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Re: Birth narratives (SCC)

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  • Ian Hutchesson
    Stephen, I think it is hopeful to expect absolute dates for any of the dating questions you have posed. ... I don t think there is enough evidence to come to
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 3, 1998
      Stephen,

      I think it is hopeful to expect absolute dates for any of the dating
      questions you have posed.

      At 20.39 03/12/98 -0500, you wrote:
      >If we are going to take this conversation seriously, I would like to have
      >some idea what your views on the following questions are:
      >
      >1. When did Nazareth come to exist as a town by that name?

      I don't think there is enough evidence to come to any conclusions. Is it
      really relevant?

      >2. When was the original version of Mark composed?

      1 - 135 CE. or perhaps ending sometime before Papias's stuff if that is at
      all trustworthy. it's very hard to use that information, given the story he
      gives regarding the gospel of Matthew in Hebrew. One could easily use such
      possible ravings as a basis for attributing names to erstwhile anonymous
      works. (Many of the Judaeo-Christian texts were in fact anonymous.) What
      Papias was referring to is anyone's guess. There were numerous gospels going
      around according to Paul.

      >3. When was Mark published so that the authors of Matthew and
      > Luke could obtain access to it?

      Sometime after #2. Can you honestly do any better?

      >4. When was Matthew composed using the original version of Mark?

      Sometime after #3.

      >5. When was "from Nazareth" first added into Mark 1:9?

      Sometime after #4

      >6. How many copies of Mark were in existence at the time when
      > "from Nazareth" was added into Mark 1:9?

      I don't know. From the little internal evidence in GMark, I'd guess that it
      was written in Rome, though I don't think either GMatt or GLuke were. They
      separately obtained copies of GMark and used them, but it would have been
      that Roman tradition of GMark that probably survived the earliest period,
      though with GMatt and GLuke there was little reason to preserve those few
      early copies.

      >7. When was "Nazara" added into how many copies of Matthew?

      Before #5; if it was a progressive reworking of GMark one need only one text.

      >8. When were "Nazareth" and "Nazoreans" added into how many copies
      > of Matthew?

      After #7 and perhaps before #5, though it isn't necessary if the GMark
      tradition was maintained in its own community which had little contact with
      that which had the Matthean text.

      >9. How many copies of Matthew were in existence at the times?

      I don't see any reason to believe very many at all, if the document was
      maintained by a community -- especially if that document was simply a
      modified and updated working of the initially obtained GMark.

      >(For the question "when", please supply absolute dates or ranges of
      >dates, e.g. c. 80-95, rather than relative dates because that issue
      >is clearer. For example, here is one possible set of answers, though
      >probably not yours: 1. before 6 BCE; 2. c.65; 3. c.65; 4. c.80; 5.
      >c.65; 6. 1; 7. c.80 into 1 copy of Mt; 8. c.80 into 1 copy of Mt;
      >9. only the one copy of Mt for both #7 & #8).
      >
      >I'm having a little trouble visualizing a plausible mechanism for
      >introduction of such specific changes into widely published texts
      >that does not leave a trace in the form of variant readings among
      >the extant manuscripts -- and I hope that answers to these questions
      >can help me.

      I don't know whether these answers have in fact helped you, but I'm sure
      you'll soon let us all know.


      Ian
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