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Re: [XTalk] Re: Render to God: Biblical Justice and Imperial Tribute

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  • Gordon Raynal
    Hi Ernie, You ll see my note to Bob. ... I ll leave to you the assessment of what is extreme. ... I don t think this is correct because I can understand,
    Message 1 of 41 , Oct 24, 2005
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      Hi Ernie,
      You'll see my note to Bob.
      On Oct 24, 2005, at 7:47 AM, Ernest Pennells wrote:

      > [Gordon Raynal]
      >> Why the bit of confidence I do have about sayings?<
      >
      > The extreme view of Gospel truth as an inerrant record challenges
      > credulity
      > because of apparent discrepancies between the texts available to us,
      > which
      > resist honest reconciliation. To dismiss the whole package as fiction
      > seems
      > no less extreme.

      I'll leave to you the assessment of what is "extreme."

      > It fails to adequately explain the origins of Christianity
      > and implies that the church ought to revere the author(s), not Jesus.

      I don't think this is correct because I can understand, based in TANAK
      and the material that I think is earliest, how the interpretive
      matrices grew and expanded. As for whom to revere, the good Calvinist
      in me says we revere God and our understandings about Jesus are related
      to that and not the other way around:)! This is, obviously, a
      theological issue, not a historical one.

      > My
      > appeal is that the same standards of critical scrutiny be applied to
      > both
      > Jesus' words and his deeds. I oppose a double standard.

      And that is fine and I understand that. But I do think there is a
      difference between speech and events. As Julian Hill, of the Jesus
      Seminar... a fine English Episcopalian Priest and PhD NT professor,
      summed it up in an aphorism: "Words are repeated, events are reported."
      The nature of the aphorisms and parables are such that they are
      imminently memorable forms of speech. What we see by carefully looking
      at them in the sources are where there are agreements as to statements
      and clear examples of emendation and new creation (via adding to
      individual sayings and stories (in the case of parables giving them "a
      moral"), by clustering sayings, by putting them in particular stories,
      by referencing TANAK resources and by their inclusion in whole works
      that give them a certain sort of slant). Because of this I can
      comfortably make the distinction between sayings and deeds, but again
      you will note that even in this I'm tentative at best about precise
      historical probabilities as regards HJ.
      >
      > It is hardly surprising that Jesus tradition is rich with the language
      > and
      > imagery of Tanak. For those brought up in a synagogue environment,
      > the
      > scriptures were a primary source for whatever skills in literacy they
      > developed. Their exposure to other literature may have been limited.
      > This
      > was the writing style they knew. Why should we expect their stories
      > to be
      > recorded in any other fashion?

      You put this in the form, if I may, of their habit of writing style
      because of their background (clarify, if I'm misunderstanding you). I
      do think it is more than that. Reading Jonah, for example, I think
      this represents a very carefully crafted work. And I think the same
      about Mark and his followers. Indeed reading Matthew after Mark I
      think the changes and new creations are very carefully thought out ones
      based in theological thought.
      >
      > XTalk is a forum for historical enquiry. This thread was initiated by
      > an
      > article that examines the synoptic account of a climactic sequence in
      > the
      > career of Jesus using a lens drawn from Tanak (biblical justice). As
      > an
      > exponent of "theological fiction" regarding HJ's deeds, I would value
      > your
      > critique of that attempt. At present, you seem to simply dismiss the
      > whole
      > historical enterprise, except for parables and aphorisms only known to
      > us
      > through writings you categorise as theological fiction.

      I'll be glad to comment from time to time. I'm most interested,
      whatever the history one claims, in the issue of hermeneutics and how
      the assessments fold together in understanding the received material.
      > The thematic echoes
      > you cite from Paul and James are no stronger than the socio-historical
      > context that lends credibility to a demonstration against temple tax
      > by HJ.

      I don't have time to go into this fully at the moment (I've got to work
      on my sermon for next week... hopefully a creative theological
      endeavor:)!), but I think we can have some assurances about the common
      base of the words and ideas that launched Christianity out of the
      commonality that we find between G. Thomas, Paul, the Didache, Q, Ep.
      James, and the Canonical 4 as to key sayings from Jesus and/or
      summations of "the gist" of those sayings. That said, again I lose no
      sleep about not knowing much about history 2 millennia ago. If this
      afternoon someone digging around Capernaum finds a box with Jesus'
      diary and the newspaper review by the Rome Daily Times book reviewer
      with associated reflections by a number of other outsiders, then I'll
      be quite happy to start all over again in the task of literary and
      historical and theological assessments of this earliest era. But even
      then, the value of these materials that we do have are for me
      foundationally valuable for their theological, anthropological, ethical
      and artistic contents.

      Gordon Raynal
      Inman, SC
    • Gordon Raynal
      Hi Ernie, ... I entirely accept your smile. I don t mind being called radical cuz I m from that hippie generation:)! But just for some brief fun back: A.) If
      Message 41 of 41 , Oct 25, 2005
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        Hi Ernie,

        On Oct 25, 2005, at 10:29 AM, Ernest Pennells wrote:

        > [Gordon Raynal]
        >> If this afternoon someone digging around Capernaum finds a box with
        >> Jesus'
        > diary ... even then ...<
        >
        > A fair sample of "extreme" within a forum of historical enquiry :-}

        I entirely accept your smile. I don't mind being called radical cuz
        I'm from that hippie generation:)! But just for some brief fun back:

        A.) If one assesses the fundamental nature of a piece of literature to
        be fictional, then there's nothing "radical" about reading it as
        such:)!
        B.) There's nothing radical about a historical methodology that seeks
        more sources than just the internal writings of a group about it's hero
        figure to be able to judge the historicity of stories told:)!

        But hey, I'm happy to be "radical;)!"

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
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