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What Did Jesus Say


... later by the second and third generation of followers. ... 'Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye . . .?' Mini-Parables in Q (and Thomas) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What Did Jesus Say

What Did Jesus Say?
  • The Development of the Oral Tradition (40 50 AD)

  • Depictions of Jesus as a savior or messianic,
    divine, or apocalyptic figure appear to have come
    later in the gospel tradition.
  • Instead the earliest sayings of Q, Thomas, and
    Mark all reflect the more Jewish concepts of
    Jesus as the Righteous One, a Miracle Worker, and
    Spiritual Master.
  • The first followers focused upon the Word
    (mishnah) of the prophet Jesus and the Way

  • Instead of looking to salvation or apocalypse,
    the first followers focused upon an earthly
    Kingdom of God, which they saw as both a social
    vision of an ideal society and a call to an
    alternative lifestyle -- i.e. the Way which
    they were called to spread.
  • They called themselves Brethren, the Poor,
    and the Sons of Light.

The Development of the Oral Tradition
  • Scholars feel that the first missionaries spread
    the sayings of Jesus as an easily memorized
    catechism along with a handful of stories about
    His miracles and Passion.
  • Early Jesus communities collected the sayings and
    stories of Jesus as written pericopae on amulets,
    potshards, and scraps of papyrus or animal skins

The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel
  • There were 6 million Jews in the 1st Century
  • Only 2 million lived in Palestine, but most of
    these were marginal Jews, i.e., sinners.
  • Almost that many still lived in Babylon the rest
    were spread out all across the Eastern
    Mediterranean in small Jewish enclaves.
  • Samaritans and others of mixed parentage were as
    well a focus of the early missions.

Targeting the Lost Sheep
  • Part of the need for a formalized oral tradition,
    a mishnah, was that most of the first
    missionaries spoke an obscure dialect of Aramaic.
    Greek was a second language.
  • The first proto-gospels were collections of
    sayings, miracle stories, or the Passion epic in
    Greek that were transformed into written gospels
    three to four decades later by the second and
    third generation of followers.

Discovering the Mishnah in the Gospels
  • Thomas seems to have stemmed from just such an
    early sayings proto-gospel.
  • So also does the hypothetical Q that was the
    second source for Luke and Matthew.
  • The Jesus Seminar of Scholars (Robert W. Funk,
    Roy Hoover, et al.) voted on sayings red for
    most authentic, pink for maybe, gray for
    questionable, and black for no way.

Critiquing the Jesus Seminar
  • Published before wide release of the Dead Sea
    Scrolls. The seminar misinterpreted some of the
    imagery of John as stemming instead from late 1st
    Century Gnosticism.
  • They found only two pinks in John, even though
    I Am may be the most Jewish of all revelations.
  • Too Greek. They sound more like the cheria of a
    Stoic philosopher than a rabbi

1. The Pronouncement Stories in Mark
  • Scholars give great credence to a handful of
    Pronouncements in Marks (and Thomas) gospel
    that appear to have come from an early catechism.
  • They are both pithy and memorable because they
    respond to a pressing social issue with a
    startling twist of conventional wisdom.
  • Scholars trust the saying but question the
    theological elements of the set-up story.

Pronouncement Q and As
  • Why did Jesus eat with sinners? Those who are
    well have no need of a physician.
  • Why didnt He fast? Can the wedding guests fast
    while the bridegroom is with them?
  • Why didnt Jesus observe the Sabbath? The
    Sabbath was made for man . . . .
  • Why didnt He follow the traditional laws of
    purity (i.e., kosher)? There is nothing outside
    a man which by going in can defile him.

How Can We Follow the Way?
  • How should we behave? If any one would be
    first, he must be last of all.
  • Should we pay our taxes? Render unto Caesar the
    things that are Caesars . . . .
  • Why do you pool your wealth? It is easier for a
    rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a
    rich man to enter the Kingdom.
  • Why do you allow Gentiles? Even the dogs under
    the table eat the childrens crumbs.

The Jewish Pronouncements in John
  • Why did Jesus eat with sinners? I came so that
    those who do not see may see . . .
  • Why didnt He follow the traditional purity
    rituals? He who has bathed does not need to
    wash, but is clean all over.
  • Why didnt Jesus observe the Sabbath? My Father
    is working and I am working still.
  • Why didnt He keep kosher? Do not labor for
    food which perishes, but for food which endures.

Affirmation of Judaism
  • If you do not fast as regards the world, you
    will not find the Kingdom. If you do not observe
    the Sabbath as a Sabbath, you will not seek the
    Father. Thomas 27
  • Think not that I have come to abolish the Law
    and the prophets I have come not to abolish
    them but rather to fulfill them.
    Matthew 5 17

How to Follow the Way in John
  • How should we behave? A new command-ment I give
    you, that you must love one another, and I have
    given you an example (i.e., foot washing), a
    servant cannot be greater than his master.
  • Why do you accept sinners? I have other sheep
    who are not of this fold I must bring them
    also, and they will heed my voice. So there
    will be one flock, one shepherd.

A Jewish or a Gentile Way?
  • If it were beneficial, their father would beget
    them already circumcised. Thomas 53
  • You worship what you do not know we (Jews)
    worship what we know for salvation is from the
    Jews. John 4 22
  • You must be born again . . . of the Spirit.
  • He who walks in darkness does not know where he
    goes and I came not to judge the world, but to
    save it. John 12 35 and 47

2. The Kingdom Teachings
  • Another possible catechism of early sayings are
    referred to by scholars as the Kingdom Teachings.
    They, too, are short, pithy, and fly in the face
    of conventional logic.
  • Usually they are presented as a straight-forward
    teaching without any of the kind of set-up story
    found in the pronouncements.
  • Most seem to have existed as the punch line to a
    more extended parable.

The Kingdom of God is like . . . .
  • a grain of mustard seed Mark 431/Thomas 20
  • a sower with a handful of seeds Mark 4 3-8 /
    Thomas 9
  • a pearl of great value Mark 13 46 /Thomas 76
  • A shepherd with 100 sheep Luke 153-7/ Thomas
  • A hidden treasure Matthew 13 44/Thomas 109
  • A little leaven Matthew 13 33/Thomas 96

Kingdom Teachings - mini parables or the wisdom
of Rabbi Jesus?
  • It is impossible for a servant to serve two
    masters . . . . new wine is not put into old wine
    skins . . . . And an old patch is not sewn onto
    new clothes. Mark 221 /Thomas 47
  • Those here who do the will of my Father are my
    brothers and my mother.
    Mark 3 32-35 /Thomas 99
  • No prophet is accepted in his own village no
    physician heals those who know him.
    Matthew 13 57 / Thomas 31

Rabbinical Wisdom or Greek cheria?
  • For no one lights a lamp and puts it under a
    bushel . . . . Mark 4 21 /Thomas 33
  • Recognize what is in your sight, and that which
    is hidden will become plain to you. For there is
    nothing hidden that will not become manifest.
    Mark 4 22 / Thomas 5
  • No one can enter a strong mans house and
    plunder his goods unless he first binds the
    strong man. Mark 327 / Thomas 35

3. The Mishnah of Rabbi Jesus in Q
  • Scholars feel that the Sermon on the Mount in
    Matthew 5-7 / Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6
    2049 come from an early Mishnah that included a
    handful of other verses (i.e., Luke 9 57 10
    11 11 1-1 and 12 2-34).
  • Most of these have close parallels to the logia
    or sayings in Thomas.
  • Lukes version is generally accepted as the most

The Lords Prayer in Luke and Matthew
  • Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be thy
    name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth
    as it is in heaven.
  • Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us
    our sins, as we forgive everyone who is indebted
    to us and lead us not into temptation, but
    deliver us from evil.
  • Lukes version is briefer, more Jewish, and
    points to a present kingdom (not an apocalyptic

The Mishnah of Rabbi Jesus in Q
  • Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom
    of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you
    will be satisfied. . . .
  • Love your enemies . . . Turn the other cheek . .
    . And as you wish that men would do to you, do
    also to them . . . .
  • Judge not, and you will not be judged . . .
  • Why do you see the speck that is in your
    brothers eye . . .?

Mini-Parables in Q (and Thomas)
  • The parable of the persistent neighbor who keeps
    knocking until he gets his due.
  • The parable of the rich man who built new store
    houses for all his goods.
  • The parable of the mustard seed
  • The parable of the rich mans banquet that was
    shared instead with the poor.

Wisdom Teachings in Q and Thomas
  • Can a blind man lead a blind man . . .?
  • For no good tree bears bad fruit . . . .
  • The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are
    few . . . .
  • Do not be anxious about your life . . . Consider
    the lilies of the field . . . .
  • Salt is good but if it has lost its taste. .

A More Earthly, Spiritual Kingdom in Q and Thomas
  • . . . The Kingdom is inside of you, and it is
    outside of you. When you come to know
    yourselves, then you will become . . . . Sons of
    the living Father. Thomas
  • The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to
    be observed . . . For behold it is in the
    midst of you. Luke 17 20-21
  • The Kingdom . . . Is spread out upon the earth,
    and men do not see it. Thomas 113

The Spiritual Kingdom in Thomas
  • When you make the two one, you will become the
    sons of man, and when you say, Mountain, move
    away, it will move away
    Thomas 106
  • He who is near me is near the fire, and he who
    is far from Me is far from the kingdom
    Thomas 82
  • He who seeks will find . . . . Thomas 94

Rabbi Jesus as a Spiritual Master
  • There is a light within a man of light and it
    lights up the whole world. If it does not shine,
    he is in darkness. Thomas 24
  • Take heed of the Living One while you are alive,
    lest you die and seek to see Him, and are unable
    to do so. Thomas 59
  • I shall give to you what no eye has seen and
    what no ear has heard . . . . Thomas 17

Parallels Between John and Thomas
  • I am He who exists from the Undivided. I was
    given some of the things of My Father.
    Thomas 61
  • It is I who am the light which is above them
    all. It is I who am the All. From Me did the
    All come forth, and unto Me did the All extend.
    Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up
    the stone and you will find Me there.
    Thomas 77
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