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Re: [XTalk] Word pictures in the synoptics

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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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