With this post I conclude setting out Nanine Charbonnel’s tables associating the gospels with Jewish Scriptures and other Jewish writings. With this section completed I am free to move on to discuss the remainder of her book, Jésus-Christ, Sublime Figure de Papier.
The value of tables like these comes more from preparing them — or returning to them from time to time to take them in point by point — than a quick glance at them. One is compelled to ask about the intellectual world of the evangelists. One is brought into the mysterious world of what the authors read and spoke about, how they thought about what they read, what flashes of insight were sparked by their conversations all before anything was put into writing. Then by what creative process did each evangelist weave anew another variant of a story about a figure who represented a new Israel.
In the table below I have once again made a few edits to Charbonnel’s original. For one thing, not a few of the biblical references in French do not match those in English. All of these have been revised to their English references. A few times I was not sure what a reference or source meant so I have added a question mark to each of those places. (Example, [RG] — is this a reference to Rene Girard? If so, what work of his?) In some cases I have left Charbonnel’s notes entirely and replaced them with translations from the French (or Italian) source that had been cited.
None of the illustrations is in Charbonnel’s original table.
- Some interesting features this time:
- The crown of thorns might reasonably be associated with the parable of the thornbush that in the OT parable “would be king”.
- Pilate’s famous “Here is the man!” statement has several possible sources in the OT, all associated, ironically, with ascension to kingship.
- Matthew’s mob crying out for Jesus’ blood to be “on their heads” has in modern discussion been said to be an anti-semitic trope but when one notices its possible sources in the Jewish scriptures one sees it as originally not necessarily bearing any particularly anti-semitic connotation.
- I had always been suspicious of those comments linking the old Hebrew letter tau with the cross of Jesus, but I am willing now to concede that there just might be something to the link. (I’m not suggesting that the original idea of a cross came from the alphabet, not at all.)
- Another interesting link was the Jewish Scripture associations of the “good” thief’s dispute with his “bad” companion.
- We all surely know of the Amos association with the sun going down at noon, but I had overlooked till now that this same image in Amos is tied to mourning for an only son.
- The titulus crucis carries more Jewish Scripture echoes than I had ever suspected.
- Nor was I aware of the earthquake at the time of Joshua’s death — a sign divinely activated to draw the population’s attention to that grave moment.
- Again, we have several links to intertestamental literature and later rabbinic writings. And again, it is very reasonable to accept that those rabbinical writings had their origins in the Second Temple era and were known to the evangelists.
- One related detail is the teaching that when Moses struck the rock twice, the first time blood flowed out, the second time, water. What was on the evangelist’s mind when he wrote of the spear drawing both blood and water from Jesus?
- Justin Martyr’s quotation of Jeremiah is of special interest.
- So is a Codex Bezae version of the Gospel of Luke. Again, we meet another piece of evidence that the evangelists knew the writings of Josephus, especially Wars. The east gate that miraculously opened by itself as a warning of Jerusalem’s doom was said by Josephus to have been so large that it took twenty men to open. The same image is found in Codex Bezae’s Luke.
- I had known of the “I am” statements in the Greek Gospel of John but for some reason till now had overlooked them in the Gospel of Luke.
- Charbonnel speaks of OT passages where one is said to “pass through walls” by the power of God, but the Hebrew speaks of scaling over. (A French translation does say “pass through” as the resurrected Jesus did.)
- I would like to track down the Exodus Rabbah statement (in English) that foreshadows the “Do you seek the living among the dead” saying.
- Oh yes… one more of particular note (for me) — is the “beloved disciple” a figure of the church?