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Justin on the Temptation

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  • Mark Goodacre
    Jeffrey and others, How far does Justin on the Temptation help or hinder the theory? For this devil, when [Jesus] went up from the river Jordan, at the time
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 29, 1998
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      Jeffrey and others,

      How far does Justin on the Temptation help or hinder the theory?

      "For this devil, when [Jesus] went up from the river Jordan, at
      the time when the voice spake to Him, `Thou art my Son: this day
      have I begotten Thee,' is recorded in the memoirs of the
      apostles to have come to Him and tempted Him, even so far as to
      say to Him, `Worship me; 'and Christ answered him, `Get thee
      behind me, Satan: thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him
      only shalt thou serve.' For as he had deceived Adam, so he hoped
      that he might contrive some mischief against Christ also."
      (Dialogue with Trypho, 110; ET at
      http://ccel.wheaton.edu/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-48.htm#P4043_787325).

      On one hand, Justin seems to make the close link between the baptism
      + temptation stories that the thesis requires (and it is something
      that is clearly important in the narratives of Matthew, Luke and Q),
      but on the other hand, the role of Satan is one of 'deceit' and
      'mischief' which does not seem to cohere with the thesis, does it?

      All the best

      Mark
      --------------------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept of Theology, University of Birmingham
      Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre

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    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Mark, I see no contradiction whatsoever. Note, first of all, that the perception that the Devil is a deceiver is something that is not peculiar to Justin
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 29, 1998
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        Mark Goodacre wrote:
        >
        > Jeffrey and others,
        >
        > How far does Justin on the Temptation help or hinder the theory?
        >
        > "For this devil, when [Jesus] went up from the river Jordan, at
        > the time when the voice spake to Him, `Thou art my Son: this day
        > have I begotten Thee,' is recorded in the memoirs of the
        > apostles to have come to Him and tempted Him, even so far as to
        > say to Him, `Worship me; 'and Christ answered him, `Get thee
        > behind me, Satan: thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him
        > only shalt thou serve.' For as he had deceived Adam, so he hoped
        > that he might contrive some mischief against Christ also."
        > (Dialogue with Trypho, 110; ET at
        > http://ccel.wheaton.edu/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-48.htm#P4043_787325).
        >
        > On one hand, Justin seems to make the close link between the baptism
        > + temptation stories that the thesis requires (and it is something
        > that is clearly important in the narratives of Matthew, Luke and Q),
        > but on the other hand, the role of Satan is one of 'deceit' and
        > 'mischief' which does not seem to cohere with the thesis, does it?
        >
        > All the best

        Mark,

        I see no contradiction whatsoever. Note, first of all, that the
        perception that the Devil is a deceiver is something that is not
        peculiar to Justin but is one found frequently in early Christian
        writings and as well as in Intertestamental and Rabbinic
        literature. It stands behind both the Johannine claim at Jn. 8.44
        that the Devil `has nothing to do with the truth ... he speaks
        according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of
        lies' and the warning from Paul in 2 Cor. 11.14 that Satan
        disguises himself as an angel of light. It can be seen clearly in
        the Marcan story of Peter's `confession' at Caesarea Philippi (Mk
        8.27-33) and its parallel in Matthew (where, by virtue of Matthew's
        addition of the macarism, the perception is perhaps emphasized even
        more strongly than in Mark), as well as in Apoc. Abraham 13 (cf.
        esp. vv. 9-13) and The Testament of Job (especially in Chapters
        24-27, the dialogue between Sitis and Job) where it is a
        fundamental presupposition of the Testament's portrayal of
        Azazel/Satan.

        But note as well that in all of these texts we also find the
        perception that the *way* the Devil deceives, that is, gets the
        pious whom he "tests" to "see" and accept that what God has
        commanded them to do (or put their trust in) cannot possibly be "of
        God", is specifically by trading upon his status as one privy to
        the divine counsel and who therefore knows what the ways of God
        *really* are for the elect.

        This is wonderfully illustrated in TB Sanhedrin 89b (a midrash on
        the Genesis story of the testing of Abraham) - a text which, by the
        way, bears a striking thematic and formal resemblance with Matt.
        4:1-11 in that (1) the theme of both stories is the demonstration
        of the faithfulness of the pious in and through PEIRASMOS. In both,
        the PEIRASMOS is divinely ordained; and (2) in both, it is not God
        but the Devil who carries out the `testing'. Moreover, like the
        Matthean story, the bulk of the structure of TB Sanhedrin 89b is
        shaped around a threefold and ultimately unsuccessful attempt by
        the Devil to sway the one he `tests' from obedience to a divine
        command. Also, as in Mattahew, each of these attempts is made by
        means of an appeal to a shared knowledge of how God works, what his
        wishes are for the pious, and what, in light of this, the pious
        have a right to expect from God. Likewise each appeal is solemnly
        rebuffed. And here, too, each appeal as well as each of the pious
        one's responses to it, is grounded directly or allusively in
        Scripture.

        The text reads:

        And it came to pass after these words, that God did
        tempt Abraham (Gen. 22.1) What is meant by `after'? -
        R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Jose ben Zimra:
        After the words of Satan, as it is written, `And the
        child grew and it was weaned. [And Abraham made a great
        feast the same day the child was weaned' (Gen. 21.8)]
        R. Simeon b. Abba said `na' can only denote entreaty.
        This may be compared to a king of flesh and blood who
        was confronted by many wars which he won by the aid of
        a great warrior. Subsequently he was faced with a
        severe battle. Thereupon he said to him, `I pray thee,
        assist me in battle, that people may not say, there was
        no reality in the earlier ones'. So also did the Holy
        One, blessed be He, say unto Abraham, `I have tested
        thee with may trials and thou didst withstand them all.
        Now be firm for my sake in this trial, that men may not
        say, there was no reality in the earlier ones.'

        Thy Son.
        [But] I have two sons!
        Thine only one.
        Each is the only one of his mother.
        Whom thou lovest.
        I love them both!
        Isaac!

        And why all this [circumlocution]? - That his mind should
        not reel [under the sudden shock].

        Thereupon Satan said to the Almighty: `Sovereign of the
        Universe! To this old man didst thou graciously
        vouchsafe the fruit of the womb at the age of a
        hundred, yet of all that banquet which he prepared, he
        did not have one turtle dove or pigeon to sacrifice
        before thee! Hath he done aught but in honour of his
        son?' Replied He: `Yet were I to say to him, `Sacrifice
        thy son before Me,' he would do so without hesitation.'
        Straightway God did tempt Abraham ... And he said,
        Take, I pray thee [na] thy son (Gen. 22:2)... On the
        way Satan came towards him and said to him, `If we
        assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? ...
        Behold thou hast instructed many; and thou hast
        strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden
        him that was falling and thou hast strengthened the
        feeble knees. But now it has come to unto thee and thou
        faintest (Job. 4:2-5 on the basis of a verbal link
        between nasah in Job and Genesis). He replied, `I will
        walk in my integrity' (Ps. 26:2). `But', said [Satan]
        to him, `should not thy fear be thy confidence?' (Job.
        4:6) `Remember', he retorted, `I pray thee, who ever
        perished, being innocent?' (Job 4:6) Seeing that he
        would not listen to him, he said to him, `Now a thing
        was secretly brought to me' (Job 4:12): thus have I
        heard from behind the curtain, `the lamb for a burnt
        offering (Job 4:7) but not Isaac for a burnt offering.'
        He replied, `It is the penalty of a liar, that should
        he even tell the truth, he is not listened to'.

        Here, as in Matthew the Devil's ultimate aim ultimate aim in
        subjecting a servant of God to PEIRASMOS is to disrupt or destroy
        his PISTIS, his faithfulness to, and trust in, God, and thereby
        induce in him the seeds, if not the flowering, of disobedience to
        covenantal obligations. Here, the Devil is explicitly branded as
        a liar. Here, the Devil moves towards his desire by employing a
        tactic consonant with his character as both "a liar", namely, using
        cunning arguments, grounded in Scripture itself, to persuade the
        one whom he "tests" to "see" and accept that what God has commanded
        him to do (or put his trust in) cannot possibly be "of God".

        So what this says to me is that one need not see a contardiction
        between Satan/the Devil as a deceiver and Satan/the devil as one
        who "tests" the pious. The roles are comlimentary. Indeed, if TB
        Sanhedrin (and also 2 Cor. 11.14; compare Life of Adam and Eve 9.1,
        3; 12.11) be taken into account, they are one and the same.

        Yours,

        Jeffrey


        --
        Jeffrey B. Gibson
        7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
        Chicago, Illinois 60626
        e-mail jgibson000@...
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