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Peter in Matthew

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  • Mark Goodacre
    This is an email I sent to Synoptic-L and Larry Swain suggested that it might also be worth sharing it here. I would be very grateful if anyone has any
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 25, 2003
      This is an email I sent to Synoptic-L and Larry Swain suggested that
      it might also be worth sharing it here. I would be very grateful if
      anyone has any thoughts about this. In particular, I'm interested to
      know if this has been discussed specifically by anyone before.
      Thanks, Mark.

      A thought occurred to me in some off-line correspondence with Eric
      Eve, something that is informed by earlier disussions I've had with
      Stephen Carlson -- but developing those conversations a little. Mary Ann
      Tolbert famously talks about the rocky ground (PETRWDES) in Mark's Parable
      of the Sower as predicting and illuminating Peter's behaviour in Mark's
      Gospel. Now, the material in Mark's Parable of the Sower here occurs
      almost verbatim also in Matthew:

      "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the one
      who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has
      no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction
      or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away"
      (Matt. 13.20-21; very close to Mark 4.16-17).

      It occurs to me that this description fits very closely with
      Matthew's depiction of Peter. In the Walking on the Water (Matt.
      14.22-33), Peter's immediate enthusiasm is clear -- he ventures forth on
      the water, is temporarily successful, but then literarally falls away
      (Matt. 14.30-31). Likewise in Matt. 16, he initially enthusiastically
      confesses Jesus as Messiah, is commended for it, but subsequently stumbles
      when talk of persecution arises, he is rebuked by Jesus as a SKANDALON
      (Matt. 16.21-23). And of course in the Passion, as in Mark, he initially
      hears the word with joy (Matt. 26.33-35) but subsequently indeed falls
      away by denying Jesus (Matt. 26.69-75).

      If anything, the pattern in Matthew of Peter fulfilling the behaviour of
      the "rocky ground" in the Sower is even stronger than in Mark, not least
      with redactional additions at key moments to illustrate the "receiving
      with joy" element, as well as underlining Mark's SKANDALON / SKANDALIZOMAI
      theme. I suspect that this is a good example of Matthew picking up on one
      of Mark's literary themes and underlining it, developing it, nuancing it
      -- as with his treatment of the John the Bapstist / Elijah theme (as I
      argued at last year's SBL). Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Has
      anyone commented on this before?

      Mark

      -----------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
      Birmingham B15 2TT UK

      http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
      http://NTGateway.com
    • antony
      Some grist for this mill, perhaps... Wallace W. Bubar, ŒKilling Two Birds With One Stone: The Utter De(con)struction of Matthew and his Church¹, _Biblical
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 26, 2003
        Some grist for this mill, perhaps...

        Wallace W. Bubar, ŒKilling Two Birds With One Stone: The Utter
        De(con)struction of Matthew and his Church¹, _Biblical Interpretation_ 3, 2
        (1995), 144-57.

        Bubar seeks to show how 16:13-20 and other Œrock¹/Œstone¹ passages in
        Matthew (3:9; 4:6; 13:5-6, 20-21; 23:37; 24:2; 27:60) are deconstructed in
        the gospel. He alleges that there is inversion and contradiction throughout
        the references, which means that Jesus¹ confident statement on the authority
        of the ekklesia in 16:13-20 paradoxically undermines the entire gospel. The
        church has used 16:13-20 to claim authority... but the text undermines
        itself in (e.g.) 13:5-6, 20-21 ­ the seed in rocky ground, with associations
        of shallowness and weakness rather than stability and endurance, and
        withering (illustrated by Peter¹s own withering in the narrative).

        Antony (Billington)

        on [DAR´E], Mark Goodacre at M.S.Goodacre@... wrote:

        > This is an email I sent to Synoptic-L and Larry Swain suggested that
        > it might also be worth sharing it here. I would be very grateful if
        > anyone has any thoughts about this. In particular, I'm interested to
        > know if this has been discussed specifically by anyone before.
        > Thanks, Mark.
        >
        > A thought occurred to me in some off-line correspondence with Eric
        > Eve, something that is informed by earlier disussions I've had with
        > Stephen Carlson -- but developing those conversations a little. Mary Ann
        > Tolbert famously talks about the rocky ground (PETRWDES) in Mark's Parable
        > of the Sower as predicting and illuminating Peter's behaviour in Mark's
        > Gospel. Now, the material in Mark's Parable of the Sower here occurs
        > almost verbatim also in Matthew:
        >
        > "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the one
        > who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has
        > no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction
        > or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away"
        > (Matt. 13.20-21; very close to Mark 4.16-17).
        >
        > It occurs to me that this description fits very closely with
        > Matthew's depiction of Peter. In the Walking on the Water (Matt.
        > 14.22-33), Peter's immediate enthusiasm is clear -- he ventures forth on
        > the water, is temporarily successful, but then literarally falls away
        > (Matt. 14.30-31). Likewise in Matt. 16, he initially enthusiastically
        > confesses Jesus as Messiah, is commended for it, but subsequently stumbles
        > when talk of persecution arises, he is rebuked by Jesus as a SKANDALON
        > (Matt. 16.21-23). And of course in the Passion, as in Mark, he initially
        > hears the word with joy (Matt. 26.33-35) but subsequently indeed falls
        > away by denying Jesus (Matt. 26.69-75).
        >
        > If anything, the pattern in Matthew of Peter fulfilling the behaviour of
        > the "rocky ground" in the Sower is even stronger than in Mark, not least
        > with redactional additions at key moments to illustrate the "receiving
        > with joy" element, as well as underlining Mark's SKANDALON / SKANDALIZOMAI
        > theme. I suspect that this is a good example of Matthew picking up on one
        > of Mark's literary themes and underlining it, developing it, nuancing it
        > -- as with his treatment of the John the Bapstist / Elijah theme (as I
        > argued at last year's SBL). Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Has
        > anyone commented on this before?
        >
        > Mark
        >
        > -----------------------------
        > Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
        > Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
        > University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
        > Birmingham B15 2TT UK
        >
        > http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
        > http://NTGateway.com
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > ematthew-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >
      • Steve Black
        ... Is he suggesting that this is within the authorial intent of Matthew, or something that can be achieved with a contemporary reading strategy that is not
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 26, 2003
          >Some grist for this mill, perhaps...
          >
          >Wallace W. Bubar, 'Killing Two Birds With One Stone: The Utter
          >De(con)struction of Matthew and his Church', _Biblical Interpretation_ 3, 2
          >(1995), 144-57.
          >
          >Bubar seeks to show how 16:13-20 and other 'rock'/'stone' passages in
          >Matthew (3:9; 4:6; 13:5-6, 20-21; 23:37; 24:2; 27:60) are deconstructed in
          >the gospel. He alleges that there is inversion and contradiction throughout
          >the references, which means that Jesus' confident statement on the authority
          >of the ekklesia in 16:13-20 paradoxically undermines the entire gospel. The
          >church has used 16:13-20 to claim authority... but the text undermines
          >itself in (e.g.) 13:5-6, 20-21 - the seed in rocky ground, with associations
          >of shallowness and weakness rather than stability and endurance, and
          >withering (illustrated by Peter's own withering in the narrative).
          >
          >Antony (Billington)

          Is he suggesting that this is within the "authorial intent" of
          Matthew, or something that can be achieved with a contemporary
          reading strategy that is not so based upon "authorial intent".

          I find Matthew very easy to "deconstruct" as I don't find his "logic"
          particularly consistent - I suspect that at times he is more the
          redactor than author (although only at times) who lets major
          discrepancies stand in his text - perhaps simply due to
          inattentiveness - while at other times he is VERY attentive. So I
          don't construe him as "consistent". This makes "deconstruction" easy
          - but it also violates authorial intent - which is only as important
          as - well as important as you make it...
          --
          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
        • antony
          ... As I recall, the driving force is deconstruction as a reading strategy... Antony
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 26, 2003
            >
            > Is he suggesting that this is within the "authorial intent" of
            > Matthew, or something that can be achieved with a contemporary
            > reading strategy that is not so based upon "authorial intent".
            >

            As I recall, the driving force is deconstruction as a reading strategy...

            Antony
          • Jack Kilmon
            ... From: Mark Goodacre To: Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 6:56 PM Subject: [ematthew] Peter in
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 27, 2003
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Mark Goodacre" <M.S.Goodacre@...>
              To: <ematthew@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 6:56 PM
              Subject: [ematthew] Peter in Matthew


              > This is an email I sent to Synoptic-L and Larry Swain suggested that
              > it might also be worth sharing it here. I would be very grateful if
              > anyone has any thoughts about this. In particular, I'm interested to
              > know if this has been discussed specifically by anyone before.
              > Thanks, Mark.
              >
              > A thought occurred to me in some off-line correspondence with Eric
              > Eve, something that is informed by earlier disussions I've had with
              > Stephen Carlson -- but developing those conversations a little. Mary Ann
              > Tolbert famously talks about the rocky ground (PETRWDES) in Mark's Parable
              > of the Sower as predicting and illuminating Peter's behaviour in Mark's
              > Gospel. Now, the material in Mark's Parable of the Sower here occurs
              > almost verbatim also in Matthew:
              >
              > "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the one
              > who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has
              > no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction
              > or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away"
              > (Matt. 13.20-21; very close to Mark 4.16-17).
              >
              > It occurs to me that this description fits very closely with
              > Matthew's depiction of Peter. In the Walking on the Water (Matt.
              > 14.22-33), Peter's immediate enthusiasm is clear -- he ventures forth on
              > the water, is temporarily successful, but then literarally falls away
              > (Matt. 14.30-31). Likewise in Matt. 16, he initially enthusiastically
              > confesses Jesus as Messiah, is commended for it, but subsequently stumbles
              > when talk of persecution arises, he is rebuked by Jesus as a SKANDALON
              > (Matt. 16.21-23). And of course in the Passion, as in Mark, he initially
              > hears the word with joy (Matt. 26.33-35) but subsequently indeed falls
              > away by denying Jesus (Matt. 26.69-75).
              >
              > If anything, the pattern in Matthew of Peter fulfilling the behaviour of
              > the "rocky ground" in the Sower is even stronger than in Mark, not least
              > with redactional additions at key moments to illustrate the "receiving
              > with joy" element, as well as underlining Mark's SKANDALON / SKANDALIZOMAI
              > theme. I suspect that this is a good example of Matthew picking up on one
              > of Mark's literary themes and underlining it, developing it, nuancing it
              > -- as with his treatment of the John the Bapstist / Elijah theme (as I
              > argued at last year's SBL). Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Has
              > anyone commented on this before?


              Only an observation or two. As you might remember, I have speculated that
              the Gospel of Thomas may preserve elements, and had its origins in, a list
              of "Jesus saids.." that may have been among the notes of Mark. Many of
              those "Jesus saids" found in GoT are found in Mark and, IMO, preserve a
              more "primitive" form with an Aramaic substratum. This connects, IMO, the
              parable to the genuine verba Iesu but with a redaction veneer in canonical
              Mark (which I view as not the original), Matthew and Luke. I think the
              Thomas version:

              Logion ^N_.KOOVE AV.^E EJN_.T.PETRA "Some others, they fell ONTO THE ROCK"

              and the LUKAN version (8:6) KAI ETERON EPESEN EPI THN PETRAN "And some fell
              ONTO A ROCK"

              Are more original and Luke's use of THN PETRAN is not a redaction of the
              Markan PETRWDES but actually a more original form than Canonical Mark. I
              think the canonical Mark redactor left his "signature" (EUQEWS) in BOTH of
              his redacted versions (4:5; 4:16) and Matthew picked it up (13:5).

              The Aramaic competent Luke may have had a source that was the Aramaic
              precursor of Greek and Coptic Thomas. The PETRA use of Thomas and Luke
              suggests, to me, an Aramaic original that used k)f) "kefa" rather than
              $ow(A) "Shoa" which refers more to a rocky soil or ground as seen in Syr(c)
              and Syr(s). Considering my own retroversion, I am inclined to be intrigued
              by this thesis of correlation with KEFA (Peter). In Codex Bezae for Mk
              4:16, the Greek agrees with "rocky/stony ground" while the Latin agrees with
              what I believe is the original "on a rock."

              Just my thoughts.

              Jack
            • Mark Goodacre
              Many thanks for the reference to Bubar, Antony. Yes, this is very useful. Bubar has indeed spotted the link between the characterization of Peter in Matthew
              Message 6 of 13 , Mar 2, 2003
                Many thanks for the reference to Bubar, Antony. Yes, this is very
                useful. Bubar has indeed spotted the link between the
                characterization of Peter in Matthew and the Parable of the Sower.
                As I stood in the queue in the library looking at it, I could see in
                an instant that he'd beaten me to it. But it's a remarkably
                overstated yet underargued piece. Bubar does not develop, for
                example, the link between the SKANDALIZOMAI when trouble and
                persecution arises of the interpretation to the parable (13.20-21)
                and the recurrence of the SKANDALIZOMAI vocabulary in the persecution
                context in 26.31-34. Also amazing is that Bubar appears to be
                unaware of Mary Ann Tolbert's detailed working out of this hypothesis
                for Mark. He refers once in a footnote to Rhoads and Mitchie having
                anticipated his theory (p. 148, n. 13) but there is no reference to
                Tolbert throughout.

                Mark
                -----------------------------
                Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                http://NTGateway.com
              • Mark Goodacre
                ... It s the latter. The concluding paragraph will give you a good hint of the tone of this piece: In the light of this reading, one now has a great deal of
                Message 7 of 13 , Mar 2, 2003
                  On 26 Feb 2003 at 6:54, Steve Black wrote:

                  > Is he suggesting that this is within the "authorial intent" of
                  > Matthew, or something that can be achieved with a contemporary
                  > reading strategy that is not so based upon "authorial intent".

                  It's the latter. The concluding paragraph will give you a good hint
                  of the tone of this piece:

                  "In the light of this reading, one now has a great deal of difficulty
                  even conceiving of a church established on the PETRA and governed by
                  a PETROS. Since, in Section I, it was indicated that the existence
                  of an animated and robust church was a necessary condition for the
                  existence of the Gospel of Matthew, the origin of that book has
                  effectively been reduced to absurdity. Consequently, I have killed
                  two birds with one stone, so to speak: I have depicted both an
                  institutional church in ruin and a Gospel in the process of self-
                  deconstruction." (pp. 156-7).

                  > I find Matthew very easy to "deconstruct" as I don't find his "logic"
                  > particularly consistent - I suspect that at times he is more the
                  > redactor than author (although only at times) who lets major
                  > discrepancies stand in his text - perhaps simply due to
                  > inattentiveness - while at other times he is VERY attentive. So I
                  > don't construe him as "consistent". This makes "deconstruction" easy -
                  > but it also violates authorial intent - which is only as important as
                  > - well as important as you make it...

                  I know what you mean -- I have sometimes felt about Matthew like that
                  myself. However, I do think the characterization of Peter is pretty
                  consistent; the behaviour of the rocky ground in 13.20-21 seems to
                  be the pattern of Peter's behaviour throughout the Gospel, and in
                  this Matthew is underlining and nuancing the characterization of
                  Peter he inherited from Mark. The only question I think we need to
                  ask is whether Matthew thought that Peter would in the long run come
                  up trumps in spite of his repeated bad record in the Gospel. And
                  here the hints are strong that he thinks Peter would, in the end,
                  make it through. Jesus prophesies that Peter is the rock on which
                  his church will be built and the reader of Matthew expects Jesus'
                  prophecies to come true. And then at the end of the Gospel we have a
                  hint that his rehabilitation is now being effected -- the eleven
                  follow Jesus to Galilee as Jesus had prophesied in 26.32. I think in
                  the end we are left with a picture of the disciples, and especially
                  Peter, that chimes in well with the way *Mark's* characterization of
                  the disciples is sometimes depicted, fallible followers constructed
                  for the pastoral needs of the church (e.g. Tannehill, Malbon).
                  Perhaps Matthew himself saw the seeds of that depiction in Mark (e.g.
                  Mark 16.7) and underlined it and nuanced it, as he often does
                  elsewhere.

                  Mark
                  -----------------------------
                  Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                  Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                  University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                  Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                  http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                  http://NTGateway.com
                • Steve Black
                  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
                  Message 8 of 13 , Mar 14, 2003
                    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
                  • Daniel Gurtner
                    Steve, I think that is an insightful question which can be particularly problemetic when viewing the pericope alone. I think, however, context demands the
                    Message 9 of 13 , Mar 14, 2003
                      Steve,
                      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?


                      Daniel M. Gurtner
                      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
                      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.
                      Message 10 of 13 , 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
                      • 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 11 of 13 , Mar 14, 2003
                          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 12 of 13 , Mar 15, 2003
                            >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 13 of 13 , Mar 17, 2003
                              >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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