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Re: [XTalk] Jesus: Political or Religious/'theological' ?

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  • Brian McCarthy
    Bob, If that is what Sanders was trying to do, he did it very poorly, with his anachronistic conceptuality, inexcusable coming decades after Buber s
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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      Bob,

      If that is what Sanders was trying to do, he did it very poorly, with his anachronistic conceptuality, inexcusable coming decades after Buber's 'theo-political'.
      When I heard him I got the distinct impression that he had a political agenda of his own, very much 'establishment'. The focus on exploitation etc can be traced back a little further than Marx. Try Amos.
      Dragging in Marx is a typical 'establishment' ploy.

      And you totally ignored the hypothesis concerning Jesus line in his very difficult situation that I briefly sketched.

      Brian McCarthy
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Robert M. Schacht
      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, June 04, 2001 7:07 AM
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] Jesus: Political or Religious/'theological' ?


      At 06:39 PM 06/03/01, Brian McCarthy wrote:
      >Bob,
      >
      >Groans to E.P. Sanders if you have him right. It is anachronistic in the
      >case of Israelite/early Jewish 'religion' to try to separate what we call
      >'political' and 'theological'. It was theo-ethical and theo-political
      >through and through.
      >Thats the general situation. As regards Jesus specifically we need to
      >focus on the fact that in choosing 'kingdom' language Jesus was
      >consciously choosing what for his occasional hearers was the most
      >expliticly political of the traditional images of Israel's God....

      Of course the political and the theological were interconnected, as they
      have always been for the people of Israel since the time of Moses. What I
      object to in modern scholarship is a brief genuflection acknowledging this
      connection, followed by a near-exclusive focus on the socio-political
      agenda that ignores the theological, as if we were writing about the
      historical Karl Marx. I think Sanders was trying to correct that bias by
      really taking seriously (more seriously than many of his colleagues) what
      the theological side of that coin meant. He was not separating-to-ignore
      the political, but rather attempting to keep them in perspective. The
      modernist bias in Biblical scholarship has often been that only the
      social-political issues are "real," and worthy of study, whereas the
      theological side of the coin is merely considered an epiphenomenon that can
      be ignored.

      Bob



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    • David L. Barr
      My own experience in the profession--now approaching 30 years--is nearly the opposite of Bob Schacht s summary below. For the overwhelming majority of
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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        My own experience in the profession--now approaching 30 years--is nearly
        the opposite of Bob Schacht's summary below. For the overwhelming majority
        of scholars the theological so dominates our discussion of early
        Christianity that we can barely hear what Jesus and his followers were
        saying. And there is something to be said for the Karl Marx comparison:
        neither was trying to do theology (though both had ideas motivating them);
        both were focused on helping common people come to terms with oppressive
        systems. At least I think Jesus'work was closer to Karl Marx than to Karl
        Barth.

        (And please note that the Sitz im Leben of these remarks is final exams
        week here.)

        At 05:07 AM 6/4/01 -0700, you wrote:
        >What I
        >object to in modern scholarship is a brief genuflection acknowledging this
        >connection, followed by a near-exclusive focus on the socio-political
        >agenda that ignores the theological, as if we were writing about the
        >historical Karl Marx.



        David L. Barr
        Professor of Religion
        Wright State University
        Dayton OH 45435

        http//www.wright.edu/~david.barr
      • Gordon Raynal
        ... He was not separating-to-ignore ... Bob, Thanks for this note. I agree that the theological is often overlooked or minimized in a lot of modern
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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          "Robert M. Schacht" wrote:
          >
          He was not separating-to-ignore
          > the political, but rather attempting to keep them in perspective. The
          > modernist bias in Biblical scholarship has often been that only the
          > social-political issues are "real," and worthy of study, whereas the
          > theological side of the coin is merely considered an epiphenomenon that can
          > be ignored.

          Bob,

          Thanks for this note. I agree that the theological is often overlooked
          or minimized in a lot of modern scholarship r/t HJ and earliest
          Christianity, but also the elements of worship/ piety/ religious
          faithfulness. A holistic accounting of the data requires a look at all
          of that. So... for example... I think there is a definite
          "socio-political edge" in Jesus' table fellowship and parabling... so
          also an espousal of a renewed and developed theological constellation
          out of the Hebraic heritage (such as the way Luke connects the great
          commandments to being followed by the Parable of the Samaritan shows the
          commonality of perspective and that "theological edge." Not sure if
          this scene is precisely "historical" (as in a specific event report),
          but this precisely captures the theo-ethical continuities and the
          particular theological and ethical foci Jesus was bringing to bear).
          But then also... those meals echoed of the deepest Hebraic piety... the
          celebration of the meaning of freedom (echoing Passover), the giving of
          "the Word/ the Way" (echoing Weeks/ Pentecost), and "the journey to the
          Promised Land" (Booths). Thus this table fellowship and parabling work
          to arouse the theological, political, ethical, social, personal **and**
          the religious meanings of this great heritage. That the followers of
          Jesus poured not only over the such as Isaiah, but also over the Psalms
          to reflect upon HJ was not a step away from what Jesus was up to, but
          precisely germane. Why, even though the historical base for this is
          scant I rather think this group did sing as a part of their fellowship!
          But whatever that, all this affirmation that Jesus was somehow "a
          secularist" is profoundly ahistorical and it precisely misses one of the
          very key aspects of his own creativity. It needs to be said that that
          wry book Ecclesiastes precisely ends with a reaffirmation of piety as at
          the core of God's wisdom. And I think this needs very careful thought
          and study just as does the political and social and personal and
          theological dimensions of HJ's legacy.

          So... thanks for this note.

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC
        • Robert M. Schacht
          ... David, Thanks for your impressions. Just a couple of quick questions regarding the scholars you have in mind: 1. Were they primarily concerned with
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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            At 06:14 AM 06/04/01, David L. Barr wrote:

            >My own experience in the profession--now approaching 30 years--is nearly
            >the opposite of Bob Schacht's summary below. For the overwhelming majority
            >of scholars the theological so dominates our discussion of early
            >Christianity that we can barely hear what Jesus and his followers were
            >saying.

            David,
            Thanks for your impressions. Just a couple of quick questions regarding the
            scholars you have in mind:
            1. Were they primarily concerned with historical Jesus research, or was
            their primary concern pastoral or theological?
            2. Did they write mostly more than 20 years ago (i.e., before the Jesus
            Seminar began publishing), or afterwards?

            >...(And please note that the Sitz im Leben of these remarks is final exams
            >week here.)...

            My condolences. Been there, done that. :-)

            Bob


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          • Robert M. Schacht
            ... And thanks for yours. Looks like we re very much in agreement on this. Bob ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 4, 2001
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              At 07:16 AM 06/04/01, Gordon Raynal wrote:


              >"Robert M. Schacht" wrote:
              > >
              >He was not separating-to-ignore
              > > the political, but rather attempting to keep them in perspective. The
              > > modernist bias in Biblical scholarship has often been that only the
              > > social-political issues are "real," and worthy of study, whereas the
              > > theological side of the coin is merely considered an epiphenomenon that can
              > > be ignored.
              >
              >Bob,
              >
              >Thanks for this note.

              And thanks for yours. Looks like we're very much in agreement on this.
              Bob

              > I agree that the theological is often overlooked
              >or minimized in a lot of modern scholarship r/t HJ and earliest
              >Christianity, but also the elements of worship/ piety/ religious
              >faithfulness. A holistic accounting of the data requires a look at all
              >of that. So... for example... I think there is a definite
              >"socio-political edge" in Jesus' table fellowship and parabling... so
              >also an espousal of a renewed and developed theological constellation
              >out of the Hebraic heritage (such as the way Luke connects the great
              >commandments to being followed by the Parable of the Samaritan shows the
              >commonality of perspective and that "theological edge." Not sure if
              >this scene is precisely "historical" (as in a specific event report),
              >but this precisely captures the theo-ethical continuities and the
              >particular theological and ethical foci Jesus was bringing to bear).
              >But then also... those meals echoed of the deepest Hebraic piety... the
              >celebration of the meaning of freedom (echoing Passover), the giving of
              >"the Word/ the Way" (echoing Weeks/ Pentecost), and "the journey to the
              >Promised Land" (Booths). Thus this table fellowship and parabling work
              >to arouse the theological, political, ethical, social, personal **and**
              >the religious meanings of this great heritage. That the followers of
              >Jesus poured not only over the such as Isaiah, but also over the Psalms
              >to reflect upon HJ was not a step away from what Jesus was up to, but
              >precisely germane. Why, even though the historical base for this is
              >scant I rather think this group did sing as a part of their fellowship!
              >But whatever that, all this affirmation that Jesus was somehow "a
              >secularist" is profoundly ahistorical and it precisely misses one of the
              >very key aspects of his own creativity. It needs to be said that that
              >wry book Ecclesiastes precisely ends with a reaffirmation of piety as at
              >the core of God's wisdom. And I think this needs very careful thought
              >and study just as does the political and social and personal and
              >theological dimensions of HJ's legacy.
              >
              >So... thanks for this note.
              >
              >Gordon Raynal
              >Inman, SC
              >
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