Jesus, Was He A Revolutionary  Essay

Length: 7 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Essay Paper: #37512888 Related Topics: Last Supper, Counterculture, Revolutionary War, Theology
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Oscar Cullmann, Nolan, and Genezio Boff. Oscar Cullmann can be described as a Christian theologian within the Lutheran tradition. His most notable work involved the ecumenical movement. He was in part accountable for the formation of dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions.

Nolan was born in the city of Cape Town, South Africa. He is of English descent and is a fourth-generation South African. Influenced by Thomas Merton, Nolan became fascinated to the idea of spiritual life. Ultimately, Nolan joined the Dominican Order by 1954, studying in Rome and South Africa eventually receiving a doctorate.

Born with the name Genezio Darci Boff, Boff hails from Concordia, Santa Catarina. Boff entered the Franciscan Order by 1959 being ordained as a Catholic priest by 1964. He spent subsequent years studying to earn a doctorate in philosophy and theology at the University of Munich, in 1970. His doctoral thesis studied measures the Church can be considered a sign of the divine and the sacred in the secular world and within the process of deliverance of the oppressed. Boff has since published the thesis into a book published in German, titled Die Kirche als Sakrament im Horizont der Welterfahrung. He became one of the most well-known supporters of the movement known as the early Liberation theologians. He was there during the first echoes that sought to express indignation against desolation and relegation with promissory dialog of the faith, that led to Liberation theology.


Within the latest quests for the mysterious and historical Jesus, one significant debate focuses on the level to which people characterize Jesus as a revolutionary. The West seems to relate this focus on the counterculture movements witnessed in the 60's. While this may cause of the recent debate other influences come from developing-country liberation theologies. Essentially those theologies explain that in order to access the historical Jesus, one must first unlock the door with a political key.

In order to see what perhaps the truth behind Jesus and His actions was written in Scripture is to ask questions of what Jesus Christ thought of Himself because hermeneutical attempts to resurrect the ideas and life of Jesus are not enough to surmise about Him. Therefore, it becomes important to examine Jesus' self-understanding, as it becomes the epicenter in His contact with first-century Jewish revolutionaries. Authors like those that O. Cullmann, Boff and Nolan have provided significant contributions in the last two decades on such investigation.


In fact, the influence of Brandon's study had effects that lasted well into the 1980's with Brandon serving as the catalyst for modern discussion of Jesus as a revolutionary. This is because Brandon saw Jesus in fundamental agreement with the revolutionaries' objects as well as perhaps even with their strategies and approaches. To make a case for if Jesus was a revolutionary, it is important to examine first the company He kept. His twelve disciples had nicknames and names that when translated appeared revolutionary in meaning.

A good example of this is the phrase Ioudas ho Iskariotes which roughly translates to "Judas who was one of the sicarii" or Simon bar Jona which translates to "Simon the anarchist." "Son of Thunder" (Mark 3:17) was taken as meaning that these men favored military action when discussing and handling matters with Romans. If one looks at Luke 22:49-50, one see some of the context may provide plausible conjecture. Lastly, the most significant conjecture remains in Luke 6:15 with the phrase Simon the zelotes, which may mean "Simon the Revolutionary." This however, is not enough evidence (linguistic evidence does not carry over to certainty) that even Simon was indeed a revolutionary who was against Roman rule.

Switching from Simon and moving onto a more promising pathway of examination into Jesus as a revolutionary is to investigate the one miracle periscope in which all four Gospel writers have a role in meaning the period of the Galilean ministry or "the feeding of the 5,000." "The feeding of the five thousand" or "the feeding of the four thousand" as preserved my Mark, was a story preserved because it was deeply entrenched in the tradition. Because of this, the basic authenticity of the story's core is that it cannot fit into the average form-critical categories. Moreover, many believe as seen in Mark 6:37 that the story has basis from eye witness tradition.


This perhaps was meant to make a theological point concerning the Eucharistic importance of the story. This could be attributed to Christian communities recasting he miracle story somewhat in order to make it useful for the Church. Whether the interpretation was altered or not, the historical points referenced in the work are what matter.

1. That Jesus Christ was involved in an event involving the feeding of a crowd somewhere in the Galilean wilderness.

2. The crowd took Jesus' action of feeding to imply He was making certain eschatological or messianic claims, even perhaps Jesus was the latter day prophet (Mosaic) the Pentateuch spoke of.

3. Jesus withdrew from the crowd having none of that.

4. The event was most probable in the climax of the Galilean Ministry.

5. Jesus most likely had intentions in making the feeding as an eschatological signs of God's Dominion having broken in through His ministry. Most likely this was His interpretation of "breaking bread" with the outcasts and tax collectors.

6. The event served as foreshadowing of the messianic banquet. (This is not as certain)

What is more certain is the exiting parallels between Mark 6/John 6 and the tale of the Egpytian in Wars 2.261 as well as Ant. 20,169, which stand as impressive evidence suggesting Jesus implied something about the importance of His work and person through this "sign" performed in the wilderness. (Boff 244) Although His actions meant to Jesus one thing, the crowd took it as another and that made Jesus withdraw. However, the question remains, what were Jesus' implications by the feeding in the wilderness?

Matthew 23:37 and Mark 6:4 suggest Jesus seemed to own the label of prophet. He may have committed these signs in order to indicate to the onlookers that he was a prophet. Jesus may have considered Himself as the final eschatological prophet, expecting no successors after his death. In fact, His dismissal of the people in Galilee after the feeding and the subsequent withdrawal of Himself from the public could mean He accepted himself as the Mosaic prophet, but did not wish to be defined under the terms and expectations of the public. Although he did not act as a revolutionary in the expected sense by withdrawing from the crowd, the feeding itself acted as a way to clarify that He thought of Himself as the prophet.

Jesus accepted the role of messiah, but not the role of warrior messiah people wanted to place on him. He understood the role of those associated with the house of David during his day, but did not wish to contribute to the mold of the David Messiah and become warrior king. Another noteworthy passage that gives further insight into Jesus' perspective of Rome and the revolutionaries is Mark 12:13-17. This passage represents a classic example of "a pronouncement story where everything prepares the way for a climactic saying. The narrative is reduced to the bare minimum, and in regard to the stay itself, "there are no ground to think this is a Community product." (Witherington 101)

The passage in Mark brings about one of the most important issues for the revolutionaries of the time, should Jews pay Caesar tribute money, therefore acknowledging Caesar's authority over them? This is where revolutionaries would have considered Jesus a revolutionary because He did not have a coin minted by the Romans on Him, symbolizing his resistance to Caesar's rule. However, Jesus did not believe in money or mammon and never had any on him regardless of what meaning that could have for others. He believed in no money because of His belief in the kingdom of heaven. (Crossan 22)

His beliefs concerning God's dominion or divine dominion had of no importance on if a person paid their assigned tribute to Roman's Caesar or not. Simply put, Jesus did not agree the paying of the tribute tested one's loyalty to biblical God. BY Jesus expressing Himself in this manner, He evaded people like the Pharisees and the Herodians from reporting Him to Rome and satisfying somewhat, the Jewish revolutionaries. Repeatedly seen in several passages, Jesus does not seem to concern himself with political matters but more so with ultimate issues like giving one's entire being to God.

From this, it can be safely assumed that although Jesus was a revolutionary in His actions, it was not for the traditional sense of revolution. He did not intend to create disturbance in a political sense. He did not want to be…

Sources Used in Documents:


Boff, Leonardo. Jesus Christ Liberator. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1978. Print.

Crossan, John Dominic. The Historical Jesus. [San Francisco]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991. Print.

Cullmann, Oscar. Jesus And The Revolutionaries. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. Print.

Hendricks, Obery M. The Politics Of Jesus. New York: Doubleday, 2006. Print.

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