Originally posted by Al DavisonThat author made some very interesting points about the whole "throwing out the money-changers from the
Temple" incident. His POV was that it would have been impossible without having a fairly good-sized band of armed men with him at the
Yes, that incident does make it appear that Yeshua totally blew his cool and went ballistic. I've heard all sorts of "sermons" on this from
Christians, who, in turn, justify Yeshua's actions in light of Temple corruption. The "justified Jesus" and the "anti-Temple Jesus" models
don't wash any more than the "ballistic, militant Jesus" model(s) do.
Hengel has pointed out that it would have required an army to bring a halt to all buying and selling in the Temple and that's the assumption those
who argue for the "Militant Jesus" use to support their model. This assumption - although very Hollywood-esque - can't be supported from the
literature at hand.
I'll have to post on this at length later tonight, but the one scholar who actually took the time to look at all the angles here in order to come up
with a more or less correct understanding of this incident is E.P. Sanders in his book, "Jesus and Judaism" (pp. 69ff).
Sanders argues that the incident was symbolic. Yeshua overturned some
of the seats of those who sold doves and some
of the tables of
the moneychangers. Why? Because he was a prophet and prophets at times employed a "do something for shock value and then explain your actions"
method to get their point across.
We see this with the prophet Ahijah who tears a garment into twelve pieces and after handing ten pieces to Jeroboam, explains that this is a symbolic
gesture that indicates that ten of the tribes would be torn out of Solomon's hands and given to him, whilst the two tribes remaining would be
reserved for David's line. (1 Kings 11:30ff).
We see another example of this with a prophet named Agabus, who took "Paul's belt, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, 'Thus saith the Holy
Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" (Acts 21:11).
All Yeshua did was overthrow some of the seats (symbolic of power and authority) of those who sold doves, which was controlled by the High Priest's
family, and some of the tables (symbolic of the prosperity) of the moneychangers. Why not the tables of the dove sellers and the seats of the
moneychangers? Was "Jesus" a member of PETA? Were the moneychangers too fat to eject from their seats? Hmmmm..... More on this later.
In short, he was predicting their fall; an end to their power and prosperity. How did he explain his actions? By using a teaching technique used by
the proto-Rabbinic sages called a remez
, which is where two or more verses from the Sacred Text are hinted at with a brief quote and tied
together, so that the passages virtually explode into the minds of the audience, because they had these Scriptures committed to memory having learned
them in their youth!
In the end, the Temple was destroyed because a Zealot priest refused to accept the sacrificial offering sent from Rome. There is no escaping the fact
that the anti-Gentile sentiments of Bet Shammai and the Zealots (et al) played a role in the destruction of the Temple, which is something Yeshua
hinted at in explaining his so-called "Temple cleansing" actions. I'll have to expound further tonight - Heaven permitting and the water don't
[edit on 16-6-2005 by smadewell]