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Vermes Changing Faces of Jesus

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  • Vermes Changing Faces of Jesus

    Small beginnings - just a run through of the first 11 pages to start with. Further comments? Maybe later.

    Chapter 1

    The Synoptics and John cannot be simultaneously correct when the former assign to Jesus a public career lasting a year, while John stretches it to two or three years by mentioning three Passover festivals… p.10

    Others have pointed out that the Synoptic gospels arrange their material more often thematically than chronologically, which may explain the discrepancies. Nonetheless, it is a genuine contradiction. Mark and Luke are definitely not written by first generation Christians, and it would be hard to make a case for Matthew to be written by a first generation Christian. The same cannot be said of John’s account. Reconciliation that might be available from other sources doesn’t change the fact that the Bible itself does not provide a means for reconciliation.
    1. If John’s dating of the crucifixion to … 14 Nisan is accurate, the Synoptics, who depict the … execution of Jesus on 15 Nisan must be in error. p.10
    In point of fact, both Mark and Luke depict the sacrifice of the Passover, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ execution as occurring on the same day[1]. The concept that the Synoptics depict the next day results from the mistaken belief that Jesus and the disciples must have observed the Passover in accord with the Jewish (i.e. the Temple) rite, which is simply not the case. The fact can be established by close examination of Mark and Luke’s records – with only a little less clarity in Mark’s.
    1. The highly evolved doctrine of John points to a period posterior to the redaction of the Synoptic gospels. p10
    Paul does not spend a lot of time on Christology as such, but what he does provide is confirmed by John[2]. The inescapable fact is that John’s Christology is fully consistent with Paul’s, and therefore cannot be attributed to a late evolved development. John is also in accord with the author of Hebrews. Estimated composition dates for Hebrews vary from 54CE to 90CE, though any estimate placing composition after 70CE is at best highly questionable.
    1. It is “hardly conceivable” that Christians could have faced eviction from the synagogue prior to the end of the first century, so the gospel (in accord with the view of mainstream scholarship) was probably published between the years 100 and 110. pp 10-11
    "Hardly conceivable" doesn't make for a particularly compelling piece of evidence. Acts records the expulsion of Christians from Jerusalem, and Paul records his own part in that action – it is perfectly logical to assume that expelling people from the city might entail expelling them from the synagogue. John also comments that the Jews had agreed on evicting anyone who acknowledged Jesus as messiah. That there was a split long before 100CE is demonstrable. It is quite conceivable that the split had its genesis while Jesus still lived. Even so, prior to the fall of Jerusalem, it seems that a follower of Jesus would not be put out of the synagogue unless he actually proclaimed Jesus as the Christ.
    1. An attempt is made to identify the author as “the beloved disciple.” p11
    Apparently, there have been attempts by theologians to say as much, but no such attempt is made by John. He states that the beloved disciple “attests and writes these things,” a reference to the pericope immediately before the statement. It does not refer to the entire work – which should be obvious, as the authors state, “we know his testimony is true.”
    1. No-one testifies in the first century A.D. to John’s move to the farther edge of Asia Minor. Ignatius … In his letter to the members of the church at Ephesus … referred to the Ephesians as the people of Paul, but made no mention of John residing among them just a few years before the letter was written. p.11
    Is it significant that a letter written to a church founded by Paul should fail to mention a late-comer, no matter how famous, who was no longer living? What possible relevance would that have to the letter? However, Ephesus was home to the Quartodecimans, who were spread through a fair part of Asia Minor and their belief, the adherents averred, was founded on the teachings of John and Philip. The lack of attestation from the first century doesn’t seem to be decisive.
    [1] Significant to the claims of two different days for Jesus’ execution, only a small minority of Quartodecimans commemorated the execution on the 14th Nisan – for the majority, the date was 14th Aviv.

    [2] Or rather, by the author(s) of John, whom I refer to as “John” for the sake of brevity.

    Last edited by tabibito; 02-02-2023, 01:11 AM.
    1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
    Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
    .
    If Palm Sunday really was a Sunday, Christ was crucified on a Thursday (which could be adduced from the gospels anyway).

    "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

  • #2
    H. J. Bardsley, in his article, "The Testimony of Ignatius and Polycarp to the Writings of St. John" (The Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 14, No. 54 (JANUARY, 1913), pp. 207-220) shows substantial affinity between the thought of Ignatius and John. He also writes:
    It has been urged as an objection to the residence of the apostle John at Ephesus that Ignatius in his letter to the church of that city makes no mention of him, though he speaks of his readers as associates in the mysteries with Paul ( 12) and refers to St Paul and St Peter when writing to the Romans ( 4). No negative argument, however, can be derived from the two allusions to St Paul. There is a strong case for a literary relation of some kind between Rom. 4 and 1 Clem. 5, and the allusion in Eph. 12 arises from a train of thought which dominates at the moment the mind of Ignatius. St Paul on his last journey to Rome, as we learn from 2 Tim., had traveled from Miletus to Troas, and thence by the Via Egnatia, the very route to be followed by Ignatius himself, who was therefore, to use his own words, on the high road of those journeying to die unto God treading in the footsteps of Paul. We may have heard the tradition of St Paul’s journey from the Ephesian delegates, and Polycarp, who was doubtless present at the interview, makes similar allusions in ad Philip. 3, 9. On the other hand, Ignatius makes just such a reference to St John as we might have anticipated when he writes, Ye were at all times of one mind with the apostles (Eph. 11). Here the words ‘at all times’ prohibit a limitation of the reference to St Paul.


    On the other hand, Paul Foster, in The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (Andrew Gregory and Christopher Tuckett, Eds., Oxford University Press, 2005) is much less certain (see pp. 183-185). My other recent treatment is, unfortunately, inaccessible at the moment.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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    • #3
      Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
      H. J. Bardsley, in his article, "The Testimony of Ignatius and Polycarp to the Writings of St. John" (The Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 14, No. 54 (JANUARY, 1913), pp. 207-220) shows substantial affinity between the thought of Ignatius and John. He also writes:
      It has been urged as an objection to the residence of the apostle John at Ephesus that Ignatius in his letter to the church of that city makes no mention of him, though he speaks of his readers as associates in the mysteries with Paul ( 12) and refers to St Paul and St Peter when writing to the Romans ( 4). No negative argument, however, can be derived from the two allusions to St Paul. There is a strong case for a literary relation of some kind between Rom. 4 and 1 Clem. 5, and the allusion in Eph. 12 arises from a train of thought which dominates at the moment the mind of Ignatius. St Paul on his last journey to Rome, as we learn from 2 Tim., had traveled from Miletus to Troas, and thence by the Via Egnatia, the very route to be followed by Ignatius himself, who was therefore, to use his own words, on the high road of those journeying to die unto God treading in the footsteps of Paul. We may have heard the tradition of St Paul’s journey from the Ephesian delegates, and Polycarp, who was doubtless present at the interview, makes similar allusions in ad Philip. 3, 9. On the other hand, Ignatius makes just such a reference to St John as we might have anticipated when he writes, Ye were at all times of one mind with the apostles (Eph. 11). Here the words ‘at all times’ prohibit a limitation of the reference to St Paul.


      On the other hand, Paul Foster, in The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers (Andrew Gregory and Christopher Tuckett, Eds., Oxford University Press, 2005) is much less certain (see pp. 183-185). My other recent treatment is, unfortunately, inaccessible at the moment.
      Bardsley would seem to have made the right assessment. I can't see any reason why Polycarp would have made reference to John.
      1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
      Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
      .
      If Palm Sunday really was a Sunday, Christ was crucified on a Thursday (which could be adduced from the gospels anyway).

      "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

      Comment


      • #4
        Pages 12 to 15
        • p.12: The fact that some of the most common Hebrew words … are regularly translated to Greek shows that it was primarily intended for a non-Jewish readership
        the letter was probably not addressed to Hebrew or Aramaic speakers. Many Jewish communities of the dispersion were composed of people who could not speak Hebrew or Aramaic. Other interpretations of this datum are potentially available, but investigating the possibilities would be no quick undertaking.
        • p.13: The performance of cures … lost its centrality in John. From among the many healing miracles in the Synoptics, only one survives … and that in a somewhat remanipulated form … the Synoptic story of the Roman centurion’s servant … is turned by John into the curing of a Herodian official’s son.
        Exemplars of miracles and healings are recorded: there is no attempt to record each and every occasion when such action was taken. Mark records the feeding of the 4000 and of the 5000; Matthew and Luke record only one (different) instance each[1]. Matthew and Mark record a remote healing for the Syrophoenician/Canaanite woman’s daughter; Luke does not. Matthew and Luke record the story of the centurion’s servant; Mark does not. Vermes makes no attempt to justify the supposition that John repurposed the miracle story present in two of the other gospels, rather than accept the possibility that Jesus performed such miracles on more than two occasions (assuming of course that he accepted miracle stories as valid accounts).
        • p.14: Vermes addresses the discrepancies in the timing of the clearing of the temple [(no argument against the criticism is tenable)] and links it with the “prefiguration of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
        In the text itself Jesus points to his death and resurrection as the sign that he does in fact have the authority to do such things as clearing the temple.
        John 2:18-21

        18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”
        19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
        20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
        21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body


        The prophetic and theological significance attributed by Vermes to the pericope far exceeds what is actually written.
        • p.15: The story of the anointing of Jesus feet is another where exact details can’t be ascertained from the scriptural record.
        Attributing the description of two events to three would be a stretch. However, the action at Simon the Pharisee’s house being concatenated by Vermes with the events of passion week is also a bit of a stretch.


        [1] Were there two different events, or only one? If Mark were the first written, there were of course two events. If Mark were the last written, possibilities are that that there were two events, or that, faced with two different accounts, Mark may have chosen to harmonise them.


        1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
        Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
        .
        If Palm Sunday really was a Sunday, Christ was crucified on a Thursday (which could be adduced from the gospels anyway).

        "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

        Comment

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