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

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Feb 7, 2010
      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.


      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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