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[Xtalk] synedrion vs sanhedrin

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  • BobSchacht@aol.com
    Passages such as Matthew 22:59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to
    Message 1 of 19 , May 30, 1999
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      Passages such as
      Matthew 22:59 Now the chief priests and the whole
      council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so
      that they might put him to death...
      are often read understanding council = sanhedrin on the model of the Jewish
      sanhedrin post-70 C.E.-- that is, as a Jewish religious council.
      I just read a review of Ellis Rivkin's "What Crucified Jesus?" in which the
      reviewer, Howard Kee, characterizes the "council" in the quote above as a
      "regional council" presided over by the high priest, who was a Roman
      appointment, of course. Kee writes that the authority of the council was in
      regard to social and political issues, and it "had no authority over
      religious matters" (quoting Rivkin). Kee continues,
      "It was before this body, established by the Romans, that Jesus was examined
      on political, not religious grounds, since this council had no authority on
      religious matters..." He then quotes Rivkin:
      "No institution of Judaism had anything to do with the trial and crucifixion
      of Jesus."
      This is based on the idea that the sanhedrin as a Jewish institution did not
      evolve until after 70 C.E.
      Kee concludes, summarizing Rivkin "What crucified Jesus was the Roman
      imperial system, operating through those who were willing to serve on the
      council of collaborators with the Romans."

      This sounds like a line of reasoning Crossan would have loved to use in Who
      Killed Jesus, and it comes close. (Crossan blames Jewish involvement on a
      small elite clique, but he prefers to base his analysis on the Gospel of
      Peter.)

      Rivkin's analysis is that it was Jesus' talk about the coming of the Kingdom
      of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him into trouble, not on
      religious, but on political grounds.

      How does this hold up?

      Bob

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    • Lewis Reich
      On 30 May 99, at 20:26, Bob Schacht wrote:Rivkin s analysis is that it was Jesus talk about the coming of the Kingdom of God and claiming to be the
      Message 2 of 19 , May 30, 1999
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        On 30 May 99, at 20:26, Bob Schacht wrote:

        > Rivkin's analysis is that it was Jesus' talk about the coming of the
        > Kingdom of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him into trouble,
        > not on religious, but on political grounds.
        >
        > How does this hold up?

        Strikes me as reasonably plausible. What bothers me is our
        (apparent) lack of understanding about how the Romans
        would have been likely to react to purely declaratory forms of
        political offenses. (The nearest comparable case that
        occurs to me was one that I recall Josephus reporting from
        the 60's, where someone foretelling the destruction of either
        Jerusalem or the Temple, I forget which, was adjudged a
        lunatic and let go with a scourging. The telltale references to
        an "uprising" in the gospels, the fact that Jesus was crucified
        along with two other lestai, and other indications of
        incidencts of violence make theories relying some overt act
        of disorder more plausible to me.

        Lewis Reich
        lbr@...

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      • Jack Kilmon
        BobSchacht@aol.com wrote: Rivkin s analysis is that it was Jesus talk about the coming of the Kingdom of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him
        Message 3 of 19 , May 31, 1999
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          BobSchacht@... wrote:

          > Rivkin's analysis is that it was Jesus' talk about the coming of the Kingdom
          > of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him into trouble, not on
          > religious, but on political grounds.
          >
          > How does this hold up?

          I am not all that sure that Jesus himself made messianic claims but
          whether or not he made these claims or his followers and admirers
          made the claims, it would make no difference to the Romans. The
          Messiah was supposed to ride into town on his white steed and kick
          Roman butt and anyone so designated by the people would be viewed
          as a potential focus of insurrection.

          I've siad this before in previous discussions, but I'll summarize
          it again since it is relevent to this issue. I believe the hissy
          fit in the temple was historical and not a symbolic cleansing.
          The collaboration between the HP and temple authorities and Rome
          would have produced revenues and rake-offs from the temple
          income and the many enterprises that fed off the temple to
          Pilatus and probably Sejanus. It was this corruption that
          Jesus may have been demonstrating against when he called them
          a "den of thieves" subverting the temple. I think this
          act, more than anything else, is what sealed his fate.

          Add to this that Passover was a time of great tension in
          Jerusalem when any tinder at all could strike off riots
          against the Romans in a packed city of pilgrims celebrating
          their freedom. The prefect and Syrian reserves were
          in Jerusalem just for the purpose of swooping down swiftly
          and hard on anyone or group that even hinted at starting
          something. One could even postulate that Pilatus and
          Sejanus may have been getting rich beyond the dreams
          of avarice (with Caiaphas cooperation which kept him in
          office so inordinately long) and Tiberius, holed up
          on Capris with all his little boys, was out of the loop.
          What a tinder box that would be for an itinerant preacher
          throwing a hissy at the temple.

          Jack

          --
          ______________________________________________

          taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

          Jack Kilmon
          jkilmon@...

          http://www.historian.net

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        • Mahlon H. Smith
          Bob Schacht wrote:I just read a review of Ellis Rivkin s What Crucified Jesus? in which the reviewer, Howard Kee, characterizes the council in the
          Message 4 of 19 , May 31, 1999
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            Bob Schacht wrote:

            > I just read a review of Ellis Rivkin's "What Crucified Jesus?" in which the
            > reviewer, Howard Kee, characterizes the "council" in the quote above as a
            > "regional council" presided over by the high priest, who was a Roman
            > appointment, of course.

            I have the greatest respect for Ellis Rivkin's scholarship. But I wonder
            whether he may not here be guilty of historical foreshortening. The only
            basis I know for claiming that the Jerusalem Sanhedrin's authority was
            "regional" is this brief notice in Josephus, Ant. 14.91:

            "And [Gabinius, Roman governor of Syria in 57 BCE] divided the Jewish
            people into five parts, establishing five councils [*synhedria*]. And
            the capitals were in Jerusalem and Gadara and Amanthus. A fourth was in
            Jericho and the fifth in Sepphoris in Galilee." Cf. Into His Own #16.
            URL:

            http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/hasmon.html#rivals

            This was well before the political upheavals of the Herodian &
            post-Herodian eras. The jurisdictions of political institutions are
            always a reflection of the Realpolitik of the era. Where is there
            evidence that these 5 councils continued to retain regional autonomy
            during the first procuratorship (6-39 CE)? During this time, of course,
            Galilee was subject to Antipas rather than the Judean procurators. But I
            don't recall Josephus making any reference to his *synhedrion* either at
            Sepphoris or Tiberias.

            > Kee writes that the authority of the council was in
            > regard to social and political issues, and it "had no authority over
            > religious matters" (quoting Rivkin).

            This strikes me as an anachronistic modern distinction. Nothing in
            either Josephus or early Jewish literature justifies a neat distinction
            between the religious, social & political spheres. On the contrary,
            Josephus insists that Jews accused of violating the sabbath were forced
            to find refuge among the Samaritans to escape prosecution by "the
            Jerusalemites"--presumably a reference to some type of Jewish council
            with religious authority. Cf. Ant 11.346 (IHO #58), URL:

            http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/samaria.html#temple

            > Kee continues,
            > "It was before this body, established by the Romans, that Jesus was examined
            > on political, not religious grounds, since this council had no authority on
            > religious matters..."

            Jesus' examination before any type of council in Jerusalem is mentioned
            only in the synoptics. And the synoptic account is historically suspect
            for many reasons. 4G has only an informal interrogation by the two
            leading Sadducees (Hanan I & Yosef Kayyafa) in the high priest's
            personal residence. The synoptic setting of a formal trial before the
            "whole council" after midnite on the first day of Pesach is credible
            only to those who are ignorant of ancient Jewish jurisprudence & the
            significance of this festival. And even the synoptics are confused as to
            the location, since they frame the account with the story of Peter's
            denial in the high priest's courtyard. Etc. Etc.

            > He then quotes Rivkin:
            > "No institution of Judaism had anything to do with the trial and crucifixion
            > of Jesus."

            The JS would concur with the first part, since we voted practically
            unanimously that not just the accounts but the very idea of a Jewish
            trial of Jesus was a fabrication by Christian writers for apologetical &
            polemical purposes. Blaming the Jews rather than the Romans for Jesus'
            death was politically expedient for those who lived under Roman
            jurisdiction. But as far as I know, the high priesthood was a Jewish
            institution even if the occupants of the office were subject to Roman
            political approval. There is really no good reason to reject the
            involvement of Yosef Kayyafa in the political maneuvering that
            culminated in Jesu's crucifixion. Since he acted in his capacity as
            chief officer of the Jewish state, I would suggest that a Jewish
            political institution was very much involved. But I would also stress
            the discontinuity between the decisions of this Sadduccean prelate (&
            and any close advisors, such as his father-in-law, Hanan) & the
            institutions of Judaism that emerged at Jabneh under the leadership of
            Yohanan b. Zakkai & his Pharisaic remnant after 70 CE.


            > Kee concludes, summarizing Rivkin "What crucified Jesus was the Roman
            > imperial system, operating through those who were willing to serve on the
            > council of collaborators with the Romans."
            >
            > This sounds like a line of reasoning Crossan would have loved to use in Who
            > Killed Jesus, and it comes close.

            In fact, Crossan was the most vociferous champion of this position at
            the JS session devoted to HJ's execution.

            >
            > Rivkin's analysis is that it was Jesus' talk about the coming of the Kingdom
            > of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him into trouble, not on
            > religious, but on political grounds.

            There is no reliable evidence that HJ claimed to be the Messiah. This
            was a role foisted on him by others, probably as a result of his message
            of devotion to God's Kingdom (as an in-breaking order, not announcement
            of its "coming" in the by & by). The Romans & the Sadducean high priests
            probably did not take time to try or even interrogate HJ as a private
            individual. Since he was at the center of a mass movement they struck at
            him to defuse the potential for political unrest caused by any popular
            hero of the masses. Analogy for this can be found in the cases of JB,
            Theudas, etc. [Hence the political titulus: "King of the Jews."]


            Shalom!

            Mahlon

            --

            *********************

            Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
            Associate Professor
            Department of Religion
            Rutgers University
            New Brunswick NJ

            Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
            http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/

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          • Lewis Reich
            Jack Kilmon wrote:BobSchacht@aol.com wrote: Rivkin s analysis is that it was Jesus talk about the coming of the Kingdom of God and claiming to
            Message 5 of 19 , May 31, 1999
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              Jack Kilmon wrote:

              > BobSchacht@... wrote:
              >
              > > Rivkin's analysis is that it was Jesus' talk about the coming of the Kingdom
              > > of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him into trouble, not on
              > > religious, but on political grounds.
              > >
              > > How does this hold up?
              >
              > I am not all that sure that Jesus himself made messianic claims but
              > whether or not he made these claims or his followers and admirers
              > made the claims, it would make no difference to the Romans. The
              > Messiah was supposed to ride into town on his white steed and kick
              > Roman butt and anyone so designated by the people would be viewed
              > as a potential focus of insurrection.
              >
              > I've siad this before in previous discussions, but I'll summarize
              > it again since it is relevent to this issue. I believe the hissy
              > fit in the temple was historical and not a symbolic cleansing.
              > The collaboration between the HP and temple authorities and Rome
              > would have produced revenues and rake-offs from the temple
              > income and the many enterprises that fed off the temple to
              > Pilatus and probably Sejanus. It was this corruption that
              > Jesus may have been demonstrating against when he called them
              > a "den of thieves" subverting the temple. I think this
              > act, more than anything else, is what sealed his fate.
              >
              > Add to this that Passover was a time of great tension in
              > Jerusalem when any tinder at all could strike off riots
              > against the Romans in a packed city of pilgrims celebrating
              > their freedom. The prefect and Syrian reserves were
              > in Jerusalem just for the purpose of swooping down swiftly
              > and hard on anyone or group that even hinted at starting
              > something. One could even postulate that Pilatus and
              > Sejanus may have been getting rich beyond the dreams
              > of avarice (with Caiaphas cooperation which kept him in
              > office so inordinately long) and Tiberius, holed up
              > on Capris with all his little boys, was out of the loop.
              > What a tinder box that would be for an itinerant preacher
              > throwing a hissy at the temple.

              Jack has nicely set out in detail what I merely alluded to in my own response to Bob's question. Both Jack and I seem to agree that Rivkin is
              quite correct that the offense was political rather than religious in nature. (Although the political and religious spheres were inextricably
              entwined, they can be distinguished.) Jack and I also agree that it was an overt act of disorder - the so-called "cleansing" of the Temple -
              that brought Jesus and his preaching to the attention of the authorities and sealed his fate. Of course, whether it was the disorder he
              caused in the Temple or claiming to be Messiah, the fact that he was turned over to the Romans indicates that there was a political offense
              involved, not a religious one. If I recall correctly, Rivkin's book was written over 25 years ago, when that point hadn't become as well
              recognized as it is today.

              Lewis Reich
              LBR@...


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            • Antonio Jerez
              Bob Schacht wrote: Rivkin s analysis is that it was Jesus talk about the coming of the Kingdom of God and claiming to be the Messiah that got him into
              Message 6 of 19 , Jun 2, 1999
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                Bob Schacht wrote:
                >Rivkin's analysis is that it was Jesus' talk about the coming of the Kingdom of God and >claiming to be the Messiah that got him into trouble, not on religious, but on political >grounds.


                Mahlon Smith replied:
                >>There is no reliable evidence that HJ claimed to be the Messiah. This was a role >>foisted on him by others, probably as a result of his message of devotion to God's >>Kingdom (as an in-breaking order, not announcement of its "coming" in the by & by).

                Maybe it is true that Jesus never claimed openly to be the Messiah. But
                maybe the question should be put in another way: did he have any messianic
                consciousness? Did he consider himself specially chosen by God and in a special
                position visavi God? What does his choice of a special group of 12 (himself not
                included) tell us about his perception of himself?
                I agree with Mahlon that Jesus preached the Kingdom as an already in-breaking
                order but the early tradition from Paul to Luke does also clearly indicate that
                the full coming of the Kingdom was going to be a miraculous event in the near
                "by & by". God's Kingdom is both a present and future reality in Jesus' preaching.


                Best wishes

                Antonio Jerez
                Goteborg, Sweden



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              • mgrondin@tir.com
                Antonio Jerez writes: Maybe it is true that Jesus never claimed openly to be the Messiah. But maybe the question should be put in another way: did he have
                Message 7 of 19 , Jun 2, 1999
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                  Antonio Jerez writes:
                  > Maybe it is true that Jesus never claimed openly to be the Messiah. But maybe the question should be put in another way: did he have any messianic consciousness? Did he consider himself specially chosen by God and in a special
                  position [vis-a-vis] God? What does his choice of a special group of 12 (himself not included) tell us about his perception of himself?

                  I'm not sure there's anything at all that clearly indicates that Yeshua had a "messianic consciousness", Antonio. Before there were 12, there were apparently five. What does that tell us? If you add Yeshua himself, and either the Magdalene or Judas Iscarioth, you have a group of seven - which suggests astrology, or the days of the week, or any number of other things.

                  There's questions also as to whether the twelve might not have been a post-Yeshuine development. Crossan thinks so (though I haven't seen his argument - just a passing mention of his view). My own view is that there's a number of indicators that "the twelve" were created in the process of reaching an accord between the followers of Yeshua (under Simon Peter) and his family (under Jacob the Righteous). If the prominence given to "the Sons of Thunder" ("Big Jake" and Johann Zebedee) in the gospels is historically accurate, then it must be assumed that they - not Peter - initially became the leaders of the disciples after Yeshua's death. "Big Jake" was executed in a persecution some time thereafter, and Johann might have fled the country, leaving Simon to pick up the pieces. If Paul was right to think of Kephas as a "vacillator", the same judgement indicates that Kephas might well have been also a "compromiser" - ideally suited to bring together the family and disciples of Yeshua, between whom we have reason to believe (from other such cases) there would have been a natural jealousy.

                  The symbolism of "the twelve" also argues for a Judean origin - not a Galilean one. Not only reminiscint of the old Judean dream of reuniting the 12 tribes (under a new Jacob, no less!), but also constituting in themselves the "twelve witnesses" important in Jewish law. This is the kind of symbolism that would be expected to flow from a person knowledgeable in the Law, such as Jacob the Righteous, not from Galilean fishermen. The increase in the number of "apostles" may also have been the result of some sort of political compromise between Simon and Jacob. I suspect that Simon wanted peace (which is what drives most compromisers) - both from persecutions perhaps springing from the activities of the fiery "Sons of Thunder" - and from the tensions between the family and followers of Yeshua. My suggestion is that he brought about this peace by agreeing that JR would be head of the movement - and that either within this agreement or soon antecedent to it, "the twelve" were born.

                  Paul says that the word he received was that "the twelve" saw the risen Yeshua, and so the transition from "the Sons of Thunder" to Simon Peter must have come fairly quickly - though still perhaps a number of years. The Gospellers, for their part, would have had every reason (even if they knew otherwise) to validate "the twelve" by having them appointed by Yeshua himself (though one account has it being done on a mountain - which is often the locale of choice for things that never happened).

                  Another interesting angle is this: when a number of Greek-speaking folks were being appointed to fulfill certain functions, the number chosen was seven. Why seven? I suspect it was because there were seven originally, not twelve.

                  Mike




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                • Mahlon H. Smith
                  I wrote: There is no reliable evidence that HJ claimed to be the Messiah. This was a role foisted on him by others, probably as a result of his message
                  Message 8 of 19 , Jun 2, 1999
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                    I wrote:
                    > There is no reliable evidence that HJ claimed to be the Messiah. This > was a role foisted on him by others, probably as a result of his > message of devotion to God's Kingdom (as an in-breaking order, not > announcement of its "coming" in the by & by).

                    Antonio Jerez replied:

                    > Maybe it is true that Jesus never claimed openly to be the Messiah. But
                    > maybe the question should be put in another way: did he have any messianic
                    > consciousness?

                    The thing that always puzzled me about the liberal preoccupation with
                    the "messianic consciousness" of Jesus is how one can know what someone
                    else is conscious of apart from what s/he says. If Jesus cannot be
                    proven to have explicitly claimed to be the MESSIAH (or even said
                    anything about a Messiah), then it is highly doubtful that HIS
                    consciousness was "Messianic." Those who demonstrated a "messianic
                    consciousness" were those early Jews (like Peter in the Synoptics &
                    Andrew in John) who cast Jesus into a Messianic role.

                    IF one accepts the synoptic accounts of the triumphal entry into
                    Jerusalem (in which J seems to deliberately set up a literal fulfillment
                    of Zech 9:9) as historical, one MIGHT argue that HJ demonstrated a
                    "messianic consciousness." The problem is the Johannine account of this
                    incident clearly specifies that the association of J's entry into
                    Jerusalem with Zech 9:9 was something that occurred *in the minds of J's
                    disciples* only after his crucifixion/resurrection. So how can one prove
                    that this messianic text was in HJ's own consciousness when & if he
                    entered Jerusalem riding on an ass? Unless one adopts the unproveable
                    circular logic that HJ must have been & known himself to be what his
                    followers claimed he was, even if he himself never explicitly admitted
                    it, there is no way to demonstrate that he had a MESSIANIC consciousness
                    of any kind.

                    > Did he consider himself specially chosen by God and in a special
                    > position visavi God?

                    The question is: did he ever CLAIM this? Outside of GJohn one has to
                    look very hard to find texts that would prove that HJ claimed a "special
                    relationship" for himself to God that was not open to be shared by
                    others. And those few passages are NOT consistent with a wealth of other
                    Jesus sayings that presuppose precisely the opposite. E.g.:

                    1. He says: "WHOEVER does the will of my Father is my brother, etc." [To
                    identify others as one's spiritual siblings is precisely to deny a
                    unique filial relationship to God.]

                    2. He instructs others to address God as THEIR OWN Father (e.g., Lord's
                    prayer), urges them to imitate THEIR Father's tolerance (Matt 5:45ff),
                    assures that that THEIR Father knows their needs (Matt 7:11 par) &
                    numbered the hairs of THEIR heads (Matt 10:29f par).

                    3. He stresses that in God's BASILEIA it is not those who are first but
                    those who are least that count & he insists that ANYONE who do not
                    become like a kindergartener (WS PAIDION) is excluded from God's
                    BASILEIA (Mark 10:15 par).

                    It is easy to see why people who heard these things would conclude that
                    the speaker was somebody really special. But it is practically
                    inconceivable that the the person who said all this would go around
                    claiming, "Look at me, I'm special!" or even think of himself as such.

                    Of course, the HJ who said all this must have had a very clear vision of
                    common people's relationship to God & felt compelled to get the message
                    to them. In old Methodist parlance, we'd have to say he "had a
                    calling"--like that Oxford don, John Wesley, & others who felt compelled
                    to conduct a mission to those who were in a hopeless position on the
                    margins of society. But so did any of the Hebrew prophets from Amos to
                    Isaiah & none of them seems to have developed a Messianic consciousness.
                    It was their calling not their persons that they considered "special."
                    The "special position" that any of these was conscious of--including
                    Jesus--was vis a vis the historical moment rather than vis a vis God.
                    God let them see a task to be done that others were unwilling to assume
                    (Isaiah when Uzziah died, Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar arose, Ezekiel
                    when the exile began, Jesu when JB was executed). And all of them,
                    including HJ, stressed their common human weaknesses rather than flaunt
                    their superiority over others. HJ even seems to have considered himself
                    dispensible once he enlisted others to pick up his torch.


                    > What does his choice of a special group of 12 (himself not
                    > included) tell us about his perception of himself?

                    What it tells me is that he did not try to coopt leadership for himself
                    & direct everything on his own. In Hebrew tradition the 12 has generally
                    represented an anti-centralizing pluralistic vision of God's chosen. The
                    only possible exception I know of may have been the council of 12 at
                    Qumran. But we know next to nothing about how this council of 12
                    actually functioned. One MIGHT even argue that the choice of 12
                    represented a deliberate attempt to "de-Judaize" Israel by restoring a
                    vision of the inclusion of tribes other than those who identified
                    themselves with Judah. The authors of the DSS seem to have had something
                    of this sort in mind (cf. IHO #236) URL:

                    http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/eschaton.html#Judah

                    > I agree with Mahlon that Jesus preached the Kingdom as an already in-breaking
                    > order but the early tradition from Paul to Luke does also clearly indicate that
                    > the full coming of the Kingdom was going to be a miraculous event in the near
                    > "by & by". God's Kingdom is both a present and future reality in Jesus' preaching.
                    >

                    And I agree with Antonio--at least up until his final phrase "in Jesus'
                    preaching." I would argue that HJ's view of the kingdom includes the
                    future but would question whether those gospel sayings that represent
                    the KofG as a future "miraculous event" can be reliably traced to HJ.
                    True, the gospel writers & Paul shared an apocalyptic view of the KofG
                    as an imminent order with other Jews (see the Qaddish: IHO #120) URL:

                    http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/prayer.html#qaddish

                    But there is nothing futuristic or dramatically imminent about the
                    images that HJ chose to represent the KofG: mustard seed, leaven, a
                    provident father, etc. In fact, Jesus seems to know nothing of Paul's
                    claim that flesh & blood cannot inherit the KofG when he proclaims that
                    it is the property of paupers & children. So I think it likely that
                    early Jewish Christian writers may have thought they knew what HJ meant
                    by the KofG, but tended to impose their concepts of it upon him. I think
                    HJ more likely represented the KofG as accessible to anyone whenever
                    s/he was willing to identify with those whom society tended to put on
                    the bottom of the totem pole. And for this reason I think it highly
                    unlikely that HJ thought of himself as special any more than a Francis
                    of Assisi or a Mother Teresa or a Mahatma Gandhi or a Martin Luther
                    King---all of whom probably understood HJ better than most scholars or
                    church goers.

                    Shalom!


                    Mahlon

                    --

                    *********************

                    Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                    Associate Professor
                    Department of Religion
                    Rutgers University
                    New Brunswick NJ

                    Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
                    http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/

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                  • Lewis Reich
                    On 3 Jun 99, at 4:08, Mike Grondin wrote:Not only reminiscint of the old Judean dream of reuniting the 12 tribes (under a new Jacob, no less!), but also
                    Message 9 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                      On 3 Jun 99, at 4:08, Mike Grondin wrote:

                      > Not only reminiscint of the old Judean dream of
                      > reuniting the 12 tribes (under a new Jacob, no less!), but also
                      > constituting in themselves the "twelve witnesses" important in Jewish law.

                      I can't recall offhand on what occasion twelve witnesses figure in
                      Jewish law. What do you have in mind?

                      Lewis Reich
                      lbr@...



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                    • Jack Kilmon
                      Mark Goodacre wrote:Enormous thanks to Mahlon for a characteristically thought-provoking contribution, and apologies for commenting only on the opening
                      Message 10 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                        Mark Goodacre wrote:

                        > Enormous thanks to Mahlon for a characteristically thought-provoking
                        > contribution, and apologies for commenting only on the opening paragraph.
                        >
                        > On 3 Jun 99 at 2:13, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                        >
                        > > The thing that always puzzled me about the liberal preoccupation with
                        > > the "messianic consciousness" of Jesus is how one can know what someone
                        > > else is conscious of apart from what s/he says. If Jesus cannot be
                        > > proven to have explicitly claimed to be the MESSIAH (or even said
                        > > anything about a Messiah), then it is highly doubtful that HIS
                        > > consciousness was "Messianic." Those who demonstrated a "messianic
                        > > consciousness" were those early Jews (like Peter in the Synoptics &
                        > > Andrew in John) who cast Jesus into a Messianic role.
                        >
                        > Surely one of the ways of getting hints about someone's consciousness is to
                        > look at that person's actions, especially actions that might seem to be in some
                        > way characteristic or defining. Take, for example, the question of Jesus'
                        > healing activity. Most of us are agreed that Jesus was known as a healer and
                        > that this was felt to be one of his key attributes. What we then need to ask
                        > is: might Jesus' healing activity have proceeded from a "messianic
                        > consciousness"? Surely the answer here is yes, it might well have done.
                        >
                        > After all, a Jew in the first century who went around healing and evangelising
                        > the poor might remind his fellow Jews of cherished Scriptures that connected
                        > anointing with healing and evangelism, Scriptures like Isaiah 61. Indeed they
                        > might have thought: how could one heal without being anointed by God to do so?
                        >
                        > But then the question must be: is there anything more than the possibility that
                        > Jesus was perceived in this way? Is there any actual evidence that Jesus'
                        > contemporaries construed his healing activity in the light of texts like Isaiah
                        > 61? We know of Luke 4.18ff, but this is surely Lukan redaction. But that
                        > does not exhaust the evidence. I am fond of looking at texts in Q and the
                        > following one clearly alludes to Isaiah 61 and construes Jesus' healing and
                        > preaching activity in messianic terms:
                        >
                        > [Mat 11:2-6] Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he
                        > sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or
                        > shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what
                        > you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are
                        > cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good
                        > news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."
                        >
                        > I think that one of the problems here is the old one of the loaded terms
                        > "Messiah" and "Christ". When we start talking instead about "anointing", we
                        > can ask whether or not Jesus might have thought himself to be "anointed" by
                        > God. And my bet is yes -- it is highly likely that Jesus thought of himself as
                        > one anointed by God for a special purpose -- his actions seem to demonstrate
                        > this. If, however, one wants to call this "messianic consciousness", so be it.

                        I cannot envision Yeshu's messages of the malkutha d'alaha and his grounding
                        in an ethical apocalyptism seemingly based on Enochian/Daniel construction
                        without a messianiac self-consciousness.

                        Jack
                        --
                        ______________________________________________

                        taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                        Jack Kilmon
                        jkilmon@...

                        http://www.historian.net



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                      • Mark Goodacre
                        Enormous thanks to Mahlon for a characteristically thought-provoking contribution, and apologies for commenting only on the opening paragraph.On 3 Jun 99
                        Message 11 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                          Enormous thanks to Mahlon for a characteristically thought-provoking
                          contribution, and apologies for commenting only on the opening paragraph.

                          On 3 Jun 99 at 2:13, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:

                          > The thing that always puzzled me about the liberal preoccupation with
                          > the "messianic consciousness" of Jesus is how one can know what someone
                          > else is conscious of apart from what s/he says. If Jesus cannot be
                          > proven to have explicitly claimed to be the MESSIAH (or even said
                          > anything about a Messiah), then it is highly doubtful that HIS
                          > consciousness was "Messianic." Those who demonstrated a "messianic
                          > consciousness" were those early Jews (like Peter in the Synoptics &
                          > Andrew in John) who cast Jesus into a Messianic role.

                          Surely one of the ways of getting hints about someone's consciousness is to
                          look at that person's actions, especially actions that might seem to be in some
                          way characteristic or defining. Take, for example, the question of Jesus'
                          healing activity. Most of us are agreed that Jesus was known as a healer and
                          that this was felt to be one of his key attributes. What we then need to ask
                          is: might Jesus' healing activity have proceeded from a "messianic
                          consciousness"? Surely the answer here is yes, it might well have done.

                          After all, a Jew in the first century who went around healing and evangelising
                          the poor might remind his fellow Jews of cherished Scriptures that connected
                          anointing with healing and evangelism, Scriptures like Isaiah 61. Indeed they
                          might have thought: how could one heal without being anointed by God to do so?

                          But then the question must be: is there anything more than the possibility that
                          Jesus was perceived in this way? Is there any actual evidence that Jesus'
                          contemporaries construed his healing activity in the light of texts like Isaiah
                          61? We know of Luke 4.18ff, but this is surely Lukan redaction. But that
                          does not exhaust the evidence. I am fond of looking at texts in Q and the
                          following one clearly alludes to Isaiah 61 and construes Jesus' healing and
                          preaching activity in messianic terms:

                          [Mat 11:2-6] Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he
                          sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or
                          shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what
                          you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are
                          cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good
                          news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."

                          I think that one of the problems here is the old one of the loaded terms
                          "Messiah" and "Christ". When we start talking instead about "anointing", we
                          can ask whether or not Jesus might have thought himself to be "anointed" by
                          God. And my bet is yes -- it is highly likely that Jesus thought of himself as
                          one anointed by God for a special purpose -- his actions seem to demonstrate
                          this. If, however, one wants to call this "messianic consciousness", so be it.

                          Mark
                          --------------------------------------
                          Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                          Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                          University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
                          Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

                          http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                          New Testament Web Resources
                          Mark Without Q
                          Aseneth Home Page

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                        • Mahlon H. Smith
                          Austin Meredith is currently unable to post directly to list due to an administrative snafu in his communications network. So he asked me to post the following
                          Message 12 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                            Austin Meredith is currently unable to post directly to list due to an
                            administrative snafu in his communications network. So he asked me to
                            post the following response to this thread on his behalf:

                            -----

                            To: crosstalk2@egroups.com
                            From: Austin Meredith <Kouroo@...>
                            Subject: Re: [Xtalk] Re: synedrion vs sanhedrin
                            Date: Wed, 02 Jun 1999 15:55:23 -0700

                            Mahlon Smith wrote:
                            > There is no reliable evidence that HJ claimed to be the Messiah.
                            > This was a role foisted on him by others, probably as a result of his
                            message
                            > of devotion to God's Kingdom (as an in-breaking order, not announcement
                            > of its "coming" in the by & by).

                            Antonio Jerez replied:
                            > Maybe it is true that Jesus never claimed openly to be the Messiah.
                            > But maybe the question should be put in another way:
                            > did he have any messianic consciousness? Did he consider himself
                            > specially chosen by God and in a special position visavi God?

                            To consider this question, perhaps it would help if we transfer it to
                            another place and time more livid in all of our consciousnesses. What if
                            Jesus had been born into between-the-wars Germany instead of into
                            Roman-occupied Galilee? What if Jesus had needed to respond to a bunch
                            of
                            20th-Century volk who yearned for a Fuhrer before whom they could
                            prostrate
                            themselves, who would bring their nation justice and triumph among the
                            nations? How would he need to respond to this? For sure, Jesus is not
                            going
                            to be their special Fuhrer and lead them off into a pogram eliminating
                            the
                            international Jewish conspiracy that is preventing them from taking
                            their
                            rightful place in the sun! No, he's going to say to them "Yeah, sure,
                            I'm
                            your Fuhrer all right -- and this horse Adolph I rode in on, shhh, he's
                            my
                            Army of Righteousness traveling incognito." In other words, he's going
                            to
                            mock the whole concept that spiritual leadership is intended to enhance
                            group competitiveness.

                            Fact is, the principle of the Messiah that was prevalent back then in
                            Galilee and Judea was quite as politically and ethically fraught as the
                            concept of the Fuhrerprinzip has been during our own lifetimes. One
                            Messiah
                            is worth a million murders.




                            --

                            *********************

                            Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                            Associate Professor
                            Department of Religion
                            Rutgers University
                            New Brunswick NJ

                            Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
                            http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/

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                          • Lewis Reich
                            On 3 Jun 99, at 13:34, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:Fact is, the principle of the Messiah that was prevalent back then in Galilee and Judea was quite as
                            Message 13 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                              On 3 Jun 99, at 13:34, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:

                              > Fact is, the principle of the Messiah that was prevalent back then in
                              > Galilee and Judea was quite as politically and ethically fraught as the
                              > concept of the Fuhrerprinzip has been during our own lifetimes. One
                              > Messiah is worth a million murders.

                              I wonder if this doesn't overstate things a bit. The messiah of that
                              time was expected, as far as I am aware, to be a national leader
                              who would restore the independence and glory of the nation, but the
                              Jewish idea of kingship was heavily constrained, at least in principle,
                              by the strictures of Deuteronomy 17:15-20. "Thus he will not act
                              haughtily towards his fellows" (lit. thus his heart shall not rise above
                              his brothers). Hardly the divine right of kings, much less
                              Fuehrerprinzip.

                              Lewis Reich
                              lbr@...

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                            • Lewis Reich
                              On 3 Jun 99, at 10:28, Jack Kilmon wrote:I cannot envision Yeshu s messages of the malkutha d alaha and his grounding in an ethical apocalyptism
                              Message 14 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                                On 3 Jun 99, at 10:28, Jack Kilmon wrote:

                                > I cannot envision Yeshu's messages of the malkutha d'alaha and his
                                > grounding in an ethical apocalyptism seemingly based on Enochian/Daniel
                                > construction without a messianiac self-consciousness.

                                *Malkhut shamayim* (kingdom, or sovereignty of heaven) was not, I
                                think, a new term. It is common in traditional Jewish literature,
                                particularly as *ohl malkhut shamayim* - the yoke of the kingdom
                                of heaven. If it had been a neologism of Jesus', and continued to
                                figure strongly in subseuquent development of the Yeshuine
                                movement and Christianity, I doubt that it would have made the jump
                                to rabbinic literature. Seems to me that it must have been current in
                                the Judaism of Jesus' time. So I'm not sure why it demands a
                                messianic self-consciousness, or perhaps it may not in general
                                have been based on Enoch/Daniel.

                                Lewis Reich
                                lbr@...

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                              • Lewis Reich
                                On 3 Jun 99, at 16:06, Mark Goodacre wrote:What we then need to ask is: might Jesus healing activity have proceeded from a messianic consciousness ?
                                Message 15 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                                  On 3 Jun 99, at 16:06, Mark Goodacre wrote:

                                  > What we then need to ask is: might Jesus' healing activity have
                                  > proceeded from a "messianic consciousness"? Surely the answer here
                                  > is yes, it might well have done.

                                  Surely the answer is also, it might well not have. Why should healing activity imply messianic consciousness.


                                  > After all, a Jew in the first century who went around healing and
                                  > evangelising the poor might remind his fellow Jews of cherished Scriptures
                                  > that connected anointing with healing and evangelism, Scriptures like
                                  > Isaiah 61. Indeed they might have thought: how could one heal without
                                  > being anointed by God to do so?

                                  Hanina ben Dosa apparently performed such healings in the first
                                  century, and no one apparently felt he'd been anointed by God to do
                                  so, certainly not in the literal sense of anointed which I assume
                                  we're using here.

                                  > I think that one of the problems here is the old one of the loaded terms
                                  > "Messiah" and "Christ". When we start talking instead about "anointing",
                                  > we can ask whether or not Jesus might have thought himself to be
                                  > "anointed" by God. And my bet is yes -- it is highly likely that Jesus
                                  > thought of himself as one anointed by God for a special purpose -- his
                                  > actions seem to demonstrate this. If, however, one wants to call this
                                  > "messianic consciousness", so be it.

                                  My problem with this is that it seems to try to make "anointed" a
                                  synonym for "selected" or "chosen". While it may have those
                                  connotations in modern English, it remains to be shown that it did in
                                  first century Aramaic or Hebrew in Judea.

                                  Lewis Reich
                                  lbr@...

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                                • BobSchacht@aol.com
                                  In a message dated 6/3/99 4:59:49 PM US Mountain Standard Time, lbr@sprynet.com writes:On 3 Jun 99, at 16:06, Mark Goodacre wrote: What we then
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
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                                    In a message dated 6/3/99 4:59:49 PM US Mountain Standard Time,
                                    lbr@... writes:

                                    > On 3 Jun 99, at 16:06, Mark Goodacre wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > What we then need to ask is: might Jesus' healing activity have
                                    > > proceeded from a "messianic consciousness"? Surely the answer here
                                    > > is yes, it might well have done.
                                    >
                                    > Surely the answer is also, it might well not have. Why should healing
                                    > activity imply messianic consciousness.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > > After all, a Jew in the first century who went around healing and
                                    > > evangelising the poor might remind his fellow Jews of cherished
                                    Scriptures
                                    > > that connected anointing with healing and evangelism, Scriptures like
                                    > > Isaiah 61. Indeed they might have thought: how could one heal without
                                    > > being anointed by God to do so?
                                    >
                                    > Hanina ben Dosa apparently performed such healings in the first
                                    > century, and no one apparently felt he'd been anointed by God to do
                                    > so, certainly not in the literal sense of anointed which I assume
                                    > we're using here.
                                    >
                                    > > I think that one of the problems here is the old one of the loaded terms
                                    > > "Messiah" and "Christ". When we start talking instead about "anointing",
                                    > > we can ask whether or not Jesus might have thought himself to be
                                    > > "anointed" by God. And my bet is yes -- it is highly likely that Jesus
                                    > > thought of himself as one anointed by God for a special purpose -- his
                                    > > actions seem to demonstrate this. If, however, one wants to call this
                                    > > "messianic consciousness", so be it.
                                    >
                                    > My problem with this is that it seems to try to make "anointed" a
                                    > synonym for "selected" or "chosen". While it may have those
                                    > connotations in modern English, it remains to be shown that it did in
                                    > first century Aramaic or Hebrew in Judea.
                                    >
                                    > Lewis Reich
                                    > lbr@...
                                    >

                                    First, I would like to thank Antonio for starting this this thread. His
                                    initial message might be instructive about the theme, "How to start a good
                                    thread."

                                    Second, with Mark I would like to thank Mahlon for his long and thoughtful
                                    response to Antonio. This is good stuff.

                                    Third, I want to thank Steve for his important contribution to the thread.

                                    I think those who focussed on different meanings of the word "Messiah" are on
                                    the right track here. I thought it was practically a truism that
                                    1. the disciples thought they knew for sure what a Messiah was;
                                    2. they decided (for whatever reasons) that Jesus was the Messiah;
                                    3. Jesus steadfastly refused to fulfill their messianic expectations; and yet
                                    4. Jesus did not plainly renounce (so far as is known) the role of Messiah,
                                    even though he had many occasions to do so (famously at the "trial" scenes)

                                    Furthermore, there is the ambiguous relationship between messiahship and
                                    being "anointed," as already pointed out in this thread. Surely, the messiah
                                    was supposed to be anointed, but not everyone who was anointed was the
                                    messiah (some were kings, but in Hab. 3:13 it is the whole people who are
                                    anointed.) Furthermore, one could be anointed by oil, or one could be
                                    anointed by the Holy Spirit (or spirit of God). And, as has been pointed out,
                                    one could be anointed by the spirit of God (e.g., the prophets) without being
                                    the Messiah.

                                    So the constellation messiah+anointed+spirit was ambiguous and had numerous
                                    possible applications. Various members of the Jewish public, and the gospel
                                    writers, were sometimes guilty of the fallacy of affirming the consequent
                                    (e.g. The Messiah must be anointed, therefore someone who is anointed must be
                                    the Messiah).

                                    But the whole point of this thread was to what extent was *Jesus* aware of
                                    this, and to what extent did he accept it as a self-designation?

                                    I am toying with the idea that *Jesus himself* was ambivalent about this.
                                    That is (contrary to those who always assume I'm some sort of
                                    fundamentalist), I wonder if he thought maybe he was, but wasn't quite
                                    convinced-- all the way to Gethsemane and the Cross.

                                    Here's the mode of historical reasoning: If a particular role is
                                    controversially attributed to a historical figure, and if the external
                                    evidence (e.g., what people thought, documentary evidence, etc.) is
                                    ambiguous, then perhaps also the internal evidence (i.e., what the figure
                                    himself/herself thought) was probably also ambiguous.

                                    Sorry, but I've left out all the footnotes (don't have time to look them all
                                    up) except the Hab., and am relying mostly on memory, so if I am wrong about
                                    any of the above, please correct me.

                                    Bob
                                    nau.edu

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                                  • Mahlon H. Smith
                                    Lewis Reich wrote: On 3 Jun 99, at 13:34, Mahlon H. Smith wrote: Fact is, the principle of the Messiah that was prevalent back then in Galilee
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Jun 4, 1999
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                                      Lewis Reich wrote:
                                      >
                                      > On 3 Jun 99, at 13:34, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                                      >
                                      > > Fact is, the principle of the Messiah that was prevalent back then in
                                      > > Galilee and Judea was quite as politically and ethically fraught as the
                                      > > concept of the Fuhrerprinzip has been during our own lifetimes. One
                                      > > Messiah is worth a million murders.
                                      >

                                      Correction, Lewis. I did not "write" this. I was merely mechanically
                                      forwarding to list a note from Austin Meredith who has been temporarily
                                      silenced by a change in his school's e-mail policy.
                                      --

                                      *********************

                                      Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                                      Associate Professor
                                      Department of Religion
                                      Rutgers University
                                      New Brunswick NJ

                                      Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
                                      http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/

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                                    • Liz Fried
                                      Hello All, I ve been enjoying this thread on the Messianic consciousness of Jesus, but something has been nagging at me in the back of my mind. GMark makes
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Jun 4, 1999
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                                        Hello All,
                                        I've been enjoying this thread on the Messianic consciousness of Jesus, but
                                        something has been nagging at me in the back of my mind. GMark makes clear
                                        that the desciples did not understand who Jesus really was. Does that mean
                                        his true nature as Son of God, or could that refer to his nature as the
                                        Messiah? It seems to me that GMark is telling us that even the Messianic
                                        aspects of Jesus' personality did not become apparent until after the
                                        resurrection. I think this is the point of Frederickson's book _From Jesus
                                        to Christ_. If this is so, then aspects of his life which we think would
                                        have been interpreted by his desciples as Messianic, were likely read back
                                        into his life by the post-resurrection community.

                                        Liz

                                        Lisbeth S. Fried
                                        Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
                                        New York University
                                        51 Washington Sq. S.
                                        New York, NY 10012
                                        lqf9256@...
                                        lizfried@...


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                                      • Lewis Reich
                                        On 4 Jun 99, at 9:06, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:Lewis Reich wrote: On 3 Jun 99, at 13:34, Mahlon H. Smith wrote: Fact is, the principle of
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Jun 4, 1999
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                                          On 4 Jun 99, at 9:06, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:

                                          > Lewis Reich wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > > On 3 Jun 99, at 13:34, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > > > Fact is, the principle of the Messiah that was prevalent back then in
                                          > > > Galilee and Judea was quite as politically and ethically fraught as the
                                          > > > concept of the Fuhrerprinzip has been during our own lifetimes. One
                                          > > > Messiah is worth a million murders.
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          > Correction, Lewis. I did not "write" this. I was merely mechanically
                                          > forwarding to list a note from Austin Meredith who has been temporarily
                                          > silenced by a change in his school's e-mail policy.

                                          My apologies, Mahlon, for being careless with my"reply" attribution.

                                          Lewis Reich
                                          lbr@...

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