Thursday, April 30, 2020

being within and among simultaneously



First century BCE Palestine had been Hellenistic for centuries. So, Greek influence surely created a hybrid sense of Aramaic understanding.

When Jesus—a well-educated rabbi—“said.” according to the Gospel of Luke, that “the kingdom of God is within you,” Luke’s Greek is confusing (according to Stephen Mitchell, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 146): Luke allegedly means ‘among’, but uses a Greek meaning for ‘within’. So, Luke’s Jesus is “saying” an ambiguity: The kingdom of God is at once within “you” (singular) and among “you” (plural). “In other words,” Mitchell notes, “the ultimate reality, though it is revealed in history, essentially belongs to the spiritual order…”

Luke’s Jesus is positing (avowing, acclaiming), on the one hand, that the spirituality of the kingdom is available to anyone, thus everyone. Spirituality is immanent, rather than displaced (only accessible by the priests).

On the other hand, the locality of the kingdom (Heaven) is, in principle, available to everyone, rather than inevitably postponed (only accessible in death).

So, the mystery of being at once within/among of God/Heaven potentially demystifies spirituality and de-postpones the possibility of continuously good life. In short, dependence on royalist gatekeepers can be overcome by emancipatory interest in at once being well within one among everyone.

The genius of Jesus for his time was to show how immanence of spirituality could be a tangibility of possibly good life for oneself with everyone. The “kingdom” is at once being the spirituality of being well. Born again is one’s sense of entire life (“being in the pristine state” [Mitchell, 147]) which heals
the potential to enown being well for the sake of everyone’s good.

That’s no news nowadays. But for colonialized Palestine, such genius could not be tolerated by royalists.