> From: Shawn KelleyGee. You've sent a prolegomenon to what promises to be a most
> I have come to conclude that there is more than rational argumentation to
> Bultmann's demythologizing program, to the category of "parable" and to the current
> explosion of Q scholarship as found in the Jesus seminar. Developing a persuasive
> critique of Q, and an equally persuasive alternative to Q, is only part of the
> trick. Tracking down the ideological and institutional underpinnings that render
> these positions coherent is also necessary.
interesting letter. Please supplement it with discussion of what it is
about Bultmann, JSem, Q scholarship and so forth that is at issue.
- Shawn Kelley wrote:
> What has this to do with the Synoptic Problem? Nothing directly, I suppose,Surely the question "what did Jesus say" versus "what did people
> but I do think that it intrudes on the issues in a number of ways.
> i) Arguments about earlier/later or primitive/more developed may be influenced
> by Heidegger's aesthethic and philosophical views on primordiality and
> authenticity. One must be on guard.
attribute to him that he didn't say" would arise under any modern
circumstances. But I do think that there are criteria for
"authenticity" that may indeed be influenced by factors that are not
> ii) Parable scholarship is particularly vulnerable here, given the desire toThere is at least one third category, the "example story" e.g. Luke's
> have the parables do so much. This could effect arguments about early/late
> parables in Thomas, Q, Jesus or Mark. I hope, ultimately, to help rethink the
> rather standard assumptions about the antithesis between parable and allegory.
Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan. People do indeed want parables to
do "so much." I found at least 12 parables experts writing about how
parables were psychologically transformative in dramatic ways, a
notion that fit my own theories, but I have yet to think that they
make good cases for such dramatic effect. I just hoped they knew what
they were talking about... but now wish I hadn't done so in print.
The canon within a canon, which is the authentic Jesus sayings has a
canon within it too, which is the parables.
> iii) Some literary readings of Gospels are influenced in the same way. Fowler,In my opinion there is an enormous amount of Protestant thinking
> for example, reads Mark as a parable that gets flattened out and allegorized by
> Matthew. He makes a number of moves that are questionable from a literary
> point of view (i.e. he doesn't follow Mark's plot), because he is guided by
> aesthetic assumptions about parable/allegory, authentic/inauthentic. Thus
> particular arguments on the relation of Matthew or Luke to Mark must be
> carefully scrutinized.
> iv) In a similar way, there is a long history of reading Luke-Acts through the
> eyes of Conzelmann and Haenchen- with Luke ruining the primitive Christian
> eschatology and kerygma through his disreputable salvation history. One must
> be careful in employing such categories for Luke.
behind all of this. As I see it the Protestant restorationist view is
that there once was a time of Christian perfection, the time of the
NT, and everything deviating from that time is ruining the
perfection. Thus we may dismiss everything from 120 to 1500
categorically. But before 120 Protestant leaders (I think of Luther)
do tend to separate out the more perfect from the perfect, favoring
let us say Romans over James, Matthew over Revelation. So we do
have a period of mythic time, the NT period, and within that mythic
time, with only the slightest input of sophistication (i.e. the texts
are not all of one point of view), the desire to separate out the most
perfect exemplars of that mythic time. The historical Jesus quest
then favors, not Romans, but Jesus.
But... I would say that this sort of thing is ongoing well before
Heidegger. From your analysis I thought him quite representative of
the protestant worldview and am surprised to learn he was raised
> v) The popularity of Q, particularly for Mack, is in some way related to theI would suggest severing the hypothesis of Q as a literary source-
> long history of the reception of Heidegger. This may help explain why someone
> like Goulder gets no respect here in the US. Q may well be embraced, by some,
> for ideological reasons. If Goulder gets rid of Q, then it makes sense to
> ignore him.
critical theory from the use of Q as a most authentic text. I do not
think these are the same thing. I could, then, agree with your first
sentence in v) above but disagree with the second. The popularity of
Q is one thing, the almost universally perceived incompetence of
Goulder is another thing. One might argue vis a vis Q (as people do
vis a vis Thomas) that even conceding that each text contains less
mediated Jesus sayings than do the canonical texts, nevertheless each
is so thoroughly mediated that neither is thereby more useful, as
texts, than are the canonical texts. Thus we cast aside all texts,
including Q, and construct a new text of "authentic" sayings. Now,
whether that "authentic" is Heidegger's "authentic" depends I think
on the claims made for it and not the notion of historical
reliability, which also is called "authenticity." Watch out for
equivocation on "authenticity."
Church is more authentic than anything else -- prereformation
NT is more authentic than the church -- reformation
Paul/Synoptics are more authentic than the NT whole -- Luther
Synoptics are more authentic than the NT -- Quest for HJ
Thomas[//synoptics]+Q are more authentic than the NT -- JSem
Jesus is more authentic than Thomas/Q -- Crosstalk's presupposition
You've brought interesting things to think about.