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4184RE: [Synoptic-L] Re: Laodicenas (was Borg on Chronology)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    May 28, 2012
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      To: Synoptic
      Completing: Discussion on Barth
      From: Bruce

      Mark Matson persists in misrepresenting my position on Barth. To say it
      directly this time (this last time), I do not merely like people who agree
      with me, and I do not rest my view of Barth on his Baptist sponsorship, and
      so on and on. I do have an argument, and I here repeat its key points, drawn
      solely from his commentary:

      1. Barth in his commentary repeats what are recognizably critical objections
      to the authenticity of Ephesians, and by reference to such confusions as the
      Farmer position on Markan priority, denies in effect that these analyses
      have an outcome.

      2. In the same commentary, Barth repeats the oft-made observation that
      Ephesians has similarities to Hebrews, 1 Peter, and John. He denies that any
      conclusion can be reached about the date of 1 Peter, or about the
      directionality of the 1 Peter / Ephesians contacts. He denies that any of
      these texts (Ephesians, 1 Peter, Hebrews, John) can be proved to have been
      aware of each other. Again, he denies in effect that these observations
      permit any usable conclusions about the authenticity of Ephesians.

      I sum these up as not a use of critical methods, but as a denial that
      critical methods work. This is not what we normally mean by "critical
      scholarship." A thousand commendatory adjectives doubtless apply to Barth's
      work, but to make "critical" the thousand and first is to misuse the word
      "critical."

      3. I think it is obvious that the latter objection in particular is without
      merit. Suppose that none of Ephesians, 1 Peter, Hebrews, and John in fact
      knew of any of the others. Then to what should we attribute these admitted
      similarities? All that is left is a general context of thought, and that
      context cannot be the generation in which Paul himself lived. That is, the
      residue of Barth's objections is still enough to prove inauthenticity. A
      critical scholar, in the usual sense of the term "critical," would probably
      have noticed this implication.

      4. As to James and Paul, of course much work has gone into the idea that
      James is misrepresenting Paul, or even that Paul in Romans is
      misrepresenting himself. That is beside the point. To make the point, I
      repeat my previous challenge. Given that the passages I cite from James are
      not Jewish paraenesis, but Christian argumentation (diatribe), and waiving
      the question of what "James" this may be, against whom (against what, and I
      quote, "foolish fellow"), is the said "James" arguing?

      Bruce
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