July 2nd, 2016

Medea in Texas

You’ve probably heard about Christy Sheats, 42, the Texas mother who recently killed her 17- and 22-year-old daughters in front of their father, citing as her motivation a desire to punish him (she committed the murders on his birthday). The daughters and husband managed to escape to the street, but the mother shot the girls again. The mother was then killed by police when she refused to drop the gun—a case, I believe, of suicide-by-cop.

There are many especially horrific and chilling elements to this crime, including 9-11 tapes that record the young women’s pleas, and the fact that the older daughter was due to be married in just a few days.

The husband survived, but only by running to a neighbor’s house and being let in while his wife went back into the family home to reload. Of course, the word “survive” is relative. Although he was not wounded at all, physically, the psychological scars will almost certainly be intense and lifelong.

Which may have been what Christ Sheats wanted, if you can believe the newspaper reports. The fact that the shooting happened in front of him and he was not injured suggests as much, as well. The couple had been estranged for some time and had recently reconciled (although there are also reports that he had just announced his decision to get a divorce), and although we don’t know what caused the separation, it’s reported that Christy had a history of mental illness and suicide attempts and/or threats.

That’s easy to believe.

When I heard the story I almost immediately thought of Medea, the legendary figure of Greek tragedy who killed her two sons to get revenge on a husband who had left her for another woman. In a strange coincidence, Medea’s husband’s name—Jason, of Jason and the Argonauts—was the same as that of Jason Sheats, Christy Sheat’s husband.

Medea’s name has become a symbol for almost unimaginable hatred and desire for revenge on a spouse, through the act of a mother killing the people the spouse loves most dearly (and the people the mother should love most dearly, too), their shared children. It is a revenge so twisted and so deep, so killing in every sense of the word, that the story has lasted for millennia.

There have been many artistic renditions of the crime, but here is one by Mucha, a poster for Sarah Bernhardt in the role:

medea

Because of my dance background I also thought of one of the greatest of all modern dance choreographers, Martha Graham, who choreographed a piece called “Cave of the Heart” in 1946-7 that was roughly based on the Medea legend. There’s a spectacular solo passage that portrays Medea’s decision to murder her children. “Frightening” is not usually a word associated with dance, but this is one of the most frightening dance sequences you’ll ever see—maybe even the most frightening—and it is almost overwhelming in its intensity:

…as shaking movements begin, [Medea] is revealed to be possessed by something…As Medea pulls a red scarf from the top of her leotard, she reveals that this red scarf and the evil decision it represents is what is causing her turmoil; the fact that it symbolically comes from within, from the place of her heart, embodies the emotional and painstaking nature of her inner struggle…Medea holds the scarf over her head, showing it off with pride to depict her sense of strength and the glory of revenge…She wrestles with it, literally wrestling with her decision. Toward the end of the solo, Medea pulls the scarf tight between her hands and holds it above her head once again, revealing her final control and security with her plan…

The red scarf itself can be interpreted to symbolize various things. An initial interpretation is that it represents the actual decision of Medea having to kill her children…It could also represent her revenge on Jason for abandoning her and marrying a new wife in a more general sense, because of the smirk on her face during the climactic parts of the solo and the sense of satisfaction it suggests…A co-creator of Cave of the Heart, Isamu Noguchi, said that for her “Medea dances with a red cloth in her mouth. She is dancing with [a] snake in her mouth. Then she spews it out of her mouth like blood” (De Milles 279). This suggests that the scarf embodies evil itself, in regards to the Judeo-Christian biblical symbol of the snake as corruption and sin. The reference to blood also suggests the symbolism of the blood of Medea’s children, their life and death which are both in the hands of their mother.

And here is the solo in rehearsal. Even the studio version, with this petite dancer, conveys some of the force of it. The word “possessed” really does come to mind (you might want to watch it full screen):

35 Responses to “Medea in Texas”

  1. Lee Says:

    Another reason why I always thought that Code Pink nutcase was such a nutcase: She CHOSE to call herself “Medea.” Why on earth would someone do that? Unless they were a nutcase?

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Lee:

    Yeah, you don’t get too many kids named “Medea” by their parents, and if you did it would be a form of child abuse.

  3. Cornhead Says:

    I know a woman named Cassandra. Another bad choice.

  4. Jenk Says:

    No one believes that, Cornhead….

  5. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Jenk—Clever. (LOL)

    Neo—Thank you. That choreography was amazing. Intense. When she encircled the scarf around her womb I unconsciously looked at her face, and it fit the moment so well . . . . WOW! The whole dance, the collaboration between the dancer and the mind behind the choreography, interpreting the myth, was breathtaking. It was sensual and grotesque at the same time, and the dancer was fantastic—the caressed evil and the expressions of the intellectual superiority of Medea came through with an intensity that actually changed my breathing while I watched it.

    Thank you again, Neo.

    Remarkable.

  6. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Neo, what surprised me was the clarity of the fact that Medea isn’t a woman in despair, overpowered by evil—the malicious force of her intellect is a full partner to her passion. She is herself an eager audience to her eventual act, a voyeur.

    I have seen the Euripides play performed, and it occurs to me now that when the deep emotional and intellectual decision occurs, it is almost a dance.

    Your examples are giving me a richer sense of the imperative of dance as an expression of both the transcendent and the barbarian in the human. You’ve greatly expanded my universe.

    I’m deeply grateful.

  7. Frog Says:

    I am sick of stories like the Sheats’s. So you may well ask, “Why read them”? And all the tangled bizarre webs that go with them?
    I answer, “You are right. I’m not reading them any more.”
    Lots more constructive ways to pass my time. I’m not a voyeur.

  8. Stan on the Brazos Says:

    Neo, yes according to local TV the police had been to this address 11 times previously, mainly suicide prevention. Also, per the local media report the gun she used had come from her grandfather plus she had been turned down for a CCL.

  9. Lee Says:

    That Code Pink nutjob has the given name of Susan — her parents weren’t obviously crazy. She started calling herself “Medea” sometime as an adult. She directionally PICKED that name to know by. Ick.

  10. Cornhead Says:

    Lee

    That figures.

  11. junior Says:

    Neo, what surprised me was the clarity of the fact that Medea isn’t a woman in despair, overpowered by evil—the malicious force of her intellect is a full partner to her passion. She is herself an eager audience to her eventual act, a voyeur.
    ————————-

    The Greek audience would be familiar with the backstory. The play is essentially the tale end of the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece. As you may recall, Jason assembled a group of heroes to obtain the Golden Fleece from Medea’s father. Medea fell in love with Jason, and betrayed her father in order to help Jason obtain the Fleece. Medea fled with Jason, and became his wife.

    So when Jason walked out on her (for a local princess), he was essentially leaving her alone and isolated to fend for herself and their sons in a society that didn’t exactly provide much in the way of opportunities for lone women who didn’t have a family to fall back on. She’d given up the security of her home, and relied exclusively on Jason for her support. That was now gone.

    So as revenge, Medea murders Jason’s fiance (and accidentally gets the fiance’s father as well), and her sons with Jason. And then she flees. Jason, iirc, ultimately dies alone in the wreckage of his ship, the Argo, when a rotting beam falls from the frame and strikes him in the head.

  12. chuck Says:

    Ah, that brings back memories, or at least teases me with fragments. I saw “Cave of the Heart” in NYC, 1967 I think. I didn’t get all the symbolism at the time, but recall Medea flying off at the end. And that is about it. Thank god I will never attempt an autobiography ;).

  13. Steve57 Says:

    I know I’m risking the stunningly obvious “well, duh!” moment of the century, but this is not typical behavior.

    Usually, one does not kick off a crime spree with murder. Usually, one does not call a family meeting to inaugurate one’s murderous rampage.

    There were no warning signs?

  14. Steve57 Says:

    OK, I don’t know what is usual in these situations.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Medea’s pathology admits to no other humanity than her own. People aren’t people to her, they are objects circling her sun in a universe without other stars. It’s really quite common, a fundamental dysfunction. All criminals suffer from it to one degree or another. In fact, if human beings at their most basic level consist of those who wish to control others, those who wish to be controlled and those who have no wish to control others… then all who wish to control others suffer from the same malady.

  16. Mike K Says:

    Would you like to hear an even more bizarre version of this story ? Her name is Kris Cushing and here is the story.

    Would you like to know the most bizarre part ? After she got out of prison, a short sentence because of “mental issues,” he married her again. My wife knew them both well. All their friends were horrified by the murders and almost as much by the remarriage.

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Co-dependency. This brings to mind Imago Relationship Therapy, which postulates that,

    “Imago therapy focuses on collaboratively healing childhood wounds that the couple share.[5] Our primitive old brain has a compelling nonnegotiable drive to restore the feeling of aliveness and wholeness with which we came into this world.[9]

    It is believed by imago therapists that a person’s brain constructs an image of characteristics from their primary caretakers that are their best and worst traits.[10]

    The brain’s unconscious desire to repair the damage done in childhood as a result of needs not met, is to find a partner who can give us what our caretakers failed to provide.[9]

    The traits of a person’s parents will be found in their future partner.

    The brain unconsciously creates this image of a partner to seek healing, and to leave the wounds of childhood in order to grow. The wounds a person has with a parent will unintentionally be repeated by their partner, which unconsciously for the person triggers old emotions.

    Both people in the relationship [can] will learn how to heal one another, and appreciate them for the person they are; however, it will take time for couples to be able to engage in a specific type of dialogue for the therapy.

    The conscious part of the brain may not be able to see it, but the unconscious believes that this person who can heal your wounds can let love come into the person’s life again.”

    (emphasis mine)

    Personally, I always felt that Hendrix and Hunt are on to something. IMO, there has to be something that brings together couples beyond mere physical attraction. We might meet two strangers of the opposite sex to us, who are similar in appearance, yet even at first meeting, we are frequently drawn to one and not the other. This applies equally to same-sex couples, as to hetero couples.

  18. Irene Says:

    Thanks for posting that clip, Neo.

    Stunning choreography, stunning performance. Martha Graham was a force of nature.

  19. Vader Says:

    The genius who composed the musical score, Samuel Barber, had a few inner demons of his own.

  20. Sergey Says:

    Neo, the name “Medea” is rather popular in Georgia (not Georgia, USA, but Georgia at Caucasus). If you ever heard anybody called this name, be sure she is of Georgian descent. And among Black Sea Greeks it is popular too.

  21. Bill Rudersdorf Says:

    When I was in the (former Soviet) Republic of Georgia about twenty-five years ago, I discovered the fact that Medea is remembered there in a more positive light. (Modern Georgia on the east coast if the Black Sea is the land where Jason sought the Golden Fleece.) I never could find anything about the Georgian side of this haunting story in translation, but there is a very large sculpture of Medea with the Golden Fleece draped over one arm, on the Georgian coast. No dagger, no corpses. Time to get back to research.

    Also, someone in the venal left has posted a graphic to the effect that Christy Sheats had made pro-2nd Ammendment posts on social media. (Hence conservatives murder children, you know.) Does anyone know if this is even true? She’s beyond crazy, of course, but I was curious if this was fabricated. Thanks.

  22. werewife Says:

    If you didn’t think a funny take on the myth of Medea was possible, here’s an outrageous revisionist romp by Dave Freer and Eric Flint: https://www.amazon.com/Pyramid-Scheme-Book-1-ebook/dp/B012TXYOOI/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467585914&sr=1-3&keywords=dave+freer#navbar

  23. miklos000rosza Says:

    That’s a really bad crime. I don’t have many more thoughts about it than that. Are there people out there who still, these days, don’t believe in Evil? Or who still want to believe in the version of humanity promulgated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau — which is the basis for so much in our time — rather than the version noticed and commented on by the Marquis de Sade?

  24. miklos000rosza Says:

    Liked the dance.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    What a weakling, can’t even defend his daughters or neutralize a woman with a gun.

    Modern society, standard expectations apply.

    https://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/japanese-view-of-gender-equality/

    Looking back at Japan’s history and feudalism, is a good way to compare to the modern world.

  26. Mike K Says:

    can’t even defend his daughters or neutralize a woman with a gun.

    I had a similar reaction. Why run away and leave the daughters?

    The husband in the case I posted was on a fishing trip when his wife murdered their daughters,

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    The husband in the case I posted was on a fishing trip when his wife murdered their daughters,

    Human predators are amazingly perceptive and clever, even if the legal system considers them insane or psychotic.

    If they know their target can’t fight back, they’ll do what they want, set up a little torture kill murder suicide session. But if they fear the strength of a male, they’ll kill on the sly, when the opportunity presents itself that the man cannot interfere.

    Predators are amazingly perceptive, even if they aren’t considered fully human. For people like us, who were trained to understand and hunt the predators in human society, that’s not too strange a concept.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    EDIT: By us, I mean people like me, with interests or skills or mentalities like me.

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    junior Says:
    July 3rd, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Provides a good backstory to it, and is similar to the Japanese interpretation of Medea, in some fictional accounts.

    Basically, a woman who betrayed everything for love, and was betrayed in turn. A kind of tragedy.

    And Georgia may like that, because they think two timing husbands should be punished, and there’s a kind of poetic justice that the woman did the punishment.

    It’s atypical because usually it is the male issuing a duel, using physical prowess to defeat enemies or betrayers. Consider Bruce, king of Scotland, killing one of the Scottish earls or dukes was it, for not obeying his word. Feudalism back then was the real deal, direct man to man.

    A woman isn’t expected to take revenge, or if she does, poison is the effective method, as physical force is not in her favor. So the idea that a woman somehow found a way to carry out her revenge to that degree, is atypical. And speaks of a kind of madness, really. The madness part we get, it’s what lead up to the madness that is vague and open to interpretation.

  30. groundhog Says:

    When I first saw this story, I thought maybe the woman didn’t even recognize her two daughters, and thought they were rivals for her husband, made worse by the fact they were there to celebrate her husband’s birthday.

    Seemed plausible. Or at least a confused belief like that could lead to a stronger motive for shooting the women in particular.

  31. junior Says:

    I vaguely remembered that Medea turned up again later in her life, and went to Wikipedia to see if I could figure out what I was thinking of. There I found some interesting information that might also explain why Medea is honored in Georgia.

    Apparently she had five sons and one daughter with Jason. While Medea’s murder of the princess and the king are common throughout the versions of the story, the fate of the children varies. There are apparently a number of scholars who believe that Euripides was the first to claim that Medea killed her own children. He claims that the two eldest assisted in the killing of the princess, and suffered the fate mentioned above. He claims that two of the younger sons were then murdered by Medea. The remaining son survived, and ended up ascending to the throne of Jason’s home city. According to the scholars who say that Euripides introduced the child killing, earlier versions of her story either have the children killed by vengeful locals, or their deaths are accidental.

    Medea, as we know, escaped.

    Later stories have her curing Hercules (whom she had met on the Argo) of one of the fits of madness that Hera kept inflicting on him, trying to poison Theseus (Theseus’s father was king of Athens, and Theseus had been born and raised away from the city; Medea knew that Theseus would be the heir to the throne of Athens, and thus represented a threat to her son, Medus, by her new husband, so she convinced the king that Theseus was a threat; the attempt was only averted at the last moment when the king recognized the sword Theseus was wearing), and finally returned home.

    That last bit is perhaps the most surprising. She found out that her father – whom she had betrayed – had been deposed by her uncle. Some versions of the story say that her uncle imprisoned her father, while others say that her uncle murdered her father. In both versions, her uncle saw Medus as a threat (since he was a descendent of the deposed king), and had him imprisoned. In order to protect Medus, Medea murdered her uncle, and then either restored her father to the throne (in those versions in which he still lived), or raised her son to the throne (in those versions in which her father had been murdered).

  32. junior Says:

    Whoops! Post rewrites left some problems behind.

    According to Euripides, Medea’s two oldest sons were killed by the locals.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Propaganda back then has the same limitations as now. They can’t claim that the people killed, weren’t really dead and was suddenly brought to life. They just don’t do that, because it is unbelievable and they can’t prove or even distort it. So the MSewerM can’t and won’t claim that the Orlando casualties “don’t exist”.

    They can claim that they were killed by religious Christians and right wingers, though, or by guns so indirectly the right wingers are evil for it.

    They can claim that Medea killed loads of people, even though her enemy is also killing back. Never do they claim that someone who was killed, has been resurrected. It’s too difficult to prove and accept.

    Which is why the claim that Jesus Christ died from Roman crucifixion, when thousands of his fellow Jews stayed dead, Jesus resurrected himself, is rather extraordinary. Especially since the Jewish leaders competing with Jesus, did not deny it nor did they deny that healing miracles occurred. That would be the most obvious recourse of propaganda. The second obvious would be to attribute the good or evils committed, to the wrong people.

    People in modern life are constantly deceived by their fellow humans. They walk around, with no firewall or filter in sight, and then soak in the propaganda and Weapons of Mass destruction of the world at large. Then when they fall on their face, they soak up more propaganda in order to scape goat people like Bush II, as if falling for the MSewerM propaganda at the Un was somebody else’s fault. In a land of the supposed free and brave, that’s some infamous and prideful scapegoating there.

  34. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymarsakar:

    In case you’re interested—here’s some information on what most of the Jews of Jesus’ time would actually have thought about the resurrection claims:

    Christianity, then, began as a resurrection movement. That is the first step of this third stage in my argument.

    The second step builds on what I was saying in the first part of this lecture about Jewish expectations of the resurrection. As we saw, “resurrection” in second-Temple Judaism functioned within a controlling narrative about the exile and restoration, and about the suffering and vindication of the martyrs. Let me remind you again: it began life as a metaphor for the return from exile, the renewal of the covenant, and the cleansing of Israel from her sins. “Resurrection” was referred to in various ways, and it took its place within quite a wide range of speculation about the future of humankind in general and Israel in particular after their actual bodily death. The resurrection of the dead was thus both a symbol for the coming of the new ages, and itself, taken literally, one central element in the package: when YHWH restored the fortunes of his people, then of course Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, together with all God’s people down to and including the martyrs who had died in the cause, would be reembodied, raised to new life in God’s new world. Where second-Temple Jews believed in resurrection then, that belief concerned on the one hand the reembodiment of formerly dead human beings, and on the other the inauguration of the new age, the new covenant, in which all the righteous dead would be raised simultaneously. Resurrection meant both that the dead would be alive again with new of renewed bodies and that the Age to Come had at least been inaugurated.

    If therefore at any time in this period you had said to a Jew, “The resurrection has occurred!” you would have received the puzzled (or irritated) response that it obviously had not, since the patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs were not walking around alive again, and since the restoration spoken of in Ezekiel 37 clearly had not occurred either—not to mention the great prophecies of Isaiah and the rest. And if, by way of explanation, you had said that you did not mean all that, that what you meant was that you had had a wonderful new sense of divine healing and forgiveness, or that you believed the former leader of your movement was alive in the presence of God following his shameful torture and death, your interlocutor might have congratulated you on having such an experience, and discussed with you such a belief, but he or she would still have been puzzled as to why you would talk of “the resurrection of the dead” in referring to either of these things. These things imply were not what “the resurrection of the dead” was about.

  35. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Jewish hierarchy at the time was more concerned about enforcing rules on the Sabbath day, then about discerning true prophets from false. The Jewish Zealots wanted a hero king to wage holy war to kick out the invaders. Others were meditating in caves, later writing the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    My point here is that Jews in this period had reasonable well-developed ideas about an intermediate state—or at least a range of concepts and vocabulary read at hand with which to refer to it. Of course, if someone did not believe in eventual resurrection, believing instead in a continuing disembodied immortality, what a Pharisee would regard as an intermediate state might be though of as a final state. But if a first-century Jew said that someone had been “raised from the dead,” the one thing they did not mean was that such a person had gone to a state of disembodied bliss, there either to rest forever or to wait until the great day of reembodiment.

    These words are much like the Jewish legal jurisprudence found in the Torah. They are designed to make up for the loss of divine prophets and connection to God, since the Ark of the Covenant and the 10 Commandments of Moses tablet, were missing from the temple. It confuses and obfuscates the issue, by changing the focus from individual motivation to the sum total of the Torah in Judaism, which was not divinely inspired except for the laws of Moses and the prophecies of other verified prophets of the same god.

    A Jew, at the time, either believed that a second prophet, the Messiah, would come, true to Moses words, to replace/update the 10 commandments. Or a Jew would have believed it, but would argue about what qualifications this Messiah would need to have (in terms of religious degrees and popularity).

    Nobody suggested that the martyrs had been reembodied. Nobody suggested that the new age had dawned—except, of course, the Christians, which will be my point in a few minutes.

    These are all the “requirements” the Jewish lawyers and religious authorities attached to Moses’ law in the Torah. Moses only said that somebody else would come to continue his work and update the laws and commandments, the Covenant with their God.

    The second step, then, is to consider what “kingdom of God” meant in Judaism (a large topic, of course, which we can here only summarize briefly and inadequately). Within Judaism the coming kingdom of God meant the end of Israel’s exile, the overthrow of a pagan empire and the exaltation of Israel, and the return of YHWH to Zion to judge and save. These are the motifs that emerge from that great kingdom-prophecy, Isaiah 40-55, and from numerous psalms and other parts of the Hebrew scriptures.

    Which is exactly why they kept demanding that Jesus talk about the Romans and how to fight them or correct the injustice of Roman occupation. Which Jesus answered with something like money comes from the Caesar, and you should owe to God what belongs to God.

    It didn’t matter to the religious authorities of Judaism various factions and sects back then, whether Jesus was resurrected or not. They wanted a holy king to lead them in a war of liberation, a holy war. Which is why the Romans ended up crucifying thousands upon thousands of Jewish villages, along their highway, about 30-40 years later on, in 70 AD. Because the Jews kept rebelling.

    This, they thought, was the way God would save Zion or redeem them. But the fact that they kept trying to use Caesar and Jewish religious authorities to override divine laws, is why they screwed up. The Jews thought they were the only Chosen tribe of the Covenant. They were wrong. They thought the Messiah would be a holy king that would lead them in a war of liberation against the Gentiles, the Romans. They were wrong. They rejected Jesus, because Jesus did not want to fill the role they had created from the Torah, Jewish lawyers at work.

    What the Israelites of the time wanted, the vast majority of the factions, was their own Caesar and Empire. Ethnic nationalism, however, was not the message they got, so they rejected the message and the messenger. As a result of the Jews breaking their Covenant with God, they got exiled from Judea for a few thousand years. Coincidence, right.

    The early Christians acted as if the Jewish-style kingdom of God was really present: they organized their life as if they really were the returned-from-exile people, the people of the new covenant.

    Nope. Same Covenant. Different stage in training. See, God, given what we know of that entity on the divine level, has problems communicating and teaching a bunch of savages and primitives herdsmen. So there tend to be “gaps” where time is needed for humans to advance in knowledge, wisdom, and skills. The laws of Moses were what the Jewish workers needed, and 40 years in the desert was what they also needed to cleave them from child sacrifice and other Egyptian decadence or evil.

    The Jews had already been returned from exile in Babylon. They were just going to be exiled and returned a lot, because the Jews keep violating their ancient Covenant.

    The issue revolves around a couple of problems. First of all, God had a kind of problem. God would keep the Covenant with the House of Israel, on down to some endless generation number, but the humans kept screwing up. So God, in the records, hit the reset button via the Flood then said they would stop doing that. In one respect, God, at that divine level, has a hard time comprehending human problems, and if they cannot comprehend human problems, then fixing them would be problematic. Which is where Jesus comes in. He was created at God’s side, in order to have a spirit akin to God, but also given a mortal body akin to Adam after the Garden of Eden. In order to institute a king over humans, called God’s kingdom, the king must be capable of understanding human mortality. So Jesus became the bridge, what they also call the Atonement. In modern lingo, he’s the adapter card that lets old tech slot into new tech and vice a versa. God, being supposedly perfect or even at another plane of existence, has problems interfacing with this mortal plane of existence. Power, at that level, does not mean complete data fidelity.

    For a kingdom, there must be a hierarchy, there must be a leader and there must be followers who are obedient or loyal. So what hierarchy existed back then? The Apostles and the keys of priestly authority or power back then. Very similar to martial arts lineages and clans, if one wants to look at it like that. The lineage continues on so long as someone with the license/knowledge, passes it along legitimately (the techniques so to speak).

    That’s why the 1st AD Christendom acted like the Kingdom of God was here. They had their King (which wasn’t the King of the Jews). They had their hierarchy. And they had the culture and philosophy and religion that goes with any human civilization.

    The Jews always had a problem separating human kings from human prophets that were supposed to teach the Jews how to be better people, in the Covenant or via the Covenant. There was one thing someone else posted here, a quote from the Old Testament, about how the Jews voted to have an earthly king, and when God, via one of his prophets, told the people that this would be horrible for the people, the people ignored the prophet/leader and demanded of God a king. So they got a king, then they got crushed by tyranny.

    The human, and in this context Jewish 1 tribe out of 12/13 of the Covenant, inability to figure out what is wise from what is foolish, is mighty difficult even for fellow humans to understand.

    If the Jewish leaders could have discredited the authority of Jesus, they would have. If they could have claimed that Jesus lied or made stuff up, they would have. As it turns out, the Jewish authorities complained about Jesus breaking the rules on Sabbath Day, healing a sick person. And they set Jesus up to be the “King of the Jews”, to the Romans, so the Romans could kill the King of the Jews, even though the Jewish authorities that set it up, didn’t think Jesus was King of the Jews. The Romans didn’t even speak the language there, mostly, so they wouldn’t have known either. All they knew was that Judea was going up in rebellion if there was this messianic “King of the Jews” around.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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