Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Essays online

A number of my essays and articles are now available on-line through my University web-page.

New Testament

'On the Life and Death of Joseph of Arimathea', Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 2 (2004), 29-53.

Old Testament

Reception History

'When is a Jew Not a Jew? Adventures of a 1st Century Pharisee in 4th Century Antioch and Constantinople', in M-L Luxemburg (ed.), Proceedings of the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, Vol. 10 (September 2005-August 2006) (Bath: Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, 2007).

Charismatic Hermeneutics

'The Gamaliel Principle,' in The Mark of the Spirit' A Charismatic Critique of the Toronto Blessing (ed. L.K Pietersen; Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1998), 92-121.

'The Fourth Wave and the Approaching Millennium: Some Problems with Charismatic Hermeneutics,' Anvil 15 (1998) 169-80.


At 3:09 am, Blogger Leon said...

I have read your essay on Gamaliel's statement. I realize that not everything there represents your opinion, as you are discussing the works of other writers, but there is a fundamental flaw in these positive and negative approaches (or liberal and conservative) because these interpretations are being offered through the lens of Christian theology — i.e., they are using this theology to understand Gamaliel and the Pharisees. Christian scholars approach this with a theological understanding of Jesus' mission and then they manipulate the evidence about Pharisees to fit their conclusions. (Just the idea of speaking of whether Gamaliel is saved by his opinion makes me shudder a bit.)

If I recall, nowhere in your essay did you cite the 3 instances in Luke where Pharisees invite Jesus to dinner (7:36, 11:37, 14:1). (If I am mistaken about that, I apologize.) Nor did you note that Luke 16:14 (the Pharisees were lovers of money) is either a gross error made by Luke or a later emendation of his text because it was the Sadducees who had the reputation of being lovers of money. Sadducees even mocked the Pharisees for their poverty.

Christian scholars never ask themselves: What if I approached this without my theology? Who were the Pharisees in their own right and not through Christian eyes? In any other field, this would be the right approach. Also, in other fields, scholars have a fair amount of love for their subject. The subject here is ancient Jewish culture of the 1st century. The great majority of Christian scholars have no love or feeling for it. Most treat Jewish culture with a fair amount of condescension — as if the Pharisees had no meaning apart from Christian concerns — and ignore the great accomplishments of the Pharisees (concern for due process and constitutional government). This is no way to treat any culture.

Until all Christian theology is removed from the study of ancient Jewish culture, the evidence about the Pharisees will never be properly understood. And Gamaliel's statement will always be bent to fit theology instead of being understood in its own context.

Leon Zitzer


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