the poor (2.12).311 Particularly noticeable is the inclusion of restoration of the dead to life, in direct echo of Isa. 26.19.312 With such evidence it is no longer satisfactory to argue that the Q list was composed with hindsight in the light of resurrection faith.313 On the contrary, we can deduce that an expectation was current at the time of Jesus to the effect that the coming of God's Messiah would be accompanied by such marvellous events, in fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecies.314 It is this expectation which Matt. 11.5/Luke 7.22 takes up and claims to have been fulfilled in Jesus' mission.315

Second, another feature of the main Isaiah passages thus echoed in Matt. 11.5/Luke 7.22 is their close proximity to warnings ofjudgment.316 Here we find a rather subtle response to the Baptist's question. The echo of these passages confirms that the Baptist was right to look to Isaiah's prophecies for an insight into what was to come.317 But by omitting just the note ofjudgment on which the Baptist seems to have exclusively focused,318 the response says in effect that John had neglected the other, more positive expectation of restoration, good

311. The strength of echo of Isa. 61.1c is muffled by the present MT Hebrew ('to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners'). But Qumran had a variant reading: 'to proclaim liberty for the captives and opening of the eyes for the prisoners' 372), reflected in LXX's typhlois anablepsin ('restoration of sight to the blind').

312. But possibly with an allusion also to the tradition of Elijah raising the dead (1 Kgs. 17.17-24; cf. 2 Kgs. 4.32-37). J. J. Collins concludes that the expected Messiah of 4Q521 is Elijah or a prophet like Elijah (The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature [New York: Doubleday, 1995] 119-21); similarly M. Becker, '4Q521 und die Gesalbten', RevQ 18 (1997) 73-96.

313. As still B. Kollmann. Jesus und die Christen als Wundertäter (FRLANT 170; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1996) 219-20.

The point is not essentially weakened if 4Q521 was only intended as a 'metaphoric' description of eschatological renewal, as argued by H. Kvalbein, 'The Wonders of the EndTime: Metaphoric Language in 4Q521 and the Interpretation of Matthew 11.5 par.', JSP 18 (1998)87-110.

315. The note of fulfilment can hardly be disputed; see Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom 82; P. Stuhlmacher, 'Der messianische Gottesknecht', JBTh 8, Der Messias (1993) 131-54 (here 142-43).

316. Isa. 26.21: 'The Lord comes out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity'; 29.20: 'The tyrant shall be no more, and the scoffer shall cease to be; all those alert to do evil shall be cut off; 35.4: 'Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense'; 61.2: 'the day of vengeance of our God'.

317. For the influence of Isaiah on the Baptist's preaching see above, § 11.4c.

Luke brings this out less subtly by depicting Jesus as ending his reading from Isa. 61.1-2 just before the phrase 'and the day of vengeance of our God' (Luke 4.19-20). Contrast the other Qumran echo of Isa. 61.2 in llQMelch 2.9-13, which in describing Melchizedek's role mentions both 'the year of favour' (2.9) and divine 'vengeance (nqm)' (2.13); cf. Allison, lntertextual Jesus 113.

news, and new life.319 It is just such subtlety in using Scripture which is recalled as characteristic of Jesus' teaching elsewhere.320

Third, Matt. 7.22 is a remarkable confirmation from the sayings tradition that Jesus was well known as a successful healer: healings of blind, lame, and deaf are attributed to him, also restoration to life of people who had died. We will refer back to this mutual confirmation of narrative and sayings traditions later on.321 Here we should note the insertion of an unexpected item in the Isaiah listings — 'lepers are cleansed'. There is nothing in Isaiah which might have inspired the inclusion of that item. Nor, it should be observed, is there any record of leprosy/skin diseases being healed in the records of the earliest churches. The item can be here only because it was generally believed (by Jesus too!) that he had also cleansed lepers.

In short, the most obvious explanation for the emergence of this tradition is that Jesus was remembered as giving just this answer to those who inquired on behalf of the Baptist. The final verse of the unit, 'Blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me' (Matt. 11.6/Luke 7.23), might also fall under the same favourable verdict.322 For though the formulation no doubt resonated mightily in subsequent reflection on Jesus as a 'cause of offence', the skandalon in view here has nothing to do with the offence of the cross.323 Moreover, the verb Aramaic tql) is well attested in the Jesus tradition in a variety of contexts,324 which together probably indicate Jesus' awareness of the 'scandalous' character of his mission (cf. Matt. 11.19a/Luke. 7.34 above). So it should occasion no surprise if Jesus acknowledged the likelihood of the Baptist taking offence at one of his own circle striking out on his own and with an emphasis which cut across John's (cf. John 3.25-26).325

(2)/(3) The striking feature of sayings 2 and 3 (Matt. 11.7-1 I/Luke 7.2428) is the remarkable combination of strong affirmation of the Baptist's role with

319. As so often, Wright brings the passage under the heading of 'return from exile' (Jesus 428-29) and thus obscures the richness and diversity of the prophetic images drawn upon; see further below, § 12.6b.

320. As recalled, e.g., in the sequence Mark 12.24-27, 28-34, 35-37a pars. Contrast the Jesus Seminar, which assumes that use of Scripture is a clear sign of Christian apologetic (Funk, Five Gospels 177-78), as though Jesus could not have made such allusion to Scripture on his own account, unlike

322. Cf. are the signs of the time? He himself! His presence, his deeds, his message!', citing Matt. 11.5 (Theology 1.7).

324. Mark 9.43, 45, 47/Matt. 5.30, 29/Matt. 18.8-9; Mark 9.42/Matt. 18.6/Luke 17.2; Mark 14.27, 29/Matt. 26.31, 33; Matt. 17.27; 24.10; cf. Mark 6.3/Matt. 13.57; Matt. 15.12; John 6.61.

325. Similarly Meier, Marginal Jew 2.135.

the final 'put-down' of the last clause. That Jesus should have contrasted the Baptist so favourably with Herod Antipas (Matt. 11.7-8/Luke 7.24-25) is entirely plausible326 and indicates that Jesus' teaching could have a sharp political edge. And the evaluation of the Baptist as 'more/greater (perissoteron) than a prophet' (Matt. 11.9/Luke 7.26) would be a surprising accolade for the followers of Jesus to have devised, since that was how they regarded Jesus himself (Matt. 12.41/ Luke 11.32). But it makes sense on the lips of one who owed the beginning of his own mission in some sense to the Baptist.327

It may even be that we can say the same of Matt. 11.10/Luke 7.27 — John as the messenger sent ahead to prepare the way of the Lord (Mai. 3.1). For such an identification need not imply either a developed Christology or that Jesus saw himself fulfilling the role of the Lord. The Qumran community also saw itself as 'preparing the way of the Lord' (1QS 8.13-14; Isa. 40.3). And yet, at the same time, it looked for the coming of God's Messiahs.328 All the same, the complexity of the allusion — to Exod. 23.20 and Mai. 3.1 (the allusion to Isa. 40.3 is less obvious) — probably does indicate fuller Christian reflection (cf. Mark 1.2-3).329

The more striking feature is the sharpness of the contrast in Matt. Luke 7.28 (attested also by GTh 46). The audaciousness of the antithesis attests a saying rhetorically structured to make a particular point.330 The point is clear: something has happened between the mission of John and that of Jesus, something which has lifted possibilities onto a new plane; even the least on that new plane is superior to John. The explanatory word is, once again, 'kingdom'. It is the kingdom of God which marks the difference, which constitutes the new plane.331 It was this emphasis which caused Bornkamm and other new questers to part company with Bultmann.332 In the light of such a statement they could not remain content simply to locate Jesus under Judaism, with the implication that

326. See above, chapter 11 n. 183.

327. Meier notes 'the absence of any christological concern, the total focus on and praise of John without limitations . . . (and) the lack of any reference or allusion to Jesus at all' (MarginalJew2.139).

329. Meier, Marginal Jew 140-42.

330. 'A typically Semitic dialectical negation' again lacking christological content (Meier, Marginal Jew 2.142-44). Contrast Schürmann, Gottes Reich: a 'Zusatzwort' in which the original voice of Jesus can still hardly be heard

Schlosser suggests that if John had already been executed the meaning is probably that any now alive and experiencing the kingdom are more blessed and privileged even than John (Regne 161-67). Leivestad denies any necessary implication that the Baptist is excluded from the kingdom. The import of the saying is simply that 'To be the greatest of prophets is less than to have a place in the kingdom to come' (Jesus 89). Compare Stuhlmacher in 'new quest' mode: 'a qualitative difference between him and the Baptist' (Biblische Theologie 1.64).

the watershed between Judaism and the gospel came with (the message of) the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus' own mission and message already marked the dividing line. John represented the period of preparation, Jesus the period of fulfilment. In other words, between the missions of the Baptist and Jesus a decisive 'shift in the aeons' had taken place.333 John could indeed be regarded as the greatest man ever born; but in comparison with the blessings of the kingdom, what John stood for was of much less importance.

Such language is striking indeed, though its rhetorical character should not be forgotten. It is of a piece with Jesus' concern for 'the little one', as attested elsewhere in the Jesus tradition.334 More to the point here, it attests an amazing sense that something of final significance (the kingdom of God) was being unfolded through Jesus' mission. As we have already noted, this was not the language used by the early Christians to articulate their equivalent sense of the final significance of Jesus' mission. The saying should probably be regarded, therefore, as one of Jesus' own remembered bons mots.

(4) Matt. 11.12-13/Luke 16.16 is one of those sayings which is so puzzling that it can have been retained only because it was remembered as a saying of Je-sus.336 What could it mean that the kingdom was being 'violently treated' or 'entered by force' (biazetai)? Who could the 'violent/men of violence (biastai)' be who were trying to seize it forceably? The best solution may be that 'men of violence' was a jibe used by those hostile to Jesus' mission: Jesus encourages the disreputable to think they can just push their way into the kingdom, can take it by storm!337 Jesus would then be remembered as teaching ad hominem: the king-

333. Bornkamm, Jesus 50-51, 56-57, 66-68; Robinson, New Quest 116-19. See also N. Perrin, The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus (London: SCM, 1963) 121-24, Of recent writers, Becker presses the point most consistently {Jesus ofNazareth 108-15); here 'the statement clearly excludes John from the Kingdom of God' (114).

334. Mark 9.42/Matt. 18.6; Matt. 10.42; 18.10, 14; Luke 9.48; 12.32; 17.2; cf. Mark 13.32. On the unlikelihood that Jesus is to be identified with 'the least in the kingdom' see Meier, Marginal Jew 2.208-209 n. 132.

335. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism 92-93, 140. The already/not yet tension is sufficient explanation for the antithesis; it does not follow that 'there was already an anti-apocalyptic theology operative' {pace Crossan, Birth 310-11, 316).

336. On a possible Aramaic underlay see Dalman, Words ofJesus 139-43; Young argues for a Hebrew underlay, giving the translation, 'From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven breaks forth and those breaking forth are pursuing [seeking] it' (Jesus 5155).

337. F. W. Danker, 'Luke 16.16 — An Opposition Logion', JBL 11 (1958) 231-43; followed by Jeremias, Proclamation 111-12; Wink, John the Baptist20-22; W. Stenger, biazomai, biastes, EDNT 1.217; Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus 271. It is the recognition that Jesus may have been turning a negative criticism to positive affirmation which resolves the problems posed, e.g., by Fitzmyer, Luke 1117-18 and Meier, Marginal Jew2,2\(> n. 180. Pace Meier we dorn is indeed being 'taken by storm' by the 'men of violence',338 This again would be of a piece with Jesus' claims elsewhere that those who were regarded by the righteous as of no account to God were actually more likely to receive God's grace than were those who despised them.339

The point for us, however, is that here is another saying recalled in the (oral) tradition in which Jesus dated the presence of the kingdom (to be treated violently, or entered by force) from John the Baptist. In this case there is no sharp divide between John and Jesus. Both Matthew's 'from the days of John' and Luke's 'since then' are probably inclusive:340 John's mission signalled the beginning of the period now most characterised by the preaching of Jesus and its effects. We need not be surprised at the contrast with the previous saying: the relation between John and Jesus could be put in different terms on different occasions.341 Similarly Matt. 11,13/Luke 16.16a should not be pressed to imply that 'the Law and the Prophets' somehow ceased before or with the Baptist;342 here too the rhetorical heightening of the contrast should be recognized. A new phase of God's kingly rule could be asserted, as here, without necessarily denigrating what had gone before.343

(5) The final member of the sequence of sayings on Jesus and the Baptist should note that allusions to opponents' usage are not always signalled explicitly: cf., e.g., Paul's self-designation of himself as an 'abortion' (1 Cor. 15.8; see my Theology ofPaul 331 n. 87) and Jesus' response to the designation 'Messiah' (see below, §15.4).

338. There may, however, also he an allusion to the eschatological trials which Jesus (and John) anticipated before the coming of the kingdom. Davies and Allison note the parallel with 1QH 10(= 2).10-11, 21-22, the 'violent ones'('rizim) who oppress the author of the hymn {Matthew 2.256). For other attempts to make sense of an at best obscure saying see Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Kingdom Davies and Allison 254-56.

340. Davies and Allison, Matthew 2.253-54.

341. Pedantic consistency which takes no account of difference of originating context should never be used as a criterion of 'authenticity'; Matthew evidently saw no problem in setting 11.11 -13 in sequence. From his as usual careful analysis Schürmann concludes that behind the later kerygmatic transformations an ipsissimum verbum Jesu may after all be surmised (Gottes Reich\26-29,134-35).

342. Luke 16.16 was a pivotal text in Conzelmann's analysis of the three periods in Luke's conception of salvation history: Israel/the law and the prophets, including the Baptist — Jesus — the church {Theology ofStLuke, e.g., 16,23, 112, 161). He is followed by Fitzmyer in modified form: for Luke the Baptist is a transition ending the period of Israel and inaugurating the period of Jesus (Luke 1115-16). See also Davies and Allison, Matthew 2.257-58. Meier is not sufficiently confident that he can discern the original intention of Jesus in the saying to make much of it (Marginal Jew 2.157-63). On Jesus' attitude to the law see below, §14.4.

343. The overstatement, e.g., of Kümmel, Promise 124, is indicative of the concern of the second questers to put a clear space between Jesus and his native Judaism; see also below, chapter 14 n. 98.

(Matt. 11.16-19/Luke 7.31-35) has several important features, and we will have to return to it more than once. Here we need merely note the difference implied between the mission styles of John and Jesus. John's had a notably ascetic character (Matt. 7.33); this certainly with the Baptist tradition in the Synoptics (Mark 1.6 par.) and may find an echo in Josephus's description.344 But Jesus had a reputation for enjoying himself; this is attested not only by the controversial Matt. 11.19/Luke 7.34,345 but also by the contrast drawn in the little parable which begins the unit (Matt. 11.16-17/Luke 7.31-32).346 The parable itself can certainly be regarded as typical of Jesus' teaching style.347 The contrast fits too with the expectation of 61.3 — 'a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning' — and with the other teaching tradition already referred to above (§ 12.5b). So there is no difficulty in recognizing here a memory of one of Jesus' more vivid attempts to signal his own understanding of the difference between his mission and that of John.348

The conclusion from this rather lengthy probe into the tradition of Jesus' own assessment of the Baptist and of the difference between them is clear. The earliest churches did not see the issue as one which had arisen only in their own time, but remembered it as a subject on which Jesus had spoken on several occasions. One can well imagine these teachings being grouped together even during the lifetime of Jesus, as his disciples, including former disciples of the Baptist, were themselves confronted by the question of how the relation of John and Jesus was to be understood. The point for us here is that the relation between the two was conceived in terms of a significant transition having taken place. There was a note of fulfilled expectation, of long-desired blessings now happening, of

344. John called for 'consecration (hagneia) of the body' (Josephus, Ant. 18.117); hagneia usually has the sense 'purity, chastity', 'strict observance of religious duties' (LSJ hagneia; BAGD hagneia).

345. See below, chapter 13 at nn. 183-84 and §16.4b(5).

346. Hultgren, Parables 204-206; 'It is difficult to imagine that the parable would have survived without an explanation' (205).

347. Contrasting pairs is one of the most characteristic features of Jesus' parables; e.g., shrunk or unshrunk cloth, new or old wineskins (Mark 2.21-22 pars.), two ways (Matt. 7.13-14/ Luke 13.23-24), wise and foolish builders (Matt. 7.24-27/Luke 6.47-49), two sons (Matt. 21.28-30), wise and foolish maidens (Matt. 25.1-13), the prodigal son and his brother (Luke 15.11-32), and a pharisee and tax-collector (Luke 18.9-14).

348. The portrayal of Jesus as 'a glutton and a drunkard' (phagos kai oinopotes), both words hapax legomena in the NT but clearly pejorative (there may be an echo of Prov. 23.2021), 'not likely to have been invented by his followers' (Funk, Five Gospels 180); the confusion (among commentators!) regarding the phrase 'the Son of Man' should not count against that logic (see below, §13.5 n. 184 and further §16.4). See also Meier's careful analysis (Marginal Jew 2.144-56), though he follows Sanders too uncritically in regard to the 'sinners' (Matt. 11.19/Luke 7.34) (149-50); see again below, chapter 15 n. 224.

the celebration that was consequently appropriate. Only one of the four sayings in the Q sequence expresses the point explicitly in kingdom terms, as does also the independent saying (4). But it would hardly distort the evidence to sum up the emphasis in terms of the kingdom being already active in and through Jesus' mission, in contrast to that of the Baptist.

Of particular importance theologically is the immediate corollary regarding the difference between the two eschatological views. The Baptist saw the present only as opportunity to flee from the wrath to come. Jesus saw the present as already manifesting the graciousness of God. He did not denounce or abandon John's expectation of judgment. But it was judgment preempted by grace.349 This aspect of Jesus' mission will reemerge repeatedly in chapters 13 and 14 below.

In confirmation of what was deduced in § then, it would appear that

Jesus' teaching on and convictions regarding the kingdom were the crucial factor in his striking out independently of and with different emphasis from John. John's expectations had been too one-sided; the other dimension(s) of what the prophets had looked for could be experienced now already. That conviction and consequent emphases and practice marked some sort of parting of the ways between John and Jesus. The differing emphases of the traditions examined mean that we cannot conceptualise the relation between them as a neat dividing line, 'before' and 'after' some clearly defined eschatological turning point. And, so far as we can there was never any question among Jesus' first followers of simply dismissing the Baptist or his message. But the change of emphasis was nevertheless perceived by Jesus in earliest Christian memory as a change like the dawning of a new day following the darkest hour before dawn.

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