Friday, May 18, 2007

Quotes from the Pope's Jesus of Nazareth

"Both Evangelists designate Jesus' preaching with the Greek term evangelion--but what does that actually mean?" (page 46).

"The term has recently been translated as "good news." That sounds attractive, but if falls far short of the order of magnitude of what is actually meant by the word evangelion. This term figures in the vocabulary of the Roman emperors, who understood themselves as lords, saviors, and redeemers of the world. The messages issued by the emperor were called in Latin evangelion, regardless of whether their content was particularly cheerful and pleasant. The idea was that what comes from the emperor is a saving message, that it is not just a piece of news, but a change of the world for the better.

When the Evangelist adopt this word, and it thereby becomes the generic name for their writings, what they to tell us is this: What the emperors, who pretend to be gods, illegitimately claim, really occurs here--a message endowed with plenary authority, a message that is not just talk, but reality, (pages 46-47)."

Now, there is something to think aboutthe next time you here the Gospel--the evanglion proclaimed at Mass...


1 comment:

  1. And to think of the political impact (of course the gospel has political implications-and not even subtle anti-imperial political implications).

    The "gospel" and the "evangelion" were terms only used by the emperors. The evangelists are directly confronting this power. Taking an anti-imperialist stand. Like NT Wright describes Paul.

    Makes the Marcan chapter on the demon Legion take on a different meaning, despite its watered down "legion means many, blah, blah, blah," (The word "legion" really had only one meaning around 55 AD).

    Dan Conway

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