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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 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
              >
              >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 6 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 7 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 8 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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