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Re: [Synoptic-L] Paul's change of mind

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  • Dennis Dean Carpenter
    One might also ask whether it was Paul who changed, or whether those who copied the Paulines over time, those who represented what became the orthodoxy
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 7, 2010
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      One might also ask whether it was "Paul" who changed, or whether those who copied the Paulines over time, those who represented what became the orthodoxy "changed."

      Dennis Dean Carpenter
      Dahlonega, Ga.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
      To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: David Mealand On: Paul s Change of Mind From: Bruce Thanks to David for the reference to Theissen, and especially the
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 7, 2010
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        To: Synoptic
        Cc: GPG, WSW
        In Response To: David Mealand
        On: Paul's Change of Mind
        From: Bruce

        Thanks to David for the reference to Theissen, and especially the
        tantalizing capsule "Then he discusses whether Paul's vision has any
        relation to a prior unconscious conflict with the law...." I will look
        it up when I next can. Also:

        DAVID: My own view would be that we do need to ask why Paul was
        hostile, before asking why he changed. That might then not be so
        distant from the problems of some of those Synoptic passages
        indicating mutual antipathy between Synoptists and "scribes".

        BRUCE: Surely both. To explain a change means to explain both its
        ends. Either Paul restructured his prior understanding on further
        contact with Jesus converts, or, as I am currently suspecting, he
        encountered at some point a second variety of Jesus doctrine which had
        a different, and catalytic, effect on him.

        Whether it was (1) a prior unacknowledged conflict with the law (not
        at all impossible for a Diaspora Jew), as I gather Theissen suggests,
        or (2) a new concept of Jesus that fitted in differently with his
        understanding, not only of the law, but of the tradition in which the
        law was embedded, or (3) something else, is to me still open. My
        current suspicion is the second alternative. Jesus as a teacher of a
        revised Mosaic rule would presumably have offended the conventional
        Paul, who accepted the minute later additions to Moses, and justified
        his persecutions, not least since it fits Paul's own characterization
        of himself as zealous for the traditions of the fathers (Ga 1:14; I
        repeat that Jews in the early lit sometimes accuse Christians of
        impiety toward Moses, which is otherwise unintelligible), whereas
        Jesus in the context of saving atonement, reaching as it would past
        Moses to Abraham and to the primary promise of God to Israel, would
        put the law itself in a new context, and tap into a deeper sense of
        what Judaism, and ultimately what God and Man, were all about. It
        would dethrone the law as a definition of religious identity, which is
        exactly the point at which Paul seems to have changed most dramatically.

        Thus the current hypothesis. As I think I earlier suggested (those who
        were at the 2007 SBL session will have gotten the full details), there
        is reason in Mark to conclude that the doctrine of the atonement is a
        second development in early Jesus theory. Then the possibility of two
        types of Jesus communities, the second of which Paul encountered only
        after a certain amount of zealous persecution of what for him was mere
        Moses deviationism, has a second leg to stand on. The evidence of
        other early Christian documents (not here repeated, but the emphasis
        in some of them on Abraham rather than Moses is surely suggestive) is
        the third leg.

        Or so it looks from here.

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
        To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter On: Paul s Change of Mind From: Bruce DENNIS: One might also ask whether it was Paul who
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 7, 2010
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          To: Synoptic
          Cc: GPG, WSW
          In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter
          On: Paul's Change of Mind
          From: Bruce

          DENNIS: One might also ask whether it was "Paul" who changed, or
          whether those who copied the Paulines over time, those who represented
          what became the orthodoxy "changed."

          BRUCE: I would agree, I have in the past often asserted, that on this
          or any other problem, the first step is to check the nature of the
          texts we are working from. If they are spurious, or if they are
          composite, or if they were later scribally corrupted, all bets based
          on simple integral readings are off.

          But the possible problems are wider than just scribal errors (the
          province of the "lower criticism"), they include early manipulation of
          the Pauline texts before they went public (the job of the "higher
          criticism"). There has been some good work done on these matters,
          unfortunately widely ignored by an increasing number of modern people,
          but still helpful for those who want to see what was actually
          happening at the time. P N Harrison's contribution is fundamental on
          the Pastorals and related issues; William O Walker is very good - and
          also systematic - on interpolations in the genuine Epistles. And what
          is the result? One result is that there are tendencies IN THE
          INTERPOLATIONS which suggest why they were made (in most cases, to
          legitimize and enshrine later church practices and structures). All
          this must be subtracted before we can begin talking about Paul.

          That he changed, Paul himself says (in the surviving, noninterpolated
          portions of the genuine epistles). We don't need to treat it as a
          retrospective hypothesis. Orthodoxy changed, or rather it formed and
          impinged, and thus complicated the text record, but the good news is
          that the text record can be cleaned up, at least to quite an extent,
          and thus can tell its part of the story more clearly.

          On that purified corpus of what can now be called primary evidence, we
          can now hope to see what Christianity was when Paul first positively
          encountered it, and also what contributions he himself later made to
          its content and direction.

          (And only then can we begin to take up such topics, prematurely and
          therefore rashly discussed by many, as the "Paulinism of Mark." It's
          the same in Sinology: we don't know the Chinese doctrine of the state
          until we get rid of the Empire texts masquerading as pre-Empire texts
          (eg, Han Feidz), and identify intrusive portions in the pre-Empire
          texts (all the others), and then put the whole material on a
          chronological basis, that we have a chance of saying where the idea of
          the Empire came from, and how it was realized in practice).

          So it looks from here.

          Bruce

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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