Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Read with Me, Part 2

I wrote a follow-up post over at Sun Spotted.


Jana Swartwood said...

I haven't actually read this book yet, although I own it. (Funny story: one day around the time when it was first published, some people were handing them out on campus, and by the time I heard about it and walked over there, security had already shut them down, but I walked up to the guy as he was loading his car and he gave me one anyway. It might have been the author, for all I know, or it might not have been. Anyway, that's not my point.)

My comment is in response to the note that Jesus was radical and different from his contemporaries and spoke in riddles and parables and didn't answer questions directly. I agree with the point that He was radically distinctive in His message, in the sense that He was taking the traditional Jewish beliefs to a way higher level. But his way of reasoning and answering (or not answering) questions is very much in keeping with the rabbinic method of debate in His day.

I think sometimes our Western perspective causes us to discount Jesus' method of answering questions. To us, a "good" answer is logical and ties up nicely at the end. The Semitic mind approached such questions differently. If you read the Talmud or other early rabbinic writings, you'll see very similar sorts of discussions. In fact, you'll also see that some of Jesus' statements that seem vague and weird on first glance make a lot of sense when you see that they are allusions to other teachings that were widely known at the time.

I have particularly enjoyed reading Meet the Rabbis by Brad Young because he devotes a good amount of space to comparing Jesus' teachings with other rabbinic teachings of the period. It's quite fascinating.

Christie said...

Jai, thank you for the awesome (and educational) comment. Would you mind if I posted it over on the Sun Spotted page? (Or you can.) Let me know...