Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Austin Farrrer on "probable tracks" of Jesus' temptations: subversion of Paethon and temple tantrum connections

hotel in Israel
Austin Farrrer , though apparently "one of the most profound and prophetic theologians of the twentieth century"  (so back cover says!) was new to me....but the price was right on one of his books (1.50):  "The Triple Victory: Christ's Temptation According to St. Matthew."

As one with a special interest in the temptations of Jesus, literary structure of Matthew, I wouldn't have resisted the testation to buy it at double the price (:

Come on..NO reviews on Amazon US or Amazon UK (He was British)?!...

"His activity in philosophy, theology, and spirituality led many to consider him the outstanding figure of 20th century Anglicanism. -Wikipedia

Turns out he was  well-respected by C.S. Lewis,and had an intriguing solution for the synoptic problem.  Wiki calls him a "maverick."

 I like him already...even if/especially if he is sometimes wrong (:

Even in the preface,  Frederick Borsh partly agrees with accusations  of  Farrer's sometimes fanciful flights into literary structural analysis, midrash and typology.  But he defends him as being  very thoughtful, creative..and ahead of his time as far as redaction/compositional criticism etc.  "He may have seen too many typologies, but he was not wrong in understanding that biblical writers often thought in typological categories.  This keen awareness pays particularly rich dividends in his study of Christ's temptations." (p. 2)

He does well, as does Donald Kraybill, in seeing many links from the temptations  to the rest of Matthew's gospel.

I haven't read enough for a review yet, so I'll  just

1)ask if any are familiar with this work

2)quote this:

Satan's insinuation...contains a hidden poison: "If you are the Son of God..If you cannot or dare not, what sort of divine Son are you?"...

Jesus declines..not because it is wicked..but because it is wicked to make a willful use of spiritual power...

"throw yourself down"...The suggested action is so utterly useless in itself, it can have one purpose only:.."Jump and find out; if you won't jump you can't really believe it."

...Christ refused to do what Phaethon did [doubt his paternity].  But could he have even thought in those terms? We may give a double reply.  First, though Christ did not think that God was an inhabitant of Jerusalem, he took the sanctity of the holy place with complete seriousness  He can, indeed, be  said to have pulled his own death on his head, by taking the law into his own hands and cleansing the temple from trade.  Second, we must say that in dreams or visions symbols become realities...

..It would be absurd to claim any sort of certainty for the suggestions we have advanced.  We cannot be sure what paths of association Christ's visionary thoughts, as St Matthew represents them, follow out.  Yet our guesses are not valueless.  They were the sort of lines along which a devout Jewish imagination ran; and the exercise of working out probable tracks and junctions in the movement of such a mind puts us in sympathy with the author we are trying to understand.Chapter IV

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