145 Commentary

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This page forms part of the resources for 145 Leave the Dead in the Jesus Database project of FaithFutures Foundation

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Dennis Carpenter

When my spiritual mentor died this summer, I was thinking the same thing when deciding whether to go to his funeral, which was at a Baptist church he had pastored for 25 years, through the days when he was mayor of his hometown until recently, when he successfully sued his home county to get the Decalogue removed from the courthouse. What would Bo do, I guess I was thinking. Well, to continue the anecdote, Anne said I looked like I wanted to so, an hour and ten minutes before the funeral, I made the 80 mile drive. Not knowing where his church was, since I don't do church, I didn't even think I'd make it... We fell in line with the funeral procession and followed it to his church, a very small church built in the 1800's. The service began great. Bo chose the music (Bridge over Troubled Waters and a recording of "Jesus Loves Me" he had done with his kids when they were toddlers. The memories were great. (He had been around the beginning of Habitat for Humanity and a bunch of other stuff, a real full life.) Then, out of nowhere I guess the preacher decided he needed to start "preaching," so suddenly I was hearing all this crap from Paul... After about five minutes, the "heavens" opened up to the most ungodly thunderstorm I'd seen in awhile... That was probably Bo Turner saying, "Let the dead bury the dead! Give it a rest."

Jesus Seminar

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Byrun McCane

"... Byrun McCane [Harvard Theological Review 83, 1990] has argued persuasively that this saying refers not to initial burial, but to reburial, particularly the practice of reburial in ossuaries. Jesus would then be saying, 'let the dead (in the tombs) rebury their own dead,' and thus denouncing special attention to the dead as contrary to his teaching of the kingdom of God. The saying from Thomas can also be read to betray a similar critique of the over attention to graves: "Become passersby" may well allude to the phrase 'passersby' common in ancient grave epitaphs. The point would be to keep on walking ... This teaching of Jesus is the most likely to foster a family generational dispute, as it denies the legitimacy of burial practices traditionally owed to parents by their children." [Kathleen Corley in Profiles, p. 156]