Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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Fresno? East Compton? Eureka? It’s cute and meaningless. A caricature (at least out of context it is – a wink at the choir).I think that Jesus was either non-eschatological, or he was wrong. Take your pick. (As you yourself suggest in a previous quote of the day, a parousia two thousand years in the making is no parousia at all).I think the earliest strata consists of an oral tradition of wisdom sayings, often in the form of parables. Something I find interesting is that what conclusion we come to regarding Jesus’ possible eschatological bent will have an influence on how we interpret this parable material. From the mouth of an eschatological Jesus, or from the mouth of a non-eschatological Jesus (same exact wording of parables), the respective meanings of the parables of growth (e.g. the mustard seed; the leaven) are to some degree different from “leaded” to “unleaded” Jesus. I just read a very good essay on this by Robert J. Miller called “Is The Apocalyptic Jesus History?”, in a slim volume called The Once and Future Faith.In making their cases for an apocalyptic Jesus in their respective books on the subject, E.P Sanders, Paula Friedricksen, and John Meier all do little more than gloss over (when they even mention them) the parables (“some readers may be surprised to see that very few parables are used in the main part of my argument” [that jesus was an apocalyptic prophet]. Meier, Marginal Jew, vol.2, p 290.).Bart Ehrman, when he goes for the parables in his argument, focuses on the same two parables, on the growth motif. I think he’s missing the nuance of the parable material in doing so. I’m not trying to be antagonistic here. I just feel that you guys are missing the forest for the trees on this. It’s cool, though, I’m okay with being in a minority view.:)anyway . . . .back to work
Off topic here but …The good news is that the Discovery Institute has noticed you and singled you out for criticism …The bad news is that it is only Casey Luskin … the DI’s attack mouse, who nobody takes seriously.
Fresno, most likely? But seriously, your two options may be in fact the only two, but on what basis would one decide? Don’t sayings like the reference to the temple being not only destroyed but rebuilt, and the saying about the Twelve sitting on 12 thrones judging the tribes of Israel, indeed suggest that Jesus was mistaken in his thinking about the end times? It may be that only his followers were wrong, but since they attribute their mistaken beliefs to Jesus, and their writings are our earliest witnesses to the historical figure of Jesus, is there any way we could justify not attributing such beliefs to Jesus as well?
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