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Re: [XTalk] The Missing Generation Paradox

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  • cameron_mark@sympatico.ca
    ... ­ Why did the generation that ... about ... either? ... c. ... posted to ... that the ... the ... and ... Three died ... vacuum ... were ... Gospel of
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 28, 2001
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      --- 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 information
      about
      > >itself? And why did the later church say nothing about them
      either?
      > >And are there any grand theories as to what did happen to the
      > >Christian church between, say, the death of Peter, Paul, and James
      c.
      > >65 a.d, and the Domitian persecutions c. 93 a.d. that would explain
      > >these silences? Are their any scholarly theories that have been
      > >proposed to explain this missing generation?
      > >
      > >Mark Cameron
      > >Ottawa, Canada
      >
      > Mark,
      > I have wondered about this myself, and I think I may even have
      posted to
      > XTalk about it last year. It seems to me that it is no coincidence
      that the
      > gospels were written during the enigmatic second generation. During
      the
      > first generation, eyewitness accounts were more readily accessible,
      and
      > there was strong leadership (Peter, James & Paul). After the Big
      Three died
      > within a few years of each other in the 60s, there was a leadership
      vacuum
      > of sorts. I think it was precisely for this reason that the Gospels
      were
      > needed.
      >
      > But we not only have the canonical gospels from this period; the
      Gospel of
      > Thomas and the Didache may also date to the second generation. How
      do you
      > read Didache, and Crossan's analysis of the Didache in his Birth of
      > Christianity, in light of your questions above? Were problems
      developing
      > with respect to a second generation of radical itinerants that
      necessitated
      > the Didache as well as the Gospels? Or don't you buy into the
      radical
      > itinerant hypothesis?
      >
      > Bob

      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.

      Mark Cameron
      Ottawa, Canada
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