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[Xtalk] Re: Messianic Consciousness (was: synedrion vs sanhedrin)

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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 1 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
      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 2 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
        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 3 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
          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 4 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
            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 5 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
              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 6 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
                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 7 of 19 , Jun 3, 1999
                  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 8 of 19 , Jun 4, 1999
                    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 9 of 19 , Jun 4, 1999
                      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 10 of 19 , Jun 4, 1999
                        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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