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Thanks, Andrew, for this thought-provoking post. I question your general reading of Moses as an OT precedent (in popular thinking) of a peaceable leader of Israel, but am still gathering my thoughts on that.

This bit in your response to Tim Peebles, though, 

“… Jesus and his followers may have been in broad agreement about the ends but not about the means.”

seems highly questionable to me. We repeatedly see the synoptic authors portraying the apostles as clueless about Jesus’ thinking about “method”; given the depth of this misunderstanding, is it likely that they nevertheless clearly understood his goals?

Here’s perhaps the most jarring mismatch between the apostle’s and Jesus’ thinking about ‘method’; Luke 9:51-56, specifically “Do you want us to call down fire from heaven?” to kill the unfriendly Samaritans. This incident is after Peter’s affirmation of Jesus as messiah/son of God/king of Israel and after Jesus’ prediction of the necessary fate that awaited him at Jerusalem. The apostles seem to have thought that Jesus might agree with them to destroy the village; they didn’t understand his ‘method’ at all. How likely is it that they understood his goals? Surely “goal” and “method” are intimately related.

Perhaps one could argue that the apostles’ relationship with Jesus hindered their understanding; they were pre-occupied with hopes of high position in a future Jesus reign. But if they were projecting their hopes and ambitions onto Jesus, is it not likely that this was happening more widely among the members of the ‘Jesus movement’?

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