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Re: [XTalk] Word pictures in the synoptics (mission agenda)

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  • 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 1 of 20 , Feb 10 5:20 AM
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      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 2 of 20 , Feb 10 7:11 AM
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        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 3 of 20 , Feb 10 9:07 AM
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          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 4 of 20 , Feb 10 2:59 PM
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            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 5 of 20 , Feb 11 7:22 AM
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              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 6 of 20 , Feb 11 11:05 AM
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                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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