Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messianism

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Charles Wilson
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:12 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Stephan Huller wrote:There is always this problem - do 'writings' documents written for any by the elite really reflect the contemporary environment?
Exactly.

Jeffrey Staley in reviewing Fitzmeyer's The One Who Is To Come...
Fitzmyer may not be the best of critics here. He eliminates inconvenient facts when trying to deconstruct Mark:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/mark-prior.html:

"Why is so much of Matthew and Luke omitted in the end-product? Why is so much important Gospel material that would be of interest to the growing and developing church(es) eliminated by Mark? Why, for example, has he omitted the Sermon on the Mount and often encumbered narratives in the retelling with trivial and unessential detail (for example, the cushion on the boat in Mark 4:38..."

Fitzmyer is asking the proper question. Rather than exploring what "...cushion on the boat..." might point to, however, he throws up his hands at the very point where analysis would be important. "Are we to drown, for all you care?..." is in Mark and hidden in the others. All of this points to some other purpose for Mark than is given by Fitzmyer. Fitzmyer complains of "unessential detail" without bothering to realize that it is the "unessential detail" that is important.

CW

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:51 am

Stephan Huller wrote:The question then is - did the rabble care less about the cosmic being at the heart of Enoch? Or were they simply an angry mob who were being directed by puppet masters toward revolt through the concept of the Messiah (which was foreign to the Pentateuch in the first place)? The bottom line nevertheless is that I don't think (despite what the texts say now) that the figure in Enoch is properly defined as an 'anointed one'? And even if I am wrong and one day they find this terminology in a buried text of Enoch 'first century popular messianism' had nothing to do with this text.
I don't see such either-or questions as necessarily addressing real-life situations.

The point of introducing the text into the discussion was only to demonstrate one of the several messianic concepts at that time-- or to point to one of a number of concepts we would not expect to find on the hypothesis that there was a certain dominant messianic view extant at the time.

I am not saying there was no popular messianic expectation in the time of Jesus, by the way. I really don't know. But the evidence as I understand it does not support that view. There is some evidence (though debatable) for it being part of the popular consciousness at a time of war but none prior to that -- not even at the time of the war against the Seleucids.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:55 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
Stephan Huller wrote:There is always this problem - do 'writings' documents written for any by the elite really reflect the contemporary environment?
Exactly.

Jeffrey Staley in reviewing Fitzmeyer's The One Who Is To Come...
Fitzmyer may not be the best of critics here. He eliminates inconvenient facts when trying to deconstruct Mark:
My quotation was by Jeffrey Staley who was being critical of Fitzmyer.

Meanwhile, I often find a scholar I am unable to agree with generally does at some points have something very interesting to say. There are few I can learn nothing at all from.
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Charles Wilson
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:22 pm

Correct again.
Best...

CW

John2
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by John2 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:18 pm

Neil,

You wrote:

"Are we able to think that there was a single or dominant view among any class of people about such an idea in the first century?"

I think we can say this about the Dead Sea Scrolls community. Even if they expected two messiahs (I know of only one reference in the DSS to messiahs in the plural, in 1QS: "until there shall come the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel"), both priests and "the Messiah" are messiahs in the OT too.

As far as I am aware "messiah" is singular in the rest of the DSS, including in the Damascus Document, where, if it is referring to two messiahs, then both are involved in conquering the world:

"They shall be saved at the time of the Visitation whereas the others shall be delivered up to the sword when the Messiah of Aaron and Israel shall come" (col. 7).

And you wrote:

"As for the OT I doubt that anyone reading it alone would come away thinking its message was the coming of a Davidic Messiah to conquer."

Well, of course not every book in the OT mentions a Davidic Messiah, but off the top of my head Is. 11 and Mic. 5 clearly do:

http://biblehub.com/niv/isaiah/11.htm

http://biblehub.com/niv/micah/5.htm
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:46 pm

John2 wrote: Well, of course not every book in the OT mentions a Davidic Messiah, but off the top of my head Is. 11 and Mic. 5 clearly do:

http://biblehub.com/niv/isaiah/11.htm

http://biblehub.com/niv/micah/5.htm
I don't see how these passages would inspire a national expectation that a messiah was going to come quickly and soon to overthrow their enemies etc. Yes, there is a nice hope for the future, one day, and all very inspiring to be read out at funerals, etc. but that's not the same thing.

I don't deny the OT does have its messiahs, by the way. Furthermore, many of the passages pointed to by later interpreters to support their messianic ideas do not themselves mention a messiah -- they are interpreted according to later interests and needs.
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John2
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by John2 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:27 pm

Neil,

I'm not sure if those two passages are cited in the DSS (my only point in mentioning them is that if they existed in the first century CE then so did the concept of a conquering Davidic messiah), but Amos 9:11 is cited as a messianic text in 4Q174:

"He is the branch of David who will arise with the interpreter of the Law who [ ] in Zi[on in the la]st days according as it is written: 'I will raise up the tent of David that has falle[n]' (Amos 9:11), who will arise to save Israel."

And MIlgrom says, "Paleographically, the manuscript of 4Q174 is dated early in the first century C.E."

https://books.google.com/books?id=ROama ... um&f=false
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John2
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by John2 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:25 pm

The DSS Isaiah Pesher is very fragmented but it applies Is. 11 to a conquering Davidic messiah:

"And there shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of its roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or pass sentence by what his ears hear; he shall judge the poor righteously and shall pass sentence justly on the humble of the earth] (11:1-3).

[Interpreted, this concerns the Branch] of David who shall arise at the end [of days] ... God will uphold him with [the spirit of might, and will give him] a throne of glory and a crown of [holiness] and many-coloured garments ... [He will put a scepter] in his hand and he shall rule over all the [nations]."
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:00 pm

Yes, I would not be surprised if there was a concept of a conquering Davidic messiah among some Jews throughout the Second Temple period. I would not deny that possibility.

It does not appear to have been evident as a significant preoccupation among anyone at the time of the Maccabean revolt or thereabouts, nor did the authors of Daniel and other works seem to be guided by the same passages that were seen as significant to some from the end of the Second Temple era. But that doesn't mean that some people did not have that understanding to the exclusion of other interpretations; maybe a few were eagerly anticipating the advent of God's agent in their own time.
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Stephan Huller
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by Stephan Huller » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:38 pm

Oh give a break. The rabble probably hadn't gotten much past Molech (= melek) veneration. These were primitive minds. The entire Pentateuch religion was a northern phenomenon. Just look at where the action is entirely centered in Genesis (= Shechem). The reason why the Jews could raise the Prophetic writings to the level of the Pentateuch (and ultimately say that where Gemara and Torah disagree go with Gemara) is because the priestly religion was more or less alien to their sensibilities. The Pentateuch was developed from an esoteric priestly class. The Jews were less sophisticated than that and remember the 'priests' weren't Samaritans or Jews at least theoretically. They came from a separate 'tribe.'

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