Mark 1:21-28

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jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 07:13 am
@Deckard,
I think where authority is most insidious and has done the most harm is where it is used in domination. That is where authority so easily becomes authoritarianism. My knowledge of church history is very spotty, but the question of authority, correct belief (orthodoxy and heresy) has been enormously important in Christendom.

Actually Max Weber's analysis of 'types of authority' in the sociology of religion is instructive.

Weber distinguished three pure types of political leadership, domination and authority:
  • charismatic domination (familial and religious),
  • traditional domination (patriarchs, patrimonalism, feudalism), and
  • legal domination (modern law and state, bureaucracy)


He tended to distinguish charismatic and institutional authority. Of course in practise they have tended to intermingle, but they are separate kinds of thing. Jesus was the charismatic authority par excellence, while the doctrine of papal infallibility I would presume could be depicted as the model for traditional domination.

One of the main differences between Buddhism and Christianity also has been that Buddhism is based more on the 'charismatic authority' of the teaching lineages and is centripedal rather than centrifugal i.e. the 'power' of the teaching is distributed through networks of teachers rather than concentrated in institutions dominated by a strong centre. By contrast in the Christian church, a very strong central institution emerged from the halcyon days of multiple competing charismatics and in fact the more legalistic, beureaucratic and centralised doctrine won out over the more charismatic sects which we generally suppressed as heretical. The Doctrine of Atonement also lent itself to a centrifugal model, with God being at the Head, Christ the Divine Mediator, and the Church his sole representative on Earth. Notwithstanding the influence of the charismatic types who are always somewhere within 'the broad church', from the time of Constantine at least until the Reformation, the Church was surely of the 'traditional domination' type rather than the 'charismatic authority' type.
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 07:55 am
@Deckard,
jeepres' post pretty much covers the way i see authority. but i dont trust any government-not a single one on earth that i have ever heard of or read about.

to me faith is for example the way i feel about my son-that he is inherently a good person and if someone came to me and told me he did such-and-such i would not believe it. even if they provided photographs i would not believe it, i would figure they morphed him into a photo somehow. but of course my son has no authority over me unless one might say that i am dreaming and being duped and the authority somehow came first. i admit that is a possibility.

i see faith as sometimes related to authority and sometimes not. i have had faith enough times in people who later turn out to be untrustworthy-but i continue to try and guess who i can trust. what is the alternative? never to trust anyone...and that is too sad. there is no proof anyone can offer you so you know they can be trusted-so if you wait for that, you will never trust anyone. better to trust someone and later be proved wrong. you can always change your mind.

which reminds me of that fellow in south africa that made the poison kool aid. but less people trusted him than trust in jesus...
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 08:08 am
@Deckard,
I think there is much 'missing the point' here. Far too much credence is being given to the characters in the story, when most obviously, it's simply a literary tool. Within the context of prophetic office, in the Jewish religious belief-system structure in that day (and before), one must come in the name of YHWH (as stated by Mosaic Law prophecy)...that is the question of authority, which is being used in that particular pericope so as to insinuate that Yeshua had indeed been the messiah. Nothing more, nothing less. It's simply no big deal, now...because we know it's simply story telling.
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 08:17 am
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;116277 wrote:
I think there is much 'missing the point' here. Far too much credence is being given to the characters in the story, when most obviously, it's simply a literary tool. Within the context of prophetic office, in the Jewish religious belief-system structure in that day (and before), one must come in the name of YHWH (as stated by Mosaic Law prophecy)...that is the question of authority, which is being used in that particular pericope so as to insinuate that Yeshua had indeed been the messiah. Nothing more, nothing less. It's simply no big deal, now...because we know it's simply story telling.


point well taken, actually. jesus (be he real or not, he is the character in the story) never asked people to follow him for his charismatic nature. he claimed to be invested with authority from that god YHWH that he also was subject to the same as everyone else.

and i think the big deal is not so much the story itself, but the issue of how authority comes to be accepted for certain people here on earth.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 08:46 am
@salima,
Yes, and in keeping with his Jewish background, he refers to the authority of observation: "look at the lilies of the field... do they work hard and worry? No, and see how their father in heaven adorns them."

I think faith and acceptance of authority are linked. When you're driving down the road and you hit a patch of ice, you might experience the appearance of an authority within you... it just takes over. It doesn't rely on dialectic... it doesn't refer to a physics book for it's right to take over. It just has a feel for physics. Your only alternative to allowing its tyranny is to freeze up.

When human tyrants take over, its often in the midst of crisis so that the community can operate without freezing up. A tyrant is like the part of your nervous system that operates without conscious control. Democracy is like the rule of the mind... gathering diverse viewpoints... establishing law in a rational way... hopefully rational.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 08:54 am
@Deckard,
Yes, regarding the idea of authority, that does in fact seem to be the case. If we were to go to the primitive societies still left on this planet, we'd find some systems of old, which would be so different from those of our world of today...regarding the idea of authority.

Regarding the story, yes...it is just a story. The real, historical person, from whose idealized imagery the character in the gospel narratives had been developed, might have claimed something of that sort, but then again, not a few did, so . . . there were a number of 'self-acclaimed' messiahs of around that time. Have you ever read any of the Jewish Wars reports (which happened around that time?)
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 10:09 am
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;116300 wrote:
Yes, regarding the idea of authority, that does in fact seem to be the case. If we were to go to the primitive societies still left on this planet, we'd find some systems of old, which would be so different from those of our world of today...regarding the idea of authority.

Regarding the story, yes...it is just a story. The real, historical person, from whose idealized imagery the character in the gospel narratives had been developed, might have claimed something of that sort, but then again, not a few did, so . . . there were a number of 'self-acclaimed' messiahs of around that time. Have you ever read any of the Jewish Wars reports (which happened around that time?)
How is the Japanese take on authority?

Yes. John the Baptist would be another example of one speaking from his own authority. Jesus' main message wasn't about being the Jewish Messiah. People were looking for the Messiah. Apparently when asked if he was, he said: Yes, but don't tell anybody. Considering the whole point of the Messiah was that the everybody would know that God's blessing is on the Jewish people and the gentiles were foolish to wrong them, that was a strange answer. In the light of the idea of Messiah, you can see how open-ended the story of Jesus is. He was executed as a criminal. What happens next? See what I mean?
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 07:17 pm
@Arjuna,
If you would please excuse me, Arjuna, I'd like to set the first question aside; since, in my opinion at least, that would be a bit off-topic for the thread...maybe.

Arjuna;116338 wrote:
Apparently when asked if he was, he said: Yes, but don't tell anybody.


While I think you made some good, and interesting to think about points there, this particular one quoted here is where I often notice some inaccuracy leaking in. We cannot be sure at all that such a conversation had actually taken place with the real Yeshua and his followers, nor even that such a scenario had developed where any number of his comrades had asked a question of that nature. Of course it would have been possible--the people of that day and age were really looking for someone to save them from the Roman Empire--but we cannot be certain enough to talk of the report in a manner of taking it to be absolutely true history.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 08:01 pm
@Deckard,
Well my interpretation will always be spiritual, as distinct from political or historical. I don't think Jesus offered to save anyone from the Roman Empire. Remember, He said: "Render unto Ceasar, those things that are Ceasar's, and unto God, those things that are Gods" (Matt 22). the liberation which Jesus talked of was liberation from sin. Leaving aside the vexed question of what intepretation should be given to this word, I think we can agree that it refers to man's spiritual condition, his relationship with 'The Father' (= source of all being). I don't think in any of this, the 'authority' being referred to is political or secular authority. In fact, I would argue that one of the grave misunderstandings of the Pharisees was to believe that Jesus was usurping their authority. But I don't think that was what Jesus was about. I am not one who agrees that 'the Kingdom of Heaven' was a political aspiration aimed at overthrowing the colonial powers and establishing a free political state. 'Kingdom of Heaven' in my book is a spiritual condition or realisation. Of course not everyone is willing to consider this. That is why Jesus said, repeatedly, 'Those who have ears to hear, let them hear'.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 09:11 pm
@jeeprs,
While a person living today can take the recension, as best offered, and read it as a person as far removed from the moment, culture, and religious belief-system setting of the autograph (and the norm of literature of that day), as we are today, without taking the time to somewhat thoroughly investigate those matters so as to reach a thinkably more accurate 'reading' of the intention of the author of those several narrative stories, it will by no means whatsoever alter the original intended communication that had historically been held in the mind of the writer...period!



jeeprs;116521 wrote:
Well my interpretation will always be spiritual, as distinct from political or historical. I don't think Jesus offered to save anyone from the Roman Empire. remember, He said: "Render unto Ceasar, those things that are Ceasar's, and unto God, those things that are Gods" (Matt 22).


Again, one point of understanding which has well enough been demonstrated, and which we should always keep in mind when trying to use quotes of quotes from the narrative stories, is, that we do not know, and thus should be careful not to assert that we know, anything really that Yeshua might have said. We do not know if Yeshua said those words which you have quoted from the text According to Mathias.

Among the several scenarios (theories) which have been better supported, I'd tend to agree that Yeshua had not been out against the Roman world (that was the Jewish nation at large, in general), but that he had been a purist of sorts, similar too, but possibly slightly different from, the Essenes. The kingdom of heaven was, most evidently, nevertheless, a physical interpretation of earlier Jewish beliefs, and Yeshua might have (especially did some later followers of the movement) taught that that had been coming soon through supernatural means by YHWH's intervention on the world scene of that day. Of course, it didn't.


jeeprs;116521 wrote:
That is why Jesus said, repeatedly, 'Those who have ears to hear, let them hear'.


Again, we do not know that Yeshua said such a thing....although it is very, very possible (and can conclude that it is far most likely the case that he used that quite common cliche in his teaching. To read more into it than is there, however, is an error. The cliche is nothing more than saying 'try to listen to this and get the point.' Its use had not been a statement on any spiritual understanding, or a prophecy of some nature.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 09:28 pm
@jeeprs,
KaseiJin;116516 wrote:
We cannot be sure at all that such a conversation had actually taken place with the real Yeshua and his followers, nor even that such a scenario had developed where any number of his comrades had asked a question of that nature. Of course it would have been possible--the people of that day and age were really looking for someone to save them from the Roman Empire--but we cannot be certain enough to talk of the report in a manner of taking it to be absolutely true history.
I appreciate your point. I wasn't putting that conversation forward as known history. What we do know is many residents of Jerusalem had an apocalyptic outlook which had become more intense about 170 years earlier. Many rabbis understood the scriptures to be foretelling the arrival of a Messiah... a kind of return of King David, but as a supernatural entity. These expectations wound in and around expectations of the "World to Come." The scenario involves a great battle called Armageddon, after which the gentiles would be brought low. How exactly the Messiah's arrival might figure in the "last days" was debated by rabbis. They looked earnestly for clues in the text of the Torah for the answer. In other words, they were looking for revelations. The gospel of Matthew is pointing to Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. In fact they all do, but Luke and John have a slightly different view of the word Messiah. Luke was a gentile. John's gospel is about the divinity of Jesus.

jeeprs;116521 wrote:
Well my interpretation will always be spiritual, as distinct from political or historical.
Me too. It's poetry to me. But I guess you could look at anything in life as poetry.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 09:52 pm
@KaseiJin,
KaseiJin;116542 wrote:
We do not know if Yeshua said those words which you have quoted from the text According to Mathias.


True. I am commenting on the words as written. It is my interpretation of what I take them to mean, without taking into account the 'search for the historical Jesus' and 'higher scholarship' and those kinds of sources. I am aware of them but these words are in the standard editions and I believe have quite a lot of meaning 'as is'.

KaseiJin;116542 wrote:
The kingdom of heaven was, most evidently, nevertheless, a physical interpretation of earlier Jewish beliefs, and Yeshua might have (especially did some later followers of the movement) taught that that had been coming soon through supernatural means by YHWH's intervention on the world scene of that day. Of course, it didn't.


Interested in what you mean by 'physical' here if you could explain it a little better? Do mean, political? Like a political state or a theocracy of some kind?


KaseiJin;116542 wrote:
(Regarding 'he that has ears to hear') Again, we do not know that Yeshua said such a thing....although it is very, very possible (and can conclude that it is far most likely the case that he used that quite common cliche in his teaching. To read more into it than is there, however, is an error. The cliche is nothing more than saying 'try to listen to this and get the point.' Its use had not been a statement on any spiritual understanding, or a prophecy of some nature.


This is rather strongly worded, don't you think? it is completely different to my interpretation. The context is almost always a parable, which is a teaching story with an ethical meaning. What I think it means, and I am sure this is an orthodox intrepretion, is that not everybody is willing to take on what Jesus said. He did after all say very many radical things - give up all you have and follow Me, do good to those that harm you, take no thought for tomorrow. I am sure there were many then, as there are now, for whom this would make no sense at all. There are people at various stages of development or maturity; some are willing to take on board what Jesus said, some are not. Hence, 'those who have ears', as distinct from 'those who are deaf to this kind of teaching...'
 
Deckard
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 01:57 am
@jeeprs,
I think of the Gospels as advertisements for the new religion. I think they were carefully constructed to sell the religion or else they would not have survived for so long. Only the most effective of these advertisements have survived (survival of the fittest memes). They are full of psychological and rhetorical techniques just as today's advertisements are.

In the early days, these were stories read out loud to groups of people. They were read out loud probably by the more gifted speakers among the up and coming religion of Christianity. (Is this close to how it happened? Or am I speculating too much).

At the very beginning of Mark, this audience would have been bombarded with this claim to authority. Furthermore, any scoffer in the crowd would sheepishly hold his tongue given that the story suggests that those who question this authority are considered to be possessed by evil. (Does this scenario sound possible? Again I'm speculating quite a bit.)
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 05:14 am
@Deckard,
The gospels are thought to have been composed within a century after the events described (although there are those who say it is all fictional in any case). I really don't know if you could say they were 'crafted' though. I don't think that was the perspective at the time they were written down.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 05:57 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;116598 wrote:
The gospels are thought to have been composed within a century after the events described (although there are those who say it is all fictional in any case). I really don't know if you could say they were 'crafted' though. I don't think that was the perspective at the time they were written down.


"Crafted" does have sinister undertones. "Composed" is a more neutral term and works just as well for my meaning. Similarly the word "advertisement" was meant to be connotatively neutral? Even if inspired by the Holy Spirit the gospels can still be called advertisements. Of course to call something "Inspired by the Holy spirit" is also to say that it is authoritative.

Come to think of it, the baptism scene with the Holy Spirit / Ghost descending is indeed relevant here considering it is only a few verses earlier. That is the moment Jesus receives authority.

Quote:
Mark 1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 07:53 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;116600 wrote:
"Crafted" does have sinister undertones. "Composed" is a more neutral term and works just as well for my meaning. Similarly the word "advertisement" was meant to be connotatively neutral? Even if inspired by the Holy Spirit the gospels can still be called advertisements. Of course to call something "Inspired by the Holy spirit" is also to say that it is authoritative.

Come to think of it, the baptism scene with the Holy Spirit / Ghost descending is indeed relevant here considering it is only a few verses earlier. That is the moment Jesus receives authority.
Yes, so we can't really speak as if we know what Jesus actually said or what his intentions were. There were other versions of the story that were rejected at the Nicene Council of 325. But I think we can still examine a single message coming through that sheds more light on the nature of his authority.

He told people that they were focusing on superficial aspects of religion and missing the point of it in the process. He told them that reinacting ceremonies correctly doesn't make you a good person. If you follow the law to the letter and simultaneously fill your world with more abuse and grief, then you're a hypocrite.

He said that the whole Mosaic law could be reduced to this:

Love God with your whole being.
And love your neighbor as you love yourself.

So he was saying stop sweating the small s*** and look at what kind of person you are.

Those that followed his advice were apt to see something profound. His message went to people who were angry and hurt, and longed to see revenge on their oppressors. Since they couldn't accomplish it themselves, they looked for God to come and give the bastards what they derseved.

Jesus was saying: look at what this anger is doing to you. You've let yourselves be bound by it. But it doesn't bind you. You can let it go. The villian doesn't control you. You're free.

Ok, so I'm interpreting. But hey, it's a 2000 year old religion that shaped my world pervasively. I take the authority to interpret it.Smile
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 09:06 am
@Arjuna,
On the kingdom matter, from what I have learned, it was very much a Jewish thing in post-exilic Israel...wanting a self-sovereign political state again. The chances that Yeshua's activity had been focusing on a kingdom of that nature, teaching that it would be due to direct intervention by YHWH against, especially those of the class who had (possibly in his and his group's eyes) strayed from the 'pureness' of the law. So yes, a political state, co-ruled by a certain number of who would become 'carried away,' to help the son and the father (YHWH and Yeshua) rule over that earthly kingdom.

John's gospel has a number of hands in it. John the elder, a different John (as reported on by Papias) likely had created the Revelation text, and may have had some influence on the John text too--with this mysticism which other quotes in the Church fathers give him. The likelihood that all the gospel accounts which we have in our canon, were finished by the early second century CE.

Yes, that is very much the understanding, based on the best evidence, Deckard. The really only reason we can verify, for our having just these narratives today, is simply the frequency with which they had been read, and left them to get stuck in the flock's minds...there was an issue once, about a mistake in the reading, where the audience complained to a higher person (they had put it to memory so well, at that point). But we do have the general Western tradition, and the Alexandrian tradition, with some cross-over, and other side traditions out there then, too...and some of it got lost along the way, unfortunately.

I don't think that I had worded that section, jeeprs, with strength, actually, but perhaps with definiteness. There were a number of Jewish cliches which had been used in object lesson parables. It would actually be a bit hard to pin some kind of deeper intent to communicate something on them. Again, we cannot say for certain whether these object lessons are from occurrences during Yeshua's activities and teaching, or whether they are penned in object lessons. There is at least one time (speaking off the top of my head here, but will check tomorrow) where application of older scripture is provided so as to show it as a fulfilling of prophecy...but the result is dubious.

It's easy to read too much into the texts, simply because we are so far removed from the moment and all it included...and because the most fundamental prophecies were false. (please see from around this post, for further information on one element of that) And, while it can be done, of course, doing so will have no foundation . . . it would be very much like simply putting words in the author's mouth; when it all boiled down.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 09:14 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;116609 wrote:
But I think we can still examine a single message coming through that sheds more light on the nature of his authority.

Yes! My thoughts exactly.
Arjuna;116609 wrote:

Ok, so I'm interpreting. But hey, it's a 2000 year old religion that shaped my world pervasively. I take the authority to interpret it.Smile

Perhaps you were inspired by the Holy Ghost during your interpreting...whatever that means.

The authority in Mark1:21 & 27 can be traced directly back to the earlier baptism scene in Mark 1:10 & 11. That is the moment when Jesus gets his authority. The dove descends and the voice says "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The baptism is his swearing in ceremony with John the Baptist playing the part of the chief justice.
 
memester
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 03:01 pm
@Deckard,
astonishment at Jesus doing miracle, and non-astonishment at Jesus doing same miracle.

Depends on book of the NT.
 
 

 
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