Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire

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Posts 292
Charlene | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Apr 12 2018 4:38 AM

This book is a Pre-Pub that I have had on order and it is almost ready for release. I had assumed that this would be a good book, as it would give interesting background/cultural information BUT  I now have a question about it, since I am not familiar with the author.

This is the beginning description on the Logos website: "When Jesus of Nazareth began proclaiming the kingdom of God early in the first century, he likely had no intention of starting a new religion, especially one that included former pagans. Yet a new religion did eventually develop."

So, does this mean that the author's take on it is that Jesus appeared talking about the Kingdom of God, with the purpose that those who believed His message would just become part of the Kingdom of God?

OR

Is he saying that this man Jesus just appeared talking about God's Kingdom and "Oops," people just started following Him and before you know it, there is this new religion?

If it is the first one, then yes, Jesus DID know that former pagans would be part of it, as He said that there were "other sheep" besides the Jews.

If it is the second one, then he is saying that Jesus was not God and it was a mistake?

I just want to be sure that I am reading this right.

Thanks!

Posts 682
Kevin A Lewis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2018 5:00 AM

My understanding is that this author likely manage biblical studies academics are working from a humanist understanding of history and the development of religion. I may be wrong here but what I have seen of Paul B. Duff's institution (George Washington University in Washington, DC), this is very likely. So I reckon he is say the second of your options.

Shalom

Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2018 8:54 AM

Charlene:

This book is a Pre-Pub that I have had on order and it is almost ready for release. I had assumed that this would be a good book, as it would give interesting background/cultural information BUT  I now have a question about it, since I am not familiar with the author.

This is the beginning description on the Logos website: "When Jesus of Nazareth began proclaiming the kingdom of God early in the first century, he likely had no intention of starting a new religion, especially one that included former pagans. Yet a new religion did eventually develop."

So, does this mean that the author's take on it is that Jesus appeared talking about the Kingdom of God, with the purpose that those who believed His message would just become part of the Kingdom of God?

OR

Is he saying that this man Jesus just appeared talking about God's Kingdom and "Oops," people just started following Him and before you know it, there is this new religion?

If it is the first one, then yes, Jesus DID know that former pagans would be part of it, as He said that there were "other sheep" besides the Jews.

If it is the second one, then he is saying that Jesus was not God and it was a mistake?

I just want to be sure that I am reading this right.

Thanks!

I tend to agree with him that Jesus never for one moment thought he was starting a "new religion". However, I vehemently disagree with him that Jesus never envisaged Gentiles being part of the Kingdom. The belief that there would be a great influx of Gentile converts into the Kingdom in the End Times is a fairly common belief in Second Temple Judaism. Indeed, it is practically ubiquitous. The only thing that they disagreed over was exactly  when it would take place. Would it take place before the beginning of the Messianic Reign? Or, would it take place after the Messianic Reign? However that question was answered, the point is clear: all Jews believed that the Gentile world would be finally converted to monotheism, that is, belief in the One True God. 

As part of the commonality of this belief about the large scale influx of Gentile converts at the End Time was how the Kingdom was understood in Second Temple Judaism and what it signified. Everywhere the idea is found during this period, the Kingdom was understood to be a world-wide community, a place where Idolatry has finally been ended and completely eradicated, and where everyone is finally converted to monotheism. It is clear then, that by its very nature, such a belief implies the conversion of Gentiles. Therefore, whenever Jesus is to be found talking about the Citizen's Charter for the Kingdom, and whenever he is to be found outlining the Manifesto of the Citizens of the Kingdom, he is also to be found expecting these things to apply to every person in the world - both Jew and Gentile alike.

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 292
Charlene | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2018 12:43 PM

That is my perspective as well. Thank you both for taking the time to respond!

Posts 247
Gary Osborne | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2018 1:56 PM

Any discussion of Jesus that even slightly implies He didn't know exactly what was to come - in any way, shape or form - is completely incompatible with Him being God.  I understand we discuss things, at times, from a human linear perspective, but it's a slippery slope whenever we suggest Jesus didn't know every single aspect of what the end result of His earthly ministry would be.

Posts 292
Charlene | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2018 10:44 PM

Gary Osborne:
Any discussion of Jesus that even slightly implies He didn't know exactly what was to come - in any way, shape or form - is completely incompatible with Him being God.  I understand we discuss things, at times, from a human linear perspective, but it's a slippery slope

Preach it, brother!

Posts 958
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 12 2018 11:57 PM

Whereas I am not interested in arguing with anyone on this issue, I am always wary about being adamant on any issue involving what we call the trinity. We are far too eager to "put God in a box" at times. We are inclined to forget that He did not present us with a systematic theology within the pages of scripture and that perhaps we should exert rather more humility in our pronouncements about what the members of the Godhead can and can't do. Yep, and I am at least as guilty as anyone else!!

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