Re: [XTalk] Digest Number 154
- I was wondering if any of you have worked with Geographic Information
Systems. I would be very interested in putting some of the spatial and
temporal data of this time period and location into a geo info system. I
was a comparative religions student here at UC Berkeley, with an emphasis
on Gnosticism, and now I work in the GIS Center here on campus, so my
interests in religion have taken on a new dimension.
There is an international group that is centered here on the UCB campus
called ECAI (Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative) whose mission it is to
create and maintain a database of information gathered from various
sources, and make that data available for use in mapping both spatially and
temporally. I have recently been working with this group. They have a lot
of data from ancient China, but as far as I've seen, little data from the
period of early Christianity - both temporally and spatially.
Particular projects that I am interested in are the conquests of Alexander
the Great, and how those events set the stage for the emergence of
Christianity. And of course, I'm interested in mapping the rise and fall
of various Gnostic sects - the Valentinians being a favorite. If anyone is
interested in these or other related projects, or if anyone would like to
contribute data to any cultural project, please email me at
At 09:40 AM 10/9/00 +0000, you wrote:
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>Topics in this digest:
> 1. Re: Re: Lonergan's project
> From: "Antonio Jerez" <antonio.jerez@...>
> Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000 14:37:34 +0200
> From: "Antonio Jerez" <antonio.jerez@...>
>Subject: Re: Re: Lonergan's project
>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
><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
>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?
>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
>message of 4 May "Critical Realism" because of lack of time and a general
>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
>writer inventing a Jesus saying then it follows that Wright's method, where
>ask any questions at all about the genuineness of a particular saying, falls
>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
>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
>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?
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