Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A continuing Exile? (once again)

Pharisee Abtalion (teacher of Hillel) speaks against Alexandria:

'Abtalion said: Ye sages, give head to your words lest ye incur the penalty of exile and ye be exiled to a place of evil waters, and the disciples that come after you drink (of them) and die, and the name of Heaven be profound' (Mishnah, Aboth 1.11)

Cited in Richard Bell, The Irrevocable Call of God, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen: 2005, 11. He adds: 'This puts in question the idea of N.T. Wright that Israel regarded the Babylon exile as continuing into the present day' (ibid., 11 n. 50)

I think Bell's reasoning fails to persuade, but the point is taken and is a reason why I adopt the 'exile-restoration' motif as the controlling story in the gospels as a critique, not a generally held view, especially for those living in Jerusalem. Indeed, I would argue that the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 implies some did not consider themselves in exile – one son went to a distant land, the other remained.

On the other hand, cf. the clear evidence in Baruch.

Baruch 1:21 - 3:8
21 We did not listen to the voice of the Lord our God in all the words of the prophets whom he sent to us, 22 but all of us followed the intent of our own wicked hearts by serving other gods and doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God. 2:1 So the Lord carried out the threat he spoke against us: against our judges who ruled Israel, and against our kings and our rulers and the people of Israel and Judah … 4 He made them subject to all the kingdoms around us, to be an object of scorn and a desolation among all the surrounding peoples, where the Lord has scattered them … 13 Let your anger turn away from us, for we are left, few in number, among the nations where you have scattered us. 14 Hear, O Lord, our prayer and our supplication, and for your own sake deliver us, and grant us favor in the sight of those who have carried us into exile … 3:8 See, we are today in our exile where you have scattered us, to be reproached and cursed and punished for all the iniquities of our ancestors, who forsook the Lord our God.


At 2/14/2008 2:59 PM, Anonymous Jason Pratt said...

{{Abtalion said: Ye sages, give •head• to your words}}

With little dancing MC Hammers under them...?


(Sorry, I'm sure the post was actually substantitive and interesting, but the Karl Barth thing several months ago scarred my psyche I guess...)


At 2/14/2008 10:49 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

ah, ooops!!

At 2/17/2008 12:13 AM, Anonymous Apolonio said...

didn't some Jews also believe they were in exile ever since Adam was exiled from Eden? I am thinking of writings which speak of being in the glory of Adam again (1QS). Prof. Azzan Yadin told me that eschatology included a kind of "going back in time" in the sense of going back before the sin of Adam.

I think this may also give light to why Paul speaks of Christ as the New Adam.


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