What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus?

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  • @Raptor Eye who said:
    Why wouldn't 'Q' be simply that, what everyone knew and passed on about Jesus?


    Q can't be simply that because many of its passages are written word for word the same, or very nearly the same, in two gospels, Matthew and Luke. Oral memory would hardly remember word for word the same in Aramaic, much less translate it word for word the same into Greek. .

    So, although portions of "Q" may be oral, there must be at least some written Greek behind the parallel passages found in Matthew and Luke, and that's a bit encouraging.

    Why?

    An simple example why: Mark 1:7-8 tells us what John the Baptizer preoclaimed.
    Compare that with Q as found in Luke 3:7-9, 16-17 for a better insight into what John really proclaimed.

    And that applies as well to some of the teachings of Jesus.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    If you posit an early rendition into the common tongue (koine Greek at that time) then word for word memorisation being transferred reliably over a period of years would not be that startling in a culture still predominantly oral.
  • Word for word transmission in Aramaic followed by word for word translation into Greek.
    Dream on.
  • And that would be true even for some of the very long Q passages?
    Dream on, dream on.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    But there is the word for word transmission of some Aramaic phrases in the gospels - suggesting that Mark and Matthew knew the original sayings of Jesus and were translating them for their readers:

    Talitha cum (Mark 5: 41);
    Ephphatha (Mark 7: 34);
    Eloi, Eloi lema sabachthani (Matt 27: 46).

    Interesting that Luke doesn't include them, but he does aim at a more universal readership in his gospel.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Word for word transmission in Aramaic followed by word for word translation into Greek.
    Dream on.
    And that would be true even for some of the very long Q passages?
    Dream on, dream on.

    I don’t suppose the time before the stories were rendered into Greek was very long at all. As soon as Christianity moved away from Judea it needed to start speaking Greek.

    As far as the power of oral tradition to transmit reliably is concerned, there is much debate about this in historical circles as well as amongst biblical scholars. This paper from Prof K. E. Bailey is illuminating.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    That is an interesting discussion. John certainly saw the Synoptic tradition as flexible and made theological interpretations of their pattern of events, as did Paul.

    There are a succession of phases of transmission of the gospel tradition. But we don't have the named chains of transmission for the sayings of Jesus (unlike the Islamic hadith of Muhammad mainly from his wife Aisha). We only have the references to the 'eyewitnesses and servants of the word' in Luke 1: 1-4.

    First there is the original oral proclamation of the gospel in Aramaic by Jesus.

    Secondly there is the post Pentecost phase of the oral proclamation of the kerygma in the light of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ by the disciples. Their widening mission beyond Judea into the Gentile Greco-Roman world involved both linguistic translations of the gospel from Aramaic into Greek and conceptual adaptations of the gospel from Judaism into new contexts of Gentile paganism and Greek philosophical thought. Paul comments upon this when he says that preaching Christ crucified is a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Gentiles because Jews demand signs and Greeks search for wisdom (1 Cor 1: 22-23). And we see his difficulties when he goes to Athens. Paul's mission to the Gentiles also leads the revoking of the OT ritual law for Gentile believers following the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).

    The next stage of writing the gospels includes their translation into formal written Greek and the theological reflections of the authors. Luke promotes a more universal and inclusive message for Gentile readers and John draws comparisons with Greek philosophical thought in his Hymn to the Logos.

    The final stage is where the gospel tradition becomes the Rule of Faith with the development of the Creeds and the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity.
  • Who says it's a 'final stage'?

    There may be other discoveries, developments, insights - and, perhaps, doctrines - still to come...
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    It is an ongoing revelation. But already in Acts we see how the kerygma of the gospel is being corrected with Apollos. The flexible and creative gospel tradition (which is reflected in the voices of the four evangelists and in Paul's letters) is superceded by the Rule of Faith and the C 1-2 Didache is already suspicious of wandering prophets. I sometimes think that doctrine is what church bureaucrats do to theology.
  • Who says it's a 'final stage'?

    There may be other discoveries, developments, insights - and, perhaps, doctrines - still to come...

    We stand on that cliff now.
  • @Rublev
    A minor point, but it is Mark, not Matthew, who correctly quotes Jesus' cry from the cross in Aramaic as Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani. For some reason Matthew has Eli, Eli, lema sabachthanti, using Hebrew for the first two words and keeping Aramaic for the rest.

    Also, Mark is the only gospel to give us Abba as the Aramaic word Jesus used for Father, in the Gethsemane scene.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    So how do you interpret the Aramaisms in Mark and Matthew? That Mark was using an original Aramaic source for his gospel? That Matthew included them for his Jewish audience but Luke didn't for his Gentile audience? It supports the theory of Mark as the earliest gospel tradition.
  • In this case, Mark may have been reporting a remembered oral, not written source. And yes, it does support the earliest gospel theory.

    Note that only Mark and Matthew report the "my God, my God" cry, and in both gospels it is the only thing Jesus says from the cross. Neither Luke nor John report it, and what they do report is far more "edifying."
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Luke's Christ continues His salvific mission right to the end of His life. And His words to the penitent thief, 'Today you will be with me in paradise' may be presenting Him as the Second Adam because it is the same word as the garden of Eden (Luke 23: 43). Luke's gospel also traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam (Luke 3: 38).

    John's gospel has the resounding 'Tetelestai' and emphasises that Jesus gave up His Spirit as a voluntary self sacrifice - echoing the death of the suffering servant in Is 53 (John 19: 30; Is 53: 12).
  • THIS WAS POSTED YESTERDAY ON THE "ERRANT JOHN THE BAPTIZER" THREAD. LOOKS LIKE IT BELONGS HERE.

    @Rublev wrote: »
    Jesus generally preaches differently from this which is interesting. He wasn't the Messiah that they (or John) were expecting - or the message that they were expecting. And perhaps Jesus was not as popular as John for that reason. We know that He spoke differently from other rabbis. He had an unusual method of revelatory parables. However, He does say that He specifically fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah. So you see that I am coming around to your view that He consciously saw Himself as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.

    @James Boswell II replied: »
    My goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I will want to follow this up by trying to show in a creative way how I think Jesus may have come to his highly original conviction that Isaiah 53 was messianic.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Please do - that sounds very interesting.
  • Oh, I am really looking forward to it! And I think I will need some important help from you!
  • So are we!

    Any luck yet with the 'creative' interpretation of Isaiah 53?

    Hope it's not too novel...
  • @Bishops Finger
    Last night and this morning I have had good experiences having real discussions with shipmates who wanted real discussion. You just hit three of my threads wanting only to be provocative. I'm not playing your game.
  • I was simply asking for a progress report!

    Or have you dealt with this on another thread? It's possible I may have missed your answer.
  • @Rublev wrote: »
    Jesus generally preaches differently from this which is interesting. He wasn't the Messiah that they (or John) were expecting - or the message that they were expecting. And perhaps Jesus was not as popular as John for that reason. We know that He spoke differently from other rabbis. He had an unusual method of revelatory parables. However, He does say that He specifically fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah. So you see that I am coming around to your view that He consciously saw Himself as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.

    @James Boswell II replied:
    My goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    James also said:
    I will want to follow this up by trying to show in a creative way how I think Jesus may have come to his highly original conviction that Isaiah 53 was messianic.

    Rublev replied:
    Please do - that sounds very interesting.

    James:
    Oh, I am really looking forward to it! And I think I will need some important help from you!

    As a matter of fact, I would like for you to start right now to try to work with me on this:
    First, try to forget everything you know or ever knew about the later gospel writers or the later theologies of the church.
    None of that exists now, for we are in Nazareth with the young boy Jesus growing up.

    Now, he has already been deeply influenced by the Aramaic portion of the Book of Daniel, chapters 2-7 which he could read from an early age (it being written in his Mother Tongue), and especially by the vision in chapter 2 which suggests that God is about to set up a kingdom on the earth that will destroy and supplant all the previous last four wicked empires including the Romans! and also by the vision in chapter 7 which indicates that after all the wicked "beastly" empires have been destroyed, a glorious "one like a son of man" will come with clouds of heaven to receive from God dominion, kingship, and power and be served by all nations and peoples of all languages.

    But let's pause right here to ask: Would the boy Jesus have deeply resented and even hated the Roman occupation of his land?
  • The Magnificat of Mary celebrates the raising up of the lowly and bringing down of the proud (Luke 1: 52). This could be read as a subversive comment upon Roman rule. The adult Jesus pronounces blessings upon the poor and hungry and woe upon the rich and satisfied in His Beatitudes (Luke 6: 20-26). Which may be a similar message to that of His mother.
  • Good points. When Jesus was fairly young, a Jewish tax revolt brought Roman troops rushing down from Syria. According to Josephus, they conquered and burned Sepphoris, only about six miles northwest of Nazareth, and swept on southward, pillaging and conquering to Jerusalem where they rounded up 2,000 Jewish rebels and crucified them. A forest of crosses with dying men pinned to Roman wood.

    So long before Mary's Magnificat was written or Jesus' sermon was preached, the boy Jesus would have seen the smoke of Sepphoris rising and heard about the horror had happened in Jerusalem.

  • @Bishops Finger
    Last night and this morning I have had good experiences having real discussions with shipmates who wanted real discussion. You just hit three of my threads wanting only to be provocative. I'm not playing your game.

    Who?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    There aren't any overtly critical comments about the rule of the Roman governors in the NT. Only the question of the disciples about whether the kingdom will be restored to Israel (Acts 1: 6). Jesus refuses to become drawn into the controversy around Roman taxation (Mark 12: 17). However, there are some disparaging stories in the gospels about the Herods including the massacre of the innocents and the execution of John the Baptist. And Jesus refers to Herod Antipas as being 'that fox' (Luke 13: 32).
  • Well, when Augustus was emperor he sent prefects or procurators to Judea about every two or three years, but when Tiberius became emperor he started leaving them in place longer. ten years or so, because, he said, "when the flies have alighted on the corpse, you don't want to keep stirring them up."

    How cynical a remark about how corrupt the system of Roman occupation was! And you better believe the Jews resented it, from the very moment (after Archelaus' deposal) when they had to start paying taxes directly to Rome in Judea.
  • But now back to the boy Jesus growing up in Nazareth, and we can carry this a little further:

    One would think that the boy Jesus, as he grew older and could read and understand more and more Hebrew (a language closely related to Aramaic), he would have become aware of certain strongly messianic scriptures, especially in the Prophets and in the Psalms, that spoke of a promised Branch of David, an Anointed (Messiah-ed) One who would
    strike the earth with the rod of his mouth
    and slay the wicked with the breath of his lips
    (Isaiah 11),
    who would rule the nations with a scepter of iron
    and shatter them in pieces like a potter's vessel
    (Psalm 2)
    -- and many other such prophecies.

    And would it not be likely that he could have identified that mighty one, that strong, victorious conquering one, with the conquering Kingdom seen in Daniel chapter two and the One Like A Son of Man coming with clouds of heaven to rule and be served by all nations and by all peoples in Daniel chapter seven?

    Also, in Psalm 2 the Anointed Kingly One is told that he need only ask and (God says)
    "I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth as your possession."
  • Assuming that the boy Jesus must have relished the scriptures of his people which promised a glorious future, scriptures found with special abundance in the Scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, would we not be on track to assume that he may have gone looking specifically for those scriptures which promised his people a better future, free from Roman oppression in a wonderful world of plenty for all, ruled by God's powerful and just Messiah?
  • @Rublev
    I know it is now late. Tomorrow, Rublev, I would like for the two of us, you and I, to follow the young Jesus into the Nazareth synagogue and imagine ourselves looking over his shoulder as he makes some of the most important scriptural discoveries of his life.
  • Luke gives us the story of the boy Jesus listening to the teachers in the Temple. And the adult Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 2: 46; 4: 16-21). Do you think there is any connection there? Is Luke emphasising Jesus' credentials as a rabbi?
  • It's my understanding that any Jewish male of good standing could get permission to speak in a synagogue.

    Note how that happened too at Capernaum which may have been Jesus' first sermon ever, or if not that, then at least it could have been the first one the four fishermen followers heard. And then suddenly there was the demoniac crying out against Jesus. And afterterward the healing of Simon's mother in law's fever, and numerous healings and exorcisms that evening after the sun went down and the Sabbath was over and people could bring him the sick.
    _______

    Luke strangely puts Jesus' appearance in the synagogue at Nazareth first, and yet all you have to do is read Jesus' words to learn he has already been active in Capernaum.

    That Jesus could open the huge Scroll of Isaiah and find what he was looking for in it--far along at what we call chapter 61, shows he was familiar with the Scroll.

    Of course, the Jesus Seminar scholars claimed Jesus was illiterate and could not read.
  • He probably couldn’t, if we’re being strictly historically accurate. A poor child from a backwater town, who would teach him to read, and why? Even St Paul couldn’t read. That’s why he dictated his epistles.
  • Oh my goodness. Paul was an educated Pharasaic scribe (scholar) studying under the great Gamaliel. See Galatians 1:14 and Acts 22:3. Also Acts 26:24. And he could also write Greek when he wanted to: 1 Corinthians 16:21. Never in any of my studies have I ever heard anyone suggest that Paul was illiterate.

    The Jesus Seminar scholars wanted an illiterate Jesus, for it helped them cut him loose from his Jewish foundations, though they claimed that was not their purpose. John Dominic Crossan wrote what is supposed to be a major work on the historical Jesus yet never ties anything in the entire Book of Isaiah to any of Jesus' teaching!

    As for Jesus' literacy or illiteracy, the excellent scholar John P. Meier extensively considered both sides of the question* and concluded that Jesus was probably sufficiently literate in biblical Hebrew to answer quite well the educated opponents who tried to take him on.
    See Mark 10:2-9; 11:27-33; and especially 12:18-27.
    ____________
    *A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. I, p. 268, f with extensive end notes pp 300-308.
  • I’m not saying St Paul was illiterate, but what you quote doesn’t prove he wrote the whole thing. Even Martial and Horace had scribes, and scholars believe, limited writing capabilities. St Paul had limited writing abilities, that’s beyond dispute. Why else would he have a scribe. Furthermore, why would he note that he was writing that part?

    John P. Meier is one scholar in a field of thousands. He’s unique. A poor boy from an unimportant family would not have been taught to read, especially considering where he was from. If you want to be historical, the consensus was that Jesus couldn’t read.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I think the question of Jesus’ literacy is much less clear cut than that. First of all, for us literacy generally means reading and writing, whereas in the ancient world many could read who could not write (or at least not with any fluency). Secondly there is a paucity of evidence which means the conclusions drawn are necessarily speculative.

    Chris Keith (professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary's University), who argues that Jesus could not read, indicates that there is not a consensus, and here is a link to a series of blog posts by Ben Witherington (Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary) citing Alan Millard’s (Rankin Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic languages, and Honorary Senior Fellow, at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology in the University of Liverpool) Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus and arguing that Jesus probably could read.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    It's thought that the reason Paul dictated his letters is that he had a problem with his eyesight. He refers to a thorn in his flesh, to the Galatians being willing to tear out their eyes for him and to signing his letters in large writing (2 Cor 12: 7; Gal 4: 15; 6: 11). He had been struck temporarily blind on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 8). But it was common practice at that time to use an amanuensis. The reason that he signed the superscription was to prove the authenticity of his letters.

    I see no reason to doubt that Jesus could read on the basis of Luke 4: 16-19. And John 8: 6 indicates that He could write.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    John 8:6 is a very late insert as we know. But I agree. Paul was obviously highly literate. No 'expert' (trying to make a name for themselves) witness withstanding. How many scribes did Aquinas have? It's a status thing.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    The other late inserts are the alternative endings to Mark. It's clear why they are added. But what is the reason for inserting the pericope adulterae? It's quite a contentious episode in which Jesus directly contests the Law of Moses (Lev 20: 10; Deut 22: 22). And challenges the practice of stoning transgressors to death. Is it intended to exemplify the 'I Am' saying of Jesus as 'the light of the world' ? (John 8: 12). This episode takes place 'early in the morning' when presumably it was dark (John 8: 2). So it may be intended to illustrate the theme of light and darkness in John's gospel (cf John 13: 30 'And it was night').
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I'd always assumed that Paul was literate, and I rather warm to the idea that perhaps his eyesight wasn't that good - alas, no ophthalmic aids in those days! Mind you, it must (if so) have been a burden to him.
    :disappointed:

    But just what was it Jesus wrote on the ground? Enquiring minds need to know...was it just a doodle, or something which (had it been copied) be of priceless worth? Is there an Ancient Tradition which claims to know?
  • I have heard a theory that he wrote the names of the accusers, a reference to Jeremiah 17:13, which would have been read as part of the festival of Sukkot. Both Sukkot and the Jeremiah passage connect with Jesus’s invitation a day or two earlier for all who are thirsty to come to him.
  • Even John P. Meier is willing to concede that the evidence for Jesus' literacy is not nearly so obvious as might be hoped. He concedes that when he explores the arguments for him being illiterate. On the other hand, he thinks the evidence tilts toward literacy.

    One of the things that makes John Dominic Crossan and others of the Jesus Seminar suspect is their easy assumption that because illiteracy among the peasantry was the order of the day among most of the people of the Roman Empire, then that must be true among the Jews as well. But there were things among the Jews that were not true of others, including their absolute refusal to work on the Sabbath. There is considerable evidence that the synagogues were schools for study as well as places of worship. The Jewish boys whose voices could be heard reciting in the synagogue could probably read the phylacteries on their arms and on their foreheads and on the doorways of their houses. Aramaic and Hebrew were related languages and among the Jews were written using the same alphabet.
  • What if he wrote their bits on the side?
  • Thanks, BroJames. Perhaps I’ve only read scholars ho believe Jesus was illiterate. I don’t care much for Historical Jesus stuff, so quite possible.
    I'd always assumed that Paul was literate, and I rather warm to the idea that perhaps his eyesight wasn't that good - alas, no ophthalmic aids in those days! Mind you, it must (if so) have been a burden to him.
    :disappointed:

    But just what was it Jesus wrote on the ground? Enquiring minds need to know...was it just a doodle, or something which (had it been copied) be of priceless worth? Is there an Ancient Tradition which claims to know?

    I have always wondered, and have often thought it’s the strangest part of the Gospel. The Ancient Christian Commentary may have something on it, now that you mention it. Perhaps I’ll try giving it a look.
  • Do so, please, and, if you can provide a proper link, that'll be helpful.
    :wink:
  • Maybe it would be good here to emphasize that if Jesus could read, one of the easiest things for him to read would have been chapters 2 -7 of the Scroll of Daniel, for they were written in Aramaic, and there are in those chapters two visions that talk about the future, one in chapter 2 which must deeply have influenced him because it talks of God setting up a kingdom on the earth that will destroy and replace all the four wicked worldly empires preceding it. In that vision an arrogant, boasting statue representing those four empires is struck by a stone carved from a mountain "by no human hand," a stone that strikes and utterly demolishes the statue (the four empires), crushing it into fine dust which the wind blows away like chaff. And then that stone (that kingdom) becomes a great mountain filling all the earth and destined never to be supplanted, but last forever.

    The other vision is in chapter 7 where four beastly empires are destroyed and then "one like a son of man" comes with the clouds of heaven to stand before the fiery throne of the Ancient of Days (God) and receive "kingdom, dominion and power" so that "all nations and peoples of all languages will serve him" in a kingdom of God's people that will last forever.

    QUESTION: Is there any evidence that the boy Jesus may have been profoundly influenced by those two visions? Surely there is, for later in his teaching the two phrases that he used with great frequency and in very special ways were "the Kingdom of God" and "the Son of Man."

    We may need to remember this when we (imaginatively) follow him into the synagogue and look over his shoulder as he studies Isaiah.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I have heard a theory that he wrote the names of the accusers, a reference to Jeremiah 17:13, which would have been read as part of the festival of Sukkot. Both Sukkot and the Jeremiah passage connect with Jesus’s invitation a day or two earlier for all who are thirsty to come to him.

    Interesting, but how would he have known their names? Were they, perhaps, personal acquaintances of his? If so, his remarks would have been even more pointed...

  • For years I've believed that Jesus was literate because all Jewish boys were taught to read and write at the synagogue (girls not included). I've believed it for so long I've got no idea of the source of the idea now.
  • Now I come to think of it, that was received wisdom back in the days of my Yoof.

    Was this told to us, simply so that we would not see Our Lord as 'Errant' in any way?
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I have heard a theory that he wrote the names of the accusers, a reference to Jeremiah 17:13, which would have been read as part of the festival of Sukkot. Both Sukkot and the Jeremiah passage connect with Jesus’s invitation a day or two earlier for all who are thirsty to come to him.

    Interesting, but how would he have known their names? Were they, perhaps, personal acquaintances of his? If so, his remarks would have been even more pointed...
    No idea. He knew them? Because he was Jesus? He just went with the most common names?

    No idea if it’s an accurate theory or not, but I do find it intriguing.

    I think I’ve heard a related theory that he wrote that verse, not their names.
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