Monday, June 04, 2007

The return of the Twelve Tribes

A chap called David asks Brant Pitre, author of one of my two favourite books – together with Wright's – on the historical Jesus thus far (though I'm yet to work through Bird's offering – someone annoyingly ordered it back to the library before I could read it) a good question about the prophesied return of the Twelve Tribes and the supposed start of its fulfilment in Jesus and his ministry:

"If Jesus seeks to bring about the restoration of Israel, then what happens to God's promise to gather the lost tribes of Israel back to the land (cf. Isa 11; Ezek 37; Mic 4, etc.)? Is this promise simply abandoned? Or does the New Testament "over-spiritualize the gospel" (David's words) it by referring it to the heavenly Jerusalem (e.g., Heb 12)? As he said, "Doesn't there have to be a bit more to it than that?""

Brant's shot at an answer is really worth reading!


At 6/04/2007 9:27 PM, Anonymous Michael Barber said...

I like Wright as well but I think I would put Meyer's "The Aims of Jesus" (1979) ahead of "Jesus and the Victory of God". Meyer was SO FAR ahead of his time--long before Sanders' "Jesus and Judaism" (1985) he was all about "restoration" in Jewish thought. My only real beef with Meyer is his translation of "kingdom" as "reign". I think that obscures the Davidic dimension of Jesus' mission and downplays a significant element of Jewish expectations. Aside from that, it is, I think, the single most overlooked book in Jesus research.

Meyer's work on Critical Realism also had HUGE influence on the field later on--but again, most people neglect him.

On another note, as per your book suggestion, I am happy to tell you that I have Fatehi's book. Though I never finished it, I was thoroughly impressed. I LOVED his overview of the Spirit in Jewish sources--what a great resource! And what I read from his treatment on Paul was great... now I've got to go back and finish it!!!

At 6/05/2007 2:04 AM, Anonymous vynette said...

In my view, the New Testament addressed the Israelite messianic expectations in the following unexpected manner:

Restoration: Jesus restored the fortunes of Israel because he restored the nation’s moral integrity.

Reunification: the tribes of Israel, though scattered, were reunited in obedience to a set of shared moral principles set by Jesus.

Dominion over Gentiles: because of the supremacy of its moral principles, Israel now had moral dominion over the Gentiles.

World to be consumed by fire: These moral principles were like a fire, the fire of the Day of the Lord of prophecy, which burned up the stubble of false values and false standards.

Kingdom of God on earth: followers of Jesus are united in the 'spiritual' Kingdom of God in existence since the resurrection.

However, the New Testament further proposed a future, more literal fulfillment.


At 6/05/2007 10:40 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Michael,
Thanks for your insightful comment. And I'm sure you are right, more objectively speaking. I personally found Wright's book such an eye opener, I am hugely biased.

And Mehrdad Fatehi is my second supervisor, and a hugely nice chap!

Thanks, too, for your comment. I think you have a point, but I wonder if you are overpressing the morality issue.
All the best.


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