[#] Yet more on the Jewish Jesus

Since there is apparently a problem with the way I am expressing myself, I'm going to cite some commentaries on this matter to attempt to indicate what I am saying through other sources more reputable than my own feeble typing.

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown says this:
stature--or better, perhaps, as in the Margin, "age," which implies the other. This is all the record we have of the next eighteen years of that wondrous life. What seasons of tranquil meditation over the lively oracles, and holy fellowship with His Father; what inlettings, on the one hand, of light, and love, and power from on high, and outgoings of filial supplication, freedom, love, and joy on the other, would these eighteen years contain! And would they not seem "but a few days" if they were so passed, however ardently He might long to be more directly "about His Father's business?"
That's a somewhat fruity rendering of what I'm trying to say, so let's try someone more level-headed. Matthew Henry says it thus:
That he improved, and came on, to admiration (v. 52): He increased in wisdom and stature. In the perfections of his divine nature there could be no increase; but this is meant of his human nature, his body increased in stature and bulk, he grew in the growing age; and his soul increased in wisdom, and in all the endowments of a human soul. Though the Eternal Word was united to the human soul from his conception, yet the divinity that dwelt in him manifested itself to his humanity by degrees, ad modum recipientis—in proportion to his capacity; as the faculties of his human soul grew more and more capable, the gifts it received from the divine nature were more and more communicated. And he increased in favour with God and man, that is, in all those graces that rendered him acceptable to God and man. Herein Christ accommodated himself to his estate of humiliation, that, as he condescended to be an infant, a child, a youth, so the image of G! od shone brighter in him, when he grew up to be a youth, than it did, or could, while he was an infant and a child. Note, Young people, as they grow in stature, should grow in wisdom, and then, as they grow in wisdom, they will grow in favour with God and man.
I think that Henry is saying that the "communicatio idiomatum" was "in concreto" as the human incarnation was ready, and I think we can agree on that.

Robertson's Word Pictures says:
Advanced in wisdom and stature (proekopten th sopiai kai hlikiai). Imperfect active, he kept cutting his way forward as through a forest or jungle as pioneers did. He kept growing in stature (hlikia may mean age, as in Genesis 12:25, but stature here) and in wisdom (more than mere knowledge). His physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual development was perfect. "At each stage he was perfect for that stage" (Plummer). In favour (cariti). Or grace. This is ideal manhood to have the favour of God and men.
Robertson's note from Plummer really pegs the matter for me: "At each stage he was perfect for that stage". If we take Plummer's note as the (re)starting point, we have to ask: does that mean He was perfectly -Jewish-, or does that mean He was perfectly -sinless-?

I think it means He was perfectly -sinless- even if his human knowledge was incomplete.

Another issue is the matter of the assortment of beliefs that comprise Jewish theological thinking at the time. As another participant at RBDL pointed out, "you have to remember that Judaism was hardly a monolithic system either religiously or politically." So "being Jewish" culturally really doesn't mean "He had to believe 'X'" or "His view was molded by 'Q'" -- because there is no basis to say that being Jewish means believing either 'X' or 'Q' any more than being American and Christian in 2005 means being Republican or Democrat. (though I can see why some would want to dispute that)

The final matter is whether the aggregate Jewish culture was inherently the sinless view of God that Jesus had to have in the final account. The answer has to be "no".

In all of that, the "Jewish Jesus" arguments come down to a basic assumption: Because Jesus was Jewish (culturally), He must have been influenced by the various forms of Judaism (or one particular kind of Judaism) in order to come to His final mode of teaching and theology. That is, if we better understand characteristic "X" of Judaism, we will better understand Jesus because "X" formed Jesus' view of God/theology.

If the Jewish views were not sinless, but Jesus was sinless, the Jewish views were not the formative constraints on Jesus' views. When Lk 2 says Jesus grew "in wisdom and in stature", it is talking about a natural progression of development in the human sense, but not a development from error to (God willing) less error as we all (who are not both God and man) go through in life. Jesus may have developed from less-comprehensive knowledge to more-comprensive knowledge, but He did not develop from an errant boy into a morally-infallible Savior.

That is why I am advocating that we must view the paradigm of a "Jewish Jesus" with some skepticism. Jesus, intellectually, was not formed by Judaism: the higher constraint -- the greater formative principle -- has to be sinlessness because that is a characteristic of the divine which the human nature of Christ was never without, but was not the case in Jewish paradigms. Only if Judaism can be said to be error-free (and Jesus says it is not error-free; even the other RBDL poster in pointing out the diversity of Jewish thought demonstrates it is not error-free) can we say that it was formative in a way meaningful to the discussion of whether Jesus was speaking through a Jewish context to make a "Jewish" point.