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

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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