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.
Paul's Writing Assignment
2 weeks ago