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Re: [Synoptic-L] Synoptics written within a generation of Christ?

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  • Karel Hanhart
    ... The paradox is not created by me; it is a part of Jewish history and of early christianity. In fact, the language of biblical faith is eschatological
    Message 1 of 9 , May 28, 2000
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      Kyle Dillon wrote:

      > Karel wrote:
      > > Don't you think that in a passover haggadah like the Gospel, the author
      > and the
      > > readers were
      > > struck by the fact that the period between crucifixion and temple
      > destruction
      > > lasted some 40
      > > years? The number 40 (a generation) plays an important role in the Exodux
      > story
      > > as you well
      > > know.
      > I think you are missing a crucial point. In both ascribing a late date to
      > the Synoptics (post-diaspora), and interpreting the Synoptics as expectant
      > of an imminent Second Coming, you are creating a paradox. If, by AD 70,
      > Christians had become as expectant of the Parousia as you say they were,
      > then why were the gospels even written at all? Why take the time to compile
      > such exhaustive accounts if not for them to be preserved, especially when
      > such a task would greatly detract from witnessing, which would have been of
      > utmost importance in the (supposed) end times? It seems much more reasonable
      > to think that the Synoptics were written because people began to lose hope
      > in an impending Second coming, and they began to realize that it would
      > become necessary to preserve the words and deeds of Jesus in written form.

      The paradox is not created by me; it is a part of Jewish history and of early
      christianity. In fact, the language of biblical faith is eschatological
      language. The Psalms and the Prophets abound in verses concerning the coming of
      'Adonay' and of the 'Day of JHWH'. Faith in God's justice, mercy and power
      always implies hope in God's imminent coming. P.S. Minear expressed this
      eschatological aspect of faith well: "the presentness of this future is what
      makes decision so decisive. The intensity of this present future is expressed
      eschatologically in terms of its nearness." (Eyes of Faith).
      In other words, like their Judean compatriots, the early christians were
      awaiting the Day of JHWH, especially in the night of Passover. The intensity of
      this hope increased when oppression became more and more unbearable. Tradition
      gave us an early prayer "Maranatha". So also Daniel's vision of the 'coming of
      the Human One on the clouds of heaven', ( - cited in Jesus' confession before
      Caiaphas - ), was composed when the nation was suffering under the heels of
      Antiochus Epihhanes IV.
      Especially in times of oppression language of an imminent coming frequently
      occurs. All Judean apocalyptic literature testifies to it. So eschatological
      faith does not prevent the believer from writing about it, as you seem to imply.
      In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul expresses the hope of still being alive at the
      parousia . But he did write letters and undertook extended journeys. In other
      words, eschatological faith need not be fanatic nor fundamentalistic. In 2 Cor 5
      he may write of his confidence in the faith of his own death without taking
      account of the Endtime. He did not radically shift his eschatological views. He
      simply expressed the inexpressible in terms of an eschatology of Heaven (- an
      eschatology of the Place -) and in terms of an eschatology of the Parousia (- an
      eschatology of Time -): the God who IS is the God who COMES.
      However, unfortunately, we don't know what Scriptures were read during Passover
      before the Temple destruction. We don't have a pre-70 Seder, nor do we have a
      pre-70 Gospel.
      The fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple was disastrous to every
      Judean. It meant a deep incision in the history of the nation. In this crisis
      situation Mark believed he must re-write the pre-70 Christian Passover Haggadah
      used in his ecclesia (Urmark?) in order to provide them with a theodicy and to
      reformulate the perspective on the divine future.

      cordially yours Karel
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