Re: [XTalk] Re: Honorable debate in agonistic cultures
> > "Woe to you,[Gordon]
> > 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[Loren]
> those later
> disappointed by rejection of what were originally
> welcoming towns.
Is this simply because you don't want to see this as
being traceable back to HJ? Why would you suppose
those towns were originally welcoming?
> > And it's easy to see the bitterness[Gordon]
> > 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[Loren]
> does a parable work?
A parable can work in a variety of ways, depending on
who is telling it, when, where, and for what reason.
In Jesus' case, he was agressively pissed at social
conditions which kept many people hungry and
dispossessed due to increasing foreclosures on land
due to debt, taxation, temple tithing, etc. A prophet
who raises hell in the temple, over-turns tables --
and who may have even applied a whip of cords to
money-changers, if John is right -- is a "pretty
pissed person". Oh, but you deny the authenticity of
even the act in the temple, don't you? This is where
your aggressive minimalism gets you into trouble,
> terrorists/ zealots"... where others foment[Loren]
> 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
Yes, and Jesus clearly had problems with such effects,
just as he had little use for the particular means and
methods of the bandits, wilderness prophets, royal
pretenders, and zealots. That doesn't mean he wasn't
as angry as they were. I think he clearly was.
> So... how does the[Loren]
> parable work? How does the table
> fellowship offer a
> different way? Parables aren't angry!
Many of them certainly are. With all we know of what
was going on in first-century Judea and Galilee, it is
all but impossible -- without trivializing Jesus -- to
read The Rich Man and Lazarus, The Prodigal Son, etc
as humorous attempts which--
> nip at, lampoon, turn over,[Loren]
> flip the expectations, surprise
The Lazaruses of the world who were starving, the
fathers who were being insulted and declared dead by
their sons, wouldn't have cared a bit about "surprise"
or having their minds teased into different kinds of
thought. Please keep this in mind.
> Now... I indeed think Jesus may have been[Loren]
> 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
Good! We're getting somewhere.
> But the whole demeanor of parabling[Loren]
> is a nod and a wink, a
> gentle chuckle and a
> sly smile.
AGGGGHHHHHH!!! Now you're regressing. And I'm losing
Best to you, Gordon. And I just received more of your
"wisdom" via snail-mail today. Thanks so much for
doing this to me. :-)
Loren Rosson III
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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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