I’ll be presenting in the Synoptic Gospels section and the Paul and Judaism consultation in Baltimore.
The title of my presentation for the latter is “‘I Seek Not the Gift, but the Interest That Increases in Your Account’: Almsgiving in the Pauline Corpus.”
Here is the title and abstract for the Synoptic Gospels section:
Payday Advances: the Intra-Synoptic Debate on the Deferral of Rewards
Discussions of eschatology in the Synoptic Gospels usually posit a gradual relaxation of eschatological tension from Mark to Matthew and then to Luke. Scholarship has focused on matters such as Matthew’s emphasis on the sustaining presence of Christ with the Church (Matt 1:23; 18:20; 28:20) and Luke’s alleged de-emphasis on a future return of Christ, but has neglected the intra-Synoptic debate regarding the question of when God will reward disciples for renouncing earthly possessions to follow Jesus. Will God reward disciples for their suffering now or will God withhold such comfort until return of the Son of Man? Mark says that those who renounce their possessions will receive a hundred times as much “now, in the present time, and in the age to come eternal life” (10:30). Matthew conspicuously omits any mention of recompense in the present, delaying all repayment until the “new age” (19:28-29). Matthew also claims that this coming repayment is imminent (16:27; cf. Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26). The First Gospel thus heightens the contrast between present suffering and future consolation and increases the hope that this consolation is at hand. Luke’s Gospel moves in the opposite direction: he repeats Mark’s promise that divine recompense will be enjoyed both “in the age to come” and “in this time” and then elaborates on this promise by depicting the immediate salvific effects of charitable deeds (19:8-9; Acts 9:36-10:48, esp. 9:39 and 10:2-4). This paper will examine this Synoptic debate in relation to the Tannaitic belief that certain good deeds, including almsgiving, earn a reward that accrues interest which is enjoyed in the present, while the principal is saved for the world to come (m. Peah 1:1; cf. b. Shab. 32a.). The Synoptic Gospels do not slide directly from fervent eschatological expectation to a more relaxed view. Though Luke expands Mark’s promises of present-day rewards, the disjunction in Matthew between present suffering and eschatological consolation is far more acute than has been recognized.