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SATAN

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: GPG [Cc: Synoptic; see at end] Repeating: Mine of 11 Jun 2008 On: Satan From: Bruce A propos the current Satan discussion [on GPG], I was moved by a
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 3, 2009
      To: GPG
      [Cc: Synoptic; see at end]
      Repeating: Mine of 11 Jun 2008
      On: Satan
      From: Bruce

      A propos the current Satan discussion [on GPG], I was moved by a glimpse of
      it to reflect on the danger of taking Judaism, or for that matter the NT
      enterprise, as a single thing. At any point. The commentaries are there to
      show that the NT (for one) is entirely consistent, but the effort they make
      in doing so implicitly refutes the assumption; NT is not consistent unless
      it has been strenuously consistentized. If left to itself, it falls into
      different compartments: the Pauline literature, the Johannine literature,
      the Gospels as a group, and so on. This is not exactly a new idea, but I
      have the sense that it is not always remembered in practice.

      As an example of the merit of remembering it in practice, I repeat a note
      from the end of a much longer 13 May 2008 message of mine to Synoptic/GPG,
      referred to and summarized in mine of 11 June 2008, also to Synoptic/GPG.
      Those who want the rest of either may consult the GPG [or Synoptic] archive
      under those dates. This part is the Satan part, in its 13 May 2008
      formulation. The previous topic had been the Temptations of Jesus, and this
      was a bracketed excursus in that discussion:

      DEVIL/SATAN EXCURSUS (13 May 08)

      [The word "devil" is highly interesting. It is not an OT word. In the NT, it
      cuts like a scalpel between the first and second generation documents. It is
      absent in Mk, Paul's genuine epistles, and the core layer of James; that
      line also includes Colossians, the earliest of the suspected
      deuteroPaulines, and not suspected by everybody. By contrast, "devil" is
      present in: (a) the second tier Gospels (Mt, Lk) and the third tier Gospel
      (Jn); (b) the unproblematical DeuteroPaulines (Ephesians), (c) the *second*
      layer of James, a beautiful support for my James paper, SBL/NE 2007, though
      I didn't use it at the time and must remember to add it; (d) the Pastorals
      (1/2 Tm, Heb); (e) the pseudoPetrines (1Pt); (f) the Johannines (1Jn); (g)
      Jude; and of course (h) Rv, which likes it a lot. Neat, very neat].

      ---------END OF EXCURSUS

      To this, on 13 June, I added the observation that SATAN is the Semitic form,
      and asked, a propos Markan Priority: "If Mark is epitomizing Mt/Lk, why does
      he not follow their agreed usage of "devil?" Why does he Semiticize it as
      Satan? Do we have a Trajectory of increasing Semiticization? If so, its
      other evidences are not readily visible." I would still stick to that.

      ERRORS CORRECTED

      1. On 13 June, I did however introduce an error, which I would here like to
      correct. The idea that Paul was a student of Gamaliel occurs exclusively in
      Acts (the name Gamaliel occurs in the NT *only* in Acts). That detail I
      construe as part of Luke's maneuvering of the Paul persona to suit his own
      historiographical purposes in Acts. Gamaliel in fact recurs in NT only
      earlier in Acts, where he is made to recommend a soft policy toward the
      Christians. Here we see Paul and the Jerusalem authorities (in the person of
      Gamaliel) being assimilated toward each other by Luke, just as elsewhere in
      Acts Peter and Paul are assimilated toward each other. Neither of these
      assimilations is credible as fact, and both should be shunned as evidence.
      They show Luke in his role as the heavy stage manager for his particular
      version of the Saga of Christianity.

      2. Paul undoubtedly had prior exposure to Jewish learning, it suffices to
      assume at Tarsus. On 13 June 08, I then continued,

      "This background Paul seems to reflect at many points of usage, "Satan"
      quite possibly being one of them. It is only in the post-Pauline writings of
      the Pauline school that the Greek term "devil" makes its appearance, along
      with a few retained "Satan" uses which are largely explicable as due to a
      spurious epistle using a genuine one as a model (eg, the spurious 2 Thess
      having in mind the genuine 1 Thess)."

      The case of 2 Thess is a difficult one; I here note in passing that the
      SATAN/DEVIL sword does not necessarily separate them, and leave the matter
      open for further discussion; see further the SUMMARY below. The telltale
      DEVIL does not occur in 2 Thess.

      3. Though "Devil" has the distribution above indicated, the case of "Satan"
      is less sharp. Satan occurs in both Mt/Lk, albeit typically at places where
      a Markan precedent using Satan exists. It also occurs in much of the other
      literature, most frequently in 2Cor and Rev (in the latter, sometimes in
      conflated form as "the Devil and Satan," Rev 12:9 and 20:2, which directly
      suggests a combination of previous usages). That the Semitic form should
      persist in a literature with Semitic roots is not surprising, but it is for
      that reason not analytically distinctive. It is rather the Gk form "Devil"
      that tells us something. What I think it tells us is that a shift has
      occurred in the area, whether cultural or geographical I won't here attempt
      to specify, but one of the geographical details is obviously Ephesus, from
      which Christian documents were being produced and disseminated.

      4. Finally, to correct a possible wrong inference, I add that SATAN is by no
      means common in the OT; in fact it is limited to 1 Chronicles (1x), Job
      (14x), and Zechariah (3x in 1 passage). All these books, interestingly
      enough, figure in the list of OT texts echoed, if not explicitly quoted, in
      Mk.

      SUMMARY: EARLY MATERIAL

      By the DEVIL test, then, here are the things on the Semitic or Early side of
      the line in question (SATAN without DEVIL, which is to say, Semitic usage
      not contaminated or replaced, in this detail, by Greek usage]:

      Mark
      James A
      Paulines (Gal, 1 Ths, Phm, Php, 1/2 Cor, Rom)
      1 Disputed Pauline (2 Ths)
      1 Early DeuteroPauline (Col)

      [Since this note clarifies a picture previously shared with Synoptic, I
      guess I should properly copy it there also. Consider it done, and GPG folks
      please consider other bracketed explanations, here and above, as added for
      that audience]

      Bruce

      [E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      Maybe for the same reason that we use Satan and not devil in liturgical texts, such as Do you renounce Satan? Leonard Maluf Blessed John XXIII National
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 4, 2009
        Maybe for the same reason that we use "Satan" and not "devil" in liturgical texts, such as "Do you renounce Satan?"

        Leonard Maluf
        Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
        Weston, MA

        BRUCE WROTE:


        To this, on 13 June, I added the observation that SATAN is the Semitic form,
        and asked, a propos Markan Priority: "If Mark is epitomizing Mt/Lk, why does
        he not follow their agreed usage of "devil?" Why does he Semiticize it as
        Satan?





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