Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23

Date: Sat Sep 02 1995 - 09:46:57 EDT

Larry Swain said:
> In your mind your
> understanding of the texts is the most direct and natural.

Ok, we've all agreed to stick to facts.

tote - most naturally refers to direct chronological succession of events.
"Then" in English can of course also refer to next event in order separated
by a long time (ie, "then, after many hundred years..."), but like with "tote"
that's not the natural understanding of "then".

"soon", "at hand", means just that.

Mt 16:27,28: Speaks for itself, IMO. Me and you have had a long private
discussion earlier. You argued this "coming in the clouds" referred to the
transfiguration. For some reason, this and a large number of other claims you
made to me privately has not been repeated on this mailing list.

> However, the
> majority of academia views these texts as referring to the events of 70
> AD because they do so after the fact: Matthew is usually dated in the
> 70s or 80s and Luke almost certainly and universally in the 80s. If the
> majority of scholarship is correct in this regard, then for the people
> who recorded these words in the Little Apocalypse, the parousia is yet
> future. Thus, the most natural understanding of the text changes.

This is a premise that changes the understanding. If you have read my messages,
you will have seen I have posted several arguments against this. Where is it
written in stone that we have to accept "majority of scholarship" without
asking questions?

I can summarize two of my arguments again, so you can deal with them instead of
the assumptions:

* Matthew made Jesus say that the parousia would occur "immediately after" the
siege of Jerusalem. This is a strange thing to quote Jesus as saying if Matthew
already knew that this saying had been falsified.

* Early Pauline letters are dated before 70AD. In 1The2:16, Paul forsees that
the Jews will be reached by judgment, yes, that this judgment is so close Paul
can mention it as present: "But God's wrath has come upon them at last!" In
the apocalyptic sayings, in 5:3, Paul says "sudden destruction will come upon
them." So this letter, practically universally agreed to have been written in
50AD (some say 51AD), states the same thing as the synoptics. (see also

Something I did not say, but I find very important, is that post-dating these
books make their writers look like heartless cynics. They had just experienced
their homeland, the beloved holy city and the sacred place of their nation
being swept away, and hundreds of thousands of countrymen being slaughtered and
taken as slaves. Then, they write a book where they claim their master
predicted this event decades earlier.

Can you imagine someone writing a book -- two books in fact -- after WW2,
claiming that their religious master had predicted the Holocaust as a rightful
punishment for the Jews? Doesn't the mere thought make us shudder? Would it not
be the most tasteless act imaginable? Think about it.

> If on
> the other hand you take the preterist viewpoint, a stance of faith by the
> way, then the natural understanding of the text changes again. The
> natural understanding of the text depends on where you begin, and you Jan
> have made it very clear that you begin with a belief that the parousia
> took place in 70 AD:

No, I did not "begin" with this belief. It was a conclusion after examining
arguments pro and con.

> your first post on this subject to this list stated
> it baldly. That is a statement of faith, not a statement dealing with
> academic issues.

When you date Matthew and Luke after 70AD this is based on the assumption that
nobody could have predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. I see this as a
natural assumption in scholarship, but when you use this *assumption* to
contradict statements to the contrary you make a logical error. Religious
studies is *neutral* to the question of divine revelation, it does not deny it.
The assumption cannot become the conclusion, like you use it.

> > It requires an enormous amount of faith to squeeze 1900+ years inside a
> "tote"
> > like you do, and it has nothing more to do with scholarship than whatever
> > I may have said.
> Again I must confront you on ad hominem statements.

"Ad hominem" means to discredit an argument based on an irrelevant attack on a
person. I don't make such an attack. Like many people, you don't fully
understand what "ad hominem" is about.
> First, in none of my
> posts either on list or off have I suggested that TOTE means 1900 years:
> Quote me.

Offline you have stated that the parousia still belongs to the future.

You asked me to quote you, and I take that as a permission:

"Why? Why 70? It is so against the scriptures themselves which speak of
the evil being removed from the earth, not the righteous, where his elect
are gathered, not scattered."

"I expect Jesus' words just before this to be taken seriously: see vs 27.
An event which can't be missed."

Now, unless you will not agree that it's been about 1900 years since the
statements were made, I can hardly understand it differently.

> Fourth, and finally on this
> statement, again I challenge you to show where in my statement to this
> list my scholarship is in question. You may disagree with the conclusion
> which I drew, but that is not the same as saying that the scholarship is
> faulty.

I have never said your scholarship is faulty. I have other conclusions than
you. I have failed to see you point out arguments instead of referring to

> > So, stick to the facts.
> Which is basically my adjuration here Jan. As I noted in this too long a
> post, there are several glaring factual errors both in the
> presuppositions you make, as well as in your reportage.

Well, point out my "several glaring factual errors" then. You have pointed out
none so far.

Seriously, I suggest we just bury this discussion. What I wanted to know by
posting on this list was if my understanding of the Greek key words was
correct: genea, tote, aion, etc. This has been confirmed, and I have no reason
to continue this discussion where it does not belong.

I do of course observe that my summary of arguments caused some irritation.
This fact just amuses me.


- Jan

    Q: What is the Unitarian hymn?  A: "Praise Be to Whom It May Concern"

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