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Points To Ponder Lesson 1

#1 User is offline   drlmorris 

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:32 AM

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.
Instructor: Master of the Historical Jesus
Founder: The Historical Jesus Project
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#2 User is offline   graham 

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:15 AM

View Postdrlmorris, on Sep 24 2009, 03:32 PM, said:

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.

Lesson 1 - Points to Ponder Rev. Graham Louden

1. There are many striking differences between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John both as regards structure, content and underlying philosophy. The three synoptic gospels offer a more millenarian approach which suggests that the Kingdom of God may be imminent and that believers must relate to Jesus as Teacher and Healer as depicted in early Christian preaching. The synoptics also seem to reflect certain episodes in the development of the early church in that Matthew may well have been intended for a mixed Jewish-Christian community, perhaps located in Syria, Mark suggests a Roman origin and the background of a suffering community in the 60's, whilst Luke gives the imression of a Gentile author based in a city context with a Jewish-Gentile mix of rich and poor. All three, however, deal with Jesus as Saviour and Prophet and stress his humanity and his concern for marginalised groups and the oppressed. They all provide, to a greater or lesser extent, a survey of the life of Jesus from infancy through to the Passion and Resurrection although Matthew is a much longer book which contains extended discourses, unlike Mark. John's Gospel, however, has a uniform style and omits much of the core content of the other gospels including the baptism of Jesus and the parables. Instead, he concentrates on miracles and discourses such as The Marriage at Cana and the Discourse with Nicodemus which do not appear elsewhere. Where there is correlation between the Synoptics and John, it often seems that John's version is an abbreviated summation of the first three. Parables are referred to only obliquely and even such momentous events as the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer are absent from John suggesting, perhaps, that he assumed that such important messages were already adequately covered and chronicled and that it was appropriate to move on to a more exegitical approach for a new generation of believer and discourses such as The Gift of Peace, the Promise of the Paraclete and The Intercessory Prayer would seem to bear out this interpretation. John's message seems more didactic and hermeneutic than the Synoptics as if directed to a more sophisticated congregation who are ready to receive a more intellectual message. These differences may be explained by a later Hellenistic provenance, possibly the 80's or 90's, around Ephesus which had had the benefit of the ministrations of Aquila and Priscilla decades earlier and a long sojourn there by Paul in the 50's. John would have had access to a wide variety of oral and writen sources at this time although there is still debate amongst biblical scholars as to whether the author of John knew the Synoptics and used them as sources. Two decades is, however, a long time in the development of an nascent religious movement and location would also have an important influence upon the intellectual factors that impinged upon John's mindset, such as the Hellenistic tradition and the susceptibility to rival creeds such a Gnosticism.

2. Many would suggest that Mark is the most reliable source for the words and deeds of Jesus as modern scholars maintain that Mark is the earliest gospel which provides much of the narrative material, and framework, for Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke also added material from a collection of saying, possibly written in Aramaic, which are usually referred to a Q (Quelle) or Logia. Mark, therefore, would seem to be closest to the events of the life of Jesus but this does not necessarily guarantee greater accuracy or reliability as the 'second generation' scribe is often in a better position to access further sources and to subject them to a more critical scrutiny which may be unlikely in the case of the 'naive' chroniclers who are unable to distance themselves from the events they seek to record and apply some sort of 'historical method' to their task.

3. The phrase 'Messianic secret' refers to the impression given, in Mark especially, that Jesus does not care to broadcast or expatiate on the nature of this role and the theology in Mark seems balanced between success as exemplified in Jesus' teaching and failure as in the Passion. It may be that he did not wish to stress this role because expectation of a Messiah were the subject of fevered speculation at the time and took many forms. Jesus needed to adapt his message to the context of the times and to bear in mind the ability of his followers to accept a revolutionary and startling philosophy. He may also have felt that his followers, including his closest disciples, would have found it difficult to embrace the notion of a 'suffering' Messiah when so much of the prevailing rhetoric stressed victory from oppression and servitude brought about by a mythical paramilitary saviour. Jesus prefers to use the title 'Son of Man' to stress his heavenly enthronement rather than the title 'Christos' which involved so many varied and multi-cultural expectations.
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#3 User is offline   george1957 

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:44 PM

View Postdrlmorris, on Sep 24 2009, 11:32 AM, said:

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.


1. You can clearly define the great number of differences between the Synoptic Gospels and John's version. As stated in the lesson, there is much bias in each version because, as stated, each (Mark, Matthew, Luke) added and may have omitted statements. Matthew and Luke definitely used much of what Mark wrote and then expounded upon it, whether by experience or to satisfy the masses. John, on the other hand, omitted much of what was stated previously and added what he thought was important. As time goes by, remembering actual facts become clouded so by not writing until the 80's or 90's John may not have had a clear "picture" of past events and therefore wrote on things he could remember.

2. Mark is definitely the most accurate canonical gospel because it was written closest to the time of Jesus. Matthew and Luke incorporated Mark's writings into their own.

3. The Messianic Secret was a vision or impression viewed by the pursecuted Jews. The Old Testament kept stating that the Messiah was coming and the "fever" was there to declare someone as the Messiah. Jesus was well aware of this and did not want to draw that kind of attention to himself. He goal was to teach the Word of God (His Word) to anyone and everyone without causing mass hysteria or conflicts. He promoted Love and Peace, as the Son of God, which would not have been maintained if He declared himself as the Messiah.
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#4 User is offline   Wync 

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 09:35 AM

Master of Historical Jesus
Lesson One: Points to Ponder by Victor Robinson-Yarber

1. The reason John’s gospel is written so differently than any of the synoptic gospels can be, most likely, attributed to the difference in agenda and perhaps a difference in access. If Mark’s gospel is based on the oral narrative of an actual disciple (Peter) of Jesus, then it is more of a transcription of someone’s firsthand knowledge and experience; and therefore, would read more like a memoir/biography than anything else. This would provide for a less imposing or forceful narrative. Matthew and Luke, in trying to stay true to this narrative would have followed suit in going about telling the story of Jesus.

However, the assertiveness of John’s gospel indicates that it may have been written more to persuade and convince. During that time, there were many different sects of Christians. John’s gospel may have been written to establish and distinguish its followers from others by leaving no doubt or question of the divinity of Jesus Christ. This narrative does not necessarily rely on someone relaying their firsthand experience but rather taking what has been established as common knowledge and bolstering it with assertions that lend itself to a narrative that is more rooted doctrine than history.


2. Mark’s gospel would definitely have to be the most accurate because of his access to one of Jesus’ disciples. As others rewrite his gospel with mixed parts of other gospels, it is highly likely that the firsthand story received from Peter gets diluted to a certain degree in the process.

3. The Messianic Secret is said to be when Jesus told people not to tell who he was. However, I would like to study this more because, so far, this is in the synoptic gospels. If this claim’s only source are these gospels, then that would mean that it all came from Mark, who claims he heard this from Peter. Perhaps, Jesus never said this but because he was a great teacher, performer of miracles and taught revolutionary ideas of peace and a heavenly kingdom, many believed him to be the Messiah. This is not to say that he wasn’t. He could have also known that he was not the Messiah in regards to what the Jewish elites were looking for and just decided to share his message to those who would receive it.
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#5 User is offline   rev c watson 

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:25 AM

Why do you think John’s gospel was written so differently than any of the other synoptic gospels?

All four gospels present Jesus as both the Son of God and son of man. All recorded his baptism( John 1, Mark 1, Luke 3, and Mathew 3), the feeding of the 5,000 from five loaves and two fish(Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6), Mary's anointing of Jesus (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12), his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane(John 18, Matthew 26, Luke 22, and Mark 14), his betrayal, trial, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. However, each writer does so in a slightly different way, recording additional details or emphasizing one aspect more than the others.

John wanted to show Jesus before he was man, that he was in fact the Son of God. John emphasizes the fact of Jesus' humanity, desiring to show the Gnostic's of that period the error of their ways, whom did not believe in Christ’s humanity (Docetism). His gospel spells out his overall purpose for writing: John 19;1-42 with emphasis to 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. , John 20:30-31 “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”. John has adopted the “post-resurrection” point of view. He looks back on the events and emphasizes the inability of the apostles to understand the things that were happening in their true perspective at the time they occurred. It is only possible for us to understand these things when we consider the resurrection of Jesus and its significance in God’s plan.

It is very possible that the book of John was written as eluded to in lesson 1, as a structure created by the later church. However, a case can be made for the misdating of the gospel of John , as well as Mathew, Mark,and Luke. What I find to be significant is, that none of the gospels mention the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., they do however mention the temple itself in: (Luke 21;6, “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” Mathew 24;1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. Mark 13;1 As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”. One would think that something as significant as the Temple being destroyed would be recorded by such diligent writers. In John 5:2 it is written "Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda, and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades." This pool was rediscovered by archaeologists in the late 1800's. It had been buried in debris since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. It proved to have 5 colonnades just as it was described in the fourth Gospel. And lastly, He cleansed the Temple twice, John 2;19, and the accounts in the synoptic, all of these accounts , and the Temple was still erect.

There are numerous things that were included and excluded from John’s gospel that it differs from the synoptic gospels. Writers have different writing styles, an example; Tolstoy compared to Twain, were miles apart in writing styles (Genre). If the scribe had access to the other works we will possibly never know, but it still wouldn’t mean there was any diabolical plan to deceive for the good of the early church. Maybe the fourth gospel is an accurate account, wouldn't that be a kick in the head to the naysayers.

Which canonical gospel do I think is the most historically accurate in reporting the words and deeds of Jesus?

Mathew, my belief is that the early church was correct when they established that Mathew was the earliest written gospel, and that Mathew was a direct disciple of Jesus.

What was the Messianic Secret and why do you think that Jesus wanted to keep a low profile in regards to his possible identity as the messiah?

The Messianic expectations of 1st century Palestine were probably erroneous at best, because of wide spread illiteracy. I don’t believe people understood the mention of the suffering servant in: (Isaiah 53), they were looking for the king to come and rid them of Roman domination. He had to keep his identity hidden so that he would not encourage these incomplete expectations and bring upon himself the wrath of the Roman government before the appointed time of his crucifixion.

Enjoy your next 24, PEACE!
Rev C Watson
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#6 User is offline   Heidi Jury 

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:49 AM

View Postdrlmorris, on 24 September 2009 - 11:32 AM, said:

Please enter your answers to the questions given in this lesson here.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT0SWt6daXE


Quote

"And [Jesus] asked them, "But whom do you say that I am?"  Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him."
- The Gospel according to Mark 8:29-30


As a musician, I am more familiar with issues of theology in music than in the seminary.  I thus began my study this week of the Historical Jesus as Messiah with Handel's famous Oratorio, "The Messiah".  Coincidentally, Handel's "Messiah" was first performed in Dublin on this day, April 13, 1742.  Like its namesake, Handel's "Messiah" has gradually transformed itself from the human into the Divine by moving from the concert hall (where it was first performed to a secular audience) into the churches (where it is regularly performed at Christmas and Easter).  By recording my own song from Handel's great work, I acknowledge that although the Historical Jesus may have commanded that no one be told about him, the Church no longer follows this instruction as musical proclamations of "The Messiah" are so often performed and well-loved!

Studying the Bible as literature is also familiar to me and I am especially grateful to the late J Rufus Fears in this arena.  Prof. Fears speaks of the Gospel of John as one of the books that can change your life in his course, "Life Lessons from the Great Books".  Studying this, it is not really surprising that Jesus, as protagonist, would want to keep his identity as the Christ (Greek for "Messiah") a secret....For as Prof Fears says, "Now he is claiming to be the Messiah and that quite simply is blasphemy....and that is a crime under Jewish Law punishable by death."  No easy destiny to be a Messiah!   The Gospel of John, of course, differs from the synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, in that Jesus IS willing to be known as the Messiah right from the beginning of the book.  This is different, especially from Mark, considered to be the "oldest" gospel (thus possibly the most "historically accurate" gospel?), and also one of the sources for Matthew and Luke.  The Gospel of John as literature illustrates not only a glorious Messiah but also one who provides wine at the wedding at Cana and feeds the multitudes as the "Bread of Life". 

Moving finally to history, I learned from Bart D. Ehrman that Jesus may have wanted to keep his identity as the Messiah secret because of the mismatch of the expectations of the Jews (who were looking for the Messiah as conquering King who would free the Jews from Rome) versus Jesus' coming destiny of dying on a cross as a common criminal.  In his course "The New Testament" Ehrman reveals: "The Messiah was supposed to overthrow God's enemies and so bring in God's Kingdom.  Jesus, on the other hand, was crucified.  How could he be the Messiah?"  This crucial point of the story has always highlighted the importance of sacrificial leadership in organizational culture for me.  Jesus, "The Messiah", transformed the criteria required to be King! 

Most importantly in my view, Jesus asking his disciples to keep his true identity secret in Mark's gospel is significant because it remains unofficially defined and still a mystery of history - despite 2000 years of Christian history attempting to nail it down.  Every time we disagree on the nature of Jesus ("historical" or otherwise) we create a new "brand" of church - a creative force even to this day!  The question, "Who do you say that I am?" still needs to be discerned by each person who comes to it.  It is perhaps the definition of a Messiah, who "feeds his flock", like Handel's text from Isaiah 40:11 in the alto solo above, that resonates most with me.  On this Maundy Thursday, as I go to St. Peter's to partake in the new "Mandate" of "Love one another as I have loved you" (Gospel of John 13: 34-35), with the washing of the feet, and the shared meal, I am most grateful for a Messiah that is self-giving rather than all-powerful.
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