Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What the gezornenblat was Jesus thinking?

Ezekial's Tomb at Kifel,the area was inhabited...Image of Yeḥezqe’l’s tomb via Wikipedia
Greetings.

Jewish date:  20 Ṭeveth 5770 (Parashath Shemoth).

Today’s holiday:  Epiphany (Christianity, Gregorian Calendar).

Topic 1:  “Reports: Iraq De-Judaizing Ezekiel's Tomb”:  Hint to the Muslims:  Destroying evidence does not change facts.  There were Jews in what is now Iraq centuries before the rise of Islam, and nothing is going to change that.

Topic 2:  Other religious oppression:  “Algerian Muslims Block Christmas Service” and “Beijing imposes harsh sentences on Tibetan monks and lama”.

Topic 3:  As I have noted previously, I am working my way through the New Testament in the original Koinē Greek, and yesterday I ran across a passage which is totally baffling.  Thus is it written in Mark 12:18-27 (KJV translation with extra punctuation and annotation given here):

Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, “Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.  Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.  And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.  And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.  In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.” 
And Jesus answering said unto them, “Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?  For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.  And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ (Exodus 3:6)?  He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.”
To be blunt, Jesus’s answer makes no sense.  The Sadducees’ question deals with levirate marriage and the Resurrection:  which of one’s spouses in life does one have at the Resurrection.  Jesus claims that there is no marriage at the Resurrection.  But his prooftext is irrelevant.  Despite Jesus’s claims, Exodus 3:6 is part of a section dealing with the Exodus from Egypt, not the Resurrection.  Furthermore, Jesus gives no reason to infer that YHWH is the god of the living only, nor does he connect this to the Resurrection, nor does he explain how this passage somehow proves that there will be no marriage at the Resurrection.

While Jesus in general is presented in the Gospels as being such a poor exegete that his opponents’ arguments have to be omitted to make him look good, this passage has gaping holes of logic wide enough to drive a herd of camels through.  The question is how to understand this passage.  The simplest alternative, assuming this event really occurred, is that Jesus had no real answer and bluffed, and anything the Sadducees said back to him was not recorded.  However, I cannot a priori exclude the possibility that Jesus’s answer really was meant as a serious answer.  But if it was, then there are unstated assumptions, perhaps left out by scribal error, to bridge the chasm between Exodus 3:6 and no marriage at the Resurrection.  If anyone has any idea what these unstated assumptions are, please let me know.


Topic 4:  Today’s religious humor:  “Cat Spilleth Over”.
funny pictures of cats with captions
This seems to be a reference to Psalms 23:5.

Peace.

Aaron
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