Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[Xtalk] Re: Parables & History

Expand Messages
  • odell mcguire
    BobSchacht@aol.com wrote:In a message dated 6/1/99 10:25:31 AM US Mountain Standard Time, phil@sedona.net writes: IMO it would be difficult
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 2, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      BobSchacht@... wrote:

      > In a message dated 6/1/99 10:25:31 AM US Mountain Standard Time,
      > phil@... writes:
      >
      > >
      > > IMO it would be difficult for a story teller to invent the hiring practice
      > > and consequent worker resentments unless he had himself stood in the labor
      > > pool hoping for employment. Did the HJ stand in line waiting for a job?
      > > How much of teaching ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels may actually have
      > been
      > > drwan from his own Human situation?
      > >
      >
      > Phil,
      > I don't agree on the difficulty of this. These kinds of labor pool scenes
      > were probably quite commonplace. And don't forget that Jesus spent a lot of
      > time in rural places. Besides, all it would take is overhearing someone
      > grousing about time & labor comparisons. This isn't rocket science. Only the
      > concluding zinger is different than expected.
      >
      > Bob

      I think you're both right--partly. History is not exact. Its staements are probable and tentative in light of current evidence. On the other
      hand, if we expect that evidence to reveal, however dimly, a real, flesh and blood Jesus, then evidence-based speculation about details of
      the kind given by Phil is vital to our effort. Crossan has already given us a picture of an itinerant, rural exorcist-cynic
      philosopher-wisdom teacher. And all Americans who have ever worked the apple camps or a wheat harvest know the general type. As Phil's
      instance and Bob's criticism both suggest, Jesus, or whoever originated the stories, knew a lot about farm labor, especially of the sort
      requiring extra hands--laying up in barns, threshing and winnowing, harvesting and trampling grapes, fig orchard thinning. Maybe he knew a
      little too much. If we are not going to believe in miraculous fish hauls, miraculous multiplication of loaves, or turning water into (good)
      wine then hadn't we better accept occasional farm labor as one of the important ways Jesus and his students supported themselves? The main
      alternatives, for a small group of itinerants, are begging and thievery. Jesus at times addressed his followers as PTWCHOI, which I translate
      as 'you beggars' (but more commonly rendered as 'you poor') but, I don't think he ever addressed them as thieves. I think Phil's argument has
      considerable appeal.

      Odell McGuire, Lexington, VA
      omcguire@...


      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail briefly describing your academic background & research interests to crosstalk2-subscribe@egroups.com
      To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to:
      crosstalk2-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      To contact list managers: e-mail us at crosstalk2-owner@egroups.com
    • Bernard Muller
      Philip B Lewis wrote: Question: is it possible to identify the HJ in parable contexts? I have in mind Matt.20.1-15, the Proprieter who hired workers
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 2, 1999
      • 0 Attachment
        Philip B Lewis wrote:
        >
        > Question: is it possible to identify the HJ in parable contexts?
        >
        > I have in mind Matt.20.1-15, the Proprieter who hired workers at several
        > hours of the day to work in his vineyard. My focus is on the "men for hire"
        > context. I note that the Jesus Seminar agreed that this parable could
        > probably be attributed to Jesus. It is often interpreted as descriptive of
        > the church's experience as it became increasingly Gentile.

        You are very right on "the church's experience", Philip.

        >
        > IMO it would be difficult for a story teller to invent the hiring practice

        Lining up or waiting for hire, in order to get seasonal farm work was
        probably practiced since the dawn of history. And very likely, all over
        the Roman empire in the 1st century. It's a fact of life: many pickers
        are required at certain time of the year (there are not enough full time
        farm hands to do that job) and poor people can make some money at it. I
        know: I did that myself. And I don't think city folks would be ignorant
        of that, then and now.

        > and consequent worker resentments unless he had himself stood in the labor
        > pool hoping for employment. Did the HJ stand in line waiting for a job?

        Very possible, but the parable does not prove anything. This waiting for
        a job has always been a well known common occurence.

        > How much of teaching ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels may actually have been
        > drwan from his own Human situation?

        I cannot believe that HJ had been exposed to a owner who paid the same
        wages for the ones hired early and the ones hired late. That's very
        irrealistic. The owner would have to be stupid and gone bankrupt very
        quickly with this practice. And comparing the Kingdom to an absurd and
        ridicule (made up) situation would have made HJ the subject of mockery
        or rejection.
        However, such a parable has a lot of merit about explaining to
        disgruntled long time Christians that the new converts are their equals
        regarding (future) rewards. And by now (around 90C.E.), as "told" by the
        Son of God and Christ, (and with God himself as the generous one),
        Christians were not about to criticize it!

        Bernard

        About parables:
        http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/appd.shtml

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail briefly describing your academic background & research interests to crosstalk2-subscribe@egroups.com
        To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to:
        crosstalk2-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        To contact list managers: e-mail us at crosstalk2-owner@egroups.com
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.