[XTalk] Re: Honorable debate in agonistic cultures
>Steve Black wrote:running throughout this thread?
>>I may be way off, but it seems that
>>lurking behind this entire thread
>>are christological agendas.
>Steve, you lost me here. What "Christological agendas" have you seen
Please note the apology posted shortly after this post where I stated
that I presumed to "read people's motives", which I believe to be
inappropriate, and in this case incorrect!
I guess what I was thinking when I wrote this how different the whole
thread would look if we did not really care either way how this
historical figure measured up morally/ethically. New paradigms, such
as the honor/shame one being suggested, could be considered easier
and perhaps with more honesty. Those challenging the "status quo"
view would also approach the topic with a "lighter" attitude. As it
is, we have a great deal invested in the character of Jesus, and the
argumentative macho man picture it seems that you draw of him
certainly calls into question the picture of a sinless [patient,
humble, meek, etc] Christ.
But once again, this whole argument stands or falls upon My ability
to describe the inner workings of your mind (and others), which is
presumptuous, irritating, and for which I apologized (and apologize
>Perhaps not. As a Christological statement it is beyond the
>>On the other hand there seems to be another
>>agenda in this discussion that seems to equally
>>want to call into question the very notion of
>I don't think we can address this question from an historical angle,
historian's grasp. But "sin" as a human phenomenon is historical
inasmuch as the acts of ill-will, or wrong-doing, (or whatever you
want to call them), certainly happen in the historical dimension, and
thus are open to the historian's query, if the problem of defining
the term "sin" is dealt with.
>My point, as misguided as it may be, is that if the theological (or
>>No approaches this subject "innocently".
>I agree, but I'm missing the thrust of your point.
whatever) agendas determine what data we gather, how we put it
together in interpretation, and how we deal with different
interpretations - if this is true (and many seem not to think it is)
these agendas are pivotal in all HJ work, and ought not to be
underestimated, and perhaps ought to be acknowledged.
Diocese of New Westminster
Anglican Church of Canada
Do you think these folks were armed?
No. With the possible exception of the Samaritan
Prophet, the popular prophets didn't lead armed
revolts. "Violence" was left as the prerogative of God
alone, when He soon acted. Jesus followed suit here,
never condoning human violence, elsewhere promising
divine retribution (as in Mt. 11:20-24/Lk. 10:13-16).
So, would you say that it is possible that the masses
went out just to see IF a miracle would be performed,
rather than to participate? Would they necessarily
had any clue as to the chance of being
slaughtered as they were?
I think the masses went out because they believed,
fervently, that God would act; that the Kingdom was
imminent. I see no reason to question the enthusiastic
level of their participation in the march around
How many do you suppose there actually were?
A lot -- these are called "popular" prophets for good
Josephus is surely exaggerating with the numbers
though, isn't he?
Probably. I imagine hundreds, rather than thousands,
of followers for the Egyptian prophet.
What do you think was their reason for being
there? Just to innocently see if the Egyptian's
claim would come to pass or to
actually fight their way into Jerusalem?
I believe they circled Jerusalem with the expectation
that (at the prophet's command) the walls of the city
would come tumbling down, as Joshua's legendary shout
had done to the walls of Jericho in ages past. This
would have been the first apoacalyptic prelude to the
Kingdom of God. I don't know how "innocent" this is,
but I sense your sarcasm. However preposterous and
naive such expectations may seem to us, they were no
more so than, say, those of the followers of Theudas,
who was supposed to have parted the waters of the
Jordan before getting decapitated by Cuspius Fadus.
Well, I'm wondering how we know any of these people
were really doing anything more than going out to
possibly observe a miracle...I'm reacting to the
following article written by an historian who seems to
paint first century peoples with too broad of a brush
of gullibility, in an attempt to give us the
background against which we should view claims about
If you have the time, I'd appreciate any
feedback/guidance on the overall quality of/points
raised in that article.
I would say the author of this article is daft,
deluded, and devoid of sense. His disdain for the
people of antiquity is galling. He writes:
"The age of Jesus was not an age of critical
reflection and remarkable religious acumen. It was an
era filled with con artists, gullible believers,
martyrs without a cause, and reputed miracles of every
variety. In light of this picture, the tales of the
gospels do not seem remarkable at all. Even if they
were false in every detail, there is no evidence that
they would have been disbelieved or rejected as absurd
by a people largely lacking in education or critical
thinking skills. They had no newspapers, telephones,
photographs, or public documents to consult to check a
story...The shouts of the credulous rabble overpowered
their voice and seized the world from them, boldly
leading them all into the darkness of a thousand years
First of all, we cannot dismiss the movements of
Theudas, the Egyptian Prophet, John the Baptist, or
Jesus of Nazareth with the above sort of indictment.
Much in these prophetic movements can be commended,
just as much can be criticized. But we fail miserably
in the historical task when we judge the past by
so-called "enlightened" standards. Secondly, far from
lacking "religious acumen", the age of Jesus -- that
is, 2nd-Temple Judaism -- was marked by vibrancy,
diversity, and (often enough) fierce intelligence.
Obviously the author and I have very different views
of the people of antiquity.
So I can appreciate you reacting against this fellow.
But that the Egyptian prophet and his followers were
incited to riot (mad as they were under the Romans and
Judean elite), and that they fervently believed Yahweh
would soon act dramatically in history (in accordance
with ways He had in the past), does not necessarily
make the leader a "con artist" nor his followers
"gullible". Does it?
Loren Rosson III
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