What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus?

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  • @Dafyd

    Okay, I here make my question short:

    Although numerous historical Jesus scholars reject the historicity of Mark 14:32-36, do any of you find what seems to be convincing historical evidence that Jesus' agony in Gethsemane must have taken place much as it is represented there, and wouldn't that indicate that Jesus himself believed that it was God's will that he die for some good purpose, and accepted that task even when it was difficult for him to do so?

    Even shorter:
    Is there good historical evidence in Mark that Jesus himself was into atonement thinking?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    How would we distinguish between "good historical evidence in Mark" and any other kind of evidence in Mark?
  • How about "especially good historical evidence" about that one thing?

    My reason for positing that is that the author of Mark, having frequently depicted Jesus as entirely willing to die, and even telling his disciples that they also must also be willing to die with him, probably would not have invented a scene in which he begged his Abba not to have to die.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Therefore it must have really happened?
  • Contrary to a number of scholars who fervently argue that it didn't really happen,
    I'm strongly convinced it did.
  • Would any of you like to see why two scholars fervently argue that it didn't happen?
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    @Dafyd

    Okay, I here make my question short:

    Although numerous historical Jesus scholars reject the historicity of Mark 14:32-36, do any of you find what seems to be convincing historical evidence that Jesus' agony in Gethsemane must have taken place much as it is represented there, and wouldn't that indicate that Jesus himself believed that it was God's will that he die for some good purpose, and accepted that task even when it was difficult for him to do so?

    Even shorter:
    Is there good historical evidence in Mark that Jesus himself was into atonement thinking?

    Okay, I’ve probably lost the plot while trying to follow your reasoning on this long and winding thread, but surely even if Jesus believed that it was God’s will for him to die doesn’t necessarily mean that he was ‘into atonement theory’, let alone the issue of what he would have understood by that term, even if that was the case. Based on some of your eschatological understanding, that you’ve alluded to before, wouldn’t it make more sense if you interpreted these verses as Jesus believing he needed to die to trigger the end times? Sorry, I’m trying to dredge up reading I did more than 30 years ago 😬!
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Oh, I forgot to say I would rather hear your opinions than that of 2 scholars 😉.
  • @Doone
    Doone wrote: »

    Okay, I’ve probably lost the plot while trying to follow your reasoning on this long and winding thread, but surely even if Jesus believed that it was God’s will for him to die doesn’t necessarily mean that he was ‘into atonement theory’, let alone the issue of what he would have understood by that term, even if that was the case. Based on some of your eschatological understanding, that you’ve alluded to before, wouldn’t it make more sense if you interpreted these verses as Jesus believing he needed to die to trigger the end times? Sorry, I’m trying to dredge up reading I did more than 30 years ago 😬!

    I agree that Jesus was not into any kind of "classical" atonement theory (a la Augustine, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, or even a la the apostle Paul). So I am more than willing to remove the word atoning -- which I meant only as a sort of shorthand -- and revise the shorter version of the question more simply:

    "Is there good historical evidence in Mark that Jesus himself believed it was God's will for him to die?"

    And yes, I agree another way of putting it could be,

    "Is there good historical evidence in Mark that Jesus believed he needed to die to trigger the end times?"

    However, since since the end times were thought to be redemptive, I think one could also ask,

    "Is there good historical evidence in Mark that Jesus believed he needed to die redemptively?"
  • Doone wrote: »
    Oh, I forgot to say I would rather hear your opinions than that of 2 scholars 😉.

    Oh but Doone, it's fairly short and says it far better than I could.
    Anybody want to see it?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Why are you telling us this? Don't worry. That's rhetorical. We wish you well. Peace.
  • Seems to me that what I'm saying is pretty direct and simple and obvious.
    mousethief wrote: »
    Therefore it must have really happened?

    JAMES: Contrary to a number of scholars who fervently argue that it didn't really happen,
    I'm strongly convinced it did.

    Would any of you like to see why two scholars fervently argue that it didn't happen?
  • I mean, after I've built it up this much, whatever it is will surely be anticlimactic, right?
    Or will it?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    We'd like to see you make a simple proposition and give simple examples from the texts. Complex isn't real.
  • If I've been anything in the last several posts, it's simple.
  • Well, now you've got me wondering why someone doesn't just say, Oh for Pete's sake, just show us what they said.

    :smile: Okay, I will. And it's no big deal. And again, I think they're wrong.


  • Jewish scholar Paula Fredriksen (King of the Jews, pp. 293-294) joins with Christian scholar E. P. Sanders in firmly rejecting the idea that Jesus considered it necessary that he die a redemptive death. Rather, she thinks Pilate's action against Jesus "caught him by surprise,"' and that the idea of a necessary death was later added on by the church in an attempt to justify why the Messiah had to die on a Roman cross.

    "Against [the] point of view [that Jesus died a redemptive death,]" she says, "I can argue no more eloquently than Sanders who notes,
    'All the sayings which attribute to Jesus the will to die correspond so closely with what happened, and with early Christian doctrine, that the case for their creation by the early church is overwhelmingly strong... One might as well attribute to Jesus the doctrine of the Trinity or of the Incarnation. Further, a historian must be uncomfortable with an explanation which leaves other actors in the drama out of account. When pushed to its limit, this view means that Jesus determined in his own mind to be killed...[and] then imply that he pulled this off by provoking the authorities. It is not historically impossible that Jesus was weird, and I realize that my own [apocalyptic] interpretation of his views may make some twentieth century people look at him askance. But the view that he planned his own redemptive death makes him strange in any century and thrusts the entire drama into his peculiar inner psyche. The other things we know abut him make him a reasonable first-century visionary. We should be guided by them'" [Jesus and Judaism, pp. 332-333].

    And to that statement, Fredriksen adds a fervent, "Amen."
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Well, now you've got me wondering why someone doesn't just say, Oh for Pete's sake, just show us what they said.

    :smile: Okay, I will. And it's no big deal. And again, I think they're wrong.


    I did. Repeatedly. By them we mean the gospel writers.
  • Do any of you agree with what those two scholars say?
  • LeRoc wrote: »
    Many liberal-progressive types utterly reject atonement thinking. They find it abhorrent, primitive, superstitious.
    Instead of stating what 'liberal-progressive types' think, many times it is better to ask them.

    I don't find atonement thinking abhorrent, primitive, superstitious. I do have some problems with it, but they are of a different kind.

    First of all, I find the question "will I go to Heaven or not?" self-centered. I also disagree with people who overrate its importance in the Gospels. I don't believe they were written mainly to answer this question.

    I also reject specific atonement theories, most importantly PSA. Not only because it makes God to be cruel, but also because I find it utterly stupid, simplistic and uninteresting thinking.

    Sorry I took so long to get back to you, @LeRoc. First, believe me there are some liberal-progressive types who find not only atonement thinking, but any kind of sacrificial thinking abhorrent, primitive, superstitious -- and many like you especially object that PSA makes God seem cruel.

    At one point in my novel, my protagonist says, "I don't see how anyone can can have absolute dogmatic convictions about a Jew of the first century who fervently expected all the perfections of God's Kingdom to arrive on earth in his own generation."

    So I'm not an absolutist. The problem I have is that historical research convinces me that Jesus really was into some kind of conviction that he must die in accordance with God's will, and for a good and wonderful purpose.

    When people blithely say that God laid all our sins on Jesus that bothers me probably as much as it does you. But that does not mean that I can say, Gethsemane in all its terror didn't happen.

    My dilemma.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Do any of you agree with what those two scholars say?

    Answer our simple questions simply without raising any more of yours.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    LeRoc wrote: »
    Many liberal-progressive types utterly reject atonement thinking. They find it abhorrent, primitive, superstitious.
    Instead of stating what 'liberal-progressive types' think, many times it is better to ask them.

    I don't find atonement thinking abhorrent, primitive, superstitious. I do have some problems with it, but they are of a different kind.

    First of all, I find the question "will I go to Heaven or not?" self-centered. I also disagree with people who overrate its importance in the Gospels. I don't believe they were written mainly to answer this question.

    I also reject specific atonement theories, most importantly PSA. Not only because it makes God to be cruel, but also because I find it utterly stupid, simplistic and uninteresting thinking.

    Sorry I took so long to get back to you, @LeRoc. First, believe me there are some liberal-progressive types who find not only atonement thinking, but any kind of sacrificial thinking abhorrent, primitive, superstitious -- and many like you especially object that PSA makes God seem cruel.

    At one point in my novel, my protagonist says, "I don't see how anyone can can have absolute dogmatic convictions about a Jew of the first century who fervently expected all the perfections of God's Kingdom to arrive on earth in his own generation."

    So I'm not an absolutist. The problem I have is that historical research convinces me that Jesus really was into some kind of conviction that he must die in accordance with God's will, and for a good and wonderful purpose.

    When people blithely say that God laid all our sins on Jesus that bothers me probably as much as it does you. But that does not mean that I can say, Gethsemane in all its terror didn't happen.

    My dilemma.

    Neither do we.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    If I've been anything in the last several posts, it's simple.

    Only for you.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Would any of you like to see why two scholars fervently argue that it didn't happen?

    Why?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    I mean, after I've built it up this much, whatever it is will surely be anticlimactic, right?
    Or will it?

    Built up what?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited July 7
    I said that (or this):

    "Why are you telling us this? Don't worry. That's rhetorical. We wish you well. Peace. "

    to this (or that):
    After my last post, I went to church and afterward participated in some activities. I just returned and opened this.
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Please go to the long question
    You couldn't be bothered to take the time to precis your question. If you can't be bothered to take the time to make your question short, why should anyone else be bothered to take the time to read it?

    Learn to precis.

    Sorry.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Well, now you've got me wondering why someone doesn't just say, Oh for Pete's sake, just show us what they said.
    Maybe nobody just said that because nobody was interested?

    Seriously, please stop telling us what random scholars think or treating us like we don’t know anything and engage.

    @Nick Tamen
    I think I may be leaving here soon. But before I do, there is one thing I especially would like for you, Nick Tamen, to do for me.

    Along with any others who might want to respond to this.

    Please go to the long question addressed to Bart Ehrman above and -- apart from any statements to the effect that it was wrong or even stupid for me to do that -- please read through all that and tell me in all honesty -- and believe me I know very well that you will be honest with me -- tell me if you see anything of value in any of that?
    @Dafyd

    Okay, I here make my question short:

    Although numerous historical Jesus scholars reject the historicity of Mark 14:32-36, do any of you find what seems to be convincing historical evidence that Jesus' agony in Gethsemane must have taken place much as it is represented there, and wouldn't that indicate that Jesus himself believed that it was God's will that he die for some good purpose, and accepted that task even when it was difficult for him to do so?

    Even shorter:
    Is there good historical evidence in Mark that Jesus himself was into atonement thinking?
    I guess it depends on what you mean by “value,” or what you think is “valuable.” And I’m assuming that by “atonement thinking,” you mean that Jesus believed he was headed to death, and that his death would serve some higher purpose.

    I agree with you that I think he believed that. And I agree that the Mark’s scene in the Garden of Gethsemane likely happened—not necessarily because of the criteria of embarrassment (though I suppose it satisfies that), but because it has the ring of truth to me.

    I’m afraid I don’t see much value in asking about “convincing historical evidence.” What evidence do we have of what Jesus said other than the various gospels and writings (canonical and non-canonical) reporting what he said? I don’t find value in the historical Jesus assumptions that underlie your questions. I recognize that some others, including you, do find historical Jesus scholarship valuable, and I respect that.

    But I just don’t share that opinion of historical Jesus scholarship—at least not when it gets into trying to figure out what events in the Gospels actually happened as reported, or whether Jesus actually said what he is quoted as saying. (To the extent it helps us understand the times in which Jesus lived, I think it can be helpful.) For my money, we might as well be asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. In the end, it’s all speculation, and while speculation can sometimes be entertaining, I don’t see any real value beyond that. Frankly, it strikes me as completely missing the point.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Says it all.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Totally agree.
  • @Martin54
    Martin, two nights ago I was lying in bed, not feeling well about how things had gone the day before, and I kept thinking of things you had said.

    TO ME YOU WROTE
    @James Boswell II how could I refute your idiosyncratic stumbling block? I have mine and no one here or anywhere else can remove it. No one will be able move yours either. I understand that articulating it might help you to (I hope not). Get others' perspectives. But all that's done for me is define it better. I have a finely chiselled, polished, minimal, elegant stumbling block. Yours isn't remotely mine. How could it be? Apart from being in the same rational universe. The Jesus story is all but impossible to connect to our experience, to integrate in to our thinking. You are not alone.

    AND I WROTE
    I guess what I was trying to say all along, and not saying it very well, is that despite all the difficulties, I have taken some delight in what for me has been the realization that the scholarly rigamarole (Q etc.) can to some degree help us in solving some of those difficulties and winning through to something worth having.

    AND YOU WROTE
    Moving on, how are you going to live in the light of taking the bet that it's fundamentally true? That you have extrinsic transcendent purpose?

    AND I WROTE
    Ah, now that is the question, isn't it?

    AND LATER I WROTE
    One time earlier when I was pontificating about how Jesus could have taken a saying from Daniel and turned on its head, Martin answered with just one word:

    "Isaiah."

    I agree. I think one of the most intriguing things about the historical Jesus is that he saw Isaiah 53 as no one else ever before had seen it.

    AND AFTER A HOST HAD WARNED SOMEONE FOR QUESTIONING MY MENTAL STATE, I WROTE
    Actually, my mental state has not been so good lately, beginning yesterday and today. I came here just now expecting the worst, and got it to a degree. Deservedly.

    The more I argued the above, the more I sought to delineate my earlier struggles, the less good I felt about it. It was as if I were living through those struggles again.

    AND YOU, MARTIN REPLIED
    James. Nobody deserves that. I apologize for my part in it. Unfortunately Purgatory is a place for propositions to be tested. Potentially tested to destruction that causes loss. Or worse. They pass the test when you don't want them to. One's fears - of loss - are realised.

    It's difficult to separate the issues, the thinking.

    AND I WROTE
    No need for apology, Martin. And don't stop being your contentious self. :wink:

    AND YOU WROTE
    In that case, you star - id it!

    What unites us is looking for reason to believe. When there is no reason but our longing mirrored in the sublime of the stories.

    AND I WROTE
    Nevertheless, I remain embarrassed and ashamed and apologize again for going on and on the way I did. I thought I was sharing wonderful scholarly information for which everyone would ultimately be supremely grateful. How foolishly presumptuous of me.

    AND YOU WROTE
    Steady James. You're among friends. We're all equally naked here. With the scholars. All at the same level, on the bleeding edge. Where nobody knows nuthin'. But we all yearn and we're all shit and writhe and that's all all right. We can relax.

    In the meantime. What to do with Jesus at all? Find Him in everybody and everybody in Him? Even that tends to the meaningless. I want to be kind and generous and decent and tolerant and... ...and humble and helpful to the max but the opportunities are few and unclear and I usually fail in them, I irritate the wife and lose another game of Age of Empires Definitive Edition.

    As yorl (those who don't scroll on) know over the past couple of years uniformitarianism has utterly overwhelmed any and all exceptionalism for me. I hardly ever go to a church services due to 'the woman thou gavest me' finding it all but pointless. We both do church social action activities. I miss communion. Its numinosity.

    But as for Jesus and the Father - generically 'Lord' (I love the Spanish 'Senor') - they get burst transmissions in the shower, hypno/a-pomp/gog-ically, walking in Their absent presence / non-existence.

    I'm surprisingly comfortable talking to He who isn't there. The comforts of madness?

    And that.

    Keep taking Pascal's wager eh?
  • TL/DR
  • @Martin54
    Thinking about all that, I felt a flood of compassion for you, and for us all, for you seem to be saying that we're all walking wounded here, and our searching for meaning is always flawed, and you even refer to the He who isn't there and an absent presence and having to rely on Paschal's wager....

    And with all of that I can feel affinity, for remember, I said I am not an absolutist. I live with a Jesus who thought the world would end in his own generation, and if he could be wrong about that, what else could he be wrong about?

    Indeed, it's as if the Jesus I have to live with has become a flesh and blood man among us again today and has studied and learned all that we now know about everything that has transpired in the world since his time, and knows all that we now know about history and science, about the vastness of the universe and the amplitude of time -- would not he too have trouble continuing to say "the Father knows the fall of every sparrow and even the number of the hairs on your head?"

    But the Jesus I live with WANTS me/us to ask those questions, and asks them with us...

    But getting back to you, I find myself grieving that you seldom go to church in part because you have a spouse who finds it pointless and yet you still find a surprising comfort talking to an absent He and you miss communion with its numinous experience...

    Yes, we're all walking wounded here.
  • @Martin54
    @Nick Tamen
    @Doone

    I am disappointed you continue to take such a contentious attitude toward just about everything that I say. Far some reason in my walking woundedness I find it encouraging that although a number of very good historical scholars sincerely do not think Jesus expected to have to die, there are some really excellent historical scholars who do not agree with that, and they are speaking up today. That may not mean anything to you, but for some reason it means something to me.

  • For some reason in my walking woundedness...
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    TL/DR
    And how!

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    @Martin54
    @Nick Tamen
    @Doone

    I am disappointed you continue to take such a contentious attitude toward just about everything that I say. Far some reason in my walking woundedness I find it encouraging that although a number of very good historical scholars sincerely do not think Jesus expected to have to die, there are some really excellent historical scholars who do not agree with that, and they are speaking up today. That may not mean anything to you, but for some reason it means something to me.
    I’m disappointed you think I was being contentious. Disagreement isn’t contentious, or it least it doesn’t have to be.

    You asked if I found anything of value in what you were asking, and you said you were confident I’d be honest with you. I was. But just because I don’t find value in the question doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. I did say “I recognize that some others, including you, do find historical Jesus scholarship valuable, and I respect that.”

    We all have our challenges, our itches. What scratches my itch might not scratch yours, and vice versa. That’s okay.

    Maybe I’m off base here, but I wonder if our itches are a reaction to something, often something related to our formation as Christians. I may be quite wrong, but it seems to me that those within the Church for whom historical Jesus scholarship resonates often come from a fundamentalist, literalist, “don’t question–just believe” background. The variations of story in the Gospels take on particular weight in that background, because it’s obvious they’re there, but one isn’t supposed to question them. One just does mental gymnastics to make them consistent. Until, as you said of Ehrman, they can’t anymore.

    But many of us didn’t grow up in that background. I was formed in a background where those discrepancies were recognized, and little if any attempt was made to try and make them consistent. We weren’t fundamentalist or literalist, so we had more flexibility, if that’s a good way to put it, with those inconsistencies and with how we approached the Gospels. So for us, historical Jesus scholarship isn’t dealing with matters that go to the heart of our understanding of who Jesus was/is. That’s not to say we may not have different issues we have to work through and wrestle with, some of which may not be issues at all for you.

    We’re all trying to be faithful. None of us is on an identical path, and every path has its own challenges. I am confident that Jesus walks with each of us, whatever the path, and whatever the obstacles on that path.
  • @Nick Tamen
    Thank you, Nick. I found that very helpful. Forgive me if I interpreted what you said more negatively than you meant it. For some reason, I did find myself feeling a bit disappointed by your response to my question for Ehrman.

    I did not grow up in a fundamentalist church so my experience was nothing like his. If anything, it was some radical liberals who upset me, at least a little bit. Years ago in America the Jesus Seminar made a big splash, and they enjoyed being splashy. They enjoyed putting out headlines like "Scholars say The Lord's Prayer did not derive from Jesus." One of them came to our town and announced that the body of Jesus was probably eaten by dogs! According to them, really good scholarship reveals that Jesus did not believe himself to be the messianic Son of God, nor did he have twelve special male disciples -- that would have been male chauvinistic! Instead, he put everyone including women on the same level and invited all to common meals. The list goes on, but suffice it to say that according to them, he certainly didn't expect to die a redemptive death; that was just due to a misunderstanding on the part of the authorities. As a matter of fact, when the Seminar scholars finished making Jesus out to be such an all-round nice, inoffensive guy, they were a little embarrassed when other scholars asked, "Then why did anyone bother to put him to death?" :smile:
  • @Nick Tamen
    You said that against a fundamentalist, literalist, “don’t question–just believe” background, The variations of story in the Gospels take on particular weight ... because it’s obvious they’re there, but one isn’t supposed to question them. One just does mental gymnastics to make them consistent. Until, as you said of Ehrman, they can’t anymore.

    I am reminded of John P. Meier's statement that they involve themselves in "hilarious mental acrobatics."

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited July 8
    @Martin54
    @Nick Tamen
    @Doone

    I am disappointed you continue to take such a contentious attitude toward just about everything that I say. Far some reason in my walking woundedness I find it encouraging that although a number of very good historical scholars sincerely do not think Jesus expected to have to die, there are some really excellent historical scholars who do not agree with that, and they are speaking up today. That may not mean anything to you, but for some reason it means something to me.

    Mate, I'm sorry. Again. Leopards. Spots. Me that is. I was moved by your compassion. You have mine. And my frustration : ) especially with myself.

    You and I are about the only ones here, if not the only ones here, who despite our liberalism, see Jesus fulfilling His culture's PSA expectations in faithful enculturated ignorance, despite and because of His divine nature. He didn't do it despite thinking otherwise, how could He possibly have thought otherwise? It's in the culture. Despite Him overturning the tables of the culture, He couldn't overturn this one. Except by fulfilling it. He believed it was His Father's will. In a sense it was. But not in any legal, 'moral', 'sovereign' one. It just had to be done. It had to happen. Nothing else would get through to us, could testify to God's unconditional love for us. I said it here 10 years ago in fear and trembling: His apology to us.

    You ask what else could Jesus be wrong about? Nothing matches how wrong He was about this. Being fully human about this. Was He wrong to submit in faithful ignorance? No. It was... beautiful. Terribly beautiful. Divine. Divinely human. Humanly divine.

    He was walking wounded too. Broken. By being human, let alone by His submission to us at our worst.
  • Is it just me, or is this thread becoming somewhat surreal?
    :confused:
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    A mix of fact and fantasy? Unreal, bizarre, unusual, weird, strange, freakish, unearthly, uncanny, dreamlike, phantasmagorical?

    Unusual certainly.
  • Yes, I think you're correct in using all those lovely words!
    :grin:
  • @Martin54
    Careful, Martin, you'll have me falling in love with you!

    Let me just draw one little line of distinction, though not of total disagreement:

    I find myself flinching at being lumped in with all who come down extremely strongly on Penal Substitutionary Atonement. Having said that, however, I must admit this:
    Isaiah 53, which you and I are both convinced must have influenced Jesus, does mention "punishment" or"chastisement" being laid on the suffering servant (verse 5) .

    And if that influenced Jesus...



    .
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    @Nick Tamen
    Thank you, Nick. I found that very helpful. Forgive me if I interpreted what you said more negatively than you meant it. For some reason, I did find myself feeling a bit disappointed by your response to my question for Ehrman.
    Glad you found it helpful.
    I did not grow up in a fundamentalist church so my experience was nothing like his. If anything, it was some radical liberals who upset me, at least a little bit. . . .
    Ah, well. It was just a guess. I thought I remembered you saying something about being told not to question, but it’s quite possible I misremembered.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You and I are about the only ones here, if not the only ones here, who despite our liberalism, see Jesus fulfilling His culture's PSA expectations in faithful enculturated ignorance, despite and because of His divine nature.
    Well, that may be because I think, Martin, you’re the only one around here who thinks his culture had PSA (or at least full-blown PSA as currently understood) expectations to start with. :wink:
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Well, that may be because I think, Martin, you’re the only one around here who thinks his culture had PSA (or at least full-blown PSA as currently understood) expectations to start with. :wink:

    @Martin54
    Here, Martin, I will both attack and defend you. I'm not sure how thoroughly Jesus' culture was into "full-blown PSA," as Nick Tamen puts it, but one would have to wonder how they and he understood Isaiah 53:5
    ___________

    By the way, there is vast scholarly disagreement as to what Isaiah 53 was intended to mean to those who first read it in its original context: Israel in Babylonian exile.
  • @Martin54
    Indeed, many scholars would argue that Isaiah 53 in it's original context was intended to reference the already accomplished suffering of a righteous portion of Israel. And if that is correct, and if Jesus understood Isaiah 53:5 to refer to him as the Messiah, that could/would be another "misunderstanding" on his part.

    Another example of his humanness? :neutral:
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    W
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Well, that may be because I think, Martin, you’re the only one around here who thinks his culture had PSA (or at least full-blown PSA as currently understood) expectations to start with. :wink:

    @Martin54
    Here, Martin, I will both attack and defend you. I'm not sure how thoroughly Jesus' culture was into "full-blown PSA," as Nick Tamen puts it, but one would have to wonder how they and he understood Isaiah 53:5
    The Hebrew word that gets translated into English is musar, which as I understand it at its root means “instruction” or “discipline.” To the extent it is used to mean “punishment” or “chastisement,” the sense is one of “correction,” not “penalty.” In other words, it’s not punitive punishment because punishment is deserved; it’s corrective punishment so that one will do better going forward.

    With that in mind, if Isaiah 53:5 is read in context with what comes immediately after it (“all we like sheep have gone astray . . .”), it seems to me that the sense is we been totally undisciplined and unable to follow the instruction given us (Torah—love God, love neighbor), but that the suffering servant has born our instruction, including the correction imposed on us. And that instruction is by nature sacrificial; it requires us to give of ourselves.

    It seems to me this connects with what Jesus said about his coming to fulfill the Law.

  • Isaiah 53:5 in multiple translations uses punishment or chastisement or forms thereof.
  • Not only that, but the punishment/chastisement that has fallen upon the servant Israel is exile. And look at all the other references to the servant being marred, despised, rejected, held of no account, wounded, crushed, bruised, oppressed, afflicted, led to the slaughter, cut off from the land of the living, poured out to death, stricken for transgressions, made an offering for sin, caused to bear iniquities/sin.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Isaiah 53:5 in multiple translations uses punishment or chastisement or forms thereof.
    Yes, I understand that, and I’m not arguing with it. But, (a) Isaiah was not written in English, so it’s always worthwhile to look at the original language; and (b) “punishment” and “chastisement” both a have a number of shades of meaning and purpose. The Hebrew suggests that the meaning here is corrective punishment, not penal action.

    More specifically, and in the context of PSA, the question is whether Isaiah 53:5 is suggesting punishment that is necessary to satisfy the anger and wrath of a righteous God, or whether it is suggesting punishment that is designed for discipline and instruction, as a parent might use with a child. The use of musar suggests the latter.

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