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Attention Biblical Scholars


PacMan

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Consider John 11:

47 ? Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

Here we have Caiaphas the High Priest prophesying of Christ's death, although he is a key player in condemning him. Most commentaries have suggested that this is due to an "unconscious" prophecy. Questions:

1) Is there biblical precedence to suggest that "unconscious" prophecy was at all prevalent, and so among the wicked?

2) Is it possible there is another explanation? The text makes it appear that Caiaphas knew something of this forthcoming prophecy. He told the Pharisees that they 'knew nothing,' and that on top of that they 'neither considered' putting him to death. What else was it that they didn't know? Could it be that this prophecy wasn't nearly so unconscious, but that he understood exactly what was to happen?

PacMan

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Consider John 11:

Here we have Caiaphas the High Priest prophesying of Christ's death, although he is a key player in condemning him. Most commentaries have suggested that this is due to an "unconscious" prophecy. Questions:

1) Is there biblical precedence to suggest that "unconscious" prophecy was at all prevalent, and so among the wicked?

2) Is it possible there is another explanation? The text makes it appear that Caiaphas knew something of this forthcoming prophecy. He told the Pharisees that they 'knew nothing,' and that on top of that they 'neither considered' putting him to death. What else was it that they didn't know? Could it be that this prophecy wasn't nearly so unconscious, but that he understood exactly what was to happen?

PacMan

All the gospels were written after Christ's death, so it may not be a prophecy at all.

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All the gospels were written after Christ's death, so it may not be a prophecy at all.

I take the term "prophecy" in this specific passage to refer to truthtelling, more than foretelling.

He spoke the truth, unwittingly, that one would die for, or on behalf of the people.

The passage and the context both suggest he didn't mean it at all in the way you and I might interpret it. But he said it nonetheless.

Which is the part I see as the unwitting part.

He said something that was more profound/prophetic than even he realized.

Similar examples of God using less-than-righteous people for prophetic unfolding, etc. might include the likes of Balaam and Nebuchadnezzar.

Edit - added: just realized the thread had asked for input from "scholars." Hmmm. Hopefully something in this post might be helpful anyway.

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Is there biblical precedence to suggest that "unconscious" prophecy was at all prevalent, and so among the wicked?

Yes, remember when Saul was pursuing David and came to the school of the prophets? There, to buy David time, the Spirit fell upon Saul to the extent that he prophesied and remained with them. After David had safely departed, the spirit of darkness and murder returned to Saul, and he continued on.

See Samuel 10

.

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Cold Steel, could you give me a reference on that. I couldn't find it at a quick glance.

And yes, I suppose that the wicked prophesying is a possibility...although I haven't found such an explicit prophesy quite yet.

But more interesting I think is the fact that Caiaphas was aware that he knew something that the others did not, and that something was beyond Christ dying for the Jewish nation alone. It seems something else is going to here...

PacMan

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I don't think that Biblical scholars rely much on John for historical information compared to the synoptic gospels. At least, that was my experience in courses on the historical Jesus, where it wasn't used at all.

That's very interesting. I actually regard John more highly--not from an historical perspective, but under the assumption that alleged author's actually wrote the text. If so, then I consider one of the apostles more authoritative than Matthew or Luke, for example. Particularly in speaking about the prophetic utterings of Caiaphas...the author seems to have needed some special information. Of course, if the integrity of the account is suspect, then my hypothesis is not particularly helpful.

PacMan

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