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November 09, 2009


Brother Bartimaeus

Thanks as always for this. I love it when you provide such historical detail (I've recently read Wylen's book at the suggestion from your site). I am currently reading Andre Trocme's Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution, which argues that Jesus used the language of the Jubilee in calling forth the coming Kingdom. Your mention of the rebels burning the archives because they hold debt records is very interesting in this context, as this would play into Jesus' call. Eliminate the records and all debts are cancelled and the land would revert to the original owner... two observances of the Jubilee year.

I think that Wylen said the Christians were on the sidelines during the Roman-Jewish War. If the rebels were making the Jubilee a reality, it makes me wonder how independent Christians really were or at least if the gospel writers were sympathetic. ... But the rebels methods were not by very nonviolent, so maybe not!

I guess I now have to add Myers' Binding the Strong Man to my long reading list.

John, an unlikely pastor

Your last 3 paragraphs are the best.

You are so right to say that even if we don't view them apocalyptic texts as Good News they are Good News. The are Gospel news because they help us see God's coming intervention. When we white wash the apocalyptice dimension of Jesus' teaching we miss the full breadth and depth of his coming. He came because of our great need for God's transformative action.

John Petty

Bro Bart, Ched Myers argues that one of Mark's motivations is to stop Christians from signing up with the rebels. See also John Yoder on the Jubilee year.

John, thanks for your visit and the kind words. I'll be checking out your blog.

Brother Bartimaeus

Thanks for the suggestions! Yoder's already on my list, but I think I may read Myers next. Hopefully someone will post it on Paperback Swap! Looks like it's got a great overview of the context surrounding Mark. However, it figures I'd find out about it at the end of the year of Mark!

As for the text, I find it interesting that Mark uses a parallel in this story and the preceding one on the widow. First Jesus notices something, then sits opposite and critiques the situation. It makes me wonder if Jesus is also castigating the grandiosity of the temple, just as he did the priests in the following story. I'm reminded of Jesus' comment to the Samaritan woman that the time has come not to worship the Father in Jerusalem, but in spirit and truth. God no longer resides there, as his spring wells within us all now.

On a side note, Wikipedia says the Roman legion camped on the Mount of Olives during the seige of Jerusalem. This is the vantage point Jesus uses for this critIque. Foreshadowing by Mark or just convenient geography as it's on the way to Bethany?

John Petty

Interesting comment, Bart. I'm storing in my cranium for future reference.

Speaking of the end of the church year, do you know of any good commentaries on Luke?

Brother Bartimaeus

Me? I hope you don't think that I know what I'm talking about, as I'm just making it up as I go along. Plus, I was going to ask you the same thing! The only thing on Luke in my meager collection is Barclay, as I've only been seriously doing bible study for about a year.

However, I am a research librarian, so perhaps I'll do a little investigating.

John Petty

Well, I need to bone up on Luke and my resources as rather thin. I have Tannehill and Schweizer, but frankly don't care for Schweizer that much.

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Such a fun idea.*

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