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Heidegger's Influence

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  • Stevan Davies
    ... Gee. You ve sent a prolegomenon to what promises to be a most interesting letter. Please supplement it with discussion of what it is about Bultmann, JSem,
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 28, 1998
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      > From: Shawn Kelley

      > 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.

      Gee. You've sent a prolegomenon to what promises to be a most
      interesting letter. Please supplement it with discussion of what it is
      about Bultmann, JSem, Q scholarship and so forth that is at issue.

    • Stevan Davies
      ... Surely the question what did Jesus say versus what did people attribute to him that he didn t say would arise under any modern circumstances. But I do
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 3, 1998
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        Shawn Kelley wrote:
        > What has this to do with the Synoptic Problem? Nothing directly, I suppose,
        > 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.

        Surely the question "what did Jesus say" versus "what did people
        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
        strictly historical.

        > ii) Parable scholarship is particularly vulnerable here, given the desire to
        > 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.

        There is at least one third category, the "example story" e.g. Luke's
        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,
        > 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.

        In my opinion there is an enormous amount of Protestant thinking
        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 the
        > 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.

        I would suggest severing the hypothesis of Q as a literary source-
        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.

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