- The Maccabean crisis (167-164BC) created a law-observant zeal at a time when law-observance was slowly fading away. Arguably the Pharisees and Essenes eventually flowed out of this crisis. If we want to understand the pre-Christian Paul, here's where we begin.
- Messianic expectation really rises here as well. There really wasn't much expectation of a messiah going on prior to the early 100s BC. The idea that God might raise up an individual to defeat foreign oppressors gets a real push in this crisis and in the two books that will be written about it (1 and 2 Maccabees).
- The Roman take-over in 63BC, including a defiling of the temple, heightens the desire that God raise up someone to defeat foreign powers, now the Romans. Psalms of Solomon gives us perhaps the best expression of what the Jews were wanting in a Messiah.
- So N. T. Wright's sense of Jewish exile is heightened by these events and I personally wouldn't be surprised if John the Baptist has some Essene connection, which again would heighten the background of Christianity in a group alienated even from its own Judaism.
- Also essential to the pre-Christian mix is the rise of apocalyptic Judaism in the early 100s BC and its continuance in groups like the Essenes. Here there was a sense that human power was not necessary to see the defeat of foreign powers because God had his angelic armies. Again, not much of this going on until the 100s BC.
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Zeal for the Law (Context of NT Judaism)
Yesterday, I ended up in my honor's classes giving a quick sketch of how the two hundred years of Jewish history before Jesus formed the Judaism from which New Testament Christianity emerged.