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Re: [XTalk] The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles

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  • Fabrizio Palestini
    Dear Ron ... These are interesting questions. I can give only a general response to them. For the sketch of first century Christianity I appeal to Q and Thomas
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 1, 2001
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      Dear Ron

      > Marcion had the dynamism and he had the intellect.
      > But Marcion's contributions to Christianity didn't start until ca. 120
      > CE at the earliest. This is a full 90 years after the crucifixion of
      > Jesus. Are you saying that the Jesus movement was a mere sect of Judaism
      > until then? In my opinion, the radical nature of the early Jesus
      > movement was such that it would have had to grow quickly or die, for it
      > was based on the apocalyptic hope of Jesus' early return.

      These are interesting questions.
      I can give only a general response to them.
      For the sketch of first century Christianity I appeal to Q and Thomas
      scholars (especially Kloppenborg, Patterson etc).
      From this standing point (one of the various examples of brilliant NT
      results, but this is only my opinion) the apocalypticism may not be an
      original feature of Jesus movement.
      The Gospel of Thomas lacks it, Q1 too.
      In "The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus" Patterson proposed a sketch of early
      Christianity (based in part on Theissen's works) characterized by a growing
      level of conflictuality between wandering itinerants (radical social
      reformers) and the communities they found (local communities) which began to
      interpret the radicals's preaching according to their necessity (a common
      form of theological shift following external needs).
      The conflictuality is the key to understand the developement of early
      Christianity (see Weeden, Patterson, and obviously Detering)
      The human knowledge developes through competition, so the interpretation of
      Jesus grew in the same way.
      The initial stage of developement was mostly unconscious (new needs, new
      theological reflections) and the consciousness of diversity was a secondary
      discovery.

      But only a proper investigation of all the possibilities disclosed by the
      hypothesis of marcionite origin of Pauline Epistles could offer the missing
      pieces of the puzzle.
      This, as a working hypothesis, is a new and fertile field for NT
      researchers.



      > In any case, Marcion's rejection as a 'heretic' requires
      > 'orthodox' Christians to do the rejecting, so we need to explain the
      > origin of this already dominant orthodoxy.

      The concept of orthodoxy may have developed itself just in situation like
      this (though we have only the "orthodox" description of the story, so we
      must be careful).

      Moreover the Apostolic Fathers speak of a wide diffusion of marcionite
      churches (perhaps in second century the "orthodox" church may be more
      properly indicated as "heretic").

      If Marcion (or better his pupils) had won the second and third (etc) century
      religious battle, don't we have had exactly the same description of the
      birth of Christianity, only with inverted parts?

      Best regards

      Fabrizio Palestini
    • Ron Price
      ... Fabrizio, Here we will have to agree to differ. For in my opinion (discussed in another thread) the Gospel of Thomas was not an original feature of the
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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        I wrote:

        >> ....... the radical nature of the early Jesus
        >> movement was such that it would have had to grow quickly or die, for it
        >> was based on the apocalyptic hope of Jesus' early return.

        Fabrizio Palestini replied:

        >For the sketch of first century Christianity I appeal to Q and Thomas
        >scholars (especially Kloppenborg, Patterson etc)
        > ....... the apocalypticism may not be an
        >original feature of Jesus movement. The Gospel of Thomas lacks it, Q1 too.

        Fabrizio,
        Here we will have to agree to differ.
        For in my opinion (discussed in another thread) the Gospel of Thomas
        was not an original feature of the Jesus movement. Also Q1 was defined
        by people who had a prior conviction that there was no apocalyptic
        element in Jesus' original teaching. It is therefore totally illogical
        to quote Q1 as evidence for a non-apocalyptic Jesus.
        The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely out of
        touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact about
        Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
        crucified by the Roman authorities.

        Ron Price

        Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

        e-mail: ron.price@...

        Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      • Gordon Raynal
        ... Ron, This claim, out of touch with reality is, to say the least, a tad strong, not to mention unnecessarily pejorative. The case for understanding HJ as
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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          > The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely out of
          > touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact about
          > Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
          > crucified by the Roman authorities.

          Ron,

          This claim, "out of touch with reality" is, to say the least, a tad
          strong, not to mention unnecessarily pejorative. The case for
          understanding HJ as a wisdom teacher is not simply dependent upon Q 1
          and Thomas, but upon how one reads the layers of redaction and how one
          assesses the relationships about historical versus theological claims
          being made. Mark, Ep. James, I Corinthians 1 and Josephus are other
          resources that go together to support this understanding for example.
          But the core of the matter has to do with the parables themselves.

          As for a parablist being killed without recourse to apocalyptic
          pronouncement... well this is not hard to figure at all. For one
          thing... tradition has it that Aesop was thrown from a cliff for telling
          his fables;)! More seriously, in a Roman police state and in the
          tinderbox of Jerusalem at the time of the national holiday there is no
          problem understanding anyone who is considered a trouble maker just
          being dragged off and executed. Josephus tells us that Archelaus'
          troops killed about 3000 rioters at Passover after HTG's death... that
          Varus crucified 2000 "ringleaders" in a single action when Archelaus'
          "rule" was a mess. As Dom Crossan says, a troop leader in Jerusalem
          probably didn't have to go up the chain of command very high, if at all
          to stop one perceived as "a threat."

          And then finally to modern circumstances... just run the list of "agents
          of reconciliation" just taken out....

          There is nothing in the least irrational about reading the parables...
          understanding the wisdom tradition's power (take a gander again at such
          as Ecclesiastes 9:13-18)... and seeing just how provocative such speech
          was in colonial Palestine (to use the Roman frame of reference). I am
          not undone if what I perceive to be later layers of redaction also
          belonging to HJ, too. But there is a clear logic for taking Mark
          4:34... in relation to the very first confession of Easter faith in
          John's Gospel (Jn 20:16), in relation to Josephus' description of Jesus
          (sophos aner) as being the historical reality and actuality.

          Gordon Raynal
          Inman, SC
        • expcman@aol.com
          The idea that apocalypiticism is a later addition/development in Christianity has been around for a while (and thus is not new at all) and is suspect for
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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            The idea that "apocalypiticism" is a later addition/development in
            Christianity has been around for a while (and thus is not new at all) and is
            suspect for reasons other than the suspicion that this view is self-serving,
            a necessary concomitant hypothesis
            to support the view that at least Jesus and perhaps even some of the early
            Christian
            communities were NOT apocalyptic at all.

            To select just one problem here - because of the obvious affinities of
            Christian apocalypticism with Judaism, its originating Sitz/home/milieu most
            naturally seems to be among Jewish Christians and particularly ones in
            Palestine. Yet this group virtually ceases to exist (at least to the extent
            that they no longer influence any of the significant issues of Christian
            history) after the "First Jewish Revolt" of 66-70.
            Thus, "apocalyptic Christianity" would need to be "at home" in Palestine
            prior to this
            era, just when a "Q" was written. So if the "apocalyptic Q" is a later
            recension of a
            "Q" that is originally non-apocalyptic, it must have happened pretty darn
            quick ...
            possible, but likely? And this involves this "Q" being adopted by another
            group of Palestinian Jewish Christians despite its lack of congruity with its
            own views and values.

            And which two groups would be involved here? It is usual (not just these
            days) to posit a Galilean or even Syrian (= Damascus?) origin for "Q,"
            perhaps because we know less about it and perceive that it would be easier to
            find Hellenistic influence there. But Jerusalem is where we know extensive
            Jews from the Diaspora resided
            and thus where Hellenistic ideas would be found as congenial already. Yet
            James
            was the accepted leader of that Christian community ... and he was not a
            Hellenist.
            In fact, that James' own views were apocalyptic is the usual explanation (one
            which I accept) for why he and his community were financially poor, as they
            had "sold all"
            and were awaiting the Parousia by daily prayers in the Temple's court-yard.

            But even more to the point is that a non-apocalyptic "Q" is usually seen as
            also non-
            Jewish! The absence of any distinctively Jewish concerns, issues, or
            vocabulary would be most peculiar in a document posited as written by Jewish
            Christians in
            Palestine, especially ones preoccupied with their concerns for "doing Torah."
            The
            idea of a non-Torah-keeping group of Jews in Palestine as the originating
            community
            for "Q, first edition" just strikes me as unlikely.

            Thus, while I do not object to the current hypothesis that there were groups
            of "Jesus people" in Galilee (i.e. ones who sought to follow Jesus' teaching
            yet without accepting the keryma and thus were not awaiting the Parousia),
            such groups would
            not seem to be a natural home for producing a "Q" that was later used by one
            or more of the authors of the canonical gospels. Thus, their views would not
            be very
            significant for the development of the literary texts which became the
            gospels we now have.

            Oops - I responded to Ron that my response would not have been as succinct as
            his ... I just illustrated the point, but I got carried away ... if only to
            clarify my own perceptions. Sorry, folks.

            Clive


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • expcman@aol.com
            Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets forth a view other than my own. The problem which you need to address (seems to me) to
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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              Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets forth
              a view other than my own. The problem which you need to address (seems to
              me) to be not just whether or not such a Jesus is envisionable in the known
              context of the political/social/economic/etc. events and institutions of
              first century Palestine but whether a community was created which shared
              these views, ones which produced
              the oral traditions used by the authors of the several gospels. I think that
              this is why
              this forum spends as much time talking about issues of "history of
              Christianity" as about "history of Jesus," since such are the creators and
              transmittors of what we know about Jesus. Thus, Jesus as "wisdom teacher"
              requires a community which saw him in such terms, but Jesus as "apocalyptic
              prophet" seems rather how he was seen by the earliest Christians in
              Palestine, the ones from whom the "Jesus tradition(s)" emerged. That there
              was an early alternative to this seems likely, one which grew into the
              Johnannine traditions preserved in (most likely) Alexandria and in fact I
              would posit its origin in Jerusalem among the resident Greek-speaking Jews,
              who were visiting/residing there from the Diaspora. To me, this seems a more
              likely
              place to find a "Hellenistic milieu" for the growth of a non-apocalyptic
              Christianity than among Aramic-speaking Galilean peasants as now being
              posited by many. My
              view also makes it easier to account for the oral traditions becoming written
              down,
              something more likely to have been done in some urban location than some
              rural one. So the discussion must needs be about just the believability of
              one or another
              hypothesis about the "real Jesus" but also about the believability of
              corollary hypotheses about the originating communities that formed the oral
              tradition about Jesus ... and the communities which transmitted such. This
              is not so much to argue
              against what you've just said as to invite you to consider and to state what
              you must
              necessarily argue as the means by which such a Jesus was remembered and
              transmitted in such a way that our gospel authors received such information
              ... even if not such views.

              Clive


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • wellingk@ohsu.edu
              ... ... out of ... about ... And from what source do you draw this absolute certainty? Kelly Wellington Portland, Oregon, USA
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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                --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ron Price" <ron.price@v...> wrote:
                <snip>
                > The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely
                out of
                > touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact
                about
                > Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
                > crucified by the Roman authorities.
                >
                > Ron Price
                >
                > Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK


                And from what source do you draw this absolute certainty?

                Kelly Wellington
                Portland, Oregon, USA
              • Steve Black
                ... I think the language absolute certainty too strong. There is probably nothing about Jesus, or probably anything else in antiquity which we can approach
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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                  >--- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ron Price" <ron.price@v...> wrote:
                  ><snip>
                  >> The view of Jesus as a non-apocalyptic cynic sage is completely
                  >out of
                  >> touch with reality, and in particular with the one historical fact
                  >about
                  >> Jesus of which we can be absolutely certain, namely that he was
                  >> crucified by the Roman authorities.
                  >>
                  >> Ron Price
                  >>
                  >> Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
                  >
                  >Kelly Wellington wrote
                  >And from what source do you draw this absolute certainty?

                  I think the language "absolute certainty" too strong. There is
                  probably nothing about Jesus, or probably anything else in antiquity
                  which we can approach with "absolute certainty".
                  History is more about probability than certainty.
                  If this list has shown me anything it is that there is an absolute
                  lack of consensus about EVERY SINGLE DETAIL regarding the HJ!!

                  To defend what Ron said, however, I think I can safely say that the
                  laws of probability are on the side of a historical crucifixion, and
                  that it is here that the scholarly world comes the *nearest* to a
                  complete consensus!
                  [Those who deny generally deny the existence of a HJ, and their
                  scholarship is not *usually* embraced by other NT scholars at or
                  above a university level - for what that's worth]
                  --
                  Peace

                  Steve Black
                  Vancouver, BC
                • Gordon Raynal
                  Clive, ... Without any quotes in this post I m not sure to whom you are responding, but let me make several comments... Thus, Jesus as wisdom teacher ... Let
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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                    Clive,


                    expcman@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets forth
                    > a view other than my own.

                    Without any quotes in this post I'm not sure to whom you are responding,
                    but let me make several comments...


                    Thus, Jesus as "wisdom teacher"
                    > requires a community which saw him in such terms, but Jesus as "apocalyptic
                    > prophet" seems rather how he was seen by the earliest Christians in
                    > Palestine, the ones from whom the "Jesus tradition(s)" emerged.

                    Let me begin here...

                    This way of expressing communal life, in my view, flattens not only
                    communities and specific works, but the genre and use of apocalyptic
                    itself as it is utilized in various writings. First, and I know this is
                    outside of Palestine, but consider the Corinthian Church. I Corinthians
                    opens with Paul dealing with at least 4 and maybe 5 factions in one
                    Christian community (I note 5 because sometimes when folks claim such as
                    "I belong to you" [as in some claiming to belong to Paul] they may not
                    at all reflect where one is coming from!). My point here is that it is
                    entirely conceivable that individual communities of the Way could indeed
                    contain members who "do theology" in different ways. Thus, this idea
                    that there is a kind of blanket uniformity of "apocalyptacism" I find
                    entirely wanting.

                    Second, to the resident theologies in the TANAK and the conclusion that
                    1st century Judaism was overwhelmingly apocalyptic. TANAK indeed
                    contains a number of theological voices. So: a) there is absolutely
                    nothing "unJewish" about one speaking as a sage/ small "r" rabbi out of
                    this rich heritage, b) there is nothing surprising about the reality
                    that this theological discipline/ stance being enjoined in the mayhem of
                    the early first century, and c) there is nothing unusual about such "a
                    Voice" being then reflected upon and redacted through the other extant
                    theologies known to us. And indeed this is precisely what the extant
                    texts preserve for us! Single works will draw upon the Royal theology
                    of the Psalms, the Classical Prophecy of Isaiah, the Apocalyptacism of
                    Daniel and the Wisdom traditions in various ways.

                    Third... the use of the apocalyptic genre itself is various. The way
                    the apocalyptic elements are utilized in varies in the Synoptic Gospels,
                    not to mention between such as Mark, John, Ep. James and Revelation.

                    Thus citing a uniform and overall "apocalyptacism" of earliest
                    Christianity does not, in my view, fairly account for the Hebraic
                    heritage, the adherents of the Way/ Christianity, nor the NT writings we have.



                    This
                    > is not so much to argue
                    > against what you've just said as to invite you to consider and to state what
                    > you must
                    > necessarily argue as the means by which such a Jesus was remembered and
                    > transmitted in such a way that our gospel authors received such information
                    > ... even if not such views.


                    The place I want to begin here is with the Mission Statement in Q/ Luke
                    10:3 ff and with the parables. In my view this mission is not "an
                    apocalyptic venture," but rather is very much "a ministry of [present]
                    reconciliation." And the parables are Parabolic Wisdom forms of speech.
                    Parabling at table (to draw these two together) very much raises a very
                    "here and now" response. And indeed, if it were effective [and it
                    surely was!!!] then it comes as no surprise that those who came from the
                    different parties and different theological traditions, and who stayed,
                    would indeed reflect upon Jesus in the aftermath of his tragic death
                    with **all the resources** from that past. And again, that's just what
                    we get! The extant writings show a rich and powerful weaving of
                    reflections about Jesus words and a profound creativity about the
                    effects of the reconciliation (why Jesus can calm storms, walk on water
                    and feed multitudes, just to name a few things! ... ALL these clearly
                    rooted in the Hebraic scriptures). Reading the Hebrew Scriptures and
                    simply reading the parables I find no trouble seeing how we get what we
                    get as powerful kerygma and then on to even more fanciful writings (thus
                    such as the Infancy Gospels).

                    Finally, as for all of this happening "rapidly?" Well I don't know how
                    many of Malcolm X's speeches you've ever listened to. But in the 1960's
                    he would hardly have been considered a candidate to go on a U.S. Postal
                    Stamp. But 3 decades later there he was! By analogy, the Wisdom
                    theological response by Jesus reflected upon through the lens of the
                    various theological voices in Scripture left us a legacy wherein Jesus
                    is titled everything from "my rabbi" to "Christ" to "High Priest after
                    the order of Melchizedek" to "the Lamb of God that takes away the sins
                    of the world" to "I am...," etc. etc. So, to conclude... with the
                    Hebrew Scriptures in the background as "First Canon" and the power of
                    Jesus thought and mission, I find it not hard at all to conceive of how
                    rapidly the kerygma developed between ca. 30 to ca. 70 to 75 when we get
                    something like the Mark that we have. And I can well imagine those "in
                    Mark's" community (-ies) being of diverse theological perspective.

                    So, I hope this at least gives a partial response to your wonderings.

                    Gordon Raynal
                    Inman, SC
                  • Robert C. Davis
                    May I throw in here on this one for a bit? This interests me because Clive and I--who used to be colleagues at the same college until he retired--have spoken
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
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                      May I throw in here on this one for a bit? This interests me because Clive
                      and I--who used to be colleagues at the same college until he retired--have
                      spoken in the past at some length about some of these very issues.

                      Part of the issue, it seems to me, is whether it is credible to assume that
                      the overwhelming attention paid to apocalyptic thinking in Jewish Palestine
                      during the period before the destruction of Jerusalem was not shared
                      generally by Palestinian Jews and thus by Palestinian Jewish-Christians by
                      extension. In order to make that assumption, one would have to suggest that
                      this apocalyptic world-view was not as generally accepted by traditional
                      Palestinian Jews as has been suggested, and that thus there were whole
                      groups/factions among Palestinian Jews that in fact neglected or overlooked
                      it.

                      With all respects, I don't think this can be maintained, for reasons which I
                      believe went to the core of Jewish national assumptions. There were certain
                      commonalities among Jews in Palestine at the time, which included, first,
                      the traditional assumption that Israel remained a unique, unparalleled, and
                      unprecedented nation because of its exclusive relationship with Yahweh;
                      second, that the occupation of Israel by Rome was an abomination that could
                      not be tolerated for reasons already cited in the first point; and third
                      that Yahweh Himself would ultimately do something about that occupation--and
                      that the messiah was to be the agent of this transformation.

                      The other commonality shared by all Palestinian Jews, of course, was their
                      collective experience of the Roman occupation--and this, I think, was enough
                      to bind them together in a collective apocalyptic orientation because it was
                      aimed at the one goal they all shared: the end of Roman control.

                      Now...that there may well have been differences in the way specific groups
                      looked for the eventual apocalyptic victory to manifest itself is not
                      impossible by any means. Thus, the possibility that Jesus could act in the
                      Wisdom Sage tradition, in contrast, say, to John the Baptist's more
                      prophetic approach, does not exclude the participation of either group in
                      the overall apocalyptic focus of Jewish Palestine generally. What it might
                      say is that there was more than one recognized approach to the
                      accomplishment of the same apocalyptic goal. Again, this is not much of a
                      stretch when one considers that there were great differences between the
                      Sicarii on the one hand and the more moderate political factions on the
                      other as to whether it is reasonable or even possible to "advance the date"
                      of the Day of the Lord through the use of human actions. The Sicarii may
                      well have believed that it was indeed possible; the other factions did not.
                      But this does not mean that both were not thinking within the same general
                      apocalyptic parameters when it came to both assumptions and goals.

                      The problem for the earliest generation of Palestinian Jewish Christians was
                      to redefine this apocalyptic world-view so as to make the claim that Jesus
                      was indeed the apocalyptic messiah--and to do so in a way that could
                      persuade at least some of their Jewish neighbors that they were indeed
                      correct in doing so. This redefinition in itself could well have presented
                      some major difficulties within the earliest Christian generation, and
                      perhaps could account for the kinds of differences you and others have been
                      discussing. I find it interesting, for instance, that the "triumvirate" of
                      Peter, James, and John in the earliest chapters of Acts suddenly is modified
                      without any explanation--John suddenly goes missing! To the extent that
                      this represents the preservation of an early strain of tradition (and I
                      realize that making any such assumption as regards Acts is in itself
                      potentially problematic--particularly since I agree with an early 2nd
                      century dating for Luke-Acts), might we not have an implicit reference to
                      just such a disagreement, which ultimately led to one segment of the
                      earliest generation deciding to go out on its own in order to emphasize a
                      different messianic perspective? But one which still remained within the
                      more general apocalyptic world-view still shared in common by all
                      Palestinian Jews?

                      If any of this is valid, then I believe it leads us to conclude that the
                      role of Greek-speaking Jews in the transmission process may come a bit later
                      (sorry, Clive). I consider it possible that these Jews, once they had begun
                      to return to their own towns and synagogues, had to find a way to transmit
                      this new gospel in such fashion as to make it credible within a Hellenistic
                      and non-apocalyptic thought-world. But I would want to put this at a
                      "second stage" of gospel transmission, thus making these particular
                      Jewish-Christians the "transition" stage toward an eventually and thoroughly
                      Hellenized gospel--and here is where, for example, I would want to locate
                      the infancy narratives, etc.

                      Meanwhile back at the ranch...the ongoing opposition by the Jerusalem group
                      under James to Paul's "law-free" approach among his own converts can only be
                      explained by the Jerusalem group's continuing adherence to the traditional
                      apocalyptic world-view. This is because of their continuing fear that their
                      own spiritual purity would be risked by contact with non-Jewish Christians,
                      and thus their own places in the New Age placed in jeopardy. Yes, they were
                      "beat back" from time to time on this question (cf. Galatians 2, Acts 15),
                      but I believe I am remembering my conversations with Clive correctly when I
                      suggest that we both have previously agreed that the Jerusalem group saw
                      these incidents as lost battles, but not the end of the "war." Indeed, the
                      continuing enmity toward Paul that is evident in both his letters and in
                      Acts would seem to imply that this group maintained its apocalyptic--and
                      therefore thoroughly insular!--stance right through until the destruction of
                      Jerusalem in 70 and their subsequent flight to Pella.

                      So...what does all this have to do with the price of anything? Just that to
                      the extent that the Q material represents the earliest strain of Jesus
                      transmission by those considered most able and "authorized" to present it
                      (which would be the Jerusalem group, no doubt), then there is no reason to
                      see that material as representing a non-apocalyptic viewpoint. It couldn't,
                      after all, for otherwise these particular Jews (and that, remember, is what
                      they still considered themselves to be!) would no longer have been "Jews,"
                      by virtue of the very apocalyptic definitions they had always accepted!
                      Thus, whatever de-apocalypticizing as ultimately took place should be
                      assigned to a later date and to transmissions by derivative and probably
                      Hellenized groups.

                      I appreciate the chance to share these thoughts with my fellow scholars and
                      friends. But now I must get back to grading, before my summer school
                      students string me up!!!

                      Respectfully,

                      Robert Davis
                      Division of Humanities
                      Pikeville College

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Gordon Raynal [mailto:scudi@...]
                      Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2001 7:04 PM
                      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [XTalk] The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles


                      Clive,


                      expcman@... wrote:
                      >
                      > Thanks for this clear and evidently thoughtful response, one which sets
                      forth
                      > a view other than my own.

                      Without any quotes in this post I'm not sure to whom you are responding,
                      but let me make several comments...


                      Thus, Jesus as "wisdom teacher"
                      > requires a community which saw him in such terms, but Jesus as
                      "apocalyptic
                      > prophet" seems rather how he was seen by the earliest Christians in
                      > Palestine, the ones from whom the "Jesus tradition(s)" emerged.

                      Let me begin here...

                      This way of expressing communal life, in my view, flattens not only
                      communities and specific works, but the genre and use of apocalyptic
                      itself as it is utilized in various writings. First, and I know this is
                      outside of Palestine, but consider the Corinthian Church. I Corinthians
                      opens with Paul dealing with at least 4 and maybe 5 factions in one
                      Christian community (I note 5 because sometimes when folks claim such as
                      "I belong to you" [as in some claiming to belong to Paul] they may not
                      at all reflect where one is coming from!). My point here is that it is
                      entirely conceivable that individual communities of the Way could indeed
                      contain members who "do theology" in different ways. Thus, this idea
                      that there is a kind of blanket uniformity of "apocalyptacism" I find
                      entirely wanting.

                      Second, to the resident theologies in the TANAK and the conclusion that
                      1st century Judaism was overwhelmingly apocalyptic. TANAK indeed
                      contains a number of theological voices. So: a) there is absolutely
                      nothing "unJewish" about one speaking as a sage/ small "r" rabbi out of
                      this rich heritage, b) there is nothing surprising about the reality
                      that this theological discipline/ stance being enjoined in the mayhem of
                      the early first century, and c) there is nothing unusual about such "a
                      Voice" being then reflected upon and redacted through the other extant
                      theologies known to us. And indeed this is precisely what the extant
                      texts preserve for us! Single works will draw upon the Royal theology
                      of the Psalms, the Classical Prophecy of Isaiah, the Apocalyptacism of
                      Daniel and the Wisdom traditions in various ways.

                      Third... the use of the apocalyptic genre itself is various. The way
                      the apocalyptic elements are utilized in varies in the Synoptic Gospels,
                      not to mention between such as Mark, John, Ep. James and Revelation.

                      Thus citing a uniform and overall "apocalyptacism" of earliest
                      Christianity does not, in my view, fairly account for the Hebraic
                      heritage, the adherents of the Way/ Christianity, nor the NT writings we
                      have.



                      This
                      > is not so much to argue
                      > against what you've just said as to invite you to consider and to state
                      what
                      > you must
                      > necessarily argue as the means by which such a Jesus was remembered and
                      > transmitted in such a way that our gospel authors received such
                      information
                      > ... even if not such views.


                      The place I want to begin here is with the Mission Statement in Q/ Luke
                      10:3 ff and with the parables. In my view this mission is not "an
                      apocalyptic venture," but rather is very much "a ministry of [present]
                      reconciliation." And the parables are Parabolic Wisdom forms of speech.
                      Parabling at table (to draw these two together) very much raises a very
                      "here and now" response. And indeed, if it were effective [and it
                      surely was!!!] then it comes as no surprise that those who came from the
                      different parties and different theological traditions, and who stayed,
                      would indeed reflect upon Jesus in the aftermath of his tragic death
                      with **all the resources** from that past. And again, that's just what
                      we get! The extant writings show a rich and powerful weaving of
                      reflections about Jesus words and a profound creativity about the
                      effects of the reconciliation (why Jesus can calm storms, walk on water
                      and feed multitudes, just to name a few things! ... ALL these clearly
                      rooted in the Hebraic scriptures). Reading the Hebrew Scriptures and
                      simply reading the parables I find no trouble seeing how we get what we
                      get as powerful kerygma and then on to even more fanciful writings (thus
                      such as the Infancy Gospels).

                      Finally, as for all of this happening "rapidly?" Well I don't know how
                      many of Malcolm X's speeches you've ever listened to. But in the 1960's
                      he would hardly have been considered a candidate to go on a U.S. Postal
                      Stamp. But 3 decades later there he was! By analogy, the Wisdom
                      theological response by Jesus reflected upon through the lens of the
                      various theological voices in Scripture left us a legacy wherein Jesus
                      is titled everything from "my rabbi" to "Christ" to "High Priest after
                      the order of Melchizedek" to "the Lamb of God that takes away the sins
                      of the world" to "I am...," etc. etc. So, to conclude... with the
                      Hebrew Scriptures in the background as "First Canon" and the power of
                      Jesus thought and mission, I find it not hard at all to conceive of how
                      rapidly the kerygma developed between ca. 30 to ca. 70 to 75 when we get
                      something like the Mark that we have. And I can well imagine those "in
                      Mark's" community (-ies) being of diverse theological perspective.

                      So, I hope this at least gives a partial response to your wonderings.

                      Gordon Raynal
                      Inman, SC


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                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Gordon Raynal
                      ... Robert, Thank you for your note. not as generally accepted by traditional Palestinian Jews, as you know from my note is where we will disagree. Just to
                      Message 10 of 21 , Aug 2, 2001
                      • 0 Attachment
                        "Robert C. Davis" wrote:

                        > Part of the issue, it seems to me, is whether it is credible to assume that
                        > the overwhelming attention paid to apocalyptic thinking in Jewish Palestine
                        > during the period before the destruction of Jerusalem was not shared
                        > generally by Palestinian Jews and thus by Palestinian Jewish-Christians by
                        > extension. In order to make that assumption, one would have to suggest that
                        > this apocalyptic world-view was not as generally accepted by traditional
                        > Palestinian Jews as has been suggested, and that thus there were whole
                        > groups/factions among Palestinian Jews that in fact neglected or overlooked
                        > it.
                        >
                        Robert,

                        Thank you for your note. "not as generally accepted by traditional
                        Palestinian Jews," as you know from my note is where we will disagree.
                        Just to stir the pot a tad;)!, a central issue in this, as you are well
                        aware, is how one conceives of what is "core/ early" and what is the
                        product of extended reflection/ redaction/ extension. Just as a thought
                        model from an earlier era... the Ezra-Nehemiah traditions tell of the
                        central "official thought" of the post Exilic era. Such as the
                        Chronicler retells Israel's story with an eye towards Central cultic
                        faithfulness. And this represents a dominant Temple piety viewpoint.
                        And yet the Hebrew Scriptures also contain a lampooning of this dominant
                        viewpoint (Jonah!... a parabolic response in the guise of a prophetic
                        book). This little example shows the vibrancy of the tradition and the
                        strength of maintaining the various strong voices from the past. And
                        the Duetero canonical books reveal the continuation of this diversity.
                        To jam, so to speak, the Wisdom of Solomon and Ben Sira into "a
                        generally held apocalyptic view," in my view, does not do justice to the
                        breadth of the theological constructive possibilities that were accessed
                        in the Hebraic tradition and parties. And so again, from TANAK and from
                        the Deutero Canonicals we know of a Hebraic/ Jewish wisdom heritage.
                        The parables and aphorisms of Jesus are wisdom theological and ethical
                        forms. The mission strategy is "here and now" response that is
                        consonant with a wisdom theological and ethical response. And then
                        besides... that Jesus voiced something that wasn't "generally accepted"
                        seems to be very much the case! (thus the crowds in Nazareth and others
                        puzzle: "What is this wisdom that has been given to him?" Mark 6:2).
                        And so again, that this profoundly thoughtful and provocative response
                        was quickly reflected upon in relation to the range of theological
                        voices from the past comes as no surprise to me at all. That the
                        apocalyptic took on a special cogency across the following decades makes
                        special sense;)! After all, someone who was understood by his friends
                        as parabling "the Kingdom of God" would be seen to be a pretty dim sage
                        if that wisdom wasn't understood as taking into account the increasing
                        slide into violence and mayhem. That, after the Roman Jewish War, a
                        central emphasis was placed on this (such as in Mark 13), pardon, "just
                        sort of makes sense!" But then again... the collected writings that
                        came together preserve not just "a general apocalyptacism," but indeed
                        such as Ep. James, which is clearly a wisdom focused epistle, Hebrews a
                        work that is centered in Priestly Theology, etc.

                        So, we will have to continue to disagree about this. With Dom Crossan I
                        think underneath both Q and Thomas is a common sayings source. That
                        source is a wisdom collection. And such views as you present here just
                        don't push me away from paying close attention not only the genre of
                        that collection, but, of course... the content! And so just to end this
                        with a bit of a poem:)... let me end with what I think is vintage HJ:

                        "The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor
                        will they say, "Look here it is!" or "There it is!" For the kingdom of
                        God is among you." (NRSV Luke 17:21). Pardon my southern expression,
                        but "this just ain't an apocalyptic affirmation."

                        Gordon Raynal
                        Inman, SC
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