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November 28, 2006

Comments

Brian John Schuettler

B16 writes with such clarity, he never ceases to amaze me. As you pointed out, exegesis does not required faith and historical criticism to be mutually exclusive, but it took His Holiness to state the obvious and act upon it. I wish Biblical scholars such as Raymond Brown had adopted this dual approach in past periods... perhaps there could have been some brilliant insights without sacrificing orthodoxy.

Esau

"Whoever reads a few of these reconstructions can see immediately that they are more photographs of the authors and their ideals than a real questioning of an image that has become confused. Meanwhile, mistrust was growing toward these images of Jesus, and the figure itself of Jesus was ever more removed from us.

All these attempts have left in their wake, as common denominator, the impression that we know very little about Jesus, and that only later faith in his divinity has formed his image. Meanwhile, this image has been penetrating profoundly in the common consciousness of Christianity. Such a situation is tragic for the faith, because it makes its authentic point of reference uncertain: intimate friendship with Jesus, from whom everything depends, is debated and runs the risk of becoming useless. [...]

I have felt the need to give readers these indications of a methodological character so that they can determine the path of my interpretation of the figure of Jesus in the New Testament. With reference to my interpretation of Jesus, this means first of all that I trust the Gospels. Of course I take as a given all that the Council and modern exegesis say about the literary genres, the intention of their affirmations, on the communal context of the Gospels and its words in this living context. Accepting all this in the measure that was possible to me, I wished to present the Jesus of the Gospels as the true Jesus, as the "historical Jesus" in the true sense of the expression. " (EXCERPT)

B16 is simply awesome!

Although, this may be but the culmination of his earlier efforts with the PBC back in the 90's, which is what I've been hoping for for some time now!

Realist

Hopefully, B16 will also address the issue of post-Jesus, first/second century Palestine economics in his book. This is rarely discussed by contemporary NT exegetes.

The few items I have been able to find:

"Reimarus (1774) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing." Reimarus :Fragments as noted by Professor Robert Stewart in a recent book.

And St. Paul and Barnabas's ability to collect rather large sums of money from the Gentiles for Jewish relief, probably went a long way in "greasing" the Gentile entrance into the Christian movement. (Acts 11:20)

What is that famous line ? "It's all about the economy, stupid"

Esau

Realist:

Look in the mirror:
"Whoever reads a few of these reconstructions can see immediately that they are more photographs of the authors and their ideals than a real questioning of an image that has become confused."

Randy

How did the diciples "maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing". They were persecuted. Many of them were martyred. The church in Jerusalem was dirt poor. So much so that other poor churches were sending them aid. So what was the big payoff for stealing Jesus' body and making up the resurrection story? They were believed largely because there was no reason to tell such a story if it wasn't true.

Tim M.

Realist,

You write, "Hopefully, B16 will also address the issue of post-Jesus, first/second century Palestine economics in his book. This is rarely discussed by contemporary NT exegetes."

and "What is that famous line ? "It's all about the economy, stupid"

A great book on the subject is:

"FAITH and WEALTH: A History of Early Christian Ideas on the Origin, Significance, and Use of Money" (Paperback) by Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez, 240 pages, reprint April 2002, Wipf & Stock Publishers

If you do the research, you will find that what you understand as "economics" and "the economy" would have as much meaning in the Greco-Roman world as the term "I-pod" or "Gortex" or "carabiner".

Skepticism is symptomatic of the modern, post-enlightenment world and eisegesis can be done in any discipline, not only in biblical interpretation.

Esau

How did the diciples "maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing". They were persecuted. Many of them were martyred. The church in Jerusalem was dirt poor. So much so that other poor churches were sending them aid. So what was the big payoff for stealing Jesus' body and making up the resurrection story? They were believed largely because there was no reason to tell such a story if it wasn't true.

AMEN, Brutha Randy!

Esau

Skepticism is symptomatic of the modern, post-enlightenment world and eisegesis can be done in any discipline, not only in biblical interpretation.

Unfortunately, Brutha Tim M., this is the case of our modern world today.

JV

Why is Philippians 2 cited as an "early Christian hymn"?

I first saw this mixed in with other heretical comments (and I mean, quite literally, heretical--blasphemous comments about the Blessed Mother at Luke 1, denial of Christ's Divinity at Matthew 16:21-23) in the commentary for the USCCB-approved New American Bible.

Is it impossible to imagine that St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, composed an elegant and poetic tribute to the mystery of kenosis and included it in his letter to the Philippians?

Must every Biblical verse become subject to the possibility of being a "later addition" or a "medieval gloss" or a "pious addition made by the early Johannine/Markan/Matthaen/Lucan" community?

Esau

JV:

Please re-read:

"Approximately twenty years after Jesus' death, we find fully displayed in the great hymn to Christ that is the Letter to the Philippians (2:6-8) a Christology which says that Jesus was equal to God but that he stripped himself, became man, humbled himself unto death on the cross and that to him is owed the homage of creation..."

JV

Yes, but I'm wondering about the use of the word "hymn" here.

Clearly Pope Benedict is not suggesting non-Pauline authorship, but the USCCB claims this is an "early Christian hymn" and, like many other things (the last chapter of St. John's Gospel, the Pentauch) speculating that the one who appended his name to the document did not actually write it.

Esau

JV:
Did you read the verse in Phil?
It is like a Hymn -- like a Psalm, in a way.
It is found in the Divine Office.

However, if you found such a statement in the USCCB, that would certainly be troubling.

Although, I doubt that this might be the case, could you provide a link to it?

Tim M.

JV,

Why is it blasphemous and heresy if a contemporary hymn of the 1st Century Christian Community is included in St. Paul's epistolary or St. Johns prologue to his Gospel?

Why must this be a "later addition"?

No, it is not impossible to imagine St. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to compose elegant poetry. But the Church teaches that Grace works upon nature. St. Paul was known as a tremendous theologian, not a poet.

Is it impossible to imagine that St. Paul or St. John, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recognized that in a contemporary hymn, was contained truth and thought that was exactly what he could use, that was familiar to his "listeners", in expressing his doctrines?

This does not have to be an "either / or" but a "both / and".

You mention Philippians 2. See also Colossians Col 1.15-20 and 1 Timothy 3.16. Also John 1.1-18.

This is no diferent than Acts 17.16-32 when St. Paul was in Athens. Using something commonly known and available he shows the heretofore unknown eternal truths of this "unknown God".

Damascus John

Within 20 years of Jesus walking the earth as we do, we have written a claim that He was divine. Probably an oral tradition proceeded this writing - hence 'hymn'.

The Four Gospels were written between about 50AD and 100AD. They start to be quoted in other writings from about 100AD. the Rylands Fragment of John's Gospel (the last) is dated about 125AD.

Consider the time gap between the Crucifixion 30AD and 50AD-100AD. 20-70 years. Look back to historical events 20-70 years before today (2006) - World War II, Nazi Holocaust, Kennedy, Vietnam, Moon Landing, Watergate. There are many eye witnesses to these events who can refute eg Holocaust denial and provide information for reliable historical records by non-eyewitnesses.

Even if the 4 Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, they were written during the LIFETIME of eyewitnesses who could have refuted any exaggerations regarding alleged miracles or Jesus' claims to divinity.

There are conspiracy theories regarding Kennedy, and whenever the official explanation is given a conspiracy theory survives to be attached. The only contemporary explanations of the Empty Tomb were Jesus rose from the dead or the Apostles stole the body. No body was found. If one (not necessarily Jesus') had been found, this would be remembered and pointed out especially in later Jewish traditions. There is no record of anyone confessing to having stolen the body. Despite torture, bribery and a highly motivated Jewish and Roman establishment.

What cold induce even nominal Jews to risk severe punishment in the next life for making up a monstrous blasphemy about a divine Jesus rising from the dead? Perhaps worldly compensations would tempt such a risk? Yet almost all of those who claimed to have met the Risen Jesus suffered privation and died painfully. An odd thing to do for a lie.

Compare the historical time gap between the lifetime and the written records of say Jesus with say Muhammad. The earliest Hadith (writings about Muhammad) were written between 170-250 years after Muhammad's death. Something to point out to Muslim missionaries who wish to cast doubt on the Crucifixion and Gospels. If 170-250 years is good enough for Muslims then 70 years is nothing.

Esau

Consider the time gap between the Crucifixion 30AD and 50AD-100AD. 20-70 years. Look back to historical events 20-70 years before today (2006) - World War II, Nazi Holocaust, Kennedy, Vietnam, Moon Landing, Watergate. There are many eye witnesses to these events who can refute eg Holocaust denial and provide information for reliable historical records by non-eyewitnesses.

Even if the 4 Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, they were written during the LIFETIME of eyewitnesses who could have refuted any exaggerations regarding alleged miracles or Jesus' claims to divinity.

Damascus John:
Thanks for all that!

Actually, based on what you mentioned above, I can't understand the reason why there are folks out there who do not even respect the Early Church Fathers as well in that there were those of them who even lived during the latter days of the Apostles or, at the very least, came immediately thereafter.

Realist

Tim M,

Danke Schoen!!! I will check out Dr. Gonzalez's book. Granted the "economy" was not a first century AD concept but money was. However, no matter what the time period, there are always expenses. Knowing said expenses and "bill-footers" can give great insight as to supporters, benefactors, and sale of heavenly promises and "healings" in the early period.

benthegreen

I love our pope.

Kris

Are there Realists in heaven?

Tim J.

Kris, don't you know? Heaven is just a scam... a way to bubble cash out of us gullible religious rubes. None of the hierarchy have actually ever BELIEVED what they have taught.

Oh, and everything we know about Jesus is wrong. The Apostle Paul was really an unemployed used chariot salesman who invented Chritianity at lunch one day, scribbling out the outline of the gospel of Mark on a cocktail napkin.

He fabricated the Great Commission thinking it would generate some sales (what with the command to take the gospels to the ends of the earth, and all).

So it was all just a scheme to sell chariots, see.

;-)

JV

Tim M.--

I think you misunderstand.

Some choice quotes from the USCCB (these guys foist the following garbage upon the American faithful, and their proposed 1995 Psalter was of such egregious quality that Cardinal Ratzinger refused to permit its use:

3 [6-11] Perhaps an early Christian hymn quoted here by Paul. The short rhythmic lines fall into two parts, Philippians 2:6-8 where the subject of every verb is Christ, and Philippians 2:9-11 where the subject is God. The general pattern is thus of Christ's humiliation and then exaltation. More precise analyses propose a division into six three-line stanzas (Philippians 2:6, 7abc, 7d-8, 9, 10, 11) or into three stanzas (Philippians 2:6-7ab, 7cd-8, 9-11). Phrases such as even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8c) are considered by some to be additions (by Paul) to the hymn, as are Philippians 2:10c, 11c.

From Matt 16:21-23:

16 [21-23] This first prediction of the passion follows Mark 8:31-33 in the main and serves as a corrective to an understanding of Jesus' messiahship as solely one of glory and triumph. By his addition of from that time on (Matthew 16:21) Matthew has emphasized that Jesus' revelation of his coming suffering and death marks a new phase of the gospel. Neither this nor the two later passion predictions (Matthew 17:22-23; 20:17-19) can be taken as sayings that, as they stand, go back to Jesus himself. However, it is probable that he foresaw that his mission would entail suffering and perhaps death, but was confident that he would ultimately be vindicated by God (see Matthew 26:29).


From Luke 1:

2 [1:5-2:52] Like the Gospel according to Matthew, this gospel opens with an infancy narrative, a collection of stories about the birth and childhood of Jesus. The narrative uses early Christian traditions about the birth of Jesus, traditions about the birth and circumcision of John the Baptist, and canticles such as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79), composed of phrases drawn from the Greek Old Testament. It is largely, however, the composition of Luke who writes in imitation of Old Testament birth stories, combining historical and legendary details, literary ornamentation and interpretation of scripture, to answer in advance the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?" The focus of the narrative, therefore, is primarily christological. In this section Luke announces many of the themes that will become prominent in the rest of the gospel: the centrality of Jerusalem and the temple, the journey motif, the universality of salvation, joy and peace, concern for the lowly, the importance of women, the presentation of Jesus as savior, Spirit-guided revelation and prophecy, and the fulfillment of Old Testament promises. The account presents parallel scenes (diptychs) of angelic announcements of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus, and of the birth, circumcision, and presentation of John and Jesus. In this parallelism, the ascendency of Jesus over John is stressed: John is prophet of the Most High (Luke 1:76); Jesus is Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32). John is great in the sight of the Lord (Luke 1:15); Jesus will be Great (a LXX attribute, used absolutely, of God) (Luke 1:32). John will go before the Lord (Luke 1:16-17); Jesus will be Lord (Luke 1:43; 2:11).

Again:

9 [20] You will be speechless and unable to talk: Zechariah's becoming mute is the sign given in response to his question in v 18. When Mary asks a similar question in Luke 1:34, unlike Zechariah who was punished for his doubt, she, in spite of her doubt, is praised and reassured (Luke 1:35-37).

JV

And that is but the barest smattering of some of the disgusting heresy that can be found in the NAB footnotes.

That book is a danger to Catholics and a disgraceful reflection on the USCCB.

Fuinseoig

Of course, Tim J.! That's the real true explanation! After all, don't we find Philip hitching a lift in the Ethiopian eunuch's chariot? All on the pretense of 'being instructed by the Holy Spirit' to him when as you point out, it's just a scheme to get him to trade in his used chariot for a new model.

Somebody should tell Richard Dawkins about this - he'd get a whole new book out of it!

Tim M.

JV,

I hear you and I know about questionable "commentary" in the NAB, but this topic is not just the creative ideas of the USCCB.

There also are very good conservative protestant exegetes and scripture scholars across different theological biases (that want nothing to do with the USCCB) that concur with the use of hymns used in the NT.

This is not a threat to inerrancy or early dates of the writings of the NT.

Esau - "Pope's Book Passes 1 Million in Sales!!!"

Pope's Book Passes 1 Million in Sales

Rome, Apr. 30, 2007 (CWNews.com) - More than 1 million copies of the new book by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), Jesus of Nazareth, have been sold in just 2 weeks.

The Italian edition of Jesus of Nazareth has sold 510,000 copies, while the German edition has sold 480,000, and the Polish edition 100,000, the latest figures show. The book went on sale on April 16, the Pope's 80th birthday.

The English-language version of the book, to be published by Doubleday, is due to appear on May 15.

Link:
Pope's book passes 1 million in sales

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