Re: [GTh] GTh 65 and 66, the Parable of the Vineyard and the Corner Stone
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Anderson" <randerson58@...>
Sent: Friday, May 04, 2001 6:54 AM
Subject: RE: [GTh] GTh 65 and 66, the Parable of the Vineyard and the Corner
> Frank McCoy:
> Second, let us assume that, in GTh 66, the builders are the members of the
> political Establishment in Jerusalem.
> 'builders' is a term for the religious aristocracy. In Acts 4:11, Peter
> calls the religious aristocracy of the Temple, 'builders'.
Dear Richard Anderson:
Judging by Acts 4:8, the "builders", to whom Peter's speech in Acts
4:8-12 is addressed, are the "rulers of the people and elders".
Also, these "builders" apparently include Pilate for, in verse 4:10, we
learn, these "builders" have crucified Jesus. So, I think, the "builders"
in Acts 4:8-12 consist of the political Establishment in Jerusalem.
Also important is Mark 12:9. This verse comes from Mark's version of the
Parable of the Vineyard. This verse occurs right after the tenants (who I
take to be the members of the political Establishment) of the vineyard
(which I take to be Jerusalem) slay the son of the owner (who I take to be
Philo's Son of God, the Logos,
incarnate in the flesh as the Essenes' Branch of David). This verse has no
parallel in the Thomas version of the Parable of the Vineyard.
Mark 12:9 reads, "What, therefore, will the lord of the vineyard do? He
will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard to others."
I think that Mark 12:9 has been influenced by an Essene intepretation
of Psalm 36(37):20-22 found in 4Q171, "'Like smoke they shall all of them
vanish away.' Interpreted, (this) concerns the princes (of wickedness) who
have oppressed His holy people, and who shall perish like smoke (blown away
by the wind)...'Truly, those whom He (blesses shall possess) the land, but
those whom He curses (shall be cut off.)' Interpreted, this concerns the
congregation of the Poor, who (shall possess) the whole world as an
inheritance. They shall possess the High Mountain of Israel (for ever), and
they shall enjoy (everlasting) delights in His sanctuary."
At this time, the "princes (of wickedness)" are in total control, but the
day is coming when God will destroy them and make the "Holy people (who
also are the "Poor")", the rulers (in a general sense) of the whole earth
and (in a specific sense) of Jerusalem and its temple on top of Mount Zion.
This readily relates to the Mark 12:9: which predicts a day when the
tenants of the vineyard will be destroyed by God and He will replace them
with another group. Hence, I suggest, in Mark 12:9, the basic idea is that
the day is coming when God will destroy the "princes (of wickedness (i.e.,
the members of the political Establishment))" who currently control the
"vineyard (i.e., Jerusalem)" and replace them with the Holy people.
If this interpretation of Mark 12:9 is correct, then the "builders" in
the ensuing Mark 12:10 are the "princes of wickedness", i.e., the political
Establishment in Jerusalem.
I would like to make two more points regarding Mark 12:9. First,
regarding this verse, the Jesus Seminar, in The Five Gospels (p.101),
states, "The long-suffering owner will therefore destroy these tanants
(Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.) and give the vineyard to
others (gentiles, who, by the time of Mark constituted a large part of the
Christian movement)." This interpretation is implausible because, in
Mark 12:1, it is
mentioned, there is a tower (i.e., the temple) and a wine vat (i.e., a
temple altar) in the vineyard (i.e., Jerusalem). Surely, if Mark wrote this
pabable in a post-70 CE situation, there would be some mention of the
destruction of the "tower" and the "wine vat" in his version of it!
However, there is no mention of the destruction of either item.in his
version of the parable .
So, it appears, Mark 12:9 was created in a pre-70 CE time when the
temple was still
standing. Further, because it likely is based on an Essene interpretation
of Psalm 36(37):20-22, it likely is primitive and goes back to Palestine,
possibly even to the real Jesus of history.
The second point I would like to make about Mark 12:9 is that, I think,
it is original to the Parable of the Vineyard. Hence, I think, the Thomas
version of the parable is a shortened version of the original parable.
As I pointed out in the original post, this parable, as rendered in Gth
65, appears to be largely based on Essenic thought. Since Mark 12:9 also
appears to be based on Essenic thought, this
suggests that it is an integral part of the parable rather than a later
addition to it.
Further, it is not difficult to uncover a motive for the Thomas community
to have deleted this part of the original parable. That is, this part of
the parable looks forward to the day when God will install His Kingdom on
earth and the "saints" will rule the whole earth in general and Jerusalem in
particular.. The Thomas community thought of the Kingdom of God in
different terms. As a result, they had a motivation to delete this part of
the original parable from their own version of it because it created a
doctrinal difficulty for themselves.
Maplewood, MN USA