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Re: "totally innocent of any violation of Torah"?

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... 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
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 29, 2000
      At 06:28 AM 7/29/00 -0400, RSBrenchley@... wrote:
      Mahlon writes:

      <<  until very recently practically all latter day interest in James has
      been generated by Christian writers because of his kinship to Jesus whom
      (as virtually all the textual evidence proves) early Christians were
      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.,
      John 8:7: 
      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."

      Matthew 23,
       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 camel!
       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.


      Bob

      Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
      Northern Arizona University
      Flagstaff, AZ
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