(ht LK via FB)
(ht LK via FB)
Jon Moseley, a Tea Party member, declares Jesus Christ is a capitalist. He writes against Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel. Jon sells vacation packages to the Bahamas. The Holy Father is a trained theologian, chemist, and philosopher who happens to be the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church standing in the line of St. Peter. One of these is not like the other. Which is why I was surprised with the Holy Father started to sell vacation packages, er, I mean when Moseley started to spout off against the Pope’s theological position.
Because Moseley cannot understand Scripture and seeks to redefine concepts he clearly has no idea about, it is pointless to describe to him just how wrong he is on the interpretations of the Pope’s writing. I want to avoid his gross misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s writings and instead focus on Moseley’s misuse of Scripture.
Moseley begins by quoting Luke 12.13–14, a rather ironic Gospel to choose. Luke is by far the most economic of the Gospels and is recognized by actual scholars as such. Of course, these actual scholars would not say Luke is promoting socialism or capitalism, as both are anachronistic concepts to this time period. There are the levellers, of which Jesus could be considered, but they are hardly the socialism of Karl Marx.1 Another point of irony is that Moseley, like O’Reilly before him, forgets to follow through with the rest of the pericope. If he had, he would have seen Jesus condemn income inequality (12.15) as well as unfettered consumerism (12.16–21). Indeed, this entire passage takes on a rather communistic outlook, especially with the command to sell our possessions and give what we have to charity (12.33). Moseley suggests one verse is all that is needed. Perhaps Moseley should read Scripture rather than pre-chosen verses.
The op-ed WND declares as “set(ting) the Pope straight” on capitalism (the hubris is outstanding) goes on to suggest Jesus “spoke to the individual, never to government or government policy. Jesus was a capitalist, preaching personal responsibility, not a socialist.” This is rather odd given Jesus always spoke (if we take the words of the Gospels as records rather than interpretation) to crowds about his teachings he is leaving to the disciples (as a whole). Further, as God’s Son, he speaks to Israel as a whole (Hebrews 1.1–3). Jesus does address policy, especially when he takes the whips to the Temple animals. After all, the religious authorities had some small governmental sway. Given that one could not speak to the tax-collectors without it looking like one was speaking to or about Rome, this again flies in the face of Moseley’s rhetoric. Finally, as scholars have shown, the Gospels are filled with anti-imperial rhetoric. Jesus himself is God’s logos against Rome.
And let us not forget, Moseley makes the same fatal error O’Reilly did — he assumed individuality is an ancient concept. This flies in the face of covenantal theology found in Judaism and most of Christianity. Jesus did not come to change “individual hearts one soul at a time” as Moseley asserts later in his diatribe. Rather, Jesus came to save collectively the people of God (and the world, but that might get me tarred and feathered). Moseley’s atonement model looks more like a consumerist re-branding of the exemplar model and thus suffers from too much heresy to extrapolate.
To insist on the Vicar of Christ promoting socialism, Moseley must redefine his terms. He shows plainly that Americans simply do not understand what Socialism is. By Moseley’s definition — that of the use of guns by the government to steal property — George Washington led the first socialist revolution during the Whiskey Rebellion and Abraham Lincoln the second. His understanding of capitalism declares “the consumer is king.” Yet, we know from the parable in Luke 12, Jesus roundly condemns this attitude.
Moseley attempts to pull in the overturning of the tables as evidence that Jesus fought against crony capitalism. I am lost at this example. One example that is not lost is his use of Matthew 25.15–18. Moseley interprets this to have Jesus “using money as a metaphor for making the most of all of life’s opportunities, abilities and moments.” He sees in this “investment capital” and an almost hatred of the person who is unwilling to take a chance. Of course, had Moseley compared this to Luke 19.12–27 and the scholarship on these parables, he would have seen the ironic twist. The parablist is not condemning the person who did not make any money, but praising him. The way you made money in those days was to essentially trick your countrymen into bad loans and high interest rates. The man who refused to take a chance refused to get rich off of his fellow Jew. And let us not forget, Matthew 25.31–46 does not include one scent of budding capitalism, but focuses on a charitable life as the means to heaven.
Moseley doesn’t yet get the idea that “kingdom” language (John 18.36) is a political statement. Jesus was not saying he was apolitical (wonder if Moseley would consider becoming apolitical) but that his Kingdom was based in heaven, was eternal, and even controlled Rome. Jesus was not apolitical; Jesus was supra-political. He ends his rant by suggesting Government should not meddle in our private lives. How odd given his stances on many issues deemed private.
Jesus was not a capitalist but the Gospels contain just enough economic material to suggest he would have railed at the horrors of modern, unfettered capitalism.
Happy Thanksgiving to all those that may read these words. This day is one of the few days that I celebrate happily. It is a day that history calls us to give Thanksgiving to God, not just for the things that we have, but for the rights and freedom that we enjoy. Above all, as it should be every day, we must be thankful for Christ and His Cross on Calvary:
George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
There is no doubt this is my favorite session. This is the Markan Literary Sources seminar and includes the top scholars in the field. Fortunately, I get to sit in as well.
This seminar is split between two days. The first, today, has 3 papers. Tomorrow is the session where I will present. Unlike most sessions, we have had the papers for a while.
One thing I’ve learned in this section is to not really live blog it. Why? Because sometimes my reactions aren’t the best – you can’t produce snark too easily on a screen. Three papers are on the agenda for today.
The first paper argues that Peter’s portrayal in Mark is based on Paul’s biography and seems to use Luke-Acts as the example of this. The author of the paper is correct, of course, that we can judge it by the Acts of Peter because in this later work, Peter becomes very Paul-like in his own biography. However, my argument to counter this is thus. Luke may have simply used Mark’s account of Peter to build Paul’s biography in Acts. The presenter is not a fan of Bauckham. Does seem to have something of Brody in him as he refers to 1 Corinthians as a source for Mark.
I don’t fully disagree with this, but it can be a fallback.
MacDonald questions the presenter, based on his methodology, whether or not there is anything in the Gospel that triggers the reader’s reception. I tend to agree. A few more questions.
The next paper is going to be right up MacDonald’s alley, suggesting Mark 6.45–52 is based on a Platonic reading of the Odyssey. As a matter of fact, the paper is based on a previous paper from MacDonald’s class.
Please note, I think MacDonald’s methodology is needed, outstanding, and a whole host of purple adjectives, but I disagree with his conclusions, that Homer was used as a source for Mark’s Gospel. This paper proves my suggestions correct about the conclusions as expressed in my book, which MacDonald didn’t like. You cannot just base a literary dependence upon one word.
Interesting enough, the presenter points out that Job could underlie this passage but dismisses this idea because Job is not a sea story. However, I have to disagree. While Job is not a sea story as a whole it involves Wisdom and other Creation (by the sea (order/chaos) motifs. MacDonald says the reader would have to be astute to get if Mark was using Job, but isn’t that the point of allusions.
She has a good point about the scene on the lack as having to do with Exodus and possible Wisdom 14.2–7.
MacDonald really wants to stress the use of Homer, even to the detriment of the LXX or other contextual sources, such as Philo. I have to agree with MacDonald about the use of Philo though; just not sure it would have gotten around.
Another question is asked regarding the use of the fourth watch. I think it is the trigger itself, pointing us to something Roman.
Winn makes a good point regarding the YHWH/Jesus comparisons, especially here. Again, what if Jesus is taking the place of YHWH?
Next up is a paper suggesting Mark used Enoch and he tests he the Goodacre-O’Leary way – with Matthew. Suggests the Transfiguration is key to understanding this. He raises a good question. Where is Enoch in the story, especially given his popularity in the time? And we get to it. “Jesus is Enoch.” The presenter explores this in an allegorical fashion, much like Mark does with John the Baptist as Elijah.
Wow. Bam. Also, the first mention of the word “mimetic.” This is a great paper. He does believe in a form of Q, though.
I am still blown away that MacDonald believes in Q and how much he tries to force his thesis into every conversation.
This is the trailer:
Ham is characteristically freaking out - almost as much as the Dagon worshipers in one of those books of Daniel. Oddly enough he calls out the Jews for his support, although he doesn’t really understand much about Second Temple interpretation of Noah from the Jewish perspective nor even modern rabbinical commentary. This is apparent because he like wise misses the material, at least in the trailer in his preview (of a movie he hasn’t seen), present from the pseudepigrapha.
Reading Ham makes this movie that much more seeable.