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104Re: [ematthew] The Strong One

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  • Steve Black
    Mar 14, 2003
      Yoju are probably right and the traditional interpretation is to be
      preferred - but just to make my case a bit I'll give a few reasons
      why I came up with it.

      The tradition reading pairs v. 29 with 24-28 which makes it clearly
      about demons. My suggestion pairs v. 29 with 30-34, which would make
      it a polemic attack on the Pharisees. Certainly the traditional
      reading works - I am not suggesting that it doesn't - although it
      does raise some difficult questions about what Jesus means. When are
      these demons bound? Have they already been bound - and if so when did
      that occur? In the temptations? Perhaps but that seems a bit of a
      reach. You could suggest that the demons are bound by Jesus' words -
      but when then is the strong man "plundered" (if not in his command
      [words] to come out??) - which is a distinct step according to the
      logic of the parable.

      With my reading I am not saying that Jesus is actually bound - but
      rather that Jesus is revealing the Pharisees strategies of *trying*
      to bind him. The irony is that Jesus is finally bound and killed -
      but this turn to his ultimate victory.

      As far as reference in other works - the book of Rev orbits in a
      completely different symbolic universe from Mt and so I am not sure
      it is helpful - other older works might reflect a traditional
      understanding of Mt - Lk for example seem to understand this pericope
      as referring the demons - but of course that doesn't mean Mt did. It
      could be that Mark, the source of this pericope for Mt - might have
      also understood this differently.

      Anyways - there you go... I gave it one for the kipper...


      >
      >Daniel M. Gurtner wrote
      >
      >I think that is an insightful question which can be
      >particularly problemetic when viewing the pericope
      >alone. I think, however, context demands the
      >traditional view for a number of reasons: 1. Jesus
      >has just healed a demon-possessed man (12.22-23) which
      >immediately calls forth "binding" imagery with Jesus
      >as the agent and the demonic as the bound; 2. Jesus'
      >reference to Satan driving out Satan (12.26) suggests
      >he understands, again, the demonic to be 'bound.' 3.
      >The association by JEsus' opponents of His action with
      >Satan seems to occasion Jesus' response in vv. 30ff.
      >Furthermore, one is hard pressed to find other
      >occurrences of Jesus being 'bound' in any sense save
      >his physical binding in Mt 27:2. Hagner (WBC) points
      >us to As. Mos 10.1, T. Lev 18.12 and Rev 20.2, the
      >latter of which has obvious implications. T Levi, in
      >my opinion, is another important source particularly
      >for Matthew. Though questions of its date and
      >frequent Christian interpolations suggest caution,
      >Chap 18 makes explicit reference to binding of
      >'Beliar'. Matt and TLevi have much in common,
      >particularly views of the temple and Abrahamic
      >descendence.
      >
      >Other thoughts?
      >
      >
      >
      >St. Mary's College
      >University of St. Andrews, Scotland
      >
      >--- Steve Black <sdblack@...> wrote:
      >> Mt 12:29 Or how can one enter a strong man's house
      >> and plunder his
      >> goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then
      >> indeed he may
      >> plunder his house.
      >>
      >> I'm going against 2000 years of interpretation here
      >> - but can anyone
      >> tell me why the strong "man" here isn't Jesus rather
      >> than the devil?
      >> In other words - Jesus is saying that his opponents
      >> are trying to
      >> bind him with their accusations and character
      >> slander. If people
      >> believed that Jesus was acting by the power of the
      >> devil (as he was
      >> being accused) - this would turn them away from him
      >> and thwart his
      >> mission.
      >>
      >> Am I just reaching here?
      >> --
      >> Steve Black
      >> Vancouver School of Theology
      >> Vancouver, BC
      >> ---
      >>
      >> The lion and the calf shall lie down together
      >> but the calf won't get much sleep.
      >> -Woody Allen
      >>
      >
      >
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      --
      Steve Black
      Vancouver School of Theology
      Vancouver, BC
      ---

      The lion and the calf shall lie down together
      but the calf won't get much sleep.
      -Woody Allen
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