> RON [to Lance, who had questioned the "denigration" criterion as applied to
> Mark]: Let's consider a legal analogy. If witness A denigrates the character
> of witness B, do you believe witness A? No fair-minded person would do so
> without trying to find other evidence bearing on the case. And if there is
> no other evidence, the fair-minded person would surely be forced to suspend
> judgment, in other words, treat witness A's testimony as unreliable, that
> is, the testimony cannot be relied upon to be true.
Bruce Brooks replied:
> This amounts to the rule that only favorable testimony is inherently
This is a deviation which does not address the point I was trying to make.
The fact is that you and many others believe 'witness A' (Mark) who
denigrates the character of 'witnesses B & C' (James & Peter) in spite of
the absence of any evidence from the defendants. To me this seems unfair and
likely to lead to a misreading of history.
> ..... Acts itself portrays Peter as being at first the leading figure
> at Jerusalem,
This is true. But we should remember that the first part of Luke-Acts was
dependent on Mark, and 'Luke' somehow had to blend the pre-eminence of Peter
taken from Mark with his knowledge that James was the undisputed leader of
the Jesus movement in Jerusalem. Fortunately for historians the blending
process was rather crude, leaving the clue of the sudden and unexplained
supremacy of James.
> The second phase of Christianity is the time of the Galilee-based movement,
> recently bereft of its founder, and presumably under the leadership of the
> Twelve or their institutional predecessors. This would presumably have been
> the time of Peter, .....
I see no evidence of such a phase. Exactly what events are supposed to have
occurred in this phase?
> Let it be noted as well that the whole tone of Mark, a tone which if
> anything is more strongly emphasized in the later Gospels, is the separation
> between family, success, conventional life in all aspects, and the Way of
> Jesus. One must renounce family, abandon possessions, "hate" one's wife or
> other close connections, and set out on the road with no provisions, never
> looking back, without so much as honoring the most elemental claims of
> filial piety (burying your father). If the Jesus movement had been dominated
> from the beginning by Jesus's immediate family, would the movement itself
> have been described this way?
I suggest that abandoning one's family is by implication only advocated if
the rest of one's family declines to follow Jesus. At least that's the way
I've always understood it.
> ..... I think it useful to note that all the inventions
> concerning Jacob seem to run in one way. And that way is toward a kind of
> conspicuous Temple piety which, if we believe anything the Synoptics tell
> us, Jesus fundamentally opposed.
If there is some truth in the story of Jesus ejecting the moneylenders from
the Temple, and there probably is, then it indicates to me his desire to
restore correct temple procedures, not to abandon them altogether. The
synoptic 'prediction' by Jesus of the destruction of the temple is dependent
on Mark's testimony and was made after the event.
> I thus find Acts, by and large, to be entirely compatible with what Mark
> says and implies. The Jerusalemizing tendency of Matthew, who moves to
> restore in every iota the Law that Jesus had sought to radically simplify,
> is a credible way station toward that development. Against this, what can be
> offered in support of the idea that Jacob was an early adherent of Jesus?
My interpretation of the evidence is that the logia was edited by Matthew
under the authority of James, and we can therefore compare what the logia
teaches with what we know about James from Acts and Galatians. As I
mentioned earlier in this exchange, the two are entirely compatible. They
are especially close regarding attitude to the law and to the poor. As the
majority of the sayings probably go back to Jesus, the outlook of James is
closely linked to that of Jesus via the logia.
> ..... On all the evidence available to
> us, Jacob disagreed with the Jesus movement as Jesus himself was leading it.
> That fact would admit the possibility that Mark's description was accurate
> for Jacob in Jesus's lifetime. No?
"possibility" yes. "likelihood" no.
> ..... The Gospel record taken together does not disguise the fact that
> Paul was originally the most virulent of the Jesus movement's early
> opponents (that is, during its days in Galilee, and for once, Acts slips up
> and actually mentions the word "Galilee"). Why must we doubt that same
> record when it also suggests that Jacob was not one of the movement's early
The canonical gospels were written to promote what came to be known as
Christianity, and the later ones were all dependent on Mark. Paul converted
to a recognizably Christian viewpoint and his past was forgiven. James
remained a Jew and therefore retained a fundamentally different theology. In
the competitive environment of the birth of his new faith, Mark could not
forgive James: to have done so would have cast doubt on the validity of the
faith he was trying to promote (Mk 1:1).
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