... Hi, Rikk, Thanks for your response. I m not sure whether I agree on that last point or not. In some ways, I m more interested in whether the apostolicMessage 1 of 10 , Apr 2, 2006View SourceAt 12:13 PM 4/1/2006, Rikk Watts wrote:
>Hi Bob,Hi, Rikk,
>Sorry this one must have slipped past.
>We are all agreed there is diversity and in the NT. And I assume that you
>agree the issue is not its existence but what it signifies particularly as
>to whether the early church's movement toward some kind of canon as being
>faithful to the apostolic teaching is the result of the history of a shared
>common tradition rather than its cause.
Thanks for your response. I'm not sure whether I agree on that last point
or not. In some ways, I'm more interested in whether the apostolic teaching
fully reflected that of Jesus, or merely reflects their understanding of
what they thought he was saying. I'd like to think that the Holy Spirit
guided them, but our tradents may differ in how well they reflected that
>Re your four or five examples, surely we need to be a little more nuancedAu contraire, I rather think that for some, the interest may have been
>than simply listing variations as though they are all of the same order and
>significance. I doubt very much that the question of circumcision was of the
>same order as the question of Christology.
For some, the issue was a matter of identity: To be a Jew, is it sufficient
to be a child of Abraham, or does one have to follow the Law? Is salvation
a national matter, or an individual one? To be a follower of Jesus, was it
necessary to acknowledge him as divine? And if so, when did he become divine?
In other words, I think there was diversity about what the key "questions"
were. Pondering matters of Christology was something that did not weigh
heavily on most people's minds, IMHO, at least not in the First Century. We
must be careful about retrojecting later concerns onto First Century
issues. I'm not saying that no one was concerned about Christology from the
start; the issue is over the extent to which it was THE issue.
> Strictly speaking I am notSo then how do you think it came about that Baptism became a critical part
>persuaded that the followers of John the Baptist per se should be regarded
>as a variation within early Xty.
of Christian ritual? In all of the Gospels +Acts, there is exactly one
vague verse in John that suggests that Jesus baptized anyone. Baptism just
does not look like something Jesus did, or even thought important. On the
other hand, it looks to me like John had a lot of followers, and it was
from among those followers that many of Jesus' followers were recruited.
Why else pay such attention to John, and Jesus' baptism by John in *all* of
> As to Apollos (I'm not sure I know of otherWe know that Alexandria was an extremely important center of Jewish
>"Alexandrians"is it appropriate to speak of them as though they are a
>distinct movement?) what is the nature of the diversity you see here? How is
>it that Apollos represents more than a minor distraction, if he represents a
>distraction at all?
Christianity, and that much of that history was probably erased by the fire
at Alexandria. Our historical record of the development of Christianity is
enormously biased by Paul's letters and Acts. Yet, both (Acts 18:24-19:1; 1
Co. 1:12; 3:4-6; 3:22, 4:6; 16:12; Tit. 3:13) refer to Apollos, and imply
that he had a different way of following Jesus such that Corinthians were
declaring themselves as his followers. Paul apparently thought that he
represented a distraction, and he knew a lot more about that situation than
we do. Paul apparently got into arguments with him, and lost, which is one
of the reasons apparently that Paul retreated to the line, "I preach only
Christ, and him crucified." Of course, this is my conjectural
reconstruction of the slim clues that we have about Alexandrian followers
> Some of the Christological points you list look moreIt seems to me this is all backwards. With my anthropological background, I
>like trying to work out the implications of a common affirmation and
>therefore are subsequent not prior in nature. Similarly, as noted above,
>questions of canon in a sense presuppose the idea of an appropriate common
>core, not give rise to it.
look at two sets of things: What holds the movement together, and what
tends to pull it apart? In the early decades, I see a lot more pulling it
apart than keeping it together. My list of questions I don't see AT ALL as
a posteriori. .
> In other words even to speak of variation orThis makes no sense to me. The only common core is Jesus. Nothing else. Who
>diversity within early Xty presupposes some kind of common core which
>deserves the label Xty.
he was, what his life meant, what he taught, what he said, and what he did
were NOT common core, IMHO. Not one of those things was common core. Or, at
least, it remains to be demonstrated what was, indeed common core. IMHO the
"common core" was retrojected back onto the historical data by people who
were determining what normative Christianity was to become.
If the word "diversity" is too loaded for you, how about variation? and
before you try the same line back at me, you can calculate the average of a
random variable with a uniform distribution, but that doesn't mean that the
average has any metaphorical "central tendency."
>What was that? What did these people have in commonAh. Weighing those differences is a tricky matter, no? You apparently
>such that it outweighed their differences on other matters?
weight those differences much differently than I do.
>Every movement I know, apparently as a brute fact of human nature, has itsIf we are not to indulge in wishful thinking, we have to weigh carefully
>own spectrum of diversity, but they are still movements being bound more by
>what they have in common than separated by their differences. . . .
not only those movements which held together despite differences, but also
those that splintered out of control until they disappeared like spring
runoff into desert sands. We don't know as much about the latter, because
they don't survive.
There have been zillions of "movements:"
* Most of them do not survive the death of their founder (Charismatic
* Some of them are perpetuated by a core of dedicated disciples who
knew the founder and who are dedicated to the same vision. Many of these
movements die because the first generation, who knew the founder, are
unable to communicate the founder's vision or charisma to a third generation.
* Perpetuation is based on ability to recruit new members and inspire
their commitment to the movement's vision.
There are Catholic and other religious orders today that are dying because
their remaining members are aging, and no new members are enrolling.
So I find your critique unconvincing. However, thanks for your response; I
Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
University of Hawaii
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
... Rikk, True. ... This may seem self-evident, but surely it cannot be applied to the situation of Paul. For, whether intentional or otherwise, Paul s gospelMessage 1 of 10 , Apr 5, 2006View SourceRikk Watts wrote:
> Every movement I know, apparently as a brute fact of human nature, has itsRikk,
> own spectrum of diversity,
> but they are still movements being bound more byThis may seem self-evident, but surely it cannot be applied to the situation
> what they have in common than separated by their differences.
of Paul. For, whether intentional or otherwise, Paul's gospel was to give
rise to a new religion. Therefore there must have come a time (which
probably lasted many years) when the fundamental differences between Judaism
and nascent Christianity were like steam in a heated pot with the lid
screwed on - all ready to explode when the pressure reached a critical
level. A serious rift between James and Paul would thus perfectly match the
high-pressure situation to be expected when Christianity was being born
(sorry about the mixed metaphors) out of its mother, Judaism.
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HI Ron, haven t heard from your cheery self for a while. Hope all is well. ... Not quite sure what you mean here. I thought we were talking about diversityMessage 1 of 10 , Apr 5, 2006View SourceHI Ron, haven't heard from your cheery self for a while. Hope all is well.
>> but they are still movements being bound more byNot quite sure what you mean here. I thought we were talking about diversity
>> what they have in common than separated by their differences.
> This may seem self-evident, but surely it cannot be applied to the situation
> of Paul. For, whether intentional or otherwise, Paul's gospel was to give
> rise to a new religion. Therefore there must have come a time (which
> probably lasted many years) when the fundamental differences between Judaism
> and nascent Christianity were like steam in a heated pot with the lid
> screwed on - all ready to explode when the pressure reached a critical
> level. A serious rift between James and Paul would thus perfectly match the
> high-pressure situation to be expected when Christianity was being born
> (sorry about the mixed metaphors) out of its mother, Judaism.
within early Xty. You seem to be addressing Paul versus Judaism (which would
be after the very earliest decades that I think David Gower had in mind and
which I contested because it seemed to me that the early movement was too
small to sustain much serious diversitywhatever that means!; I'd say the
same thing for the next hundred years or so; it seems to me that it is
really only after that that one has sufficient cultural and geographical
spread and numbers which is when the documentary evidence for the serious
heresies begins to appearnot that we should read heresies in the light of
subsequent ugly experience).
Are you suggesting that the break between Paul and Judaism created an
opportunity for considerable diversity within early Xty? Sorry about my
BTW I wouldn't just include Paul here. My scholarly expertise, if I have
any, is in the NT use of Israel's scriptures. After years in this field I am
convinced that the NT writers share a fundamental hermeneutic when it comes
to reading Israel's scriptures in the light of Jesus. Have they all been
subject to a Pauline filter? I don't think so (hence the diversity, even if
to my mind over played). It is this that suggests to me a common core.
James and Paul might differ on what people should and to what extent keep
the Law and its on-going significance, though surely our evidence here is
mighty scanty (but it keeps us in business right by giving us gaps to fill
with imaginative theories). But who's to say a) that a given reconstruction
of James is correct (e.g. we don't know if the agitators' in Galatians
really had James' support and what if Acts 15 is not just Luke's imaginative
reconstructionHegel is still hanging about even in a world that has
supposedly discovered Kierkegaard), b) that the anti-Paul "James" does not
represent a minority conservative retrogression to avoid tension in
Jerusalem (why's Peter suddenly absent from Jerusalem?). The problem is
there is much we don't know. But I would reiterate that the common
hermeneutic of the NT docs points at least in my mind to a strong common
... Rikk, Yes, thanks. ... As I understand it, the topic was diversity within the early Jesus movement. ... Crucial here, surely, is how we view the outcome ofMessage 1 of 10 , Apr 6, 2006View SourceRikk Watts wrote:
> HI Ron, haven't heard from your cheery self for a while. Hope all is well.Rikk,
> I thought we were talking about diversity within early Xty.As I understand it, the topic was diversity within the early Jesus movement.
> You seem to be addressing Paul versus Judaism (which wouldCrucial here, surely, is how we view the outcome of the Council of
> be after the very earliest decades that I think David Gower had in mind and
> which I contested because it seemed to me that the early movement was too
> small to sustain much serious diversitywhatever that means!;
Jerusalem. If James was demanding a separation of the Jewish and Gentile
missions, and if James was a supporter of the former while Paul was a
supporter of the latter, then that looks to me like serious diversity.
> Are you suggesting that the break between Paul and Judaism created anNo. I am suggesting that the early Jesus movement started (ca. 29 CE) as a
> opportunity for considerable diversity within early Xty?
sect within Judaism. After the crucifixion it began to attract people
sympathetic to Gentiles (ca. 36 CE) and to develop a theology (Jesus as the
Son of God etc.) and a liberty (no need for circumcision etc.) which had the
appearance of a heresy within Judaism. Most of the original members of the
Jesus movement (James, Peter etc.) probably never accepted the new theology
or the new liberty. There was thus a sharp division between those who
rejected the new ideas (championed by James) and those who accepted them
(championed by Paul). This was the main division within the early Jesus
movement ca. 35-60 CE.
With the dramatic successes of Paul's missionary activity, and the growing
numbers and confidence of the new "Christians" in lands beyond Israel, the
Gentile-friendly faction within a sect of Judaism was transformed (ca.
60-100 CE) into the thriving new religion we know as Christianity.
> BTW I wouldn't just include Paul here. My scholarly expertise, if I haveI think that all the NT documents, with the possible exception of the
> any, is in the NT use of Israel's scriptures. After years in this field I am
> convinced that the NT writers share a fundamental hermeneutic when it comes
> to reading Israel's scriptures in the light of Jesus. Have they all been
> subject to a Pauline filter? I don't think so (hence the diversity, even if
> to my mind over played). It is this that suggests to me a common core.
Epistle of James, have been subject to a Pauline filter (by which I mean
that they show the influence of Paul's thinking). The gospels and later
writers do reflect the diversity of their period, but it is a diversity no
longer centred on whether to accept Jewish regulations and strict Jewish
monotheism, for these (at least the former) had already been largely
abandoned. Diversity now involved other issues such as how to deal with the
delay in the parousia, whether to present Peter as a failure or as a hero,
whether women should be respected as equals, and just how divine was Jesus.
> James and Paul might differ on what people should and to what extent keepI guess this is what makes the discussion so interesting. If the historical
> the Law and its on-going significance, though surely our evidence here is
> mighty scanty ....... The problem is there is much we don't know.
evidence answered all the questions unambiguously, there'd be nothing to
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Laura Miller of Salon reviews/contrasts Baigent’s “Jesus Papers” with Tabor’s “Jesus Dynasty”. I’ve been through Tabor’s book and am not tooMessage 1 of 10 , Apr 7, 2006View SourceLaura Miller of Salon reviews/contrasts Baigents
Jesus Papers with Tabors Jesus Dynasty. Ive been
through Tabors book and am not too wild about it,
though obviously anything stands as a remedy to
From the review (you have to read an add before
reading the full thing):
The most intriguing discovery to be found in The
Jesus Papers will probably only interest those of us
who pursue the odd and somewhat pitiful hobby of
crank-watching; it's finally clear from reading this
book that it was Baigent -- rather than co-authors
Leigh and Henry Lincoln -- who actually wrote Holy
Blood, Holy Grail. . . . The style of The Jesus
Papers, a masterly counterpoint of bluster, false
humility and self-righteousness, matches that of Holy
Blood, Holy Grail like a fingerprint. . .
Readers who have only recently learned, via The Da
Vinci Code, of the complicated history of the New
Testament, are much better served by books like
Tabor's [Jesus Dynasty] than by conspiracy-mongering
like The Jesus Papers. . . . Like Baigent, [Tabor]
doesn't believe in the literal truth of the
resurrection, but unlike Baigent, he keeps his
religious beliefs to himself. . .
Like all efforts to re-create historical events from
the New Testament, The Jesus Dynasty is by necessity
highly interpretive and contestable, but it's
certainly more grounded than the fantasies of The
Jesus Papers. Tabor is primarily interested in
recovering the history of Jesus' immediate family --
his mother, four brothers and two sisters -- who, he
maintains, played a far more important role in the
young religious movement than is generally known. . .
If [Tabors] book can't win at least a few readers
away from The Jesus Papers this Easter, then, well,
there is no God.
Loren Rosson III
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Apparently Baigent lost his court case against Da Vinci Code Brown: http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1218040,00.html Stephen GoransonMessage 1 of 10 , Apr 7, 2006View SourceApparently Baigent lost his court case against Da Vinci Code Brown: