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SIDIC Periodical XX - 1987/3
Jesus and the Prophets of Israel (Pages 05 12)

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Some Aspects of the Prophetic Role of Jesus
Mauro Pesce

 

Anyone who cross-examines the evangelical witnesses as well as those of the primitive Church, realizes that the question of the prophetic nature of Jesus was already at the heart of the religious controversy sparked off in Palestinian Jewish society (and in the diaspora) by the events surrounding the Nazarene and the diffusion of his followers. All, whether the common people or members of the different sects or the first Christians themselves, were asking questions about the identity of Jesus: who he could be? One hypothesis frequently put forward identified him as a prophet. This was, however, only one possible answer among many: for example, he was Messiah, Son of man, Son of God, Son of David... But in every case it was on the basis of Jewish religious categories, and on this basis alone, that an answer was sought to the question raised by the extraordinary life of Jesus.

To investigate this lively theological debate means to investigate the whole process which led Christianity from its very beginnings, to an awareness of its own identity. But, and this is the point to which I wish to draw attention, the very earliest Christian tradition arrived at a precise definition of the identity of Jesus using only Jewish religious experience and religious categories. New Testament literature, which inevitably formed the foundations upon which later Christianity would be built, formulated the identity of Jesus in Jewish terms. Christianity gave the fundamental and basic answer to the identity of Jesus solely in Jewish categories. This is the reason why any investigation of the identity of Jesus as prophet involves deepening one's understanding of his Jewish identity.

This statement should be self-evident, given the fact that "prophet", "messiah", "son of man', "son of God", "son of David", and other designations are all Jewish categories. However, it is probably unclear because it is often taken for granted that the newness and originality of Jesus is equivalent to non-Jewishness. It is taken for granted that his originality implies his separation from Judaism. This is not the way Jesus himself thought, nor the first Christians, who were able to affirm decisively the originality and "newness" of Jesus, conceived of and formulated as a Jewish phenomenon. There is also the fact that these conceptual categories are found in the Bible, and many still think of the Bible, not as the written record of Jewish religious tradition, but as a book dropped down from heaven and confided to a people who then rejected its true interpretation, that is to say, the Christological one. Thus, in the final analysis, the difficulty in coming to an understanding of the total Jewishness of Jesus derives from a particular theological mentality which has failed, and indeed is unable, to take into account the facts of history.'

I. IS JESUS THE MESSIAH OR THE PROPHET?

...and on the way he asked his disciples, Who do men say that I am?' And they told him,
"John the Baptist: and others say, Elijah; and others one of the prophets: And he asked them, 'But who do you say that 1 am?' Peter answered him,'You are the Christ.' And he charged them to tell no one about him"
(Mk8:27-30).

This tradition is expressed more fully in Matthew's gospel:

"... he asked his disciples 'Who do men say that the Son of man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist. others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied. You ere the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon BarJona.' For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven . . Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ" (Mt 16:13-20).

Jesus does not say "What do they say that I am", therefore he does not want to know how the people categorize him socially. He says rather: "who do they say that I am?". The question is only comprehensible in terms of the eschatological concepts of ancient Israel, that is to say, in the last days a figure should appear with a special religious role to play: for example, the Son of Man foretold in the Book of Daniel, or the Messiah, or the prophet foretold in Deut 18:15, or Elijah brought back to life. In actual fact, the answer linked together a whole series of identifications: some thought that Jesus might be John the Baptist raised to life again (cf. also Mk 8:28 and parallel passages which recount a similar question asked by Herod Antipas), others Elijah or Jeremiah, or some other prophet. In order to understand Jesus, they had recourse to a plan whereby a great religious figure must be raised to life and come back a second time. But Jesus refused to be considered simply as some great figure from the past who had been brought back to life. For the synoptic writers Jesus is the Messiah, not one of the prophets. In the same way the Jesus of the gospels himself refuses to consider John the Baptist simply as a prophet.

...a prophet? Yes, I- tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger beforethy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee, ...For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come' (Mt 11:9-14).

John the Baptist is "more than a prophet" because the age of the prophets has come to an end. He has a specific role to play in the eschatological events which are in progress. He Is "that Elijah who is to come". With even more reason the identity of Jesus in the gospels is not, cannot, be reduced to that of one of the prophets He has a central role to play in eschatological events which they have not. He is the Son of Man, or the Messiah.

The Acts of the Apostles (3:18-23), while considering the messianic identity of Jesus to be central, also supports the thesis that he is the prophet foretold in Deut 18:15:

"What God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent, therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. Moses said, the Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever the tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people..." (Acts 3:18-23).

The identification of Jesus as the eschatological prophet, about whom the passage already quoted from the synoptics kept silence, probably came to light in the first Christian church as the result of a desire to show how all the predictions concerning the eschatological age, and therefore even that of Deut 18:15. were fulfilled in Jesus. In fact. the Acts of the Apostles continues, corroborating that

...all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterwards, also proclaimed these days" (Acts 3:24).

Besides, the expectation of this prophetic figure, the prophet, while not having great popular repercussions, nor yet a central place in theology, reappears in the question about the identity of the Baptist which one finds at the beginning of John's gospel:

"...when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?' He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, 1 am not the Christ: And they asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?' He said, I am not' Are you the prophet? And he answered. -No: They said to him then, -Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?' He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said" (Jn 1:19-23).

It also appears in other passages of John's gospel:

"This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world" (Jn 6:14).(2)
"When they heard these words, some of the people said, 'This is really the prophet: Others said, 'This is the Christ.' But some said, 'Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?' So there was a division among the people over him" (Jn 7:40-43).

All these texts are conditioned by a theological preoccupation: in comparison with other contexts, especially that of Messiah, the historical-religious content of the concept of "prophet" is reshaped so that it can be differentiated from that of "Messiah". The fundamental theological question for infant Christianity, in regard to the demand as to whether Jesus was a prophet or less, lay in the fact that, within Judaism, any religious personage like Jesus, who claimed to be sent by God or to be transmitting a revelation from God, would of necessity be a prophet.

On the other hand, Jesus came at a moment when Judaism had already for some time possessed a religious tradition which was codified and universally recognized as having its basic point of reference in the canon of the Torah and the Prophets: "the Law and the Prophets". Moreover, the Torah had been revealed by God to Moses, the greatest of the prophets. Anyone claiming religious authority or mission would therefore have to relate it to that of the Torah and Moses. Even prescinding from the question as to whether it really was universally held at this time that prophetic revelation had been definitively ended with Ezra, to qualify oneself simply as a prophet necessarily carried with it a proper subordination to the Torah, transmitted by God through the greatest of the prophets, Moses. This is the reason why the earliest Christian tradition did not consider the title of prophet adequate for Jesus, while on the other hand it continually faced up to the problem of Jesus' superiority to Moses, as for example in well-known passages such as the prologue to John (Jr) 1:17),1 the letter to the Galatians (3:19-29)4 and the letter to the Hebrews (3:1-6)k These succinct theological formulations are not found in the synoptics, which nevertheless ask the question over and over again in the form of debates concerning many of the concrete actions of Jesus and his interpretations of the Law.

The fact that the earliest Christian tradition avoided giving Jesus the title of prophet as designating his nature in its profundity and the ultimate meaning of his mission, has practical consequences for any research into the subject. Whoever wishes to investigate the prophetic dimension of Jesus cannot limit him/herself to those passages in the gospels which speak explicitly of prophecy, but must also look at those aspects of the behaviour of Jesus which are effectively characteristic of a prophet.

II. JESUS THE PROPHET

In the first place, the gospels show a Jesus who does not refuse to call himself prophet:

"Jesus said to them, -A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house" (Mt 13:57).6
"It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem" (Lk 13:33).

But, apart from the conceptual affirmations of the evangelists, is the behaviour of Jesus prophetic, and that in specific ways? Bernard Jackson, an expert on the history of Jewish law, has stressed how the prophet like Moses of whom Deut 18:5 speaks, would not necessarily be considered an eschatological figure in the interpretation current in Jesus' time. Thus, on the basis of this passage, one can try to understand what would be the limitations imposed on the religious power of a prophet. Could a prophet abrogate a law of the Torah proclaimed by God to Moses? The answer would be in the negative where a true and proper abrogation is in question. On the other hand, it would be positive if suspension rather than abrogation were involved. According to Jackson, the Jesus of the synoptics behaves differently when cast in this particular kind of prophetic role, than he does when taken for the prophet of Deut 18:5, not however in the eschatological sense.

"Firstly, the controversy in the fields on the question of the sabbath. Jesus allows his followers to pluck ears of corn on the sabbath, and is challenged by the pharisees who declare this to be forbidden. In all three versions Jesus replies by quoting the story of David, who himself ate, and allowed his followers to eat, the shewbread from the house of God, even though this was only permitted to the priests. The suspension of the Law by David was justified by hunger (this is affirmed by all three versions) and Matthew adds that the disciples of Jesus plucked the ears of corn for the same reason. Thus the needs of the moment are presented as justifying the authority of a charismatic leader to suspend the Law for his followers: there is no question of abrogation.

The second example is the taking of the ass in preparation for the entry into Jerusalem. The evangelists show varying degrees of embarrassment over this appropriation of private property. In every case Jesus justifies the action on the plea of necessity. As rabbinic sources say, left ha sha'ah, which quickly became enlarged into left tsorekh hasha'ah.

Finally, the account of the anointing at Bethany can be quoted. The objection that the oil offered by the woman might have been sold for the benefit of the poor instead of being used to anoint Jesus, is answered in terms of the special need of Jesus in view of his burial. We should note that in the Lucan version the action is specifically linked with the question of the status of Jesus. The pharisees question whether Jesus could really be a prophet, given that he had accepted a gift from a woman of ill repute".
7

From this point of view Jesus could be considered a prophetic figure and at the same time remain perfectly comprehensible within a Judaism which continues to see in Moses and the Torah the highest religious authority. We know how intense debate can be on the gospel passages in which Jesus seems to show an authority superior to that of Moses or of the Torah itself. These are the passages used by New Testament exegetes to show how the origins of early Christian Christology are historically rooted in the person of Jesus himself. On the other hand, other exegetes hold to the possibility of explaining the attitudes of Jesus on the basis of contemporary Jewish religious concepts; for that reason, these attitudes would not be symptomatic of a consciousness on his part of possessing an authority, not only superior to that of Moses, but even equal to that of the Torah.

The evangelists also give the opinion of the common people. According to Mt 21:11. the crowd in Jerusalem says:
"This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee"

while "the high priests and pharisees"
"feared the multitudes because they held him to be a prophet" (Mt 21:46).

In Luke's gospel, the miracle of the raising of the widow's son at Naim makes the crowd declare:
"A great prophet has risen among us" and "God has visited his people" (Lk 7:16).

This was because one of the characteristics of a prophet was that his claims were accompanied and authenticated by miracles.8

The disciples on the road to Emmaus affirm the prophetic nature of Jesus on the grounds of his miracles, but also on account of his teaching:
Jesus of Nazareth... a prophet mighty in deed and word" (Lk 24:19).

Apart from miracles and teaching, a third characteristic of a prophet was recognized in Jesus; not only the fact that he denounced the sins of his questioners in order to lead them to conversion, but above all that he was able to read the secrets of the heart and thus knew the sins of those who were in his presence. That this was expected of a prophet is expressed indirectly rather than clearly in Lk 7:39-40: nevertheless it is said in striking fashion that Jesus was able to read the thoughts of others:

"Now when the pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.' And Jesus answering said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you

On the other hand it comes out more clearly in John (4:19; 9:17) when Jesus says in response to the Samaritan woman:
"You are right in saying 3 have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you have now is not your husband; this you said truly''. The woman said to him, "Sir, / perceive that you are a prophet" (Jn 4:17-19).

The woman, referring to what had passed between her and Jesus, says:
"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" (Jn 4:29)

This ability to read the hearts of those who were before him is a characteristic very often stressed in the gospels*"
"Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves..." (Mk 2:8, Mt 9:4, Lk 5:22); "But he, knowing theft thoughts..." (Lk 11:17).

John's gospel lays particular emphasis on this attribute:
"... he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man" (Jn 2:25);" cf. Jn 6:61 ("knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it"); Jn 13:11 ("he knew who was to betray him").

The gospel of John tends to explain this by attributing to Jesus an omniscience (cf. Jn 16:30 "now we know that you know all things") that even implies foreknowledge of what would happen (cf. Jn 18A: "knowing all that was to befall him").

To me, it seems essential that Jesus should have looked upon his own disciples as prophets and that early Christianity thus knew a great flowering of the prophetic spirit. It is true that each of the passages quoted must be brought back to its specific meaning and that accurate distinction must be made between the concept of Jesus' prophetic role in the gospel of Matthew and that found in Luke and John. But it is also true that the phenomenon of early Christian prophecy must above all be considered for what it is, namely, a historical phenomenon which characterizes a well-defined religious group, as the early Christian community certainly was. It is only afterwards that early Christian prophetic utterance would be recognized as a phenomenon intrinsic to primitive Christianity and questions would be raised as to the kind of link it had with the prophetic nature of Jesus; only then would it be possible and, indeed, a duty to analyze what specific and differentiating traits Christian prophetic utterance assumes within its different streams.

Jesus therefore considered his disciples to be prophets:

"He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophets reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward" (Mt 10:41).
"Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes" (Mt 23:34).

These two passages are very important because they show that the church which finds expression in the gospel of Matthew not only holds that the historical disciples of Jesus were prophets, but also considers this to have been the conviction and therefore the will of Jesus. Thus it holds that the prophetic nature of the disciples was something willed by Jesus. It is also very important to take account of the fact that the church of Matthew's gospel had nothing except Jewish categories with which to describe the nature of the first Christian preachers: they are prophets, sages and scribes. The religious leaders of primitive Christianity are described in images taken from Jewish culture.

It seems important to me that the passages just quoted reappear in an extract (Mt 23:29-39) which also shows another characteristic of prophets found in ancient Christian tradition; this is the fact that they will be persecuted and even killed, a characteristic which the Jesus of Mt 13:57 and Lk 13:33 applied to himself. This text of Matthew is one of those which expresses a bitter polemic against the Jewish authorities accused of persecuting the followers of Jesus, and against the pharisees themselves. Today these texts are subject to a reading which tries to avoid the use made of them in the past, which encouraged a violent and uncouth antisemitic Christian theological attitude.

One of the paths frequently pursued is to maintain that here it is question of a polemic which arose and was developed in a particular way by Christianity after the death of Jesus, i.e. in the second half of the first century, when the pharisees were in the ascendant, seeking to marginalize all the other Jewish sects. As a historian, I am particularly interested in reading this text as the product of a sect, that of the followers of Jesus, which expresses itself completely within traditional Jewish religion and the Palestinian Jewish culture. Only from this point of view is it possible to understand how Jesus conceived of the "persecution" of both himself and his followers by the Jewish authorities, as a sign of continuity with the destiny of the biblical prophets (cf. also Lk 6:23). The persecutions were not occasions for repudiating Jewish tradition, nor for criticizing it; on the contrary they were occasions for recognizing that one was at its very centre. Certainly, the Jesus of Mt 23:29-39 announces divine punishment for the Jewish authorities by the fact that Jerusalem will be destroyed (23:38), and their behaviour is seen by him to be identical with that of those who in the past persecuted and killed the prophets, but these denunciations are not intended to exclude these same authorities from the religious tradition of Judaism.

III. THE PROPHETIC NATURE OF JESUS SHOWN IN DISCLOSING THE SECRETS OF THE HEART

Thus, the different characteristics of Jesus' own prophetic nature are to be found in early Christian prophets; the power of preaching, the presence of miracles, the prediction of future events. However, I would like to draw particular attention to one aspect of it, not for purposes of accentuation or isolation, but because it is undoubtedly characteristic, either of Jesus himself or of certain tendencies within primitive Christianity and thus it helps to delineate the special attribute of disclosing the secrets of the heart.

In the First Letter to the Corinthians (14:23-25) 42 Paul shows that one of the chief characteristics of Christian prophets is to disclose the secrets of the heart:
"If therefore the whole church assembles and . . . all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you."

Certainly the problems that Paul faced are typical of a diaspora community and are born out of a situation very different from the one Jesus knew in Palestine. For Paul, the presence in the Christian assembly of a prophetic spirit which led gentiles to conversion is a sign of the fulfilment of the promises of the eschatological conversion of the nations, already announced in Is 45:14; Dan 2:46-47; Zech 8:23. For him Christian prophecy is a) the disclosure of secrets that cannot he known to man; b) the disclosure of secrets that only God knows; c) the demonstration of the presence of God in the community of the last days. In any case, the fundamental characteristics of this aspect of prophecy can be invaluable for a better understanding of one aspect of Jesus' own prophetic nature The reason is this; I Cor 14:24-25 is a precious text in so far as it is one of the few that gives a phenomenology of Pauline prophetism, that is to say, it describes what happens when someone prophesies in the Christian community. Given that even Jesus, as we have seen, claimed for himself this ability to know the secrets of the heart, it is not arbitrary to think that some of the prophetic characteristics of the Pauline community must be able to shed light, at least in a hypothetical way, on similar characteristics in the prophetic nature of Jesus or, on the other hand, give evidence of the differences between them, which do exist and which are significant.

Above all, the Pauline prophet "convicts" and "calls to account" his interlocutor. His prophecy involves a denunciation which is direct, explicit, public, of the sins of those before him 11 In this case Paul even employs the language used by early Christian prophets'" This repeats a typical trait in the preaching of both Jesus and the Baptist, which is predominantly directed to a person, to those interlocutors whose sins are being denounced in public.

Secondly, thanks to the prophetic challenge, the secrets of the heart are disclosed. This is a central biblical theme.'1 I Kings 8;39 (LXX) clearly presents the idea that only God knows hearts:
"render to each whose heart thou knowest, according to all his ways (for thou, thou only. knowest the hearts of all the children of men)".

It is knowledge of the heart of man, proper to himself alone, which enables God to judge adequately the works of man. Two passages from Jeremiah show us God's knowledge of the heart in connection with the theme of examination of the heart and of retribution or justice on the part of God. Jer 11:20 (LXX 20:12):* "0 Lord... who triest the righteous, who seest the heart and mind"; Jer 17-10 (LXX) -who examines the heart and the mind to give to each according to his deserts and according to the fruit of his actions". That God knows not only the heart but also the secrets of the heart, is a variation dating from the earliest theological tradition, obtained through the insertion of the idea of "secrets" concealed in the human heart. This integration is found in Ps 44:22 (LXX): "For he knows the secrets of the heart" where the text indicates that here "the hidden things of the heart" mean sin. Even Ps 19:13 (LXX) presupposes implicitly that God knows those secret intentions which are sinful. It is easy to see that the idea of God knowing the secret intentions of a person is already implicit in the affirmation that he alone knows hearts, but some texts even say it explicitly'" Eccles 12:14 connects the theme of man's intimate secrets with that of the judgment of God: "God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil".

Thirdly, the disclosing of the secrets of the heart, according to Paul in I Cor 14:24-25, M not the work of Christian prophets. but the work of God, of the Spirit of God who speaks through the mouths of the prophets. Indeed, this cannot be confused with a simple capacity to "thought-read", such as Philostratos attributed to Appollonios of Tiana (Life 1:19; 7:22), or Aseneth attributed to Joseph in Joseph and Aseneth 6:3. There is no question of cardiagnosis the reading of hearts and minds, but rather of "a manifestation of the secrets of the heart" on the part of the Holy Spirit. The cardiagnosis is attributed by Paul to God, not to the prophet. When the prophet convicts the one before him, it is not because he reads his heart, but because the Spirit incites him to speak, His discourse provokes the manifestation. It is here that a difference is apparent between the Pauline prophet and the prophetic nature of the Johannine Jesus. In John's gospel, Jesus knows everything, knows the hearts of those in front of him, thus has a degree of knowledge superior to that of the Pauline prophet. To me this seems essential.

In the light of what has been said, we are now in a position to understand better one aspect of the prophetic nature of Jesus. Jesus addresses himself directly to his interlocutors. always to invite them to conversion; this process of conversion begins with the denunciation of sins, with the penetration of that secret area within a person where normally he ends up hiding from himself the real state of his own life. Proclaiming the will and the truth of God, Jesus at the same time discloses the secrets of the heart. These two aspects are absolutely correlative and essential: preaching on the will of God which leads to illumination of the heart. This is why the forgiveness of sin is so important for Jesus: it is at one with his preaching, which is a prophetic illumination of the darkness within the individual. There is also an intimate connection between this and the eschatological aspect of the preaching of the good news of Jesus. The unveiling and the examination of hearts belongs only to God at the moment of judgment, especially eschatological judgment. The awareness of Jesus that the last days had come has an irreplaceable and central function in the preaching of the gospel which already ushers in the coming of the Kingdom and eschatological judgment.

The more one penetrates into the prophetic nature of Jesus, the more one penetrates his completely unique self-knowledge. But this does not distance Jesus from Judaism. The whole of his prophetic nature operates within the basic categories of Jewish culture, even if it is with an originality which can justify even the taking of positions and clear-cut rejections. However, later Christian tradition seems to have betrayed the Jewish cultural categories within other cultures. It was this reinterpretation which brought about the first de-Judaizing of Jesus.
Would this have happened when the transition was made from prophetic knowledge of hearts to a philosophical type of omniscience?


Prof. M. Pesce is Professor of the History of Christianity in the Department of Historical Discipline, University of Bologna.

1 - From a theological point of view perhaps, it is question of a theology which in the final analysis does not accept or rather, does not have, the tools with which to accept the full historicity of the Christian experience; thus a theology with a docetist trend.
2 - In this case the recognition of the prophetic dignity of Jesus is based on the signs worked by him. In fact, one of the characteristics of a prophet was to work miracles.
3- "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ".
4 - Cf. Gal 3:24: "So that the Law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith".
5 - Cf. Ffeb 3:3: "Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honour than the house".
6 - Cf. Jn 4.44: "Far Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country".
7 - B.S. Jackson. "Gesit e Mose: la condizione di un profeta di fronte alla Legge", in Atte del .secondo convegno della Associazione nafiana per to studio del Giudaismo. Roma 1983, pp. 95-100 (this ref. p. 99h a longer version is to be found int Revue historique de droll francais et &ranger 59 (1981), pp- 341-360.
8 - The man born blind of Jn 9:17 considered Jesus to be a prophet after the miracle that restored his sight.
9 - The characteristics of prophet and messiah do not seem to be clearly separate and distinct in this instance. as is the case also for other passages from early Christian writings.
10 - J. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit. A study of the Religious and Charismatic experience of Jesus and the First Christians as reflected in the New Testament. S.C.M.. London 1978, 2nd. ed., p. 83, has rightly stressed this aspect and quoted many passages (p. 383, note 93) not always so clearly read in this sense.
11 - Cf. Jn 1:47-48: "Nathanael said to him 'How do you know me?' Jesus answered him, `Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you".
12 - I refer you to my own work: "La profezia cristiana come anticipazione del giudizia escatologico in I Cor 14:2425", in AA.VV, Testimonium Christ!. Written in honour of Jacques Dupont, Brescia 1985, pp. 379-438.
13 - Above all with regard to the term convicted (in Stk.). Cf. the exegetical demonstration in: "La profezia cristiana", pp. 417-418.
14 - La profezia cristiana, pp. 409-413.
15 - Cf. I Sam 16:7; I Kgs 8:39; Pss 7:10, 17:3, 4422, 139:1. 13:23; Prov 15.11, 21:2, Wis 7:6; Sir 42.18-20; Jer 11-20 (par. 20:12), 17:10.
16 Cf. also Is 29:15; the wicked hide their plans from the Lord; Dan 2:22: the Lord "reveals deep and mysterious things: he knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with him".

 

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