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Goodacre Re: Watts-Weeden Re: [XTalk] Hermeneutical Skepticism: Unwarranted, (now) arguments from silence?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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/
              >>>
              >>> To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
              >>> crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >>>
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              >>>
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              >>> crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
              >>>
              >>>
              >>> Yahoo! Groups Links
              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
              >>>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >> 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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              >>
              >>
              >>
              >> The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
              >>
              >> To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
              >> crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
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              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
              >
              > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
              > crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
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              >
              >
              >
              >
              > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
              >
              > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
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            • 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 6 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 7 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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