I haven't been ignoring XT posts but lately my work on World of
the Levant circum the ministry of Jesus has led to some interest-
ing and distracting directions:
a. The literary output of Israelites both at home and in
the Diaspora was astounding for reasons I never ex-
o The small volume of texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls
compared with the total volume we now possess even
though by title the texts and more are nearly all
o The amount of pseudepigraphic texts created both of
sacred material and of historical items. Rather than
call them pseudepigraphic, some are determinedly par-
tisan versions of the items;
+ Two items stick out:
a. Philo's rewrite out of whole cloth of the Story
of Sodom in his Address on Gaius Caligula.
b. Josephus's patently partisan view of Alexander's
visit to Siwah.
Both items were written with serious expectation the
slant would not be found out during their lives.
o what seems clear evidence the final version of the
Massora was not completed until the 2nd c. CE;
My previous view that NT authors would not invent data without
fear of contradiction seemed weak until I realized the Rabbinic
fabrications on the details of Jesus' life fell on barren soil
and that Gentiles knew the broad patterns of that life direct not
just from the followers of Jesus but from his enemies and from
simply the unaffected.
Two factors seem at work:
o Evangelists who didn't know the details didn't invent them.
A comparison of all the surviving gospels to the Letters of
Paul confirms that view. This may account for the rejection
of the Infancy Gospels. The proofs of the infancy miracles
were not easily accessible being in the heart of Egypt.
o The facts of the Life of Jesus and even the Teachings of
Jesus were well known in Rome as early as the reign of Nero.
When a Satirist like Petronius, under sentence of death by
Nero who did not like being the butt of the joke, can make
the Resurrection a satirical piece or mock the Eucharist
likewise, scholars must assume he was not just writing to
please himself but knew his readers would understand the
Once more, I must insist the List address the completion of the
main fabric of the four Gospels and the Acts before the deaths of
James, Peter and Paul.
In the next millennium scholars will be dealing with more than
the above. I find it curious that among the regular clergy of
the Church of Rome, ie those in orders, many see those views
becoming mainstream and that what we think today will be patent
superstition. It's only a matter of time and patience like women
priests and other such flavors. Is the Pope Polish?