Statesboro, GA, USA
'The flawed messianic expectation of their fellow Jews' is not a reasoned turn of phrase because you haven't specified frame of reference. In fact , you find the messianic expectation of those Jews flawed, presuming that you know more about them than they do. I would suggest that this is not so. They would likely have been more expert about themselves and their belief systems than you would be.
That's not always the case Bob. Familiarity sometimes breeds its own set of problems. Ever take your wife for granted? Hindsight can be 20/20 (though I'm certainly open to the fact that I may not be seeing nearly what I should). Surely you're not suggesting that proximity always guarantees the most insight? While I concede the point (I already did unequivocally) that the Christian Church should have no sense of arrogance, it would be wrong to think that outsiders (so to speak) cannot sometimes know better than denizens. Sons who stay home the whole time are not always closest in heart, and don't always get what prodigals do. Jewish thought itself is not without this idea: "...I will make them envious by those who are not a people. I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding." (Deuteronomy 32:21)
As far as boasting a greater accomplishment of knowledge on my part, I'm not claiming that at all. What I am claiming is that it is a fact that they focused more on a certain stratum of scriptures, than upon others that also speak into the promise. Triumphalist scriptures about a king reigning in majesty poured for them a blinding golden light. The scriptures about a suffering servant, bearing the weight of sin and grief by the will of God, did not register too much in their Messianic Theology for that reason. Many of them simply didn't understand enough the significance of such scriptures to recognize him when he came ... many of them did.
The Christian judgement would have this to be the case because the Christians have re-written the book on what messianic expectations are. This is not wrong; it's what beliefs tend to do.
Yes, but my support of the Christian version of "Messianic Scripture" is based upon a wider reading of Jewish scripture than just those scriptures that are easily fitted into images of a political victor. Because of Christ, the Christians interpreted these scriptures in a different way, I grant you. I am arguing that this interpretation makes better sense of the whole, and is in fact fuller, in that it incorporates together what the Jews saw as disparate and unrelated ideas.
To impose that belief system on Jews of that time is, however, likely to be revisionist history.
Bob, they didn't impose the Christian view of Messiah on the Jews, as historical revision. As a matter of fact they plainly reported what you are saying ... that the then current expectation of Messiah was that of a political conqueror of their enemies. In fact in the text, this view is not only criticized in those Jews who vigorously opposed Jesus, but also when it obstinately crops up in those sypathetic with him and even his own disciples.
Where is the evidence for historical revision again?
What is clear is that he was hardly straightforward, but tended to make statements that undercut each other and edge into the elliptical. I bring not peace but the sword and render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and render unto God that which is God's can be read any number of different ways.
I would never attempt to reduce the words and manners of Jesus to a tame little set of aphorisms, easy to file and a cinch to understand. While they hold a profound simplicity on one hand, they are perplexing as well. Still, the pardox is overstated. Context is still the rule of good exegesis of scripture. And those who would interpret the passages about swords in a literal way, are stumped altogether by surrounding context and actions. Jesus was in fact, constantly challenging the tendency of zealotism, leaving us no mystery of what he thought of it ... though perhaps he did sympathize with zealots themselves, and saw something true in their misguided desire for what they thought was freedom. A metaphorical interpretation is more cogent in this case, seeing that Peter was rebuked for using the sword. A sword can be said to divide. And all of this was happening in a time when following Christ could cause much chaos and separation. While these texts are more elastic than many Western Christians would want them to be, they are not eternally accommodating, except by leaving the path of good exegetical sense.
We do have some idea that some attempt was being made to cover the bases with the original doctrine from some of the statements of St. Paul, who tends to give us reason to believe that the followers of Jesus believed and had been lead to believe that the return of Jesus would not be put off for more that 2000 years but was actually likely to come with the next knock on the door. This may well have been the origin of the "better to marry than to burn" business.
You may have something there about the expectation of the earliest Christians. But from the statements of Jesus himself, it is not so simple. Often he spoke not of "The Second Coming" (a later doctrinal description), but of "the coming of the Kingdom in Power". This was fulfilled when he was crucified and resurrected, and when the Spirit was poured out on a nascent Church during the feast of Pentecost. But he also spoke of a consummate "coming" at the end of the present age (such as in the Olivet discourse of Matthew 24). There is no proof whatsoever (from the standpoint of textual scholarship) that these were later addendums to gloss over a different turn of events than was initially described.
A much more likely explanation of "better to marry than to burn", is the issue of self control and sin, in light of Jewish teaching about sexual purity. There is absolutely nothing about that particular Pauline text which would demand anything more.
At any rate, your statement of the case against the two different messianic concepts doesn't seem to me to feel as solid as it does to you.
I've already admitted two different messianic concepts. But I'm only admitting one body of prophetic data (The Jewish oracles) ... and arguing that one of those concepts makes fuller sense of that data, especially in light of the person of Jesus Christ.
To have it result in a man's death, no, this is an abomination to me, and it is and was wrong.
Do you forget that the Christian view is not so simplistic as to fail to say the crucifixion was dreadfully wrong? The Christian view is that, in the hands of God, even the most "dreadfully wrong" atrocities of men are not the end of the story.
Given that in all likelihood the Romans thought him guilty of sedition, I doubt that they would have allowed him to live, whatever the biblical story says.
Uh, Bob, all Christians already agree with you on that one. They didn't allow him to live.
For sedition. crucifixion was the penalty, and the penalty seldom stopped with one. Check with Josephus on that; I believe he gets fairly detailed about what happened to the rebels and their families and their towns and villages.
Why are you referring me to Josephus regarding the efficacy of Roman execution? Do you think that the Christian glory and hope is pinned in the mercy or mishap of the Roman Guards? It has traditionally been the Christians arguing for the certainty of Christ's death, against the "swoon" theorists. I could understand you telling me that you plainly don't believe the Resurrection, but to argue as if Christians believed that Jesus was merely "allowed to live" is baffling. Maybe I misunderstood you.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (01-31-2009 12:18 AM).]