The significance of a three year ministry
- Dear X-Talkers,
Last Thursday I argued (and no one objected) that Jesus' ministry went on
for three years, or that at least Jesus was in Jerusalem three times
during his ministry.
Now at the methodology seminar Crossan, wrote something to the effect that
he wasn't sure whether it was one or three years, nor did he find it to be
a significant issue. I can understand that from Crossan's perspective it
may not be that important, however, if we look at Sanders HJ doesn't two
uneventful trips to Jerusalem represent a problem? If we assume that the
main point of Jesus' message was the apocalyptic end of the temple, why
should Jesus wait until the third time in Jerusalem to proclaim it? Wasn't
Jesus then waisting his time in between those three visits?
Horsley and Hanson (sorry I don't have the volume at hand) mention one
oracle prophet who came to Jerusalem to prophecy its doom. He was
punished, but stayed and continued to pronounce Jerusalems doom until it
So my question is: If Jesus was primarily an oracle prophet, what was he
doing in his three year ministry?
[For those who wish to reread my argument for a three year ministry see
On Thu, 14 Sep 2000, Daniel Grolin wrote:
> Another issue is the number of times Jesus went to
> Jerusalem (or how many years his ministry was).
> According to the Synoptics this only happened once and
> according to John it happened thrice. Neither have
> independent tradition supporting their version of things,
> unless. Unless we read the parable in Luke 13:6ff to
> support the Johannine version. This parable is, IMO,
> related to the parable behind the miracle story of the
> cursing of the fig-tree. This same miracle represents a sort
> of symbolic enactment of the condemnation of the Temple
> in Jerusalem. Here the parable says that the "man" came in
> three consecutive years to look for figs on the tree. In view
> of this double tradition is it not more plausible to regard the
> Markan chronology as a literary device and Johannine
> version as based on a vaguely remembered historical fact.