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Re: [XTalk] Re: Honorable debate in agonistic cultures

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi Loren... just a few comments as I m on the run this a.m. ... I don t think this is HJ, but rather the voice of those later disappointed by rejection of what
    Message 1 of 109 , Jun 2 7:25 AM
      Hi Loren... just a few comments as I'm on the run this a.m.

      Loren Rosson wrote:
      > [Bob]
      > "Woe to you,
      > Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!... It will be more
      > tolerable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon
      > than for you." (Mt. 11:21-22/Lk. 10:13-14)

      I don't think this is HJ, but rather the voice of those later
      disappointed by rejection of what were originally welcoming towns.

      And it's
      > easy to see the bitterness and rage behind parables
      > like the Rich Man and Lazarus, The Talents, The
      > Laborers in the Vineyard, etc.

      You go on and on about bitterness and rage. How does a parable work?
      Such bitterness and rage in this colonial situation/ this situation
      where the official political overlords and official priestly
      establishment either side with the Imperial power or suck up to them...
      where the country side is again and again filled with "bandits/
      terrorists/ zealots"... where many of the most pious offer no real
      strategies of relief and release (as in... "just say your prayers, keep
      the feasts, keep the purity and this, too shall pass"... grin and bear
      it strategy)... where others foment angry visions of God coming to wipe
      out the enemies... where religious charlatans offering bogus relief...
      nother words... Jesus' world and time... well, such bitterness and rage
      was abounding to effects of building violence and building social
      illness with its most intimate and personal effects. So... how does the
      parable work? How does the table fellowship offer a fundamentally
      different way? Parables aren't angry! They nip at, lampoon, turn over,
      flip the expectations, surprise. They offer multiple entry points... are
      useful with folks "coming from all sorts of places." And so they offer
      a path towards reorientation. To what? To the core of the TANAK "WAY."
      And if you "have ears" and take in the reorientation and new connection
      to those also oriented... then smiles and laughter a plenty! (as in
      Samaritans, Galileans and even Roman soldiers coming together in a new
      social milieu/ matrix/ community!) And this done at table... where
      social boundaries are subverted... gets people fed... puts new mixes of
      people together... is also a new/ renewed "Passover"/ real freedom
      experience and offers a single portal that can address all to the end
      that the meal just might not end in indigestion;)! (or worse).

      Now... I indeed think Jesus may have been occasionally really angry when
      he told some of these. Of course... anger is most appropriate in some
      of those situations... and appropriate to show... of course! But the
      whole demeanor of parabling is a nod and a wink, a gentle chuckle and a
      sly smile. And such as these parables precisely connect to such as
      "Consider the lilies...." Thus this is not an emotionally bellicose
      Jesus... but one strategizing a reconciliation operation. This indeed
      offered a PROFOUND alternative to the cultural norms. So... one more
      time I'm going to point you to a very notable, textual comparison...
      Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 for an analogous way of conceiving this.

      And to end on "a poem." Malcolm X was full of anger til he went to Mecca
      and at last saw races from all over mixing in common devotion of
      religious piety. He came home PROFOUNDLY changed... and his whole tone
      changed after that... so much that those within his own former circles
      found his new attitude to be a threat. You know how that turned out.
      But this social radical... some 35 years later showed up on a U.S.
      postage stamp. I'm sure Malcolm has a very wry grin about that now!
      (just a tad ironic, eh!)


    • Loren Rosson
      [James] Do you think these folks were armed? [Loren] No. With the possible exception of the Samaritan Prophet, the popular prophets didn t lead armed revolts.
      Message 109 of 109 , Jun 18 4:14 PM
        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
        Jerusalem's walls.

        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
        Jesus' miracles:


        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
        of chaos."

        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
        Nashua NH

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