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Re: [XTalk] Diversity

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  • Ron Price
    ... Rikk, True. ... This may seem self-evident, but surely it cannot be applied to the situation of Paul. For, whether intentional or otherwise, Paul s gospel
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 5, 2006
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      Rikk Watts wrote:

      > Every movement I know, apparently as a brute fact of human nature, has its
      > own spectrum of diversity,

      Rikk,

      True.

      > but they are still movements being bound more by
      > what they have in common than separated by their differences.

      This may seem self-evident, but surely it cannot be applied to the situation
      of Paul. For, whether intentional or otherwise, Paul's gospel was to give
      rise to a new religion. Therefore there must have come a time (which
      probably lasted many years) when the fundamental differences between Judaism
      and nascent Christianity were like steam in a heated pot with the lid
      screwed on - all ready to explode when the pressure reached a critical
      level. A serious rift between James and Paul would thus perfectly match the
      high-pressure situation to be expected when Christianity was being born
      (sorry about the mixed metaphors) out of its mother, Judaism.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • Rikk Watts
      HI Ron, haven t heard from your cheery self for a while. Hope all is well. ... Not quite sure what you mean here. I thought we were talking about diversity
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 5, 2006
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        HI Ron, haven't heard from your cheery self for a while. Hope all is well.

        >> but they are still movements being bound more by
        >> what they have in common than separated by their differences.
        >
        > This may seem self-evident, but surely it cannot be applied to the situation
        > of Paul. For, whether intentional or otherwise, Paul's gospel was to give
        > rise to a new religion. Therefore there must have come a time (which
        > probably lasted many years) when the fundamental differences between Judaism
        > and nascent Christianity were like steam in a heated pot with the lid
        > screwed on - all ready to explode when the pressure reached a critical
        > level. A serious rift between James and Paul would thus perfectly match the
        > high-pressure situation to be expected when Christianity was being born
        > (sorry about the mixed metaphors) out of its mother, Judaism.

        Not quite sure what you mean here. I thought we were talking about diversity
        within early Xty. You seem to be addressing Paul versus Judaism (which would
        be after the very earliest decades that I think David Gower had in mind and
        which I contested because it seemed to me that the early movement was too
        small to sustain much serious diversity‹whatever that means!; I'd say the
        same thing for the next hundred years or so; it seems to me that it is
        really only after that that one has sufficient cultural and geographical
        spread and numbers which is when the documentary evidence for the serious
        heresies begins to appear‹not that we should read heresies in the light of
        subsequent ugly experience).

        Are you suggesting that the break between Paul and Judaism created an
        opportunity for considerable diversity within early Xty? Sorry about my
        being obtuse.

        BTW I wouldn't just include Paul here. My scholarly expertise, if I have
        any, is in the NT use of Israel's scriptures. After years in this field I am
        convinced that the NT writers share a fundamental hermeneutic when it comes
        to reading Israel's scriptures in the light of Jesus. Have they all been
        subject to a Pauline filter? I don't think so (hence the diversity, even if
        to my mind over played). It is this that suggests to me a common core.

        James and Paul might differ on what people should and to what extent keep
        the Law and its on-going significance, though surely our evidence here is
        mighty scanty (but it keeps us in business right by giving us gaps to fill
        with imaginative theories). But who's to say a) that a given reconstruction
        of James is correct (e.g. we don't know if the agitators' in Galatians
        really had James' support and what if Acts 15 is not just Luke's imaginative
        reconstruction‹Hegel is still hanging about even in a world that has
        supposedly discovered Kierkegaard), b) that the anti-Paul "James" does not
        represent a minority conservative retrogression to avoid tension in
        Jerusalem (why's Peter suddenly absent from Jerusalem?). The problem is
        there is much we don't know. But I would reiterate that the common
        hermeneutic of the NT docs points at least in my mind to a strong common
        tradition.


        Rikk
        Regent College
      • Ron Price
        ... Rikk, Yes, thanks. ... As I understand it, the topic was diversity within the early Jesus movement. ... Crucial here, surely, is how we view the outcome of
        Message 3 of 10 , Apr 6, 2006
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          Rikk Watts wrote:

          > HI Ron, haven't heard from your cheery self for a while. Hope all is well.

          Rikk,

          Yes, thanks.

          > I thought we were talking about diversity within early Xty.

          As I understand it, the topic was diversity within the early Jesus movement.

          > You seem to be addressing Paul versus Judaism (which would
          > be after the very earliest decades that I think David Gower had in mind and
          > which I contested because it seemed to me that the early movement was too
          > small to sustain much serious diversity‹whatever that means!;

          Crucial here, surely, is how we view the outcome of the Council of
          Jerusalem. If James was demanding a separation of the Jewish and Gentile
          missions, and if James was a supporter of the former while Paul was a
          supporter of the latter, then that looks to me like serious diversity.

          > Are you suggesting that the break between Paul and Judaism created an
          > opportunity for considerable diversity within early Xty?

          No. I am suggesting that the early Jesus movement started (ca. 29 CE) as a
          sect within Judaism. After the crucifixion it began to attract people
          sympathetic to Gentiles (ca. 36 CE) and to develop a theology (Jesus as the
          Son of God etc.) and a liberty (no need for circumcision etc.) which had the
          appearance of a heresy within Judaism. Most of the original members of the
          Jesus movement (James, Peter etc.) probably never accepted the new theology
          or the new liberty. There was thus a sharp division between those who
          rejected the new ideas (championed by James) and those who accepted them
          (championed by Paul). This was the main division within the early Jesus
          movement ca. 35-60 CE.

          With the dramatic successes of Paul's missionary activity, and the growing
          numbers and confidence of the new "Christians" in lands beyond Israel, the
          Gentile-friendly faction within a sect of Judaism was transformed (ca.
          60-100 CE) into the thriving new religion we know as Christianity.

          > BTW I wouldn't just include Paul here. My scholarly expertise, if I have
          > any, is in the NT use of Israel's scriptures. After years in this field I am
          > convinced that the NT writers share a fundamental hermeneutic when it comes
          > to reading Israel's scriptures in the light of Jesus. Have they all been
          > subject to a Pauline filter? I don't think so (hence the diversity, even if
          > to my mind over played). It is this that suggests to me a common core.

          I think that all the NT documents, with the possible exception of the
          Epistle of James, have been subject to a Pauline filter (by which I mean
          that they show the influence of Paul's thinking). The gospels and later
          writers do reflect the diversity of their period, but it is a diversity no
          longer centred on whether to accept Jewish regulations and strict Jewish
          monotheism, for these (at least the former) had already been largely
          abandoned. Diversity now involved other issues such as how to deal with the
          delay in the parousia, whether to present Peter as a failure or as a hero,
          whether women should be respected as equals, and just how divine was Jesus.

          > James and Paul might differ on what people should and to what extent keep
          > the Law and its on-going significance, though surely our evidence here is
          > mighty scanty ....... The problem is there is much we don't know.

          I guess this is what makes the discussion so interesting. If the historical
          evidence answered all the questions unambiguously, there'd be nothing to
          discuss!

          Ron Price

          Derbyshire, UK

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • Loren Rosson
          Laura Miller of Salon reviews/contrasts Baigent’s “Jesus Papers” with Tabor’s “Jesus Dynasty”. I’ve been through Tabor’s book and am not too
          Message 4 of 10 , Apr 7, 2006
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            Laura Miller of Salon reviews/contrasts Baigent’s
            “Jesus Papers” with Tabor’s “Jesus Dynasty”. I’ve been
            through Tabor’s book and am not too wild about it,
            though obviously anything stands as a remedy to
            Baigent.

            http://salon.com/books/review/2006/04/07/baigent/

            From the review (you have to read an add before
            reading the full thing):

            “The most intriguing discovery to be found in ‘The
            Jesus Papers’ will probably only interest those of us
            who pursue the odd and somewhat pitiful hobby of
            crank-watching; it's finally clear from reading this
            book that it was Baigent -- rather than co-authors
            Leigh and Henry Lincoln -- who actually wrote ‘Holy
            Blood, Holy Grail.’ . . . The style of ‘The Jesus
            Papers,’ a masterly counterpoint of bluster, false
            humility and self-righteousness, matches that of ‘Holy
            Blood, Holy Grail’ like a fingerprint. . .

            “Readers who have only recently learned, via ‘The Da
            Vinci Code,’ of the complicated history of the New
            Testament, are much better served by books like
            Tabor's [‘Jesus Dynasty’] than by conspiracy-mongering
            like ‘The Jesus Papers.’ . . . Like Baigent, [Tabor]
            doesn't believe in the literal truth of the
            resurrection, but unlike Baigent, he keeps his
            religious beliefs to himself. . .

            “Like all efforts to re-create historical events from
            the New Testament, ‘The Jesus Dynasty’ is by necessity
            highly interpretive and contestable, but it's
            certainly more grounded than the fantasies of ‘The
            Jesus Papers.’ Tabor is primarily interested in
            recovering the history of Jesus' immediate family --
            his mother, four brothers and two sisters -- who, he
            maintains, played a far more important role in the
            young religious movement than is generally known. . .

            “If [Tabor’s] book can't win at least a few readers
            away from ‘The Jesus Papers’ this Easter, then, well,
            there is no God.”

            Loren Rosson III
            Nashua NH
            http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com/

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          • goranson@duke.edu
            Apparently Baigent lost his court case against Da Vinci Code Brown: http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1218040,00.html Stephen Goranson
            Message 5 of 10 , Apr 7, 2006
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              Apparently Baigent lost his court case against Da Vinci Code Brown:

              http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1218040,00.html

              Stephen Goranson
              http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
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