Exonerating the “Sinless” II
You still haven’t explained your double standard. Why is it that the Church Fathers, who were direct disciples of Paul, are not qualified to legitimize a method of interpretation, while the Qumran community, who was so many generations removed from the prophets, is qualified to legitimize a method of interpretation?
In any case, your attempt to exonerate John’s Jesus falls flat. You want to use the Qumran community to legitimize the hate-talk of the Christian Scriptures. (What else will you use them to legitimize?) Who told you that the Qumran community was righteous? Just because some Jews were engaged in hate-talk doesn’t mean that it is OK for Jews to talk like this about each other. These were evil people and their example does not make a behavior acceptable or righteous.
Furthermore, let us assume that amongst loving friends, harsh words of rebuke are tolerated, righteous and acceptable. But this would only make sense if in every other instance the speaker of these harsh words showed love and respect for the people he was rebuking. It would only be possible to justify such harsh speech if the targets of the rebuke recognized that the speaker was a man who sincerely respected them. But John’s Jesus is not such a man. You could speculate that he did respect them. But that would remain your own speculation.
Finally, your entire argument is based on the premise that the audience of the rebuke was Jewish and they would have taken the words as loving remonstration. But your premise has no basis in reality. Perhaps it is true that when Jesus uttered those words he was talking to Jews. But by the time the books were put in to writing the audience was no longer Jewish. The gentile community that canonized these books canonized a text whose central character demonizes their own theological opponents. It is this central character that this community worships and it is this central character that this community looks to as the epitome of righteousness.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal