8Crucifixion

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Published on February 25, 2008

Author: Raulo

Source: authorstream.com

Crucifixion and Resurrection:  Crucifixion and Resurrection Epic Narrative and Funereal Lament in the Passion Story Setting the Scene:  Setting the Scene His disciples and probably the man in the street thought Jesus was the Righteous One – a prophet, not a messianic king. They did not expect Jesus to die – i.e, to “fail” the test. They expected divine rescue. The involvement of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus show he had support among the religious establishment as well. Pilate was a reluctant participant. Jesus was crucified on Thursday, the Day of Preparation for Passover:  Jesus was crucified on Thursday, the Day of Preparation for Passover John’s scenario is the only one that makes sense from a cultural and religious view. For Jews, that “day” began at sundown (not dawn) and Passover was treated as an additional Sabbath (Lev. 23: 4). 1 Cor: 15: 4: “on the third day he rose . . . .” Mark 15: 42: Jesus was crucified “on the Day of Preparation, the day before the Sabbath.” This Places Jesus’ Death in 35 or 36 AD:  This Places Jesus’ Death in 35 or 36 AD The chronology of the Synoptic gospels places His death between 30 and 32 AD Given the historical facts, it is hard to depict the death of John the Baptist before 34 AD. Both Pilate and Caiphas were removed from office in 37 AD. Pilate was too quick to put criminals to death without a fair trial. The timeline in Acts of appears correct. The Development of the Narrative Epic:  The Development of the Narrative Epic Middle-Eastern cultures relied upon the oral epic to tell history--a very stylized dramatic art form focused upon a struggle between kings, righteous death, and final victory. The Passion epic is based upon two Old Testament Scriptures: Psalm 22 and the Suffering Servant prophecy of Isaiah 53. “King of the Jews” was the epic refrain; it is repeated 5 times in Mark, 6 in John. Crucifixion Parallels from Psalm 22:  Crucifixion Parallels from Psalm 22 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? . . . All who see me mock me . . . . I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted . . . My tongue cleaves to my jaws. “A company of evil doers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet . . . They divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.” The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53:  The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 “He was despised and forsaken by men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief . . . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for iniquities . . . . And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man at his death . . . Yet it was the will of the Lord to to bruise him . . . . By his knowledge shall the Righteous One, my servant . . . bear their iniquities.” Testing Historical Validity :  Testing Historical Validity John and Mark seem to stem from different early performances of the Passion epic. While Luke may be based upon a third version of the facts, like Matthew his is a later performance. He substitutes “Christ” for “King of the Jews” and adds additional sayings and OT references. The shorter and more compact the story, the more likely it is an early version of the epic. Was the Gospel of Peter the First Epic?:  Was the Gospel of Peter the First Epic? A fragment found in Akhmim, Egypt in 1886-87; written in Greek in the 9th Century Revered by the early Syrian community of Christians founded by Jesus’ family A smaller fragment found at Oxyrhynchus Although it shows signs of heavy editing, some scholars feel it stems from the earliest written sources in Christianity (41-44 AD?) Assessing the Gospel of Peter:  Assessing the Gospel of Peter It presents the briefest, most compact story. Contains specific details – i.e., the name of the Roman centurion – not found elsewhere. Contains material – Herod’s role, timing, etc. – found in only one other gospel. Includes material that seems to have been realigned or expanded later in other gospels. Assessing the Gospel of Peter (cont’d):  Assessing the Gospel of Peter (cont’d) Omits material, such as the role of Barabbas or Simon of Cyrene, that the author would have included had he read the other gospels. Omits elements clearly related to the “Christian” tradition – i.e., Jesus is mocked as the “King of Israel,” not “of the Jews,” and He largely suffers in silence. Has material that would be embarrassing to the Church – i.e, the cruelty of the Romans. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) 1. Herod conspired with the Jewish judges to condemn Jesus – “But of the Jews none washed their hands.” 2 Joseph [of Arimathea], identified as a “friend of Pilate and the Lord,” appealed to Pilate to seek recovery of Jesus’ body even before the crucifixion. When Pilate made entreaties to Herod on Joseph’s behalf, Herod assented because he knew it would be offensive to the Jews to allow the body to remain on the cross after sundown. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) 3 Jesus was delivered up “to the people” the day of the Passover feast. It was the people (not the soldiers0 who mocked Jesus as “King of Israel,” wrapped him in a purple robe, placed a crown of thorns on His head, spat in His face, scourged Him, and poked Him with a reed. 4 Two “male-factors” were crucified on either side of Jesus, but He was silent, as if He felt no pain. The soldiers placed an inscription on the cross that read “This is the King of Israel” and cast lots for His clothes. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) One of the “malefactors” rebuked the soldiers, complaining that Jesus had done no harm, but this only enraged the Romans, and they determined not to break Jesus’ legs so that He would suffer an even slower death. 5 There was a great darkness across the land between noon and three o’clock, the hours that Jesus suffered on the cross. He was given a drink of gall mixed with vinegar before He uttered His final only words, “My Power, O Power, thou hast forsaken me.” When He died, the veil of the Temple was rent in two and . . . . The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) . . . 6 there was a great earthquake. The “Jews” rejoiced at Jesus’ death, but gave His body to Joseph, who washed it, wrapped it in linen, and buried it in his own sepulcher, called Joseph’s Garden. 7 Then “the Jews and the elders and the priest,” fearful of what they had done because of Jesus’ righteousness, lamented their sins. Peter and the rest of the disciples mourned and fasted in secret, hiding because it was reported that they sought to “set fire” to the Temple. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) 8 The scribes and the Pharisees were afraid, and begged Pilate for soldiers to guard the tomb, lest Jesus’ disciples try to come and steal Him away. Pilate sent a company of soldiers under the command of the centurion Petonius. Together with a group of “elders” they rolled a large stone in front of the tomb, secured it with seven seals,a nd pitched a tent to keep watch. 9 Early in the morning of the Sabbath a great crowd came to view the sealed tomb and the soldiers guarding it. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) That night there was a loud voice from Heaven and two men came down “in great brightness;” the stone mysteriously rolled away, and they entered the tomb. 10 The soldiers on watch were so frightened that they awoke the centurion and the rest of the company, who watched in awe as the two men emerged from the tomb with the body of Jesus. 11 The frightened onlookers watched as the heavens opened again and another man descended into the open tomb. The centurion confessed, “In truth this was the Son of God” and rushed to report to Pilate. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) Although Pilate reiterated that he was “clean from the blood of the Son of God,” the Jews were fearful what the people might do to them. They begged Pilate to order his soldiers to keep quiet about the affair. 12 Early the next morning Mary Magdalene, “a woman disciple of the Lord,” led a group of women to the tomb to complete the burial ritual. Even if they couldn’t remove the entrance stone,they were determined to leave their spices at the tomb as a sort of memorial. 13 They were surprised to find the tomb unguarded. The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased):  The Gospel of Peter (paraphrased) When they entered the tomb, they found a young man “comely and clothed with a bright shining robe” who calmly asked them, “ Whom do you seek? Not Him who was crucified? He is risen and gone . . . See the place where he lay . . . .” The women fled in terror. 14 It was the last day of the feast of unleavened bread and the disciples, who had wept and mourned the entire time, left Jerusalem with the early morning crowd to return to their homes. But I, Simon Peter, together with my brother Andrew and Levi, the son of Alphaeus, took our nets and went to sea . . . . What about the Gospel of John?:  What about the Gospel of John? While Peter appears to predate the Passion epic, John has an early version of it, complete with the refrains “King of the Jews” and “crucify him!” It also stays closest to the Suffering Servant scriptures, even including details like the soldiers’ lance and the blood and water that poured from His side, that align with the OT texts. Assessing the Validity of John:  Assessing the Validity of John John is missing elements that fit both the “Christian” tradition and the messianic prophecies – i.e., the rent Temple veil, earthquake and mid-day black out. John omits the story of Simon the Cyrene and only briefly mentions the Barabbas incident, and even then at the wrong time (before Jesus was scourged) and in a context of a Jewish, not a Roman, custom. Assessing John’s Narrative (cont’d):  Assessing John’s Narrative (cont’d) There are specific details – the seamless tunic, the Hyssop reed, the placement of the burial clothes – that seem to stem from an eyewitness. Jesus’ words from the cross sound more like those of a dying man than repeated scripture Who else but a true witness would confess he was there for the resurrection – the central event of Christianity-- but missed it? Assessing John’s Narrative (cont’d):  Assessing John’s Narrative (cont’d) No Jew (or Greek) would make up a story that the resurrected Jesus appeared first to a woman: Jewish women were without status, could not own property, testify in court, or fully participate in temple worship. Instead “John” allows Mary to tell her own story in a female funereal lament, a tale of grief, love lost and powerlessness. The Female Funereal Lament:  The Female Funereal Lament The echoes of this time-honored Middle-Eastern art form are still heard in the refrain – “They have taken my Lord . . . ” The other gospel writers (or their editors) were too embarrassed by the central role of the women and thus left them frightened at the tomb – i.e., 1 Cor. 15: 5-6: “He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that He appeared to more than 500 . . . .” Other Resurrection Stories:  Other Resurrection Stories The Upper Room (John 20: 19-29): the story of a male, presented without emotion. Fishing on the Sea of Galilee: has parallels in Peter and the walking-on-water miracle. Mark 16: 9-20 is a later appendage to Mark. The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20) parallels Acts 1; 4–11 The Road to Emmaus story (Luke 24: 13-35) may have been from another female lament.

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