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Crossan on Abba -PaterNoster

November 2011
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What was your favorite lecture at SBL this year?

It might be difficulty to decide, and probably not fair to all the good lectures and papers I/you did not attend. But nevertheless, being a little subjectivistic for the moment, I might flag my favorite: It was John D. Crossans lecture at the Historical Jesus session Saturday 19.11, on “From Abba-cry to Father-prayer.”
As we all might know, there has been a lot of discussion on the meaning and historicity of the Abba term in the prayers and teachings of Jesus. J. Jeremias argued that it was an ipsissima verba Christi, signifying the little child’s intimate word for father. Others, e.g., Barr,  have disagreed.
Crossan did not deal so much with the historicity issue as its meaning and significance. He argued that Abba is an “Intra familiar teem.” You cannot use the term if you are not in a family.
Hence it denoted the rights of sons being within the family,that is, being an heir.
Most children would have lost their father before the age of 15, thus father would be some nostalgic term, more than real patriarchy.
Crossan further used Romans 8 as a commentary on Paster Noster, cf. Gal 5.

Children of God is not a term of childishness, dependency,
Children is a term for being inside the family. Intra familiar.
What Jesus taught was an intra familiar concept and attitude. Supported both by Paul, Mark, Matthew, and Q.

I did not take extensive notes, so this is my brief impressions. I hope the lecture will be published somewhere.


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