Re: [XTalk] F C Baur
I would tend to agree with your scorecard. I have am in the process of publishing my dissertation on Acts which Warren Carter (one of my committee members), noted that I used social-scientific and narrative criticism to reinforce Baur's original hypothesis re: Acts. Despite Baur's too simplistic view of Christian origins, particularly at Corinth, his detection of the conflict between Peter and Paul (and later Petrine and pauline groups) remains rather convincing, at least to me!
Coleman A. Baker, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies
On Sep 8, 2010, at 11:07 PM, E Bruce Brooks wrote:
> To: Crosstalk
> On: F C Baur (1792-1860)
> From: Bruce
> Baur's name has come up recently. How does his work stand in the eye of a critical posterity? My personal scorecard would be something like this:
> 1. Recognized the Deutero quality of the Pastorals
> 2. Detected the schematic (and irenic) character of Acts, as an assimilation of Peter and Paul to each other. Here is one case which Baur's dualistic proclivities fit very well.
> 1. Saw as genuine the Pauline epistles Romans, 1-2 Cor, Galatians. Considered Philippians genuine until late, when he finally rejected it.
> 1. Dualism at Corinth. Paul himself, who was there, lists three parties.
> 2. Matthean Priority
> 1. Some of what is sound in Baur (including his conclusions about the Pastorals) seems to derive from his teacher, the little-lauded Eichhorn. But Baur gets fair credit for keeping what was good in the first place.
> 2. Baur recognized (and here again, I suspect, is the influence of Eichhorn) that it is not enough to identify a work as spurious, you must go on to place it in its correct historical perspective. Baur's actual datings for some spurious works might be off (some have been proved too late; the jury is still out on others), but the principle is not only sound, it is basic.
> 3. One must give a man some credit for the minds he attracts in later ages. Bacon in the US and Goulder in the UK are a pretty good showing. But they would arguably be a better showing without the too schematic mindset which Baur encouraged, so this is a mixed category.
> 4. The Hegel influence, the infantile Pythagoreanism which Baur picked up in late years, is certainly deleterious, and this longterm result also needs to be factored in. All the more so as others before and after (such as Schelling, who in 1809 recognized not two but three strains in Christian history, the Petrine, the Pauline, and the Johannine) had been aware of more of the complexity of the period.
> The addenda considerations (2 to 1 to 1 positive) might be thought to tip the scale in Baur's favor. At the same time, I have the impression that the most active element in Baur's heritage, at present, is the overly schematic element. So, while acknowledging his early insights, and noting his undeniable importance in the history of NT study, scholarship as a whole would probably do better to move on, retaining and building on the sound results, but avoiding contamination from what is unsound in the thinking.
> Philosophy is not a valid guide to history, and when it assumes that role, they are both liable to fall into a pit. The art of history (as Ranke, Hegel's opposite and opponent at Berlin in the 19c, saw very clearly) is in large measure the art of not falling into the pit. The pit is peopled with, indeed it is dug by, people's extraneous desires and schematic imaginings about the subject. As the authors of the various Apostolic portraits of Hell seem to have realized perfectly adequately.
> E Bruce Brooks
> Warring States Project
> University of Massachusetts at Amherst
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- To: Crosstalk
In Response To: Coleman Baker
On: Paul at Corinth
COLEMAN: Despite Baur's too simplistic view of Christian origins,
particularly at Corinth, his detection of the conflict between Peter and
Paul (and later Petrine and pauline groups) remains rather convincing, at
least to me!
BRUCE: No argument; indeed, I should think it's convincing to everyone. But
to detect that there was a conflict between Peter and Paul requires, after
all, only that (1) one have some idea of which texts are relatively secure
as direct testimony to Paul's feelings, and (2) that one read those texts.
It is not some kind of breakthrough. And it is a *deleterious* breakthrough
if one stops there, and fails to take note of other oppositions, not only at
Corinth (Paul/Apollos) but elsewhere (Paul/Barnabas, Peter in the early
layers of Mark vs Peter in the later layers of Mark; and so on and on).
So yes, I would agree that Peter and Paul were in some kind of tension. But
what then? I always recommend John Knox's "Chapters" as a good exercise in
clarifying what that tension was, exactly, and what were its historical
conditions, without getting too sugared up with the Acts I view of things.
The thing with the NT texts (not to mention the major and obviously relevant
noncanonical Christian texts) is that in addition to portraying conflicts
such as the Peter/Paul one, they themselves conflict. They argue
passionately (2 Peter is a convenient example; so is 1 John) on one side of
some issue, against those who hold the other side. The interest of this, for
me, is not to say which is right (let alone which is orthodox in the sense
of modern orthodoxy), but what these people were up to, and what that one
particular confrontation means in the whole sweep and panorama of Early
Christian controversy, both internal and external.
How it fits in, and (final metaquestion) what exactly it fits into. The
author of Acts II certainly had a picture of the large great progression of
Christianity to a point of triumph and final decision about its nature and
destiny. As an interpretation of Christian history, it is admirably done.
It's beautiful. But it's beautiful like a church window, which does not
depend for its effect on whether this picture of Esau, over here in the
lower left corner, is historically accurate. It makes its best effect from
about 10 yards away, when Esau (or whoever) gets lost in the blaze of color
and the progression of the design.
Upward and outward; that is the message of Acts II. That picture has almost
wholly dominated thinking on Christian history ever afterward. We are only
now beginning to dig out from under it, and to recover some of the pieces (a
few of them embedded in Acts itself) which speak more directly to a somewhat
more complicated, but probably more accurate, situation.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst