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Re: [Synoptic-L] Parallelism as an indicator of primitivity

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  • Tony Buglass
    RON: There is no evidence of the post-crucifixion survival of any pre-30 CE Jesus group independent of the original group which came to be (more likely was all
    Message 1 of 33 , Mar 12, 2010
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      RON: There is no evidence of the post-crucifixion survival of any
      pre-30 CE Jesus group independent of the original group which came to
      be (more likely was all along) led by James.

      BRUCE: Sorry, but there is quite a bit of evidence, some of it even in
      the canonical texts, hostile as those generally are to the Galilee
      phase of Christianity, and to the very thought of its survival.

      Consider this, from J D G Dunn "A New Perspective on Jesus - What the Quest for the Historical Jesus Missed" p.27:

      "Here I simply want to draw attention to the more obvious, much the more obvious explanation for the two features of Q that have been drawn into such speculation about the "Q community" - the absence of a passion narrative and the Galilean provenance of the Q material. The most obvious explanation for these features is that the Q material first emerged in Galilee and was given its lasting shape there prior to Jesus' death in Jerusalem. That is to say, it expresses the impact made by Jesus during his Galilean mission and before the shadow of the cross began to fall heavily upon either his mission or the memory of his teaching."

      what do we make of the completely incompatible idea, also present
      here and there in the canonical texts, that Jesus ascended to Heaven
      immediately upon his death, like Moses and Elijah, the two figures
      with whom Jesus is associated in the Markan Transfiguration scene, and
      for that matter, the two figures who are alluded to in the description
      of the Temptation of Jesus in Mark (for the prototype passages, see
      Exo 24:18 and 1Kg 19:4-8).

      The idea of death and exaltation as distinct from death and resurrection is particularly strong in the Letter to the Hebrews, largely due to the writer pursuing an exegesis of Ps.110:1, 4. The concentration on priestly sacrifice means it focusses on Jesus' death and exaltation, and says little about resurrection. The principal moments in the sacrifice were the shedding of the victim's blood and the presentation of the blood in the sanctuary. They correspond to the death of Christ, and his appearance at God's right hand: resurrection is implied rather than given a key place in the scheme (13:20). Resurrection demonstrates that Jesus's sacrifice has been accepted by God, and is the means to his exaltation, but the exaltation is more important in this schema.

      Resurrection and exaltation are only incompatible if they are both argued as historical accounts of "what happened to Jesus". Since the NT accounts are much more concerned with theological significance, that ought not to be a problem - I compare it to the way in which a composer may weave together themes from different sources and even in different keys, using creative clashes of dissonance to draw out what he wants us to hear. The argument that the empty tomb and resurrection narratives were 'invented' later and added to an earlier 'non-resurrection' faith (cf Crossan's arguments for a "death tradition" and a "life tradition") doesn't fit with the fact that the resurrection traditions go back to the earliest stratae of NT tradition - the structure of the paradosis in 1 Cor.15:3-5 suggests Aramaic origins, thus formulation within a few years or even months of Jesus' death and resurrection. It isn't Pauline in origin (hence non-Pauline vocabulary such as 'ho dodeka'), and he says very clearly that he has recived it as tradition - 'parelabon' and 'paredoka' equate to the rabbinic 'qibbel min' and 'masar le'.

      The most likely explanation is that the events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus have been so thoroughly "theologised" in the retelling by Mark, Paul, and whoever wrote Hebrews that the developments have gone in divergent but complementary directions. It is unwise to assume that the development of one idea necessarily meant the rejection of a different one. Compare Dunn's arguments in "Jesus Remembered" about what he called the "one document per community" fallacy - the idea that one community would accept only one interpretation of Jesus' death and resurrection could be just as false. (Although, having chaired discussions in certain types of church meeting, I wouldn't be too surprised if that was not always true...)

      Rev Tony Buglass
      Superintendent Minister
      Upper Calder Methodist Circuit

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: GPG Cc: Synoptic In Response To: Keith Yoder On: Mark and John From: Bruce Thanks to Keith for his additional notes on recasting of previous tradition in
      Message 33 of 33 , Mar 24, 2010
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        To: GPG
        Cc: Synoptic
        In Response To: Keith Yoder
        On: Mark and John
        From: Bruce

        Thanks to Keith for his additional notes on recasting of previous
        tradition in John. The subject is a large one, with its own special
        interest, and all points are welcome.

        One of the skills needed by the successful churchman is the grace to
        respond politely when presented with a Festschrift which is small,
        undistinguished, and full of internal rancor, one author using his
        space to trash the opinion of another author about the date and
        authenticity of 1 Peter. Such was the crisis which must have
        confronted the dedicatee when he was handed Sherman E Johnson, The Joy
        of Study: Papers on New Testament and Related Subjects Presented to
        Honor Frederick Clifton Grant (Macmillan 1951).

        Fred his my sympathy in that moment.

        Nevertheless, there are some shreds of interest in the thing. One is
        the paper by Sydney Temple (University of Massachusetts, no less) on
        Geography and Climate in the Fourth Gospel. He makes what looks to me
        like a good case that the author of John knew Palestinian geography
        and its seasons very well: when a certain ford was passable, when the
        court migrated from Jerusalem to Jericho, when the high road through
        Samaria would have been preferable to the more obvious lowland one.

        Does this mean that John, being more cogent about geography than it
        seems Mark always was, knew Palestine, and Mark did not? That might be
        a rash conclusion. But with Temple's data in mind, we can at least say
        that he had done his homework, not only on the calendar, but on the


        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts
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