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Re: [XTalk] 1 Cor 15 Kerygma, the historical Peter, and the transition from Jesu

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  • Daniel Gaztambide
    Dear Joseph, I would have to say that my thesis agrees with you on several levels. My position (and that of my thesis) is that Peter being the first one to
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 2, 2005
      Dear Joseph,

      I would have to say that my thesis agrees with you on several levels.
      My position (and that of my thesis) is that Peter being the first one
      to confess Jesus as Christ and his mention as the first to see the
      risen Jesus as Christ are one and the same. In other words, I consider
      Peter's understanding of Jesus as the Christ to be the Easter event
      (in a sense).

      I accept the theology of sonship through resurrection as the view of
      the early church, and understand the gospels as projecting Jesus'
      Easter status into his lifetime.

      Peter's confession is definetly historical in my opinion (again, as a
      post-easter event). My interest is to discern what elements brought
      about the transition from Jesus of Nazareth to Jesus Christ, and my
      current understanding is that Peter as a survivor of the Passion, may
      hold the key to understanding that change.

      I would argue that the projection of Peter's confession unto the
      Gospel narrative serves two purposes (that I can think of right now at
      least).

      In Mark Peter proclaims Jesus as the Messiah, but apparently Jesus
      wants such a thing to be kept secret (Hence the Messianic secret in
      Mark). This appears to want to account for the lack of an open
      proclamation of Jesus as messiah during his lifetime. In other words:
      "Yeah, he was the Messiah all along, he just kept it hush hush".

      In Matthew the focus is not so much about explaining why there wasn't
      an open recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, but to congratulate the
      figure of Simon Peter for his insight concerning his nature, as
      revealed by God's Spirit. These are kind of a hunch.

      Hence, another hypothesis that I continue to test is that perhaps
      Simon Peter was simply another one of Jesus' disciples, but his
      proclamation of Jesus as Messiah earned him such favor that the gospel
      writers elevated his rank among the disciples during Jesus' lifetime.

      Again, the purpose of my thesis is not so much to show that every
      presentation of Peter in the gospels is fictional projection, but
      rather to understand the nature of the historical relationship between
      Jesus and Peter. What about this man Jesus was so wonderful that it
      was necessary that he "survive" crucifixion through resurrection?

      In all honesty my thesis will strive to be interdisciplinary,
      employing traditional historical-critical method as well as the
      discipline of psychological biblical criticism.

      Thank you very much for your comments. Also, I do not think my first
      question was absurd. I see a big difference between what the early
      church (the era of Peter, James, and Paul) may have thought and what
      the gospel writers understood. It is important to tell their views apart.

      Thanks again!

      --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Joseph Codsi <joseph5@i...> wrote:
      > To Daniel Gaztambide
      >
      > Daniel,
      >
      > Your thesis sounds very interesting. You have identified a number of
      > elements that are closely interrelated. What is not clear yet is how
      you can
      > define the way each element fits in the puzzle.
      >
      > The first element is the identification of Jesus as the Messiah. Did
      this
      > identification take place during the life of Jesus, or after his
      death? This
      > is indeed a crucial question. Before any attempt at answering it, we
      should
      > acknowledge that the mere fact of raising the question implies that
      we do
      > not trust the obvious message of the four canonical gospels, which
      have a
      > clear answer to the question: "Yes Jesus was the Messiah and the Son
      of God
      > during his earthly life".
      >
      > You have identified the central passage in which Jesus is recognized
      as the
      > Messiah and the Son of God. I am speaking of Peter's profession of
      faith:
      > "You are the Messiah" (Mark 8:29) and "You are the Christ, the Son
      of the
      > living God" (Matthew 16:16). In Mark's version, Jesus' reaction is
      not quite
      > clear. The reader tends to see that Jesus accepts the title, but
      wishes to
      > hide it from the public. The Jesus of Matthew is more explicit; he
      accepts
      > the title and congratulates Peter for his perceptiveness. He even
      goes to
      > the point of saying that God has revealed to him this truth. All
      this tends
      > to show that, during his life, Jesus himself admitted that he was the
      > Messiah. For some reason, however, he would not allow his disciples to
      > proclaim his messiahship "before the resurrection" (Cf. the remark that
      > followed the transfiguration, Mark 9:9).
      >
      > On the basis of what is reported in the four canonical gospels, the
      question
      > you raised in the outset is absurd, since it is clearly answered in the
      > gospels. So why do you still raise it?
      >
      > Your answer here is that there are two passages which suggest that Jesus
      > became the Messiah and the Son of God after his death and
      resurrection. The
      > said passages are Romans 1:1-4 and Acts 2:36.
      >
      > What is suggested here is that, through his death and resurrection,
      Jesus
      > underwent a radical transformation. He became after the Easter event
      what he
      > was not during his life, namely the Christ and the Son of God. The two
      > passages establish a direct connection between the resurrection (an
      act of
      > God) and the new identification of Jesus as "Lord and Christ", in
      one case,
      > and "Son of God", in the other case.
      >
      > If we take seriously this theological discourse, we are to conclude that
      > during his earthly life Jesus was not the Christ, the Son of God.
      > Consequently, I would say, all the passages in which the gospels
      speak of
      > the historical Jesus as the Christ or the Son of God are not historical.
      > They anticipate the Easter revelation in a pre-Easter context. They
      > represent a retroactive projection of the Easter Christ on the
      historical
      > Jesus. They create the Jesus of the faith and amalgamate him with the
      > historical Jesus. The result is the Jesus as he is described in the
      gospels
      > (partly historical and partly fictional).
      >
      > This is how I would dramatize the question you raise. There is a clear
      > contradiction between two sets of texts. Both assertions cannot be
      true at
      > the same time and in the same respect. If one is true, the other one
      is not.
      > A choice must be made. Either we trust the Gospels or we trust Paul and
      > Acts.
      >
      > Speaking for myself, I would say this: "On the basis of modern
      scholarship,
      > I am inclined to trust Paul and the Acts. All the gospel passages in
      which
      > Jesus is proclaimed Messiah and/or Son of God are not historical.
      The events
      > they tell are theological in nature. I mean by that events that are
      > historical fiction, but express a theological truth. The theological
      truth
      > flows from the Easter faith and anticipates, in the pre-Easter
      context, the
      > Easter revelation. I will define later the requirements of the Easter
      > revelation, which have caused the creation of the theological
      events. I will
      > stop here to ask you, Daniel, to confirm your personal position on the
      > question I have raised. The fact that you have singled out the two
      passages
      > which contradict what is clearly said in the four canonical gospels
      > indicates that you are inclined to agree with me and recognize in
      Romans and
      > Acts the theological views which have prevailed in the shaping of the
      > Christian mind, causing the creation of the Jesus of the faith. Let me
      > rephrase my question. What is the position of your thesis in
      relation to the
      > question I have raised here? What would you say about Peter's
      profession of
      > faith? Is it an historical event or merely a theological event? It
      makes no
      > difference whether you consider Mark's version or Matthew's. But it
      will be
      > much easier to discuss Matthew's version.
      >
      > I will talk later of Peter's role in the shaping of the theological
      events
      > which portray Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God.
      >
      > With my best wishes.
      >
      > Joseph
      >
      > ============
      > Université Pour Tous
      > Beirut, Lebanon
      > ============
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com] On
      > Behalf Of Daniel Gaztambide
      > Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005 6:21 AM
      > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [XTalk] 1 Cor 15 Kerygma, the historical Peter, and the
      transition
      > from Jesus to Christ
      >
      > Dear Everyone,
      >
      > Hi! My name is Daniel Gaztambide, and I am a student of Prof. Mahlon
      > H. Smith over at Rutgers University, doing a Henry Rutgers honors
      > thesis on the 1 Cor 15 Kerygma, the historical Peter, and the
      > transition from Jesus to Christ. I was hoping to share some of my
      > research and current working hypothesis here gather some critical
      > comments and scrutiny.
      >
      > In a sense, my work tries to answer a certain set of questions: how
      > exactly was the Messiah perceived in the early Church? Did it consider
      > Jesus to have been the Messiah since before his death or afterwards?
      > If Jesus was identified as the Messiah after his death, then it
      > becomes a question of "who done it"? Who was the one who first began
      > to consider Jesus the Christ, and why?
      >
      > A certain set of passages drive me to consider the figure of Simon
      > Peter- a survivor of Jesus' execution- as a possible suspect in trying
      > to sort out who declared a dead criminal a rising savior. Let me post
      > the passages here and open up some discussion. I begin with the
      > kerygmatic assertion in 1 Cor 15: 3-5,
      >
      > "3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]:
      > that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he
      > was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the
      > Scriptures, 5AND THAT HE APPEARED TO PETER, and then to the Twelve." 1
      > Corinthians 15: 3-5 (My caps)
      >
      > I exclude verses 6-8, and understand 3-5 to be the earliest form of
      > the kerygma (I sort of see it as a listing of those who "joined" the
      > movement, starting with Peter, then the twelve, followed by James and
      > the 500, and finally Paul, but it's more of a hunch). Another reason
      > why I exclude 6-8 and concentrate on the mention of Peter here is by
      > drawing a parallel with another passage, shared by Mark 8: 27-31 =
      > Matthew 16: 13-21 = Luke 9: 18-22. The earliest form appears to be in
      > Mark, which reads:
      >
      > "27Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea
      > Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?"
      >
      > 28They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and
      > still others, one of the prophets."
      >
      > 29"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
      > PETER ANSWERED, "YOU ARE THE CHRIST."
      >
      > 30Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
      >
      > 31He then began to teach them that the THE SON OF MAN MUST SUFFER
      > MANY THINGS and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers
      > of the law, AND THAT HE MUST BE KILLED AND AFTER THREE DAYS RISE
      > AGAIN."
      >
      > In Paul's writting, Peter is the first to SEE the Risen Jesus, in the
      > Gospels, Peter is the first to CONFESS Jesus as the Messiah (An
      > opposing account, which presents his brother Andrew as the first to
      > confess Jesus as the Messiah, is found in John 1: 41). Another curious
      > thing I noticed while looking over the kerygma and the kerygmatic
      > assertions of the gospels is that in the kerygma Jesus as the Christ
      > died for sins and resurrected on the third day according to the
      > Scriptures, and that he appeared FIRST to Peter. In the Synoptic
      > Gospels Peter is the FIRST to confess Jesus as the Christ, and
      > immediately after some interpolation (Whether the Messianic Secret in
      > Mark, Matthew's praise of Peter's "insight", or Luke's musings on the
      > Cross), we have the kerygma, that Jesus must die and be ressurected.
      >
      > Before I present my proposal to explain this curious relationship, I
      > wish to present two more passages, one in Paul's writting, and another
      > pressed on Peter's lips in Acts:
      >
      > "3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of
      > David, 4and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power
      > TO BE THE SON OF GOD BY HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD: Jesus CHRIST
      > our Lord." Romans 1: 3-4 (My caps)
      >
      > "36Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: GOD HAS MADE THIS
      > JESUS, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, BOTH LORD AND CHRIST." Acts 2: 36 (My caps)
      >
      > A reading of these curious little passages seems to indicate that
      > Jesus became the Messiah via the resurrection and God's authority, and
      > was not the Messiah before his death. This idea seems multiply
      > attested in Paul's words and in Peter's lips via Acts (whether those
      > are his actual words may be another issue altogether). Perhaps this
      > may point to an understanding of the kerygmatic sayings of Jesus in
      > Mark 8: 27-31 = Matthew 16: 13-21 = Luke 9: 18-22 as the 1 Cor 15
      > kerygma being read back into the story. Another reason may be that in
      > 1 Cor 15, the kerygma is understood as fulfillment of scripture, not
      > of specific prophecy uttered by Jesus.
      >
      > In the end I'm left with two sets of material (That of Mark 8: 27-31
      > = Matthew 16: 13-21 = Luke 9: 18-22 and 1 Cor 15) which seem to
      > portray an intimate relationship between the kerygma (Jesus died for
      > our sins and resurrected, being made the Christ) and the figure of
      > Simon Peter. One of the core ideas I'm going to propose in my thesis
      > is that Simon Peter is crucial to understanding the movement from
      > Jesus to Christ, and that the relationship between the pre-easter
      > Jesus and pre-easter Peter flows directly into the relationship
      > between the post-easter Jesus and post-easter Peter.
      >
      > Well, sorry I took so long with this post! Commeunt? Comentarios?
      > Comments? I'm an innocent little undergrad so please don't rip me to
      > pieces! Have mercy! :p
      >
      > Seriously though, I look foward to debate and critique,
      >
      > Best,
      >
      > Daniel Gaztambide
    • Tony Buglass
      Daniel wrote: In a sense, my work tries to answer a certain set of questions: how exactly was the Messiah perceived in the early Church? Did it consider Jesus
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 3, 2005
        Daniel wrote:
        In a sense, my work tries to answer a certain set of questions: how
        exactly was the Messiah perceived in the early Church? Did it consider
        Jesus to have been the Messiah since before his death or afterwards?
        If Jesus was identified as the Messiah after his death, then it
        becomes a question of "who done it"? Who was the one who first began
        to consider Jesus the Christ, and why?

        A certain set of passages drive me to consider the figure of Simon
        Peter-[snipped] I begin with the
        kerygmatic assertion in 1 Cor 15: 3-5, [snipped] I exclude verses 6-8, and understand 3-5 to be the earliest form of
        the kerygma (I sort of see it as a listing of those who "joined" the
        movement, starting with Peter, then the twelve, followed by James and
        the 500, and finally Paul, but it's more of a hunch). [snipped] drawing a parallel with another passage, shared by Mark 8: 27-31 =
        Matthew 16: 13-21 = Luke 9: 18-22.

        Hi, Daniel.

        Don't worry about being ripped to shreds on this list - we're always nice to people, 'cos we know that everyone possess access to the deadly "delete" button!

        Re your thesis - yes, I agree that there is a strong Peter connection. It seems to be the general consensus that Paul's 1 Cor.15 paradosis is 15:3-5, and that 6-8 is his own addition and update of the list. The question is where he got the paradosis in the first place, and it is not unlikely that he got it from Peter. Joachim Jeremias (Eucharistic Words of Jesus, p.102f) argues for the kerygma being a Semitic original reshaped in a Hellenistic environment, which places it in the earliest strata of tradition. We know from Paul that despite his concern to demonstrate his apostolic independence from the Jerusalem apostles, he spent time getting "acquainted" (Gal.1:18 NIV) with Peter. So Peter was probably Paul's main point of access to both his knowledge of the historical Jesus and his receiving of the early paradosis.

        The next question is whether the theological development of eg Rom.1:4 is Paul's own reflection on the implication of resurrection for Jesus' status as Messiah, or whether it is earlier tradition. Rom.1:3-4 appears well-shaped, honed by repetition, a parallelism tha might have been shaped in worship or catechism. There are also several non-Pauline expressions. So if this is adoptionist, it's early. The issue there is whether horisthentos means that Jesus only *became* Son of God at the resurrection. Paul doesn't appear to believe that (so Gal.4:4 and Rom.8:3). You suggest that the idea (that Paul believed Jesus wasn't Messiah before his death) is "multiply attested in Paul's words and in Peter's words via Acts". I don't think this is true multiple attestation, and in any case I don't think it is attested as such in Paul's words, rather that he was beginning his letter with credal material familiar to his hearers (rhetorical criticism alongside other criticisms?).

        What I suspect this shows us is that the different christologies can be traced back into the earliest traditions, when theology was anything but systematic. What became adoptionism may have begun from Jewish Christian exegesis of their scriptures, especially Ps.2:7 (cf Acts.13:33, where Luke puts the words onto Paul's lips).

        As far as Peter's confession is concerned, there are interesting questions here about the relationship between Mark's version of the story and what may or may not have really been said. It is commonly argued that the gospels and their constituent traditions are really post-Easter faith retorojected into the pre-Easter story. Clearly, the gospels are a product of post-Easter faith, and (literary criticism now) it is clear that certain sayings and events have been dramatically shaped to drive the story towards its conclusion and in the light of that conclusion. However, unless you wish to go with folk like Ted Weeden and argue that Mark created it all de novo, questions still remain about the original stories and traditions which the evangelists received and shaped. What was it about Jesus of Nazareth that made people remember these stories *before* his death and resurrection? Jimmy Dunn argues ("Jesus Remembered", or if you want the short form "A New Perspective on Jesus") that the disciples had faith in Jesus before his death, that there was a pre-Easter faith (obviously not the same as post-Easter faith) which led to the remembering and preservation of the oral traditions about Jesus' ministry. Now, in that context, rather than a post-Easter context, could Peter have made some kind of Messianic declaration? If it didn't mean what Mark's readers assumed it to mean decades later, what could it have meant?

        To add a further twist, what about the possibility that Peter became a representative, a cipher for the disciples in later tradition. For example, there are issues about his place in the resurrection appearance traditions as opposed to Mary Magdalene - that he was inserted into the tradition in her place. Was he a strong leader, and the NT traditions reflect his authority in the church? In other words, looking at your whodunnit, there is a wide range of possibilities ranging from "it happened like it said" to "he wasn't even there."

        Perhaps we need a "quest for the historical Peter"...

        Cheers,
        Rev Tony Buglass
        Superintendent Minister
        Upper Calder Methodist Circuit




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      • Daniel J. Gaztambide
        Tony Buglass wrote: Perhaps we need a "quest for the historical Peter"... That s exactly what I am trying to do! My current understanding of the
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 3, 2005
          Tony Buglass wrote: "Perhaps we need a "quest for the historical
          Peter"..."

          That's exactly what I am trying to do! My current understanding of the
          material though, is that he can't be studied in isolation, as perhaps it
          has been done in Jesus studies so far. He needs to be studied in relation
          to Jesus, pre- and post- easter.

          Another source I intend on using is 1 Peter. Irregardless of whether it
          is an actual writing of Peter, it could still serve as a source which
          conveys a tradition of what Peter's thoughts where. Within it are
          constant allusions to the suffering character of Jesus, much like his
          speeches in the book of Acts.

          As for the Phillipians quote mentioned earlier, I don't currently
          remember its status as far as authenticity goes (is it a writing of Paul
          or pseudopigraphia), but it could still present another attestation to
          the tradition of Jesus becoming the Messiah via resurrection.

          As to the authenticity of the Peter sayings, I would for starters
          consider the Peter saying in Acts 2: 36 as historical, via the criterion
          of dissimilarity. Luke (like all the other gospels) argue that Jesus was
          the messiah during his lifetime. If Acts is indeed by the same author as
          Luke, then he is sort of writting against himself by allowing Peter to
          say that Jesus was the Messiah through death and ressurection and not
          throughout life and preaching.

          I would also throw the criterion of embarassment in there, since in Acts
          4: 1-13 the High priest listens to Peter's teaching (Jesus as the Christ
          risen from the dead), and considers them "unschooled, ordinary men, they
          were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus".
          The rising leader of the early church is portrayed as a simpleton who
          performed unschooled exegesis of biblical texts.

          But maybe I'm being too rough with the usage of such criterion. Actually,
          I should probably explain why I'm using criteria develop for historical
          Jesus study in "historical Peter" study, which I'll happily do after my
          psychology and religion exam today!

          Ciao!

          -Dan



          On Mon, October 3, 2005 7:58 am, Tony Buglass wrote:
          > Daniel wrote:
          > In a sense, my work tries to answer a certain set of questions: how
          > exactly was the Messiah perceived in the early Church? Did it consider
          > Jesus to have been the Messiah since before his death%2
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Tony, Thanks for the interesting summary! ... I agree. ... Stevan Davies in his book, Jesus the Healer, argues that Jesus was more the charismatic than the
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 3, 2005
            At 01:58 AM 10/3/2005, Tony Buglass replied to Daniel thusly:


            >Re your thesis - yes, I agree that there is a strong Peter connection. It
            >seems to be the general consensus that Paul's 1 Cor.15 paradosis is
            >15:3-5, and that 6-8 is his own addition and update of the list. The
            >question is where he got the paradosis in the first place, and it is not
            >unlikely that he got it from Peter.... So Peter was probably Paul's main
            >point of access to both his knowledge of the historical Jesus and his
            >receiving of the early paradosis.
            >
            >The next question is whether the theological development of eg Rom.1:4 is
            >Paul's own reflection on the implication of resurrection for Jesus' status
            >as Messiah, or whether it is earlier tradition. ...

            Tony,
            Thanks for the interesting summary!

            >What I suspect this shows us is that the different christologies can be
            >traced back into the earliest traditions, when theology was anything but
            >systematic. ...

            I agree.

            >... What was it about Jesus of Nazareth that made people remember these
            >stories *before* his death and resurrection? Jimmy Dunn argues ("Jesus
            >Remembered", or if you want the short form "A New Perspective on Jesus")
            >that the disciples had faith in Jesus before his death, that there was a
            >pre-Easter faith (obviously not the same as post-Easter faith) which led
            >to the remembering and preservation of the oral traditions about Jesus'
            >ministry.

            Stevan Davies in his book, Jesus the Healer, argues that Jesus was more the
            charismatic than the flat words of the Gospels are able to convey. I
            suspect that it was his charisma that made him memorable, and it is that
            "which led to the remembering and preservation of the oral traditions about
            Jesus' ministry." Of course, we can then begin arguing about which of the
            charismata he displayed, etc. What I suspect is that when eyewitnesses
            talked about the charisma of Jesus, words failed them. When their scribes
            attempted to write what the eyewitnesses were saying, it came out flat, or
            as fabulous, even by their standards. So instead what they did was to try
            to rationalize what was memorable about him, and to see him through the
            eyes of their own sacred literature. In a sense, Crossan's contrast between
            "History remembered" vs. "prophecy historicized" is a false choice: When
            they read their sacred literature, they "saw" Jesus in it, or it helped
            them "remember" Jesus.

            >...To add a further twist, what about the possibility that Peter became a
            >representative, a cipher for the disciples in later tradition. For
            >example, there are issues about his place in the resurrection appearance
            >traditions as opposed to Mary Magdalene - that he was inserted into the
            >tradition in her place. Was he a strong leader, and the NT traditions
            >reflect his authority in the church? ...

            We wrestled with that question here on XTalk some time ago. I can't
            remember a good key word to use in searching the archives, other than
            "Peter." What we were struck by is that all of the Gospel writers seemed to
            have mixed feelings about Peter: On the one hand, he seemed to be something
            of a fumbler and a stumbler, if not an outright block head. But on the
            other hand, it seemed clear that he had some special status going right
            back to Jesus (yes, the historical one) that they could not deny. It seemed
            that everyone knew that they were stuck with Peter, for better or worse,
            and no one was completely happy about it. At least, that's what I remember
            as the general consensus of that discussion.


            >Perhaps we need a "quest for the historical Peter"...

            Indeed!

            Cheers,
            Bob


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