Re: Did Peter walk on water?

From: Walter Hicks (
Date: Sun Sep 29 2002 - 17:09:30 EDT

  • Next message: Robert Schneider: "Re: Did Peter walk on water?"


    I brought up this question to the list, because I wanted to see how many could
    call this text "true" and then turn around and say that it never
    really happened
    and is not historical. That is just an opinion poll. However, what
    you have said
    below goes well beyond that.

    The difficulty as I see it, is that you have just ruled out any possibility of
    we poor non theologians ever studying the Bible and getting the proper message.
    Not only must one study under a scholar, but you imply that only those scholars
    who agree with you are qualified to interpret the scriptures.

    I have a number of Bibles with references and Commentaries to assist in Bible
    study. Frankly, the theological opinions often presented on this
    particular list
    (like that below) are rarely found in any commentary that I have ----
    and I get
    my references from Christian bookstores in liberal Kennedyland. My primary
    reference for New Testament is the Tyndale Commentaries. It totally disagrees
    with the view that the text we have been discussing is non-historical and does
    not offer any suggestion at all that is a midrash. Yet, if others on this list
    suggest it is historical in nature, we get a lecture about our lack of
    theological understanding.

    What is a poor engineer or scientist to do? If ASA is truly a "Big Tent" where
    many members of the Christian Faith may abide, then where would describe the
    relative position of the viewpoint below with respect to the ASA center of
    gravity (to use some "scientific" lingo ;-)?

    Do you think that it is in the center or on the far left?


    Robert Schneider wrote:

    > I think that this gospel challenges us to try to put ourselves as much
    > as possible where Matthew's own audience stood if we are to understand what
    > his aim and purposes were, and also who his audience was. In the
    > introduction to his commentary on Matthew, David Hill writes:
    > "Matthew's purpose is to provide a church with a distinctly Jewish
    > Christian ethos a work from which to teach and preach, which declares that
    > Jesus is Messiah and Son of Man and supremely Lord of the Church, in
    > relation to whom, in fulfillment of the purposes of Judaism, the believer's
    > understanding of and attitude to Law, ethics, mission and service must be
    > formed."
    > Many Matthew scholars think that the author is "a Jewish Christian who also
    > had at his disposal rabbinic knowledge." Some of these scholars have opened
    > the eyes of this Christian who does not have a Jewish background to see the
    > Jewishness of Matthew's gospel. I would not have recognized haggadic
    > midrashim in Matthew's text without a commentator or someone like George to
    > point them out to me, but I can assume that the audience for whom Matthew
    > wrote his gospel would, at least the Jewish Christians among them, and that
    > they would have responded as they normally would to the teaching that a
    > midrash conveys. They would recognize, as would many Jews today, things in
    > the stories and episodes in this and other gospels that are likely to pass
    > right over us gentiles, living as we do after 2000 years of cultural changes
    > and consequently not in the position to understand a lot of what is going on
    > in the gospels without the help of scholars, whose tomes may not be
    > horrendously thick (or they may, at least, be thick), but which can
    > enlighten us considerably if we are willing to learn from them, and not
    > assume, as one of my former students said to me, that all we need to do is
    > read the text "and let the plain truth of the Bible shine through." (Once
    > he got into my Greek course on the Gospel of John, he learned that the text
    > of that gospel is far more subtle and contains far more than he or anyone
    > else would be able to discern without a good exegetical commentary.)
    > I know some persons both Jews and Christians of Jewish heritage who are
    > able to see many of these things. Clair Lofgren, a colleague of mine in the
    > Episcopal science & religion network and a priest, told me about her
    > experience of studying the gospels in seminary courses. Thanks to her
    > Jewish upbringing, often she would see and understand things in the gospels
    > that Jesus said and did that her fellow Christian students misunderstood.
    > "No," I would say to their interpretations, "that's not what is going on."
    > This brings me to a quite related point: so many Christians fail to
    > really understand and appreciate Jesus' Jewishness. The Incarnation event
    > happened in a particular man who, a Jewish rabbi acquaintance of mine said,
    > "was a good Jewish boy who said the blessing over the cup [at shabbat and
    > Passover]." And as the mother of Amy-Jill Levine, a Jew and NT scholar,
    > said, "He was one of us." I have learned a great deal about Jesus'
    > Jewishness from Geza Vermes and E. P. Sanders, Jewish scholars of the
    > historical Jesus. Indeed, some Christians grow into adulthood without it
    > ever being pointed out to them that Jesus was a Jew. A good example was
    > conveyed to me by a former colleague who was teaching a freshman course that
    > included a unit on Christianity. "Jesus was a Jew," he told his class.
    > "Not only that, he was a rabbi." A student slammed his textbook shut, said
    > "I am not going to sit here and listen to this blasphemy!" and stormed out
    > of the room. After Ed learned what local church the student was attending,
    > he called the pastor and said, "You have a problem with a member of your
    > congregation." The pastor met with the student, who came to class the next
    > day and apologized. "I just didn't know," he said. So many do not: We who
    > have accepted the call to ministries of teaching have quite a harvest to
    > work. Perhaps one fruit of such a labor would be to help reduce the
    > anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism that tragically still exists among so many
    > Christians.
    > I strongly believe that anyone reading Matthew or other biblical texts
    > will be able to derive much that would enlighten his mind or "the eyes of
    > his heart" (Eph. 1:18) and bring him the message of salvation to his great
    > benefit; millions have over the centuries. But we all would gain a much
    > deeper appreciation, and perhaps greater spiritual fruits, if we were
    > willing to benefit from the work of devoted scholars who can teach us, for
    > example, how to recognize and interpret a midrashic text in a gospel or an
    > epistle.
    > Grace and peace,
    > Bob Schneider

    Walt Hicks <>

    In any consistent theory, there must exist true but not provable statements. (Godel's Theorem)

    You can only find the truth with logic If you have already found the truth without it. (G.K. Chesterton) ===================================

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Mon Sep 30 2002 - 00:24:30 EDT