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BNTC part 2

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  • Jacob Knee
    Further update on British New Testament Conference. Bart Ehrman was the second main speaker. His paper - was titled Christ as Divine Man in Texts Disputed and
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 5, 2004
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      Further update on British New Testament Conference.

      Bart Ehrman was the second main speaker. His paper - was titled 'Christ as
      Divine Man in Texts Disputed and Apocryphal'. But he made clear at the start
      he wasn't going to talk about the discussions about theios aner as an
      appropriate category for understanding Jesus (a debate he summarily
      dismissed) - but instead about the early christian claim that Jesus was both
      God and man and, if you want, its textualisation. He spoke about the means
      that were used by, so to say, the proto-orthodox to attempt to control the
      interpretation of texts - he mentioned simply altering the texts, or putting
      the texts in a canon, or the production of non-canonical stories - alongside
      which the canonical texts would be interpreted (eg Protoevangelium of James,
      Infancy Gospel of Thomas), or the production of harmonised texts (eg by
      Tatian).

      He then looked especially at Luke and suggested that there were strong
      stylistic and theological reasons to think that the infancy narratives in
      Luke's Gospel were a (proto-orthodox) secondary addition. So, that the first
      edition began with the baptism of Jesus by John. He made particular
      reference to the textual variant at 3.22 - arguing the likely first edition
      was at least open to an adoptionistic interpretation - 'You are my son,
      this day I have begotten you' - despite the contrary witness of P4 - since
      the variant is affirmed by every patristic witness of the second and third
      century. (I hope I've got that right - I didn't take notes - so this is just
      going on memory). He suggested that Marcion may have known this first
      edition of Luke.

      However, he argued that possibly very rapidly (I think he said why not
      within a year or two of the first edition being produced) the text was
      edited - and the infancy narratives added - in an attempt to manage the
      interpretation of the text and control the adoptionistic reading.

      It was a provocative tour de force, superbly delivered. My thoughts (FWIW):

      1. What would count as evidence against the hypothesis? (One possible answer
      - Francis Watson argued that Ehrman's cumulative case would be weakened if
      it could be shown that it was more probable that Marcion had excised Luke
      1-2, rather than simply not having them in his home church's copy of the
      'first edition'. But then Ehrman had already said how notoriously difficult
      it was to say exactly what texts Marcion had).

      2. A principal reason to think that the infancy narratives are secondary -
      is, I guess, stylistic and theological discontinuities with the rest of
      Luke. But if Luke (or some other) was prepared to insert them at a later
      date (possibly very shortly after the production of the 'first edition') -
      then why should we think that they weren't part of the Luke's Gospel from
      the very statrt. At some point Luke (or someone else) was content to let the
      discontinuities exist - why not from the start?

      3. As a aside - when scholars write of the 'final form' of the text - what
      do they mean?

      Mark Goodacre asked an interesting question - pushing Prof. Ehrman on what
      his hypothesis might mean for Q. The larger the gap in time between first
      and second editions the more possible it presumably is that at least 'second
      edition Luke' knew Matthew. Prof. Ehrman said he saw no reason why second
      edition Luke couldn't have been produced rapidly after the first edition -
      and that we mustn't imagine book production and circulation in the ancient
      world as anything like modern book production. He seemed to think it quite
      possible that christian communities would not know Matthew for many decades
      after its production. (As an example - he said it is debatable whether
      Justin Martyr knew John's Gospel by the mid second century).

      (Again as an aside - Ehrman seems to have a very different view of the
      connectedness of early christian communities than that in Bauckham's 'The
      Gospel For All Christians').

      Best wishes,
      Jacob Knee
      (Cam, Glos.)
    • Ron Price
      ... Jacob, Because when a skilful author plans the first edition of a book, he or she will ensure that it is well organized and impressive. In the case of the
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 6, 2004
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        Jacob Knee wrote:

        > .. A principal reason to think that the infancy narratives are secondary -
        > is, I guess, stylistic and theological discontinuities with the rest of
        > Luke. But if Luke (or some other) was prepared to insert them at a later
        > date (possibly very shortly after the production of the 'first edition') -
        > then why should we think that they weren't part of the Luke's Gospel from
        > the very statrt. At some point Luke (or someone else) was content to let the
        > discontinuities exist - why not from the start?

        Jacob,

        Because when a skilful author plans the first edition of a book, he or she
        will ensure that it is well organized and impressive. In the case of the
        first edition of Luke, the formal historical setting of 3:1 ff. followed
        naturally after the formal preface of 1:1-4. When Luke was later convinced
        of the need to add the birth stories, the easiest way was to leave the
        preface and formal historical setting unchanged, and insert the birth
        stories between them. Too bad that it somewhat spoilt his introduction.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • Jacob Knee
        Ehrman s arguments for the originality of the Ps 2.7 text at Luke 3.22 are in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture p.62-67. As part of his argument there
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 6, 2004
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          Ehrman's arguments for the originality of the Ps 2.7 text at Luke 3.22 are
          in 'The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture' p.62-67.

          As part of his argument there (and his lecture at BNTC) Ehrman states his
          view that it is 'a dubious premise that Luke [was] (logically) consistent in
          his use of christological titles and conceptions'(p64). He gives examples

          1. Luke's depiction of Jesus as Messiah.
          Jesus was born Christ (2.11), become Christ at baptism (Acts 10.37-38),
          became Christ at resurrection (Acts 2.36)

          2. Luke's depiction of Jesus as Lord
          Jesus is born Lord (2.11), is Lord while living (10.11), became Lord at
          resurrection (Acts 2.36)

          3. Son of God
          Jesus is born Son of God (1.32-35), Jesus descended Son of God according to
          genealogy (3.23-38), declared Son of God while living (eg 8.28), became Son
          of God at resurrection (Acts 13.33)

          He concludes 'This kind of titular ambiguity does not inspire confidence in
          claims that certain readings cannot be Lukan because they stand in tension
          with Luke's use of christological titles elsewhere'.

          If he is right about this - then it surely weakens his case that the infancy
          narratives weren't part of the first edition because they contrast with the
          rest of Luke.

          If he is not right about it - then it slightly weakens his case for the
          authenticity of the variant reading of 3.22 - especially if his hypothesis
          about the original edition of Luke lacking ch 1 - 2 is wrong.

          As it is I think his case for the variant reading at Luke 3.22 is very
          strong. However his argument about ch 1 - 2 is IMO much weaker and seems to
          require Luke to be consistent in a way that Ehrman himself has persuasively
          argued against.

          Best wishes,
          Jacob



          -----Original Message-----
          From: Ron Price [mailto:ron.price@...]
          Sent: 06 September 2004 19:54
          To: Crosstalk elist
          Subject: Re: [XTalk] BNTC part 2

          Jacob Knee wrote:

          > .. A principal reason to think that the infancy narratives are
          > secondary - is, I guess, stylistic and theological discontinuities
          > with the rest of Luke. But if Luke (or some other) was prepared to
          > insert them at a later date (possibly very shortly after the
          > production of the 'first edition') - then why should we think that
          > they weren't part of the Luke's Gospel from the very statrt. At some
          > point Luke (or someone else) was content to let the discontinuities exist
          - why not from the start?

          Jacob,

          Because when a skilful author plans the first edition of a book, he or she
          will ensure that it is well organized and impressive. In the case of the
          first edition of Luke, the formal historical setting of 3:1 ff. followed
          naturally after the formal preface of 1:1-4. When Luke was later convinced
          of the need to add the birth stories, the easiest way was to leave the
          preface and formal historical setting unchanged, and insert the birth
          stories between them. Too bad that it somewhat spoilt his introduction.

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm



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