What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus?

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  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @James Boswell II I'm not going to say any more on the challenge you issued to three of us because I agree with what @Nick Tamen, apart perhaps, to suggest that you're evaluating the gospels according to how you think they ought to be, or perhaps you think other people claim they are, rather than on their own terms.
    ...
    Sometime later her husband came back and told her to leave the house and she told him to see her lawyer --and wow, did that guy get fleeced! :smiley: ...

    If she directed her errant husband to her own lawyer, then unless her own lawyer then told him he needed to be separately represented, she (the lawyer that is) would lay herself open to being sued for everything he had to pay his ex-wife.
  • AND it got worse. The Gospel of John presents John the Baptizer as one who, from the first moment he sees Jesus, knows exactly who he is. But the Gospel of Mark reveals no such knowledge on the part of the Baptizer, and the gospels of Matthew and Luke both relate a story in which the Baptizer sends messengers to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the expected one, or must we wait for someone else?”

    Now it can’t be both ways (I told myself). Either the Baptizer and Jesus’ disciples knew from the first who he was, or they didn’t. It can’t be both ways!

    Of course it can. @Lamb Chopped has demonstrated how. JtB is overwhelmed by Christ at the beginning of his minstry, but when he (JtB) is rotting in jail waiting to be decapitated, he doubts. If J. is the Messiah, why am I in jail? I must have been wrong, overreacting to something I saw that wasn't the real thing. Many, maybe most Christians can tell just such stories. Ask St. John of the Cross. This isn't an inconsistency unless one wants it to be. Otherwise it's just another season in the life of a person of faith.
  • ERROR.
    I meant to say I aimed it ENOCH and PDR and what THEY said.
    Being familiar with both of them, I’m pretty sure it was nothing new to them either. Enoch has confirmed that on his part.

    A word of advice that I hope is helpful: When it comes to something like differences between the Gospels, you’re probably pretty safe assuming most everyone here knows already what you’re talking about, so it’s probably fine to simply start out with something like “Looking more closely at the differences between the Gospels and the influences that might be behind those differences, I came to the conclusion that . . . .” If someone doesn’t understand or needs more specifics, they’ll let you know by asking for clarification.

    Meanwhile, what @mousethief said about whether John or Matthew and Luke are right about John the Baptist.
    Enoch wrote: »
    If she directed her errant husband to her own lawyer, then unless her own lawyer then told him he needed to be separately represented, she (the lawyer that is) would lay herself open to being sued for everything he had to pay his ex-wife.
    Not to mention disciplinary action by the bar.

  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    PDR wrote: »
    I have just realised that I do have a major problem making a sensible contribution to this thread - the fact that I believe all attempts to create an 'historical Jesus' are essentially speculative attempts to construction a rationale of Our Lord's ministry, other than the one given in the N.T.. That is something that strikes me as an interesting, but not particularly useful, endeavour given that I do not believe the Christ of history to have been all that different to the Christ of the Gospels. I'd better leave this thread alone.
    If there is no big difference between the Christ of history and the Christ of faith, wouldn't that make it interesting to study the former as a way to learn more about the latter?
  • edited July 2019
    @NOprophet_NØprofit

    Comparing a relatively innocent teenager excitedly looking for and expecting simple consistences in scripture, to the devil looking for scriptures to use for evil purposes strikes me as somewhat of a stretch.
    Of course it is. But when you get to quote Shakespeare, in general, you should.
    But I am also thinking of the Really Nice Religious People who base their decision making on Jësüs ** while harming others and organizing their societies to take a dump on people different than them.


    **All hail "Power Umlaut Jësüs"
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    LeRoc wrote: »
    PDR wrote: »
    I have just realised that I do have a major problem making a sensible contribution to this thread - the fact that I believe all attempts to create an 'historical Jesus' are essentially speculative attempts to construction a rationale of Our Lord's ministry, other than the one given in the N.T.. That is something that strikes me as an interesting, but not particularly useful, endeavour given that I do not believe the Christ of history to have been all that different to the Christ of the Gospels. I'd better leave this thread alone.
    If there is no big difference between the Christ of history and the Christ of faith, wouldn't that make it interesting to study the former as a way to learn more about the latter?

    I find the historical background to the Gospels quite intriguing, but I tend to regard the "Search for the Historical Jesus" as it is conventionally expressed as being something a little different to that - i.e. an exercise in demythologizing the Gospels, which can degenerate in to remaking Jesus into a figure 19th or 20th century man finds sympathetic, rather than the 1st C. rabbi/Messiah of the Gospels. What has struck me more than anything is that the synoptics do tend to tell the same story from three different perspectives. Recent studies of c. 1st C. teaching and transmission methods done at Uppsala suggest that the divergence between the Synoptics is within the range they would expect from studying other rabbinical texts. I just cannot remember now who did the study, but I was impressed by the article. From the point of view of examining ancient or even mediaeval manuscripts, the minor differences are unimportant except for the purposes of having a topic for one's Ph.D. thesis.

    John is the cuckoo in the nest, but I have long since stopped treating it as 'straight history' and increasingly look upon it as a series of meditations on incidents in the life of Christ. Theophanies seem to be very important to John, more so that the historical narrative, and indeed I would go so far as to say it is more of a theological narrative than an historical one. I have to say it is my favourite Gospel to preach on, though.
  • As for the lawyer question, I guess she was just telling her husband that he and/or counsel had better run past her lawyer whether he could just come back home and order her out of the conjugal marriage house he had abandoned and not she.

    I know little of law, but I remember she told him to take it up with her lawyer and I believe she, not he, ended up getting the house. Deservedly so, I think. :smile:
  • @LeRoc

    I very much agree with your statement above, especially the part about historical Jesus scholars reading themselves into Jesus. That certainly went on the 19th century and happened again with the more recent Jesus Seminar scholars. (BTW, it was those scholars that Luke Timothy Johnson was most strongly criticizing).

    But that has become more difficult since Johannes Weiss and Schweitzer made it clear that Jesus' apocalypticism can't simply be dismissed, and that makes it a lot more difficult to assimilate him into the 20th or 21st century. The six or seven scholars I listed above are far less guilty of doing that, I think.

    And John is indeed the cuckoo in the nest :smile: When I as a teenager became disturbed by the many differences I found in the Gospel of John, I was surprised to get help from an ancient church theologian. In the second century, Clement of Alexandria expressed the view that the author of John, “perceiving that the external facts had already been made plain in the other [three] gospels … and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual gospel” [emphasis added]. Clement was convinced that the author of John, writing last, was not interested in relating the “external facts” about Jesus, but in illuminating Jesus’ deeper spiritual significance. Clement’s insight helps explain why the portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of John is so different: The author of John was not trying to report what the flesh and blood man Jesus had once said and done, but rather to reveal what the living, resurrected Lord of the church was still saying and doing.
    Even in the second century, then, Clement of Alexandria could see that “the external facts” about Jesus are more readily available in the earlier writings.

    What Clement opined, modern research confirms. If we take the earliest identifiable New Testament sources – Paul, Q, and Mark – and examine them for historical information about Jesus, a considerable degree of consistency emerges.
  • I have not read everything above, but assuming that we may still be talking at least partially about What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus? let me suggest that we not get too fixed in our ways or too adamant on this. It is a very difficult matter, and diverse opinions on it go way back, even further than Anselm and Abelard.

    My own church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) formed on the American frontier in the early 1800s, and its major leaders were two ex-Prebyterian pastors, Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell who thought that by renouncing all "man-made" creeds and returning to the Bible and reason alone, they could have "unity in essentials, freedom of opinion in non essentials, and in all things love.''

    Yet these two men soon discovered that they had radically different views on a rather essential matter: atonement. Both believed that Jesus' death somehow frees us of sin, but how that happens was another matter. Campbell held to a more traditional understanding that God "imputes" our sins to Jesus, while Stone adamantly rejected any notion that God in any way would cause or even allow his innocent son Jesus to bear our sins. That sent Stone right up the wall, for he felt that Jesus on the cross simply shows us the enormity of human sin, and that causes us to repent, and that is enough for God to forgive. (Campbell felt that was good, but not enough.)

    The two men disagreed so strongly on this that they engaged in a magazine debate that went on and on and occasionally got heated indeed.

    YET they did not allow this matter to divide them, or their churches. Both remained in brotherly fellowship with one another, and neither even for a moment ever suggested that they could not remain in loving communion with each other at the same Lord's Table.
  • @PDR

    Damn. I keep making stupid mistakes. What I addressed to LeRoc above I intended to address to you, PDR.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    I have not read everything above, but assuming that we may still be talking at least partially about What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus? let me suggest that we not get too fixed in our ways or too adamant on this.
    You admit might at least do everyone the courtesy of reading the posts in the discussion before giving us advice on what you admit you haven’t read.

  • Hey, get this straight. What I said about Campbell and Stone above is good advice, I think, in any atonement discussion, anywhere, anytime, regardless of what has been said or has not said.

    I will read when I find time. Today I didn't.
  • @PDR

    Damn. I keep making stupid mistakes. What I addressed to LeRoc above I intended to address to you, PDR.
    That’s why the quote function, which enables you to easily quote what you’re responding to, is your friend. :wink:

  • Martin54 wrote: »

    PSA is a Western tradition since Augustine at least, Eastern since Paul and, of course, Jesus Himself. I'm alone here in saying that Jesus Himself believed in PSA, not just ransom, which itself was not necessary either. All atonement theories are stories we make up. The fact of at-one-ment with God is in the fact of the Incarnation. Orthodox recapitulation theory as a basis of kenosis is far better than traditional Western 'theories', but still seems predicated on the Fall?

    I am glad, Martin, that you say PSA is a Western tradition since Augustine. I know some who try to say it only came into being in America with a declaration of fundamentalists in, I don't know, the twenties or whatever.

    And although it startles me a bit to hear you say Jesus was into PSA, I do believe that, regardless of what we moderns may or may not want to believe, he was in some way influenced by Isaiah 53: "...upon him was the punishment (or chastisement) that made us whole."

    But then you seem to turn around and say that atonement is nothing compared to Orthodox Incarnation. You confuse me.
  • I am glad, Martin, that you say PSA is a Western tradition since Augustine. I know some who try to say it only came into being in America with a declaration of fundamentalists in, I don't know, the twenties or whatever.
    I have typically heard it that PSA has clear roots in Augustine, became more developed at the Reformation and era following, and then reached the form typically heard among Evangelicals today in the early 19th C.
    But then you seem to turn around and say that atonement is nothing compared to Orthodox Incarnation. You confuse me.
    @mousethief can correct me on this, but my recollection is that Orthodox look askance on the traditional Western view that links the atonement with the crucifixion only, and instead sees the Incarnation, baptism, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension as all part of the atoning/salvific action of Christ.

  • The Orthodox put a lot of emphasis, I think, on the idea that God became man so that man can become God, and that is more important than anything else.

    Overlook the male dominant language.
  • By the way, HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!

    But you damn British burned our White House.

    Oh, wait a minute. That was a different war.
  • Maybe we could persuade you to burn it again, with the present resident still in it?
    Whoops. Don't tell the FBI or CIA I said that.


  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    @PDR

    I very much agree with your statement above, especially the part about historical Jesus scholars reading themselves into Jesus. That certainly went on the 19th century and happened again with the more recent Jesus Seminar scholars. (BTW, it was those scholars that Luke Timothy Johnson was most strongly criticizing).

    But that has become more difficult since Johannes Weiss and Schweitzer made it clear that Jesus' apocalypticism can't simply be dismissed, and that makes it a lot more difficult to assimilate him into the 20th or 21st century. The six or seven scholars I listed above are far less guilty of doing that, I think.

    And John is indeed the cuckoo in the nest :smile: When I as a teenager became disturbed by the many differences I found in the Gospel of John, I was surprised to get help from an ancient church theologian. In the second century, Clement of Alexandria expressed the view that the author of John, “perceiving that the external facts had already been made plain in the other [three] gospels … and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual gospel” [emphasis added]. Clement was convinced that the author of John, writing last, was not interested in relating the “external facts” about Jesus, but in illuminating Jesus’ deeper spiritual significance. Clement’s insight helps explain why the portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of John is so different: The author of John was not trying to report what the flesh and blood man Jesus had once said and done, but rather to reveal what the living, resurrected Lord of the church was still saying and doing.
    Even in the second century, then, Clement of Alexandria could see that “the external facts” about Jesus are more readily available in the earlier writings.

    What Clement opined, modern research confirms. If we take the earliest identifiable New Testament sources – Paul, Q, and Mark – and examine them for historical information about Jesus, a considerable degree of consistency emerges.

    I tend to give a fair amount of wait to the witness of the Early Fathers when it comes to the formation of the NT Canon. It seems to me that they probably had access to information and traditions that have subsequently been lost. I tend to welcome modern studies that confirm what the Fathers said, but I still cannot help thinking to myself when they do something like that 'well, we knew that already.' I am probably enough influenced first by the Tractarians and then as I moved away from that tradition in Anglicanism by Bucer, Bullinger, and the English Reformers, to take the Fathers very seriously indeed, whilst not allowing them to usurp the authority of Scripture.

    For me the jury is still out whether there was a written Q even though Herbert Marsh was already hinting at its insistence 200 years ago following his trip to Prussia. Until someone actually identifies a previous unidentified m/s fragment as a lump of Q, I will persist in thinking that it is most likely to have been a stable oral tradition of the variety common in rabbinical schools.

    At some point quite early on in my theological formation I must have come into contact with someone who had a firm belief that John was the "theological Gospel" and the synoptics the "historical Gospels" because I have never been that bothered by the discrepancies in the way some others have been. Clement of Alex's testimony, even though his witness comes about 80-100 years after the death of John, seems very likely to be the authentic tradition here.

    I probably differ from you on John in this respect. I tend to go along with those who think that John is earlier rather than later. J. A. T. Robinson's 'The Priority of John' swung me away from the idea of John been late (c. 100AD) even though I think his 65-70 bracket too early. It does not leave enough time for the Synoptics to have been widely distributed. I believe Oral Q and the Synoptics would have to have been well enough known within the Church by the late 70s for the sort of writing that is John's Gospel to be possible. Again speculative, but there you are. YMMV, and all that.
  • The Q material is of course simply Greek portions of Matthew and Luke not derived from Mark that are sometimes word for word the same or nearly the same, and sometimes have differencies. It's difficult for me to think that a "stable oral tradition" could have gotten the Greek text word for word the same. Even the Holy Spirit might have trouble inspiring that sort of consistency!

    Nevertheless, whether oral or written, Q is a welcome source, older than either Matthew or Luke and perhaps older than Mark, and possibly written earlier in Aramaic.

    I agree that John MIGHT be earlier than many scholars think, and as for the early fathers, I wish I had spent more time reading them. Dale Allison certainly has extensive knowledge of them, and that shows up in his scholarship interesting ways.

    I'm now going to post something that may get some people out of shape. Oh well.
  • Sorry if this is long, but honesty demands that I say it. It took a lot out of me to write this, and I do not mean for it to be contentious, but unfortunately I guess it probably will be:
    mousethief wrote: »
    AND it got worse. The Gospel of John presents John the Baptizer as one who, from the first moment he sees Jesus, knows exactly who he is. But the Gospel of Mark reveals no such knowledge on the part of the Baptizer, and the gospels of Matthew and Luke both relate a story in which the Baptizer sends messengers to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the expected one, or must we wait for someone else?”

    Now it can’t be both ways (I told myself). Either the Baptizer and Jesus’ disciples knew from the first who he was, or they didn’t. It can’t be both ways!

    Of course it can. @Lamb Chopped has demonstrated how. JtB is overwhelmed by Christ at the beginning of his minstry, but when he (JtB) is rotting in jail waiting to be decapitated, he doubts. If J. is the Messiah, why am I in jail? I must have been wrong, overreacting to something I saw that wasn't the real thing. Many, maybe most Christians can tell just such stories. Ask St. John of the Cross. This isn't an inconsistency unless one wants it to be. Otherwise it's just another season in the life of a person of faith.

    I didn't respond to @Lamb Chopped in the previous thread because I was a bit confused by what she said about miracle, but I will try to answer here, although I don't want us to get to far off the track from discussing atonement.

    You (and Lamb Chopped too I guess) are asking me to believe that before Jesus had even begun his ministry, his parents and the parents of JtB and JtB himself all knew exactly who and what Jesus was -- the messianic Son of God. This had been revealed to Jesus' parents directly by angels and they would have shared it with John's parents, and John had even leaped in his mother's womb at the voice of Jesus' mother -- and this last is based on the late birth stories found in special Luke (L) and special Matthew (M) only.

    And then, according to the late Gospel of John, when JtB was an adult, he testified that God's own voice had spoken directly to him from heaven, telling him exactly who and what Jesus was, and he shared that knowledge with Jesus' disciples in no uncertain terms, and they certainly knew it, for in that gospel they are constantly calling Jesus the Messiah from the first day they meet him in chapter one and after that throughout his ministry.

    In other words, in all this late information, everyone knows exactly who Jesus is, the parents of both Jesus and John, John himself, and Jesus' disciples -- and they know this by divine revelations from angels or from the directly spoken voice of God to John or from John's testimony to that effect: All know and are firmly convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and why shouldn't they be?

    --And yet, according to the earlier Gospel of Mark when Jesus, after his baptism and temptation by Satan leaves the wilderness to begin his ministry in Galilee, his own family think he has lost his mind and try to get him to come home with them, but he refuses, saying that his new family consists of those who accept him, and when he later returns to Nazareth he is rejected by almost everyone and is not shown honor, he says, even "in his own house."

    And as for Jesus' disciples, they do not manage to figure out who he is until late in his ministry, in chapter eight of Mark!

    And then, according to the early Matthew=Luke (Q) material, John, who is now in prison, hears what is happening up there in Galilee and sends messengers to ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for someone else?"

    I'm sorry, but you are asking me to believe that all these people could have known all this -- but they forgot or doubted it? The families forgot or doubted the direct revelations of angels and the Baptizer forgot or doubted a direct revelation from the voice of God himself, and the disciples could not remember what John had clearly told them as a personal testimony from God himself -- and yet they had responded by calling Jesus the Messiah then and throughout his ministry?

    Well, all that is too much "miracle" for me. Too much forgetting and/or doubting.

    No, what is found in Q and Mark is probably historical, but anything that is found in L or M that contradicts Q or Mark probably is not historical, and anything that is found in M or L that does not contradict but fits in well with Mark and Q probably is historical.

    That's how historians evaluate things, relying primarily on the earlier sources.

    The good news is that the earlier material proves to be historical. The good news is also that the later material, while it may not strictly be historical, nevertheless reflects the power of the faith of the later church. (The birth stories of Jesus, for example, are really Easter stories.)
    _________

    Now, what follows is not historical, and yet it might have happened:
    When John in prison received Jesus' answer to his question, we do not know how he responded.
    It is possible that he cried out with jubilant faith, "Yes! He is that one who is to come! He is!"

    We do not know.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    PDR wrote: »
    I find the historical background to the Gospels quite intriguing, but I tend to regard the "Search for the Historical Jesus" as it is conventionally expressed as being something a little different to that - i.e. an exercise in demythologizing the Gospels, which can degenerate in to remaking Jesus into a figure 19th or 20th century man finds sympathetic, rather than the 1st C. rabbi/Messiah of the Gospels.
    Some big red flags for me here. Calling anything that analyses Jesus differently than through your interpretation of the Bible "remaking Him into someone you find sympathetic" is nothing more than dishonest framing.
  • 'We do not know.'

    Says it all, really.

  • @Bishops Finger

    Still, if that was John's response, and John's disciples may have passed that on to some of Jesus' followers, that might at least make us feel better about how the later traditions could unhesitatingly adduce JtB as a testifying witness to Jesus, even if he didn't do that at the times the later texts indicate. :smile:
  • @LeRoc

    Good point, but the old adage that far too many scholars have peered down the well of history, seen their own reflections at the bottom and labeled them "Jesus" has all too often proved true, even ludicrously true. Schweitzer persuasively demonstrated that with his magisterial reviews of the 19th century "lives of Jesus."
  • I'm sorry, but you are asking me to believe that all these people could have known all this -- but they forgot or doubted it? The families forgot or doubted the direct revelations of angels and the Baptizer forgot or doubted a direct revelation from the voice of God himself, and the disciples could not remember what John had clearly told them as a personal testimony from God himself -- and yet they had responded by calling Jesus the Messiah then and throughout his ministry?

    Well, all that is too much "miracle" for me. Too much forgetting and/or doubting.
    I don’t think it’s a miracle at all. I think it sounds very human. You’ve never been sure of something at one point in life and doubted it later?

  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    Good point, but the old adage that far too many scholars have peered down the well of history, seen their own reflections at the bottom and labeled them "Jesus" has all too often proved true, even ludicrously true.
    Perhaps. Peering down the well of the Bible, seeing your own reflections at the bottom and labelling them "the Jesus of the Gospels" is also a possibility.

    I don't feel there is anything intrinsically wrong with constructing models of Jesus. We'll never understand Him fully, so models are all we can go on. History, our interpretation of the Bible, spirituality, people who went before us … all of these can help construct these models. And that's Ok. As long as we're honest towards ourselves and others that we're just constructing models.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    @James Boswell II, you miss my point, I'm afraid. This whole Jesus thing - historical (or not), errant (or not), atoning (or not) can really be summed up in 'We Do Not Know', and this constant chasing around, like a hamster in his wheel, with many words, is, in the end, unhelpful and unedifying.

    Read the words of Richard Hooker:

    'Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High...our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not indeed as he is, neither can know him...He is above, and we upon earth; therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few.'


  • 1. Yes all of Jesus' life starting from conception and ending seated at the right hand of the Father is salvific.
    2. @James Boswell II "The good news is that the earlier material proves to be historical." Proves by what yardstick? I smell some circular logic hiding here. The way you prove something to be historical is to compare it to other accounts of the same events. And we have no other accounts of the life of Christ but the Gospels.
    3. What @Nick Tamen said.
  • 9:21AM
    Lamb Chopped wrote: »

    Those who've been on Ship for years will recall some of our struggles, which are wholly human, embarrassing, and "little faithed" at times, in spite of the miracle. Because miracles do not create faith. They just don't. At most they can serve as signposts to the object and giver of faith, the Lord. But it is entirely comprehensible to me how whole families and John the Baptist himself might have lost sight, for a moment or for years, of the miraculous events they were once a part of. Because it has happened to us.

    @Lamb Chopped
    I didn't respond to you in this thread because I was confused by what said about "miracle."
    _________

    According to the late Gospel of John, Jesus' disciples started calling him the Messiah in the first chapter, even before his ministry began, and continued calling him that throughout his entire ministry, as represented in that gospel.

    while

    According to the earlier Gospel Mark, the disciples (like Q's imprisoned Baptizer) struggled with trying to decide what to think of him, and did not win through to the belief that he was the Messiah until late in his ministry, in the eighth chapter of that gospel.

    I see nothing miraculous there. I see a difference impossible to reconcile.

    One could, however, humbly choose to go with the earlier sources as historically the more reliable.
  • ? You posted that on the 'Errant Jesus' thread!

    Are you trying to combine that thread with this? A hamster can only cope with one wheel at a time... :wink:
  • I wanted Lamb Chopped to see it, one place or the other :wink: .
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    You can always use the Personal Message facility to draw someone's attention to a particular thread or post, though I appreciate your point.
    :smile:

    Sorry - not trying to Junior Host - just got a bit confusticated...
  • I wanted Lamb Chopped to see it, one place or the other :wink: .
    Tagging her with the @ tag will accomplish that by sending her a notification.
  • Yes, that's an even simpler way of doing it!
  • @Bishops Finger I'd like for you to respond to what I addressed to Lamb Chopped. I agree with you that there are unfathomable mysteries in all things, especially religious things, that should humble us, but isn't there also a humility in how we deal with things like religious texts that seem impossible to reconcile?
  • @Nick Tamen
    I'll direct that last at you, too.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    Perhaps, and with human minds being curious about everything, we do naturally seek answers - but that humility seems to me to be the point of Richard Hooker's remarks (from Ecclesiastical Polity ).
  • So if I as a student in a New Testament class were to call the professor's attention to this.

    According to the late Gospel of John, Jesus' disciples started calling him the Messiah in the first chapter, even before his ministry began, and continued calling him that throughout his entire ministry, as represented in that gospel.

    while

    According to the earlier Gospel Mark, the disciples struggled with trying to decide what to think of him, and did not win through to the belief that he was the Messiah until late in his ministry, in the eighth chapter of that gospel.

    And the professor were to answer,
    'Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High...our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not indeed as he is, neither can know him...He is above, and we upon earth; therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few.'

    I should give him a good evaluation at the end of the semester?
  • :lol:

    Once again, you miss my point.
  • Some apologies for cutting across the textual discussion, but for me the real usefulness of ditching most forms of atonement theory as a focus for one's reading of the gospels is that it frees one to follow Jesus, rather than worshipping him. It is the only way to be free to take up one's cross and embrace him as a companion in this process - otherwise, at least in my experience, the inevitable focus is on his cross and his resurrection as if they were unique, rather than being types of general, ultimately universal, experience.

    To me, their importance and the manner of their description only make sense on condition that they (the crucifixion and resurrection narratives) are embraced as types of universal experiences, rather than as singular biographical events.
  • This.

    TBTG (and @ThunderBunk) for a breath of fresh air.
    :relaxed:
  • Thunderbunk thinks we should ditch most forms of atonement theory in favor of "following rather than worshipping Jesus," and that following him entails taking up one's cross and embracing Jesus as a companion in this process as "a general, ultimately universal experience."

    Could you unpack that a bit more? What, specifically does it mean in terms of our behavior? Are you saying that such bearing of the cross is something everyone does, something we all experience? Is it then in no way unique, but something that, willy nilly, just comes to all of us? And what is indicated by Jesus' being a companion in this?

    What, if anything, is there that makes it really special "to follow Jesus"?
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    And as for Jesus' disciples, they do not manage to figure out who he is until late in his ministry, in chapter eight of Mark!

    And then, according to the early Matthew=Luke (Q) material, John, who is now in prison, hears what is happening up there in Galilee and sends messengers to ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for someone else?"

    You are making an assumption here that the events in Mark happened in that order. Mar isn't structured like that. Ch 1-8 are about who Jesus is, Ch 9-15 are no longer about who Jesus is but about what the cross means. It is not necessarily chronological and probably isn't. Take the anointing of Jesus (at Bethany). Luke has it in the earlier part of Jesus ministry in Galilee. It is possible that Mark, and by default Matthew, moved the event to just before the crucifixion because the events were connected by meaning rather than time and place. Chronology was not that important in ancient writings. Luke could be correct about time/place.

    As you said we do not know. This is true of the chronology of Mark, which you seem to be assuming.

    John (ETA the Baptist) was sure at first but started to doubt in jail fits the data we have perfectly. It is our best guess.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    @ThunderBunk, I really don’t have much disagreement with what you posted about the atonement. For my money, it’s never good when a doctrine becomes the focus. FWIW, my understanding of the atonement is summarized by Paul as “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” which I think then calls us to the task of reconciliation.
    @Nick Tamen
    I'll direct that last at you, too.
    I think you start with at least two faulty assumptions. The first is that what John tells about the disciples’ belief and what Mark tells us presents “a difference impossible to reconcile.” As I have said, I think it’s very easy to reconcile. It looks like basic human behavior and doubt to me.

    The second faulty assumption is that Mark and John present a difference that needs reconciling. While I think they can be easily reconciled, I don’t think they do need to be reconciled; or more to the point, I don’t think all apparent discrepancies between the Gospels need to be reconciled. Rather, I think each Gospel needs to be considered on its own terms.

    I am a lawyer. I know that the likelihood that four eyewitnesses to an event will give identical testimony about that event is nil. Why would I expect the Gospels to be different? If it mattered that we have the exact story exactly as it happened, we would have just one Gospel. But we have four—four perspectives with different concerns and different aspects to focus on regarding who Jesus was. The church has always known that the four accounts present apparent discrepancies. But it accepted each on its own terms anyway.

    So from my perspective, you’re struggling to solve a problem that isn’t a problem.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Perfect.
  • The problem with this thread is, of course, that the problem which isn't a problem to many of us is, in fact, a problem for the OPer.

    IYSWIM.
  • @balaam
    @Nick Tamen
    @Martin54
    @Bishops Finger

    Mark is structured on the idea that, contrary to the Gospel of John, Jesus did not go around openly saying he was the Messiah. Indeed he shushed demoniacs and would not let them speak out because "they knew who he was" and wanted to cry out his identity (1:34).

    Meanwhile, Jesus' disciples were having difficulty figuring out what to think of him: "What manner of man is this?" --and this must have disturbed Jesus, for at one point he severely chastised them because there was something they were not getting that he felt they should have understood, and had not (Mark 8:17-21). It was soon after that that Jesus took the twelve off on a retreat and -- apparently realizing that at last they had come to understand -- asked them, "Who do people say that I am?" And when they gave him various answers, he asked, ''But who do you (pl.) say that I am?" and at that point Peter, speaking for all of them, said, "You are the Messiah!" And Jesus told them to keep that quiet among themselves.

    Again, all that just simply does not fit in with the Gospel of John, for in John, Jesus is always open and obvious about his identity, in private and in public ("I have spoken publicly to the world, I have always taught in synagogues or in the temple where all the Jews gather and in secret I have said nothing" John 18:20), while his disciples also frequently and openly and publicly call him Christ, Messiah.

    In Mark, however, Jesus never directly calls himself the Messiah until 14:62, and he does that in answer to the high priest's question. And when he said that he was, he signed his death warrant, for it was the very thing the Council had been wanting to prove that he was claiming, but could find no credible witnesses to that effect because Jesus had not been going around saying it!
  • Okay. And?
  • And with respect, it seems to me that it is not I who have the problem.
    Read carefully, study, and think.
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