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[XTalk] Re: Re:Crossan vs. Wright

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  • Sukie Curtis
    On Sunday, January 02, 2000 1:05 AM Bob Schacht wrote Re: Crossan vs. Wright in response to Brian Tucker s January 1, 2000 post entitled Re:Inductivism as
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
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      On Sunday, January 02, 2000 1:05 AM Bob Schacht wrote "Re: Crossan vs.
      Wright" in response to Brian Tucker's January 1, 2000 post entitled
      "Re:Inductivism as Inappropriate Method". I am responding to both, with
      much snipped material, in an attempt to be relatively brief, but I do quote
      extensively from some articles by Crossan and Wright, so be forewarned--it's
      not very brief!
      >>
      > On Sat, 01 Jan 2000 15:20:26 -0500 Brian Tucker <jbtucker@...>
      > writes:
      >
      >> > What is your opinion of Wright's description on his method in chapter
      > 4 of _New
      > > Testament and the People of God_. He defines his method as a critical
      > realist
      > > position "which acknowledges that all knowledge of realities external
      > to oneself
      > > takes place within the framework of a world view, of which stories
      > form an
      > > essential part." (NTPG 45) This removes his method from a narrow
      > empiricism
      > > a.k.a. positivism.
      >
      > Could you describe his method in more detail, please? All I know of it is
      > what I can see in Crossan's critique in BOC.
      > BTW, Crossan calls positivism "the impossible delusion" (The Birth of
      > Christianity, p. 41), so at least in that regard he seems to be in
      > agreement with Crossan.
      >
      > >
      > > Wright feels that his method has not be challenged his method, "Since
      > no one has
      > > yet engaged, far less attempted to refute, my arguments there, I am
      > not too
      > > anxious about gadfly like criticisms that sting the surface but do not
      > touch the
      > > substance." (1999:245)
      > >
      >
      > He evidently has not read Crossan's BOC.
      >
      > > Crossan critiques his presuppositions (1998:95-99) but does not
      > interact with
      > > his critical realist method but does touch on his hypothesis and
      > verification
      > > methodology. Is there any bibliography critiquing Wright's method, or
      > do you
      > > have thoughts on the weaknesses of his method?
      > >
      >
      > > A chart comparing Crossan's proposed method with Wright's method would
      > be
      > > helpful at this point - any volunteers?
      > >
      >
      > How 'bout you starting, with the main points of Wright's method?

      Sukie Curtis writes:

      You might be interested in a "Review Debate" between Crossan and Wright that
      appeared in the Scottish Journal of Theology, 1997, v. 50, n. 30, pp.
      345-379, in which Crossan reviewed _Jesus and the Victory of God_ and Wright
      responded. (THey have done/are doing a similar debate in reverse, with
      Wright reviewing _The Birth of Christianity_ and Crossan responding.) In
      Crossan's review he says much the same as in TBOC, pp. 96-100, about
      Wright's presuppositions and method, but it is a somehwat fuller and blunter
      critique, some of which I will quote here.

      1. On Presuppositions: "Everyone, as I understand it, must make certian
      decision about the nature and relationships of both intracanonical and
      extracanonical gospels *before* attempting to reconstruct the historical
      Jesus. Those conclusions are presuppositions for any reconstruction. . .
      .My criticism is that, first, you have not lcearly and openly expressed your
      own presuppositions but only hinted at them. And that, second, you use
      snide if not sneering dismissals instead of argued alternatives against
      opposing presuppositions. . . .All you have to do is announce your
      opposition and explain your alternative. . . .You have not earned nor even
      argued for your own presuppositions on gospel relations. You have simply
      derided the general consensus. " (347, 349).
      That "general consensus" he describes as follows: "The gospels are
      tradition, not just continuing, developing, or even agglutinative tradition,
      but, I need a special word, *absorptive tradition* in which earlier accounts
      are swallowed whole into later ones. That is the general judgment of
      tradition criticism....It is, of course, an historical reconstruction about
      gospel contents and relations and not at all about the historical Jesus.
      But it is by now for me, and I presume many others, a presupposition which
      must be *accepted, adapted, or replaced* in any future work on the the
      historical Jesus." (348-8)

      2. On Methods. Crossan quotes Wright as follows, (whose pompous language,
      IMO, is at times nearly unbearable!): "The pursuit of truth--historical
      truth--is what the Third Quest is all about. Serious historical method, as
      opposed to the pseudo-historical use of home-made 'criteria', is making a
      come-back in the Third Quest....the task before the serious historican of
      Jesus is not in the first instance conceived as the resonstruction of
      traditions about Jesus...but the advancement of serious historical
      hypostheses--that is, the telling of large-scale narratives--about Jesus
      himself, and the examination of the *prima facie* relevant data to see how
      they fit" (JVG, 87-88). And Wright goes on to give the example of "Nobody
      grumbles at a book on Alexander the Great if, in telling the story, the
      author 'harmonizes' two or three sources; this is his or her job, to advance
      hypostheses which draw together the data..." (88).
      To which Crossan responds: "Methods for historical Jesus research depend
      on gospel presuppostions.....The validity of one's Jesus-conclusions stand
      or fall with that one's gospel-presuppositoins....If, for example, the three
      synoptics are independent accounts of divergent Jesus-performances (which,
      *a priori*, is utterly possible), your method of 'coherent synthesis' is
      probably the best even only way to proceed. But if the results of tradition
      criticism are basically correct, then you have produced an elegant
      fundamentalism by taking a theology of the synoptic tradition and calling it
      a life of the historical Jesus." (351)
      To which Wright responds: "To say that one must first decide about
      tradition-hsitory before reaching a judgment about Jesus is precisely a
      renewed-new-quest ploy. It thus ineveitably comes across as a further
      attempt to rule (what I call) the 'third quest' off the map." (361) That is
      clearly a rather large methodological difference between the two.
      Later Wright states: "There is another particular reason for this
      postponement of a detailed account of gospel origins. There is actually no
      current consensus about gospel sources. ... Ever since I read Streeter and
      Farmer in the same week in 1972 I have been uncomfortably aware that the
      same data can be interpreted in at least two quite different ways. It would
      be good in theory if we could establish a theory of synoptic relationships
      once and for all, but in the light of current research I do not think that
      this is likely." (364)

      In other word, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright's method is what
      it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is uncomfortable
      coming down one way or another on gospel sources and relationships.

      This post has gone on quite long enough (my apologies)--hope that you find
      plowing through it helpful in continuing this discussion of method. I agree
      with both Brian and Bob that it's important.

      Sukie Curtis
      Cumberland Foreside, Maine


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    • Robert M Schacht
      On Mon, 3 Jan 2000 12:07:51 -0500 Sukie Curtis ... vs. ... with ... quote ... Sukie, ... chapter 4 of _New ... critical realist ...
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
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        On Mon, 3 Jan 2000 12:07:51 -0500 "Sukie Curtis" <sbcurtis@...>
        writes:
        >
        >
        > On Sunday, January 02, 2000 1:05 AM Bob Schacht wrote "Re: Crossan
        vs.
        > Wright" in response to Brian Tucker's January 1, 2000 post entitled
        > "Re:Inductivism as Inappropriate Method". I am responding to both,
        with
        > much snipped material, in an attempt to be relatively brief, but I do
        quote
        > extensively from some articles by Crossan and Wright...
        >

        Sukie,
        Thanks for another great post! More:

        >>
        > > On Sat, 01 Jan 2000 15:20:26 -0500 Brian Tucker
        <jbtucker@...> writes:
        > >
        > >> > What is your opinion of Wright's description on his method in
        chapter 4 of _New
        > > > Testament and the People of God_. He defines his method as a
        critical realist
        > > > position "which acknowledges that all knowledge of realities
        external to oneself
        > > > takes place within the framework of a world view, of which stories
        form an
        > > > essential part." (NTPG 45) ...
        > > > Wright feels that his method has not be challenged his method,
        "Since no one has
        > > > yet engaged, far less attempted to refute, my arguments there, I am
        not too
        > > > anxious about gadfly like criticisms that sting the surface but do
        not touch the
        > > > substance." (1999:245)
        > > >

        Perhaps he was refering to Jesus & the Restoration of Israel : A Critical
        Assessment of N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God, by Carey C.
        Newman (Editor) Paperback - 280 pages (November 1999) Intervarsity Pr;
        ISBN: 0830815872

        "Jesus & the Restoration of Israel is a serious attempt
        to offer a multifaceted
        and critical appreciation and assessment of Wright's
        work. Essays focus on
        Israel's continuing exile, Jesus as prophet, his
        christology, apocalyptic
        sayings, parables and ethics. The entire portrait of
        Jesus is evaluated from
        the standpoint of philosophy and systematic theology.
        Wright then responds
        to the essayists, and Marcus Borg, a prominent Jesus
        scholar and Wright's
        frequent dialogue partner, offers his critical appraisal
        of the discussion.

        Essayists are Dale C. Allison Jr., Craig L. Blomberg,
        Darrell L. Bock,
        Marcus Borg, Paul R. Eddy, Craig A. Evans, C. Stephen
        Evans, Richard B.
        Hays, Luke Timothy Johnson, Alister E. McGrath, Carey C.
        Newman,
        Klyne R. Snodgrass and N. T. Wright."

        Reviews of this book have been disappointing. Has anyone here read it?

        Brian Tucker continued:
        > > > Crossan critiques his presuppositions (1998:95-99) but does not
        interact with
        > > > his critical realist method but does touch on his hypothesis and
        verification
        > > > methodology. Is there any bibliography critiquing Wright's method,
        or do you
        > > > have thoughts on the weaknesses of his method?...

        You might try the book cited above, but I think Sukie's extracts below of
        a "dialogue" between Crossan and Wright may be more interesting.

        > Sukie Curtis writes:
        >
        > You might be interested in a "Review Debate" between Crossan and
        Wright that
        > appeared in the Scottish Journal of Theology, 1997, v. 50, n. 30, pp.
        345-379, in which Crossan reviewed
        > _Jesus and the Victory of God_ and Wright responded. (THey have
        done/are doing a similar debate in reverse,
        > with Wright reviewing _The Birth of Christianity_ and Crossan
        responding.) In
        > Crossan's review he says much the same as in TBOC, pp. 96-100, about
        > Wright's presuppositions and method, but it is a somehwat fuller and
        blunter
        > critique, some of which I will quote here.
        >
        > 1. On Presuppositions: "Everyone, as I understand it, must make
        certian
        > decision about the nature and relationships of both intracanonical and
        > extracanonical gospels *before* attempting to reconstruct the
        historical
        > Jesus. Those conclusions are presuppositions for any reconstruction.
        . .
        > .My criticism is that, first, you have not clearly and openly
        expressed your
        > own presuppositions but only hinted at them. And that, second, you
        use
        > snide if not sneering dismissals instead of argued alternatives
        against
        > opposing presuppositions. . . .All you have to do is announce your
        > opposition and explain your alternative. . . .You have not earned nor
        even
        > argued for your own presuppositions on gospel relations. You have
        simply
        > derided the general consensus. " (347, 349).
        > That "general consensus" he [i.e., Crossan?] describes as follows:
        "The gospels are
        > tradition, not just continuing, developing, or even agglutinative
        tradition,
        > but, I need a special word, *absorptive tradition* in which earlier
        accounts
        > are swallowed whole into later ones. That is the general judgment of
        > tradition criticism....It is, of course, an historical reconstruction
        about
        > gospel contents and relations and not at all about the historical
        Jesus.
        > But it is by now for me, and I presume many others, a presupposition
        which
        > must be *accepted, adapted, or replaced* in any future work on the the
        > historical Jesus." (348-8)
        >

        This "general concensus" is overstated, isn't it? I mean, Matthew and
        Luke did not just absorb Mark, but left some stuff out, and rearranged
        what was kept, no?

        > 2. On Methods. Crossan quotes Wright as follows, (whose pompous
        language,
        > IMO, is at times nearly unbearable!): "The pursuit of
        truth--historical
        > truth--is what the Third Quest is all about. Serious historical
        method, as
        > opposed to the pseudo-historical use of home-made 'criteria', is
        making a
        > come-back in the Third Quest....the task before the serious historican
        of
        > Jesus is not in the first instance conceived as the reconstruction of
        > traditions about Jesus...

        This is a slap at Crossan, TBOC, p. 44, I think.

        > but the advancement of serious historical
        > hypotheses--that is, the telling of large-scale narratives--about
        Jesus
        > himself, and the examination of the *prima facie* relevant data to see
        how
        > they fit" (JVG, 87-88).

        Wright seems to be using the word "hypotheses" in a special way here.
        Large-scale narratives make poor hypotheses, IMHO.

        > And Wright goes on to give the example of "Nobody
        > grumbles at a book on Alexander the Great if, in telling the story,
        the
        > author 'harmonizes' two or three sources; this is his or her job, to
        advance
        > hypotheses which draw together the data..." (88).

        Crossan quotes this passage in TBOC, p.98

        > To which Crossan responds: "Methods for historical Jesus research
        depend
        > on gospel presuppostions.....The validity of one's Jesus-conclusions
        stand
        > or fall with that one's gospel-presuppositoins....If, for example, the
        three
        > synoptics are independent accounts of divergent Jesus-performances
        (which,
        > *a priori*, is utterly possible), your method of 'coherent synthesis'
        is
        > probably the best even only way to proceed. But if the results of
        tradition
        > criticism are basically correct, then you have produced an elegant
        > fundamentalism by taking a theology of the synoptic tradition and
        calling it
        > a life of the historical Jesus." (351)
        > To which Wright responds: "To say that one must first decide about
        > tradition-hsitory before reaching a judgment about Jesus is precisely
        a
        > renewed-new-quest ploy. It thus ineveitably comes across as a further
        > attempt to rule (what I call) the 'third quest' off the map." (361)
        > That is clearly a rather large methodological difference between the
        two.

        Thanks for collating this dialogue for us! These are difficult questions:
        Must we decide, say, all questions of source-criticism before we go any
        further? Crossan says we must, while Wright objects. To a certain extent,
        Crossan is correct. For example, if we want to use the criterion of
        multiple attestation, we must decide in advance what counts as
        "multiple"! And this means taking a stance on Source-critical issues. For
        example, does a saying in the triple tradition count once, or 3 times? Is
        it multiply attested, or not? And it somehow does not seem legitimate to
        argue sometimes that triple source sayings are multiply attested, but
        other times that they're not. So part of constructing the corpus
        (inventory) on which any analysis is based involves these types of
        decisions. I think the thing to do is state our default stance on these
        issues at the beginning of the analysis, and then if we wish to argue
        another way, we need to provide justification for deviating from our
        default stance.
        However, if we are not relying on multliple attestation as a criterion,
        then perhaps there's no reason to force the issue of what our
        Source-critical position is.

        > Later Wright states: "There is another particular reason for this
        > postponement of a detailed account of gospel origins. There is
        actually no
        > current consensus about gospel sources. ... Ever since I read Streeter
        and
        > Farmer in the same week in 1972 I have been uncomfortably aware that
        the
        > same data can be interpreted in at least two quite different ways. It
        would
        > be good in theory if we could establish a theory of synoptic
        relationships
        > once and for all, but in the light of current research I do not think
        that
        > this is likely." (364)
        >
        > In other word, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright's method is
        what
        > it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is
        uncomfortable
        > coming down one way or another on gospel sources and relationships.
        >
        > This post has gone on quite long enough (my apologies)--hope that you
        find
        > plowing through it helpful in continuing this discussion of method. I
        agree
        > with both Brian and Bob that it's important.
        >
        > Sukie Curtis

        Again, thanks a bunch, Sukie!
        It is interesting that much of their dialogue here seems to concern
        whether or not one must take a source-critical stance before analyzing
        the texts. Are they just using that as an example, or are their
        differences mostly about these source-critical issues? Is there anything
        else of interest in this debate? Do you have access to Wright's review of
        BTOC?

        Bob
      • Jacob Knee
        Yes, I have this book and like it. I m intrigued to know what points have been made criticising it in reviews. It is non partisan though not completeist
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
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          Yes, I have this book and like it. I'm intrigued to know what points have
          been made criticising it in reviews. It is non partisan though not
          'completeist' (there are no Jesus seminar folks, I think). The various
          papers flag up key issues in relation to Wright's overall thesis. I've
          enjoyed particularly reading the papers concerning Wright's claims about the
          Israel and exile and about the nature of apocalyptic language.

          Tell me more about the reviews...!

          Best wishes,
          Jacob Knee
          (Boston, England)

          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Robert M Schacht [mailto:bobschacht@...]
          > Sent: 03 January 2000 22:11
          > To: crosstalk2@egroups.com
          > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Re:Crossan vs. Wright
          >
          >
          > > > >
          >
          > Perhaps he was refering to Jesus & the Restoration of Israel : A Critical
          > Assessment of N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God, by Carey C.
          > Newman (Editor) Paperback - 280 pages (November 1999) Intervarsity Pr;
          > ISBN: 0830815872
          >
          > "Jesus & the Restoration of Israel is a serious attempt
          > to offer a multifaceted
          > and critical appreciation and assessment of Wright's
          > work. Essays focus on
          > Israel's continuing exile, Jesus as prophet, his
          > christology, apocalyptic
          > sayings, parables and ethics. The entire portrait of
          > Jesus is evaluated from
          > the standpoint of philosophy and systematic theology.
          > Wright then responds
          > to the essayists, and Marcus Borg, a prominent Jesus
          > scholar and Wright's
          > frequent dialogue partner, offers his critical appraisal
          > of the discussion.
          >
          > Essayists are Dale C. Allison Jr., Craig L. Blomberg,
          > Darrell L. Bock,
          > Marcus Borg, Paul R. Eddy, Craig A. Evans, C. Stephen
          > Evans, Richard B.
          > Hays, Luke Timothy Johnson, Alister E. McGrath, Carey C.
          > Newman,
          > Klyne R. Snodgrass and N. T. Wright."
          >
          > Reviews of this book have been disappointing. Has anyone here read it?
          >
          >
        • Brian Tucker
          Chart Comparing Wright and Crossan s Historical Method N.T. Wright D. Crossan Hypothesis and Verification
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
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            Chart Comparing Wright and Crossan's Historical Method

            N.T. Wright D. Crossan

            Hypothesis and Verification Interdisciplinary Method
            (Eclectic Method) (Interactivism)

            1. Historical Sources 1. Interdisciplinary Sources

            1.a literary 1.a literary
            criticism
            1.b archaeological 1.b lower Galilean
            archaeology
            1.c numismatic 1.c Judeo-Roman history
            1.d hypothetical statements of beliefs 1.d Cross-cultural Anthropology

            2. Induction/Abduction 2. Interactive
            (inference of best explanation) (with all the above)

            3. Re-creation of Past experiences 3. Weigh above in hierarchy
            3.a Why people behaved a certain way? 3.a Similar question
            3.b Establish causal nexus 3.b occurs in step 4 for
            Cros.
            3.b.1 Worldviews
            3.b.2 Mindsets
            3.b.3 Beliefs
            3.b.4 Aims
            3.b.5 These explain the intentional
            actions of history.

            4. Historical method is a distinct 4. Stages
            branch of how we know things. 4.a Context - Reconstruct the
            context
            4.b Text - Est.
            earliest layer of trad.
            4.c Conjunction
            - link the two.

            Side note Non-canonical sources
            don't offer much for Wright. This
            differs with 4.b of Crossan.

            Results
            1. The role of pre-sups seem to impact their final outcome because
            there are a number of similarities in their method.
            2. There are some epistemological issues in which they are at odds.
            3. This chart is only a beginning and is in need of development.
            4. The work of these two has brought out the importance of defining method.
            5. Information from: Birth of Christianity, Victory of God, Restoration of
            Israel.
            6. Agrees with Crossan that historical research is crucial (vs. Luke Johnson)
            but disagrees with Crossan in his actual use of historical methods and his
            skeptical and skewed results.

            P.S. The posts from Bob and Sukie have proven to be well worth the time to read
            on this important subject.

            Thanks
            Brian Tucker
            jbtucker@...
            Riverview, MI
          • Robert M Schacht
            ... Critical ... Darrell L. Bock, ... Evans, Richard B. ... C. Newman, ... On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 00:15:18 -0000 Jacob Knee ... have ...
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
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              I wrote:
              > From: Robert M Schacht [mailto:bobschacht@...]
              > Sent: 03 January 2000 22:11
              > To: crosstalk2@egroups.com
              > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Re:Crossan vs. Wright
              >
              > Perhaps he was refering to Jesus & the Restoration of Israel : A
              Critical
              > Assessment of N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God, by Carey C.
              > Newman (Editor) Paperback - 280 pages (November 1999) Intervarsity Pr;
              > ISBN: 0830815872...
              >
              > Essayists are Dale C. Allison Jr., Craig L. Blomberg,
              Darrell L. Bock,
              > Marcus Borg, Paul R. Eddy, Craig A. Evans, C. Stephen
              Evans, Richard B.
              > Hays, Luke Timothy Johnson, Alister E. McGrath, Carey
              C. Newman,
              > Klyne R. Snodgrass and N. T. Wright."
              >
              > Reviews of this book have been disappointing. Has anyone here read it?


              On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 00:15:18 -0000 "Jacob Knee" <jknee@...>
              responded:
              > Yes, I have this book and like it. I'm intrigued to know what points
              have
              > been made criticising it in reviews. It is non partisan though not
              > 'completeist' (there are no Jesus seminar folks, I think). The various
              > papers flag up key issues in relation to Wright's overall thesis. I've
              > enjoyed particularly reading the papers concerning Wright's claims
              about the
              > Israel and exile and about the nature of apocalyptic language.
              >
              > Tell me more about the reviews...!
              >
              > Best wishes,
              > Jacob Knee
              > (Boston, England)

              The only reviews I have seen are at Amazon.com, by customers. One wrote:

              "While there is some good material contained in the book, for the MOST
              part the reviews were shallow and picky. At times, you
              wondered whether
              the reviewer had really read Wright's book, or, at
              least, really tried to
              come to grips with it. Most of the responses were
              obviously emotional
              reactions to Wright's reading of apocalytic...
              In general, there was very little substantive provided by way of
              "working through" Wright's ideas. This was clearly an
              opportunity for
              many of these more "evangelical" scholars to gain
              respect for their
              scholarship, but, sadly, they showed just how their
              dominant theological
              view can be and how it can inhibit scholarly objective
              research.
              Part of the fault of the book must lie with the format of the book
              itself.
              ...It seems it would have gone very differently if some
              of the top scholars had been chosen to review his work
              (e.g., Sanders,
              Witherington), and the subject areas limited to those
              actually dealt with by
              Wright. Several of the reviewers actually stated that it
              was a bit unfair of
              them to review his work when he did not actually deal
              with the topic of
              their critique! This project thus began on the wrong
              foot and hobbled along
              the entire course. This is why, in his response to his
              reviewers, Wright had
              more than a few hard words for them. "

              Another customer wrote:

              "In his response to the various appraisals of his book,
              in a concluding
              chapter, Wright makes it clear that he thinks many of
              the reviewers have not
              thoroughly read or understood his position. At times, he
              explicitly
              communicates his impatience and is clearly irritated by
              their failure to
              understand his points.

              Most of the criticisms of Wright focus on two key
              issues--several
              reviewers think: 1) that Wright is guilty of a "realized
              eschatology," and
              reduces Jesus' eschatology to a renewal of a
              this-worldly order, thereby
              denying the destruction of this time/space continuum;
              and, in this same vein,
              2) that Wright is guilty of affirming a "physical"
              resurrection of the body,
              rather than a new "spiritual" body; and some seem unsure
              Wright even
              affirms a real resurrection of Jesus.

              Basically, Wright's response to these criticisms is: 1)
              that he is focusing
              only on Jesus' view based on the synoptic texts, and
              against the background
              of the 1st century Jewish worldview, and that his own
              view is best
              captured by the phrase "inaugurated eschatology"; and 2)
              that he does not
              deny a "real" resurrection of Jesus, but Jesus does not
              expound this topic
              himself; and he will deal with it in the next volume.

              I shared Wright's reaction. While a couple of the
              reviewers specificaly
              noted they had struggled to see things from within the
              new perspective
              offered by Wright, and had changed some of their views,
              still, most of the
              criticisms stood firm within the older perspective and
              really did not offer
              arguments to refute Wright's position--this is what
              caused Wright's
              response to be so sharp. "

              These reviews deal more with content than with method. Did you see
              anything in the book relating more to his method?

              Bob
            • Jacob Knee
              Not in the sense you re using it. Luke Johnson rather severly criticises Wright for confusing, in effect, theology with history. His is a methodological piece
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                Not in the sense you re using it. Luke Johnson rather severly criticises
                Wright for confusing, in effect, theology with history. His is a
                methodological piece but written from a 'meta-perspecive' rather than the
                knitty gritty of historiography.

                I like the book under discussion and have found it a useful way to
                concentrate thought about Wright's work. I am clear that whilst none of the
                scholars is (yet) of the stature of E.P.Sanders, many of them have produced
                very signifiant work, and for my tastes, many are at least as challenging
                and stimulating as the work of Witherington, if not rather more so.

                Jacob Knee
                (Boston, England)
                >
                > These reviews deal more with content than with method. Did you see
                > anything in the book relating more to his method?
                >
                > Bob
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              • Ron Price
                ... True. Moreover this decision has a strong bearing on people s reconstruction of Jesus. Thus the sort of people who keep saying: All four gospels agree
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                  Robert Schacht wrote:

                  > To a certain extent,
                  >Crossan is correct. For example, if we want to use the criterion of
                  >multiple attestation, we must decide in advance what counts as
                  >"multiple"!

                  True. Moreover this 'decision' has a strong bearing on people's
                  reconstruction of Jesus. Thus the sort of people who keep saying: "All
                  four gospels agree that ....." end up with a very conservative picture
                  of Jesus. Those who think that Q and Thomas are the only worthwhile
                  independent sources end up (surprise, surprise) with a view of Jesus as
                  merely a benign apolitical Teacher.
                  But I would go further than your "if". Bearing in mind the
                  difficulties involved in trying to reconstruct the historical Jesus it
                  would surely be sensible to use every available tool.

                  Sukie Curtis quotes Wright as asserting:

                  >> It would be good in theory if we could establish a theory of
                  >> synoptic relationships once and for all, but in the light of
                  >> current research I do not think that this is likely.

                  We will never have confidence in a reconstruction of the
                  historical Jesus unless we can also explain how the historical
                  Jesus was transformed into the Jesus of the gospels. This
                  cannot be done without solving the synoptic problem.

                  In any case I think I **have** solved it (see my Web site)
                  and challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

                  Ron Price

                  Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                  e-mail: ron.price@...

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • William Arnal
                  ... This is simply not true. One might say that those who focus on Q and Thomas end up with a Jesus largely devoid of recognizable CHRISTOLOGICAL associations,
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                    At 02:44 PM 1/4/00 +0000, Ron Price wrote:

                    >of Jesus. Those who think that Q and Thomas are the only worthwhile
                    >independent sources end up (surprise, surprise) with a view of Jesus as
                    >merely a benign apolitical Teacher.

                    This is simply not true. One might say that those who focus on Q and Thomas
                    end up with a Jesus largely devoid of recognizable CHRISTOLOGICAL
                    associations, but hardly apolitical. This doesn't do jusrtice to the work
                    that has been done in this area.

                    Bill
                    __________________________________
                    William Arnal wea1@...
                    Religion/Classics check out my web page, at:
                    New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                  • Sukie Curtis
                    ... Glad you enjoyed it. ... [snipped] ... Yes, that he is Crossan. ... I suppose you could make a case for some other term, but it seems to me that Mt and Lk
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                      Back to Bob Schacht, who wrote:
                      >
                      > Sukie,
                      > Thanks for another great post!

                      Glad you enjoyed it.

                      >More:

                      [snipped]
                      > > Sukie Curtis writes:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > That "general consensus" he [i.e., Crossan?]

                      Yes, that he is Crossan.

                      describes as follows:
                      > "The gospels are
                      > > tradition, not just continuing, developing, or even agglutinative
                      > tradition,
                      > > but, I need a special word, *absorptive tradition* in which earlier
                      > accounts
                      > > are swallowed whole into later ones. That is the general judgment of
                      > > tradition criticism....It is, of course, an historical reconstruction
                      > about
                      > > gospel contents and relations and not at all about the historical
                      > Jesus.
                      > > But it is by now for me, and I presume many others, a presupposition
                      > which
                      > > must be *accepted, adapted, or replaced* in any future work on the the
                      > > historical Jesus." (348-8)
                      > >
                      >
                      > This "general concensus" is overstated, isn't it? I mean, Matthew and
                      > Luke did not just absorb Mark, but left some stuff out, and rearranged
                      > what was kept, no?

                      I suppose you could make a case for some other term, but it seems to me that
                      Mt and Lk have first "swallowed Mark whole," then done some editing, some
                      rearranging (and some regurgitation?). The "flow" of the tradition seems
                      closer to absorptive than say, if Mk, Mt, and Lk were simply sequential
                      links in a chain, or if Mt and Lk had just borrowed ideas or themes from Mk,
                      but not copied anything outright.
                      >
                      > > 2. On Methods. Crossan quotes Wright as follows, (whose pompous
                      > language,
                      > > IMO, is at times nearly unbearable!): "The pursuit of
                      > truth--historical
                      > > truth--is what the Third Quest is all about. Serious historical
                      > method, as
                      > > opposed to the pseudo-historical use of home-made 'criteria', is
                      > making a
                      > > come-back in the Third Quest....the task before the serious historican
                      > of
                      > > Jesus is not in the first instance conceived as the reconstruction of
                      > > traditions about Jesus...
                      >
                      > This is a slap at Crossan, TBOC, p. 44, I think.
                      >
                      > > but the advancement of serious historical
                      > > hypotheses--that is, the telling of large-scale narratives--about
                      > Jesus
                      > > himself, and the examination of the *prima facie* relevant data to see
                      > how
                      > > they fit" (JVG, 87-88).
                      >
                      > Wright seems to be using the word "hypotheses" in a special way here.
                      > Large-scale narratives make poor hypotheses, IMHO.
                      >
                      > > And Wright goes on to give the example of "Nobody
                      > > grumbles at a book on Alexander the Great if, in telling the story,
                      > the
                      > > author 'harmonizes' two or three sources; this is his or her job, to
                      > advance
                      > > hypotheses which draw together the data..." (88).
                      >
                      > Crossan quotes this passage in TBOC, p.98
                      >
                      > > To which Crossan responds: "Methods for historical Jesus research
                      > depend
                      > > on gospel presuppostions.....The validity of one's Jesus-conclusions
                      > stand
                      > > or fall with that one's gospel-presuppositoins....If, for example, the
                      > three
                      > > synoptics are independent accounts of divergent Jesus-performances
                      > (which,
                      > > *a priori*, is utterly possible), your method of 'coherent synthesis'
                      > is
                      > > probably the best even only way to proceed. But if the results of
                      > tradition
                      > > criticism are basically correct, then you have produced an elegant
                      > > fundamentalism by taking a theology of the synoptic tradition and
                      > calling it
                      > > a life of the historical Jesus." (351)
                      > > To which Wright responds: "To say that one must first decide about
                      > > tradition-hsitory before reaching a judgment about Jesus is precisely
                      > a
                      > > renewed-new-quest ploy. It thus ineveitably comes across as a further
                      > > attempt to rule (what I call) the 'third quest' off the map." (361)
                      > > That is clearly a rather large methodological difference between the
                      > two.
                      >
                      > Thanks for collating this dialogue for us! These are difficult questions:
                      > Must we decide, say, all questions of source-criticism before we go any
                      > further? Crossan says we must, while Wright objects. To a certain extent,
                      > Crossan is correct. For example, if we want to use the criterion of
                      > multiple attestation, we must decide in advance what counts as
                      > "multiple"! And this means taking a stance on Source-critical issues. For
                      > example, does a saying in the triple tradition count once, or 3 times? Is
                      > it multiply attested, or not? And it somehow does not seem legitimate to
                      > argue sometimes that triple source sayings are multiply attested, but
                      > other times that they're not. So part of constructing the corpus
                      > (inventory) on which any analysis is based involves these types of
                      > decisions. I think the thing to do is state our default stance on these
                      > issues at the beginning of the analysis, and then if we wish to argue
                      > another way, we need to provide justification for deviating from our
                      > default stance.
                      > However, if we are not relying on multliple attestation as a criterion,
                      > then perhaps there's no reason to force the issue of what our
                      > Source-critical position is.
                      >
                      > > Later Wright states: "There is another particular reason for this
                      > > postponement of a detailed account of gospel origins. There is
                      > actually no
                      > > current consensus about gospel sources. ... Ever since I read Streeter
                      > and
                      > > Farmer in the same week in 1972 I have been uncomfortably aware that
                      > the
                      > > same data can be interpreted in at least two quite different ways. It
                      > would
                      > > be good in theory if we could establish a theory of synoptic
                      > relationships
                      > > once and for all, but in the light of current research I do not think
                      > that
                      > > this is likely." (364)
                      > >
                      > > In other word, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright's method is
                      > what
                      > > it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is
                      > uncomfortable
                      > > coming down one way or another on gospel sources and relationships.
                      > >
                      > > This post has gone on quite long enough (my apologies)--hope that you
                      > find
                      > > plowing through it helpful in continuing this discussion of method. I
                      > agree
                      > > with both Brian and Bob that it's important.
                      > >
                      > > Sukie Curtis
                      >
                      > Again, thanks a bunch, Sukie!
                      > It is interesting that much of their dialogue here seems to concern
                      > whether or not one must take a source-critical stance before analyzing
                      > the texts. Are they just using that as an example, or are their
                      > differences mostly about these source-critical issues?

                      I think that is a (the?) major *methodical* difference, and it seems a large
                      one to me. Wright puts himself and certain others in a "Third Quest" while
                      clearly wanting to leave Crossan in the "renewed new quest" category, and it
                      seems from his comment above (about a "renewed new quest ploy") that a good
                      part of the distinction for Wright lies in one's reliance on tradition
                      criticism in its various forms.


                      Is there anything
                      > else of interest in this debate?

                      Other topics Crossan addresses are Apocalyptic, Violence, and Justice, but
                      the discussion of presuppositions and method takes up half of his review,
                      the above topics the other half.
                      Do you have access to Wright's review of
                      > BTOC?

                      I do--can't remember much about it at the moment. Any specific questions
                      you wonder about it?

                      Sukie Curtis
                      Cumberland Foreside, Maine
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                    • Mike Myers
                      Sukie wrote: In other words, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright s method is what it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                        Sukie wrote:

                        "In other words, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright's method
                        is what it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is
                        uncomfortable coming down one way or another on gospel sources and
                        relationships."
                        **************************************************************

                        I absolutely agree that the debate between these two is extremely
                        important. But I am even more fascinated by scholarly reaction to
                        it. Sukie, could you elaborate a little on why you've come to this
                        judgment of yours on NT Wright's alleged discomfort? I would be
                        eager to hear some more from you on your impressions. And from any
                        others too.

                        Thanksabunch,
                        Mike

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        Michael D. A. Myers
                        Physiology and Biophysics
                        University of California, Irvine
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        <mmyers@...>
                        01/04/2000
                        13:35:51
                      • Jacob Knee
                        It is also interesting that E.P Sanders claims that his historical Jesus work is not committed to any one solution to the question of the relationships of the
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                          It is also interesting that E.P Sanders claims that his historical Jesus
                          work is not committed to any one solution to the question of the
                          relationships of the Gospel texts. As I remember it, he argues this is a
                          virtue of his work.

                          There's also an interesting critique by Dale Allison of Crossan's
                          methodology in his book 'Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet' - part of
                          which is a critique of his weighing of source relationships.

                          Jacob Knee
                          (Boston, England)

                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: Mike Myers [mailto:mmyers@...]
                          > Sent: 04 January 2000 21:36
                          > To: crosstalk2@egroups.com
                          > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Re:Crossan vs. Wright
                          >
                          >
                          > Sukie wrote:
                          >
                          > "In other words, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright's method
                          > is what it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is
                          > uncomfortable coming down one way or another on gospel sources and
                          > relationships."
                          > **************************************************************
                          >
                          > I absolutely agree that the debate between these two is extremely
                          > important. But I am even more fascinated by scholarly reaction to
                          > it. Sukie, could you elaborate a little on why you've come to this
                          > judgment of yours on NT Wright's alleged discomfort? I would be
                          > eager to hear some more from you on your impressions. And from any
                          > others too.
                          >
                          > Thanksabunch,
                          > Mike
                          >
                          > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                          > Michael D. A. Myers
                          > Physiology and Biophysics
                          > University of California, Irvine
                          > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                          >
                          > <mmyers@...>
                          > 01/04/2000
                          > 13:35:51
                          >
                          >
                          >
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                        • Sukie Curtis
                          ... Jacob, Could you give us a brief sense of Allison s critique? Sukie Curtis Cumberland Foreside, Maine
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                            Jacob Knee wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > It is also interesting that E.P Sanders claims that his historical Jesus
                            > work is not committed to any one solution to the question of the
                            > relationships of the Gospel texts. As I remember it, he argues this is a
                            > virtue of his work.
                            >
                            > There's also an interesting critique by Dale Allison of Crossan's
                            > methodology in his book 'Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet' - part of
                            > which is a critique of his weighing of source relationships.

                            Jacob, Could you give us a brief sense of Allison's critique?

                            Sukie Curtis
                            Cumberland Foreside, Maine

                            >
                            >> >
                            > >
                            > >
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                          • Sukie Curtis
                            ... Mike, I m afraid it was not by any critical or scientific process that I arrived at that judgment, but more, as you say, impressions. Perhaps I have
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
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                              Mike Myers wrote:
                              >
                              > Sukie wrote:
                              >
                              > "In other words, it would appear (to me anyway) that Wright's method
                              > is what it is or proceeds as it does at least in part because he is
                              > uncomfortable coming down one way or another on gospel sources and
                              > relationships."
                              > **************************************************************
                              >
                              > I absolutely agree that the debate between these two is extremely
                              > important. But I am even more fascinated by scholarly reaction to
                              > it. Sukie, could you elaborate a little on why you've come to this
                              > judgment of yours on NT Wright's alleged discomfort? I would be
                              > eager to hear some more from you on your impressions. And from any
                              > others too.

                              Mike, I'm afraid it was not by any critical or scientific process that I
                              arrived at that judgment, but more, as you say, "impressions." Perhaps I
                              have given too much weight to that one personal "confession" of Wright's:
                              "Ever since I read Streeter and Farmer in the same week in 1972 I have been
                              uncomfortably aware that the same data can be interpreted in at least two
                              quite different ways. It would be good in theory if we could establish a
                              theory of synoptic relationships once and for all, but in the light of
                              current research I do not think that this is likely."

                              Since I thought that part of the job of a historian was to decide on and
                              then work with what he/she determines is the best possible hypothesis to
                              explain the available data, even when there are two (or more) strong
                              contenders for that "best hypothesis," that statement of his caught my
                              attention. Perhaps to be fair, I should continue the quote as he does: "My
                              working hypothesis is that Luke used Mark (though I know some argue the
                              opposite), and I actually think it fairly likely that Matthew used Mark
                              (though some oppose that, too). But, after twenty-five years of study and
                              teaching, I am, as a historian, nowhere near as convinced about these oints,
                              still less about all that has been built up around them, as I am that Jesus
                              of Nazareth was a Jewish eschatological prophet who believed that the climaz
                              of Israel's history was occurring in and through him, his work, and his
                              approaching fate." (364) (That latter I see as a summary of his
                              "large-scale narrative" about Jesus.)

                              So he's really not even convinced that Matthew used Mark?! From other parts
                              of Crossan's crtiques (both in the Scottish Journal article and in TBOC) I
                              take it that Wright primarily expalins the various versions of sayings, etc.
                              in the synoptics (triple tradition, I guess) as multiple oral performances.
                              (It has been a while since I read JVG and I don't own a copy, so I'm not a
                              good person to represent Wright's position.)

                              Also, as pertains to Bob Schacht's (I think) question earlier, here's a
                              statement by Wright from his Scottish Journal response to Crossan: "The
                              critical differences between the renewed new quest and the third quest have
                              to do partly with presuppositions and methods. In upbraiding me for what I
                              do at those levels, you reinforce the very differences to which I have drawn
                              attention." (360) If I remember at all well, I think in JVG he also
                              suggests that other differences between these "quests" involve the very
                              deliberate setting of Jesus in his first century Jewish context, something
                              which Crossan does every bit as much as Wright. (I remember thinking
                              Wright's attempt to distinguish himself and other "Third Questers" (among
                              whom he includes Borg) was not very convincing.

                              Sukie Curtis
                              Cumberland Foreside, Maine


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                            • Ron Price
                              ... William, There is a slight inconsistency here between simply not true which declares that I am totally wrong, and hardly which seems to concede that
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
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                                Ron Price wrote:

                                >>Those who think that Q and Thomas are the only worthwhile
                                >>independent sources end up ....... with a view of Jesus as
                                >>merely a benign apolitical Teacher.

                                William Arnal replied:
                                >
                                >This is simply not true. One might say that those who focus on Q and Thomas
                                >end up with a Jesus largely devoid of recognizable CHRISTOLOGICAL
                                >associations, but hardly apolitical.

                                William,
                                There is a slight inconsistency here between "simply not true" which
                                declares that I am totally wrong, and "hardly" which seems to concede
                                that
                                there is at least a grain of truth in what I wrote.
                                I would have thought that if Jesus was not actively collaborating with
                                the
                                Romans, was not sowing the seeds of imminent rebellion, and was not
                                otherwise involved in politics, that he could be classed as
                                "apolitical".
                                However, assuming that you agree that the focus on Q and Thomas
                                results
                                from a positive assessment of these sources relative to others, then I
                                am
                                quite happy with your wording. For it supports the primary point I was
                                making, namely that scholars' attitudes to the sources and their
                                relationships have a strong bearing on the historical conclusions which
                                they
                                reach. So Crossan is right and Wright is wrong (please excuse the pun!).
                                We
                                cannot expect to be able to find the truth about the historical Jesus
                                without
                                solving the basic problems of the relationships between the sources on
                                which that truth must be based.

                                Ron Price

                                Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                                e-mail: ron.price@...

                                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                              • William Arnal
                                ... No -- I was using hardly in the sense of not at all. Excuse my lack of clarity. ... If that s your definition of apolitical, then it applies to
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
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                                  At 10:28 AM 1/5/00 +0000, Ron Price wrote:

                                  > There is a slight inconsistency here between "simply not true" which
                                  >declares that I am totally wrong, and "hardly" which seems to concede
                                  >that
                                  >there is at least a grain of truth in what I wrote.

                                  No -- I was using "hardly" in the sense of "not at all." Excuse my lack of
                                  clarity.

                                  > I would have thought that if Jesus was not actively collaborating with
                                  >the
                                  >Romans, was not sowing the seeds of imminent rebellion, and was not
                                  >otherwise involved in politics, that he could be classed as
                                  >"apolitical".

                                  If that's your definition of apolitical, then it applies to reconstructions
                                  of Jesus -- at least plausible ones -- that emanate from sources other than
                                  Q and Thomas too.

                                  > However, assuming that you agree that the focus on Q and Thomas
                                  >results
                                  >from a positive assessment of these sources relative to others, then I
                                  >am
                                  >quite happy with your wording. For it supports the primary point I was
                                  >making, namely that scholars' attitudes to the sources and their
                                  >relationships have a strong bearing on the historical conclusions which
                                  >they
                                  >reach. So Crossan is right and Wright is wrong (please excuse the pun!).

                                  Yes!

                                  >We
                                  >cannot expect to be able to find the truth about the historical Jesus
                                  >without
                                  >solving the basic problems of the relationships between the sources on
                                  >which that truth must be based.

                                  Quite so.

                                  Bill
                                  __________________________________
                                  William Arnal wea1@...
                                  Religion/Classics check out my web page, at:
                                  New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
                                • Jacob Knee
                                  As a preface I should say that Dale Allison s book was obviously written before the publication of the Birth of Christianity and so references only Crossan s
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
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                                    As a preface I should say that Dale Allison's book was obviously written
                                    before the publication of the 'Birth of Christianity' and so references only
                                    Crossan's discussions in the 'Historical Jesus'. Though he does say that he
                                    engaged in fruitful 'panel discussions' with Crossan twice in 1997.

                                    He concentrates on criticising Crossan's methods in what Crossan calls the
                                    second and third triads of his methodology (inventory, stratification,
                                    attestation and sequence of strata, hierarchy of attestation, bracketing of
                                    singularity)

                                    1. Crossan is wrong to think that stratifying _documents_ is a great help in
                                    working towards a picture of Jesus. He is also wrong in Allison's view to
                                    postulate 'that at least for the first stratum everything is original until
                                    it is argued otherwise' (HJ xxxii). In addion his four cut off points for
                                    stratification are arbitrary, as of course they must be, but to then place
                                    significant weight on these arbitrary points (in particular to so prioritise
                                    the first stratum) is unjustifiable. Thus if Q dates to the 60s rather than
                                    40s or 50s almost a third of the items in the first strata move to the
                                    second. This is a significant change. If the Gospel of Thomas dates in the
                                    same way to the 60s rather than the 50s a further 28 complexes would be
                                    removed from the first strata. Crossan, like Allison, admits that the
                                    elements of his his methodology are only formal moves and invites others to
                                    suggest better ones (HJ xxxiv). Allsion does that and suggests if we are to
                                    stratify then the natural cut off point is the fall of the Temple, which
                                    marks a major turning point in the history of Gentile and Jewish
                                    Christianity. He also suggests it is methodologically better to err on the
                                    side of caution about the dating of documents, so to say to begin with the
                                    more certain and move to the less. Thus into his first strata of documents
                                    Allison admits only Paul, Mark and Q. But in the same breath he confesses he
                                    is unsure of the value of strafiying documents at all, because even using
                                    Crossan's strata only a few years separates Q from Mark, and Mark from L and
                                    as Crossan admits (eg in analysing the J the Baptist apocalyptic sayings)
                                    secondary strata can contain reliable evidence. Thus Allison argues the task
                                    is analysis of tradition units not documents and that the same analysis
                                    should be applied to all levels of the tradition (there should be no
                                    presumption about the first stratum).

                                    2. Allison goes on to criticise Crossan's use of multiple attestation saying
                                    that it is not obvious that singly attested sayings are to be presumed to be
                                    inauthentic. Indeed multiple attestation might be thought to be good
                                    evidence that the early church found the sayings conjenial. Thus multiple
                                    attestation runs in tension with dissimilarity.

                                    He then gives some statistical analyses of Crossan's analysis of the
                                    materials in the first stratum and interestingly finds that in Q, M, L, and
                                    Thomas, the greatest proportion of material that Crossan finds to be
                                    authentic is _doubly attested_ (rather than triply or more attested). This
                                    is not what you would expect from Crossan's declared methodology (see HJ
                                    xxxii). He also notes that in this first stratum single attestation is a bad
                                    thing, except in Q, for which Crossan counts 28% of singly attested
                                    traditions authentic. Finally he argues that Crossan tends to limit multiple
                                    attestation to sayings or complexes, not ideas but very occasionally uses it
                                    to include thematic multiple attestation (eg HJ p260). Does multiple
                                    attestation include themes or not? If it does, he argues that would alter
                                    Crossan's picture of Jesus not insignificantly (eg although no apocalyptic
                                    Son of Man saying is multiply attested, the idea is multiply attested).

                                    3. Tadition history. Allison alleges that Crossan typically establishes that
                                    a complex did not originate with Jesus through tradition history. He works
                                    through one of Crossan's tradition histories on Q12. 8- 9 (HJ p248-9).
                                    Crossan's tradition history leads him to argue this saying is inauthentic
                                    even though severally attested and from the first stratum. Allison offers an
                                    alternative tradition history. He argues the case is not whether Crossan's
                                    or his alternatives are possible, the case is that equally plausible
                                    tradition histories with very different outcomes are very easy to imagine.
                                    The better way then is to move from the more certain to the less by
                                    identifying what facts and generalisations we can reasonably know about
                                    Jesus _before_ entering the conjested world of tradition history.

                                    4. Uncertainty. Allsion wants to ask where are all the question marks in
                                    Crossan's analysis. That sometimes the verdict will be 'don't know' that the
                                    evidence is equivocal and the best thing is to say so. He imagines that
                                    Crossan might reply that the 'minus' sign means only that a tradition cannot
                                    safely be attributed to Jesus (that it might come from Jesus but we can't
                                    know). However in practice these traditions are excluded from Crossan's
                                    picture of Jesus and if he were to include them it would significantly alter
                                    his overall portrait (eg turning Jesus into an apocalyptic prophet). For
                                    Crosan such units can't be authentic.

                                    Sorry to have gone on for so long - this is the thrust of Allison's
                                    argument: there is significantly more detail that I have missed out (and
                                    more statistical analysis of Crossan's use of criteria of attestation). If
                                    you made it throught all of that I hope it was helpful!

                                    Best wishes,
                                    Jacob Knee
                                    >
                                  • Robert M Schacht
                                    On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 18:44:14 -0500 Sukie Curtis ... part of ... Yes, Jacob, please do. Bob
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
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                                      On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 18:44:14 -0500 "Sukie Curtis" <sbcurtis@...>
                                      writes:
                                      >
                                      > Jacob Knee wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >...There's also an interesting critique by Dale Allison of Crossan's
                                      > > methodology in his book 'Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet' -
                                      part of
                                      > > which is a critique of his weighing of source relationships.
                                      >
                                      > Jacob, Could you give us a brief sense of Allison's critique?
                                      >
                                      > Sukie Curtis

                                      Yes, Jacob, please do.

                                      Bob
                                    • Robert M Schacht
                                      On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 16:04:53 -0500 Sukie Curtis ... questions ... Well, maybe what are Wright s primary complaints about Crossan s
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        On Tue, 4 Jan 2000 16:04:53 -0500 "Sukie Curtis" <sbcurtis@...>
                                        writes:
                                        >
                                        > Back to Bob Schacht, who wrote:
                                        > ... Do you have access to Wright's review of TBOC?
                                        >
                                        > I do--can't remember much about it at the moment. Any specific
                                        questions
                                        > you wonder about it?
                                        >
                                        > Sukie Curtis

                                        Well, maybe what are Wright's primary complaints about Crossan's methods?

                                        Thanks,
                                        Bob
                                      • Sukie Curtis
                                        Jacob, Thanks for all that work answering my question about what Allison has to say about Crossan s method. It ll take a while to read and digest, but in the
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jan 6, 2000
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                                          Jacob,
                                          Thanks for all that work answering my question about what Allison has to say
                                          about Crossan's method. It'll take a while to read and digest, but in the
                                          meantime, thank you.

                                          Sukie Curtis
                                          Cumberland Foreside, Maine

                                          > -----Original Message-----
                                          > From: Jacob Knee [mailto:jknee@...]
                                          > Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 6:54 PM
                                          > To: crosstalk2@egroups.com
                                          > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Re:Crossan vs. Wright
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > As a preface I should say that Dale Allison's book was obviously written
                                          > before the publication of the 'Birth of Christianity' and so
                                          > references only
                                          > Crossan's discussions in the 'Historical Jesus'. Though he does
                                          > say that he
                                          > engaged in fruitful 'panel discussions' with Crossan twice in 1997.
                                          >
                                          > He concentrates on criticising Crossan's methods in what Crossan calls the
                                          > second and third triads of his methodology (inventory, stratification,
                                          > attestation and sequence of strata, hierarchy of attestation,
                                          > bracketing of
                                          > singularity)
                                          >
                                          > 1. Crossan is wrong to think that stratifying _documents_ is a
                                          > great help in
                                          > working towards a picture of Jesus. He is also wrong in Allison's view to
                                          > postulate 'that at least for the first stratum everything is
                                          > original until
                                          > it is argued otherwise' (HJ xxxii). In addion his four cut off points for
                                          > stratification are arbitrary, as of course they must be, but to then place
                                          > significant weight on these arbitrary points (in particular to so
                                          > prioritise
                                          > the first stratum) is unjustifiable. Thus if Q dates to the 60s
                                          > rather than
                                          > 40s or 50s almost a third of the items in the first strata move to the
                                          > second. This is a significant change. If the Gospel of Thomas dates in the
                                          > same way to the 60s rather than the 50s a further 28 complexes would be
                                          > removed from the first strata. Crossan, like Allison, admits that the
                                          > elements of his his methodology are only formal moves and invites
                                          > others to
                                          > suggest better ones (HJ xxxiv). Allsion does that and suggests if
                                          > we are to
                                          > stratify then the natural cut off point is the fall of the Temple, which
                                          > marks a major turning point in the history of Gentile and Jewish
                                          > Christianity. He also suggests it is methodologically better to err on the
                                          > side of caution about the dating of documents, so to say to begin with the
                                          > more certain and move to the less. Thus into his first strata of documents
                                          > Allison admits only Paul, Mark and Q. But in the same breath he
                                          > confesses he
                                          > is unsure of the value of strafiying documents at all, because even using
                                          > Crossan's strata only a few years separates Q from Mark, and Mark
                                          > from L and
                                          > as Crossan admits (eg in analysing the J the Baptist apocalyptic sayings)
                                          > secondary strata can contain reliable evidence. Thus Allison
                                          > argues the task
                                          > is analysis of tradition units not documents and that the same analysis
                                          > should be applied to all levels of the tradition (there should be no
                                          > presumption about the first stratum).
                                          >
                                          > 2. Allison goes on to criticise Crossan's use of multiple
                                          > attestation saying
                                          > that it is not obvious that singly attested sayings are to be
                                          > presumed to be
                                          > inauthentic. Indeed multiple attestation might be thought to be good
                                          > evidence that the early church found the sayings conjenial. Thus multiple
                                          > attestation runs in tension with dissimilarity.
                                          >
                                          > He then gives some statistical analyses of Crossan's analysis of the
                                          > materials in the first stratum and interestingly finds that in Q,
                                          > M, L, and
                                          > Thomas, the greatest proportion of material that Crossan finds to be
                                          > authentic is _doubly attested_ (rather than triply or more attested). This
                                          > is not what you would expect from Crossan's declared methodology (see HJ
                                          > xxxii). He also notes that in this first stratum single
                                          > attestation is a bad
                                          > thing, except in Q, for which Crossan counts 28% of singly attested
                                          > traditions authentic. Finally he argues that Crossan tends to
                                          > limit multiple
                                          > attestation to sayings or complexes, not ideas but very
                                          > occasionally uses it
                                          > to include thematic multiple attestation (eg HJ p260). Does multiple
                                          > attestation include themes or not? If it does, he argues that would alter
                                          > Crossan's picture of Jesus not insignificantly (eg although no apocalyptic
                                          > Son of Man saying is multiply attested, the idea is multiply attested).
                                          >
                                          > 3. Tadition history. Allison alleges that Crossan typically
                                          > establishes that
                                          > a complex did not originate with Jesus through tradition history. He works
                                          > through one of Crossan's tradition histories on Q12. 8- 9 (HJ p248-9).
                                          > Crossan's tradition history leads him to argue this saying is inauthentic
                                          > even though severally attested and from the first stratum.
                                          > Allison offers an
                                          > alternative tradition history. He argues the case is not whether Crossan's
                                          > or his alternatives are possible, the case is that equally plausible
                                          > tradition histories with very different outcomes are very easy to imagine.
                                          > The better way then is to move from the more certain to the less by
                                          > identifying what facts and generalisations we can reasonably know about
                                          > Jesus _before_ entering the conjested world of tradition history.
                                          >
                                          > 4. Uncertainty. Allsion wants to ask where are all the question marks in
                                          > Crossan's analysis. That sometimes the verdict will be 'don't
                                          > know' that the
                                          > evidence is equivocal and the best thing is to say so. He imagines that
                                          > Crossan might reply that the 'minus' sign means only that a
                                          > tradition cannot
                                          > safely be attributed to Jesus (that it might come from Jesus but we can't
                                          > know). However in practice these traditions are excluded from Crossan's
                                          > picture of Jesus and if he were to include them it would
                                          > significantly alter
                                          > his overall portrait (eg turning Jesus into an apocalyptic prophet). For
                                          > Crosan such units can't be authentic.
                                          >
                                          > Sorry to have gone on for so long - this is the thrust of Allison's
                                          > argument: there is significantly more detail that I have missed out (and
                                          > more statistical analysis of Crossan's use of criteria of attestation). If
                                          > you made it throught all of that I hope it was helpful!
                                          >
                                          > Best wishes,
                                          > Jacob Knee
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          >
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