At 05:37 PM 5/3/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>Hi Bob and all,
>Bob, thank you for your redaction of your note!
>... For those so interested, I
>hope they will take some time to read the primary texts in relationship to
>one another and not only think in terms of particularities of "this text"
>versus "that text," but also in terms of whole works and the praxis they are
>upholding, the ethics and ethos upheld, and the theology as a whole.
>Thoughts on intertextuality need to connect to both individual issues of
>theology, ethos, ethics and praxis with the individual issues that come
>together to make for "the wholes." My opening notes were meant to open the
>BIG PICTURE up and provide for suggested particulars to think about in
The problem with this approach is that it invites seeing the text through
rose colored glasses (or whatever hue one prefers to look at the world
through.) As an example, both the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems of
looking at the universe were BIG PICTURE visions. But both were driven by a
priori assumptions: that the Earth was the center of the universe
(Ptolemaic cosmology), or that Earth was merely one planet in orbit around
a Sun, etc. "Big picture" views of the kind you like to advocate are always
predicated on such a priori assumptions, because otherwise one doesn't know
how to make sense of the data. Neither one was really testable. The
Ptolemaic view fell, not because it did a lousy job of helping ships
navigate the oceans (in fact, it did a better job for at least a generation
or so), but ultimately because the Copernican system, once one was able to
give up the notion of the Earth at the center of the universe, posited much
simpler geometries for the motions of the bodies through the heavens.
>... For those so interested, I hope that they will spend some time
>looking at the ancient texts themselves. ...
>I want to move to focus more on specific issues and will offer a more
>precise example in a moment, but I want to think in terms of Luke refering
>to several sources in doing this, not just two texts. As the discussion
>moves forward from there, then we can hone down the discussion even further
>to just considering two texts, but again... I want to think in terms of BIG
>PICTURE... and then in terms of how Luke is dealing with the "many" and then
>more precisely how Luke compares with just another resource.
I consider this evasive, for reasons that will be explained below.
> >Just by way of reviewing some aspects of my understanding of
> >intertextuality, here are a few particulars:
> > * It must be established that the author of Text A is familiar with
> >Text B. This can be established in a different part of the text than the
> >part where intertextuality is claimed.
> > * It must have a particular focus: an idea, or a concept, or something
> >someone said, or didn't say, etc.
> > * Strict dependence is not necessary, but there must be enough
> >specificity to show that Author A is responding in some way to Text B.
> >Is that about right? Are there other important particulars?
I am glad we agree on this, for I will return to these guidelines below.
> Now before with proceeding with an of example of a specific
>issue, just a reminder to all:
>Luke says "many" have sought to write (Lk. 1:1). If one wants to work on
>this subject one has got to deal with the idea "of many," what texts that we
>know of that belong to that "many," their dates, and what one is claiming
>about Luke's knowledge and use from those texts.
I have an objection to this attempt to force the methodology. To continue
the astrophysical metaphor introduced above, there is a problem in physics
and mathematics known as the "3 body problem." We can talk with remarkable
degree of precision about the interaction of two bodies; but if a 3rd body
is introduced, the mathematics of the system immediately become insoluble.
The only way we can deal with 3 body problems is to break them down into a
series of 2-body problems. We can write precise equations for the moon's
orbit around the Earth, or for the Earth's orbit around the Sun, but we
cannot write a precise equation that jointly and simultaneously explains
the motion of the Earth under the simultaneous influence of the Moon and
the Sun. Instead, we use a series of approximations. Now, it may be clear
that the Earth DOES move under the influence of the gravitational forces of
the Moon and the Sun, but empirically, we can't deal with the orbital
geometries of all three bodies simultaneously, except by an elaborate
series of approximations. However, by studying these bodies two by two, we
can get the whole figured out pretty well.
I suggest that something of the same exists with texts: We don't really
have adequate theoretical structures to discuss the simultaneous
interaction of 3 texts. Instead, we have to do it two by two. So, for
example, with the Synoptic problem, we have to deal first with the issue of
Markan Priority, and then, if we're able to agree on that, we can turn to
how Luke relates to Mark, and how Matthew relates to Mark, and how Luke
relates to Matthew. A solution to the synoptic problem, then, requires a
*series* of solutions to the problem of how text A relates to text B. We
just don't have a literary theory, that I know of, that explains the
simultaneous interaction of 3 texts. So, what you are asking us to do
regarding Luke and "the many" is methodologically impossible, except by
analyzing the texts pairwise. To do otherwise, as your fondness for BIG
PICTURE analysis indicates, is that we begin with some unexplained,
unarticulated biases (a priori assumptions) by means of which we can
organize and understand the information presented in these documents.
In summary, your frequent pleas to look at the big picture and to consider
multiple texts simultaneously invite, in my view, unconscious abuse, and
the methodology is suspect.
> The possibilities are that
>Luke had and copied some, had and worked generally from some (for or
>against), Luke heard of some and Luke didn't know of some. Before one
>proceeds in this work a general schema of what one thinks about in terms of
>this many is a necessary task. And in this folks need to think not only
>about gospels but what other writings Luke had knowledge of. And then one
>needs to think about the historical situation in relationship to all of
OK, but we still need to approach the matter by looking at how Luke
responds to these texts one at a time.
>Second Luke says "orderly account." In this discussion what I want to focus
>upon are the theological and practical implications of producing an orderly
>account. Here I'm not engaging in whether Luke is telling us about actual
>events, but rather about the orderliness of his story telling as opposed to
>other's story telling and the orderliness of his ideas on praxis, ethics,
>ethos and theology as opposed to/ or in agreement with the orderliness of
>others on these matters. Hence more than just the other gospels will come
>That said, let me get to one issue today:
>Baptismal story and practice:
>back ground: Paul affirms baptism as the rite of initiation. In I Cor.
>1:14-16 he states he is one who baptizes and this is an open (non-secretive)
>practice (he adds he baptized the household of Stephanus).
Are you suggesting that Luke knew I Cor., or some earlier letter on which I
Cor. 1:14-16 is based? If so, how do you know that? If not, why mention it?
>Gospels [bracketing Mt. initially]:
>In Mark (ca. 75), Jesus is baptized by John in that massive baptismal
>movement in the Jordan river (see 1:5). This baptism is for "forgiveness
>for the repentence of sins" (see v. 4). There is no one mentioned
>accompanying him personally and he doesn't meet Peter, Andrew, James and
>John til he gets back to Galilee. The Father's words to Jesus are unclear as
>to who heard the heavenly confirmation of sonship. There are no stories of
>Jesus baptizing anyone and no stories of the disciples doing so. The
>mission of the 12 doesn't contain direction to baptize.
I gather that the implicit claim here is that Luke knew Mark. I won't argue
I gather also that the focal concept here is baptism.
Referring to my 3 guidelines above, which you endorsed, I gather that you
are deferring the 3rd point until later.
>In Secret Mark (ca. 70 +/- granting its existence) we hear (per Crossan's
>interpretation: see his "Historical Jesus) of a secret, nude baptismal
>practice done by Jesus.
What evidence do you have that Luke knew Secret Mark?
>In G. John (ca. 100 and I'm talking about John 1-20:23 & 30-31... and to be
>more precise: exise 7:5 and 7:53-8:11) we find JTB talking about baptism,
>but no repetition of the Markan story. John sees the Spirit descend and
>remain on Jesus (1:32). In John, Jesus meets Andrew and a nameless other as
>the first one's to become Jesus' disciple by the Jordan. Andrew goes and
>gets his brother and there names him Cephas/Peter. John 3:22 says that
>Jesus was baptizing. John 4:2 says that it was the disciples baptizing and
>out in the open, but not Jesus.
What evidence do you have that Luke knew GJohn?
>In the Didache (ca. 100) the Baptismal rite is described and a simple
>Trinitarian credo is to be used. This is an open practice, preferably to be
>done in running water or, if not, with cold water:)!
What evidence do you have that Luke knew the Didache?
>In the oldest version of the Baptismal Credo (ca. 100: "I believe in God
>the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, and in the
>Holy Spirit, the Holy Church, the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection
>of the body.") we hear of a simple, open formula.
What evidence do you have that Luke knew this Baptismal Credo?
>So to Luke: Luke follows Mark on Jesus' baptism with no mention of any of
>the 12 by name.
OK, at last we are down to specific texts. Here you are trying to make
something of the fact that while Mark's reference to Jesus' baptism
(1:9-11) is followed quickly (but not immediately) by the call of the
disciples (1:16-20), in Luke the baptism at 3:21-22 and the call of the
disciples is deferred to Chapter 5. So? Luke follows Mark in reporting a
temptation in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13//Luke 4:1-13), and then Jesus
returning to Galilee, "proclaiming the good news of God" (Mark
1:14-15//Luke 4:14). I don't understand the point you're making here; Luke
merely seems to be expanding on Mark, and follows the same 4-part sequence
as Mark. So I fail to grasp your point.
> Luke expands the JTB scene with the crowds asking whether he
>is the messiah. JTB denies this and points to the "one more powerful" who
>will baptize with "Holy Spirit and fire." After the baptism Luke makes the
>heavenly declaration of the Holy Spirit descending, and follows Mark, not
>John on the Father's words.
This will surprise no one.
> As for the other disciples Jesus doesn't baptize them.
This is true for both Mark and Luke. Your point being?
> Further Luke doubles the mission statement (12 & 70) and in
>neither direction is there instruction to baptize during Jesus' lifetime.
Since Mark and Luke are the same with respect to baptism here, what is the
point regarding intertextuality?
>In his very last words to the disciples before he ascends Jesus tells them
>"Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to
>them, 'Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer, and to rise on the
>third day, and that repentence and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed
>to all nations....'" Lk. 24:45-47). This emphasizes with Mark's plotting
>that Jesus' own baptism is unique, that Jesus' messiahship is about to be
>complete (when he ascends to the Father) and that baptism done by his
>apostles will be a part of the work when the HS is given to them.
So, once again, Luke agrees with Mark. This is news?
> Luke shows this fulfillment in Acts 2:38 on Pentecost Peter tells the 3000,
>"Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that
>your sends may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy
>Spirit." (Acts 2:38). G.Luke thus maintains the basic story with Mark,
>clarifies the meaning of Jesus' baptism and then the meaning of baptism for
>all once the Spirit is given.
So, with regard to intertextuality, basically you're saying that Luke
agrees with Mark? This is news?
> This theologically coheres with what we hear
>about in Paul's writing, in the Didache and the Baptismal Credo. It stands
>against Baptism as some secret rite. It stands against baptism as
>commissioned before Jesus death and resurrection.
What is the relationship between "cohering" and "intertextuality"? My
understanding is that "cohering" does not require that Text A relate to
Text B directly, but only that they perhaps are part of the same tradition.
>Now back to Matthew. Matthew has Jesus give the Great Commission which
>includes direction to baptize at the end of his Gospel. This is in Galilee
>where the ascension occurs. Luke does not follow Matthew on timing, place
>nor this precise instruction.
This is consistent with the standard scholarly judgment on the independence
of Luke and Matthew. Or are you asserting a claim that Luke's version of
the Great Commission in Luke 24: 46-48 is a response to Matthew 28:18-20?
If so, what would be Luke's point?
> There is theological coherence with the
>message and actually Matthew's instructions are more direct about connecting
>proclamation and baptism! But Luke follows none of this.
Well now this is interesting, in that the Great Commission is not, by
scholarly agreement, considered part of Q, and is not borrowed from Mark,
which has no parallel (except in the "longer ending," in 16:15-16). And
yet, you are pointing to "theological coherence". So I see several
possibilities with this:
* Luke and Matthew are independent, but share a common tradition about
the Great Commission unknown from any other source, using that common
source somewhat differently.
* Luke knew GMatthew, and is "correcting" it. This would be a good
example of intertextuality, but I'm not sure that you're thinking about it
* The longer ending of Mark is original, and both Matthew and Luke drew
>Orderliness? It is disorderly to have "many" different stories. In the
>Roman world where the fact was that the hero had been slain by the Roman
>governor and JTB had been slain by the Roman puppet, it was dangerous to
>suggest that the initiation rite was secretive. Making clear what John's
>baptism of Jesus meant and thereby making what the church's present, open
>practice was about (i.e. not some secretive, strange rite for young men, but
>a down by the river practice for families) took away any suggestion that
>what Christians were doing was disorderly to Roman rule. And making for a
>clear theological orderliness also serves to root this in the acceptable
>"ancient religion" category of the Romans. Emphasizing it's about
>"forgiveness" takes away any notion of hostile intent. And positively this
>coheres with liturgical practice and catechesis that is for all initiates
>(joining this movement is the same for all, not some occult mystery rite,
>but is rooted in direct theological affirmation.)
So if this is about intertextuality, it only makes sense if baptism either
was, or was thought to be, a secret rite antithetical to Roman norms. If
so, that text is Luke responding to? Secret Mark? But you don't assert this
openly. If so, you need to show that Luke knew Secret Mark.
> Only Jesus was baptized in
>the Markan to Luke accounting and Luke's telling shows the fulfillment of
>the meaning after the resurrection and to be completed with the ascension
>and sending of the HS (and Acts will get to that).
>So, Bob and all I suggest intertextual reading based in particular issues,
>but in relationship to dealing with "the many" Luke talks about. I will try
>to give one more specific example before I leave for vacation. These
>examples will build on one another. Particularly key for the timing issue
>is the dating of John in relationship to Luke and the Didache and the
>Baptismal Credo in relationship to Luke. I also will maintain that one
>needs to think about Tacitas (109) and Pliny (112) and the uprising late in
>Trajan's reign (98-117) and the beginning of Hadrian's reign and the
>continuing threat of "Jewish revolts." These latter Roman issues suggest to
>me cause and need for orderliness in the midst of burgeoning story
>production. There are internal issues of orderliness as well, but I want to
>keep the question of "what Christian belief and practice looks like" very
>much in mind.
>I hope this helps begin to clarify the issues and is another step that helps
>folks turn to the texts and read them intertextually.
Thank you. From the above, you now perhaps can see my own response to your
claims, and can thereby adjust your next comments on this subject
accordingly, if you want to.
Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
Northern Arizona University
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