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Issue of Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, Unreasonable?

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  • Theodore Weeden
    ... Byrskog indicates that Seneca employs precisely this approach. Thus, it seems to me that your argument that we have no reports of Jesus actually telling
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 24, 2005
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      Rikk Watts wrote on February 18:

      >Reading your citations of
      Byrskog indicates that Seneca employs precisely this approach. Thus, it
      seems to me that your argument that "we have no reports of Jesus actually
      telling his disciples about this" and hence should be skeptical about his
      temptation account, reflects an unreasonable, and perhaps even hostile,
      demand given ancient authorial expectations.<

      [TJW]

      Rikk, I have addressed this issue in my 2/22 post, "Mark's Temptation Story
      & Historical-critical Skepticism."


      [Rikk]
      If you'd instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty
      (to use the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion
      narrative, and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough.
      But, the reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think
      it indicates that overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
      unreasonable skepticism,

      [TJW]

      I have difficulty following your logic here with respect to my hermeneutic
      of suspicion. If you concede that my suspicion of Mark not presenting a
      passion narrative based upon historical factuality is fair enough, why is it
      that you find my historical-critical view of the temptation story not being
      based upon historical factuality "is marred by an unwarranted and
      unreasonable skepticism? Would it not be reasonable to have a healthy
      skepticism toward taking the temptation story as historically based if one
      already found, as I have, that Mark presented other events in his narrative
      which were without historical foundation? Is that any different from what
      happens in a court of law? When a witness is exposed as misrepresenting
      presumed facts in testimony on one matter related to a case, is it not
      incumbent on those seeking the truth to have a warranted and reasonable
      skepticism about the witness' testimony regarding the facts on another
      matter involving the same case?

      On the matter of Mark being dishonest in his presentation of his passion
      narrative: I do not and would not contend that Mark is guilty of
      "*dishonesty*," to use your term, because Mark composed a passion narrative
      that has no basis in historical fact. That presupposes that Mark was writing
      history in both the Graeco-Roman and modern definitions of what constitutes
      historiography. I do *not* think Mark writes or intended to write history.
      He, in my judgment, is writing an extended parable which is presented as an
      apologia in witness to and defense of his belief that Jesus was the Christ
      the Son of God (1:1). Mark is an Christian evangelist, as he is often noted
      as being (as is the case also with regard to the other canonical Gospel
      writers), and not a historian. I will expand on this hermeneutical position
      in a future post.

      [Rikk]

      and it might just be this that results in few of
      your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
      words, sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being fair
      (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered; I suspect
      Byrskog would probably agree).<

      [TJW}

      Rikk, I think that that is an unfair characterization and judgment upon my
      scholarship. First, whether or not you think that I pursue "an unwarranted
      and unreasonable skepticism" in my hermeneutic of the Gospel of Mark, I
      would hope that my arguments would be evaluated on the merit of my
      argumentation and not on what appears to me to be a subjective rejection of
      my position because it does not cohere with your hermeneutical
      presuppositions or that of others. For it strikes me that the disputatious
      issue before us is provoked over the difference in hermeneutical
      presuppositions we bring to the table of discourse. If I understand you --
      please correct me if I have not - one of your hermeneutical presuppositions
      for interpreting the Gospel of Mark is that you begin by assuming that
      behind the Markan narration of events lies historical kernels of historical
      factuality, unless that assumption can, on the basis of investigation, be
      shown not to be the case in a particular narrative event under
      consideration. Behind that hermeneutical presupposition, as I see it, is a
      presumption that Mark is writing a history, or a biography about the
      historical Jesus.

      I come to the table of discourse, as a result of my understanding of ancient
      historiography, my analysis of the Markan genre and my finding that what
      Mark is presenting in his passion narrative is not history but a
      confessional apologia, I come to the table of discourse with the
      hermeneutical presupposition that Mark's intend is not to write a biography
      of Jesus, much less to write a historical narrative (novel, perhaps, in
      contemporary jargon) with Jesus as the hero protagonist. Thus, I begin with
      what I believe to be a healthy hermeneutical suspicion that requires
      extensive investigation of the Markan text in conjunction with a
      consideration of evidence external to Mark (textual, soico-historical, etc)
      to see if there is reason to consider that any of the Markan text may be
      grounded in historical factuality, insofar as that can be determined, if not
      conclusively verifiable. Thus, the difference between us, as I see it, is
      that you begin with the presupposition that Mark is telling, at least in
      some measure, the historical truth, less that it can be shown that he is
      not. I do not begin with that presupposition.

      Now, with respect to your judgment that "few of your colleagues being
      persuaded by the rest of your arguments," and citing, as an example, "Jimmy
      Dun's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered", I have two responses.
      First, I am not in the numbers game as to how many of my colleagues are
      persuaded by my arguments, whether the number be "few," as you suggest or
      many. Second, with respect to James D. G. Dunn's remarks on my "work" in his
      _Jesus Remembered_, if you will pardon me, I do not think that you have
      presented Dunn's critique of one aspect of my work in either a balanced or
      fair way. You allude to Jimmy Dunn's remarks but you do not specifically
      cite them for those who read these XTalk posts and are unfamiliar with the
      issue over which Dunn and I draw radically different conclusions.

      That disputatious issue is over whether Kenneth E. Bailey's theory of
      informal controlled oral tradition is a valid and viable model for
      representing and understanding how the Jesus oral tradition was transmitted
      by early Christians in their respective Palestinian communities up and until
      the Roman-Jewish War (66-70 CE), at which time that Jesus oral tradition was
      textually preserved by Mark and the canonical evangelists who followed him.
      The crux of the matter that separates Dunn's acceptance of Bailey's theory
      and my rejection of it, lies in my discovery that Bailey completely
      misrepresents the only extant source which he garners as witness for his
      thesis. Bailey, as you well know, premises his theory of informal controlled
      oral tradition upon his 950's to 60's tenure in the southern Egyptian
      Christian communities founded by the Scottish missionary, John Hogg, in the
      latter part of the 19th century. Bailey intuited his theory from his
      observance of almost nightly meetings of these Christian communities in
      which they rehearsed their own oral tradition which included as a central
      memory their stories of the work of John Hogg among them. Bailey identified
      these meetings in Arabic as "*haflat samar*," or *hafalat (plural) samar*,
      which terminology which Bailey translates into English for his readers as
      respectively "a party for preservation" and "parties for preservation"
      ("Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels, " _A JT_ 5
      [199], 34-54; and "Middle Eastern Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels,"
      _ET_ 106 [1994-95], 363-367). Bailey contends, on the basis of the
      biography of John Hogg, written by his daughter, Rena Hogg, in 1914, that
      the stories Bailey heard recited in the *hafalat samar* in the 50's and 60's
      were the same Hogg stories that Rena Hogg recounted about her father when
      she visited the Hogg-founded communities in 1910 seeking material to write
      her father's biography. From Bailey's comparison of the stories and the
      dynamics of control on the way the oral tradition was recited in the
      *hafalat samar* Bailey attended, he concluded that these oral societies had
      from their beginning employed a methodology which Bailey labeled as
      "informal controlled oral tradition," as the means by which those oral
      societies sought to assure the historical accuracy of the recitation of
      their oral tradition and its authentic and faithful transmission from
      generation to generation.

      Bailey then extrapolated from that conclusion the premise that this oral
      methodology historically was employed by all oral societies of the Middles
      East from generation to generation to preserve the historical authenticity
      of their oral traditions. Bailey then extends this premise to the earliest
      Palestinian Christian communities and posits that they must have employed
      that same methodology in the attempt to preserve accurately the authentic
      historical tradition about Jesus.

      Now with respect to my hermeneutic of suspicion and what you descrribeas my
      unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism, let me state forthrightly that when
      I was first introduced to Bailey's theory of oral tradition in an on-line
      seminar conducted by James D. G. Dunn, I initially accepted the validity of
      Bailey's conclusions, without question, because of my high regard for both
      Bailey and Dunn's reputations as highly respected, reliable and trustworthy
      scholars. It was not until Ken Olson, after reading Rena Hogg's biography,
      raised a question with Dunn in that on-line seminar as to Bailey's
      reliability in presenting accurately his representation of the stories Rena
      Hogg told about John Hogg in her biography as being almost word for word the
      same stories as Bailey heard in the 50's 60's. Olson cited pages 210-214 in
      the biography where he found serious discrepancy with Bailey's claim that
      she told and he heard almost exactly the same stories.

      That information shared by Olson raised the hermeneutic of suspicion in my
      mind regarding the claims that Bailey was making. I, then, secured Rena Hogg's
      biography of her father, as you are aware, to see if my hermeneutic of
      suspicion was warranted and reasonably applied in the case of Bailey's
      claims for his theory. My reading of Rena Hogg's book convinced me that my
      hermeneutic of suspicion was not only warranted and reasonable but well
      founded. What I found is that Bailey, in presenting his argument for his
      theory with the only extant source he had before him, had failed to
      represent accurately Rena Hogg's take on the stories she heard about her
      father. From my comparison of Bailey's recounting of Hogg stories he heard
      and the Hogg stories Rena Hogg cited in her biography, I could only conclude
      that Bailey had misrepresented his primary and only extant source for his
      theory to Dunn and the rest of the scholarly community.

      As a result of this conclusion, I presented two essays on X Talk disclosing
      my findings ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition: a Flawed Theory," Archives
      #8301; and 'Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition," Archives # 8730). In the
      second essay, I also brought into question the substantive support for
      Bailey's theory in his presentation additional anecdotal evidence he
      marshaled for his theory, in addition to citing what he presented as Rena
      Hogg's corroborative witness. That led Jeffrey Gibson, who had arranged for
      the Dunn on-line seminar, to contact Jimmy Dunn and indicate to him my
      critical assessment regarding the reliability of Bailey's theory. As a
      result, Jimmy Dunn and I exchanged private correspondences over my
      contention that Bailey had misrepresented his evidentiary support for his
      theory which, in effect, undermined the validity and viability.

      At the time of our private exchange, Dunn was writing his _Jesus
      Remembered_, and with its publication he presented what you refer allusively
      to as Dunn's critique of my work as, to use your words "as not being fair"
      in a footnote ( 207, n.182). For X Talk readers who may not be familiar
      with Dunn's citation with reference to my critique of Bailey, I cite it as
      follows:

      "Bailey's claims regarding stories told about [John] Hogg [founder of
      Christian village communities in the South of Egypt in the latter part of
      the 19th C] have been seriously challenged, particularly by T. Weeden in
      http://groups.yahoo.com//group/crosstalk2/messages /8301 and /8730. In
      personal correspondence Bailey has expressed his regret at some
      overstatement in regard to Hogg traditions, but insists that his hypothesis
      is based primarily on his own experience of the *haflat samar*. Weeden's
      further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their significance misses much of
      Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and weakens Bailey's case hardly at
      all."

      Now, Rikk, I as shared with you in my 5/21/04 post off-list, I reworked my
      critique of Bailey, removed some of the censorious language to which Dunn
      objected, and made, with the help of the critical comments and suggetions of
      Eric Eve, Ken Olson, and Bob Schacht, as a result, an even stronger case
      against the accuracy and validity of the evidentiary support Bailey provides
      for his theory. In fact, everyone who has read my revised critique of Bailey's
      theory, and there have been many, has acknowledged that I have made a very
      strong case against the cogency, validity and viability of Bailey's theory
      of informal controlled oral tradition upon which Dunn and N. T. Wright, to
      name two of the most notable scholars, have based their contention that such
      a methodology is a model for understanding how and why the earliest
      Christians essentially preserved the historical authenticity of stories
      about and teachings of the historical Jesus.

      When I shared with you that I had revised my critique, you indicated in a
      post response that you were very interested in reading the revision but
      could not at that time because of preparing for a summer school course and
      trip to China. I understood completely your time-bind, given all you had
      before you. So I have waited until you let me know you had time to engage
      the critique again. Since, in your 2/18/05 post, you have referenced
      allusively to Jimmy Dunn's critique of my case against Bailey, I have asked
      Jeffrey Gibson to upload my revision to the XTalk files. Jeffrey has
      informed me that my revised critique of Bailey's theory, which I have now
      entitled "Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Theory Repudiated by Its
      Evidence," is now available at http://tinyurl.com/5zmwm. There you and
      others on the list can read it and make judgments as to whether my
      hermeneutical approach to Bailey's theory is now guilty of unwarranted and
      unreasonable skepticism. Listers, however, will need to sign in and have
      Adobe Reader to gain access to the essay.

      Finally, my questioning of Bailey's accurate representation of his
      evidentiary support for his theory has taken on a new dimension. It
      involves Bailey's definition of the Arabic terminology *haflat samar*, and
      its meaning as he applies it to historic traditional nightly gatherings of
      Middle East village societies. It was a evidentiary issue that I had
      previoulsy no reason to question, because, since I do not know Arabic, I
      accepted his English translation of the Arabic and Bailey's referential
      interpretation of it. But, as you know, as I related in my 5/24/04 post to
      you, in talking to native Middle Eastern Muslims now expatriated to the
      United States, I have discovered what they knew as *haflat samar* in their
      native Syria, Lebanon and Egypt is not that same as Bailey reported from his
      experience. I do not know whether the discrepancy between these two
      different definitions and interpretations of *haflat samar* is to be chalked
      up to two different life experiences in two different community settings or
      something more. But the discrepancy between what Bailey tells us and what
      the Middle East people have reported of their experience is something that
      needs to be explained. I shared this information with Jeffrey Gibson and he
      suggested that I post the following inquiry on the ANE list to see if I
      could get better clarity as to why there is such discrepancy between what
      Bailey defines as *haflat samar* and its purpose and what the Middle East
      people tell me. Thus the inquiry to ANE, as sent for me by Jeffrey Gibson.

      "I'm forwarding the following message on behalf of Ted Weeden who is not
      an ANE member, but who has a question that this List is admirably suited
      to answer. And since I myself would like to see how the question is
      answered, I'd
      appreciate seeing on list responses. (I'll post these answers to Ted).

      Thanks in advance,

      Jeffrey Gibson

      [TJW]

      I am trying to get a definitive meaning and culturally contextual
      interpretation of the Arabic term transliterated into English as *haflat
      samar.* Kenneth Bailey in his articles on oral tradition ("Informal
      Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels, " _A JT_ 5 (1991),
      34-54; and "Middle Eastern Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels,"
      _ET_ 106 (1994-95), 363-367) translates *haflat* as "party" and *samar*
      as "preservation." Thus, *haflat samar* means "a party for
      preservation." Contextually, Bailey states that in the 1950's and 60's
      he experienced *hafalat (plural of *haflat*) samar* as almost nightly
      gatherings of southern Egyptian Christian communities in which they
      rehearsed the oral tradition of their respective communities as a way of
      accurately preserving and faithfully transmitting from generation to
      generation the historical authenticity of their traditions.

      On the Christian website, http://www.christian-thinktank.com/aec2.html,
      *hafalat samar* is defined and described thus: "The hafalat samar--the
      campfire that 'preserves'. This is the ancient Bedouin campfire, in
      which the leaders of the tribe/clan recite the traditions of the tribe.
      The accuracy of the transmission of these traditions is incredible--even
      today! (Cf. our knowledge of the Pledge of Allegiance--those of us who
      said it daily for 15+ years NEVER, EVER forget the words.) The Middle
      Eastern people were able to memorize very massive words, without error."

      However, in my personal interviews with native Middle Eastern Muslims
      from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, who reside in the United States, I have
      been given a different definition of and culturally contextual
      interpretation of *haflat samar.* According to these persons *haflat
      samar* means a "gathering for amusement or entertainment. The
      translation of *haflat* is consistent with Bailey's. But the
      significant difference lies in the translation of *samar* which,
      according to the Muslims I interviewed, means to amuse or to have a good
      time. I found the same translation of *samar* via a Google search of
      a website in an article about Sadallah Wannus, a famous Syrian
      playwright. Wannus wrote a play in 1968 which the article cites in
      Arabic with English translation as follows: "Haflat Samar Min ajl 5
      Huzairan" ("An Evening Entertainment for the 5th of June"). That
      translation of *samar* is consistent with the meaning of the term which
      Muslims have given me, but at considerable variance from Bailey's
      definition of the term.

      One of these Syrian Muslims who teaches Arabic at the University of
      Wisconsin-Oshkosh told me in a phone conversation that the Arabic term
      *samar* means literally "nightly" or "darkly" and the word is often
      given as a name for girls who have dark hair, that *samar* also conveys
      the meaning of nightly conversations, talks or chats at night or at
      darkness. Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion
      when people gather together at night to hear stories about historical
      events or personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such
      stories for entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of
      telling these stories is not to pass on historically authentic and
      authoritatively factual information about events and personages, but
      rather to entertain those gathered, much as the same as people today
      turn to TV today for entertainment. And the storytellers at a *haflat
      samar* are there to entertain, not to assure the accurate transmission
      of the traditions of the particular oral culture. In fact, in order to
      maintain the interest of an audience, a storyteller will often tell a
      familiar old story with added embellishments and a new spin, much the
      same as entertainers do today.

      With respect to Egyptian culture and the role of a *haflat samar*, a
      Syrian whom I interviewed asked of her native Egyptian friends what they
      remembered of their experience of a *haflat samar.* She reported back
      to me via e-mail that she learned from her friends that *hafalat samar*
      "are kind of folklore Egyptian presentations that . . . are very
      amusing, funny, and popular. They use simple poems, and old songs, to
      tell stories to preserve the traditions, but they are fictional with
      very little truth, and they are used to inspire people. The performers
      are extremely funny and talented in attracting the audience and they are
      masters in coloring any background to please any nationality. I have
      been told that those shows are not very popular with religious groups
      (Muslims or Coptics)."

      My interest in the culturally contextual interpretation of *haflat
      samar* lies in trying to determine whether there is any evidence, aside
      from what Bailey provides and the Christian website cited above, that
      *hafalat samar* in Middle Eastern cultures, particularly Egyptian
      culture in the 1950's and 60's were ever considered to be occasions for
      the accurate rehearsal and faithful transmission of a particular
      community's historically authentic tradition - contra the evidence that
      *hafalat samar* by definition and in practice were normatively only
      considered to be opportunities to entertain people by, in effect,
      spinning tales. Any insights or bibliographical references anyone
      might suggest would be very much appreciated.

      Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.

      Rikk, I look forward to your response, as well as others, to what I have
      presented here.

      Regards,

      Ted
    • Rikk Watts
      Ted, I m not sure the point hasn t got lost along the way. My original criticism was of one thing and one thing only: the single argument that Mark s account
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 28, 2005
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        Ted,

        I'm not sure the point hasn't got lost along the way.

        My original criticism was of one thing and one thing only: the single
        argument that Mark's account was historically suspect BECAUSE we have no
        record of Jesus discussing his temptation with his followers.

        I asked whether there was any evidence that ancient authors/readers operated
        with this criterion. You responded that "of course there is not."

        My response was then: one can hardly fault Mark for not operating with a
        criterion that neither he nor his first century readers/hearers held. If he
        was not expected to include an account of Jesus' talking about his
        temptation with his disciples in order for readers to accept his (Mark's)
        account of same, it seems unreasonable, ON THAT GROUND, to discount his
        story. I'm afraid this is about as plain as I can be.

        This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the historicity
        of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this particular demand, one
        is being unfair to Mark in terms of first century expectations (so
        Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).

        We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those aside
        until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is unfair to require
        a 1st century author to meet evidential standards that none of his
        contemporaries expected of him?

        Regards
        Rikk



        On 24/2/05 11:14 AM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:

        >
        > Rikk Watts wrote on February 18:
        >
        >> Reading your citations of
        > Byrskog indicates that Seneca employs precisely this approach. Thus, it
        > seems to me that your argument that "we have no reports of Jesus actually
        > telling his disciples about this" and hence should be skeptical about his
        > temptation account, reflects an unreasonable, and perhaps even hostile,
        > demand given ancient authorial expectations.<
        >
        > [TJW]
        >
        > Rikk, I have addressed this issue in my 2/22 post, "Mark's Temptation Story
        > & Historical-critical Skepticism."
        >
        >
        > [Rikk]
        > If you'd instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty
        > (to use the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion
        > narrative, and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough.
        > But, the reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think
        > it indicates that overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
        > unreasonable skepticism,
        >
        > [TJW]
        >
        > I have difficulty following your logic here with respect to my hermeneutic
        > of suspicion. If you concede that my suspicion of Mark not presenting a
        > passion narrative based upon historical factuality is fair enough, why is it
        > that you find my historical-critical view of the temptation story not being
        > based upon historical factuality "is marred by an unwarranted and
        > unreasonable skepticism? Would it not be reasonable to have a healthy
        > skepticism toward taking the temptation story as historically based if one
        > already found, as I have, that Mark presented other events in his narrative
        > which were without historical foundation? Is that any different from what
        > happens in a court of law? When a witness is exposed as misrepresenting
        > presumed facts in testimony on one matter related to a case, is it not
        > incumbent on those seeking the truth to have a warranted and reasonable
        > skepticism about the witness' testimony regarding the facts on another
        > matter involving the same case?
        >
        > On the matter of Mark being dishonest in his presentation of his passion
        > narrative: I do not and would not contend that Mark is guilty of
        > "*dishonesty*," to use your term, because Mark composed a passion narrative
        > that has no basis in historical fact. That presupposes that Mark was writing
        > history in both the Graeco-Roman and modern definitions of what constitutes
        > historiography. I do *not* think Mark writes or intended to write history.
        > He, in my judgment, is writing an extended parable which is presented as an
        > apologia in witness to and defense of his belief that Jesus was the Christ
        > the Son of God (1:1). Mark is an Christian evangelist, as he is often noted
        > as being (as is the case also with regard to the other canonical Gospel
        > writers), and not a historian. I will expand on this hermeneutical position
        > in a future post.
        >
        > [Rikk]
        >
        > and it might just be this that results in few of
        > your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
        > words, sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being fair
        > (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered; I suspect
        > Byrskog would probably agree).<
        >
        > [TJW}
        >
        > Rikk, I think that that is an unfair characterization and judgment upon my
        > scholarship. First, whether or not you think that I pursue "an unwarranted
        > and unreasonable skepticism" in my hermeneutic of the Gospel of Mark, I
        > would hope that my arguments would be evaluated on the merit of my
        > argumentation and not on what appears to me to be a subjective rejection of
        > my position because it does not cohere with your hermeneutical
        > presuppositions or that of others. For it strikes me that the disputatious
        > issue before us is provoked over the difference in hermeneutical
        > presuppositions we bring to the table of discourse. If I understand you --
        > please correct me if I have not - one of your hermeneutical presuppositions
        > for interpreting the Gospel of Mark is that you begin by assuming that
        > behind the Markan narration of events lies historical kernels of historical
        > factuality, unless that assumption can, on the basis of investigation, be
        > shown not to be the case in a particular narrative event under
        > consideration. Behind that hermeneutical presupposition, as I see it, is a
        > presumption that Mark is writing a history, or a biography about the
        > historical Jesus.
        >
        > I come to the table of discourse, as a result of my understanding of ancient
        > historiography, my analysis of the Markan genre and my finding that what
        > Mark is presenting in his passion narrative is not history but a
        > confessional apologia, I come to the table of discourse with the
        > hermeneutical presupposition that Mark's intend is not to write a biography
        > of Jesus, much less to write a historical narrative (novel, perhaps, in
        > contemporary jargon) with Jesus as the hero protagonist. Thus, I begin with
        > what I believe to be a healthy hermeneutical suspicion that requires
        > extensive investigation of the Markan text in conjunction with a
        > consideration of evidence external to Mark (textual, soico-historical, etc)
        > to see if there is reason to consider that any of the Markan text may be
        > grounded in historical factuality, insofar as that can be determined, if not
        > conclusively verifiable. Thus, the difference between us, as I see it, is
        > that you begin with the presupposition that Mark is telling, at least in
        > some measure, the historical truth, less that it can be shown that he is
        > not. I do not begin with that presupposition.
        >
        > Now, with respect to your judgment that "few of your colleagues being
        > persuaded by the rest of your arguments," and citing, as an example, "Jimmy
        > Dun's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered", I have two responses.
        > First, I am not in the numbers game as to how many of my colleagues are
        > persuaded by my arguments, whether the number be "few," as you suggest or
        > many. Second, with respect to James D. G. Dunn's remarks on my "work" in his
        > _Jesus Remembered_, if you will pardon me, I do not think that you have
        > presented Dunn's critique of one aspect of my work in either a balanced or
        > fair way. You allude to Jimmy Dunn's remarks but you do not specifically
        > cite them for those who read these XTalk posts and are unfamiliar with the
        > issue over which Dunn and I draw radically different conclusions.
        >
        > That disputatious issue is over whether Kenneth E. Bailey's theory of
        > informal controlled oral tradition is a valid and viable model for
        > representing and understanding how the Jesus oral tradition was transmitted
        > by early Christians in their respective Palestinian communities up and until
        > the Roman-Jewish War (66-70 CE), at which time that Jesus oral tradition was
        > textually preserved by Mark and the canonical evangelists who followed him.
        > The crux of the matter that separates Dunn's acceptance of Bailey's theory
        > and my rejection of it, lies in my discovery that Bailey completely
        > misrepresents the only extant source which he garners as witness for his
        > thesis. Bailey, as you well know, premises his theory of informal controlled
        > oral tradition upon his 950's to 60's tenure in the southern Egyptian
        > Christian communities founded by the Scottish missionary, John Hogg, in the
        > latter part of the 19th century. Bailey intuited his theory from his
        > observance of almost nightly meetings of these Christian communities in
        > which they rehearsed their own oral tradition which included as a central
        > memory their stories of the work of John Hogg among them. Bailey identified
        > these meetings in Arabic as "*haflat samar*," or *hafalat (plural) samar*,
        > which terminology which Bailey translates into English for his readers as
        > respectively "a party for preservation" and "parties for preservation"
        > ("Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels, " _A JT_ 5
        > [199], 34-54; and "Middle Eastern Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels,"
        > _ET_ 106 [1994-95], 363-367). Bailey contends, on the basis of the
        > biography of John Hogg, written by his daughter, Rena Hogg, in 1914, that
        > the stories Bailey heard recited in the *hafalat samar* in the 50's and 60's
        > were the same Hogg stories that Rena Hogg recounted about her father when
        > she visited the Hogg-founded communities in 1910 seeking material to write
        > her father's biography. From Bailey's comparison of the stories and the
        > dynamics of control on the way the oral tradition was recited in the
        > *hafalat samar* Bailey attended, he concluded that these oral societies had
        > from their beginning employed a methodology which Bailey labeled as
        > "informal controlled oral tradition," as the means by which those oral
        > societies sought to assure the historical accuracy of the recitation of
        > their oral tradition and its authentic and faithful transmission from
        > generation to generation.
        >
        > Bailey then extrapolated from that conclusion the premise that this oral
        > methodology historically was employed by all oral societies of the Middles
        > East from generation to generation to preserve the historical authenticity
        > of their oral traditions. Bailey then extends this premise to the earliest
        > Palestinian Christian communities and posits that they must have employed
        > that same methodology in the attempt to preserve accurately the authentic
        > historical tradition about Jesus.
        >
        > Now with respect to my hermeneutic of suspicion and what you descrribeas my
        > unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism, let me state forthrightly that when
        > I was first introduced to Bailey's theory of oral tradition in an on-line
        > seminar conducted by James D. G. Dunn, I initially accepted the validity of
        > Bailey's conclusions, without question, because of my high regard for both
        > Bailey and Dunn's reputations as highly respected, reliable and trustworthy
        > scholars. It was not until Ken Olson, after reading Rena Hogg's biography,
        > raised a question with Dunn in that on-line seminar as to Bailey's
        > reliability in presenting accurately his representation of the stories Rena
        > Hogg told about John Hogg in her biography as being almost word for word the
        > same stories as Bailey heard in the 50's 60's. Olson cited pages 210-214 in
        > the biography where he found serious discrepancy with Bailey's claim that
        > she told and he heard almost exactly the same stories.
        >
        > That information shared by Olson raised the hermeneutic of suspicion in my
        > mind regarding the claims that Bailey was making. I, then, secured Rena Hogg's
        > biography of her father, as you are aware, to see if my hermeneutic of
        > suspicion was warranted and reasonably applied in the case of Bailey's
        > claims for his theory. My reading of Rena Hogg's book convinced me that my
        > hermeneutic of suspicion was not only warranted and reasonable but well
        > founded. What I found is that Bailey, in presenting his argument for his
        > theory with the only extant source he had before him, had failed to
        > represent accurately Rena Hogg's take on the stories she heard about her
        > father. From my comparison of Bailey's recounting of Hogg stories he heard
        > and the Hogg stories Rena Hogg cited in her biography, I could only conclude
        > that Bailey had misrepresented his primary and only extant source for his
        > theory to Dunn and the rest of the scholarly community.
        >
        > As a result of this conclusion, I presented two essays on X Talk disclosing
        > my findings ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition: a Flawed Theory," Archives
        > #8301; and 'Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition," Archives # 8730). In the
        > second essay, I also brought into question the substantive support for
        > Bailey's theory in his presentation additional anecdotal evidence he
        > marshaled for his theory, in addition to citing what he presented as Rena
        > Hogg's corroborative witness. That led Jeffrey Gibson, who had arranged for
        > the Dunn on-line seminar, to contact Jimmy Dunn and indicate to him my
        > critical assessment regarding the reliability of Bailey's theory. As a
        > result, Jimmy Dunn and I exchanged private correspondences over my
        > contention that Bailey had misrepresented his evidentiary support for his
        > theory which, in effect, undermined the validity and viability.
        >
        > At the time of our private exchange, Dunn was writing his _Jesus
        > Remembered_, and with its publication he presented what you refer allusively
        > to as Dunn's critique of my work as, to use your words "as not being fair"
        > in a footnote ( 207, n.182). For X Talk readers who may not be familiar
        > with Dunn's citation with reference to my critique of Bailey, I cite it as
        > follows:
        >
        > "Bailey's claims regarding stories told about [John] Hogg [founder of
        > Christian village communities in the South of Egypt in the latter part of
        > the 19th C] have been seriously challenged, particularly by T. Weeden in
        > http://groups.yahoo.com//group/crosstalk2/messages /8301 and /8730. In
        > personal correspondence Bailey has expressed his regret at some
        > overstatement in regard to Hogg traditions, but insists that his hypothesis
        > is based primarily on his own experience of the *haflat samar*. Weeden's
        > further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their significance misses much of
        > Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and weakens Bailey's case hardly at
        > all."
        >
        > Now, Rikk, I as shared with you in my 5/21/04 post off-list, I reworked my
        > critique of Bailey, removed some of the censorious language to which Dunn
        > objected, and made, with the help of the critical comments and suggetions of
        > Eric Eve, Ken Olson, and Bob Schacht, as a result, an even stronger case
        > against the accuracy and validity of the evidentiary support Bailey provides
        > for his theory. In fact, everyone who has read my revised critique of Bailey's
        > theory, and there have been many, has acknowledged that I have made a very
        > strong case against the cogency, validity and viability of Bailey's theory
        > of informal controlled oral tradition upon which Dunn and N. T. Wright, to
        > name two of the most notable scholars, have based their contention that such
        > a methodology is a model for understanding how and why the earliest
        > Christians essentially preserved the historical authenticity of stories
        > about and teachings of the historical Jesus.
        >
        > When I shared with you that I had revised my critique, you indicated in a
        > post response that you were very interested in reading the revision but
        > could not at that time because of preparing for a summer school course and
        > trip to China. I understood completely your time-bind, given all you had
        > before you. So I have waited until you let me know you had time to engage
        > the critique again. Since, in your 2/18/05 post, you have referenced
        > allusively to Jimmy Dunn's critique of my case against Bailey, I have asked
        > Jeffrey Gibson to upload my revision to the XTalk files. Jeffrey has
        > informed me that my revised critique of Bailey's theory, which I have now
        > entitled "Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Theory Repudiated by Its
        > Evidence," is now available at http://tinyurl.com/5zmwm. There you and
        > others on the list can read it and make judgments as to whether my
        > hermeneutical approach to Bailey's theory is now guilty of unwarranted and
        > unreasonable skepticism. Listers, however, will need to sign in and have
        > Adobe Reader to gain access to the essay.
        >
        > Finally, my questioning of Bailey's accurate representation of his
        > evidentiary support for his theory has taken on a new dimension. It
        > involves Bailey's definition of the Arabic terminology *haflat samar*, and
        > its meaning as he applies it to historic traditional nightly gatherings of
        > Middle East village societies. It was a evidentiary issue that I had
        > previoulsy no reason to question, because, since I do not know Arabic, I
        > accepted his English translation of the Arabic and Bailey's referential
        > interpretation of it. But, as you know, as I related in my 5/24/04 post to
        > you, in talking to native Middle Eastern Muslims now expatriated to the
        > United States, I have discovered what they knew as *haflat samar* in their
        > native Syria, Lebanon and Egypt is not that same as Bailey reported from his
        > experience. I do not know whether the discrepancy between these two
        > different definitions and interpretations of *haflat samar* is to be chalked
        > up to two different life experiences in two different community settings or
        > something more. But the discrepancy between what Bailey tells us and what
        > the Middle East people have reported of their experience is something that
        > needs to be explained. I shared this information with Jeffrey Gibson and he
        > suggested that I post the following inquiry on the ANE list to see if I
        > could get better clarity as to why there is such discrepancy between what
        > Bailey defines as *haflat samar* and its purpose and what the Middle East
        > people tell me. Thus the inquiry to ANE, as sent for me by Jeffrey Gibson.
        >
        > "I'm forwarding the following message on behalf of Ted Weeden who is not
        > an ANE member, but who has a question that this List is admirably suited
        > to answer. And since I myself would like to see how the question is
        > answered, I'd
        > appreciate seeing on list responses. (I'll post these answers to Ted).
        >
        > Thanks in advance,
        >
        > Jeffrey Gibson
        >
        > [TJW]
        >
        > I am trying to get a definitive meaning and culturally contextual
        > interpretation of the Arabic term transliterated into English as *haflat
        > samar.* Kenneth Bailey in his articles on oral tradition ("Informal
        > Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels, " _A JT_ 5 (1991),
        > 34-54; and "Middle Eastern Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels,"
        > _ET_ 106 (1994-95), 363-367) translates *haflat* as "party" and *samar*
        > as "preservation." Thus, *haflat samar* means "a party for
        > preservation." Contextually, Bailey states that in the 1950's and 60's
        > he experienced *hafalat (plural of *haflat*) samar* as almost nightly
        > gatherings of southern Egyptian Christian communities in which they
        > rehearsed the oral tradition of their respective communities as a way of
        > accurately preserving and faithfully transmitting from generation to
        > generation the historical authenticity of their traditions.
        >
        > On the Christian website, http://www.christian-thinktank.com/aec2.html,
        > *hafalat samar* is defined and described thus: "The hafalat samar--the
        > campfire that 'preserves'. This is the ancient Bedouin campfire, in
        > which the leaders of the tribe/clan recite the traditions of the tribe.
        > The accuracy of the transmission of these traditions is incredible--even
        > today! (Cf. our knowledge of the Pledge of Allegiance--those of us who
        > said it daily for 15+ years NEVER, EVER forget the words.) The Middle
        > Eastern people were able to memorize very massive words, without error."
        >
        > However, in my personal interviews with native Middle Eastern Muslims
        > from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, who reside in the United States, I have
        > been given a different definition of and culturally contextual
        > interpretation of *haflat samar.* According to these persons *haflat
        > samar* means a "gathering for amusement or entertainment. The
        > translation of *haflat* is consistent with Bailey's. But the
        > significant difference lies in the translation of *samar* which,
        > according to the Muslims I interviewed, means to amuse or to have a good
        > time. I found the same translation of *samar* via a Google search of
        > a website in an article about Sadallah Wannus, a famous Syrian
        > playwright. Wannus wrote a play in 1968 which the article cites in
        > Arabic with English translation as follows: "Haflat Samar Min ajl 5
        > Huzairan" ("An Evening Entertainment for the 5th of June"). That
        > translation of *samar* is consistent with the meaning of the term which
        > Muslims have given me, but at considerable variance from Bailey's
        > definition of the term.
        >
        > One of these Syrian Muslims who teaches Arabic at the University of
        > Wisconsin-Oshkosh told me in a phone conversation that the Arabic term
        > *samar* means literally "nightly" or "darkly" and the word is often
        > given as a name for girls who have dark hair, that *samar* also conveys
        > the meaning of nightly conversations, talks or chats at night or at
        > darkness. Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion
        > when people gather together at night to hear stories about historical
        > events or personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such
        > stories for entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of
        > telling these stories is not to pass on historically authentic and
        > authoritatively factual information about events and personages, but
        > rather to entertain those gathered, much as the same as people today
        > turn to TV today for entertainment. And the storytellers at a *haflat
        > samar* are there to entertain, not to assure the accurate transmission
        > of the traditions of the particular oral culture. In fact, in order to
        > maintain the interest of an audience, a storyteller will often tell a
        > familiar old story with added embellishments and a new spin, much the
        > same as entertainers do today.
        >
        > With respect to Egyptian culture and the role of a *haflat samar*, a
        > Syrian whom I interviewed asked of her native Egyptian friends what they
        > remembered of their experience of a *haflat samar.* She reported back
        > to me via e-mail that she learned from her friends that *hafalat samar*
        > "are kind of folklore Egyptian presentations that . . . are very
        > amusing, funny, and popular. They use simple poems, and old songs, to
        > tell stories to preserve the traditions, but they are fictional with
        > very little truth, and they are used to inspire people. The performers
        > are extremely funny and talented in attracting the audience and they are
        > masters in coloring any background to please any nationality. I have
        > been told that those shows are not very popular with religious groups
        > (Muslims or Coptics)."
        >
        > My interest in the culturally contextual interpretation of *haflat
        > samar* lies in trying to determine whether there is any evidence, aside
        > from what Bailey provides and the Christian website cited above, that
        > *hafalat samar* in Middle Eastern cultures, particularly Egyptian
        > culture in the 1950's and 60's were ever considered to be occasions for
        > the accurate rehearsal and faithful transmission of a particular
        > community's historically authentic tradition - contra the evidence that
        > *hafalat samar* by definition and in practice were normatively only
        > considered to be opportunities to entertain people by, in effect,
        > spinning tales. Any insights or bibliographical references anyone
        > might suggest would be very much appreciated.
        >
        > Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
        >
        > Rikk, I look forward to your response, as well as others, to what I have
        > presented here.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Ted
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
        >
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        >
        >
        >
      • Theodore Weeden
        Rikk Watts wrote on February 28, 2005: Subject: Re: [XTalk] Issue of Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, Unreasonable? ... Rikk, the issue I raised
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 1, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Rikk Watts wrote on February 28, 2005:

          Subject: Re: [XTalk] Issue of Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted,
          Unreasonable?

          > Ted,
          >
          > I'm not sure the point hasn't got lost along the way.
          > My original criticism was of one thing and one thing only: the single
          > argument that Mark's account was historically suspect BECAUSE we have no
          > record of Jesus discussing his temptation with his followers.
          > I asked whether there was any evidence that ancient authors/readers
          > operated with this criterion. You responded that "of course
          > there is not."
          >
          > My response was then: one can hardly fault Mark for not operating with a
          > criterion that neither he nor his first century readers/hearers held. If
          > he was not expected to include an account of Jesus' talking
          > about his temptation with his disciples in order for readers to
          > accept his (Mark's) account of same, it seems unreasonable,
          > ON THAT GROUND, to discount his story. I'm afraid this
          > is about as plain as I can be.

          Rikk, the issue I raised initially with Bob Schacht was over his query
          (posted on 2/13) as to whether the Markan story of Jesus might be
          "constructed on the memory of an actual Wilderness experience." I
          responded on the same date to Bob indicating that I did not think the
          temptation story was rooted in an actual experience of the historical Jesus
          but, rather, was part of a Markan literary creation in which Mark used the
          exodus epic as the template for his story of Jesus' baptism, 40-day desert
          stay and temptation, and his return to Galilee. to the new, eschatological
          promise land, where Jesus proclaimed the advent of the domain of God. On
          2/14, Bob responded to my narrative scenario by stating that it "has no
          bearing whatever on the historicity (or lack thereof) of the temptation
          itself. It would not surprise me in the least for an author to take the
          fragmentary details of a life and arrange them in a frame which draws
          attention to their perceived significance."

          I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity with the
          following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
          canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally had
          been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
          where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there in
          the desert Jesus faced temptation?"

          I posed the question as a historical-critical question, presupposing the
          methodological criteria, often applied in historical Jesus research of
          determining what in a story may be authentic to the experience of the
          historical Jesus. In this case, I was asking a question related to the
          criterion of multiple attestation, namely, where else in the canonical
          gospels, not dependent directly upon the Markan temptation story, is their
          evidence that the temptation story is rooted in an actual experience of
          Jesus. I observed that nowhere in Jesus' sayings does he ever allude or
          refer to such a temptation. Thus, that is one sector of the Jesus tradition
          where there is no support via multiple attestation for the thesis that the
          temptation is authentic to the life experience of the historical Jesus. I
          could have drawn upon other methodological criteria, such as the criterion
          of dissimilarity, to question the claim for the historicity of the Markan
          story.

          On 2/15, Rikk, you then responded to my contention -- that the historicity
          of the temptation story is not supported by Jesus himself, since there is no
          reference or allusion to Jesus disclosing such an experience to his
          disciples -- by citing what you took to be a bizarre suggestion [on my part]
          that because none of the gospel writers explicitly state Jesus once talked
          to his disciples about his temptation that he therefore never did. What
          ancient source can you cite to show that this putative canon was operable in
          the first century?" As I understand the force of your quested, you
          interpeted me as making a claim for a rhetorical canon which authors in the
          first century where expected to observe. You put it this way in your post
          to me of 2/17:

          "[W]what evidence can you cite that ancient authors operated with the
          assumption that because e.g. none of the gospel writers explicitly state
          Jesus once talked to his disciples about his temptation they would conclude
          he never did? I ask the question because I doubt if there is evidence of
          any such canon. If so, is it not the case that requiring Mark to meet
          evidential standards that were not expected by his first century readers is
          anachronistic and unreasonable?"

          I responded on 2/17:

          "There is no such canon and I am not arguing for one. Of course, Jesus
          likely talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his
          disciples, much less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely speculative
          to argue from silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his life
          and that that experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical
          event attributed to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that an
          event has no historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus
          reflected upon such a personal event at one point with his disciples. The
          latter may appear to be the position I have taken with respect to the
          temptation story. That is not really my intent. In making a judgment as to
          whether some event or saying, for that matter, is authentic to the
          experience or teaching of the historical Jesus, I need as a socio-historical
          critic to weigh all the evidence for or against such a possibility. In the
          case of the temptation story, all I am saying is that those who suggest that
          there lies behind the story is kernal of historical truth about an actual
          temptation of Jesus do not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or
          implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience at
          some later point with his disciples. To have such evidence would
          weigh in the favor of there being behind the story an authentic
          experience of Jesus. I think that datum is relevant and should
          be taken into consideration by those who pose that the temptation
          story is rooted in an actual personal experience of Jesus."

          I stand behind that statement, Rikk. In raising the issue of Jesus' lack of
          reference to a personal experience of temptation, I was only applying the
          widely accepted historical-critical methodological practice of trying to
          sort out what is historically authentic to the life of the historical Jesus.
          And no more! If I am missing your point or have misunderstood your point,
          I would appreciate you let me know how that is the case.

          > This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
          > historicity of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this
          > particular demand, one is being unfair to Mark in terms
          > of first century expectations.

          Actually, it has a lot to do with the historicity of Mark. The issue, as I
          have come to see it, behind all this historical-critical dispute we are
          engaged in really is the issue regarding whether Mark's narrative investment
          is primarily and finally in historicity per se. In other words: Is it
          really Mark's intent to be an ancient historian, following the
          historiographic conventions expected of an ancient historial and tell the
          *historical truth* about the historical Jesus? I do *not* think so. I do
          not think Mark writes as an ancient historian, using the genre of an ancient
          historian. Nor do I think that Mark expects his readers to think that he
          writes as a historian. None of his readers, aware of the rhetorical
          convenstions and standards for historiographic compositions, would have read
          Mark and thought that they were reading *history*. That is not to say that
          Mark was not committed to telling the truth about Jesus. However, the truth
          he tells and is commited to is a different truth from *historical truth*.
          Therefore, I think it is unfair to Mark to assume that when he narrated the
          temptation story he intended his readers or hearers, for that matter, to
          conclude that he was basing the story on a historical datum drawn from the
          experience of the historical Jesus. I will explain in detail in a
          forthcoming post why I take this position.

          > (so Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).<

          From my perspective, Bailey and Dunn are very relevant to our hermeneutical
          differences and the dispute we have engaged over. For you introduced
          Bailey and Dunn into the discussion regarding the credibility of my
          hermeneutical arguments in your post of 2/18 when you stated: " If you'd
          instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty (to use
          the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion narrative,
          and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough. But, the
          reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think it
          indicates that *overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
          unreasonable skepticism*, and it might just be this that results in few of
          your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
          words, *sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being fair
          (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered*; I suspect
          Byrskog would probably agree)" [emphasis: TJW].

          Rikk, in characterizing my overall hermeneutical approach as being
          unpersuasive to my colleagues because, as you put it, it "is marred by
          unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism" in my application of the
          hermeneutic of suspicion, you draw upon Dunn referentially and allusively to
          his criticism of my critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral
          tradition as evidentiary support for this characterization of my
          hermeneutical approach. As I indicated in my response to you in my XTalk
          post of 2/24, I do not think that is a fair and balanced presentation of my
          hermeneutic nor a fair allusion to my critique of Bailey. I feel it is
          unfair because there are those on the list who are not aware of my critique
          and even what Dunn says about it, and are thus left to draw their own
          conclusions about Dunn's brief with me. Moreover, your characterization
          fails to present to listers a balanced and fair presentation of the exchange
          we have had over my critique of Bailey and your response to it. So let me
          rehearse a bit of that history in order for the record to be set straight
          for those who are not aware of the exchange we have had.

          Some time after I posted on Xtalk my critique of Bailey's theory of informal
          controlled oral tradition ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Flawed
          Theory, Part I, XTalk post, 9/6/01), you indicated in your XTalk post of
          11/14/01 ("Bailey's Response") that you had informed Bailey of my critique
          and cited parts of Bailey's response to my critique, in which Bailey takes
          strong exception for my revealing that in his use of his only extant source
          for his theory, he not only did not fully disclose what the source presented
          germane to his use of the source in support of his theory but, also and in
          fact, he had misrepresented the source to his readers.

          In response to your sharing Bailey's irate criticism of my disclosure of his
          misrepresentation of the source critical to his theory, I posted the
          following on XTalk, 11/14/01:

          "Thank you Rikk for sharing the gist of Bailey's response to my critique of
          his theory. I would like to see the full response before I make any reply
          to it. However, I do want to respond briefly to some of your parenthetical
          remarks. First, you note:

          > I think, if I am allowed to interpret a bit, he feels that
          > there was less of a sympathetic hearing, what Lonergan would call
          > "reconstructive," than a controversialist response where the aim, for
          > whatever reasons, was to erode as much as possible of his view. I do
          > wonder if this is in part because Bailey's thesis even if only partly
          > true would create severe problems for Ted's own proposals re Mark. What do
          > you think Ted? Might there have been something like this at work?).<.

          I indicated at that point that I could not respond directly to your question
          at that point. Then I continued with what you presented in your post:

          > As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
          > creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
          > found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
          > to his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted).<

          I responded:

          "Rikk, you need not apologize for not being persuaded by my theory, even
          finding it incredible. As you are well aware you are not the first to have
          found it so in the 37 years it has been in print (Claremont dissertation,
          "The Heresy That Necessitated the Mark's Gospel," (1964); 1968 _ZNW_ article
          by the same title; and my book, _Mark--Traditions in Conflict_(1971/1979).
          What would be more helpful to me is to know why you "find
          Ted's...free-wheeling creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the
          bounds even of that found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I
          apply the same rigor to his theses as he does to Bailey's." I would really
          appreciate you engaging me with respect to the problems you have with my
          methodology, use of the evidence and argumentation. If you are willing to
          do so, and would rather do it off-list, my e-mail address is . . ."

          On 11/21/04, Rikk, you responded to the above in an XTalk post
          with the following:

          " Ted, I think I need to apologize for my interpretation here; I really
          shouldn¹t presume that you are like me. That is, I was thinking about how I
          would respond and I know that I tend to be tougher on ideas that challenge
          mine than I am on my own (one of the reasons I so enjoy Xlist: folk like
          you keep me honest). So sorry friend."

          And with respect to my request that you engage me with respect to the
          problems you find with my methodology, you stated:

          "You¹re a gracious man. Time is always of the essence (and I must confess
          I¹m sometimes overwhelmed by the lengthy essays) but this sounds like
          something it would be good to do."

          Rikk, I am still waiting for you to let me know that the time is right for
          you to share with me the problems you have with my methodology, use of
          evidence and argumentation.

          On 5/04/04, I wrote the following off-list to you::

          "I have enclosed the latest version of my critique (Part One and Part Two)
          of Bailey's theory in the attachments. I appreciate your willingness to
          read it. I hope you will share with me your critical feedback. That will be
          important to me."

          Not hearing from you, I wrote on 5/21/04 off-list:

          "I am wondering now if it is worth your time to go through my revised
          critique of Bailey and give me feedback on the latest version. I re-read
          your XTalk post of November 14, 2001 (XTalk archives, #8520) in which you
          share Bailey's criticisms of my critique of his theory. I gather from your
          personal remarks there, that you find Bailey's position convincing,
          notwithstanding my evidentiary assessment. What did catch my eye in your
          post was the following:

          "As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
          creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
          found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor to
          his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted)."

          "Rikk, what you state above seems to be the substantive issue over which we
          disagree. With that in mind, I wonder if you would be willing to read a
          lengthy essay in which I now argue that Mark used Josephus' story of Jesus
          son of Ananias as the model for his fictional creation of the Jewish and
          Roman trials of Jesus? I think your predisposition to seeing Mark as less
          creative than I do would be a helpful reference point for whatever holes you
          might find in my argument. To identify those holes would be of great help
          to me. Are you interested?"

          On 5/22/04 you wrote off-list:
          .
          "Sorry for the delay . . . . But I am very interested in reading your work.
          For what it's worth I did/do agree with your critique re Rena Hogg and
          the account of the desert encounter and make a specific point of
          mentioning it, positively, in class. So, yes I appreciate that aspect
          very much. On the other hand, I'm not sure this translates into a
          thorough-going demolition (I hope that's not too strong a word)
          of Bailey. And yes to be honest, I did think that you were a lot
          tougher on Bailey than you were on Ted, and yes there is no question
          that your work is creative (and yes I do think there's a lot more fiction in
          what your proposals than there is in Mark... :) )."

          "Nevertheless, my apologies for not getting on to this sooner. It's just a
          matter of finding the time I'm afraid (and I don't want to rush through
          it)."

          "Re the Josephus and Mark thesis (which presupposes I assume that Mark
          post-dates Jos?): as long as the essay is not too lengthy, I'd be happy to
          help out < but do be aware that time is really tight for the next month or
          so."

          As yet, Rikk, you have not indicated to me that you have read my revised
          critique, nor have you informed me that you had found time to read my thesis
          on Mark's dependency upon the story of Jesus son of Ananias found in
          Josephus' _Jew War_. However, you continue to find fault with my arguments
          with respect to my interpretation of Mark and allude to Dunn's criticism of
          my critique of Bailey.

          And you close your post of 2/28/05 with this:

          > We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those
          > aside until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is
          > unfair to require > a 1st century author to meet evidential
          > standards that none of his contemporaries expected of him?

          It is those other topics related to criticism of my hermeneutic that have
          been left addressed between us for over a year in one case and nine months
          in another. Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in X Talk posts
          with presenting hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a few
          of my colleagues because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism." Is
          that really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you have
          yet to engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a
          year?

          Ted
        • Rikk Watts
          Dear Ted, Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that ... This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
          Message 4 of 18 , Mar 3, 2005
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            Dear Ted,

            Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that
            the primary issue was one point and one alone:

            > [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity with the
            > following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
            > canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally had
            > been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
            > where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there in
            > the desert Jesus faced temptation?"

            This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
            problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.

            First, it seems to me to be a non sequitur to argue that because someone
            does not tell us whence they got their information (especially when their
            canons do not require them so to do) that therefore that information is
            suspect. Indeed, what ancient historian ever operated as though this was the
            case? Hence my judgment, in spite of your denial, that your skepticism BASED
            ON THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is both unreasonable and historically
            anachronistic.

            Second, if there was then no expectation that Mark explicitly state that
            Jesus himself had told his disciples in order for his story to be accepted,
            then I would aver that such an absence does not constitute an argument from
            silence, but is instead evidence a shared presupposition of communication.
            When one makes a claim it is assumed that one is making the claim in good
            faith, and hence, to keep this discussion grounded in the first century,
            Seneca's complaint against people who abuse that faith. In this case the
            silence is not neutral, and therefore this is not an argument from silence.
            I contend that to assume that Mark expects his readers to believe that this
            information came ultimately from Jesus is not at all "purely speculative,"
            but the presupposition of communication.

            Third, this being the case however, I agree that to question such a
            connection SOLELY on the basis of the argument above is indeed "pure
            speculation." And further, it is not only itself a classic example of an
            argument from silence (as you I think you agree) but, as argued above, one
            which runs against the expectations and assumptions of ancient readers.
            This was the essence of my criticism.

            I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity. Fair
            enough. But this was not the point I engaged, though we could discuss the
            well-recognized problems of such criteria (e.g. multiple attestation only
            indicates how many people believed a story and how early, not whether it is
            true or not; likewise that only one source knows of a story finally says
            nothing about whether it is true or not, and more likely reflects the
            redactional interests of authors working within the very limited constraints
            of a single roll and the vagaries of what actually of the presumably
            considerable mass of oral tradition (e.g. John 21.25) is finally committed
            to such a small compass). Likewise, you might fairly say you find elements
            of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation unbelievable. But again, this was not
            the point I engaged.

            Re Dunn's assessment of your work on Bailey, I note here for listers
            convenience, Jesus Remembered, p. 207n182, where he first states that Bailey
            regrets his overstatement re the Hogg traditions (after all, Bailey's
            article was not intended to be a rigorous scholarly work), and then
            continues "Weeden's further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their
            significance, misses much of Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and
            weakens Bailey's case hardly at all." Dunn is no slouch and I doubt he would
            put this out in the public sphere without due consideration. Ted, my
            parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight but instead as indicative
            of a concern that you might wish to address, and which concern I think is
            exemplified in the above. You may of course simply dismiss this but it
            seems to me that an overly skeptical approach only serves to mute what other
            good points you might make. It shouldn't hurt your case to give someone else
            the benefit of the doubt, and that includes Mark.

            Finally, a hermeneutic of suspicion is a double-edged sword, and it seems to
            me that those who wish to live by such a sword, end up dying by it, as the
            true skeptic knows.

            regards
            Rikk






            On 1/3/05 3:09 PM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:


            > "There is no such canon and I am not arguing for one. Of course, Jesus
            > likely talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his
            > disciples, much less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely speculative
            > to argue from silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his life
            > and that that experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical
            > event attributed to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that an
            > event has no historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus
            > reflected upon such a personal event at one point with his disciples. The
            > latter may appear to be the position I have taken with respect to the
            > temptation story. That is not really my intent. In making a judgment as to
            > whether some event or saying, for that matter, is authentic to the
            > experience or teaching of the historical Jesus, I need as a socio-historical
            > critic to weigh all the evidence for or against such a possibility. In the
            > case of the temptation story, all I am saying is that those who suggest that
            > there lies behind the story is kernal of historical truth about an actual
            > temptation of Jesus do not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or
            > implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience at
            > some later point with his disciples. To have such evidence would
            > weigh in the favor of there being behind the story an authentic
            > experience of Jesus. I think that datum is relevant and should
            > be taken into consideration by those who pose that the temptation
            > story is rooted in an actual personal experience of Jesus."
            >
            > I stand behind that statement, Rikk. In raising the issue of Jesus' lack of
            > reference to a personal experience of temptation, I was only applying the
            > widely accepted historical-critical methodological practice of trying to
            > sort out what is historically authentic to the life of the historical Jesus.
            > And no more! If I am missing your point or have misunderstood your point,
            > I would appreciate you let me know how that is the case.
            >
            >> This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
            >> historicity of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this
            >> particular demand, one is being unfair to Mark in terms
            >> of first century expectations.
            >
            > Actually, it has a lot to do with the historicity of Mark. The issue, as I
            > have come to see it, behind all this historical-critical dispute we are
            > engaged in really is the issue regarding whether Mark's narrative investment
            > is primarily and finally in historicity per se. In other words: Is it
            > really Mark's intent to be an ancient historian, following the
            > historiographic conventions expected of an ancient historial and tell the
            > *historical truth* about the historical Jesus? I do *not* think so. I do
            > not think Mark writes as an ancient historian, using the genre of an ancient
            > historian. Nor do I think that Mark expects his readers to think that he
            > writes as a historian. None of his readers, aware of the rhetorical
            > convenstions and standards for historiographic compositions, would have read
            > Mark and thought that they were reading *history*. That is not to say that
            > Mark was not committed to telling the truth about Jesus. However, the truth
            > he tells and is commited to is a different truth from *historical truth*.
            > Therefore, I think it is unfair to Mark to assume that when he narrated the
            > temptation story he intended his readers or hearers, for that matter, to
            > conclude that he was basing the story on a historical datum drawn from the
            > experience of the historical Jesus. I will explain in detail in a
            > forthcoming post why I take this position.
            >
            >> (so Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).<
            >
            > From my perspective, Bailey and Dunn are very relevant to our hermeneutical
            > differences and the dispute we have engaged over. For you introduced
            > Bailey and Dunn into the discussion regarding the credibility of my
            > hermeneutical arguments in your post of 2/18 when you stated: " If you'd
            > instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty (to use
            > the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion narrative,
            > and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough. But, the
            > reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think it
            > indicates that *overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
            > unreasonable skepticism*, and it might just be this that results in few of
            > your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
            > words, *sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being fair
            > (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered*; I suspect
            > Byrskog would probably agree)" [emphasis: TJW].
            >
            > Rikk, in characterizing my overall hermeneutical approach as being
            > unpersuasive to my colleagues because, as you put it, it "is marred by
            > unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism" in my application of the
            > hermeneutic of suspicion, you draw upon Dunn referentially and allusively to
            > his criticism of my critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral
            > tradition as evidentiary support for this characterization of my
            > hermeneutical approach. As I indicated in my response to you in my XTalk
            > post of 2/24, I do not think that is a fair and balanced presentation of my
            > hermeneutic nor a fair allusion to my critique of Bailey. I feel it is
            > unfair because there are those on the list who are not aware of my critique
            > and even what Dunn says about it, and are thus left to draw their own
            > conclusions about Dunn's brief with me. Moreover, your characterization
            > fails to present to listers a balanced and fair presentation of the exchange
            > we have had over my critique of Bailey and your response to it. So let me
            > rehearse a bit of that history in order for the record to be set straight
            > for those who are not aware of the exchange we have had.
            >
            > Some time after I posted on Xtalk my critique of Bailey's theory of informal
            > controlled oral tradition ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Flawed
            > Theory, Part I, XTalk post, 9/6/01), you indicated in your XTalk post of
            > 11/14/01 ("Bailey's Response") that you had informed Bailey of my critique
            > and cited parts of Bailey's response to my critique, in which Bailey takes
            > strong exception for my revealing that in his use of his only extant source
            > for his theory, he not only did not fully disclose what the source presented
            > germane to his use of the source in support of his theory but, also and in
            > fact, he had misrepresented the source to his readers.
            >
            > In response to your sharing Bailey's irate criticism of my disclosure of his
            > misrepresentation of the source critical to his theory, I posted the
            > following on XTalk, 11/14/01:
            >
            > "Thank you Rikk for sharing the gist of Bailey's response to my critique of
            > his theory. I would like to see the full response before I make any reply
            > to it. However, I do want to respond briefly to some of your parenthetical
            > remarks. First, you note:
            >
            >> I think, if I am allowed to interpret a bit, he feels that
            >> there was less of a sympathetic hearing, what Lonergan would call
            >> "reconstructive," than a controversialist response where the aim, for
            >> whatever reasons, was to erode as much as possible of his view. I do
            >> wonder if this is in part because Bailey's thesis even if only partly
            >> true would create severe problems for Ted's own proposals re Mark. What do
            >> you think Ted? Might there have been something like this at work?).<.
            >
            > I indicated at that point that I could not respond directly to your question
            > at that point. Then I continued with what you presented in your post:
            >
            >> As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
            >> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
            >> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
            >> to his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted).<
            >
            > I responded:
            >
            > "Rikk, you need not apologize for not being persuaded by my theory, even
            > finding it incredible. As you are well aware you are not the first to have
            > found it so in the 37 years it has been in print (Claremont dissertation,
            > "The Heresy That Necessitated the Mark's Gospel," (1964); 1968 _ZNW_ article
            > by the same title; and my book, _Mark--Traditions in Conflict_(1971/1979).
            > What would be more helpful to me is to know why you "find
            > Ted's...free-wheeling creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the
            > bounds even of that found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I
            > apply the same rigor to his theses as he does to Bailey's." I would really
            > appreciate you engaging me with respect to the problems you have with my
            > methodology, use of the evidence and argumentation. If you are willing to
            > do so, and would rather do it off-list, my e-mail address is . . ."
            >
            > On 11/21/04, Rikk, you responded to the above in an XTalk post
            > with the following:
            >
            > " Ted, I think I need to apologize for my interpretation here; I really
            > shouldn¹t presume that you are like me. That is, I was thinking about how I
            > would respond and I know that I tend to be tougher on ideas that challenge
            > mine than I am on my own (one of the reasons I so enjoy Xlist: folk like
            > you keep me honest). So sorry friend."
            >
            > And with respect to my request that you engage me with respect to the
            > problems you find with my methodology, you stated:
            >
            > "You¹re a gracious man. Time is always of the essence (and I must confess
            > I¹m sometimes overwhelmed by the lengthy essays) but this sounds like
            > something it would be good to do."
            >
            > Rikk, I am still waiting for you to let me know that the time is right for
            > you to share with me the problems you have with my methodology, use of
            > evidence and argumentation.
            >
            > On 5/04/04, I wrote the following off-list to you::
            >
            > "I have enclosed the latest version of my critique (Part One and Part Two)
            > of Bailey's theory in the attachments. I appreciate your willingness to
            > read it. I hope you will share with me your critical feedback. That will be
            > important to me."
            >
            > Not hearing from you, I wrote on 5/21/04 off-list:
            >
            > "I am wondering now if it is worth your time to go through my revised
            > critique of Bailey and give me feedback on the latest version. I re-read
            > your XTalk post of November 14, 2001 (XTalk archives, #8520) in which you
            > share Bailey's criticisms of my critique of his theory. I gather from your
            > personal remarks there, that you find Bailey's position convincing,
            > notwithstanding my evidentiary assessment. What did catch my eye in your
            > post was the following:
            >
            > "As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
            > creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
            > found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor to
            > his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted)."
            >
            > "Rikk, what you state above seems to be the substantive issue over which we
            > disagree. With that in mind, I wonder if you would be willing to read a
            > lengthy essay in which I now argue that Mark used Josephus' story of Jesus
            > son of Ananias as the model for his fictional creation of the Jewish and
            > Roman trials of Jesus? I think your predisposition to seeing Mark as less
            > creative than I do would be a helpful reference point for whatever holes you
            > might find in my argument. To identify those holes would be of great help
            > to me. Are you interested?"
            >
            > On 5/22/04 you wrote off-list:
            > .
            > "Sorry for the delay . . . . But I am very interested in reading your work.
            > For what it's worth I did/do agree with your critique re Rena Hogg and
            > the account of the desert encounter and make a specific point of
            > mentioning it, positively, in class. So, yes I appreciate that aspect
            > very much. On the other hand, I'm not sure this translates into a
            > thorough-going demolition (I hope that's not too strong a word)
            > of Bailey. And yes to be honest, I did think that you were a lot
            > tougher on Bailey than you were on Ted, and yes there is no question
            > that your work is creative (and yes I do think there's a lot more fiction in
            > what your proposals than there is in Mark... :) )."
            >
            > "Nevertheless, my apologies for not getting on to this sooner. It's just a
            > matter of finding the time I'm afraid (and I don't want to rush through
            > it)."
            >
            > "Re the Josephus and Mark thesis (which presupposes I assume that Mark
            > post-dates Jos?): as long as the essay is not too lengthy, I'd be happy to
            > help out < but do be aware that time is really tight for the next month or
            > so."
            >
            > As yet, Rikk, you have not indicated to me that you have read my revised
            > critique, nor have you informed me that you had found time to read my thesis
            > on Mark's dependency upon the story of Jesus son of Ananias found in
            > Josephus' _Jew War_. However, you continue to find fault with my arguments
            > with respect to my interpretation of Mark and allude to Dunn's criticism of
            > my critique of Bailey.
            >
            > And you close your post of 2/28/05 with this:
            >
            >> We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those
            >> aside until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is
            >> unfair to require > a 1st century author to meet evidential
            >> standards that none of his contemporaries expected of him?
            >
            > It is those other topics related to criticism of my hermeneutic that have
            > been left addressed between us for over a year in one case and nine months
            > in another. Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in X Talk posts
            > with presenting hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a few
            > of my colleagues because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism." Is
            > that really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you have
            > yet to engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a
            > year?
            >
            > Ted
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
            >
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            >
          • Karel Hanhart
            Rikk, I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in some important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny that Mark s aim was
            Message 5 of 18 , Mar 4, 2005
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              Rikk,

              I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in some
              important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny that Mark's aim was
              to provide historical, biographical information on Jesus. I would like to
              hear your arguments concerning genre. I defend in my contribution of last
              February 24. Mark never intended to write a biography at all. As a Christian
              Judean, he rewrote a known Christian Passover Haggadah in the wake of the
              trauma of 70. Nearly one third of his Gospel deals with the season of Pesach
              with 8,31; 9,31; 10, 33f as its main theme and the institution of the Last
              Supper as its main semeion. What are your arguments against my Febr 24th
              reply?

              cordially,

              Karel

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Rikk Watts" <rwatts@...>
              To: "xtalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 8:19 PM
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now) arguments
              from silence?



              Dear Ted,

              Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that
              the primary issue was one point and one alone:

              > [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity with
              > the
              > following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
              > canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally
              > had
              > been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
              > where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there
              > in
              > the desert Jesus faced temptation?"

              This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
              problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.

              First, it seems to me to be a non sequitur to argue that because someone
              does not tell us whence they got their information (especially when their
              canons do not require them so to do) that therefore that information is
              suspect. Indeed, what ancient historian ever operated as though this was the
              case? Hence my judgment, in spite of your denial, that your skepticism BASED
              ON THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is both unreasonable and historically
              anachronistic.

              Second, if there was then no expectation that Mark explicitly state that
              Jesus himself had told his disciples in order for his story to be accepted,
              then I would aver that such an absence does not constitute an argument from
              silence, but is instead evidence a shared presupposition of communication.
              When one makes a claim it is assumed that one is making the claim in good
              faith, and hence, to keep this discussion grounded in the first century,
              Seneca's complaint against people who abuse that faith. In this case the
              silence is not neutral, and therefore this is not an argument from silence.
              I contend that to assume that Mark expects his readers to believe that this
              information came ultimately from Jesus is not at all "purely speculative,"
              but the presupposition of communication.

              Third, this being the case however, I agree that to question such a
              connection SOLELY on the basis of the argument above is indeed "pure
              speculation." And further, it is not only itself a classic example of an
              argument from silence (as you I think you agree) but, as argued above, one
              which runs against the expectations and assumptions of ancient readers.
              This was the essence of my criticism.

              I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity. Fair
              enough. But this was not the point I engaged, though we could discuss the
              well-recognized problems of such criteria (e.g. multiple attestation only
              indicates how many people believed a story and how early, not whether it is
              true or not; likewise that only one source knows of a story finally says
              nothing about whether it is true or not, and more likely reflects the
              redactional interests of authors working within the very limited constraints
              of a single roll and the vagaries of what actually of the presumably
              considerable mass of oral tradition (e.g. John 21.25) is finally committed
              to such a small compass). Likewise, you might fairly say you find elements
              of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation unbelievable. But again, this was not
              the point I engaged.

              Re Dunn's assessment of your work on Bailey, I note here for listers
              convenience, Jesus Remembered, p. 207n182, where he first states that Bailey
              regrets his overstatement re the Hogg traditions (after all, Bailey's
              article was not intended to be a rigorous scholarly work), and then
              continues "Weeden's further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their
              significance, misses much of Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and
              weakens Bailey's case hardly at all." Dunn is no slouch and I doubt he would
              put this out in the public sphere without due consideration. Ted, my
              parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight but instead as indicative
              of a concern that you might wish to address, and which concern I think is
              exemplified in the above. You may of course simply dismiss this but it
              seems to me that an overly skeptical approach only serves to mute what other
              good points you might make. It shouldn't hurt your case to give someone else
              the benefit of the doubt, and that includes Mark.

              Finally, a hermeneutic of suspicion is a double-edged sword, and it seems to
              me that those who wish to live by such a sword, end up dying by it, as the
              true skeptic knows.

              regards
              Rikk






              On 1/3/05 3:09 PM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:


              > "There is no such canon and I am not arguing for one. Of course, Jesus
              > likely talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his
              > disciples, much less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely speculative
              > to argue from silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his
              > life
              > and that that experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical
              > event attributed to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that an
              > event has no historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus
              > reflected upon such a personal event at one point with his disciples. The
              > latter may appear to be the position I have taken with respect to the
              > temptation story. That is not really my intent. In making a judgment as to
              > whether some event or saying, for that matter, is authentic to the
              > experience or teaching of the historical Jesus, I need as a
              > socio-historical
              > critic to weigh all the evidence for or against such a possibility. In the
              > case of the temptation story, all I am saying is that those who suggest
              > that
              > there lies behind the story is kernal of historical truth about an actual
              > temptation of Jesus do not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or
              > implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience at
              > some later point with his disciples. To have such evidence would
              > weigh in the favor of there being behind the story an authentic
              > experience of Jesus. I think that datum is relevant and should
              > be taken into consideration by those who pose that the temptation
              > story is rooted in an actual personal experience of Jesus."
              >
              > I stand behind that statement, Rikk. In raising the issue of Jesus' lack
              > of
              > reference to a personal experience of temptation, I was only applying the
              > widely accepted historical-critical methodological practice of trying to
              > sort out what is historically authentic to the life of the historical
              > Jesus.
              > And no more! If I am missing your point or have misunderstood your
              > point,
              > I would appreciate you let me know how that is the case.
              >
              >> This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
              >> historicity of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this
              >> particular demand, one is being unfair to Mark in terms
              >> of first century expectations.
              >
              > Actually, it has a lot to do with the historicity of Mark. The issue, as
              > I
              > have come to see it, behind all this historical-critical dispute we are
              > engaged in really is the issue regarding whether Mark's narrative
              > investment
              > is primarily and finally in historicity per se. In other words: Is it
              > really Mark's intent to be an ancient historian, following the
              > historiographic conventions expected of an ancient historial and tell the
              > *historical truth* about the historical Jesus? I do *not* think so. I do
              > not think Mark writes as an ancient historian, using the genre of an
              > ancient
              > historian. Nor do I think that Mark expects his readers to think that he
              > writes as a historian. None of his readers, aware of the rhetorical
              > convenstions and standards for historiographic compositions, would have
              > read
              > Mark and thought that they were reading *history*. That is not to say
              > that
              > Mark was not committed to telling the truth about Jesus. However, the
              > truth
              > he tells and is commited to is a different truth from *historical truth*.
              > Therefore, I think it is unfair to Mark to assume that when he narrated
              > the
              > temptation story he intended his readers or hearers, for that matter, to
              > conclude that he was basing the story on a historical datum drawn from the
              > experience of the historical Jesus. I will explain in detail in a
              > forthcoming post why I take this position.
              >
              >> (so Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).<
              >
              > From my perspective, Bailey and Dunn are very relevant to our
              > hermeneutical
              > differences and the dispute we have engaged over. For you introduced
              > Bailey and Dunn into the discussion regarding the credibility of my
              > hermeneutical arguments in your post of 2/18 when you stated: " If you'd
              > instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty (to use
              > the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion
              > narrative,
              > and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough. But,
              > the
              > reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think it
              > indicates that *overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
              > unreasonable skepticism*, and it might just be this that results in few of
              > your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
              > words, *sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being fair
              > (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered*; I suspect
              > Byrskog would probably agree)" [emphasis: TJW].
              >
              > Rikk, in characterizing my overall hermeneutical approach as being
              > unpersuasive to my colleagues because, as you put it, it "is marred by
              > unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism" in my application of the
              > hermeneutic of suspicion, you draw upon Dunn referentially and allusively
              > to
              > his criticism of my critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled
              > oral
              > tradition as evidentiary support for this characterization of my
              > hermeneutical approach. As I indicated in my response to you in my XTalk
              > post of 2/24, I do not think that is a fair and balanced presentation of
              > my
              > hermeneutic nor a fair allusion to my critique of Bailey. I feel it is
              > unfair because there are those on the list who are not aware of my
              > critique
              > and even what Dunn says about it, and are thus left to draw their own
              > conclusions about Dunn's brief with me. Moreover, your characterization
              > fails to present to listers a balanced and fair presentation of the
              > exchange
              > we have had over my critique of Bailey and your response to it. So let me
              > rehearse a bit of that history in order for the record to be set straight
              > for those who are not aware of the exchange we have had.
              >
              > Some time after I posted on Xtalk my critique of Bailey's theory of
              > informal
              > controlled oral tradition ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Flawed
              > Theory, Part I, XTalk post, 9/6/01), you indicated in your XTalk post of
              > 11/14/01 ("Bailey's Response") that you had informed Bailey of my critique
              > and cited parts of Bailey's response to my critique, in which Bailey takes
              > strong exception for my revealing that in his use of his only extant
              > source
              > for his theory, he not only did not fully disclose what the source
              > presented
              > germane to his use of the source in support of his theory but, also and in
              > fact, he had misrepresented the source to his readers.
              >
              > In response to your sharing Bailey's irate criticism of my disclosure of
              > his
              > misrepresentation of the source critical to his theory, I posted the
              > following on XTalk, 11/14/01:
              >
              > "Thank you Rikk for sharing the gist of Bailey's response to my critique
              > of
              > his theory. I would like to see the full response before I make any reply
              > to it. However, I do want to respond briefly to some of your parenthetical
              > remarks. First, you note:
              >
              >> I think, if I am allowed to interpret a bit, he feels that
              >> there was less of a sympathetic hearing, what Lonergan would call
              >> "reconstructive," than a controversialist response where the aim, for
              >> whatever reasons, was to erode as much as possible of his view. I do
              >> wonder if this is in part because Bailey's thesis even if only partly
              >> true would create severe problems for Ted's own proposals re Mark. What
              >> do
              >> you think Ted? Might there have been something like this at work?).<.
              >
              > I indicated at that point that I could not respond directly to your
              > question
              > at that point. Then I continued with what you presented in your post:
              >
              >> As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
              >> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
              >> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
              >> to his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted).<
              >
              > I responded:
              >
              > "Rikk, you need not apologize for not being persuaded by my theory, even
              > finding it incredible. As you are well aware you are not the first to have
              > found it so in the 37 years it has been in print (Claremont dissertation,
              > "The Heresy That Necessitated the Mark's Gospel," (1964); 1968 _ZNW_
              > article
              > by the same title; and my book, _Mark--Traditions in Conflict_(1971/1979).
              > What would be more helpful to me is to know why you "find
              > Ted's...free-wheeling creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond
              > the
              > bounds even of that found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I
              > apply the same rigor to his theses as he does to Bailey's." I would really
              > appreciate you engaging me with respect to the problems you have with my
              > methodology, use of the evidence and argumentation. If you are willing to
              > do so, and would rather do it off-list, my e-mail address is . . ."
              >
              > On 11/21/04, Rikk, you responded to the above in an XTalk post
              > with the following:
              >
              > " Ted, I think I need to apologize for my interpretation here; I really
              > shouldn¹t presume that you are like me. That is, I was thinking about how
              > I
              > would respond and I know that I tend to be tougher on ideas that challenge
              > mine than I am on my own (one of the reasons I so enjoy Xlist: folk like
              > you keep me honest). So sorry friend."
              >
              > And with respect to my request that you engage me with respect to the
              > problems you find with my methodology, you stated:
              >
              > "You¹re a gracious man. Time is always of the essence (and I must confess
              > I¹m sometimes overwhelmed by the lengthy essays) but this sounds like
              > something it would be good to do."
              >
              > Rikk, I am still waiting for you to let me know that the time is right for
              > you to share with me the problems you have with my methodology, use of
              > evidence and argumentation.
              >
              > On 5/04/04, I wrote the following off-list to you::
              >
              > "I have enclosed the latest version of my critique (Part One and Part Two)
              > of Bailey's theory in the attachments. I appreciate your willingness to
              > read it. I hope you will share with me your critical feedback. That will
              > be
              > important to me."
              >
              > Not hearing from you, I wrote on 5/21/04 off-list:
              >
              > "I am wondering now if it is worth your time to go through my revised
              > critique of Bailey and give me feedback on the latest version. I re-read
              > your XTalk post of November 14, 2001 (XTalk archives, #8520) in which you
              > share Bailey's criticisms of my critique of his theory. I gather from your
              > personal remarks there, that you find Bailey's position convincing,
              > notwithstanding my evidentiary assessment. What did catch my eye in your
              > post was the following:
              >
              > "As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
              > creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
              > found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
              > to
              > his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted)."
              >
              > "Rikk, what you state above seems to be the substantive issue over which
              > we
              > disagree. With that in mind, I wonder if you would be willing to read a
              > lengthy essay in which I now argue that Mark used Josephus' story of Jesus
              > son of Ananias as the model for his fictional creation of the Jewish and
              > Roman trials of Jesus? I think your predisposition to seeing Mark as less
              > creative than I do would be a helpful reference point for whatever holes
              > you
              > might find in my argument. To identify those holes would be of great help
              > to me. Are you interested?"
              >
              > On 5/22/04 you wrote off-list:
              > .
              > "Sorry for the delay . . . . But I am very interested in reading your
              > work.
              > For what it's worth I did/do agree with your critique re Rena Hogg and
              > the account of the desert encounter and make a specific point of
              > mentioning it, positively, in class. So, yes I appreciate that aspect
              > very much. On the other hand, I'm not sure this translates into a
              > thorough-going demolition (I hope that's not too strong a word)
              > of Bailey. And yes to be honest, I did think that you were a lot
              > tougher on Bailey than you were on Ted, and yes there is no question
              > that your work is creative (and yes I do think there's a lot more fiction
              > in
              > what your proposals than there is in Mark... :) )."
              >
              > "Nevertheless, my apologies for not getting on to this sooner. It's just a
              > matter of finding the time I'm afraid (and I don't want to rush through
              > it)."
              >
              > "Re the Josephus and Mark thesis (which presupposes I assume that Mark
              > post-dates Jos?): as long as the essay is not too lengthy, I'd be happy to
              > help out < but do be aware that time is really tight for the next month or
              > so."
              >
              > As yet, Rikk, you have not indicated to me that you have read my revised
              > critique, nor have you informed me that you had found time to read my
              > thesis
              > on Mark's dependency upon the story of Jesus son of Ananias found in
              > Josephus' _Jew War_. However, you continue to find fault with my arguments
              > with respect to my interpretation of Mark and allude to Dunn's criticism
              > of
              > my critique of Bailey.
              >
              > And you close your post of 2/28/05 with this:
              >
              >> We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those
              >> aside until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is
              >> unfair to require > a 1st century author to meet evidential
              >> standards that none of his contemporaries expected of him?
              >
              > It is those other topics related to criticism of my hermeneutic that have
              > been left addressed between us for over a year in one case and nine months
              > in another. Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in X Talk posts
              > with presenting hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a few
              > of my colleagues because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism."
              > Is
              > that really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you have
              > yet to engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a
              > year?
              >
              > Ted
              >
              >
              >
              >
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            • Rikk Watts
              Sorry Karel, but I m not sure precisely what that post contained. However, the Passover Haggadah theory, as you would well know, is not new. John Bowman s 1965
              Message 6 of 18 , Mar 4, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                Sorry Karel, but I'm not sure precisely what that post contained.

                However, the Passover Haggadah theory, as you would well know, is not new.
                John Bowman's 1965 volume being a particular example, and from what I recall
                it seems to me that the weaknesses that plagued his approach have not been
                addressed in your own proposal.

                But since we are asking for responses, not to be churlish, may I also point
                out that a month earlier, namely Jan 28th and with respect to your theory
                that for Mark Jesus' mighty deeds were merely metaphors (in response to your
                post of the same day), I asked if you could cite some unambiguous examples
                of an early interpreter of any of Jesus' mighty deeds who saw them solely as
                metaphors (which strikes me, ironically given your comments below, as a
                somewhat modernist anachronism)? In other words, it seems to me that if
                there is no ancient interpreter who shares your view that these stories were
                solely metaphors then either Mark was an utterly inadequate communicator who
                didn't know his audience, or perhaps we have a single 21st century reader
                who ... well I think you get the point.

                Forgive me if I've overlooked your response to this request. But I've not
                seen anything yet. Perhaps we could make a deal: you respond to my earlier
                question and then I'll respond to your Feb 24th post (if you'll be kind
                enough to send me off-list a copy).

                Regards
                Rikk



                On 4/3/05 12:20 AM, "Karel Hanhart" <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:

                >
                > Rikk,
                >
                > I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in some
                > important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny that Mark's aim was
                > to provide historical, biographical information on Jesus. I would like to
                > hear your arguments concerning genre. I defend in my contribution of last
                > February 24. Mark never intended to write a biography at all. As a Christian
                > Judean, he rewrote a known Christian Passover Haggadah in the wake of the
                > trauma of 70. Nearly one third of his Gospel deals with the season of Pesach
                > with 8,31; 9,31; 10, 33f as its main theme and the institution of the Last
                > Supper as its main semeion. What are your arguments against my Febr 24th
                > reply?
                >
                > cordially,
                >
                > Karel
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "Rikk Watts" <rwatts@...>
                > To: "xtalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 8:19 PM
                > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now) arguments
                > from silence?
                >
                >
                >
                > Dear Ted,
                >
                > Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that
                > the primary issue was one point and one alone:
                >
                >> [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity with
                >> the
                >> following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
                >> canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally
                >> had
                >> been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
                >> where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there
                >> in
                >> the desert Jesus faced temptation?"
                >
                > This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
                > problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.
                >
                > First, it seems to me to be a non sequitur to argue that because someone
                > does not tell us whence they got their information (especially when their
                > canons do not require them so to do) that therefore that information is
                > suspect. Indeed, what ancient historian ever operated as though this was the
                > case? Hence my judgment, in spite of your denial, that your skepticism BASED
                > ON THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is both unreasonable and historically
                > anachronistic.
                >
                > Second, if there was then no expectation that Mark explicitly state that
                > Jesus himself had told his disciples in order for his story to be accepted,
                > then I would aver that such an absence does not constitute an argument from
                > silence, but is instead evidence a shared presupposition of communication.
                > When one makes a claim it is assumed that one is making the claim in good
                > faith, and hence, to keep this discussion grounded in the first century,
                > Seneca's complaint against people who abuse that faith. In this case the
                > silence is not neutral, and therefore this is not an argument from silence.
                > I contend that to assume that Mark expects his readers to believe that this
                > information came ultimately from Jesus is not at all "purely speculative,"
                > but the presupposition of communication.
                >
                > Third, this being the case however, I agree that to question such a
                > connection SOLELY on the basis of the argument above is indeed "pure
                > speculation." And further, it is not only itself a classic example of an
                > argument from silence (as you I think you agree) but, as argued above, one
                > which runs against the expectations and assumptions of ancient readers.
                > This was the essence of my criticism.
                >
                > I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity. Fair
                > enough. But this was not the point I engaged, though we could discuss the
                > well-recognized problems of such criteria (e.g. multiple attestation only
                > indicates how many people believed a story and how early, not whether it is
                > true or not; likewise that only one source knows of a story finally says
                > nothing about whether it is true or not, and more likely reflects the
                > redactional interests of authors working within the very limited constraints
                > of a single roll and the vagaries of what actually of the presumably
                > considerable mass of oral tradition (e.g. John 21.25) is finally committed
                > to such a small compass). Likewise, you might fairly say you find elements
                > of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation unbelievable. But again, this was not
                > the point I engaged.
                >
                > Re Dunn's assessment of your work on Bailey, I note here for listers
                > convenience, Jesus Remembered, p. 207n182, where he first states that Bailey
                > regrets his overstatement re the Hogg traditions (after all, Bailey's
                > article was not intended to be a rigorous scholarly work), and then
                > continues "Weeden's further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their
                > significance, misses much of Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and
                > weakens Bailey's case hardly at all." Dunn is no slouch and I doubt he would
                > put this out in the public sphere without due consideration. Ted, my
                > parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight but instead as indicative
                > of a concern that you might wish to address, and which concern I think is
                > exemplified in the above. You may of course simply dismiss this but it
                > seems to me that an overly skeptical approach only serves to mute what other
                > good points you might make. It shouldn't hurt your case to give someone else
                > the benefit of the doubt, and that includes Mark.
                >
                > Finally, a hermeneutic of suspicion is a double-edged sword, and it seems to
                > me that those who wish to live by such a sword, end up dying by it, as the
                > true skeptic knows.
                >
                > regards
                > Rikk
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > On 1/3/05 3:09 PM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >> "There is no such canon and I am not arguing for one. Of course, Jesus
                >> likely talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his
                >> disciples, much less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely speculative
                >> to argue from silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his
                >> life
                >> and that that experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical
                >> event attributed to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that an
                >> event has no historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus
                >> reflected upon such a personal event at one point with his disciples. The
                >> latter may appear to be the position I have taken with respect to the
                >> temptation story. That is not really my intent. In making a judgment as to
                >> whether some event or saying, for that matter, is authentic to the
                >> experience or teaching of the historical Jesus, I need as a
                >> socio-historical
                >> critic to weigh all the evidence for or against such a possibility. In the
                >> case of the temptation story, all I am saying is that those who suggest
                >> that
                >> there lies behind the story is kernal of historical truth about an actual
                >> temptation of Jesus do not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or
                >> implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience at
                >> some later point with his disciples. To have such evidence would
                >> weigh in the favor of there being behind the story an authentic
                >> experience of Jesus. I think that datum is relevant and should
                >> be taken into consideration by those who pose that the temptation
                >> story is rooted in an actual personal experience of Jesus."
                >>
                >> I stand behind that statement, Rikk. In raising the issue of Jesus' lack
                >> of
                >> reference to a personal experience of temptation, I was only applying the
                >> widely accepted historical-critical methodological practice of trying to
                >> sort out what is historically authentic to the life of the historical
                >> Jesus.
                >> And no more! If I am missing your point or have misunderstood your
                >> point,
                >> I would appreciate you let me know how that is the case.
                >>
                >>> This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
                >>> historicity of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this
                >>> particular demand, one is being unfair to Mark in terms
                >>> of first century expectations.
                >>
                >> Actually, it has a lot to do with the historicity of Mark. The issue, as
                >> I
                >> have come to see it, behind all this historical-critical dispute we are
                >> engaged in really is the issue regarding whether Mark's narrative
                >> investment
                >> is primarily and finally in historicity per se. In other words: Is it
                >> really Mark's intent to be an ancient historian, following the
                >> historiographic conventions expected of an ancient historial and tell the
                >> *historical truth* about the historical Jesus? I do *not* think so. I do
                >> not think Mark writes as an ancient historian, using the genre of an
                >> ancient
                >> historian. Nor do I think that Mark expects his readers to think that he
                >> writes as a historian. None of his readers, aware of the rhetorical
                >> convenstions and standards for historiographic compositions, would have
                >> read
                >> Mark and thought that they were reading *history*. That is not to say
                >> that
                >> Mark was not committed to telling the truth about Jesus. However, the
                >> truth
                >> he tells and is commited to is a different truth from *historical truth*.
                >> Therefore, I think it is unfair to Mark to assume that when he narrated
                >> the
                >> temptation story he intended his readers or hearers, for that matter, to
                >> conclude that he was basing the story on a historical datum drawn from the
                >> experience of the historical Jesus. I will explain in detail in a
                >> forthcoming post why I take this position.
                >>
                >>> (so Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).<
                >>
                >> From my perspective, Bailey and Dunn are very relevant to our
                >> hermeneutical
                >> differences and the dispute we have engaged over. For you introduced
                >> Bailey and Dunn into the discussion regarding the credibility of my
                >> hermeneutical arguments in your post of 2/18 when you stated: " If you'd
                >> instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty (to use
                >> the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion
                >> narrative,
                >> and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough. But,
                >> the
                >> reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think it
                >> indicates that *overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
                >> unreasonable skepticism*, and it might just be this that results in few of
                >> your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
                >> words, *sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being fair
                >> (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered*; I suspect
                >> Byrskog would probably agree)" [emphasis: TJW].
                >>
                >> Rikk, in characterizing my overall hermeneutical approach as being
                >> unpersuasive to my colleagues because, as you put it, it "is marred by
                >> unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism" in my application of the
                >> hermeneutic of suspicion, you draw upon Dunn referentially and allusively
                >> to
                >> his criticism of my critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled
                >> oral
                >> tradition as evidentiary support for this characterization of my
                >> hermeneutical approach. As I indicated in my response to you in my XTalk
                >> post of 2/24, I do not think that is a fair and balanced presentation of
                >> my
                >> hermeneutic nor a fair allusion to my critique of Bailey. I feel it is
                >> unfair because there are those on the list who are not aware of my
                >> critique
                >> and even what Dunn says about it, and are thus left to draw their own
                >> conclusions about Dunn's brief with me. Moreover, your characterization
                >> fails to present to listers a balanced and fair presentation of the
                >> exchange
                >> we have had over my critique of Bailey and your response to it. So let me
                >> rehearse a bit of that history in order for the record to be set straight
                >> for those who are not aware of the exchange we have had.
                >>
                >> Some time after I posted on Xtalk my critique of Bailey's theory of
                >> informal
                >> controlled oral tradition ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Flawed
                >> Theory, Part I, XTalk post, 9/6/01), you indicated in your XTalk post of
                >> 11/14/01 ("Bailey's Response") that you had informed Bailey of my critique
                >> and cited parts of Bailey's response to my critique, in which Bailey takes
                >> strong exception for my revealing that in his use of his only extant
                >> source
                >> for his theory, he not only did not fully disclose what the source
                >> presented
                >> germane to his use of the source in support of his theory but, also and in
                >> fact, he had misrepresented the source to his readers.
                >>
                >> In response to your sharing Bailey's irate criticism of my disclosure of
                >> his
                >> misrepresentation of the source critical to his theory, I posted the
                >> following on XTalk, 11/14/01:
                >>
                >> "Thank you Rikk for sharing the gist of Bailey's response to my critique
                >> of
                >> his theory. I would like to see the full response before I make any reply
                >> to it. However, I do want to respond briefly to some of your parenthetical
                >> remarks. First, you note:
                >>
                >>> I think, if I am allowed to interpret a bit, he feels that
                >>> there was less of a sympathetic hearing, what Lonergan would call
                >>> "reconstructive," than a controversialist response where the aim, for
                >>> whatever reasons, was to erode as much as possible of his view. I do
                >>> wonder if this is in part because Bailey's thesis even if only partly
                >>> true would create severe problems for Ted's own proposals re Mark. What
                >>> do
                >>> you think Ted? Might there have been something like this at work?).<.
                >>
                >> I indicated at that point that I could not respond directly to your
                >> question
                >> at that point. Then I continued with what you presented in your post:
                >>
                >>> As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
                >>> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
                >>> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
                >>> to his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted).<
                >>
                >> I responded:
                >>
                >> "Rikk, you need not apologize for not being persuaded by my theory, even
                >> finding it incredible. As you are well aware you are not the first to have
                >> found it so in the 37 years it has been in print (Claremont dissertation,
                >> "The Heresy That Necessitated the Mark's Gospel," (1964); 1968 _ZNW_
                >> article
                >> by the same title; and my book, _Mark--Traditions in Conflict_(1971/1979).
                >> What would be more helpful to me is to know why you "find
                >> Ted's...free-wheeling creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond
                >> the
                >> bounds even of that found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I
                >> apply the same rigor to his theses as he does to Bailey's." I would really
                >> appreciate you engaging me with respect to the problems you have with my
                >> methodology, use of the evidence and argumentation. If you are willing to
                >> do so, and would rather do it off-list, my e-mail address is . . ."
                >>
                >> On 11/21/04, Rikk, you responded to the above in an XTalk post
                >> with the following:
                >>
                >> " Ted, I think I need to apologize for my interpretation here; I really
                >> shouldn¹t presume that you are like me. That is, I was thinking about how
                >> I
                >> would respond and I know that I tend to be tougher on ideas that challenge
                >> mine than I am on my own (one of the reasons I so enjoy Xlist: folk like
                >> you keep me honest). So sorry friend."
                >>
                >> And with respect to my request that you engage me with respect to the
                >> problems you find with my methodology, you stated:
                >>
                >> "You¹re a gracious man. Time is always of the essence (and I must confess
                >> I¹m sometimes overwhelmed by the lengthy essays) but this sounds like
                >> something it would be good to do."
                >>
                >> Rikk, I am still waiting for you to let me know that the time is right for
                >> you to share with me the problems you have with my methodology, use of
                >> evidence and argumentation.
                >>
                >> On 5/04/04, I wrote the following off-list to you::
                >>
                >> "I have enclosed the latest version of my critique (Part One and Part Two)
                >> of Bailey's theory in the attachments. I appreciate your willingness to
                >> read it. I hope you will share with me your critical feedback. That will
                >> be
                >> important to me."
                >>
                >> Not hearing from you, I wrote on 5/21/04 off-list:
                >>
                >> "I am wondering now if it is worth your time to go through my revised
                >> critique of Bailey and give me feedback on the latest version. I re-read
                >> your XTalk post of November 14, 2001 (XTalk archives, #8520) in which you
                >> share Bailey's criticisms of my critique of his theory. I gather from your
                >> personal remarks there, that you find Bailey's position convincing,
                >> notwithstanding my evidentiary assessment. What did catch my eye in your
                >> post was the following:
                >>
                >> "As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
                >> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
                >> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
                >> to
                >> his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted)."
                >>
                >> "Rikk, what you state above seems to be the substantive issue over which
                >> we
                >> disagree. With that in mind, I wonder if you would be willing to read a
                >> lengthy essay in which I now argue that Mark used Josephus' story of Jesus
                >> son of Ananias as the model for his fictional creation of the Jewish and
                >> Roman trials of Jesus? I think your predisposition to seeing Mark as less
                >> creative than I do would be a helpful reference point for whatever holes
                >> you
                >> might find in my argument. To identify those holes would be of great help
                >> to me. Are you interested?"
                >>
                >> On 5/22/04 you wrote off-list:
                >> .
                >> "Sorry for the delay . . . . But I am very interested in reading your
                >> work.
                >> For what it's worth I did/do agree with your critique re Rena Hogg and
                >> the account of the desert encounter and make a specific point of
                >> mentioning it, positively, in class. So, yes I appreciate that aspect
                >> very much. On the other hand, I'm not sure this translates into a
                >> thorough-going demolition (I hope that's not too strong a word)
                >> of Bailey. And yes to be honest, I did think that you were a lot
                >> tougher on Bailey than you were on Ted, and yes there is no question
                >> that your work is creative (and yes I do think there's a lot more fiction
                >> in
                >> what your proposals than there is in Mark... :) )."
                >>
                >> "Nevertheless, my apologies for not getting on to this sooner. It's just a
                >> matter of finding the time I'm afraid (and I don't want to rush through
                >> it)."
                >>
                >> "Re the Josephus and Mark thesis (which presupposes I assume that Mark
                >> post-dates Jos?): as long as the essay is not too lengthy, I'd be happy to
                >> help out < but do be aware that time is really tight for the next month or
                >> so."
                >>
                >> As yet, Rikk, you have not indicated to me that you have read my revised
                >> critique, nor have you informed me that you had found time to read my
                >> thesis
                >> on Mark's dependency upon the story of Jesus son of Ananias found in
                >> Josephus' _Jew War_. However, you continue to find fault with my arguments
                >> with respect to my interpretation of Mark and allude to Dunn's criticism
                >> of
                >> my critique of Bailey.
                >>
                >> And you close your post of 2/28/05 with this:
                >>
                >>> We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those
                >>> aside until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is
                >>> unfair to require > a 1st century author to meet evidential
                >>> standards that none of his contemporaries expected of him?
                >>
                >> It is those other topics related to criticism of my hermeneutic that have
                >> been left addressed between us for over a year in one case and nine months
                >> in another. Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in X Talk posts
                >> with presenting hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a few
                >> of my colleagues because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism."
                >> Is
                >> that really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you have
                >> yet to engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a
                >> year?
                >>
                >> Ted
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                >>
                >> To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
                >> crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >>
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                >>
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                >>
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                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                >
                > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
                > crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                  ... One does not have to posit that the Gospel cannot be bioi and must be a passover hagadah to believe or assert that. Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson,
                Message 7 of 18 , Mar 4, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                   

                  Karel Hanhart wrote:

                  > Rikk,
                  >
                  > I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in some
                  > important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny  that Mark's aim was
                  > to provide historical, biographical information on Jesus.

                  One does not have to posit that the Gospel cannot be bioi and must be a passover
                  hagadah to believe or assert that.

                  Jeffrey
                  --

                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                  Chicago, IL 60626

                  jgibson000@...
                   
                • Karel Hanhart
                  Dear Rick, If I failed to answer you, my excuses. I do try to answer contributors as faithful as I can. Sometimes my messages have not come through, perhaps
                  Message 8 of 18 , Mar 5, 2005
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Dear Rick,

                    If I failed to answer you, my excuses. I do try to answer contributors as
                    faithful as I can. Sometimes my messages have not come through, perhaps
                    through my incompetence with computers or for other reasons. At other times
                    contributors ignore my contributions altogether which is their perfect right
                    in a list like this.

                    You obviously have not studied my work on Mark's Gospel, - no one can be
                    blamed for that either in the cacophony of NT scholars - but I did critique
                    Bowman for not
                    following through on his own premises.
                    Am I correct in rephrasing your answer in terms of a denial that Mark wrote
                    a Passover Haggadah? In that case I believe you should make clear what the
                    alternative is. What do you think is the 'genre' of his writing? A
                    Hellenistic bios? Moreover, you should also make clear whom you regard to
                    be the author of 'kata Markon'.
                    I take him to have been John Mark of Acts and the Epistles who in the
                    aftermath of the trauma of 70 rewrote a Pesach Haggadah for continued
                    liturgical use in the ecclesia.
                    In that case Matthew is my first author, the first of in your words
                    "unambiguous examples of an early interpreter of any of Jesus' mighty deeds
                    who saw them (solely) as metaphors". I put 'solely' in brackets. For Mark
                    was writing about the "deeds" of the historical Jesus but in a metaphorical
                    way. In my book I made clear why the healing of the man with the shrivelled
                    arm (or hand) symbolized a Samaritan. Historically I conclude tentatively
                    that Jesus worked toward reconciliation between Judean and Samaritan, for
                    this midrashic interpretation of the mirable matches with some of the
                    parables of the historical Jesus.
                    As to Matthew being the first interpreter of Mark, why not discuss Matthew's
                    expansion of Mark's metaphorical 'opened monument' narrative?

                    So I repeat my question: "What are your arguments against my Febr 24th
                    reply?" to your legitimate challenging hermeneutical skepticism.

                    cordially

                    Karel

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Rikk Watts" <rwatts@...>
                    To: "xtalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 4:05 PM
                    Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now) arguments
                    from silence?



                    Sorry Karel, but I'm not sure precisely what that post contained.

                    However, the Passover Haggadah theory, as you would well know, is not new.
                    John Bowman's 1965 volume being a particular example, and from what I recall
                    it seems to me that the weaknesses that plagued his approach have not been
                    addressed in your own proposal.

                    But since we are asking for responses, not to be churlish, may I also point
                    out that a month earlier, namely Jan 28th and with respect to your theory
                    that for Mark Jesus' mighty deeds were merely metaphors (in response to your
                    post of the same day), I asked if you could cite some unambiguous examples
                    of an early interpreter of any of Jesus' mighty deeds who saw them solely as
                    metaphors (which strikes me, ironically given your comments below, as a
                    somewhat modernist anachronism)? In other words, it seems to me that if
                    there is no ancient interpreter who shares your view that these stories were
                    solely metaphors then either Mark was an utterly inadequate communicator who
                    didn't know his audience, or perhaps we have a single 21st century reader
                    who ... well I think you get the point.

                    Forgive me if I've overlooked your response to this request. But I've not
                    seen anything yet. Perhaps we could make a deal: you respond to my earlier
                    question and then I'll respond to your Feb 24th post (if you'll be kind
                    enough to send me off-list a copy).

                    Regards
                    Rikk



                    On 4/3/05 12:20 AM, "Karel Hanhart" <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > Rikk,
                    >
                    > I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in
                    > some
                    > important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny that Mark's aim
                    > was
                    > to provide historical, biographical information on Jesus. I would like to
                    > hear your arguments concerning genre. I defend in my contribution of last
                    > February 24. Mark never intended to write a biography at all. As a
                    > Christian
                    > Judean, he rewrote a known Christian Passover Haggadah in the wake of the
                    > trauma of 70. Nearly one third of his Gospel deals with the season of
                    > Pesach
                    > with 8,31; 9,31; 10, 33f as its main theme and the institution of the Last
                    > Supper as its main semeion. What are your arguments against my Febr 24th
                    > reply?
                    >
                    > cordially,
                    >
                    > Karel
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Rikk Watts" <rwatts@...>
                    > To: "xtalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 8:19 PM
                    > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now)
                    > arguments
                    > from silence?
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Dear Ted,
                    >
                    > Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that
                    > the primary issue was one point and one alone:
                    >
                    >> [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity
                    >> with
                    >> the
                    >> following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
                    >> canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally
                    >> had
                    >> been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
                    >> where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there
                    >> in
                    >> the desert Jesus faced temptation?"
                    >
                    > This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
                    > problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.
                    >
                    > First, it seems to me to be a non sequitur to argue that because someone
                    > does not tell us whence they got their information (especially when their
                    > canons do not require them so to do) that therefore that information is
                    > suspect. Indeed, what ancient historian ever operated as though this was
                    > the
                    > case? Hence my judgment, in spite of your denial, that your skepticism
                    > BASED
                    > ON THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is both unreasonable and historically
                    > anachronistic.
                    >
                    > Second, if there was then no expectation that Mark explicitly state that
                    > Jesus himself had told his disciples in order for his story to be
                    > accepted,
                    > then I would aver that such an absence does not constitute an argument
                    > from
                    > silence, but is instead evidence a shared presupposition of communication.
                    > When one makes a claim it is assumed that one is making the claim in good
                    > faith, and hence, to keep this discussion grounded in the first century,
                    > Seneca's complaint against people who abuse that faith. In this case the
                    > silence is not neutral, and therefore this is not an argument from
                    > silence.
                    > I contend that to assume that Mark expects his readers to believe that
                    > this
                    > information came ultimately from Jesus is not at all "purely speculative,"
                    > but the presupposition of communication.
                    >
                    > Third, this being the case however, I agree that to question such a
                    > connection SOLELY on the basis of the argument above is indeed "pure
                    > speculation." And further, it is not only itself a classic example of an
                    > argument from silence (as you I think you agree) but, as argued above, one
                    > which runs against the expectations and assumptions of ancient readers.
                    > This was the essence of my criticism.
                    >
                    > I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity.
                    > Fair
                    > enough. But this was not the point I engaged, though we could discuss the
                    > well-recognized problems of such criteria (e.g. multiple attestation only
                    > indicates how many people believed a story and how early, not whether it
                    > is
                    > true or not; likewise that only one source knows of a story finally says
                    > nothing about whether it is true or not, and more likely reflects the
                    > redactional interests of authors working within the very limited
                    > constraints
                    > of a single roll and the vagaries of what actually of the presumably
                    > considerable mass of oral tradition (e.g. John 21.25) is finally committed
                    > to such a small compass). Likewise, you might fairly say you find elements
                    > of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation unbelievable. But again, this was
                    > not
                    > the point I engaged.
                    >
                    > Re Dunn's assessment of your work on Bailey, I note here for listers
                    > convenience, Jesus Remembered, p. 207n182, where he first states that
                    > Bailey
                    > regrets his overstatement re the Hogg traditions (after all, Bailey's
                    > article was not intended to be a rigorous scholarly work), and then
                    > continues "Weeden's further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their
                    > significance, misses much of Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and
                    > weakens Bailey's case hardly at all." Dunn is no slouch and I doubt he
                    > would
                    > put this out in the public sphere without due consideration. Ted, my
                    > parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight but instead as
                    > indicative
                    > of a concern that you might wish to address, and which concern I think is
                    > exemplified in the above. You may of course simply dismiss this but it
                    > seems to me that an overly skeptical approach only serves to mute what
                    > other
                    > good points you might make. It shouldn't hurt your case to give someone
                    > else
                    > the benefit of the doubt, and that includes Mark.
                    >
                    > Finally, a hermeneutic of suspicion is a double-edged sword, and it seems
                    > to
                    > me that those who wish to live by such a sword, end up dying by it, as the
                    > true skeptic knows.
                    >
                    > regards
                    > Rikk
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > On 1/3/05 3:09 PM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >> "There is no such canon and I am not arguing for one. Of course, Jesus
                    >> likely talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his
                    >> disciples, much less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely
                    >> speculative
                    >> to argue from silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his
                    >> life
                    >> and that that experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical
                    >> event attributed to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that
                    >> an
                    >> event has no historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus
                    >> reflected upon such a personal event at one point with his disciples. The
                    >> latter may appear to be the position I have taken with respect to the
                    >> temptation story. That is not really my intent. In making a judgment as
                    >> to
                    >> whether some event or saying, for that matter, is authentic to the
                    >> experience or teaching of the historical Jesus, I need as a
                    >> socio-historical
                    >> critic to weigh all the evidence for or against such a possibility. In
                    >> the
                    >> case of the temptation story, all I am saying is that those who suggest
                    >> that
                    >> there lies behind the story is kernal of historical truth about an actual
                    >> temptation of Jesus do not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or
                    >> implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience at
                    >> some later point with his disciples. To have such evidence would
                    >> weigh in the favor of there being behind the story an authentic
                    >> experience of Jesus. I think that datum is relevant and should
                    >> be taken into consideration by those who pose that the temptation
                    >> story is rooted in an actual personal experience of Jesus."
                    >>
                    >> I stand behind that statement, Rikk. In raising the issue of Jesus' lack
                    >> of
                    >> reference to a personal experience of temptation, I was only applying the
                    >> widely accepted historical-critical methodological practice of trying to
                    >> sort out what is historically authentic to the life of the historical
                    >> Jesus.
                    >> And no more! If I am missing your point or have misunderstood your
                    >> point,
                    >> I would appreciate you let me know how that is the case.
                    >>
                    >>> This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
                    >>> historicity of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this
                    >>> particular demand, one is being unfair to Mark in terms
                    >>> of first century expectations.
                    >>
                    >> Actually, it has a lot to do with the historicity of Mark. The issue, as
                    >> I
                    >> have come to see it, behind all this historical-critical dispute we are
                    >> engaged in really is the issue regarding whether Mark's narrative
                    >> investment
                    >> is primarily and finally in historicity per se. In other words: Is it
                    >> really Mark's intent to be an ancient historian, following the
                    >> historiographic conventions expected of an ancient historial and tell the
                    >> *historical truth* about the historical Jesus? I do *not* think so. I
                    >> do
                    >> not think Mark writes as an ancient historian, using the genre of an
                    >> ancient
                    >> historian. Nor do I think that Mark expects his readers to think that he
                    >> writes as a historian. None of his readers, aware of the rhetorical
                    >> convenstions and standards for historiographic compositions, would have
                    >> read
                    >> Mark and thought that they were reading *history*. That is not to say
                    >> that
                    >> Mark was not committed to telling the truth about Jesus. However, the
                    >> truth
                    >> he tells and is commited to is a different truth from *historical truth*.
                    >> Therefore, I think it is unfair to Mark to assume that when he narrated
                    >> the
                    >> temptation story he intended his readers or hearers, for that matter, to
                    >> conclude that he was basing the story on a historical datum drawn from
                    >> the
                    >> experience of the historical Jesus. I will explain in detail in a
                    >> forthcoming post why I take this position.
                    >>
                    >>> (so Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).<
                    >>
                    >> From my perspective, Bailey and Dunn are very relevant to our
                    >> hermeneutical
                    >> differences and the dispute we have engaged over. For you introduced
                    >> Bailey and Dunn into the discussion regarding the credibility of my
                    >> hermeneutical arguments in your post of 2/18 when you stated: " If you'd
                    >> instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty (to use
                    >> the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion
                    >> narrative,
                    >> and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough. But,
                    >> the
                    >> reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think it
                    >> indicates that *overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
                    >> unreasonable skepticism*, and it might just be this that results in few
                    >> of
                    >> your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
                    >> words, *sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being
                    >> fair
                    >> (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered*; I suspect
                    >> Byrskog would probably agree)" [emphasis: TJW].
                    >>
                    >> Rikk, in characterizing my overall hermeneutical approach as being
                    >> unpersuasive to my colleagues because, as you put it, it "is marred by
                    >> unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism" in my application of the
                    >> hermeneutic of suspicion, you draw upon Dunn referentially and allusively
                    >> to
                    >> his criticism of my critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled
                    >> oral
                    >> tradition as evidentiary support for this characterization of my
                    >> hermeneutical approach. As I indicated in my response to you in my XTalk
                    >> post of 2/24, I do not think that is a fair and balanced presentation of
                    >> my
                    >> hermeneutic nor a fair allusion to my critique of Bailey. I feel it is
                    >> unfair because there are those on the list who are not aware of my
                    >> critique
                    >> and even what Dunn says about it, and are thus left to draw their own
                    >> conclusions about Dunn's brief with me. Moreover, your
                    >> characterization
                    >> fails to present to listers a balanced and fair presentation of the
                    >> exchange
                    >> we have had over my critique of Bailey and your response to it. So let
                    >> me
                    >> rehearse a bit of that history in order for the record to be set straight
                    >> for those who are not aware of the exchange we have had.
                    >>
                    >> Some time after I posted on Xtalk my critique of Bailey's theory of
                    >> informal
                    >> controlled oral tradition ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Flawed
                    >> Theory, Part I, XTalk post, 9/6/01), you indicated in your XTalk post of
                    >> 11/14/01 ("Bailey's Response") that you had informed Bailey of my
                    >> critique
                    >> and cited parts of Bailey's response to my critique, in which Bailey
                    >> takes
                    >> strong exception for my revealing that in his use of his only extant
                    >> source
                    >> for his theory, he not only did not fully disclose what the source
                    >> presented
                    >> germane to his use of the source in support of his theory but, also and
                    >> in
                    >> fact, he had misrepresented the source to his readers.
                    >>
                    >> In response to your sharing Bailey's irate criticism of my disclosure of
                    >> his
                    >> misrepresentation of the source critical to his theory, I posted the
                    >> following on XTalk, 11/14/01:
                    >>
                    >> "Thank you Rikk for sharing the gist of Bailey's response to my critique
                    >> of
                    >> his theory. I would like to see the full response before I make any reply
                    >> to it. However, I do want to respond briefly to some of your
                    >> parenthetical
                    >> remarks. First, you note:
                    >>
                    >>> I think, if I am allowed to interpret a bit, he feels that
                    >>> there was less of a sympathetic hearing, what Lonergan would call
                    >>> "reconstructive," than a controversialist response where the aim, for
                    >>> whatever reasons, was to erode as much as possible of his view. I do
                    >>> wonder if this is in part because Bailey's thesis even if only partly
                    >>> true would create severe problems for Ted's own proposals re Mark. What
                    >>> do
                    >>> you think Ted? Might there have been something like this at work?).<.
                    >>
                    >> I indicated at that point that I could not respond directly to your
                    >> question
                    >> at that point. Then I continued with what you presented in your post:
                    >>
                    >>> As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
                    >>> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of
                    >>> that
                    >>> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
                    >>> to his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted).<
                    >>
                    >> I responded:
                    >>
                    >> "Rikk, you need not apologize for not being persuaded by my theory, even
                    >> finding it incredible. As you are well aware you are not the first to
                    >> have
                    >> found it so in the 37 years it has been in print (Claremont dissertation,
                    >> "The Heresy That Necessitated the Mark's Gospel," (1964); 1968 _ZNW_
                    >> article
                    >> by the same title; and my book, _Mark--Traditions in
                    >> Conflict_(1971/1979).
                    >> What would be more helpful to me is to know why you "find
                    >> Ted's...free-wheeling creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond
                    >> the
                    >> bounds even of that found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I
                    >> apply the same rigor to his theses as he does to Bailey's." I would
                    >> really
                    >> appreciate you engaging me with respect to the problems you have with my
                    >> methodology, use of the evidence and argumentation. If you are willing to
                    >> do so, and would rather do it off-list, my e-mail address is . . ."
                    >>
                    >> On 11/21/04, Rikk, you responded to the above in an XTalk post
                    >> with the following:
                    >>
                    >> " Ted, I think I need to apologize for my interpretation here; I really
                    >> shouldn¹t presume that you are like me. That is, I was thinking about how
                    >> I
                    >> would respond and I know that I tend to be tougher on ideas that
                    >> challenge
                    >> mine than I am on my own (one of the reasons I so enjoy Xlist: folk like
                    >> you keep me honest). So sorry friend."
                    >>
                    >> And with respect to my request that you engage me with respect to the
                    >> problems you find with my methodology, you stated:
                    >>
                    >> "You¹re a gracious man. Time is always of the essence (and I must confess
                    >> I¹m sometimes overwhelmed by the lengthy essays) but this sounds like
                    >> something it would be good to do."
                    >>
                    >> Rikk, I am still waiting for you to let me know that the time is right
                    >> for
                    >> you to share with me the problems you have with my methodology, use of
                    >> evidence and argumentation.
                    >>
                    >> On 5/04/04, I wrote the following off-list to you::
                    >>
                    >> "I have enclosed the latest version of my critique (Part One and Part
                    >> Two)
                    >> of Bailey's theory in the attachments. I appreciate your willingness to
                    >> read it. I hope you will share with me your critical feedback. That will
                    >> be
                    >> important to me."
                    >>
                    >> Not hearing from you, I wrote on 5/21/04 off-list:
                    >>
                    >> "I am wondering now if it is worth your time to go through my revised
                    >> critique of Bailey and give me feedback on the latest version. I re-read
                    >> your XTalk post of November 14, 2001 (XTalk archives, #8520) in which you
                    >> share Bailey's criticisms of my critique of his theory. I gather from
                    >> your
                    >> personal remarks there, that you find Bailey's position convincing,
                    >> notwithstanding my evidentiary assessment. What did catch my eye in your
                    >> post was the following:
                    >>
                    >> "As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
                    >> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
                    >> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
                    >> to
                    >> his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted)."
                    >>
                    >> "Rikk, what you state above seems to be the substantive issue over which
                    >> we
                    >> disagree. With that in mind, I wonder if you would be willing to read a
                    >> lengthy essay in which I now argue that Mark used Josephus' story of
                    >> Jesus
                    >> son of Ananias as the model for his fictional creation of the Jewish and
                    >> Roman trials of Jesus? I think your predisposition to seeing Mark as less
                    >> creative than I do would be a helpful reference point for whatever holes
                    >> you
                    >> might find in my argument. To identify those holes would be of great help
                    >> to me. Are you interested?"
                    >>
                    >> On 5/22/04 you wrote off-list:
                    >> .
                    >> "Sorry for the delay . . . . But I am very interested in reading your
                    >> work.
                    >> For what it's worth I did/do agree with your critique re Rena Hogg and
                    >> the account of the desert encounter and make a specific point of
                    >> mentioning it, positively, in class. So, yes I appreciate that aspect
                    >> very much. On the other hand, I'm not sure this translates into a
                    >> thorough-going demolition (I hope that's not too strong a word)
                    >> of Bailey. And yes to be honest, I did think that you were a lot
                    >> tougher on Bailey than you were on Ted, and yes there is no question
                    >> that your work is creative (and yes I do think there's a lot more fiction
                    >> in
                    >> what your proposals than there is in Mark... :) )."
                    >>
                    >> "Nevertheless, my apologies for not getting on to this sooner. It's just
                    >> a
                    >> matter of finding the time I'm afraid (and I don't want to rush through
                    >> it)."
                    >>
                    >> "Re the Josephus and Mark thesis (which presupposes I assume that Mark
                    >> post-dates Jos?): as long as the essay is not too lengthy, I'd be happy
                    >> to
                    >> help out < but do be aware that time is really tight for the next month
                    >> or
                    >> so."
                    >>
                    >> As yet, Rikk, you have not indicated to me that you have read my revised
                    >> critique, nor have you informed me that you had found time to read my
                    >> thesis
                    >> on Mark's dependency upon the story of Jesus son of Ananias found in
                    >> Josephus' _Jew War_. However, you continue to find fault with my
                    >> arguments
                    >> with respect to my interpretation of Mark and allude to Dunn's criticism
                    >> of
                    >> my critique of Bailey.
                    >>
                    >> And you close your post of 2/28/05 with this:
                    >>
                    >>> We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those
                    >>> aside until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is
                    >>> unfair to require > a 1st century author to meet evidential
                    >>> standards that none of his contemporaries expected of him?
                    >>
                    >> It is those other topics related to criticism of my hermeneutic that have
                    >> been left addressed between us for over a year in one case and nine
                    >> months
                    >> in another. Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in X Talk posts
                    >> with presenting hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a
                    >> few
                    >> of my colleagues because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism."
                    >> Is
                    >> that really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you
                    >> have
                    >> yet to engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a
                    >> year?
                    >>
                    >> Ted
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
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                  • Theodore Weeden
                    Rikk Watts wrote on March 4: Dear Ted, Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that the primary issue was one point and one alone:
                    Message 9 of 18 , Mar 5, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Rikk Watts wrote on March 4:

                      Dear Ted,

                      Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that
                      the primary issue was one point and one alone:

                      [TJW]

                      Rikk, I am going to respond to the issues that you raise here in your post.
                      But, while you have stated in the past that you do not like long essays, I
                      hope you will read what I present below in a lengthy response to you, a
                      response in which I raise questions that I would like for you to answer for
                      me.

                      > [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity with
                      > the
                      > following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
                      > canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally
                      > had
                      > been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
                      > where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there in
                      > the desert Jesus faced temptation?"


                      [Rikk]

                      This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
                      problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.

                      [TJW]

                      No, Rikk, that is *not* my point at all. See below.

                      [Rikk]

                      First, it seems to me to be a non sequitur to argue that because someone
                      does not tell us whence they got their information (especially when their
                      canons do not require them so to do) that therefore that information is
                      suspect. Indeed, what ancient historian ever operated as though this was the
                      case? Hence my judgment, in spite of your denial, that your skepticism BASED
                      ON THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is both unreasonable and historically
                      anachronistic.

                      [TJW]

                      Again, Rikk, this is *not* my point at all! See Below.


                      [Rikk]
                      Second, if there was then no expectation that Mark explicitly state that
                      Jesus himself had told his disciples in order for his story to be accepted,
                      then I would aver that such an absence does not constitute an argument from
                      silence, but is instead evidence a shared presupposition of communication.
                      When one makes a claim it is assumed that one is making the claim in
                      goodfaith, and hence, to keep this discussion grounded in the first century,
                      Seneca's complaint against people who abuse that faith. In this case the
                      silence is not neutral, and therefore this is not an argument from silence.
                      I contend that to assume that Mark expects his readers to believe that this
                      information came ultimately from Jesus is not at all "purely speculative,"
                      but the presupposition of communication.

                      Third, this being the case however, I agree that to question such a
                      connection SOLELY on the basis of the argument above is indeed "pure
                      speculation." And further, it is not only itself a classic example of an
                      argument from silence (as you I think you agree) but, as argued above, one
                      which runs against the expectations and assumptions of ancient readers.
                      This was the essence of my criticism.

                      [TJW]
                      Once more, let me explain as clearly as I can the point I was making in my
                      initial response to Bob Schacht's query as to whether the temptation story
                      may be based upon a personal experience Jesus had. Perhaps, it was the way I
                      framed the question that led you to think that I was faulting Mark for not
                      following some supposed ancient canon of rhetoric and telling us the source
                      of his information. If that is the case, hopefully, I can set the matter
                      straight here. When I raised the issue with Bob Schacht as to where Mark got
                      the temptation story, I was not suggesting that Mark should have told us, or
                      that Mark's failure to tell us means that the story is not based in
                      historical fact. I was *not* referring to or alluding to any canons or
                      conventions of ancient historiography. What I was asking was a simple,
                      normative historical-critical question, namely: "What was Mark's source for
                      the story?" There are three possible answers to that question, as I see it:
                      (1) Mark created the story de novo, (2) Mark got it from the oral tradition
                      he received, and (3) Mark found it in a written text and appropriated it.

                      I think the answer to the question is either (1) or (2). I have chosen (1).
                      However, if it is (2) -if you or others wish to argue for (2) -- then the
                      question I would press follows: Has the oral tradition which Mark received
                      faithfully preserved, at least in essence, a kernel of actual historical
                      factuality about a personal temptation experience Jesus had? Or, on the
                      other hand, did someone, somewhere along the line of the transmission of the
                      oral tradition over two generations, create the story and add it to the
                      tradition? The issue being posed at that point is the question of the
                      reliability of the oral tradition in preserving the authentic Jesus material
                      over two generations of recitation in different settings? Bailey, and those
                      (Wright, Dunn, etc) who accept the validity of his theory of informal
                      controlled oral tradition, argues that the oral tradition remained
                      essentially in tact and uncorrupted through all its transmission from those
                      disciples who first reported their experience of what Jesus said and did to
                      the time Mark gained access to that oral tradition. This thesis, of course,
                      is what I strongly disagree with because in my examination of the evidence
                      Bailey mounts to support his theory, the evidence actually either refutes
                      his theory or fails to provide the support for his theory which Bailey
                      claims.

                      Now, if the oral tradition was actually preserved in its authenticity from
                      its beginning and was transmitted faithfully without significant alteration
                      or emendation for the two generations of its recitation to Mark's time, then
                      one could argue that what Mark reports -- if we accept Mark as interested in
                      and intent on presenting historical truth about Jesus in his Gospel (which I
                      do not; see below) -- is by and large the authentic facts about the
                      historical Jesus throughout his narrative. But I do not think that the Jesus
                      oral tradition was preserved in its authentic integrity throughout its
                      transmission to the time of Mark. And the insights of Jan Vansina and Werner
                      Kelber, to which I draw attention in my critique of Bailey's theory, "Bailey's
                      Theory of Oral Tradition: a Theory Repudiated by Its Evidence" (now
                      available as an XTalk file), and to which I have referred in my posts to
                      you, lend support to my position.

                      If, then, the Jesus oral tradition was not preserved in its authenticity,
                      but was modified, emended and shaped to speak to the existential needs of
                      the Jesus movements in the course of at least two generations, then we
                      cannot be sure that what Mark received from the oral tradition actually goes
                      back to Jesus. So, unless we throw up our hands in resignation over the
                      impossibility of knowing one way or another, we are left, as I seeit, with
                      only one choice, namely, to construct a historical-critical methodology that
                      enables one to make reasonable and plausible judgments as to what in the
                      Jesus oral tradition is most likely an authentic representation of the
                      historical Jesus and what is most likely an inauthentic representation of
                      the historical Jesus. Thus, those, such as John Meier (_A Marginal Jew_,
                      167-184) - as you know well -- reconstruct a profile of the historical Jesus
                      from the oral tradition by sorting out authentic from inauthentic material
                      using the methodological criteria of embarrassment, discontinuity, multiple
                      attestation, coherence, etc. John Dominic Crossan, of course, chooses a
                      different epistemological route (_The Birth of Christianity_, 143-149).

                      My own methodology is a bit of Crossan and Meier's. My methodological
                      starting point, with respect to Mark, is a literary analysis of the Markan
                      text and its particular genre. I begin there before I pursue the question as
                      to whether what is being presented by Mark is authentic to Jesus or not. My
                      literary analysis of the Markan text tells me that Mark is a sophisticated
                      Graeco-Roman writer, likely well trained in the rhetorical conventions and
                      literary genres of his time. And like ancient authors, Mark, I find, follows
                      the practice of turning to various literary sources available to him to find
                      hypotexts which he can imitate (mimesis) and, through transvaluation of
                      those texts for his narrative purpose, create his own hypertexts to score
                      the narrative points he wishes to make in his apologia for the cross (Robert
                      Gundry's title for his Markan commentary, "Mark: a Commentary on *His
                      Apologia for the Cross*, captures exactly, in my estimation, Mark's purpose
                      for writing his Gospel; emphasis: mine). My analysis of the prose genre Mark
                      chose for composing his apologia convinces me that Mark was *not* writing a
                      history of Jesus' movement, as I have stated in previous posts. Nor was Mark
                      writing a biography of Jesus. I submit that contemporaries of Mark who
                      *read* Mark's Gospel would have recognized that Mark was *not* writing a
                      history or biography. I will provide support for this rhetorical position in
                      a future post entitled: "Historical Truth? Wrong Question for Mark."

                      With respect to this post, my point in questioning the historicity of the
                      Markan temptation, as I did in my post to Bob Schacht, was, as you state
                      below, to apply one of the methodological criteria, the criterion of
                      multiple attestation for determining authentic historicity behind the story.
                      Since there is nothing in the oral tradition prior to Mark, unless one
                      accepts (which I do not) the version of the temptation story in the second
                      redaction of Q (4:1-13) or as found in Mt. 4:1-11 (for those who refute the
                      existence of Q), there is no multiple attestation for the historicity of the
                      temptation story. Thus, by virtue of the failure of the temptation story to
                      pass that specific criterion for historicity, claims for its historicity
                      cannot be validated in that particular instance. And I think the story can
                      be shown to fail to pass convincingly the tests applied to it via other
                      methodological criteria.

                      [Rikk]

                      I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity. Fair
                      enough. But this was not the point I engaged, though we could discuss the
                      well-recognized problems of such criteria (e.g. multiple attestation only
                      indicates how many people believed a story and how early, not whether it is
                      true or not; likewise that only one source knows of a story finally says
                      nothing about whether it is true or not, and more likely reflects the
                      redactional interests of authors working within the very limited constraints
                      of a single roll and the vagaries of what actually of the presumably
                      considerable mass of oral tradition (e.g. John 21.25) is finally committed
                      to such a small compass). Likewise, you might fairly say you find elements
                      of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation unbelievable. But again, this was not
                      the point I engaged.

                      But, again, this is the point I was engaging. Of course it is possible that
                      an authentic saying or event attributed to Jesus may have only one textual
                      support. But then other methodological criteria and literary analysis of the
                      context in which the saying or event is found may then be employed to see if
                      a plausible and reasonable judgment can be made as to whether the singly
                      attested saying or event is likely authentic or not


                      [Rikk]
                      Re Dunn's assessment of your work on Bailey, I note here for listers
                      convenience, Jesus Remembered, p. 207n182, where he first states that Bailey
                      regrets his overstatement re the Hogg traditions (after all, Bailey's
                      article was not intended to be a rigorous scholarly work), and then
                      continues "Weeden's further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their
                      significance, misses much of Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and
                      weakens Bailey's case hardly at all." Dunn is no slouch and I doubt he would
                      put this out in the public sphere without due consideration. Ted, my
                      parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight but instead as indicative
                      of a concern that you might wish to address, and which concern I think is
                      exemplified in the above. You may of course simply dismiss this but it
                      seems to me that an overly skeptical approach only serves to mute what other
                      good points you might make. It shouldn't hurt your case to give someone else
                      the benefit of the doubt, and that includes Mark.

                      [TJW]

                      First, I do not consider Dunn a slouch, and know you did not imply I did.
                      But, again, for the record: I want to make it clear that I have the highest
                      regard for Jimmy Dunn as a preeminent New Testament scholar. But that does
                      not mean I always agree with how he reads his historical-critical evidence
                      and the conclusions he draws from that reading.

                      Second, I am not sure which parenthesis you are referring to here when you
                      state that your "parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight." I take
                      it that you are referring to the parenthesis in your post of 2/18 where you
                      declare to me: "In other words, "sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't
                      think you are being fair (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus
                      Remembered," I suspect Byrskog would probably agree)."

                      I would, then, ask you to consider a concern I have with what appears to be
                      a repeated pattern I have observed concerning your response to my
                      methodological explanations and matters of material substance, along with
                      what appears to me to be your allowance for scholars whose position you
                      agree with not to be held to the same high standards of scholarship as
                      scholars with whom you disagree. With respect to the latter, take the case
                      of Bailey's presentation of his theory in his two articles. In your own
                      parenthetical remarks above in your citation of Jimmy Dunn's footnote, you
                      state, in apparent defense of Bailey, "after all, Bailey's article was not
                      intended to be a rigorous scholarly work." For those listers who are not
                      aware of Dunn's full quote, I want to make clear to them that the
                      parenthetic statement - "after all, Bailey's article was not to be intended
                      to be a rigorous scholarly work' - is your statement, Rikk. The force of
                      that statement suggests to me that you are excusing Bailey for not intending
                      for his articles on his theory in two reputable scholarly journals, _Asia
                      Journal of Theology_ (Bailey, subsequently, had his _AJT_ article published
                      with slight changes in _Themelios__) and the _The Expository Times_, to be
                      taken as "rigorous scholarly work," when in those articles Bailey
                      egregiously misrepresents his primary and only extant source, thereby,
                      misleading the scholarly world into thinking that that source is a strong
                      supportive witness for his theory rather than being a devastating witness,
                      as it is, against his theory?

                      In a similar way, in an off-list post to me in response to my consternation
                      that Bailey has misled the scholarly community in his representation of
                      evidence in support of his theory, you, also, excused Bailey. I had declared
                      to you in my off-list post on 5/24/04 the following: "it was my conviction
                      that a scholar ought to be held responsible for accurately representing his
                      sources. I do not think that Bailey has been forthcoming and completely
                      honest, I hate to say, in the representation of the only extant source (Rena
                      Hogg) upon which he bases his theory, the only source he provides us which
                      we can check to see if his evidence supports his case."

                      To this you responded in your off-list post on the same date (5/24/05): "I
                      do agree with you that Bailey's work is not scholarly in that respect;
                      clearly more work needs to be done."

                      I then wrote back the following, off-list, in response to you on 5/26:

                      "You wrote on May 24, 2004:"

                      > I do agree with you that Bailey's work is not scholarly in that respect;
                      clearly more work needs to be done.<


                      "Rikk, there is, from my perspective, much about Baileys' work that is not
                      scholarly. Would you even accept a paper from a student which cites only
                      personal experience without independent corroboration, and accept the paper
                      when you discover that the one source by which he/she seeks to corroborate
                      his/her thesis has been misrepresented and the position of the source has
                      not been fully disclosed? When I challenge Bailey on these issues, he
                      dismisses my critique, per your post on XTalk (archives, # 8520).
                      According to what he told you, Bailey dismisses me by stating that (1) he
                      has firsthand experience of the Middle East and I do not, (2) villagers only
                      tell cultural anthropologists what they want to hear [so no cultural
                      anthropologist can ever get the truth from villagers? Come on! That is
                      disingenuous.]; and (3) that with respect to Rena Hogg, villagers, as well
                      as "educated colleagues," were convinced "that the simple stories they told
                      about him [John Hogg] were historically reliable. They had more confidence
                      in that reliability than did Rena Hogg. They were Egyptians. Some of them
                      were better educated than she was. She was a foreigner. It was their
                      culture and they outranked her" [in other words, Rena Hogg, Bailey's only
                      extant witness of his theory is unreliable as a source to support his
                      theory??!]."

                      "Now Rikk, if a student responded to you with such, would you accept that
                      defense of his thesis over against your challenge to his position? I hope
                      not. Bailey, I, you and every other scholar should be held to high
                      standards of argumentation of a thesis and expected to marshal evidentiary
                      support with accuracy and full disclosure. If such standards are not
                      adhered to, then we must check out every scholar's reference to make sure
                      that the reference actually exists and been accurately quoted, represented,
                      etc. If that were the case, we would never have time to complete our work.
                      I have to trust that a scholar has represented his/her source accurately and
                      fairly, and when I discover that is not the case, it does upset me, as in
                      the case of Bailey. To my knowledge, no one, with the exception of Ken
                      Olson and myself, has taken the time to see if Bailey's reporting of Rena
                      Hogg's account of the stories about her father was accurate. Scholars have
                      accepted Bailey at face value, and understandably so."

                      Rikk, you never responded to me with an answer to my question regarding
                      whether you would reject a student's paper for using uncorroborated personal
                      anecdotes in support a thesis, for misrepresenting his sources and, thus,
                      misleading you, as Bailey has misrepresenting his primary source to support
                      of his theory, and, thereby, misled the scholarly community in doing so. Do
                      you excuse the scholar Bailey for what you would not, I am surmising, excuse
                      a student for? I would like to know your answer.

                      To continue with examples of the pattern which, in my view, seems to follow
                      when it comes to engaging me on substantive issues (methodology, etc) where
                      we disagree, I cite the example of my XTalk post of 2/28 which led to your
                      post reply of 3/24, the post to which I am currently responding. In my 2/28
                      post, I addressed the issue regarding my hermeneutical reasons for not
                      considering the temptation story to be historical, and then I went on at
                      length citing a pattern I have observed in which you indicate your interest
                      in reading my revised critique of Bailey and in reading my "Two Jesus"
                      thesis, as well as addressing other methodological issues that divide us
                      However, a time crunch at the moment I propose a substantive exchange
                      between us always seems to prevent you from doing so. And I understand how
                      that can be the case. But, thereafter, I do not hear from you. I noted at
                      the end of the 2/28 post that as much as a year has passed, and despite your
                      interest in engaging me on these topics related to your criticism of my
                      hermeneutic, you have not done so. And I closed with that post with this:
                      "Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in XTalk posts with presenting
                      hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a few of my colleagues
                      because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism." Rikk, is that
                      really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you have yet to
                      engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a year?"

                      But there is a more important matter I wish to have resolved. It has to do
                      with my Bailey critique. In an 4/22/04 XTalk post ("Oral Tradition") Bob
                      Schacht drew attention to my critique of Bailey's theory in stating the
                      following:

                      "We have had a number of extensive sessions on oral tradition on XTalk;
                      there was a special seminar with Jimmy Dunn, and Ted Weeden offered an
                      extensive critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral tradition.
                      While Weeden's critique has exposed serious flaws in Bailey's
                      argument in support of his theory, that doesn't necessarily mean that the
                      idea of informal controlled oral tradition is not relevant to the First
                      Century in general and especially to the period between the crucifixion and
                      the composition of the Gospels"

                      In your 4/26 XTalk,you responded Bob's citation of my exposing flaws in
                      Bailey's theory of oral tradition, cryptically:

                      "Bob,

                      You might want to check Dunn's assessment of Ted's criticisms in his JESUS
                      REMEMBERED. Not very impressed.

                      rikk"

                      Bob Webb, in an XTalk response to your post, wrote the following to you on
                      4/26:

                      "Rikk,

                      Could you clarify... Were YOU not very impressed with Dunn's assessment. Or
                      was Dunn not very impressed with Ted's criticisms. Or???

                      Bob Webb."

                      On 4/26 in an XTalk post you responded to Bob Webb, thus: "Sorry, Dunn was
                      not very impressed."

                      After reading that cryptic use of Dunn's dismissal of my critique, I
                      responded in an XTalk post of the same day (4/26/04) to your citation of
                      Dunn against my scholarship:

                      "Rikk, I would be happy to send you (off-list --- and to anyone else who is
                      interested), my current revision to determine for yourself, quite apart from
                      Dunn, whether my challenge to the validity of Baileys' theory, as he has
                      presented it in his two articles with his evidentiary support, is well
                      founded. Rather than summarily dismissing my critique by stating that Dunn
                      was not impressed by it, I think it is only fair that you explain to me, and
                      XTalk list members with whom you have registered your judgment, why your
                      cryptic, perjorative statement, citing Dunn as your authority, renders my
                      critique of Bailey's theory without foundation and merit."


                      When I did not hear from you, on 5/4/04 I sent, off-list, my critique in two
                      attachments to you. Again, I did not hear from you. I, then, followed up on
                      5/21/04 and asked you if you might have time to read the critique and give
                      me your feed back. You indicated, as I have noted in my 2/28 XTalk post to
                      you, that you did not have time at that point.

                      I now need to know from you, Rikk, the answer to a question that has
                      surfaced in my mind:

                      Have you, as yet, read my revised critique of Bailey's theory, either as I
                      presented it in attachments in my off-list post of 5/4/04 to you or the most
                      recent and much improved revision, "Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition: a
                      Theory Repudiated by Its Evidence," that is accessible now as an Xtalk file?
                      If you have read it, please tell me if you find it to be "marred by
                      unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism," as you characterize my hermeneutic
                      of suspicion. Do you really think, as Dunn, professes that my criticism of
                      Bailey's nine "anecdotes and their significance misses much of Bailey's
                      point, is unduly censorious, and weakens Bailey's case hardly at all"? If so
                      why, do you think that is the case?

                      In the conclusion of my latest revision of the critique I aver: "I find
                      Bailey's case for his particular theory of informal controlled oral
                      tradition unconvincing, And since Bailey provides no indisputable,
                      empirically verifiable evidence that his model of informal controlled oral
                      tradition was ever practiced in the Middle East, present or past, until such
                      evidence is forthcoming, it is neither warranted nor reasonable to presume,
                      as Bailey avers, that Palestinian Jesus communities in the first century CE
                      would have practiced his methodological version of informal controlled oral
                      tradition to transmit orally the Jesus tradition. Consequently, at this
                      point in historical Jesus studies, to opt for Bailey's methodology of
                      informal controlled oral tradition as "a working model" for understanding
                      how the traditions about Jesus were authentically preserved in the orality
                      of the early Jesus movement (so Wright) or as "an explanatory model for the
                      Jesus tradition" (so Dunn) is, in my judgment, a methodological fallacy."

                      Do you think my full argument, with its evidentiary support, of this latest
                      version of my Bailey critique supports such a conclusion or not, Rikk? And
                      if not, I would appreciate you sharing with me your judgment to the
                      contrary. I hope to publish the critique soon and your critical judgment
                      with respect to its cogency could to alert me to issues I have not
                      considered before I submit it for publication

                      Finally, Rikk, if you have not read my revised critique, particularly the
                      latest version, as I have invited you to do, I find it quite unfair and
                      irresponsible as a scholar to allude to my critique of Bailey's theory as an
                      example of what you describe as "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism"
                      and use Dunn's assessment as prima facie evidence that that is the case..

                      Regards,

                      Ted Weeden
                    • Bob Schacht
                      ... Ted, One of the reasons I find your long posts difficult is that they include so much extraneous material. I share Rikk s wish that you would focus more
                      Message 10 of 18 , Mar 6, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        At 03:37 PM 3/5/2005, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                        >Rikk Watts wrote on March 4:
                        >
                        >Dear Ted,
                        >
                        >... Once again, let me reiterate that
                        >the primary issue was one point and one alone:
                        >
                        >[TJW]
                        >
                        >Rikk, I am going to respond to the issues that you raise here in your post.
                        >But, while you have stated in the past that you do not like long essays, I
                        >hope you will read what I present below in a lengthy response to you, a
                        >response in which I raise questions that I would like for you to answer for
                        >me.

                        Ted,
                        One of the reasons I find your long posts difficult is that they include so
                        much extraneous material. I share Rikk's wish that you would focus more
                        sharply on the primary issue.


                        > > [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity with
                        > > the
                        > > following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
                        > > canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally
                        > > had
                        > > been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
                        > > where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there in
                        > > the desert Jesus faced temptation?"
                        >
                        >
                        >[Rikk]
                        >
                        >This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
                        >problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.
                        >
                        >[TJW]
                        >
                        >No, Rikk, that is *not* my point at all. See below.

                        Are you arguing past each other? You both are interested in different
                        questions, and not in addressing the other person's question? Anyway, why
                        quote 290 words of Rikk's statements that are not your point at all? why
                        not cut directly to the following :


                        >[TJW]
                        >Once more, let me explain as clearly as I can the point I was making in my
                        >initial response to Bob Schacht's query as to whether the temptation story
                        >may be based upon a personal experience Jesus had. Perhaps, it was the way I
                        >framed the question that led you to think that I was faulting Mark for not
                        >following some supposed ancient canon of rhetoric and telling us the source
                        >of his information. If that is the case, hopefully, I can set the matter
                        >straight here. When I raised the issue with Bob Schacht as to where Mark got
                        >the temptation story, I was not suggesting that Mark should have told us, or
                        >that Mark's failure to tell us means that the story is not based in
                        >historical fact. I was *not* referring to or alluding to any canons or
                        >conventions of ancient historiography. What I was asking was a simple,
                        >normative historical-critical question, namely: "What was Mark's source for
                        >the story?" There are three possible answers to that question, as I see it:
                        >(1) Mark created the story de novo, (2) Mark got it from the oral tradition
                        >he received, and (3) Mark found it in a written text and appropriated it.

                        Good. Now we have a clearer picture of *your* issue.


                        >I think the answer to the question is either (1) or (2). I have chosen (1).

                        That much is clear.

                        >However, if it is (2) -if you or others wish to argue for (2) -- then the
                        >question I would press follows: Has the oral tradition which Mark received
                        >faithfully preserved, at least in essence, a kernel of actual historical
                        >factuality about a personal temptation experience Jesus had? Or, on the
                        >other hand, did someone, somewhere along the line of the transmission of the
                        >oral tradition over two generations, create the story and add it to the
                        >tradition? The issue being posed at that point is the question of the
                        >reliability of the oral tradition in preserving the authentic Jesus material
                        >over two generations of recitation in different settings?

                        A fair enough question

                        > Bailey, and those
                        >(Wright, Dunn, etc) who accept the validity of his theory of informal
                        >controlled oral tradition, argues that the oral tradition remained
                        >essentially in tact and uncorrupted through all its transmission from those
                        >disciples who first reported their experience of what Jesus said and did to
                        >the time Mark gained access to that oral tradition. This thesis, of course,
                        >is what I strongly disagree with because in my examination of the evidence
                        >Bailey mounts to support his theory, the evidence actually either refutes
                        >his theory or fails to provide the support for his theory which Bailey
                        >claims.

                        Bailey is a red herring, and this paragraph is a 100-word digression. This
                        is the kind of thing that could be left out of your argument without
                        affecting its validity whatever. Its a smoke-screen, IMHO. This is because,
                        of course, Bailey's theory of oral tradition *is only one theory*. Poking
                        Bailey's model full of holes does NOT poke every argument based on oral
                        tradition full of holes.


                        >Now, if the oral tradition was actually preserved in its authenticity from
                        >its beginning and was transmitted faithfully without significant alteration
                        >or emendation for the two generations of its recitation to Mark's time,

                        This is also a red herring, and represents a gross overstatement of my
                        point to which Rikk and you were responding. Please excuse the shouting,
                        but I NEVER CLAIMED THAT THE MARKAN ACCOUNT OF THE WILDERNESS INCIDENT WAS
                        COMPLETELY 100% HISTORICALLY ACCURATE! All I claimed was that it *might* be
                        based on an historical incident. That's all. So please don't parody my
                        argument by making it into something that it was not. Or is this merely a
                        straw man that you are setting up so that you can demolish it?

                        >then
                        >one could argue that what Mark reports -- if we accept Mark as interested in
                        >and intent on presenting historical truth about Jesus in his Gospel (which I
                        >do not; see below) -- is by and large the authentic facts about the
                        >historical Jesus throughout his narrative. But I do not think that the Jesus
                        >oral tradition was preserved in its authentic integrity throughout its
                        >transmission to the time of Mark. And the insights of Jan Vansina and Werner
                        >Kelber, to which I draw attention in my critique of Bailey's theory,
                        >"Bailey's
                        >Theory of Oral Tradition: a Theory Repudiated by Its Evidence" (now
                        >available as an XTalk file), and to which I have referred in my posts to
                        >you, lend support to my position.

                        This argues against a straw man and is one of those digressions that Rikk
                        was asking you to avoid, this paragraph weighing in at 125 words.


                        >If, then, the Jesus oral tradition was not preserved in its authenticity,
                        >but was modified, emended and shaped to speak to the existential needs of
                        >the Jesus movements in the course of at least two generations, then we
                        >cannot be sure that what Mark received from the oral tradition actually goes
                        >back to Jesus. So, unless we throw up our hands in resignation over the
                        >impossibility of knowing one way or another, we are left, as I seeit, with
                        >only one choice, namely, to construct a historical-critical methodology that
                        >enables one to make reasonable and plausible judgments as to what in the
                        >Jesus oral tradition is most likely an authentic representation of the
                        >historical Jesus and what is most likely an inauthentic representation of
                        >the historical Jesus.

                        This last sentence was hard to read, but I finally got it.
                        I do not disagree with the Vansina-Kelber characterization about oral
                        tradition. And I agree that we need a methodology "that enables one to make
                        reasonable and plausible judgments as to what in the Jesus oral tradition
                        is most likely an authentic representation of the historical Jesus."

                        However, I do not agree that "historical-critical methodology" is the only
                        way to get there.


                        >... I submit that contemporaries of Mark who
                        >*read* Mark's Gospel would have recognized that Mark was *not* writing a
                        >history or biography. I will provide support for this rhetorical position in
                        >a future post entitled: "Historical Truth? Wrong Question for Mark."
                        >
                        >With respect to this post, my point in questioning the historicity of the
                        >Markan temptation, as I did in my post to Bob Schacht, was, as you state
                        >below, to apply one of the methodological criteria, the criterion of
                        >multiple attestation for determining authentic historicity behind the story.
                        >Since there is nothing in the oral tradition prior to Mark, unless one
                        >accepts (which I do not) the version of the temptation story in the second
                        >redaction of Q (4:1-13) or as found in Mt. 4:1-11 (for those who refute the
                        >existence of Q),

                        I realize the methodological reason for depending on written sources for
                        evidence of what was in the oral tradition, but I strongly disagree with
                        the assumption that there was nothing in the oral tradition other than what
                        shows up in Q (or whatever). I think from the other direction, years before
                        any of those documents were written, at the oral culture out of which a
                        little bit was distilled into written documents. Now, I realize that what
                        was in that oral tradition, other than what emerged in written form, is
                        speculative. But just because it is speculative doesn't mean that nothing
                        was there. So what I am pleading for here is for more methodological
                        humility, rather than the arrogant-sounding claims that often emerge from
                        some scholars.

                        > there is no multiple attestation for the historicity of the
                        >temptation story. Thus, by virtue of the failure of the temptation story to
                        >pass that specific criterion for historicity, claims for its historicity
                        >cannot be validated in that particular instance. And I think the story can
                        >be shown to fail to pass convincingly the tests applied to it via other
                        >methodological criteria.

                        "cannot be validated" is not the same as "false." You make that jump all
                        too easily IMHO.


                        >[Rikk]
                        >
                        >I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity. Fair
                        >enough. But this was not the point I engaged, ...

                        I'm just going to skip the rest, rather than trying to engage every point.
                        Basically, you just seem to be a whole lot more skeptical that anything of
                        value exists in the oral tradition, whereas some of the rest of us
                        disagree, and we do not yet have consensus on a methodology for sorting
                        things out

                        I echo Rikk's plea to stay on point. If you want to present other arguments
                        on other issues, fine, but I don't think they should be disguised as a
                        "reply" to a different question.

                        Bob

                        Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
                        Northern Arizona University
                        Flagstaff, AZ

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Mark Goodacre
                        On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 13:53:33 -1000, Bob Schacht wrote, quoting Ted Weeden: [TJW] ... [RS] ... Forgive the interventiion, but I disagree
                        Message 11 of 18 , Mar 6, 2005
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                          On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 13:53:33 -1000, Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...>
                          wrote, quoting Ted Weeden:

                          [TJW]
                          > > Bailey, and those
                          > >(Wright, Dunn, etc) who accept the validity of his theory of informal
                          > >controlled oral tradition, argues that the oral tradition remained
                          > >essentially in tact and uncorrupted through all its transmission from those
                          > >disciples who first reported their experience of what Jesus said and did to
                          > >the time Mark gained access to that oral tradition. This thesis, of course,
                          > >is what I strongly disagree with because in my examination of the evidence
                          > >Bailey mounts to support his theory, the evidence actually either refutes
                          > >his theory or fails to provide the support for his theory which Bailey
                          > >claims.

                          [RS]
                          > Bailey is a red herring, and this paragraph is a 100-word digression. This
                          > is the kind of thing that could be left out of your argument without
                          > affecting its validity whatever. Its a smoke-screen, IMHO. This is because,
                          > of course, Bailey's theory of oral tradition *is only one theory*. Poking
                          > Bailey's model full of holes does NOT poke every argument based on oral
                          > tradition full of holes.

                          Forgive the interventiion, but I disagree with you here, Bob. It was
                          in fact Rikk who initially brought up Bailey. Rikk's claim was that
                          Ted showed an unwarranted scepticism and, in an attempt to corroborate
                          the point, he asked listers to refer to Dunn's brief, dismissive
                          comments on Ted's critique of Bailey (found in a footnote in Dunn's
                          book). Rikk was pointing to this as apparent evidence that others,
                          i.e. Dunn, shared his (Rikk's) judgement on Ted. Ted, quite
                          reasonably in my view, is asking Rikk not simply to appeal to the
                          authority of another here, but specifically to engage the actual
                          critique.

                          Let me add that even outside of that specific context in this thread,
                          I think that it is well worth engaging on this point about Bailey.
                          Two of the most important, large scale recent studies of the
                          Historical Jesus, those by Jimmy Dunn and Tom Wright, make extensive
                          and major appeal to Bailey's case, a case that has been subjected to
                          an utterly devastating critique by Ted. It may well be that Ted's
                          case can be answered effectively, but if so, the answer needs to be
                          seen. In my view, Ted's critique, alongside Ken Olson's before it,
                          showed up such major problems with Bailey's case that it requires a
                          serious answer if anyone is to continue to appeal to Bailey. I am not
                          saying that Rikk is the person to do it; he may not wish to do it.
                          But I remain concerned that appeal can continue to be made to the
                          Bailey case without the very serious issues getting answered. I am
                          beginning to repeat myself now, so I'd better stop.

                          Mark
                          --
                          Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                          Dept of Theology and Religion
                          University of Birmingham
                          Elmfield House, Selly Oak tel.+44 121 414 7512
                          Birmingham B29 6LQ UK fax: +44 121 415 8376

                          http://www.theology.bham.ac.uk/goodacre
                          http://NTGateway.com
                        • Bob Schacht
                          ... OK, point made. I had forgotten that. My apologies to Ted on that one. Thanks for reminding me. ... I m not disagreeing with Ted on Bailey. I am agreement
                          Message 12 of 18 , Mar 6, 2005
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                            At 02:41 PM 3/6/2005, Mark Goodacre wrote:
                            >On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 13:53:33 -1000, Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...>
                            >wrote, after quoting Ted Weeden:
                            >
                            >
                            >[RS]
                            > > Bailey is a red herring, and this paragraph is a 100-word digression. This
                            > > is the kind of thing that could be left out of your argument without
                            > > affecting its validity whatever. Its a smoke-screen, IMHO. This is because,
                            > > of course, Bailey's theory of oral tradition *is only one theory*. Poking
                            > > Bailey's model full of holes does NOT poke every argument based on oral
                            > > tradition full of holes.
                            >
                            >Forgive the interventiion, but I disagree with you here, Bob. It was
                            >in fact Rikk who initially brought up Bailey. Rikk's claim was that
                            >Ted showed an unwarranted scepticism and, in an attempt to corroborate
                            >the point, he asked listers to refer to Dunn's brief, dismissive
                            >comments on Ted's critique of Bailey (found in a footnote in Dunn's
                            >book).

                            OK, point made. I had forgotten that. My apologies to Ted on that one.
                            Thanks for reminding me.

                            >Let me add that even outside of that specific context in this thread,
                            >I think that it is well worth engaging on this point about Bailey.
                            >Two of the most important, large scale recent studies of the
                            >Historical Jesus, those by Jimmy Dunn and Tom Wright, make extensive
                            >and major appeal to Bailey's case, a case that has been subjected to
                            >an utterly devastating critique by Ted. It may well be that Ted's
                            >case can be answered effectively, but if so, the answer needs to be
                            >seen.

                            I'm not disagreeing with Ted on Bailey. I am agreement with him that Bailey
                            has not made his point, and that his counter-evidence from Welber and
                            especially Vansina makes it seem unlikely that Bailey is right.

                            However, this does not necessarily mean that Bailey's model is always
                            wrong. It just means that it doesn't work quite the way he describes it, in
                            the circumstances that he describes it. By "Bailey's Model," I do not mean
                            the cultural specifics (on which he may well be wrong), but on the idea of
                            some kind of controlled oral tradition.

                            > In my view, Ted's critique, alongside Ken Olson's before it,
                            >showed up such major problems with Bailey's case that it requires a
                            >serious answer if anyone is to continue to appeal to Bailey. I am not
                            >saying that Rikk is the person to do it; he may not wish to do it.
                            >But I remain concerned that appeal can continue to be made to the
                            >Bailey case without the very serious issues getting answered. I am
                            >beginning to repeat myself now, so I'd better stop.

                            I agree with you (and Ted, and Ken) on this point, against Rikk.
                            However, while it may bear on Rikk's complaint about Weeden's argument, I
                            don't think it affects my general complaint about Ted's argument to which
                            you were replying, which was an appeal to something like Occam's Razor with
                            respect to "replies".

                            Thanks,
                            Bob


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Rikk Watts
                            Ted, I ve just back home after being out of country. It s late, but I think having read your response I can see where we missed one another. So a quick
                            Message 13 of 18 , Mar 7, 2005
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                              Ted,

                              I've just back home after being out of country. It's late, but I think
                              having read your response I can see where we missed one another. So a quick
                              outline..

                              To my mind my concern had nothing to do with Bailey's theory or the oral
                              tradition but the method implied by your first sentence: "we have no record
                              of..." which seems to me to be a different question from "where did Mark get
                              his material from?" and "is it reliable?" My concern was only with what I
                              took to be the methodological implication of the first question, not with
                              historical reliability or oral tradition. The Dunn quote was simply
                              illustrative of the point re skepticism (which I felt underlay the rationale
                              of the first sentence) and was not a defense of Bailey (as should now be
                              clear at least to others based on our off-list exchange; thanks).

                              In any case, it's late and I'm zonked. So, just thought I'd get this off
                              quickly before going to bed. I've got a busy next few days, but if possible
                              I'll try to get off a fuller version of the above tomorrow.

                              Regards
                              Rikk
                            • Theodore Weeden
                              ... I look forward to receiving that. Thanks. Regards, Ted
                              Message 14 of 18 , Mar 8, 2005
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                                Rikk, you wrote on March 8, 2005:

                                > To my mind my concern had nothing to do with Bailey's theory or the oral
                                > tradition but the method implied by your first sentence: "we have no
                                > record
                                > of..." which seems to me to be a different question from "where did Mark
                                > get
                                > his material from?" and "is it reliable?" My concern was only with what I
                                > took to be the methodological implication of the first question, not with
                                > historical reliability or oral tradition. The Dunn quote was simply
                                > illustrative of the point re skepticism (which I felt underlay the
                                > rationale
                                > of the first sentence) and was not a defense of Bailey (as should now be
                                > clear at least to others based on our off-list exchange; thanks).
                                >
                                > In any case, it's late and I'm zonked. So, just thought I'd get this off
                                > quickly before going to bed. I've got a busy next few days, but if
                                > possible
                                > I'll try to get off a fuller version of the above tomorrow.

                                I look forward to receiving that.

                                Thanks.

                                Regards,

                                Ted
                              • Rikk Watts
                                Hi Ted, Thanks for your patience (and yes I did read through your post). It seems to me that we really have been at cross-purposes‹no doubt in part due to my
                                Message 15 of 18 , Mar 8, 2005
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                                  Hi Ted,

                                  Thanks for your patience (and yes I did read through your post). It seems to
                                  me that we really have been at cross-purposes‹no doubt in part due to my use
                                  of Dunn which frankly can be discarded since it was only passingly
                                  illustrative and appears to have set us off on a tangent, namely a debate
                                  about Bailey and the reliability of the oral tradition (and as your citing
                                  of our off-list communication indicates I already agree with several of your
                                  criticisms on that issue). But defending Bailey and the oral tradition, to
                                  say it yet again, were, I thought, clearly not my concern.

                                  In your most recent post you state:
                                  Once more, let me explain as clearly as I can the point I was making in my
                                  initial response to Bob Schacht's query as to whether the temptation story
                                  may be based upon a personal experience Jesus had. Perhaps, it was the way I
                                  framed the question that led you to think that I was faulting Mark for not
                                  following some supposed ancient canon of rhetoric and telling us the source
                                  of his information.

                                  Rikk: I think this is probably the case. But, what got my attention was not
                                  so much your faulting Mark for not giving us his source, as what you seemed
                                  to do with his silence.

                                  On the 14th of Feb you wrote: The question I ask myself is: How did
                                  Mark know as a historical fact that after his baptism Jesus went into the
                                  desert and there was tempted? According to the story-line, no one human
                                  being was there in the desert to observe that Jesus was tempted. Besides,
                                  temptation is a very personal, internal, psychological experience. It is
                                  not something that can be empirically observed. Only the one who undergoes
                                  such a internal, psychological experience can name the experience for what
                                  it is and reveal its character to others. And there is no reference or
                                  allusion anywhere in the canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever
                                  revealed that he personally had been tempted either in the desert or
                                  anywhere else. Then I want to know where this information came from.

                                  Rikk:
                                  It seems to me that this is where our difficulties began. You start by
                                  asking how Mark knew as an historical fact etc. Then, over five sentences,
                                  you make a point of the fact that we have no record of Jesus ever sharing
                                  the story of his private temptation with anyone else. It seems obvious to me
                                  that you think this point contributed substantial probative weight to your
                                  overall argument. You then conclude: "I want to know where this information
                                  came from." Is it not the case that the most natural reading of your
                                  meaning is: since we have no clear indication that this information came
                                  from Jesus, it must have come from somewhere (else) and, as you then go on
                                  to argue, that somewhere else is Mark's imagination? This seems entirely
                                  consistent with your argument overall. But if this is to misconstrue the
                                  logic of your above paragraph, do please enlighten me, because this for me
                                  is where it all began.

                                  Part of the problem was, given that most of your material dealt with the
                                  reliability of the oral tradition, I couldn't see the relevance of whether
                                  or not Mark or anyone else claimed that Jesus shared this story. On your
                                  view such a claim could itself easily be suspect as an invention, and even
                                  if it did come from Jesus we have no way of knowing whether it was
                                  faithfully transmitted or not, let alone whether there was some historical
                                  kernel to the event so reported‹Jesus himself could have made it up (why
                                  confine the skepticism to Mark?).

                                  So two issues emerge: first, why mention the silence unless you were
                                  intending this observation to lend additional probative weight to your
                                  assessment of historicity? And thus second, it seems to me there is a
                                  confusion here over specific content (the historicity, including origin and
                                  transmission of this particular story) and method in general (what in
                                  principle such silence meant in the first century). I assumed a positive
                                  answer to the first question, and thus my posts concerned the logic of the
                                  latter.

                                  That you indeed thought the silence lent such weight seemed to be reinforced
                                  when you later stated on Feb 17th:

                                  [Ted]: Of course Jesus likely
                                  talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his disciples, much
                                  less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely speculative to argue from
                                  silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his life and that that
                                  experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical event attributed
                                  to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that an event has no
                                  historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus reflected upon such
                                  a personal event at one point with his disciples. The latter may appear to
                                  be the position I have taken with respect to the temptation story. That is
                                  not really my intent. In making a judgment as to whether some event or
                                  saying, for that matter, is authentic to the experience or teaching of the
                                  historical Jesus, I need as a socio-historical critic to weigh all the
                                  evidence for or against such a possibility. In the case of the temptation
                                  story, all I am saying is that those who suggest that there lies behind the
                                  story is kernal of historical truth about an actual temptation of Jesus do
                                  not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or implicit evidence that Jesus
                                  reflected on such an experience at some later point with his disciples. To
                                  have such evidence would weigh in the favor of there being behind the story
                                  an authentic experience of Jesus.

                                  Rikk:
                                  It seems to me that not only does the confusion between method in general
                                  (significance of silence) and the accuracy of this particular content (the
                                  origin/transmission of the Markan Temptation narrative) continue here but
                                  you seem to be trying to have your cake and eat it too. On the one hand you
                                  seem to say one cannot draw implications from Mark's silence either way
                                  (since both are arguments from silence) and you deny that you ever intended
                                  as much ("this was not my intent" and more recently "this was not my point
                                  at all"). But then immediately after you appear to do just this when you
                                  seek to turn this silence against your opponents by saying they "do not have
                                  ... explicit or implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience
                                  at some later point with his disciples." Again, if the significance of the
                                  silence was not your point, OR if it could go both ways (and should
                                  therefore be eliminated from the discussion), why then immediately wield it
                                  as a defeater to your opponents' stance, and that on historicity (your
                                  "historical kernel")? So I took your last statement as your real intent:
                                  i.e. you were in fact reading something into the silence (but again I think
                                  to connect this with the historicity of the original event is to confuse
                                  issues). If this is not an accurate reading of your paragraph, I'd be happy
                                  to have my exegesis corrected. Even so, my primary question yet again, if
                                  rephrased: why is Mark's silence a problem for your opponents?

                                  It was this latter point I was addressing. To wit, and at the risk of
                                  further repetition, the attempt to turn this silence against your opponents,
                                  regardless of the historicity or otherwise of the actual event, is
                                  methodologically suspect since it is an argument from silence that flies in
                                  the face of the apparently normal first century assumption that, unless
                                  proven otherwise, Mark is reporting what he believed Jesus himself to have
                                  communicated to his disciples. In other words, the silence is not
                                  methodologically neutral.

                                  To illustrate: suppose Ken emailed you a story about his (putative)
                                  grandfather's experience in, for sake of argument, WW1 and I happen to read
                                  a copy of that email. What am I to conclude from the fact that he did not
                                  explicitly state that he heard this from his father who got it from his
                                  grandfather? I'm not convinced that he would thank me for asserting that my
                                  supposing that there was some link between the three was sheer speculation,
                                  and suspect absent such comment. It seems to me that common practice, then
                                  as now, is to posit such a link unless it can be shown otherwise.

                                  That being so, I thought that on this particular point‹not the historicity
                                  but the significance of the silence‹you were unreasonably skeptical (and
                                  hence my citation of Dunn, and yes, I do think you've made good points
                                  against Bailey as I have already told you, but yes, I also think that e.g.
                                  "egregious" and "blatant misrepresentation" are too strong‹hence I presume
                                  Dunn's "censorious"‹and that you would make your case more convincingly
                                  without them.) Having said all of that, I think you'd be better off simply
                                  dropping the whole business about Jesus' silence, since it implies something
                                  that, to my mind, you don't really believe: that having such an account
                                  would grant Mark's story greater weight.

                                  Given the above, I hope you can see how the material concerning Bailey, oral
                                  tradition etc. is, to my mind, quite beside the point. Would it be possible
                                  therefore to put the Bailey debate to one side, and to focus instead on your
                                  two paragraphs above?

                                  Well, enough already.

                                  Many thanks
                                  Rikk
                                • Rikk Watts
                                  Dear Karel, No problem. I don t always keep up on the list either ‹ so much comes through and life is busy. One has to be selective... as I have to be now.
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Mar 8, 2005
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Dear Karel,

                                    No problem. I don't always keep up on the list either ‹ so much comes
                                    through and life is busy. One has to be selective... as I have to be now.

                                    1. I hope you don't mind if I say that it's not so much your particular
                                    proposal but my copy of Mark that creates the problem: it just doesn't look
                                    anything like any Passover Haggadah that I have seen, and that was one of
                                    the main criticisms of Carrington. Perhaps the problem is with the term
                                    Haggadah. If by Haggadah you simply mean that the gospel of Mark is a
                                    narration of how Jesus brought his reconstructed Israel out of exile, then I
                                    have no problem. But I suspect for most people Passover Haggadah is a more
                                    technical term, usually associated with the Seder, and therefore following a
                                    particular format. That being the case, matters are a little more
                                    problematic. If you don't mind, I think I'll leave it there.

                                    2. In response to my earlier question, you state that Matt is the first
                                    unambiguous example of an early interpreter who saw Jesus' mighty deeds as
                                    purely metaphorical. This is indeed surprising. I wonder if you could point
                                    out just where in Matt's narrative he offers an interpretation of the
                                    healing of the man with the withered hand, and where in that interpretation
                                    he says, unambiguously, that it is "only" metaphorical? I can't for the
                                    life of me see any such thing.

                                    Regards
                                    Rikk



                                    On 5/3/05 7:19 AM, "Karel Hanhart" <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:

                                    >
                                    > Dear Rick,
                                    >
                                    > If I failed to answer you, my excuses. I do try to answer contributors as
                                    > faithful as I can. Sometimes my messages have not come through, perhaps
                                    > through my incompetence with computers or for other reasons. At other times
                                    > contributors ignore my contributions altogether which is their perfect right
                                    > in a list like this.
                                    >
                                    > You obviously have not studied my work on Mark's Gospel, - no one can be
                                    > blamed for that either in the cacophony of NT scholars - but I did critique
                                    > Bowman for not
                                    > following through on his own premises.
                                    > Am I correct in rephrasing your answer in terms of a denial that Mark wrote
                                    > a Passover Haggadah? In that case I believe you should make clear what the
                                    > alternative is. What do you think is the 'genre' of his writing? A
                                    > Hellenistic bios? Moreover, you should also make clear whom you regard to
                                    > be the author of 'kata Markon'.
                                    > I take him to have been John Mark of Acts and the Epistles who in the
                                    > aftermath of the trauma of 70 rewrote a Pesach Haggadah for continued
                                    > liturgical use in the ecclesia.
                                    > In that case Matthew is my first author, the first of in your words
                                    > "unambiguous examples of an early interpreter of any of Jesus' mighty deeds
                                    > who saw them (solely) as metaphors". I put 'solely' in brackets. For Mark
                                    > was writing about the "deeds" of the historical Jesus but in a metaphorical
                                    > way. In my book I made clear why the healing of the man with the shrivelled
                                    > arm (or hand) symbolized a Samaritan. Historically I conclude tentatively
                                    > that Jesus worked toward reconciliation between Judean and Samaritan, for
                                    > this midrashic interpretation of the mirable matches with some of the
                                    > parables of the historical Jesus.
                                    > As to Matthew being the first interpreter of Mark, why not discuss Matthew's
                                    > expansion of Mark's metaphorical 'opened monument' narrative?
                                    >
                                    > So I repeat my question: "What are your arguments against my Febr 24th
                                    > reply?" to your legitimate challenging hermeneutical skepticism.
                                    >
                                    > cordially
                                    >
                                    > Karel
                                    >
                                    > ----- Original Message -----
                                    > From: "Rikk Watts" <rwatts@...>
                                    > To: "xtalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                                    > Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 4:05 PM
                                    > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now) arguments
                                    > from silence?
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Sorry Karel, but I'm not sure precisely what that post contained.
                                    >
                                    > However, the Passover Haggadah theory, as you would well know, is not new.
                                    > John Bowman's 1965 volume being a particular example, and from what I recall
                                    > it seems to me that the weaknesses that plagued his approach have not been
                                    > addressed in your own proposal.
                                    >
                                    > But since we are asking for responses, not to be churlish, may I also point
                                    > out that a month earlier, namely Jan 28th and with respect to your theory
                                    > that for Mark Jesus' mighty deeds were merely metaphors (in response to your
                                    > post of the same day), I asked if you could cite some unambiguous examples
                                    > of an early interpreter of any of Jesus' mighty deeds who saw them solely as
                                    > metaphors (which strikes me, ironically given your comments below, as a
                                    > somewhat modernist anachronism)? In other words, it seems to me that if
                                    > there is no ancient interpreter who shares your view that these stories were
                                    > solely metaphors then either Mark was an utterly inadequate communicator who
                                    > didn't know his audience, or perhaps we have a single 21st century reader
                                    > who ... well I think you get the point.
                                    >
                                    > Forgive me if I've overlooked your response to this request. But I've not
                                    > seen anything yet. Perhaps we could make a deal: you respond to my earlier
                                    > question and then I'll respond to your Feb 24th post (if you'll be kind
                                    > enough to send me off-list a copy).
                                    >
                                    > Regards
                                    > Rikk
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > On 4/3/05 12:20 AM, "Karel Hanhart" <K.Hanhart@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >>
                                    >> Rikk,
                                    >>
                                    >> I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in
                                    >> some
                                    >> important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny that Mark's aim
                                    >> was
                                    >> to provide historical, biographical information on Jesus. I would like to
                                    >> hear your arguments concerning genre. I defend in my contribution of last
                                    >> February 24. Mark never intended to write a biography at all. As a
                                    >> Christian
                                    >> Judean, he rewrote a known Christian Passover Haggadah in the wake of the
                                    >> trauma of 70. Nearly one third of his Gospel deals with the season of
                                    >> Pesach
                                    >> with 8,31; 9,31; 10, 33f as its main theme and the institution of the Last
                                    >> Supper as its main semeion. What are your arguments against my Febr 24th
                                    >> reply?
                                    >>
                                    >> cordially,
                                    >>
                                    >> Karel
                                    >>
                                    >> ----- Original Message -----
                                    >> From: "Rikk Watts" <rwatts@...>
                                    >> To: "xtalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                                    >> Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 8:19 PM
                                    >> Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now)
                                    >> arguments
                                    >> from silence?
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >> Dear Ted,
                                    >>
                                    >> Sorry about the delay in getting back. Once again, let me reiterate that
                                    >> the primary issue was one point and one alone:
                                    >>
                                    >>> [TJW] I responded to Bob on 2/14, addressing the issue of historicity
                                    >>> with
                                    >>> the
                                    >>> following statement: "there is no reference or allusion anywhere in the
                                    >>> canonical Gospels to suggest that Jesus ever revealed that he personally
                                    >>> had
                                    >>> been tempted either in the desert or anywhere else. Then I want to know
                                    >>> where this information came from. . . . How does Mark know that there
                                    >>> in
                                    >>> the desert Jesus faced temptation?"
                                    >>
                                    >> This, not classic criteria, was the issue. We agree that the nub of the
                                    >> problem is Mark's silence. We disagree on what it signifies.
                                    >>
                                    >> First, it seems to me to be a non sequitur to argue that because someone
                                    >> does not tell us whence they got their information (especially when their
                                    >> canons do not require them so to do) that therefore that information is
                                    >> suspect. Indeed, what ancient historian ever operated as though this was
                                    >> the
                                    >> case? Hence my judgment, in spite of your denial, that your skepticism
                                    >> BASED
                                    >> ON THIS PARTICULAR ARGUMENT is both unreasonable and historically
                                    >> anachronistic.
                                    >>
                                    >> Second, if there was then no expectation that Mark explicitly state that
                                    >> Jesus himself had told his disciples in order for his story to be
                                    >> accepted,
                                    >> then I would aver that such an absence does not constitute an argument
                                    >> from
                                    >> silence, but is instead evidence a shared presupposition of communication.
                                    >> When one makes a claim it is assumed that one is making the claim in good
                                    >> faith, and hence, to keep this discussion grounded in the first century,
                                    >> Seneca's complaint against people who abuse that faith. In this case the
                                    >> silence is not neutral, and therefore this is not an argument from
                                    >> silence.
                                    >> I contend that to assume that Mark expects his readers to believe that
                                    >> this
                                    >> information came ultimately from Jesus is not at all "purely speculative,"
                                    >> but the presupposition of communication.
                                    >>
                                    >> Third, this being the case however, I agree that to question such a
                                    >> connection SOLELY on the basis of the argument above is indeed "pure
                                    >> speculation." And further, it is not only itself a classic example of an
                                    >> argument from silence (as you I think you agree) but, as argued above, one
                                    >> which runs against the expectations and assumptions of ancient readers.
                                    >> This was the essence of my criticism.
                                    >>
                                    >> I note that you also/later invoke the classic criteria of authenticity.
                                    >> Fair
                                    >> enough. But this was not the point I engaged, though we could discuss the
                                    >> well-recognized problems of such criteria (e.g. multiple attestation only
                                    >> indicates how many people believed a story and how early, not whether it
                                    >> is
                                    >> true or not; likewise that only one source knows of a story finally says
                                    >> nothing about whether it is true or not, and more likely reflects the
                                    >> redactional interests of authors working within the very limited
                                    >> constraints
                                    >> of a single roll and the vagaries of what actually of the presumably
                                    >> considerable mass of oral tradition (e.g. John 21.25) is finally committed
                                    >> to such a small compass). Likewise, you might fairly say you find elements
                                    >> of Mark's account of Jesus' temptation unbelievable. But again, this was
                                    >> not
                                    >> the point I engaged.
                                    >>
                                    >> Re Dunn's assessment of your work on Bailey, I note here for listers
                                    >> convenience, Jesus Remembered, p. 207n182, where he first states that
                                    >> Bailey
                                    >> regrets his overstatement re the Hogg traditions (after all, Bailey's
                                    >> article was not intended to be a rigorous scholarly work), and then
                                    >> continues "Weeden's further critique of Bailey's anecdotes and their
                                    >> significance, misses much of Bailey's point, is unduly censorious, and
                                    >> weakens Bailey's case hardly at all." Dunn is no slouch and I doubt he
                                    >> would
                                    >> put this out in the public sphere without due consideration. Ted, my
                                    >> parenthesis was not intended as a personal slight but instead as
                                    >> indicative
                                    >> of a concern that you might wish to address, and which concern I think is
                                    >> exemplified in the above. You may of course simply dismiss this but it
                                    >> seems to me that an overly skeptical approach only serves to mute what
                                    >> other
                                    >> good points you might make. It shouldn't hurt your case to give someone
                                    >> else
                                    >> the benefit of the doubt, and that includes Mark.
                                    >>
                                    >> Finally, a hermeneutic of suspicion is a double-edged sword, and it seems
                                    >> to
                                    >> me that those who wish to live by such a sword, end up dying by it, as the
                                    >> true skeptic knows.
                                    >>
                                    >> regards
                                    >> Rikk
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >> On 1/3/05 3:09 PM, "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...> wrote:
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>> "There is no such canon and I am not arguing for one. Of course, Jesus
                                    >>> likely talked about a lot of things that were not remembered by his
                                    >>> disciples, much less passed on in oral tradition. It is purely
                                    >>> speculative
                                    >>> to argue from silence as to whether Jesus reported an experience in his
                                    >>> life
                                    >>> and that that experience serves as the unreported basis for a historical
                                    >>> event attributed to him, as it is also purely speculative to argue that
                                    >>> an
                                    >>> event has no historical basis because there is no evidence that Jesus
                                    >>> reflected upon such a personal event at one point with his disciples. The
                                    >>> latter may appear to be the position I have taken with respect to the
                                    >>> temptation story. That is not really my intent. In making a judgment as
                                    >>> to
                                    >>> whether some event or saying, for that matter, is authentic to the
                                    >>> experience or teaching of the historical Jesus, I need as a
                                    >>> socio-historical
                                    >>> critic to weigh all the evidence for or against such a possibility. In
                                    >>> the
                                    >>> case of the temptation story, all I am saying is that those who suggest
                                    >>> that
                                    >>> there lies behind the story is kernal of historical truth about an actual
                                    >>> temptation of Jesus do not have, as far as I am aware, explicit or
                                    >>> implicit evidence that Jesus reflected on such an experience at
                                    >>> some later point with his disciples. To have such evidence would
                                    >>> weigh in the favor of there being behind the story an authentic
                                    >>> experience of Jesus. I think that datum is relevant and should
                                    >>> be taken into consideration by those who pose that the temptation
                                    >>> story is rooted in an actual personal experience of Jesus."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> I stand behind that statement, Rikk. In raising the issue of Jesus' lack
                                    >>> of
                                    >>> reference to a personal experience of temptation, I was only applying the
                                    >>> widely accepted historical-critical methodological practice of trying to
                                    >>> sort out what is historically authentic to the life of the historical
                                    >>> Jesus.
                                    >>> And no more! If I am missing your point or have misunderstood your
                                    >>> point,
                                    >>> I would appreciate you let me know how that is the case.
                                    >>>
                                    >>>> This, as far as I can see, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
                                    >>>> historicity of Mark per se. It is simply about whether, in this
                                    >>>> particular demand, one is being unfair to Mark in terms
                                    >>>> of first century expectations.
                                    >>>
                                    >>> Actually, it has a lot to do with the historicity of Mark. The issue, as
                                    >>> I
                                    >>> have come to see it, behind all this historical-critical dispute we are
                                    >>> engaged in really is the issue regarding whether Mark's narrative
                                    >>> investment
                                    >>> is primarily and finally in historicity per se. In other words: Is it
                                    >>> really Mark's intent to be an ancient historian, following the
                                    >>> historiographic conventions expected of an ancient historial and tell the
                                    >>> *historical truth* about the historical Jesus? I do *not* think so. I
                                    >>> do
                                    >>> not think Mark writes as an ancient historian, using the genre of an
                                    >>> ancient
                                    >>> historian. Nor do I think that Mark expects his readers to think that he
                                    >>> writes as a historian. None of his readers, aware of the rhetorical
                                    >>> convenstions and standards for historiographic compositions, would have
                                    >>> read
                                    >>> Mark and thought that they were reading *history*. That is not to say
                                    >>> that
                                    >>> Mark was not committed to telling the truth about Jesus. However, the
                                    >>> truth
                                    >>> he tells and is commited to is a different truth from *historical truth*.
                                    >>> Therefore, I think it is unfair to Mark to assume that when he narrated
                                    >>> the
                                    >>> temptation story he intended his readers or hearers, for that matter, to
                                    >>> conclude that he was basing the story on a historical datum drawn from
                                    >>> the
                                    >>> experience of the historical Jesus. I will explain in detail in a
                                    >>> forthcoming post why I take this position.
                                    >>>
                                    >>>> (so Bailey/Dunn are largely irrelevant here).<
                                    >>>
                                    >>> From my perspective, Bailey and Dunn are very relevant to our
                                    >>> hermeneutical
                                    >>> differences and the dispute we have engaged over. For you introduced
                                    >>> Bailey and Dunn into the discussion regarding the credibility of my
                                    >>> hermeneutical arguments in your post of 2/18 when you stated: " If you'd
                                    >>> instead said only that since I already suspect Mark of dishonesty (to use
                                    >>> the language of Seneca here) because of my reading of the passion
                                    >>> narrative,
                                    >>> and first and foremost the resurrection, then that's fair enough. But,
                                    >>> the
                                    >>> reason I've picked up on this particular point is because I think it
                                    >>> indicates that *overall your approach is marred by an unwarranted and
                                    >>> unreasonable skepticism*, and it might just be this that results in few
                                    >>> of
                                    >>> your colleagues being persuaded by the rest of your arguments. In other
                                    >>> words, *sorry to put it so bluntly, we just don't think you are being
                                    >>> fair
                                    >>> (cf. Jimmy Dunn's remarks on your work in Jesus Remembered*; I suspect
                                    >>> Byrskog would probably agree)" [emphasis: TJW].
                                    >>>
                                    >>> Rikk, in characterizing my overall hermeneutical approach as being
                                    >>> unpersuasive to my colleagues because, as you put it, it "is marred by
                                    >>> unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism" in my application of the
                                    >>> hermeneutic of suspicion, you draw upon Dunn referentially and allusively
                                    >>> to
                                    >>> his criticism of my critique of Bailey's theory of informal controlled
                                    >>> oral
                                    >>> tradition as evidentiary support for this characterization of my
                                    >>> hermeneutical approach. As I indicated in my response to you in my XTalk
                                    >>> post of 2/24, I do not think that is a fair and balanced presentation of
                                    >>> my
                                    >>> hermeneutic nor a fair allusion to my critique of Bailey. I feel it is
                                    >>> unfair because there are those on the list who are not aware of my
                                    >>> critique
                                    >>> and even what Dunn says about it, and are thus left to draw their own
                                    >>> conclusions about Dunn's brief with me. Moreover, your
                                    >>> characterization
                                    >>> fails to present to listers a balanced and fair presentation of the
                                    >>> exchange
                                    >>> we have had over my critique of Bailey and your response to it. So let
                                    >>> me
                                    >>> rehearse a bit of that history in order for the record to be set straight
                                    >>> for those who are not aware of the exchange we have had.
                                    >>>
                                    >>> Some time after I posted on Xtalk my critique of Bailey's theory of
                                    >>> informal
                                    >>> controlled oral tradition ("Bailey's Theory of Oral Tradition, a Flawed
                                    >>> Theory, Part I, XTalk post, 9/6/01), you indicated in your XTalk post of
                                    >>> 11/14/01 ("Bailey's Response") that you had informed Bailey of my
                                    >>> critique
                                    >>> and cited parts of Bailey's response to my critique, in which Bailey
                                    >>> takes
                                    >>> strong exception for my revealing that in his use of his only extant
                                    >>> source
                                    >>> for his theory, he not only did not fully disclose what the source
                                    >>> presented
                                    >>> germane to his use of the source in support of his theory but, also and
                                    >>> in
                                    >>> fact, he had misrepresented the source to his readers.
                                    >>>
                                    >>> In response to your sharing Bailey's irate criticism of my disclosure of
                                    >>> his
                                    >>> misrepresentation of the source critical to his theory, I posted the
                                    >>> following on XTalk, 11/14/01:
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "Thank you Rikk for sharing the gist of Bailey's response to my critique
                                    >>> of
                                    >>> his theory. I would like to see the full response before I make any reply
                                    >>> to it. However, I do want to respond briefly to some of your
                                    >>> parenthetical
                                    >>> remarks. First, you note:
                                    >>>
                                    >>>> I think, if I am allowed to interpret a bit, he feels that
                                    >>>> there was less of a sympathetic hearing, what Lonergan would call
                                    >>>> "reconstructive," than a controversialist response where the aim, for
                                    >>>> whatever reasons, was to erode as much as possible of his view. I do
                                    >>>> wonder if this is in part because Bailey's thesis even if only partly
                                    >>>> true would create severe problems for Ted's own proposals re Mark. What
                                    >>>> do
                                    >>>> you think Ted? Might there have been something like this at work?).<.
                                    >>>
                                    >>> I indicated at that point that I could not respond directly to your
                                    >>> question
                                    >>> at that point. Then I continued with what you presented in your post:
                                    >>>
                                    >>>> As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
                                    >>>> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of
                                    >>>> that
                                    >>>> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
                                    >>>> to his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted).<
                                    >>>
                                    >>> I responded:
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "Rikk, you need not apologize for not being persuaded by my theory, even
                                    >>> finding it incredible. As you are well aware you are not the first to
                                    >>> have
                                    >>> found it so in the 37 years it has been in print (Claremont dissertation,
                                    >>> "The Heresy That Necessitated the Mark's Gospel," (1964); 1968 _ZNW_
                                    >>> article
                                    >>> by the same title; and my book, _Mark--Traditions in
                                    >>> Conflict_(1971/1979).
                                    >>> What would be more helpful to me is to know why you "find
                                    >>> Ted's...free-wheeling creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond
                                    >>> the
                                    >>> bounds even of that found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I
                                    >>> apply the same rigor to his theses as he does to Bailey's." I would
                                    >>> really
                                    >>> appreciate you engaging me with respect to the problems you have with my
                                    >>> methodology, use of the evidence and argumentation. If you are willing to
                                    >>> do so, and would rather do it off-list, my e-mail address is . . ."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> On 11/21/04, Rikk, you responded to the above in an XTalk post
                                    >>> with the following:
                                    >>>
                                    >>> " Ted, I think I need to apologize for my interpretation here; I really
                                    >>> shouldn¹t presume that you are like me. That is, I was thinking about how
                                    >>> I
                                    >>> would respond and I know that I tend to be tougher on ideas that
                                    >>> challenge
                                    >>> mine than I am on my own (one of the reasons I so enjoy Xlist: folk like
                                    >>> you keep me honest). So sorry friend."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> And with respect to my request that you engage me with respect to the
                                    >>> problems you find with my methodology, you stated:
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "You¹re a gracious man. Time is always of the essence (and I must confess
                                    >>> I¹m sometimes overwhelmed by the lengthy essays) but this sounds like
                                    >>> something it would be good to do."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> Rikk, I am still waiting for you to let me know that the time is right
                                    >>> for
                                    >>> you to share with me the problems you have with my methodology, use of
                                    >>> evidence and argumentation.
                                    >>>
                                    >>> On 5/04/04, I wrote the following off-list to you::
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "I have enclosed the latest version of my critique (Part One and Part
                                    >>> Two)
                                    >>> of Bailey's theory in the attachments. I appreciate your willingness to
                                    >>> read it. I hope you will share with me your critical feedback. That will
                                    >>> be
                                    >>> important to me."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> Not hearing from you, I wrote on 5/21/04 off-list:
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "I am wondering now if it is worth your time to go through my revised
                                    >>> critique of Bailey and give me feedback on the latest version. I re-read
                                    >>> your XTalk post of November 14, 2001 (XTalk archives, #8520) in which you
                                    >>> share Bailey's criticisms of my critique of his theory. I gather from
                                    >>> your
                                    >>> personal remarks there, that you find Bailey's position convincing,
                                    >>> notwithstanding my evidentiary assessment. What did catch my eye in your
                                    >>> post was the following:
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "As a Markan scholar, I find Ted's to my mind free-wheeling Markan
                                    >>> creativity, quite incredible and going far beyond the bounds even of that
                                    >>> found in the Hogg story (and particularly so when I apply the same rigor
                                    >>> to
                                    >>> his theses as he does to Bailey's. Sorry Ted)."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "Rikk, what you state above seems to be the substantive issue over which
                                    >>> we
                                    >>> disagree. With that in mind, I wonder if you would be willing to read a
                                    >>> lengthy essay in which I now argue that Mark used Josephus' story of
                                    >>> Jesus
                                    >>> son of Ananias as the model for his fictional creation of the Jewish and
                                    >>> Roman trials of Jesus? I think your predisposition to seeing Mark as less
                                    >>> creative than I do would be a helpful reference point for whatever holes
                                    >>> you
                                    >>> might find in my argument. To identify those holes would be of great help
                                    >>> to me. Are you interested?"
                                    >>>
                                    >>> On 5/22/04 you wrote off-list:
                                    >>> .
                                    >>> "Sorry for the delay . . . . But I am very interested in reading your
                                    >>> work.
                                    >>> For what it's worth I did/do agree with your critique re Rena Hogg and
                                    >>> the account of the desert encounter and make a specific point of
                                    >>> mentioning it, positively, in class. So, yes I appreciate that aspect
                                    >>> very much. On the other hand, I'm not sure this translates into a
                                    >>> thorough-going demolition (I hope that's not too strong a word)
                                    >>> of Bailey. And yes to be honest, I did think that you were a lot
                                    >>> tougher on Bailey than you were on Ted, and yes there is no question
                                    >>> that your work is creative (and yes I do think there's a lot more fiction
                                    >>> in
                                    >>> what your proposals than there is in Mark... :) )."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "Nevertheless, my apologies for not getting on to this sooner. It's just
                                    >>> a
                                    >>> matter of finding the time I'm afraid (and I don't want to rush through
                                    >>> it)."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> "Re the Josephus and Mark thesis (which presupposes I assume that Mark
                                    >>> post-dates Jos?): as long as the essay is not too lengthy, I'd be happy
                                    >>> to
                                    >>> help out < but do be aware that time is really tight for the next month
                                    >>> or
                                    >>> so."
                                    >>>
                                    >>> As yet, Rikk, you have not indicated to me that you have read my revised
                                    >>> critique, nor have you informed me that you had found time to read my
                                    >>> thesis
                                    >>> on Mark's dependency upon the story of Jesus son of Ananias found in
                                    >>> Josephus' _Jew War_. However, you continue to find fault with my
                                    >>> arguments
                                    >>> with respect to my interpretation of Mark and allude to Dunn's criticism
                                    >>> of
                                    >>> my critique of Bailey.
                                    >>>
                                    >>> And you close your post of 2/28/05 with this:
                                    >>>
                                    >>>> We did then go off into other topics but it seems best to leave those
                                    >>>> aside until we get this point sorted: would you agree that it is
                                    >>>> unfair to require > a 1st century author to meet evidential
                                    >>>> standards that none of his contemporaries expected of him?
                                    >>>
                                    >>> It is those other topics related to criticism of my hermeneutic that have
                                    >>> been left addressed between us for over a year in one case and nine
                                    >>> months
                                    >>> in another. Yet you continue to characterize me publicly in X Talk posts
                                    >>> with presenting hermeneutical arguments that are unpersuasive but to a
                                    >>> few
                                    >>> of my colleagues because of my "unwarranted and unreasonable skepticism."
                                    >>> Is
                                    >>> that really being fair to characterize my arguments that way when you
                                    >>> have
                                    >>> yet to engage them substantively as I have invited you to do for over a
                                    >>> year?
                                    >>>
                                    >>> Ted
                                    >>>
                                    >>>
                                    >>>
                                    >>>
                                    >>> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
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                                    >>
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                                    >>
                                    >> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
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                                    > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
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                                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                      ... Excuse me, but what?  Jesus fulfils the hope of Daniel?  I see none of this in Mark. And the quality of the story is different?  What is your
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Mar 11, 2005
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                                      Karel Hanhart wrote:

                                      > ----- Original Message -----
                                      > From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...>
                                      > To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                                      > Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 7:50 PM
                                      > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now) arguments
                                      > from silence?
                                      >
                                      > Karel Hanhart wrote to  Rikk,
                                      >
                                      > >> I too wish at times to combat extreme scepticism. The Gospels refer in
                                      > >> some
                                      > >> important way to the Jesus of history. However, I deny that Mark's aim
                                      > >> was
                                      > >> to provide historical, biographical information on Jesus."
                                      >
                                      > Jeffrey remarked concerning Karel's views:
                                      >
                                      > > One does not have to posit that the Gospel cannot be bioi and must be a
                                      > > passover
                                      > > hagadah to believe or assert that.
                                      >
                                      > Karel's reply
                                      >
                                      > Dear Jeffrey,
                                      >
                                      > In today's answer to Rikk, I have tried to argue the fundamental difference
                                      > in approach between the Gospel read as a Hellenistic bios or as a Christian
                                      > Judean Passover Haggadah. You apparently deny that the difference is
                                      > fundamental. I would appreciate your reaction to my argumentation in my
                                      > answer to Rikk..
                                      >  The Gospel certainly has Jesus, as the protagonist of Mark's story (- next
                                      > to John the Baptist -). So seen at first glance Its genre may seem to be
                                      > just another bios. However, Jesus is pictured here not as just any prophet,
                                      > charismatic or teacher, but as Israel's Messiah and as son of God and the
                                      > Baptist as .Elijah redivivus. The miracles are astounding, supernatural
                                      > phenomena.
                                      >  Because of the title Messiah, Israel's history and culture is necessarily
                                      > wrapped up in his narrative of Jesus. The Exodus story likewise has
                                      > astounding, supernatural phenomena.
                                      > As Messiah Jesus gave in the end his life as a ransom for many (rabbim).
                                      > Moreover, Jesus fulfills the hope concerning  the 'One like a bar-n?sha"
                                      > (Son of Man) in Daniel's vision. The quality of the story is  fundamentally
                                      > different from an Hellenic bios.

                                      Excuse me, but what?  Jesus fulfils the hope of Daniel?  I see none of this in
                                      Mark. And the "quality" of the story is different?  What is your criterion for
                                      "quality"?  And what specific Hellenistic bioi do you have in mind as your point
                                      of comparison?  And why should something being better in terms of it's "quality"
                                      stand as evidence as that something not being from a particular genre?  Plan Nine
                                      from Outer Space was an example of a science fiction film lacking in quality, but
                                      that does not mean it was not a science fiction film.

                                      >  
                                      > Mark tried in his tragic/victorious Passover Haggadah to do justice to the
                                      > teachings of Jesus remembered  and the deeds he accomplished in spite of the
                                      > dual tragedies, the crucifixion of Israel's Messiah and the destruction of
                                      > Israel's temple.
                                      > Let me clarify the difference between a bios and a haggadah another way. One
                                      > would not call the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy a
                                      > 'bios' of Moses, although Moses is the protagonist in all of them.

                                      Oh Please.  You stack the deck in favour of your views about the genre of GMark
                                      vis a vis the Hellenistic Bioi if you use Exodus, etc., which are NOT bioi. let
                                      alone Hellenistic ones, as examples of the Hellenistic Bioi which GMark somehow
                                      surpasses in "quality" and differs from in form.
                                       

                                      > He thoroughly revised a pre-70
                                      > haggadah, used at Passover, because the parousia of the kingdom about which
                                      > Jesus had taught and which in chassidic circles was expected to be imminent,
                                      > was delayed.

                                      Let's see this Haggadah that Mark revised.  Is there any witness to it?  Any
                                      surviving MSS of it?  Any mention of it's existence in Jewish or Greco Roman
                                      literature?  Any other work that is based on it?

                                      Jeffrey
                                      --

                                      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                      Chicago, IL 60626

                                      jgibson000@...
                                       
                                    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                        ... Moreover, since Karel has not (and,  so far as I can tell, has **never**) stated what he thinks the actual formal and structural characteristics of a
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Mar 11, 2005
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                                        "John C. Poirier" wrote:

                                        > Karel Hanhart wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > Let me clarify the difference between a bios and a haggadah
                                        > > another way. One would not call the books of Exodus,
                                        > > Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy a 'bios' of Moses,
                                        > > although Moses is the protagonist in all of them. The
                                        > > subject of the Torah is the deliverance from slavery in
                                        > > Egypt, the establishment of the Covenant and the treck to
                                        > > the promised land, celebrated in the Passover ritual in Egypt,
                                        > > the Passover in the desert  and the Passover under Joshua,
                                        > > after he crossed the Jordan river.  Mark begins his Haggadah
                                        > > at the Jordan river. . . .
                                        >
                                        > But in the all important matter of how text relates to reality, Leviticus,
                                        > Numbers, and Deuteronomy have a lot more in common with what you're calling
                                        > a "hellenistic bios" than with your own peculiar understanding of
                                        > "haggadah".  The writers (proto-tradents), compilers, and first-century
                                        > readers of the Torah believed that these books related actual events, and
                                        > that they did so in plain language.
                                        >  

                                        Moreover, since Karel has not (and,  so far as I can tell, has **never**) stated
                                        what he thinks the actual formal and structural characteristics of a Hellenistic
                                        bios and of a (Jewish) Passover Haggadah are,  so that we could see whether or not
                                        he has assessed the genre of GMark correctly, we have no means of evaluating
                                        whether what he says above should help to "clarify" the difference between an Bios
                                        and a Haggadah actually does so at all.

                                        Jeffrey
                                        --

                                        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                        Chicago, IL 60626

                                        jgibson000@...
                                         
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