Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Epistle of Barnabas and the Deuteronomic tradition

I am reading
Rhodes, James N., The Epistle of Barnabas and the Deuteronomic tradition: polemics, paraenesis, and the legacy of the golden-calf incident (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004) because I am trying to better understand the golden calf reference in Stephen's last sermon.

I was somewhat surprised that the Epistle of Barnabas denies the davidic royal notion of messiah (12:10b, 11b). Why? What happened between the writings of the gospels and the Epistle of Barnabas? What did the author of this epistle know that we do not? In the book, Judaisms and their Messiahs, a Jesuit, Macrae I believe, noted that we could not explain how we went from Jesus of Nazareth, Messiah of Israel, to the messianic view contained in the gospels that was pleasing to its Greco-Roman audience. Perhaps the missing clue is contained in Barnabas. It is interesting to note that one of the suppositions of the Jesuit writer is that Luke is a Gentile. I suppose we could say that Barnabas is the "dumb down" version of the Epistle to Hebrews but I do not know what benefit is derived thereby.

It is almost as if a collection of books that ought to exist vanished! Or maybe the books exist but we do not recognize them because of our suppositions about their dating.

I will be paying particularly close attention to what Rhodes says about three Jewish writings making mention of the golden calf incident and raising the question of the status of Israel’s covenant.

copyrighted 2005


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