Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Healing Stories

Expand Messages
  • Gordon Raynal
    Sukie, Daniel and all interested, I am new to the group (Sukie and I are pals from past Westar and SBL associations) and have not read the backlog of writings,
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 2, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Sukie, Daniel and all interested,

      I am new to the group (Sukie and I are pals from past Westar and SBL
      associations) and have not read the backlog of writings, so pardon me if
      this is covering ground others have covered (Sukie won't be surprised to
      hear me speak about this issue differently). But FWIW I don't think
      that the healing stories of Jesus are "historical" (that is either
      describing specific events in the life of HJ or are typological
      summaries of "events" done by him). Having had several lovely
      conversations with Dom Crossan about this I understand where he is
      coming from in his study of healing in cross cultural anthropology and
      his application of this to his double edge reading of the open
      commensality/ free eating "mission/ program" of Jesus and friends.
      But... I see this whole issue another way. Briefly... 1.) I think the
      distinction that is drawn between "nature wonders" and "healing wonders"
      is a false distinction as regards historicity. The roots of both of
      these kind of "wonder" stories is surely in the "fulfillment of
      Scripture" and in the art of midrash. In a word... the Gospel writers
      went to the Hebrew Scriptures... both to specific texts and to Biblical
      imagery and metaphors... to create the narrative framework to speak of
      Jesus as the embodiment of God's rule (the parabler become THE PARABLE).
      As surely as "walking on water" is founded in a midrash of Jesus moving
      over the primeval chaos of waters from Genesis 1, so Jesus "healing
      diseases" is founded in such the affirmations that God "heals all your
      diseases" (Psalm 103:3). 2.) As far as the narrative construction... the
      Elijah and Elisha stories are very important as Gospel background. As
      the prototypical prophets these men "announce" and do symbolic acts of
      God's redemptive work which include healing/ restorative works and
      providence of food. Notably in the transfiguration and in the questions
      about "who is this fellow," Elijah returned is key to the narrative
      development. 3.) To the positive, I think Jesus and friends effected a
      network of houses/ communities that were empowered to share resources,
      compassion and reconciliation. The effects of this were "healing" (to
      all manner of conditions) and in retrospect and in light of the above
      midrash about the Way of God's reign, this led to this form of narrative
      construction and laudation of Jesus.

      Again, pardon if this point of view has been well described before. But
      I think this material, too, represents VERY IMPORTANT midrash, not
      history. It's effect is to indeed describe the impact of "the ministry
      of reconciliation" (to borrow Paul's words). The effects of this were
      powerful in all manner of ways. Such as exorcisms and healing stories
      dramatize this and in storied form nicely describe the power of the
      social and person work of reconciliation in the world.

      Well... FWIW... another way to think about this material.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
    • Bob Schacht
      ... Welcome! ... Do you have any evidence for this opinion? The Jesus Seminar, in The Acts of Jesus, disagrees with you. For example, on page 59: The evidence
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 3, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        At 06:48 AM 2/2/01 -0500, Gordon Raynal wrote:
        >Sukie, Daniel and all interested,
        >I am new to the group (Sukie and I are pals from past Westar and SBL
        >associations)

        Welcome!

        >... But FWIW I don't think that the healing stories of Jesus are
        >"historical" (that is either describing specific events in the life of HJ
        >or are typological summaries of "events" done by him).

        Do you have any evidence for this opinion? The Jesus Seminar, in The Acts
        of Jesus, disagrees with you. For example, on page 59:
        "The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was regarded as a healer during
        his public career."
        And on page 171, with bullets printed in red (meaning fairly certain
        historicity):
        * Jesus cured some sick people
        * Jesus drove out what were thought to be demons
        >... I see this whole issue another way. Briefly... 1.) I think the
        >distinction that is drawn between "nature wonders" and "healing wonders"
        >is a false distinction as regards historicity. The roots of both of
        >these kind of "wonder" stories is surely in the "fulfillment of
        >Scripture" and in the art of midrash. In a word... the Gospel writers
        >went to the Hebrew Scriptures... both to specific texts and to Biblical
        >imagery and metaphors... to create the narrative framework to speak of
        >Jesus as the embodiment of God's rule (the parabler become THE PARABLE).

        Your "Fulfillment of Scripture" theory is similar to Crossan's "Prophecy
        historicized" argument. I am certainly willing to consider that *some* of
        the healing stories were created on this basis, but I am not willing to
        paint them all with this same brush without much more work. For this to be
        a real theory, and not just an ad hoc opinion imposed on the texts, it
        needs more than you have provided. [I pressed Crossan on this point, too,
        in our "HJMethodology" seminar with him last year, without getting a
        satisfactory response.] For example,
        1. How do we know which Scriptures get fulfilled and which don't?
        2. What is it that triggers a "scripture fulfillment" response?
        3. How can we tell the difference between a non-historical literary
        invention based on scripture fulfillment from a historical incident that
        resembles an incident in prior scripture?

        I'll stop here for an aside: It is completely unacceptable methodology,
        IMHO, to *assume* a priori that every incident presented as scripture
        fulfillment is ipso facto *merely* a literary invention copying from the
        scriptural model. Your opening sentences seem to suggest such a blanket
        conclusion.
        The scriptural fulfillment motif actually as two subclasses: Those
        incidents made out of scriptural cloth to prove a point, and those
        *historical* incidents that were *interpreted* in the light of scriptural
        precedent. Both are reasonable, and we need a way of telling one from the
        other.

        >As surely as "walking on water" is founded in a midrash of Jesus moving
        >over the primeval chaos of waters from Genesis 1, so Jesus "healing
        >diseases" is founded in such the affirmations that God "heals all your
        >diseases" (Psalm 103:3). 2.)

        I am less comfortable than you are with such sweeping generalizations. I
        certainly disagree with "As surely as..."

        > As far as the narrative construction... the Elijah and Elisha stories
        > are very important as Gospel background. As the prototypical prophets
        > these men "announce" and do symbolic acts of God's redemptive work which
        > include healing/ restorative works and providence of food.

        Important? Perhaps. But again I resist the sweeping implication that
        "therefore" every reported act of healing is "merely" a non-historical
        invocation of the Elijah/Elisha stories.
        To be convinced, I would need to see you actually engage in a textual
        analysis of a pericope that you feel was based on Elijah/Elisha, showing
        the tell-tale marks of borrowing so that we can be sure that the author
        actually had Elijah/Elisha in mind in the telling of that particular story.
        Can you do that?

        >... 3.) To the positive, I think Jesus and friends effected a
        >network of houses/ communities that were empowered to share resources,
        >compassion and reconciliation. The effects of this were "healing" (to
        >all manner of conditions) and in retrospect and in light of the above
        >midrash about the Way of God's reign, this led to this form of narrative
        >construction and laudation of Jesus.
        >
        >Again, pardon if this point of view has been well described before. But
        >I think this material, too, represents VERY IMPORTANT midrash, not
        >history. It's effect is to indeed describe the impact of "the ministry
        >of reconciliation" (to borrow Paul's words). The effects of this were
        >powerful in all manner of ways. Such as exorcisms and healing stories
        >dramatize this and in storied form nicely describe the power of the
        >social and person work of reconciliation in the world.

        This post is an interesting start, but I'd like to see you get beyond the
        opinions, the sweeping generalizations, and the vague references to a Psalm
        and the Elijah/Elisha stories to support your claim that the healing
        stories are *only* midrash without any historical basis.

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


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Gordon Raynal
        Bob, Thank you for the welcome. As a brief response before I go off to fulfill my Sunday duties (I am a PCUSA minister) let me just make a few remarks: 1. I
        Message 3 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Bob,

          Thank you for the welcome. As a brief response before I go off to
          fulfill my Sunday duties (I am a PCUSA minister) let me just make a few remarks:

          1. I am aware of the J.S. consensus on this. One of the Fellows, Hal
          Taussig, has a nice little counter response in his book on Jesus'
          prayers (sorry the book is at the office, so I forget the exact title).
          I describe "the mission" a little differently than Hal does and don't
          agree with some of his speculations, but that book presents a compact
          portrait of wisdom teacher Jesus "in action."

          2. The purpose of this note, of course, was to broadly sketch out an
          alternative way to look at this material. As you note, a case by case
          study, would fill this in. But herein let me again say that I think
          that the distinction that the JS and such as Dom in particular used to
          differentiate between nature wonders and healing wonders is an odd
          distinction I just don't accept. That the reconciliation movement had
          "healing effects" (both in terms of the houses, communities,
          relationships and in terms of individual lives), yes. But in the
          narratives of both nature wonders and healing wonders Jesus is not
          presented differently. In both cases he is accessing Divine Power as
          the Divine Son. Here both John and Acts actually help us out. In John
          all these works are "Signs." In Acts the disciples access this power
          only after the Spirit is given. I think searching out the healing
          wonders for "the science of it" so to speak is equivalent to searching
          out Jesus walking on water asking after possible methodology:)!
          Again... these stories represent DRAMATIC metaphoric representation of
          what Jesus had empowered... a community of reconciliation (again
          borrowing from Paul) and Jesus, hailed as THE CHRIST, makes the
          evidences of that come alive.

          3. We can go through some stories if you like. But just a in
          overview... "the raising" stories are examples of direct midrash of what
          Elijah did. I would suggest that "the blindness stories" serve the
          function of showing fulfillment of the Isaianic prophecy (per the LXX)
          about "the blind receive their sight." As for the exorcism stories...
          these are power contests that allude to the official establishment and
          especially in the case of the Gerasene demoniac to "the Legions" (aka
          Roman presence). In like fashion the leprosy stories are parabolic in
          reference to purity issues. My point is that there is DIRECT MIDRASH as
          in the case of "the raising stories," there is "fulfillment of Prophetic
          Scripture" as in the case of "the blind receive their sight," and there
          are general fulfillment stories working out of such affirmation as Psalm
          103:3 that "bring the contest" (per such as Psalm 2, 76) between the
          Lord's anointed and the political and religious powers into focus (and
          we KNOW who wins!). In sum... these ARE WONDER STORIES... and their
          intent is fully theological in affirmation of who Jesus was/ is... and
          their impact is to show the alternative WAY of the "ministry of
          reconciliation" now broadly alive because Jesus is indeed "the one in
          whom God is well pleased."

          Lastly... this isn't historical remembrance turned to made more special
          by turning it to myth. This is the direct art of midrash for the
          purposes of theological and ethical affirmation, celebration and reflection.

          So, that is a bit more. If you'd like to go over some stories in
          detail, perhaps we can do that off-line.

          Perhaps this clarifies the stance a bit.

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC

          Bob Schacht wrote:
          >
          > At 06:48 AM 2/2/01 -0500, Gordon Raynal wrote:
          > >Sukie, Daniel and all interested,
          > >I am new to the group (Sukie and I are pals from past Westar and SBL
          > >associations)
          >
          > Welcome!
          >
          > >... But FWIW I don't think that the healing stories of Jesus are
          > >"historical" (that is either describing specific events in the life of HJ
          > >or are typological summaries of "events" done by him).
          >
          > Do you have any evidence for this opinion? The Jesus Seminar, in The Acts
          > of Jesus, disagrees with you. For example, on page 59:
          > "The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was regarded as a healer during
          > his public career."
          > And on page 171, with bullets printed in red (meaning fairly certain
          > historicity):
          > * Jesus cured some sick people
          > * Jesus drove out what were thought to be demons
          > >... I see this whole issue another way. Briefly... 1.) I think the
          > >distinction that is drawn between "nature wonders" and "healing wonders"
          > >is a false distinction as regards historicity. The roots of both of
          > >these kind of "wonder" stories is surely in the "fulfillment of
          > >Scripture" and in the art of midrash. In a word... the Gospel writers
          > >went to the Hebrew Scriptures... both to specific texts and to Biblical
          > >imagery and metaphors... to create the narrative framework to speak of
          > >Jesus as the embodiment of God's rule (the parabler become THE PARABLE).
          >
          > Your "Fulfillment of Scripture" theory is similar to Crossan's "Prophecy
          > historicized" argument. I am certainly willing to consider that *some* of
          > the healing stories were created on this basis, but I am not willing to
          > paint them all with this same brush without much more work. For this to be
          > a real theory, and not just an ad hoc opinion imposed on the texts, it
          > needs more than you have provided. [I pressed Crossan on this point, too,
          > in our "HJMethodology" seminar with him last year, without getting a
          > satisfactory response.] For example,
          > 1. How do we know which Scriptures get fulfilled and which don't?
          > 2. What is it that triggers a "scripture fulfillment" response?
          > 3. How can we tell the difference between a non-historical literary
          > invention based on scripture fulfillment from a historical incident that
          > resembles an incident in prior scripture?
          >
          > I'll stop here for an aside: It is completely unacceptable methodology,
          > IMHO, to *assume* a priori that every incident presented as scripture
          > fulfillment is ipso facto *merely* a literary invention copying from the
          > scriptural model. Your opening sentences seem to suggest such a blanket
          > conclusion.
          > The scriptural fulfillment motif actually as two subclasses: Those
          > incidents made out of scriptural cloth to prove a point, and those
          > *historical* incidents that were *interpreted* in the light of scriptural
          > precedent. Both are reasonable, and we need a way of telling one from the
          > other.
          >
          > >As surely as "walking on water" is founded in a midrash of Jesus moving
          > >over the primeval chaos of waters from Genesis 1, so Jesus "healing
          > >diseases" is founded in such the affirmations that God "heals all your
          > >diseases" (Psalm 103:3). 2.)
          >
          > I am less comfortable than you are with such sweeping generalizations. I
          > certainly disagree with "As surely as..."
          >
          > > As far as the narrative construction... the Elijah and Elisha stories
          > > are very important as Gospel background. As the prototypical prophets
          > > these men "announce" and do symbolic acts of God's redemptive work which
          > > include healing/ restorative works and providence of food.
          >
          > Important? Perhaps. But again I resist the sweeping implication that
          > "therefore" every reported act of healing is "merely" a non-historical
          > invocation of the Elijah/Elisha stories.
          > To be convinced, I would need to see you actually engage in a textual
          > analysis of a pericope that you feel was based on Elijah/Elisha, showing
          > the tell-tale marks of borrowing so that we can be sure that the author
          > actually had Elijah/Elisha in mind in the telling of that particular story.
          > Can you do that?
          >
          > >... 3.) To the positive, I think Jesus and friends effected a
          > >network of houses/ communities that were empowered to share resources,
          > >compassion and reconciliation. The effects of this were "healing" (to
          > >all manner of conditions) and in retrospect and in light of the above
          > >midrash about the Way of God's reign, this led to this form of narrative
          > >construction and laudation of Jesus.
          > >
          > >Again, pardon if this point of view has been well described before. But
          > >I think this material, too, represents VERY IMPORTANT midrash, not
          > >history. It's effect is to indeed describe the impact of "the ministry
          > >of reconciliation" (to borrow Paul's words). The effects of this were
          > >powerful in all manner of ways. Such as exorcisms and healing stories
          > >dramatize this and in storied form nicely describe the power of the
          > >social and person work of reconciliation in the world.
          >
          > This post is an interesting start, but I'd like to see you get beyond the
          > opinions, the sweeping generalizations, and the vague references to a Psalm
          > and the Elijah/Elisha stories to support your claim that the healing
          > stories are *only* midrash without any historical basis.
          >
          > Thanks,
          > Bob
          > Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
          > Northern Arizona University
          > Flagstaff, AZ
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          > The XTalk Home Page is http://www.xtalk.org
          >
          > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@egroups.com
          >
          > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@egroups.com
          >
          > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@egroups.com
        • Nichael Cramer
          ... Without getting into the issue of the historicity of these events, I just want to to address a fine point here: In short, the statements above are not
          Message 4 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
          • 0 Attachment
            Bob Schacht wrote:
            >>... But FWIW I don't think that the healing stories of Jesus are
            >>"historical" (that is either describing specific events in the life
            >>of HJ or are typological summaries of "events" done by him).

            >Do you have any evidence for this opinion? The Jesus Seminar, in The Acts
            >of Jesus, disagrees with you. For example, on page 59:
            >"The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was regarded as a healer during
            >his public career."

            Without getting into the issue of the historicity of these events,
            I just want to to address a fine point here:

            In short, the statements above are not contradictory. That is, the
            fact that Jesus was regarded as a healer by his contemporaries
            may indeed be "historical"; but that "event" has no real bearing
            on whether the reports of the healing stories reflect "historical
            events".

            For example, any people around them considered, say, Cladius or
            Nero divine (and, moreover, attributed miracles to them). I
            suspect, however, that few folks today would consider this fact
            as significant evidence for the genuine divinity of either gentleman.

            Nichael


            Mr Anarchic Eel
            nichael@...
            http://www.sover.net/~nichael/
          • Bob Schacht
            ... Nichael, Thanks for your attempt to smooth over the differences, but I understand Gordon to be making a far more radical claim: that *none* of the healing
            Message 5 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
            • 0 Attachment
              At 09:21 AM 2/4/01 -0500, Nichael Cramer wrote:
              >Gordon Raynal and then Bob Schacht wrote:
              > >>... But FWIW I don't think that the healing stories of Jesus are
              > >>"historical" (that is either describing specific events in the life
              > >>of HJ or are typological summaries of "events" done by him).
              >
              > >Do you have any evidence for this opinion? The Jesus Seminar, in The Acts
              > >of Jesus, disagrees with you. For example, on page 59:
              > >"The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was regarded as a healer during
              > >his public career."
              >
              >Without getting into the issue of the historicity of these events,
              >I just want to to address a fine point here:
              >
              >In short, the statements above are not contradictory. That is, the
              >fact that Jesus was regarded as a healer by his contemporaries
              >may indeed be "historical"; but that "event" has no real bearing
              >on whether the reports of the healing stories reflect "historical
              >events"....

              Nichael,
              Thanks for your attempt to smooth over the differences, but I understand
              Gordon to be making a far more radical claim: that *none* of the healing
              stories has any historical basis in the life of Jesus (or, to put it
              colloquially, Never mind all that smoke; there's no fire). Against that
              sweeping claim, I counter that some of the healing stories *are*
              historical, and that further, the Jesus Seminar, in The Acts of Jesus (AJ),
              supports this view. In order to provide evidence for this claim, I
              summarize some of it below.

              First, there are about 40 references to healing in the canonical Gospels.
              These are independent counts-- for example, a story in the triple tradition
              is counted once, not three times. Some of these are no more than a phrase
              within a sentence; others describe incidents in detail. Some include words
              attributed to Jesus, many do not. Before summarizing the evidence, it may
              be necessary to recall that "Red" reflects the assessment of an authentic
              act of Jesus, while "Pink" designates a close approximation of what Jesus
              did, in the collective judgment of the Jesus Seminar.

              Summaries and Settings
              AJ (p.565) recognized 10 "red or pink" settings; two of them deal with
              healing by Jesus:

              1. Luke 8:1-3 (red!). 8:2a "...women whom he had cured of evil spirits and
              diseases" is printed in red, while the explanatory gloss 2b "from whom
              seven demons had taken their leave..." is printed in gray. In the
              commentary (p.293), they write "Jesus did apparently free Mary of demons."

              2. Matt 9:35 "And Jesus went about...healing every disease and ailment."
              The frame for this healing phrase is taken from Mark; the information about
              healing is a Matthean addition, but is printed in pink anyway.

              Events (all apparently based on a Markan source)

              3. Mark 1:30//Mt 8:14//Lk 4:38: The healing of Peter's mother-in-law. AJ
              p. 59: The evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was regarded as a healer
              during his public career. ... This brief vignette comes as close as any to
              qualifying as a report of an actual happening."

              4. Mark 1:40-42//Mt 8:2//Lk 5:12: Healing of the "leper." This incident
              also appears in the Edgerton Gospel 2:1-4), which is considered an
              independent source. What was healed, acc. to the JS, was probably a form of
              dermatitis.

              5. Mark 2:3(pink)//Mt 9:2(G)//Lk 5:17(G): Man sick of palsy.

              6. Mark 5:25//Mt 9:20//Lk 8:43: Woman with an issue of blood. According to
              AJ p. 80, the historical core of this pericope, colored pink, is that
              "There was a woman who suffered from vaginal hemorrhaging. She touched
              Jesus' cloak and the bleeding stopped instantly."

              7. Mark 8:22 (cf. John 9:1-7(G)): Blind man at Bethsaida. AJ (p.103) states
              that
              "The Fellows by a narrow majority concluded that Jesus cured at least one
              blind person. By a similar majority, they were inclined to the view that he
              employed either mud or spittle, or both, to effect that cure, in addition
              to the more customary touch. Jesus did not use spittle or mud as a kind of
              primitive medicine, but as part of the ritual employed by the charismatic
              healer in the ancient world. ... In arriving at these conclusions, the
              Fellows were drawing on the evidence provided by three stories: the blind
              man at Bethsaida, blind Bartimeaus (Mark 10:46-52), and the man born blind
              (John 9:1-7).... According to John P. Meier, the core of the story is
              probably historical."

              8. Mark 10:46-52(P)//Luke 18:35(P)//Matt 20:30(G): Blind Bartimaeus.
              Although AJ (p.118f) decided that the narrative frame of this story was
              provided by the narrator, they decided that the core of the story was
              historical. They also mention that John P. Meier "takes the view that the
              story does reflect a specific deed of the historical Jesus."

              In addition to these events rated pink, there were other healing events
              rated gray ("minimal historical traces"): Mark 3:1 (Man's withered hand);
              parts of the story of the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:1ff//Luke 8:26ff);
              Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:41f//Matt 9:25//Luke 8:41); the blind and dumb
              demoniac (Q? Matt. 12:22//Luke 11:14); Great Multitudes (Matt 15:30; 19:2
              cf. Luke 5:15); the impotent man (John 5:2); Lazarus (John 11). Of the
              40-some healing incidents, about 15 are rated black.

              Matthew offers the most healing incidents, including about 11 not found in
              Mark. These are the most likely candidates for what Gordon Raynal calls
              midrash, scripture fulfillment, etc. In fact, one of the healing passages
              in Matthew lacks specific details and explicitly cites Isaiah (8:16-17), so
              I think we can write that one off to scripture fulfillment. But I don't
              think that entitles us to discard all references to healing stories in
              Matthew as baseless wonder stories!

              Interestingly, apparently Q is devoid of historical healing stories-- there
              are only a few, and these rise only to the level of "gray". The JSem also
              does not find that GJohn also has any historical healing stories, but this
              does not surprise me in light of their general bias against GJohn.

              In summary, with the Jesus Seminar, I think that a good case has been made
              that the historical Jesus had a reputation as healer and exorcist, and
              what is more, we have specific information about some of those healings
              that seem to be a close approximation to things he actually did.

              Bob


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Dear Gordon, Thanks for this reference. Would you mind summarizing for us some of his salient points regarding this thread? ... I have no argument with
              Message 6 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
              • 0 Attachment
                At 08:13 AM 2/4/01 -0500, Gordon Raynal wrote:
                >Bob,
                >...
                >1. I am aware of the J.S. consensus on this. One of the Fellows, Hal
                >Taussig, has a nice little counter response in his book on Jesus'
                >prayers (sorry the book is at the office, so I forget the exact title).
                >I describe "the mission" a little differently than Hal does and don't
                >agree with some of his speculations, but that book presents a compact
                >portrait of wisdom teacher Jesus "in action."

                Dear Gordon,
                Thanks for this reference. Would you mind summarizing for us some of his
                salient points regarding this thread?

                >2. The purpose of this note, of course, was to broadly sketch out an
                >alternative way to look at this material. As you note, a case by case
                >study, would fill this in. But herein let me again say that I think
                >that the distinction that the JS and such as Dom in particular used to
                >differentiate between nature wonders and healing wonders is an odd
                >distinction I just don't accept. That the reconciliation movement had
                >"healing effects" (both in terms of the houses, communities,
                >relationships and in terms of individual lives), yes. But in the
                >narratives of both nature wonders and healing wonders Jesus is not
                >presented differently. In both cases he is accessing Divine Power as
                >the Divine Son. Here both John and Acts actually help us out. In John
                >all these works are "Signs." In Acts the disciples access this power
                >only after the Spirit is given.

                I have no argument with this.

                > I think searching out the healing wonders for "the science of it" so to
                > speak is equivalent to searching
                >out Jesus walking on water asking after possible methodology:)!

                I'm not sure about the point you're making here, or who you are responding
                to. Perhaps I am being obtuse?

                >Again... these stories represent DRAMATIC metaphoric representation of
                >what Jesus had empowered... a community of reconciliation (again
                >borrowing from Paul) and Jesus, hailed as THE CHRIST, makes the
                >evidences of that come alive.

                Shouting your opinions does not help to convince me. I am not arguing that
                the gospel writers never employed recourse to dramatic metaphoric
                representations. My objection is to your implication that *every single
                report of healing* can be explained that way.

                >3. We can go through some stories if you like. But just a in
                >overview... "the raising" stories are examples of direct midrash of what
                >Elijah did.

                I am aware that there has been some discussion in the literature about an
                overly loose use of the term "midrash". I repeat my question (from a
                previous post), what exactly do you mean by midrash, and how can you tell
                when midrash is being employed, and when it is not being employed? Can you
                provide specific instances where you can substantiate your claim of midrash
                on Elijah in the healing stories?

                > I would suggest that "the blindness stories" serve the
                >function of showing fulfillment of the Isaianic prophecy (per the LXX)
                >about "the blind receive their sight."

                Again, I ask for specific examples. I am aware that Matthew (e.g. 8:16-17)
                offers a summary of Jesus' *exorcisms* as a fulfillment of Isaiah, so I am
                willing in this case to regard vs. 16 as an interpretive summary and
                commentary rather than an historical event-- not only because of vs. 17,
                but also because vs. 16 is lacking in any specific detail. However, I do
                not think that this means, ipso facto, that all exorcisms are to be
                regarded as wonder stories without any historical basis. I think we need to
                distinguish interpretive editorial commentary (as in this example) from
                reports of putatively historical events (as in other cases).

                >As for the exorcism stories...

                See above.

                >these are power contests that allude to the official establishment and
                >especially in the case of the Gerasene demoniac to "the Legions" (aka
                >Roman presence).

                I concede this possibility in the specific case of the story of the
                Gerasene demoniac, but do not concede its generalization to all exorcism
                stories.

                > In like fashion the leprosy stories are parabolic in
                >reference to purity issues. My point is that there is DIRECT MIDRASH as
                >in the case of "the raising stories," there is "fulfillment of Prophetic
                >Scripture" as in the case of "the blind receive their sight,"

                See above.

                >and there are general fulfillment stories working out of such affirmation
                >as Psalm
                >103:3 that "bring the contest" (per such as Psalm 2, 76) between the
                >Lord's anointed and the political and religious powers into focus (and
                >we KNOW who wins!).

                See above.

                > In sum... these ARE WONDER STORIES...

                I grant that *some* of them are. You can shout all you want, but I disagree
                that *all* of the healing stories are, therefore, to be regarded as only
                wonder stories without any historical basis.

                >and their intent is fully theological in affirmation of who Jesus was/ is...
                >and their impact is to show the alternative WAY of the "ministry of
                >reconciliation" now broadly alive because Jesus is indeed "the one in
                >whom God is well pleased."

                I think we should distinguish between story and commentary on the meaning
                of the story. I think you are confusing the two. I agree with you about the
                intent of the commentaries.

                >Lastly... this isn't historical remembrance turned to made more special
                >by turning it to myth. This is the direct art of midrash for the
                >purposes of theological and ethical affirmation, celebration and reflection.

                I am not convinced by ex cathedra proclamations.

                >So, that is a bit more. If you'd like to go over some stories in detail,
                >perhaps we can do that off-line.

                Why off line? I think that this discussion is directly relevant to the
                purpose of this list.

                >Perhaps this clarifies the stance a bit.
                >
                >Gordon Raynal
                >Inman, SC

                Thank you. I hope that this, plus my response to Nichael today, clarifies
                my stance.

                Bob
                Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
                Northern Arizona University
                Flagstaff, AZ
              • Nichael Cramer
                ... As I suggested in my earlier note, there are many cases in which the smoke has been recorded; and in none of those other cases is anyone suggesting an
                Message 7 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
                • 0 Attachment
                  Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >Nichael,
                  >Thanks for your attempt to smooth over the differences, but I understand
                  >Gordon to be making a far more radical claim: that *none* of the healing
                  >stories has any historical basis in the life of Jesus (or, to put it
                  >colloquially, Never mind all that smoke; there's no fire).

                  As I suggested in my earlier note, there are many cases
                  in which the "smoke" has been recorded; and in none of
                  those other cases is anyone suggesting an underlying "fire".

                  In short, I'm afraid I remain unconvinced of the "radical"
                  nature of the claim you attribute to Gordon.

                  The crux of my concern is the special status granted the
                  Gospels in these discussions; the degree to which normal,
                  reasonable scientific skepticism is to be suspended.

                  I would propose a thought experiment: Suppose we were to
                  take precisely these arguments for the historicity of these
                  events, unchanged except for one small detail; namely that
                  we simply replace the name "Jesus" with the name, say,
                  "Claudius". To what extent would we be expected to
                  accept these stories as "historical"?

                  Nichael
                • Bob Schacht
                  ... Nichael, This is not the issue at all; indeed, the Jesus seminar would take offense at your suggestion that they had granted any special status to the
                  Message 8 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
                  • 0 Attachment
                    At 09:38 PM 2/4/01 -0500, Nichael Cramer wrote:
                    >Bob Schacht wrote:
                    > >Nichael,
                    > >Thanks for your attempt to smooth over the differences, but I understand
                    > >Gordon to be making a far more radical claim: that *none* of the healing
                    > >stories has any historical basis in the life of Jesus (or, to put it
                    > >colloquially, Never mind all that smoke; there's no fire).
                    >
                    >As I suggested in my earlier note, there are many cases
                    >in which the "smoke" has been recorded; and in none of
                    >those other cases is anyone suggesting an underlying "fire".
                    >
                    >In short, I'm afraid I remain unconvinced of the "radical"
                    >nature of the claim you attribute to Gordon.
                    >
                    >The crux of my concern is the special status granted the
                    >Gospels in these discussions; the degree to which normal,
                    >reasonable scientific skepticism is to be suspended....

                    Nichael,
                    This is not the issue at all; indeed, the Jesus seminar would take offense
                    at your suggestion that they had granted any special status to the Gospels
                    at all. For the sake of discussion, neither do I. Indeed, it is one of
                    their most basic articles of critical scholarship that the Gospels are
                    *not* to be accorded any special status. The language used by the Jesus
                    Seminar in discussing the historicity of the passages I enumerated for you
                    in my previous post is carefully crafted so as *not* to suspend normal,
                    reasonable scientific skepticism. In fact, they sometimes make comments on
                    the text to interpret the healing claims in the passage in skeptical
                    scientific terms, e.g., by suggesting that the illness was "psychosomatic,"
                    etc. I can only conclude from your comments that you are not very familiar
                    with the work of the Jesus Seminar. I would urge you to become familiar, at
                    your first opportunity, with both The Five Gospels and The Acts of Jesus,
                    and you will see what I mean. Even though I sometimes (often?) disagree
                    with some of their conclusions, I still consider these two volumes to be an
                    invaluable summary of recent critical scholarship on the historical Jesus,
                    and a convenient starting place for analysis.

                    So, in summary, it requires no special pleading to arrive at the conclusion
                    that half a dozen or so of the healing incidents reported in the Gospels
                    are historical.

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


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Gordon Raynal
                    Bob, I am in a rush again this a.m., but thank you for the chat and just a few remarks: 1. I am not undone if Jesus was an exorcist/ healer, I simply remain
                    Message 9 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Bob,

                      I am in a rush again this a.m., but thank you for the chat and just a
                      few remarks:

                      1. I am not undone if Jesus was an exorcist/ healer, I simply remain
                      unconvinced that the data base you cite from the Jesus Seminar consensus
                      gives historical evidence for that.
                      2. Pardon my knowledge or lack thereof of email protocols, but CAPS are
                      not meant as shouting but for emphasis sake. I'm only a year and a half
                      old emailer... and all the conventions are not clear to me.
                      3. Hal Taussig, a Jesus Seminar Fellow, writes of just a brief overview
                      of his disagreement with the JS consensus, Crossan and Borg in "Jesus
                      Before God." This very brief sketch will not provide the detail you are
                      seeking in accounting a review of the relevant text, but his
                      introduction in this thought provoking work does sketch out his overall
                      portrait of Jesus and addresses the issue of healing. Just one note
                      from pg. 31 that is only a summary statement: "I do not think that Jesus
                      was one of those healers. The anthropological studies about these
                      healers show that they are not teachers." His proposal and mine, too,
                      is that this is a modest proposal.
                      4. Last evening I reviewed one rendition of the first layer of Q (in
                      Burton Mack's volume on Q) and the beginning of Mark up through where
                      the 12 are formed in Chapter 3. If you at all accept something like Q1
                      as Mack proposes, there are no healing stories in this layer of
                      tradition. There is "the mission statement," but I find actually
                      helpful the general way Mack translates the interaction with those who
                      are ill. It is a "tending to" language. (I will understand if you
                      think that both of these points are not acceptable to you, but I regard
                      them as both important. Taussig will say that there were healers and
                      exorcists among the earliest followers, but that we simply do not have
                      evidence that Jesus was an exorcist/ healer.) In the later layers of Q
                      we do get healing stories. The one that comes first is the one that
                      comes after the opening sermon where Jesus is confronted by a Roman
                      centurion on behalf of a favorite servant. There is dialogue and then
                      Jesus upon hearing "the faith testimony" WITH A WORD (emphasis) says to
                      go because he has been healed. This story is a fine example of the
                      Kingdom Power that Jesus commands.

                      As we move into Mark... we see the same. Notably in the first exorcism
                      "the key character" (so to speak) is the demon who knows Jesus' real
                      identity. The context in the synagogue is over authority... and Jesus
                      has authority as do not the Scribes. The exorcism dramatizes this. The
                      stories that follow line up in similar fashion. The Peter's house/
                      mother-in-law story is about "localizing the mission" and Petrine
                      position. The healing is with just saying "get up." And on as these
                      first stories go... it is noted that persons and demons "are to hush
                      up!" This all fits beautifully with one of Canonical Mark's theological
                      motifs... the dawning of the KOG and the necessity of keeping "the
                      Messianic Secret" until all is revealed. Beautiful theology and I like
                      it! But history, I must conclude, "no."

                      I must run now, but we can also get into the art of midrash more fully.
                      For now I again just ask you to think about the way I spoke of it...
                      Direct working out of specific stories, Prophetic Fulfillment that
                      dramatizes how Jesus fulfilled the prophets of old, and General/ or
                      Broad Theological Fulfillment where theological and/ or ethical themes
                      from the Hebrew Scriptures are dramatized with Wonder Stories. I
                      understand all of this in terms of what can be called the Midrashic
                      Imagination. Such functions by reflecting on received tradition...
                      connecting it to HJ... and dramatizing that in narrative form.

                      Well must run...

                      Gordon
                    • Sukie Curtis
                      ... I like your thought experiment! Even for someone like me, who s a skeptic and a rationalist to my only slightly less skeptical/rational husband, it
                      Message 10 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Nichael Cramer wrote:

                        > I would propose a thought experiment: Suppose we were to
                        > take precisely these arguments for the historicity of these
                        > events, unchanged except for one small detail; namely that
                        > we simply replace the name "Jesus" with the name, say,
                        > "Claudius". To what extent would we be expected to
                        > accept these stories as "historical"?

                        I like your thought experiment! Even for someone like me, who's a "skeptic
                        and a rationalist" to my only slightly less skeptical/rational husband, it
                        FEELS different to change the name; it registers differently, particularly
                        with someone not usually thought of as a "religious figure" or "holy
                        person."

                        I have gone back and reread the chapter of Crossan's _The Historical JEsus_
                        on "Magician and Prophet" and have been reminded of the chasm that separates
                        me and my mindset/culture, etc. from cultures where magician-healers are an
                        everyday assumption (although I suppose I'm reminded of some vestiges of
                        that mindset in our own day when people make half-jokes about my hoped-for
                        influence, as a "religious official," on the weather or the outcome of
                        events). I find it fascinating, yet know I'm continually hindered by not
                        being able to shed my skin, so to speak, in order to enter more fully that
                        other world.

                        Sukie Curtis
                        Cumberland Foreside, Maine



                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > The XTalk Home Page is http://www.xtalk.org
                        >
                        > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@egroups.com
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                        >
                        > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@egroups.com
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Liz Fried
                        Dear All, I think it is reasonable to suppose that the Evangelists and the early church *assumed* that Jesus healed and cast-off demons. He would have had to
                        Message 11 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Dear All,
                          I think it is reasonable to suppose that the Evangelists and the
                          early church *assumed* that Jesus healed and cast-off demons.
                          He would have had to do all those thing to demonstrate any sort of
                          link with God. (It is the same today with Sai Baba, a Hindu guru.)
                          However, how can we in the 21st century believe he really did these things
                          except by magic tricks or hypnosis -- in the same way that Sai Baba does?
                          Reading Mark, it's as if the whole world had Turette's disease.
                          Turette's disease is not cured by hypnosis except only temporarily.

                          To site as evidence the existence of multiple independent attestations only
                          indicates
                          how ingrained the belief was, and how important it was to his followers.
                          It does not indicate anything about a real human being.

                          Liz
                        • Nichael Cramer
                          ... I understand this, but it still seems difficult not to see a special status being granted. Allow me to ... In light of this let me rephrase my question:
                          Message 12 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Bob Schacht wrote:
                            >This is not the issue at all; indeed, the Jesus seminar would take offense
                            >at your suggestion that they had granted any special status to the Gospels
                            >at all. For the sake of discussion, neither do I. Indeed, it is one of
                            >their most basic articles of critical scholarship that the Gospels are
                            >*not* to be accorded any special status.

                            I understand this, but it still seems difficult not
                            to see a "special status" being granted. Allow me to
                            refer to your earlier posting:

                            > It is completely unacceptable methodology,
                            >IMHO, to *assume* a priori that every incident presented as scripture
                            >fulfillment is ipso facto *merely* a literary invention copying from the
                            >scriptural model. Your opening sentences seem to suggest such a blanket
                            >conclusion.

                            In light of this let me rephrase my question:

                            For what other ancient text would we consider it acceptable
                            historical methodology to begin by assuming that a report of
                            a supernatural event were anything except a "literary invention"?

                            > ... I would urge you to become familiar, at
                            >your first opportunity, with both The Five Gospels and The Acts of Jesus,
                            >and you will see what I mean.

                            Actually I am quite familar with both these texts.

                            Nichael


                            Mr Anarchic Eel
                            nichael@...
                            http://www.sover.net/~nichael/
                          • Antonio Jerez
                            ... Though I have often had arguments in the past with Bob Schacht about the historical veracity of many parts of the NT, I feel sympathy for his positition on
                            Message 13 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Nichael Cramer wrote:

                              > In light of this let me rephrase my question:
                              >
                              > For what other ancient text would we consider it acceptable
                              > historical methodology to begin by assuming that a report of
                              > a supernatural event were anything except a "literary invention"?

                              Though I have often had arguments in the past with Bob Schacht about the
                              historical veracity of many parts of the NT, I feel sympathy for his positition
                              on this particular matter. I agree that Gordon Raynal's claim that ALL healing
                              and miracle stories are pure metaphorical midrash without any grounding in
                              any historical happening is simplistic in the extreme. Gordon is on the right track
                              when it comes to the nature miracles - like Jesus walking on water and stilling the
                              storm - but out on a limb when talking about the exorcism stories.
                              Nichael Cramer asks a rather strange question. I am not a Christian, do not believe
                              in the supernatural and study the the gospels as a secular historian. A historian does
                              not rule out beforehand a report from an ancient text that that contains supernatural
                              elements as a total literary invention. Nichael is also being extremely simplistic. The fact
                              that a healing story like Mark 1:21-28 mentions a man being possessed by demons does
                              not automatically mean that the historical Jesus could not have had a real encounter with
                              a man which he and his firstcentury BELIEVED was demonpossessed Just because we
                              moderns don't give a certain event the same interpretation that the ancients did does not
                              mean that the event doesn't have anything historical over it at all.
                              That said I must admit that the miracle stories in the gospels are often treated with a
                              seriousness that is often laughable by the kind of pseudohistorians that are all too common
                              in the exegetical guild. Why even bother to try to argue for anything historical behind a story
                              like Jesus walking on water or the raising of Lazarus? Still we find scholar after scholar in
                              commentary after commentary going to ridiculous lengths to argue that there may be something
                              behind the event after all. The last time I had this unpleasant experience was when reading Craig
                              Keener's recent commentary on Matthew. Here he digs up dozens of litterary parallels from ancient
                              litterature about people walking miraculously on water and the man still doesn't want to admit that
                              we are dealing with pure metaphorical "midrash". That said, though I was often angered by the
                              dumbness of many of Keeners arguments, I must recommend his commentary because it is a goldmine
                              for anybody interested in finding out about the literary parallels in pagan and jewish litterature to the
                              gospel stories.

                              Best wishes

                              Antonio Jerez
                              Göteborg, Sweden
                            • Stephen C. Carlson
                              ... I m afraid you two might be talking past each other. Bob is talking about prophecy historicized ; Nichael is talking about supernatural events. These
                              Message 14 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                              • 0 Attachment
                                At 11:05 AM 2/5/01 -0500, Nichael Cramer wrote:
                                >Bob Schacht wrote:
                                >> It is completely unacceptable methodology,
                                >>IMHO, to *assume* a priori that every incident presented as scripture
                                >>fulfillment is ipso facto *merely* a literary invention copying from the
                                >>scriptural model. Your opening sentences seem to suggest such a blanket
                                >>conclusion.
                                >
                                >In light of this let me rephrase my question:
                                >
                                >For what other ancient text would we consider it acceptable
                                >historical methodology to begin by assuming that a report of
                                >a supernatural event were anything except a "literary invention"?

                                I'm afraid you two might be talking past each other. Bob is
                                talking about "prophecy historicized"; Nichael is talking
                                about supernatural events. These two categories are not
                                co-terminous and, in fact, include many different episodes.
                                For example, Jesus's riding on a donkey into Jerusalem is
                                not a supernatural event, but a good candidate for prophecy
                                historicized.

                                Stephen Carlson
                                --
                                Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                                Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
                                "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
                              • Bob Schacht
                                ... You are still confusing the specifics of the event with the interpretation of the event, something that the Jesus Seminar is careful to avoid. To take the
                                Message 15 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  At 11:05 AM 2/5/01 -0500, Nichael Cramer wrote:
                                  >...In light of this let me rephrase my question:
                                  >
                                  >For what other ancient text would we consider it acceptable
                                  >historical methodology to begin by assuming that a report of
                                  >a supernatural event were anything except a "literary invention"?

                                  You are still confusing the specifics of the event with the interpretation
                                  of the event, something that the Jesus Seminar is careful to avoid. To take
                                  the example I gave of Mark 5:25, I quoted the JSem as follows:
                                  "There was a woman who suffered from vaginal hemorrhaging. She touched
                                  Jesus' cloak and the bleeding stopped instantly."

                                  Note well that the Jesus Seminar is not claiming that Jesus performed a
                                  miracle. In fact, they are not claiming that Jesus did anything at all. In
                                  fact, there is nothing supernatural about this account, in the bare bones
                                  JSem phrasing of the historical core of the event. The supernatural part
                                  comes in the *interpretation* of the bare facts. You, apparently, cannot
                                  help but *read into* the account something supernatural.

                                  So in general the claim for historicity of these passages is merely this:
                                  something happened, and it was interpreted as a miracle (or a healing, or a
                                  sign, or whatever other word of interpretation). There is nothing
                                  supernatural about this claim for historicity. Both (what was observed,
                                  what people said) are historically accessible data that are the routine
                                  stuff of ancient history. Whether the interpretation imposed on the
                                  observations was correct or not is quite another matter.

                                  > > ... I would urge you to become familiar, at
                                  > >your first opportunity, with both The Five Gospels and The Acts of Jesus,
                                  > >and you will see what I mean.
                                  >
                                  >Actually I am quite familar with both these texts.

                                  You may possess both these texts, but you do not seem to have read them
                                  very closely. The JSem is very careful about its choice of words in the
                                  historical claims it makes. I urge you to take another look.

                                  Best regards,
                                  Bob




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Gordon Raynal
                                  Antonio, The important word in this post is could. Of course the healing wonder stories could suggest that Jesus was a healer. And as I noted yesterday
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Antonio,

                                    The important word in this post is "could." Of course the healing
                                    wonder stories "could" suggest that Jesus was a healer. And as I noted
                                    yesterday I'm not an unhappy person if this is true. But the stories of
                                    healings and exorcisms do not come to us as "touched up" (to use
                                    photographic technique language) stories. They come as wonder stories
                                    whose purpose is theological. In the case of this pericope the demon(s)
                                    know who Jesus really is... the crowds get that he teaches with an
                                    authority unlike those of religious establishment... the demon knows
                                    that truth and from whence the authority comes! Now behind this "could"
                                    be an exorcism that the story telling tradition changed to proclaim
                                    theology, but exactly how by historical methodology can you make that
                                    judgment? Again, as a Christian, I have no problem with this story as a
                                    beautiful example of theological proclamation... the ancient form of
                                    dramatizing the parabler Jesus become the PARABLE OF GOD. This, like
                                    all these stories, is rich fodder for theological reflection. It fits
                                    into Mark's theological framework and it forms an important part of the
                                    whole witness. But this story does not get me any closer than "could,"
                                    and if you will read Taussig's little introduction he will suggest why
                                    that "could," to use Jesus Seminar lingo, deserves "a Gray bead," in my book.

                                    Beyond this, I find fascinating the move to define the illnesses cited
                                    in post Freudian "psycho-somatic terms," then proceed to delve into how
                                    Jesus was an effective healer of these sorts of illnesses. This is
                                    surely a fascinating modern preoccupation! Having spent over a decade
                                    working in a psychiatric unit at a teaching medical university and
                                    having worked with patients who have "conversion disorders," and yes,
                                    having seen blindness, lameness overcome and such as rashes relieved...
                                    those who truly fit the diagnostic standards for a conversion disorder
                                    are very complex cases. The actual recovery is not instantaneous
                                    (symptom relief sometimes is, yes, but not serious recovery) and I never
                                    saw an actual case be relieved without psychotropic medications and then
                                    serious and long term follow-up. To be sure... I imagine that being in
                                    the presence of wise, justice and peace loving Jesus was "healing" in
                                    the broad sense of that. The long term effects of being involved in a
                                    reconciliation movement surely had positive psychological effects. And
                                    Paul lets us know that healers became associated with this movement.
                                    But all of this is a quite different historical claim than we are dealt
                                    with the kind of "could have" argument presented here. Suggesting a
                                    supposition is one thing, making a historical claim requires evidence.
                                    What we get from the ancient world, obviously, are not medical records.
                                    What we get... and they are of a kind... (these are consistent stories
                                    in that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Son of the Father who has
                                    inaugurated the eschatological age of the Kingdom). With that comes
                                    nature and healing (and actually, of course, healing is "natural"/ has
                                    to do with nature!) wonders that signify this happening. Before this in
                                    Israel's scriptures WE ARE TOLD that this is part of what God does and
                                    therefore the Evangelists as they did for birth, baptism, temptation,
                                    teachings, passion, death, resurrection and glorification... went to the
                                    Scriptures to elucidate this proclamation. And to say the least this
                                    has remained an amazing form of religious communication. The consistent
                                    testimony across the texts... just to borrow Paul's affirmation in II
                                    Cor. 5... is that in Jesus a community of reconciliation was founded.
                                    Now I like to employ "healing metaphors" for the effect of this! And
                                    when I look at Jesus' parables what I find is a story of a Samaritan who
                                    tends and makes for the possibility of recovery. So if we want to talk
                                    about the real healing that Jesus helped effect, that is where I suggest
                                    we start!

                                    Gordon Raynal
                                    Inman, SC



                                    Antonio Jerez wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Nichael Cramer wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > In light of this let me rephrase my question:
                                    > >
                                    > > For what other ancient text would we consider it acceptable
                                    > > historical methodology to begin by assuming that a report of
                                    > > a supernatural event were anything except a "literary invention"?
                                    >
                                    > Though I have often had arguments in the past with Bob Schacht about the
                                    > historical veracity of many parts of the NT, I feel sympathy for his positition
                                    > on this particular matter. I agree that Gordon Raynal's claim that ALL healing
                                    > and miracle stories are pure metaphorical midrash without any grounding in
                                    > any historical happening is simplistic in the extreme. Gordon is on the right track
                                    > when it comes to the nature miracles - like Jesus walking on water and stilling the
                                    > storm - but out on a limb when talking about the exorcism stories.
                                    > Nichael Cramer asks a rather strange question. I am not a Christian, do not believe
                                    > in the supernatural and study the the gospels as a secular historian. A historian does
                                    > not rule out beforehand a report from an ancient text that that contains supernatural
                                    > elements as a total literary invention. Nichael is also being extremely simplistic. The fact
                                    > that a healing story like Mark 1:21-28 mentions a man being possessed by demons does
                                    > not automatically mean that the historical Jesus could not have had a real encounter with
                                    > a man which he and his firstcentury BELIEVED was demonpossessed Just because we
                                    > moderns don't give a certain event the same interpretation that the ancients did does not
                                    > mean that the event doesn't have anything historical over it at all.
                                    > That said I must admit that the miracle stories in the gospels are often treated with a
                                    > seriousness that is often laughable by the kind of pseudohistorians that are all too common
                                    > in the exegetical guild. Why even bother to try to argue for anything historical behind a story
                                    > like Jesus walking on water or the raising of Lazarus? Still we find scholar after scholar in
                                    > commentary after commentary going to ridiculous lengths to argue that there may be something
                                    > behind the event after all. The last time I had this unpleasant experience was when reading Craig
                                    > Keener's recent commentary on Matthew. Here he digs up dozens of litterary parallels from ancient
                                    > litterature about people walking miraculously on water and the man still doesn't want to admit that
                                    > we are dealing with pure metaphorical "midrash". That said, though I was often angered by the
                                    > dumbness of many of Keeners arguments, I must recommend his commentary because it is a goldmine
                                    > for anybody interested in finding out about the literary parallels in pagan and jewish litterature to the
                                    > gospel stories.
                                    >
                                    > Best wishes
                                    >
                                    > Antonio Jerez
                                    > Göteborg, Sweden
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > The XTalk Home Page is http://www.xtalk.org
                                    >
                                    > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@egroups.com
                                    >
                                    > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                                    >
                                    > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@egroups.com
                                  • Jack Kilmon
                                    ... From: Gordon Raynal To: Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2001 7:11 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Historical Healing
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      From: "Gordon Raynal" <scudi@...>
                                      To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                                      Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2001 7:11 AM
                                      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Historical Healing Stories


                                      > Beyond this, I find fascinating the move to define the illnesses cited
                                      > in post Freudian "psycho-somatic terms," then proceed to delve into how
                                      > Jesus was an effective healer of these sorts of illnesses.

                                      In a society where illness was believed to be the result of sin, I can see
                                      how
                                      "psycho-somatic/guilt" maladies would proliferate in a society so entranched
                                      in religious fervor, perhaps even outnumber illnesses of pathological
                                      origin.
                                      Forgive the sin, cure the disease.


                                      Jack
                                      --
                                      ______________________________________________

                                      taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                                      Jack Kilmon
                                      Austin, Texas
                                      jkilmon@...

                                      http://www.historian.net

                                      sharing a meal for free.
                                      http://www.thehungersite.com/
                                    • Antonio Jerez
                                      ... Gordon, I would not agree with you that some of the healing and excorcism stories do not come up to us as touched up . In a case like Mark 2:1-12 we very
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Gordon Raynal wrote:

                                        > Antonio,

                                        > The important word in this post is "could." Of course the healing
                                        > wonder stories "could" suggest that Jesus was a healer. And as I noted
                                        > yesterday I'm not an unhappy person if this is true. But the stories of
                                        > healings and exorcisms do not come to us as "touched up" (to use
                                        > photographic technique language) stories. They come as wonder stories
                                        > whose purpose is theological. In the case of this pericope the demon(s)
                                        > know who Jesus really is... the crowds get that he teaches with an
                                        > authority unlike those of religious establishment... the demon knows
                                        > that truth and from whence the authority comes! Now behind this "could"
                                        > be an exorcism that the story telling tradition changed to proclaim
                                        > theology, but exactly how by historical methodology can you make that
                                        > judgment?

                                        Gordon,
                                        I would not agree with you that some of the healing and excorcism stories
                                        do not come up to us as "touched up". In a case like Mark 2:1-12 we very
                                        probably have a historical reminicence from Jesus "touched up" theologically.
                                        I think we can say that the historical core (basically without any retouching) is
                                        found from verse 2:1-4. But I do agree with you that it is often almost impossible
                                        to disentangle history from fiction in many of the NT stories. Unfortunately there
                                        is no good metodology.

                                        > What we get from the ancient world, obviously, are not medical records.
                                        > What we get... and they are of a kind... (these are consistent stories
                                        > in that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Son of the Father who has
                                        > inaugurated the eschatological age of the Kingdom). With that comes
                                        > nature and healing (and actually, of course, healing is "natural"/ has
                                        > to do with nature!) wonders that signify this happening. Before this in
                                        > Israel's scriptures WE ARE TOLD that this is part of what God does and
                                        > therefore the Evangelists as they did for birth, baptism, temptation,
                                        > teachings, passion, death, resurrection and glorification... went to the
                                        >Scriptures to elucidate this proclamation.

                                        But you forget that there is little indication that firstcentury Jews expected
                                        the Messiah to be an exorcist and a healer. I think you are putting the cart
                                        before the horse. As I read the evidence Jesus made himelf quite a reputation
                                        as a healer and an exorcist during his lifetime. After his death his followers
                                        searched the scriptures to find passages that could show that the Messiah
                                        was unexpectedly both to be a miracle worker and a dying and resurrected one.
                                        We also have indications in the gospels (and Josephus?)that both foe and friend acknowledged
                                        that Jesus was an exorcist. A pericope like Matthew 12:22-37 shows how the
                                        early Christians tried to counter the accusations that Jesus healing powers came
                                        from Satan.

                                        Best wishes

                                        Antonio Jerez
                                        Göteborg, Sweden
                                      • RSBrenchley@aol.com
                                        ... I wish you d do it online, this is really interesting! Regards, Robert Brenchley RSBrenchley@aol.com
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Gordon Raynal writes:

                                          > So, that is a bit more. If you'd like to go over some stories in
                                          > detail, perhaps we can do that off-line.

                                          I wish you'd do it online, this is really interesting!

                                          Regards,

                                          Robert Brenchley

                                          RSBrenchley@...
                                        • Ken Olson
                                          ... early Christians tried to counter the accusations that Jesus healing powers came from Satan.
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Feb 7, 2001
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            At 1:53 PM on 2/6/01 Antonio Jerez wrote:

                                            >>A pericope like Matthew 12:22-37 shows how the
                                            early Christians tried to counter the accusations that Jesus healing
                                            powers came
                                            from Satan.<<

                                            Is that necessarily the social context of the composition of this
                                            pericope? Frequently in Mark, Jesus is a sort of role model (as
                                            opposed to Peter and the other disciples) for proper Christian
                                            behavior in times of trouble and persecution. The pericope in Mk.
                                            3.22-30 (= Mt. 12.22-37, Lk. 11.17-23, 12.10) may be an example of
                                            such. Christians who claimed to have an indwelling holy spirit, which
                                            made them "dead to sin" and granted them "gifts of the spirit"
                                            including prophecy, glossolalia, healing, and "discerning of spirits"
                                            (1 Cor. 12) may frequently have faced accusations of demonic
                                            possesion. The possibility that this situation has been retrojected
                                            into the lifetime of Jesus at least deserves consideration. This
                                            story may be due to Christians' need to counter accusations made
                                            against themselves rather than to historical memory of such
                                            accusations made against Jesus.

                                            Ken

                                            Kenneth A. Olson
                                            Graduate Teaching Assistant
                                            Department of History
                                            2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
                                            University of Maryland
                                            College Park, MD 20742
                                            kaolson@...

                                            I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything - T.H.
                                            Huxley
                                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.