I recently did an interview with John Shuck on the radio show/podcast progressive spirit, also on youtube about my book “All Things in Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians.” I hope you enjoy it.
Me and Steven Hays have been going at it over a couple posts, and we’re kind of going in circles and I feel like the points are being lost, so I’m going to focus on the main points here. The main points in this dialogue are, in my opinion, what was Jesus’ claim that his enemies were responding to, and how did Jesus reply to their accusations.
Steven sees an allusion to the Shema in John 10:30, I don’t, in fact I don’t see any evidence whatsoever for an allusion to the Shema, the only word that is the same is the word “one” and John 10:30 uses a different form of that word. Therefore, I’m going to ask Steve Hays again, what evidence is there that Jesus is alluding to the Shema, here is John 10:30:
It looks like the debate between me and Steve Hays over John 10:30–36 is still going on. He replied to my post which was a response to a response of a criticism of an exegesis. I think this debate is important, not only for Christology—but also for how we do exegesis. You’ll see that both me and Steve Hays have different approaches to exegesis, it’s up to you do decide which one is more consistent and faithful to the text. In this response I’m going to focus on the issues of the Shema in John 10:30, and the actual exegesis of John 10:34–36, the rest of the post (John 1, the concept of messiahship, and so on) I’ll deal with in the comment section so as to keep this debate on subject.
On the Shema in John 10:30 Hays says:
I would argue that the best summation of Christian ethics is found in the sermon on the plain in Luke 6:20–49. What I love about the sermon on the plain is just how radical it seems on the surface, it seems almost impossible; however, when you think about what it’s saying, and think about it deeply—it makes sense. Probably my favorite example of this is found in Luke 6:34–35 (NRSV):
If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
I’ve made the connection earlier in this blog between Jesus and early Christianity and the Jubilee, especially in Jesus’ Mission statement. Christianity wasn’t the only form of Judaism that made the connection between messianism and the Jubilee; the idea had been around in Judaism for a while.
To demonstrate various views of the Messiah and his connection to the Jubilee, I want to look at some documents from the Dead Sea Scroll first of all the Messianic Apocalypse (4Q521). The Messianic Apocalypse is dated to the early first century B.C.E. and is made up of 2 fragments, the first one reads:
Continuing from the last post, we will now look at Nabeel Qureshi’s argument about supposed trends in First Century Judaism toward a Multi-personal God, if you haven’t read Part 1 of this series I suggest you do to get the context of what we are talking about. Nabeel Qureshi in his discussion with Miroslav Volf (at around the 28 minute mark) says:
The Orthodox Jews today do not reflect first century Hellenistic Judaism; they reflect rabbinic Judaism, which was formed from the late second century onward, from the time of Jesus that was Hellenistic Judaism a different kind of Judaism. In that time many Jews did believe in one being God with multiple persons. Now, I suggest that, for anyone who’s shocked by that statement they read the works of two Jewish scholars one is named Alan Segal he wrote a book called two powers in heaven and another by the name of Daniel Boyarin an orthodox Jew. Both of them argue that there were beliefs of plural personhood in a single being of God during that time of Hellenistic Judaism.
God, the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of a pair, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity. This is referred to in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4): “Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”
Maimonides, from his 13 principles of faith.
“The three words ‘El,’ ‘Elohim,’ and ‘Yhwh’ connote one and the same person, as one might say, ‘King, Emperor, Augustus'”
Talmudic Rabbi Simlai, Yer. Berakhot 9:12d, a Rabbi who in fact argued against Origen on the Trinity.
“if a man claims to be God, he is a liar.”
Talmud Yer. Ta’anit 2:1