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

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  • 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 1 of 29 , Aug 3, 2008
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      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 2 of 29 , Aug 4, 2008
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        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


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      • 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 3 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
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          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 4 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
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            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 5 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
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              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]






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            • 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 6 of 29 , Aug 9, 2008
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                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 7 of 29 , Sep 22, 2008
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                  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 8 of 29 , Sep 23, 2008
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                    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
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