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RE: [XTalk] Markan Fabrications

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... length, and then commented on only one thing, for which the first few sentences of quotes would have been quite sufficient. Or am I missing something?
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 4, 2000
      On Sat, 3 Jun 2000, Robert M Schacht responded to "David C. Hindley":

      >>I am a bit puzzled here about why you have quoted at such great
      length, and then commented on only one thing, for which the first few
      sentences of quotes would have been quite sufficient. Or am I missing

      Because I am a *bad* person! <g> It *was* long, for sure (especially
      what he wrote to Ron Price), but I wanted to capture the complexity of
      his theoretical system. I thought about cropping it down, but the
      problem was that Ted's thesis was built upon suppositions that he
      dealt with in pieces spread through posts to three people. It would
      have been very difficult to have cropped them and left behind much
      that was comprehensible as posts to the individuals. If I tried to
      reorganize them into a single format then I would have had to invent a
      way to identify the origins of the quotes, and it would probably have
      ended up just as long. If I summarized them (as I did with Ted's
      original series of posts), then I risked misinterpreting him. Catch
      22. There is really no good way to briefly summarize complex ideas.

      As for particulars, Ted bases one leg of his theory on the work of
      Dieter Georgi [_The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians_], that an
      analysis of 2 Corinthians (particularly chapters 10-13) leads to the
      conclusion that the "opponents of Paul in Corinth (II Corinthians)
      modeled their divine-man christology after the divine man "par
      excellence, Moses" (_The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians_,
      124ff., 271ff.)" This in turn is based upon Deut 18:15ff. (the
      "prophet like Moses"). Ted also asserted that "[t]he divine-man
      opponents of Paul us the title "Christ" to encapsulate their
      divine-man christological orientation."

      The only overtly "christological" statements I find in 2 Cor are 5:11;
      6:14; 8:9; 11:13 and 13:3-5, of which only 8:9 and 13:3-5 appear to be
      applicable to a powerful "divine man" interpretation. Such an
      explanation is not the only explanation, and I do not think it most
      compelling. Also, I can detect no direct connection of these phrases
      in 2 Cor with the wording of Deut 18:15-20. Even so, the passage in
      Deuteronomy seems, to me, to be referring to the difference between
      the predictive ability of the prophets of the LORD versus those of the
      conquered peoples, not in their ability to effect miracles as did

      In addition, he stated that "these divine-man Christians, in the
      interest of their evangelistic enterprise, accommodated themselves to
      the ideology of the Greco-Roman culture and began to refer to Jesus as
      "the Son of God." However, 2 Cor. never once uses the phrase "son of
      God", and as far as I can tell the Gospel of Mark does not offer any
      direct critiques of the cultural influences of the author's opponents.
      Ted has therefore postulated an intervening step in the theological
      development between the theology held by Paul's opponents in 2 Cor and
      that held by the opponents of the author of Mark that is not directly
      attested in these NT texts. To support this jump, he makes recourse to
      cross cultural anthropology.

      In a reply to Bob Schacht Ted outlines the method he employs to
      interpret a text: "I begin with ... my working hypothesis [of place of
      composition based on textural considerations] and try to understand
      [the document's context] through cultural anthropology, social
      scientific studies, archaeology and so forth[, that deal with] what
      life was like in the first century C. E. in northern Palestine. With
      that information I try to be open to the clues in the text that seem
      to be speaking to life in northern Palestine at that time and how
      those clues may relate to the *Sitz* of the author." This is very
      similar to the approach outlined by Crossan in BOC pp. 146-149.

      >>Why [are you "hesitant to accept the proposals of Crossan and others
      who see Galilee as a place where Jewish residents borrowed freely from
      Hellenistic and Roman culture and practices"]?<<

      On page 148 of BOC, in his explanation of how he obtains his context,
      Crossan says he begins "with the widest and most general framework
      given by cross-cultural anthropology" (especially macrosociological
      analyses), and then places "history [by which I presume he means the
      historical evidence] within or atop that general anthropological
      framework", and watches for "points where the two layers lock hard
      into one another." The archeological evidence is then also "located
      within or atop that historical layer [by which I think he means the
      historical evidence, after it has been interpreted in light of the
      anthropological framework, is then to be compared to the archeological
      record - at least this is what he appears to be doing on page 210, 2nd

      Ted appears to be following a similar course when he says "My reading
      of Mark leads me to think that Mark is anti-Judean establishment, its
      leaders (priests, elders), its retainers (scribes, Pharisees, temple
      guard, etc., etc.), its cult (temple-centered theology, including
      sacrificial system) and its culture (economic exploitation of people
      through temple dues, etc., and political orientation, i. e. messianism
      via Davidic dynasty: see Mk. 12:35-37). It is a thesis I am currently
      developing and testing. As a part of that thesis, I see Mark as a
      Galilean representing the ancient Galilean (Israelite) animosity
      toward the southern hegemony of "Judah" (from Davidic-Solomonic period
      to Josiah's reform extension to former Israel, to the Hasmoneans, to
      late second-temple times, e. g. Pharisees stalking and harassing
      Jesus, as depicted by Mark)."

      >>Can you cite any "covering law" that Crossan has proposed in this
      regard? I don't recall any. What do you mean by "overstepping"? I,
      too, have some considerations about how Crossan used cross-cultural
      anthropology, but I wouldn't call it "overstepping", and I am very
      glad of his attempt to include it in his attempts at triangulation of
      data. Besides, I'm not sure your "otherwise not attested" charge is
      fair, given Chapter 12 of BOC. Just what about his construction is
      that you find unconvincing? Please provide some concrete specifics
      about his reconstruction that you disagree with. Or is your
      disagreement only at the methodological level?<<

      In the quote above, Ted appears to be interpreting the historical
      evidence in the NT texts against a framework in which a Judean
      establishment systematically exploits (economically) and politically
      suppresses the northern population in Galilee from the period of the
      Hasmoneans through the end of the second temple. Is this not derived
      from the same macrosociological framework which Crossan uses, based
      upon Lenski and Kautsky? The issue, IMO, is what nature such a
      macrosociological framework takes, and how that nature affects the way
      we might employ it in historical reconstructions.

      I do not have a problem with the cultural trends Crossan identifies,
      only with the confidence we can place on predictions derived by using
      them to fill in the gaps in the historical record. This is at the
      heart of the Reconstructionist/Constructionist controversy I had
      called attention to in an earlier series of posts. According to Alun
      Munslow, "a covering law ascribes causation in history and it is
      derived from deductive inference. An explanation of an event or
      particular action is made (deduced) in terms of an available law of
      nature or of human nature" (Deconstructing History_, pg 45). Can you
      see now why I classified Crossan as a "Constructionist"? Crossan (and
      it seems Ted) are explaining events in terms of available
      anthropological "laws" related to distributive and social systems as
      described by Lenski and Kautsky.

      Strict Reconstructionists, such as Geoffrey R. Elton, reject the use
      of covering laws because they believe that "historical understanding
      requires understanding of the motivations, goals, values and
      information available to historical agents, all of which constitute
      their individual intentions and cannot be subsumed under universal
      explanations of behaviour." (ibid., 45). For instance Marxism, as the
      most well-known form of constructionism, in Elton's view, "chooses to
      view historical reality as being ordered by a bastard version of a
      so-called covering [social-economic] law" (ibid., 45). So, on one end
      of the spectrum are empiricists (e.g., Elton) and on the other are
      positivists (e.g., the Marxist historian Alex Callinicos).

      In actual practice, a class of historians Munslow calls the
      "practical-realist" majority, are ready to offer or incorporate
      explanations derived from covering laws, considering their models as
      nothing more than concepts, although often highly complex in
      construction, "that emerge from the evidence and act as a aid to the
      understanding of the evidence" (ibid. 45). Although they acknowledge
      that when they write history they have models of explanation in mind,
      based on gender, race, class of whatever, most of them "insist that
      their interpretations are quite independent of any dominant
      self-serving theory or master narrative", stressing that "they are not
      slaves to proving the accuracy of one over-arching theory of social
      action or philosophy of history, unless they are overtly committed to
      a certain perspective as an act of faith" (ibid., 45, 46).

      The problem, though, is that answers to the questions of historical
      interpretation "tend to hinge on ideological preferences" (ibid., 46).
      I think history interpreted under the umbrella of faith statements
      could be attributed to a good many biblical critics, both conservative
      and liberal. And this is the heart of where I get my reservations, and
      wonder whether we should (or even can) more cautiously weigh the
      results of analysis based on covering laws in the construction of our
      overall theoretical systems.

      >>What evidence do you find in Josephus for that [belief "that it was
      much more likely the original followers of Jesus had a political
      messianic vision of him than a mystical one]? Or, what other
      contemporaneous sources are you thinking of?<<

      This is probably better broken off into another thread, which will
      have to wait for a more opportune moment. Sorry.

      >>I'm glad to see that you have not completely closed that door [by
      conceding that you have not yet fully developed a personal position on
      the subject of the application of anthropology to historical

      I cannot understand why my skepticism was initially interpreted as
      meaning I am totally against it. Hopefully you see that I am right
      there in the gray area between use and rejection, just like most
      people are, including yourself. What I hope to avoid is continue to
      make indiscriminate use of covering laws, like most of us routinely
      do, without giving it a lot more reflection then it usually gets.


      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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