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Re: [XTalk] Re: Healing Stories

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  • 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 1 of 20 , Feb 3, 2001
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      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 2 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
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        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]
        >
        >
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      • 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 3 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
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          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 4 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
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            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 5 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
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              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 6 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 7 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 8 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                    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 9 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                      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



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                    • 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 10 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                        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 11 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                          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 12 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                            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 13 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                              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 14 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
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                                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 15 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
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                                  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
                                  >
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                                  > 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 16 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 17 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
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                                      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 18 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
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                                        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 19 of 20 , Feb 7, 2001
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                                          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
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