June 26, 2011

re NT Wright's Take on This Passage

"Fasting in this period was not, for Jews, simply an ascetic discipline, part of the general practice of piety. It had to do with Israel's present condition: she was still in exile. More specifically, it had to do with commemorating the destruction of the Temple. Zechariah's promise that the fasts would turn into feasts could come true only when YHWH restored the fortunes of his people. That, of course, was what Jesus' cryptic comments implied: " [ referring to the passage in our last post]

....

"...Fasting spoke of an Israel still in exile. Sabbath spoke of the great day of rest still to come; also, both to Israel and the pagans, it announced Israel's determination to remain separate. Food laws, too, spoke of an Israel separate from the nations... Jesus' whole work was aimed at announcing that the day of mourning, of exile, of necessary and God-ordained national separateness, was coming to an end. His claim that Israel's God was acting to fulfil the ancient promises in and through his own work was therefore seen to be deeply threatening by the self-appointed guardians of Israel's heritage..."
[from Jesus and the Victory of God, pg 433]
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So, did Jesus consider himself "founding a new religion," as we would normally read the allusions to "new wine" and "old wine" here? Probably just 'another movement within Judaism', which like some other such movement, provided radically different alternatives to the Temple for reconciling God and Israel. "A new religion" would probably not have appealed to his followers; Jesus' reframing of the old symbols did-- while deeply offending many who'd "found the old wine good."

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