Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rediscovering the Priesthood of Jesus


“The priestly aspect of Jesus’ teaching, largely ignored by ‘critical scholarship’ and its Protestant bent, offensive to that Christianity which wishes Jesus to be done with Jewish forms, and invisible to that Judaism which relies on the Rabbis for its vocabulary, is a network of meanings. That network, once recognized, will establish its own coordinates of significance.”
--Bruce Chilton, The Temple of Jesus: His Sacrificial Program within a Cultural History of Sacrifice (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992), x.

“In general, priesthood has been marginalized in modern biblical studies. In the Old Testament the priesthood—its ordination, clothing, sacrificial and other responsibilities—is described with considerable detail; within the Pentateuch (Exodus-Numbers), in the works of the Chronicler and in other texts (e.g. Ezekiel, Zechariah 3–6, Malachi, Joel). But Old Testament scholarship has sometimes judged such material a lamentable decline in Israelite religion from the pure faith of the prophets and the Deuteronomist into a post-exilic obsession with cultic order and institutional religiosity… That antipathy has, until the postmodern resurgence of interest in metaphor, story, drama and sacrament, been validated by the modern fear of mystery, allegory and ritual (a.k.a. ‘magic’) and myth. Happily, Old Testament scholarship is now more attentive to these aspects of biblical religion and, thanks in particular to the leavening influence of Jewish members of the academy, the vital contribution of the priesthood and priestly theology for biblical religion is at last receiving the attention it deserves.”
--Crispin H. T. Fletcher-Louis, “Jesus as the High Priestly Messiah: Part 1,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 4/2 (2006): 156.

5 comments:

Danny Garland Jr. said...

Exactly!

Michael, here is the paper I wrote for Dr. Hahn's Biblical Foundations class on the priesthood of Christ, that you might find interesting (even though it most likely will be no new content for you): http://irishandcatholic.wordpress.com/2007/02/03/3/

Stuart said...

Was my earlier post on the previous post but one totally, as you Yanks say, "leftfield", or was I onto something? I'd love to hear what you think.

Jeremy Priest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy Priest said...

Hopefully this will help to fill-in the historical gap (actually it's probably more like a gulf) that seems to exist between the liturgical flavor of the Apostolic Fathers and the NT authors. On a similar note, I liked Dr. Hahn's article in volume seven of the Scripture and Hermeneutics Series: "Canon, Cult, and Covenant: The Promise of Liturgical Hermeneutics." Clearly, there's an amazing amount of work to be done in this area.

kentuckyliz said...

That's a hopeful sign that people are getting past the hangups of the 16th century, a mere hiccup in the totality of Christian history, much less Judeo-Christian history!