Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [XTalk] Paul's silence on Jesus as miracle worker

Expand Messages
  • Kenneth Litwak
    ... While you find midrash too broad and an unhelpful way to categorize the story writers imaginative process, I will simply have to disagree.Ken:  Gordon, so
    Message 1 of 29 , Aug 2, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      --- On Thu, 7/31/08, Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...> wrote:
      > Dear Tony & Gordon,

      >

      > I would like to object to the proposition that the literary form of

      > the stories are "often midrashic". Not because it isn't true, but

      > because it isn't helpful. The manner in which the term is used is

      > simply too broad.

      >

      > Strack and Stemberger state ("Introduction to the Talmud and

      > Midrash", p. 235) that Midrash cannot really be defined, only

      > described (which is at the heart of the problem), and they do so as

      > follows: "a literature, oral or written, which stands in direct

      > relationship to a fixed canonical text ..." This furthermore

      > includes not only the text as they stand, but also the events they

      > refer to. Of course, taking the terms so broadly you might call the

      > Gospels midrash, but that is hardly helpful. Almost any surviving

      > Jewish text (and a great many Christian) can be termed midrash. In

      > other words Midrash is just "intertext". I object to the use of

      > Midrash, because it seems to imply that there is Jewish/Israelite

      > literature that does what the Gospels supposedly did by adopting

      > stories from the Elijah-Elisha cycle (and call it "midrash"). As

      > far as I have been able to learn that is not the case. The Gospels

      > do have something that looks like a form of Midrash,

      > namely Pesher.


      While you find midrash too broad and an unhelpful way to categorize

      the story writers imaginative process, I will simply have to

      disagree.Ken: 
      Gordon, so you are basically saying, "I don't care that I'm misusing a technical term ina way that no one else woudl support and that therefore is of no value in communication.  No matter who objects to it, I'm going to do it anyway."  Is that a fair summary?  Richard Hays in _Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul_ showed many years ago the problems of attaching the term "midrash" even to Paul's explicit interpretations of Scripture.  FIrst, in that case, and in yours, it is grossly anachronistic.  "MIdrash" as an established technique is from the Rabbinica period, after about 200 A.D., so far as we know.  Second, "midrash" is a form of interpretation, a way of explaining Scripture.  There is no evidence that it equals "taking elements fomr a biblcial narrative and inventing a completely new narrative about something else out of whole cloth."  So when you use midrash to describe anything in the gospels, it is simply invalid from a technical
      point of view.  Why do you insist on an invalid use of the word "midrash"?

         On top of that, you have not actually pointed to any literature contemporary with or prior to the gospels that share the same genre(s) of bios or historiography that evince what you are suggesting.  You may not accept those genre identifications, but for example, I have not seen anyone provide any evidence at all that meaningfully challenges Richard Burrdige's demonstration from actual data (not merely assertions) that Mark is an example of Greco-Roman Bios.

           Third, as to the specifics of the Elijah-Elisha narratives having parallels in the gospels. Thomas Brodie has demonstrated this well in many places.  However, an important point beyond or next to his needs to be made.

         As many, such as Baumgarten or White have shown (White especially), no one ever recounts history-as-it-happened.  That's a 19th centuiry myth invented by von Ranke and others of a Positivist persuasion. Rather, we only ever write or read history-as-it-is-narrated.  When you connect this fact that hsitory is always and only what is narrated in precisely the way an author wishes to present it, and combine that with the fact Hellensitic historiographers sought eagerly to both imitate those who came before them and to show how those in their narratives were part of peoples in the past (see works by Marincola, as well as The Past is a Foreign Country), it is not at surprising that Luke, as one example, would seek to show how Jesus of Nazareth was like Elijah and Elisha in the past. 

         However, it is entirely possible, and indeed likely, from a generic point of view (that is, the genre of Luke as Hellenisitic historiography), that Luke is only making those connections and narrating them because that is how it happened so far as he understood, as opposed to narrating other things he might have known or oculd have chosen to say. 

         You seem to be making the facile assumption, indeed, one might say presupposing as an a priori, that because one or more elements in the Scriptures of Israel are echoed in some manner in a gospel narrative that htereore it os obvious that the gospel account is an invention and the story recounts something that never happened.  You have not offered anything to support that, however, except your repreated "I disagree."  With all due respect, such an argument would get a very poor grade from me if a student tried it. It carries no weight with me certainly.

      Ken Litwak

       

      _._,___


















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Gordon Raynal
      Hi Ken, ... You are correct, of course that midrash is a technical term that is related to what you speak of, but it is also a term that I have heard used many
      Message 2 of 29 , Aug 3, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Ken,
        On Aug 3, 2008, at 1:48 AM, Kenneth Litwak wrote:

        >
        > .Ken:
        > Gordon, so you are basically saying, "I don't care that I'm
        > misusing a technical term ina way that no one else woudl support
        > and that therefore is of no value in communication. No matter who
        > objects to it, I'm going to do it anyway." Is that a fair
        > summary? Richard Hays in _Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of
        > Paul_ showed many years ago the problems of attaching the term
        > "midrash" even to Paul's explicit interpretations of Scripture.
        > FIrst, in that case, and in yours, it is grossly anachronistic.
        > "MIdrash" as an established technique is from the Rabbinica period,
        > after about 200 A.D., so far as we know. Second, "midrash" is a
        > form of interpretation, a way of explaining Scripture. There is no
        > evidence that it equals "taking elements fomr a biblcial narrative
        > and inventing a completely new narrative about something else out
        > of whole cloth." So when you use midrash to describe anything in
        > the gospels, it is simply invalid from a technical
        > point of view. Why do you insist on an invalid use of the word
        > "midrash"?

        You are correct, of course that midrash is a technical term that is
        related to what you speak of, but it is also a term that I have heard
        used many times to talk about the particular creative story telling
        process we find in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures themselves.
        Where did I hear that? Well, one place was at the local temple and
        in several lovely discussions of the creativity we find within Torah,
        itself, not to mention the rest of the Tanak. The rabbi and the 2
        lay teachers (both college professor PhD's) freely used that term in
        regard to this particular kind of Hebraic/ Jewish story telling
        creativity. I think that is most appropriate and it is that that
        I've been talking about.
        >
        > On top of that, you have not actually pointed to any literature
        > contemporary with or prior to the gospels that share the same genre
        > (s) of bios or historiography that evince what you are suggesting.
        > You may not accept those genre identifications, but for example, I
        > have not seen anyone provide any evidence at all that meaningfully
        > challenges Richard Burrdige's demonstration from actual data (not
        > merely assertions) that Mark is an example of Greco-Roman Bios.

        Open the OT... there are a whole lot of stories to where you'll find
        exactly what I'm talking about. For a key one and I don't have time
        just now to do a verse by verse review of this and so will only give
        an off the top of the head response (and BTW... this is one of the
        things that aforementioned rabbi and teachers talked about), but the
        story of the escape from Egypt within those texts has a story of
        escaping slaves through the marsh land under YHWH Elohim's guidance,
        the Song of Miriam which adds the element of "horse and rider thrown
        into the sea," the ramping of this story to the whole text
        understanding of Moses with his Staff from God parting the waters,
        the Israelites safely marching through and then the Egyptians getting
        crushed. And then (again pardon my forgetting the dating) but the
        later rabbinic story that Moses didn't make for just one column of
        water to walk through, but rather God made for 12 columns, one for
        each tribe that is extra Torah text. That's a fine example of
        developmental creativity that is both behind and beyond the Exodus
        story. Fine by me, if you prefer using a different term for this
        kind of theological story creativity, but again the local rabbi was
        quite happy to use it.
        >
        > Third, as to the specifics of the Elijah-Elisha narratives
        > having parallels in the gospels. Thomas Brodie has demonstrated
        > this well in many places. However, an important point beyond or
        > next to his needs to be made.
        >
        > As many, such as Baumgarten or White have shown (White
        > especially), no one ever recounts history-as-it-happened. That's a
        > 19th centuiry myth invented by von Ranke and others of a Positivist
        > persuasion. Rather, we only ever write or read history-as-it-is-
        > narrated. When you connect this fact that hsitory is always and
        > only what is narrated in precisely the way an author wishes to
        > present it, and combine that with the fact Hellensitic
        > historiographers sought eagerly to both imitate those who came
        > before them and to show how those in their narratives were part of
        > peoples in the past (see works by Marincola, as well as The Past is
        > a Foreign Country), it is not at surprising that Luke, as one
        > example, would seek to show how Jesus of Nazareth was like Elijah
        > and Elisha in the past.

        All of this simply gets to our fundamental disagreement about what a
        narrative gospel is. You are obviously convinced by the authors you
        site that we're dealing with biography. Citing all these who
        convince you of this, does not convince me. I'm fine with
        disagreeing about this.
        >
        >
        > However, it is entirely possible, and indeed likely, from a
        > generic point of view (that is, the genre of Luke as Hellenisitic
        > historiography), that Luke is only making those connections and
        > narrating them because that is how it happened so far as he
        > understood, as opposed to narrating other things he might have
        > known or oculd have chosen to say.
        >
        > You seem to be making the facile assumption, indeed, one might
        > say presupposing as an a priori, that because one or more elements
        > in the Scriptures of Israel are echoed in some manner in a gospel
        > narrative that htereore it os obvious that the gospel account is an
        > invention and the story recounts something that never happened.
        > You have not offered anything to support that, however, except your
        > repreated "I disagree." With all due respect, such an argument
        > would get a very poor grade from me if a student tried it. It
        > carries no weight with me certainly.

        For you this is "facile." So be it. Again, I'd just say open the OT
        and there are bucket loads of stories where one can discover this
        kind of creative theological story telling.

        Gordon Raynal
        Inman, SC
        >
        > Ken Litwak
        >
      • Daniel Grolin
        Dear Ken, I agree with what you are saying here, even if I would not have put it so bluntly. I to think that Burridge s determination of the genre of the
        Message 3 of 29 , Aug 4, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Ken,

          I agree with what you are saying here, even if I would not have put it so bluntly. I to think that Burridge's determination of the genre of the gospels as bioi as a major problem for those positing it as a largely imaginative work. In addition I would point to Byrskog's book "Story as history and history as story". Another book of possible relevance is Bauckham's "Jesus and the eyewitnesses", I have yet to read it and determine for myself if I find it viable.

          Regards,
          Daniel


          __________________________________________________________
          Not happy with your email address?.
          Get the one you really want - millions of new email addresses available now at Yahoo! http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/ymail/new.html
        • Kenneth Litwak
          Hi Gordon,   I m not gong to intersperse my comments because that would not be helpful, even though I think that means I m breaking some protocol.   Instead
          Message 4 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Gordon,

              I"m not gong to intersperse my comments because that would not be helpful, even though I think that means I'm breaking some protocol.   Instead I want to focus on what I see as a significant problem in your presentation. 

               It is, I believe, axiomatic that a writer must craft a work in a genre that an audience can recognize and knows how to interpret.  I'm hardly the first person to say this, so I don't need to defend it other than to say that if a "gospel" were a special  genre, or sui generis, no one in the first century or afterwards even, would have had any idea what it was or how to read it or interpret it. 

              This implies that the gospels were written according to established principles of well-recognized genres.  Otherwise, their audiences, from Rome to Ephesus, would have had  no idea what they were or how to read them.  So, with reference to your view,

            1.  Name for me the principles or elements of midrash that a first-century audience, either Jewish, Gentile, or mixed, would have clearly recognized.  I can do that for Bios or historiography but midrash I can't. 

            2.,  Can you tell me the Second Temple models (excluding the Scriptures of Israel) that would have been well-known as examples of midrash and that look like the gospels?

            3.  What are the examples of midrash form prior to the first-century A.D., known across the empire, that feature a Jewish sage who looks like a cynic and nothing else?

            4.  You point to the Scriptures of Israel as themselves being examples of midrash.  Since you cannot point to the story that lies behind the Exodus story and the like so that we can see clearly exactly how those original stories were modified and turned into fictional accounts that bear no relation to anything that ever happened, much as you seem to think the gospels are pure fantasy or close enough that they are useless for learning anything about any real event. That is what I gather you have been saying in your various posts.   Why is it that Jesus' contemporaries don't seem to have recognized the Exodus story as a fictional account based on some other story?  What a modern rabbi might have to say is not relevant for how the text was understood by first-century Jews or Gentiles.  Indeed, it seems rather odd that Josephus would rely upon what you consider total fiction in his efforts to defend the Jews as a noble and ancient race.

            Ken Litwak

            --- On Sun, 8/3/08, Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...> wrote:
            From: Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...>
            Subject: Re: [XTalk] Paul's silence on Jesus as miracle worker
            To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
            Cc: "Michael Ensley" <mensley@...>
            Date: Sunday, August 3, 2008, 10:47 AM











            Hi Ken,

            On Aug 3, 2008, at 1:48 AM, Kenneth Litwak wrote:



            >

            > .Ken:

            > Gordon, so you are basically saying, "I don't care that I'm

            > misusing a technical term ina way that no one else woudl support

            > and that therefore is of no value in communication. No matter who

            > objects to it, I'm going to do it anyway." Is that a fair

            > summary? Richard Hays in _Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of

            > Paul_ showed many years ago the problems of attaching the term

            > "midrash" even to Paul's explicit interpretations of Scripture.

            > FIrst, in that case, and in yours, it is grossly anachronistic.

            > "MIdrash" as an established technique is from the Rabbinica period,

            > after about 200 A.D., so far as we know. Second, "midrash" is a

            > form of interpretation, a way of explaining Scripture. There is no

            > evidence that it equals "taking elements fomr a biblcial narrative

            > and inventing a completely new narrative about something else out

            > of whole cloth." So when you use midrash to describe anything in

            > the gospels, it is simply invalid from a technical

            > point of view. Why do you insist on an invalid use of the word

            > "midrash"?



            You are correct, of course that midrash is a technical term that is

            related to what you speak of, but it is also a term that I have heard

            used many times to talk about the particular creative story telling

            process we find in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures themselves.

            Where did I hear that? Well, one place was at the local temple and

            in several lovely discussions of the creativity we find within Torah,

            itself, not to mention the rest of the Tanak. The rabbi and the 2

            lay teachers (both college professor PhD's) freely used that term in

            regard to this particular kind of Hebraic/ Jewish story telling

            creativity. I think that is most appropriate and it is that that

            I've been talking about.

            >

            > On top of that, you have not actually pointed to any literature

            > contemporary with or prior to the gospels that share the same genre

            > (s) of bios or historiography that evince what you are suggesting.

            > You may not accept those genre identifications, but for example, I

            > have not seen anyone provide any evidence at all that meaningfully

            > challenges Richard Burrdige's demonstration from actual data (not

            > merely assertions) that Mark is an example of Greco-Roman Bios.



            Open the OT... there are a whole lot of stories to where you'll find

            exactly what I'm talking about. For a key one and I don't have time

            just now to do a verse by verse review of this and so will only give

            an off the top of the head response (and BTW... this is one of the

            things that aforementioned rabbi and teachers talked about), but the

            story of the escape from Egypt within those texts has a story of

            escaping slaves through the marsh land under YHWH Elohim's guidance,

            the Song of Miriam which adds the element of "horse and rider thrown

            into the sea," the ramping of this story to the whole text

            understanding of Moses with his Staff from God parting the waters,

            the Israelites safely marching through and then the Egyptians getting

            crushed. And then (again pardon my forgetting the dating) but the

            later rabbinic story that Moses didn't make for just one column of

            water to walk through, but rather God made for 12 columns, one for

            each tribe that is extra Torah text. That's a fine example of

            developmental creativity that is both behind and beyond the Exodus

            story. Fine by me, if you prefer using a different term for this

            kind of theological story creativity, but again the local rabbi was

            quite happy to use it.

            >

            > Third, as to the specifics of the Elijah-Elisha narratives

            > having parallels in the gospels. Thomas Brodie has demonstrated

            > this well in many places. However, an important point beyond or

            > next to his needs to be made.

            >

            > As many, such as Baumgarten or White have shown (White

            > especially), no one ever recounts history-as-it- happened. That's a

            > 19th centuiry myth invented by von Ranke and others of a Positivist

            > persuasion. Rather, we only ever write or read history-as-it- is-

            > narrated. When you connect this fact that hsitory is always and

            > only what is narrated in precisely the way an author wishes to

            > present it, and combine that with the fact Hellensitic

            > historiographers sought eagerly to both imitate those who came

            > before them and to show how those in their narratives were part of

            > peoples in the past (see works by Marincola, as well as The Past is

            > a Foreign Country), it is not at surprising that Luke, as one

            > example, would seek to show how Jesus of Nazareth was like Elijah

            > and Elisha in the past.



            All of this simply gets to our fundamental disagreement about what a

            narrative gospel is. You are obviously convinced by the authors you

            site that we're dealing with biography. Citing all these who

            convince you of this, does not convince me. I'm fine with

            disagreeing about this.

            >

            >

            > However, it is entirely possible, and indeed likely, from a

            > generic point of view (that is, the genre of Luke as Hellenisitic

            > historiography) , that Luke is only making those connections and

            > narrating them because that is how it happened so far as he

            > understood, as opposed to narrating other things he might have

            > known or oculd have chosen to say.

            >

            > You seem to be making the facile assumption, indeed, one might

            > say presupposing as an a priori, that because one or more elements

            > in the Scriptures of Israel are echoed in some manner in a gospel

            > narrative that htereore it os obvious that the gospel account is an

            > invention and the story recounts something that never happened.

            > You have not offered anything to support that, however, except your

            > repreated "I disagree." With all due respect, such an argument

            > would get a very poor grade from me if a student tried it. It

            > carries no weight with me certainly.



            For you this is "facile." So be it. Again, I'd just say open the OT

            and there are bucket loads of stories where one can discover this

            kind of creative theological story telling.



            Gordon Raynal

            Inman, SC

            >

            > Ken Litwak

            >



























            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Gordon Raynal
            Hi Ken, ... Obviously humans tell stories and if the markers of the recognizable conditions of life on planet Earth are there, then it will be recognizable.
            Message 5 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Ken,

              On Aug 9, 2008, at 3:27 AM, Kenneth Litwak wrote:

              > Hi Gordon,
              >
              > I"m not gong to intersperse my comments because that would not be
              > helpful, even though I think that means I'm breaking some
              > protocol. Instead I want to focus on what I see as a significant
              > problem in your presentation.
              >
              > It is, I believe, axiomatic that a writer must craft a work in a
              > genre that an audience can recognize and knows how to interpret.
              > I'm hardly the first person to say this, so I don't need to defend
              > it other than to say that if a "gospel" were a special genre, or
              > sui generis, no one in the first century or afterwards even, would
              > have had any idea what it was or how to read it or interpret it.

              Obviously humans tell stories and if the markers of the recognizable
              conditions of life on planet Earth are there, then it will be
              "recognizable." Narrative realism is a good term to describe the
              craft of all such stories. As to how to interpret this particular
              kind of story, interwoven into the very fabric of the story are the
              authorial chosen keys. In Mark we are presented with the
              foundational key from the outset... this is "a good news" of Jesus
              Christ the Son of God. And, if you'll allow me to jump to John's
              Gospel for a clear statement of the intent of all the gospels: "But
              these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the
              Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life
              in his name." (John 20:31 NRSV)
              >
              >
              > This implies that the gospels were written according to
              > established principles of well-recognized genres. Otherwise, their
              > audiences, from Rome to Ephesus, would have had no idea what they
              > were or how to read them. So, with reference to your view,
              >
              > 1. Name for me the principles or elements of midrash that a first-
              > century audience, either Jewish, Gentile, or mixed, would have
              > clearly recognized. I can do that for Bios or historiography but
              > midrash I can't.

              If one accepts that the point of this kind of writing is theological
              affirmation (sort of clear that Jesus is proclaimed from the start of
              Mark as "Christ the Son of God"), ethical espousal and deliberation,
              communal ethos affirmation and development centered around
              characterization (identity affirmation of the founder), then the keys
              to laying out the Scripture search to make for this characterization
              are plain enough. Matthew takes Mark and makes it ever so explicit
              from the beginning with the key choice of "son of Abraham" and "son
              of David" as two of the prime characterization markers. As the
              theology and ethics take off from the received heritage then one sees
              the various kinds of moves utilized: direct quotation of Scriptures,
              comparison with earlier characterizations, recapitulation of specific
              events or series of events, actions and the words that go with them,
              but also thematic or simply metaphorical association. These are core
              elements that the gospel authors used quite creatively! As the
              received weave of the Hebrew narrative is so rich they had a lot to
              work with.
              >
              >
              > 2., Can you tell me the Second Temple models (excluding the
              > Scriptures of Israel) that would have been well-known as examples
              > of midrash and that look like the gospels?

              As I'm asking you (and all) to think in terms of the art of story
              telling, then there are analogs in every culture found in the growth
              of culturally specific story traditions. Just read works in Greek
              mythology to see the wondrous imagination of those mythmakers. The
              Israelite writers were not doing something odd or unrecognizable.
              What differentiates the story telling process has to do with the
              espoused theology and ethics. Midrash, as a term, is useful in
              pointing to how the interweave of story telling built on top of
              itself within the framework of espousing said theology, ethics and
              social praxis.
              >
              > 3. What are the examples of midrash form prior to the first-
              > century A.D., known across the empire, that feature a Jewish sage
              > who looks like a cynic and nothing else?

              Now this is an interesting sentence and I'm not entirely certain all
              you are trying to imply with it. You'll have to open that up for
              me. But, in the first place, I don't want to start with (capital C)
              cynics. I want you to look backwards into the Israelite heritage
              itself, first. And what do we find there? Wisdom works? Yes! Job,
              Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, for those specifically
              identified as wisdom works... and the first is a story book wisdom
              book! Before proceeding onward from TANAK we also find noted wisdom
              discourse across TANAK. And then proceeding onward we find that
              these Hebrew folk had a very living wisdom heritage, as is seen in
              such as ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon. Inside the Scriptures
              and continuing wisdom discourse and wisdom story creativity was quite
              alive among the Hebrew folk. And I would like to suggest to you that
              such as the books of Ruth and Jonah are in fact extended parables and
              that they provide nice wisdom crafted works we find in the OT
              Scriptures themselves. But then you have already presented an
              example, not native to Israel, and that is the Cynic philosophical
              heritage. Well worth everyone's time to investigate some of the
              stories and words about such as Diogenes of Sinope for comparison to
              how such kinds of words work. Burton Mack's book on Q has a very
              good discussion of the parallels and what was a bit different about
              the Hebrew folk and Jesus and friends, in particular.

              And I just have to say this... real wisdom communicates across all
              cultures because "sense" makes sense:)!
              >
              > 4. You point to the Scriptures of Israel as themselves being
              > examples of midrash. Since you cannot point to the story that lies
              > behind the Exodus story and the like so that we can see clearly
              > exactly how those original stories were modified and turned into
              > fictional accounts that bear no relation to anything that ever
              > happened, much as you seem to think the gospels are pure fantasy or
              > close enough that they are useless for learning anything about any
              > real event. That is what I gather you have been saying in your
              > various posts. Why is it that Jesus' contemporaries don't seem to
              > have recognized the Exodus story as a fictional account based on
              > some other story? What a modern rabbi might have to say is not
              > relevant for how the text was understood by first-century Jews or
              > Gentiles. Indeed, it seems rather odd that Josephus would rely
              > upon what you consider total fiction in his efforts to defend the
              > Jews as a noble and ancient race.

              My response to this paragraph: why do you assume I think the gospels
              are well described by the term, "fantasy?" And why do you assume
              that ancient folk did not understand the craft of story telling?

              And I'll end on this related note. Nearly 30 years ago in my first
              seminary course on theology, one of the very first discussions in the
              class was on the nature of theological language. My very traditional
              Reformed theology prof made it very clear that theological language
              is the language of metaphor. Powerful, image rich story telling of
              many kinds of genres is rooted in the language of metaphor, of
              course, and hence story telling is a prime form of that theological
              and ethical communication. Jesus understood that! He told
              parables. I don't find it the least bit odd that his followers did
              precisely the same sort of thing in his honor.

              Gordon Raynal
              Inman, SC
              >
              > Ken Litwak
              >
              >
            • Ken Olson
              Hi Ken, I ve had a lot of difficulty following many of the arguments about the gospels that are based on genre, so I m hoping you can clarify a few points for
              Message 6 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                Hi Ken,

                I've had a lot of difficulty following many of the arguments about the gospels that are based on genre, so I'm hoping you can clarify a few points for me.

                First, don't we have a large number of ancient works that don't fit easily into any single established genre (i.e., a "pure" genre), such as Apuleius' Memorphosis or Philostratus' Life of Apollonius, for example? And don't a number of works borrow elements from other genres, such as Thucydides' use of diagnosis in his history or, in the gospels, Mark's use of apocalyptic in a bios (if the gospels are indeed bioi)? It seems to me that genre conventions were never rigidly maintained, or at least they were often crossed. Finally, what genre would some of the apocryphal works like the Gospel of Peter or the Infancy Gospel of Thomas belong to? Were their authors' literary geniuses doing something that had never been done before, or were they following some known generic conventions?

                Best,

                Ken

                Ken Olson, PhD Student, Duke University



                To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.comFrom: javajedi2@...: Sat, 9 Aug 2008 00:27:19 -0700Subject: [XTalk] Gospel Genre -- to Gordon




                Hi Gordon, I"m not gong to intersperse my comments because that would not be helpful, even though I think that means I'm breaking some protocol. Instead I want to focus on what I see as a significant problem in your presentation. It is, I believe, axiomatic that a writer must craft a work in a genre that an audience can recognize and knows how to interpret. I'm hardly the first person to say this, so I don't need to defend it other than to say that if a "gospel" were a special genre, or sui generis, no one in the first century or afterwards even, would have had any idea what it was or how to read it or interpret it. This implies that the gospels were written according to established principles of well-recognized genres. Otherwise, their audiences, from Rome to Ephesus, would have had no idea what they were or how to read them. So, with reference to your view,1. Name for me the principles or elements of midrash that a first-century audience, either Jewish, Gentile, or mixed, would have clearly recognized. I can do that for Bios or historiography but midrash I can't. 2., Can you tell me the Second Temple models (excluding the Scriptures of Israel) that would have been well-known as examples of midrash and that look like the gospels?3. What are the examples of midrash form prior to the first-century A.D., known across the empire, that feature a Jewish sage who looks like a cynic and nothing else?4. You point to the Scriptures of Israel as themselves being examples of midrash. Since you cannot point to the story that lies behind the Exodus story and the like so that we can see clearly exactly how those original stories were modified and turned into fictional accounts that bear no relation to anything that ever happened, much as you seem to think the gospels are pure fantasy or close enough that they are useless for learning anything about any real event. That is what I gather you have been saying in your various posts. Why is it that Jesus' contemporaries don't seem to have recognized the Exodus story as a fictional account based on some other story? What a modern rabbi might have to say is not relevant for how the text was understood by first-century Jews or Gentiles. Indeed, it seems rather odd that Josephus would rely upon what you consider total fiction in his efforts to defend the Jews as a noble and ancient race.Ken Litwak--- On Sun, 8/3/08, Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...> wrote:From: Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...>Subject: Re: [XTalk] Paul's silence on Jesus as miracle workerTo: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.comCc: "Michael Ensley" <mensley@...>Date: Sunday, August 3, 2008, 10:47 AMHi Ken,On Aug 3, 2008, at 1:48 AM, Kenneth Litwak wrote:>> .Ken:> Gordon, so you are basically saying, "I don't care that I'm > misusing a technical term ina way that no one else woudl support > and that therefore is of no value in communication. No matter who > objects to it, I'm going to do it anyway." Is that a fair > summary? Richard Hays in _Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of > Paul_ showed many years ago the problems of attaching the term > "midrash" even to Paul's explicit interpretations of Scripture. > FIrst, in that case, and in yours, it is grossly anachronistic. > "MIdrash" as an established technique is from the Rabbinica period, > after about 200 A.D., so far as we know. Second, "midrash" is a > form of interpretation, a way of explaining Scripture. There is no > evidence that it equals "taking elements fomr a biblcial narrative > and inventing a completely new narrative about something else out > of whole cloth." So when you use midrash to describe anything in > the gospels, it is simply invalid from a technical> point of view. Why do you insist on an invalid use of the word > "midrash"?You are correct, of course that midrash is a technical term that is related to what you speak of, but it is also a term that I have heard used many times to talk about the particular creative story telling process we find in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures themselves. Where did I hear that? Well, one place was at the local temple and in several lovely discussions of the creativity we find within Torah, itself, not to mention the rest of the Tanak. The rabbi and the 2 lay teachers (both college professor PhD's) freely used that term in regard to this particular kind of Hebraic/ Jewish story telling creativity. I think that is most appropriate and it is that that I've been talking about.>> On top of that, you have not actually pointed to any literature > contemporary with or prior to the gospels that share the same genre > (s) of bios or historiography that evince what you are suggesting. > You may not accept those genre identifications, but for example, I > have not seen anyone provide any evidence at all that meaningfully > challenges Richard Burrdige's demonstration from actual data (not > merely assertions) that Mark is an example of Greco-Roman Bios.Open the OT... there are a whole lot of stories to where you'll find exactly what I'm talking about. For a key one and I don't have time just now to do a verse by verse review of this and so will only give an off the top of the head response (and BTW... this is one of the things that aforementioned rabbi and teachers talked about), but the story of the escape from Egypt within those texts has a story of escaping slaves through the marsh land under YHWH Elohim's guidance, the Song of Miriam which adds the element of "horse and rider thrown into the sea," the ramping of this story to the whole text understanding of Moses with his Staff from God parting the waters, the Israelites safely marching through and then the Egyptians getting crushed. And then (again pardon my forgetting the dating) but the later rabbinic story that Moses didn't make for just one column of water to walk through, but rather God made for 12 columns, one for each tribe that is extra Torah text. That's a fine example of developmental creativity that is both behind and beyond the Exodus story. Fine by me, if you prefer using a different term for this kind of theological story creativity, but again the local rabbi was quite happy to use it.>> Third, as to the specifics of the Elijah-Elisha narratives > having parallels in the gospels. Thomas Brodie has demonstrated > this well in many places. However, an important point beyond or > next to his needs to be made.>> As many, such as Baumgarten or White have shown (White > especially), no one ever recounts history-as-it- happened. That's a > 19th centuiry myth invented by von Ranke and others of a Positivist > persuasion. Rather, we only ever write or read history-as-it- is- > narrated. When you connect this fact that hsitory is always and > only what is narrated in precisely the way an author wishes to > present it, and combine that with the fact Hellensitic > historiographers sought eagerly to both imitate those who came > before them and to show how those in their narratives were part of > peoples in the past (see works by Marincola, as well as The Past is > a Foreign Country), it is not at surprising that Luke, as one > example, would seek to show how Jesus of Nazareth was like Elijah > and Elisha in the past.All of this simply gets to our fundamental disagreement about what a narrative gospel is. You are obviously convinced by the authors you site that we're dealing with biography. Citing all these who convince you of this, does not convince me. I'm fine with disagreeing about this.>>> However, it is entirely possible, and indeed likely, from a > generic point of view (that is, the genre of Luke as Hellenisitic > historiography) , that Luke is only making those connections and > narrating them because that is how it happened so far as he > understood, as opposed to narrating other things he might have > known or oculd have chosen to say.>> You seem to be making the facile assumption, indeed, one might > say presupposing as an a priori, that because one or more elements > in the Scriptures of Israel are echoed in some manner in a gospel > narrative that htereore it os obvious that the gospel account is an > invention and the story recounts something that never happened. > You have not offered anything to support that, however, except your > repreated "I disagree." With all due respect, such an argument > would get a very poor grade from me if a student tried it. It > carries no weight with me certainly.For you this is "facile." So be it. Again, I'd just say open the OT and there are bucket loads of stories where one can discover this kind of creative theological story telling.Gordon RaynalInman, SC>> Ken Litwak>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Gordon Raynal
                Hi Ken, ... Well, let me start here, as I haven t studied those other works, and simply make clear I don t think Mark or John are a bioi. ... G. Peter and
                Message 7 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Ken,
                  On Aug 9, 2008, at 2:26 PM, Ken Olson wrote:

                  >
                  > Hi Ken,
                  >
                  > I've had a lot of difficulty following many of the arguments about
                  > the gospels that are based on genre, so I'm hoping you can clarify
                  > a few points for me.
                  >
                  > First, don't we have a large number of ancient works that don't fit
                  > easily into any single established genre (i.e., a "pure" genre),
                  > such as Apuleius' Memorphosis or Philostratus' Life of Apollonius,
                  > for example?
                  > And don't a number of works borrow elements from other genres,
                  > such as Thucydides' use of diagnosis in his history or, in the
                  > gospels, Mark's use of apocalyptic in a bios (if the gospels are
                  > indeed bioi)?

                  Well, let me start here, as I haven't studied those other works, and
                  simply make clear I don't think Mark or John are a bioi.


                  > It seems to me that genre conventions were never rigidly
                  > maintained, or at least they were often crossed. Finally, what
                  > genre would some of the apocryphal works like the Gospel of Peter
                  > or the Infancy Gospel of Thomas belong to?

                  G. Peter and Inf. Thomas show the same kind of authorial creativity
                  we find in the canonical ones. One of the great things about the
                  discovery of those outside the canonical four is a greater breadth to
                  the creativity and a look at how long this creativity went on.
                  Against your good Duke professor and member of this list:)! I do
                  think there was a Q and Dr. K is right that we can identify layers in
                  that development. I also think G. Thomas is susceptible to the same
                  sort of analysis. I do think G. Mark is the first narrative Gospel
                  that we know of and I think 80 represents a good date for it.
                  Starting from there we have 2 other accepted texts that show the very
                  same creativity process quite alive and well! I think we can see in
                  and between texts this kind of creativity going on.

                  > Were their authors' literary geniuses doing something that had
                  > never been done before, or were they following some known generic
                  > conventions?

                  I think they are well described as literary geniuses. I think this
                  kind of story creativity had long and deep roots, generally in all
                  cultures, but specifically in the Hebrew Bible roots. The example I
                  offered "in text" is the creativity we see inside the Exodus escape
                  narrative. I continue to favor the call of this "midrash," because
                  it points to the core source stories and the way they were creatively
                  used.
                  >
                  > Best,

                  same to you,
                  Gordon Raynal
                  Inman, SC
                  >
                  > Ken
                  >
                  > Ken Olson, PhD Student, Duke University
                  >
                • Rikk Watts
                  Jeffrey, Missed this... yes I m still alive (just got back from some months of travel, and a rollicking sail across the Pacific : ) ) I guess I d have to
                  Message 8 of 29 , Sep 22, 2008
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Jeffrey,

                    Missed this... yes I'm still alive (just got back from some months of
                    travel, and a rollicking sail across the Pacific : ) )

                    I guess I'd have to think at what point in Paul's present letters he'd need
                    to do so. I.e. he appeals to his own wonder working, but not that often, and
                    usually in response to challenges to the authenticity of his apostleship.
                    That being so, I guess we'd expect some comment re Jesus' mighty deeds in a
                    similar situation. I can't think of any place in the Pauline materials where
                    he is defending Jesus.

                    Regards
                    Rikk


                    On 29/07/08 1:40 PM, "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@...> wrote:

                    > To my knowledge Paul, who appeals to miracles he performed in his
                    > communities as attestations to the power of the Gospel, never speaks of
                    > any miracles that Jesus wrought, or of Jesus as a miracle worker. Am I
                    > correct in thinking that this is the case?
                    >
                    > And if it is, how is Paul's silence on this matter to be explained?
                    >
                    > Yours,
                    >
                    > Jeffrey
                  • Darrell Bock
                    Jeffrey: A thought to add to Rikk s response. The issue of the miracles was to attest to Jesus. The resurrection came to take that role in a comprehensive way,
                    Message 9 of 29 , Sep 23, 2008
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Jeffrey:

                      A thought to add to Rikk's response. The issue of the miracles was to
                      attest to Jesus. The resurrection came to take that role in a
                      comprehensive way, since not only was it seen as God's vote, but
                      placed Jesus at God's side. As such it trumped everything else. Even
                      more fascinating is that Paul proclaims Jesus' role in creation (1 Cor
                      8:4-6; Col 1:15-20). One might call that a miracle. My point is that
                      the transcendent aspects of Jesus dominate Paul's presentation.


                      Darrell Bock
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.