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[XTalk] Re: Re:Crossan vs. Wright

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  • 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 1 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
      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 2 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
        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 3 of 20 , Jan 3, 2000
          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 4 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
            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 5 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
              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 6 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
                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 7 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
                  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 8 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
                    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 9 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
                      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 10 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
                        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 11 of 20 , Jan 4, 2000
                          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 12 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
                            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 13 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
                              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 14 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
                                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 15 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
                                  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 16 of 20 , Jan 5, 2000
                                    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 17 of 20 , Jan 6, 2000
                                      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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