Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Re: Holtz on Jesus' Family

Re: Brian Holtz on Jesus' Family. My words will be in red.
[@] = laughable, inexcusable blunder

Jesus seems to have been illegitimate, and to have been known to be such in his community [Mt 1:18-24, Jn 8:41].
Jesus was not illegitimate; He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary (coming soon). Mt. 1:18-24 simply refers to the initially anxious St. Joseph's discovery of the Virgin Conception via angelic revelation. The assumption that in Jn. 8:41 the people were calling Jesus illegitimate is unwarranted. The people were simply claiming to be descendants of Abraham who behaved like him, with no reference to Jesus’ legitimacy. Both of these proof texts fail.
His only recorded words before his ministry concern his disobedience [Lk 2:48,51] at age 12 to his mother and stepfather,
Jesus didn’t need to ask permission or apologize since He was at the age when young Jewish boys may begin acting independently and entering manhood. Jesus spoke inan authoritative, not rebellious, manner.
whom he denied [cf. Mt 23:9] by calling the Temple "my Father's house".
St. Joseph was only Jesus' legal father; Jesus had no biological father.
He spurned his stepfather's trade of carpentry to take up a ministry proclaiming himself the son not of Joseph but of God.
[@] The Gospels say that Jesus was a carpenter [Mk. 6:3], so Jesus didn’t “spurn” Joseph’s trade.
The New Testament contains not a single report of James' beliefs about Jesus.
[@] Gal 1:19 states that James is an Apostle, and thus He believed in Jesus' mission (salvation), claims (e.g., to be God), and deeds (miracles). James 1:1; 1:7; 1:9; 2:1 indicate that James believed in the deity of Jesus Christ. James was a part of Jesus' ministry [Jn 2:5,12].
"Mary and her family ignored Jesus' angelic annunciation, miraculous conception, and lifelong sinlessness, and failed to join Jesus' miracle-filled ministry before its climax, because X".
Mary and Jesus' brethren were part of Jesus' ministry before Jesus' arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection [John 2:12].
Despite angelic revelations [Lk 1:32, Mt 1:20, Mt 2:13, Mt 2:20] to Mary and Joseph, Mary's knowledge [Lk 1:34] of the virgin conception, and Mary's witness of at least one miracle [Mk 2], they (and Jesus' siblings) did not believe in him [Jn 7:5, Mt 13:57]
Mt 13:57: since people at the time viewed honor as a limited good, prophets’ peers rejected their claims to special honor because they thought the prophets were taking away their honor. The expression is proverbial, and thus does not indicate that Jesus’ family disbelieved. In the miracle story of the wedding at Cana, Mary submits to Jesus' power and authority by telling everyone to obey His commands; thus, she believed in Him prior to His Resurrection. As for Jn 7:5, Jesus had no siblings, and good exegesis demands that His “brothers” are not biological brothers. They are cousins, which would still make them part of Jesus’ family. However, the text can also mean people of the same neighborhood or race. This interpretation may have some weight because Mary and her husband, Joseph, James, Jude, Simon, and Joseph (Jesus’ cousins) clearly believed in Jesus and joined His ministry. (See above)
and thought him "out of his mind" [Mk 3:21],
The text doesn’t say Jesus’ friends (family), but only says, "those with Him," so attributing such a belief to Jesus’ family is unnecessary. Even those who thought He was “out of His mind” were His family, they could have said this out of concern for His safety or concern for the family’s honor, since Jesus’ teachings were so rabidly opposed by some people as to result in His arrest and crucifixion. However, this does not matter since Jesus' family didn't come into the picture until Mk 3:31. It's a shame that Holtz wastes so much time, space, and energy on this in his polemics.
leading Jesus to repeatedly stress [Mk 3:33, 10:29; Mt 10:37, 12:48, 19:29; Lk 11:27-28, 14:26] that one should choose God over one's biological family.
The connotation here seems to imply that Jesus was anti-family, which is false (coming soon). There is no evidence of a causal connection between these two ideas; i.e., there is no justification that the events in Mt. 13:57, Jn 7:5, and Mk. 3:21 led Jesus to make such statements about what one’s priorities should be.
Only on the day of his death do the gospels record a single friendly word [Jn 19:26] from Jesus to his family.
What does that matter? Jesus had all the years between His infancy and beginning of His public ministry to do so. Also, Jesus was clearly respectful of His mother Mary at the wedding at Cana. This is splitting hairs.
Only after Jesus' death does the New Testament record someone from his family joining his movement.
[@] This is false; see above.
James may have been an opportunist, or may have in his grief tried to salvage some meaning from his brother's sacrifice. The only significant thing James does in the New Testament is expand the movement's donor base by ruling [Acts 15:19] that converts need not be circumcised.
James also instructs Paul in how to answer charges of antinomianism [Acts 21:18ff]. James is one of the "pillars" of the early Church [Gal 2:9; 2:12].Important information is often relayed to James [Acts 12:17]. James was the Bishop of Jerusalem. He was a resurrection witness [1 Cor 15:3-8].
In sharp contrast to Jesus' brief ministry, James enjoyed three decades in the leadership of the movement before being executed in his old age in 62CE in a dispute with the Sanhedrin.
Yes. And…?
No mention is made in the New Testament of Jesus' parents or his sisters or his other brothers (Joseph, Simon, and Judas) -- or indeed any hometown or pre-baptism acquaintance -- ever playing any role in the movement.
[@] False; see above.
Jn. 1:36-51 refutes the claim that Jesus recruited no pre-baptism and/or hometown acquaintances.