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RE: [XTalk] Essay: Orthodox Death Tradition Misrepresents Jesus

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  • Richard H. Anderson
    Since Stephen Carlson has already answered Loren s question, this is in response to Stephanie Fisher asking in effect my view of Acts 20:28 and Jeffrey B.
    Message 1 of 83 , Aug 2 5:18 PM
      Since Stephen Carlson has already answered Loren's question, this is in
      response to Stephanie Fisher asking in effect my view of Acts 20:28 and
      Jeffrey B. Gibson asking about "the willingness to pay the ultimate price"
      [endnotes omitted my my response]:

      The strongest expression of the purpose of God in the cross occurs in the
      first sermon in Acts. Peter told the men of Jerusalem that Jesus was
      “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”
      This is repeated in the prayer meeting described in Acts 4. All concerned
      “Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, and Israelites,” the praying group affirmed were
      gathered together “to do whatever thy hand and plan had predestined to take
      place.” Luke has made it clear that they were agents of God in the
      enactment of God's will. The cross must be seen as the accomplishment of
      divine purpose. As Paul prepared to depart from Ephesus for his voyage to
      Jerusalem he warned the flock about the dangers they would face. His
      departing speech included these words:

      "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has
      made you overseers to feed the Church of God which he obtained with the
      blood of his own son."

      Marshall has based his argument for a Lucan theology of the cross in part
      upon this verse. Marshall has based his arguments upon words attributed by
      Luke to Paul that are unmistakably clear. Luke speaks of the “Church of God
      which he obtained with the blood of his own son” which is not far from the
      image of redemption utilized by Paul.

      Lucan writings emphasize the power of God and in that limited sense, Luke is
      in agreement with Paul's assessment of the power of the cross. Luke uses
      this terminology more often than any other New Testament writer. He does
      so to demonstrate the truthfulness of the information Theophilus, the High
      Priest, has heard about God's recent intervention in human history. God's
      power is evident in the miracles performed by his representatives and is a
      validation of their role. One miracle in particular performed by Jesus was
      most impressive and about which the High Priest was informed. When the
      temple guards came to arrest Jesus, Peter grabbed a sword and cut off the
      ear of the servant of the high priest. The Lucan Jesus restored the ear.
      All of the gospels tell the story of the arrest of Jesus. Only Luke tells
      about the miracle of the restoration of the ear. Such an outrageous claim
      could not be made to the High Priest unless it was true. Matthew, Mark and
      John writing later eliminate all friendly overtures and emphasize hostility
      to the Jews because Matthew, Mark and John are reacting to their perception
      of the rejection of Jesus by the Jews.

      This miraculous restoration of the ear played the same role as the raising
      of Lazarus does in the Gospel of John. It was a display of the power of God
      as a prelude to the resurrection. Paul, like Luke and John, regarded
      Christ's resurrection as the preeminent display of God's power. But Luke
      attributes no saving efficacy to the cross. For Luke, by the power of God,
      Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This divine activity is a consistent
      Lucan emphasis. Luke stresses God's plan and movement of divine history
      more than Matthew and Mark. This theme is developed cautiously given the
      beliefs of the High Priest and the “marginal status of immortality and
      resurrection” in the belief structure of first century Judaism.

      One can only conclude that Luke has revealed his awareness of Paul's
      theology of the cross and has accurately reported what Paul said to the
      church in Ephesus. It does not follow that Luke has substituted Pauline
      theology for his own. Luke shows his awareness but does not agree.

      Richard H. Anderson
    • Theodore Weeden
      Bob Schacht wrote on September 2, 2005 ... Actually, Bob, I was trained as a form critic by my mentor James M. Robinson, and fully immersed in Bultmann and
      Message 83 of 83 , Sep 15, 2005
        Bob Schacht wrote on September 2, 2005

        > At 07:50 AM 9/2/2005, Ernest Pennells wrote:
        >>[Ted Weeden]
        >> >I would wonder if you would not, after reading my thesis, agree with me
        >>that Mark is close to being a literary genius.<
        >>The strongest component of your argument is the parallel motifs in the
        >>stories. The explanation you have explored is that Mark worked from
        >>Josephus. There are other explanations. Unfortunately we have little
        >>information on sources used by Mark or Josephus. It is generally accepted
        >>that literacy was limited - particularly among the peasant community from
        >>which HJ drew his first adherents. Storytellers played a major role in
        >>preserving and shaping tradition. The extent to which the Evangelists
        >>directly upon that oral tradition is not known but is surely the earliest
        >>source. Verbal similarities often suggest copying, but we simply don't
        >>know when that process commenced.
        >>You portray Mark as a literary genius, and your frame of thought is
        >>reflected in this quote: "When Mark sought material to fashion his passion
        >>narrative, he turned to two primary sources which he may well have had at
        >>hand, the Septuagint and, I suspect, Book VI of Josephus' Jewish War."
        >>That grants no acknowledgement to oral tradition. I don't think I am
        >>unfair in plucking this sentence from your essay because, on my reading,
        >>it captures the flavour of your line of thought, focusing upon the
        >>word. ...
        > Actually, I had been meaning to add something along these lines to my 8/17
        > post to Ted, and that is basically this: Ted was trained in the arts of
        > literary criticism, and he does a most excellent job within that paradigm.
        > As I understand it, they are basically trained to look for prior *written*
        > sources-- and as we see in the case of Q, reconstruction of written
        > sources
        > is included. In the literary paradigm, as I understand it, operates with
        > the idea that if you can't find a prior written source, then the author of
        > your earliest known source created it. There is usually some wave of the
        > hand to oral tradition, but their scholarly apparatus (again, as I
        > understand it) does not include much on how to deal with it.

        Actually, Bob, I was trained as a form critic by my mentor James M.
        Robinson, and fully immersed in Bultmann and Dibelius, first courses Jim
        taught in seminary at Candler School of Theology in 1955-56 (when I was his
        student), and then as his Ph.D. student at Claremont Graduate School (now
        Claremont Graduate University) from 1960 to 1964, when I received my degree.
        Robinson introduced me to redaction criticism, particularly
        redaction-critical analysis of Mark, via Willi Marxsen's _Der Evangelist
        Markus_, and with that as a foundation I moved in my own direction with Mark
        as I wrote my dissertation, "The Heresy That Necessitated the Gospel of
        Mark" (1964). In the dissertation and more clearly so in my 1971 book,
        _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_, I imaged Mark more as exercising the freedom
        of an author, which without me knowing it, was, if I may say so, was
        something of a precursor to the literary-critical study of Mark, though I
        self-consciously wrote from the vantage point of redaction criticism. In
        1966, I presented my redaction-critical thesis on Mark as a paper, "The
        Heresy That Necessitated the Gospel of Mark," (subsequently published in
        revised form in 1968 by _Zeitschrift fuer die neutestamentliche
        Wissenschaft_) at the SBL annual meeting to the entire New Testament section
        of SBL (in those days the SBL was much, much smaller and all New Testament
        papers were read at the New Testament session). Norman Perrin was present
        in the New Testament session that day (along with Dieter Georgi and others
        whose work I had drawn upon in my dissertaation) and read his own paper on
        the Son of Man to the session following my paper. Following his reading of
        his paper, there was a break, and he rushed down to me and asked me, having
        heard my paper, where he could get my work. At the time, he was writing
        his little volume for Fortress Press, "What Is Redaction?" Perrin
        subsequently wrote me and asked if he could have a copy of my paper in order
        to present my argument as an example of redaction criticism of Mark, and he
        did so on pp. 54-56 of _What is Redaction Criticism. Perrin, thereafter,
        encouraged me to produce a book based upon my dissertation thesis and went
        to bat for me with the editors of Fortress Press who were initially
        reluctant to publish my controversial thesis. But under the urging of
        Perrin, _Mark-Traditions in Conflict_ so the light of day. I am very
        indebted to Norman for his advocacy of my work in the guild.

        So I was trained as a form critic, basically following Bultmann's
        perspective on the oral tradition, and became a redaction critic. It has
        only been in the last 20 years or so that I have become interested in
        literary criticism as a methodology. And I do tend to begin with
        literary-critical methodology now in the investigation of biblical texts.
        With respect to oral tradition, I still tend to be more Bultmannian in my
        view of the evolution of the oral tradition. My reading of Werner Kelber,
        James C. Scott and Jan Vansina has only served to enforce that Bultmannian
        orientation, though, unlike Bultmann, I do think that one can recover
        evidence of the oral tradition prior to the Gospels (including Q and Thomas)
        preserving authentic Jesus tradition. And I have posted as much in XTalk


        Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
        Fairport, NY
        Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
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