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[Xtalk] Re: Messianic Consciousness

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  • ron.price@virgin.net
    Mark Goodacre argues that Jesus was a healer and was therefore likely to have thought of himself as the Messiah. On the first point I doubt whether the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 3, 1999
      Mark Goodacre argues that Jesus was a healer and was therefore likely to have thought of himself as the Messiah.
      On the first point I doubt whether the historical Jesus was a healer, and in this I am following J.K.Elliott in his excellent little book "Questioning Christian Origins", p.47. The healing stories were created by Jesus' followers because they thought that the Messiah & Son of God must have done such things.
      On Jesus' view of his own mission: of course Jesus came to believe that he was the Messiah towards the end of his ministry. That's why the Romans had him crucified, because he posed a threat to peace. In the entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-10), Jesus was acting out the prophecy of Zech. 9:9 and thus claiming to be the Messiah to those who understood the scriptures. Mark's story of an anointing (14:3-9) is a distorted record of a real event in which Jesus was openly proclaimed as Messiah. In Paul and Mark, CRISTOS was already in the process of being relegated to the status of a surname, partly in order not to bring too much attention to the political connotations associated with this title.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, UK


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    • Mark Goodacre
      On 3 Jun 99 at 15:45, Stevan Davies wrote:Gee. I was not aware that healing activity was connected with messiah. I thought a messiah was a ruler
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 4, 1999
        On 3 Jun 99 at 15:45, Stevan Davies wrote:

        > Gee. I was not aware that "healing activity" was connected with
        > "messiah." I thought a messiah was a ruler who would free Judea from
        > foreign control and set up a perfect law abiding state. Messiah =
        > physician is a new one to me.

        This is why one has to read the Scriptures that the early Christians say
        defined their view of what Jesus' messiahship was about. And one of the ones
        that they say is key is Isa. 61. After all, what is the scriptural evidence
        for a messiah as "a ruler who would free Judea from foreign control and set up
        a perfect law abiding state"? Luke for one made the Messiah = Physician link,
        e.g. in the pericope we have mentioned, 4.16-30, beginning with "the Spirit of
        the Lord has anointed me" and going on later with, among other things
        "Physician, heal thyself".

        Consider also what Jesus' opponents are depicted as saying in Mark, especially
        bearing in mind Sanders's criterion of "views common to friend and foe". There
        is a juxtaposition here between healing / saving activity and being Christ.

        "He saved (healed) others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of
        Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe" (Mark
        15.31f).

        > Gosh. Doubtless, as in every society ever, there were medical
        > professionals of various sorts going around healing folks. Perhaps
        > all were thought to be anointed by God to do so, although this seems rather
        > dubious. There were magician healers, and professional exorcists, and
        > presumably herbal healers and who knows what all else.
        >
        > So I don't think "he heals therefore he was anointed by God" follows.
        > Nor does, for that matter, "he was anointed by God and therefore he
        > heals" necessarily follow.

        Agreed, but let's say that Jesus' healing ability is actually somewhat more
        successful than that of many of his contemporaries and that in addition he is
        thought to to be (a) saying things about the poor, destitute etc. and (b)
        healing / preaching as a spirit-possessed man, then one would have to be dense
        not to say "Hmm, I wonder about Isaiah 61 and the like".

        > And yet, I agree with you. As you know, I'd put together a theory
        > about Jesus focusing on him as a spirit-possessed healer or, if one
        > prefers, a healer who had received the spirit of God (same thing).
        > Thus he was a particular kind of healer, one who embodied the Spirit
        > of God and thereby healed. And also a prophet... which ties in
        > with Isaiah 61.
        >
        > This made NO sense out of the term "messiah" to me but I was
        > prepared to argue that if he was thought Messiah then it had to have
        > some meaning relating to "received the spirit." After that, to my
        > delight, I came upon the verses you refer to and discovered that
        > Luke, at least, seems certainly to have thought "anointed by the
        > Spirit" was the kind of anointing Jesus the Christ was anointed
        > with. I'm always greatly reassured to find that somebody or other
        > in the NT thinks along my own lines (and am deeply disturbed by HJ
        > theories that are foreign to all NT thinkers, e.g. cynic Jesus). I also found
        > that 1 John 3:24-4:3, 5:6 and 2:24-27 seem to go together in a way that
        > indicates that "receive spirit" and "be anointed" are the same thing and so
        > the spirit and anointing are not conjoined only in the mind of Luke.

        The good news (sic) is that it seems also to have occurred to Matthew and
        perhaps even his source(s). Look again at Matt. 11.2-6:

        "Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Anointed One (cf. Isa.
        61.1), he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to
        come (cf. Isa. 35.4, "He will come and save us"), 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 (Isa. 35.5-6, 42.18) and the dead are raised up, and the poor have
        good news preached to them (Isa. 61.1). And blessed is he who takes no offense
        at me."

        At the very least we have here a clear allusion to Isa. 61.1 ("the poor are
        evangelised") in a passage in which Matthew mentions both "Christ" and "coming
        one". In Isaiah 35.4, the one who comes will heal (save), and some of his
        healing activity is specified in Isa. 35.5-6. These verses are clearly in view
        here in relation to the healing activity of Jesus, in answer to a question
        about anointing / coming.

        > So I'd say, and this seems to be what you're saying, that IF Jesus
        > was thought to be anointed during his lifetime he was thought to be
        > anointed with the spirit in tune with Isaiah 61.

        I think that this is quite possible, even likely. Put it this way: IF Jesus
        was thought to be a successful healer (agreed by nearly all now) and IF he was
        also known to have preached a gospel to poor, destitute, lowly (agreed by
        nearly all, and a special favourite with scholars like Crossan), then what was
        to stop people even during his ministry making the link with texts like Isaiah
        61?

        But is this Anointed -- healing connection only made in Matthew and Luke? Well,
        surely one has to ask what it is about what Jesus has done in Mark 1-8 that is
        supposed to have made Simon Peter think that Jesus was "the Anointed"? 90 per
        cent of the time Jesus has been healing people (and the rest of the time he
        seems to have been evangelising the destitute). Mark's Gospel does not make
        sense unless there is some connection between healing and being anointed by
        God. And the fact that Mark in 9-16 seems to be working so hard to correct /
        supplement / criticise this picture by insisting on suffering + anointing
        suggests to me that the Mark 1-8 picture of a healing messiah was a common one
        among early Christians.
        >
        > It's not too hard to fathom how a person thought to be God's anointed
        > in this sense could, later on, have been confused with God's anointed
        > in the usual divine-king sense especially since KofG was a main
        > rhetorical favorite of his.

        Indeed, especially if that Anointed one was also known to keep talking about
        God's kingdom. A kingdom needs a king and, for Mark at least, this was King
        Jesus, crowned in the Passion.

        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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      • Antonio Jerez
        Mark Goodacre wrote:On 3 Jun 99 at 15:45, Stevan Davies wrote: Gee. I was not aware that healing activity was connected with messiah. I
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 5, 1999
          Mark Goodacre wrote:

          > On 3 Jun 99 at 15:45, Stevan Davies wrote:
          >
          > > Gee. I was not aware that "healing activity" was connected with
          > > "messiah." I thought a messiah was a ruler who would free Judea from
          > > foreign control and set up a perfect law abiding state. Messiah =
          > > physician is a new one to me.

          > This is why one has to read the Scriptures that the early Christians say
          > defined their view of what Jesus' messiahship was about. And one of the ones
          > that they say is key is Isa. 61. After all, what is the scriptural evidence
          > for a messiah as "a ruler who would free Judea from foreign control and set up
          > a perfect law abiding state"? Luke for one made the Messiah = Physician link,
          > e.g. in the pericope we have mentioned, 4.16-30, beginning with "the Spirit of
          > the Lord has anointed me" and going on later with, among other things
          > "Physician, heal thyself".

          Maybe I can fill in with a little information that does seem to indicate
          that there was an idea in certain Jewish circles that the Messiah or an
          eschatological prophet was
          to be connected with healing activities. I took a look in John J. Collins
          book "The scepter and the Star" and found some really interesting things.
          Of special interest is a fragment from one of the Qumran scrolls, 4Q521
          fragment 2ii. This is part of the text:
          "...heaven and earth will obey his Messiah. And all that is in them will
          not turn away from the commandments of the holy ones. You who seek
          the Lord, strengthen yourselves in his service. Is it not in this that you
          will find the Lord, all who hope in their hearts. For the Lord will seek
          out the pious and call the righteous by name and his spirit will hover
          over the poor and he will renew the faithful by his might. For he will
          glorify the pious on the throne of an eternal kingdom, releasing
          captives, giving sight to the blind and raising up those who are bowed
          down...(12) for he will heal the wounded, give life to the dead and preach
          good news to the poor..."

          According to Collins verse 12 probably refers to an anointed eschatological
          prophet in the Elijah mould who will proclaim the good news and do miracles
          in the name of the Lord. Collins also supports his case on texts like 11Q
          Melchizedek and 4Q521 iii (page 117-121).

          The closest parallel in other "Jewish" literature to 4Q521 can actually
          be found in the NT. A verse attributed to Q in Matt 11:2-5/Luke 7:22
          reads: "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their
          sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead
          are raised and the poor have good news brought to them".

          Both Q 7:22 and 4Q521ii(verse 12) are clearly based on Isaiah 61.
          But whereas Isaiah 61:1 does not talk about the raising of the dead
          both the NT text and the Qumran fragment mention it. This is intriguing.
          As Collins writes:
          "This can hardly be coincidental. It is quite possible that the author
          of the Sayings Sources knew 4Q521; at least he drew on the common
          tradition".

          Best wishes

          Antonio Jerez






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        • BobSchacht@aol.com
          In a message dated 6/5/99 2:04:28 PM US Mountain Standard Time, antonio.jerez@privat.utfors.se writes:Mark Goodacre wrote: [Davies quote omitted]
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 5, 1999
            In a message dated 6/5/99 2:04:28 PM US Mountain Standard Time,
            antonio.jerez@... writes:

            > Mark Goodacre wrote:
            [Davies quote omitted]

            > > This is why one has to read the Scriptures that the early Christians say
            > > defined their view of what Jesus' messiahship was about. And one of the
            > ones
            > > that they say is key is Isa. 61. After all, what is the scriptural
            > evidence
            > > for a messiah as "a ruler who would free Judea from foreign control and
            > set up
            > > a perfect law abiding state"? Luke for one made the Messiah = Physician
            > link,
            > > e.g. in the pericope we have mentioned, 4.16-30, beginning with "the
            > Spirit of
            > > the Lord has anointed me" and going on later with, among other things
            > > "Physician, heal thyself".
            >

            Antonio:
            > Maybe I can fill in with a little information that does seem to indicate
            > that there was an idea in certain Jewish circles that the Messiah or an
            > eschatological prophet was
            > to be connected with healing activities. I took a look in John J. Collins
            > book "The scepter and the Star" and found some really interesting things.
            > Of special interest is a fragment from one of the Qumran scrolls, 4Q521
            > fragment 2ii. This is part of the text:
            > "...heaven and earth will obey his Messiah. And all that is in them will
            > not turn away from the commandments of the holy ones. You who seek
            > the Lord, strengthen yourselves in his service. Is it not in this that you
            > will find the Lord, all who hope in their hearts. For the Lord will seek
            > out the pious and call the righteous by name and his spirit will hover
            > over the poor and he will renew the faithful by his might. For he will
            > glorify the pious on the throne of an eternal kingdom, releasing
            > captives, giving sight to the blind and raising up those who are bowed
            > down...(12) for he will heal the wounded, give life to the dead and preach
            > good news to the poor..."

            This text provides an interesting example of creative borrowing and merging
            several strands of Isaiah, as it paraphrases not only Isaiah 61 but also
            Isaiah 49 (calling the righteous by name).

            There are also other bridging characteristics in this text mediating between
            Tanakh and N.T.: Whereas the Tanakh usually emphasized collective salvation,
            redemption, etc., this text like NT texts gathers a few strands of the older
            scriptures, mostly intended to apply to kings, prophets or future messiahs
            and personalizes them-- so that redemption, salvation, calling (by name),
            etc. are taken more to apply to individuals rather than collectives. These
            messianic passages are taken in the first century first with the messiah in
            mind, but also increasingly to apply to a growing concept of individual
            salvation/redemption.

            This is indeed an interesting text. Thanks for pointing it out.

            Bob
            nau.edu

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          • Mahlon H. Smith
            Antonio Jerez summarized John Collins: Both Q 7:22 and 4Q521ii(verse 12) are clearly based on Isaiah 61. But whereas Isaiah 61:1 does not talk about
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 7, 1999
              Antonio Jerez summarized John Collins:

              >
              > Both Q 7:22 and 4Q521ii(verse 12) are clearly based on Isaiah 61.
              > But whereas Isaiah 61:1 does not talk about the raising of the dead
              > both the NT text and the Qumran fragment mention it. This is intriguing.
              > As Collins writes:
              > "This can hardly be coincidental. It is quite possible that the author
              > of the Sayings Sources knew 4Q521; at least he drew on the common
              > tradition".
              >

              Thanks for the summary Antonio. This parallel deserves to be noted. And
              your cautious assessment is commendable. But certain things need to be
              clarified before jumping to conclusions about expectations even in
              limited Jewish circles that the "Messiah" or "eschatological prophet"
              would be "connected with healing activities" in general.

              1. 4Q521 is only a fragment (that I don't have ready-to-hand). How much
              of the rather long translation that you cited is actually based on
              extant characters in the ms. & how much is conjectural reconstruction?
              After all every scholarly reconstruction of a damaged text can be upheld
              [witness O'Callaghan's identification of 7Q fragments as NT texts]. I've
              worked with 11Q Melch & know that its POSSIBLE allusions to Isa 61 are
              highly conjectural (including the one that I myself proposed). Cf. IHO
              #246 URL:

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

              2. Q 7:22 does not identify the agent of the deeds cited as either a
              Messiah or a prophet. Rather when JB asks if J is "hO ERCOMENOS," he is
              given a list of things that JB's disciples have "heard & seen" without
              explicit claim that J is the one who did these things. In other words,
              these are presented as characterizations of the era rather than as
              evidence that J himself qualifies to be Messiah or eschatological
              prophet. What is important is that these things were happening, not the
              identity of the agent. So it is premature to conclude that Q 7:22 is a
              list based on any "common [Jewish] tradition" about messianic
              credentials. Thus, the catalog of events in Q 7:22 can hardly be taken
              as evidence that J's personal agenda was consciously "messianic."

              3. The lists in 4Q521 & Q 7:22 have overlapping elements but are not
              identical. The DSS fails to mention the healing of the lame or the cure
              of lepers. Q 7:22 does not mention the enthronement of the pious, the
              healing of "the wounded" or the release of captives (the last of which
              is cited in Isa 61 & Luke 4:18). So it is improbable, as Collins claims,
              that "the author of the Sayings Sources knew 4Q521; at least he drew on
              the common tradition." The "common" elements in these texts are (a) the
              blind seeing & (b)the restoration of the dead--which are signs of the
              ideal era in many Jewish texts. Neither is presented in a way that would
              allow one to infer that 4Q521 & q 7:22 share a common textual source
              other than the allusion to the "proclaming good news to the poor"--which
              is ultimately traceable to Isa 61.

              I would conclude from this that the significance of 4Q521 is more
              indirect. Since those Jews that knew & valued this text would be
              inclined to interpret healing, etc. as messianic signs, it MAY help
              explain the reference to J as "son of David" in a healing pericope like
              blind Bartimaeus set at Jericho, less than 8 miles from the cave where
              this DSS was found. But that too is only conjecture.

              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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            • Mahlon H. Smith
              I left an important qualifier out of my reply to Antonio s post. Correction in caps:After all NOT every scholarly reconstruction of a damaged text can be
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 7, 1999
                I left an important qualifier out of my reply to Antonio's post.
                Correction in caps:


                > After all NOT every scholarly reconstruction of a damaged text can be upheld

                Blame it on scholarly fatique, Mark.

                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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