Re: [XTalk] Re: Honorable debate in agonistic cultures
Just a few more replies
> [Loren]Not at all. I'm not going into an elaborate methodological post here,
> Is this simply because you don't want to see this as
> being traceable back to HJ?
but the short answer is that I see the production of this genre of
writing as consistent with the millennia long (plus or minus a bit:)!)
of the creative midrashic heritage. These works are proclamatory
works... just as they state! (as in "this is the Good News....). The
crafting of these theo-ethical stories is a high art form. Discerning
history in them, well that's the challenge. This is something else
we'll have to sit down and talk about over that proverbial glass of Scotch.
Why would you suppose
> those towns were originally welcoming?Because the violence was swirling... the fears terrific... the conflicts
great... the local divisions often sharp... the official parties and
establishment whose raison d'être was to help ameliorate some of this
failing in many cases... and Jesus and friends offered a WISE, just,
compassionate and sharp (as in... "to the point") alternative. But this
world was raucous in the first century and there was competition for
"ears," and some places for a whole variety of reasons gave up. What
this crowd was calling for took a lot of nerve and that ran out in some
places. But not all!
>Oh, but you deny the authenticity of
> even the act in the temple, don't you? This is whereMy minimalism isn't at all "aggressive." Interesting notation by you.
> your aggressive minimalism gets you into trouble,
My challenge back to you is to search for the descriptions of the point
and the effect of the mission. It is expressed in different
registers... via different genres... with the particularity of different
voices... with different midrashic connections and then elaborations.
BUT there is a common core. What you call "aggressive" is simply a fair
historical reading and a profound appreciation of the midrashic art
through the developing layers of proclamation across about a century...
where in this community survived and the story went on. I appreciate
every step of that process. Working at history... it is important to
actually understand those steps.
>I think he clearly was.
I think you've made this point. We simply disagree.
>This is not at all trivialization. True sages are WISE... um, that is
> 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--
why they're call "sages" right;)! There is a splendid genius in this
and a very fertile genius. The midrashic expansion directly connects to this.
> [Loren]You continue to think I'm talking about mere head games. This is
> 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.
PROFOUNDLY not the case. This craft is really about making actual
social and personal transformation active.
>I've not regressed a bit. I hope one of these days you'll catch...
> AGGGGHHHHHH!!! Now you're regressing. And I'm losing
> my decorum....
some... of the dare I say... whimsy and mirth of this. Might help you
find a bit of serious relief.
>I will gladly accept your best... and leave you with those gifts which
> Best to you, Gordon. And I just received more of your
> "wisdom" via snail-mail today. Thanks so much for
> doing this to me. :-)
do provide the access to what I've been speaking about. I am very
serious that you might take that modern tool I gave you and use it
devotionally and see how it works. I have in fact used it with a
mixture of High School and College educated folks... and they "got it"
and got both the profound smiles and tears, tears and smiles contained
therein. Wisdom remains wisdom.
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
Do You Yahoo!?
Spot the hottest trends in music, movies, and more.