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[XTalk] recipients of HMt

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    Yuri, Could you clarify for me just whom you and the advocates of HMt think were the Gospel s intended recipients?. Where are they purported to have lived?
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 29, 1999
      Yuri,

      Could you clarify for me just whom you and the advocates of HMt think
      were the Gospel's intended recipients?. Where are they purported to have
      lived?

      Yours,

      Jeffrey,

      --
      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      ... Jeffrey, In my view, some parts of HMt go to the earliest Christian times. Yet, to be sure, I would not like to claim that all of this text goes back to
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 30, 1999
        On Wed, 29 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

        > Yuri,
        >
        > Could you clarify for me just whom you and the advocates of HMt think
        > were the Gospel's intended recipients?. Where are they purported to
        > have lived?

        Jeffrey,

        In my view, some parts of HMt go to the earliest Christian times. Yet, to
        be sure, I would not like to claim that all of this text goes back to the
        earliest Christian times. Its compositional history seems rather complex,
        and to figure out which parts belong to which time period may be not such
        an easy matter. Also, of necessity, any investigation in this area will
        require a re-examination of the whole Synoptic problem, itself, where, as
        is well known, there's no lack of controversy as it is, even without the
        HM.

        So my following suggestions are only tentative. I suggest that there were
        at least two major stages in the compositional history of HMt. The
        earliest parts are probably the logia (the sayings of Jesus) of HMt. There
        we have quite a few parallels with the Gospel of Thomas. Also, some other
        parts are early. In my post of Dec 26, I've already outlined some groups
        of passages that may go back to before 70 CE, and to around 60-80 CE.

        But there are also some clearly later additions. As I say, in order to
        deal with these, a re-examination of the whole Synoptic problem will be
        necessary. This is why I was unwilling to go into these discussions as
        yet.

        In my view, there was a very early proto Mt (that may have existed both in
        Greek and in Hebrew) to which were later added the first two chapters with
        the Infancy Narrative, some major additions in the last few chapters,
        changes in the eucharist narrative (eucharist seen as Mass vs the older
        Agape tradition), and so on. These additions and re-editing would have
        occurred around the end of the 1 c.

        At this time I believe that the Greek text of Mt and the Hebrew text may
        have existed concurrently for quite a long time. These texts were roughly
        similar in the early stages. When the Greek Mt was expanded and re-edited
        ca 100 CE, so was also the Hebrew Mt. But this process may have engendered
        some major theological disputes and splits -- it wouldn't have been
        trouble free. In any case in our HMt we see such clearly secondary
        passages included. Why they are included, and in what circumstances they
        were included is far from clear at this stage.

        As to the audience of HMt, this would have been the Semitic branch of the
        earliest Jesus movement in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem. They were
        religious Jews who would have been very familiar with Hebrew. One of the
        major insights in HMt for me personally is the very important role of John
        the Baptist. This indicates that the followers of JB and the followers of
        Jesus were often the same people -- the two movements overlapped from the
        earliest time.

        Regards,

        Yuri.

        Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

        The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
        equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... Thanks for this. But wasn t the language of the Semitic branch (if there really was such a thing in **Jerusalem**, or if such a thing even makes much
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 30, 1999
          Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

          > On Wed, 29 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
          >
          > > Yuri,
          > >
          > > Could you clarify for me just whom you and the advocates of HMt think
          > > were the Gospel's intended recipients?. Where are they purported to
          > > have lived?
          >
          > Jeffrey,
          >
          > [snip]

          > As to the audience of HMt, this would have been the Semitic branch of the
          > earliest Jesus movement in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem. They were
          > religious Jews who would have been very familiar with Hebrew. One of the
          > major insights in HMt for me personally is the very important role of John
          > the Baptist. This indicates that the followers of JB and the followers of
          > Jesus were often the same people -- the two movements overlapped from the
          > earliest time.
          >

          Thanks for this. But wasn't the language of the "Semitic branch" (if there
          really was such a thing in **Jerusalem**, or if such a thing even makes much
          sense, pace Hengel) Aramaic? And if so, wouldn't it be more likely that if
          anyone wanted to write a Gospel or any other dominical traditions document for
          this this branch, he/she would have done so in Aramaic, not Hebrew? After
          all, the evidence indicates that when Jesus was addressing his "own", he used
          Aramaic rather than Hebrew and this indicates that Hebrew was not something
          this Semitic branch would have been familiar with.

          Yours,

          Jeffrey
          --
          Jeffrey B. Gibson
          7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
          Chicago, Illinois 60626
          e-mail jgibson000@...
        • Yuri Kuchinsky
          ... Jeffrey, Do you mean there were no Jewish followers of Yeshu in Jerusalem speaking a Semitic tongue? You surprise me. ... Maybe their language was Aramaic.
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 1, 2000
            On Thu, 30 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
            > Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

            > > As to the audience of HMt, this would have been the Semitic branch of the
            > > earliest Jesus movement in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem. They were
            > > religious Jews who would have been very familiar with Hebrew. One of the
            > > major insights in HMt for me personally is the very important role of John
            > > the Baptist. This indicates that the followers of JB and the followers of
            > > Jesus were often the same people -- the two movements overlapped from the
            > > earliest time.
            > >
            >
            > Thanks for this. But wasn't the language of the "Semitic branch" (if
            > there really was such a thing in **Jerusalem**,

            Jeffrey,

            Do you mean there were no Jewish followers of Yeshu in Jerusalem speaking
            a Semitic tongue? You surprise me.

            > or if such a thing even makes much sense, pace Hengel) Aramaic?

            Maybe their language was Aramaic. Maybe it was Hebrew. Maybe both. It's
            possible that Hebrew was used a lot more in Israel than is generally
            assumed.

            Also, perhaps a distinction can be drawn between the language used in
            cultic observances and in everyday life. For example many educated Italian
            Catholics pre-Vatican II could understand and use both Latin and Italian.

            It is well known that much if not most of the story of Yeshu as found in
            the Gospels was prophesy historicized -- based on OT texts. In Jerusalem,
            these texts were Hebrew.

            Gospel production may have been going on in parallel both in Hebrew and
            Greek. Some of the Jesus people probably used OT normally in Hebrew, and
            so they would have used them in producing HMt, while the Hellenists may
            have used the Septuagint to produce the Greek gospels.

            I'm sure many Jews in Jerusalem knew Hebrew rather well.

            > And if so, wouldn't it be more likely that if anyone wanted to write a
            > Gospel or any other dominical traditions document for this this
            > branch, he/she would have done so in Aramaic, not Hebrew?

            But was this gospel used primarily for religious propaganda? Probably not.
            It may have reflected ritual or lectionary use more.

            > After all, the evidence indicates that when Jesus was addressing his
            > "own", he used Aramaic rather than Hebrew

            What evidence exactly do we have for this? All such evidence is ambiguous
            AFAIK.

            > and this indicates that Hebrew was not something this Semitic branch
            > would have been familiar with.

            I disagree. I assume that gospel creation was started by the original
            followers of Yeshu. So do you mean that the followers of Yeshu, all Jews,
            who historisized all that OT prophesy didn't know Hebrew? A strange
            assumption indeed on your part.

            As a general comment, Jeffrey, and please correct me if I'm wrong, in what
            you write there seems to lurk a certain tendency to deny the Jewishness of
            the early followers of Yeshu, and perhaps even of Yeshu himself. Indeed,
            quite a few Christian commentators have been known to try to make Yeshu
            into a Greek, who even had to read the Scripture in Greek? This is
            unfortunate in my view.

            Regards,

            Yuri.

            Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

            Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to believe
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... What I mean is whether, given how long Jerusalem had been under Hellinization, it is reasonable to think that Jerusalemite followers of Jesus would have
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 1, 2000
              Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

              > On Thu, 30 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
              > > Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
              >
              > > > As to the audience of HMt, this would have been the Semitic branch of the
              > > > earliest Jesus movement in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem. They were
              > > > religious Jews who would have been very familiar with Hebrew. One of the
              > > > major insights in HMt for me personally is the very important role of John
              > > > the Baptist. This indicates that the followers of JB and the followers of
              > > > Jesus were often the same people -- the two movements overlapped from the
              > > > earliest time.
              > > >
              > >
              > > Thanks for this. But wasn't the language of the "Semitic branch" (if
              > > there really was such a thing in **Jerusalem**,
              >
              > Jeffrey,
              >
              > Do you mean there were no Jewish followers of Yeshu in Jerusalem speaking
              > a Semitic tongue? You surprise me.

              What I mean is whether, given how long Jerusalem had been under Hellinization, it
              is reasonable to think that Jerusalemite followers of Jesus would have had a
              Semitic tongue as their **primary** language, let alone **only** spoken Aramaic or
              Hebrew, as you seem to imply they would, and **only** Hebrew** as the argument for
              the antiquity of HMt seems to demand. It surprises **me** that you didn't see that
              **this** is what I was saying.

              > > or if such a thing even makes much sense, pace Hengel) Aramaic?
              >
              > Maybe their language was Aramaic. Maybe it was Hebrew. Maybe both. It's
              > possible that Hebrew was used a lot more in Israel than is generally
              > assumed.

              > Also, perhaps a distinction can be drawn between the language used in
              > cultic observances and in everyday life. For example many educated Italian
              > Catholics pre-Vatican II could understand and use both Latin and Italian.

              Oh I suppose it is possible. The question is: on earth should we think it
              **likely**? What textual or inscriptional or ethnographic evidence do you offer,
              or can you appeal to, to show that what is generally assumed is not correct? Or is
              this just an argument from silence?

              But please note that even IF it were the case that "Hebrew was used a lot more in
              Israel than is generally assumed", what you **still** need to show is (a) not
              only that amongst the type of people to whom HMt was purportedly written Hebrew
              was the language of cult AND that they would have understood it (Latin was the
              language of the cult of my youth, but I did not understand it), but also, and more
              importantly, (b) that HMt is fundamentally cultic in nature. Until all three of
              these things are demonstrated with some degree of certainty, and not just offered
              as possibilities, the case is not very well established.

              > It is well known that much if not most of the story of Yeshu as found in
              > the Gospels was prophesy historicized -- based on OT texts.

              It is? Certainly I've come across this claim. But that the claim is true is
              something that I doubt is really the case or is as widely accepted as your "it is
              well known that ..." alleges. In any event, it is, more importantly, wholly
              irrelevant to the case as you make it, since what you have claimed (in a previous
              post) constituted the earliest layer of HMt was sayings, not narrative. The claim
              about historisized prophecy in the Gospels only focuses on the narrative not the
              sayings material.

              > In Jerusalem, these texts were Hebrew.
              >

              Were they really? May I ask how you know this?

              In any case, I note that this is hardly so is hardly so for a purportedly
              Palestinian text such as Q, where we find, say, in the wilderness testing story
              that it is the LXX and not the Hebrew text of Deut. 6-8 that is used. And it is
              even less so for AMatt or his sources since those sections of his Gospel which
              have the greatest claim to be a theologoumenon (i.e., the infancy narratives, and
              especially the virgin conceiving bit) AND Jerusalmite in origin (M material) are
              soundly based in the LXX
              and the points that are made by them could not have been made if the Hebrew OT
              was used. Note too the early chapters of Luke and of Acts which are, given their
              style, Semitic in origin, but again use the LXX whenever appealing to scripture,
              either directly or indirectly.

              > Gospel production may have been going on in parallel both in Hebrew and
              > Greek. Some of the Jesus people probably used OT normally in Hebrew, and
              > so they would have used them in producing HMt, while the Hellenists may
              > have used the Septuagint to produce the Greek gospels.
              >

              The problem for me with this statement is not only that no evidence is offered to
              show that what is stated within it as possibilities are plausible or likely, but
              that you go on to reify what you yourself state are possibilities into historical
              certainties.

              > I'm sure many Jews in Jerusalem knew Hebrew rather well.
              >
              > > And if so, wouldn't it be more likely that if anyone wanted to write a
              > > Gospel or any other dominical traditions document for this this
              > > branch, he/she would have done so in Aramaic, not Hebrew?
              >
              > But was this gospel used primarily for religious propaganda? Probably not.
              > It may have reflected ritual or lectionary use more.

              And your evidence for this claim, especially IF, as you have said in a previous
              post, HMt was actually the Logia, is what? More importantly, what is your
              evidence that a document written for ritual or lectionary use would NOT, as you
              implicitly claim, have been written in Aramaic? How then do you explain the
              Targums, which **were**
              explicitly intended for ritual and lectionary use and give evidence for a
              tradition that this was the practice at the very time in which HMt was purportedly

              written?

              > > After all, the evidence indicates that when Jesus was addressing his
              > > "own", he used Aramaic rather than Hebrew
              >
              > What evidence exactly do we have for this? All such evidence is ambiguous
              > AFAIK.

              The evidence is that when the ipsissima verba of Jesus is transmitted by Paul or
              by
              other early Christian tradents, Jesus is reported to have spoken in Aramaic not
              Hebrew -- even when praying and quoting the scriptures. This is ambiguous?


              > > and this indicates that Hebrew was not something this Semitic branch
              > > would have been familiar with.
              >
              > I disagree. I assume that gospel creation was started by the original
              > followers of Yeshu. So do you mean that the followers of Yeshu, all Jews,
              > who historisized all that OT prophesy didn't know Hebrew? A strange
              > assumption indeed on your part.
              >

              Leaving aside for the moment that once again you beg the question (in assuming not

              only that there is a great amount of historizied prophecy in the Gospels but also
              that, even it IF is there, it is based on the Hebrew text of the OT AND that those
              who did this were all Jews -- is Luke a Jew? Is all of his historisized prophesy
              traditional?), my answer to your question is that I have no idea. But given that
              what
              **appears** to be theologoumena in the NT is based upon the LXX and not the
              Hebrew text of the OT (I take it you haven't read Lindars' _ New Testament
              Apologetic_ or Stendahl's _ The School of St. Matthew_ ), and given also, by the
              way, the
              evidence of the creation and existence of the Targums, the evidence would actually

              seem to be **against** their knowing it.

              In any case, you really need to note that this is not the issue at hand -- and for

              you to imply that it is, is to engage in equivocation. The issue is NOT whether or

              not any purported "semitic branch" knew Hebrew, but what their **primary**
              language was, and therefore what they were most likely to be addressed with when
              Jesus or someone from the Jesus movement wanted to communicate with them. As
              Fitzmyer has shown, this was most likely to have been Aramaic.

              Yours,

              Jeffrey
              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson
              7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
              Chicago, Illinois 60626
              e-mail jgibson000@...
            • Yuri Kuchinsky
              Dear Jeffrey, I must confess that I m often unable to understand parts of what you wrote below, or what points you re trying to make. It seems reasonably clear
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 2, 2000
                Dear Jeffrey,

                I must confess that I'm often unable to understand parts of what you wrote
                below, or what points you're trying to make. It seems reasonably clear
                that you're very unhappy with my arguments and methodology, but it is not
                always so very clear why.

                So maybe I should try to explain my position a little bit now.

                I certainly don't feel that I need to _prove_ that Hebrew was widely used
                in Jerusalem in 1 c., or that gospel origins were lectionary, or that
                gospels were based on prophesy historicised, etc., etc. Great many
                articles and books have been written on all these subjects, and many
                highly reputed scholars hold these positions. What new can poor little me
                contribute in these areas, except for a little note here and there, a
                little brick for the wall that's already been built? We all stand on the
                shoulders of giants, so to speak, as someone better than me remarked so
                pithily. So your demands that I should instantly provide detailed studies
                and reviews in all these areas sound a little strange. Surely such things
                take time?

                OTOH what I feel I have to show here is merely that HMt is _plausible_ in
                the context of ancient Jerusalem. Once this is established, then no
                serious obstacles will remain in the way of recognizing HMt as ancient.
                Actually, Howard already pretty well did this, so even here I don't have
                to try too hard. It's a good idea that those who are interested in these
                matters should read his book.

                I can no more prove that Hebrew was widely used in Jerusalem in 1 c, for
                example, than my opponents can prove the opposite, my dear friend. None of
                us can prove such things. All these things are speculative to some extent
                in the absense of hard evidence. Historians usually have to deal not with
                hard proof, but with a balance of probabilities.

                OTOH I have already proven that HMt could not have been a medieval
                translation, and reposted these arguments. So those who want to establish
                that HMt was a medieval translation should deal with these arguments --
                their work is all cut out for them!

                In your post below often I cannot understand what your assumptions are,
                what do you think mine are, and what is being debated as you see it.

                On Sat, 1 Jan 2000, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

                > Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                >
                > > On Thu, 30 Dec 1999, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
                > > > Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                > >
                > > > > As to the audience of HMt, this would have been the Semitic branch of the
                > > > > earliest Jesus movement in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem. They were
                > > > > religious Jews who would have been very familiar with Hebrew. One of the
                > > > > major insights in HMt for me personally is the very important role of John
                > > > > the Baptist. This indicates that the followers of JB and the followers of
                > > > > Jesus were often the same people -- the two movements overlapped from the
                > > > > earliest time.
                > > > >
                > > >
                > > > Thanks for this. But wasn't the language of the "Semitic branch" (if
                > > > there really was such a thing in **Jerusalem**,
                > >
                > > Jeffrey,
                > >
                > > Do you mean there were no Jewish followers of Yeshu in Jerusalem speaking
                > > a Semitic tongue? You surprise me.
                >
                > What I mean is whether, given how long Jerusalem had been under
                > Hellinization, it is reasonable to think that Jerusalemite followers
                > of Jesus would have had a Semitic tongue as their **primary**
                > language, let alone **only** spoken Aramaic or Hebrew, as you seem to
                > imply they would, and **only** Hebrew** as the argument for the
                > antiquity of HMt seems to demand. It surprises **me** that you didn't
                > see that **this** is what I was saying.

                I read the above a few times, but still remain at a loss what to reply.
                Perhaps you should clarify a little? Are we arguing about the **primary**
                language of the original followers of Yeshu here? If so, I think it was
                Semitic.

                > > > or if such a thing even makes much sense, pace Hengel) Aramaic?
                > >
                > > Maybe their language was Aramaic. Maybe it was Hebrew. Maybe both. It's
                > > possible that Hebrew was used a lot more in Israel than is generally
                > > assumed.
                >
                > > Also, perhaps a distinction can be drawn between the language used in
                > > cultic observances and in everyday life. For example many educated Italian
                > > Catholics pre-Vatican II could understand and use both Latin and Italian.
                >
                > Oh I suppose it is possible.

                Thank you. This is all I wanted to establish. In light of this, I don't
                really know what to do with the rest of your comments on this subject?
                They seem besides the point somehow.

                > The question is: on earth should we think it **likely**?

                What is **likely**, Jeffrey? That many educated Italian Catholics
                pre-Vatican II could understand and use both Latin and Italian? If you
                have any doubts about this, your doubts are misplaced, I assure you.

                > What textual or inscriptional or ethnographic evidence do you offer,
                > or can you appeal to, to show that what is generally assumed is not
                > correct?

                What is generally assumed? That followers of Yeshu were bilinguial? I
                think this is correct.

                > Or is this just an argument from silence?

                What argument?

                > But please note that even IF it were the case that "Hebrew was used a
                > lot more in Israel than is generally assumed", what you **still** need
                > to show is (a) not only that amongst the type of people to whom HMt
                > was purportedly written

                For whom was it written, Jeffrey? Did you get a direct line from G*d about
                this? Please remember that all these things are speculative to some extent
                and the evidence is often ambiguous. Historians usually have to deal not
                with hard proof, but with a balance of probabilities.

                You may be assuming more than you have a right to here.

                > Hebrew was the language of cult AND that they
                > would have understood it (Latin was the language of the cult of my
                > youth, but I did not understand it), but also, and more importantly,
                > (b) that HMt is fundamentally cultic in nature.

                See my opening remarks. Many scholars think so.

                > Until all three of these things are demonstrated with some degree of
                > certainty, and not just offered as possibilities, the case is not very
                > well established.

                Your opinion only.

                > > It is well known that much if not most of the story of Yeshu as found in
                > > the Gospels was prophesy historicized -- based on OT texts.
                >
                > It is? Certainly I've come across this claim. But that the claim is
                > true is something that I doubt is really the case

                And you have a right to hold your views, my dear and esteemed friend! It's
                a democracy here, you know?

                > or is as widely accepted as your "it is well known that ..." alleges.
                > In any event, it is, more importantly, wholly irrelevant to the case
                > as you make it,

                I disagree.

                > since what you have claimed (in a previous post) constituted the
                > earliest layer of HMt was sayings, not narrative.

                I don't follow your logic.

                > The claim about historisized prophecy in the Gospels only focuses on
                > the narrative not the sayings material.

                So how did my previous remarks about sayings contradict this?

                > > In Jerusalem, these texts were Hebrew.
                > >
                >
                > Were they really? May I ask how you know this?

                That's what most people think. May I ask how you don't know this?

                > In any case, I note that this is hardly so is hardly so for a
                > purportedly Palestinian text such as Q, where we find, say, in the
                > wilderness testing story that it is the LXX and not the Hebrew text of
                > Deut. 6-8 that is used.

                Do you think the original language of Q was Greek?

                > And it is even less so for AMatt or his sources since those sections
                > of his Gospel which have the greatest claim to be a theologoumenon
                > (i.e., the infancy narratives, and especially the virgin conceiving
                > bit) AND Jerusalmite in origin (M material)

                This is debatable.

                > are soundly based in the LXX and the points that are made by them
                > could not have been made if the Hebrew OT was used.

                As I already said, gospel production may have been proceeding both in
                Greek and in Hebrew separately but in parallel.

                > Note too the early chapters of Luke and of Acts which are, given their
                > style, Semitic in origin, but again use the LXX whenever appealing to
                > scripture, either directly or indirectly.

                Luke is a late gospel and is irrelevant in this case.

                > > Gospel production may have been going on in parallel both in Hebrew and
                > > Greek. Some of the Jesus people probably used OT normally in Hebrew, and
                > > so they would have used them in producing HMt, while the Hellenists may
                > > have used the Septuagint to produce the Greek gospels.
                > >
                >
                > The problem for me with this statement is not only that no evidence is
                > offered

                What evidence? I've offered no evidence. I merely offered a possibility.

                > to show that what is stated within it as possibilities are plausible
                > or likely, but that you go on to reify what you yourself state are
                > possibilities into historical certainties.

                Sorry you don't like my idea.

                > > I'm sure many Jews in Jerusalem knew Hebrew rather well.
                > >
                > > > And if so, wouldn't it be more likely that if anyone wanted to write a
                > > > Gospel or any other dominical traditions document for this this
                > > > branch, he/she would have done so in Aramaic, not Hebrew?
                > >
                > > But was this gospel used primarily for religious propaganda? Probably not.
                > > It may have reflected ritual or lectionary use more.
                >
                > And your evidence for this claim,

                No claim was made. Try to read more carefully, Jeffrey.

                > especially IF, as you have said in a
                > previous post, HMt was actually the Logia, is what? More importantly,
                > what is your evidence that a document written for ritual or lectionary
                > use would NOT, as you implicitly claim, have been written in Aramaic?

                Because the OT is not written in Aramaic.

                > How then do you explain the Targums, which **were** explicitly
                > intended for ritual and lectionary use and give evidence for a
                > tradition that this was the practice at the very time in which HMt was
                > purportedly written?

                I don't understand how the Targums may strengthen your case, whatever it
                may be?

                > > > After all, the evidence indicates that when Jesus was addressing his
                > > > "own", he used Aramaic rather than Hebrew
                > >
                > > What evidence exactly do we have for this? All such evidence is ambiguous
                > > AFAIK.
                >
                > The evidence is that when the ipsissima verba of Jesus is transmitted
                > by Paul

                But then the question of authorship and dating comes up...

                > or by other early Christian tradents, Jesus is reported to have spoken
                > in Aramaic not Hebrew -- even when praying and quoting the scriptures.
                > This is ambiguous?

                Sometimes Jesus is reported to speak in Hebrew, it seems. Such as Jerome
                (Epist. 20.5 in reference to Mt 21:9) attributing to Yeshu the words
                "Osianna barrama", which means "ossana in excelsis".

                > > > and this indicates that Hebrew was not something this Semitic branch
                > > > would have been familiar with.
                > >
                > > I disagree. I assume that gospel creation was started by the original
                > > followers of Yeshu. So do you mean that the followers of Yeshu, all Jews,
                > > who historisized all that OT prophesy didn't know Hebrew? A strange
                > > assumption indeed on your part.
                >
                > Leaving aside for the moment that once again you beg the question (in
                > assuming not only that there is a great amount of historizied prophecy
                > in the Gospels but also that, even it IF is there, it is based on the
                > Hebrew text of the OT AND that those who did this were all Jews -- is
                > Luke a Jew?

                I beg to disagree.

                > Is all of his historisized prophesy traditional?), my answer to your
                > question is that I have no idea. But given that what **appears** to be
                > theologoumena in the NT is based upon the LXX and not the Hebrew text
                > of the OT

                Greek gospels are usually based on LXX. No mystery here. But is HMt so
                based? This is a question that needs to be answered, and the answer not
                merely assumed according to your personal bias.

                Why is it so incredible that the earliest Jesus movement texts should have
                been non-Greek? Too many people want to turn Yeshu into a Greek, and this,
                I think, is unfortunate. Why should the prevailing assumption be that the
                role of the Greek would have been so prominents at earlist stages?

                > (I take it you haven't read Lindars' _ New Testament Apologetic_ or
                > Stendahl's _ The School of St. Matthew_ ),

                I'm familiar with Stendahl but not with Linders. Please teach me about his
                valuable contribution.

                > and given also, by the way, the evidence of the creation and existence
                > of the Targums, the evidence would actually seem to be **against**
                > their knowing it.

                I don't yet see what the Targums may prove for you.

                > In any case, you really need to note that this is not the issue at
                > hand -- and for you to imply that it is, is to engage in equivocation.

                Your opinion only.

                > The issue is NOT whether or not any purported "semitic branch" knew
                > Hebrew, but what their **primary** language was,

                Do you know what it was?

                > and therefore what they were most likely to be addressed with when
                > Jesus or someone from the Jesus movement wanted to communicate with
                > them. As Fitzmyer has shown, this was most likely to have been
                > Aramaic.

                But we have plenty of indications from Patristic sources that a Hebrew
                gospel or gospels was/were widely attested very early among
                Jewish-Christians. You have to deal with this evidence too, but so far
                you failed to.

                Best regards,

                Yuri.

                Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                "What are among the moral convictions most fondly held by barbarous and
                semi-barbarous people? They are the convictions that authority is the
                soundest basis of belief; that merit attaches to readiness to believe;
                that the doubting disposition is a bad one, and skepticism a sin; that
                when good authority has pronounced what is to be believed, and faith has
                accepted it, reason has no further duty" -- Thomas H. Huxley
              • Robert M Schacht
                Yuri, I am reluctant to engage in this debate ; I think the responses made by Jack Kilmon and Jeffrey Gibson have been cogent and reasonable, as well as more
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 2, 2000
                  Yuri,
                  I am reluctant to engage in this "debate"; I think the responses made by
                  Jack Kilmon and Jeffrey Gibson have been cogent and reasonable, as well
                  as more convincing than your arguments have been. I will confine myself
                  to only one of your remarks:

                  On Sun, 2 Jan 2000 16:12:17 -0500 (EST) Yuri Kuchinsky
                  <yuku@...> writes:
                  > ...
                  > OTOH what I feel I have to show here is merely that HMt is _plausible_
                  in
                  > the context of ancient Jerusalem. Once this is established, then no
                  > serious obstacles will remain in the way of recognizing HMt as
                  ancient....

                  This is a very strange argument: If something might be true, than it must
                  be true?
                  There are serious obstacles indeed, and Jack has outlined many of them.
                  You have chosen either to ignore his arguments, or twist his words, or to
                  reply with speculations and opinions rather than substantive evidence.

                  At best, you have made a case that *some parts* of HMt *might* be
                  ancient. Of course, if the ancient parts merely repeat what is already
                  known, then HMt has no interest. It is only of interest if it offers
                  independent testimony that differs in some way from other ancient
                  manuscripts of GMatt, and that those differences are both independent and
                  early. By this I mean only to grant that the bare possibility exists-- a
                  long shot, say 1:25 against, and I am being generous to grant even that
                  much. But mere possibility is not the same as plausibility, which you
                  have, IMHO, failed to establish. And even plausibility is not the same as
                  probability or likelihood, as you suggest. In other words, on a scale of
                  0 to 100, where 100 represents certainty, and 0 represents no evidence
                  whatever, your case seems to be in the 0 - 5 range, IMHO.

                  So unless you can offer better *evidence* (not mere speculation or
                  opinion) than you already have, and have more substantive
                  counter-arguments to those that Jack has raised, this subject has little
                  interest for me, and I will have nothing further to say about it.

                  Bob
                • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                  ... Wow. At least two logical fallacies (an appeal to authority, an appeal to [alleged] popularity, an appeal to pity -- and then later on, but snipped here,
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 2, 2000
                    Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                    Dear Jeffrey,

                    I must confess that I'm often unable to understand parts of what you wrote
                    below, or what points you're trying to make. It seems reasonably clear
                    that you're very unhappy with my arguments and methodology, but it is not
                    always so very clear why.

                    So maybe I should try to explain my position a little bit now.

                    I certainly don't feel that I need to _prove_ that Hebrew was widely used
                    in Jerusalem in 1 c., or that gospel origins were lectionary, or that
                    gospels were based on prophesy historicised, etc., etc. Great many
                    articles and books have been written on all these subjects, and many
                    highly reputed scholars hold these positions. What new can poor little me
                    contribute in these areas, except for a little note here and there, a
                    little brick for the wall that's already been built? We all stand on the
                    shoulders of giants, so to speak, as someone better than me remarked so
                    pithily. So your demands that I should instantly provide detailed studies
                    and reviews in all these areas sound a little strange. Surely such things
                    take time?

                    OTOH what I feel I have to show here is merely that HMt is _plausible_ in
                    the context of ancient Jerusalem. Once this is established, then no
                    serious obstacles will remain in the way of recognizing HMt as ancient.
                    Wow. At least two logical fallacies (an appeal to authority, an appeal to [alleged] popularity, an appeal to pity -- and then later on, but snipped here, an argument ad ignorantiam tantamount to " You cannot prove that God does not exist, so He does.")  AND a factual error (in the misrepresentation  what I've been asking you  to do with respect to certain claims you've been making and which are the presuppositions of the "HMt is ancient" thesis) all in the space of  a a couple of paragraphs!

                    But leaving all that aside,  I note that from a methodological point of view,  this is hardly all you need to do since you were NOT arguing that each or any of your theories, the truth of which are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the validity of the "HMt is ancient" thesis,  were **only** plausible. You were claiming that they, and not  the alternatives I was suggesting, were actually historically **the case**. So in this instance, showing plausibility is not enough. One must also show that the were what you claim them to be.

                    Let me put it this way. The "HMt is ancient" thesis can be regarded as tentatively plausible IF, as it assumes must have been the case, Hebrew was a language that was  spoken at the time HMt was purportedly written and IF the Hebrew in which it is written is the Hebrew that allegedly was spoken in this time frame. Therefore it is incumbent upon anyone who wants to make the case for the antiquity of HMt not just to state or to argue that it can't not be demonstrated (argument ad ignorantiam -- see http://www3.ca.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html), but to **show** that the conditions upon which the validity of the thesis rests are more than just suppositions. But in  the absence of **some** evidence (and THAT was all I was asking for) that Hebrew **was** spoken

                    (and there **are**, as Fitzmyer notes in his "The Languages of Palestine in the First Century A.D." [see also A. Dupont-Sommer, _Les arameens (L'orient ancien illustre. 4; Paris, 1949; F. Altheim and R. Stiel, "Jesus der Galilaer", _Die Araber in der Alten Welt, Berlin, 1966] , lots of things that we should, and could reasonably,  expect to see if your claim were indeed the case, the having of which would validate the claim, and the palpable dearth of which makes the claim suspect,  i.e., first century inscriptions on sarcophagi in Hebrew rather than (as we have them) in Aramaic or Greek, first century non Biblical literary works (ala Josephus') in Hebrew rather than Aramaic or Greek, writing on pottery in Hebrew rather than Aramaic and Greek, official and governmental communications in Hebrew rather than in Aramaic or Greek, non literary Jewish texts [letters, receipts, bills, house records, inventories] in Hebrew rather than Aramaic or Greek,  prayer books and lectionaries in Hebrew rather than (as we have them) in Aramaic or Greek, biblical commentaries in first century Hebrew rather than Aramaic or Greek, reports from Gentile ethnographers about how common Hebrew was in all strata of Jewish society or amongst Jews in Jerusalem, etc.)
                     
                    not only is your claim mere (wishful?) speculation, but  the "plausibility" (not to mention the validity) of the thesis that is based upon it is highly suspect.

                    In any event, it is not at all clear to me that you have shown even that the very claims you make to support your thesis are themselves. The arguments you have been using have all been circular. More importantly,  your conclusion that once you show the plausibility of your thesis about the antiquity of HMt, the antiquity of HMt follows as a certainty and  as a matter of fact, is an affront to reasoning and sound historiography. In historical argument, establishing that X is plausible (given the validity of certain  assumptions -- which themselves need to be demonstrated) does NOT establish that X was historically the case. There are, I note, lots of "plausible" accounts of who shot JFK (plausible, of course **once** you accept certain assumptions). But that they are plausible does not mean that any of them are true. To use the language of logic (of which you claim to be so well versed), it means that their proponents have provided only one of the necessary  but NOT the sufficient conditions for those claims' truth. That you have have confused the two conditions  does not bode well for your claims, made repeatedly in your posts on this thread, that of all the contributors to the discussion, you are the only one who has been employing sound historical methodology.

                    JG
                    --
                    Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
                    Chicago, Illinois 60626
                    e-mail jgibson000@...
                     

                  • Yuri Kuchinsky
                    ... Well, thank you, Bob, but so far we only have your opinions. I would like you to deal with evidence, please. ... Sigh... You misunderstand what I said. My
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 3, 2000
                      On Sun, 2 Jan 2000, Robert M Schacht wrote:

                      > Yuri,
                      > I am reluctant to engage in this "debate"; I think the responses made by
                      > Jack Kilmon and Jeffrey Gibson have been cogent and reasonable, as well
                      > as more convincing than your arguments have been. I will confine myself
                      > to only one of your remarks:

                      Well, thank you, Bob, but so far we only have your opinions. I would like
                      you to deal with evidence, please.

                      > On Sun, 2 Jan 2000 16:12:17 -0500 (EST) Yuri Kuchinsky
                      > <yuku@...> writes:
                      > > ...

                      > OTOH what I feel I have to show here is merely that HMt is _plausible_
                      > in > the context of ancient Jerusalem. Once this is established, then
                      > no > serious obstacles will remain in the way of recognizing HMt as
                      > ancient....
                      >
                      > This is a very strange argument: If something might be true, than it
                      > must be true?

                      Sigh... You misunderstand what I said. My words stand on their own, and
                      your interpretation of them is incorrect.

                      Why is it so difficult for you to understand, Bob, how my general argument
                      is structured?

                      1. I have now proven that HMt could not have been a medieval translation.

                      2. I have now demonstrated, or will do so in the future, that no serious
                      objections to HMt having been composed in ancient times exist.

                      3. Therefore, the balance of probabilities points to HMt being ancient.

                      Any questions?

                      > There are serious obstacles indeed, and Jack has outlined many of
                      > them.

                      For example?

                      > You have chosen either to ignore his arguments, or twist his words, or
                      > to reply with speculations and opinions rather than substantive
                      > evidence.

                      Your opinions only. I'm waiting for the evidence.

                      > At best, you have made a case that *some parts* of HMt *might* be
                      > ancient.

                      Thank you.

                      > Of course, if the ancient parts merely repeat what is already
                      > known, then HMt has no interest.

                      You seem to have neglected to read my posts on the subject. And, seeing
                      how you're now speculating about the contents of HMt, obviously you
                      haven't even read HMt yet. I wonder why then are you in such a haste to
                      offer us your unsupported opinions here?

                      > It is only of interest if it offers independent testimony that differs
                      > in some way from other ancient manuscripts of GMatt, and that those
                      > differences are both independent and early. By this I mean only to
                      > grant that the bare possibility exists-- a long shot, say 1:25
                      > against, and I am being generous to grant even that much. But mere
                      > possibility is not the same as plausibility, which you have, IMHO,
                      > failed to establish. And even plausibility is not the same as
                      > probability or likelihood, as you suggest. In other words, on a scale
                      > of 0 to 100, where 100 represents certainty, and 0 represents no
                      > evidence whatever, your case seems to be in the 0 - 5 range, IMHO.

                      These are unsupported opinions again. Is this all I'm getting from you?

                      > So unless you can offer better *evidence* (not mere speculation or
                      > opinion) than you already have, and have more substantive
                      > counter-arguments to those that Jack has raised, this subject has
                      > little interest for me, and I will have nothing further to say about
                      > it.

                      Your post is content-free. I invite you to deal with the long post full of
                      evidence I've posted yesterday. Here it is,

                      http://www.egroups.com/group/crosstalk2/3407.html?

                      Why are you running from the evidence, Bob? Is this the scientific
                      appproach that is expected in a scholarly discussion? Your approach,
                      hardly inspires confidence.

                      Please try to offer something more than unsupported opinions in the
                      future. Why do I have to beg people to deal with my arguments? The
                      situation is very strange indeed. This is the group think and
                      dogma-hugging of the worst sort, I'm afraid.

                      Yours truly,

                      Yuri.

                      Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

                      You never need think you can turn over any old falsehoods without a
                      terrible squirming of the horrid little population that dwells under
                      it -=O=- Oliver Wendell Holmes
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