Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Twelve?

So, I'm still wrestling with the issue of "The Twelve", in ACTS especially. James Darlack provides some useful thinking, but then Scot McKnight went and confused me senseless with his Paper on Jesus and the Twelve, where he argues:
Jesus’ sending out the Twelve shows little parallel with the expectation of the reunification of the twelve tribes. Instead, the connotations of his choice and sending out of the Twelve show more significant parallels with Qumran leadership, T. Judah 25:1–2, and T. Benj. 10:7, and covenant reestablishment as found in Joshua 4. His expectation of the reunification of the twelve tribes in the land does emerge in the Q tradition (Luke 22:30 par. Matt 19:28; Luke 13:28–30 par. Matt 8:11–12), and his Twelve were to function in a leadership rule in that Kingdom. There is significant evidence for us to think that Jesus had in mind a restored Israel—twelve new leaders, the land under control, a pure Temple, and a radically obedient Israel. The two themes of covenant and eschatology that swirl around the number “twelve” form a combined witness to the centrality of Jesus’ vision for Israel: salvation-historical fulfillment—that is, covenant reestablishment—in his mission’s inauguration of the Kingdom and the embodiment of leadership in his twelve special leaders, who will rule and liberate the twelve tribes of Israel in the Kingdom.
Perhaps The Twelve only made sense amongst Jewish Christians (hence James?), and in the increasing Gentile mission, such symbolic significance was lost? Far more thinking is required on this topic....

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