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friday, october 24, 2014 8:27 pm zst

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Posted by franco cbi on Feb 25, 2013 7:23 am

2 comments, latest by franco cbi at 9:08 am 2/25

#1 franco cbi at 7:27 am on Feb 25, 2013

Garry Wills wants us to know that he really bears no animus toward priests. Truly. Some of his best friends, not to mention his mentors, are priests. His quarrel is not with priests but with the specious notion of the priesthood, which, he argues, finds no precedent in the early church and precious little warrant in the New Testament.

Jesus never claimed for himself the mantle of priesthood, nor did he, a Jew, hail from the priestly tribe of Levi. The sole reference to Jesus as priest in the New Testament, Wills says, occurs in the Epistle to the Hebrews, an enigmatic letter of unknown provenance. The writer of the letter introduces the notion of Jesus as priest not in the line of Aaron (Levite) but in the tradition of Melchizedek, the obscure Canaanite king of Salem who makes a cameo appearance in Genesis and is mentioned again briefly in Psalm 110.

Using his linguistic skills and his impressive command of both secondary literature and patristic sources, Wills raises doubts aplenty about “the Melchizedek myth,” and the priestly claims for Jesus in the “idiosyncratic” Epistle to the Hebrews. He notes as well the linguistic anomalies of the Genesis passage and even questions the inclusion of Hebrews in the canon of Scripture.

#2 franco cbi at 9:08 am on Feb 25, 2013

The Melchizedek story in Genesis 14 is rather odd. The character appears abruptly, with no connection to the previous chapters, and is then never seen again in the Bible. The style of that chapter is completely different than the other three sources that have been identified for the first four books of the Bible.

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