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Re: [XTalk] Jesus the spirit-person?

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Thanks for your interesting questions. Sorry to have taken so long to reply. ... Spong counts Goulder as a mentor, but so far I haven t seen him mention
    Message 1 of 13 , Sep 17, 2001
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      At 09:08 PM 9/15/01 +0300, Sakari Häkkinen wrote:
      >Bob, Steve and other list-members
      >Jesus as "spirit person" (Spong) reminds me on Cerinth's view to Christ:
      >According to Irenaeus (Against Heresies 1,26.1) Cerinth taught that Christ
      >was a Spirit that descended into Jesus. I think list members are well
      >enough aware of both the views of Goulder (Possessionist Christology as
      >the oldest recognized view to Jesus as Christ, possessed by the Spirit)
      >and that of Davies (Jesus as a charismatic healer practicing his miracles
      >in trance like any shaman).

      Thanks for your interesting questions. Sorry to have taken so long to reply.

      >As I have not read Spong's work mentioned by Bob, I would like to know if
      >his "spirit person" is something equal to that presented by Goulder and
      >Davies, which I think are related to each other, although they seem not to
      >refer to common sources except Mark 1:9-12 and 3:21.

      Spong counts Goulder as a mentor, but so far I haven't seen him mention
      Davies' work at all. So my guess would be that he leans to Goulder on this

      >I think it makes sense to define HJ as an "ecstatic prophet". His
      >disciples must have felt that the Spirit was poored out after Jesus to his
      >disciples, who were then possessed by the Spirit (is this the origin of
      >Paul's EN CHRISTW ?). Of course the interpretation that Christ the Spirit
      >was after Jesus' death and resurrection given to his disciples was a
      >secondary interpretation - not all the disciples were ecstatic healers.

      There's some indications that Peter and Paul were capable of that sort of
      thing, and I'm not sure about John, but not much evidence of any of the others.

      > The Spirit, given to many at one time as promised by Joel, was now much
      > more a theoretical concept than an ecstatic experience, although many
      > followers of Jesus also practiced healings, glossolalia and other
      > miracles, "signs of the Spirit" in them. This enthusiastic form of
      > Christianity had to fade, however, with the time passing and the
      > increasing amount of people joining to the movement, which began to
      > institutionalize.

      Yeah, but it keeps popping up. The Christian mystics have kept it alive.
      And in the first century there was the community of John and the people who
      produced GThomas who arguably had some of that. And the Montanists, too,
      if memory serves. But yes, Spong's point is that ecstatic experience
      gradually becomes ossified (my term) into doctrine in order to communicate
      with those who haven't gotten it yet.

      >I am not sure if any of you buy this view to the origins of Christianity
      >at all, but if you do, tell me what do you think of the following questions:
      >1) What was the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus in this movement? Was
      >the risen Jesus a Spirit or did the Resurrection at first mean the same as
      >Pentacost, i.e. that the disciples were possessed by the Spirit of God,
      >which was Christ?

      My guess is that the answers are not necessarily an "or." I would guess
      that Pentecost was certainly depicted as an ecstatic/charismatic event, but
      I'm not sure that tells us anything about how the resurrection was conceived.

      >2) How about Paul's pneumatology and christology? Did Paul think that HJ
      >(Jesus according to flesh) was once in his lifetime possessed by the
      >Spirit, which then left him on the cross? I think that possession
      >christology might be at the background, but Paul's view is much more
      >complicated and developed than Cerinth's christology.

      There are abundant signs that after his experience on the road to Damascus,
      Paul was somewhat charismatic. Before then, however, is another matter. I
      guess I don't understand the basis for your statement, "Did Paul think that
      HJ (Jesus according to flesh) was once in his lifetime possessed by the
      Spirit, which then left him on the cross?" Instead, as mere conjecture, I
      might suggest that one of the reasons "Saul" opposed the historical Jesus
      was that Jesus was a charismatic and "Saul" was not. Until he became Paul.
      But that's only conjecture.

      >With best wishes and my expressions of sympathy to all those who lost
      >their relatives or friends in the terrible attack last Tuesday. We share
      >the feelings of sorrow and shock here in Europe and pray for the victims.

      Thank you very much. It has been an emotional week, and I think Americans
      feel different about themselves now.

      Best wishes,

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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