New Testament Stuff I Need To Know: Session 6

Chapter 8: Two Hidden Treasures   

Learning Group Discussion: 2/12-2/18

Reading Assignment Outline

Hebrews: Preaching as Theology

  • Author: anonymous, excellent Greek, rhetoric of exposition and exhortation, use of Torah
  • Date: between 60 and 90CE
  • Context: maybe ethnically Hellenistic Jews, also Christians,
  • faith community in danger of “falling away
  • superiority of Jesus to God’s earlier agents
  • engages the symbolism of the ancient cult, especially sacrifice
  • merging of biblical cosmology and Platonic categories (material/ideal, earth/heaven)
  • Christ is the perfect mediator between God and humans because he is (ontological) both divine and human, and because Christ’s mediating role is not static but dynamic (moral). p88
  • Christ represent humanity as its priest forever
  • cloud of witnesses
  • Jesus is both the cause of salvation and the model of obedient faith
6thC lunette mosaic, Abel & Melchizedek sacrificing - Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna
6th-century mosaic in the Basilica di San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, depicting Abel and Melchisedec making a sacrifice on an altar. Christians see scenes like this one as foreshadowing the Eucharistic ritual.


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History of Saint James’: El Camino de Santiago

Saint James, aka Saint James the Greater, Saint James the Elder, and James, son of Zebedee

Fellow parishioner Jim Timberlake is now on a walking pilgrimage – the route is called “El Camino de Santiago,” or “The Way of Saint James” as its often called in English – to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, believed to be the burial place of Saint James.  One of the Twelve Apostles, James was distinguished as being in Jesus’ innermost circle and the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament (Acts 12:2).  Born in Galilee, Palestine, he died 44 CE in Jerusalem by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea

Medieval Christian legends tell us that Saint James had traveled widely on the Iberian Peninsula, bringing Christianity to the Celtic peoples.  Following his martyrdom, his relics were supposedly taken back to Spain and enshrined. During Roman persecution, however, the early Spanish Christians were forced to abandon the shrine and with the depopulation of the area following the fall of the Roman Empire, the location of the shrine was forgotten.  In 813 CE, so the legend goes, a hermit led by a beckoning star and celestial music discovered the location of the buried relics.

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