HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
VAN ECK, Ernest. Jesus and violence: mark 12:1-12 (and par) and Thomas 65. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.4, pp. 1735-1765. ISSN 2072-8050.
As an advanced agrarian (aristocratic) society, first-century Pale-stine's social fabric was built on systemic tensions and conflicts between the elite (rulers) and the peasantry (the ruled). At the root of these conflicts were incompatible values (ideologies) and interests. Mediterraneans in general were agonistic (fight-prone) in nature - hence willing to engage in physical conflict at the slightest provocation. Violence in the first-century, however, was more than just physical conflict - it was establishment violence. What was Jesus' stance on violence? An ideological-critical reading of Mark 12:1-12 (and par) indicates that the canonical versions of the Tenants - in which Jesus condones violence - cannot be seen as reflecting the historical Jesus' attitude towards violence. Jesus' stance on violence is rather reflected in GThom 65, in which Jesus is pictured as criticizing all kinds of violence. This study also reiterates the necessity of reading the Biblical text from an ideological-critical perspective to avoid the peril of "gospelizing" Jesus.