Re: [XTalk] Historical Jesus Theories: circularity
>Steve said:I think my post wasn't clear. I have no real doubts that Paul knew
>The problem with this debate is that it is a classic example of
>arguing from silence. Both sides have shown how nimble they can be in
>their arguments - but neither has any basis for their assertions
>other than - "well it kind of makes sense doesn't it?" It seems to me
>that both sides have somewhat coherent arguments - but the *facts*
>are simply too sparse!
>Tony Buglass said
>I don't accept that this is a circular argument, or an argument from
>silence. It is true that Paul only makes occasional references to
>the historical Jesus, but there are enough references for us to
>conclude that Jesus' historical existence was not unknown or
>irrelevant to Paul:
>Jesus was born of a woman (although there is no reference to a virgin birth);
>He was born under the Law (Gal.4:4);
>He was a descendant of David (Rom.1:3-4);
>He had brothers (1 Cor.9:5; Gal.1:19);
>Jesus had followers, including the Twelve (1 Cor.15:3);
>He ministered to the Jews (Rom.15:8);
>There are allusions to his character of meekness and compassion (eg
>Paul knows about the institution of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor.11:23-26);
>He was crucified and buried (1 Cor.15:4);
>His death was brought about by the Jews (1 Th.2:15).
>It is clear that Paul did know that Jesus had been a historical
>person, that his ministry had taken place, and that the salvation
>events upon which he reflected and preached were actual events
>rather than fables.
about the Historical Jesus - I was thinking specifically of Paul's
knowledge of Jesus' *teaching*. I didn't say that in the post so it
is not strange that you didn't pick it up.
>Once again, I see no reason to doubt that Paul knew (a little, at
>I *certainly* think
>it unsound to build anything on what we imagine Paul's oral teaching
>included - there is no control at all in that!!!
>Tony Buglass said
>I agree that we can't put any weight on what he may or may not have
>taught orally, because there is simply no evidence. However, given
>the above, it is clear that Paul did know something of the life and
>teaching of HJ, therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that this
>was part of his teaching and ministry in his initial mission and
>church planting. That being the case, it is more than likely that
>he did receive some of the facts from those who were there, like
>Peter. It is equally likely that the traditions which the form
>critics assure us were formed and transmitted among the churches
>were available and circulating in the churches where he worked.
>Perhaps he learned some of the stories from those whom he taught?
>Hypothesis, sure. Inference, definitely. But I'd say reasonable
least) about the life of Jesus - but I see less reason to be sure
that he knew about the teachings of Jesus. Your argument *seems*
likely enough - but it is simply not reflected in the facts as we
have them in Paul's writings. *If* Paul DID know the teachings of
Jesus, a reading of his letters suggests that he didn't think about
them too much. There are a few indicators of such a knowledge - such
divorce in 1 Cor. - so it does seem likely that Paul may have had a
minimal knowledge of Jesus' teachings. The absence of Paul's use of
Jesus' teachings thus could mean no knowledge of them (except for a
bit here or there - like divorce in 1 Cor.), or a general lack of
interest in them because he had his *own* kerygma.
My concern with arguing from silence is so reconstructing the
scenario with "invented" background info so that a Paul who knew and
daily used the teachings of Jesus in his ministry emerges. This Paul
is the one argued from silence that I was addressing. This can only
be done on an oral level where there are no controls. Paul's
*letters*, as inadequate as they may be, must function as the primary
controls for all our reconstructions of Paul and his ministry.
Vancouver School of Theology
Once in a while you can get shown the light
in the strangest of places if you look at it right...
-Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS