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Re: [ematthew] The Strong One

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  • Daniel Gurtner
    I understand what you are saying, but let me make a couple more points: 1. With respect to paring v. 29 with v. 30: Grammatically you are on shaky ground. V.
    Message 1 of 13 , Mar 14 2:54 PM
      I understand what you are saying, but let me make a
      couple more points:
      1. With respect to paring v. 29 with v. 30:
      Grammatically you are on shaky ground. V. 29 begins
      with a disjunctive �h� requiring a preceding referent.
      Mark�s (3:27) begins with an even stronger
      disjunctive ALL�, but links it not to a statement like
      Mt 12.28 but rather Mk 3.26, most closely associated
      with Mt 12.26.

      2. With respect to the sequence of events, etc. with
      the 'binding' I'm afraid we can't avoid Rev 20 which
      obviously is a notoriously complicated and
      controversial passage and probably beyond the scope of
      this list or at least my mental faculties at the
      moment.

      3. If you want to consider the Markan �source� you�d
      probably need to examine the material unique to
      Matthew in this pericope � and there is a bit. This
      might be telling of how Matthew intended to use it
      vis-�-vis Mark. That would be an interesting and
      worthwhile project in my opinion.

      4. When you said "Rev orbits in a completely different
      sphere" � I assume you are referring to the
      apocalyptic language and imagery of Revelation. If
      that is the case, I strongly challenge that
      assumption. Matthew and Rev 20 are using nearly
      identical imagery which begs at least some degree of
      comparison, though each approaches it from a slightly
      different way. Though apocalypticism in Matthew is in
      need of further development, works such as David C.
      Sim Apocalyptic Eschatology in the Gospel of Matthew.
      SNTSMS 88. Cambridge: University Press, 1996.
      Apocalyptic imagery is abundant in the parables,
      though admittedly more prominent following the
      Triumphal entry. Clearly both Mt and Rev in reference
      to this �binding� are employing some sort of
      metaphorical language that is eschatological in
      orientation. It would be interesting to try to trace
      this imagery through its alleged �Jewish� origins in
      the Second Temple texts mentioned previously and
      explore how it is employed/modified in the Christian
      tradition.


      Daniel M. Gurtner
      St. Mary's College
      University of St. Andrews, Scotland





      --- Steve Black <sdblack@...> wrote:
      > 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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    • Steve Black
      ... You are right - this is a good argument - the particle (translated or here) does connect this with the previous and not the latter sections. This
      Message 2 of 13 , Mar 15 11:14 AM
        >I understand what you are saying, but let me make a
        >couple more points:
        >1. With respect to paring v. 29 with v. 30:
        >Grammatically you are on shaky ground. V. 29 begins
        >with a disjunctive ëhí requiring a preceding referent.
        > Markís (3:27) begins with an even stronger
        >disjunctive ALLí, but links it not to a statement like
        >Mt 12.28 but rather Mk 3.26, most closely associated
        >with Mt 12.26.

        You are right - this is a good argument - the particle (translated
        "or" here) does connect this with the previous and not the latter
        sections. This particle was added by Mt - as Mk does not have it -
        making it fairly clear that Mt saw this as referring to demons. My
        little theory had a short shelf life...

        >
        >2. With respect to the sequence of events, etc. with
        >the 'binding' I'm afraid we can't avoid Rev 20 which
        >obviously is a notoriously complicated and
        >controversial passage and probably beyond the scope of
        >this list or at least my mental faculties at the
        >moment.

        I'm afraid I don't quite follow you on this step. If I understand you
        correctly - you are proposing what I would call a "canonical" reading
        to explain Mt. But I see no reason to justify the use of Rev to
        explain an ambiguous passage in Mt. We can import the Rev passage to
        make sense of Mt - but I see no evidence within Mt that would justify
        this move. I see no reason to posit literary or even any traditions
        connections between Mt and Rev. Rev seems to orbit in a more
        Johannine universe.

        In any event - I may have entirely misunderstood you on this point!

        >[snip]
        >4. When you said "Rev orbits in a completely different
        >sphere" ñ I assume you are referring to the
        >apocalyptic language and imagery of Revelation. If
        >that is the case, I strongly challenge that
        >assumption. Matthew and Rev 20 are using nearly
        >identical imagery which begs at least some degree of
        >comparison, though each approaches it from a slightly
        >different way. Though apocalypticism in Matthew is in
        >need of further development, works such as David C.
        >Sim Apocalyptic Eschatology in the Gospel of Matthew.
        >SNTSMS 88. Cambridge: University Press, 1996.
        >Apocalyptic imagery is abundant in the parables,
        >though admittedly more prominent following the
        >Triumphal entry. Clearly both Mt and Rev in reference
        >to this ëbindingí are employing some sort of
        >metaphorical language that is eschatological in
        >orientation. It would be interesting to try to trace
        >this imagery through its alleged ëJewishí origins in
        >the Second Temple texts mentioned previously and
        >explore how it is employed/modified in the Christian
        >tradition.

        Simply sharing a apocalyptic approach does not mean that metaphors
        will signify the same things. Mt and Rev use language very
        differently and so attempting to understand one by the other I think
        will tend to suggest false comparisons.

        Sincerely
        --
        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
      • Daniel Gurtner
        ... canonical reading ... Sorry to be so vague. What I meant primarily by this was that the questions you asked previously are nearly identical to those
        Message 3 of 13 , Mar 17 11:27 AM
          >I'm afraid I don't quite follow you on this step. If
          >I understand you
          >correctly - you are proposing what I would call >a
          "canonical" reading
          >to explain Mt. But I see no reason to justify the
          >use of Rev to
          >explain an ambiguous passage in Mt. We can import
          >the Rev passage to
          >make sense of Mt - but I see no evidence within Mt
          >that would justify
          >this move. I see no reason to posit literary or even
          >any traditions
          >connections between Mt and Rev. Rev seems to orbit
          >in a more
          >Johannine universe.
          Sorry to be so vague. What I meant primarily by this
          was that the questions you asked previously are nearly
          identical to those raised for the Rev 20 text. They
          tend to be more comprehensively discussed there.


          >Simply sharing a apocalyptic approach does not mean
          >that metaphors
          >will signify the same things. Mt and Rev use
          >language very
          >differently and so attempting to understand one by
          >the other I think
          >will tend to suggest false comparisons.
          Excellent point, and I�m with you to a degree. We
          must let Matthew be Matthew and look to him primarily
          for his own understanding of the pericope. Thus we
          look at themes, language, OT allusions, etc. I agree
          that just because they share a similar portion of
          genre (if we can call apocalyptic that) and canonical
          status can lead to, as you say, �false comparisons�.
          (I must add this applies not just to using Revelation
          in Matthew, but also Mark in Matthew � a method too
          often used in my opinion).

          While I do recognize validity in a �canonical� reading
          I have more in mind what I consider an �intertextual�
          reading. That is, there are texts in the Assumption of
          Moses, T. Levi and Rev which are quite similar to the
          Matthean texts. While one must examine each of these
          texts and contexts in detail before one can discern
          what, if any, comparisons can be made, I think that
          the fact that the issue of the binding of Satan is one
          so rarely attested in either Jewish or Christian
          sources from antiquity some degree of consultation is
          in order. Moreover, if you examine the Matthean text
          without regard to Rev whatsoever, you run the risk of
          assuming Matthew wrote in a theological vacuum when it
          is more likely that he wrote within an evolving
          Christian tradition. Again, their uses of the concept
          may differ but to write off the Rev text off hand
          because it is a different work than Matthew may
          equally lead to a distortion. That being said, I must
          confess a great deal of ignorance on apocalypticism in
          Matthew so my ability to comment on it vis-�-vis
          Revelation is quite limited.

          I do want to ask, however, what you mean by �Rev seems
          to orbit in a more Johannine universe�?


          Daniel M. Gurtner
          St. Mary�s College
          University of St. Andrews, Scotland


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