In Response To: Ron
On: JSem on Passion Narratives
We had this more or less inevitable interchange, in re the Markan Passion
JSem: "The assertion that the Romans were innocent of Jesus' death and the
Jews responsible is pure Christian propaganda, in the judgment of the
Seminar. The conspiracy against Jesus and the role of Judas, as well as
Judas himself, are probably fictions. The story of Peter's denial is a
fiction. The two trials are fictions; Luke has added a third trial before
Herod, which is also a fiction. The mocking may be a fiction. Simon of
Cyrene is a fiction. The burial of Jesus is a fiction carried out by a
fictional character, Joseph of Arimathea."
BRUCE: [I had characterized this as pure modern PC].
RON: What the JSem are saying is that Mark's account is largely the author's
imaginative elaboration of a small historical core. This is a well-known
technique which probably goes back at least as far as Homer.
BRUCE: No. What they are saying, as explicitly as possible, is that the
whole thing is a fiction. They do not give arguments, they do not
distinguish core from elaboration, they simply render a blanket judgement.
The only historical core they acknowledge seems to be the fact of the
Crucifixion. This is in extreme contrast to the sometimes minute JSem
consideration of passages elsewhere in the Gospels, and that contrast of
itself invites attention.
BRUCE (previous): ..... and to have instead a basis in contemporary emotion.
I think it has no place in scholarly discourse.
RON: Surely what has no place in scholarly discourse is discussion of
another scholar's motive.
BRUCE: Of course I agree; who would not? But the qualification is "scholarly
discourse." There is the scholarly end of NT, and there is the other end.
The intrusion of what is self-characterized as a group "judgement, " without
evidence or argument, in contrast to their practice elsewhere in the same
volume, and conspicuously in line with very strong contemporary sentiment,
seems to me to violate that distinction. I did and do protest the violation.