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

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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 1 of 18 , Mar 1, 2005
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      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 2 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/
        >
        > 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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        > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • 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 3 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
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
          >
          > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
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          >
          >





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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 4 of 18 , Mar 4, 2005
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            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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            >
            > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
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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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 of 18 , Mar 6, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 of 18 , Mar 8, 2005
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                                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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                                >>>
                                >>>
                                >>
                                >>
                                >>
                                >>
                                >>
                                >> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                                >>
                                >> To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
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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 15 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 16 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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