Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fragments of Reimarus (Part II)

(continued from Fragments of Reimarus---Part 1)

Chapter V---Worldly Ambitions of the Apostles

  • For Reimarus, the Apostles (p.85) where in it to become judges over Israel in the new Kingdom of Heaven. When the death of Jesus dashed those hopes, the doctrine (p.86) but not their motivations, underwent a change, Reimarus contends. After Easter, the apostles had nothing to look forward to (p.89), having lost their job infrastructure---boats, nets, etc.---and disgraced themselves as well. But preaching provided both sustenance, as their own travels and the wealthy women following Jesus had shown (p.90f), as well as glory, as the crowds had shown (p.91). Commonweal and alms (p.93) were tools to power, honor, and glory. Partially this worked because the other followers (p.94) did not want to be dupes either.
  • [RCK: While Reimarus thinks that the apostles disposed of the body (p.95), the editor of the volume, Volsey, believes that Jesus was resuscitated by Joseph of Amarithea, and then fled into Galilee in the dress of the gardener, and that the disciples and Jesus were preparing for a return to glory.]
  • Reimarus thinks the 50 days before Pentecost were the amount of time needed to make the body decay enough (p.96). Resurrection was generally accepted, esp by the Pharisees, and the number of eleven witnesses was sufficient to pass the threshold of three (p.97; p.102). Paul especially rode the pro-resurrection stance successfully (pp.97f; p.104), combining it with the batkol, the heavenly voice, which the Jews also expected and accepted (p.98). Reimarus notes how the Kingdom of Heaven was conceptualized as an earthly thing that would last a thousand years (p.100), a stock company in which everyone wanted to buy a small share by contributing to the common pot. The result was a state within the state (p.106). Reimarus retells the story of Ananias and Sapphira under the view point that Peter noticed that money was missing and brought about the death sentence (p.107) for the two. Reimarus wonders why there was no inquest when two wealthy members of the community die and are buried without their heirs receiving any of the money (p.108). In recounting the Pentecostal event, Reimarus wonders why God had not chosen a more suitable spot for the resurrection (p.110), rather then among the apostles, e.g. the synhedrion or similar. 
  • Reimarus points out the complications in the Pentecostal story, such as the small room (p.115f), to the fact that the population of visitors to Jerusalem would have equalled the number of converts (p.117). Rather, Reimarus sees the shared wealth of the early community (p.119) as the source of the large number of members joining (Acts 4, 34f). 

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