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

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi, Just a few more replies L ... Not at all. I m not going into an elaborate methodological post here, but the short answer is that I see the production of
    Message 1 of 109 , Jun 2 12:16 PM
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      Just a few more replies

      > [Loren]
      > Is this simply because you don't want to see this as
      > being traceable back to HJ?

      Not at all. I'm not going into an elaborate methodological post here,
      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'ĂȘtre 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 where
      > your aggressive minimalism gets you into trouble,
      > Gordon.

      My minimalism isn't at all "aggressive." Interesting notation by you.
      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.
      > [Loren]
      > 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--

      This is not at all trivialization. True sages are WISE... um, that is
      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]
      > 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.

      You continue to think I'm talking about mere head games. This is
      PROFOUNDLY not the case. This craft is really about making actual
      social and personal transformation active.

      > [Loren]
      > AGGGGHHHHHH!!! Now you're regressing. And I'm losing
      > my decorum....

      I've not regressed a bit. I hope one of these days you'll catch...
      some... of the dare I say... whimsy and mirth of this. Might help you
      find a bit of serious relief.
      > Best to you, Gordon. And I just received more of your
      > "wisdom" via snail-mail today. Thanks so much for
      > doing this to me. :-)

      I will gladly accept your best... and leave you with those gifts which
      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.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
    • 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
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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
        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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