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Switch to Forum Live View Son of Man: History and/or Culture
6 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2009 - 9:42AM #1
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
Other threads have looked at "Son of Man" in 1 Enoch and II Esdras (intertestimental books) and their possible cultural influence on the authors of Mark and Matthew, according to recent Origins Seminar votes.  It is interesting to note the richness of the usage of the phrase in the gospels beyond the righteous-judge-to-come, seen only in visions, found in these other works.  Like I've said elsewhere, it's almost like the gospel writers are saying to the culture, "You got it wrong.  Our guy was and is the Son of Man."  I've arranged the references in categories, as per work I did some years ago.

I went back to the Jesus Seminar's Five Gospels and Acts of Jesus to look at their voting on the Son of Man references.  Two sayings were rated as probably historical, but none of the future-coming-judge variety.   

*Means the passage has parallels in other gospels

Colors = the votes of the Jesus Seminar (Pink/Red = likely an historical memory of a saying or event, Gray = community interpretation of a possible historical memory, Black = community opinion only)

Life Circumstances:
The Son of Man is homeless: Mt *8:20
[PINK, .74, son of man = humanity or self-reference]
The Son of Man rejects ascetic living: Mt *11:19 [GRAY]

Public Ministry:
The Son of Man forgives sins on earth
Mk *2:10-11 [BLACK]
The Son of Man is the authority for sabbath observance
*Mk 2:27-28 [PINK, .55, son of man = humanity]
The Son of Man came in the role of servant
Mk *10:45 [GRAY]
The Son of Man Gives Life to Those Who Believe in Him
Jn 3:15, 6:27, 6:53; 9:35-37 [Black]
The Son of Man and Peter's Confession
Mt *16:13 (cf. Mk 8:31, Lk 9:22) [Black]
The Son of Man and Saving the Lost
Lk 19:10 (cf. Mt 18:11) [Black]

The Son of Man Dies and Lives:
Betrayed
Mk *14:21, *14:41[Black]
Tortured and Killed
Mk *8:31, *9:12, *9:31, *10:33-34 [Black]
Mt 26:2 [Black]
Lk 24:7 [Black]
Buried
Mt 12:40 (cf. Lk 11:29-30)
Lifted Up (crucified)
Jn 3:14, 8:28, 12:34 [Black]
Raised
Mk *8:31, *9:9, *9:31, *10:34 [Black]
Lk 24:7 [Black]

Son of Man Glorified:
In Crucifixion
Jn 12:23, 13:31 [Black]
In Future Coming
Mk *8:38, *13:26 [Black]

The Life of the Christian Community:
The Son of Man followers are persecuted
Lk *6:22 [Gray]
The Son of Man and blaspheming theHoly Spirit
Mt *12:31-32 [Black]
The Son of Man and Interpreting the Sower
Mt 13:37-41 [Black]

The Son of Man will come in the future:
Mk *8:38-9:1, *13:26-27, *14:61-62 [Black]
Mt 10:23 [Black], *24:27 [Gray], *24:37-39, *24:44, 25:31 [Black]
Lk 17:22 [Gray], 18:8, 21:36 [Black]
Jn 5:27-28 [Black]

The Son of Man presides at the final judgment:
Mk *8:38 [Black]
Mt  13:41-42, 19:28 (cf. Lk 22:28-30), 25:31-32, (cf. *10:32-33) [Black]
Jn 5:27-28 [Black]

The Son of Man: More Visions:
Jn 1:51, 3:13, 6:62 [Black]
Rev 1:12-13, 14:14 [no vote]
Acts 7:55-56 [no vote]



Gene
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2009 - 9:57AM #2
PeterKane
Posts: 63
Gene:  So much of discussions about apocalyptic and son of man issues centers on why we don't think that way any more.  Well, sure.  A lot of us would find 1 Enoch quaint, though fewer church goers would find related themes in the canon also quaint.  We often don't ask ourselves what was the underlying meaning of apocalyptic style.

I have been reading Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, and a line about apocalyptic thinking in midieval Europe jumped out at me.  Mann was talking about what was different in Europe compared to other societies at that time, and he talked about the great leveling effect of apocalyptic thinking.  While in one sense the church supported the stratification of society, there always was an egalitarian pull in the other direction.  And he associated it with apocalyptic, and the leveling language of coming judgement and everyone ultimately paying their dues.  And it made a difference in how the society functioned ecomonically.

1 Enoch certainly functioned this way, though the emphasis on the righteous gets more than a little overbearing there.  It surely was about power and how society functioned. To me, when we get past the science and worldview agruments, Mark seems egailtarian without becoming overbearing on the righteousness scale in his use of apocalyptic.  It is not different from endless arguing about the virgin birth, but never getting around to thinking what the story might mean.

Peter
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2009 - 9:57AM #3
PeterKane
Posts: 63
Gene:  So much of discussions about apocalyptic and son of man issues centers on why we don't think that way any more.  Well, sure.  A lot of us would find 1 Enoch quaint, though fewer church goers would find related themes in the canon also quaint.  We often don't ask ourselves what was the underlying meaning of apocalyptic style.

I have been reading Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, and a line about apocalyptic thinking in midieval Europe jumped out at me.  Mann was talking about what was different in Europe compared to other societies at that time, and he talked about the great leveling effect of apocalyptic thinking.  While in one sense the church supported the stratification of society, there always was an egalitarian pull in the other direction.  And he associated it with apocalyptic, and the leveling language of coming judgement and everyone ultimately paying their dues.  And it made a difference in how the society functioned ecomonically.

1 Enoch certainly functioned this way, though the emphasis on the righteous gets more than a little overbearing there.  It surely was about power and how society functioned. To me, when we get past the science and worldview agruments, Mark seems egailtarian without becoming overbearing on the righteousness scale in his use of apocalyptic.  It is not different from endless arguing about the virgin birth, but never getting around to thinking what the story might mean.

Peter
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2009 - 10:19PM #4
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
You're right Peter, apocalyptic is a way of leveling the playing field, and it's spectacular, ultimate and final, as well. 

In a funny/serious vein, I remember hearing a pastor ask his congregation in a sermon, in effect, "Would you try to be as good if you didn't have the hope of Jesus coming again and the threat of being sent to hell in the final judgment?"

I think that parables can also be a field leveling tool.

Gene
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6 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2009 - 11:44PM #5
PeterKane
Posts: 63
Gene:  It seems to me that in Mark there is a sort of apocalyptic gentleness.  True, in Mark 13 there are the wars, and earthquakes, and pray to avoid winter flight.  But on the other hand there is the centurian who gets it, and the anointing woman to be remembered where ever the gospel is preached.  That is not apocalyptic in the same sense as all the righteous carrying on in 1 Enoch.  I liked your comment about the gospels modifying the apocalyptic and son of man themes.

Peter
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2009 - 4:11PM #6
MisterC
Posts: 1,865

Uh, what exactly does this "Levi" (oh what a wonderful pseudonym!) bunk have to do with the Jesus Seminar or the quest for the Historical Jesus? You led me to a website, not of a book of antiquity but some kind of mongrelized mutated modern "age of acquirius" stuff?


This, Bob, is the kind of problems Westar can find associated with its name and symbols, if people like the one on F.Book are given full reign to use these things. In fact, the precedent has been set. What about a Westar shrine to Odin? Loki is one of my favorites, you know. He tricked Balder with mistletoe and killed him, while his daughter Hel played with her snake Jorgamund (sic) in the abode of the dead! You know that's gospel. Denny Eusebius said it!!!


 


(Incidentally, "age of aquirius" was a pun. I was being a tad frivolous with the webpage.)

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2009 - 4:32PM #7
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,964

Mar 25, 2009 -- 4:11PM, MisterC wrote:


Uh, what exactly does this "Levi" (oh what a wonderful pseudonym!) bunk have to do with the Jesus Seminar or the quest for the Historical Jesus? You led me to a website, not of a book of antiquity but some kind of mongrelized mutated modern "age of acquirius" stuff?


This, Bob, is the kind of problems Westar can find associated with its name and symbols, if people like the one on F.Book are given full reign to use these things. In fact, the precedent has been set. What about a Westar shrine to Odin? Loki is one of my favorites, you know. He tricked Balder with mistletoe and killed him, while his daughter Hel played with her snake Jorgamund (sic) in the abode of the dead! You know that's gospel. Denny Eusebius said it!!!


 


(Incidentally, "age of aquirius" was a pun. I was being a tad frivolous with the webpage.)




But Dennis, as you just said in the other thread, "there is no Historical Jesus" so mythology is all we have to play with. :-)


And I see the mission of the Jesus Seminar to bring that piece of wisdom to the masses sitting in the pews. The pewsitters need to stop focusing on the mythology as historical and concentrate on the message as told through mythology.


 


 


 

Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 25, 2009 - 4:44PM #8
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
[/quote]


Funny. He's passing off this either parody or delusion as an actual gospel.


I've never seen anything like bringing wisdom to the pewsitters as listed as one of the goals of the JS... It is to disseminate scholarly information in a way that is accessible to the general population. I don't consider a "pew sitter" to be part of the general population! True, a majority of people in the states are interested in religion, but I doubt that a majority sit in pews on a weekly basis!


Dennis

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2009 - 6:24PM #9
MisterC
Posts: 1,865

Mar 25, 2009 -- 8:01PM, Lightweight wrote:


If one cannot talk about the topic, Son of Man, why post it as a topic of discussion?




"Son of Man" doesn't refer to someone on the Internet ranting, "I am a Christian visionary with Jewish ancestry and I have been appointed the Son of Man prophesy bearer for the new æon dawning upon us, the Age of Aquarius.* I have been sent to explain in plain language what the "Son of Man" spiritual concept actually means. In that process Christianity will be redefined setting the spiritual template for our New Age." (from the "Gospel of Humanity")


The term refers to the gospel's use of it, the historical Jesus's use of it and the early Church's understanding of it, not modern delusions of (sigh) of yet another redefiner of a spiritual template.

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2009 - 1:53PM #10
MisterC
Posts: 1,865

In other words, you just proselytize. Christianity is good, I suppose, for minds, gnostic or otherwise,  which cling to fairy tales. The "son of God," though, is a term used to mean a variety of concepts, from basically just being an Israelite, to being a king of Israel, or in later texts, a heavenly being. In post-biblical Judaism it meant a just man. In the hellenistic world, it meant a demi-god. It turns out that most don't believe that it, as a self-description, was used by the historical Jesus. It was used by characters the gospeleers created to reference him.


Proselytizing and not appreciating the work of scholars puts you into a very undesirable category, similar to Oral Roberts, the late but not so great Jerry Falwell, and Pat "God'll get you" Robertson. Not very intelligent company to keep, methinks!


 

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