Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jesus and the Restoration of the Davidic Kingdom (2.2.2. Restoring the Davidic Ideal: Pan-Israelite Restoration)

2. A Pan-Israelite Kingdom. Part and parcel of the vision of the restoration was the pan-Israelite hope—which also evoked the memory of the Davidic kingdom.[1] Of course, other kings had arisen in Israel. Yet, they were far from ideal. Abimelech is condemned in Jotham’s parable (Judg 9:7-20) and dies in disgrace, his “crime” having been “requited” by God ( Judg 9:56). His reign was most likely limited to the Josephite tribes (cf. Judg 9). Saul, who was also king, was also rejected by God (cf. 1 Sam 16:1) and failed to complete the liberation of Israel from their enemies (cf. 1 Sam 14:52; 31:1-7).

As we saw in the last section, it was under David that Israel achieved “rest” from all their enemies (2 Sam 7:2). Moreover, it was only under him and Solomon that Israel lived as unified, pan-Israelite kingdom.[2] After Solomon, the northern tribes broke away from the southern kingdom (“the house of Judah”) and formed their own kingdom, often called the “house of Israel” or “the house of Ephraim.” The pan-Israelite hope of restoration therefore often most frequently expressed in this terminology, which clearly evoked the memory of “the unity of Israel and Judah which existed in the days of David and Solomon.”[3] Not surprisingly, this language is also reflected in the Qumran scrolls (cf. CD 5:10-21 citing Isa 7 and Amos 5:26-27).[4] David, the one who had defeated the Gentiles and achieved “rest,” is therefore depicted once again in eschatological visions as the one establishing the twelve tribes in peace.[5]

[1] See above discussion of Meier.
[2] David Ravens, Luke and the Restoration of Israel (JSOT Supplement Series 119; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 62.
[3] Aune, “Restoration in Ancient Jewish Literature,” 159. Aune cites Isa 49:6-7; Jer 31:10-11; Isa 43:5-7; cf. 43:1; Ezek 37:21; Zeph 3:20; cf. 3:14; Sir 48:10; Isa 11:11-13; Ezek 37:15-19; Zech 10:6.
[4] The ingathering of the tribes is also associated with a shepherd, whom Ezek. 37:24 identifies as David, who was in fact a shepherd (cf. 1 Sam 16:11). This is also paralleled at Qumran: “And you chose the land of Judah, and established your covenant with David so that he would be like a shepherd, a prince over your people…” (4Q504 4:5-7).
[5] This is reflected in both the Psalms of Solomon and Qumran, where the Davidic “Prince of the Congregation” leads Israel in eschatological battle. Of course, it is also in the biblical tradition (e.g., Isa 11:4).

The Pope Miracle

A nun has apparently been cured of Parkinson's disease by God--and she is attributing her cure to the prayers of John Paul II.

I wanted to point out a few things here.

First, despite the Enlightenment/modern bias against the supernatural, it is undeniably clear that the New Testament affirms that Jesus worked miracles. Interestingly, the many different miracles of Jesus are accomplished in different way. This is clear just from the miracles of Jesus in Matthew 8-9: Jesus simply speaks a word to cure a leper (cf. Matt 8:1-3); Jesus touches Peter's mother-in-law (Matt 8:14-15); a woman merely touches Jesus' garment (cf. Matt 8:20-22). Also, in John 9, Jesus cures a man through spitting on mud, placing the mud on the man's eye and telling him to wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6). It seems the various methods of healing are meant to underscore that it is not the technique which accomplishes the miracle--the power is in Christ. The blind man who receives his sight in John 9 does not see Jesus as a brilliant physician--he states, “He is a prophet" (John 9:17).

Moreover, the New Testament is full of examples of the disciples of Jesus participating in his healing work. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out the seventy to preach in his name. They return to him, exclaiming that even demons were subject to them, a likely reference to exorcism (Luke 10:17-20). Jesus tells them that He has entrusted them with spiritual authority. He sas that ultimately they should rejoice not because of their authority over unclean spirits, but because their exorcisms indicate that their names are "written in heaven".
Luke 10:17-20: The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. 20. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Likewise, Jesus states that believers will even do greater works than the ones he performed: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father" (John 14:12).

True to Jesus' words, the book of Acts recounts that Peter healed a crippled man (Acts 3:1ff). Later on we read that the people waited by the road just hoping that Peter's shadow would be cast upon them.
Acts 5:15-16: so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
Similarly, miracles are associated with the ministry of Paul. In fact, Acts 19 contains a powerful witness to the extent to which God's power was at work in him: "God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them" (Acts 19:12).

In no way do the miracles of Peter and Paul detract from the glory of Christ. In fact, the opposite is true. The miracles of the apostles and disciples of Jesus are clearly meant to underscore Christ's power. Jesus is not only capable of performing miracles himself, he is also able to work miracles through others. Jesus is that powerful!

Now, as regards the story of the mirculously healed nun, it should be pointed out that the Church has not yet declared this a miracle. The Church does not simply canonize people as saints on a whim. Even the case of John Paul II receives careful scrutiny.

The article actually explains that this miracle took place in 2005. The nun has only now come out publicly with her story, two years after her cure and careful analysis.

In fact, the article underscores the caution the Church takes in making "miracle" claims: e.g., in the case of a "cured" cancer patient, the Church waits 10 years before giving any consideration to be sure the cancer does not return. As with other miracle claims, therefore, this will be handled with the upmost caution.

I think it is pretty clear, however, that something miraculous has happened here. This is appears to be an extremely well-documented case and I think it's a safe bet that the Church will indeed rule that a miracle has occurred.

Nonetheless, recognizing the fact that this woman received this cure through prayers from John Paul II should in no way be taken as an attempt to slight God's power. The glory belongs to God. That was what John Paul II would have always insisted upon. Yes, John Paul II was an extraordinary man--but what made him so was that he led others to Christ.

This was the lesson John Paul II always came back to when he himself presided over the canonization of holy men and women. The following is an excerpt from his homily at the canonization of Edith Stein (whose name was changed after she became a nun to Teresa Benedicta of the Cross):

Thus the message of the Cross has entered the hearts of so many men and women and changed their lives. The spiritual experience of Edith Stein is an eloquent example of this extraordinary interior renewal. A young woman in search of the truth has become a saint and martyr through the silent workings of divine grace: Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who from heaven repeats to us today all the words that marked her life: "Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ". [October, 1988; source]
Of course, traditionally one of the major points of contention between Catholics and Protestants has been whether the saints in heaven are able to pray for those on earth. I'm not going to write a long post on that issue. I will simply say this: I think the unity in Christ that we have through his grace is more powerful than the power of death.

So much more could be said, but we can't deal with all the theological issues here...

Suffice it to say, "Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa....

I can't believe it... Chris Tilling's Chrisendom, one of my very favorite blogs, has not been on my blogroll. Chris has been running a great series on Richard Bauckham's new book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses--a series (and a book) which I enthusiastically recommend.

In addition to Tilling's site, I've also updated our blogroll by adding a number of other sites, which were also surprisingly not on the list. (I think I've made the changes before but due to some problem with blogger they did not appear. In fact, I had to "save changes" a number of times to the template to get these to work this time!).

Although I have a few more I want to add, the new ones on the list are...

Bock's Blog: Darrel Bock, Ph.D. (Dallas Theological Seminary)
Biblical Foundations: Andreas Kostenberger, Ph.D. (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society)
Dr. Jim West, Ph.D. (Language editor of The Copenhagen International Seminar; Assistant editor of Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament; Guest Lecturer, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Deinde: Paul Nikkel (Ph.D. student at University of Sheffield); Danny Zacharias (M.A. student at Acadia University) and Mark Cheeseman (Ph.D, student at Whitley College)
Biblioblogs: Jim West (see above), Brandon Wason (working on his M.T.S. in biblical studies at Candler School of Theology, Emory University)
Thoughts on Antiquity: Ben C. Smith, Chris Weimer (student at the University of Memphis), Roger Pearse, and Walter M. Shandruk
Christ, My Righteousness: by Celucien L. Joseph, a Th.M. student.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Seventy Disciples & Table Fellowship

The following is from Arthur A. Just, The Ongoing Feast: Table Fellowship and Eschatology at Emmaus (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1993), 165.

Luke 10:7-9, 17-20, 21-24

The instructions of Jesus to his seventy disciples in Luke 10:7-9 point out the continuity between table fellowship of Jesus and that of the disciples. Only Luke has the command to 'remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house.' This may refer to table fellowship with those who are ritually unclean, i.e. do not go from house to house looking for food that is ritually uclean. In the same context they are told to heal the sick and say 'the kingdom of God has come near to you' (10:9). The kingdom of God is near in the ministry of the disciples because they bring with them the table fellowship of Jesus--his teaching, healing, and eating [ft. note: Marshall, the The Gospel of Luke, 421 suggests a parallel to 1 Corinthians 10:27 and the problem of Christian table fellowship with Gentiles.]. Luke 10:17-20 describes the success of the mission of the seventy in eschatological terms, and 10:21-24 seems to resemble Jewish wisdom sayings concerning eschatological secrets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

John 21: Later Addition or Epilogue?

In a comment to the last post, Danny Zacharias rightly points out that the question of authorship of the Fourth Gospel really depends on how one views the final chapter. Is John 21--the chapter where, arguably, we learn the most about the "beloved disciple"--a later addition to the book or was it originally part of the Gospel?

It is widely acknowledged that John 20 stands as an appropriate ending to the book. It presents us with, what Beasely-Murray calls, a "total picture of the Easter story": the empty tomb, the witness of Mary Magdalene, the confirmation of the empty tomb by two disciples, an appearance of Jesus to Mary and other disciples, the reception of the Spirit and Jesus' commissioning of the apostles.

Moreover, the chapter ends with an epilogue, which seems to bring the book to a close: "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:30-31).

Beasely-Murray thus concludes: "Had he planned to record the appearance(s) to Peter and his colleagues narrated in chap. 21 he would have composed chap. 20 differently" [George R. Beasely-Murray, John (2nd ed.; WBC 36; Columbia: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 395].

Looking at chapter 21, many scholars argue that it was written by another hand. One of the reasons for this is that it seems as though chapter 21 does not follow neatly from chapter 20. In addition to the fact that the 20:30-31 seems to tie up the Gospel narrative in such a way as to conclude the Gospel, some have argued that chapter 21 also seems detached from what has come before it. John Breck lays out the most common reasons given in support of this line of thought:
1. The epilogue in chapter 20:30-31 serves as an apparent conclusion, as mentioned above.
2. Chapter 21 does not show us the disciples setting out on the mission given to them by Jesus in chapter 20--rather than going out to evangelize, the apostles go fishing.
3. Whereas chapter 20 called for believing without seeing, chapter 21 seems to emphasize the importance of seeing and believing.
4. There is a reference to "we" in John 21:24, which most see as an indication of later redactional work.
5. Chapter 21 seems to focus on concerns of the Church--addressing issues of the later Christian community.
6. Some of the themes developed in chapter 21 are only found in places in the Gospel where scholars believe later interpolations have been introduced.
7. Chapter 21 contains language and stylistic elements not found elsewhere in the Gospel.
[These arguments are laid out by John Breck, "John 21: Appendix, Epilogue or Conclusion?, in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 27-49].

Here I want to look at these seven arguments.

1. Double endings seem to be characteristic of Johannine literature. Breck cites the work of Peter Ellis,[1] who has noted the use of double-endings in Johannine literature. Consider John 12:36b-37: “When Jesus had said this, he departed and hid himself from them. 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him.” Interestingly, the passage continues on to say that the disbelief of the Jews fulfilled a prophecy of Isaiah (12:38-43). It then relates a final speech of Jesus (12:44-50). This especially curious since John has already stated that Jesus went and hid himself from the people!

One should also consider the close of 1 John 5. 1 John exhibits numerous similarities to the Fourth Gospel. There seems to be a deliberate imitation of the Fourth Gospel in the stylized prologue (cf. John 1:1-18; 1 John 1:1-4). Both seem to share a closing statement of purpose (cf. John 20:31; 1 John 5:13). Moreover, after the summary statement of 1 John 5:13, the letter continues on—paralleling what is found in the fourth Gospel. Breck concludes: “John 20:30ff., like 1 John 5:13, thus seems to represent a stylistic device that serves as a pivotal ‘definition of purpose’ between the main body of the writing and the conclusion.”[2]

Moreover, John 20:35ff. and 21:25 seem to form a kind of inclusion.
A. (20:30f). Inclusion: Many signs.
B. 21:1-14. The Beloved Disciple and Peter: the Beloved Disciple recognizes Jesus
C. 21:15-19a: Peter’s rehabilitation
B.’ 21:19b-24: The Beloved Disciple and Peter: the Beloved Disciple (as the author) witnesses to Jesus
A.’ (21:25) Conclusion: the overwhelming number of signs of Jesus.

In fact, the Fourth Gospel frequently makes use of this kind of chiasmus structure.[3] For example, in John 19:19-22 we see the following:
A. (19:19) Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of
Nazareth, King of the Jews
B. (19:20a) Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified near the city
C. (19:20b) and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.
B.’ (19:21a) And the chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate,
A.’ (19:21b) “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

It should also be pointed out that John 21 forms a kind of inclusion with the opening chapter of John. Here once again Jesus is found on the shores of Galilee with the fishermen. Indeed, as Ellis has shown, there are a number of parallels between 1:19-51, 2:1 and chapter 21, such as the repetition of names, terms and expressions (Simon, son of John; Jesus, Son of God; Nathanael; two unnamed disciples; Cana; Galilee; “follow me”; “who are you?”; “bear witness”; “turned and saw following”; “remain”; “word”, etc.). It is also noteworthy that chapter 21 relates that the beloved disciple is he that lay at Jesus bosom (kolpos) at the Last Supper (21:20). This echoes John 1:18, which tells us that Jesus came from the bosom (koplos) of the Father. Ellis concludes, “As Jesus is to the Father so the Beloved Disciple is to Jesus!”[4]

2. If one takes seriously the Lukan account of Pentecost then one of course would not yet expect the apostles to go out yet to evangelize. Yet, the mission given to the disciples in the previous chapter is probably not completely forgotten, since the catching of fish certainly seems an appropriate metaphor for their future ministry.

3. In chapter 21, it is only the Beloved Disciple who recognizes Jesus and only after Jesus’ voice was heard and obeyed. I would agree with Blomberg, who argues that objections (3) and (5) are “proabaly false disjunctions.[5]

4. The use of “we” may not necessarily indicate a later redaction. Breck describes the peculiar Johannine tendency to switch from the singular to the plural. One might look at Jesus’ own words in 3:11-13, in which he speaks of himself in the singular, plural and third persons within the space of three verses:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.”

In some cases this involves the inclusion of the witness of the community of faith with the author. Such is likely the case in John 1:14, where the author says, “we have beheld his glory.”

Here I will cite Breck’s comments in full:

“In John 21:24 the author identifies the Beloved Disciple as the primary witness to the events recounted―not just in the resurrection scene of this chapter but in the entire Gospel. His words reaffirm what was already claimed in 19:35, that the witness he bears is true and dependable. It is significant that in 19:35, as in 21:24a, the verb is in the present tense: he has borne witness yet “he knows that he tells (λέγει) the truth”; “this is the disciple who is bearing witness (ὁ μαρτυρῶν) to these things.” The author of the Gospel, in ch. 19 as in ch. 21, declares that he witnessed both Jesus’ death and resurrection, and that the written testimony comes from his hand… In any event the principle of affirming eye-witness tradition is consistent throughout the Gospel, from the first chapter to the last (1:14; 3:11; 19:35; 21:24). The statements in 21:24, then, simply because they reflect the collective 'we' of the community’s faith and witness, cannot be used to argue against the authenticity of this passage.”[6]

We should also note here verse 23: “The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’” While some have seen this as an addition made after the death of the Beloved Disciple, nothing in the text necessarily leads to that conclusion.

5. While it is true that the end of chapter 21 focuses on ecclesiological issues, one need be careful not to overstate this dimension of the chapter. The first part is clearly focused on a resurrection appearance of Christ―with many similarities to chapter 20, it should be noted. It should also be mentioned that concern for the community of faith is not at all foreign to the Gospel. One need only think of the Farewell Discourse in chapters 13-16 (the promise of the sending of the Spirit upon the disciples; the warning of future persectutions; the vine and branch imagery used for Christ and believers; Jesus’ insistence that the disciples have been “chosen”; the notion of disciples “bearing fruit”). In fact, the failed fishing expedition seems to corroborate Jesus’ warning in chapter 15:5: “apart from me, you can do nothing.” The final prayer of Christ in chapter 17 is also clearly concerned with the fate of the Christian community.

6. The supposed interpolations linked to John 21 are actually probably authentic. These interpolations are 6:51c-58 and 5:28-29. A close examination reveals their connection to chiastic structures within the text.[7]

7. In regard to the language differences, much is due to the unique content of chapter 21. In addition, see the work of de Solages and Vacherot who have offered a detailed examination, showing that this chapter is not on the whole significantly more different than other sections within the Gospel, which contain unique elements.[8]


I must admit that I have not read everything out there on this issue. I have to do a lot more work before I can insist that John 21 is clearly authentic. However, very few of those who dismiss the authenticity of chapter 21 seriously engage with the arguments above. That concerns me a great deal.

My conclusion--at this point--would be that given what we have seen above, I think it is difficult to simply shrug off the authenticity the chapter. In fact, a strong case can be made in favor of seeing it as part of the literary whole of the Gospel. Merely appealing to the "majority opinion" among scholars will not do. We might also add one observation that we have not mentioned: there is no manuscript evidence to indicate that either the title of the Gospel or last chapter were ever added later to the document. Such conclusions are not based on what is found in ancient manuscripts but rather on certain hypothetical conclusions.

Furthermore, I should add that it seems to me that the presence of the prologue at the start of the Gospel makes it likely that the Gospel would conclude with a kind of epilogue. Of course, that in-and-of-itself does not constitute a very strong argument. However, in my opinion, taken with what we've seen above such a view garners some force.

[1] Peter Ellis, “The Authenticity of John 21,” in St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 36 (1992): 17-25; idem., The Genius of John: A Composition-Critical Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1984), 290-312.
[2] Breck, “John 21,” 29.
[3] For a fuller treatment see Peter Ellis, “Inclusion, Chiasm and the Division of the Fourth Gospel,” in St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 47 (2003): 131-154.
[4] Peter Ellis, “The Authenticity of John 21,” 24.
[5] Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 272.
[6] Breck, “John 21,” 33.
[7] For a detailed look, see Breck, “John 21,” 35; Ellis, The Genius of John, 90ff.
[8] Bruno de Solages and J. –M. Vacherot, “Le chapitre XXI de Jean: est-il de la meme plume que le reste de l’Evangile?" in Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 80: 96-101.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Authorship of the Fourth Gospel

Who wrote the Fourth Gospel?

I've been working on my lecture on John for my Intro to New Testament class. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the weight of the earliest testimony regarding the question of authorship.

Clearly the unanimous testimony of the early Church was that John the Apostle wrote the book. Two of the clearest references are found in Irenaeus and the Muratorian fragment.

Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 3. 3. 4: “Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”

Muratorian Canon: The fourth of the Gospels, that of John, (one) of the disciples. When his fellow-disciples and bishops urged him, he said: Fast with me from today for three days, and what will be revealed to each one let us relate to one another. In the same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that, whilst all were to go over (it), John in his own nameshould write everything down.

Other writers who support this view include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen.

In addition, we should note that there is absolutely no manuscript of the Gospel which attributes authorship to anyone else. I think this is too often overlooked.

But does the testimony of the early Church fit the internal evidence? I think so.

1) Eye-witness status of the author. It seems to have been written by someone claiming to be an eye-witness. In some cases this is explicitly stated.
John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… we have beheld his glory…
John 19:35: He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe.

Other passage seem to be most intelligibly read as eye-witness testimony.

John 13:23-30: One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; 24 so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” 25 So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night.

In my view, the recounting of the "beckoning" gesture of Peter is highly suggestive of eye-witnesse testimony. Moreover, it is hard to imagine that the description of the apostles' assumptions regarding Judas' activity at the Last Supper was meant to be read in a way that did not involve recognition of the author's presence in the Upper Room.

2) Added details. There are stories in the Fourth Gospel which appear in the Synoptics--but there is also the appearance of added details, which simply cannot be explained away as theological symbolism. Jesus multiplied five barley loaves (6:9); in the account of Jesus walking on the water John includes a mention of the distance rowed by the disciples across the Sea of Galilee ("twenty five or thirty stadia," 6:19); in the account of the anointing at Bethany, the odor of the woman’s anointing filled the house (12:3); the reaction of the soldiers in the garden to his statement, “I AM” (18:6); the weight of spices brought to Jesus' tomb as about a hundred pounds (19:39). There were also the six stone jars at the wedding in Cana (2:9) and the number of fish caught (153) and the distance the boat was from the land (about a hundred yards), on the occasion of the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to his disciples (21:8, 11). In addition, we find some inside information about the reactions of the disciples (e.g. 2:11 f.; 4:27; 6:19; 12:16; 13:22 f.) and of the Lord himself (cf. 2:11, 24; 6:15, 61; 13:1). Again, I think all of this is highly suggestive of eye-witness testimony.

3) Familiarity with Jewish Beliefs and Palestinian Geography. The author has a remarkable knowledge of Jewish cultic concerns (purification rites, 2:6; the likely allusion to the libation and illumination ritual at the Feast of Tabernacles 7:37; 8:12; pollution concerns prior to eating the Passover, 18:28; 19:31–42), common Jewish beliefs (the laws concerning the sabbath, 5:10; 7:2 1–23; 9:14 ff.; ideas of hereditary sin, 9:2), and intimate knowledge of Palestinian geography (the knowledge of two Bethanys, 1:28; 12:1; of Aenon near Salim, 3:23; of Cana in Galilee, 2:1; 4:46; 21:2; of Tiberias as an alternative name for the Sea of Galilee, 6:1; 21:1; of Sychar near Shechem, 4:5; Mt. Gerizim's location near a well, 4:21; of Ephraim near the wilderness, 11:54; mention of the pool of Siloam, 9:7). It seems clear that the Gospel is written by a Palestinian with Israelite stock.

4) The "Beloved Disciple" and the Inner Circle. An an important passage in determining authorship comes at the end of the Gospel:

John 21:20-24: Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”… 24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

Of course, different scholars have put forth different theories. One line of thought has pointed to the rich young ruler in Mark's Gospel, of whom it is said that Jesus “loved him” (Mark 10:21). Another has suggested that the author is Lazarus (=John 11:3: “he whom you love”). Yet, it is clear that the author is most likely one of the seven mentioned in chapter 21. One of the 7 mentioned in John 21:
John 21:1-2: "After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberi-as; and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathana-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together."

From this list, it would make most sense to suppose that the "beloved disciple"--the author of the Gospel--is one of the sons of Zebedee or one of the two other disciples.

It is interesting to note that, with one exception (John 19:26-27), this disciple is always associated with Peter (in addition to below, see John 13:23-30 above). An example of this is found in John 20:1-10.
John 20:1-10:  Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; 5 and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, 7 and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

In the Synoptic Gospels it seems clear that Peter along with James and John make up a kind of "inner circle". In addition to the Transfiguration, where Jesus takes these three up the mountain (cf. Matt 17:1//Mark 9:2//Luke 9:28), we could mention other passages.
Mark 5:35-43: While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James… 
Mark 13:32-33: And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.

Indeed, if the Synoptic Gospels are to be believed, Jesus gave Peter, James and John special attention. It would be natural to expect that the Fourth Gospel's "Beloved Disciple," who has a special relationship with Jesus, is likely one of these three.

Now, it has been noted that the "Beloved Disciple" is virtually always associated with Peter. In connection with this should also be noticed that Luke seems to frequently associate Peter and John.
Luke 22:7-13: When came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.”
Acts 3:1: Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
Acts 4:13, 19: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man that had been healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
Acts 8:14: Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John

If the "Beloved Disciple" is one of the three in the inner circle, I think it makes most sense to see him as John the Apostle, which beautifully dovetails with the overwhelming testimony of the Church fathers. Having carefully considering the internal evidence in the past few days, I can't find a good reason for denying their testimony.

In conclusion, I want to say that, at first blush, it would seem that the "academically responsible" approach would be to remain noncommittal about Johannine authorship. However, I'm coming to the conclusion that the opposite is true. Hedging on Johannine authorship seems to betray an unwillingness to acknowledge the coherence of the early testimony with the internal evidence. One wonders if such reluctance is motivated by other concerns. Clearly, asserting that someone like the rich young ruler is the author of the Fourth Gospel seems to stretch the limits of credulity. Rather, it would seem the unanimous patristic witness was reliable when it held that the Gospel the manuscripts all call "The Gospel According to John" was written by, well... er, John.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Around the Web

I wanted to point you all in the direction of some great sites I've been meaning to add to my blogroll.

First, check out the blog written by my very good friend and brother in the extended Hahn family, Chris Cuddy. Chris, a seminarian, is one of the most amazing young intellectuals I have ever met.

Second, I urge you to click on over to Novum Testamentum Blog, a truly exceptional site run by Brendon Wason and Jason Bethel. This is really one of the cream of the crop of the academic sites out there. I read it almost every day but I have somehow failed to mention it here.

Third, I want to mention a site that I've been reading for some time now, but, somehow, I've failed to mention here: Irish-Catholic and Dangerous, a blog by Danny Garland, a graduate student at Franciscan University.

Fourth, head on over to Josh McManaway's A New Testament Student. Josh is in his third year at Southeastern College and is writing some very thoughtful posts.

Finally, I highly encourage you to take a look at Lumen Gentleman Apologetics, a Catholic site. At first glance this might appear to be just another apologetics website. Far from it! Jacob Michael is putting together some excellent materials over there, such as this interesting take on the footwashing in John 13, which he interprets in terms of sacramental ordination. Also see this article on the identity of Melchizedek. I'm not a particularly polemical person so I appreciate the kinds of articles Michael has been writing on this "apologetics" site.

Many more could be mentioned, especially among the biblioblogs--I'll be talking more about them soon...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jesus and the Restoration (2.2.1: Restoring the Davidic Ideal: a Davidic King)

2.2. The Rise of Expectations: Restoring the Davidic Ideal

As we saw in the last section, the Davidic covenant represented a fulfillment of sorts of previous covenant promises. We’ve also seen that the Davidic covenant served as a foundation for restoration hopes. Aune explains that the theme of restoration was “often linked with the related themes of the recovery of the land and the re-establishment of the monarchy. . .”[1] Likewise, Talmon writes that “the glorified ‘golden age’ of David and Solomon . . . becomes the matrix of an idealized portrayal of a future reconstitution of the realm . . . in its former boundaries, with its sociopolitical institutions and apparatus.”[2] In this section we will look at the way specific elements of the Davidic kingdom were “idealized” and became part of restoration hopes.

1. Restoration through a Davidic figure (Isa 9:7; 11:1; 16:5; Jer 23:5; 30:9; 33:25; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24; Amos 9:11; CD 7:18-21; 4Q174 1:10-13; 4Q252 5:1-5; 4Q285 5:2-3; Pss. Sol. 17:4-10, 21; 4 Ezra 12:31-32). As we have examined earlier, the restored Israel is often associated with the restored monarchy of David. This is evident in many biblical texts, some of which we have already mentioned. We have also seen how this vision is present in the second Temple period. The Qumran community identified the eschatological community with the restored “fallen tent” of David in Amos 9:11 (CD 7:18-21 and 4Q174 1:10-13). The Psalms of Solomon likewise expects that the restoration will occur under a Davidide (Pss. Sol. 17).
[1] Aune, “Restoration in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature,” 159.
[2] Talmon, “Restoration in Ancient Judaism,” 119.

Continue to the next post in this series...

Complete outline (with links) of first two parts of "Jesus and the Restoration of the Kingdom" series

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Last Supper, the Atonement, and Alfred Loisy

In light of Michael’s recent post on Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, I thought I’d post something eucharistic. I know it’s a little long, but I'm still getting used to the rules of blogdom (keep it short and sweet.)

As some of you may know, I have been working on a new book on Jesus and the Eucharist for the last year and a half or so. The working title is currently The Eucharistic Aims of Jesus. In it, I am going to attempt a full-scale reassessment of Jesus and the Last Supper in light of the recent advances in Jesus research, especially restoration eschatology. You would be amazed at just how small a role the Last Supper has played in many of the major historical portraits of Jesus in the century and how people have failed to connect it with the rest of his public ministry (e.g., E. P. Sanders).

In any case, during the course of my research on this topic, one of the most frustrating things I have encountered is the uncritical manner which many scholars treat the accounts of the Last Supper. Despite the fact that the Last Supper and the words of institution are perhaps the most solidly attested sayings or actions of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and Paul 1 Cor 11), many modern researchers either reject the words of institution in their entirety or they cut them in pieces like so many scraps of paper, jettisoning this or that element and uhistorical with almost reckless abandon (e.g., Ruldolf Bultmann).

Why is this the case? I have wondered. What is the reason? It certainly can't be because the texts aren't solidly attested.

Well, today I found one answer to the question. While working on my book, I have also taken Dale Allison’s advice (see his Resurrecting Jesus, chapter 1) to go back and read the old books, and have been working through Hilarin Felder’s work, Christ and the Critics (London: Burnes Oates and Washbourne, 1924 [German original, 1922]) In this fascinating 1000 page defense of the historicity of the Gospels and Jesus’ claims to messiahship and divinity, the German Franciscan scholar critiqued the same scissors-and-paste treatment of the words of institution that has been giving me headaches for the last year, showing that it has old roots and deep reasons behind it.

Felder argues that there is a theological (not historical) motive driving this approach: according to him, the primary reason the Last Supper is treated this way is because it is a huge stumbling block for scholars who want to suggest that it was Paul, not Jesus, who invented the doctrine of the atoning and redemptive death of Jesus.

As Felder shows, many modern critics—contrary to almost all reigning source-critical theories, I might add—have suggested that the Synoptic Gospels borrowed the idea of the redemptive death from the Pauline epistles, in particular the description of the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11. As an example of this, Felder cites the work of the famous French modernist Catholic priest Alfred Loisy, whose skeptical conclusions eventually got him excommunicated.

In Loisy’s famous book, The Church and the Gospel (1902), he argued that the redemptive element of the Last Supper accounts must be stricken as unhistorical and argues instead that the concept originated with Paul. His explanation will become typical for much work on the Last Supper in the modern period, so Felder cites it in full:

Loisy: “From all appearances the text of Mark concerning the redemption of many through the death of Christ (Mark 10:45) must have been inspired by Paul, and it seems as if this Evangelist’s report of the Last Supper had been enriched by Paul with the idea of redemption; Jesus seems to have presented the chalice and the bread with reference to his approaching death and the future reunion with his own in the kingdom of God, without, however, setting forth the atoning character and redemptive significance of his death.

The words of Jesus, as given by Luke (22:19), which refer to his atoning death, appear to have been introduced subsequently from the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:24). Mark’s representation of the Last Supper (14:22, etc.) appears to be based on a narration, similar to that of Luke, only what he says of the ‘blood of the new testament’ must have been introduced in accordance with the doctrine of Paul. The second Gospel, so influenced by the editing given it by Paul, must then, in its turn, have influenced the first Gospel of Matthew. Originally a shorter account of the scene of the Last Supper had, therefore, preceded the synoptic representation of it, in which, it is true, the thought of Christ’s approaching death was present, but not the Pauline features of the atoning character of that death.” (Alfred Loisy, L’Evangile et l’Eglise, 72, cited by Felder, Christ and the Critics, 1:187).

To Loisy’s extensive “historical” scenario Felder responds: “We can hardly believe our eyes in beholding this artificial construction of history. “It appears... it should be... it would be... it must be... it could be...” That is all! And from this is drawn the conclusion that the passages of the synoptists bearing on this point [i.e., the redemption] do not, therefore, belong to the Gospel of the Saviour, but to the theology of Paul! A more groundless criticism of the Gospels can scarcely be imagined.” (Felder, Christ and the Critics, 1:178-88).

Yet this it is in fact such groundless hypotheses and speculative "Tradition-histories" that will go on to dominate much twentieth-century work on the Last Supper. The logical force of such "must have" arguments is less than underwhelming.

But I like Felder's concluding comments best: “Remarkable! If the Pauline idea of atonement were not to be found in the writings of the Evangelists, then they [Loisy and Co.] would doubtless say: ‘You see that Paul must have imputed this idea to the Saviour, otherwise we should find it also in the Gospels’. But since it does form a part of the Gospels also, they say: ‘You see that the Evangelists ascribe these views to the Savior in order to please Paul’. (Felder, Christ and the Critics, 1:189). I laughed out loud at this point; anyone whose read Bultmann and his heirs know that this has the ring of truth.

It seems to me that Felder has Loisy pinned—along with the many other scholars who have followed suit in similar excisions of the redemptive elements of the Last Supper. Where else do historical Jesus researchers suggest that Mark’s Gospel—or any Gospel for that matter—is literarily dependent on 1 Corinthians? Why not simply posit the more likely conclusion, that the notion of Jesus' redemptive death goes back to Jesus himself? You tell me.

(Or I’ll tell you, when I’m done with the book. You’ll be surprised who lines up with Loisy when it comes to the Last Supper. I promise.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis & the Eschatological Banquet

Pope Benedict's new Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis ("The Sacrament of Love"), is now up on the Vatican website. I've been reading through it--all I can say is "wow"!

In one paragraph, which relates to the restoration hopes of Israel we've been discussing here, the Pope describes the Eucharist as the eschatological banquet, which the prophets and other extra-biblical literature link with the ingathering of Israel.
Reflecting on this mystery, we can say that Jesus' coming responded to an expectation present in the people of Israel, in the whole of humanity and ultimately in creation itself. By his self-gift, he objectively inaugurated the eschatological age. Christ came to gather together the scattered People of God (cf. Jn 11:52) and clearly manifested his intention to gather together the community of the covenant, in order to bring to fulfilment the promises made by God to the fathers of old (cf. Jer 23:3; Lk 1:55, 70). In the calling of the Twelve, which is to be understood in relation to the twelve tribes of Israel, and in the command he gave them at the Last Supper, before his redemptive passion, to celebrate his memorial, Jesus showed that he wished to transfer to the entire community which he had founded the task of being, within history, the sign and instrument of the eschatological gathering that had its origin in him. Consequently, every eucharistic celebration sacramentally accomplishes the eschatological gathering of the People of God. For us, the eucharistic banquet is a real foretaste of the final banquet foretold by the prophets (cf. Is 25:6-9) and described in the New Testament as "the marriage-feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7-9), to be celebrated in the joy of the communion of saints (100).
Here's an overview of the letter--of course, I'll have a lot more on this later...

Introduction [1]
The food of truth [2]The development of the eucharistic rite [3]The Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist [4]The purpose of the present Exhortation [5]
The Church's eucharistic faith [6]
The blessed Trinity and the Eucharist
The bread come down from heaven [7] A free gift of the Blessed Trinity [8]
The Eucharist: Jesus the true Sacrificial Lamb
The new and eternal covenant in the blood of the Lamb [9] The institution of the Eucharist [10] Figura transit in veritatem [11]
The Holy Spirit and the Eucharist
Jesus and the Holy Spirit [12] The Holy Spirit and the eucharistic celebration [13]
The Eucharist and the Church
The Eucharist, causal principle of the Church [14] The Eucharist and ecclesial communion [15]
The Eucharist and the Sacraments
The sacramentality of the Church [16]
I. The Eucharist and Christian initiation The Eucharist, the fullness of Christian initiation [17]The order of the sacraments of initiation [18] Initiation, the ecclesial community and the family [19]
II. The Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation Their intrinsic connection [20] Some pastoral concerns [21]
III. The Eucharist and the anointing of the sick [22]
IV. The Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders In persona Christi capitis [23] The Eucharist and priestly celibacy [24]The clergy shortage and the pastoral care of vocations [25] Gratitude and hope [26]
V. The Eucharist and matrimony The Eucharist, a nuptial sacrament [27] The Eucharist and the unicity of marriage [28]The Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage [29]
The Eucharist and Eschatology
The Eucharist: a gift to men and women on their journey [30]The eschatological banquet [31]Prayer for the dead [32]
The Eucharist and the Virgin Mary [33]
Lex orandi and lex credendi [34]Beauty and the liturgy [35]
The Eucharistic celebration, the work of “Christus Totus”
Christus totus in capite et in corpore [36]The Eucharist and the risen Christ [37]
Ars celebrandi [38]
The Bishop, celebrant par excellence [39] Respect for the liturgical books and the richness of signs [40] Art at the service of the liturgy [41]Liturgical song [42]
The Structure of the Eucharistic Celebration [43]
The intrinsic unity of the liturgical action [44] The liturgy of the word [45]The homily [46] The presentation of the gifts [47]The Eucharistic Prayer [48]The sign of peace [49]The distribution and reception of the Eucharist [50] The dismissal: “Ite, missa est” [51]
Actuosa participatio [52]
Authentic participation [53]Participation and the priestly ministry [53]The eucharistic celebration and inculturation [54] Personal conditions for an “active participation” [55]Participation by Christians who are not Catholic [56]Participation through the communications media [57]Active participation by the sick [58] Care for prisoners [59] Migrants and participation in the Eucharist [60] Large-scale celebrations [61] The Latin language [62]Eucharistic celebrations in small groups [63]
Interior participation in the celebration
Mystagogical catechesis [64]Reverence for the Eucharist [65]
Adoration and Eucharistic devotion
The intrinsic relationship between celebration and adoration [66] The practice of eucharistic adoration [67]Forms of eucharistic devotion [68] The location of the tabernacle [69]
The Eucharistic form of the Christian life
Spiritual worship – logiké latreía (Rom 12:1) [70] The all-encompassing effect of eucharistic worship [71] Iuxta dominicam viventes – living in accordance with the Lord's Day [72] Living the Sunday obligation [73]The meaning of rest and of work [74] Sunday assemblies in the absence of a priest [75] A eucharistic form of Christian life, membership in the Church [76]Spirituality and eucharistic culture [77]The Eucharistic and the evangelization of cultures [78]The Eucharist and the lay faithful [79] The Eucharist and priestly spirituality [80]The Eucharist and the consecrated life [81]The Eucharist and moral transformation [82]Eucharistic consistency [83]
The Eucharist, a mystery to be proclaimed
The Eucharist and mission [84] The Eucharist and witness [85] Christ Jesus, the one Saviour [86]Freedom of worship [87]
The Eucharist, a mystery to be offered to the world
The Eucharist, bread broken for the life of the world [88] The social implications of the eucharistic mystery [89] The food of truth and human need [90] The Church's social teaching [91]The sanctification of the world and the protection of creation [92]The usefulness of a Eucharistic Compendium [93]
Conclusion [94]

Friday, March 09, 2007

Jesus and the Restoration of the Davidic Kingdom (2.1.4. David & Adam)

The Davidic covenant may also be linked with the creation covenant—something which is quite clear in Jeremiah:

“Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the ordinances of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the descendants
of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his descendants to rule over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Jer 33:25-26).
Speaking of a “covenant” with creation might sound odd since the word is not used in Genesis 1-2. Yet, a closer examination of Genesis reveals good reasons for doing to so. For one thing, the language used in Genesis 9:13 for God’s covenant with creation indicates the renewal of a covenant already established.[1] Moreover, the “seven-day” creation narrative also evokes covenant imagery. Entering into a covenant involved the swearing of an oath. The Hebrew word for swearing an oath is sheva, which literally means “to seven-oneself.” It should not be surprising then that “seven” and covenant oaths are often linked together. For example, in Genesis 21:31, Abraham swears a covenant oath to Abimelech near a well, which comes to be called “Beer-sheva,” which translators either render, “the well of the oath” or “the well of the seven” (check your Bible’s footnotes). [2] The seven-day creation narrative therefore indicates that the world is created in covenant relationship with God. The sign of this covenant is the Sabbath.[3]

From the outset then, God creates man in covenant relationship. Covenants were often associated with kinship bonds.[4] By virtue of the creation covenant, Adam is the recipient of divine sonship. This can be seen from the description of Adam as created in the “image and likeness of God” (Gen 1:27). Later on we read that Seth is begotten in the “image” and “likeness” of Adam (Gen 5:3). From this we can see that the phrase “image and likeness” implies filial relation. It is perhaps thus not surprising that Luke 3:38 refers to Adam as the “son of God.”

In addition to language of divine filiation, Genesis also describes Adam in priestly terminology. We read in Genesis 2:15: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till [Heb. ‘abad] it and keep [Heb. shamar] it." The word for “guard” in Hebrew, shamar, implies priestly duties.[5] Likewise, the word for “tilling” the garden in Genesis 2:15, ‘abad, also has cultic echoes.[6] These words appear together in the description of the priests’ duties in Numbers 3:7-8: “And [the Levites] shall keep [shamar] his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the Tabernacle of the congregation to do [‘abad] the service [or perhaps, "worship"; Heb.: ‘abodah] of the Tabernacle. 8 And they shall keep [shamar] all the instruments of the Tabernacle of the congregation and the charge of the children of Israel to do [‘abad] the service [‘abodah] of the Tabernacle” (cf. also Num 8:26; 18:5-6; also see Num 17:12-18:6)

Indeed the whole cosmos may be understood as a macro-temple.[7] The account of creation in Genesis 1 presents God’s creation of the world in terms of temple building. This implication is underscored by many historical-critical scholars who, upon seeing this emphasis, ascribe it the “Priestly” tradition.[8] Thus, the construction of the tent of God’s dwelling and, later, the temple, are patterned after the creation account.[9] Ratzinger explains: “Seven times it says, ‘Moses did as the Lord had commanded him’, words that suggest the seven-day work on the tabernacle replicates the seven-day work on creation.”[10] Likewise, the construction of the temple took seven years and was dedicated after a seven-day feast (Tabernacles), in the seventh month, with a seven-part prayer.[11]

If the world is the temple, the garden is the sanctuary. The inter-testamental book of Jubilees explains: “[Noah] knew that the garden of Eden was the holy of holies and the dwelling of the Lord.”[12] Several links may be found between the temple and the garden:
» place of cheribum (Gen 3:24; Ezek 28:14)
» candelabra as the Tree of Life (Exod 25:31-36; Josephus, Antiquities 3.145)
» garden imagery in the Temple (1 Kgs 6-7)
» source of water (Gen 2:10; Ezek 47:1-12 [Rev 21:1-2]
» on a mountain (Ezek 28:14, 16; Ezek 40:2; 43:12)
» facing East (Gen 3:24; Ezek 40:6)
» place of where God dwells [hithallek] (Gen 3:8; Lev 26:11-12; Deut 23:14; 2 Sam 7:6-7)

However, just as Adam is presented in priestly terms, he is also presented as a king. One scholar, Meredith Kline, finds several terms which indicate Adam’s kinship: his dominion, his call to subjugate the earth, his naming of creatures, etc.[13] Psalm 8 exemplifies the kinship of Adam, saying that God has “crowned him with glory and honor” and “given him dominion”, putting “all things under his feet”.[14] Adam, therefore, was a priest-king.

However, his kingship needed to be subordinated to his priestly calling. Adam was to sanctify all that is created and bring it into the seventh day rest – he was to offer up to God all creation, which is under his dominion. Leithart explains: “[Adam and Eve] were to go about their royal tasks for six days, only to return at the end of the week to offer themselves and their works to the Lord.”[15]

God’s covenant with Israel may be understood in terms of a kind of “new creation,” whereby God returns humanity to his prelapsarian state: divine sonship with priestly and royal prerogatives. In the Davidic king, we have a kind of return to this state: he is the priest-king, son of God, through whom God will bless all nations (cf. Ps 72:8, 11, 17). It should be no surprise therefore that the eschatological restoration was linked with Davidic themes―as we shall see ub the next few pages. In restoring the kingdom of David, God would restore humanity to its original calling.
[1] See Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises (Ann Arbor: Servant, 1998), 277 n. 5 which sites W. J. Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1984), 11-46; W. J. Dumbrell, “The Covenant with Noah,” in Reformed Theological Review 38 (1979):1-8.
[2] Scott Hahn is the noted expert on covenant theology. See his discussion in Kinship by Covenant and Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacrament (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 103-106.
[3] “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD, your God. . . In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:10-11. Also see John Paul II, Dies Domini 8, “According to the priestly writer of the first biblical creation story, then was born the ‘Sabbath,’ so characteristic of the first Covenant, and which in some ways foretells the sacred day of the new and final Covenant" (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1998), 18.
[4] Paul Kalluveettil, Declaration and Covenant (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1982), 205: “Thus a covenant implies an adoption into the household, an extension of kinship, the making of a brother.” Also see page 212: “The idea, ‘I am yours, you are mine’ underlines every covenant declaration. This implies a quasi-familial bond which makes sons and brothers. The act of accepting the other as one’s own reflects the basic idea of covenant: an attempt to extend the bond of blood beyond the kinship sphere, or, in other words, to make partner one’s own flesh and blood. . . covenant is relational.” For a fuller discussion also see, Hahn, Kinship, 656: “[T]he inner logic of the covenant is to be found in the solidarity and life-giving love of the family. . .”
[5] “Elsewhere in the Bible, especially in passages dealing with the functions of the priests and Levites in Israel, the verb shamar occurs frequently in the sense of guarding the holiness of God’s sanctuary against profanation by unauthorized ‘strangers’ (cf., e.g. Num 1:53; 3:8, 10, 32; 8:26; 18:3ff.; 31:30,47; 1 Sam 7:1; 2 Kngs 12:9; 1 Chr 23:32; 2 Chr 34:9; Ezek 44:15f., 48:11).” M. G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1993), 54. For a great overview of this issue and many of the points below see Scott Hahn, “Worship in the Word: Toward a Liturgical Hermeneutic,” in Letter & Spirit (2005): 101-36. [I can't recommend this article highly enough!]
[6] Kline. Kingdom Prologue, 54.
[7] Meredith Kline, Images of the Spirit (Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 39.
[8] See Keck, Leander, ed. et al. New Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 1 (Nashville: Abingdom Press, 1994), 340.
[9] Kline explains how the Old Testament applies the temple terminology for the world. He points to Isaiah 66:1 and Psalm 132:7. Isaiah calls the earth God’s footstool, while Psalm 132 identifies God’s footstool as the temple. See Kline, Kingdom, 23.
[10] Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph. The Spirit of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000), 26-27.
[11] John D. Levenson, Sinai and Zion (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 143-144. Also see p. 138: “The Temple is the epitome of the world, a concentrated form of its essence, a miniature of the cosmos.” Scott Hahn, “Worship in the Word,” 115.
[12] Jubilees 8:19. See Charlesworth, James, ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 2: 73.
[13] See Kline, Kingdom, 25. Kline concludes: “Man is located in [Genesis 1-3] as king over all the created order of the six days.”
[14] Psalm 8:5,6.
[15] Peter Leithart, The Kingdom and the Power (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company, 1993), 28.

Continue to the next post in this series...

Complete outline (with links) of "Jesus and the Restoration of the Kingdom" series

Been There, Done That--Revised

About a week ago, I did a post on this book. I saw the cover and mistakenly thought it was a picture of a documentary on the same "discovery" that "Lost Tomb of Jesus" covered.

I was just flat wrong.

In the post I was responding to those who have posted comments, complaining that I had jumped the gun--that I had no right to criticize the documentary before it aired and heard the claims being made. My point was that a lot of the information covered in this documentary was not new-- not necessarily The book in question was (according to amazon), released in 1997. Here's what I wrote:

Well, there is already a lot of information out there on this "discovery"--keep in mind it was made in March of 1980! This is not new information to anybody who has been doing research on first-century Judaism. In fact, since my dissertation involves historical Jesus research, I've done a lot of work in some of the pertinent areas here myself.

The ossuaries have already been documented by L. Y. Rahmani, in his work, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries: In the collections of the State of Israel (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994). Other works relating to the topic of the ossuaries include Craig A Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries: What Jewish Burial Practices Reveal About the Beginning of
(Waco: Baylor University Press, 2003) and Tal Ilan, Lexicon of
Jewish Names in Late Antiquity
(TSAJ 91; Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002). Richard Bauckham also has a fine chapter on first-century Jewish name-giving practices
in his new and very important contribution, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006).

I went on to indicate that a documentary on this had already ran, called, "The Tomb That Dare Not Speak Its Name". Actually, that was apparently the what a newspaper claimed this recent documentary would be named. The documentary that ran in 1996 on this "discovery" was actually called something else.

Mark Goodacre explained this in a comment to my previous post:

Thanks for the post. Cf. my post on the 1996 documentary at .
There are a couple of items that I think need correction in your post. First,
the picture is of the book connected with the current documentary, directed by
Jacobovici, not the 1996 BBC one. Second, the BBC documentary in 1996 was not
called "The Tomb that Dare Not Speak Its Name"; that was the title of the piece
in the Sunday Times the week before the documentary was aired. The documentary
was called, if I remember correctly, "The Body in Question" and it was part of
the regular BBC1 series presented by Joan Bakewell entitled Heart of the Matter. All best, Mark

I want to thank Mark for his kind correction. Mark is one of my favorite New Testament scholars out there these days--and his blog is at the top of my "favorites" list in my browser (and should be on yours as well). I'm quite humbled that he has graced these pages--and more than just a little embarrassed by the mistakes I made.

I've deleted the inaccurate post--I really do not want to risk confusing anybody else on this.

Thanks again, Mark.

For some other great Goodacre debunking, check out his important book, The Case Against Q: Studies in Markan Priority and the Synoptic Problem. Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2003.

Genesis to Jesus

For the past few years I've been involved with developing Bible study programs for the Saint Paul Center. The Center's overall Bible study program is called, Journey Through Scripture. The first bible study in that program is Genesis to Jesus, which I co-authored with Kimberly Hahn.

I'm so excited about this Bible study program. In seven weeks we go through the major covenants of salvation history: (1) Creation (2) Noah (3) Abraham (4) Moses (5) David (6) Jesus. Students here get the "big picture" of salvation history.

I like to tell people that the program gives you familiarity with the main highways which run through Scripture. Once you know those highways you are then able to get off and explore the surface streets of the various individual books of Scripture. So, for example, before you study 2 Chronicles, where we discover Solomon constructing the temple on mount Moriah (cf. 2 Chron 3:1), you'll want to know that Moriah was also the place where Abraham once sacrificed his son and where Abraham once said, "God will provide himself the lamb" (Genesis 22:8).

That's important. Knowing those big-picture things will help you when you're studying the book of Chronicles in detail--especially when you're studying the liturgical significance of the reigns of David and Solomon.

The program is also oriented towards the liturgy and the lectionary--those passages read together in the lectionary are often studied together throughout the program. So, for example, since the lectionary links Matthew 16 with Isaiah 22, when we get to Matthew 16 and Peter's role, we also turn to Isaiah 22.

There are visual aids, students notes--everything you would need to lead a bible study group. Of course, the Saint Paul Center has special training seminars for those who wish to present the material to others. For more information on the program, go here.

Genesis to Jesus is up on here (you can pre-order; it will be available later this month).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Discovery Distancing Itself From "Lost Tomb" Special

How do you know when a documentary has been discredited? When the network that ran it starts distancing itself from it.

And that's just what the Discovery Channel is apparently doing with the "Lost Tomb" special.

Discovery Channel's controversial James Cameron-produced documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" drew the largest audience for the network in more than a year on Sunday night, but the network has taken several recent steps to downplay the project.

Departing from normal procedures, the cable network didn't tout its big ratings win. The network also scheduled a last-minute special that harshly criticized its own documentary, and has yanked a planned repeat of "Tomb."

"This is not one where you necessarily beat the drum, from a business perspective," said David Leavy, executive VP of corporate communications at Discovery. "It's not necessarily about making money, or making ratings, or shouting from the highest office building. Sometimes having some maturity and perspective is more important than getting picked up in all the ratings highlights."

Read the rest.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vatican: New Papal Document Coming Next Week

The Vatican has announced that the long awaited Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation from the 2005 meeting of the bishops which addressed the Eucharist will be out one week from today (March 13).

The name of the document is Sacramentum Caritatis ("Sacrament of Love").

Of course, the most eagerly anticipated document is the rumored Motu Proprio in which the Pope is said to give approval to the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass. One might well expect that to be released not long after this Apostolic Exhortation.

Interestingly enough, March 21, the Monday of following the week, has some interesting history. Before the second Vatican Council's reform of the Roman Calendar, March 21, was the feast day of St. Benedict of Nursia. That would seem an appropriate day for Pope Benedict to release a document authorizing the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Mass.

However, one could probably find other "appropriate" days (e.g., Holy Thursday), so take that with a grain of salt.

Fr. Z is reporting on a letter which suggests that the Motu Proprio is going to come out before Easter. So perhaps think twice before reaching for too much salt. If the document is released prior to Holy Thursday, it would make it possible for people to experience the Easter Triduum in the Tridentine Rite.

The Early Church & the Four Gospels

Where did the early Church say that Gospels came from? Were they believed to be the product of some amorphous, anonymous, community-shaping process? After all, wasn't authorship a much more "fluid" notion in antiquity? Isn't it true that the early Church didn't really care what Jesus actually said--what mattered was the spirit of his teaching, right?
In his new book, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2006), Richard Bauckham does a masterful job answering these questions by simply highlighting the testimony of the early Church. I'm going to have a lot to say about this in the future, but I thought now would be a good time to bring some of this to the blog.

Papias on the significance of eyewitness testimony: “I shall not hesitate also to put into properly ordered form for you [singular] everything I learned carefully in the past from the elders and noted down well, for the truth of which I vouch. For unlike most people I did not enjoy those who have a great deal to say, but those who teach the truth. Nor did I enjoy those who recall someone else’s commandments, but those who remember the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and proceeding from the truth itself. And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I inquired about the words of the elder―[that is,] what [according to the elders] Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas or James, or John or Matthew or any of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John the Lord’s disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 3.39.3-4).

Papias on the authorship of the Gospels. "This also what the presbyter [John or Aristion] said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not indeed in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things done or said by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord's discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely. . . So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able." And the same writer uses testimonies from the first Epistle of John and from that of Peter likewise. And he relates another story of a woman, who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. These things we have thought it necessary to observe in addition to what has already been stated. (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.39.14-17)

Clement of Alexandia on the Gospels. "The Gospels containing the genealogies [i.e. Matthew and Luke], he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel." This is the account of Clement. (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 6.14.5-7).

St. Justin Martyr on the memoirs of the apostles. “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities on in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things” (First Apology, 67).

Irenaeus on the Gospels. "Matthew also issues a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church (ca. 60 A.D.). After their departure (ca. 60's A.D.), Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast (cf. John 19), did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia” (Against Heresies 3.1.1).

Jesus and the Restoration of the Davidic Kingdom (2.1.3. David & Israel's Vocation)

David not only completes the conquest and fulfills the Deuteronomic prescription for the temple, he also embodies the vocation Israel received at Sinai to be a “royal” and “priestly” nation (Exod 19:6) (cf. David's role as priest at the end of the last post in this series). Dumbrell concludes that “in the person of the king, the covenant demand contemplated for Israel in Ex. 19:3b-6, has been embodied. . .”[1] This “embodiment” is also reflected in the fact that the Davidic king is described as “the son of God” (2 Sam 7:14; 1 Chr 17:13; Ps 2:7; 89:26)—which also describes Israel’s relationship with God (Exod 4:22; Isa 1:2; Hos 11:1).[2]

In all of this we see how God’s promise to establish the Kingdom of David involved the partial fulfillment of other covenant traditions. God’s plans for the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants are partially realized through David. The important role of the Davidic covenant was not overlooked in the first century either, as we saw in the last section. God’s covenant with David was also important because, whereas God’s covenant at Sinai had been given conditionally, through the covenant with David God committed himself unconditionally to David. “In one sweeping assurance, the conditional ‘if’ of the Mosaic Torah (Exod 19:5-6) is overridden and David is made a vehicle and carrier of Yahweh’s unqualified grace in Israel.”[3] After Israel is taken away into exile, this promise serves a primary role in restoration hopes (cf. Ps. 89; Jer 33:25).
[1] W. J. Dumbrell, “The Davidic Covenant,” Reformed Theological Review 39 (1980), 46.
[2] Hahn, Kinship, 359: “[T]he king’s divine sonship may be seen as the perfection of the nation’s.”
[3] Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament, 605.