.. Christology: Jesus Fully Human • .
Theological Considerations FAITH CLAIM: Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ is FULLY HUMAN • Why this claim? • What does it mean? • If Jesus IS fully human, what are the theological implications for understanding his knowledge, teaching, life, death, resurrection? • What does this suggest one needs (to know, to do) in order to properly be a follower? • SUMMARY IDEA: Theology requires knowing about Jesus’ life and context.
The World of Jesus of Nazareth Places: Cities & Villages: Nazareth, Jerusalem, Sepphoris, Capernaum, Bethlehem, Rome Areas: Galilee, Judea, Samaria Image Source: http://whosquade.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/palestine-under-the-herods.jpg
ORIENTATION: The Roman Empire: The furthest boundaries
JUDAISM IN THE FIRST CENTURY: Major Sects Sadducees – aristocracy; associated with Temple priesthood; collaborators with Rome Pharisees – Judaism w/o the Temple; rules for living Essenes – apocalyptic sect; withdrew to the desert; cease to exist during Jewish War (66-70CE); Qumran: Dead Sea Scrolls Jesus movement – Jewish group that sees Jesus of Nazareth as the long-awaited Messiah
ROMAN CONQUEST AND RULE:Precursors • Israel/Judea – divided kingdom after death of Solomon, son of David, 928 BCE • Israel (northern kingdom) conquered by Assyrians, 722 BCE • Judea (southern kingdom) conquered by Babylonians, 586 BCE; Solomon’s Temple destroyed; leadership exiled to Babylon • Cyrus of Persia conquers Babylon and allows exiles to return home, 539 BCE; (“Unto us a child is born…”) • Alexander the Great conquers Persian Empire, 331 BCE
Roman Conquest and Rule (cont.) • 168 BCE: Revolt by Maccabean Jews against Antiochus Epiphanes; successfully rule until 63BCE • Maccabees are torn by internal disputes and invite Roman Pompey to intervene, 63 BCE • Pompey brutally conquers all of Judaea and Israel (called Palestine by the Romans); abolishes Jewish self-governance ROMAN RULE OF PALESTINE BEGINS, 63 BCE
Roman Rule and Conquest (cont) • Brutal conquest and enforcement: • heavy tribute (taxes) taken from peasantry for Rome in addition to Temple tax already owed • debt slavery/loss of land and subsistence farming • military occupying force • entire villages taken into slavery or destroyed for small infractions • a period of repeated resistance and revolt with mass crucifixions as penalty
Roman Conquest and Rule (cont) • Client kings and direct rule: • Herod the Great • massive building program: Hellenistic cities, new temple • massive new taxes on peasantry • creates a police state of spies, restriction of speech, assembly • dies in 4 BCE, divides kingdom up between his 3 sons • Pontius Pilate (Judea) • Appointed by Rome to rule south after incompetence of Herod’s son • Brutal, ruthless, despises Judea and Jews • Condemns Jesus to death by crucifixion about 33 CE
Roman Conquest and Rule (cont) • Peasantry: life for most in Roman Palestine • Subsistence farming • Crushing taxation: temple tax, Roman tribute, Herod’s building taxes • Many lost their land when unable to pay • Constant fear of Roman troops/reprisals • Constant fear of secret police (Herod) • Consistent resistance to Roman rule: non-violent and armed • Horizontal violence: Judeans vs. Samaritans, e.g.; inter-village struggles
The Modern Search for the Jesus of History Images source: http://www.bible-archaeology.info/nazareth.htm “Quest of the Historical Jesus”
Historical Consciousness and the New Testament • The New Testament does not represent “objective” history • The New Testament letters are “in-house” documents addressing concerns in the early churches (Paul & others) • The New Testament gospels are interpretations of Jesus as Christ written for early Christians in particular times & places.
Path to the Quest of the Historical Jesus • A new project in “modern” Christology based in the rise of the scientific method • Defining “modern”: • Dating of “modern”: “In 1492, …….” • Rise of experimental science • Enlightenment (18th century) Ideals: equality and reason • ….American and French revolutions • Increasing pluralism of peoples and ideas • The “Modern” Theological Crisis
Emergence of the Quest • These concerns converge in 18th-19th c. • Protestant Biblical scholars accept science’s new definition of “knowledge” and “truth” & develop a new task using that method: Write a biography of “Jesus” that will be: • Empirically verifiable • Independent and understandable • Religiously unique and superior]
Christianity’s Responses to the Crisis of Truth • Rejection Responses • Fundamentalism (rejection of science) • Atheism (rejection of theology/religion) • Acceptance Reponses • I do my thing; you do yours (theology and science are two different kinds of thought & practice that don’t interfere with one another • Quest of the Historical Jesus…..
The Original Quest: A Failure of Objectivity Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his hospital in Lambaréné in what is now Gabon. The hospital continues his work to the present day. Http://www.schweitzer.org • Many “Lives of Jesus” (biographies) written in the 19th c. • Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) • Musician, Theologian, Physician to Africa • Winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize • Author, Quest of the Historical Jesus (German edition, 1906) • Summarized the most important 19th century “Lives of Jesus” • Showed that so-called “objective” accounts of the life of Jesus were actually subjective self-portraits of their authors
The Original Quest:A Failure of Objectivity “He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: “Follow thou me!”… And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience, Who He Is.” -Albert Schweitzer, the final lines of Quest of the Historical Jesus • According to Schweitzer: • We do not need to seek the historical Jesus. • We would not know the historical Jesus if we found him. • The Spirit of Jesus, revealed in service in his name, is the true Jesus who is to followed.
The Historical-Critical Method of Biblical Study • Prompted by the “Quest of the Historical Jesus” (19th c) • Searching for the “history “ behind the biblical text • Reading the bible as you would read any other ancient text • Using the tools of modern historical research: archaeology, political history, sociology and social history, etc. Will the REAL Jesus please stand up?
Kerkeslager: “Getting Past the People between Us and Jesus”* The Modern Interpreter (0ur worldview and assumptions) Backward from 21st century Earlier Interpreters of the New Testament (Church Tradition) Scribes Who Copy Gospels (Glosses) (Other early Christian texts) Gospel authors and their audiences: Mark, Matthew, Luke, John Paul and his followers: Letters of Paul and other letters attributed to Paul Written Sources: Miracle Stories, Sayings of Jesus, Parables of Jesus, Passion Accounts Oral Sources: Eyewitness Accounts, Miracle Stories, Sayings of Jesus, Parables of Jesus, Passion Accounts Forward from 1st century Jesus, the human being *Source: Allen Kerkeslager, SJU Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Allen Kerkeslager, "Critical Methods in the Study of the Gospels: A Basic Outline“ (Blackboard, used by permission of the author)
Results I:Tools of Historical-Criticism SOURCE CRITICISM: seeking the literary relationship between the 4 gospels and the sources their authors used to create them. Example: The Synoptic Problem--Why is there so much material that seems identical or similar between some of the gospels, but not others? FORM CRITICISM: seeking the original form of a unit of biblical tradition, before it was used in the biblical text. Example: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22, quoted by Jesus on the cross) REDACTION CRITICISM: seeking, 1) the ways in which each of the gospel writers constructed his narrative of the life of Jesus from units of oral and written tradition; 2) techniques used by a gospel writer to persuade particular readers to adopt his ideas about Jesus; 3) information about the intentions and theology of the gospel writer and the life situation of his audience. Example: Matthew constructs his gospel so that Jesus gives 5 speeches, including one from a mountain, like Moses, as well fulfills Jewish “prophesy” about the messiah. This suggests that Matthew himself is Jewish and sought to persuade other Jews to follow Jesus as the “new Moses,” the messiah.
An Example of Source Criticism: “The Synoptic Problem” How do we explain the close similarities between Matthew, Mark & Luke? Some hypotheses: Ancient Answer (2nd c. until modern period): . Harmony of the gospels + Q: How to explain discrepancies in the 4 gospels? A: The four New Testament gospels can be put together to give a full picture of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Modern 1: The 4-Source Hypothesis • Question 1: How do explain similarities between Mark, Matthew and Luke? • + Answer: Matthew and Luke copied from Mark • Question 2: How do you explain the commonalities between Matthew & Luke that are not in Mark? • + Answer: Matthew and Luke share another source called Quelle= “Q” “(German: “source”)
Modern 2: Farrar-Goulder Hypothesis (20th-21st c.) • Problems with • The 4-Source theory: • Q never been found • More complicated than necessary • F-G Hypothesis eliminates the need for a hypothetical document, “Q”
Results II: What can we say about the Historical Jesus? Sources for the historical Jesus Criteria for evaluating the sources Portraits of the historical Jesus
Sources • Jesus’ ministries, teaching, & death • Oral tradition about Jesus • Written collections: • Sayings • Parables • Miracle stories • Passion narratives • Gospel accounts (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) • (Nothing from Paul) • Non-canonical gospels and writings • Materials from outside the Christian community (for example, Josephus)
More Tools: Criteria for Historically Accurate Data • Embarrassment: any account that would have shamed the early church • Discontinuity or Dissimilarity: any account that differs from practices and ideas of either 1st century Judaism or early churches • Multiple attestation: reported in more than one place (but an exception is the synoptics gospels)
Criteria, continued • Explains Jesus arrest and public execution • Coherence: Sounds like something Jesus would say that we know from other sources
Scholars agree that… • Jesus was born to a practicing Jewish family, was raised Jewish, and continued to practice Judaism until his death • Jesus was raised in the Galilean town of Nazareth • Jesus was trained as a wood-worker • Jesus was baptized by John and was very likely a disciple of John the Baptist • Jesus left to become an itinerant preacher and healer • He was arrested, beaten and execution by crucifixion as a political criminal. • His disciples had experiences of him as resurrected which brought them out of hiding to continue his ministry as they understood it.
Current Researchers • John Dominic Crossan: Jesus as social critic and threatened the present social order; thus he was arrested and executed
Current Researchers • John P. Meier: Jesus is like other prophets in the Jewish tradition and understood his own relationship to God as intimate and his death as redemptive
Current Researchers • E. P. Sanders: Jesus’ saw his mission as reforming and revitalizing Judaism; a threat to establishment Judaism
Current Researchers • Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza: Jesus taught and practiced egalitarian relationships as indicative of the realm of God
Current Researchers • Obery Hendricks: Jesus was a strategic leader to taught his followers how to live out of the realm of God so as to resist the crushing burden of Roman oppression
Tools of Reason – Tools of Faith? • Historical-criticism uses all the tools available to modern scientific-historical study to investigate the figure of Jesus in any available sources: • History as “fact” – seeking what really happened • Archaeology – what do found objects tell us about the world of Jesus and the early churches? • Sociology – What does studying social and economic relationships tells us about these worlds? • Literary and rhetorical criticism – What does analyzing the structure of these and other ancient historical texts reveal about the author’s intentions?
Implications for Christology • ALL of these methods must use information that is: • never complete (what else might we find/find out?) • always the product of human interpretation (there are different ways of interpreting data/information) • What PROBLEM does this raise • for Christian faith?
REGARDLESS of these problems, the QUEST persists • People have an abiding interest in the person of Jesus (a historical endeavor - historical, but not religious). • This raises A QUESTION for faith: • Is it essential to Christian faith that we know anything about the life of the historical Jesus? • ….With TWO ANSWERS: • NO: “Jesus as a historical personality remains a stranger to our time. However, his spirit, which lies hidden in his words, is known simply and directly….And they [who obey him] shall experience who he is as an inexpressible mystery….” Albert Schweitzer • YES:“If Jesus is Christ, then the Christ is Jesus.” Eduard Schweizer
What Do You Think-- Does the Historical Jesus Matter? Which of the following statements best describes your own opinion? • Christian faith MUST take the full risk of the ambiguity of historical research. • Christian faith CANNOT depend on the probabilities of historical research.
Stages in Formation of New Testament • Paul (Saul of Tarsus) 40’s-60’s • Earliest material in the New Testament • a Pharisee involved in persecution of early members of Jesus movement • Sees stoning of Stephen (“first” Christian martyr) • Traveling to Damascus in Syria; hears voice identifying itself as “Jesus” and sees vision of Jesus • Is struck from his horse and suffers blindness • Taken to house of Barnabus in Damascus – during his recovery he regains his sight and becomes a follower of Jesus
Paul’s Christology • Has never met earthly Jesus • Identifies himself as “called to be an apostle” • Expects Parousia (return of Jesus) immediately • All believers will be taken up to heaven to live with Jesus and God • Preaches salvation from sin through belief “in” Jesus as crucified and risen Savior; uninterested in Jesus life or teachings • Sees Jesus as liberator from all human laws and religious rules (“For freedom, Christ has set you free…use your freedom to love one another.”) • His understanding of being a follower of Jesus is in constant conflict with that of Jerusalem church, e.g., all food is allowable, Gentiles do not need to be circumcised to be baptized
Paul (cont) • Embarks on mission to convert Gentiles • Tension with Jerusalem church over Gentile-Jewish relationship for new converts; attends Jerusalem conference (49 CE) • Argues Christians are no longer bound by human laws (including religious laws) • Writes letters to churches he has visited or founded offering blessings, news and practical advice (50’s-60’s) • Tradition says he is executed in Rome before 66 CE • Key passages from his letters in the NT: • Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, but you all are one in Christ Jesus.” • Philippians 2:2-12: The kenosis (self-emptying) of Christ; setting aside of divinity in order to become human and be crucified. • I Corinthians 8:1-13 Concerning food offered to idols. • Galatians 5:13-14: on Christian freedom and responsibility • The Letter to the Romans: justification before God by faith in Christ Jesus, even while continuing to be sinners
Sources for NT Gospel Writers Jesus’: Passed on first by oral tradition, then written down.
Communities of the Gospels Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/
The New Testament Gospels THEMES in MARK’S STORY OF JESUS
Mark’s Theme #1: Journeys & Meals • Jesus is often “on the way” somewhere, moving swiftly, “soon,” “immediately.” Mark is constructed as an account of Jesus’ travels through Palestine with an urgent purpose. • 6:39-49 Jesus’ – Jesus’ ministry of nourishment: feeding the 5000 (+ women and children!) • 7:20-37 Jesus travels in both Jewish & Gentile areas. • Ch 8: Mark sometimes tells the story as sets of parallel events: Jewish/Gentile; blindness/sight • 8:14 “One loaf” on the lake between Jewish and Gentile areas: metaphor of unity
Mark’s Theme #2: Conflict & Blindness • Jesus’ inner circle (the “twelve”) do not understand him (seating in the K of God; Peter’s ‘confession’) • Those outside the circle (blind Bartimaeus, the Syro-Phoenican woman [Gentile], the Roman centurion] all do recognize Jesus; his family and followers do not • The “literary sandwich”: Mark tells a story “sandwiched” between two other parallel stories to make contrasting point: the Messianic secret • Jesus in conflict with scribes and Pharisees • Passages: 3:1-6 (conflict), 5:41-6:8, Mark 10 (conflict, blindness and “blindness”)
Mark’s Theme #3: Suffering & Death • Jesus repeatedly tells followers not to tell anyone about him after he has performed a healing (e.g., lepers): Jesus doesn’t want to attract crowds who are looking for a “triumphant” Messiah • Jesus rebukes Peter for saying the disciples will prevent Jesus from suffering and death: I am not the kind of Messiah you have been expecting • Jesus speaks of the devastation of Jerusalem and the Temple: interpreting the aftermath of the war • Passages: 3:12 (Messianic secret), Ch. 8 (Peter rebuked), Ch. 13 (the “little apocalypse”)
Between the Lines: Mark’s Concerns • Division: Mark’s Jesus addresses the problem of Jews and Gentiles relationship in the church • Confusion: Mark’s story anticipates the disappearance of the “Mother Church” of Christianity that existed in Jerusalem • Suffering: Mark is writing after 70CE (the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple) -- in Mark, Jesus knows about and experiences the suffering and devastation that are everywhere.
Between the Lines: Mark’s Jesus Saves his People • Unity: Mark enacts a church united: Jew and Gentile; insider and outsider • Comfort: Mark’s story offers an answer to the question of why the founding church of Christianity (church in Jerusalem) no longer exists • Empathy & Re-vision: Mark speaks to those who have suffered then & now • Jesus knows your experience of suffering • “Salvation” and “victory” will not look like success as the world defines it