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Mighty deeds

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  • Rikk E. Watts
    To all, A week ago or so, I sent a posting on Jesus mighty deeds outlining an argument about origins that I made at SBL last year. Since then I ve had very
    Message 1 of 30 , Oct 5, 2002
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      To all,

      A week ago or so, I sent a posting on Jesus' mighty deeds outlining an
      argument about origins that I made at SBL last year. Since then I've had
      very few responses. I am unsure whether the silence means disinterest, so
      wrong as to not even know how to respond, general acceptance, don't like it
      but don't know how to respond, etc. I am however very interested in hearing
      any questions/criticisms people might have about the logic, assumptions,
      etc.

      So at the risk of being a bore, I've included it again with a few bits
      tidied up. Thanks for your indulgence.

      Some comments on the "mighty deeds" or "signs" (as far as I recall the
      gospels nowhere call them "miracles", best to avoid anachronism if we can).
      1. R. G. Collingwood's insight that it is the "inside" of history (what
      people thought they were doing and why they did it) that makes history
      interesting (and different from the way science was traditionally
      understood) means that one cannot deal with mighty deed stories in
      isolation. They must be examined as a whole, and that within the larger web
      of Jesus' intentionality.

      2. the only access we have to Jesus' intentionality is through the hard data
      of the first biographers' accounts of him, which must be provisionally
      accepted (GTh doesn't help much since isolated sayings are not a very useful
      guide to intentionality and allow too much room for the careless historian
      to inadvertently and anachronistically import his or her own agendas into
      what I might call the intentionality vacuum; there are no copies of Q, which
      is therefore not hard data but an explanatory hypothesis and therefore
      properly relegated to consideration at a later stage in the historical
      investigation). Note: I say "provisionally" because we may decide at the
      end of the process that the accounts are in parts or in their entirely
      unreliable. But that decision must be made at the end not the beginning of
      the process.

      3. speaking of intentionality means that we need to think of the stories of
      Jesus' mighty deeds in the context of his biographers' portrayal of his
      social role as part of the larger matrix of his intentionality: is he
      prophet (leadership, oracular, action, or sign, etc.), "charismatic rabbi" ‹
      if such a category exists (thank you Eric E.), Cynic teacher?

      4. it is noteworthy that in spite of general summary statements that Jesus
      healed all, the actual detailed accounts are limited to a very specific set
      of actions. We need to ask, what and whence the inner logic of this
      selectivity vis-à-vis other social models available in the first cent or
      thereabouts?

      5. in my work over the last year or two in examining individuals who
      reportedly performed mighty deeds from about the 5th cent BC to 3rd cent AD,
      both in the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds, I have found no analogy, not even
      a close one, for the very specific set of mighty deeds attributed to Jesus
      by his biographers. In fact it seems that based on his biographers'
      accounts the specific deeds of Jesus are understood as signs of a new
      creational/new exodus restoration of the image of God (I can't argue this
      here but the data inclines strongly in this direction).

      6. if Jesus did not perform these mighty deeds they must have been imported
      from outside accounts (as is often argued). If so, where are they taken
      from? But in looking for origins we cannot make simplistic suggestions as
      though they imported these stories willy-nilly, "here a story, there a
      story" (not unlike old McDonald's farm) without respect to their perception
      of Jesus' larger social role; and besides the set seems too specific. So
      then, if Jesus stories are imported from e.g. Asclepius then why is Jesus so
      unlike him both in the character and scope of his mighty deeds? If 'divine
      men' (which category it now seems widely agreed is no longer viable) then
      why are his deeds, as a set, not more like theirs? If we turn to the Jewish
      front, perhaps the most natural place given the Jewish character of Jesus'
      biographies, then his biographers certainly do not present him as a putative
      "charismatic rabbi" (no rain stories for Jesus, and no eschatology or
      healing of the blind, deaf, lame, etc for them), or sign prophet (they share
      eschatology but Jesus does not promise opening of the Jordan, etc. and they
      do not heal the blind, lame etc.)? Perhaps his deeds come from Elijah and
      Elisha, but even here there are significant differences: no exorcisms, no
      deaf, lame, blind ‹ so characteristic of Jesus ‹ and no water walking or
      storm stilling, etc.; a similar conclusion follows re Moses, though there is
      an expectation of a repetition of the manna mighty deed hence perhaps
      Peter¹s confession (but of course Jesus does far more than that). Further,
      as far as we know (4Q521 not withstanding) no one expected a messianic
      figure ‹ which is how Jesus biographers describe him ‹ to perform these
      kinds of deeds (again apart from the feedings if seen as repetition of the
      manna). Both Qumran and the Targums spiritualize the healings of e.g. Isa 35
      (understandably given Isa 6) relating them to understanding Torah. No
      surprise then that no one in the biographers' accounts acclaim Jesus as
      Messiah on account of his mighty deeds.

      7. so here is the historical problem: within twenty years or so, perhaps
      even earlier, of Jesus' death there are already circulating a series of
      quite specific oral or written traditions (thanks Matt) with regard to
      particular mighty deeds (presuming that Mark did not invent these stories;
      if he did then add another decade or so). The problem is, when set within
      the proper context of social role, that there is no parallel for the
      particular set contained in his biographers¹ accounts. No one records this
      particular set of mighty deeds of any figure of which I am aware from
      several centuries before to several centuries after. If so, then how can
      they be borrowed? And in any case why bother, since no Jewish person
      expected such a set? So the question presses: where in the world did the
      idea arise that this very specific and unique set of mighty deeds was
      performed by Jesus? And that so soon after his death?


      Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
      Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
      Regent College
      5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David C. Hindley
      ... argument about origins that I made at SBL last year. Since then I ve had very few responses. I am unsure whether the silence means disinterest, so wrong
      Message 2 of 30 , Oct 5, 2002
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        Rikk Watts says:

        >>A week ago or so, I sent a posting on Jesus' mighty deeds outlining an
        argument about origins that I made at SBL last year. Since then I've had
        very few responses. I am unsure whether the silence means disinterest, so
        wrong as to not even know how to respond, general acceptance, don't like it
        but don't know how to respond, etc.<<

        Believe me, I know what it is like. <g>

        >> I am however very interested in hearing any questions/criticisms people
        might have about the logic, assumptions, etc.<<

        I did see your post, and was thinking about commenting, but had been
        traveling out of town a bit and had no chance.

        >>2. the only access we have to Jesus' intentionality is through the hard
        data of the first biographers' accounts of him, which must be provisionally
        accepted [...] Note: I say "provisionally" because we may decide at the end
        of the process that the accounts are in parts or in their entirely
        unreliable. But that decision must be made at the end not the beginning of
        the process.<<

        Hmmm ... "must" be provisionally accepted? Would not a secular historian, at
        first at least, look simultaneously at the document as "honest" and
        "suspect"? In the first case s/he is looking for ways to fit the data into
        the picture of the time and place that we know from other sources, in hopes
        of securing a better overall picture than was previously available. In the
        latter, s/he is looking for indications that the facts have been distorted
        in the service of an agenda. Are you not over-emphasizing the former process
        in reaction to your impression that the latter has been over-emphasized? It
        seems to me that they need to go hand in hand.

        >>5. in my work over the last year or two in examining individuals who
        reportedly performed mighty deeds from about the 5th cent BC to 3rd cent AD,
        both in the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds, I have found no analogy, not even
        a close one, for the very specific set of mighty deeds attributed to Jesus
        by his biographers. [...]

        >>6. if Jesus did not perform these mighty deeds they must have been
        imported from outside accounts (as is often argued). If so, where are they
        taken from? But in looking for origins we cannot make simplistic
        suggestions as though they imported these stories willy-nilly, "here a
        story, there a story" (not unlike old McDonald's farm) without respect to
        their perception of Jesus' larger social role; and besides the set seems too
        specific.<<

        Saulasau saulasau kaulacau kaulacau ziersam ziersam. "For it is precept upon
        precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a
        little, there a little." [RSV Isaiah 28:10] Are you alluding to Epiphanius'
        ironic translation "trouble upon trouble, hope upon hope, wait yet a little
        longer..." [Panarion 25.4.5], or suggesting, in the manner of Irenaeus or
        Hippolytus, that too many (modern) interpreters are essentially babbling
        gnostics? <g>

        But seriously, I am at a loss to understand what you mean by "close
        analogy." I was under the impression that many of Jesus' deeds were thought
        to have their origins in statements found in Jewish scripture about the
        kinds of things God or his retainers will do in the last days, such as in
        Zech 11:4-17. "For lo, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not
        care for the perishing, or seek the wandering, or heal the maimed, or
        nourish the sound, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even
        their hoofs" (vs 11) gives the antithesis of the good shepherd, which
        Zechariah plays the role of, and which later Christians took to be a type of
        Christ. [Shades of Steve Davies "interesting literary device, one that
        probably has a latin name to it" <see his post of 10/4 on "Mark">].

        If Jesus was thought of as a magician (as in the cases of some end-times
        agitators mentioned by Josephus) in non-Christian circles, the author of
        Mark may have then took these scriptural statements as indications of what
        Jesus "must" have "really" been doing. Again, this makes Mark somewhat of an
        apologist to non-Christians by turning negatives into positives. This is not
        to say that the author of Mark necessarily invented these "mighty deeds" for
        Jesus, as the author of Mark's group may have already done so prior to the
        writing of the Gospel of Mark. So, don't look for individuals to serve as
        models, look for "types" that were interpreted as prefigurements of Jesus
        and the role he was thought to have played in the days in which Mark was
        written.

        Taken as apology, even acts like exorcisms that are not easily attributable
        to mimesis can be interpreted as attempts to redirect criticisms. A
        (admittedly hypothetical) Arafat-like statement that Jesus would "drive the
        legions of the Roman pigs into the sea" becomes an exorcism story regarding
        a "legion" of demons driven into pigs who choke in the "Sea". Jews were
        famous for their exorcists so it is not surprising to see a rumor or charge
        like that recast into an exorcism. Exorcism would not presumably have a
        negative connotation. In contrast, an inflammatory statement that would
        guarantee a crucifixion if the speaker was caught after making it certainly
        would have a negative connotation.

        >>7. so here is the historical problem: within twenty years or so, perhaps
        even earlier, of Jesus' death there are already circulating a series of
        quite specific oral or written traditions (thanks Matt) with regard to
        particular mighty deeds (presuming that Mark did not invent these stories;
        if he did then add another decade or so).<<

        Mark was written 40-50 CE? Regardless, I think your best bet would be to
        offer a counterpoint, and find cultural contexts that plausibly allows your
        oral "mighty works" traditions to develop early as you think it did, rather
        than as later apologetics. That, I believe, will end up being an even
        greater challenge for you than finding other men who performed mighty deeds
        like Jesus is said to have done.

        Just my idiotic humble opinion.

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • Matthew Estrada
        Hello, again, Rikk, You wrote: 7. so here is the historical problem: within twenty years or so, perhaps even earlier, of Jesus death there are already
        Message 3 of 30 , Oct 6, 2002
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          Hello, again, Rikk,

          You wrote:

          7. so here is the historical problem: within twenty
          years or so, perhaps
          even earlier, of Jesus' death there are already
          circulating a series of
          quite specific oral or written traditions (thanks
          Matt) with regard to
          particular mighty deeds (presuming that Mark did not
          invent these stories;
          if he did then add another decade or so).

          Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the
          "mighty deeds" of Jesus that we have recorded in the
          gospels came neither from oral (unless from Paul and
          other contemporary preachers of that time who
          "invented" these stories, not for the purpose of
          deceit or because they themselves believed them, but
          rather for the purpose of teaching and defending the
          faith) nor from written sources, but that the gospel
          authors themselves invented them (for the reason
          stated above). I do not think that the gospel authors
          believed that Jesus actually "performed" these
          miracles, nor are they trying to portray Jesus in this
          way. I think the miracle that concerned them was
          Jesus, being God, died on the cross for humanity and
          then rose from the grave, and that this is what they
          were communicating via their "stories". I think the
          gospel authors might be very surprised that
          Christendom has interpreted their stories in a
          literal-historical manner. Hope to share more later,
          Rikk.

          Matt Estrada



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        • Rikk E. Watts
          Thanks David, again much appreciated. ... Yes, Collingwood would call this the historian s imagination (not sure where the word secular came from) whereby
          Message 4 of 30 , Oct 7, 2002
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            Thanks David, again much appreciated.
            on 10/5/02 9:02 PM, David C. Hindley at dhindley@... wrote:
            >
            >>> 2. the only access we have to Jesus' intentionality is through the hard
            > data of the first biographers' accounts of him, which must be provisionally
            > accepted [...] Note: I say "provisionally" because we may decide at the end
            > of the process that the accounts are in parts or in their entirely
            > unreliable. But that decision must be made at the end not the beginning of
            > the process.<<
            >
            > Hmmm ... "must" be provisionally accepted? Would not a secular historian, at
            > first at least, look simultaneously at the document as "honest" and
            > "suspect"? In the first case s/he is looking for ways to fit the data into
            > the picture of the time and place that we know from other sources, in hopes
            > of securing a better overall picture than was previously available. In the
            > latter, s/he is looking for indications that the facts have been distorted
            > in the service of an agenda. Are you not over-emphasizing the former process
            > in reaction to your impression that the latter has been over-emphasized? It
            > seems to me that they need to go hand in hand.
            Yes, Collingwood would call this the historian's imagination (not sure where
            the word "secular" came from) whereby her training would lead her to have a
            feel for what stands a chance and what doesn't. But when you say "looking
            for indications that the facts have been distorted," aren't you already
            claiming a) some secret knowledge of the facts in the first place against
            which you can measure distortions, and b) special insight into the author's
            agenda, again assuming that one has independent access to what really
            happened on which basis to determine an agenda? In truth what happens is
            one reads a document and accepting their story compares it to what is in the
            process of learning elsewhere. It is in the process of comparing and
            contrasting the those accounts that one seeks the best explanation, but it
            seems to me it is only then, that one can speak of distortions and agendas.

            >>> 6. if Jesus did not perform these mighty deeds they must have been
            > imported from outside accounts (as is often argued). If so, where are they
            > taken from? But in looking for origins we cannot make simplistic
            > suggestions as though they imported these stories willy-nilly, "here a
            > story, there a story" (not unlike old McDonald's farm) without respect to
            > their perception of Jesus' larger social role; and besides the set seems too
            > specific.<<
            >
            > ...
            > But seriously, I am at a loss to understand what you mean by "close
            > analogy." I was under the impression that many of Jesus' deeds were thought
            > to have their origins in statements found in Jewish scripture about the
            > kinds of things God or his retainers will do in the last days, such as in
            > Zech 11:4-17. "For lo, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not
            > care for the perishing, or seek the wandering, or heal the maimed, or
            > nourish the sound, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even
            > their hoofs" (vs 11) gives the antithesis of the good shepherd, which
            > Zechariah plays the role of, and which later Christians took to be a type of
            > Christ. [Shades of Steve Davies "interesting literary device, one that
            > probably has a latin name to it" <see his post of 10/4 on "Mark">].
            I'd be interested to see where the gospel writers allude to Zech 11.4-17.
            But as far as I can there is no evidence that first century Jews expected a
            messianic figure to do this kind of thing. Why would Mark or anyone invent
            something that no one was expecting, and then when Mt and Lk repeat those
            stories they appeal to Isa 35 etc?

            > If Jesus was thought of as a magician (as in the cases of some end-times
            > agitators mentioned by Josephus) in non-Christian circles, the author of
            > Mark may have then took these scriptural statements as indications of what
            > Jesus "must" have "really" been doing.
            Yes. But that's the nub of the problem. Why should the charge of being a
            magician result in these particular mighty deeds? I can't the necessary
            connection. Why create something that appeals to a scripture in a way that
            no one read it anyhow?

            >Again, this makes Mark somewhat of an
            > apologist to non-Christians by turning negatives into positives. This is not
            > to say that the author of Mark necessarily invented these "mighty deeds" for
            > Jesus, as the author of Mark's group may have already done so prior to the
            > writing of the Gospel of Mark.
            Indeed; it was most likely earlier than Mark (hence my reference to oral
            tradition) but this only puts the problem back earlier. Where did they get
            the idea to create this particular set of mighty deeds?

            > So, don't look for individuals to serve as
            > models, look for "types" that were interpreted as prefigurements of Jesus
            > and the role he was thought to have played in the days in which Mark was
            > written.
            Exactly! It was looking at these "types" and expectations that gave rise to
            the question.
            >
            > Taken as apology, even acts like exorcisms that are not easily attributable
            > to mimesis can be interpreted as attempts to redirect criticisms. A
            > (admittedly hypothetical) Arafat-like statement that Jesus would "drive the
            > legions of the Roman pigs into the sea" becomes an exorcism story regarding
            > a "legion" of demons driven into pigs who choke in the "Sea". Jews were
            > famous for their exorcists so it is not surprising to see a rumor or charge
            > like that recast into an exorcism. Exorcism would not presumably have a
            > negative connotation. In contrast, an inflammatory statement that would
            > guarantee a crucifixion if the speaker was caught after making it certainly
            > would have a negative connotation.
            Whatever might have happened with particular sub-categories, e.g. exorcisms,
            the problem is the larger set. Whence the logic for that set?

            >>> 7. so here is the historical problem: within twenty years or so, perhaps
            > even earlier, of Jesus' death there are already circulating a series of
            > quite specific oral or written traditions (thanks Matt) with regard to
            > particular mighty deeds (presuming that Mark did not invent these stories;
            > if he did then add another decade or so).<<
            >
            > Mark was written 40-50 CE?
            Perhaps my math is wrong... If Jesus dies around 30, and assuming Mark is
            written in the 60s, if oral tradition around for ten years before that, =
            50s, thus 20 years or so after Jesus' death. Give or take 5 years. Did I
            miss something?

            > Regardless, I think your best bet would be to
            > offer a counterpoint, and find cultural contexts that plausibly allows your
            > oral "mighty works" traditions to develop early as you think it did, rather
            > than as later apologetics. That, I believe, will end up being an even
            > greater challenge for you than finding other men who performed mighty deeds
            > like Jesus is said to have done.
            You are right. Two comments: it doesn't really bother me whether they are
            apologetics or not, after all there is no reason my apologetics has to be
            late (Lindars saw scriptural apologetics from the beginning). The issue is
            the logic behind the paradigm. Second, I'm not looking for identical
            individual mighty deeds per se as much as I am looking at the inner logic of
            the set as the gospel writers record them ‹ hence the opening comment about
            intentionality. This is the real problem. In terms of cultural contexts
            that allowed individual stories to be "created" (or whatever the term of
            choice) and then to coalesce into this specific and unique set, I suspect it
            will be as likely as developing a perpetual motion machine. At some point a
            logic emerged that led to this set. My problem is that the only figure who
            does anything like this particular set is Yahweh, and yet no one in the
            first century seemed to be expecting this. Somewhere the train jumped the
            tracks and went off in a new direction. They really do seem to be connecting
            Jesus with Yahweh's personal action but in ways that no one seemed to be
            expecting. One would have expected that creations, if they are going to
            serve some social purpose as apologetics, would at least have been the kinds
            of things people were expecting Yahweh to do. Bizarre.

            > Just my idiotic humble opinion.
            Hey Dave, never idiotic. I really do appreciate your questions. One of the
            reasons I enjoy this list.

            > Respectfully,
            >
            > Dave Hindley
            > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
            >
            >
            >
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            Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
            Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
            Regent College
            5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
          • Rikk E. Watts
            Thanks Matt, I guess my response would be, apart from this proposal sounding rather Straussian, be the mighty deed stories symbols or whatever, the question
            Message 5 of 30 , Oct 7, 2002
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              Thanks Matt,
              I guess my response would be, apart from this proposal sounding rather
              Straussian, be the mighty deed stories symbols or whatever, the question
              still presses: why this particular set of symbols?

              Regards,
              Rikk

              on 10/6/02 8:23 AM, Matthew Estrada at matt_estrada@... wrote:

              > Hello, again, Rikk,
              >
              > You wrote:
              >
              > 7. so here is the historical problem: within twenty
              > years or so, perhaps
              > even earlier, of Jesus' death there are already
              > circulating a series of
              > quite specific oral or written traditions (thanks
              > Matt) with regard to
              > particular mighty deeds (presuming that Mark did not
              > invent these stories;
              > if he did then add another decade or so).
              >
              > Personally, I have come to the conclusion that the
              > "mighty deeds" of Jesus that we have recorded in the
              > gospels came neither from oral (unless from Paul and
              > other contemporary preachers of that time who
              > "invented" these stories, not for the purpose of
              > deceit or because they themselves believed them, but
              > rather for the purpose of teaching and defending the
              > faith) nor from written sources, but that the gospel
              > authors themselves invented them (for the reason
              > stated above). I do not think that the gospel authors
              > believed that Jesus actually "performed" these
              > miracles, nor are they trying to portray Jesus in this
              > way. I think the miracle that concerned them was
              > Jesus, being God, died on the cross for humanity and
              > then rose from the grave, and that this is what they
              > were communicating via their "stories". I think the
              > gospel authors might be very surprised that
              > Christendom has interpreted their stories in a
              > literal-historical manner. Hope to share more later,
              > Rikk.
              >
              > Matt Estrada
              >
              >
              >
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              Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
              Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
              Regent College
              5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mark Goodacre
              ... Very much enjoying your posts, as always, Rikk. I m a bit concerned about the repeated comments like the one above about creat[ing] a particular set
              Message 6 of 30 , Oct 7, 2002
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                On 7 Oct 2002 at 8:44, Rikk E. Watts wrote:

                > Indeed; it was most likely earlier than Mark (hence my reference to
                > oral tradition) but this only puts the problem back earlier. Where did
                > they get the idea to create this particular set of mighty deeds?

                Very much enjoying your posts, as always, Rikk. I'm a bit concerned
                about the repeated comments like the one above about "creat[ing]" a
                particular "set" of "mighty deeds". You continually express surprise
                at the idea that anyone would create this particular set of mighty
                deeds, but this is a straw man, isn't it? Isn't the set we have the
                result of evolution and interaction between scripture, tradition,
                legend and more? Most historical Jesus scholars now, rightly in my
                view, would say that Jesus was known as a successful healer, however
                this might have been achieved. That interacts with Scriptural
                precedent, both in terms of model and in terms of prophetic texts.
                Models: Elijah and Elisha provide healing of a leper, raising of a
                widow's son, a feeding miracle and more. Prophetic texts: Isaiah 35
                gives us healing of blind, deaf, dumb, lame and Isaiah 61 good news
                to the poor and liberty to captives.

                It's clear too that legend is playing a major part. To take the
                obvious example, does anyone think that Jesus fed the 5,000 and then
                the 4,000 a few weeks later? No, we assume that both stories have
                the same basic origin but that they are different versions of that
                same story passed on in oral tradition. Presumably the same thing is
                rife in oral tradition. And I'd also have thought that the
                evangelists' own creativity is playing a major part.

                So it's not a case of anyone creating a particular set of mighty
                deeds, and our needing to wonder at why it is, on this theory, that
                they choose to generate this particular set. Rather, as we might
                have expected, scripture has interacted with history has interacted
                with tradition has interacted with legend and creativity. I'd have
                thought that if you throw those ingredients together, we might well
                have expected a set of stories something like the one we have. I
                wonder, therefore, whether we need to ask the question about "the
                logic" of this set.

                Mark
                -----------------------------
                Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                http://NTGateway.com
              • Rikk E. Watts
                Hi Mark, ... Mark, great to hear from you. Trust that you are well. This is precisely the kind of explanation I am at present questioning because in my view it
                Message 7 of 30 , Oct 7, 2002
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                  Hi Mark,

                  on 10/7/02 12:43 PM, Mark Goodacre at M.S.Goodacre@... wrote:

                  > On 7 Oct 2002 at 8:44, Rikk E. Watts wrote:
                  >
                  >> Indeed; it was most likely earlier than Mark (hence my reference to
                  >> oral tradition) but this only puts the problem back earlier. Where did
                  >> they get the idea to create this particular set of mighty deeds?
                  >
                  > Very much enjoying your posts, as always, Rikk. I'm a bit concerned
                  > about the repeated comments like the one above about "creat[ing]" a
                  > particular "set" of "mighty deeds". You continually express surprise
                  > at the idea that anyone would create this particular set of mighty
                  > deeds, but this is a straw man, isn't it? Isn't the set we have the
                  > result of evolution and interaction between scripture, tradition,
                  > legend and more? Most historical Jesus scholars now, rightly in my
                  > view, would say that Jesus was known as a successful healer, however
                  > this might have been achieved. That interacts with Scriptural
                  > precedent, both in terms of model and in terms of prophetic texts.
                  > Models: Elijah and Elisha provide healing of a leper, raising of a
                  > widow's son, a feeding miracle and more. Prophetic texts: Isaiah 35
                  > gives us healing of blind, deaf, dumb, lame and Isaiah 61 good news
                  > to the poor and liberty to captives.
                  >
                  ...
                  > So it's not a case of anyone creating a particular set of mighty
                  > deeds, and our needing to wonder at why it is, on this theory, that
                  > they choose to generate this particular set. Rather, as we might
                  > have expected, scripture has interacted with history has interacted
                  > with tradition has interacted with legend and creativity. I'd have
                  > thought that if you throw those ingredients together, we might well
                  > have expected a set of stories something like the one we have. I
                  > wonder, therefore, whether we need to ask the question about "the
                  > logic" of this set.

                  Mark, great to hear from you. Trust that you are well.

                  This is precisely the kind of explanation I am at present questioning
                  because in my view it lacks genuine explanatory power, and if pressed
                  becomes very quickly a kind of "just so" story. Am I right that you are
                  thinking in terms of the "scripturized" history model that you suggested
                  over against Crossan? I think something like that might have gone on. But
                  the devil's in the details.
                  E.g. two points:
                  A) E.g. Isa 35 and the Elijah/Elisha stories were around a long time before
                  Jesus and yet no one appears to have expected any messianic figure (as the
                  gospels describe Jesus) to do these things. Qumran and the Targums
                  understand the healings of Isa 35 metaphorically (with good reason) and
                  there's nothing I can see in contemporary Rabbinic tradition that goes this
                  way. Certainly none of the sign-prophets promised anything like them, but
                  instead offered signs of a new conquest. Why should the gospel writers
                  decide that this is how they should understand Jesus? Not because he was
                  the messiah, because Isa 35 was not understood that way. What's the
                  alternative? Are you saying that Jesus really did these things or something
                  very much like them, and the gospel writers turned to Isa 35 to explain
                  them? Where did they get that idea?

                  B) at the risk of sounding monotonous, I'm trying to start with the data we
                  have: a clear structural logic that seems to inform the gospel writers'
                  selection of these particular mighty deeds. It is one thing to explain how
                  individual stories might have been transformed (as per your feeding example,
                  allowing your assumption for sake of argument). But that's not actually the
                  problem; one feeding swallow does not a summer of explanation of make. The
                  problem is the whole. What needs to be explained is how a process of
                  gradual and somewhat random and isolated development in various scattered
                  traditions carried on in different village and preaching centers (I'm
                  assuming no one was orchestrating this) led within some twenty years
                  (assuming some previous oral tradition) to this internal logic being
                  attributed to Jesus. What raw material did they start with? What
                  assumptions and convictions about Jesus governed the development and where
                  did they come from?

                  So, let's do a thought experiment: taking your Elijah/Elisha model how would
                  explain the origins, in terms of conceptual rather than detailed
                  development, of the logic at work in their selection of Jesus' mighty deeds
                  stories?

                  Regards!

                  Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                  Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                  Regent College
                  5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                • Matthew Estrada
                  ... Mark, the question still remains, how much of the stories are history, and how much are they of the authors own creation? If they are the creation of the
                  Message 8 of 30 , Oct 8, 2002
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                    --- Mark Goodacre wrote:

                    > So it's not a case of anyone creating a particular
                    > set of mighty
                    > deeds, and our needing to wonder at why it is, on
                    > this theory, that
                    > they choose to generate this particular set.
                    > Rather, as we might
                    > have expected, scripture has interacted with history
                    > has interacted
                    > with tradition has interacted with legend and
                    > creativity.

                    Mark, the question still remains, how much of the
                    stories are history, and how much are they of the
                    authors' own creation? If they are the creation of the
                    author, then would it still not be the case of someone
                    creating a particular set of mighty deeds?



                    =====

                    Matthew Estrada

                    113 Laurel Court

                    Peachtree City, Ga 30269


                    __________________________________________________
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                  • Mark Goodacre
                    ... Well if the scenario I was attempting to lay out is correct, then they are both, aren t they? And more. There is an interaction between history,
                    Message 9 of 30 , Oct 8, 2002
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                      On 8 Oct 2002 at 8:17, Matthew Estrada wrote:

                      > --- Mark Goodacre wrote:
                      >
                      > > So it's not a case of anyone creating a particular
                      > > set of mighty
                      > > deeds, and our needing to wonder at why it is, on
                      > > this theory, that
                      > > they choose to generate this particular set.
                      > > Rather, as we might
                      > > have expected, scripture has interacted with history
                      > > has interacted
                      > > with tradition has interacted with legend and
                      > > creativity.
                      >
                      > Mark, the question still remains, how much of the
                      > stories are history, and how much are they of the
                      > authors' own creation? If they are the creation of the
                      > author, then would it still not be the case of someone
                      > creating a particular set of mighty deeds?

                      Well if the scenario I was attempting to lay out is correct, then
                      they are both, aren't they? And more. There is an interaction
                      between history, scripture, tradition and creativity. I don't
                      understand the need for an either-or approach, or for the idea that
                      they are the result of "someone creating" a particular set.

                      Mark
                      -----------------------------
                      Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                      Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                      University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                      Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                      http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                      http://NTGateway.com
                    • Mark Goodacre
                      ... Hi Rikk; good to hear from you too. I disagree with this. I reckon the just so story is more the straw man that I think you are setting up -- no one
                      Message 10 of 30 , Oct 8, 2002
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                        On 7 Oct 2002 at 23:00, Rikk E. Watts wrote:

                        > This is precisely the kind of explanation I am at present questioning
                        > because in my view it lacks genuine explanatory power, and if pressed
                        > becomes very quickly a kind of "just so" story.

                        Hi Rikk; good to hear from you too. I disagree with this. I reckon
                        the "just so" story is more the straw man that I think you are
                        setting up -- no one thinks (do they?) that any individual or group
                        of individuals sat down and created this particular set of miracle
                        stories at a given time. Rather, the more nuanced view is that the
                        "set", if one wants to call it that, evolved over the course of time
                        under the influence of a variety of factors, scripture, tradition,
                        creativity etc.

                        > Am I right that you
                        > are thinking in terms of the "scripturized" history model that you
                        > suggested over against Crossan?

                        That's one of the elements that I think was involved. A story about
                        Jesus raising a widow's son to life, or healing a leper, inevitably
                        reminds the tradent versed in the Hebrew Bible of the similar stories
                        told about Elijah and Elisha --it's one of the reasons that those
                        particular stories stick around in the tradition, especially for
                        those who had a Jesus=Elijah Christology. But bear in mind that the
                        model I was suggesting for the Passion was not purely "history
                        scripturized" but also a complex interaction between scripture and
                        tradition in which it is not always possible to disentangle the one
                        from the other, and I think the same thing was also at work here,
                        yes.

                        > I think something like that might
                        > have gone on. But the devil's in the details. E.g. two points: A)
                        > E.g. Isa 35 and the Elijah/Elisha stories were around a long time
                        > before Jesus and yet no one appears to have expected any messianic
                        > figure (as the gospels describe Jesus) to do these things. Qumran and
                        > the Targums understand the healings of Isa 35 metaphorically (with
                        > good reason) and there's nothing I can see in contemporary Rabbinic
                        > tradition that goes this way. Certainly none of the sign-prophets
                        > promised anything like them, but instead offered signs of a new
                        > conquest. Why should the gospel writers decide that this is how they
                        > should understand Jesus?

                        But this last question illustrates my concern about the way you are
                        framing the debate. It's not a question of anyone making a specific
                        decision to portray Jesus in a given way. It's a process of growth,
                        of change, of evolution. Of course one needs certain factors to get
                        that process going, and I don't doubt for a minute that Jesus was
                        known as a healer and that stories about his feats circulated from
                        early on, but scriptural models and precedents, among other things,
                        interacted with the retellings of the stories, no?

                        On the two specifics: Malachi prophesies Elijah's return before the
                        great and terrible day of the Lord; I'd have thought that an Elijah-
                        returned would be expected to do the kind of things Elijah did. And
                        we know that some early Christians configured Jesus as an Elijah
                        figure, perhaps most obviously Luke, but also very much there in the
                        pre-Markan traditions. On Isa. 35, how do we know that Qumran
                        interprets this metaphorically? 4Q521 gives us an expectation of a
                        messiah figure who will fulfil Isa. 35 and 61; this is really
                        striking for Matthew 11.

                        > Not because he was the messiah, because Isa
                        > 35 was not understood that way. What's the alternative? Are you
                        > saying that Jesus really did these things or something very much like
                        > them, and the gospel writers turned to Isa 35 to explain them? Where
                        > did they get that idea?

                        Not just the gospel writers but the pre-gospel tradents. And I don't
                        think this engages with the suggestion that there is a growth /
                        evolution. Did Jesus do the miracles attributed to him? I suspect
                        that he did something like some of what is attributed to him in the
                        Gospels and that this provided the catalyst for the process that
                        ultimately results in the gospels, a process that along the way
                        involves a variety of important elements, not least scriptural
                        precedent and some creativity on the part of the story-tellers. But
                        what I'd like to get away from is the repeated idea in your posts
                        that the alternative to your view is the creation of a particular set
                        of miracle stories with its own logic. This is what I am calling the
                        straw man because the alternative is actually more nuanced.
                        >
                        > B) at the risk of sounding monotonous, I'm trying to start with the
                        > data we have: a clear structural logic that seems to inform the gospel
                        > writers' selection of these particular mighty deeds. It is one thing
                        > to explain how individual stories might have been transformed (as per
                        > your feeding example, allowing your assumption for sake of argument).
                        > But that's not actually the problem; one feeding swallow does not a
                        > summer of explanation of make. The problem is the whole. What needs
                        > to be explained is how a process of gradual and somewhat random and
                        > isolated development in various scattered traditions carried on in
                        > different village and preaching centers (I'm assuming no one was
                        > orchestrating this) led within some twenty years (assuming some
                        > previous oral tradition) to this internal logic being attributed to
                        > Jesus.

                        I think I'd want to dispute the way you frame the question. I
                        wouldn't see the development as necessarily one as fragmented as
                        above -- "somewhat random" / "isolated" / "various scattered" .
                        Communities did talk to one another, Christians did travel (cf. Mike
                        Thompson's "Holy Internet" article in the 1998 Bauckham (ed.)
                        collection). Moreover, I'm not sure that an "internal logic" is
                        attributed to Jesus here, is it, except in so far as he is portrayed
                        as fulfilling scriptural precedent? One of the interesting things
                        about the gospels is the different ways that they configure Jesus'
                        healing activity, though inevitably, because of the
                        interrelationships, there are certain themes that emerge.

                        > What raw material did they start with? What assumptions and
                        > convictions about Jesus governed the development and where did they
                        > come from?

                        I'd find it tough to explain the birth of the miracle stories without
                        the Historical Jesus being known as a healer in his life time, and
                        stories already beginning to circulate about him from very early on.
                        I think that's the "raw material" one can start with. The kinds of
                        assumptions and convictions that were involved were surely things
                        like the conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, that his miracles
                        must in some way have been prophesied etc.

                        > So, let's do a thought experiment: taking your Elijah/Elisha model how
                        > would explain the origins, in terms of conceptual rather than detailed
                        > development, of the logic at work in their selection of Jesus' mighty
                        > deeds stories?

                        For those who were convinced that Jesus was a kind of new Elijah,
                        attention would inevitably be drawn to those traditions that were
                        conducive to that portrayal. But does the Elijah/Elisha model
                        explain everything? No, definitely not -- you need the full complex
                        of factors to explain everything, and that includes other scriptural
                        precedents as well as creativity & tradition.

                        I suspect that I might be able to engage a bit better with your
                        position when you've articulated your model in detail. At the
                        moment, I'm concerned to challenge the way you are describing the
                        alternative to your own view, which does not sound sufficiently
                        nuanced to me.

                        Mark
                        -----------------------------
                        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                        Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                        University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                        Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                        http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                        http://NTGateway.com
                      • Matthew Estrada
                        ... Mark, let me put it another way. What if the bare historical reality is that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, and from this event many gospel
                        Message 11 of 30 , Oct 8, 2002
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                          --- Mark Goodacre <M.S.Goodacre@...> wrote:
                          > On 8 Oct 2002 at 8:17, Matthew Estrada wrote:
                          >
                          > > --- Mark Goodacre wrote:
                          > >
                          > > > So it's not a case of anyone creating a
                          > particular
                          > > > set of mighty
                          > > > deeds, and our needing to wonder at why it is,
                          > on
                          > > > this theory, that
                          > > > they choose to generate this particular set.
                          > > > Rather, as we might
                          > > > have expected, scripture has interacted with
                          > history
                          > > > has interacted
                          > > > with tradition has interacted with legend and
                          > > > creativity.

                          > >I wrote:
                          > > Mark, the question still remains, how much of the
                          > > stories are history, and how much are they of the
                          > > authors' own creation? If they are the creation of
                          > the
                          > > author, then would it still not be the case of
                          > someone
                          > > creating a particular set of mighty deeds?

                          >Mark wrote:
                          > Well if the scenario I was attempting to lay out is
                          > correct, then
                          > they are both, aren't they? And more. There is an
                          > interaction
                          > between history, scripture, tradition and
                          > creativity. I don't
                          > understand the need for an either-or approach, or
                          > for the idea that
                          > they are the result of "someone creating" a
                          > particular set.
                          >
                          Mark, let me put it another way. What if the bare
                          historical reality is that Jesus died on the cross and
                          rose again, and from this event many gospel stories
                          were "created". i.e. What if Lazarus never was raised
                          from the dead? How far are you willing to bend on the
                          interaction between history and creativity? Yes,
                          history is there, but what history? Yes, creativity is
                          there, but what creativity? You are still evading the
                          issue with this oversimplified answer of yours (excuse
                          me for saying so). Everything that is created comes
                          from something, but how small does the seed have to be
                          before we call it the author's creation? Yes, the
                          gospel authors interacted with their own situations in
                          life, and with their Scriptures, and with the
                          historical Jesus, and with their own literary skills.
                          But I still fail to see why you refuse to see that the
                          authors could have created these stories themselves,
                          even with all of these other influences coming into
                          play. Rather, it is with the help of these other
                          influences that the gospel authors were able to create
                          the stories that they created, in my opinion. What say you?

                          =====

                          Matthew Estrada

                          113 Laurel Court

                          Peachtree City, Ga 30269


                          __________________________________________________
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                        • Bob Schacht
                          At 05:21 PM 10/8/2002 -0700, Matthew Estrada wrote: [snip] ... Be careful-- you are coming very close to being rude, if you have not already crossed over the
                          Message 12 of 30 , Oct 8, 2002
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                            At 05:21 PM 10/8/2002 -0700, Matthew Estrada wrote:



                            [snip]

                            >Mark,
                            >... You are still evading the issue with this oversimplified answer of
                            >yours (excuse me for saying so). ...

                            Be careful-- you are coming very close to being rude, if you have not
                            already crossed over the line.

                            >But I still fail to see why you refuse to see that the
                            >authors could have created these stories themselves,
                            >even with all of these other influences coming into play. ...

                            Well, of course the authors COULD have created those stories themselves,
                            and I'm sure that Mark agrees that is a theoretical possibility. But
                            "could" can be a long way from "did." Lots of things COULD have happened;
                            Mark COULD have copied his story from the Talmud of Jmmanuel. He COULD have
                            got the whole story from Mary Magdalene. He COULD have got the whole story
                            in one fabulous revelatory experience while high on mushrooms. One can
                            imagine any number of things that COULD have happened; just-so stories are
                            a dime a dozen. But what is your evidence that they DID create these
                            stories themselves?

                            Bob
                          • Brian Trafford
                            ... If I may throw my 2 cents into this discussion, I am not sure that Mark is really disagreeing with you that much here Matt. The quest for the historical
                            Message 13 of 30 , Oct 8, 2002
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                              --- In crosstalk2@y..., Matthew Estrada <matt_estrada@y...> wrote:
                              > Mark, let me put it another way. What if the bare
                              > historical reality is that Jesus died on the cross and
                              > rose again, and from this event many gospel stories
                              > were "created".

                              If I may throw my 2 cents into this discussion, I am not sure that
                              Mark is really disagreeing with you that much here Matt. The "quest"
                              for the historical Jesus is rooted in the idea that we can separate
                              at least some of the historical events and sayings of the life of
                              Jesus from the creations. In order to do this levels of historical
                              probability are assigned to these events and sayings, based on
                              criteria that can be largely agreed upon (see Brown, Meier, Crossan,
                              the Jesus Seminar, ect. for such criteria), and then the historian
                              tries to determine, from these criteria what is most plausible and
                              probable all the way down to what is most implausible and therefore
                              unlikely.

                              Many of the claims made for the historical Jesus by the evangelists
                              and other NT authors are simply beyond the ability of the historian
                              to evaluate. The miracles are among these, and must be left to
                              discussions of philosophy and theology, but not history. At the same
                              time, we can accept that Jesus was viewed by his earliest followers
                              as some kind of miracle worker, as the historian has ample precedents
                              of beliefs in other such wonder working ancients to work with. Thus,
                              for example, and as Mark has said in his replies to Rikk, it seems
                              pretty likely that Jesus was thought to have been a healer (and
                              possibly an exorcist) from earliest times. In accepting this "fact"
                              (a most inadequate and unfortunately loaded word for historical
                              discussions) one need not, at the same time, accept that the healings
                              were actually miraculous. Very simply, acknowledging that Jesus was
                              thought of as a healer (or even as a wonder worker) by his peers and
                              earliest followers is one thing, and perfectly reasonable for
                              historians to do. Some of the proposed "miracle" healings would then
                              be said to be part of the earliest traditions that underpin the
                              presentation of the Jesus of the Gospels, and would be said to
                              be "historical". All that this means is that we accept that the
                              authors believed these things to have really happened. From that we
                              can then try to determine which events were added to the story by
                              these later evangelists, based on an interaction between scripture,
                              history, and creative acts of the evangelists themselves.

                              > i.e. What if Lazarus never was raised
                              > from the dead?

                              Again, not to speak for Mark, but I doubt that any serious scholar
                              accepts that the raising of Lazarus can be shown to be historical.
                              The extraordinary nature of the claim itself would demand, at a
                              minimum, some extraordinary levels of evidence to lead us to accept
                              that it is "historical". The single attestation of the event by
                              John, and the lack of any other corroborating evidence of any kind
                              causes us to reject it on purely practical grounds. Whatever one's
                              metaphysical views on the possibility of miracle happening, the
                              acceptance of this particular claim would be nothing more than
                              special pleading by any historian that attempted to defend it.

                              > How far are you willing to bend on the
                              > interaction between history and creativity? Yes,
                              > history is there, but what history? Yes, creativity is
                              > there, but what creativity?

                              Your questions simply beg the question Matt. Unless you have some
                              clearly established criteria that can be applied to your claims
                              evenly and the evidence found in the Gospels, any list you draw up of
                              what is "historical" and what is "creative fiction" will be quite
                              arbitrary. This discussion list exists to debate and exchange ideas
                              on what constitutes sound evidence, and methods of evaluating
                              conclusions rooted in that evidence. Things like multiple
                              (especially independent multiple) attestation, the criteria of
                              embarrassment (however problematic in its application), and other
                              such criteria are applied to each claim (both of the evangelist, and
                              of the scholar that studies them), and conclusions are drawn from
                              that application. What criteria do you use personally to decide what
                              is historical, and what is fictive?

                              > But I still fail to see why you refuse to see that the
                              > authors could have created these stories themselves,
                              > even with all of these other influences coming into
                              > play.

                              Almost anything in life is possible Matt. The challenge is to
                              separate what is possible from what is most probable. How do you do
                              this, and avoid having your own claims being judged as simply
                              arbitrary decisions based on a priori assumptions?

                              Peace,

                              Brian Trafford
                              Calgary, AB, Canada
                            • Matthew Estrada
                              ... Some of the proposed miracle ... Brian, thanks for your response. However, I think we disagree that the authors believed these things to have really
                              Message 14 of 30 , Oct 9, 2002
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                                --- Brian Trafford <bj_traff@...> wrote:

                                Some of the proposed "miracle"
                                > healings would then
                                > be said to be part of the earliest traditions that
                                > underpin the
                                > presentation of the Jesus of the Gospels, and would
                                > be said to
                                > be "historical". All that this means is that we
                                > accept that the
                                > authors believed these things to have really
                                > happened. From that we
                                > can then try to determine which events were added to
                                > the story by
                                > these later evangelists, based on an interaction
                                > between scripture,
                                > history, and creative acts of the evangelists
                                > themselves.

                                Brian, thanks for your response. However, I think we
                                disagree that "the authors believed these things to
                                have really happened". Why do you believe that there
                                were 1) original authors who believed the stories and
                                then 2) the evangelists who wrote our gospels who made
                                additions to these original stories? Why not rather
                                believe that the gospel writers were our original
                                authors, and that they "invented" most of the stories
                                in their gospels to convey theological beliefs based
                                on the historical life, death and resurrection of
                                Jesus, but that they did not believe that those
                                "stories" that they "created" actually happened?

                                =====

                                Matthew Estrada

                                113 Laurel Court

                                Peachtree City, Ga 30269


                                __________________________________________________
                                Do you Yahoo!?
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                              • Matthew Estrada
                                I apologize, Mark, and to others on the list, for having come across as rude. It was not my intention, but I do see how I need to be careful how I word my
                                Message 15 of 30 , Oct 9, 2002
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                                  I apologize, Mark, and to others on the list, for
                                  having come across as rude. It was not my intention,
                                  but I do see how I need to be careful how I word my
                                  sentences. Thank you for the correction.

                                  --- Bob Schacht <bobschacht@...> wrote:
                                  > At 05:21 PM 10/8/2002 -0700, Matthew Estrada wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > [snip]
                                  >
                                  > >Mark,
                                  > >... You are still evading the issue with this
                                  > oversimplified answer of
                                  > >yours (excuse me for saying so). ...
                                  >
                                  > Be careful-- you are coming very close to being
                                  > rude, if you have not
                                  > already crossed over the line.
                                  >
                                  > >But I still fail to see why you refuse to see that
                                  > the
                                  > >authors could have created these stories
                                  > themselves,
                                  > >even with all of these other influences coming into
                                  > play. ...
                                  >
                                  > Well, of course the authors COULD have created those
                                  > stories themselves,
                                  > and I'm sure that Mark agrees that is a theoretical
                                  > possibility. But
                                  > "could" can be a long way from "did." Lots of things
                                  > COULD have happened;
                                  > Mark COULD have copied his story from the Talmud of
                                  > Jmmanuel. He COULD have
                                  > got the whole story from Mary Magdalene. He COULD
                                  > have got the whole story
                                  > in one fabulous revelatory experience while high on
                                  > mushrooms. One can
                                  > imagine any number of things that COULD have
                                  > happened; just-so stories are
                                  > a dime a dozen. But what is your evidence that they
                                  > DID create these
                                  > stories themselves?
                                  >
                                  > Bob
                                  >
                                  >


                                  =====

                                  Matthew Estrada

                                  113 Laurel Court

                                  Peachtree City, Ga 30269


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                                • Rikk E. Watts
                                  Thanks Mark, Yes, I think you are right in that I¹m suggesting some conscious intentionality as the only explanation for this integrated model. But it is not
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Oct 10, 2002
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                                    Thanks Mark,

                                    Yes, I think you are right in that I¹m suggesting some conscious
                                    intentionality as the only explanation for this integrated model. But it is
                                    not because I¹m unaware of the processes (I know Mike¹s work, a fellow
                                    student at Cambs). I am questioning whether your tradent, evolutionary,
                                    creative model can actually account for the final form (I'm impressed by
                                    Dodd's argument: as far as I understand the history of ideas, committees
                                    don't tend to come up with creative syntheses like this; individuals do).
                                    But I¹m open to correction : ).

                                    So, e.g. your tradent seeks to understand a pre-existing story about a
                                    resurrection or healing of a leper Jesus performed. Perhaps he thinks about
                                    Elijah/Elisha (Elijah does get mentioned as a possible identity for Jesus),
                                    as perhaps do the people who think a great prophet has arisen (tho¹ no
                                    comment from them that he is like Elijah). Maybe. Or maybe not. Other
                                    stories remain that don¹t seem similar to any OT figure, e.g. man with
                                    dropsy, lame man, the hemorrhaging woman. Perhaps the story was simply
                                    impressive (but this could hardly be the only criteria). Further, when we
                                    actually get an explanation concerning raising the dead and cleansing lepers
                                    it is not Elijah/Elisha but as you yourself note Isa 35, 61 that is invoked.
                                    So one wonders just how important this Elijah/Elisha connection/Christology
                                    was in terms of the gospel writers¹ presentation?

                                    Re Elijah performing mighty deeds in the eschaton, do you have some
                                    evidence? I couldn¹t find anything in secular Qumran mss, or the more
                                    important Pseudepigrapha. I¹ve not had a chance to check the Targums
                                    thoroughly but I can¹t see much there either. In the rabbinica
                                    eschatological Elijah is most often connected with resolving theological
                                    debates (mostly Talmud and Midrash Rabboth), then defeating the Gentiles,
                                    and once as the agent of the resurrection but this is from Qoh. R. (7th
                                    cent). Happy to be corrected (I¹ve not got through the Mekiltas and Sifrae
                                    etc) but as it stands, while your suggestion sounds reasonable, it doesn¹t
                                    look like there¹s much evidence for a wonder-working Elijah. Even Malachi
                                    only has him effecting reconciliation.

                                    Before going on, a comment on 4Q521 and thus Qumran. I¹m basing my
                                    assessment on the combination in CD of Isa 40:3, its importance for their
                                    self-awareness, and the understanding of blindness as a metaphor for
                                    idolatrous blindness to Torah; cf. 4Q387; 4Q166; 1QS 3-4, etc. I would take
                                    it as safe to assume, absent contrary data (which I¹d be happy to see), that
                                    the same hermeneutic applies in 4Q521; i.e. these elements are best seen as
                                    topoi. The fact too that the blind and lame are excluded from the messianic
                                    feast (1Qsa 2.3-11, the messiah being present among them), from the holy war
                                    (1QM 7.4), and the eschatological temple ‹ if indeed it is the messianic
                                    time ‹ (11Q19 45.12-14) suggests that they are not expecting physical
                                    healing with the coming of the messiah.

                                    I¹ve no problem in principle with tradents seeking to understand Jesus in
                                    the light of scripture. But I¹m not convinced you¹ve shown why they should
                                    alight on Isa 35 and 61 when no one understood those texts to be speaking of
                                    literal healing (Isa 61 appears to have been connected with messianic
                                    expectation, but not Isa 35). Maybe, in looking for any kind of scriptural
                                    precursor, they innovate. But if they can, why not Jesus? Wouldn¹t it be
                                    more likely that he himself offered this innovative interpretation of his
                                    healings, as Mt and Lk suggest? He must have understood them as in some way
                                    related to his sense of mission (bit hard to imagine him wandering around
                                    doing these things with a slight look of befuddlement on his face). Is there
                                    any reason why he should not have been the one who interpreted the
                                    significance of his own healings in this new light? If so, then one is
                                    arguing that the logic behind the emphasis on certain healings came from
                                    Jesus himself. No problem; in fact I think this makes the most sense. If
                                    this is what happened ‹ Isa 35, 61 were there from the outset, as the hard
                                    data suggest ‹ an Elijah/Elisha hypothesis seems unnecessary. In other
                                    words, once one accepts, as you do, that Jesus must have done something like
                                    this, then it seems a short step to say that the integrative model for those
                                    healings comes from him. I do wonder though how many listers would accept
                                    this with their reply buttons lying down?

                                    Of course as you note the Elijah/Elisha motif, that Jesus must have
                                    performed some kinds of healing, and Isa 35, 61, do not explain everything.
                                    Are all the kinds of healings to be attributed to him? If so, then the
                                    above probably obtains. If not, where do the extra kinds come from? Because
                                    he healed say the blind, does this mean someone ³added² (by what ever
                                    process) stories about the deaf, mute, and lame to round out the scripture
                                    that they had discovered to explain this one kind of healing? But then the
                                    arguments above again come into play: even if Jesus healed only the blind
                                    (hard to imagine) he still must have had some notion of what he thought he
                                    was doing. (I find Crossan's model odd: Jesus the Jew behaving like a Cynic,
                                    and the evangelists writing in Greek making him more Jewish).

                                    And what about actions like the water-walking, storm-stilling, feedings (or
                                    at least the one feeding if for sake of argument we accept the other is
                                    legendary), water-to-wine, catches of fish? Does our tradent understand
                                    these pre-existing stories in terms of Moses, or Yahweh? Perhaps. But are
                                    we now in deeper waters (pardon the pun)? What about the origin of these
                                    particular stories (ignoring for sake of argument the second feeding)? Are
                                    these legend? If so, what prompted their creation, not least when no one
                                    seems to have been expecting them, except for perhaps the feedings (as a
                                    repetition of the manna miracle)? Was the Messiah expected to walk on
                                    water, or superintend miraculous catches of fish? Did they believe him to
                                    be the son of God (above and beyond the traditional Jewish sense) and so
                                    created/evolved/developed legends where he acts like God? But that story
                                    ends with their not understanding what it meant. So what made them think he
                                    was this most unexpected kind of son of God in the first place, and that
                                    such a son of God would do these things among them?

                                    Apologies for the long post. If I¹ve misunderstood your point, let me know.

                                    Regards (I'll miss your Mark paper at SBL this year. I exhausted my meager
                                    travel budget on the John conference in St Andrews next summer; hope it goes
                                    well).

                                    Rikk

                                    Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                    Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                    Regent College
                                    5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                  • David C. Hindley
                                    ... distorted, aren t you already claiming a) some secret knowledge of the facts in the first place against which you can measure distortions, and b) special
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Oct 12, 2002
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                                      Rikk Watts says:

                                      >>But when you say "looking for indications that the facts have been
                                      distorted," aren't you already
                                      claiming a) some secret knowledge of the facts in the first place against
                                      which you can measure distortions, and b) special insight into the author's
                                      agenda, again assuming that one has independent access to what really
                                      happened on which basis to determine an agenda?<<

                                      Not really. They are looking for inconsistencies and contradictions that
                                      suggest untruthfulness. Josephus' works, whenever the same event is told in
                                      his different works (War, Antiquities, Life, and sometimes within single
                                      works) are full of them. This is, from what I understand, standard operating
                                      procedure.

                                      >>It is in the process of comparing and contrasting the those accounts that
                                      one seeks the best explanation, but it seems to me it is only then, that one
                                      can speak of distortions and agendas.<<

                                      Exactly.

                                      >>I'd be interested to see where the gospel writers allude to Zech 11.4-17.
                                      But as far as I can there is no evidence that first century Jews expected a
                                      messianic figure to do this kind of thing. Why would Mark or anyone invent
                                      something that no one was expecting, and then when Mt and Lk repeat those
                                      stories they appeal to Isa 35 etc?<<

                                      I'd suggest that the author of Mark (or another Gospel) may not have been a
                                      Jew and his community not Jewish. Allusion to Jewish scripture in the NT,
                                      especially in the gospels, is amazingly homogenized. All sorts of allusions
                                      from different source texts get associated together, and hence the
                                      suggestions that they followed florilegium style collections of proof-texts.
                                      When hunting for types to justify a current view (i.e., that Jesus was
                                      actually a suffering savior figure rather than
                                      a triumphant messiah), they used their imagination as they were redefining
                                      what they "were."

                                      Why this set and not some other? I have to imagine it was a combination of
                                      factors: What charges needed deflecting, what social benefit continued
                                      association would provide, what kinds of people Mark's community was
                                      composed of, and how they read and understood Jewish scripture (it may not
                                      have been a "conventional" understanding or method that was employed,
                                      especially of they were mainly Gentiles).

                                      Interestingly, in my recent reading of Leon Festinger's _A Theory of
                                      Cognitive Dissonance_ (Stanford U.P., 1957, yes an oldie but goodie), he
                                      discusses situations in which "many persons" who "associate with one another
                                      all suffer from identical dissonance, dissonance reduction by obtaining
                                      social support is very easy to accomplish." He also says: "Identical
                                      dissonance in a large number of people may be created when an event occurs
                                      which is so compelling that as to produce a uniform reaction from everyone."
                                      "The presence of dissonance leads to seeking new information which will
                                      provide cognition consonant with existing cognitive elements and to avoiding
                                      those sources of new information which would be likely to increase the
                                      existing dissonance." "Forced or accidental exposure to new information
                                      which tends to increase dissonance will frequently result in
                                      misinterpretation and misperception of the new information by the person
                                      thus exposed in an effort to avoid (the resulting) dissonance increase."
                                      "The existence of dissonance will lead to seeking out others who already
                                      agree with a cognition that one wants to establish or maintain, and will
                                      also lead to the initiation of communication and influence processes in an
                                      effort to obtain more social support." (pages 260-266)

                                      Assuming an event of the magnitude of the defeat of the Jewish rebels in
                                      palestine dashing messianic expectations of this group of followers of
                                      Jesus, all the elements are there for them to seek new information,
                                      reinterpret (read "misinterpret") much of it until it again makes sense to
                                      them as a group, and then seek to advance that view as the correct one. In
                                      other words, it all happened because it made them all feel better.

                                      BTW, I always like corresponding with you as well.

                                      Respectfully,

                                      Dave Hindley
                                      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                                    • Richard H. Anderson
                                      ... outlining an ... I ve had ... disinterest, so ... don t like it ... in hearing ... assumptions, ... do you consider the walking on water to be a mighty
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                        --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Rikk E. Watts" <rwatts@i...> wrote:
                                        > To all,
                                        >
                                        > A week ago or so, I sent a posting on Jesus' mighty deeds
                                        outlining an
                                        > argument about origins that I made at SBL last year. Since then
                                        I've had
                                        > very few responses. I am unsure whether the silence means
                                        disinterest, so
                                        > wrong as to not even know how to respond, general acceptance,
                                        don't like it
                                        > but don't know how to respond, etc. I am however very interested
                                        in hearing
                                        > any questions/criticisms people might have about the logic,
                                        assumptions,
                                        > etc.
                                        >
                                        > So at the risk of being a bore,


                                        do you consider the walking on water to be a mighty deed? Do you
                                        consider the depiction fo Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses to
                                        be part of this presentation? Do all of the synoptic gospels present
                                        Jesus in the same manner with respect to mighty deeds?

                                        Richard H. Anderson
                                      • Rikk E. Watts
                                        ... HI David, snipped a bit here. On the inconsistencies, yes, you are right of course. ... This was once suggested under the title Testimonia. It didn t
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                          on 10/12/02 9:24 PM, David C. Hindley at dhindley@... wrote:

                                          > Rikk Watts says:
                                          >
                                          HI David, snipped a bit here. On the inconsistencies, yes, you are right of
                                          course.
                                          >
                                          > I'd suggest that the author of Mark (or another Gospel) may not have been a
                                          > Jew and his community not Jewish. Allusion to Jewish scripture in the NT,
                                          > especially in the gospels, is amazingly homogenized. All sorts of allusions
                                          > from different source texts get associated together, and hence the
                                          > suggestions that they followed florilegium style collections of proof-texts.
                                          > When hunting for types to justify a current view (i.e., that Jesus was
                                          > actually a suffering savior figure rather than
                                          > a triumphant messiah), they used their imagination as they were redefining
                                          > what they "were."
                                          This was once suggested under the title "Testimonia." It didn't really work
                                          because of the diversity in text form of the supposedly common citations.
                                          That little phrase "they used their imagination" covers an awful lot of
                                          ground, and unfortunately doesn't explain much. It's a bit a like saying
                                          the Wright brothers used to build bicycles and one day they used their
                                          imagination and built a aircraft. BUT I notice that you mention cognitive
                                          dissonance below. C. H. Dodd's answer was that this kind of innovative
                                          reading and its "homogenization" do not historically derive from groups,
                                          committees, or schools, but instead from individuals. He suggests it derived
                                          from Jesus.

                                          > Why this set and not some other? I have to imagine it was a combination of
                                          > factors: What charges needed deflecting, what social benefit continued
                                          > association would provide, what kinds of people Mark's community was
                                          > composed of, and how they read and understood Jewish scripture (it may not
                                          > have been a "conventional" understanding or method that was employed,
                                          > especially of they were mainly Gentiles).
                                          Hmm. This is the bit that really needs unpacking, doesn't it? It could well
                                          be right, but as long as it remains so general and vague not only it is
                                          untestable but is wide open to having complexity ‹ i.e. the really creative
                                          stuff ‹ "smuggled in" rather than explained. It was asking in more detail
                                          these kinds of questions: exactly what charges, what social benefit, how did
                                          they read Jewish scripture as opposed to other alternatives, that has led me
                                          down this path.

                                          > Interestingly, in my recent reading of Leon Festinger's _A Theory of
                                          > Cognitive Dissonance_ (Stanford U.P., 1957, yes an oldie but goodie), he
                                          > discusses situations in which "many persons" who "associate with one another
                                          > all suffer from identical dissonance, dissonance reduction by obtaining
                                          > social support is very easy to accomplish." He also says: "Identical
                                          > dissonance in a large number of people may be created when an event occurs
                                          > which is so compelling that as to produce a uniform reaction from everyone."
                                          > "The presence of dissonance leads to seeking new information which will
                                          > provide cognition consonant with existing cognitive elements and to avoiding
                                          > those sources of new information which would be likely to increase the
                                          > existing dissonance." "Forced or accidental exposure to new information
                                          > which tends to increase dissonance will frequently result in
                                          > misinterpretation and misperception of the new information by the person
                                          > thus exposed in an effort to avoid (the resulting) dissonance increase."
                                          > "The existence of dissonance will lead to seeking out others who already
                                          > agree with a cognition that one wants to establish or maintain, and will
                                          > also lead to the initiation of communication and influence processes in an
                                          > effort to obtain more social support." (pages 260-266)

                                          > Assuming an event of the magnitude of the defeat of the Jewish rebels in
                                          > palestine dashing messianic expectations of this group of followers of
                                          > Jesus, all the elements are there for them to seek new information,
                                          > reinterpret (read "misinterpret") much of it until it again makes sense to
                                          > them as a group, and then seek to advance that view as the correct one. In
                                          > other words, it all happened because it made them all feel better.
                                          Yes, this theory was the basis of much of Carroll's work on OT prophecy
                                          wasn't it? Very interesting idea. I could well imagine that this could also
                                          apply to Jesus. His disciples are confronted with a compelling experience ‹
                                          a teacher and wonder-worker (tho' not of the kind this usually describes) ‹
                                          who challenges Israel's cognitive structures about what it means to be
                                          Israel. In this scenario the Jewish leadership and strict Pharisees (who
                                          are unconvinced and have too much to loose in terms of social status, power,
                                          wealth, etc.?) resort to strategies and new information (while ignoring
                                          counter data) that diminish the dissonance by forcing Jesus to fit within
                                          their pre-existing cognitive structures. The disciples on the other hand,
                                          confronted with an overwhelming reality that they can't deny ‹ Jesus' life,
                                          death, and resurrection ‹ finally abandon those old cognitive structures and
                                          accept new ones (Jesus' teaching on new wine skins) in spite of the social
                                          cost. Naturally they will want to support their understanding of what it
                                          means to be Israel and go back to Israel's scriptures to find support and to
                                          continue the project of reconceptualizing true Israel. The trick though is
                                          from whence the paradigm shift? Nameless tradents or Jesus himself? Given
                                          my own experience of the history of ideas, I think Dodd is right. Others
                                          naturally develop and expand the body of material but they are much the
                                          lesser minds filling in the gaps, working out implications, etc. The really
                                          creative impetus came from Jesus ‹ hence his name on the movement.
                                          So much for one model. What about the alternative? I'm not convinced the
                                          Jewish war had all that much an impact on the fundamental outlines of the
                                          Jesus movement. While I think highly of Joel's Marcus MARK commentary, I do
                                          not find his arguments for a Jewish War setting at all compelling.

                                          I guess one pays one's money ...

                                          Take good care,

                                          Rikk


                                          Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                          Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                          Regent College
                                          5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                        • Rikk E. Watts
                                          ... Yes. ... If by depiction you include Jesus doing things associated with Moses and the first exodus, yes. ... Since there is a fairly consistent picture,
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                            on 10/13/02 7:28 AM, Richard H. Anderson at randerson58@... wrote:

                                            >
                                            >
                                            > do you consider the walking on water to be a mighty deed?
                                            Yes.

                                            > Do you
                                            > consider the depiction fo Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses to
                                            > be part of this presentation?
                                            If by depiction you include Jesus doing things associated with Moses and the
                                            first exodus, yes.

                                            > Do all of the synoptic gospels present
                                            > Jesus in the same manner with respect to mighty deeds?
                                            Since there is a fairly consistent picture, espec vis-à-vis other ancient
                                            accounts of other wonder/miracle working figures, yes, I think so.


                                            Regards


                                            Rikk


                                            Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                            Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                            Regent College
                                            5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                          • Richard Anderson
                                            In light of your responses, what do you consider the significance of Luke s depiction of Jesus as a prophet like Moses, not greater than Moses, who unlike
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                              In light of your responses, what do you consider the significance of Luke's
                                              depiction of Jesus as a prophet like Moses, not greater than Moses, who
                                              unlike Matthew and Mark does not walk on water?

                                              Richard H. Anderson


                                              on 10/13/02 7:28 AM, Richard H. Anderson at randerson58@... wrote:

                                              >
                                              >
                                              > do you consider the walking on water to be a mighty deed?
                                              Yes.

                                              > Do you
                                              > consider the depiction fo Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses to
                                              > be part of this presentation?
                                              If by depiction you include Jesus doing things associated with Moses and the
                                              first exodus, yes.

                                              > Do all of the synoptic gospels present
                                              > Jesus in the same manner with respect to mighty deeds?
                                              Since there is a fairly consistent picture, espec vis-à-vis other ancient
                                              accounts of other wonder/miracle working figures, yes, I think so.
                                            • Rikk E. Watts
                                              ... Well I m not sure about not greater than Moses. Jesus calms the storm in Lk 8 doesn t he? And doesn t Lk also have Jesus forgiving sins, which
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                                on 10/13/02 10:54 AM, Richard Anderson at randerson58@... wrote:

                                                > In light of your responses, what do you consider the significance of Luke's
                                                > depiction of Jesus as a prophet like Moses, not greater than Moses, who
                                                > unlike Matthew and Mark does not walk on water?
                                                Well I'm not sure about "not greater than Moses." Jesus calms the storm in
                                                Lk 8 doesn't he? And doesn't Lk also have Jesus forgiving sins, which
                                                according to Lk's Pharisees and lawyers, only God can do?

                                                But apart from that, excellent question! I'll need to think about it (my
                                                initial tendency is that it might have something to do with their mistaking
                                                Jesus for a phantasma).

                                                Any suggestions?

                                                Rikk


                                                >
                                                > Richard H. Anderson
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > on 10/13/02 7:28 AM, Richard H. Anderson at randerson58@... wrote:
                                                >
                                                >>
                                                >>
                                                >> do you consider the walking on water to be a mighty deed?
                                                > Yes.
                                                >
                                                >> Do you
                                                >> consider the depiction fo Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses to
                                                >> be part of this presentation?
                                                > If by depiction you include Jesus doing things associated with Moses and the
                                                > first exodus, yes.
                                                >
                                                >> Do all of the synoptic gospels present
                                                >> Jesus in the same manner with respect to mighty deeds?
                                                > Since there is a fairly consistent picture, espec vis-à-vis other ancient
                                                > accounts of other wonder/miracle working figures, yes, I think so.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
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                                                Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                                Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                                Regent College
                                                5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                              • David C. Hindley
                                                ... right, but as long as it remains so general and vague not only it is untestable but is wide open to having complexity ‹ i.e. the really creative stuff
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                                  Rikk Watts says:

                                                  >>This is the bit that really needs unpacking, doesn't it? It could well be
                                                  right, but as long as it remains so general and vague not only it is
                                                  untestable but is wide open to having complexity � i.e. the really creative
                                                  stuff > "smuggled in" rather than explained. It was asking in more detail
                                                  these kinds of questions: exactly what charges, what social benefit, how did
                                                  they read Jewish scripture as opposed to other alternatives, that has led me
                                                  down this path.<<

                                                  Well, there's the rub, isn't it? If you get too particular, you are labeled
                                                  "speculative." Of course, everybody has to "smuggle" in some of our modern
                                                  perspective, mainly because we do not know enough about the ancient ones to
                                                  make an adequate reconstruction.

                                                  I am reminded of the movie "Jurassic park" in which the rich coot is able to
                                                  clone full scale dinosaurs from fragments of DNA preserved in dinosaur blood
                                                  in the stomachs of mosquitoes encased in amber. To fill in the gaps in the
                                                  DNA sequences, he used frog DNA. Our modern perspective is a lot like that
                                                  frog DNA, not exactly the same as ancient history. The fragments of history
                                                  are the DNA fragments found in the mosquitoes. What you get in the movie are
                                                  full grown dinosaurs. What I think you'd get in reality are monsters,
                                                  because that is what we get sometimes with the historical method. Not much
                                                  you can do ... <g>

                                                  Respectfully,

                                                  Dave Hindley
                                                  Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                                                • Richard Anderson
                                                  Rikk: Luke, ever the diplomat, was very careful in his Gospel not to describe Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses. Three examples should illustrate this
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                                    Rikk:

                                                    Luke, ever the diplomat, was very careful in his Gospel not to describe
                                                    Jesus as a prophet greater than Moses. Three examples should illustrate this
                                                    point. In describing the Transfiguration only Luke indicates that Jesus,
                                                    Moses and Elijah appeared together in glory [Lk. 9:28-36; cf. Mt. 17:1-8 and
                                                    Mk. 9:2-13]. The Lucan Jesus does not walk on water nor does he curse the
                                                    fig tree causing it to wilt and die.

                                                    compare: Deut 34:10; Acts 3:22; 7:37

                                                    Richard H. Anderson
                                                  • Rikk E. Watts
                                                    Indeed! I wonder how much Frog DNA gets us to Wind in the Willows or perhaps the hall that Toad built. Regards Rikk ... Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph.
                                                    Message 25 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                                      Indeed! I wonder how much Frog DNA gets us to Wind in the Willows or
                                                      perhaps the hall that Toad built.

                                                      Regards

                                                      Rikk

                                                      on 10/13/02 1:06 PM, David C. Hindley at dhindley@... wrote:

                                                      > Rikk Watts says:
                                                      >
                                                      >>> This is the bit that really needs unpacking, doesn't it? It could well be
                                                      > right, but as long as it remains so general and vague not only it is
                                                      > untestable but is wide open to having complexity ‹ i.e. the really creative
                                                      > stuff > "smuggled in" rather than explained. It was asking in more detail
                                                      > these kinds of questions: exactly what charges, what social benefit, how did
                                                      > they read Jewish scripture as opposed to other alternatives, that has led me
                                                      > down this path.<<
                                                      >
                                                      > Well, there's the rub, isn't it? If you get too particular, you are labeled
                                                      > "speculative." Of course, everybody has to "smuggle" in some of our modern
                                                      > perspective, mainly because we do not know enough about the ancient ones to
                                                      > make an adequate reconstruction.
                                                      >
                                                      > I am reminded of the movie "Jurassic park" in which the rich coot is able to
                                                      > clone full scale dinosaurs from fragments of DNA preserved in dinosaur blood
                                                      > in the stomachs of mosquitoes encased in amber. To fill in the gaps in the
                                                      > DNA sequences, he used frog DNA. Our modern perspective is a lot like that
                                                      > frog DNA, not exactly the same as ancient history. The fragments of history
                                                      > are the DNA fragments found in the mosquitoes. What you get in the movie are
                                                      > full grown dinosaurs. What I think you'd get in reality are monsters,
                                                      > because that is what we get sometimes with the historical method. Not much
                                                      > you can do ... <g>
                                                      >
                                                      > Respectfully,
                                                      >
                                                      > Dave Hindley
                                                      > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
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                                                      Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                                      Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                                      Regent College
                                                      5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                                    • Brian Trafford
                                                      ... Well, if we are going to hypothesize that the evangelists knew that they were writing fiction, then we would need to find positive evidence of such
                                                      Message 26 of 30 , Oct 13, 2002
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                                                        --- In crosstalk2@y..., Matthew Estrada <matt_estrada@y...> wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > Brian, thanks for your response. However, I think we
                                                        > disagree that "the authors believed these things to
                                                        > have really happened". Why do you believe that there
                                                        > were 1) original authors who believed the stories and
                                                        > then 2) the evangelists who wrote our gospels who made
                                                        > additions to these original stories?

                                                        Well, if we are going to hypothesize that the evangelists knew that
                                                        they were writing fiction, then we would need to find positive
                                                        evidence of such knowledge within the text. Instead, what we see, is
                                                        authors (or their readers) affirming that they believed what they
                                                        wrote was true (see, for example, Luke 1:1-4, and John 21:24).
                                                        Additionally, Paul gives every indication that the stories he reports
                                                        to us are, in his opinion, literally true, and are known to be true
                                                        by the earliest witnesses (see, for example, 1 Cor. 11:2, 23, 15:1-3,
                                                        2 Thess. 2:15).

                                                        Very simply, if the Gospels are fiction, then no one seems to have
                                                        known it at the time, and from earliest times much of what they
                                                        reported was thought to be literally true.

                                                        > Why not rather
                                                        > believe that the gospel writers were our original
                                                        > authors, and that they "invented" most of the stories
                                                        > in their gospels to convey theological beliefs based
                                                        > on the historical life, death and resurrection of
                                                        > Jesus, but that they did not believe that those
                                                        > "stories" that they "created" actually happened?

                                                        Do you have any evidence that they knew they were writing fiction?
                                                        Perhaps you could dovetail your response with the questions that Rikk
                                                        posed in his original post. What sources did the evangelists draw
                                                        upon to create their fictions? What models did they use? But
                                                        perhaps most importantly, if your theory is to be born out, how did
                                                        the earliest readers come to so completely misunderstand the
                                                        evangelists, and think that what they were receiving was true history
                                                        and teachings?

                                                        Peace,

                                                        Brian Trafford
                                                        Calgary, AB, Canada
                                                      • Mark Goodacre
                                                        Dear Rikk Thanks for the reply. The issue I am trying to press is your repeated characterisation of the miracle stories as a unique set with its own internal
                                                        Message 27 of 30 , Oct 16, 2002
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                                                          Dear Rikk

                                                          Thanks for the reply. The issue I am trying to press is your
                                                          repeated characterisation of the miracle stories as a unique set with
                                                          its own internal logic. You are continually asking questions of the
                                                          kind "Why this particular set?" What I am trying to point out is
                                                          that the question presupposes that there is some kind of internal
                                                          logic in the "set", and I want to ask what the grounds are for
                                                          supposing that there is some kind of internal logic. Now it seems to
                                                          me that in your email you do begin to engage with this question, but
                                                          then you go in other directions. Your first sentence reads:

                                                          > Yes, I think you are right in that I¹m suggesting some conscious
                                                          > intentionality as the only explanation for this integrated model.

                                                          The bit I'm querying is the "this integrated model" bit. I'd like to
                                                          see you tease out why you see the "set" of Gospel miracles as
                                                          representing some kind of "integrated model". To take the Gospels
                                                          alone, for example, there are clearly major differences between
                                                          John's miracle stories and, say, Mark's (largely a different "set",
                                                          no exorcisms, etc.). In what sense do we derive an integrated model
                                                          from John + the Synoptics except by harmonizing? I suspect that
                                                          part of the answer comes in your original post where you spoke of
                                                          provisionally accepting the record of the Canonical Gospels. But if
                                                          that is the case, I am not sure how legitimate it is to express
                                                          surprise at the "set" you see there, for the "set" is generated by
                                                          your own methodology of provisionally accepting the Gospel record.

                                                          You go on to write:

                                                          > But
                                                          > it is not because I¹m unaware of the processes (I know Mike¹s work, a
                                                          > fellow student at Cambs). I am questioning whether your tradent,
                                                          > evolutionary, creative model can actually account for the final form
                                                          > (I'm impressed by Dodd's argument: as far as I understand the history
                                                          > of ideas, committees don't tend to come up with creative syntheses
                                                          > like this; individuals do). But I¹m open to correction : ).

                                                          The problem I see here is twofold. First, I realise that your
                                                          citation of Dodd is whimsical, but the model I was suggesting is not
                                                          that of "committees" creating a synthesis but of many people having
                                                          roles in the evolution of the miracle stories, as also with the other
                                                          Gospel pericopae. Second, I am not convinced yet that we should
                                                          describe the "set" of Gospel miracle stories as a "creative
                                                          synthesis". It's this claim, which I think relates to your talk of a
                                                          "particular set" with its own logic etc., that I'd like to see
                                                          defended.

                                                          > So, e.g. your tradent seeks to understand a pre-existing story about a
                                                          > resurrection or healing of a leper Jesus performed. Perhaps he thinks
                                                          > about Elijah/Elisha (Elijah does get mentioned as a possible identity
                                                          > for Jesus), as perhaps do the people who think a great prophet has
                                                          > arisen (tho¹ no comment from them that he is like Elijah). Maybe. Or
                                                          > maybe not. Other stories remain that don¹t seem similar to any OT
                                                          > figure, e.g. man with dropsy, lame man, the hemorrhaging woman.
                                                          > Perhaps the story was simply impressive (but this could hardly be the
                                                          > only criteria). Further, when we actually get an explanation
                                                          > concerning raising the dead and cleansing lepers it is not
                                                          > Elijah/Elisha but as you yourself note Isa 35, 61 that is invoked. So
                                                          > one wonders just how important this Elijah/Elisha
                                                          > connection/Christology was in terms of the gospel writers¹
                                                          > presentation?

                                                          First, I don't think the Elijah/Elisha theme is important in the same
                                                          way to all the evangelists. Luke does want to portray Jesus as a
                                                          prophet like Elijah and that seems clear from the Nazareth sermon,
                                                          the Widow at Nain, etc. Mark, however, thinks that John the Baptist
                                                          is Elijah and he greatly plays down the Jesus=Elijah theme that I
                                                          think he received from his tradition (e.g. this identification keeps
                                                          getting presented as an erroneous one, 6.15, 8.28). Second, I think
                                                          it's important to distinguish between the evangelists and their
                                                          traditions (e.g. notice how you begin the above paragraph with "your
                                                          tradent" but end it with "the gospel writers", the very things I'd
                                                          like to see clearly distinguished). I know that this is the kind of
                                                          thing you want to steer clear of, but my concern there is that to do
                                                          so makes it difficult for you to engage with the alternative view,
                                                          does it not?
                                                          >
                                                          > Re Elijah performing mighty deeds in the eschaton, do you have some
                                                          > evidence? I couldn¹t find anything in secular Qumran mss, or the more
                                                          > important Pseudepigrapha. I¹ve not had a chance to check the Targums
                                                          > thoroughly but I can¹t see much there either. In the rabbinica
                                                          > eschatological Elijah is most often connected with resolving
                                                          > theological debates (mostly Talmud and Midrash Rabboth), then
                                                          > defeating the Gentiles, and once as the agent of the resurrection but
                                                          > this is from Qoh. R. (7th cent). Happy to be corrected (I¹ve not got
                                                          > through the Mekiltas and Sifrae etc) but as it stands, while your
                                                          > suggestion sounds reasonable, it doesn¹t look like there¹s much
                                                          > evidence for a wonder-working Elijah. Even Malachi only has him
                                                          > effecting reconciliation.

                                                          I think we have to assume that given the expectation of an Elijah
                                                          returning, that Elijah must be in some way recognisable as Elijah;
                                                          and what does Elijah do but perform "mighty deeds"? That he was
                                                          thought of in this way in Second Temple Judaism is clear from Ben
                                                          Sira 48; NB especially 48.4, "O Elias, how wast thou honoured in thy
                                                          wondrous deeds [EN QAUMASIOIS SOU]! and who may glory like unto
                                                          thee!"

                                                          >
                                                          > Before going on, a comment on 4Q521 and thus Qumran. I¹m basing my
                                                          > assessment on the combination in CD of Isa 40:3, its importance for
                                                          > their self-awareness, and the understanding of blindness as a metaphor
                                                          > for idolatrous blindness to Torah; cf. 4Q387; 4Q166; 1QS 3-4, etc. I
                                                          > would take it as safe to assume, absent contrary data (which I¹d be
                                                          > happy to see), that the same hermeneutic applies in 4Q521; i.e. these
                                                          > elements are best seen as topoi. The fact too that the blind and lame
                                                          > are excluded from the messianic feast (1Qsa 2.3-11, the messiah being
                                                          > present among them), from the holy war (1QM 7.4), and the
                                                          > eschatological temple ‹ if indeed it is the messianic time ‹ (11Q19
                                                          > 45.12-14) suggests that they are not expecting physical healing with
                                                          > the coming of the messiah.

                                                          The latter is a very interesting point, thank you. It would indeed be
                                                          interesting if the healings of 4Q521 "are best seen as topoi". Given
                                                          the variety of messianic / eschatological expectations witnessed in
                                                          the Qumran literature, though, how far can you do this kind of
                                                          synthesis? Further, all that this shows is that those at Qumran were
                                                          able to read blindness metaphorically; but that is a common biblical
                                                          theme, it crops up in the NT too, and it does not rule out
                                                          expectation of healing of physical blindness too. Did the authors of
                                                          4Q521 also see "liberation of captives" as metaphorical, or would
                                                          some actual physical, political liberation take place?
                                                          >
                                                          > I¹ve no problem in principle with tradents seeking to understand Jesus
                                                          > in the light of scripture. But I¹m not convinced you¹ve shown why they
                                                          > should alight on Isa 35 and 61 when no one understood those texts to
                                                          > be speaking of literal healing (Isa 61 appears to have been connected
                                                          > with messianic expectation, but not Isa 35).

                                                          But 4Q521 gives us the association between Isa. 35, Isa. 61 &
                                                          messiahship so whatever one thinks about the literal / metaphorical
                                                          issue, we have clear evidence for Jews at a similar time interpreting
                                                          these two texts together and in relation to messiahship.

                                                          > Maybe, in looking for
                                                          > any kind of scriptural precursor, they innovate. But if they can, why
                                                          > not Jesus? Wouldn¹t it be more likely that he himself offered this
                                                          > innovative interpretation of his healings, as Mt and Lk suggest? He
                                                          > must have understood them as in some way related to his sense of
                                                          > mission (bit hard to imagine him wandering around doing these things
                                                          > with a slight look of befuddlement on his face). Is there any reason
                                                          > why he should not have been the one who interpreted the significance
                                                          > of his own healings in this new light?

                                                          I think that this is quite possible, though I don't know how one
                                                          proceeds from possibility to plausibility on this. Do you have any
                                                          more than "Why not Jesus?"

                                                          > If so, then one is arguing
                                                          > that the logic behind the emphasis on certain healings came from Jesus
                                                          > himself. No problem; in fact I think this makes the most sense. If
                                                          > this is what happened ‹ Isa 35, 61 were there from the outset, as the
                                                          > hard data suggest ‹ an Elijah/Elisha hypothesis seems unnecessary. In
                                                          > other words, once one accepts, as you do, that Jesus must have done
                                                          > something like this, then it seems a short step to say that the
                                                          > integrative model for those healings comes from him.

                                                          I don't think that the Elijah/Elisha identification and the Isa.
                                                          35/61 connection are either/or. Indeed note that Collins interprets
                                                          the messiah in 4Q521 as Elijah or an Elijah-like figure (_The Scepter
                                                          and the Star_, pp. 117-23). But even if that's not the case I think
                                                          it's quite reasonable to see the tradents, like the evangelists,
                                                          working with a variety of understandings of Jesus' wonder-working
                                                          mission.

                                                          Enough for now; apologies not to have gone over everything in your
                                                          interesting post; and thank you for taking my thoughts seriously. I
                                                          continue to appreciate and enjoy your work.

                                                          Mark

                                                          -----------------------------
                                                          Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                                                          Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                                                          University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                                                          Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                                                          http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                                                          http://NTGateway.com
                                                        • Rikk E. Watts
                                                          Dear Mark, First off, thanks for the exchange; I am finding it very helpful. I didn t read your last remark until after I d written this, so I ll send it
                                                          Message 28 of 30 , Oct 23, 2002
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                                                            Dear Mark,
                                                            First off, thanks for the exchange; I am finding it very helpful.

                                                            I didn't read your last remark until after I'd written this, so I'll send it
                                                            anyway, but no need to respond. I've snipped as much as possible so this
                                                            doesn't become too cumbersome.

                                                            > I'm querying is the "this integrated model" bit. ... To take the Gospels
                                                            > alone, for example, there are clearly major differences between
                                                            > John's miracle stories and, say, Mark's (largely a different "set",
                                                            > no exorcisms, etc.). In what sense do we derive an integrated model
                                                            > from John + the Synoptics except by harmonizing?

                                                            I'm not sure harmonizing is the best word since it conjures up a way of
                                                            reading the gospels that is somewhat different from what I'm doing. But
                                                            having said that, it is true that John, for whatever reasons, does not
                                                            include a single exorcism (though I can't think of many recent NT scholars
                                                            who would doubt that Jesus was seen to exorcise demons). Even so, I would
                                                            argue that John's "set" is still much closer to, and of the same ilk as, the
                                                            Synoptics than say the signs of the so-called sign prophets, or the deeds
                                                            attributed to the so-called charismatic rabbis. John alone has water into
                                                            wine but wouldn't you agree that everything else is pretty much cut from the
                                                            same cloth? The next test would be to see if there is some kind of "set"
                                                            logic behind the Synoptics and then behind John and thus see if both sets
                                                            are compatible. I think they most definitely are, though I can't present my
                                                            case here. These two lines of observation, viz. comparison to other
                                                            wonder/sign-workers and the close coherence of the Syn and John when
                                                            understood under my proposed rubric, suggest there is an intentional pattern
                                                            here.

                                                            > I suspect that
                                                            > part of the answer comes in your original post where you spoke of
                                                            > provisionally accepting the record of the Canonical Gospels. But if
                                                            > that is the case, I am not sure how legitimate it is to express
                                                            > surprise at the "set" you see there, for the "set" is generated by
                                                            > your own methodology of provisionally accepting the Gospel record.

                                                            This seems a rather odd argument. It's a bit like saying well yes of course
                                                            you can describe aircraft as having wings, engines, etc. but then you've
                                                            chosen to look only at aircraft. Yes, and ... ? I'm starting with the four
                                                            earliest "biographical" accounts we have (apart from which there's actually
                                                            precious little in the way of descriptions of Jesus' mighty deeds that goes
                                                            back to the first or even second century). But after that I'm hardly
                                                            generating the data since I'm simply trying to explain what I see in these
                                                            accounts. You could rightly question whether or not there's an internal
                                                            logic to be seen, but if it's there I've hardly generated it. To use my
                                                            analogy, I'm asking why these aircraft have wings and engines and where that
                                                            idea came from. Even if there were other different-looking aircraft, I fail
                                                            to see how that would invalidate my asking why these particular aircraft
                                                            look like they do.

                                                            > You go on to write:
                                                            >
                                                            >> But
                                                            >> it is not because I¹m unaware of the processes (I know Mike¹s work, a
                                                            >> fellow student at Cambs). I am questioning whether your tradent,
                                                            >> evolutionary, creative model can actually account for the final form
                                                            >> (I'm impressed by Dodd's argument: as far as I understand the history
                                                            >> of ideas, committees don't tend to come up with creative syntheses
                                                            >> like this; individuals do). But I¹m open to correction : ).
                                                            >
                                                            > The problem I see here is twofold. First, I realise that your
                                                            > citation of Dodd is whimsical, but the model I was suggesting is not
                                                            > that of "committees" creating a synthesis but of many people having
                                                            > roles in the evolution of the miracle stories, as also with the other
                                                            > Gospel pericopae.

                                                            Here's the rub. The "many minds" and "it just evolved" model sounds
                                                            reasonable as a general explanation, not least because of our society's
                                                            plausibility structures. But, my contention is that things get rather more
                                                            difficult once one starts to ask just exactly what that means (I don't know
                                                            that the pericope analogy really applies). I've yet to see any reasonable
                                                            unpacking of how that evolution might have progressed. Even if I grant your
                                                            Elijah/Elisha tradent a voice in the tradition, such a paradigm does not
                                                            explain a) the variations from the E-E paradigm (the widow of Nain is not a
                                                            Gentile ‹ and if these stories are being shaped by such models why don't
                                                            they look more like them?), b) those mighty deeds that clearly do not fit
                                                            the E-E model, nor c) the selectivity that is evident when compared to other
                                                            first century accounts.

                                                            > Second, I am not convinced yet that we should
                                                            > describe the "set" of Gospel miracle stories as a "creative
                                                            > synthesis". It's this claim, which I think relates to your talk of a
                                                            > "particular set" with its own logic etc., that I'd like to see
                                                            > defended.

                                                            I don't think I understand you here. What exactly is it that you
                                                            understand by and don't like about "creative synthesis"?

                                                            >> .... when we actually get an explanation
                                                            >> concerning raising the dead and cleansing lepers it is not
                                                            >> Elijah/Elisha but as you yourself note Isa 35, 61 that is invoked. So
                                                            >> one wonders just how important this Elijah/Elisha
                                                            >> connection/Christology was in terms of the gospel writers¹
                                                            >> presentation?
                                                            >
                                                            > First, I don't think the Elijah/Elisha theme is important in the same
                                                            > way to all the evangelists. Luke does want to portray Jesus as a
                                                            > prophet like Elijah and that seems clear from the Nazareth sermon,
                                                            > the Widow at Nain, etc. Mark, however, thinks that John the Baptist
                                                            > is Elijah and he greatly plays down the Jesus=Elijah theme that I
                                                            > think he received from his tradition (e.g. this identification keeps
                                                            > getting presented as an erroneous one, 6.15, 8.28).

                                                            Yes Mk and Lk have different emphases, and Lk does in places play Jesus off
                                                            the Elijah/Elisha theme. In his Nazareth Synagogue account, Luke seems to
                                                            be legitimating Jesus' concern for outsiders, not defending his Elijah-like
                                                            wonder-working. But I'm still not sure this answers the observation that
                                                            when Luke has Jesus speak of his mighty deeds (many of which have no E-E
                                                            counterpart), Luke's Jesus goes not to some account of Elijah/Elisha as his
                                                            explanatory filter but, as you rightly noted, to a conflation of Isaianic
                                                            texts (in the same way, Qumran, which appears to use Isa 61 messianically,
                                                            seems to have no notion of a wonder-working eschatological Elijah).

                                                            > Second, I think
                                                            > it's important to distinguish between the evangelists and their
                                                            > traditions (e.g. notice how you begin the above paragraph with "your
                                                            > tradent" but end it with "the gospel writers", the very things I'd
                                                            > like to see clearly distinguished).

                                                            Indeed as do I. But since I started with the gospel writers' perspective (my
                                                            only hard data), one needs to explain how one moves from the tradents to the
                                                            gospel writers. That was my point. In other words, the invocation of an E-E
                                                            tradent seems both unnecessary and insufficient to explain the gospel
                                                            writers' viewpoint.

                                                            > I know that this is the kind of thing you want to steer clear of,
                                                            > so makes it difficult for you to engage with the alternative view,
                                                            > does it not?

                                                            I don't think so. I do want to start with the gospels because they are
                                                            pretty much the only hard data (in terms of my focus) I have and that's what
                                                            I'm trying to explain. But I'm not rejecting a tradent out of hand (someone
                                                            passed on the stories regardless of what Christology they implied). I just
                                                            don't find the E-E Christology model compelling since it strikes me (again)
                                                            as an unnecessary and insufficient hypothesis. Re engagement with the
                                                            alternate view: my apologies if you think I've not given it sufficient
                                                            attention. But let me ask: in what ways have I not been doing so? I must
                                                            be missing something because I thought that my attempts to answer carefully
                                                            your proposal was taking an alternative view very seriously indeed.
                                                            (Skepticism does not necessarily mean lack of attention; it might be the
                                                            result of exactly the opposite).

                                                            >>
                                                            >> Re Elijah performing mighty deeds in the eschaton, do you have some
                                                            >> evidence? I couldn¹t find anything in secular Qumran mss, or the more
                                                            >> important Pseudepigrapha. I¹ve not had a chance to check the Targums
                                                            >> thoroughly but I can¹t see much there either. In the rabbinica
                                                            >> eschatological Elijah is most often connected with resolving
                                                            >> theological debates (mostly Talmud and Midrash Rabboth), then
                                                            >> defeating the Gentiles, and once as the agent of the resurrection but
                                                            >> this is from Qoh. R. (7th cent). Happy to be corrected (I¹ve not got
                                                            >> through the Mekiltas and Sifrae etc) but as it stands, while your
                                                            >> suggestion sounds reasonable, it doesn¹t look like there¹s much
                                                            >> evidence for a wonder-working Elijah. Even Malachi only has him
                                                            >> effecting reconciliation.
                                                            >
                                                            > I think we have to assume that given the expectation of an Elijah
                                                            > returning, that Elijah must be in some way recognisable as Elijah;
                                                            > and what does Elijah do but perform "mighty deeds"? That he was
                                                            > thought of in this way in Second Temple Judaism is clear from Ben
                                                            > Sira 48; NB especially 48.4, "O Elias, how wast thou honoured in thy
                                                            > wondrous deeds [EN QAUMASIOIS SOU]! and who may glory like unto
                                                            > thee!"

                                                            For the sake of argument, I'm prepared to allow even this (though as I've
                                                            argued above the data we have seems not to have gone this way but rather in
                                                            the direction of Malachi's reconciliation). Still, there is the fact that
                                                            the earliest hard data we have goes not to Elijah texts but to Isaianic ones
                                                            for explanation of Jesus' mighty deeds. It might also be interesting that
                                                            John Baptist is regarded as Malachi's Elijah figure by Lk (1.17), but has no
                                                            mighty deeds attributed to him. Note too that John 1.21, 25 has a question
                                                            of John as to whether he is Elijah but there is no mention of mighty deeds
                                                            there either. Both of these accounts suggest (along with all the other
                                                            evidence I've cited so far) that IF mighty deeds were expected of Elijah
                                                            they do not seem to be of particular significance in identifying him.

                                                            > Given
                                                            > the variety of messianic / eschatological expectations witnessed in
                                                            > the Qumran literature, though, how far can you do this kind of
                                                            > synthesis (i.e. a metaphorical understanding)?

                                                            A good question. Nevertheless all the evidence I see suggests that messianic
                                                            variation did not extend to actual physical healing of the blind/lame/deaf
                                                            etc.

                                                            >Further, all that this shows is that those at Qumran were
                                                            > able to read blindness metaphorically; but that is a common biblical
                                                            > theme, it crops up in the NT too,

                                                            Precisely; and until counter evidence comes to light, I'm arguing that this
                                                            is how it was universally understood.

                                                            > .. and it does not rule out
                                                            > expectation of healing of physical blindness too.

                                                            In principle perhaps not. But in my reading of the evidence I can't see any
                                                            clear expectation of such physical healing and, after all, actual evidence
                                                            of first century interpretation is the point of this discussion.

                                                            > Did the authors of
                                                            > 4Q521 also see "liberation of captives" as metaphorical, or would
                                                            > some actual physical, political liberation take place?

                                                            I think you're suggesting that if one is not a metaphor then the other
                                                            cannot be either. But is this true? If Isaiah can combine actual exile
                                                            with metaphorical "blindness/deafness" (Isa 6) why can't the book do so when
                                                            that exile is reversed: actual political liberation and metaphorical sight
                                                            and hearing (= obedience to Torah)?

                                                            >> ...I¹m not convinced you¹ve shown why they
                                                            >> should alight on Isa 35 and 61 when no one understood those texts to
                                                            >> be speaking of literal healing (Isa 61 appears to have been connected
                                                            >> with messianic expectation, but not Isa 35).
                                                            >
                                                            > But 4Q521 gives us the association between Isa. 35, Isa. 61 &
                                                            > messiahship so whatever one thinks about the literal / metaphorical
                                                            > issue, we have clear evidence for Jews at a similar time interpreting
                                                            > these two texts together and in relation to messiahship.

                                                            Where exactly do you see Isa 35 in 4Q521? And granted the messianic use of
                                                            Isa 61 (as I already noted) why the move from metaphor to "concrete"?

                                                            >> ... Wouldn¹t it be more likely that he [Jesus] himself offered this
                                                            >> innovative interpretation of his healings, as Mt and Lk suggest? He
                                                            >> must have understood them as in some way related to his sense of
                                                            >> mission (bit hard to imagine him wandering around doing these things
                                                            >> with a slight look of befuddlement on his face). Is there any reason
                                                            >> why he should not have been the one who interpreted the significance
                                                            >> of his own healings in this new light?
                                                            >
                                                            > I think that this is quite possible, though I don't know how one
                                                            > proceeds from possibility to plausibility on this. Do you have any
                                                            > more than "Why not Jesus?"

                                                            Only what I have noted above: Jesus presumably had some idea of what he was
                                                            doing, he is clearly a substantial and creative figure, and the earliest
                                                            "hard" materials attribute this connection to him. It presents a coherent
                                                            picture which explains the vast majority of the data, and failing any
                                                            persuasive counter arguments, I see no reason to reject it.
                                                            >
                                                            >> If so, then one is arguing
                                                            >> that the logic behind the emphasis on certain healings came from Jesus
                                                            >> himself. No problem; in fact I think this makes the most sense. If
                                                            >> this is what happened ‹ Isa 35, 61 were there from the outset, as the
                                                            >> hard data suggest ‹ an Elijah/Elisha hypothesis seems unnecessary. In
                                                            >> other words, once one accepts, as you do, that Jesus must have done
                                                            >> something like this, then it seems a short step to say that the
                                                            >> integrative model for those healings comes from him.
                                                            >
                                                            > I don't think that the Elijah/Elisha identification and the Isa.
                                                            > 35/61 connection are either/or. Indeed note that Collins interprets
                                                            > the messiah in 4Q521 as Elijah or an Elijah-like figure (_The Scepter
                                                            > and the Star_, pp. 117-23). But even if that's not the case I think
                                                            > it's quite reasonable to see the tradents, like the evangelists,
                                                            > working with a variety of understandings of Jesus' wonder-working
                                                            > mission.

                                                            Thanks, I'll check his arguments, but I'm not sure I can see much basis for
                                                            such an identification. But is it necessary and does it explain anything?

                                                            > Enough for now; apologies not to have gone over everything in your
                                                            > interesting post; and thank you for taking my thoughts seriously. I
                                                            > continue to appreciate and enjoy your work.
                                                            >
                                                            > Mark


                                                            Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                                            Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                                            Regent College
                                                            5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
                                                          • Mark Goodacre
                                                            Thanks, Rikk, for the interesting response and apologies for the delay with this one. Let me try and boil down my concerns to a couple of points before
                                                            Message 29 of 30 , Nov 3, 2002
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                                                              Thanks, Rikk, for the interesting response and apologies for the
                                                              delay with this one. Let me try and boil down my concerns to a
                                                              couple of points before returning to your post in more detail:

                                                              -- I read you, I am not sure whether correctly or not, as expressing
                                                              surprise at the "set" of miracle stories you find in the Gospels.
                                                              You speak of an "integrated model" and a "creative synthesis". You
                                                              see Jesus as ultimately the author of this integrated model.

                                                              -- I have been attempting to press you to defend the very notion that
                                                              there is such an integrated model / unique set with its own internal
                                                              logic in the Gospels. It may be that there is, but I am not sure
                                                              that it can be taken for granted. The main competitor to your thesis
                                                              is, it seems to me, the view that the miracle stories in the gospels
                                                              are the result of interaction between a complex series of factors
                                                              which we can only penetrate by engaging in historical Jesus,
                                                              tradition-historical and redaction-critical study. In my posts I
                                                              have been attempting to draw attention to these different factors in
                                                              producing what we now see.

                                                              On 23 Oct 2002 at 17:02, Rikk E. Watts wrote:

                                                              > I'm not sure harmonizing is the best word since it conjures up a way
                                                              > of reading the gospels that is somewhat different from what I'm doing.
                                                              > But having said that, it is true that John, for whatever reasons,
                                                              > does not include a single exorcism (though I can't think of many
                                                              > recent NT scholars who would doubt that Jesus was seen to exorcise
                                                              > demons). Even so, I would argue that John's "set" is still much
                                                              > closer to, and of the same ilk as, the Synoptics than say the signs of
                                                              > the so-called sign prophets, or the deeds attributed to the so-called
                                                              > charismatic rabbis. John alone has water into wine but wouldn't you
                                                              > agree that everything else is pretty much cut from the same cloth?
                                                              > The next test would be to see if there is some kind of "set" logic
                                                              > behind the Synoptics and then behind John and thus see if both sets
                                                              > are compatible. I think they most definitely are, though I can't
                                                              > present my case here. These two lines of observation, viz. comparison
                                                              > to other wonder/sign-workers and the close coherence of the Syn and
                                                              > John when understood under my proposed rubric, suggest there is an
                                                              > intentional pattern here.

                                                              Clearly there are points of contact and points of divergence between
                                                              John and the Synoptics and yes, there is an obvious family
                                                              resemblance, some overlap and so on. My point would be that the
                                                              complex model, taking in the various factors of historical Jesus
                                                              study, tradition history and redaction-criticism, makes sense of both
                                                              the points of contact and the points of divergence. The "intentional
                                                              pattern" model would, for me, need some more fleshing out before it's
                                                              able to compete really effectively. So I suppose here I need to wait
                                                              to hear more of your unpacking of your thesis in due course.

                                                              > > I suspect that
                                                              > > part of the answer comes in your original post where you spoke of
                                                              > > provisionally accepting the record of the Canonical Gospels. But if
                                                              > > that is the case, I am not sure how legitimate it is to express
                                                              > > surprise at the "set" you see there, for the "set" is generated by
                                                              > > your own methodology of provisionally accepting the Gospel record.
                                                              >
                                                              > This seems a rather odd argument. It's a bit like saying well yes of
                                                              > course you can describe aircraft as having wings, engines, etc. but
                                                              > then you've chosen to look only at aircraft. Yes, and ... ? I'm
                                                              > starting with the four earliest "biographical" accounts we have (apart
                                                              > from which there's actually precious little in the way of descriptions
                                                              > of Jesus' mighty deeds that goes back to the first or even second
                                                              > century). But after that I'm hardly generating the data since I'm
                                                              > simply trying to explain what I see in these accounts.

                                                              But what you are doing, it seems to me, is this: you "provisionally
                                                              accept" the Gospel record, explicitly prescinding from engaging in
                                                              historical Jesus, tradition-historical, redaction-critical questions.
                                                              You then ask, "how can we explain this unique set?" I want to
                                                              answer, "By using the standard means, engaging in tradition-history,
                                                              redaction-criticism and the like", but this is the very answer you
                                                              are ruling out before you have begun, i.e. by "provisionally
                                                              accepting" the Gospel record. In other words, the method you are
                                                              laying down before beginning is effectively ruling out your major
                                                              dialogue partner.

                                                              Your very choice of the aircraft analogy is an interesting one and I
                                                              wonder if it shows how you see the Gospel record -- there is
                                                              intentionality from the beginning -- all the parts go to build a
                                                              unique, clearly identifiable and functioning whole, no part
                                                              redundant. But what I am asking is whether what we have in the
                                                              gospel miracle stories *is* an aeroplane. But what if what we have
                                                              is more akin to walking through an eclectic collection on a
                                                              particular theme at an art gallery, different artists working with
                                                              different but overlapping materials with similar goals yet
                                                              distinctive emphases?

                                                              > You could
                                                              > rightly question whether or not there's an internal logic to be seen,
                                                              > but if it's there I've hardly generated it. To use my analogy, I'm
                                                              > asking why these aircraft have wings and engines and where that idea
                                                              > came from. Even if there were other different-looking aircraft, I
                                                              > fail to see how that would invalidate my asking why these particular
                                                              > aircraft look like they do.

                                                              The choice of analogy does help me to see your perspective because I
                                                              think you are effectively taking for granted that there is a singular
                                                              presentation, a unique viewpoint, an integrated logic. You may be
                                                              right, but if so, it's a perspective I'd like to see defended,
                                                              particularly given that the standard view does not see that but sees
                                                              instead points of contact and points of divergence, different voices,
                                                              overlapping but not identical presentations.

                                                              > Here's the rub. The "many minds" and "it just evolved" model sounds
                                                              > reasonable as a general explanation, not least because of our
                                                              > society's plausibility structures. But, my contention is that things
                                                              > get rather more difficult once one starts to ask just exactly what
                                                              > that means (I don't know that the pericope analogy really applies).
                                                              > I've yet to see any reasonable unpacking of how that evolution might
                                                              > have progressed.

                                                              I don't think the standard explanation is an "it just evolved" model
                                                              if by that you mean something that happened by chance or accident.
                                                              Of course along the way there are figures in the process who are
                                                              powerful, major players. I'd say that one of the major figures known
                                                              to us was Mark -- he exercised a huge influence. And of course the
                                                              most important figure of all was Jesus -- I can't even begin to make
                                                              sense of the Gospel miracle stories unless, with the vast majority of
                                                              contemporary historical Jesus scholars, he was known as a healer in
                                                              his lifetime. But it stands to reason, does it not, that there were
                                                              many other playes in between Jesus and Mark?

                                                              > Even if I grant your Elijah/Elisha tradent a voice
                                                              > in the tradition, such a paradigm does not explain a) the variations
                                                              > from the E-E paradigm (the widow of Nain is not a Gentile ‹ and if
                                                              > these stories are being shaped by such models why don't they look more
                                                              > like them?), b) those mighty deeds that clearly do not fit the E-E
                                                              > model, nor c) the selectivity that is evident when compared to other
                                                              > first century accounts.

                                                              But as I've attempted to stress, I'd only see the Elijah/Elisha theme
                                                              as one element in the complex. The fact that this does not provide
                                                              an overarching explanation does not thereby invalidate it.

                                                              > > Second, I am not convinced yet that we should
                                                              > > describe the "set" of Gospel miracle stories as a "creative
                                                              > > synthesis". It's this claim, which I think relates to your talk of
                                                              > > a "particular set" with its own logic etc., that I'd like to see
                                                              > > defended.
                                                              >
                                                              > I don't think I understand you here. What exactly is it that you
                                                              > understand by and don't like about "creative synthesis"?

                                                              It comes back to your beginning point, of talking about the unique
                                                              set, the integrated model etc. It may be that the Gospels, taken as
                                                              a whole, do not offer us a "creative synthesis". They may do; I'd
                                                              just be interested to hear the case for that view.

                                                              > Indeed as do I. But since I started with the gospel writers'
                                                              > perspective (my only hard data), one needs to explain how one moves
                                                              > from the tradents to the gospel writers. That was my point. In other
                                                              > words, the invocation of an E-E tradent seems both unnecessary and
                                                              > insufficient to explain the gospel writers' viewpoint.

                                                              Actually I think I prefer to go in reverse, from the gospel writers
                                                              to the tradents to Jesus, e.g. if we see strong evidence of Lucan
                                                              creativity in a given pericope, we may not even need to ask the
                                                              question about Luke's tradition(s) for that pericope (etc.). But I
                                                              would see the Elijah tradent as in evidence in Mark's double attempt
                                                              to quosh the idea that Jesus might be identified with Elijah; but
                                                              that needs some more defending.

                                                              > For the sake of argument, I'm prepared to allow even this (though as
                                                              > I've argued above the data we have seems not to have gone this way but
                                                              > rather in the direction of Malachi's reconciliation). Still, there is
                                                              > the fact that the earliest hard data we have goes not to Elijah texts
                                                              > but to Isaianic ones for explanation of Jesus' mighty deeds.

                                                              It's this kind of opposing of these two strands that I find
                                                              unnecessary, "not to Elijah . . . but to Isaianic". Why not both
                                                              strands, and more, as the tradents, evangelists et al grappled with
                                                              the attempt to make sense of the miracle stories they were telling?

                                                              Thanks again for sharing your work and apologies if I am
                                                              misunderstanding you.

                                                              Mark
                                                              -----------------------------
                                                              Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                                                              Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
                                                              University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 4381
                                                              Birmingham B15 2TT UK

                                                              http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                                                              http://NTGateway.com
                                                            • Rikk E. Watts
                                                              Hi Mark, Goodness this exchange has all the makings of a small book! ... Good idea, I ll try to do the same. ... Yes, when compared to other contemporary sets
                                                              Message 30 of 30 , Nov 4, 2002
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                                                                Hi Mark,
                                                                Goodness this exchange has all the makings of a small book!

                                                                on 11/3/02 4:23 PM, Mark Goodacre at M.S.Goodacre@... wrote:

                                                                > Thanks, Rikk, for the interesting response and apologies for the
                                                                > delay with this one. Let me try and boil down my concerns to a hit
                                                                > couple of points before returning to your post in more detail:
                                                                Good idea, I'll try to do the same.

                                                                > -- I read you, I am not sure whether correctly or not, as expressing
                                                                > surprise at the "set" of miracle stories you find in the Gospels.
                                                                Yes, when compared to other contemporary sets attributed to various figures
                                                                that set, along with its explanatory materials (e.g. Jesus' answer to John
                                                                the Baptizer), associated with Jesus is quite distinctive, even unique. In a
                                                                much earlier post I laid out what I saw as the basic paradigm underlying the
                                                                set.

                                                                > You speak of an "integrated model" and a "creative synthesis". You
                                                                > see Jesus as ultimately the author of this integrated model.
                                                                Yes. I think the best explanation is that this paradigm originates with
                                                                Jesus. Given that NT scholarship now accepts that Jesus must have performed
                                                                some kinds of healings (interesting how times change), I'm assuming he must
                                                                have had some view on the significance of his healings and how they related
                                                                to his message.

                                                                > -- I have been attempting to press you to defend the very notion that
                                                                > there is such an integrated model / unique set with its own internal
                                                                > logic in the Gospels. It may be that there is, but I am not sure
                                                                > that it can be taken for granted.
                                                                Quite so. As noted I have earlier laid out what I thought that model was,
                                                                but essentially I would argue that the vast majority of the 35 or so
                                                                specific mighty deeds attributed to Jesus fit extremely well within a new
                                                                creational/new exodus paradigm (as per the prophets) which also happens to
                                                                fit nicely with the content of Jesus' message as recorded in these final
                                                                documents. In terms of distinctiveness, I would need to lay out all the
                                                                data but that would take up too much space. However, Eric Eve has done
                                                                something similar wrt the Jewish background (see also C. A. Evans on
                                                                miracles in JESUS AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES) and they both note the
                                                                distinctiveness of the set of Jesus mighty deeds.

                                                                > The main competitor to your thesis
                                                                > is, it seems to me, the view that the miracle stories in the gospels
                                                                > are the result of interaction between a complex series of factors
                                                                > which we can only penetrate by engaging in historical Jesus,
                                                                > tradition-historical and redaction-critical study. In my posts I
                                                                > have been attempting to draw attention to these different factors in
                                                                > producing what we now see.
                                                                This statement of the competing view would require that Jesus' understanding
                                                                of his mighty deeds would have been significantly at variance to that found
                                                                in the gospels? If not, the gospels would simply be a clarification of
                                                                Jesus' essential view. If so, then the creative moment originates somewhere
                                                                in the web of oral tradition. My problem here is twofold. Extending the
                                                                process in one sense doesn't address the nub of the problem since there must
                                                                still be a point at which a paradigmatic quantum leap occurs. Second to
                                                                attribute this jump to some nameless player whose creativity would be of
                                                                singular moment, exceeding that even of Jesus, not to mention Mark, seems,
                                                                sorry, highly improbable. Just as Dodd argued that the distinctive
                                                                integration of OT traditions by NT authors originates with Jesus, so I would
                                                                argue, he was responsible for this particular understanding his mighty
                                                                deeds.

                                                                > But what you are doing, it seems to me, is this: you "provisionally
                                                                > accept" the Gospel record, explicitly prescinding from engaging in
                                                                > historical Jesus, tradition-historical, redaction-critical questions.
                                                                Yes but this is only a first step. Methodologically, properly understanding
                                                                the concrete phenomenon whose origin one seeks to explain surely precedes
                                                                seeking its origin.

                                                                > You then ask, "how can we explain this unique set?" I want to
                                                                > answer, "By using the standard means, engaging in tradition-history,
                                                                > redaction-criticism and the like", but this is the very answer you
                                                                > are ruling out before you have begun, i.e. by "provisionally
                                                                > accepting" the Gospel record. In other words, the method you are
                                                                > laying down before beginning is effectively ruling out your major
                                                                > dialogue partner.
                                                                Pardon me but again this an very odd argument. Even redaction critics must
                                                                start by first looking at the gospels; i.e. provisionally accepting what
                                                                they see as data the seek to explain through e.g. tradition, source, and
                                                                redaction criticism. They notice seams, what they regard as Markan language
                                                                etc, and then proceed by trying to explain how what they see came about. Am
                                                                I not, methodologically, doing exactly the same thing? I first look at the
                                                                same hard data, even if asking different questions. Then I look at this data
                                                                vis-à-vis contemporary backgrounds. On noticing the distinctiveness of the
                                                                set of mighty deeds attributed to Jesus, I ask how this could have come
                                                                about. How does seeing a "unique set" effectively rule out my major
                                                                dialogue partner, any more than noting Lukan redactional tendencies
                                                                effectively rules out dialoging with the Q hypothesis? Just as you do not
                                                                accept the inference of the existence of Q as part of the best explanation,
                                                                because you think the data is best explained on other grounds, I am
                                                                skeptical of a gradual process of development since I think it lacks the
                                                                necessary explanatory power. I certainly don't rule it out ahead of time,
                                                                as I would hope my engagement with your proposals indicates.

                                                                > Your very choice of the aircraft analogy is an interesting one and I
                                                                > wonder if it shows how you see the Gospel record -- there is
                                                                > intentionality from the beginning -- all the parts go to build a
                                                                > unique, clearly identifiable and functioning whole, no part
                                                                > redundant. But what I am asking is whether what we have in the
                                                                > gospel miracle stories *is* an aeroplane. But what if what we have
                                                                > is more akin to walking through an eclectic collection on a
                                                                > particular theme at an art gallery, different artists working with
                                                                > different but overlapping materials with similar goals yet
                                                                > distinctive emphases?
                                                                This might frustrate you terribly, but I don't have a problem with any of
                                                                this. If by "eclectic" you mean the gospel writers choose the best from
                                                                various sources, well of course. I am indeed arguing for exactly this kind
                                                                of selection process and am assuming that the authors are choosing from
                                                                various sources the materials that best suit their theological perspectives,
                                                                their "similar goals yet distinctive emphasis. This is why I include the
                                                                stories included in John: different but overlapping materials, similar goals
                                                                etc.

                                                                However, I would not want to push "identical" too far. Nevertheless, there
                                                                is, I think, an identifiable and shared perspective (even if expressed with
                                                                slightly different emphases: sorry I had just taken that for granted) that
                                                                is sufficiently distinct from its background to raise questions about its
                                                                origins.

                                                                re the details:
                                                                > But as I've attempted to stress, I'd only see the Elijah/Elisha theme
                                                                > as one element in the complex. The fact that this does not provide
                                                                > an overarching explanation does not thereby invalidate it.
                                                                Even if I hold on my questions on the existence of such an explanatory
                                                                theme, it remains to be shown how such a theme contributes to a larger new
                                                                creational/new exodus model (as per Luke's Jesus' answer to John B). I
                                                                can't see how it does. Of course this presupposes the accuracy of my
                                                                paradigm. But, if for sake of argument you'll allow that accuracy of my
                                                                paradigm, I would be grateful to see how you would see the E/E theme being
                                                                integrated.

                                                                On the other hand, I think I can explain why there is an E/E theme in Luke
                                                                (e.g. Brodie, Evans), and why more broadly Jesus was seen to be Elijah. But
                                                                I think they are largely unrelated. I suspect the former is a secondary
                                                                subset reflecting Luke's particular redactional concern to legitimate
                                                                Gentile participation in a salvation (already understood on other grounds,
                                                                namely an innovative understanding of Isaiah texts originating in Jesus) by
                                                                appealing to an Elijah/Elisha precedent (as per Lk 4; 7.11-17; perhaps
                                                                17.11-19). The identification of Jesus with Elijah in general (note: nobody
                                                                apparently confuses him with Elisha) is because of his reconciling message,
                                                                for which expectation (unlike an expectation of wonder working) we have some
                                                                hard data in terms of Malachi and the latter rabbinic traditions.
                                                                >
                                                                > It's this kind of opposing of these two strands that I find
                                                                > unnecessary, "not to Elijah . . . but to Isaianic". Why not both
                                                                > strands, and more, as the tradents, evangelists et al grappled with
                                                                > the attempt to make sense of the miracle stories they were telling?
                                                                My grounds would be those stated above. First, the E/E pattern is simply
                                                                insufficient to explain the data, second, a new creational/new exodus
                                                                pattern largely renders it redundant, and third, its limited appearance in
                                                                Luke can be explained on other, secondary and redactional, grounds.

                                                                Take good care,
                                                                Rikk



                                                                Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
                                                                Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
                                                                Regent College
                                                                5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4
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