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Re: [Synoptic-L] Christological Peculiarities

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  • Ronald Price
    ... Jeff, Such a statement would have been open to ridicule, for Cephas and James and John had known Jesus in the flesh, and the ordinary follower of Jesus
    Message 1 of 36 , Oct 2, 2010
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      Jeff Peterson wrote:

      > ..... I don't see why he
      > couldn't have said "Cephas and James and John have misunderstood the gospel"
      > if in fact he thought they were wrong in theory, as opposed to wrong about
      > the gospel's implications for practice.


      Such a statement would have been open to ridicule, for Cephas and James and
      John had known Jesus in the flesh, and the ordinary follower of Jesus would
      have found it difficult to believe that they had not understood all about
      Jesus and his mission, whereas the upstart Paul had understood it.

      That there was a clear distinction between what Paul proclaimed and what the
      'pillars' believed is surely evident from Gal 1:11 (Paul received his gospel
      be revelation, not from human testimony), and Gal 2:2 (he had to explain his
      gospel to James, Peter and John). For although Paul claimed that these
      apostles blessed his mission, he gave no indication that his explanation of
      his gospel had led them to adopt it in their own mission.

      > On a more general level, we differ about the degree to which Paul could
      > engage in "hiding the ball" in Gal (and likely elsewhere); I think a serious
      > consideration of the rhetorical situation of the letter demands that Paul
      > make no claims the Galatians couldn't verify.

      I'm not sure what you mean by "hiding the ball". But if you mean using
      subtle rather than open criticism, then surely any subtle statement would be
      impossible to falsify because of the ambiguity. We must bear in mind also
      that we're discussing the first century, not the 21st. century. A first
      century inhabitant of Galatia would surely have found it extraordinarily
      difficult to verify anything relating to people or events in Antioch or

      To take us back to this List, Peter's christology was depicted as primitive
      and reprehensible by the author of Mark's gospel (8:27-33) who was, in
      Goulder's terminology, a Pauline. If the Mark of Phm 24 was the author of
      this gospel (and why falsely attribute authorship to a nonentity?), then the
      first gospel's implied criticism of Peter's christology would have been
      derived directly from Paul.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

    • Ronald Price
      ... Jeff, What I m trying to say here is that one can accept a hero who has minor flaws, such as the earnest but fallible Peter who emerges from a casual
      Message 36 of 36 , Oct 3, 2010
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        Jeff Peterson wrote:

        > ..... Your "ordinary follower of Jesus" would
        > have found it just as difficult to believe that while the Pillars didn't
        > understand how followers of Jesus should conduct themselves at table, Paul
        > did;


        What I'm trying to say here is that one can accept a hero who has minor
        flaws, such as the earnest but fallible Peter who emerges from a casual
        reading of the gospel of Mark. But a follower of Jesus can't accept a hero
        who is fundamentally on the wrong track christologically. So Paul could not
        have portrayed Peter in this way without upsetting many of his Galatian

        > I think the reality described by 1:11 is more complex than Paul having had a
        > visionary experience which included a command to "Preach this," with a list
        > of propositions appended. Rather, as persecutor he had already heard what
        > Jesus' followers were proclaiming about him (viz., the crucified Messiah had
        > been raised and enthroned with God, inaugurating the age of deliverance
        > promised in Scripture) .....

        James and Peter were expecting the kingdom of God to come with power
        (Mk 9:1, derived from logia saying C12), i.e. the overthrow of the Roman
        occupiers and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. This clearly
        hadn't happened when Paul came on the scene. Paul's supporter, Mark, had to
        replace the hopes of the original disciples for the establishment of a new
        Israel (saying C21, c.f. Mt 19:28) with a reward in the life to come (Mk
        10:29-30). This echoed Paul's promise of eternal life (e.g. Rom 6:22-23).
        The idea that the kingdom had been inaugurated by the coming of Jesus arose
        after the deaths of the original disciples when it began to look as if the
        return of Jesus was delayed and might be delayed a lot longer.

        > Your last sentence [regarding the ability or otherwise of the Galatians to
        > check Paul's claims] neglects the extent of travel in the early Empire, and
        > the use made of this mobility to connect early Christian communities;
        > ..... We know that Paul organized Corinthians and Macedonians for an
        > embassy to Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:3–4; 2 Cor 9:4),

        Travel was indeed facilitated by the Pax Romana, and also by the widespread
        Roman roads. But it was still slow. Your example above concerns a journey
        which Paul regarded as most important. Travelling several days merely to
        check on the truthfulness or otherwise of Paul's assertions in Galatians
        would have been a lot less palatable.

        > It was very shortsighted of Paul to maintain that he and the Pillars agreed
        > on the gospel if contact with their followers was a real possibility for his
        > converts, and if the reaction of a Jerusalem Christian to an acclamation
        > like "Praise be to the God and Father of our crucified Messiah Jesus, who
        > raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand" would have been,
        > "Come again?"

        But as I indicated earlier in this thread, I don't think Paul claimed that
        the pillars agreed on the gospel.

        > ..... Peter and the
        > other disciples are depicted as uncomprehending regarding Jesus' impending
        > death and resurrection during his ministry, but their eventual enlightenment
        > and proclamation of these events is clearly anticipated (9:9; 13:9–13; 14:9,
        > 27–28; 16:7).

        I don't see 9:9 or 14:9 as indicating eventual enlightenment.
        As for 14:28 and 16:7, I take these verses as early interpolations designed
        to rehabilitate Peter. They are quite inconsistent with the rest of the

        > In historical terms, once Jesus is executed, a Christology like that
        > ascribed to Peter in 8:27–33 becomes untenable .....

        I agree. But my understanding of what transpired is that James, Peter et al.
        changed to a 'Son of Man' christology (see my reconstruction of the logia),
        Paul faced up to the inconsistency by glorying in the crucifixion (e.g. 1
        Cor 1:23 : "we proclaim Christ crucified"), but playing down the belief in
        Jesus as messiah by (for the most part) using "Christ" merely as a sort of

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

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