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[Xtalk] Re: synedrion vs sanhedrin

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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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