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Re: [XTalk] Original gospel?

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... First, thanks for your reply. So, then, do you think that the crucifixion was solely an act of the Roman Imperium? Keep in mind that Jesus was coming from
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 30, 2009
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      At 07:53 AM 4/30/2009, Jack Kilmon wrote:

      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: "Bob Schacht" <bobschacht@...>
      >To: "CrossTalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 4:14 AM
      >Subject: [XTalk] Original gospel?
      >
      >
      > > This past Sunday, Acts 3:12-19 came up ...
      > >
      > > ... I find in this passage from Acts, this speech by Peter, as a plausible
      > > basis for an oral tradition. In those early years, before the Gospel of
      > > Mark, before the Letters of Paul, I suspect that there was this, or
      > > something like it. ...
      >
      >I have always been of the opinion that Matthew 27:13-26 is a fiction (as is
      >most of the gabbatha scene) and the climax of that narrative where the
      >"crowd" of Jews yell out "his blood be on us and our children" to be a late
      >(last 2 decades of the 1st century) invention in the heat of Gentile
      >Christian polemic.

      First, thanks for your reply.
      So, then, do you think that the crucifixion was solely an act of the Roman
      Imperium?

      Keep in mind that Jesus was coming from Galilee, and that if the money
      changers story has a basis in history, he engaged in a public act of
      hostility towards the Jewish establishment in the Temple. It is not
      unreasonable to suppose that the Jewish establishment regarded this rural
      hick with contempt, and were concerned that the money changers incident was
      a prelude to further acts of violence against their establishment.
      Matthew's account of the scene may be embellished, but I see no reason to
      doubt that it has some historical basis.

      > I think Jesus Barabbas ("Jesus, son of the father") is fictional.

      I agree that the name may be fictional (along the lines of "John Doe"), but
      that doesn't mean that there wasn't some historical basis for this scene.

      >The date of the composition of Matthew seems very close to the
      >issuance of the Birkhat haMinim which I think resulted partly from Christian
      >polemic against Jews.

      Or Jewish rejection of religious zealots from Galilee? At least, I think
      "Christian polemic against Jews" is anachronistic. "Galilean Jewish polemic
      against Jerusalem Jewish priestly class" might be closer to the truth.

      > Acts 3:12-19, which is quite eloquent for an Aramaic
      >speaking Galilean fisherman, appears, to me, to be based on that gabbatha
      >scene. The reference to Jesus as the Messiah in 3:20 seems, to me, to be a
      >Parousiac title that was only later applied to the living Jesus. Luke did,
      >after all, use Matthew. I don't think that is in loud dispute any more. To
      >be sure, Torrey and Black see Aramaic interference in the Greek of Acts
      >3:13-14 and 3:13 stands out with its "God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc" but
      >I'm not so sure it is characteristic of primitivity but instead a feature of
      >Luke's hand. Luke shows characteristics of being an Aramaic speaker, not
      >unusual if he hailed from an insula of Antioch.
      >
      >What basis did you find for "Peter's Speech" from early oral tradition, Bob?

      Only the thought that in the years before Paul's letters and Mark's Gospel,
      the story of Jesus probably was kept alive through brief narratives such as
      this, embellished from time to time by the speaker with other oral
      traditions or creative insights.

      Bob Schacht


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: Bob Schacht To: Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 2:05 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Original gospel? ...
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 30, 2009
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Bob Schacht" <r_schacht@...>
        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 2:05 PM
        Subject: Re: [XTalk] Original gospel?


        > At 07:53 AM 4/30/2009, Jack Kilmon wrote:
        >
        >>----- Original Message -----
        >>From: "Bob Schacht" <bobschacht@...>
        >>To: "CrossTalk" <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        >>Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 4:14 AM
        >>Subject: [XTalk] Original gospel?
        >>
        >>
        >> > This past Sunday, Acts 3:12-19 came up ...
        >> >
        >> > ... I find in this passage from Acts, this speech by Peter, as a
        >> > plausible
        >> > basis for an oral tradition. In those early years, before the Gospel of
        >> > Mark, before the Letters of Paul, I suspect that there was this, or
        >> > something like it. ...
        >>
        >>I have always been of the opinion that Matthew 27:13-26 is a fiction (as
        >>is
        >>most of the gabbatha scene) and the climax of that narrative where the
        >>"crowd" of Jews yell out "his blood be on us and our children" to be a
        >>late
        >>(last 2 decades of the 1st century) invention in the heat of Gentile
        >>Christian polemic.
        >
        > First, thanks for your reply.
        > So, then, do you think that the crucifixion was solely an act of the Roman
        > Imperium?

        I think "the Jews" were not involved other than a few members of the temple
        elite. The question then becomes why. Crucifixion was reserved for enemies
        of Rome who had comnitted seditious acts. Claiming to be the messiah was
        not seditious by itself. Claiming to be the bar nasha was not, by itself
        sedition but claiming to be the bar nasha about to ride into Jerusalem on
        the clouds and establish a new kingdom.......enough to get one crucified.


        Every Roman legion, I guess in this case the Legio X Fretensis, had a four
        man team called a Quatornio with the responsibility for crucifixions. They
        were led by a legionnaire of Centurion rank called an Exactor Mortis.

        Seneca, for example, refers to the Exactor Mortis as CENTURIO supplicio
        praepositus, De Ira 1.26. "Tunc CENTURIO supplicio praepositus condere
        gladium speculatorem iubet, damnatum ad Pisonem reducit redditurus Pisoni
        ... and Hermann-Josef Rollicke in Auf den Stufen (Berlin 2006), certainly a
        modern authority, states," Der CENTURIO als der exactor mortis, der den Tod
        des delinquenten om kreuz abzuwarten und zu bestatigen hatte..."There is a
        ton of primary Latin material on this but my point is that the Roman
        authorities did not deem it wasteful but important reminders to the populace
        that you would be better off not opposing Rome.

        I think the long tenure of Caiaphas as High Priest, 18 years spanning Gratus
        and Pilatus, indicates that Caiaphas had worked out some kind of detente
        with the prefects to avoid the reprisals against the citizenry and the loss
        of life. It was probably by means of rake offs from the temple treasury. I
        think the temper tantrum Jesus had at the temple calling it a "den of
        thieves" is historical. After 31 CE and the execution of Sejanus and
        pursuit of all those involved in Sejanus' schemes, Pilatus must have been
        walking on eggshells. When Jesus entered the Temple early in the year 33
        and condemned these practices, overturning money changers' tables and
        calling it a "m'arta d'lisTAye...den of thieves," it sealed his death
        warrant. Neither Caiaphas nor Pilatus wanted a spotlight for their separate
        reasons. I think this scenario best fits the evidence of John 18:14 "Now
        Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that
        one man should die FOR the people."

        So although not solely the act of the Roman Imperium it involved only a few
        Sadducees and not the Jewish people as the fiction of the crowds portrays.

        >
        > Keep in mind that Jesus was coming from Galilee, and that if the money
        > changers story has a basis in history, he engaged in a public act of
        > hostility towards the Jewish establishment in the Temple. It is not
        > unreasonable to suppose that the Jewish establishment regarded this rural
        > hick with contempt, and were concerned that the money changers incident
        > was
        > a prelude to further acts of violence against their establishment.
        > Matthew's account of the scene may be embellished, but I see no reason to
        > doubt that it has some historical basis.

        I agree...for reasons stated above.

        >
        >> I think Jesus Barabbas ("Jesus, son of the father") is fictional.
        >
        > I agree that the name may be fictional (along the lines of "John Doe"),
        > but
        > that doesn't mean that there wasn't some historical basis for this scene.

        It is difficult for me to envision an historical context that makes sense
        unless Barabbas is a conflation of two Jesus accounts. There was no
        practice of releasing a prisoner on Passover and certainly not an enemy of
        Rome over an itinerant preacher.

        >
        >>The date of the composition of Matthew seems very close to the
        >>issuance of the Birkhat haMinim which I think resulted partly from
        >>Christian
        >>polemic against Jews.
        >
        > Or Jewish rejection of religious zealots from Galilee? At least, I think
        > "Christian polemic against Jews" is anachronistic. "Galilean Jewish
        > polemic
        > against Jerusalem Jewish priestly class" might be closer to the truth.

        Yes, this did exist and the terms "Judeans" vs "Galileans" were often
        pejoratives but anti-Jewish attitudes clearly show up in the late first
        century Gospels and I think Paul was more hostile against the Jewish sector
        than is revealed in his letters.

        >
        >> Acts 3:12-19, which is quite eloquent for an Aramaic
        >>speaking Galilean fisherman, appears, to me, to be based on that gabbatha
        >>scene. The reference to Jesus as the Messiah in 3:20 seems, to me, to be a
        >>Parousiac title that was only later applied to the living Jesus. Luke
        >>did,
        >>after all, use Matthew. I don't think that is in loud dispute any more.
        >>To
        >>be sure, Torrey and Black see Aramaic interference in the Greek of Acts
        >>3:13-14 and 3:13 stands out with its "God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc"
        >>but
        >>I'm not so sure it is characteristic of primitivity but instead a feature
        >>of
        >>Luke's hand. Luke shows characteristics of being an Aramaic speaker, not
        >>unusual if he hailed from an insula of Antioch.
        >>
        >>What basis did you find for "Peter's Speech" from early oral tradition,
        >>Bob?
        >
        > Only the thought that in the years before Paul's letters and Mark's
        > Gospel,
        > the story of Jesus probably was kept alive through brief narratives such
        > as
        > this, embellished from time to time by the speaker with other oral
        > traditions or creative insights.

        I don't doubt that at all. I think there were both oral and written
        narratives in the 40's.

        Jack Kilmon

        >
        > Bob Schacht
      • Bob Schacht
        ... [snip] ... Let me pick up on this end of the exchange to flesh out my thoughts a little more. 1. By all accounts, Peter was a talker (loquacious?
        Message 3 of 7 , May 1, 2009
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          At 05:05 PM 4/30/2009, Jack Kilmon wrote:

          >----- Original Message -----
          >From: "Bob Schacht" <r_schacht@...>
          >To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          >Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2009 2:05 PM
          >Subject: Re: [XTalk] Original gospel?
          >
          >
          > > At 07:53 AM 4/30/2009, Jack Kilmon wrote:
          > >

          [snip]

          > >>What basis did you find for "Peter's Speech" from early oral tradition,
          > >>Bob?
          > >
          > > Only the thought that in the years before Paul's letters and Mark's Gospel,
          > > the story of Jesus probably was kept alive through brief narratives such as
          > > this, embellished from time to time by the speaker with other oral
          > > traditions or creative insights.
          >
          >I don't doubt that at all. I think there were both oral and written
          >narratives in the 40's.
          >
          >Jack Kilmon

          Let me pick up on this end of the exchange to flesh out my thoughts a
          little more.

          1. By all accounts, Peter was a talker (loquacious? garrulous?) Just one
          example: the famous scene in Matt. 26 outside in the courtyard, while Jesus
          was getting beat up inside:

          73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter,
          "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you."

          Now, this doesn't say what Peter was saying, because it is some time
          ("after a while") after his denial in vs. 72. But despite the desperate
          circumstances, Peter must have been jabbering away, like usual.

          All four gospels quote Peter at least once, and of course Luke gives him
          speeches in Acts. And then we have the two letters attributed to Peter, as
          well, although his authorship of those letters is disputed. (Paul almost
          quotes Peter in Galatians, but it is Paul who does all the talking.) I
          haven't actually tallied the score, but I would bet that words attributed
          to Peter in the Gospels and Acts outnumber words attributed to all of the
          other disciples combined.

          2. Besides the accounts in the Gospels, Acts, and the two letters, there
          are many extra-Biblical accounts of Peter and sayings attributed to him,
          such as (per the wikipedia: Noncanonical sayings of Peter):
          * Two sayings are attributed to Peter in the
          <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas>Gospel of Thomas. In the
          first, Peter compares Jesus to a "just messenger." In the second, Peter
          asks Jesus to "make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve
          life," although the verse containing the latter is regarded as a dubious,
          later addition by most scholars.
          * In the <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_of_Peter>Apocalypse
          of Peter, Peter holds a dialogue with Jesus about the
          <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_fig_tree>parable of the fig
          tree and the fate of <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinners>sinners.
          * In the <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mary>Gospel of Mary,
          whose text is largely fragmented, Peter appears to be jealous of "Mary"
          (probably <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene>Mary Magdalene). He
          says to the other disciples, "Did He really speak privately with a woman
          and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He
          prefer her to us?" In reply to this,
          <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Matthew>Levi says "Peter, you have
          always been hot tempered."
          * Other noncanonical texts that attribute sayings to Peter include the
          <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Book_of_James>Secret Book of James and
          the <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Peter>Acts of Peter.
          * The fragmentary <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Peter>Gospel
          of Peter, attributed to Peter, contains an account of the death of Jesus
          differing significantly from the canonical gospels. It contains little
          information about Peter himself, except that after the discovery of the
          <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_tomb>empty tomb, "I, Simon Peter, and
          Andrew my brother, took our fishing nets and went to the sea."
          3. Peter wasn't necessarily the brightest bulb in the showroom, or the best
          diplomat, or the most devout disciple (argue with me if you like.) But as
          the most loquacious talker among the disciples, it is perhaps inevitable
          that he would become spokesperson for the group, regardless of what Jesus
          might have said to him about being a rock. And as spokesperson, the other
          disciples would begin to project onto Peter the demands of leadership,
          correcting him behind the scenes, reminding him about details, and so on.
          What all this does is hone and refine what Peter *says* when he talks.

          4. Peter was a talker-- but not much of a writer. In fact, it got to the
          point where, according to church tradition, John Mark had to start
          compiling the stuff that Peter was saying, resulting eventually in the
          Gospel of Mark. According to the Wikipedia,

          >Traditionally, the <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark>Gospel of
          >Mark was said to have been written by a person named John Mark, and that
          >this person was an assistant to Peter, hence its content was traditionally
          >seen as the closest to Peter's viewpoint. According to
          ><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusebius>Eusebius's
          ><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_History_%28Eusebius%29>Ecclesiastical
          >History, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papias>Papias recorded this belief
          >from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Presbyter>John the Presbyter:
          >Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately
          >whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he
          >related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor
          >accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who
          >accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but
          >with no intention of giving a normal or chronological narrative of the
          >Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things
          >as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit
          >anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictional into the
          >statements.­Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.39.14–16
          Other writings attributed to Peter might have been written later, perhaps
          even in reaction to GMark, if they were written by him at all, or perhaps
          with a different amanuensis.


          OK, here's what I'd like to see:
          * A symposium devoted to "the historical Peter."
          * A volume like _The Five Gospels_ devoted to the literary record of
          Peter's sayings, and an evaluation of the historicity of each one, and
          their inter-relationships.
          My hypothesis is that Peter was the primary witness to the Gospel from the
          time of the crucifixion until the first letters of Paul, and that hidden
          within the literary record of Peter's sayings is an ancient tradition of
          the gospel that has not been adequately recognized for what it is. The
          short speeches of Peter, such as in Acts 3, may have more antiquity than
          has been recognized or appreciated.

          Bob Schacht
          University of Hawaii


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Thank you for providing this link. It seems that Dodd s interest here is in ... Dodd does not actually refer specifically to Acts 3, but he does refer to
          Message 4 of 7 , May 1, 2009
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            At 12:45 AM 4/30/2009, Ken Olson wrote:


            >Bob,
            >
            >Such an approach was proposed in C.H. Dodd, “The Framework of the Gospel
            >Narrative,” Expository Times 43 (Oct. 1931 ­ Sept. 1932):396-400,
            >available online at:
            >
            >http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/framework_dodd.pdf

            Thank you for providing this link. It seems that Dodd's interest here is in
            "summary outlines of the life of Jesus" noticed by Martin Dibelius:

            >The evidence, he observes, does not suggest that any one outline was
            >universal, but it does suggest that some kind of outline formed a regular
            >part of the kerygma everywhere.

            Dodd does not actually refer specifically to Acts 3, but he does refer to
            the speech of Peter in Acts 10:37-41, which is actually embedded in a
            longer speech of Peter (vv. 34-43), which he refers to as one of "The
            fullest examples of such primitive kerygma."

            >37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the
            >baptism that John announced:
            > 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with
            > power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by
            > the devil, for God was with him.
            > 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem.
            > They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;
            > 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,
            > 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses,
            > and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.


            Dodd concludes with this characterization:

            >I submit, therefore, that we are led to conceive the materials which Mark
            >took over from tradition
            >as being of three kinds[:]
            >(i) Isolated independent pericopæ, handed down without any connexion;
            >(ii) Larger complexes, which again may be of various kinds: genuinely
            >continuous narratives;
            >pericopæ strung upon an itinerary; pericopæ connected by unity of theme.
            >(iii) An outline of the whole ministry, designed,
            >[p.400]
            >perhaps, as an introduction to the Passion-story, but serving also as a
            >background of reference for
            >separate stories; fragments of this survive in the framework of the Gospel.

            Acts 3:13-15 is much more succinct, and it is indeed a summary of the
            Passion-story itself:

            >13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of
            >our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and
            >rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him.
            > 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a
            > murderer given to you,
            > 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To
            > this we are witnesses.




            >It was criticized in D. E. Nineham, "The Order of Events in St. Mark's
            >Gospel--an examination of Dr. Dodd's Hypothesis" in Studies in the
            >Gospels, ed. Nineham (1955).

            I do not have access to Nineham's critique, and would be grateful if you or
            someone else would summarize it.

            Thanks,
            Bob Schacht
            University of Hawaii


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