Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messianism

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robert j
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by robert j » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:49 am

arnoldo wrote:The Pauline writings reflected a "popular messianic hope" which were arguably written before the jewish temple was destroyed.
THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE
Galatians

Salutation

Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the members of God’s family who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory for ever and ever ....
However, the question arises whether Paul was expecting a neoplatonic messiah or a more "earthly" messiah.
I posted an essay with my interpretation ---- "Paul's Messiah" --- edited a few times since posting ----

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=979

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

Post by TedM » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:20 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
TedM wrote: How do you view Judas the Galilean, and the Egyptian referenced by Josephus? Simply military rebels?
Is there any evidence to suggest that their rise to notoriety was a response to popular expectations of a messiah?
I was asking you. Clearly they became popular for a reason.

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

Post by outhouse » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:44 am

arnoldo wrote:Ok, it does make sense that amongst Jews as a whole the need for a "messiah" would become self-evident after the destruction of the jewish temple, not before.

.
The temple has nothing to do with it.


Jewish as a whole has nothing to do with it.


Hellenistic Jews did not care about a messiah as much as Israelites, as they were not oppressed by Romans and worked hand in hand with them to stay rich and in power.

Judaism was multi cultural and very diverse and divided, and had very diverse beliefs on expectations of a messiah.


Zealots were never happy with Roman oppression, and war was always one step away.

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

Post by outhouse » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:50 am

TedM wrote: I was asking you. Clearly they became popular for a reason.

Remember, we are only getting a Hellenistic retelling through a biased version of history that does not deal with the core of the Jewish political unrest.

We don't have accurate details of Born and raised oppressed Jews, messianic expectations, because they left no written records of any kind.

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

Post by TedM » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:24 pm

From what I understand we have Jewish records which are rife with hundreds, if not thousands of references to Messiac passages. It seems to me that common sense would dictate that Messiac expectations were rampant among those who paid any attention to those Jewish records.

I don't have time to go into this, but it would seem this is relevant:
A great deal of the evidence in this section comes form a priceless work of great scholarship The Life And Times of Jesus The Messiah An old 19th century work by Alfred Edersheim; an English Jew who converted to Christianity and became a Cambridge scholar. Edersheim compillied a list of 458 passages which rabbinical authority sites as Messianich. He uses theTargumim, the two Talmuds, The most ancient Midrashim but not the Zohar. Also the uses a work called Yalkut, a collection of 50 of the oldest writtings in rabbinical tradition. Most, but not all of what Edersheim quotes comes from the second century or latter. But he argues that is still an indication of the some ideas floating around in the popular quarters in Christ's time, especially ideas which show up in the NT since we can discount chrisitian influence upon Talmudic Judaism. But the evidence from Qumran and Psuedapigrapha is clearly prior to, or contemporanious with, the time of Jesus.
http://www.doxa.ws/Messiah/Messiah1.html

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

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:45 pm

TedM wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:
TedM wrote: How do you view Judas the Galilean, and the Egyptian referenced by Josephus? Simply military rebels?
Is there any evidence to suggest that their rise to notoriety was a response to popular expectations of a messiah?
I was asking you. Clearly they became popular for a reason.
History is full of popular leaders (at least popular among sub-sections of a society) that have a myriad of explanations, especially in times of hardship and oppressive rulers. We would never think that any sort of messianic hope (or comparable myth) was necessary to inspire any of these in any other culture. I'm sure the peoples of Palestine and "Judaism" were no different from anyone else and were motivated by the same sorts of historical forces as any other groups.

I don't think that the Maccabees needed such messianic hopes to rise up against the Syrians. We have many instances of banditry in Judea-Galilee that need no "messianic" inspiration. We have a number of revolts against Rome among other groups without any need for a messianic motivator.

People are generally historically very loathe to fight (literally) against the status quo and generally only do so when they feel desperate enough to take the ultimate risks. I don't see any need for messianic hopes to be a real causative factor of that sort of thing even where they have existed.

We have no information at all about the motivations of "the Egyptian" and the only evidence we have re Judas the Galilean relates to economic hardship. I know of no evidence that ties either of them to popular messianic hopes.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:57 pm

TedM wrote:From what I understand we have Jewish records which are rife with hundreds, if not thousands of references to Messiac passages. It seems to me that common sense would dictate that Messiac expectations were rampant among those who paid any attention to those Jewish records.

I don't have time to go into this, but it would seem this is relevant:
A great deal of the evidence in this section comes form a priceless work of great scholarship The Life And Times of Jesus The Messiah An old 19th century work by Alfred Edersheim; an English Jew who converted to Christianity and became a Cambridge scholar. Edersheim compillied a list of 458 passages which rabbinical authority sites as Messianich. He uses theTargumim, the two Talmuds, The most ancient Midrashim but not the Zohar. Also the uses a work called Yalkut, a collection of 50 of the oldest writtings in rabbinical tradition. Most, but not all of what Edersheim quotes comes from the second century or latter. But he argues that is still an indication of the some ideas floating around in the popular quarters in Christ's time, especially ideas which show up in the NT since we can discount chrisitian influence upon Talmudic Judaism. But the evidence from Qumran and Psuedapigrapha is clearly prior to, or contemporanious with, the time of Jesus.
http://www.doxa.ws/Messiah/Messiah1.html
Green's point is that most scholars who addressed "messianism" were assuming many passages were messianic as a result of their preconceptions about what they believed a messianic passage would look like. He is questioning this circular process for identifying messianic passages. If we take only explicit references to a messiah in the Old Testament works we find very few such passages.

Sometimes good arguments can be made for thinking that certain types of passages in the Mishnah represent ideas that should be dated to the Second Temple era, but this is not a blanket rule. Many passages in the Mishnah can best be explained as reactions to the conditions of later centuries. For a time in the fourth century (iirc) there were real hopes for a rebuilt Temple for a time, but after these were dashed we apparently see a turning among Jews to looking forward to a future messiah to come and restore them and it. (Others with the historical details closer at hand may be able to fill this out.)

It is easy to imagine they would want to authenticate such hopes by saying they originated with their "fathers" and the "holy books" and therefore find prophecies to justify their new hopes in the wake of recent failures.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:02 pm

The Gospel of Matthew, I think, can also be seen as evidence against popular messianic expectations in the earlier first century (or even later). The story is fiction, of course, but the narrative it offers readers is that there was bemusement at the arrival of the magi in Judea. The author has Herod consulting the priests to check out the prophecies to see what thee business was all about.

That narrative suggests to me that the author and audience had no awareness that "everyone" had been expecting a messiah to come. The idea was novel. It was a secret, a mystery.

Does that not suggest that whenever Matthew was written the idea that Jews were generally awaiting a messiah was unknown to its readers?
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John T
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Re: Questioning the Historicity of Early 1C Popular Messiani

Post by John T » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:04 pm

"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet."...Deuteronomy 19.12

The people of Israel as far back as the time of Moses, expected in the time of trouble, i.e. foreign invaders, that God would provide a messiah to deliver them.

During the time of Jesus the foreign invaders would be the Romans. The Essenes of the 1st century A.D. not only sought a messiah to rid them of the Roman occupation but anticipated the Son of Man to put an end to the evil of the world once and for all. The expected year of the apocalypse was calculated based on a known number of Jubilees (49).

Sincerely,

John T
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."...Jonathan Swift

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

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:21 pm

John T wrote:"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet."...Deuteronomy 19.12

The people of Israel as far back as the time of Moses, expected in the time of trouble, i.e. foreign invaders, that God would provide a messiah to deliver them.

During the time of Jesus the foreign invaders would be the Romans. The Essenes of the 1st century A.D. not only sought a messiah to rid them of the Roman occupation but anticipated the Son of Man to put an end to the evil of the world once and for all. The expected year of the apocalypse was calculated based on a known number of Jubilees (49).

Sincerely,

John T
Today when we read a passage like Deuteronomy 19:12 it is easy for us -- with our conservative Christian cultural heritage -- to interpret it messianically. But on its own and in its local context there is nothing "messianic" about it. Even less is there anything messianic about it in the sense of what "messiah" means to most of us.

Deuteronomy was written long after any "time of Moses" and needs first of all to be interpreted in its literary and wider historical context. Is the prophet Joshua? Or is it King Josiah? We can't confuse what later Christian interpreters thought it meant with what the original author thought.

That's the first point.

My second response is that we have no evidence that I know of that such a passage in Deuteronomy fed into the popular consciousness of Jews in the Second Temple era as some sort of cultural marker. No doubt scribal elites knew of it and had their views on it, but the general Jewish population? How can we even know they even knew the passage existed? Okay, we can imagine many of them hearing priestly readings of the scriptures, but do we have any reason to believe that this passage was part of the make-up of popular messianism? And how many Jews were diligently attending and attentive to the priestly readings anyway? Do we have evidence to inform our views on any of these things?

Thirdly, yes there were sectarians who had various messianic teachings, but does that not tell us that such views were not widely popular but simply "sectarian"?
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