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Re: [XTalk] The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles

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  • Ron Price
    ... Fabrizio, Here we will have to agree to differ. For in my opinion (discussed in another thread) the Gospel of Thomas was not an original feature of the
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
      I wrote:

      >> ....... the radical nature of the early Jesus
      >> movement was such that it would have had to grow quickly or die, for it
      >> was based on the apocalyptic hope of Jesus' early return.

      Fabrizio Palestini replied:

      >For the sketch of first century Christianity I appeal to Q and Thomas
      >scholars (especially Kloppenborg, Patterson etc)
      > ....... the apocalypticism may not be an
      >original feature of Jesus movement. The Gospel of Thomas lacks it, Q1 too.

      Fabrizio,
      Here we will have to agree to differ.
      For in my opinion (discussed in another thread) the Gospel of Thomas
      was not an original feature of the Jesus movement. Also Q1 was defined
      by people who had a prior conviction that there was no apocalyptic
      element in Jesus' original teaching. It is therefore totally illogical
      to quote Q1 as evidence for a non-apocalyptic Jesus.
      The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely out of
      touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact about
      Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
      crucified by the Roman authorities.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • Gordon Raynal
      ... Ron, This claim, out of touch with reality is, to say the least, a tad strong, not to mention unnecessarily pejorative. The case for understanding HJ as
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
        > The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely out of
        > touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact about
        > Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
        > crucified by the Roman authorities.

        Ron,

        This claim, "out of touch with reality" is, to say the least, a tad
        strong, not to mention unnecessarily pejorative. The case for
        understanding HJ as a wisdom teacher is not simply dependent upon Q 1
        and Thomas, but upon how one reads the layers of redaction and how one
        assesses the relationships about historical versus theological claims
        being made. Mark, Ep. James, I Corinthians 1 and Josephus are other
        resources that go together to support this understanding for example.
        But the core of the matter has to do with the parables themselves.

        As for a parablist being killed without recourse to apocalyptic
        pronouncement... well this is not hard to figure at all. For one
        thing... tradition has it that Aesop was thrown from a cliff for telling
        his fables;)! More seriously, in a Roman police state and in the
        tinderbox of Jerusalem at the time of the national holiday there is no
        problem understanding anyone who is considered a trouble maker just
        being dragged off and executed. Josephus tells us that Archelaus'
        troops killed about 3000 rioters at Passover after HTG's death... that
        Varus crucified 2000 "ringleaders" in a single action when Archelaus'
        "rule" was a mess. As Dom Crossan says, a troop leader in Jerusalem
        probably didn't have to go up the chain of command very high, if at all
        to stop one perceived as "a threat."

        And then finally to modern circumstances... just run the list of "agents
        of reconciliation" just taken out....

        There is nothing in the least irrational about reading the parables...
        understanding the wisdom tradition's power (take a gander again at such
        as Ecclesiastes 9:13-18)... and seeing just how provocative such speech
        was in colonial Palestine (to use the Roman frame of reference). I am
        not undone if what I perceive to be later layers of redaction also
        belonging to HJ, too. But there is a clear logic for taking Mark
        4:34... in relation to the very first confession of Easter faith in
        John's Gospel (Jn 20:16), in relation to Josephus' description of Jesus
        (sophos aner) as being the historical reality and actuality.

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
      • expcman@aol.com
        The idea that apocalypiticism is a later addition/development in Christianity has been around for a while (and thus is not new at all) and is suspect for
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
          The idea that "apocalypiticism" is a later addition/development in
          Christianity has been around for a while (and thus is not new at all) and is
          suspect for reasons other than the suspicion that this view is self-serving,
          a necessary concomitant hypothesis
          to support the view that at least Jesus and perhaps even some of the early
          Christian
          communities were NOT apocalyptic at all.

          To select just one problem here - because of the obvious affinities of
          Christian apocalypticism with Judaism, its originating Sitz/home/milieu most
          naturally seems to be among Jewish Christians and particularly ones in
          Palestine. Yet this group virtually ceases to exist (at least to the extent
          that they no longer influence any of the significant issues of Christian
          history) after the "First Jewish Revolt" of 66-70.
          Thus, "apocalyptic Christianity" would need to be "at home" in Palestine
          prior to this
          era, just when a "Q" was written. So if the "apocalyptic Q" is a later
          recension of a
          "Q" that is originally non-apocalyptic, it must have happened pretty darn
          quick ...
          possible, but likely? And this involves this "Q" being adopted by another
          group of Palestinian Jewish Christians despite its lack of congruity with its
          own views and values.

          And which two groups would be involved here? It is usual (not just these
          days) to posit a Galilean or even Syrian (= Damascus?) origin for "Q,"
          perhaps because we know less about it and perceive that it would be easier to
          find Hellenistic influence there. But Jerusalem is where we know extensive
          Jews from the Diaspora resided
          and thus where Hellenistic ideas would be found as congenial already. Yet
          James
          was the accepted leader of that Christian community ... and he was not a
          Hellenist.
          In fact, that James' own views were apocalyptic is the usual explanation (one
          which I accept) for why he and his community were financially poor, as they
          had "sold all"
          and were awaiting the Parousia by daily prayers in the Temple's court-yard.

          But even more to the point is that a non-apocalyptic "Q" is usually seen as
          also non-
          Jewish! The absence of any distinctively Jewish concerns, issues, or
          vocabulary would be most peculiar in a document posited as written by Jewish
          Christians in
          Palestine, especially ones preoccupied with their concerns for "doing Torah."
          The
          idea of a non-Torah-keeping group of Jews in Palestine as the originating
          community
          for "Q, first edition" just strikes me as unlikely.

          Thus, while I do not object to the current hypothesis that there were groups
          of "Jesus people" in Galilee (i.e. ones who sought to follow Jesus' teaching
          yet without accepting the keryma and thus were not awaiting the Parousia),
          such groups would
          not seem to be a natural home for producing a "Q" that was later used by one
          or more of the authors of the canonical gospels. Thus, their views would not
          be very
          significant for the development of the literary texts which became the
          gospels we now have.

          Oops - I responded to Ron that my response would not have been as succinct as
          his ... I just illustrated the point, but I got carried away ... if only to
          clarify my own perceptions. Sorry, folks.

          Clive


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • expcman@aol.com
          Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets forth a view other than my own. The problem which you need to address (seems to me) to
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
            Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets forth
            a view other than my own. The problem which you need to address (seems to
            me) to be not just whether or not such a Jesus is envisionable in the known
            context of the political/social/economic/etc. events and institutions of
            first century Palestine but whether a community was created which shared
            these views, ones which produced
            the oral traditions used by the authors of the several gospels. I think that
            this is why
            this forum spends as much time talking about issues of "history of
            Christianity" as about "history of Jesus," since such are the creators and
            transmittors of what we know about Jesus. Thus, Jesus as "wisdom teacher"
            requires a community which saw him in such terms, but Jesus as "apocalyptic
            prophet" seems rather how he was seen by the earliest Christians in
            Palestine, the ones from whom the "Jesus tradition(s)" emerged. That there
            was an early alternative to this seems likely, one which grew into the
            Johnannine traditions preserved in (most likely) Alexandria and in fact I
            would posit its origin in Jerusalem among the resident Greek-speaking Jews,
            who were visiting/residing there from the Diaspora. To me, this seems a more
            likely
            place to find a "Hellenistic milieu" for the growth of a non-apocalyptic
            Christianity than among Aramic-speaking Galilean peasants as now being
            posited by many. My
            view also makes it easier to account for the oral traditions becoming written
            down,
            something more likely to have been done in some urban location than some
            rural one. So the discussion must needs be about just the believability of
            one or another
            hypothesis about the "real Jesus" but also about the believability of
            corollary hypotheses about the originating communities that formed the oral
            tradition about Jesus ... and the communities which transmitted such. This
            is not so much to argue
            against what you've just said as to invite you to consider and to state what
            you must
            necessarily argue as the means by which such a Jesus was remembered and
            transmitted in such a way that our gospel authors received such information
            ... even if not such views.

            Clive


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • wellingk@ohsu.edu
            ... ... out of ... about ... And from what source do you draw this absolute certainty? Kelly Wellington Portland, Oregon, USA
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
              --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ron Price" <ron.price@v...> wrote:
              <snip>
              > The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely
              out of
              > touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact
              about
              > Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
              > crucified by the Roman authorities.
              >
              > Ron Price
              >
              > Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK


              And from what source do you draw this absolute certainty?

              Kelly Wellington
              Portland, Oregon, USA
            • Steve Black
              ... I think the language absolute certainty too strong. There is probably nothing about Jesus, or probably anything else in antiquity which we can approach
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
                >--- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ron Price" <ron.price@v...> wrote:
                ><snip>
                >> The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely
                >out of
                >> touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact
                >about
                >> Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
                >> crucified by the Roman authorities.
                >>
                >> Ron Price
                >>
                >> Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
                >
                >Kelly Wellington wrote
                >And from what source do you draw this absolute certainty?

                I think the language "absolute certainty" too strong. There is
                probably nothing about Jesus, or probably anything else in antiquity
                which we can approach with "absolute certainty".
                History is more about probability than certainty.
                If this list has shown me anything it is that there is an absolute
                lack of consensus about EVERY SINGLE DETAIL regarding the HJ!!

                To defend what Ron said, however, I think I can safely say that the
                laws of probability are on the side of a historical crucifixion, and
                that it is here that the scholarly world comes the *nearest* to a
                complete consensus!
                [Those who deny generally deny the existence of a HJ, and their
                scholarship is not *usually* embraced by other NT scholars at or
                above a university level - for what that's worth]
                --
                Peace

                Steve Black
                Vancouver, BC
              • Gordon Raynal
                Clive, ... Without any quotes in this post I m not sure to whom you are responding, but let me make several comments... Thus, Jesus as wisdom teacher ... Let
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
                  Clive,


                  expcman@... wrote:
                  >
                  > Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets forth
                  > a view other than my own.

                  Without any quotes in this post I'm not sure to whom you are responding,
                  but let me make several comments...


                  Thus, Jesus as "wisdom teacher"
                  > requires a community which saw him in such terms, but Jesus as "apocalyptic
                  > prophet" seems rather how he was seen by the earliest Christians in
                  > Palestine, the ones from whom the "Jesus tradition(s)" emerged.

                  Let me begin here...

                  This way of expressing communal life, in my view, flattens not only
                  communities and specific works, but the genre and use of apocalyptic
                  itself as it is utilized in various writings. First, and I know this is
                  outside of Palestine, but consider the Corinthian Church. I Corinthians
                  opens with Paul dealing with at least 4 and maybe 5 factions in one
                  Christian community (I note 5 because sometimes when folks claim such as
                  "I belong to you" [as in some claiming to belong to Paul] they may not
                  at all reflect where one is coming from!). My point here is that it is
                  entirely conceivable that individual communities of the Way could indeed
                  contain members who "do theology" in different ways. Thus, this idea
                  that there is a kind of blanket uniformity of "apocalyptacism" I find
                  entirely wanting.

                  Second, to the resident theologies in the TANAK and the conclusion that
                  1st century Judaism was overwhelmingly apocalyptic. TANAK indeed
                  contains a number of theological voices. So: a) there is absolutely
                  nothing "unJewish" about one speaking as a sage/ small "r" rabbi out of
                  this rich heritage, b) there is nothing surprising about the reality
                  that this theological discipline/ stance being enjoined in the mayhem of
                  the early first century, and c) there is nothing unusual about such "a
                  Voice" being then reflected upon and redacted through the other extant
                  theologies known to us. And indeed this is precisely what the extant
                  texts preserve for us! Single works will draw upon the Royal theology
                  of the Psalms, the Classical Prophecy of Isaiah, the Apocalyptacism of
                  Daniel and the Wisdom traditions in various ways.

                  Third... the use of the apocalyptic genre itself is various. The way
                  the apocalyptic elements are utilized in varies in the Synoptic Gospels,
                  not to mention between such as Mark, John, Ep. James and Revelation.

                  Thus citing a uniform and overall "apocalyptacism" of earliest
                  Christianity does not, in my view, fairly account for the Hebraic
                  heritage, the adherents of the Way/ Christianity, nor the NT writings we have.



                  This
                  > is not so much to argue
                  > against what you've just said as to invite you to consider and to state what
                  > you must
                  > necessarily argue as the means by which such a Jesus was remembered and
                  > transmitted in such a way that our gospel authors received such information
                  > ... even if not such views.


                  The place I want to begin here is with the Mission Statement in Q/ Luke
                  10:3 ff and with the parables. In my view this mission is not "an
                  apocalyptic venture," but rather is very much "a ministry of [present]
                  reconciliation." And the parables are Parabolic Wisdom forms of speech.
                  Parabling at table (to draw these two together) very much raises a very
                  "here and now" response. And indeed, if it were effective [and it
                  surely was!!!] then it comes as no surprise that those who came from the
                  different parties and different theological traditions, and who stayed,
                  would indeed reflect upon Jesus in the aftermath of his tragic death
                  with **all the resources** from that past. And again, that's just what
                  we get! The extant writings show a rich and powerful weaving of
                  reflections about Jesus words and a profound creativity about the
                  effects of the reconciliation (why Jesus can calm storms, walk on water
                  and feed multitudes, just to name a few things! ... ALL these clearly
                  rooted in the Hebraic scriptures). Reading the Hebrew Scriptures and
                  simply reading the parables I find no trouble seeing how we get what we
                  get as powerful kerygma and then on to even more fanciful writings (thus
                  such as the Infancy Gospels).

                  Finally, as for all of this happening "rapidly?" Well I don't know how
                  many of Malcolm X's speeches you've ever listened to. But in the 1960's
                  he would hardly have been considered a candidate to go on a U.S. Postal
                  Stamp. But 3 decades later there he was! By analogy, the Wisdom
                  theological response by Jesus reflected upon through the lens of the
                  various theological voices in Scripture left us a legacy wherein Jesus
                  is titled everything from "my rabbi" to "Christ" to "High Priest after
                  the order of Melchizedek" to "the Lamb of God that takes away the sins
                  of the world" to "I am...," etc. etc. So, to conclude... with the
                  Hebrew Scriptures in the background as "First Canon" and the power of
                  Jesus thought and mission, I find it not hard at all to conceive of how
                  rapidly the kerygma developed between ca. 30 to ca. 70 to 75 when we get
                  something like the Mark that we have. And I can well imagine those "in
                  Mark's" community (-ies) being of diverse theological perspective.

                  So, I hope this at least gives a partial response to your wonderings.

                  Gordon Raynal
                  Inman, SC
                • Robert C. Davis
                  May I throw in here on this one for a bit? This interests me because Clive and I--who used to be colleagues at the same college until he retired--have spoken
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
                    May I throw in here on this one for a bit? This interests me because Clive
                    and I--who used to be colleagues at the same college until he retired--have
                    spoken in the past at some length about some of these very issues.

                    Part of the issue, it seems to me, is whether it is credible to assume that
                    the overwhelming attention paid to apocalyptic thinking in Jewish Palestine
                    during the period before the destruction of Jerusalem was not shared
                    generally by Palestinian Jews and thus by Palestinian Jewish-Christians by
                    extension. In order to make that assumption, one would have to suggest that
                    this apocalyptic world-view was not as generally accepted by traditional
                    Palestinian Jews as has been suggested, and that thus there were whole
                    groups/factions among Palestinian Jews that in fact neglected or overlooked
                    it.

                    With all respects, I don't think this can be maintained, for reasons which I
                    believe went to the core of Jewish national assumptions. There were certain
                    commonalities among Jews in Palestine at the time, which included, first,
                    the traditional assumption that Israel remained a unique, unparalleled, and
                    unprecedented nation because of its exclusive relationship with Yahweh;
                    second, that the occupation of Israel by Rome was an abomination that could
                    not be tolerated for reasons already cited in the first point; and third
                    that Yahweh Himself would ultimately do something about that occupation--and
                    that the messiah was to be the agent of this transformation.

                    The other commonality shared by all Palestinian Jews, of course, was their
                    collective experience of the Roman occupation--and this, I think, was enough
                    to bind them together in a collective apocalyptic orientation because it was
                    aimed at the one goal they all shared: the end of Roman control.

                    Now...that there may well have been differences in the way specific groups
                    looked for the eventual apocalyptic victory to manifest itself is not
                    impossible by any means. Thus, the possibility that Jesus could act in the
                    Wisdom Sage tradition, in contrast, say, to John the Baptist's more
                    prophetic approach, does not exclude the participation of either group in
                    the overall apocalyptic focus of Jewish Palestine generally. What it might
                    say is that there was more than one recognized approach to the
                    accomplishment of the same apocalyptic goal. Again, this is not much of a
                    stretch when one considers that there were great differences between the
                    Sicarii on the one hand and the more moderate political factions on the
                    other as to whether it is reasonable or even possible to "advance the date"
                    of the Day of the Lord through the use of human actions. The Sicarii may
                    well have believed that it was indeed possible; the other factions did not.
                    But this does not mean that both were not thinking within the same general
                    apocalyptic parameters when it came to both assumptions and goals.

                    The problem for the earliest generation of Palestinian Jewish Christians was
                    to redefine this apocalyptic world-view so as to make the claim that Jesus
                    was indeed the apocalyptic messiah--and to do so in a way that could
                    persuade at least some of their Jewish neighbors that they were indeed
                    correct in doing so. This redefinition in itself could well have presented
                    some major difficulties within the earliest Christian generation, and
                    perhaps could account for the kinds of differences you and others have been
                    discussing. I find it interesting, for instance, that the "triumvirate" of
                    Peter, James, and John in the earliest chapters of Acts suddenly is modified
                    without any explanation--John suddenly goes missing! To the extent that
                    this represents the preservation of an early strain of tradition (and I
                    realize that making any such assumption as regards Acts is in itself
                    potentially problematic--particularly since I agree with an early 2nd
                    century dating for Luke-Acts), might we not have an implicit reference to
                    just such a disagreement, which ultimately led to one segment of the
                    earliest generation deciding to go out on its own in order to emphasize a
                    different messianic perspective? But one which still remained within the
                    more general apocalyptic world-view still shared in common by all
                    Palestinian Jews?

                    If any of this is valid, then I believe it leads us to conclude that the
                    role of Greek-speaking Jews in the transmission process may come a bit later
                    (sorry, Clive). I consider it possible that these Jews, once they had begun
                    to return to their own towns and synagogues, had to find a way to transmit
                    this new gospel in such fashion as to make it credible within a Hellenistic
                    and non-apocalyptic thought-world. But I would want to put this at a
                    "second stage" of gospel transmission, thus making these particular
                    Jewish-Christians the "transition" stage toward an eventually and thoroughly
                    Hellenized gospel--and here is where, for example, I would want to locate
                    the infancy narratives, etc.

                    Meanwhile back at the ranch...the ongoing opposition by the Jerusalem group
                    under James to Paul's "law-free" approach among his own converts can only be
                    explained by the Jerusalem group's continuing adherence to the traditional
                    apocalyptic world-view. This is because of their continuing fear that their
                    own spiritual purity would be risked by contact with non-Jewish Christians,
                    and thus their own places in the New Age placed in jeopardy. Yes, they were
                    "beat back" from time to time on this question (cf. Galatians 2, Acts 15),
                    but I believe I am remembering my conversations with Clive correctly when I
                    suggest that we both have previously agreed that the Jerusalem group saw
                    these incidents as lost battles, but not the end of the "war." Indeed, the
                    continuing enmity toward Paul that is evident in both his letters and in
                    Acts would seem to imply that this group maintained its apocalyptic--and
                    therefore thoroughly insular!--stance right through until the destruction of
                    Jerusalem in 70 and their subsequent flight to Pella.

                    So...what does all this have to do with the price of anything? Just that to
                    the extent that the Q material represents the earliest strain of Jesus
                    transmission by those considered most able and "authorized" to present it
                    (which would be the Jerusalem group, no doubt), then there is no reason to
                    see that material as representing a non-apocalyptic viewpoint. It couldn't,
                    after all, for otherwise these particular Jews (and that, remember, is what
                    they still considered themselves to be!) would no longer have been "Jews,"
                    by virtue of the very apocalyptic definitions they had always accepted!
                    Thus, whatever de-apocalypticizing as ultimately took place should be
                    assigned to a later date and to transmissions by derivative and probably
                    Hellenized groups.

                    I appreciate the chance to share these thoughts with my fellow scholars and
                    friends. But now I must get back to grading, before my summer school
                    students string me up!!!

                    Respectfully,

                    Robert Davis
                    Division of Humanities
                    Pikeville College

                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Gordon Raynal [mailto:scudi@...]
                    Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2001 7:04 PM
                    To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles


                    Clive,


                    expcman@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets
                    forth
                    > a view other than my own.

                    Without any quotes in this post I'm not sure to whom you are responding,
                    but let me make several comments...


                    Thus, Jesus as "wisdom teacher"
                    > requires a community which saw him in such terms, but Jesus as
                    "apocalyptic
                    > prophet" seems rather how he was seen by the earliest Christians in
                    > Palestine, the ones from whom the "Jesus tradition(s)" emerged.

                    Let me begin here...

                    This way of expressing communal life, in my view, flattens not only
                    communities and specific works, but the genre and use of apocalyptic
                    itself as it is utilized in various writings. First, and I know this is
                    outside of Palestine, but consider the Corinthian Church. I Corinthians
                    opens with Paul dealing with at least 4 and maybe 5 factions in one
                    Christian community (I note 5 because sometimes when folks claim such as
                    "I belong to you" [as in some claiming to belong to Paul] they may not
                    at all reflect where one is coming from!). My point here is that it is
                    entirely conceivable that individual communities of the Way could indeed
                    contain members who "do theology" in different ways. Thus, this idea
                    that there is a kind of blanket uniformity of "apocalyptacism" I find
                    entirely wanting.

                    Second, to the resident theologies in the TANAK and the conclusion that
                    1st century Judaism was overwhelmingly apocalyptic. TANAK indeed
                    contains a number of theological voices. So: a) there is absolutely
                    nothing "unJewish" about one speaking as a sage/ small "r" rabbi out of
                    this rich heritage, b) there is nothing surprising about the reality
                    that this theological discipline/ stance being enjoined in the mayhem of
                    the early first century, and c) there is nothing unusual about such "a
                    Voice" being then reflected upon and redacted through the other extant
                    theologies known to us. And indeed this is precisely what the extant
                    texts preserve for us! Single works will draw upon the Royal theology
                    of the Psalms, the Classical Prophecy of Isaiah, the Apocalyptacism of
                    Daniel and the Wisdom traditions in various ways.

                    Third... the use of the apocalyptic genre itself is various. The way
                    the apocalyptic elements are utilized in varies in the Synoptic Gospels,
                    not to mention between such as Mark, John, Ep. James and Revelation.

                    Thus citing a uniform and overall "apocalyptacism" of earliest
                    Christianity does not, in my view, fairly account for the Hebraic
                    heritage, the adherents of the Way/ Christianity, nor the NT writings we
                    have.



                    This
                    > is not so much to argue
                    > against what you've just said as to invite you to consider and to state
                    what
                    > you must
                    > necessarily argue as the means by which such a Jesus was remembered and
                    > transmitted in such a way that our gospel authors received such
                    information
                    > ... even if not such views.


                    The place I want to begin here is with the Mission Statement in Q/ Luke
                    10:3 ff and with the parables. In my view this mission is not "an
                    apocalyptic venture," but rather is very much "a ministry of [present]
                    reconciliation." And the parables are Parabolic Wisdom forms of speech.
                    Parabling at table (to draw these two together) very much raises a very
                    "here and now" response. And indeed, if it were effective [and it
                    surely was!!!] then it comes as no surprise that those who came from the
                    different parties and different theological traditions, and who stayed,
                    would indeed reflect upon Jesus in the aftermath of his tragic death
                    with **all the resources** from that past. And again, that's just what
                    we get! The extant writings show a rich and powerful weaving of
                    reflections about Jesus words and a profound creativity about the
                    effects of the reconciliation (why Jesus can calm storms, walk on water
                    and feed multitudes, just to name a few things! ... ALL these clearly
                    rooted in the Hebraic scriptures). Reading the Hebrew Scriptures and
                    simply reading the parables I find no trouble seeing how we get what we
                    get as powerful kerygma and then on to even more fanciful writings (thus
                    such as the Infancy Gospels).

                    Finally, as for all of this happening "rapidly?" Well I don't know how
                    many of Malcolm X's speeches you've ever listened to. But in the 1960's
                    he would hardly have been considered a candidate to go on a U.S. Postal
                    Stamp. But 3 decades later there he was! By analogy, the Wisdom
                    theological response by Jesus reflected upon through the lens of the
                    various theological voices in Scripture left us a legacy wherein Jesus
                    is titled everything from "my rabbi" to "Christ" to "High Priest after
                    the order of Melchizedek" to "the Lamb of God that takes away the sins
                    of the world" to "I am...," etc. etc. So, to conclude... with the
                    Hebrew Scriptures in the background as "First Canon" and the power of
                    Jesus thought and mission, I find it not hard at all to conceive of how
                    rapidly the kerygma developed between ca. 30 to ca. 70 to 75 when we get
                    something like the Mark that we have. And I can well imagine those "in
                    Mark's" community (-ies) being of diverse theological perspective.

                    So, I hope this at least gives a partial response to your wonderings.

                    Gordon Raynal
                    Inman, SC


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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Gordon Raynal
                    ... Robert, Thank you for your note. not as generally accepted by traditional Palestinian Jews, as you know from my note is where we will disagree. Just to
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
                      "Robert C. Davis" wrote:

                      > Part of the issue, it seems to me, is whether it is credible to assume that
                      > the overwhelming attention paid to apocalyptic thinking in Jewish Palestine
                      > during the period before the destruction of Jerusalem was not shared
                      > generally by Palestinian Jews and thus by Palestinian Jewish-Christians by
                      > extension. In order to make that assumption, one would have to suggest that
                      > this apocalyptic world-view was not as generally accepted by traditional
                      > Palestinian Jews as has been suggested, and that thus there were whole
                      > groups/factions among Palestinian Jews that in fact neglected or overlooked
                      > it.
                      >
                      Robert,

                      Thank you for your note. "not as generally accepted by traditional
                      Palestinian Jews," as you know from my note is where we will disagree.
                      Just to stir the pot a tad;)!, a central issue in this, as you are well
                      aware, is how one conceives of what is "core/ early" and what is the
                      product of extended reflection/ redaction/ extension. Just as a thought
                      model from an earlier era... the Ezra-Nehemiah traditions tell of the
                      central "official thought" of the post Exilic era. Such as the
                      Chronicler retells Israel's story with an eye towards Central cultic
                      faithfulness. And this represents a dominant Temple piety viewpoint.
                      And yet the Hebrew Scriptures also contain a lampooning of this dominant
                      viewpoint (Jonah!... a parabolic response in the guise of a prophetic
                      book). This little example shows the vibrancy of the tradition and the
                      strength of maintaining the various strong voices from the past. And
                      the Duetero canonical books reveal the continuation of this diversity.
                      To jam, so to speak, the Wisdom of Solomon and Ben Sira into "a
                      generally held apocalyptic view," in my view, does not do justice to the
                      breadth of the theological constructive possibilities that were accessed
                      in the Hebraic tradition and parties. And so again, from TANAK and from
                      the Deutero Canonicals we know of a Hebraic/ Jewish wisdom heritage.
                      The parables and aphorisms of Jesus are wisdom theological and ethical
                      forms. The mission strategy is "here and now" response that is
                      consonant with a wisdom theological and ethical response. And then
                      besides... that Jesus voiced something that wasn't "generally accepted"
                      seems to be very much the case! (thus the crowds in Nazareth and others
                      puzzle: "What is this wisdom that has been given to him?" Mark 6:2).
                      And so again, that this profoundly thoughtful and provocative response
                      was quickly reflected upon in relation to the range of theological
                      voices from the past comes as no surprise to me at all. That the
                      apocalyptic took on a special cogency across the following decades makes
                      special sense;)! After all, someone who was understood by his friends
                      as parabling "the Kingdom of God" would be seen to be a pretty dim sage
                      if that wisdom wasn't understood as taking into account the increasing
                      slide into violence and mayhem. That, after the Roman Jewish War, a
                      central emphasis was placed on this (such as in Mark 13), pardon, "just
                      sort of makes sense!" But then again... the collected writings that
                      came together preserve not just "a general apocalyptacism," but indeed
                      such as Ep. James, which is clearly a wisdom focused epistle, Hebrews a
                      work that is centered in Priestly Theology, etc.

                      So, we will have to continue to disagree about this. With Dom Crossan I
                      think underneath both Q and Thomas is a common sayings source. That
                      source is a wisdom collection. And such views as you present here just
                      don't push me away from paying close attention not only the genre of
                      that collection, but, of course... the content! And so just to end this
                      with a bit of a poem:)... let me end with what I think is vintage HJ:

                      "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor
                      will they say, "Look here it is!" or "There it is!" For the kingdom of
                      God is among you." (NRSV Luke 17:21). Pardon my southern expression,
                      but "this just ain't an apocalyptic affirmation."

                      Gordon Raynal
                      Inman, SC
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