Author Topic: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered  (Read 28541 times)

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2007, 12:30:05 AM »
My vote would be more along the lines of obedience to his Father and love for us poor sinners.
What about passionate about God, the kingdom of God, and God's justice? Borg uses those phrases.

Nope, I'll stick with my previous answer.
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2007, 02:37:31 AM »
So you offer another alternative ending to the gospel of Mark with the addition of "at first". There is nothing in the original gospel that suggests the ladies told anyone. It states clearly that they said nothing to anyone, period.

Not at all.  You are the one insisting that the Gospel according to St. Mark ends at 16:8.  You are the one treating the Gospel as if it fell out of the sky last week and that we -- and the original readers -- have no context other than itself with which to interpret it.  You are the one who is being a wooden hyper-literalist with the Holy Scriptures, but willing to accept as true all sorts of speculation as to the actual setting of Jesus' crucifixion.

That the account is told in the Gospel ought to be enough to suggest that they told it.  That seems to have served the Church well for nearly 2 millenia. 

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Gladfelteri

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2007, 11:09:10 AM »
They continued to buck the system and get themselves arrested, beaten, and even killed because they believed that Jesus was Lord of their lives (and Caesar was not).
. . . And because they knew (not believed, but knew, that the physical resurrection of Jesus was a fact.  Not a myth or a conception, or a hallucination, but a hard fact - an undeniable historical event; the Truth.

One should not let one's mere human reason, education, or an inflated faith in Science and Psychology (which, IMHO, are by nature inherently tenative) to get in the way of one's Christian faith.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 11:38:23 AM by Irl Gladfelter »

Dan Fienen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2007, 12:11:04 PM »
Brian,

It is true that stories, whether factually or parabolically based, become important for us as we ponder their significance.  The significance of the Resurrection is not exhausted in asking is this true - or even how is it true.  We must also ask the standard Luther question, what does this mean?  However, I have observed that very often (not always) when authors emphasize that a story from the Bible signifies more than its literal factuality they also quietly want to affirm that it is less than literally factual.  It's almost prestidigitation, while the right hand distracts the audiance with affirmations of the parabolic and metaphoric truth taught by the story of the event, the left hand is quietly denying that any such event ever happened.  Meanwhile a false dicotomy is set up that dares people to choose between affirming that a story is rich with parabolic truth and therefore questions of factuality are irrelevant or that the meaning of the story is exhausted by questions of fact. 

Some stories are significant primarily or even exhaustively for their metaphoric and parabolic meaning.  The parable of the Good Samaritan is one.  It does not matter if the event described ever happened.  But then the story was told to illustrate a point.  Its original context (or at least its Gospel context) was as a parable.  The meaning giving in the original account was to illustrate what it means to be neighbor.  Can we honestly affirm that the literary function of the story of the death and resurrection of Christ in the Gospels was as illustrative points helping to explain some teaching about living.  We can certainly extract them from their context and use them as such - affirming their "truth" while denying their facticity.  Did the Bible, did the Gospel writers (whoever you figure they were) present the resurrection as a story illustrating a point or as historic event?  We can certainly claim that they were wrong in their claims and beliefs and extract meaning from their claims none the less, but that does deny a certain amount of truth about the stories.

This also becomes a question of Law and Gospel.  One of the basic distinctions between Law and Gospel is that Law is what we do and Gospel is what God has done for us.  If we affirm that the story of the Resurrection has great meaning and inspiritation for how we are to view life and live life while denying that the factuality of the empty tomb and the reality that death for Jesus was reversed we end up with Jesus as an example and inspiration for our lives.  In other words, we end up with the ultimate meaning of the Resurrection being that we need to change our lives to live in the resurrection reality and we need to be inpired by Jesus.  Perhaps we need to join Jesus in bucking authority, concern for the poor, liberating the oppressed, affirming the worth of women or whatever the current fad that adopts Jesus as poster child.  In a word, it ends up as Law.  To be Gospel it needs to deal with the factual reality of what God has done.  Otherwise it is simply philosophy.  (Not that I'm knocking philosophy, I have a masters in it and would hate to think all that work wasted.)

Back in the 50's there was a TV show, I think it was called "The Millionaire" or some such.  Each week the emissary of a shadowy multi-millionaire was dispatched to deliver a check for a million dollars to some person who usually would react with incredulity.  Various adventures and soap operas would insue.  It's been a long time since that show has been seen.  However, the point here is that being told of the generosity of this elusive rich guy, and the possibilities that having relatively unlimited money would open up could inspire people to change their lives in all sorts of ways that are irrelevant to the question of whether or not the million dollar check was actually good.  We could derive great meaning from these stories without actually stopping to ask if there really were a shadowy muliti-millionaire handing out million dollar checks.  However, if I were to actually receive such a check, I would be interested not only in how it can inspire me to live my life in better ways, but also in whether I could actually spend it.  I am interested not only in what stories of the Resurrection can inspire me to do, but also in what is going to happen to me when I die, and whether it is worth risking as well as basing my life on it.

Borg apparently makes some good points, and those who get so concerned about debating facticity that they loose sight of what it means for us have missed the point.  However, in some contexts facticity matters.

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« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 12:17:40 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2007, 12:37:31 PM »
You are the one insisting that the Gospel according to St. Mark ends at 16:8.
I think I'm in pretty good company by saying that. Every commentary I've read on Mark admit that the shorter and longer endings are additions. A few argue that there was a longer ending, but it was lost.

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You are the one treating the Gospel as if it fell out of the sky last week and that we -- and the original readers -- have no context other than itself with which to interpret it. You are the one who is being a wooden hyper-literalist with the Holy Scriptures, but willing to accept as true all sorts of speculation as to the actual setting of Jesus' crucifixion.
Nope, I'm treating the gospel as a parable. Written by an inspired author who was more concerned about the transformational meaning the text would have on its hearers/readers.

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That the account is told in the Gospel ought to be enough to suggest that they told it.  That seems to have served the Church well for nearly 2 millenia.
The account is told by the narrator. Does "Mark" want us to believe that the women said nothing to anyone (the historical-factual approach) or does he expect a reaction and response from the hearers/readers that goes beyond the historical-factual understanding, i.e., a parabolic reading? I've believed the second approach years before I ever read Borg.

For most of the two millenia, it was assumed that 16:9-20 were part of the original. Even Luther uses 16:16 in his Small Catechism to talk about Baptism. (I don't recall that he ever used vv. 17-18 to argue for casting out demons, speaking in tongues, handling snakes, drinking poison, or laying on hands to heal the sick.) For most Christians during the two millenia, these latter two verses were not taken too literally or too seriously. Because of greater manuscript evidence that weren't available before and internal evidence, there is little doubt that these verses were a later addition. Today the arguments are more about whether or not Mark originally had a longer ending that was lost.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2007, 12:58:40 PM »

I think I'm in pretty good company by saying that. Every commentary I've read on Mark admit that the shorter and longer endings are additions. A few argue that there was a longer ending, but it was lost.

See, here's where we run into a problem, or at least an interesting doctrinal point. You mean, of course, that every modern critical commentary you've read says this. Ancient commentaries on Mark (or, more properly, ancient commentators, whether they be writing actual commentaries, or homilies, or other genre) don't recognize this. In the Mark volume of IVP's Ancient Christian Commentary on the Scriptures, I'm not spotting any discussion of the "problem" at all except one footnote on 16.19: "This passage, often thought to be a later addition to Mark, was regarded by Irenaeus as the received Markan text in the late second century."

So the interesting doctrinal question here is, just which is the canonical ending? Anyone who has read any "modern critical commentaries" (or even looked at a modern translation with notes) knows that there are at least three or four different options floating around, and from the critical point of view, the "short" ending seems the most viable. But all that tells us, if correct, is that the original author of the book didn't write the "longer endings" that exist. It tells us nothing about the canonical status of those "longer endings." What if the most prominent "longer ending" were written by someone else? How does that alter our regard for the book, or even for that passage (other than maybe getting us out of the snake problem)? Seems to me that the point of textual criticism is to help us understand how we got the text we have. But the text we have is, in the end, the text we have, isn't it?

I think of it as being somewhat parallel to the Psalms. Many of them are ascribed to David. If we could prove beyond any question that David wasn't the actual author of a particular Psalm, does that make it any less canonical? Does it really matter? Isn't the "received text" the one that we regard as canonical?
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2007, 01:34:16 PM »
They continued to buck the system and get themselves arrested, beaten, and even killed because they believed that Jesus was Lord of their lives (and Caesar was not).
. . . And because they knew (not believed, but knew, that the physical resurrection of Jesus was a fact.  Not a myth or a conception, or a hallucination, but a hard fact - an undeniable historical event; the Truth.
Did Paul believe that his vision of Jesus as a flash of light on the Damascus road was any less real than a physical body? (In 9:7 the others with Paul heard the voice, but didn't see the light. In 22:9, the others saw the light, but didn't hear. In 26:13-14, Paul says: "I saw..." and "I heard..." rather than "we....", suggesting that it was a personal vision.) It seems to me that trying to make a distinction that physical body means "real" and vision means unreal is a false distinction in the biblical world. Visions and dreams were real events. Paul says in 1 Cor 9:1, "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" We know from Acts, that what he saw was a bright light -- not a physical body; but it was the risen Jesus. He is certain of that.

In 1 Cor 15:5-8 Paul describes his "seeing" in exactly the same language as what happened to Cephas, the twelve, 500, and James. In all four verses, ophthe is used. More literally, it is "he was seen by ...." However, it is usually translated as, "he appeared to ...." This verb, and related words can refer both to seeing something tangible and to seeing visions and also to coming to a new understanding, e.g., "I see" = "I understand". All are "real" events. Such seeing changes people's lives, e.g., Peter's visions that led him to go to Cornelius's house (Acts 10:3). The visions seen by Ananias and Paul that led them to get together (Acts 9:10, 12).

Some other visionary seeings that changed lives: Dreams of angels led Joseph to move to Egypt and then back to Galilee. Zechariah had a vision of an angel that took away his voice, but led to a son whom he named, John. Acts 7:30, 35 refers to the appearance of an angel to Moses in the burning bush. These weren't "physical" appearances, but they certainly were real and powerful ones.

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One should not let one's mere human reason, education, or an inflated faith in Science and Psychology (which, IMHO, are by nature inherently tenative) to get in the way of one's Christian faith.
What about scriptures getting in the way of what one believes? How do you answer these questions: Did Paul see the risen Jesus? Did Paul see a physical body? Did Paul have to see a physical body to be convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead and have his life transformed? (I'm not arguing about the gospel accounts of appearances, but only what scriptures say about Paul's encounter with the risen Jesus.) It seems to me that the accounts in Acts and in Paul's own letters, indicate that seeing a physical body was not necessary for one to claim to have seen the risen Jesus, for one to believe that Jesus has been raised, and to have that event completely change one's faith and life. (It could be argued that Paul's encounter had to be different than the others because it came after the Ascension. That's a good argument. At the same time, when Paul talks about Jesus appearing to him and Peter and the apostles, etc., he uses exactly the same language. He doesn't make a distinction.)

Scriptural (and I've heard stories from contemporary people, too) it is possible to have a vision of the risen Jesus in a non-bodily form that is very real and life transforming.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2007, 01:49:14 PM »
See, here's where we run into a problem, or at least an interesting doctrinal point....

I think of it as being somewhat parallel to the Psalms. Many of them are ascribed to David. If we could prove beyond any question that David wasn't the actual author of a particular Psalm, does that make it any less canonical? Does it really matter? Isn't the "received text" the one that we regard as canonical?

I have purposely not dealt with the canonical issue. Modern scholarship regards anything we have after Mark 16:8 as a later addition. Whether it's canonical or not, I don't care -- unless someone says that I have to speak in tongues, handle snakes, and drink poison -- then I might deny the canonicity of these verses.

As additions, they indicate that even early believers had difficulties understanding what "Mark" meant by ending the story with silence. They, and we, are compelled to add something more to the story. We know that there has to be more than silent women. Thus, I believe, "Mark" intends his ending to function as a parable. It is meant to evoke a response from the hearers/readers. Even further, since Mark 1:1 declares that this is the "beginning" of the Gospel, we would expect an "ending". There is none. It's like watching a TV show and all sorts of issues and plots are raised, then at the end of the hour, the screen goes blank and the words, "To be continued" appears. My wife usually yells at the TV at that point. She wants resolutions to the problems. Thus, I think that Mark is a masterful story-teller, who leaves us hanging and needing to have the story continue. We are the ones who have to continue the story of the gospel that began in 1:1.

One can certainly use 9-16 as a continuation of the story, but I don't think that's what Mark intended. 
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Gladfelteri

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #53 on: July 25, 2007, 01:52:33 PM »
Nope, I'm treating the gospel as a parable. Written by an inspired author who was more concerned about the transformational meaning the text would have on its hearers/readers.

Egads, Brian . . . If I came to believe that that's all the gospel is - a parable - I would resign from the clergy and the Church, go for a Master's in Social Work, move on (probably into Judaism) and not look back. . .  Sorry, but in all respect, I simply can not go so far as to consider the gospel a parable.  I personally have to go along with Pope Benedict XVI in the preface to Jesus of Nazareth  - there is a place for historical criticism since we are dealing with historical events, and to engage in that would be to admit - in a back-handed sort of way - that these events were not really historical events.  (And going that far is a change for me.)  But as B16 says, there is a limit to that method:  the limit being that one cannot de-mythologize supernatural events.  We cannot do as Bultmann and his followers, and try to find a "kernel of truth amid the husk of myth."  

No.  The supernatural events in the Gospels  are simply true - they are Truth.  Inconvenient, perhaps for some.  The Resurrection has been questioned and denied by different groups almost since the beginning, and especially by intellectuals since the beginning of the Enlightenment.  But nonetheless it happened.  It was a historical event in space, time, and place.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 02:49:20 PM by Irl Gladfelter »

ptmccain

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #54 on: July 25, 2007, 02:00:36 PM »
it is possible to have a vision of the risen Jesus in a non-bodily form that is very real and life transforming.

Joseph Smith says he had a vision of Jesus in non-bodily form. To him, it was very real and life transforming. According to the thinking proposed here by Brian, it was a true and actual vision of Jesus because it was life changing and transforming.

Joseph Smith's Official
First Vision Account:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head .... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description .... One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other 'This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!'

— Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith - History 1:5-8, 14-19, 22

I'm still trying to figure out how Brian's view of the Gospel narratives as parables that transform lives is any different than how we would regard Aesop's Fables. I see no reason why, according to Brian's view of the Gospels, he could not be using Aesop instead of the NT to "transform lives."
« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 05:55:32 PM by ptmccain »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #55 on: July 25, 2007, 02:44:40 PM »
However, I have observed that very often (not always) when authors emphasize that a story from the Bible signifies more than its literal factuality they also quietly want to affirm that it is less than literally factual.
Rather than assume that they have this ulterior motive, why not assume that they don't -- or at least, as Borg declares, he doesn't care. He states (I'm paraphrase, because I don't want to look it up): If you believe that it is literally factual, fine. Tell me what it means. If you believe that it is not historically factual, fine. Tell me what it means. If you waver between believing it must be historically accurate and it might not be historically factual, fine. Tell me what it means.

A less explosive example is the story of Jonah. Does one have to believe that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish for the story to have meaning? I don't think so. Frankly, I don't care what someone believes about the big fish, or how Jonah was able to compose a poem (ch. 2) while surviving in the fish's belly, or how Jonah was able to learn the language of the Ninevites, or all the miraculous events in this story. I think that the message of the little story is so powerful, that all those details pale by comparison. Why center on a big fish, when there's the much more important message of God's inclusive grace.

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Meanwhile a false dicotomy is set up that dares people to choose between affirming that a story is rich with parabolic truth and therefore questions of factuality are irrelevant or that the meaning of the story is exhausted by questions of fact.  

I think that it is a false dichotomy, except that sometimes there can be such an emphasis on the historical facts, that one never gets to the meaning of a passage. For example, those who will argue about the necessity of believing Jonah was really swallowed by a big fish. I talked to one lady who argued for a literal understanding of that, but when I asked her about what was in the rest of the book, she admitted that she couldn't ever remember reading it. Thus a dicotomy can arise between what I believe and argue about the Bible vs. what is actually written in the Bible.

One of the things I apprecate about Borg's book is that it includes a lot of Bible study. It isn't just a treatise about scriptures, but provides examples after examples of exegesis to support his points.

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Did the Bible, did the Gospel writers (whoever you figure they were) present the resurrection as a story illustrating a point or as historic event?
The question Borg raises is whether or not the Gospel writers intended meanings beyond the historical and factual when they remembered and wrote their accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection. I think they did. Just to give one example, look at the words of the centurion in the synoptics when Jesus dies. Each are slightly different. Each emphasizes a message of the writer.

Mark 15:39: When the centurion, who was standing right in front of him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man [anthropos] was the Son of God!"

Mt 27:54: Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

Lk 23:47: Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."

Mark has an emphasis on the humanness of Jesus, some argue that one of his messages is that Jesus is not a "divine man" like in Greek and Roman myths, thus the use of anthropos in the Centurion's confession (lacking in the others); and the absence of anything spectacular about the death, unlike what Matthew presents.

Luke adds "praising God" and changes the confession to one of innocence.

I think that in the remembrances of each of these writers, the historically and factually, the centurion saw and responded exactly as they reported it -- and in ways that fit emphases that are found throughout their story of Jesus.


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This also becomes a question of Law and Gospel.  One of the basic distinctions between Law and Gospel is that Law is what we do and Gospel is what God has done for us.  If we affirm that the story of the Resurrection has great meaning and inspiritation for how we are to view life and live life while denying that the factuality of the empty tomb and the reality that death for Jesus was reversed we end up with Jesus as an example and inspiration for our lives.
Borg, at least in this book (the only one I've read) does not deny the resurrection nor its power. He is certain, for instance, that Paul's life was radically changed by his encounter with the resurrected, living Jesus. He argues that such transformations continue to happen because Jesus is living. He does not argue, as Crossan does, that the body was left on the cross and eaten by birds and dogs -- which is what usually happened to crucified bodies.

He does argued, based on the reports in Acts and Paul's own testimony, that a belief in a physical resurrection -- that the risen Jesus had a body just like ours -- is not necessary nor scriptural.

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Perhaps we need to join Jesus in bucking authority, concern for the poor, liberating the oppressed, affirming the worth of women or whatever the current fad that adopts Jesus as poster child.  In a word, it ends up as Law.  To be Gospel it needs to deal with the factual reality of what God has done.  Otherwise it is simply philosophy.  (Not that I'm knocking philosophy, I have a masters in it and would hate to think all that work wasted.)
Borg does have an emphasis on following beyond just believing in Jesus (or worse, believing that Jesus did certain things) and having a passion for the things Jesus had a passion about, which could include the things you mentioned. One one hand, I would argue that Law is still the Word of God. One of its purposes is to make this a better world for all humanity. Borg argues that Jesus' preaching about the Kingdom of God was meant for this place. God is already king in heaven. It's earth that's messed up. Borg writes about the Kingdom of God: It's not just about politics, but is the way the world would be if God were king, and the kings and domination systems of this world were not. It is God's dream, God's passion, God's will, God's promise, God's intention for the earth, God's utopia -- the blessed place, the ideal state of affairs." (p. 252)

The questions then are: Do we sit around waiting for God to take over as king? Is it our responsibility to bring in God's kingdom? He argues for participating in the coming kingdom. "Indeed, the choice between 'God does it' or 'we do it' is a misleading and inappropriate dichotomy. In St. Augustine's magnificent aphorism, 'God without us will not; and we without God cannot.'" (p. 260)

Jesus is more than a model; but we are also called to follow in Jesus' way of participating in God's will and passion for the earth.

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I am interested not only in what stories of the Resurrection can inspire me to do, but also in what is going to happen to me when I die, and whether it is worth risking as well as basing my life on it.
Does it matter to you if your resurrected life is a physical one or a spiritual one? At least for me, the knowledge of spending eternity in the presence of God in an existence that is so much better than the one here, is enough. The details of that resurrected life I'll leave up to God. I'll just claim the promise that Jesus was the first fruit and we all get to follow.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Gladfelteri

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2007, 02:50:53 PM »
Does it matter to you if your resurrected life is a physical one or a spiritual one? At least for me, the knowledge of spending eternity in the presence of God in an existence that is so much better than the one here, is enough. The details of that resurrected life I'll leave up to God. I'll just claim the promise that Jesus was the first fruit and we all get to follow.
Careful, Brian . . . you are starting to sound like a conservative . . .   ::)    ;)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #57 on: July 25, 2007, 02:56:25 PM »
it is possible to have a vision of the risen Jesus in a non-bodily form that is very real and life transforming.

Joseph Smith says he had a vision of Jesus in non-bodily form. To him, it was very real and life transforming. According to the thinking proposed here by Brian, it was a true and actual vision of Jesus because it was life changing and transforming.

Joseph Smith was crazy before this event, and crazy afterwards. There was no transformation, just another scheme to make money.

Why don't you respond to the resurrected Jesus' appearance to Paul? Was it a physical, bodily form or something else? If it was something else, then believing that the risen Jesus has to be a physical, bodily resurrection is not true.

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I'm still trying to figure out how Brian's view of the Gospel narratives as parables that transform lives is any different than how we would regard Aesop's Tales.
1. The Bible is God-breathed. It has a power that is not given to Aesop's Tales or Chicken Soup Stories or even Billy Graham's books -- even though those writings can have powerful affects on people.

2. The risen Jesus is a living, active presence in the world through the Holy Spirit. It is with us as we gather in Jesus' name. It is with us through the proclamation of the Word. It is with us in the Holy Meal. It is promised to us as we are sent with the Great Commission, "I will be with you always to the end of the age." Aesop died -- and stayed dead.

3. Because there is a living active presence of Jesus in the world today, it is possible that the Spirit will use Aesop's Tales or Chicken Soup Stories or Billy Graham books or even sermons by you and me, to bring transformation to people's lives. It is not the stories that do it, nor the authors, but the power of God.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Gladfelteri

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #58 on: July 25, 2007, 02:59:09 PM »
Brian:  The question Borg raises is whether or not the Gospel writers intended meanings beyond the historical and factual when they remembered and wrote their accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection. I think they did. Just to give one example, look at the words of the centurion in the synoptics when Jesus dies. Each are slightly different. Each emphasizes a message of the writer.

Mark 15:39: When the centurion, who was standing right in front of him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man [anthropos] was the Son of God!"

Mt 27:54: Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

Lk 23:47: Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."

Mark has an emphasis on the humanness of Jesus, some argue that one of his messages is that Jesus is not a "divine man" like in Greek and Roman myths, thus the use of anthropos in the Centurion's confession (lacking in the others); and the absence of anything spectacular about the death, unlike what Matthew presents.

Luke adds "praising God" and changes the confession to one of innocence.

I think that in the remembrances of each of these writers, the historically and factually, the centurion saw and responded exactly as they reported it -- and in ways that fit emphases that are found throughout their story of Jesus. 


My comment:  Well, on the other hand maybe they were two parts of one single statement of the Centurion, something like:  "Certainly this man was innocent; truly this (or, this man [anthropos]) was the Son of God!"  This would work if we are dealing with an eyewitness report rather than a memory of an incident in the past being remembered. 

If this is a (redacted) memory - "Jesus remembered," you and Borg are right to ask, "What does this mean?" 

But if, on the other hand, it is not a memory but rather, as Bauckman claims, a first-hand eyewitness report, then the question is not, "what does this mean?"  Instead, the question is, "how reliable is / are the eyewitness(es)?"

Two different questions, two different balll parks.  One has to decide which Chicago ball park in which you want to play:  "Wrigley Field" (Borg) or "White Sox Stadium" (Bauckman) . . .  ;)

« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 08:45:06 PM by Irl Gladfelter »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2007, 03:04:13 PM »
Careful, Brian . . . you are starting to sound like a conservative . . .   ::)    ;)
I do that sometimes.


"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]