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Re: [XTalk] Word pictures in the synoptics

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  • Ronald Price
    Apologies for my previous email, which was sent off by mistake before it was completed. It was never like this in the good old days of dial-up ! ;-) ... Mark,
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
      Apologies for my previous email, which was sent off by mistake before it was
      completed.
      It was never like this in the good old days of dial-up ! ;-)

      Mark Matson wrote:

      > Why is it unlikely that Jesus might have told some more extended parables as
      > well as short pithy sayings? To assume that Jesus only talked in short
      > "tweet-like" messages is to create an image of Jesus that I find difficulty to
      > imagine. Who would follow a person who only spoke in aphorisms?
      >
      Mark,

      Actually I didn¹t suggest it was unlikely that Jesus told long parables, but
      rather that the long parables preserved in the synoptic gospels do not seem
      to go back to Jesus.

      > But there is also a sense that if a longer parable echoes any of the theology
      > of an evangelist, it must be the evangelist who "made it up". Why? Would it
      > not be as likely that various evangelists saved and reported those stories
      > that did match up with their perception of what Jesus was all about?
      >
      In theory this seems entirely reasonable. But I think there are two
      practical considerations which weigh against the idea of these longer
      parables being adaptations deriving from Jesus. Firstly some of these
      parables appear to be closely tied to the author or his Sitz im Leben. Thus
      Goulder reckons that the stylistic features of the Good Samaritan story are
      so much its essential ³stuff² that if they were taken away, nothing would be
      left. From a rather different angle, the killing of the son in Mark¹s
      Vineyard parable so closely reflects the Pauline (Christian) view that God
      sent his son, only to be rejected and killed, that it would become rather
      pointless without this episode.

      Secondly if we think that these longer parables did come from Jesus, we
      should be asking how they were transmitted. The only option appears to be
      oral tradition. But can we really believe that they would have survived the
      four or five decades while the Jesus movement was being transformed from a
      local sect into a widespread major religion? While realizing that there has
      been much ink spilt on this topic, I can only indicate my own negative view
      of the reliability of oral tradition in these circumstances.

      Ron Price,

      Derbyshire, UK

      http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ronald Price
      ... Bob, Occasionally I agree with them, but ³follow² ? I don¹t think so. ... I agree. But this only ticks a hypothetical background and I think we need to
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
        Bob Schacht wrote:

        > Ron is here following the Jesus Seminar .....
        >
        Bob,

        Occasionally I agree with them, but ³follow² ? I don¹t think so.

        > .....it is entirely reasonable to supposed that Jesus told stories, not just
        > aphorisms.

        I agree. But this only ticks a hypothetical background and I think we need
        to go further than this. So here is another JSem statement with which I
        agree (Five Gospels, p.25):

        ³Only sayings and parables that can be traced back to the oral period, 30-50
        CE, can possibly have originated with Jesus.²

        I put it to you that none of the longer synoptic parables can be traced back
        to this period.

        The crux here may be illustrated by the JSem¹s take on ³The Samaritan². Here
        it seems that they have not followed their own rule. For their claim that
        dialogue and parable must have circulated separately prior to Luke is hardly
        enough to constitute a tracing back of 50 years or so.

        Ron Price,

        Derbyshire, UK

        http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ronald Price
        ... I was trying to be more general. But ³Hebrew poetry² is fine by me. ... That¹s easy. Among the logia sayings reconstructed on the web page below, I
        Message 3 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
          Gordon Raynal wrote:

          > ..... I note, however, that your connection point is to "Semitic poetry" and
          > not the aphorisms and proverbs found in the Hebraic tradition. Why not this
          > connection?
          >
          I was trying to be more general. But ³Hebrew poetry² is fine by me.

          > I would be most interested to hear your take on the selection of
          > sayings that gets to "the gist" of this early "voice print."
          >
          That¹s easy. Among the logia sayings reconstructed on the web page below, I
          think those in sections A, B and C probably all go back to the HJ.

          Ron Price,

          Derbyshire, UK

          http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_sQet.html




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Matson, Mark (Academic)
          ... I understand this is what you are proposing. But I tend to see the sitz im leben arguments as somewhat circular. We deduce the sitz im leben based on the
          Message 4 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
            Ron Price wrote:

            > In theory this seems entirely reasonable. But I think there are two
            > practical considerations which weigh against the idea of these longer
            > parables being adaptations deriving from Jesus. Firstly some of these
            > parables appear to be closely tied to the author or his Sitz im Leben.
            > Thus Goulder reckons that the stylistic features of the Good Samaritan
            > story are so much its essential ³stuff² that if they were taken away,
            > nothing would be left. From a rather different angle, the killing of the
            > son in Mark¹s Vineyard parable so closely reflects the Pauline (Christian)
            > view that God sent his son, only to be rejected and killed, that it would
            > become rather pointless without this episode.

            I understand this is what you are proposing. But I tend to see the sitz im leben arguments as somewhat circular. We deduce the sitz im leben based on the text, then decide what in the text is valid based on our assessment of the sitz im leben.

            But I do think (a) some of the parables may well show more of the evangelist's interest (ie., be more compositions than "oral tradition"). This has to be decided, though, on a parable by parable basis. Part of my reaction earlier was what I sensed was a wholesale categorization. The Good Samaritan may well be embellished by Luke to the point little is left, though the central point of who is one's neighbor fits well with what I would consider core Jesus teaching.

            The vineyard parable, though, strikes me as quite possibly pure Jesus material. Granted, it is allegorical. Quite possibly the identification of the "son" could be a later embellishment of Mark. But the use of a story to suggest that the Jewish leadership had misused its role as leaders, and using a vineyard motif to do it, seems very likely. And the eschatological judgment motif fits with one aspect of Jesus' teaching.


            > Secondly if we think that these longer parables did come from Jesus, we
            > should be asking how they were transmitted. The only option appears to be
            > oral tradition. But can we really believe that they would have survived
            > the four or five decades while the Jesus movement was being transformed
            > from a local sect into a widespread major religion? While realizing that
            > there has been much ink spilt on this topic, I can only indicate my own
            > negative view of the reliability of oral tradition in these circumstances.

            And here you have put your finger on a major disagreement I have with your approach. I don't think it unlikely at all that over a period of 4 to 5 decades that story-parables would not survive. They aren't that long. The research of Lord and Parry with Serbo-Croatian epic tales suggest that long connected stories survive just fine, with a certain amount of flexible variation, if the stories emphasize important features worth passing on.

            I guess one question is the term "reliability". Are we talking about exact word for word reliability? I wouldn't count on that either. But if we mean the essence of the saying, then I can see such oral stories being maintained well for quite some time. Especially of those telling the story thought their originator had been raised from the dead and was soon to bring about a new kingdom of God! Surely that would have been a tonic to add a little more importance to the stories.

            Mark A. Matson
            Academic Dean
            Milligan College
            423-461-8720
            http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
          • Gordon Raynal
            Ron, Just a quick note to say thank you for sending this link anew. I looked at this several years ago. I m glad to have it again and want to spend some time
            Message 5 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
              Ron,

              Just a quick note to say thank you for sending this link anew. I
              looked at this several years ago. I'm glad to have it again and want
              to spend some time with it before I respond further.

              Gordon Raynal
              Inman, SC
              On Feb 9, 2011, at 7:03 AM, Ronald Price wrote:

              > Gordon Raynal wrote:
              >
              >> ..... I note, however, that your connection point is to "Semitic
              >> poetry" and
              >> not the aphorisms and proverbs found in the Hebraic tradition. Why
              >> not this
              >> connection?
              >>
              > I was trying to be more general. But “Hebrew poetry” is fine by me.
              >
              >> I would be most interested to hear your take on the selection of
              >> sayings that gets to "the gist" of this early "voice print."
              >>
              > That’s easy. Among the logia sayings reconstructed on the web page
              > below, I
              > think those in sections A, B and C probably all go back to the HJ.
              >
              > Ron Price,
              >
              > Derbyshire, UK
              >
              > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_sQet.html
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
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            • Ronald Price
              ... Mark, Doubtless most commentators would agree with you. But to me there is a major snag, because having tried to reconstruct the original collection of the
              Message 6 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
                Mark Matson wrote:

                > The Good Samaritan may well be embellished by Luke to the point little is
                > left, though the central point of who is one's neighbor fits well with what I
                > would consider core Jesus teaching.
                >
                Mark,

                Doubtless most commentators would agree with you. But to me there is a major
                snag, because having tried to reconstruct the original collection of the
                sayings of Jesus, it¹s not just that I find no longer parables (a stylistic
                consideration), but also I find not a single saying in which Jesus commends
                any outside group. The nearest is when standards followed by tax collectors
                and Gentiles are accepted as a sort of norm which the followers of Jesus
                should aim to exceed. Also crucial in this case is my conclusion that the
                reference to Samaritans in Mt 10:5b belongs to the original mission
                instructions, and the Good Samaritan parable is hardly consistent with the
                instruction to bypass Samaritan towns.

                > The vineyard parable, though, strikes me as quite possibly pure Jesus
                > material. Granted, it is allegorical. Quite possibly the identification of
                > the "son" could be a later embellishment of Mark. But the use of a story to
                > suggest that the Jewish leadership had misused its role as leaders, and using
                > a vineyard motif to do it, seems very likely. And the eschatological judgment
                > motif fits with one aspect of Jesus' teaching.
                >
                The allegorical nature of the parable, which appears to be unparalleled
                among the definitely early material, should raise yet more doubt about its
                authenticity. Sending the ³son² makes for a dramatic climax and doesn¹t seem
                to me like a late addition. Jesus was indeed conscious of the persecution of
                the prophets as shown in Mt 5:12 // Lk 6:23 (which we would probably both
                agree is part of an authentic saying). But here Jesus is not making a dig at
                the persecutors. Rather he is using the persecution as an illustration to
                encourage rejoicing. As I reconstruct them, the authentic Jesus sayings
                (from which I think the woes to the Pharisees should be excluded as hinted
                in my reply to Gordon ­ they¹re all in section D of the reconstructed logia)
                show no interest in history except for incidental illustrations.

                Ron Price,

                Derbyshire, UK

                http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Gordon Raynal
                Ron and all, I just want to comment on one of your lines in your response to Mark Matson and it comes in the form of a plea: ... One approach to the parables
                Message 7 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
                  Ron and all,

                  I just want to comment on one of your lines in your response to Mark
                  Matson and it comes in the form of a plea:
                  On Feb 9, 2011, at 1:23 PM, Ronald Price wrote:

                  >>
                  >>
                  > The allegorical nature of the parable, which appears to be
                  > unparalleled
                  > among the definitely early material, should raise yet more doubt
                  > about its
                  > authenticity.

                  One approach to the parables is to understand them simply as
                  allegories. That is indeed how the authors of the Narrative Gospels
                  use them and there are those like Snodgrass who simply say that
                  parables are a kind of allegory. I strongly urge you and all to
                  consider another perspective, if nothing else than to understand why
                  the scholars of the Jesus Seminar see them differently, and so see
                  Jesus differently. So, I'd recommend Crossan's "In Parables" and "The
                  Dark Interval." Charles Hedrick's "Parables as Poetic Fictions," B.
                  Brandon Scott's, "Re-Imagining the World" and/ or "Hear Then the
                  Parable," or the collection done in honor of Robert Funk, "Funk on
                  Parables."

                  Gordon Raynal
                  Inman, SC
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... It is important, in this regard, to understand the culture of the times, which could change. For example, allegories as an explanatory device waxed and
                  Message 8 of 20 , Feb 9, 2011
                    At 02:38 PM 2/9/2011, Gordon Raynal wrote:
                    >Ron and all,
                    >
                    >I just want to comment on one of your lines in your response to Mark
                    >Matson and it comes in the form of a plea:
                    >On Feb 9, 2011, at 1:23 PM, Ronald Price wrote:
                    >
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > > The allegorical nature of the parable, which appears to be
                    > > unparalleled
                    > > among the definitely early material, should raise yet more doubt
                    > > about its
                    > > authenticity.
                    >
                    >One approach to the parables is to understand them simply as
                    >allegories. That is indeed how the authors of the Narrative Gospels
                    >use them and there are those like Snodgrass who simply say that
                    >parables are a kind of allegory. I strongly urge you and all to
                    >consider another perspective, if nothing else than to understand why
                    >the scholars of the Jesus Seminar see them differently, and so see
                    >Jesus differently. So, I'd recommend Crossan's "In Parables" and "The
                    >Dark Interval." Charles Hedrick's "Parables as Poetic Fictions," B.
                    >Brandon Scott's, "Re-Imagining the World" and/ or "Hear Then the
                    >Parable," or the collection done in honor of Robert Funk, "Funk on
                    >Parables."


                    It is important, in this regard, to understand the culture of the
                    times, which could change. For example, allegories as an explanatory
                    device waxed and waned in popularity from time to time and place to
                    place. In Origen's time, IIRC, allegories were rather popular and, so
                    to speak, de rigueur. However, if you tried to use some of the same
                    allegories now, you'd be met by stares of incredulity. So among the
                    questions that one must consider are:
                    * to what extent were allegories a popularly acceptable form of
                    explanation (a) about 30 C.E. or so (b) among Jews (c) in Galilee (d)
                    who spoke Aramaic?
                    * to what extent were allegories a popularly acceptable form of
                    explanation (a) about 30 C.E. or so (b) among Jews (c) in Galilee (d)
                    who spoke Greek?
                    and ditto with (a) = 55 C.E. , 80 C.E., or 100 C.E. , (b) = among
                    Greeks, (c) = In Judea, in Egypt, or in the Diaspora, and various
                    permutations of these possibilities.

                    Perhaps some of the sources cited by Gordon control for one or more
                    of these variables.

                    Bob Schacht
                    Northern Arizona University

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Gordon Raynal
                    Ron, Thanks again for sending you understanding of a re-constructed sayings Gospel. Most interesting. I want to make two observations and so will send two
                    Message 9 of 20 , Feb 10, 2011
                      Ron,
                      Thanks again for sending you understanding of a re-constructed sayings
                      Gospel. Most interesting. I want to make two observations and so
                      will send two emails, under different titles... so this one about the
                      mission agenda).
                      On Feb 9, 2011, at 7:03 AM, Ronald Price wrote:

                      > Gordon Wrote:
                      >
                      >> I would be most interested to hear your take on the selection of
                      >> sayings that gets to "the gist" of this early "voice print."

                      Ron Wrote:
                      >>
                      > That’s easy. Among the logia sayings reconstructed on the web page
                      > below, I
                      > think those in sections A, B and C probably all go back to the HJ.

                      In B4, which you do attribute as going back to HJ, your create your
                      understanding of the Mission Agenda saying by choosing different parts
                      of the sayings cluster from the Synoptic Gospels. You take, "Go
                      nowhere among the Gentiles..." from Matthew 10:5. You, however,
                      change the tense of the verb in the proclamation of the significance
                      of the Agenda from, "the kingdom of God has come near" (Mt. 10:7 & Lk.
                      9) to "The Kingdom of God is getting near." In the mission you drop
                      out the charge to heal. And finally you accept as from Jesus the
                      judgment comparison about Sodom.

                      What to say? First, your own reconstruction is an amalgam. As
                      presented, it describes simply a proclamation task for the "sent
                      ones" (apostles). It is entirely circumscribed as an exclusive
                      national mission. And framing this activity with "is getting near"
                      means that the effort is rather much a promotional tour for "a coming
                      attraction," so to speak, and not something complete unto itself.
                      This certainly fits the assumption that Jesus is a prophetic figure
                      inspired by an apocalyptic hope. The problem is that you've created
                      this text.

                      Leaving aside the question of Q for a moment, save for G. Thomas, all
                      the testimonies we have of the agenda itself (Matthew, Mark and 2
                      renditions in Luke) include healing. Paul, when he talks about the
                      movement in I Cor. talks of "healers." Now, it is a separate question
                      as to what that word and the recommended task actually included, and I
                      leave that aside for now. What I want to emphasize is that you have
                      taken out 1/3 of the ***demonstration*** acts of those sent. (the
                      actions of lodging in welcoming homes (presence/ relating), dining
                      (commensality) and "healing.") The effect of this is that the mission
                      is really reduced to a proclamation movement and so the apostles are
                      now "prophets." That reframes the action of the agenda significantly.

                      Second, by changing the tense of the verb about the significance of
                      this agenda from "has come near" to "is getting near," you completely
                      reframe the point of the agenda and the expectation of what is being
                      demonstrated. Now picking up Q and going to the earliest rendition in
                      Q 1 (found in Luke 10), the significance of the actions and shared
                      relationships in a welcoming home is that there ***is*** a
                      demonstration of "the KOG come near." In plain terms, where there is
                      joy and welcome, the sharing of shalom, the delight of shared
                      commensality and where illness is tended to, then the closing
                      summation "has come near" points to those activities as exemplifying
                      "God's rule." If you will look at Psalm 103:1-5, for example, we can
                      find a description of the experience of God's presence, and the
                      complete range of recommended actions cohere with making that
                      experience come alive. This charge to "speak Peace," then has actual
                      connection to commanded actions and has real life consequences of
                      actually sharing a meaningful "peace experience."

                      Third, by accepting the Matthean framing about the exclusivity of this
                      mission, you are forced to push aside what Mark really wants to
                      emphasize with Jesus in the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman and
                      what earlier Paul was obviously excited about, namely that this
                      "ministry of reconciliation" had no boundaries, but was for the
                      world. Retrojecting a Matthean frame on top of HJ and the original
                      enactors of this mission overruns not only Paul and Mark, it also
                      actually overruns the Torah notation from Genesis 12 that God's
                      Covenant of Blessing was for the whole world and all that Prophetic
                      dreaming language of a world that is redeemed. Hence your choices
                      paint Jesus to be an ultra nationalist "talking head" prophet who
                      decided to ignore or just didn't believe the very significance of the
                      apocalyptic dreams, a world redeemed.

                      I, of course, do not think that "apocalyptic dreaming" was on Jesus'
                      mind, and one reason for that, besides the language that he majored in
                      and the clear evidence of sayings that tell otherwise, is precisely
                      the mission agenda language as we have it. "Say to them that the
                      Kingdom of God ***has*** come near." This is not a longing for a
                      future dream, but rather a call to "make it real."

                      Again, I appreciate your sharing your reconstruction. I very much
                      think it is your own and that it vitally misses not only key elements
                      of the actual mission agenda, but also misses the point of the
                      experienced significance of the agenda. Per Paul in 2 Cor. 5, I think
                      this is best described as "a ministry of reconciliation," and I think
                      it worked! This is to say, I think people experienced reconciliation
                      and hence a reconciliation movement was begun.

                      Gordon Raynal
                      Inman, SC
                      >
                    • Gordon Raynal
                      Ron, Here s my second reflection. In the note about the mission, I cut out your link for others to refer to. Sorry! Here I will leave it so as readers can
                      Message 10 of 20 , Feb 10, 2011
                        Ron,

                        Here's my second reflection. In the note about the mission, I cut out
                        your link for others to refer to. Sorry! Here I will leave it so as
                        readers can easily check out your rendition of the aphorisms of Jesus.
                        On Feb 9, 2011, at 7:03 AM, Ronald Price wrote:

                        > Gordon Raynal wrote:
                        >
                        >> ..... I note, however, that your connection point is to "Semitic
                        >> poetry" and
                        >> not the aphorisms and proverbs found in the Hebraic tradition. Why
                        >> not this
                        >> connection?
                        >>
                        > I was trying to be more general. But “Hebrew poetry” is fine by me.
                        >
                        >
                        > Ron Price,
                        >
                        > Derbyshire, UK
                        >
                        > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_sQet.html
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        In A 8 you maintain the cluster (in short form) "other cheek," "coat
                        as well," "give to anyone who begs," "[from borrowers], do not ask
                        back," "love your enemies," "sunrise/ rain fall," and "be
                        compassionate." Matthew, Luke and the Didache work to preserve this
                        clustering in their own ways, and I would note in the Didache that
                        this is at the very heart of the interpretation of "the Way of Life"
                        and interprets the core meaning of "Love God, neighbor, self." If one
                        does accept Q, then this tight clustering of the core of these sayings
                        likewise connects to the sum of Torah as both Hillel and Jesus framed
                        it (found in Luke 6:27-30). Q/ Luke 6:31 gives Jesus positive framing
                        of "Do unto others...." Hillel had framed the core of Torah in the
                        negative, "Don't do to others."

                        My first comment is that I think this saying cluster gets us to the
                        heart of the ethos of the "ministry of reconciliation" (per Paul's
                        language). I think that both Paul's "fruits of the Spirit" in
                        Galatians 5 and James' "Wisdom from Above" are poetic ethos
                        reflections precisely on this core of sayings.

                        Second comment. Whether in Q or in your rendition of an early sayings
                        Gospel, and is true in Mark, Matthew and Luke as regards the aphorisms
                        attributed to Jesus, we find them clustered. The act of clustering
                        aphorisms changes their function. In all these works they now become
                        "proclamations" and/ or "teachings." Quite understandably, after the
                        speaker is long gone, there is clear purpose in this. One purpose is
                        simply to remember the sayings by association with similar sayings or
                        similar themes. A second purpose is to focus on proclamation and or
                        teaching. This both works to frame an understanding of Jesus as a
                        preacher and/ or teacher and serves therefore to authorize these words
                        as "original preaching/ teaching" and therefore as the curriculum for
                        the readers/ hearers of the works they are found it. These are worthy
                        and very necessary goals. Aphorisms may indeed be used to preach and
                        teach. In general terms this effect from the clustering produces the
                        moral stance and so education of the community. Allegorizing
                        aphorisms (and parables) is a key task so that one has "word pictures"
                        to direct learning and action based in this curriculum. As nearly 2
                        millennia of lessons and sermons show, a lot has been made out of the
                        aphorisms (and parables) by this starting with the clustered sayings
                        as proclamation/ teaching. All good. One need not plumb behind
                        this... except...

                        Aphorisms are wisdom words. They are word puzzles. Spoken aloud they
                        are a form of present tense speech and interaction communication. At
                        the living level of communication with others, the use of such
                        language forms is not so much about educating (you can think about a
                        conversation/ interaction later), but about "puzzling" together "in
                        the moment." The aim of such is "to make sense." And obviously the
                        importance of "making sense" is not some abstract activity, but a real
                        life encounter issue.

                        Consider this analogy. At cross roads on streets there are (or should
                        be) "Stop" signs. Now that sign is indicative of laws. One may see
                        the sign and inquire into such issues as public safety, the state of
                        the courts, the justness of it being placed on one corner and not
                        another (who has the right away at a given intersection), etc. But
                        the ***immediate*** purpose of this sign is to get you to do something
                        when you see the sign. If you don't do that something, you could well
                        be dead!

                        Now that analogy is to a present tense "command" example. A "Stop"
                        sign is not a puzzle:)! The word commands. The color red commands
                        (and so stop lights don't need the word written on them). The
                        octagonal shape commands. All of this is for a very good reason, of
                        course.

                        Continuing on. There are times in life, although dangerous, that one
                        should ignore the Stop Sign. Ambulances and firetrucks, for instance
                        are allowed to do this so lives can be saved. Hence they are armed
                        with loud sirens and when they are blaring, one needs to pull over to
                        the side, not proceed across an otherwise clear street ahead until one
                        knows where they are and their path. The command to Stop in that sign
                        is therefore conditional. Real life is not at simple as even a stop
                        and go sign.

                        And now to the meat of the matter. In this analogy, imagine someone
                        going around and painting the Stop signs green! If not done as an act
                        of vandalism or outright banditry, that would ***really*** present
                        drivers with a puzzle. The word would say "Stop," the color would
                        say, "Go!" What would the sign actually be communicating? This
                        puzzling sign would serve to challenge the whole basic education about
                        safe driving and traffic flow!

                        Now, admittedly this is an absurd example, but it allows me to get to
                        the point. "Love your enemies" said out loud and heard as a wisdom
                        puzzle is indeed quite the puzzle. Per the many who have said it (and
                        I heard it out the mouth of Robert Funk, for example), "if you love
                        others, they're not your enemies." As a word puzzle it blows up the
                        usual ways in which basic human interactions occur. So what's the
                        point of doing that?

                        Well, obviously, somethings in life... like safely driving down the
                        street are as simple as learning and following commands (one
                        exception, if you're going to be an ambulance or fire truck driver).
                        Life typically is about problems and solutions and "command language"
                        is all about "the typical circumstances in life." But then we also
                        face in "real life" situations and circumstances for which problem/
                        solution and so, command and obedience is simply inadequate. Simple
                        right and wrongs, even if they are discoverable, are not adequate to
                        figuring out the best course of actions given the circumstances. It
                        takes "puzzling" to figure that out. Best of all, if persons are
                        awakened to puzzling together, then the chosen course of action has
                        the potential, at least, to resolve the puzzle in the best manner
                        possible. Therefore, speech that can arouse such puzzling, especially
                        in significantly confusing times, has the potential ("if one has ears
                        to hear!") to help foster "a common sense." And when typical "common
                        sense" fails, then "extraordinary good sense" is the order of the
                        day. If and when that is found, well that is just amazing.

                        Understanding how wisdom language works is not about philosophizing or
                        theologizing abstractions, it is all about "making sense" in the here
                        (and hear) and now. When the issue of the circumstances cry out for
                        "reconciliation," then the potency of language that enables such a
                        social interaction to come alive is potentially amazing. To say the
                        least (watch what is going on now in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen) ***real
                        reconciliation*** is one tremendously tough puzzle to figure out.
                        Multi-party spirit reigns. If a voice arrives that effectively will
                        unite the voices in discord, ***then*** some real progress can be made
                        towards the new day of freedom. When the realities of finding the
                        cords that bind are effected (thus overwhelming the sense of discord),
                        something amazing can happen. Let us hope some one or ones are able
                        to effect this.

                        Back to Jesus. To insist on listening to each aphorism on its own is
                        not a plea to forget the effectiveness and meaning found in the
                        clustering of the sayings towards moral edification. That is a
                        valuable thing unto itself. But to not plumb behind that clustering
                        and past that educational (problem/ solving) function is to miss the
                        present tense function of the language. It is to actually miss Jesus'
                        voice at the most vital level for it is to miss the opportunity to be
                        more than educated. It is to miss the invitation to puzzle together.

                        "Love your enemies" is a WHOPPER of a word puzzle! Per the Jesus
                        Seminar, it pretty much sums the center of the puzzle that Jesus
                        raised. (see "The Five Gospels" page 147). And so finally to your
                        division of aphorisms from parables, the very reason "Good Sam" makes
                        it to the list of authentic Jesus speech even though we only have it
                        from Luke, is that heard as a parable, and not just a moral admonition
                        about being nice to strangers, it very much enlivens the very heart of
                        the "Love your enemies" puzzle. Even if Luke created the parable, it
                        ***is not*** an allegory. It is a jaw dropping puzzle.

                        To conclude, I'd rather like to leave you with the image of Jesus
                        going around Galilee, Herod Philip's domain, up into the region of
                        Tyre and finally down to Jerusalem painting all the Stop Signs green.
                        Some thought he was a criminal. Some thought he was insane. Some
                        didn't get it. Some got it and were horrified. But, now connecting
                        to that Mission Agenda, some really "got it" and shared home and table
                        and experienced social/ relational healing. That was "real stuff,"
                        not some future hope. That was reconciliation experienced and
                        enlivened in the sharing. As opposed to "Party Spirit," that was
                        "Shalom Shared." And far from being some pontificating on grand ideas
                        or simply teaching Jewish ethics, this was then and now dangerous (run
                        the list of those who turned to at least some aspects of real
                        reconciliation work: Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
                        Malcolm X after he returned from Mecca, Anwar Sadat, Rabin, it is
                        often deadly work where precisely those on the inside get most upset
                        and murderous). Historically Jesus belongs with that group of folks.
                        And my point here is that this was not a moral education movement, nor
                        a dreaming of the future movement, as the actual mission agenda words
                        show. And further, the language of aphorisms and parables precisely
                        worked to foster the movement. Reconciliation is never simply "a
                        problem to be solved." It is a kind of healing that must be figured
                        out. Whether in marital therapy or all the way up to the contest of
                        nations, "problem/ solution" thinking is necessary, but never enough.
                        Engagement in real puzzling is what is needed and that is precisely
                        the value of the language heard as word puzzles. Whatever one's
                        source theories.... however valuable the words brought together are
                        for proclamation and educational purposes, to not slow down and to not
                        listen to each saying on its own... in the present tense... in the
                        present circumstances... is to miss the very core of how the language
                        functions. I'm not in any way for underrating the other uses of the
                        language. But, I am very much for "trying to hear." That means... a
                        saying at a time... a parable at a time... and the willingness to "let
                        the puzzle sink in."

                        Your own listing nicely preserves the core language of Jesus. I don't
                        think any such animal ever existed, but that actually doesn't bother
                        me much. As is evident in this note, I ardently hope that folks will
                        take the time to not start with bundles or clumps or particular
                        Gospels, but simply listen and be puzzled.

                        Gordon Raynal
                        Inman, SC
                      • Ronald Price
                        ... Gordon, Thanks for expressing an interest. ... The Critical edition of Q is an amalgam. Why would you expect my reconstruction be any different in this
                        Message 11 of 20 , Feb 10, 2011
                          Gordon Raynal wrote:

                          > Thanks again for sending you understanding of a re-constructed sayings
                          > Gospel. Most interesting.

                          Gordon,

                          Thanks for expressing an interest.

                          > In B4, which you do attribute as going back to HJ, your create your
                          > understanding of the Mission Agenda saying by choosing different parts
                          > of the sayings cluster from the Synoptic Gospels ... your own reconstruction
                          > is an amalgam.

                          The 'Critical edition of Q' is an amalgam. Why would you expect my
                          reconstruction be any different in this respect?

                          > The problem is that you've created this text.

                          Of course I have. That's what reconstruction is all about, recreating what
                          is deemed to be the original from the various extant texts.

                          > ..... You, however,
                          > change the tense of the verb in the proclamation of the significance
                          > of the Agenda from, "the kingdom of God has come near" (Mt. 10:7 & Lk.
                          > 9) to "The Kingdom of God is getting near."

                          The context (B7, from Mt 10:23) indicates that this is the original meaning.
                          The change of tense probably suited the synoptic writers, and especially
                          Luke (c.f. the Lukan agenda reflected in Lk 11:20; 17:21)

                          > In the mission you drop out the charge to heal.

                          Yes I do. In my opinion this is clearly derived from Mark, who was the first
                          to claim that Jesus had been a healer. Note how in Mark the basic
                          instructions (6:8-11) make no mention of healing. Mark redactionally wrapped
                          the healing around the outside (vv.7 & 12-13).

                          > It is entirely circumscribed as an exclusive national mission.

                          So you think the original mission was to the whole world? That seems a tad
                          over ambitious to me. Twelve men to evangelize the whole world? I don't
                          think so. In any case this view is contradicted by certain texts which
                          Matthew retained, but Luke deemed inappropriate for the mission to the
                          Gentiles.

                          > And framing this activity with "is getting near"
                          > means that the effort is rather much a promotional tour for "a coming
                          > attraction," so to speak, and not something complete unto itself.

                          Indeed. This seems to be indicated by Mt 10:23b.

                          > Leaving aside the question of Q for a moment, save for G. Thomas, all
                          > the testimonies we have of the agenda itself (Matthew, Mark and 2
                          > renditions in Luke) include healing.

                          And Matthew and Luke both copied many of the Markan stories about healing,
                          so it is not surprising that they would adjust the mission statement in line
                          with the Markan version to match the stories.

                          > ..... What I want to emphasize is that you have
                          > taken out 1/3 of the ***demonstration*** acts of those sent. (the
                          > actions of lodging in welcoming homes (presence/ relating), dining
                          > (commensality) and "healing.") The effect of this is that the mission
                          > is really reduced to a proclamation movement and so the apostles are
                          > now "prophets." That reframes the action of the agenda significantly.

                          Indeed. The mission was about a message, just as the Christian mission has
                          been in modern times except for some evangelicals who claim to be able to
                          heal. On scientific grounds we must judge the latter to be a sham.

                          > where illness is tended to .....

                          You sound like Burton Mack. The gospel writers had no such inhibitions, and
                          I cannot believe that the "healing" to which the synoptics refer is merely
                          tending the sick. When Mark refers to healing he is clearly referring to
                          miraculous healing (Mk 6:13). Mack's 'pay attention to the sick'
                          interpretation is a liberal fudge.

                          > Third, by accepting the Matthean framing about the exclusivity of this
                          > mission, you are forced to push aside what Mark really wants to
                          > emphasize with Jesus in the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman and
                          > what earlier Paul was obviously excited about, namely that this
                          > "ministry of reconciliation" had no boundaries, but was for the
                          > world.

                          I am not pushing anything aside, but carefully placing texts in their
                          appropriate historical context. We then have the natural sequence: the
                          original mission to Israel instigated by Jesus and his first followers was
                          transformed by Paul and the synoptic writers into a mission to the world.
                          The story of the Syro-Phoenician woman was a part of the latter
                          transformation.

                          > Retrojecting a Matthean frame on top of HJ and the original
                          > enactors of this mission .....

                          The frame was correctly retained by Matthew. Mark and Luke omitted it
                          because it contradicted their Paul-inspired vision of a worldwide mission.

                          > Hence your choices paint Jesus to be an ultra nationalist

                          Well he was surely a nationalist. Christ = Messiah = God's anointed king.
                          Had his vision not included an element of nationalism, he would not have
                          been crucified.

                          > ... "talking head" prophet who
                          > decided to ignore or just didn't believe the very significance of the
                          > apocalyptic dreams, a world redeemed.

                          Jesus was expecting the imminent arrival of the kingdom - there wasn't even
                          going to be time to evangelize all the towns in Israel. So what would have
                          been the point of planning a world mission?

                          > I, of course, do not think that "apocalyptic dreaming" was on Jesus'
                          > mind, and one reason for that, besides the language that he majored in
                          > and the clear evidence of sayings that tell otherwise, is precisely
                          > the mission agenda language as we have it. "Say to them that the
                          > Kingdom of God ***has*** come near." This is not a longing for a
                          > future dream, but rather a call to "make it real."

                          You make a great deal about the tense, but it really doesn't make a lot of
                          difference. The real question is whether the kingdom is near in space or in
                          time. My wording "is getting near" unambiguously indicates the latter
                          because that's what the whole context implies, and if you're unhappy with Mt
                          10:23b, then look at e.g. Lk 17:30, where "on the day" refers to a future
                          time, not a place.

                          The net result of my interpretation and my consequent reconstruction is a
                          realistic historical sequence for the emergence of the new religion of
                          Christianity out of the older religion of Judaism, and that's in addition to
                          a credible sayings source, which Q as normally reconstructed is certainly
                          not.

                          Ron Price,

                          Derbyshire, UK

                          http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/
                        • Gordon Raynal
                          Hi, I appreciate your response in contrasting our differences. I ll let most of them stand for others to see and or comment on the list. ... For the record
                          Message 12 of 20 , Feb 10, 2011
                            Hi,

                            I appreciate your response in contrasting our differences. I'll let
                            most of them stand for others to see and or comment on the list.
                            On Feb 10, 2011, at 12:07 PM, Ronald Price wrote:

                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >> In the mission you drop out the charge to heal.
                            >
                            > Yes I do. In my opinion this is clearly derived from Mark, who was
                            > the first
                            > to claim that Jesus had been a healer. Note how in Mark the basic
                            > instructions (6:8-11) make no mention of healing. Mark redactionally
                            > wrapped
                            > the healing around the outside (vv.7 & 12-13).

                            For the record regarding whether or not Jesus was a talented folk
                            healer, I don't know. I'm fine either way. There's no point arguing
                            that the Q rendition is the earliest gathering of the whole agenda
                            (the Thomas version is the earliest and simplest, in my view).
                            Whatever the medical level of care Jesus or these earliest folks
                            offered (whether praying with/ for individuals or "casting out
                            demons"), the central gist of the "healing" in the text is certainly
                            "social healing." And this is simply derived from not only Paul's
                            description of the movement, but also a whole cluster of sayings/
                            scenes that serve to sum up the mission. Certainly by the time
                            Corinthians was written, however, there were medicinal healers
                            actively involved in the movement.
                            >
                            >> It is entirely circumscribed as an exclusive national mission.
                            >
                            > So you think the original mission was to the whole world? That seems
                            > a tad
                            > over ambitious to me. Twelve men to evangelize the whole world? I
                            > don't
                            > think so. In any case this view is contradicted by certain texts which
                            > Matthew retained, but Luke deemed inappropriate for the mission to the
                            > Gentiles.

                            I perhaps didn't say this well. I think the initiation and praxis was
                            regional (again Galilee, the region of Tyre-Sidon, Herod Philips
                            domain, Samaria and Judea). But I think Jesus understood quite well
                            the implication of Torah and the Prophets. Matthew, especially, is
                            emphasizing the unique focus on Israel. This a part of his theology,
                            and in my view represents the important arguments that were going on
                            in the 80's and 90's.

                            >
                            >
                            >> And framing this activity with "is getting near"
                            >> means that the effort is rather much a promotional tour for "a coming
                            >> attraction," so to speak, and not something complete unto itself.
                            >
                            > Indeed. This seems to be indicated by Mt 10:23b.

                            So, a plain statement is in the text is changed on the basis of "an
                            indication" outside the text? I certainly don't think Mt. 10:23b
                            belongs to HJ.
                            >
                            >>
                            >
                            >> ..... What I want to emphasize is that you have
                            >> taken out 1/3 of the ***demonstration*** acts of those sent. (the
                            >> actions of lodging in welcoming homes (presence/ relating), dining
                            >> (commensality) and "healing.") The effect of this is that the
                            >> mission
                            >> is really reduced to a proclamation movement and so the apostles are
                            >> now "prophets." That reframes the action of the agenda
                            >> significantly.
                            >
                            > Indeed. The mission was about a message, just as the Christian
                            > mission has
                            > been in modern times except for some evangelicals who claim to be
                            > able to
                            > heal. On scientific grounds we must judge the latter to be a sham.

                            A clear statement of our fundamental disagreement.
                            >
                            >> where illness is tended to .....
                            >
                            > You sound like Burton Mack. The gospel writers had no such
                            > inhibitions, and
                            > I cannot believe that the "healing" to which the synoptics refer is
                            > merely
                            > tending the sick. When Mark refers to healing he is clearly
                            > referring to
                            > miraculous healing (Mk 6:13). Mack's 'pay attention to the sick'
                            > interpretation is a liberal fudge.

                            I don't mind sounding like Mack in this regard. It is not "a liberal
                            fudge," it a fair description of a social movement centered on
                            "reconciliation."
                            >
                            >>
                            >
                            >> Hence your choices paint Jesus to be an ultra nationalist
                            >
                            > Well he was surely a nationalist. Christ = Messiah = God's anointed
                            > king.
                            > Had his vision not included an element of nationalism, he would not
                            > have
                            > been crucified.

                            I would urge you to re-read precisely the prophetic hope language
                            regarding the Promised King and I would also remind you that the term
                            "Messiah" is used to talk about Cyrus of Persia! Even if Jesus were
                            centrally formed by the apocalyptic dreams of the Israelite
                            apocalyptic materials, that language is very much about the
                            restoration of the whole of creation. And in terms of service to the
                            world, Daniel is renowned for that!
                            >
                            >> ... "talking head" prophet who
                            >> decided to ignore or just didn't believe the very significance of the
                            >> apocalyptic dreams, a world redeemed.
                            >
                            > Jesus was expecting the imminent arrival of the kingdom - there
                            > wasn't even
                            > going to be time to evangelize all the towns in Israel. So what
                            > would have
                            > been the point of planning a world mission?

                            According to your gathering of the language. I simply do not buy this.
                            >
                            >> I, of course, do not think that "apocalyptic dreaming" was on Jesus'
                            >> mind, and one reason for that, besides the language that he majored
                            >> in
                            >> and the clear evidence of sayings that tell otherwise, is precisely
                            >> the mission agenda language as we have it. "Say to them that the
                            >> Kingdom of God ***has*** come near." This is not a longing for a
                            >> future dream, but rather a call to "make it real."
                            >
                            > You make a great deal about the tense, but it really doesn't make a
                            > lot of
                            > difference. The real question is whether the kingdom is near in
                            > space or in
                            > time. My wording "is getting near" unambiguously indicates the latter
                            > because that's what the whole context implies, and if you're unhappy
                            > with Mt
                            > 10:23b, then look at e.g. Lk 17:30, where "on the day" refers to a
                            > future
                            > time, not a place.
                            >
                            > The net result of my interpretation and my consequent reconstruction
                            > is a
                            > realistic historical sequence for the emergence of the new religion of
                            > Christianity out of the older religion of Judaism, and that's in
                            > addition to
                            > a credible sayings source, which Q as normally reconstructed is
                            > certainly
                            > not.

                            It certainly represents a reconstruction of Christianity. We will
                            continue to disagree about not only the core nature of the mission,
                            but also the sequence.

                            Thanks again for sharing your link.

                            Gordon Raynal
                            Inman, SC
                            >



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Ronald Price
                            ... Gordon, That¹s not too dissimilar from Mt 10:5b. ... That may be so, but I think Jesus had enough problems trying to find God¹s solution for his
                            Message 13 of 20 , Feb 11, 2011
                              Gordon Raynal wrote:

                              > I think the initiation and praxis was regional (again Galilee, the region of
                              > Tyre-Sidon, Herod Philips domain, Samaria and Judea).
                              >
                              Gordon,

                              That¹s not too dissimilar from Mt 10:5b.

                              > But I think Jesus understood quite well
                              > the implication of Torah and the Prophets.
                              >
                              That may be so, but I think Jesus had enough problems trying to find God¹s
                              solution for his compatriots. If he thought that the imminent arrival of the
                              kingdom would affect the whole world, it was surely a secondary effect. If I
                              remember correctly, the restoration of Israel was assumed to be first in the
                              prophetic pronouncements.

                              > So, a plain statement is in the text is changed on the basis of "an
                              > indication" outside the text?

                              I¹m not so much changing the text as trying to reconstruct the underlying
                              text, and I may not have got all the wording exactly right. Anyway, here is
                              another try at my reasoning.

                              (1) There are some authentic statements about the kingdom which are
                              ambiguous as regards timing, but those that are clear point to a future
                              coming, A21, C1, C12, c.f. C21.
                              (2) The redactional tendency to portray the kingdom as having arrived is
                              already clear in Matthew (Mt 11:11-12) and in Luke (Lk 17:21).
                              (3) On Mk 1:15, Hooker makes the perceptive comment that when asking about
                              the meaning of particular words, we are asking questions about Mark¹s use of
                              language, not about the words of Jesus. (Admittedly I believe there was an
                              intermediate stage here, namely putting in writing the sayings of Jesus, and
                              that does complicate the issue.)
                              (4) Unlike the majority of commentators, I take the sayings collection to
                              have been in Aramaic. So there is often an inevitable slight change in
                              meaning between what was written in the collection and what the synoptic
                              authors wrote in Greek.
                              (5) I believe Jesus was seriously concerned about the plight of his people
                              under the yoke of the Roman occupation. I cannot therefore picture him
                              indicating that the kingdom had in any sense come already. There may be a
                              partial analogy in Egypt right now.

                              By the way, in criticizing some evangelicals who claim to be able to heal, I
                              was not of course referring to what you call Œsocial healing¹, but rather to
                              claims of miraculous healing.

                              Ron Price,

                              Derbyshire, UK

                              http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Gordon Raynal
                              Hi Ron, Thanks for the continuing dialogue. Let me say that I think you are doing a good job of painting out the understanding of Jesus that begins with the
                              Message 14 of 20 , Feb 11, 2011
                                Hi Ron,

                                Thanks for the continuing dialogue. Let me say that I think you are
                                doing a good job of painting out the understanding of Jesus that
                                begins with the understanding that the key is found in "the imminent
                                expectation" of the Kingdom of God. Ever since Schweitzer this has
                                certainly garnered the majority appreciation of those specifically
                                working on the Historical Jesus/ Early Christianity questions/
                                issues. As you noted yesterday and is certainly true, starting with
                                these sayings/ this part of the Israelite tradition and so this
                                mindset for Jesus, one can assuredly paint out a plausible
                                reconstruction of the historical figure of Jesus, his earliest
                                followers and the development of a new religion out of an old one. I
                                certainly see no end in sight of the basic contest of starting points
                                and the result "word picturings." And I am fine with that because of
                                the richness of the literature we have access to (multiple
                                perspectives increase the vantage points to understand it) and because
                                even amidst the different perspectives there are a number of
                                commonalities which the diversity helps us understand in richer ways.

                                This said, then a couple of responses.
                                On Feb 11, 2011, at 10:22 AM, Ronald Price wrote:

                                >>
                                >>
                                > That may be so, but I think Jesus had enough problems trying to find
                                > God’s
                                > solution for his compatriots. If he thought that the imminent
                                > arrival of the
                                > kingdom would affect the whole world, it was surely a secondary
                                > effect. If I
                                > remember correctly, the restoration of Israel was assumed to be
                                > first in the
                                > prophetic pronouncements.

                                "If he thought that..." is, of course at the center of our dispute.
                                I, of course, think that the "center of thought" is found in the "here
                                and now" nature of wisdom communication, in the directed action of the
                                mission agenda as exemplifying/ making alive forgiveness/ redemption/
                                reconciliation (not sorta making it happen, but actually making it
                                alive), and then in the specific aphorisms that precisely indicate
                                this "here and now/ hear now!) sayings.

                                Bottom line, there are both anticipation and realization sayings
                                attributed to Jesus. Generally "your school of thought," sees "the
                                anticipation" sayings at the critical heart of the matter and then
                                "the realization" sayings the later reflections of the community.
                                Those of my school of thought see it exactly the opposite. Therefore,
                                not to endlessly argue, but rather to "paint it out," then simply
                                consider this alternative. And I do this, probably overly
                                simplistically, but simply here for a short note to show the alternate
                                plausible modeling:

                                Situation: The Israelite homeland had been essentially a province of
                                the Rome since Pompey came in and basically overwhelmed a Civil War,
                                siding with Hyracanus II and his Pharisee faction against Aristobulus
                                II and his Saducee faction. Thereafter between the parties known to
                                us from Josephus and the Jewish and Christian writings, there was all
                                manner of internal conflict between the political leaders, the Temple
                                establishment, the majority Pharisee Party (parties?), the Saducees,
                                the Essenes and such as "bandits, prophets, messianic wannabees" (per
                                Horsely's language). And never forgetting that the religion of Israel
                                was an international religion (Jews dispersed from old Babylon all the
                                way to Spain), and never forgetting either, the old "family" divide
                                between "Jews" and "Samaritans," the situation was complex,
                                multifaceted and there were sharp internal divides. The example of
                                the conflicts at the death of Herod the Great, as Josephus reports,
                                were but one example of the complexity and the contest of voices.

                                This noted, focus on "the anticipation" sayings leads to various kinds
                                of portraitures of Jesus best understood in relationship to the voices
                                "for Liberation," in some manner. In your above statement you use the
                                language of "trying to find God's solutions for his compatriots."
                                And, of course, I'm really interested in how expansive your and
                                anyone's understanding "of compatriots" is? Galileans? Galileans and
                                Judeans? All Jews in the Diaspora and the homeland? The question of
                                "national"/ "international" very much relates to "the Jewish
                                situation." (Obviously, according to Josephus, for example, there were
                                a lot of Jews quite happy to live in Rome.) At any rate, those who
                                focus on the anticipation language regarding an actual change in the
                                political circumstances, obviously have to admit that this
                                "anticipation" was utterly wrong. For those who say it's all about
                                some sort of "religious or spiritual liberation" and really an "after
                                life," then Jesus can either be excused for his wrongness about the
                                imminent timing issue or focus can be placed that his "imminent"
                                language was about quickly arousing a movement and that his head was
                                actually into "only the Father knows the hour." In broad strokes
                                those are the basic options. And so the understanding of the ordering
                                of texts basically proceeds in a fashion of a forceful anticipation
                                movement that inexorably became an institutionalized movement that
                                later led to the explosion of all kinds of writings and factions. For
                                example, pretty much the Gospel of Thomas has to be late, dependent
                                and basically quasi heretical, if not outright heretical on this
                                modeling.

                                And so quickly, the alternative of " here and now reconciliation"
                                movement. In the above situation, the very nature of the question of
                                "what defines us" was huge! And in such circumstances, having a clear
                                vision of identity that effectively communicates is sure to get
                                attention, if effectively shared. Second, a reconciliation movement,
                                in principle, is about gathering as much diversity that can
                                cooperatively function together as possible. Such movements are by
                                their very nature very dicey, because "Party Spirit" can blow them
                                apart. But where actually effective a new kind of identity can be
                                effected that supersedes the former divided understandings of
                                identity. And effectively this kind of effort can even have effects
                                reaching far beyond the original particular situation and issues. And
                                this is the picturing that I favor as original. And therefore I find
                                it no surprise at all that there was quite the diversity of writings,
                                because reconciliation movements even when effective gather
                                individuals and groups from a number of perspectives who continue to
                                use their primary interpretive lens to communicate about the new
                                movement they are a part of. And in my view, this is what we see.
                                The literature we have shows Jesus being "pictured" from a whole
                                variety of lens and thus quite naturally he was variously titled,
                                "Christ," "Son of God," "Son of Man," "High Priest after the Order of
                                Melchizedek," etc. etc.... I do not think we have the founding of a
                                particularly ideological movement that was reframed, rather a
                                reconciliation movement that brought together a whole array of Jewish
                                voices who left us this rich heritage of reflections.

                                I'll simply end this very sketchy reply with this note. I have no
                                need to Q to come up with this. I don't even need to go outside the
                                Canonical materials and extant texts therein. But the two gems that
                                absolutely do help me sketch this out are Thomas and the Didache. And
                                sometimes for a thought experiment I'd ask you to simply do a sayings
                                comparison between Thomas and Mark. The tradition way of seeing the
                                relationship will be to suggest that Thomas shows a later
                                "spiritualizing" or Gnosticizing redaction of the more pure Markan
                                forms. I think that has the order wrong ***as regards*** a comparison
                                of the individual sayings/ stories. (I do think Extant Thomas is
                                later than Mark and shows a clear redaction spin put on many of the
                                sayings, but I quite think the there is a core in Thomas that is
                                indeed pre-Markan.) So, forgetting Q and your own reconstructed
                                sayings Gospel, I urge you to do a comparison of these two actual
                                texts and not ones based on theoretical constructions. And again,
                                simply try reading the individual sayings in both orderings.
                                >
                                >> So, a plain statement is in the text is changed on the basis of "an
                                >> indication" outside the text?
                                >
                                > I’m not so much changing the text as trying to reconstruct the
                                > underlying
                                > text, and I may not have got all the wording exactly right. Anyway,
                                > here is
                                > another try at my reasoning.

                                But you do change the wording of the sayings as is presented in the
                                literature.
                                >
                                >
                                > (5) I believe Jesus was seriously concerned about the plight of his
                                > people
                                > under the yoke of the Roman occupation. I cannot therefore picture
                                > him
                                > indicating that the kingdom had in any sense come already. There may
                                > be a
                                > partial analogy in Egypt right now.

                                Again, I'm wondering the extent of his concern went and what it would
                                look like, if say the Antipas, the Sanhedrin and the majority of the
                                Pharisees had welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem. What would that have
                                looked like?

                                But from my perspective... the creation of an effective reconciliation
                                work clearly gives evidence to Sabbath made alive in the world. My
                                actual preference what what the phrase "Kingdom of God" is indicative
                                of is "the Ruling Suasion of YHWH Elohim's Shalom made alive." (Or
                                something like that!) In the Israelite Wisdom heritage such as
                                Proverbs 3:14-18 and in the Psalmic heritage Psalm 85 do nice jobs of
                                expressing the sense and the poetry of what this makes for in life.
                                >
                                > By the way, in criticizing some evangelicals who claim to be able to
                                > heal, I
                                > was not of course referring to what you call ‘social healing’, but
                                > rather to
                                > claims of miraculous healing.

                                I understand. I really have no clue if Jesus himself was a talented
                                folk healer or not. That the movement made this a specific priority
                                was obviously early and important.

                                Gordon Raynal
                                Inman, SC
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