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Re: [XTalk] The Rule that is "at hand"

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  • Ted Weeden
    Dear Brian, ... of ... the ... its ... the ... already ... persisting ... of ... My response: Does kingdom conjure up significanlly less images of oppression
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 3, 2000
      Dear Brian,

      You wrote:
      > For Mark---Galilee is the new promised land of God, where Jesus makes the
      > "Empire (as BASILEIA probably should be translated) of God" (vs the Roman
      > Empire) a reality in his ministry.
      > I winced when I first noted that the JS was translating not only the
      > BASILEIA of the gospels, but also the MALKUT (or whatever the Aramaic is)
      > Jesus by 'imperial rule'. In the context of any empire, but especially
      > Roman Empire, don't 'imperial' and 'empire' connote raw, brute power and
      > correlatives, oppression and exploitation? The very opposite of rule for
      > benefit of the most needy?
      > This seems to be at the opposite extreme of the semantic field of the term
      > from what Jesus sought to evoke in his use of it in his teaching, where
      > God's rule is already a reality (or, where God as righteous ruler is
      > present and active with his people, especially the needy and downtrodden,
      > inspiring them to forgive one another
      > and to create community and co-operation among themselves) under
      > Roman overlordship.
      > Given that in conventional 'apocalyptic' thought there is a central place
      > for the exercise of God's raw power, but for the benefit of the
      > oppressed--or at least, for that portion of them that belongs to, or
      > constitutes, God's people--could we perhaps say that while 'Empire' is a
      > very inappropriate translation of Jesus' MALKUT, it is a good translation
      > Mark's BASILEIA?

      My response:

      Does "kingdom" conjure up significanlly less images of oppression of the
      poor, maligned and dispossesed? Was the oppression of the oppressed by the
      Romans substantially different from the oppressive reign of Solomon or the
      dynasties of the northern and southern kingdoms? And what social construct,
      other than that which the people knew well, could Jesus have chosen to
      communicate the meaning and reality of the reign of God? I think he chose
      "kingdom" because people knew what a kingdom was. But Jesus completely
      redefined what he meant by the term "kingdom" with respect to God. It was a
      "kingdom" of a radical different order and structure, as proclaimed in his
      teaching and demonstrated in his eqalitarian ministry and championing of the
      justice for the oppressed, etc.

    • Brooks, George X
      ... The Dead Sea Scrolls might have a clue as to why the N.T. emphasis on the term Kingdom . In the DSS we encounter the phrase Community of God or Yahad
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 4, 2000
        Brian McCarthy writes:
        > Given the 'constraints of occasional communication' under which Jesus
        > worked, I don't think he could have used the term 'malkut', or whatever
        > the
        > Aramaic is, if it had been defined [italics!] as Empire--oppressive
        > exercise
        > of brute power--for the general run of Galileans, and been in need of
        > being
        > "completely redefined" to match Jesus' message.
        The Dead Sea Scrolls might have a clue as to why the N.T. emphasis on the
        term "Kingdom". In the DSS we encounter the phrase "Community of God"
        or "Yahad of God". And this community was managed by a "democracy" of
        sorts. This would be a primitive kind of democracy, in some ways similar to
        the primitive nature of democracy in early America. Before the present age,
        Americans elected Congressmen, and Presidential Electors. The Congressmen
        would elect the Senators for their State, and the Presidential Electors
        would elect
        the President of the Nation. Not very democratic by today's standards, but
        a democracy of one form or another to be sure (considering the alternatives
        in even the late 1700's).

        In the DSS communities, there were whole assemblies that made legislative
        and judicial decisions. While obviously there were leaders who had their
        share of autocratic powers, there was obviously no "King" within the
        community, and there was a strong "commune" ethic.

        What if Jesus, who may or may not have been influenced by the "ethics"
        of the DSS community (or communities), was not looking to create a
        "Community" of peers.... what if he felt that sometimes the "democratic"
        process was too crude or too subject to the whims of "flesh"? What if
        he consciously began to design his "commune" movement to take
        advantage of one of his family's most important attritubutes?: their
        or his descent from the King of David?

        The DSS communities might seek a "**COMMUNITY** of God" but Jesus
        would build a "**KING**dom of God" - - under his authority, with assistance
        from the 12 episcopates/officers, and leaders elected locally (as in most
        ancient municipalities) within his Kingdom. Only with the firm and
        beneficent hand of a King of David, would the chaos of
        human society finally achieve its full measure.

        Just a thought....

        George Brooks
        Tampa, FL
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