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From: "tom" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Scylla, Oreb and transmigrational chain yanking
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 17:52:17 GMT

Nigel Price writes:

> I was therefore deeply puzzled by Tom's recent post where he wrote:
> > Matt 16:13-17 seem to address the issue.  It appears that Jews of the
> > time believed in some sort of soul-type transmigration, or something
> > pretty darn weird.  And apparently Jesus does, too, as he praises
> > Simon for getting it right, since doing so requires some sort
> > of divine assistance.  So it looks like the idea of the same soulish
> > thing moving from one incarnation to another is not anti - or even
> > extra-Biblical.

Warning: discussion of what the word "is" means follows.  Not for
the faint of heart.

> I almost wondered whether we were looking at the same passage here, Tom!
> Peter's comments on the popular view of Jesus' ministry can be interpreted
> in a number of ways. He might mean, "They think you are a prophet like John
> the Baptist, Elijah or Jeremiah!"

Then they should have said that.  But they say (in KJV): "Some
say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias,
or one of the prophets."  They say "is" (well, "art"), not "like" or
"reminds us of".  What could they mean but some sort of soul-ish
transmigration?  Especially since the crowds could easily tell the
difference between Jesus and John the Baptist?  A straightforward
reading would seem to indicate that when they said that Jesus "was"
John the Baptist, they mean that some essential part of John was
in Jesus, or something of the sort.

>He is probably referring to the fact that
> the people are making reference to Malachi 4.5, where there is a promise
> that "Elijah" will come before "the day of the Lord", and saying that Jesus
> is the one who comes as the reconciliatory herald who precedes the
> judgement.

Elijah is the only one who could really fit the bill without some
form of transmigration, as he's the only one of the group that
didn't die in the usual way.

>He may even be referring to an opinion, however metaphorical or
> literal we may take it, that some people are saying that Jesus is one of the
> prophets come back to life, but I really can't see any reference to the
> transmigration of souls in this exchange.

When people said Jesus "was" John the Baptist, what did they mean?
I hate to jump on this point, but the whole Long/Short Sun series
is filled with this sort of identity bluriness.

>When Jesus praises Simon in verse
> 17 and tells him that he has received divine revelation, it's not because he
> has agreed with whatever it was that the people believed about Jesus, but
> rather because Peter recognized that Jesus was the messaih, the Son of God
> (v16).

Note that Jesus does not correct the apostles with the equivalent
of "You morons!  Do I look like John the Baptist?  How could I
be Isaiah when he's been dead for hundreds of years?".  He apparently
finds the idea plausible.  Heck, it requires divine revelation for
Peter to get the right answer.

> Forgive a stodgy old, humourless Baptist, Alga, but that seems to be about
> it!

Mention might be made of the demon named Legion, who is driven from
a possesed man into a herd of swine.

> Nigel
> (Stodgy and humourless and Baptistical in Minety)



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