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RE: [Synoptic-L] The genealogies and the Diatessaron.

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic Cc: GPG, WSW On: The Jesus Genealogy in (or not in) Tatian From: Bruce David Inglis has asked, The Diatessaron does not contain a genealogy. Is
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 18, 2013
      To: Synoptic
      Cc: GPG, WSW
      On: The Jesus Genealogy in (or not in) Tatian
      From: Bruce

      David Inglis has asked, " The Diatessaron does not contain a genealogy. Is
      there any evidence to suggest that Tatian knew of one when he wrote it?"

      I would tend to answer:

      1. The pattern of the Matthean and Lukan genealogies is developmental, with
      the simpler and thus presumably earlier Matthean one taking Jesus back to
      David (Mt 1:6), with an extension to the still specifically Jewish patriarch
      Abraham (Mt 1:1, 1:17), whereas the more universal and thus presumably later
      Lukan one takes him back to Adam (Lk 3:38). Luke thus, in effect, removes
      Jesus from the sphere of Jewish cultural politics and makes him more widely
      human: sharing in the Creation with everything else that exists. If these
      two genealogies, with their contrasting implications for Jesus theory, were
      added later to the respective Gospels, the adder or adders would have had to
      appreciate and then skillfully counterfeit the particular predilections of
      the respective Gospel writers. This implies a level of adroitness far beyond
      the ordinary (for the more maladroit ordinary, see #3 below). Absent
      evidence in support, I am disinclined to suppose it. What other
      possibilities remain?

      2. The genealogies could of course have been harmonized, simply by regarding
      the short Matthean genealogy as subsumed in the long Lukan genealogy (note
      that, in the Birth Narrative, Tatian tends to favor Luke over Matthew when
      he must choose, and choosing Luke's version loses not very much Matthean
      information). Given the availability of Mt and Lk as we have them (see
      preceding), there was thus no bar, as far as Tatian's practice elsewhere
      seems to imply, to his including a genealogy in the Diatessaron. Then the
      only reason for a genealogy not to be included in the Diatessaron is that
      Tatian intentionally declined to include it. We thus have the question: Is
      there a reason why he might have done this? I think a clue is to be found in
      the fact that, though his main problem was straightening out the not quite
      parallel Synoptics, Tatian also had a considerable fondness for John, as
      witness his beginning with the opening passage of John. There is of course
      no birth narrative, and no genealogy, in John, who is much further down the
      Divinization Trajectory - for which see again my piece on Gospel
      Trajectories,

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/journal/wsp1/index.html

      - than either Matthew or Luke.

      3. I get the sense that behind the Gospels lies a real-time disagreement
      about the nature of Jesus, including his human nature. Evidences remaining
      in Mark suggest that one early faction regarded Jesus as a national saviour
      (the Anointed), and grounded that claim in Jesus' supposed Davidic ancestry;
      thus the crowds acclaiming Jesus at his highly staged entry into Jerusalem
      (Mk 11:10; note that the David element is retained in Mt 21:9, but,
      consistently, is eliminated in Lk 19:33). A variant of this view
      acknowledged that Jesus was not *exactly* a lineal descendant of David, but
      that Scripture could be invoked to show that this did not disqualify him as
      the coming Anointed (thus Jesus himself, there addressing the experts and
      not being addressed by the crowds, Mk 12:35-37). Paul, in ingratiating
      himself to the early Christians at Rome, at least some of whom held this
      Davidic connection to be important, accepted it at Romans 1:3 ("who was
      descended from David according to the flesh" - note the qualification). He
      did this for momentary tactical and rhetorical reasons; he and other
      Mediterranean authors, like Vergil and Ovid and Lucretius, regularly use
      this device at the beginnings of their works, to reassure an audience about
      what, nevertheless, is going to be a precisely contrary message. (For a
      Chinese parallel, see the misleadingly reassuring opening of Sywndz 17, the
      essay On Heaven, which praises the power of Heaven over the seasons and such
      things, but then goes on to say that all this has nothing whatever to do
      with the world of man: the cultural and ethical world). The joke here is
      that the rather wooden author of 2 Timothy, mistaking Rom 1:3 as expressing
      Paul's own belief (chortles here permissible), woodenly wrote it down as
      such in 2 Tim 2:8 ("Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended
      from David" - and get this: "as preached in my Gospel"). This, I have the
      impression, is the more usual level of forgery in the NT: careful in a
      certain sense, knowledgeable to a certain degree, but on the whole, not
      really very perceptive.

      Which is fine with me; the clumsy ones are easier to detect than the adroit
      ones, and as a philologist, I prefer easy work to hard work. A pox, indeed,
      upon ancient adroitness (as Bruce Metzger in effect observed, a propos
      intentional scribal improvements, in Text 4ed 259; I am with Bruce all the
      way on this).

      4. Matthew takes the side of the Markan crowds against the Markan Jesus, and
      simply inserts a Davidic genealogy (which Luke than generalizes upward; the
      idea of a Lk > Mt directionality here simply doesn't work, and this is a
      passage in which M Goulder is in his element; see Paradigm 1/283f). Matthew
      wants it both ways, and the idea of Scriptural confirmation of anything
      about Jesus was just too attractive for him, as his extensive use of the
      device of Scriptural Validation of Jesus will easily show. (This sort of
      thing, this Jewish validation of Jesus, leaving Jesus stuck permanently in a
      Jewish context, and depending forever on that context for his credentials in
      the wider world, is doubtless what disingratiated Matthew with Marcion -
      Marcion wanted a Christianity with its own independent basis, free of
      ongoing entanglement with its Jewish origins).

      But, and here is the rub, the Davidic authentication of Jesus proceeds via
      Jesus' earthly father Joseph, whereas the idea of a divine birth is
      entirely, utterly, and radically opposed to this, and asserts instead a
      one-step genealogy: God > Mary. Note how Luke handles this rather delicate
      point: "the son (*as was supposed*) of Joseph" (Lk 3:23). Here, then, is
      another point in favor of Lukan posteriority in this passage: Luke corrects
      a problem lying unresolved and thus troublesome in his source. Would the
      opposite directionality have any convincement at all? I suggest not. Here is
      a clear case of Mt > Lk (or as I have recently preferred to put it, more
      precisely Mt > Lk B).

      5. Depending on how thoroughly Tatian recognized the incompatibility of
      heavenly and earthy fathers, the genealogy - any human genealogy - would
      have confronted him with a contradiction, and it was surely part of his
      purpose, in writing at all, to get rid of contradictions among and between
      the Gospels. I suggest that, like Luke, he saw the problem, and having to
      choose, he chose, not between Matthew and Luke or any conflation of the two,
      but instead chose John. He chose to omit.

      6. This nonfeasance of Joseph in the begetting of Jesus was of course
      strongly developed in later Jesus theory, including the idea that Jesus'
      "brothers" (so Mk 3:33-35) were actually his cousins, or that in some other
      way Mary retained her virginity (as respects man) to the end. This is not
      the only strand of Jesus theory (the problem of David and Jesus is met
      another way in the Protevangelium of James 10:1, Elliott 61, which gives
      Mary herself a Davidic ancestry). But I suggest that it is useful to add it
      to our calculations of what options Tatian had, how theologically hot they
      were in his perception, and how, in the end, he chose among them.

      ----------------

      7. This thing of Jesus and man (meaning, males in their procreative aspect)
      has a rich later history. In arguing for women's rights at Akron Ohio in
      1851, and thus for the importance and worth of women in the world generally,
      the former slave Sojourner Truth is reported to have said:

      "And how came Jesus into the world? Through God who created him and the
      woman who bore him. Man, where was your part?"

      Nor are text-critical issues absent in this case. The above quote is taken
      from an account of Sojourner's speech written up shortly afterward by a
      newspaperman who was present. It has, as Leopold von Ranke would remind us,
      the presumption proper to early evidence. More than a decade later, the
      organizer of that meeting, Ohio resident and activist Frances Gage, rewrote
      and republished Sojourner's speech, in a much longer and rhetorically more
      impressive form, with a recurring refrain ("Ain't I a woman?") which
      eventually gave a title to the speech, and with a more powerful expression
      of the above quote. So much more powerful that I decline to quote it here,
      lest it obscure, as it was designed to do, the humbler original. That
      rewrite also gave Sojourner the voice of a Southern plantation slave, which
      was the then preferred mode for blacks (including Charles Chesnutt and Paul
      Lawrence Dunbar, both Northern in their own speak) when addressing the
      northern white liberal world. Gage's version thus better fit the acceptance
      pattern of her time, and surely worked better for the cause - up to the
      present, Sojourner is quoted exclusively in Gage's version of her sayings.
      As it happens, Sojourner was not a Southern plantation slave; she was born
      in New York, and her first language was not Southern anything, but Dutch.
      The Sojourner of later liberal tradition is thus a *product* of later
      liberal tradition, and not of any "historical memory" of the actual
      occasions when she spoke, or the actual things she said, let alone of her
      discoverable personal origins and native language. I suspect that when all
      the cards are down, much the same will be said of the historical Jesus, now
      only dimly and intermittently visible behind the structures by which he was
      adjusted, rationalized, repackaged, and ever more widely and more
      successfully preached, in the late 1st century.

      8. Such things, such transformations and inventions of the past, are not
      exceptional. They are rather the normal and indeed inevitable work of a
      minor tradition continually reprocessing itself, seeking always for greater
      effectiveness in the major world, the normally hostile major world, which
      the group in question happens to confront. Nothing could be more natural;
      the minor tradition which does not take such steps in its own behalf is
      likely to die young. We see this pattern again (and it would surely be
      astonishing if we did not) in classical China. Not only did the Micians
      contend with the Confucians for the ritual soul of the emerging common
      Sinitic culture (their running feud over the three-year mourning
      requirement, in the first quarter of the 03c, is one of the classics of
      cultural confrontation), but even within Micianism there were controversies.
      Thus the main Micians (whose text record is the so-called ethical chapters
      of the common corpus, MZ 1-39) believed, or at one point came to believe, in
      supernatural retribution and thus in the reality of ghosts and spirits, as
      the mechanism for validating and enforcing certain cherished ethical
      principles. They harangue, they anecdotalize, they cite eyewitnesses, they
      quote verbatim from wholly imaginary ancient official records, all in order
      to nail down for their public - the ruling elite of that time - the reality
      of ghosts and spirits, especially those of the avenging kind (see now, or
      see soon, Al Cohen's piece in WSP v2, on certain 04c stories of spirit
      retribution,

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/journal/wsp2/index.html

      Along with Taeko's companion piece, on the general situation of ghosts and
      spirits in Mician cultural propaganda.

      In complete, total, direct, and explicit disagreement, another branch of
      Micians (their repository is the dialectal chapters of the common corpus, MZ
      40-45), who were concerned with soundness of statement and thus with the
      firmness of evidence for statement, by which they meant the accuracy of
      sensory input, entirely avoided the topic of supernatural beings. And as for
      the dream state in which the lower culture (the home ground of the subelite
      Micians) was inclined to receive appearances of or predictions by avenging
      spirits, they explicitly denied that it had any validity whatsoever (Canons
      A23-24). Zowie!

      9. Here, then, is an internal theological difference (a difference, in this
      case, between theology and no theology) visible in an early movement just
      getting a sense of itself, doing so in separate groups and factions, and
      responding in different ways to the urgent need to make itself intelligible,
      and indeed convincing, not only to itself, but also, and no less urgently,
      to a more powerful outer world organized along rather different lines. There
      has been some recent scholarly interest in seeing Micianism as a species of
      general religious history (not to mention intellectual history), and my
      suspicion is that more is waiting to be done along those lines. But only by
      those who know that there is such a subject, and how far it has progressed
      up to the present moment.

      For the Project HQ contribution to that work, see now the first

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/journal/index.html

      but even more the forthcoming, volumes of the Project's journal, Warring
      States Papers. Yes, we are indexed in New Testament Abstracts, so in the end
      nobody is going to miss anything (at least nothing Neotestamental; Chris
      Matthews of NTA has unfortunately if understandably declined to be
      interested in our general methodology pieces, let alone the perhaps even
      more suggestive comparative religion pieces). But what enterprising NT
      researcher wants to wait, allowing the other entrepreneurs several months'
      or a year's lead? Jobs are scarce, competition to produce good new research
      is intense; go figure. Get it while it's hot. Still only $40, and thus
      requiring at most two pizza abstentions in order to be fully funded.
      Remember, pizza is bad for you anyway. And at the library level, can any
      theological center of present or future repute afford to be without this
      item? Do people propose to wait for Novum Testamentum to inform them about
      Matthew, not to mention the Micians?

      I ask you.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp
    • Chuck Jones
      David, I believe that no manuscript of Mt and Lk exists without the genealogies (except fragments that do not contain the relevant portions of the books, of
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 18, 2013
        David,

        I believe that no manuscript of Mt and Lk exists without the genealogies (except fragments that do not contain the relevant portions of the books, of course).  So the earliest evidence for genealogies existing in Mt and Lk may be the earliest complete copies of Mt and Lk themselves.  Others can comment on the first external reference to a gospel genealogy; I've not studied the church fathers much at all.

        Rev. Chuck Jones
        Atlanta, Georgia


        ________________________________
        From: David Inglis <davidinglis2@...>
        To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 6:23 PM
        Subject: [Synoptic-L] The genealogies and the Diatessaron.



         
        The Diatessaron does not contain a genealogy. Is there any evidence to suggest that Tatian knew of one when he wrote it?
        If not, what is the earliest evidence of a genealogy existing in either Mt or Lk? Is it possible they are both
        post-Tatian interpolations? (Marcion's gospel does not contain a genealogy either)

        David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

        https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Chuck Jones
        Picturing Tatian staring at the two passages brings a smile to my face, Jeff.  Once the two genealogies pass David, they are irreconcilable.  Son of Solomon
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 18, 2013
          Picturing Tatian staring at the two passages brings a smile to my face, Jeff.  Once the two genealogies pass David, they are irreconcilable.  Son of Solomon or son of Nathan?  Was Jesus' grandfather Heli or Jacob?

          Rev. Chuck Jones
          Atlanta, Georgia


          ________________________________
          From: Jeff Peterson <peterson@...>
          To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 6:49 PM
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] The genealogies and the Diatessaron.


          Marcion's Christology gave him a reason not to include a genealogy if he
          knew of one. And how would Tatian have gone about harmonizing the Matthaean
          and Lucan genealogies if he were inclined to?

          Jeff Peterson


          On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 5:23 PM, David Inglis <davidinglis2@...>wrote:

          > **
          >
          >
          > The Diatessaron does not contain a genealogy. Is there any evidence to
          > suggest that Tatian knew of one when he wrote it?
          > If not, what is the earliest evidence of a genealogy existing in either Mt
          > or Lk? Is it possible they are both
          > post-Tatian interpolations? (Marcion's gospel does not contain a genealogy
          > either)
          >
          > David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA
          >
          > https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >

          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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