Post by Darrell Stec
After serious contemplation, on or about Friday 13 October 2006 10:14 pm
Post by OK
My Lord and Master whipped the CEOs and money changers in the temple
NO he didn't. The whole story was pure fabrication. First, under
Jewish Law, the unblemished sacrificial animals could only be bought
with Jewish coin. Those living outside of Jerusalem would have had to
exchange their foreign money. Secondly, according to Josephus, the
Temple guards, though in the employ of Rome were Jewish and Joshua
would have been not only causing a disturbance, he would have been
causing one in the holiest courtyards on earth, and desecrating their
religion. Thirdly Joshua claimed to follow the entire Mosaic Law down
to the iota and so were the money changers. Fourth, the bankers would
have had personal guards as explained by Josephus. He could have been
killed on the spot if he dared touch that money. Fifth, a correct
reading had him "leading" out the sheep and cattle, and not whipping
But if it makes you feel good, believe any fantasy you wish.
You can contend with my theology professor. He sent me this:
Here's what R.T. France as to say:
1. The Temple Incident
The temple was not only the heart of Israel’s religious life but also the symbol of its national identity. The rededication and purification of the temple in 164 b.c. after Antiochus Epiphanes had defiled it with the worship and altar of Zeus and the restoration of temple worship were the high points of the Maccabean victory, and were commemorated annually thereafter in the Feast of Dedication in December. The patriotic as well as religious symbolism of the temple was thus enormous, and the magnificence of Herod’s rebuilding matched its symbolic significance.
It is likely that among the many factors leading to Jesus’ death the one which most united all elements of the Jewish people against him was that he was perceived (like another Jesus a generation later; Josephus, War 6.300–305) as an opponent of the temple.?24? This is a theme which will develop through the rest of Mark’s story,?25? reaching its climax in the bystanders’ jibe at Jesus on the cross in 15:29–30, followed by the tearing of the temple curtain in 15:38. This first incident in the temple might seem on the surface to be in favour of the temple rather than against it, protecting it from misuse and restoring it to its intended role as a ‘house of prayer for all nations’. But with hindsight it could be seen (as Mark records the temple authorities as recognising already
in v. 18) as the beginning of an increasingly explicit campaign against what the temple now stood for, the first demonstration of a judgment which must ultimately lead to the total dissolution of the building itself.?26? Mark, by associating Jesus’ action with the cursing of the fig tree, ensures that his readers see it in this wider and more ominous perspective.
Mark records the event as the individual action of Jesus, unlike the involvement of the crowd in the royal procession. His attack on the traders and money changers, who were there in the Court of the Gentiles with the permission of the temple authorities and who provided a convenient and probably essential service to worshippers visiting the temple from outside Jerusalem, was not simply (if it was at all) a protest against exploitation by unscrupulous traders. It extended also to their customers (???? ???????????) and even to anyone who was carrying things through the area. It was a repudiation of the way the temple’s affairs were being conducted (and therefore of those under whose authority this took place), not simply an attempt to correct abuse of the system.?27? What
Antiochus had done by blatant idolatry, the Jewish leaders themselves have allowed to happen under the pressure of commercial interests. Temple worship has lost its true focus, and must again be purified.?28?
As apparently a one-man demonstration it is unlikely to have had any long-term practical effect, and we may well assume that the tables were back in place the next day.?29? But it has marked Jesus out as more than an idealistic teacher. He is a radical reformer, and he has thrown down the gauntlet to the temple authorities in a way they cannot ignore, and to which they will respond in vv. 27–28 by questioning his authority.
The ride into the city has already raised this question. In presenting himself as Jerusalem’s messianic ‘king’, Jesus has in effect already placed himself above the Sanhedrin as the ultimate authority in the holy city. Among the actions expected of the Messiah was the purification of the temple’s worship (Ezk. 37:26–28; Pss. Sol. 17:30–32)?30? and even the replacement of the temple itself (following Ezekiel’s vision of the new eschatological temple, Ezk. 40–48, and drawing on Zc. 6:12–13; cf. Tob. 14:5; Jub. 1:27–29; 1 Enoch 1:28–29).?31? In addition, other OT texts spoke of ‘the Lord’ visiting his temple and purifying its worship (Mal. 3:1–4), and predicted that in the eschatological holiness of Jerusalem ‘There shall no longer be traders in the house of the Lord’ (Zc. 14:21).
None of these texts is directly alluded to in Mark’s wording, but they would be likely to occur to an observer with a reasonable knowledge of the OT and of current messianic expectation. Indeed, it would not be inappropriate to describe Jesus’ action as deliberately re-enacting Zc. 14:21.?32? Following on the royal procession to the city, this action looks like a further deliberate claim to messianic authority.?33? Seen in that light, this was not an attempt at short-term reform of the system but a symbolic declaration of eschatological judgment.?34?
France, R. T.: The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle : W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 2002, S. 436
Here are the remarks of CRaig Evans followed by a bibliography on the incident.
I've also included Evan's "comments" in an acctacment.
Recent research in the historical Jesus has by and large come to accept the historicity of the temple demonstration. Sanders (Jesus and Judaism, 61–76, with notes on 363–69) regards the event as of vital importance for comprehending Jesus’ self-understanding and what triggered the events of his passion. Meyer (Aims, 168–70) finds the event “solidly probable.” Theissen (TZ 32  146–48) finds Jesus’ attitude toward the temple entirely plausible. Brown (455–60) shows how the temple demonstration coheres with the destruction-rebuilding saying in Mark 14:58 (a point also underscored by Sanders; see also Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 334–35, 418–28). Although interpreting the meaning of the event differently from most, Borg (Conflict, 171–75) and Crossan (Historical
Jesus, 355–60) also accept the historicity of the temple demonstration. Apart from the predictable exception of some members of the North American Jesus Seminar (e.g., Mack, Myth, 292: a “Markan fabrication”; Miller, “Temple Demonstration”), the historicity of the temple demonstration is now widely accepted.
Much of the skepticism expressed by German commentators grows out of a misunderstanding of the nature and extent of Jesus’ actions in the temple precincts. His actions were a demonstration, not a takeover of the temple precincts (as in Brandon’s improbable scenario; cf. Jesus and the Zealots). At the earliest stage of the tradition, which in this instance is surely rooted in the actions and sayings of Jesus himself, the emphasis probably fell as much on the words as on the deeds. Jesus’ allusions to Isaiah and Jeremiah would have been as provocative and offensive in the minds of the ruling priests as the actions themselves (see Comment below). But in the presence of many supportive pilgrims (presumably mostly from Galilee) there was an understandable reluctance to escalate the
situation by taking immediate and public action against Jesus. As Sanders (Jesus and Judaism, 69–70, 75) has plausibly suggested, Jesus’ actions were symbolic and quite limited (cf. Schweizer, 231: Jesus, in a “symbolic way, cleared only a limited area of the temple court”). He could not and did not bring temple traffic to a standstill. Most people in the precincts (whose dimensions were enormous—approximately 450 meters north to south and 300 meters east to west) that day would not have even noticed him. His words and actions would eventually have been passed on to anxious temple authorities.
Support for the historicity of the temple action lies in Josephus and the Gospel of John. According to Josephus (Ant. 18.3.3 §§63–64), Jesus was handed over to Pontius Pilate by “the first men [?????? ??????] among us.” Elsewhere in Josephus these “first men” are ruling priests (Ant. 11.5.3 §§140–41; 18.5.3 §121; cf. Luke 19:47; Acts 25:2; 28:17). Why would Jerusalem’s ruling priests hand over Jesus to the Roman governor? The most probable answer is that he had said and done things within the temple precincts (the ruling priests’ domain of authority) that they found offensive and dangerous. The juridical process depicted in the Gospel of Mark is, moreover, consistent with Josephus’s account of Ananias, the peasant prophet who proclaimed the doom of the city and the temple.
Josephus tells us that this man was seized, beaten, and handed over by the “leading citizens” and “rulers” to the Roman governor (J.W. 6.5.3 §§300–309). More will be said below on this man’s fate.
Support for the historicity of the temple action is also seen in John, whose version appears to be independent of Synoptic sources. I follow Meier’s succinct assessment (Marginal Jew, 2:893). At Passover time, Jesus comes to Jerusalem with his disciples (John 2:13, 17 = Mark 11:1, 15); he enters the temple (John 2:14 = Mark 11:11, 15); he drives out merchants and money-changers (John 2:15 = Mark 11:15); and he rebukes the priestly authorities for turning the temple into a place of business (John 2:16 = Mark 11:17). Scripture citations appear in both the Johannine and Markan accounts (John 2:17 = Mark 11:17). Following the temple demonstration, Jesus is asked about his authority (John 2:18–22 = Mark 11:27–33). In John 2:18, Jesus is asked by “the Jews,” “What sign do You show
us, since You do these things [????? ??????]?” (nkjv). In Mark 11:28 Jesus is asked by scribes, ruling priests, and elders: “By what authority do you do these things [????? ??????]?” and “Who has given to you this authority, so that you may do these things [????? ?????]?” Once stripped of their respective redactional and contextual differences, the accounts in Mark and John are remarkably similar. Independently of one another, they provide a common three-part cluster: (a) Jesus enters the temple precincts and demonstrates against some aspect or aspects of trade; (b) he speaks out against temple polity, appealing to Scripture; and (c) temple authorities challenge Jesus, wanting to know by what right he “does these things.”
The principal reason that Sanders (Jesus and Judaism, 66–67, 364 n. 1) rejects the authenticity of vv 16–17 is that he doubts that Jesus’ demonstration was a prophetic protest against corruption. It is at this point that Sanders’s thesis is vulnerable, for there is ample evidence that Jesus’ contemporaries were critical of the Jewish high priesthood and regarded it as corrupt in various ways. We find such evidence in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, where the high priest is dubbed the “Wicked Priest” (1QpHab 1:13; 8:9; 9:9; 11:4), who has robbed the poor (1QpHab 8:12; 9:5; 10:1; 12:10), has amassed wealth (1QpHab 8:8–12; 9:4–5), and has defiled the “Sanctuary of God” (1QpHab 12:8–9). The Testament of Moses condemns the ruling priests (T. Mos. 7:6–10; tr. J. Priest in OTP):
They consume the goods of the (poor), saying their acts are according to justice, (while in fact they are simply) exterminators, deceitfully seeking to conceal themselves so that they will not be known as completely godless because of their criminal deeds (committed) all the day long, saying, “We shall have feasts, even luxurious winings and dinings. Indeed, we shall behave ourselves as princes.” They, with hand and mind, touch impure things, yet their mouths will speak enormous things, and they will even say, “Do not touch me, lest you pollute me in the position I occupy.”
Whereas the pesher on Habakkuk dates from 100 b.c.e., and so originally targeted Hasmonean priests, the Testament of Moses was probably composed some time around 30 c.e. Other first-century sources criticize the ruling priests and call into question temple polity. Josephus tells of high priestly bribery (Ant. 20.9.4 §213; Life 39 §§195–96) and violence (Ant. 20.8.8 §§179–81; 20.9.2 §207). In 2 Baruch the priests confess in the wake of the temple’s destruction that they have been “false stewards” (2 Bar. 10:18). The scene is fictional, of course, but it expresses the view of the author at the end of the first century. Such an expression could scarcely have impressed readers unless many Jews did in fact view the pre-70 high priesthood as corrupt. Later rabbinic sources are very
critical of the first-century ruling priests (see Evans, “Jesus’ Action in the Temple and Evidence of Corruption,” 531–34).
There is also significant evidence in the dominical tradition to indicate that Jesus was critical of the temple establishment. The parable of the Wicked Vineyard Tenants (Mark 12:1–9) threatens the priestly aristocracy with the loss of their position and power (see commentary on this passage). The abuses of power and privilege described in the parable of the Faithless Servant (Matt 24:45–51 = Luke 12:42–46) probably reflect how the ruling aristocracy was perceived in the minds of Palestinian peasants. Jesus’ pronouncement on the half-shekel temple tax (Matt 17:24–27) may have been a “declaration of independence from the Temple and the attendant political-economic-religious establishment” (Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence, 282). Jesus’ comment regarding the poor widow
and the others who were contributing to the temple’s coffers (Mark 12:41–44) was probably a lament—not a word of commendation—and an implicit criticism of the economic oppressiveness and inequity of the temple establishment (see commentary on this passage). The condemnation of the “scribes” who “devour widows’ houses” (Mark 12:38–40) is probably in reference to efforts to collect gifts for the temple (see commentary on this passage). In Jesus’ lament for Jerusalem (Matt 23:37–38 = Luke 13:34–35) there are significant parallels to Jeremiah, the prophet who had severely criticized Jerusalem’s first temple (Jer 7:14, 34; 12:7; 22:5; 26:9), whose criticism Jesus may have had in mind when he took action in Jerusalem’s second temple (Jer 7:11 in Mark 11:17). Various other details
during passion week cohere with the criticisms of the priestly aristocracy. The priests demand to know by what authority Jesus acted the way he did (Mark 11:27–33). The ruling priests cannot arrest Jesus immediately because of their fear of the multitude (Mark 12:12). Jesus is arrested by servants of the ruling priests who are armed with clubs (Mark 14:43–50).
In view of such evidence, there really are no compelling grounds for rejecting the authenticity of v 17. This is the kind of critical statement that would account for the antagonism that arose between Jesus and the priestly aristocracy. Moreover, one wonders why early Christians, having been rejected by Israel’s religious establishment, would invent a dominical saying in which the temple, as opposed to the church, is recognized as the place of prayer for Gentiles. The allusion to Isa 56:7 is consistent with Jesus’ restorative hopes for Israel. Chilton, in reference to the conflated paraphrase of Isa 56:7 and Jer 7:11, rightly comments that a “mixing of scriptural elements in that manner is characteristic of Jesus, not of those who shaped the tradition after him” (ABD 1:806; on
the historicity of the temple cleansing, see Chilton, Galilean Rabbi, 17–18; id., Temple of Jesus, 91–111; on the authenticity of the reference to the ????, “Gentiles,” see Kato, Völkermission, 91–111; Pesch, 2:198–99).
The setting of the pericope plays a very important role both literarily and historically. For Mark it advances the antagonism between Jesus and his opponents. Criticisms now give way to deadly plotting to eliminate Jesus. It also gives Jesus the moral high ground. His criticism of the religious establishment is principally ethical. Jesus has not attacked the Roman administration (even though it is this authority that puts him to death); he has criticized Israel’s religious leadership. On the historical level it is very probable that Jesus’ action in the temple was the principal element that triggered the events that led to his death. One is reminded of another Jesus, son of Ananias, who some thirty years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth also appealed to Jer 7 in his
pronouncement of woe upon the temple and the city of Jerusalem (Josephus, J.W. 6.5.3 §§300–309). The leading citizens of Jerusalem, by which is meant the temple authorities, took strong exception to this man’s gloomy prophecies. The juridical procedure that involved the son of Ananias closely paralleled that which earlier had overtaken Jesus of Nazareth: Jewish authorities interrogated and beat both men; both men were then handed over to the Roman governor; the Roman governor interrogated and beat both men and then decided whether to release or execute them (for more on Jesus ben Ananias, see Comment on v 17).
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