Friday, September 30, 2011

temple tantrum: separatism+violence?

Some revolutionaries from all nations overlooking the Temple Mount, on our 2004 trip
As a follow-up to previous posts about the temple tantrum of Jesus as targeting racism more than commercialism (see this, and these, if it's a new concept, and if you akays though it was about "Don't sell stuff in church!"  I find  Bartholomew and Goheen's analysis intriguing.  They read it as  racism/prejudice/nationalism/"separatism"   AND  a "spirit of violence".

Does the former always lead to the latter?:

"...God has chosen the people of Israel to dwell among the nations so that all  nations can enter teh covenant with God.  But the temple Jesus now enters now functions in quite a different way, supporting a separatist cause, cutting Israelites off from their neighbors.  Furthermore, the spirit encouraged within the temle is one of violence and destruction: it had become a 'den of revolutionaries' (Mark 11:17, authors' translation). Israel has turned its election into separatist privilege....a new temple, Jesus' resurrection life in the renewed people of God, can become the light for the nations that God intends."  (The Drama of Scripture, p, 176)

In the footnote to the above the authors clarify:

"The Greek word here is Iestes ansd most likely refers to revolutionaries who sought to obverthros Rome with violence, see also on Mk 14:48, 15:27, John 18;40, see NT Wright, Jesus and The Victory of God, 419-20"

Hey, maybe Jesus- concern WAS commercialism after all:
is racism + violence=commercialism?

Also...this called to mind Erwin McManus in "The Barbarian Way":

"God always revolts against religions he starts"
That's a shock value statement, of course.
So it can't be "truly" true.
But it speaks the truth in part; and is partly true.

But two questions:

  • Didn't the fact that the temple was not completely separatist/sectarian even in the "Old" Testament (one of the passages Jesus quotes counter the tantrum is Isaiah 56:6-8) help?  Was the religion/temple of God in Judaism inherently racist, even if God-ordained?  Weren't the dovesellers/moneychangers the violators, not temple  Judaism itself?
  • If we picture God "revolting" we might ironically envision him as a  but too "violent.

Jesus comes off violently peaceful (not violently peaceful  in the temple..

Maybe Bono  and Dave Matthews had it right

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