Tuesday, September 27, 2011

First Fulbright paragraph

This morning I wrote the first page of my Fulbright project.  I started with chapter 3 to get my juices going and because I may present it here at the university.  Here's the first paragraph of my project:
In the previous chapter, we argued that it was quite natural for the earliest Christians to draw on sacrificial metaphors to make sense of Christ’s death. Indeed, we argued that it is quite likely that Jesus himself gave them precedence for thinking of his death in this way in the final hours before his arrest, if not before. The most natural way for them to interpret the scope of his death was to see it as an atonement for the Israel of their day, a righteous death to restore sinful Israel. At the same time, it is not clear that anyone in this ragtag group of followers was of the sort to be deeply theological in orientation. More likely, they very generally saw his death in retrospect as catalyzing and effecting all the goals of Jesus during his earthly activities, with their focal point in the land of Israel.


Phil Carder said...

And one wonders how influential or significant the destruction of the Temple would have been for the early Christians in terms of the sacrificial metaphor of Jesus' death. Without the Temple cult, it seems that the early church would have seen the crucifixion as fulfilling and/or superseding the OT Judaic system of atonement. It would be interesting to see how this theology develops (if it in fact does) from the pre-70CE writings to the post-70CE writings of the NT.

Ken Schenck said...

This is part of my thesis, that Christian Jews did not see the temple's atonement as redundant until after the temple was destroyed.