Re: [XTalk] Re: Honorable debate in agonistic cultures
- At 11:27 AM 06/02/01, Loren Rosson wrote:
>[Loren]Why this ad hominem? We might equally ask, are you pushing the honor-shame
> > > "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.
>Is this simply because you don't want to see this as being traceable back
model because you *want* to see this traceable back to the HJ?
It is not our wants that are at stake, but what methodology can we used to
evaluate whether this model applies, or not.
>Why would you suppose those towns were originally welcoming?You are missing the point. In general in this debate, you haven't been very
keen on seeing any differences between the authorial point of view of the
evangelist, and the voice of Jesus. In other words, it seems to mean
nothing to you that the date of composition of the gospels is several
generations after the time at which the debates are supposed to have taken
>[Loren]It is easy to see bitterness and rage if that is what you want to see.
> > > 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. ...
However, I am leery of projecting into the text the things that we want to
The tricky thing about using "models" is that they are generally imposed on
the evidence. We need to be able to test the appropriateness of the models.
You are satisfied that this has already been done. I am not so satisfied.
With Gordon, I look for the Hebrew 'voice' that we see in the Tanakh,
Josephus, and the DSS, which seems to me a more reliable guide to the
temperament of Jesus than the honor-shame model.
To over-emphasize the bitterness and rage makes Jesus into a social radical
and seems to de-emphasize the spiritual dimension. I am more persuaded by
E.P. Sanders' judgment that Jesus' agenda was theological more than
political or economic. Not that Jesus didn't care about the latter, but
that he was *more* interested in restoring the relationship between Jews
and their God than in fomenting revolution, which seems to be the logical
implication of all your 'bitterness and rage.'
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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.