Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Historical Jesus

Last night after dinner I joined some friends for a debate on the Historical Jesus at the Catholic Chaplaincy, starring Henry Wansbrough and Geza Vermes. I agreed with one more than the other, but not a great deal with either!

I remain convinced that Jesus' temple action just before the Passover was not a cleansing, but rather a judgment enacted against it. The argument runs that the presence of money changers and sellers in the temple courts was normal, and the work of the temple was dependant upon people being able to change their money and buy animals for sacrifice. Jesus was not angered at that state of affairs specifically, but rather sought to symbolically halt the action of the temple.

The difference is significant because if it was indeed a judgment against the temple, it puts Jesus more in the light as an apocalyptic prophet who believed he acted with the authority of Yahweh rather than a mere reformer. To judge the temple of course implies that kind of authority, which only Yahweh had.

If I did a short series of posts on "issues in historical Jesus research," would anybody find that interesting? "Blogworthy," as it were?

Afterwards we drank tea and talked for a few hours, covering subjects as diverse as fundamentalism, contraception, marriage, church and state separation, and exorcisms.

I do love me some exorcisms.

I'm going to a lecture now on Theology in the Church of England. As I always say, it sounds quite optimistic: supposing there was some. So far the English "reformers" are working in terms of political theology and theories of (royal) sovreignty rather than anything remotely "biblical" in its concerns.

12 comments:

#Debi said...

"If I did a short series of posts on "issues in historical Jesus research," would anybody find that interesting? "Blogworthy," as it were?"

Kyle, some of us find anything you deign to put down into print interesting. Especially if it's accompanied by a bed of brown rice...

Ben Finger said...

Kyle, know your readers. I am guessing most of us would love it if you did a series on the Historical Jesus.

J Hearne said...

I'd read it. But, I have to wonder exactly how you deal with the whole "den of thieves" thing?

+ Alan said...

Hmmm, English reformers musing about political theories, who woulda thunk it?

Lord, Christ have mercy.

St. Valdez said...

Would be very interested in what you have to say on the subject. Bring it!

Shelley said...

I would really enjoy some historical Jesus talk - it was a personal favorite of mine at University. Have been enjoying your blog and its links - thanks!

Kyle said...

As Mr. Pack has just reminded me, the Markan sandwich is significant: the gospel of Mark places the temple action in-between the cursing of the fig tree, the implication being that it was a parable of judgment that was enacted in the Temple, upon the Temple.

That's Tom (N.T.) Wright's argument. Also, Wright says the "den of robbers" reference from Zechariah 7 (?) is in the context of Z's judgment against the Temple. I've not checked it myself, not being an OT guy (and lazy!) but you're welcome to.

#Debi said...

Mmmmm...Markan sandwich....

Kimberly Moore said...

Wow, I never pictured you being anything other than southern baptist. I guess we all go our seperate ways though. Good luck with that.

Robbie said...

Kyle, I'm a history major so I'll be scrutinizing your every word. If you throw in some theology you'll probably lose me though. jk. One thing I'm kinda dwelling on is Jesus as Rabbi. Rob Bell puts it simply in his book, Velvet Elvis.

Kyle said...

Kim, I am full of surprises.

Thanks for dropping by, Robbie.

And you know, I never pictured myself as anything but a maniacal super-villain. I do hope to stay the course.

Jennifer said...

I'm late to the party, but I for one would be VERY interested in it! I, in fact, was pondering such a series of posts myself. But as I am not highly educated on the matter, and fear driving away my non-churched readers, I put the topic to rest. So I'd love to read it here!