Jesus and Israel's Traditions of Judgement and Restoration

Jesus and Israel's Traditions of Judgement and Restoration

Jesus and Israel's Traditions of Judgement and Restoration

Jesus and Israel's Traditions of Judgement and Restoration

Synopsis

This book examines the eschatology of Jesus by evaluating his appropriation of sacred traditions related to Israel's restoration and addresses the way in which Jesus' future expectations impinged upon his understanding of Jewish society. It breaks new ground by considering Jesus' expectations regarding key constitutional features of the eschaton--the shape of the people of God, purity, Land and Temple. Bryan demonstrates that Jesus' anticipation of coming national judgement led him to use Israel's sacred traditions in ways that differed significantly from their use by his contemporaries.

Excerpt

In this chapter and the next, I focus on negative elements in Jesus' response to Jewish national restorationism. I will attempt to show that certain constituent features, themes, and assumptions of this restorationism which had been generated by eschatological reflection on Israel's sacred traditions were challenged or reworked by Jesus in the light of alternative traditions. Moreover, in doing so, he not only rejected certain elements of Jewish restorationism but altered them in such a way as to make them serve a message of national judgement.

The particular concern of the present chapter is to trace the role and meaning of signs within Jewish expectations of restoration and to assess Jesus' response to and use of this feature of national restorationism.

2.1 Jesus' assertions of obvious but unrecognized fulfilment

2.1.1 Jesus' critique of the rejection of his message
of eschatological fulfilment

Unless we reject large swaths of the Jesus tradition, the following propositions are firm: (1) Jesus preached the arrival or imminent arrival of the time of fulfilment; (2) Jesus' ministry stirred broad interest but his message did not finally gain wide acceptance; (3) Jesus believed that the rejection of his message was morally culpable.

Inasmuch as Jesus believed that the rejection of his message of eschatological fulfilment was blameworthy, it is clear that he took the reality which he announced to be obvious and discernible. Such a perspective lies behind a number of parables (e.g. the parable of the wedding feast) and much of Jesus' interaction with the Jewish leaders. But in several texts the criticism rises to the surface and, whether or not their authenticity can be demonstrated, they illustrate Jesus' belief that the arrival of the time of fulfilment was obvious and that failure to recognize it could only mean judgement.

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