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RE: [XTalk] Prelude to Replies: Jesus' Hidden Transcript

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  • David Hindley
    Ted, ... (authentic [ red or pink ] or inauthentic [ gray or black ]: see Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover and the Jesus Seminar, _Five Gospels_, 549-553) and
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 2, 2005
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      >>In perusing the Jesus Seminar's data base of sayings of Jesus
      (authentic ["red" or "pink"] or inauthentic ["gray" or "black"]:
      see Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover and the Jesus Seminar, _Five
      Gospels_, 549-553) and the data base of specific acts of Jesus
      (again, authentic or inauthentic: see Robert W. Funk and the
      Jesus Seminar, _The Acts of Jesus_, 556-569), I can find nothing
      in either data base that indicates that Jesus' kingdom-of-God
      ideology was formulated against the ideology of the public
      transcript of Roman imperial rule. At best, from what I can
      ascertain from these data bases is that Jesus took at an
      ambivalent, almost value-neutral position toward Roman rule and
      domination. The only saying attributed to Jesus in which he
      specifically mentions the oppressiveness of Roman imperial rule
      is his saying about paying taxes to the emperor. When shown a
      coin with Caesar's image, and questioned about payment of taxes
      to Caesar, Jesus replied, "Render to Caesar the things that are
      Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Mk.
      12:16f.7/GThom 100; cf. Mt. 22:21; Lk. 20:25).<<

      Ted, IMHO I think you are placing much too much weight on the
      Gospel accounts of Jesus' actions and sayings as Jesus' own
      unedited transcripts! You were just arguing for a strong
      fictional element in Mark, so this puzzles me.

      Assuming that a written account of Jesus' life would be a form
      of public transcript rather than a special "backstage" view if
      the real Jesus that closely follows his unedited transcript,
      isn't it better to proceed as if the authors of the NT Gospels
      and Acts present a partial rendering of the *author's* (or their
      congregation's) full transcript, with the missing transcript
      replaced with a "performance," rather than assume they preserve
      Jesus' actual "hidden transcript?" (1)

      Hence the reason I see the Gospels and Acts as essentially
      apologies for Christianity as it existed in the Gospel author's
      own time and place, directed to the power structure. "We are not
      dangerous people. Our founder was a misunderstood moral teacher
      fulfilling a God-given role in the cosmic scheme of things.
      Killed on account of the jealousy of the rulers of his own
      people the Jews, who were unable to see God's cosmic plan, we
      Christians, though non-Jews, have now grasped the true
      significance of his role and have been adopted as God's favored
      children in the place of Jesus' own people, who did not
      understand. [i.e., the "Jews" revolted, while we are observers
      of a private mystery cult that accepts the Roman order of
      things, please don't root us out like rebels]"

      Any true words of or accounts about Jesus must be recovered from
      the edited "performance." These sayings and accounts are
      mentioned because they relate to the power struggle between the
      Roman elites and the Christian movement (as reflected in the
      NT), perhaps as examples of bad things elites charged Christians
      or their founder with doing/being. Christians found it necessary
      to refashion them to better fit the perceptions of Roman elites.

      Scott has a lot to say about both rich and poor (that is,
      classes of folk) rationalizing the validity of their particular


      David Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio USA

      1) Scott, James C, _Weapons of the Weak_, Yale UP, 1985:

      "Dissimulation is the characteristic and necessary pose of
      subordinate classes everywhere most of the time ..." (p. 284)

      "The fact is that power-laden situations are nearly always
      inauthentic ... the *normal* tendency will be for the dependent
      individual to reveal only that part of his or her full
      transcript in encounters with the powerful that it is safe and
      appropriate to reveal ... The greater the disparity in power
      between the two parties, the greater the proportion of the full
      transcript that is likely to be concealed" (p. 286, emphasis in

      "[T]he weaker party is unlikely to speak his or her mind; a part
      of the full transcript will be withheld in favor of a
      'performance' that is in keeping with the expectations of the
      powerholder." (p. 287)

      If we wish to recover more than just the performance, we must
      move backstage [into safe settings where class members can
      communicate as more-or-less equals] where the mask can be
      lifted, at least in part." (p. 287)

      PS: Boy I wish Scott used "point of view" rather than
      "transcript!" Sounds like Scott is influenced by the issue of
      intertextuality, but didn't like the term.
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