Jesus Thoughts (2) : footnotes & leaves

John Meier (in The Marginal Jew) makes a convincing case that the siblings of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels really were his siblings (or half-siblings), rather than his "cousins", as has sometimes been claimed.

In which case, I suppose it's quite possible (likely?) that descendants of these siblings are alive & with us on earth today.


Jesus appears to have at times  referred to himself as "the Son of Man".  This is a phrase from the OT Book of Daniel, for the apocalyptic Messiah-figure Daniel sees in a vision.  But to my ears it also has connotations of "Everyman".  Thus Jesus is presenting himself and his fate as representative of the fate of each man and woman.  This chimes with the later theological notion that God has imprinted his signs, his signature, all across nature.  & it reminds me of Joyce's idiosyncratic, anti-clerical fashioning of reality in Ulysses : of the layers of symbolic echoes joining every element in linked scales of meaning; of Stephen Dedalus, reading the "signatures" in things; of the pivotal encounter in the late-night bus station between the two male protagonists, Bloom & Stephen, with its Biblical echoes of grieving father & prodigal son.

If the natural and human worlds radiate these parabolic signatures of the Son of Man, then we are all caught up in a sort of cosmic mystery play of life, death, eternity.  Jesus, the "woodworker", starts out life in Nazareth as the "son of the woodworker", fashioning wood : he ends life fastened to the cosmic Tree at the matrix of all things.

The other day I was sitting on a bench at Prospect Park, on my lunch break.  Beside me I found a little curled maple leaf, its reds and yellows fading into brown; it reminded me of an old piece of parchment.  The red-brown veins branching through the leaf spread like a microcosm of the tree the leaf had fallen from, or like a dark brown microcosmic river.  I thought about autumn, and Halloween, and the mortality of all physical things...  I thought about the mystery play of Resurrection, & the role of the hero Jesus plays there.

These are not original ideas, obviously.  But I find them curiously generative... might lead to something more distinctive here someday.

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