[XTalk]Dating John and Luke was Re: Dating Paul
- In a message dated 1/29/3 9:29:13 AM, Gordon wrote:
1. Issues being dealt with after Paul, James, Peter, et.al.:
a. leadership transition
b. the loss of "the center" and loss of Jerusalem/ Temple
c. the conflict between the Pharisaic Rabbis and the followers of Jesus
d. continuing to spread "the Gospel"
There are others... but these are "the biggies" facing "the second
generation" of those after Jesus, Peter, James, etc. I rather think that the
historical Paul was a rather minor player in all of this... his authentic
letters being important in some churches in Asia Minor and Greece... but his
influence in the homeland, in Syria, in Egypt and in Rome was minimal. The
literature to start with is Q 1 and 2, the Two Ways from the Didache, early
Thomas, the first 3 chapters of James, the Signs Gospel, the healing
stories, and I'd suggest "a spine of stories" of Jesus that reflect
remembrance and are found in Mark's gospel. Start there... then read Paul
(though I believe all are redacted... the core of his thought found in
Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, the Corinthian correspondence and
Romans)... then think about these core issues.>>
In the synoptics Jesus is especially close to three apostles; Simon
Peter who became head of the apostles and as Mark writes is comparatively
recently dead, James son of Zebeddee brother of John who's death twenty years
before Peter's, though probably personally painful to John, would greatly
increase the status of his brother, and John son of Zebedee.
The church is 'run' by apostles - missionaries with properly no place of
their own, though Jesus' brother has status because he is brother to the
figure they all look back to; James has status because he represents the
interests also of the family and during Mary's lifetime the family has clout
and is capable of causing what I call the primary schism possibility that
wracked Islam and Mormonism later. One reason why the leadership structure
is hidden to history is because these people did not have geographic
grounding, but moved around. The in-place bishops who would inherit
leadership of the church AFTER apostolic times were secondary players
All of the synoptics agree on the positive value put on servant
leadership which values the leadership taking a quiet role, and this is one
reason why it is hard to see what really was going on and who took what
leadership functions; these people vaunt their predecessors, but don't talk
much about themselves.
The successor to Simon Peter was John son of Zebedee who had the status
to step into this role when the newly decapitated church (deaths of James bro
of Jesus, Simon Peter, and theologian Paul in short order) needed to be
braced from the shock. The Markan mentions of the three closest apostles do
not seem to be polemic to bolster John into this position so much as to
explain to those who already know, why he took the succession.
He of course was already a 'pillar' to Paul, though probably Paul would
have mentioned any apostle who was present at his Jerusalem visit as a
The book of Acts takes us up to the eve of the Decapitation of the
church and stops. To explain the decapitation itself would require a few
chapters and would make the length of the book unnatural for its time; if it
were a scroll, Acts would reach a length hard to deal with, but the form also
would determine a length by the tradition of what people were used to.
The book of Acts takes us up to the Decapitation but no further. If it
were to have a sequel, the sequel would describe the decapitation, the
succession of John, and probably deal with the Jewish War and destruction of
the Temple more in keeping with a Christian diaspora view (that is, it would
probably think it less important than the modern scholars do), and the bulk
of the book would detail the details of the Petership of John.
But of course, there is no sequel. John disappears in such a way that
it is not easy to put in narrative, as probably a wanted man in flight, or an
old man exiled and 'disappeared' by the political powers. Luke must not have
had the time to reflect on how to express this.
Acts describes no further than the moment before the decapitation,
therefore, Luke writes no later than the end of the Petership of John. We
know there is no sequel, but the material that would be in that sequel would
certainly be of interest to the writer and would have been summed up at the
end of Acts if no sequel were planned.
The Didache comes from a time when the apostles are not the force that
once was; the originals are gone - what once was the top of the heap has
become adjunct; the individuals do not have the validitiy that like Simon
Peter or John son of Zebedee had.
This is the essence of my Petership of John theory (and 2 Acts theory, though
Zahn prefigured that in a different way), and the subject of a webpage to be
soon completed (http://members.aol.com/dagoi/PetershipOfJohn.html) - soon of
course being whenever I can take the necessary time from the daily grind to
finish off that and the Clement-Thomas thing.