At 06:28 AM 7/29/00 -0400, RSBrenchley@... wrote:
<< until very recently practically all latter day interest in
been generated by Christian writers because of his kinship to Jesus
(as virtually all the textual evidence proves) early Christians
convinced was totally innocent of any violation of Torah even in
situations where his *halakah* deviated dramatically from that of
Pharisees & other Jews; >>
.... But what does it mean to be 'totally innocent of
any violation of Torah'? Surely this would depend on the position of the
observer. In something so diverse as Second Temple Judaism, it is
difficult to find absolutes; what one can say is that 'normativeness'
depend on power. ...
This is an excellent question. I think the debates in the Gospels between
Jesus and the Pharisees provide some hints that it was becoming
increasingly difficult to find *anyone* who was "totally innocent of
any violation of Torah," e.g.,
When they kept on questioning him, he
straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is
without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you
tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier
matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to
have practiced without neglecting the others.
24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a
25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you
clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full
of greed and self-indulgence.
26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that
the outside also may become clean.
In short, if a first century Jew had a mind to do it, he could probably
catch just about anyone in some violation of the Torah. But perhaps
Mahlon is just exercising a little rhetorical excess here.
Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
Northern Arizona University