The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective

Nissim ben Reuben Gerondi
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As a starting point, the description of the intimate relationship between Jesus and his Father Jesus being like his Father in ff. Within a Jewish framework, God, as King , 5 , is the lawgiver and judge Ex. In John he gives the power of judgment to Jesus, as his vassal king.

John thus defines the relationship between Jesus and the people in juridical terms, namely, that the people relate to Jesus as they would relate to a judge in a courtroom i. Following this remark by Jesus in Chapter 5 a fictive courtroom is presented where Jesus defends his own position as Son of God. In —47 Jesus calls several witnesses to himself, namely, John the Baptist , God, scripture and even his works. The Johannine view of realised realising eschatology is well known, as is the presentic view on judgment.

Clash in the courtroom

In the presence of Jesus and his message words , judgment takes place: those who do not accept his message are judged and those who accept him will not come under judgment — The space Jesus creates through his presence corresponds to a fictive courtroom in which judgment is pronounced immediately realised vs.

From the perspective of the narrative nobody in the cosmos is excluded from this space; all have to face Jesus as judge.

Articles of interest – February 15, 2016

Although the high priest and Pilate are presented as judges, they also ultimately stand under the judgment of the supreme judge, the King of Israel. In John the promised Messiah-King , 45 confronts the world with the reality of the presence of the incarnated eschatological kingdom of God, of which he is the King. He further challenges the cosmic and transcendental powers that stand in opposition to his eternal kingdom.

Jesus does not arrive with a huge army of soldiers — Peter makes a small effort by using his sword but is immediately rebuked by Jesus for not seeing the conflict in larger transcendental perspectives — People are invited to a kingdom that, humanly speaking, is evidently without power, since the King dies on the cross and members of the kingdom will be persecuted, murdered, hated —; — not a very likely perspective for a group who claim to be political victors and to represent the most powerful kingdom of God.

His kingdom differs spatially as well as qualitatively from that of Pilate. He uses spatial language originating from the transcendental narrative to explain that his kingdom is not of this world and therefore does not use the force and power associated with this world ; see —11; see also Schnackenburg The kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, unlike that of Caesar. The power of the kingdom elsewhere becomes spatially identifiable in active dynamics like love, care and creating life but ultimately in the final and powerful judgment of God of those who did not want to accept the reality of this kingdom — This does not put the two opposing political groups on a physical collision course but rather on an ethical one. Pilate asks what truth is while the Truth is standing in front of him. Although Pilate and Jesus shares the same physical space, Pilate does not share the space occupied by the Truth, Jesus, since he does not stand in a relation of acceptance to Jesus. Relational presence is in many cases constitutive for identifying space in John. All these qualities are associated with the transcendental divine world and mark the presence of this reality in the cosmos Van der Watt John notes that God loves the world and that the Messiah was sent to this world to bring eternal life, making it possible for all people to see and enter the kingdom , 5 through faith.

The ethical argument is that, once a person becomes part of the family of the King, he or she shares in that space and the ethos of the love and life of this kingdom and is guided by the Spirit on the basis of the mimetic relationship with Jesus Through the active presence of these members of the kingdom in and among this world, the kingdom is indeed proclaimed and manifested in the cosmos. Within the concept of kingship, the central expectation also stands that a king should be victorious and should bring peace. In the cross and resurrection narrative Chs. The aim of crucifixion in Roman history was to totally destroy the crucified, physically and otherwise.

In spatial language that means that all evidence of Jesus occupying any space, both physically and in memory, should have been erased. Crucifixion therefore has an important spatial dimension. Through his resurrection he creates eternal space, since he lives and those who believe in him also live and will share this new reality, within which they will have rooms in the house of their Father, the King. Apart from, but also based on, the titles used for Jesus, like Lord , God , King of Israel , King of the Jews and so on, he proclaims and reveals with moral power and occupies the moral high ground, associated with the kingdom of God.

In the earthly courtroom the heavenly Judge acts with power. A few examples suffice. To Pilate he says that he came into the world to bear witness to the truth and he challenges the officer of the high priest who struck him to indicate what he said wrong The King and his kingdom occupy a superior and victorious position towards the opposing political powers and from this position the interrelations are negotiated.


This is the case, for example, with a proposed ski resort development in a Himalayan valley, against which a number of regional deities have repeatedly spoken, through their institutionalised mediums, to confirm their vetoing of the project. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, It proved that when he had been most confident of serving God, he had been God's enemy; and it had revealed a love great enough to kill the enmity Rom. Rio science Report No: University of Colorado, Boulder Email: azambrano coe. Pages: 25— Loyola Marymount University Ph.

Jesus indeed brought peace to his followers, as is often stressed in John. The presence of the resurrected Messiah-King is directly associated with the presence of peace. The cultural perceptions about a king being somebody who takes care of his people is evident in —15, where the people end up trying to make Jesus king, because they regard his euergetic behaviour as echoing that of a king. According to their perceptions, he was indeed a charismatic person who cared for his people. As Chapter 6 unfolds, Jesus claims to be greater than the great Jewish prophet and leader Moses, as he is the bread of life, sent by the Father — Again we see the influence of the transcendental narrative about Jesus on earthly events.

The complete narrative space is coloured by the power of the King, Jesus.

Duplicate citations

Contributors to The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective treat one of the most pervasive religious metaphors, that of the divine courtroom, in both its. The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective (Biblical Interpretation) (): Ari Mermelstein, Shalom E Holtz: Books.

Two kingdoms, one of this world and one not of this world —37 , meet, with ironic results. From an earthly perspective the picture looks significantly different than from a transcendental perspective. They are also powerless when Jesus tells them to let his followers go — The most powerful character in the Gospel from an earthly perspective, namely Pilate, only has power from a transcendental perspective, because it was given to him by God —11 , and so we can continue.

The narrative space created here is characterised and interpreted by the transcendental perspective.

Andrew T. Lincoln

The transcendental perspective serves as a heuristic instrument in explaining the meaning and significance of earthly events. The power of Jesus overarches the events in an umbrella-like way. The above examples illustrate how the concept of kingship in ancient times resonates in the description of Jesus as Messiah in John. Both the qualities and actions expected of an ancient king are to be found in Jesus. I will post only when I have something to share and about things in which I feel passionate. I don't want to waste my time or yours. Time is too valuable to waste on drivel and boring posts that do not edify or help the writer or the reader.

Well, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. See you soon, I pray! Posted by Matthew D. Montonini at PM 0 comments. As I was listening to Jonathan Pennington's On Script interview , I was struck by a comment he made about living a virtuous life. At the mark, Pennington states: There's a place for duty on the way to virtue. That is, if virtue is the whole person where you're reasoning your affections and your actions are aligned with each other that's what virtue is.

It's harmony, it's teleiosity. If that's what virtue is, there's still a place for doing on the way to get there, and the reason is Habituation matters. The choices we make and the habits we align ourselves with form us to be a certain kind of person. As I was pondering this soundbite, I thought of the Kingdom of God, or in Matthean terms, the Kingdom of Heaven, and how this notion of virtue may relate to inaugurated eschatology, i. Could it be that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and all of its ethical demands contain a dimension of this already not yet duty that we are to practice on the way to living a virtuous life in light of the already yet coming Kingdom?

Just a thought I was pondering concerning Jonathan's insightful comment.

Meira Kensky — ACM - Associated Colleges of the Midwest

Wednesday, January 10, Recommended Listening. One of the pitfalls of being away from blogging for such a long period of time is the fact that I am late to many a dance. What I mean by this is, is when I was blogging regularly, it forced me to keep up with various other blogs, and the field of NT studies in general. Now, that I am finally making way back around, I plan on playing catchup. So, for me, I am finally going to get around to listening to the renown podcast On Script.


Matthew Bates and others have done all students of Scripture a wonderful service with this podcast; I only wish I would have envisioned this idea myself. I will be linking to On Script in my blogroll. Montonini at AM 0 comments. Tuesday, January 2, Goals for One of the things I have been meaning to do for some time is to study the Sermon on the Mount Matt Instead of being all over the board in this New Year, because I am not the greatest multi-tasker in the world just ask my wife , it is better for me to focus on a narrow section of Scripture.

To quote the great Augustine: "If anyone will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life Philip Schaff, trans. William Findlay and David Schley Schaff, vol.

Otherwise, what is the point? If one is honest with oneself, the Sermon on the Mount strips away all of our preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian. It is perhaps the most ethically challenging teaching in the entirety of the Bible. All that said, I am not sure what this will look like in terms of blog posts.

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My biggest goal, however, is to memorize the Sermon on the Mount in both English and Greek. I know this will take a lot of time, and I pray that I do not grow weary in the attempt. I plan on utilizing this blog to act as sort of a journal for my studies. Our contributors recommend these books for further reading.

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Click on the book cover image for a link to a source. Stallman, Robert. Elliott, Neil, and Mark Reasoner. Documents and Images for the Study of Paul. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Scully, Matthew. New York: St.