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RE: [Synoptic-L] Laodicenas (was Borg on Chronology)

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: David I On: Ephesians as Pauline From: Bruce If Ephesians is Pauline, and Mark is early, than Ephesians is relevant to the
    Message 1 of 12 , May 23, 2012
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: David I
      On: Ephesians as Pauline
      From: Bruce

      If Ephesians is Pauline, and Mark is early, than Ephesians is relevant to
      the Synoptic problem because Mark and Paul seem (at least on some accounts)
      to be contemporary. If Matthew and Luke are post-Apostolic, and so is
      Ephesians, then Ephesians is relevant to the Synoptic problem, since
      Ephesians would then be potentially contemporary with them. The Synoptic
      Problem can probably not be solved without considering the evidence of
      contemporary documents, and the question of what documents are contemporary
      with what Synoptics would seem to be relevant. I proceed on that basis to
      consider David's scenario.

      David I: A plausible scenario is as follows, assuming Pauline authorship
      (though this is strongly contested today; for arguments on behalf of Pauline
      authorship, see M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:36-50; P. T. O'Brien,
      Ephesians, 4-47; and H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 2-61): Paul sent the letter
      from Rome, intending it first to go to Ephesus. At the same time, Colossians
      was dispatched.

      Bruce: The Pauline authorship scenario does seem to require that Colossians
      and Ephesians were written at the same time. I find that this conflicts with
      internal evidence, which suggests that Ephesians is theologically and
      ecclesiologically a stage later than Colossians. So also Crouch on the
      respective Haustafeln, etc.

      David I: Going counterclockwise through Asia Minor, this letter would first
      come to Ephesus, the port of entry, then to Laodicea, then Colossae.
      Tychicus' instructions may well have been for each church to "fill in the
      blank" on the address line. The church at Ephesus would have certainly made
      the most copies, being Paul's home base for nearly three years.

      Bruce: I don't find that this coheres. If the letters were carried, by
      whomever, on some consecutive itinerary through part of Asia Minor, then
      they would already have been addressed. The idea that each church would
      accept, let alone "fill in the blanks" of, an undifferentiated letter, to
      convert it into a more individual letter, strikes me as so impolite as to be
      impossible. If instead the original letter was "general," with no indicated
      address, then the textually insecure "to Ephesus" finds an explanation (it
      is one later person's way of construing an unaddressed letter), and so does
      the theory that this is actually Laodiceans (as conjectured by a different
      later person who was also looking at Colossians). The latter group might
      include Marcion or a precedessor in the guessing game. Compare the late
      Pauline credentials of Hebrews.

      On this understanding, the textual insecurity of "to Ephesus" would if
      anything support a post-Pauline scenario, against the authorial-Paul
      possibility.

      That Ephesians IS actually Laodiceans, either in whole (seemingly Marcion)
      or in part (so Muddiman and others), is another matter. That proto-Ephesians
      (the real letter mentioned in Colossians, if Colossians were Pauline) would
      be a Pauline survival, like the Pastoral Letter cores suggested by Harrison.
      I am presently unable to accept Colossians as Pauline, so the idea of an
      authentic Laodiceans does not convince me, but obviously if a case can be
      made for an embedded Laodiceans, that would change the equation. But these
      Ephesians-internal matters are perhaps best discussed in another forum. So
      thinking, I have copied this note to GPG and invite continuation of
      discussion on this point there.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Synoptic In Response To: Mark Matson On: Critical Scholarship From: Bruce Mark recently protested (his word) two of my previous statements. It seems there
      Message 2 of 12 , May 27, 2012
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        To: Synoptic
        In Response To: Mark Matson
        On: Critical Scholarship
        From: Bruce

        Mark recently protested (his word) two of my previous statements. It seems
        there may be something of importance at issue, and so I here repeat my
        statements, with part of Mark's protest, and then respond.

        1. I had said, in passing, "Critical opinion (by which I do not mean M
        Barth) finds Ephesians to be pseudepigraphical." And Mark responded: "Well,
        perhaps if by "critical opinion" you mean people who agree with you. BUT,
        Markus Barth's volume in AB is a brilliant critical commentary. And many if
        not most current commentators tend on the side of Pauline authorship. . . "

        Barth's commentary is undoubtedly "brilliant," it would be churlish to
        suggest otherwise, but one may still ask, Brilliant to what end? There is an
        important distinction here, which I think should not be lost sight of as we
        do our work and consider the work of others. As has been pointed out, and
        not alone in NT studies, there are two ways of approaching an ancient text:
        (a) to find out what it was doing in its own time, or (b) to explore its
        value for our present time. Both have their uses, and their respective
        publics, but they are aiming at different things, and their results should
        not be mixed.

        The usual label in NT for the former approach is "critical-historical." For
        the other, there are several labels, but the one which M Barth's editor
        applies to him is "evangelical" - meaning, I take it, an emphasis on the
        importance of the message. Thus Jitsuo Morikawa's Foreword to Barth's 1959
        Ephesians study, The Broken Wall, announces at the beginning "This is a
        study book for evangelism," and concludes with a paragraph beginning
        "Professor Barth is an evangelist at heart." The book itself was written at
        the request of the American Baptist Convention "for specific use in its own
        churches . . . Schools of evangelism, in a six weeks' study preparation for
        active witness, will use this book as their basic text." That is, message is
        the guiding concept, and immediate relevance is the watchword. The book
        itself bears this out. It begins with what it calls the "strangeness" of
        Ephesians, including the doubts raised about its authenticity, and certain
        of its doctrinal features (predestination, ecclesiasticism), and then,
        rather than proceed to deal directly with those problems, it makes a
        paragraph break and says: (p26) "But enough of pointing out the bewildering
        strangness of Ephesians! .. . Ephesians has indeed its beauty also . . ."
        And the author proceeds to point out that beauty. His answer to the problems
        of the test, then, is to talk about something else.

        The same, though in greater detail and for a different audience, seems to me
        to be on view in the 1974 AB commentary. Again there is an introduction
        mentioning the doubts about authenticity, this time in more detail. But the
        methods by which the doubts were raised are impugned; thus, the question of
        directionality between Ephesians and the undoubtedly related 1 Peter is said
        on p1/23 to be effectively insoluble ("If only criteria were available for
        determining which one of two documents as similar and as subtly different as
        Ephesians and I Peter came first!"). And the insolubility of this and all
        other directionality problems is supported in n78 by a reference to Farmer's
        challenge to Markan Priority, as casting all determinations of relative date
        in doubt. This is not a use of critical methods, it is a denial that
        critical methods work.

        There are useful observations in Barth's commentary, among them the
        similarity of themes between Ephesians, Hebrews, and John (of course not
        new, as pointed out by Abbott in 1897, but heartily welcome nonetheless).
        These are given several pages in Barth, and those pages conclude with this
        judgement: "But too little is as yet known or proven. The dates of Hebrews
        and John's Gospel are highly controversial. These writings may stand in a
        very complicated and distant relationship to Ephesians, but except that they
        offer interesting parallels of vocabulary, thought-form, and message, they
        make no contribution to identifying the author of Ephesians. Their authors
        may have known nothing of Ephesians may have known nothing of either of
        them." (p27). And then again Barth turns away from the whole subject, with
        this opening sentence: "It is time to turn to more commonly accepted
        presuppositions, and their possible implications for dating Ephesians and
        tracing its author."

        It will seem to some of us that, however the relations between Ephesians, 1
        Peter, Hebrews, and John may work out, or even whether there *are* any such
        relations, the establishment of a common world of thought between
        Ephesians, Hebrews, 1 Peter and John in fact goes far to establish the
        authorship of Ephesians, in the sense that it tends to disestablish Paul as
        a possible author. They imply a Zeitgeist in which Paul as we know him
        elsewhere can have no part.

        As I began by saying, there is a line in here somewhere, and those who would
        draw that Zeitgeist conclusion would seem to be on the other side of that
        line from Markus Barth.

        As for the position of current commentators on Pauline authorship of
        Ephesians, no doubt a majority could be found in favor. That does not affect
        the difference between the two approaches to the texts.

        Now here is the second point.

        2. I had mentioned "James, which directly opposes Paul's faith/works
        dichotomy in Romans." Mark responded: "This posits two things, erroneously
        in my opinion: a). that James was written with Paul in mind. My sense is
        that James is mostly traditional (Jewish) ethical hortatory material, and
        certainly is not a response; and b). that Paul actually writes with a
        Lutheran faith/works problem. I think the current literature on Paul
        (Sanders, Dunn, Wright, etc) would frankly call that into question."

        Taking these in reverse order, Paul most assuredly does not write in a
        Lutheran vein, and it needs no Ed Sanders or other giant of the field to
        tell us so. For Paul to do anything of the kind would be grossly
        anachronistic. It is however quite historically possible that Luther thinks
        in a Pauline way. The centrality of sola fide in Luther's worldview, and his
        detestation of the Epistle of James in particular (which, to put it mildly,
        does not preach that doctrine) are presumably well known. To Luther, James
        was insubstantial, a thing of straw, and presumably because it did *not*
        preach the Gospel as he knew it. So far, so consistent.

        The root question, however, is not a Lutheran but a historical one: whether
        James (in the 1c) opposed the Gospel as Paul knew it (also in the 1c). It is
        nothing to the point that James contains, or even mostly contains,
        traditional ethical/hortatory material. The point is what James is doing in
        the relevant passages. I proceed to assemble the relevant passages. Here,
        first, is what I characterized as Paul/s "faith/works dichotomy in Romans:"

        Rom 3:20-24. "For no human being will be justified in his [God's]
        sight by works of the law since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But
        not the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although
        the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God
        through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no
        distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they
        are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in
        Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be
        received by faith.

        To which I would compare:

        James 2:18. "But someone will say, You have faith and I have works.
        Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my
        faith."

        Now here is Paul's own historical example of how faith is sufficient for
        salvation:

        Rom: 4:1-3. "What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather
        according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has
        something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture
        say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

        And here is James again:

        James 2:20-24. "Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that
        faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by
        works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was
        active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the
        scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned
        to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. You see that
        man is justified by works and not by faith alone."

        There are approximately two views to be taken of these passages in James.
        (1) James is putting forth standard paraenetic material, and has nothing
        particular in view other than general edification of the masses; or (2)
        James is attacking a specific error known to him. To decide between the two,
        we can invoke rhetorical science. Is the phrase "Do you want to be shown,
        you foolish fellow," proper to general ethical exhortation? Or to the
        diatribe form, an assault on an erroneous position held by a specific
        person?

        My suggestion would be the latter, and I also have a hunch about whose error
        James had in mind.

        Respectfully proffered,

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Matson, Mark (Academic)
        One final response to a subject clearly outside of the list s focus (and I will be silent): 1. One of your main arguments re: Markus Barth is by using The
        Message 3 of 12 , May 28, 2012
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          One final response to a subject clearly outside of the list's focus (and I will be silent):

          1. One of your main arguments re: Markus Barth is by using The Broken Wall, not his AB commentary. They are clearly different books: one a more general audience, one a scholarly commentary. This is an argumentative fallacy; what one might say about one book by an author does not necessarily apply to another book by the same author.

          2. You suggest that the fact that The Broken Wall was written for the American Baptist Church makes in inherently uncritical. In fact the implication is the American Baptist Church as a group is somehow wildly uncritical. First, the American Baptists are entirely different than Southern Baptist.; I would place the former closer to most mainline christian denominations. But that is even beside the point. Critical material has often been written within "conservative" groups. Indeed during the period The Broken Wall was written there was a very high quality critical journal prepared by Southern Baptists: the Review and Expositer. (granted, it has in recent years lost its critical focus; but that is not true for the period when Barth was writing). This is a fallacy of reading in focus from an audience, not the text.

          3. You further imply that because Barth himself was "evangelical" (in the European sense, btw, which is far different than the use in the USA), he cannot be critical. This too is a fallacy.

          4. But most importantly, you misrepresent Barth's two volumes which show high quality of historical critical analysis. You may disagree with his conclusion, but he considers all the major scholars, considers philological material, and has an extended discussion on the criterion of authenticity. A further read of the entire commentary would show that throughout Barth considers material historically, wide comparison and full recognition of the factors involved. But to simply write him off as "uncritical" because you disagree -- well that is a fallacy too.

          5. On the issue of James and Paul: the issue turns entirely on the nature of key Pauline terms such as "justification" and "works of the law." On the latter, for instance, many (if not most) prominent Pauline scholars recognize that "works of the law" is not the same as "works." As Dunn points out, the former term is essentially the same as saying, "becoming a Jew by accepting the Torah." Thus the question is, can one be justified (transferred to salvation) only by accepting the role of the Torah (including circumcison, etc.). This issue is not what James is talking about.

          mark

          Mark A. Matson
          Milligan College
          http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
          ________________________________________
          E Bruce Brooks wrote:

          Mark recently protested (his word) two of my previous statements. It seems
          there may be something of importance at issue, and so I here repeat my
          statements, with part of Mark's protest, and then respond.

          1. I had said, in passing, "Critical opinion (by which I do not mean M
          Barth) finds Ephesians to be pseudepigraphical." And Mark responded: "Well,
          perhaps if by "critical opinion" you mean people who agree with you. BUT,
          Markus Barth's volume in AB is a brilliant critical commentary. And many if
          not most current commentators tend on the side of Pauline authorship. . . "

          Barth's commentary is undoubtedly "brilliant," it would be churlish to
          suggest otherwise, but one may still ask, Brilliant to what end? There is an
          important distinction here, which I think should not be lost sight of as we
          do our work and consider the work of others. As has been pointed out, and
          not alone in NT studies, there are two ways of approaching an ancient text:
          (a) to find out what it was doing in its own time, or (b) to explore its
          value for our present time. Both have their uses, and their respective
          publics, but they are aiming at different things, and their results should
          not be mixed.

          The usual label in NT for the former approach is "critical-historical." For
          the other, there are several labels, but the one which M Barth's editor
          applies to him is "evangelical" - meaning, I take it, an emphasis on the
          importance of the message. Thus Jitsuo Morikawa's Foreword to Barth's 1959
          Ephesians study, The Broken Wall, announces at the beginning "This is a
          study book for evangelism," and concludes with a paragraph beginning
          "Professor Barth is an evangelist at heart." The book itself was written at
          the request of the American Baptist Convention "for specific use in its own
          churches . . . Schools of evangelism, in a six weeks' study preparation for
          active witness, will use this book as their basic text." That is, message is
          the guiding concept, and immediate relevance is the watchword. The book
          itself bears this out. It begins with what it calls the "strangeness" of
          Ephesians, including the doubts raised about its authenticity, and certain
          of its doctrinal features (predestination, ecclesiasticism), and then,
          rather than proceed to deal directly with those problems, it makes a
          paragraph break and says: (p26) "But enough of pointing out the bewildering
          strangness of Ephesians! .. . Ephesians has indeed its beauty also . . ."
          And the author proceeds to point out that beauty. His answer to the problems
          of the test, then, is to talk about something else.

          The same, though in greater detail and for a different audience, seems to me
          to be on view in the 1974 AB commentary. Again there is an introduction
          mentioning the doubts about authenticity, this time in more detail. But the
          methods by which the doubts were raised are impugned; thus, the question of
          directionality between Ephesians and the undoubtedly related 1 Peter is said
          on p1/23 to be effectively insoluble ("If only criteria were available for
          determining which one of two documents as similar and as subtly different as
          Ephesians and I Peter came first!"). And the insolubility of this and all
          other directionality problems is supported in n78 by a reference to Farmer's
          challenge to Markan Priority, as casting all determinations of relative date
          in doubt. This is not a use of critical methods, it is a denial that
          critical methods work.

          There are useful observations in Barth's commentary, among them the
          similarity of themes between Ephesians, Hebrews, and John (of course not
          new, as pointed out by Abbott in 1897, but heartily welcome nonetheless).
          These are given several pages in Barth, and those pages conclude with this
          judgement: "But too little is as yet known or proven. The dates of Hebrews
          and John's Gospel are highly controversial. These writings may stand in a
          very complicated and distant relationship to Ephesians, but except that they
          offer interesting parallels of vocabulary, thought-form, and message, they
          make no contribution to identifying the author of Ephesians. Their authors
          may have known nothing of Ephesians may have known nothing of either of
          them." (p27). And then again Barth turns away from the whole subject, with
          this opening sentence: "It is time to turn to more commonly accepted
          presuppositions, and their possible implications for dating Ephesians and
          tracing its author."

          It will seem to some of us that, however the relations between Ephesians, 1
          Peter, Hebrews, and John may work out, or even whether there *are* any such
          relations, the establishment of a common world of thought between
          Ephesians, Hebrews, 1 Peter and John in fact goes far to establish the
          authorship of Ephesians, in the sense that it tends to disestablish Paul as
          a possible author. They imply a Zeitgeist in which Paul as we know him
          elsewhere can have no part.

          As I began by saying, there is a line in here somewhere, and those who would
          draw that Zeitgeist conclusion would seem to be on the other side of that
          line from Markus Barth.

          As for the position of current commentators on Pauline authorship of
          Ephesians, no doubt a majority could be found in favor. That does not affect
          the difference between the two approaches to the texts.

          Now here is the second point.

          2. I had mentioned "James, which directly opposes Paul's faith/works
          dichotomy in Romans." Mark responded: "This posits two things, erroneously
          in my opinion: a). that James was written with Paul in mind. My sense is
          that James is mostly traditional (Jewish) ethical hortatory material, and
          certainly is not a response; and b). that Paul actually writes with a
          Lutheran faith/works problem. I think the current literature on Paul
          (Sanders, Dunn, Wright, etc) would frankly call that into question."

          Taking these in reverse order, Paul most assuredly does not write in a
          Lutheran vein, and it needs no Ed Sanders or other giant of the field to
          tell us so. For Paul to do anything of the kind would be grossly
          anachronistic. It is however quite historically possible that Luther thinks
          in a Pauline way. The centrality of sola fide in Luther's worldview, and his
          detestation of the Epistle of James in particular (which, to put it mildly,
          does not preach that doctrine) are presumably well known. To Luther, James
          was insubstantial, a thing of straw, and presumably because it did *not*
          preach the Gospel as he knew it. So far, so consistent.

          The root question, however, is not a Lutheran but a historical one: whether
          James (in the 1c) opposed the Gospel as Paul knew it (also in the 1c). It is
          nothing to the point that James contains, or even mostly contains,
          traditional ethical/hortatory material. The point is what James is doing in
          the relevant passages. I proceed to assemble the relevant passages. Here,
          first, is what I characterized as Paul/s "faith/works dichotomy in Romans:"

          Rom 3:20-24. "For no human being will be justified in his [God's]
          sight by works of the law since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But
          not the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although
          the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God
          through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no
          distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they
          are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in
          Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be
          received by faith.

          To which I would compare:

          James 2:18. "But someone will say, You have faith and I have works.
          Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my
          faith."

          Now here is Paul's own historical example of how faith is sufficient for
          salvation:

          Rom: 4:1-3. "What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather
          according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has
          something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture
          say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

          And here is James again:

          James 2:20-24. "Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that
          faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by
          works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was
          active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the
          scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned
          to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. You see that
          man is justified by works and not by faith alone."

          There are approximately two views to be taken of these passages in James.
          (1) James is putting forth standard paraenetic material, and has nothing
          particular in view other than general edification of the masses; or (2)
          James is attacking a specific error known to him. To decide between the two,
          we can invoke rhetorical science. Is the phrase "Do you want to be shown,
          you foolish fellow," proper to general ethical exhortation? Or to the
          diatribe form, an assault on an erroneous position held by a specific
          person?

          My suggestion would be the latter, and I also have a hunch about whose error
          James had in mind.
        • Bob Schacht
          What Mark said. Bob Schacht Northern Arizona University ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          Message 4 of 12 , May 28, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            What Mark said.

            Bob Schacht
            Northern Arizona University

            At 04:58 PM 5/28/2012, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:
            >One final response to a subject clearly outside of the list's focus
            >(and I will be silent):
            >
            >1. One of your main arguments re: Markus Barth is by using The
            >Broken Wall, not his AB commentary. They are clearly different
            >books: one a more general audience, one a scholarly
            >commentary. This is an argumentative fallacy; what one might say
            >about one book by an author does not necessarily apply to another
            >book by the same author.
            >
            >2. You suggest that the fact that The Broken Wall was written for
            >the American Baptist Church makes in inherently uncritical. In fact
            >the implication is the American Baptist Church as a group is somehow
            >wildly uncritical. First, the American Baptists are entirely
            >different than Southern Baptist.; I would place the former closer to
            >most mainline christian denominations. But that is even beside the
            >point. Critical material has often been written within
            >"conservative" groups. Indeed during the period The Broken Wall was
            >written there was a very high quality critical journal prepared by
            >Southern Baptists: the Review and Expositer. (granted, it has in
            >recent years lost its critical focus; but that is not true for the
            >period when Barth was writing). This is a fallacy of reading in
            >focus from an audience, not the text.
            >
            >3. You further imply that because Barth himself was "evangelical"
            >(in the European sense, btw, which is far different than the use in
            >the USA), he cannot be critical. This too is a fallacy.
            >
            >4. But most importantly, you misrepresent Barth's two volumes which
            >show high quality of historical critical analysis. You may disagree
            >with his conclusion, but he considers all the major scholars,
            >considers philological material, and has an extended discussion on
            >the criterion of authenticity. A further read of the entire
            >commentary would show that throughout Barth considers material
            >historically, wide comparison and full recognition of the factors
            >involved. But to simply write him off as "uncritical" because you
            >disagree -- well that is a fallacy too.
            >
            >5. On the issue of James and Paul: the issue turns entirely on the
            >nature of key Pauline terms such as "justification" and "works of
            >the law." On the latter, for instance, many (if not most)
            >prominent Pauline scholars recognize that "works of the law" is not
            >the same as "works." As Dunn points out, the former term is
            >essentially the same as saying, "becoming a Jew by accepting the
            >Torah." Thus the question is, can one be justified (transferred to
            >salvation) only by accepting the role of the Torah (including
            >circumcison, etc.). This issue is not what James is talking about.
            >
            >mark
            >
            >Mark A. Matson
            >Milligan College
            >http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
            >________________________________________
            >E Bruce Brooks wrote:
            >
            >Mark recently protested (his word) two of my previous statements. It seems
            >there may be something of importance at issue, and so I here repeat my
            >statements, with part of Mark's protest, and then respond.
            >
            >1. I had said, in passing, "Critical opinion (by which I do not mean M
            >Barth) finds Ephesians to be pseudepigraphical." And Mark responded: "Well,
            >perhaps if by "critical opinion" you mean people who agree with you. BUT,
            >Markus Barth's volume in AB is a brilliant critical commentary. And many if
            >not most current commentators tend on the side of Pauline authorship. . . "
            >
            >Barth's commentary is undoubtedly "brilliant," it would be churlish to
            >suggest otherwise, but one may still ask, Brilliant to what end? There is an
            >important distinction here, which I think should not be lost sight of as we
            >do our work and consider the work of others. As has been pointed out, and
            >not alone in NT studies, there are two ways of approaching an ancient text:
            >(a) to find out what it was doing in its own time, or (b) to explore its
            >value for our present time. Both have their uses, and their respective
            >publics, but they are aiming at different things, and their results should
            >not be mixed.
            >
            >The usual label in NT for the former approach is "critical-historical." For
            >the other, there are several labels, but the one which M Barth's editor
            >applies to him is "evangelical" - meaning, I take it, an emphasis on the
            >importance of the message. Thus Jitsuo Morikawa's Foreword to Barth's 1959
            >Ephesians study, The Broken Wall, announces at the beginning "This is a
            >study book for evangelism," and concludes with a paragraph beginning
            >"Professor Barth is an evangelist at heart." The book itself was written at
            >the request of the American Baptist Convention "for specific use in its own
            >churches . . . Schools of evangelism, in a six weeks' study preparation for
            >active witness, will use this book as their basic text." That is, message is
            >the guiding concept, and immediate relevance is the watchword. The book
            >itself bears this out. It begins with what it calls the "strangeness" of
            >Ephesians, including the doubts raised about its authenticity, and certain
            >of its doctrinal features (predestination, ecclesiasticism), and then,
            >rather than proceed to deal directly with those problems, it makes a
            >paragraph break and says: (p26) "But enough of pointing out the bewildering
            >strangness of Ephesians! .. . Ephesians has indeed its beauty also . . ."
            >And the author proceeds to point out that beauty. His answer to the problems
            >of the test, then, is to talk about something else.
            >
            >The same, though in greater detail and for a different audience, seems to me
            >to be on view in the 1974 AB commentary. Again there is an introduction
            >mentioning the doubts about authenticity, this time in more detail. But the
            >methods by which the doubts were raised are impugned; thus, the question of
            >directionality between Ephesians and the undoubtedly related 1 Peter is said
            >on p1/23 to be effectively insoluble ("If only criteria were available for
            >determining which one of two documents as similar and as subtly different as
            >Ephesians and I Peter came first!"). And the insolubility of this and all
            >other directionality problems is supported in n78 by a reference to Farmer's
            >challenge to Markan Priority, as casting all determinations of relative date
            >in doubt. This is not a use of critical methods, it is a denial that
            >critical methods work.
            >
            >There are useful observations in Barth's commentary, among them the
            >similarity of themes between Ephesians, Hebrews, and John (of course not
            >new, as pointed out by Abbott in 1897, but heartily welcome nonetheless).
            >These are given several pages in Barth, and those pages conclude with this
            >judgement: "But too little is as yet known or proven. The dates of Hebrews
            >and John's Gospel are highly controversial. These writings may stand in a
            >very complicated and distant relationship to Ephesians, but except that they
            >offer interesting parallels of vocabulary, thought-form, and message, they
            >make no contribution to identifying the author of Ephesians. Their authors
            >may have known nothing of Ephesians may have known nothing of either of
            >them." (p27). And then again Barth turns away from the whole subject, with
            >this opening sentence: "It is time to turn to more commonly accepted
            >presuppositions, and their possible implications for dating Ephesians and
            >tracing its author."
            >
            >It will seem to some of us that, however the relations between Ephesians, 1
            >Peter, Hebrews, and John may work out, or even whether there *are* any such
            >relations, the establishment of a common world of thought between
            >Ephesians, Hebrews, 1 Peter and John in fact goes far to establish the
            >authorship of Ephesians, in the sense that it tends to disestablish Paul as
            >a possible author. They imply a Zeitgeist in which Paul as we know him
            >elsewhere can have no part.
            >
            >As I began by saying, there is a line in here somewhere, and those who would
            >draw that Zeitgeist conclusion would seem to be on the other side of that
            >line from Markus Barth.
            >
            >As for the position of current commentators on Pauline authorship of
            >Ephesians, no doubt a majority could be found in favor. That does not affect
            >the difference between the two approaches to the texts.
            >
            >Now here is the second point.
            >
            >2. I had mentioned "James, which directly opposes Paul's faith/works
            >dichotomy in Romans." Mark responded: "This posits two things, erroneously
            >in my opinion: a). that James was written with Paul in mind. My sense is
            >that James is mostly traditional (Jewish) ethical hortatory material, and
            >certainly is not a response; and b). that Paul actually writes with a
            >Lutheran faith/works problem. I think the current literature on Paul
            >(Sanders, Dunn, Wright, etc) would frankly call that into question."
            >
            >Taking these in reverse order, Paul most assuredly does not write in a
            >Lutheran vein, and it needs no Ed Sanders or other giant of the field to
            >tell us so. For Paul to do anything of the kind would be grossly
            >anachronistic. It is however quite historically possible that Luther thinks
            >in a Pauline way. The centrality of sola fide in Luther's worldview, and his
            >detestation of the Epistle of James in particular (which, to put it mildly,
            >does not preach that doctrine) are presumably well known. To Luther, James
            >was insubstantial, a thing of straw, and presumably because it did *not*
            >preach the Gospel as he knew it. So far, so consistent.
            >
            >The root question, however, is not a Lutheran but a historical one: whether
            >James (in the 1c) opposed the Gospel as Paul knew it (also in the 1c). It is
            >nothing to the point that James contains, or even mostly contains,
            >traditional ethical/hortatory material. The point is what James is doing in
            >the relevant passages. I proceed to assemble the relevant passages. Here,
            >first, is what I characterized as Paul/s "faith/works dichotomy in Romans:"
            >
            > Rom 3:20-24. "For no human being will be justified in his [God's]
            >sight by works of the law since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But
            >not the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although
            >the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God
            >through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no
            >distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they
            >are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in
            >Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be
            >received by faith.
            >
            >To which I would compare:
            >
            > James 2:18. "But someone will say, You have faith and I have works.
            >Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my
            >faith."
            >
            >Now here is Paul's own historical example of how faith is sufficient for
            >salvation:
            >
            > Rom: 4:1-3. "What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather
            >according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has
            >something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture
            >say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
            >
            >And here is James again:
            >
            > James 2:20-24. "Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that
            >faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by
            >works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was
            >active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the
            >scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned
            >to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God. You see that
            >man is justified by works and not by faith alone."
            >
            >There are approximately two views to be taken of these passages in James.
            >(1) James is putting forth standard paraenetic material, and has nothing
            >particular in view other than general edification of the masses; or (2)
            >James is attacking a specific error known to him. To decide between the two,
            >we can invoke rhetorical science. Is the phrase "Do you want to be shown,
            >you foolish fellow," proper to general ethical exhortation? Or to the
            >diatribe form, an assault on an erroneous position held by a specific
            >person?
            >
            >My suggestion would be the latter, and I also have a hunch about whose error
            >James had in mind.
            >
            >------------------------------------
            >
            >Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • E Bruce Brooks
            To: Synoptic Completing: Discussion on Barth From: Bruce Mark Matson persists in misrepresenting my position on Barth. To say it directly this time (this last
            Message 5 of 12 , May 28, 2012
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              To: Synoptic
              Completing: Discussion on Barth
              From: Bruce

              Mark Matson persists in misrepresenting my position on Barth. To say it
              directly this time (this last time), I do not merely like people who agree
              with me, and I do not rest my view of Barth on his Baptist sponsorship, and
              so on and on. I do have an argument, and I here repeat its key points, drawn
              solely from his commentary:

              1. Barth in his commentary repeats what are recognizably critical objections
              to the authenticity of Ephesians, and by reference to such confusions as the
              Farmer position on Markan priority, denies in effect that these analyses
              have an outcome.

              2. In the same commentary, Barth repeats the oft-made observation that
              Ephesians has similarities to Hebrews, 1 Peter, and John. He denies that any
              conclusion can be reached about the date of 1 Peter, or about the
              directionality of the 1 Peter / Ephesians contacts. He denies that any of
              these texts (Ephesians, 1 Peter, Hebrews, John) can be proved to have been
              aware of each other. Again, he denies in effect that these observations
              permit any usable conclusions about the authenticity of Ephesians.

              I sum these up as not a use of critical methods, but as a denial that
              critical methods work. This is not what we normally mean by "critical
              scholarship." A thousand commendatory adjectives doubtless apply to Barth's
              work, but to make "critical" the thousand and first is to misuse the word
              "critical."

              3. I think it is obvious that the latter objection in particular is without
              merit. Suppose that none of Ephesians, 1 Peter, Hebrews, and John in fact
              knew of any of the others. Then to what should we attribute these admitted
              similarities? All that is left is a general context of thought, and that
              context cannot be the generation in which Paul himself lived. That is, the
              residue of Barth's objections is still enough to prove inauthenticity. A
              critical scholar, in the usual sense of the term "critical," would probably
              have noticed this implication.

              4. As to James and Paul, of course much work has gone into the idea that
              James is misrepresenting Paul, or even that Paul in Romans is
              misrepresenting himself. That is beside the point. To make the point, I
              repeat my previous challenge. Given that the passages I cite from James are
              not Jewish paraenesis, but Christian argumentation (diatribe), and waiving
              the question of what "James" this may be, against whom (against what, and I
              quote, "foolish fellow"), is the said "James" arguing?

              Bruce
            • David Mealand
              Please - it is not Laodicenas , even if constant repetition on this list looks like becoming ineradicable ... David Mealand, University of Edinburgh --
              Message 6 of 12 , May 29, 2012
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                Please - it is not "Laodicenas",
                even if constant repetition on this
                list looks like becoming ineradicable



                ---------
                David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


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