Magazine article Cross Currents

The Legend of Jesus and Veronica

Magazine article Cross Currents

The Legend of Jesus and Veronica

Article excerpt

From this article's perspective, this first century legend represents a man named Jesus and a woman of the New Testament era. Jesus was crucified as a man, a human, before the gospel writers called him Messiah or Son of God. Jesus' followers were both women and men. This article considers the unique relationship among women and men portrayed by Jesus and Veronica in the legend. Originally told through oral communication, it has lasted for over 2,000 years. The main virtue associated with the legend is that of compassion. Jesus loved his followers and in turn Veronica wiped his face on the way to Calvary. They were compassionate companions. Synergy between the two genders, in this instance, Jesus and Veronica, fosters a new way of relating to each other in the equality of a shared humanity.

Beyond separate genders, humans, or Homo sapiens, have more in common than not. Therefore, a hermeneutics (interpretation) for humanity in reading and analyzing Jesus and the New Testament can bring a new vision. This hermeneutics, based on women and men together, will bring reconciliation and new life to the most ancient conflict of all, the polarization of women and men.

First, this article will present the legend. Next, attempt to develop a hermeneutics for humanity. Hermeneutics is a philosophical technique, useful for the science and methodology of interpreting various kinds of biblical texts based on the texts themselves. Hermeneutics establishes human links with meaning for their own sake. Sometimes hermeneutics is used interchangeably with exegesis, although exegesis is closer to a critical analysis of a text. Midrash is the most ancient interpretation of the bible in the Jewish traditions and in use during the time Jesus lived. In various contexts, it is used in different ways, making the term difficult to pin down. Midrash can refer to hermeneutical techniques and attitudes first appearing in the Bible itself and then reproduced in the "Oral Torah" that interpreted the Bible from the time of Ezra in the fifth century B.C.E (Sabin, 2002).

In order to examine the Jesus movement as a revolution within the Jewish traditions, techniques borrowed from midrash will help to establish the hermeneutics for humanity that means both women and men are mentioned together in the New Testament. Neither gender is regarded as more significant than the whole of the human race. The synergy between the two genders in the presence of Jesus is unique compared to hermeneutics that address mainly one gender or the other (Sabin, 2002). Finally, how the legend's survival until today speaks to the contemporary world where we all live together whether in peace, war, or terrorism. The legend is continually a call to seek other cultural and historic myths, stories, and legends that will support our shared humanity as well as our differences.

The legend as a story initially passed from generation to generation through oral communication. Capturing the essence of the Jesus movement during his life time, this legend still speaks to humanity's needs to respect and care for each other today. It originates in the first century after his death and resurrection ( Furthermore, the legend illustrates Jesus' understanding of basiliea, by which he meant the Kingdom of God. Exegesis generally agrees that the central perspective and "vision" of Jesus is expressed by the symbol basiliea ("kingdom," "empire") of God (Perrin, 1976).

Jesus and his movement shared this symbol, and the whole range of expectations evoked by it, with all the other groups in Palestine. Jews expected either the restoration of the Davidic national sovereignty of Israel and abolition of Roman colonialism or an apocalyptic universal kingdom of cosmological dimensions with the holy city and Temple at its center. Many groups hoped for both at the same time (Fiorenza, 1994).

In the Jesus movement, the basiliea of God meant the central theological concern for the renewal of the people of Israel, God's holy elect. …

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