Re: [XTalk] The Missing Generation Paradox
- --- In crosstalk2@y..., Bob Schacht <r_schacht@y...> wrote:
> At 12:25 AM 6/27/01 +0000, cameron_mark@s... wrote:> >Why did the generation that
> >wrote most of the New Testament leave us almost no informationabout
> >itself? And why did the later church say nothing about themeither?
> >And are there any grand theories as to what did happen to thec.
> >Christian church between, say, the death of Peter, Paul, and James
> >65 a.d, and the Domitian persecutions c. 93 a.d. that would explainposted to
> >these silences? Are their any scholarly theories that have been
> >proposed to explain this missing generation?
> >Mark Cameron
> >Ottawa, Canada
> I have wondered about this myself, and I think I may even have
> XTalk about it last year. It seems to me that it is no coincidencethat the
> gospels were written during the enigmatic second generation. Duringthe
> first generation, eyewitness accounts were more readily accessible,and
> there was strong leadership (Peter, James & Paul). After the BigThree died
> within a few years of each other in the 60s, there was a leadershipvacuum
> of sorts. I think it was precisely for this reason that the Gospelswere
> needed.Gospel of
> But we not only have the canonical gospels from this period; the
> Thomas and the Didache may also date to the second generation. Howdo you
> read Didache, and Crossan's analysis of the Didache in his Birth ofdeveloping
> Christianity, in light of your questions above? Were problems
> with respect to a second generation of radical itinerants thatnecessitated
> the Didache as well as the Gospels? Or don't you buy into theradical
> itinerant hypothesis?Good point. The "Missing generation" authored not only most of the
NT, but much of our available extracanonical literature as well,
especially the important GThomas and Didache texts. I re-read
Crossan's chapters on the Didache, and I find much to agree with.
Part of the message of the Didache is about defining the authority of
local church leaders in relation to itinerant prophets and teachers,
without totally rejecting the authority of itinerant leaders. This
is also part of the function of the Pastoral Epistles and 1 Peter as
well - although they emphasize local presbyters and deacons being
appointed by the itinerant Apostles (capital A), while the Didache
emphasizes locally selected presbyters and deacons in a complemntary
role to itinerant apostles (small a) and prophets.
But what I find more remarkable in this transition from charismatic
to bureacratic leadership (in Weber's terms) is that we get almost no
information about where, when, and by whom this transition occurred.
Why don't we have any names of presbyters and deacons (or prophets or
teachers for that matter) from Antioch or Corinth or Ephesus in the
70s through 90s? I would have thought that even the later
generations in the early second century would have been keen to name
these individuals as their distinguished predecessors and demonstrate
their real or supposed connections with the Apostles and their
successors. (I suppose we have bare lists with names like Linus in
Rome and Evodius in Antioch, but these are much later and more
suspect - why no contemporary information?)
It is not as if we do not have any written testimnoy from this time
period - we have most of the NT and much extracanonical literature as
well - but nothing about the people writing this literature.
Any thoughts as to why this is the case are welcomed.