                  He knows what is written about him as Son of Man. The institution of the
                  Eucharist, on the other hand, anticipates the Christian faith in the death
                  and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

                  BRUCE: Here we get into Mark stratification questions, and I can't respond
                  adequately without getting into more detail than is practical here. Briefly,
                  I see things this way: The Last Supper scene in Mark shows the effect of
                  later liturgical development toward what we now call the Eucharist; in Mark,
                  these signs do indeed anticipate later, that is, post-Crucifixion,
                  developments. That is why they are there: to legitimize later rituals by
                  linking them to the life of Jesus, their prime authenticating authority.

                  As for the Resurrection and its theological meaning (for many, it entails
                  the Atonement theory of salvation), which in Mark is signaled by the phrase
                  "Son of Man," that too could not be memorialized, or theorized about, or
                  developed theologically, until it had happened. That is, those theories, and
                  the stories which retrojected the theories back into the lifetime of Jesus,
                  can only have developed after the death of Jesus. The text of Mark is a
                  record, a layered record, of those additional afterthoughts and
                  explanations. The later afterthoughts are in the topmost layers, just as at
                  any archaeological site. We recognize the topmost layers by the fact that
                  they show up, at certain places, as interpolations (and thus later material)
                  sitting, sometimes uncomfortably, in the surrounding text.

                  Their discomfort in context is how we recognize them.

                  Do you know Adela Yarbro Collins's recent commentary on Mark? Go to the very
                  end of it, where she has pared the Passion narrative down to what she
                  considers its core, that is, its lowest textual stratum. On the whole, I
                  find her methods to be classically correct (there are not really two ways of
                  doing these things), and her result thus useful. It is also startling. You
                  will find it, without any explanation whatever, at the very back of her
                  book, p819. You will notice that it ends with the Rending of the Veil, and
                  has no account whatsoever of the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus. These
                  things are simply not there. The text does not have them. The story ends
                  with the death of Jesus, still hanging on the cross.

                  What this means is that this core of Mark was written at a time when the
                  Resurrection (and its accompanying Atonement theory of salvation) did not
                  yet exist; a time at the very beginning of the posthumous Christian
                  movement. Adela's text and the inherent probabilities of the situation (you
                  cannot very well theorize Jesus's death until Jesus has in fact died) agree.
                  The text evidence (the part of it heretofore latent in the bottom layer of
                  the much augmented Gospel of Mark) matches what we would have rationally
                  supposed in any case. The modern critical observer is supported by the
                  earliest eyewitnesses to Christian tradition. Bingo.

                  [To mention only one parallel example: We have something very similar in the
                  deeply layered text of the Analects, the Confucian School's house text,
                  recording the successive reimaginings of Confucius as a great minister of
                  state and, at the end, an incipiently divine figure. See my book, The
                  Original Analects, Columbia 1998, for a word-by-word spelling out of how
                  those later images and issues came to find their place in the Analects. In
                  short, there is nothing strange about stratified Mark. It is very common for
                  authority texts to add material, as new issues require to be acknowledged by
                  that authority. The Constitution of the United States is an interesting
                  study in this regard. Authority without the capacity to grow soon becomes
                  obsolete authority).

                  This is a tremendous result. How a Catholic scholar saw it, and why she did
                  it, let alone published it, I do not pretend to understand. But I offer the
                  result as exemplifying Ranke's three desiderata for the effective historian,
                  and not to compromise them here, I will give them as he wrote them:

                  "Etwas zu machen, dazu gehört dreierlei: gesunder Menschenverstand, Mut und
                  Redlichkeit. Der erste, um nur die Sache einzusehen, der zweite, um vor den
                  Resultaten nicht zu erschrecken, der dritte, um sich nicht selber etwas
                  vorzumachen. So dass die einfachsten moralischen Eigenschaften auch die
                  Wissenschaft beherrschen." (Tagebücher, c1843)

                  So they do indeed. At least now and then, and I commend to the young the
                  example of Yarbro Collins: understanding, including technical understanding;
                  courage; and honesty.

                  With those three, one can indeed hope to accomplish something in history.

                  Bruce

                  E Bruce Brooks
                  Warring States Project
                  University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                • Walt L
                  ... Walt: I don t mean to but into this conversation, since I m normally just a lurker, but this seems like a good place to ask for scholarly sources
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 5, 2010
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                    Joseph Codsi <jcodsi@...> wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    > I apologize for my cryptic questions about Mark's Passover account and
                    > the way the missing part was reconstructed by Maurice Casey. Casey
                    > described how Passover would be celebrated under normal circumstances.
                    > The celebration would have been in two steps. First, Jesus and his
                    > disciples would have gone to the Temple for the sacrificial ritual.
                    > Second, the meal ritual would have followed.
                    >

                    Walt:
                    I don't mean to but into this conversation, since I'm normally just a
                    lurker, but this seems like a good place to ask for scholarly sources
                    concerning the reconcilliation of John's gospel with the synoptics
                    concerning the celebration of the Passover. I'm trying to find good info
                    discussing the claim that Jesus and his disciples celebrated a separate
                    passover from the Jews in John 18 who were trying to avoid becoming ritually
                    unclean during Jesus' trial.

                    I've recently seen claims that Jesus and his disciples in John 13 were
                    celebrating passover, and then there were other Jews (including those
                    mentioned in John 18) who celebrated passover a day later due to a different
                    adherence to a different calendar and/or passover tradition.

                    Thanks!

                    Walt Lechman
                    Religious Studies
                    Athens State University


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • David Mealand
                    Walt Lechman asks ... This discussion has been going on at least since 1939 with a further variation since 1953. Though not the most recent there is a careful
                    Message 9 of 13 , Aug 5, 2010
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                      Walt Lechman asks
                      > I'm trying to find good info
                      > discussing the claim that Jesus and his disciples celebrated a
                      > separate passover...

                      This discussion has been going on at
                      least since 1939 with a further variation
                      since 1953. Though not the most recent
                      there is a careful account and critique
                      in Fitzmyer, Luke,(1985) pp.1376-1385.

                      Perhaps I could also ask if anyone
                      knows of a discussion which takes up
                      points made in Carmichael, Deborah
                      Bleicher. 1991 'David Daube on the
                      Eucharist and the Passover seder'.
                      _Journal for the Study of the New
                      Testament_, 42: 45-67, though this
                      item is more concerned with interpretation
                      than with calendars or dates.

                      David M.


                      ---------
                      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


                      --
                      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                    • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                      ... Walt -- Your last paragraph I think is dealing with Annie Jaubert s thesis (which was published in a variety of forms a number of times and places). For
                      Message 10 of 13 , Aug 6, 2010
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                        Walt Lechman wrote:

                        >I don't mean to but into this conversation, since I'm normally just a
                        >lurker, but this seems like a good place to ask for scholarly sources
                        >concerning the reconcilliation of John's gospel with the synoptics
                        >concerning the celebration of the Passover. I'm trying to find good info
                        >discussing the claim that Jesus and his disciples celebrated a separate
                        >passover from the Jews in John 18 who were trying to avoid becoming ritually
                        >unclean during Jesus' trial.

                        >I've recently seen claims that Jesus and his disciples in John 13 were
                        >celebrating passover, and then there were other Jews (including those
                        >mentioned in John 18) who celebrated passover a day later due to a different
                        >adherence to a different calendar and/or passover tradition.


                        Walt -- Your last paragraph I think is dealing with Annie Jaubert's thesis (which was published in a variety of forms a number of times and places).

                        For the overall issue of dating, (and at risk of being a bit self-promoting), you might check out my argument abou the various dating in the article “The Historical Plausibility of John’s Passion Chronology: A Reconsideration.” in John, Jesus and History, Volume 2 (2009, SBL Press).


                        Mark Matson
                        Milligan College
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