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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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