Mural painting from the catacomb of Commodilla . One of the first bearded images of Jesus, late 4th century .
Historiography, Worldview and the \'End of Exile\'
'Historiography, Worldview and the End of Exile':
Historiography The task of the historian is not simply to assemble little clumps of 'facts' and hope that somebody else will integrate them. The historians job is to show their interconnectedness, that is, how one thing follows from another, precisely by examining the 'inside' of the events....it is that of the one interplay of fully human life-the complex networks of human aims, intentions and motivations, operating within and at the edges of the worldviews of different communities and the mindsets of different individuals. To display this, the historian needs (it will come as no surprise) to tell a story.' N.T. Wright NT&POG 113
Worldview “ A worldview (or vision of life) is a framework or set of fundamental beliefs through which we view the world and our calling and future in it. This vision need not be fully articulated….this vision is a channel for the ultimate beliefs which give direction and meaning to life. It is the integrative and interpretative framework by which order and disorder are judged; it is the standard by which reality is managed and pursued; it is the set of hinges on which all our everyday thinking and doing turns.” David Naugle, Worldview:The History of a Concept 349
Worldview Any worldview, whether ancient or modern , according to N.T. Wright, contains four basic interrelated components; 1) Stories : Worldviews ‘provide the stories [grand narratives] through which human beings view reality’. 2) Questions : These grand narratives provide answers to the basic worldview questions. Who are we? Where are we? What is wrong? What is the solution? 3) Symbols : Stories express themselves in cultural symbols, whether that be the symbol of the ‘credit card’ expressing the consumerist meta-narrative, or the ‘eagle’ expressing the grand narrative of Roman imperialism. 4) Praxis : Stories, Symbols and the answers to basic worldview questions provide a ‘way-of-being-in-the-world’, the stories which people indwell and the symbols which they cherish provide a call to action, whether that be the praxis of a terrorist ideology or the outworking of a nihilist mindset.
Second Temple Judaism: An Unfinished Story ' Most Jews of this period [ Second Temple period], it seems, would have answered the question 'where are we?' in language which reduced to its simplest form, meant, we are still in exile . They believed that, in all the senses which mattered, Israel's exile was still in progress. Although she had come back from Babylon , the glorious message of the prophets remained unfulfilled, Israel still remained in thrall to foreigners ; worse Israel's god had not returned to Zion. N.T. Wright NT&POG 268
An Unfinished Story: Exile ' A great many Jews of Jesus' day lived, implicitly at least, under the story that ran as follows: YHWH, committed to Israel by an unbreakable covenant, was delaying his decisive act, for reasons best known to himself, though earnestly inquired after by the pious. He was holding back from putting into practise the plan that Israel knew he really had. Since he was the god of the whole earth, it was clearly his will to keep his promises to Israel by vindicating her at last over her enemies, and by thus reordering the whole world.' N.T. Wright J&VOG 203
An Unfinished Story: Exile?? An Unfinished Story: Exile?? ' The next serious problem is almost a leitmotiv of the whole book; the notion that Jews believed that they were in exile. At the time of Jesus, many Jews lived in Israel. Some lived permanently in Jerusalem. Jews came to Jerusalem from all over Israel and the diaspora of the major feasts. In the temple, the Tamid was sacrificed twice a day, a special symbol of God's presence with Israel. As Jesus, put it, 'And he who swears by the sanctuary swears by it and by Him who lives in it' (Matt 23:21). We would need stunningly strong arguments to convince us that these Jews really believed they were in exile when they were in Israel. All Wright's arguments for this view, however, seem to be quite spurious.' Casey, Maurice. “Where Wright Is Wrong: a Critical Review of N.T.Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 20, no. 69 (January 1, 1998): 95-103.
Wright Brant Pitre 'Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of Exile' Most Jews of this period [ Second Temple period], it seems, would have answered the question 'where are we?' in language which reduced to its simplest form, meant, we are still in exile . They believed that, in all the senses which mattered, Israel's exile was still in progress. Although she had come back from Babylon , the glorious message of the prophets remained unfulfilled, Israel still remained in thrall to foreigners ; worse Israel's god had not returned to Zion. ' Most Jews of this period [the Second Temple period], it seems, would have answered the question 'where are we?' with the response: 'we have returned to the land, but the rest of Israel is still in exile; the lost ten tribes of the northern kingdom have not yet returned.' They believed that, in all senses which mattered, Israel's exile, which had begun with the deportation to Assyria, was still in progress. Although the Judean exiles had come back from Babylon, t he rest of Israel had not yet returned from being scattered by the Assyrians; hence, the glorious message of the prophets r egarding the ingathering of all twelve tribes remain unfulfilled. The lost ten tribes of Israel still remained scattered among the nations.' An Unfinished Story: Exile??
Jesus and the Return from Exile ' We are now in a position to see that the crucial element in his[Jesus'] prophetic activity was the story, both implicit and explicit, that he was telling and acting out. It was Israel's story reaching its climax: the long awaited moment has arrived! The kingdom has come!...the hearer is assumed to know the context, the previous act in the drama. To say the kingdom of god is 'at hand' makes sense only when the hearers know the 'story so far' and are waiting for it to be completed." N.T. Wright J&VOG 226
Jesus and the Return from Exile <ul><li>Teaching