Re: [Synoptic-L] Paul's change of mind
- To: Synoptic
Cc: GPG, WSW
In Response To: Dennis Dean Carpenter
On: Paul's Change of Mind
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.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst