Re: [XTalk] The significance of a three year ministry
- At 01:25 PM 9/25/00 +0200, Daniel Grolin wrote:
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?...
So my question is: If Jesus was primarily an oracle prophet, what was he
doing in his three year ministry?
First off, I would have difficulty with any attempt to reduce the essence of Jesus' ministry to a simple formula. But to address your specific concerns, it strikes me that your question makes the assumption that Jesus was not just primarily an oracle prophet, but only an oracle prophet-- i.e., you are assuming that the only reason Jesus had for visiting Jerusalem was to deliver his oracle, and that nothing else he was doing or wanted to do could mute that message. I also possibly detect an underlying assumption that Jesus was omniscient-- that he already knew everything he wanted or needed to know at the time of his first visit. Now, this at least is consistent with the Johannine Jesus-- so that the problem, in a sense, is a problem of "John's" literary style rather than a historical problem. But putting the omniscient Johannine Jesus aside for a moment, one might understand Jesus' earlier trips to Jerusalem as scouting expeditions, or as attempts to deliver his gospel, and that only after it had been rejected several times does he shift tactics. I'm not attempting to depict historical certainties, but rather an alternative plausible scenario, which it seems to me is what you were asking for.