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Peter talk

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  • Bob Schacht
    Well, I am still hoping for more feedback on my Peter thesis. But I am still intrigued by it. Acts 4:5 begins, The day after they had arrested Peter and John
    Message 1 of 13 , May 3 7:54 PM
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      Well, I am still hoping for more feedback on my Peter thesis. But I am
      still intrigued by it.

      Acts 4:5 begins, "The day after they had arrested Peter and John for
      teaching about Jesus and the resurrection,..."

      This is cute, because Luke says, in essence, that Peter (and John, but you
      can guess who's doing most of the talking) _just won't shut up_ about
      "Jesus and the resurrection." In fact, vs. 13 says,

      Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they
      were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of
      them, that they had been with Jesus.

      The word "boldness" here is interesting. The greek was *parrhesia*, which
      has been defined as
      >1) freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech 1a) openly, frankly,
      >i.e without concealment 1b) without ambiguity or circumlocution
      >1c) without the use of figures and comparisons 2) free and
      >fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance 3) the
      >deportment by which one becomes conspicuous or secures publicity

      Now, regardless of whether this passage from Acts depicts a particular
      historical circumstance, ISTM Luke is telling us that this is what Peter
      (and John) *did*. And the description of parrhesia fits what we are told
      elsewhere about Peter's manner of speaking. The Dude was not bashful.

      Furthermore, Luke's examples of Peter's speeches, while perhaps not exactly
      transcripts of actual speeches by Peter, are meant to characterize them
      accurately, in length, and substance. It seems there is always a reference
      to the crucifixion and resurrection: here it is a brief "outline," to
      follow Dodd's characterization: "...Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you
      crucified, whom God raised from the dead."

      Of course, speeches of this type would only be possible in the immediate
      aftermath of the crucifixion. Eventually, at later times and other places,
      the "you" would begin to wear thin, and Peter would have to adjust the
      message. But ISTM we have here an important clue to what the earliest
      Gospel was, and how it was proclaimed.

      Also, his emphasis on resurrection is interesting, because one might think
      that would be something known at that time to be true-- or not true. It is
      interesting that the charge against Peter and John in Acts 4:2 is that the
      priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees were

      >much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in
      >Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead.

      Now it is not clear to me if they were charging Peter and John with
      uttering falsehoods; that doesn't look to be the case. If Jesus was known
      to be dead, there would be little difficulty establishing the fact. But
      that doesn't seem to be the charge that Luke is reporting. But I digress.

      My point is that Luke's portrayal of Peter in Acts 3 & 4 has versimilitude,
      given what else we "know" about Peter from other sources. And that the
      Gospel that Peter (and John) preached was the Gospel of Resurrection.

      Why Peter *and John*? Perhaps because of the importance of having two
      witnesses to make a case (e.g. Deut. 19:15).

      Bob Schacht

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Crosstalk Cc: WSW; GPG In Response To: Robert Schacht On: Historical Peter From: Bruce Bob, Do you know the collection Peter: The Myth, the Man, and the
      Message 2 of 13 , May 3 8:50 PM
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        To: Crosstalk
        Cc: WSW; GPG
        In Response To: Robert Schacht
        On: Historical Peter
        From: Bruce

        Bob,

        Do you know the collection Peter: The Myth, the Man, and the Writings, by F
        Lapham (Sheffield 2004; Clark 2004)? I would be inclined to dispute much of
        it; for one thing, it conspicuously ignores what is probably the earliest
        source for Peter, and I don't find that it covers itself with philological
        honor in discussing some of the later sources. But it does discuss at length
        many of the relevant materials, and to my mind makes a useful and systematic
        place to start doing one's own thinking about the problem. I very much agree
        that the HP is a problem, and have been pushing on it (in venues available
        to me), and urging others to do likewise, for several years now.

        In your own recent comment, I note just one line:

        BOB: ISTM Luke is telling us that this is what Peter (and John) *did*.

        BRUCE: It does to me too. But what Luke is telling us is, precisely, only
        what Luke is telling us. It seems to me that the first step in deciding how
        seriously to take that is to get a sense of what Luke in general is up to in
        Luke/Acts, always assuming that both are his. Is he, in general, a close
        transcriber or a free inventor? And if somewhere in the middle, just where
        in the middle? I don't think that this question is impossible to answer, and
        my suspicion is that the answer may not be favorable to beginning with this
        or any other Acts passage in seeking out the Historical Peter.

        The Historical Paul question (the other HP) seems to me to be inextricably
        intertwined with this one, to the extent that a significant advance in one
        problem is likely to suggest, or to require as a prerequisite, a
        considerable advance in the other. It can be hard, or at any rate
        unproductive, to work on one thread at a time, and HP/HP seem to me a good
        example.

        Best wishes,

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Bob Schacht
        ... I think that Luke s inventiveness is not a free-floating tendency, but depends on the materials at his disposal. ... Luke ... continuous narratives; ...
        Message 3 of 13 , May 3 11:27 PM
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          At 05:50 PM 5/3/2009, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
          >To: Crosstalk
          >Cc: WSW; GPG
          >In Response To: Robert Schacht
          >On: Historical Peter
          >From: Bruce
          >
          >Bob,
          >
          >Do you know the collection Peter: The Myth, the Man, and the Writings, by F
          >Lapham (Sheffield 2004; Clark 2004)? I would be inclined to dispute much of
          >it; for one thing, it conspicuously ignores what is probably the earliest
          >source for Peter, and I don't find that it covers itself with philological
          >honor in discussing some of the later sources. But it does discuss at length
          >many of the relevant materials, and to my mind makes a useful and systematic
          >place to start doing one's own thinking about the problem. I very much agree
          >that the HP is a problem, and have been pushing on it (in venues available
          >to me), and urging others to do likewise, for several years now.
          >
          >In your own recent comment, I note just one line:
          >
          >BOB: ISTM Luke is telling us that this is what Peter (and John) *did*.
          >
          >BRUCE: It does to me too. But what Luke is telling us is, precisely, only
          >what Luke is telling us. It seems to me that the first step in deciding how
          >seriously to take that is to get a sense of what Luke in general is up to in
          >Luke/Acts, always assuming that both are his. Is he, in general, a close
          >transcriber or a free inventor? And if somewhere in the middle, just where
          >in the middle? I don't think that this question is impossible to answer, and
          >my suspicion is that the answer may not be favorable to beginning with this
          >or any other Acts passage in seeking out the Historical Peter.

          I think that Luke's inventiveness is not a free-floating tendency, but
          depends on the materials at his disposal.
          As Dodd wrote about the Gospel of Mark, so I would say about Luke-Acts:

          >I submit, therefore, that we are led to conceive the materials which Mark
          Luke
          >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, 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.

          Luke had different materials to work with, and had the task of tying them
          all together into a *story*. For Acts, he chose an outline in 1:8: But you
          will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be
          my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the
          earth."
          He also seems to have had "larger complexes" (such as the "we" passages,
          and his material about Paul), and isolated pericopae. He needed frames for
          the isolated pericopae, so he could situate them within his larger
          complexes. Some of these frames he might have made out up of whole cloth,
          in order to fit them into his outline, or into one of his larger complexes.
          But some of the pericopae, and some of the special outlines, such as
          structured Peter's discourses, might have been based on historical
          materials in his possession. So I do not think that your question, "Is he,
          in general, a close transcriber or a free inventor?" is very useful.

          >The Historical Paul question (the other HP) seems to me to be inextricably
          >intertwined with this one, to the extent that a significant advance in one
          >problem is likely to suggest, or to require as a prerequisite, a
          >considerable advance in the other.

          I don't necessarily see that this is the case. Luke had several tasks: how
          to weave Peter's repetitive orations about the resurrection, with Paul's
          journeys. There might be some general similarities between how he worked
          with his collection of information about Paul, with his information about
          Peter, but they really seem to have been rather different sorts of
          information. For example, his information about Paul's travels is rather
          extensive, but his information about Peter's travels is somewhat different,
          and more disjointed (Jerusalem, Chaps 1-5; Samaria, 8; Lydda/Joppa, 9-11;
          Galilean imprisonment, 12), so his tasks were different.

          >It can be hard, or at any rate unproductive, to work on one thread at a
          >time, and HP/HP seem to me a good
          >example.

          I would hardly want to suggest that my proposal be conducted in isolation
          of all others. Nevertheless, I do think it would be useful to consider the
          corpus as a whole, if only to investigate which material among it might be
          considered primary and possibly historical, and which secondary
          (derivative) or creative.

          Bob Schacht
          University of Hawaii

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Crosstalk Cc: WSW, GPG In Response To: Bob Schacht On: The Reliability of Luke From: Bruce I had suggested that before using Luke as a point of departure
          Message 4 of 13 , May 4 1:16 AM
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            To: Crosstalk
            Cc: WSW, GPG
            In Response To: Bob Schacht
            On: The Reliability of Luke
            From: Bruce

            I had suggested that before using Luke as a point of departure for Peter, we
            need first to assess the probity of Luke as a writer.

            BOB: I think that Luke's inventiveness is not a free-floating tendency, but
            depends on the materials at his disposal. As Dodd wrote about the Gospel of
            Mark, so I would say about Luke-Acts:

            "I submit, therefore, that we are led to conceive the materials which Mark
            [Luke] 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, 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."

            BRUCE: I have to say that I think this scenario is seriously wrong. I admit
            it has long been standard, but I think it is nevertheless wrong. It is pious
            rather than observant. It imagines the Evangelists - Mark no less than Luke,
            which is drastically at odds with other evidence - as sitting down to what
            amounts to a deskful of papers, and editing them together. It assumes that
            each Evangelist was chiefly concerned with the art of combining them, and
            not at all concerned to have preferences among them, let alone to invent
            things outside their edges.

            It's a nice, quiet, scholarly picture. I am myself a nice, quiet, scholarly
            person, and I like the picture as much as anybody. To a certain extent, it's
            how I work myself. I am comfortable with it. My only problem with it is that
            everything I see by way of authorial indications in Luke points me in a
            different direction. Luke admired bits of Matthew, but at the same time he
            was doctrinally opposed to Matthew at key points, and was constantly trying
            to one-up Matthew by recombining Matthew's literarily happier thoughts. His
            redo of Matthew's Birth Narrative, for example, leaves poor old Matthew
            simply standing at the curb, with noplace to go. Luke was constantly
            concerned to provide what he thought of as rational motivation for the
            characters (including Peter) in Matthew's narrative, and no less in Mark's.
            Never mind respecting anybody else's order of material (that is, the
            historical versus the doctrinal content of that material): on at least one
            occasion, Luke drastically rearranged HIS OWN earlier material. Luke was
            restless, opinionated, and proactive. And quite apart from his reactions to
            earlier Gospel attempts, he was (as I seem to be able to convince no one,
            but as I submit is nevertheless self-evident) a Christian himself, with his
            own experience as a member of a Christian community as a major - no, not a
            major source, but a major element in his worldview, including his view of
            rival attempts to get Jesus and his movement down on paper. All this is very
            far removed from the standard image: the gentle and passive scribe at work
            at his desk, concerned only to preserve the material, and not to blot the
            page.

            BOB: Luke had different materials to work with, and had the task of tying
            them all together into a *story*. For Acts, he chose an outline in 1:8: But
            you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will
            be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of
            the earth." He also seems to have had "larger complexes" (such as the "we"
            passages, and his material about Paul), and isolated pericopae. He needed
            frames for the isolated pericopae, so he could situate them within his
            larger complexes. Some of these frames he might have made out up of whole
            cloth, in order to fit them into his outline, or into one of his larger
            complexes.

            BRUCE: This limits Luke's original material to his editorial transitions and
            framing units. I think it can be successfully argued that many of his story
            and parable units are also original and not inherited, at least not
            inherited within Christianity (Luke is the great territorial annexer among
            the Evangelists; both in doctrine and in story types, he breaks the Jewish
            boundary respected by Matthew and charges out into the wider world).

            As for Paul, who in the opinion of many is a person Luke had known
            intimately, Paul's conversion episode, and his journeys to and from
            Jerusalem, are either invented by Luke in defiance of what Paul himself says
            (when Paul can get the microphone for a moment, which is not very often), or
            interwoven and multiplied in order for Luke to make a nifty literary and
            schematic point. Luke is a literary artist, and he does not seem to allow
            the mere Historical Paul much leeway when the fit of literary composition is
            on him. Which is more or less all the time.

            On the chronology of Paul, I here follow Knox, with a few improvements by
            subsequent scholars. Is there a refutation of their conclusions? I haven't
            heard a convincing one. Failing one, we can only construe Luke as extremely
            high-handed, even with facts which were presumably well known to him. As for
            Luke's conduct when faced, not with real-world facts or hard literary
            precedents, but with a blank in his story outline, well . . . .

            BOB: But some of the pericopae, and some of the special outlines, such as
            structured Peter's discourses, might have been based on historical materials
            in his possession.

            BRUCE: Anything might be anything. One can write such sentences. But what
            are the actual authorial probabilities? What for example is the source of
            Stephen's speech in Acts? In part, it is material relocated from Jesus
            narratives in Mark. What is the source of Luke's account of the Sending of
            the Seventy? In part, it is material relocated from the Twelve narratives in
            Mark. With this sort of thing before us, and I submit that it IS before us,
            it is simply wrong to analyze Luke as respecting the boundaries of
            "pericopae" before him. We can easily enough see that he does not at all
            respect them. He overrides them, and recombines and redeploys the resulting
            freed-up material at his own pleasure. Again, the image of a quiet deskbound
            scribe, copying from various manuscripts in turn, but each in turn
            faithfully and without admixture, just doesn't compass what we see Luke
            actually doing with the material which we KNOW he had before him. Why are we
            so ready to conjecture that, with conjectured material which we DO NOT
            presently possess, Luke will suddenly turn into a passive and respectful
            copyist? I think that such an assumption is drastically underjustified by
            the rest of the record.

            BOB: So I do not think that your question, "Is he, in general, a close
            transcriber or a free inventor?" is very useful.

            BRUCE: Obviously, I disagree. I think it's methodologically basic,
            fundamental, and prerequisite. I further think that Luke's track record as
            an author of Gospels is before us, and that it forbids our treating him as a
            faithful and reticent desk scribe. Luke is to Mark (et al) as Liszt is to
            Rossini, or Ravel to Couperin, or Stravinsky to Pergolesi, or Webern to
            Bach. The end product is exciting stuff, that I grant you. I find it
            stimulating. I have now and again paid actual money to expose myself to that
            stimulation. I am with it all the way. When I apply tempera paint to my
            front window around Christmas time, it is Luke's picture I find myself
            trying to draw, not Matthew's, let alone anything inferred from Mark. But I
            wish to observe that Luke's story, like Stravinsky's score, gets that way by
            having been, sometimes drastically, transmuted out of its source material.

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • Matson, Mark (Academic)
            Bob and Bruce: In the exchange below, I think both of you have focused on the central issue of Luke: what was the nature of his writing? He does seem to put
            Message 5 of 13 , May 4 1:17 PM
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              Bob and Bruce:

              In the exchange below, I think both of you have focused on the central
              issue of Luke: what was the nature of his writing? He does seem to put
              himself forward as a writer of "history" (however we might want to
              define that in the ancient period). And in his gospel he does take over
              a variety of material and yet weaves it into a pleasing whole. The
              question, though, is how much did Luke uses sources, and how much is
              free invention?

              In the gospel it is apparent that he uses Mark (and I would argue also
              Matthew and John... but that is another story). And he appears to me to
              use some variety of other ancient material, some possibly oral and some
              possibly written. But he has merged all that into a pleasing narrative.
              But he does have marks of his usage. For instance, I noted in a paper
              some years ago that the marks of "historical time" in Luke disappear in
              the long non-Markan interpolation of chapters 9-18 .... that is to say,
              the references to place, to specific sequence, and certainly to any
              external time referents, disappear. Does that mean Luke made this up?
              Not necessarily. It is possible that instead Luke is "marking out"
              material that is less certain, and yet still deemed reliable. He uses
              (often loosely) material other than Mark, and yet follows Mark fairly
              closely while synchronizing it with his understanding of a larger
              history.

              Now I bring all that up simply as background to how we deal with Luke.

              I resonate with Bob's quick assessment of Peter's speech, and Luke's
              work. If he had a sense of what the preaching of the apostles was, I can
              see him capturing that most explicitly in an early speech of Peter.
              Does that mean that the speech itself is *verbatim* correct? No. But it
              might mean that Luke has taken some care to put on the lips of Peter
              something that is accurate to what Peter commonly said, or which the
              apostles (with Peter here standing in as a representative speaker) said
              in preaching and teaching in the early period. Certainly that was common
              for the use of speeches in narratives, especially "historical"
              narratives, of antiquity.

              I did a master's thesis many years ago on Paul's farewell speech in Acts
              20. While I would not put too much emphasis on any of the words, the
              picture of a farewell instruction to the church in Ephesus seems
              appropriate to Paul and appropriate to the occasion. Do we know if it
              is "historical"? no. But I think that may be asking too much. Does it
              capture Paul's essence in teaching his churches -- I think so. And I
              think that is what Bob is suggestion with respect to Acts 3.

              Bruce does raise questions about comparing the historical accounts of
              Paul vs. Luke. And that is certainly appropriate. But I have also often
              thought that we don't allow Paul to be taking rhetorical license with
              *the facts* often. It would seem to me that both have absorbed the
              historical sequence, along with variety of anecdotes and oral material,
              into material that "works" for their audiences. One tells a narrative,
              cast as a historical narrative. The other is presenting arguments,
              often quite focused and pointed. I marvel, for instance, that we put so
              much weight on Galatians, which is a very pointed rhetorical piece,
              aimed at presenting Paul's own ministry in a particular light. Such a
              rhetorical piece would be expected to have highlighted some material,
              downplayed others, perhaps left some out. Does that mean it is a
              falsehood? No. Does it mean it might be "slanted?" yes.

              >
              > BOB: Luke had different materials to work with, and had the task of
              > tying
              > them all together into a *story*. For Acts, he chose an outline in
              1:8:
              > But
              > you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you
              > will
              > be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
              ends
              > of
              > the earth." He also seems to have had "larger complexes" (such as the
              > "we"
              > passages, and his material about Paul), and isolated pericopae. He
              > needed
              > frames for the isolated pericopae, so he could situate them within his
              > larger complexes. Some of these frames he might have made out up of
              > whole
              > cloth, in order to fit them into his outline, or into one of his
              larger
              > complexes.
              >
              > BRUCE: This limits Luke's original material to his editorial
              > transitions and
              > framing units. I think it can be successfully argued that many of his
              > story
              > and parable units are also original and not inherited, at least not
              > inherited within Christianity (Luke is the great territorial annexer
              > among
              > the Evangelists; both in doctrine and in story types, he breaks the
              > Jewish
              > boundary respected by Matthew and charges out into the wider world).
              >
              > As for Paul, who in the opinion of many is a person Luke had known
              > intimately, Paul's conversion episode, and his journeys to and from
              > Jerusalem, are either invented by Luke in defiance of what Paul
              himself
              > says
              > (when Paul can get the microphone for a moment, which is not very
              > often), or
              > interwoven and multiplied in order for Luke to make a nifty literary
              > and
              > schematic point. Luke is a literary artist, and he does not seem to
              > allow
              > the mere Historical Paul much leeway when the fit of literary
              > composition is
              > on him. Which is more or less all the time.
              >
              > On the chronology of Paul, I here follow Knox, with a few improvements
              > by
              > subsequent scholars. Is there a refutation of their conclusions? I
              > haven't
              > heard a convincing one. Failing one, we can only construe Luke as
              > extremely
              > high-handed, even with facts which were presumably well known to him.
              > As for
              > Luke's conduct when faced, not with real-world facts or hard literary
              > precedents, but with a blank in his story outline, well . . . .


              Just some thoughts to add to Bruce's and Bob's.

              Mark


              Mark A. Matson
              Academic Dean
              Milligan College
              http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm
            • Richard Fellows
              ... Bruce, here is my chronology, which I believe fits the evidence of Acts and that of the letters. Perhaps you could lay out your chronology and explain what
              Message 6 of 13 , May 4 11:29 PM
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                Bruce Brooks wrote:

                > On the chronology of Paul, I here follow Knox, with a few
                > improvements by
                > subsequent scholars. Is there a refutation of their conclusions? I
                > haven't
                > heard a convincing one. Failing one, we can only construe Luke as
                > extremely
                > high-handed, even with facts which were presumably well known to him.

                Bruce, here is my chronology, which I believe fits the evidence of
                Acts and that of the letters. Perhaps you could lay out your
                chronology and explain what advantages it has over mine.

                34 Conversion of Paul
                37 Paul's first visit to Jerusalem
                48 Paul's visit to Jerusalem of Gal 2:1-10 (=Acts 15). 48/49 was a
                Sabbatical year. This explains why Paul was able to recall that the
                preceding interval had been "14 years" (2 Sabbatical year cycles). It
                also explains why the pillars asked Paul to "remember the poor":
                agriculture was not permitted in Judea during sabbatical years and
                there would have been a food shortage, especially as the recent famine
                would have prevented provisioning. Paul sent Titus (who was re-named
                "Timothy") from Jerusalem to south Galatia to organize a collection
                for Jerusalem.
                49 Paul met up with Timothy in south Galatia. The group received three
                pieces of divine guidance, the purpose of which was to move them to
                Macedonia without delay (sorry, North Galatianists).
                50 Paul arrived in Corinth. He converted Crispus, who was the
                synagogue ruler and therefore had been a benefactor of the Jews.
                51 Gallio was in office. There was a food shortage in Corinth and this
                led the Jews to beat up Crispus, who had been renamed "Sosthenes". See
                here: http://members.shaw.ca/rfellows/Site/Sosthenes.html
                54 October. Claudius died. Prisca and Aquila and others can then
                return to Rome. Paul greeted them in Rom 16.
                55 Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and mentioned the collection from Galatia
                of 48/49 (1 Cor 16:1-3).
                55 Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. 55/56 was a Sabbatical year and this
                explains why Paul is able to recall that the preceding interval had
                been "14 years" (2 Cor 12:2). It also explains why he wanted to
                deliver aid to Judea.
                56 Paul arrived in Jerusalem, and delivered the aid before the
                harvest. This date is confirmed by the reference to the Egyptian
                rebel, who was most likely active during the Sabbatical year
                (chronomessianism).

                The Knox chronology does not tie in with any of these Sabbatical year
                notices, or with the death of Claudius, or with the Gallio datum, or
                the probable food shortage of 51.

                The split between Paul and Barnabas was before the evangelization of
                Europe because Barnabas is absent from 1 Thess 1:1 and 2 Cor 1:19. So
                the Knox chronology has difficulty explaining why Barnabas is back
                with Paul in Gal 2:1-10.

                According to Knox the pillars asked Paul to "remember the poor" in 51
                and he did not deliver the aid until 54. This three year delay does
                not fit with Paul's statement that he was eager to "remember the
                poor". (I here turn Knox's principle argument against him).

                In short, I don't see any advantage to the Knox chronology. If you
                would like a more detailed refutation for Knox, take a look at Rainer
                Riesner's (poorly named) "Paul's Early Period". By the way, I too am
                not convinced that Acts was based on "sources" (Luke's gospel may be
                different). I see it as largely based on the author's own recollection
                of events and his memory of conversations with some of the major
                characters.

                Richard Fellows
                Vancouver

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bob Schacht
                ... [snip] ... Thank you, Mark; you understand me perfectly. ... Yes! Bruce put a lot of emphasis on discerning Luke s biases, but he didn t say much about
                Message 7 of 13 , May 5 12:10 AM
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                  At 10:17 AM 5/4/2009, Matson, Mark (Academic) wrote:
                  >Bob and Bruce:

                  [snip]


                  >I resonate with Bob's quick assessment of Peter's speech, and Luke's
                  >work. If he had a sense of what the preaching of the apostles was, I can
                  >see him capturing that most explicitly in an early speech of Peter.
                  >Does that mean that the speech itself is *verbatim* correct? No. But it
                  >might mean that Luke has taken some care to put on the lips of Peter
                  >something that is accurate to what Peter commonly said, or which the
                  >apostles (with Peter here standing in as a representative speaker) said
                  >in preaching and teaching in the early period. Certainly that was common
                  >for the use of speeches in narratives, especially "historical"
                  >narratives, of antiquity.

                  Thank you, Mark; you understand me perfectly.


                  >I did a master's thesis many years ago on Paul's farewell speech in Acts
                  >20. While I would not put too much emphasis on any of the words, the
                  >picture of a farewell instruction to the church in Ephesus seems
                  >appropriate to Paul and appropriate to the occasion. Do we know if it
                  >is "historical"? no. But I think that may be asking too much. Does it
                  >capture Paul's essence in teaching his churches -- I think so. And I
                  >think that is what Bob is suggestion with respect to Acts 3.

                  Yes!

                  Bruce put a lot of emphasis on discerning Luke's biases, but he didn't say
                  much about methodology.
                  Of course I agree that it is important to know about Luke's biases with
                  respect to Peter. What I was suggesting was that the way to do that is to
                  gather together the entire corpus of Peter material, from all sources, and
                  compare them.

                  I want to acknowledge that there is a vast literature on Peter the Leader--
                  because, of course, he supposedly became the first Pope. But I'm not trying
                  to re-invent the wheel. The focus of the project that I was proposing is
                  not Peter the Leader, but Peter the Talker. If we can do a volume on the
                  Sayings of Jesus (The Five Gospels, for example), we should be able to do a
                  symposium and a volume of proceedings on the Sayings of Peter. Just as The
                  Five Gospels included not just the canonical Gospels, but also the Gospel
                  of Thomas, my hypothetical Peter Seminar would include any non-canonical
                  sources that have legitimate historical value-- such as the Gospel of
                  Peter, that Crossan likes as a possible source for the Passion Narrative.

                  In this regard, it is a fun exercise to explore the XTalk archives on
                  questions like this. I plan a subsequent exploration of this sort, and
                  rather than prolong this message, I'll end it here.

                  Later,
                  Bob




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                • E Bruce Brooks
                  Richard, Thanks for your detailed response on Pauline Chronology. I will need time to check my file, and get back to you. It may take a while, since some
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 5 12:39 AM
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                    Richard,

                    Thanks for your detailed response on Pauline Chronology. I will need time to
                    check my file, and get back to you. It may take a while, since some points
                    of the chronology are still under study here. In the meantime, since I am
                    accustomed to regard Schnelle as a sort of baseline modern consensus, I
                    thought I would look up his chronology. Here it is. It matches with yours
                    [the dates in brackets] pretty well at most points they have in common:

                    30 Death of Jesus
                    33 Conversion of Paul [34]
                    48 Apostolic Council (spring) [48]
                    48 Confrontation in Antioch (summer)
                    50/51 Paul in Corinth [50]
                    51/52 Gallio in Corinth [51]
                    51/52 Trip to Antioch
                    52-54/55 Stay in Ephesus
                    55/56 Last stay in Corinth
                    56 Arrival in Jerusalem (spring) [56]
                    58 Change of Office: Felix > Festus
                    59 Arrival in Rome
                    64 Death of Paul

                    As for the date of Paul's conversion, which is the only difference in the
                    above list, I am inclined to agree with you against Schnelle, though it
                    would take some time to say exactly why. It is some points not on this list
                    (especially the number of visits to Jerusalem) which, as I recall, need the
                    most work, and show the greatest divergence of scholarly conclusions. Also,
                    what in your opinion was the nature of Paul's conversion experience? Paul
                    and Acts seem to have quite different impressions, no?

                    Back to you presently. Best wishes,

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                  • Frank Jacks
                    A preliminary apology to all, for the discrepancy in font size between my text and the quotations from Richard s text; this is not something intended and came
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 6 4:57 PM
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                      A preliminary apology to all, for the discrepancy in font size between
                      my text and the quotations from Richard's text;
                      this is not something intended and came as something of a surprise to
                      me, one that I have been wrestling with and repairing ... but
                      unfortunately incompletely, for there is still the clear discrepancy ...
                      it is at least an improvement over what I began with. But this is the
                      best I can do at least for now, so if Richard's text is near illegible
                      in what you receive, I can only claim technological incompetence,
                      nothing else - sorry about this, if it cause any problems!

                      Frank

                      * * * *
                      * * * * *

                      I stand up from my usual seat in the balcony to intrude in this
                      exchange, mostly to seek clarification of Richard's most interesting
                      points, but let me begin by practicing "full disclosure" as John Knox
                      was one of my teachers in my graduate school days at Union in New York
                      City; so, yes, I have remained more or less a "Knoxian," especially on
                      this topic of the chronology of Paul's career. Still, I find Richard's
                      bringing in the aspect of the cycle of "sabbatical years," which I shall
                      have to mull over for a while, so for now on to two other things.

                      > Bruce Brooks wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >> On the chronology of Paul, I here follow Knox, with a few
                      >> improvements by
                      >> subsequent scholars. Is there a refutation of their conclusions? I
                      >> haven't
                      >> heard a convincing one. Failing one, we can only construe Luke as
                      >> extremely
                      >> high-handed, even with facts which were presumably well known to him.
                      >>
                      >
                      > Bruce, here is my chronology, which I believe fits the evidence of
                      > Acts and that of the letters. Perhaps you could lay out your
                      > chronology and explain what advantages it has over mine.
                      >
                      > 34 Conversion of Paul
                      > 37 Paul's first visit to Jerusalem
                      > 48 Paul's visit to Jerusalem of Gal 2:1-10 (=Acts 15). 48/49 was a
                      > Sabbatical year. This explains why Paul was able to recall that the
                      > preceding interval had been "14 years" (2 Sabbatical year cycles). It
                      > also explains why the pillars asked Paul to "remember the poor":
                      > agriculture was not permitted in Judea during sabbatical years and
                      > there would have been a food shortage, especially as the recent famine
                      > would have prevented provisioning. Paul sent Titus (who was re-named
                      > "Timothy") from Jerusalem to south Galatia to organize a collection
                      > for Jerusalem.
                      >
                      I find the idea that "the collection" is from the Galatian churches to
                      be a most interesting and clever suggestion, one worth considering, for
                      it also suggests that Paul's "sending aid" to Jerusalem was not a "one
                      time deal." That there might have have been more than one is a thesis
                      that is worthy of further consideration, even if this location of "the
                      Jerusalem conference (of 48)" (i.e. Gal. 2 = Acts 15) involves a big
                      problem, one that Knox focuses our attention on - that this has Paul
                      promising to collect funds from congregations not yet founded.

                      Of course with the idea of this as being the first of several, this
                      problem would seem to be resolved, but this ignores the rest of Paul's
                      account of the agenda handled at this "meeting of the apostles and
                      elders," namely his authority as an apostle over the churches which he
                      founds through his own personal evangelistic activity.

                      My first point is that we must remember just what Paul claimed when he
                      claimed to be an "apostle," a title/function/office identical to "those
                      other apostles" like Peter, James and John. Paul claims the name/word
                      as one having authority (and not just authority tp "preach the gospel")
                      "straight from the boss himself," as he lays out clearly in the first
                      verses of Gal. 1.

                      Thus Paul claims in Gal. 2 that James recognized that Paul did indeed
                      "have authority" over the churches he founded, ones that were
                      predominantly gentile - in effect, the result of this conference was a
                      "division of labor" if not division of ecclesiastical "spheres of
                      influence."

                      By the way, my own analysis and approach to this as other aspects of
                      "church history" rests upon the insight from P. T. Forsyth, a much too
                      neglected "turn of the (last) century" English scholar and theology who
                      in his biggest book, appropriately named "The Principle of Authority"
                      holds forth that all ecclesial, liturgical, theological issues logically
                      rest upon the issue of "authority," namely the question as who has the
                      proper authority to make decisions about such matters. This has been
                      illuminating for me in many areas of life, ancient and contemporary!

                      But note (and I find this crucial in our understanding of these early
                      days in "Christian history") Paul's account of the agreement is not a
                      two-way "division of labor" but a three-way division, for Peter enters
                      into this formula! Thus, it appears to me to be that the result of this
                      conference is that James is recognized as "the apostle" to/of/over the
                      Aramaic-speaking "Christian Jews" of Palestine/Israel/Judea while Paul
                      "went to the gentiles" ... and Peter? Peter "goes to the Jews" ... of
                      the Diaspora, which means the congregations like the one in Antioch,
                      where Peter was clearly revered and remembered as "their apostle" and
                      source of their own particular traditions of beliefs and practices.

                      So how does this fit into other accounts in Acts? For example, the
                      author of Acts claims that when Paul "preached the gospel" to the
                      (south) Galatians that he was functioning with (even "under"?) Barnabas
                      as the authorized agents (perhaps "missionaries"?) of the elders of the
                      congregation(s) of Christians in Antioch! This is hardly any "mission
                      to the gentiles" ... at least not yet, although that Paul "had the idea"
                      by then is most possible, perhaps even likely. For Knox (and I), the
                      picture of Acts is one of "officialdom in Jerusalem" as authorizing a
                      mission of Paul's as being "to the gentiles" before it happens ... and
                      places Paul as the "authorized agent" of "mother church" presided over
                      by James, a depiction at loggerheads with what we find in Galatians. To
                      make clear my point - the Book of Acts shows Paul as being first an
                      authorized missionary sent by Antioch and then by Jerusalem, a depiction
                      that must have existed at the time of Paul himself as it would seem that
                      this is precisely the depiction to which he protests most vociferously
                      in his letter, which suggests that it was one "alive and well" at the
                      time in ... well, Galatia!

                      Here we get a bit further afield as this raises the pertinent issue of
                      just why Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians in the first place, and
                      with the suggestion of P. T. Forsyth in mind I suggest it must have been
                      his concern that they did not recognize his authority as an independent
                      apostle ... i.e. as THEIR one and only "apostle"!

                      A further (hopefully final) personal foot-note - part of my approach
                      rests upon George Howard.s helpful little book, "Crisis In Galatia," in
                      which he notes that when Paul does send his (last?) "relief funding" to
                      Jerusalem (which he has collected from his churches) that there is no
                      mention of any representative from the province of Galatia, just Asia,
                      Thrace, Macedonia, and Achaea - i.e. Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica,
                      and Corinth; Howard infers that Paul's letter to the Galatian Christians
                      did not convince them as to his authority over them ... and I would add
                      that the reason they did not is that when Paul evangelized them that he
                      was in fact representing the authority of Antioch! Thus, the Galatian
                      Christians followed the lead of Peter (who permitted gentile Christians
                      to convert to Judaism) rather than Paul as who was the Christian
                      authority over them. And yes, this further suggests that the
                      "trouble-makers" who were unsettling "Paul's Christians in Galatia" were
                      "out-siders" ... from Antioch ... sent by Peter! But "that's another
                      story."

                      So, let's get back to my interacting with what Richard has said.
                      > The Knox chronology does not tie in with any of these Sabbatical year
                      > notices, or with the death of Claudius, or with the Gallio datum, or
                      > the probable food shortage of 51.
                      >
                      Quite correct, which is why I find your bringing in the cycle of
                      Sabbatical years to be so interesting, one that I must think about for
                      it might well have merit ... but whether or not this creates a problem
                      (or perhaps just an adjustment) to Knox's "Pauline chronology" is
                      something not yet clear to me.
                      > The split between Paul and Barnabas was before the evangelization of
                      > Europe because Barnabas is absent from 1 Thess 1:1 and 2 Cor 1:19. So
                      > the Knox chronology has difficulty explaining why Barnabas is back
                      > with Paul in Gal 2:1-10.
                      >
                      I fin your observation here about the split between Paul and Barnabas
                      is "on target," for available evidence does indicate that on the
                      separation between Paul and Banabas we find the letters of Paul and the
                      book of Acts are in agreement, even if different reasons are offered or
                      suggested ... but the claim that this is a problem for Knox's account is
                      clear clear to me, althoughI should admit that for years I was puzzled
                      about this aspect of Paul's account in Gal. 2
                      and this had concerned me ... but no longer, if we follow the thread of
                      "the questions of authority."

                      If Paul began his evangelistic career as an agent of Antioch but claims
                      in Galatians that such is not the case then it would seem necessary to
                      infer that somewhere along the way that he "went independent" (others
                      might say "jumped ship" or "went rogue"!), something that Barnabas did
                      not do. So why then is Barnabas at this conference? Not "with Paul" in
                      the sense of being Paul's associate but "with Paul" as making common
                      cause in facing James on the "question of Antioch" as he represents
                      Antioch's views and practices, which permits gentile Christians to
                      "become Jews" but does not require it, as James did. Simply put, he is
                      "speaking up" for Antioch ... and Peter.
                      > According to Knox the pillars asked Paul to "remember the poor" in 51
                      > and he did not deliver the aid until 54. This three year delay does
                      > not fit with Paul's statement that he was eager to "remember the
                      > poor". (I here turn Knox's principle argument against him).
                      >
                      Well, yes ... and no, for this was more of a problem for Paul rather
                      than for Knox. Your point is well taken that Paul "should have" been
                      more prompt, but as Knox himself observes, this was Paul's
                      intention/expectation but "things got in the way," which suggests why
                      Paul "got excited" (even intemperate) from his anxiety arising from this
                      delay. I would opine that Paul's axiety was rooted in his aware that
                      his agreement with James could "fall aprt" if he did not hold up his end
                      of the bargain by "delivery the good" ... er, funds, as promised. Yes,
                      the Christians in Jerusale did need help sooner than this but Paul
                      simply found himself unable to do so, which might well explain the
                      anxiety found in his post-conference letters, written while he was in
                      the midst of his "making good" on his promise to James.
                      > In short, I don't see any advantage to the Knox chronology. If you
                      > would like a more detailed refutation for Knox, take a look at Rainer
                      > Riesner's (poorly named) "Paul's Early Period".
                      Thanks for his reference, which I must look up.
                      > By the way, I too am
                      > not convinced that Acts was based on "sources" (Luke's gospel may be
                      > different). I see it as largely based on the author's own recollection
                      > of events and his memory of conversations with some of the major
                      > characters.
                      >
                      Whether the Book of Acts is to be taken as a "primary" or a "secondary"
                      historical source is indeed a crucial point but one that perhaps
                      requires further reflection rather than just being assumed ahead of time
                      as a "working hypothesis" (???).
                      > Richard Fellows
                      > Vancouver
                      >
                      >
                      Anyway, thanks Richard for providing me more "food for thought," which
                      might well produce further comment from me ... but perhaps
                      unfortunately, not soon.

                      Most sincerely,

                      Frank

                      Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union, New York)
                      Professor of Religion, Emeritus
                      Pikeville Collge
                      Pikeville, KY

                      (but now happily retired back home in the metro Atlanta area!)
                    • Richard Fellows
                      Thanks for your thoughts, Bruce and Frank. Frank, you are right that my chronology and Knox s do not require the awkward assumption that Paul agreed to collect
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 7 11:29 PM
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                        Thanks for your thoughts, Bruce and Frank.

                        Frank, you are right that my chronology and Knox's do not require the
                        awkward assumption that Paul agreed to collect money from churches
                        that he had not founded yet. I think that Paul had a collection in
                        mind even before he was asked to 'remember the poor'. This would
                        explain why he says that remembering the poor was the very thing that
                        he had been eager to do. Paul's motives for this collection may have
                        been to relieve real poverty and also give the Gentile churches the
                        status of benefactor in their relationship to the Judean churches. I
                        suspect that Paul took Titus to Jerusalem to equip him to organize
                        this collection. Titus was to meet the poor Judean believers and learn
                        about their needs and then be able to communicate those needs to the
                        Galatians.

                        In any case, if the tense of MNHMONEUWMEN alludes to multiple
                        collections, I think it refers to the earlier famine relief as well as
                        the collection that Titus-Timothy organized from south Galatia
                        immediately after the conference. I don't imagine that at the time of
                        the conference Paul looked ahead to the following sabbatical year, 7
                        years away.

                        Pauline chronology is crucial because, as Frank has shown, the
                        chronological issues are intertwined with other issues such as Paul's
                        relationship to the Jerusalem church, the accuracy of Acts, and the
                        background to Galatians. I hope in the future to post my own thoughts
                        on the background to Galatians, building on Mark Matson's well made
                        point about Galatians being rhetorical.

                        Bruce raised the question of the number of Jerusalem visits. I count
                        5. I take the famine visit to be historical because there was a famine
                        in Judea in that timeframe and because I take the name
                        "Agabus" (locust) to be an appropriate nickname given to this prophet
                        who predicted famine.

                        Richard Fellows
                        Vancouver.
                      • Bob Schacht
                        ... As you may recall, Gordon Raynal picked up my challenge and we had a go at it for a couple of weeks, with welcome participation by a few others. My
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jul 22, 2009
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                          Way back on 5/3/2009, I wrote:
                          >Well, I am still hoping for more feedback on my Peter thesis. But I
                          >am still intrigued by it. ...

                          As you may recall, Gordon Raynal picked up my challenge and we had a
                          go at it for a couple of weeks, with welcome participation by a few
                          others. My questions were inspired by the description of Peter's role
                          in the beginning chapters of Acts.

                          Now Mark Goodacre has returned to the subject
                          >
                          ><http://podacre.blogspot.com/2009/07/nt-pod-5-simon-peter-in-marks-gospel.html>NT
                          >Pod 5: Simon Peter in Mark's Gospel
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >The fifth episode of the NT Pod discusses Mark's depiction of Simon
                          >Peter and the disciples, noting the use of the language of the
                          >skandalon or "stumbling block" with respect to the idea of the
                          >crucified Christ.
                          >
                          >It is just under eight minutes long. ....
                          http://podacre.blogspot.com/2009/07/nt-pod-5-simon-peter-in-marks-gospel.html

                          It is an interesting look at Peter, mainly according to the Gospel of Mark.
                          I guess I'm an old fuddy duddy, because I prefer the printed word to
                          Goodacre's charming British accent.
                          Because Mark's delivery is spoken, rather than written, I cannot
                          easily cut and paste a few things to talk about.
                          But one of the interesting thoughts in Goodacre's oration is to draw
                          our attention to the Parable of the Sower, and the section on Rocky
                          ground, as a coded (and punny) reference to Peter (Rocky). I don't
                          recall ever hearing that suggestion before.

                          Goodacre also suggests, if I understood correctly, that Mark's Peter
                          is a kind of Everyman: that is, someone capable of both insight and
                          folly, with whom we are meant to identify. In other words, perhaps
                          there is a pastoral element to the story in addition to the history
                          that we usually look for.

                          Also, his stress on the skandalon might also make it easier to
                          understand why Mark does not say all that much about the
                          resurrection. Mark doesn't say this, but the implication to me was
                          that if the skandalon is the main point of the gospel, then the
                          resurrection is, in a sense, anticlimactic.

                          I hope that a written version of your podcast will be available soon.

                          Anyway, do give a listen, and let us know what you think.

                          Bob Schacht
                          Honolulu





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                        • Mark Goodacre
                          Thanks for the plug and the comments, Bob. I have added some short programme notes over on my NT Blog at
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jul 22, 2009
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                            Thanks for the plug and the comments, Bob. I have added some short
                            programme notes over on my NT Blog at
                            http://ntweblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/nt-pod-5-simon-peter-in-mark-programme.html
                            . I also already have an article on the topic which explores the
                            portrayal of Peter in Mark and Matthew. It was published in 2006 in a
                            Fs for Henry Wansbrough, but since Fs articles get little attention, I
                            plan to make it available online. I also plan a future episode of the
                            NT Pod on Peter in Matthew. Cheers, Mark.

                            --
                            Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
                            Associate Professor
                            Duke University
                            Department of Religion
                            Gray Building / Box 90964
                            Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                            Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

                            http://www.markgoodacre.org
                          • Gordon Raynal
                            Hi Bob, ... It was an enjoyable chat. now cutting to one of your paragraphs... ... Interesting. Why say anticlimactic? How about considering the function
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jul 22, 2009
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                              Hi Bob,
                              On Jul 22, 2009, at 5:06 AM, Bob Schacht wrote:

                              >
                              >
                              > As you may recall, Gordon Raynal picked up my challenge and we had a
                              > go at it for a couple of weeks, with welcome participation by a few
                              > others. My questions were inspired by the description of Peter's role
                              > in the beginning chapters of Acts.

                              It was an enjoyable chat.

                              now cutting to one of your paragraphs...
                              >
                              >>
                              >
                              > Also, his stress on the skandalon might also make it easier to
                              > understand why Mark does not say all that much about the
                              > resurrection. Mark doesn't say this, but the implication to me was
                              > that if the skandalon is the main point of the gospel, then the
                              > resurrection is, in a sense, anticlimactic.

                              Interesting. Why say "anticlimactic?" How about considering the
                              function of resurrection affirmation regarding the way the good news
                              story is told/ the message is affirmed?

                              For Paul (per Romans 1) Jesus is "declared Son of God with power
                              according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the
                              dead..." (NRSV).

                              For Mark God says in 1:11, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I
                              am well pleased." (NRSV) and this is after John baptizes him.

                              Doing theology Paul's way then per I Cor. 15 the authority of the
                              apostles is lined up by Paul in terms of "opthe's" of the risen
                              Jesus... and it, of course, is a decidedly male oriented listing.
                              Doing theology Mark's way focuses attention on Jesus in ministry and
                              it is most decidedly the nameless woman who anoints Jesus while he is
                              quite alive who is the model for discerning faith and therefore a
                              (the? for the Markan community???) key testifier for the future.
                              (in Mark 14:9 Mark's Jesus says of her, "Truly I tell you, where the
                              good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be
                              told in remembrance of her.") Resurrection announcement is part of
                              both kinds of communication, but it functions differently. And then
                              besides that, resurrection is just a necessary journey stage
                              description. The proverbial end of the story until "THE END" is that
                              Jesus has got to get up to that throne on "the right hand of the
                              Father:)!" Resurrection is never the climax for any of the early
                              materials that use this affirmation formula.

                              Gordon Raynal
                              Inman, SC



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