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Re: [XTalk] Re: Lonergan's project

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  • Antonio Jerez
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 8 5:37 AM
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      Bob Schacht wrote:
      >My tendency is to want to be inclusive-- up to a point. For example,
      I'd certainly include GJohn as well as the synoptics >(many NT scholars say they can't do that, that one has to choose), and I might also include GThomas as a minor witness. I would justify these selections, and not others, on the basis of their probable origin in the First Century (Even this is by no means a certainty, in the case of GJohn and GThomas). On the same grounds I'd probably want to include, when relevant, the Didache, and perhaps other works if they could be traced to First Century texts. But this is not sufficient. Do we then
      >include everything in all of these works as of equal value, as the Lonergan
      project seems to imply? I would not want to do >that with GThomas.

      <I do not think that "theory laden" approaches are necessarily bad. But the theory should be out there on the table for all to <see, and not a covert agenda. At least then, if one wants, one can begin by refuting the theory, or exposing its weaknesses-- which can be a more efficient process than struggling with all the details of the applicatin of the theory. In fact, in some ways I prefer an explicit theory laden approach to an "inclusive" approach where one's criteria of inclusivity <are vague, unstated, and with no discernible justification. I don't trust that kind of inductivism, because too often there are <covert or unconscious hidden agendas.
      May I concur wholeheartedly with what Bob says. Although I often disagree with Crossan
      about his conclusions at least you know why he argues for a certain thing. That is not
      the case with NT Wright since he leaves so many questions totally unanswered. I am
      still wondering why he leaves out a discussion of Matthew's Last Judgement? Is it because
      he thinks it is a Matthean creation? If so on what grounds does he think so? Linguistics?
      Since Ricki Watts is NT Wrights staunchest defender on the list I thought I was going to
      reopen a debate that I left unfinished back in May this year. I never answered Ricki´s
      message of 4 May "Critical Realism" because of lack of time and a general feeling
      that Ricki and I are just too far apart for a meaningful discussion to follow. Maybe we still
      are but I'll make a new try.
      I once contended that the gospel writers sometimes invented sayings that they
      attributed to Jesus. I also contended that if we find ONE single example of a gospel
      writer inventing a Jesus saying then it follows that Wright's method, where you don't
      ask any questions at all about the genuineness of a particular saying, falls to pieces.
      I then contended that we do indeed find examples in the gospels where the only
      reasonable explanation is that one or more of the gospel writers have put his own
      words in Jesus mouth. To this Ricki Watt's answered on 4 May.
      c. of course you react to this, citing 'totally dissimilar sayings' which no
      oral tradition on earth could account for (or something like that).  Indulge
      me by being specific (you mention the sayings from the cross in
      general)--would you mind giving me one or two of your key examples?  Then we
      can talk about details rather than generalities.  I suspect as we talk about
      this we'll discover that there are important assumptions that will strongly
      influence the outcome. 
      Ricki asked for specific examples. I will know give here a couple.
      Let us take a look at a scene like Jesus trial before the Sanhedrin.
      This scene can only have happened once. Wright's assertion that
      variations in a given Jesus saying can be explained by the simple fact
      that Jesus might said similar things with slight variations at different
      occasions does obviously not apply in a situation like this.
      Here are the answers Jesus gives to the High priests question as to
      wether he claims to be the Messiah:
      Mark 14:62   "I am"
      Matthew 26:64 "You say so..."
      Luke 22:67 "You will not believe if I tell you..."
      How does Ricki explain these variations?
      Another example. This time Jesus last words on the cross. I think we
      both agree that Jesus cannot have been more than one time on the
      In Mark 15:34 Jesus exclaims " My God, My God why have you forsaken me"
      In Mtt 27:46 we hear the same exclamation
      In Luke 23:46 Jesus last words are "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit".
      In John 19:30 Jesus last words are "It is finished!"
      How does Ricki explain these variations
      I could give more examples from the Last supper, Jesus missionary command and
      his words on divorce. But we'll start with these two examples.
      In my earlier message I also pointed out that the best example
      that the gospel writers did indeed invent and alter Jesus sayings
      is GJohn. Here we find invention on a scale that is very much beyond
      what the synoptic writers did. But strangely enough Ricki is hesitant
      to acknowledge even this. This was his anwer:
      d. you mention John's gospel.  It's difficult to know what to do with John
      vis-a-vis the Synoptics, as is evident in the widely divergent views on
      offer.  At least one early tradition regarded as a spiritual gospel; what
      might this imply about its genre?  But as Mahlon's recent post implied if
      not noted, one of the key problems for John and the Synoptics is
      understanding the relationship between report and interpretation which is
      probably best understood in terms of a continuum rather than a polarity
      (indeed Tom echoing numerous others have simply been questioning whether
      there is such a thing as a non-theological approach to history; naturalism
      already implies a theology even if a negative one).
      I must admit that I found this answer evasive in the extreme when
      I read it months ago. And I don´t find it less evasive now. Why is
      it so difficult to know what to do with John visavis the synoptics?
      One thing is the difficult question if John is dependent or independent
      of the synoptics, another not so difficult question to answer for most
      Johannine experts is that John has indeed made up whole speaches
      for Jesus that do not go back to the historical Jesus. The style of the
      writing and the content of the speaches betray that the hand of this
      christian theologian. And simple logic told critical scholars a long time
      ago that you cannot reconcile the Jesus of the synoptics with the Jesus
      of John. Mark's Jesus is a godman in disguise who does his best to
      hide his true identity until the end. John's Jesus on the other hand has
      no qualms at all about telling the Jews face to face who he is. How does
      Ricki explain this phenomenon? And how does Ricki explain that the
      talking style of the Johannine Jesus is so different from the synoptics.
      And why does NT Wright leave out GJohn from his database? And why
      no real discussion about on what grounds he decides to do this?
      Best wishes
      Antonio Jerez


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