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[XTalk] Re: Last Supper not Passover

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  • dhindley@compuserve.com
    ... -- ... from a ... seder ... plausible ... A good example of an early Christian interpretation of Jesus trial and crucifixion which does not contain any
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 26 10:31 AM
      "mahlon h. smith" <mahlonh.smit-@...> wrote:

      > Moreover, in the early church there was no liturgical indication that
      > J's last supper was a passover seder. Paul calls the crucified Christ
      > not his last meal -- the church's PASCA. Jeremias & other western
      > scholars have tried to demonstrate that the eucharist was derived
      from a
      > passover meal. But to do so they have to admit that the church even
      > before Paul did not preserve *any* element peculiar to the paschal
      > in its liturgy. All of which leads me to conclude that the Johannine
      > chronology of the last supper & crucifixion is not only "more
      > than that in the synoptics, it is the only chronology that makes any
      > historical sense.

      A good example of an early Christian interpretation of Jesus' trial and
      crucifixion which does not contain any Passover symbolism is the
      epistle of Barnabas:

      >How,then, ran the commandment [of Lev 16:5-28]? Give your attention.
      Take two goats of goodly aspect, and similar to each other, and offer
      them. And let the priest take one as a burnt-offering for sins.(16) And
      what should they do with the other? "Accursed," says He, "is the one."
      Mark how the type of Jesus now comes out. "And all of you spit upon it,
      and pierce it, and encircle its head with scarlet wool, and thus let it
      be driven into the wilderness." And when all this has been done, he who
      bears the goat brings it into the desert, and takes the wool off from
      it, and places that upon a shrub which is called Rachia, of which also
      we are accustomed to eat the fruits when we find them in the field. Of
      this kind of shrub alone the fruits are sweet. Why then, again, is
      this? Give good heed. [You see] "one upon the altar, and the other
      accursed;" and why [do you behold] the one that is accursed crowned?
      Because they shall see Him then in that day having a scarlet robe about
      his body down to his feet; and they shall say, Is not this He whom we
      once despised, and pierced, and mocked, and crucified? Truly this is He
      who then declared Himself to be the Son of God. For how like is He to
      Him! With a view to this, [He required] the goats to be of goodly
      aspect, and similar, that, when they see Him then coming, they may be
      amazed by the likeness of the goat. Behold, then,(23) the type of Jesus
      who was to suffer. But why is it that they place the wool in the midst
      of thorns? It is a type of Jesus set before the view of the Church.
      [They place the wool among thorns], that any one who wishes to bear it
      away may find it necessary to suffer much, because the thorn is
      formidable, and thus obtain it only as the result of suffering. Thus
      also, says He, "Those who wish to behold Me, and lay hold of My
      kingdom, must through tribulation and suffering obtain Me."(Chap VII)

      The context here is the Day of Atonement, not Passover, which
      correlates much better with the NT portrayal of Jesus as a propititory

      The lack of passover symbolism in relation to Jesus' death, in the
      epistles of Paul and elsewhere in early Christian literature, does make
      me suspect the historicity of the Passover setting within which the
      Gospels place his death. But where would the Passover imagry,
      specifically (and only) found in 1 Co. 5:7 and Heb. 11:28, have come
      from, if it was not based on a historical event?

      Rabbinic tradition may be of no help here, if R. T. Herford is correct
      in his suggestion that b. Sanh. 43a ("And it is tradition: On the Eve
      of Pesach they hung Jeshu"), and the other Rabbinic traditions that
      Jeshu was hanged" (such as Tosephta Sanh. 9:7), "is an inference from
      the fact that he was known [from Christian polemic?] to have been
      hung." (_Christianity in Talmud & Midrash_, New York:KTAV, 1975 [1903],
      pg 86)

      It appears to me that the rabbis generally considered Jesus (under the
      name Ban Stada) to have been stoned (Tosephta Sanh. 10:11; j. Sanh.
      7:16, 25; b. Sanh. 67a). I have not done so myself (yet), but I wonder
      if there are any in-depth studies concerning the importance of the
      Passover ritual to Gentiles associated with Judaism in this period?

      If some Gentiles expected an impending "Day of the LORD" to entail a
      radical change in world politics (and evidence for this idea, in Jewish
      and gentile circles, is laid out by E. Schurer in _The history of the
      Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ_, vol II, 1995 [rev 1979,
      original 1885] sect 29, pp 492-546), and feared what their fate might
      be in such an event, then I might expect to find some sort of tradition
      among associated Gentiles in which the angel of the LORD passes over
      them as he did the Hebrews in Egypt of Moses' time. This is, exactly,
      the sentiment of Heb. 11:28, so I ask, is it known outside of the NT?


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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