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Source: (consider it) Thread: John in High Places
Mudfrog
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Funny how things you've read for years suddenly take on a new life:

quote:
From John 18:
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant-girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

17 ‘You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?’ she asked Peter.

He replied, ‘I am not.’

18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood round a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself....

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, ‘You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?’

He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?’ 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a cock began to crow.

Add this:

quote:
Luke 22
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, ‘You also are one of them.’

‘Man, I am not!’ Peter replied.

59 About an hour later another asserted, ‘Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.’

60 Peter replied, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Just as he was speaking, the cock crowed.

John was known to the high priest? How, in what way?
I wondered if it were in the sense of reputation or infamy -
High Priest: 'O yes, I know all about him, he follows Jesus.'

But it seems to be something else. Something more intimate. According to Strongs, the word 'known' gnōstós (an adjective derived from 1097 /ginṓskō, "to know experientially") – experientially known, i.e. through first-hand, personal experience. See 1097 (ginōskō).

I would be very interested to know how a 'humble fisherman'could
1) Be known to the powerful former High Priest
2) Walk right into the High Priests house while Peter had to wait in the courtyard - presumably having no clearance to go any further, evidently unlike John.

A second point is that Peter is specifically picked up on having a Galilean accent; can we infer that John may not have had such an accent, and that is why it was remarked upon that Peter, with such an accent, was in the courtyard?

Finally, the fact that John could walk right in, leaving Peter with the servants who challenged him about his disciple status, might mean that John wasn't challenged because he wasn't actually known in the High Priest's house to be a disciple? That might be a bit tenuous, but it does make one wonder why Peter was so afraid to admit it when his friend was right inside, known to the High Priest and yet openly a follower of Jesus! Why was Peter afraid if John was OK to be seen in public and recognised?

[ 23. June 2017, 12:52: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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Brenda Clough
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Were not the Zebedees (John and James) fishermen as Peter and Andrew were?

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Anglican_Brat
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That of course, presumes that John is the beloved disciple, which in the Gospel the Beloved Disciple is never explicitly named.

[ 23. June 2017, 13:10: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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Mudfrog
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Well, it depends what you mean by fishermen.
Were they simply the men who did the fishing or were they actually the owners and partners in a business that employed others?

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Brenda Clough
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It is also useful to keep in mind that our own modern internetty culture is unusual. The Jewish nation was not all that big, at that period. Small enough so that everybody could more or less know everybody, at least at one or two removes. Even the High Priest's flunkies and bouncers have friends and family. And then there are the casual business and societal connections. ("Oh, John, hi. How did that donkey Cousin Ezra sold you four years ago work out?") You can despise those loutish Galileans but possibly they are familiar to you anyway.

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Lyda*Rose

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It seems like John (if he were the Beloved Disciple and the disciple described) had an in with the religious upper crust. He could walk into the palace grounds; he could stand at the foot of the cross and not get arrested. There is probably an interesting back story there. It was probably one of those things everyone knew at the time but wasn't theologically pertinent enough to be included in the Gospel. A possibility is that John was an acquaintance (but how? [Confused] ) of Nicodemus and may have piqued Nicodemus' interest in wanting to speak to Jesus in private. So when John wrote of the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus his source was the latter.

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Ricardus
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Here is an interesting blogpost that puts together the passage you mention with a number of others to show, quite convincingly IMO, that the sons of Zebedee were pretty well-off.

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BroJames
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And separately, Luke's naming of Joanna, wife of Chuza indicates that the group of Jesus' friends and supporters did include people with important connections.
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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
That of course, presumes that John is the beloved disciple, which in the Gospel the Beloved Disciple is never explicitly named.

Indeed the identity of this unnamed disciple potentially changes things. If he was a disciple from Jerusalem then there are lots of options - maybe he was attached to the household where Jesus held the Last Supper (by definition quite wealthy to have an upper guest room large enough for Jesus & his disciples), either a son of the family, or even just a servant who regularly runs errands for his master including visits to the High Priest.

But, let's run with the John bar-Zebedee option. As the earlier link points out, Zebedee is quite wealthy, owning several boats with hired servants doing much of the work and able to support the ministry of Jesus even after James and John, Peter and Andrew have dropped everything to follow Jesus.

We should also remember that Zachariah was a priest, who lived in Galilee, and Elizabeth was a relative of Mary. Therefore it's not impossible that Zebedee was also related to some of the priestly class. What if the High Priest had some family in Galilee, it wouldn't be unusual for some of that family to marry members of the family of a local businessman and leader of the community. Thus, it isn't beyond the realms of possibility that Zebedee (and hence his sons) were related by marriage to the High Priest - maybe that relationship being enough for Zebedee and his family to get lodgings at the High Priests home when in Jerusalem for the festivals. John could even be staying there, and had effectively run home to his family when Jesus was arrested.

I note that after talking to the girl at the gate to let Peter in, this other disciple disappears from the narrative. Was he also at the fire? Or had he gone further into the house?

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Mudfrog
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I'd forgotten about John at the foot of the cross.
He certainly didn't run way then, did he? Probably had no need to be scared because he was part of the elite?

Also, this:
quote:
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
Acts 6 v 7

John's influence perhaps?

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Jengie jon

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Alan

Zechariah was not in Galilee but in Judean Hill Country (i.e. the hills around Jerusalem) see
quote:
Luke 1:39-40 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
I happen for personal reasons to be spending some time with this passage, hence why I spotted this minor miss reading.

However, I think it was on these boards I heard the suggestion that Zebedee might be purveyor of fish to the High Priest's household

Thanks

Jengie

[ 23. June 2017, 20:43: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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Lamb Chopped
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I expect it was a business relationship, and John being "known" to the high priest" need mean no more than the doorkeeper saying, "Hey, there's that guy who used to bring in the fish when he was still working with his dad. Wonder how he's doing now?" The high priest's house was a semi-public place used for legal and governmental business--no doubt there was a bit where John would not be welcome, but the courtyard and public rooms would be open to anybody with a known identity and need to be there (and/or friends among the servants).

I suspect John positioned himself closer to the room where the council was meeting, though probably still in the courtyard. Being a somewhat-known quantity, he could probably get away with more than the unknown Peter could. If challenged, he might have been able to slip away with "Oh, it's just the fishmonger, a bit curious aren't you? This is none of your business, take yourself away, lad" and etc. Still risky, but not as bad as Peter's case (particularly since there are eyewitnesses to Peter's being in the garden, and one of them has a personal grudge, being a relative of the guy who (temporarily) lost an ear).

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Gamaliel
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I think Brenda Clough makes a good point.

Apparently, even as late as the mid-1700s if you hung around London long enough you stood a pretty good chance of seeing the King out and about ...

That doesn't mean that everyone in London was on speaking terms with the Monarchy, of course.

But we tend to forget how closely knit things would have been in previous centuries.

When Charles II rode out on his own to head off the stream of refugees heading out of London during the Great Fire and exhort them to stay put - so that they could be accommodated in tents and supplied from the royal coffers instead of heading off into the countryside and becoming a burden to everyone else - people recognised him straight-away.

Perhaps they'd seen his profile on the coins ...

[Biased]

'Known to the High Priest' could mean a lot of things ... known to the authorities, known via some kind of business relationship (John and Zebedee, quality fishmongers and purveyors to the High Priest ...) or simply known to frequent the Temple Courts regularly ...

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I expect it was a business relationship, and John being "known" to the high priest" need mean no more than the doorkeeper saying, "Hey, there's that guy who used to bring in the fish when he was still working with his dad. Wonder how he's doing now?" The high priest's house was a semi-public place used for legal and governmental business--no doubt there was a bit where John would not be welcome, but the courtyard and public rooms would be open to anybody with a known identity and need to be there (and/or friends among the servants).

I suspect John positioned himself closer to the room where the council was meeting, though probably still in the courtyard. Being a somewhat-known quantity, he could probably get away with more than the unknown Peter could. If challenged, he might have been able to slip away with "Oh, it's just the fishmonger, a bit curious aren't you? This is none of your business, take yourself away, lad" and etc. Still risky, but not as bad as Peter's case (particularly since there are eyewitnesses to Peter's being in the garden, and one of them has a personal grudge, being a relative of the guy who (temporarily) lost an ear).

But the text tells us that John went into the high priests's courtyard 'but Peter had to wait outside at the door.'
We are then told then when John came back he spoke to the girl on duty and then 'brought Peter in.'

That suggests John had far more authority and that he either instructed the girl to let Peter in, or else he himself had obtained permission for Peter to enter and had relayed the instruction from a higher authority, that he evidently had been granted.


Interestingly,
quote:
Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest's family.
Acts 4:6

Not Apostle John of course, but a family member named after him, or whom he was named after? Total speculation of course, but interesting none the less, seeing that the tradition was to call people after someone in the family.

(Another John's story in Luke 1:61)

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Mudfrog
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I have been looking at this and there is another theory.

Was John the fisherman also a priest?

1) He was known to the high priest.

2) A second century writer, Polycrates, commented on the Fourth Gospel. He believed that John wrote the Gospel and was the beloved disciple. He also wrote that John was by birth a priest and that he wore the 'petalos', the gold band inscribed with the words 'Holiness unto the Lord'.

3) Zacharias the father of John the Baptist was a priest. I often assumed that a priest was like a vicar and priestly duties were his full time job, but apparently it was not so. According to Barclay there were 20,000 priestsand duties in the temple were assigned by the casting of lots. He writes that many priests would never have burned incense (as Zecharias did when the angel appeared) in their entire lives.
If that is true, then my question is, what did these priests do to make a living while they were waiting for the big festivals when they all attended? Could it be that John was a priest when he was 'called up' but for the rest of the time, like Zecharias presumably, had a house, family and employment away from Jerusalem?

That really would be interesting - and, again, would explain the conversion of some priests in the Jerusalem church after Pentecost.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

If that is true, then my question is, what did these priests do to make a living while they were waiting for the big festivals when they all attended?

Leviticus is largely a tax code to ensure that the priests were fed.

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Jengie jon

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Yes, no, maybe

Reading Joshua it is clear that the Priests, along with the rest of the Levites, are given towns within the land allocated to the other tribes (Joshua 21:1-41). They specifically have pasture land about 4 square kilometres (a square mile) around these towns; so they were expected to have herds of animals (Numbers 35:1-8) even in the Torah.

The one complex bit of witness is the bit about Hebron (Joshua 21:11-12)
quote:

They gave them Kiriath-arba (Arba being the father of Anak), that is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasture lands around it. But the fields of the town and its villages had been given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his holding.

The intriguing aspect of this is the need to bring up the giving of the fields and its villages to Caleb. Do we assume that in other cases these went with the cities? If so, it is clear that Priest did farm at least. Maybe the temple revenue was intended to keep only the Priests and Levites who were working there at the time. At least under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:10) certain Levites returned home rather than work in the temple because they were not being given their share. IT is to be assumed there were ways of earning a keep at home.

Jengie

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Gee D
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But to that, you add all the sacrifices, and it's unlikely that a priest and his family went very hungry.

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Jengie jon

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You do realise the ability to eat the sacrifices depend on the Priest being pretty close to Jerusalem. IIRC quite a few had to be eaten in the temple precincts; not to add the difficulties of transporting meat any distance pre-refrigeration. Added to that many of the sacrifices were shared among the worshippers, the priest officiating just getting a portion with others being burnt completely and it is not quite the free for all mentioned.

I have checked tithing. Firstly there seem to be two tithes i.e. Israelites were required to give 20% not 10%. The first tithe went to Priests and Levites but had to be consumed in the Temple. The second tithe was on four out of seven years taken to Jerusalem and used for feasting by the people of Israel. Two other years it was given to the poor. The final year was the Sabbath year and therefore no such tithe was required.

Jengie

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Mudfrog
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The Levitical rules about provision for the priests, like the laws on Jubilee years, were all pre-exilic.

Is there evidence that everything was restored? And what about the intertestamental and Roman period when Israel was not its own sovereign nation, how was economics done on a practical level? Was the religious economy big enough to support 20,000 priests and their families?

Could there have been some 'tentmaking' as with the Pharisees?

Fishing perhaps?

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Jengie jon

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Well, Nehemiah is post-Exilic and it is under him that there are complaints about the Levi's not getting their share.

Jengie

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Brenda Clough
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I wonder if there was any expectation that people, except at the very highest levels, did not work. In other words, the concept of 'office work' or 'white collar class' is modern. Paul was a tentmaker. Jesus was (at least for a while) carpentering. I could imagine that unless you were Caiaphas and Anias or at that level, you had a day gig or a seasonal job.

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Was the religious economy big enough to support 20,000 priests and their families?

Where does the figure of 20,000 come from?

But, like Brenda, I suspect there were two (at least) tiers of priests. The High Priest and other senior priests who lived in Jerusalem permanently, and were working full time in the Temple - though it seems to be the case from the Gospels and Acts that a lot of the administrative tasks and non-ceremonial jobs (including trials of people accused of blasphemy, and a whole lot of politicing) happened at the High Priests home in Jerusalem rather than the Temple.

Then there's a lower ranking group of priests who work in the Temple part time (on a rota system from the example of Zechariah during "ordinary time", probably most of them present for the major festivals when every hand would be needed). While actually doing Temple work they would have been supported by the people offering their sacrifices at the Temple. But, at other times maybe not. Zechariah certainly goes home at the end of his time at the Temple, and that would probably be normal. They'd have had little respect from the normal people if they were idle, so I'm fairly certain they'd have done something to earn their keep - nothing that would have risks their ritual cleanliness, of course, but running a small holding or similar.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Was the religious economy big enough to support 20,000 priests and their families?

Where does the figure of 20,000 come from?

I'm fairly certain they'd have done something to earn their keep - nothing that would have risks their ritual cleanliness, of course, but running a small holding or similar.

From William Barclay's Daily Study Bible, the commentary on Luke 1

quote:
Zacharias, the central character in this scene, was a priest. He belonged to the section of Abia. Every direct descendant of Aaron was automatically a priest. That meant that for all ordinary purposes there were far too many priests. They were therefore divided into twenty-four sections. Only at the Passover, at Pentecost and at the Feast of Tabernacles did all the priests serve. For the rest of the year each course served two periods of one week each. Priests who loved their work looked forward to that week of service above all things; it was the highlight of their lives.

A priest might marry only a woman of absolutely pure Jewish lineage. It was specially meritorious to marry a woman who was also a descendant of Aaron, as was Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias.

There was as many as twenty thousand priests altogether and so there were not far short of a thousand in each section. Within the sections all the duties were allocated by lot. Every morning and evening sacrifice was made for the whole nation. A burnt offering of a male lamb, one year old, without spot or blemish was offered, together with a meat offering of flour and oil and a drink offering of wine. Before the morning sacrifice and after the evening sacrifice incense was burned on the altar of incense so that, as it were, the sacrifices might go up to God wrapped in an envelope of sweet-smelling incense. It was quite possible that many a priest would never have the privilege of burning incense all his life; but if the lot did fall on any priest that day was the greatest day in all his life, the day he longed for and dreamed of. On this day the lot fell on Zacharias and he would be thrilled to the core of his being.

As to your second point, with which I agree entirely, is it therefore beyond the realms of possibility that the fisherman, John, was a priest when he needed to be and a fisherman to support himself the rest of the time?

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Brenda Clough
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Something like the way the Altar Guild runs in the modern church. They don't -pay- us in any way, so we clearly have to support ourselves day to day.

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Alan Cresswell

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Much as I respect William Barclay (I've found his DSB very useful over the years) I'd still like to see evidence that every descendent of Aaron was a priest (clearly every priest was a descendent of Aaron). If that's not the case then there's the option of John being a close relative to the High Priest without being a priest himself.

The big problem is that the Gospels tell us a fair bit about many of the disciples - Levi and Matthew the tax collectors, Simon the Zealot etc. Why don't any of the Gospel authors mention that one of the disciples was a priest? Surely that's one of those things that would be reported?

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Gee D
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# 13815

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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
You do realise the ability to eat the sacrifices depend on the Priest being pretty close to Jerusalem. IIRC quite a few had to be eaten in the temple precincts; not to add the difficulties of transporting meat any distance pre-refrigeration. Added to that many of the sacrifices were shared among the worshippers, the priest officiating just getting a portion with others being burnt completely and it is not quite the free for all mentioned.

I have checked tithing. Firstly there seem to be two tithes i.e. Israelites were required to give 20% not 10%. The first tithe went to Priests and Levites but had to be consumed in the Temple. The second tithe was on four out of seven years taken to Jerusalem and used for feasting by the people of Israel. Two other years it was given to the poor. The final year was the Sabbath year and therefore no such tithe was required.

Jengie

Thank you for that detail about tithing, something new to me. Yes, I knew of both religious and practical reasons about the consumption of sacrifices either in the Temple or within Jerusalem itself. I don't know that these detract all that much from my basic point about Leviticus.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Much as I respect William Barclay (I've found his DSB very useful over the years) I'd still like to see evidence that every descendent of Aaron was a priest (clearly every priest was a descendent of Aaron). If that's not the case then there's the option of John being a close relative to the High Priest without being a priest himself.

The big problem is that the Gospels tell us a fair bit about many of the disciples - Levi and Matthew the tax collectors, Simon the Zealot etc. Why don't any of the Gospel authors mention that one of the disciples was a priest? Surely that's one of those things that would be reported?

Well, one possibility is that John was too young to go on active duty if he were of priestly descent ( thirty was the age Moses specified). A minor physical handicap could keep you out of service too. Or it might have been his mother's side that was priestly, which would leave him to follow his father. Lots of possibilities.

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Mudfrog
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Go with me on this one...

In the Gospels many references are made to the chief priests and the elders of the people. The word is presbytoros. It can refer to members of the sanhedrin.

If we can accept that the Apostle John wrote 2 and 3 John, we see that there the Apotle referred to himself as presbyteros.

It can of course mean older, wiser man.
It can mean a title of Elder in the church.
Or could it mean that because of who he was writing to in those two letters he needed to refer to his identity as a one time elder in Israel?

Just thinking out loud, and not really convincing myself either, but it's just thrown into the mix...

I think I'll go with elder of the church, on refection.

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
]Thank you for that detail about tithing, something new to me. Yes, I knew of both religious and practical reasons about the consumption of sacrifices either in the Temple or within Jerusalem itself. I don't know that these detract all that much from my basic point about Leviticus.

Please tell me how the priests who lived in the Priestly towns in Galilee were supposed to eat when not serving at the Temple?

Jengie

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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Much of the tithe came in in the form of dry grain etc.--stuff that could be transported. Others tithing from far off would bring money, if I refall correctly, to the temple to serve as their tithe, so the fruit etc. wouldn't spoil in transport. That money could easily be reapportioned to priests/Levites living far away.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that by the time of Christ the strict tithing laws had been replaced by human adaptations, though. I wonder if Josephus has anything to say?

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Gee D
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# 13815

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Lamb Chopped has beaten me to it.

[ 27. June 2017, 21:36: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

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As I pointed out first tithe had to be consumed in the temple. Second tithe had to be spent on something for personal consumption in Jerusalem.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Walking 18 miles to help Refugees get an education.

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Gee D
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# 13815

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Sorry, you are well beyond me with the sue to which second tithes could be spent - where is that from please?

BTW, my original comment about Leviticus was not entirely serious; I keep forgetting how wisely read these posts are.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Much as I respect William Barclay (I've found his DSB very useful over the years) I'd still like to see evidence that every descendent of Aaron was a priest (clearly every priest was a descendent of Aaron). If that's not the case then there's the option of John being a close relative to the High Priest without being a priest himself.

AIUI the descent is through the male line. So the daughter of a priest is not a priest and neither are any of her children. If John was the son of the high priest's aunt, or his mother's sister, then he wouldn't necessarily be a priest.

Regarding the numbers, if you Google 'what percentage of Jews are kohanim', you get a figure of 2%-5% (admittedly not very well evidenced). Wikipedia quotes, with reservations, an estimate of 4.2 million for the Jewish population in the first century (the majority of whom admittedly lived outside Judea). 2% of 4.2m gives you 84,000, which suggests that Barclay is being quite conservative.

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Net Spinster
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# 16058

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Note the percentage includes women (or is only for the male half of the population) so halve estimates for who could be potential priests. Also note that with higher child mortality many potential kohanim would have died before reaching the serving age (let us assume average life expectancy was about 30 so halve the estimate yet again to come up with who actually could serve). I'll also note that the present day percent may well not be the same as 1st century.

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Ricardus
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Yeah, I agree, I'm making all sorts of assumptions and extrapolations. I guess my point is just that a back-of-an-envelope calculation gets you a much higher figure than Barclay, which prima facie suggests Barclay is a bit more sophisticated.

(Though I would assume that the percentage of kohanim would if anything decline over time, just because there are ways of losing kohan status but no way of gaining it except by birth.)

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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