From: Robert Schneider (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Sep 29 2002 - 23:29:37 EDT
Hi, it appears to me that you missed the main point of my note. I don't
know what else to say, so I'll say,
----- Original Message -----
From: "Walter Hicks" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Robert Schneider" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 5:09 PM
Subject: Re: Did Peter walk on water?
> I brought up this question to the list, because I wanted to see how many
> call this text "true" and then turn around and say that it never really
> and is not historical. That is just an opinion poll. However, what you
> below goes well beyond that.
> The difficulty as I see it, is that you have just ruled out any
> we poor non theologians ever studying the Bible and getting the proper
> Not only must one study under a scholar, but you imply that only those
> who agree with you are qualified to interpret the scriptures.
> I have a number of Bibles with references and Commentaries to assist in
> study. Frankly, the theological opinions often presented on this
> (like that below) are rarely found in any commentary that I have ---- and
> my references from Christian bookstores in liberal Kennedyland. My primary
> reference for New Testament is the Tyndale Commentaries. It totally
> with the view that the text we have been discussing is non-historical and
> not offer any suggestion at all that is a midrash. Yet, if others on this
> 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"
> many members of the Christian Faith may abide, then where would describe
> 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
> > as possible where Matthew's own audience stood if we are to understand
> > 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
> > 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
> > understanding of and attitude to Law, ethics, mission and service must
> > formed."
> > Many Matthew scholars think that the author is "a Jewish Christian who
> > had at his disposal rabbinic knowledge." Some of these scholars have
> > the eyes of this Christian who does not have a Jewish background to see
> > Jewishness of Matthew's gospel. I would not have recognized haggadic
> > midrashim in Matthew's text without a commentator or someone like George
> > point them out to me, but I can assume that the audience for whom
> > wrote his gospel would, at least the Jewish Christians among them, and
> > they would have responded as they normally would to the teaching that a
> > midrash conveys. They would recognize, as would many Jews today, things
> > the stories and episodes in this and other gospels that are likely to
> > right over us gentiles, living as we do after 2000 years of cultural
> > and consequently not in the position to understand a lot of what is
> > 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
> > read the text "and let the plain truth of the Bible shine through."
> > he got into my Greek course on the Gospel of John, he learned that the
> > of that gospel is far more subtle and contains far more than he or
> > else would be able to discern without a good exegetical commentary.)
> > I know some persons both Jews and Christians of Jewish heritage who
> > able to see many of these things. Clair Lofgren, a colleague of mine in
> > 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
> > that Jesus said and did that her fellow Christian students
> > "No," I would say to their interpretations, "that's not what is going
> > This brings me to a quite related point: so many Christians fail to
> > really understand and appreciate Jesus' Jewishness. The Incarnation
> > happened in a particular man who, a Jewish rabbi acquaintance of mine
> > "was a good Jewish boy who said the blessing over the cup [at shabbat
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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,
> > "I am not going to sit here and listen to this blasphemy!" and stormed
> > of the room. After Ed learned what local church the student was
> > 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
> > day and apologized. "I just didn't know," he said. So many do not: We
> > 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
> > Christians.
> > I strongly believe that anyone reading Matthew or other biblical
> > will be able to derive much that would enlighten his mind or "the eyes
> > his heart" (Eph. 1:18) and bring him the message of salvation to his
> > 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,
> > example, how to recognize and interpret a midrashic text in a gospel or
> > epistle.
> > Grace and peace,
> > Bob Schneider
> Walt Hicks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> 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)
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