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Re: [XTalk] Historical Healing Stories

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  • 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 1 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
      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 2 of 20 , Feb 4, 2001
        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 3 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
          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 4 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
            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 5 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
              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 6 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                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 7 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                  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 8 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                    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 9 of 20 , Feb 5, 2001
                      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 10 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                        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
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                      • Jack Kilmon
                        ... From: Gordon Raynal To: Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2001 7:11 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Historical Healing
                        Message 11 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                          ----- 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 12 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                            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 13 of 20 , Feb 6, 2001
                              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 14 of 20 , Feb 7, 2001
                                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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