Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [XTalk] Re: MAQHTHS (was: John 2:1-4:54)

Expand Messages
  • Jim Bacon
    ... evidence ... social ... to ... historical ... movement. ... Mahlon, Pardon my sloppiness. I mis-stated Meier s argument. In my post, I incorrectly
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Mahlon Smith wrote:
      > There is a syllogistic error in reasoning that the term MAQHTHS in the
      > gospels must have originated with Jesus simply because there is no
      evidence
      > that Xns used that term to refer to each other after his death. The term
      > MAQHTHS is not an absolute title but describes a particular temporal
      social
      > relationship (learner-teacher). It is dependent on access to the
      > instructional activity of a DIDASKALOS. People aren't generally referred
      to
      > as perpetual "students" after their teacher has passed away. Apart from
      > alleged resurrection appearances, HJ's role as instructor ended with his
      > crucifixion, if not before. Ergo with HJ's disappearance from the
      historical
      > stage Kephas & Co. graduated to a post-MAQHTHS status in the Jesus
      movement.
      > They became APOSTOLOI ("missionaries").

      Mahlon, Pardon my sloppiness. I mis-stated Meier's argument. In my post, I
      incorrectly suggested that the *term* disciples (mathetes/MAQHTHS)
      originated with Jesus. The fact that Jesus probably spoke Aramaic and not
      Greek is by itself sufficient reason to suspect that he did not introduce
      the term into Palestinian discourse. Meier's argument, which I found
      persuasive, is that John the Baptist is the first known instance in
      Palestine of the *practice* of the master-disciple relationship described by
      the term mathetes/MAQHTHS, and that Jesus imitated this practice.

      Meier based his argument largely on the criterion of dissimilarity. The word
      mathetes/MAQHTHS is absent from the Septuagint and other Jewish writings in
      Greek dated earlier than Philo. The word mathetes/MAQHTHS also is absent
      from New Testament writings outside of the Gospels/Acts. Given the paucity
      of precedents, he argues, the practice was not borrowed from Judean
      tradition. Given the non-use of the term in the early church, the Gospel
      writers did not retroject the practice back onto Jesus. Ergo, the practice
      in Palestine probably originated with John and Jesus.

      > Paul, pseudo-James & the Pastor are witnesses that there continued to be
      Xn
      > DIDASKALOI in the primitive church (1 Cor 12:28, 1 Tim 1:7, Jms 3:1), each
      > of whom would have had his/her own MAQHTAI (even if that word is not used
      in
      > these texts). But the term MAQHTAI did not properly describe the current
      > social relationship of any member of the EKKLHSIA to Jesus himself; nor
      was
      > its implication of subservience adequate to characterize early
      > Xns'egalitarian ideal of their relationship to each other. Xns
      > demonstrably preferred to refer to each other as ADELFOS (presumably
      because
      > HJ referred to his own associates as such - Mark 3:35par).

      > *If* HJ taught his groupies to regard God as their personal ABBA &
      > themselves as his brothers, then it is highly unlikely that the term
      MAQHTHS
      > in the gospels would have originated with HJ himself.

      If I understand you correctly, you are implying from Jesus' use of the term
      ABBA that he practiced an egalitarian relationship with his followers: God
      was the father while Jesus and his companions were brothers. While I would
      agree that such terminology implies a less hierarchical relationship that
      that which prevailed in the world around them -- from kings to beggars -- it
      was not an egalitarian relationship either. The family structure in
      1st-century Palestine had hierarchical elements, in which older brothers
      enjoyed superior status, privileges and authority. Jesus may have viewed
      himself as a brother to his companions, but he likewise enjoyed superior
      status and authority within the movement he led and created.

      > Rather, MAQHTHS was
      > the standard Attic academic term from Plato on (cf. Liddell-Scott 1072)
      for
      > designating those who subordinated themselves to a mentor & committed
      > themselves to passing on *his* instruction (as Plato pretends to do for
      > Socrates). Thus, as Hellenistic authors who claimed to be transmitting
      the
      > DIDAXH of HJ himself, it is easy to see why the evangelists regularly
      > characterized HJ's followers as MAQHTAI. For in the social world in which
      > they were writing this automatically accorded HJ the social status of a
      > protean sage & vested his words with the authority of eternal wisdom. At
      > the same time it was useful for down-playing the reputations of pillars of
      > the early church such as Peter, James & John -- just as it makes a
      > difference to my reputation whether I am presented as a "disciple of R.W.
      > Funk" (one of his many students) or "Prof. Smith" (i.e., a teaching
      > authority in my own right).

      You make an interesting argument. As I understand you, the Gospel writers
      were applying the term mathetes/MAQHTHS to Jesus' followers based on the
      master-learner relationships they had observed in their own societies. But
      you are pre-supposing that they are applying the term inappropriately. I
      must ask you, what kind of relationship do you suppose Jesus had with those
      who abandoned personal property and family ties to follow him? Did Jesus'
      followers not regard him as a sage? Did they not vest his words with the
      authority of eternal wisdom? And, however, you see that relationship, did it
      not represent an innovation in the Palestinian Judaism of the 1st century
      C.E.?

      Best regards,

      Jim

      James A. Bacon Jr.
      The Jesus Archive
      jabacon@...
    • David C. Hindley
      ... Testament writings outside of the Gospels / Acts.
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        Jim Bacon said:

        >>The word mathetes / MAQHTHS also is absent from New
        Testament writings outside of the Gospels / Acts.<<

        I have yet to obtain volume 3, but does Meier really limit
        consideration to only NT documents? What about the _Letter
        to Diognetus_?

        The dating (ranging from 117-313, with 150-225 being more
        likely per Holmes in his edition of Lightfoot's _Apostolic
        Fathers_) is, perhaps, precarious (as if that of NT books in
        general is not), but it does show that somewhere in the
        "early" Christian movement an author could use the word
        MAQHTES in a description of himself and others (11.1), fully
        expecting the readers to understand what meaning he was
        conveying, that is, giving it the same sense that the NT
        Gospels do when referring to a close follower of Jesus. This
        author does appear to allude to passages in the gospels of
        Matthew and John.

        I also think an infinitive form of a related Greek verb
        (MANQANW)is used in the sense of disciples in Lxx Isaiah
        8:16 (although Brenton does not so translate it). The author
        of the _Letter to Diognetus_ also uses the infinitive of
        MANQANW to describe Diognetus (1.1, as one who is learning).

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • Jim Bacon
        By Meier s count, the term *mathetes* occcurs 261 times in Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers, nine of which occur in the
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          By Meier's count, the term *mathetes* occcurs 261 times in Gospels/Acts and
          only 12 times in the corpus of the "Apostolic Fathers," nine of which occur
          in the writings of Ignatius. I could find no reference in Meier's footnotes
          to the Letter to Diognetus. He doesn't address the post-Apostolic Fathers
          literature. Jim

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: David C. Hindley <dhindley@...>
          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 12:32 PM
          Subject: RE: [XTalk] MAQHTHS (was: John 2:1-4:54)


          > Jim Bacon said:
          >
          > >>The word mathetes / MAQHTHS also is absent from New
          > Testament writings outside of the Gospels / Acts.<<
          >
          > I have yet to obtain volume 3, but does Meier really limit
          > consideration to only NT documents? What about the _Letter
          > to Diognetus_?
          >
          > The dating (ranging from 117-313, with 150-225 being more
          > likely per Holmes in his edition of Lightfoot's _Apostolic
          > Fathers_) is, perhaps, precarious (as if that of NT books in
          > general is not), but it does show that somewhere in the
          > "early" Christian movement an author could use the word
          > MAQHTES in a description of himself and others (11.1), fully
          > expecting the readers to understand what meaning he was
          > conveying, that is, giving it the same sense that the NT
          > Gospels do when referring to a close follower of Jesus. This
          > author does appear to allude to passages in the gospels of
          > Matthew and John.
          >
          > I also think an infinitive form of a related Greek verb
          > (MANQANW)is used in the sense of disciples in Lxx Isaiah
          > 8:16 (although Brenton does not so translate it). The author
          > of the _Letter to Diognetus_ also uses the infinitive of
          > MANQANW to describe Diognetus (1.1, as one who is learning).
          >
          > Respectfully,
          >
          > Dave Hindley
          > Cleveland, Ohio, USA
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
          >
          > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
          crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > List managers may be contacted directly at:
          crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Jim, The thesis that the concept of discipleship goes back to Jesus is supported by Hans Weder s article on Disciple, Discipleship in the Anchor Bible
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            At 03:55 PM 12/31/01 -0500, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
            >Jim Bacon wrote:
            >
            > > ...early Christians did *not* speak of one another as disciples.
            > > Therefore, the term had to originate with Jesus himself. Further, Meier
            > > argues that the Greek word *mathetes* occurs very rarely in the 1st
            >century
            > > at all. Josephus uses the word, but he post-dated the historical Jesus,
            >so
            > > he is of little use to us.

            Jim,
            The thesis that the concept of discipleship goes back to Jesus is supported
            by Hans Weder's article on Disciple, Discipleship in the Anchor Bible
            Dictionary.

            However, Weder makes an even better point, IMHO, by drawing attention to
            the importance of Greek *akolouthein,* "to walk behind, to follow" which,
            Weder notes, was frequently used as a specialized term in the NT for
            following Jesus. My BibleWorks glosses the term as
            "akoloutheo {ak-ol-oo-theh'-o} • from 1 (as a particle of union)
            and keleuthos (a road); TDNT - 1:210,33; v • AV - follow 91, reach 1; 92
            • 1) to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him
            2) to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple 2a) side with his
            party".

            The classic phrase, "Follow me" is couched in these terms, e.g.,
            (Mark 2:14//Matt 9:9//Luke 5:27; Mark 8:34//Matt 16:24//Luke 9:23; Mark
            10:21//Matt 19:21//Luke 18:22; Matt 8:22//Luke 9:59; John 10:27;12:26;
            13:36; 21:19)

            In contrast, the term "disciple" (MAQHTHS) in the singular form is never
            used by Jesus in direct address to a disciple; instead, all usages are
            talking *about* disciples. Furthermore, the term in the singular is not
            used at all by Mark, only 4 times each by Matthew and Luke, and 14 times by
            John. Of course the plural is much more numerous; but both singular and
            plural are completely lacking from Paul's letters. Instead, in Paul's
            letters, we get the term *mimetes* [{mim-ay-tace'} • from 3401; TDNT -
            4:659,594; n m • AV - follower 7; 7 • 1) an imitator] , e.g., 1 Cor 11:1,
            and other words with the same base.

            Interestingly, when a replacement for Judas is called for in Acts 1:21, the
            term is not disciple, but
            sunerchomai [{soon-er'-khom-ahee} • from 4862 and 2064; TDNT
            - 2:684,257; v • AV - come together 18, go with 4, come with 2, resort
            2, come 2, come with + 2258 1, company with 1, accompany 1, assemble with
            1; 32 • 1) to come together 1a) to assemble 1b) of conjugal cohabitation
            2) to go (depart) or come with one, to accompany one ]

            Acts 1:21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time
            that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
            22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up
            from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection."

            Note also that what was required was not discipleship but witness.

            From this I conclude that
            1. the followers of Jesus were not initially thought of as disciples, but
            simply as companions.
            2. During Paul's era, the idea of followers as imitators began to develop;
            3. with Mark and Q the followers were collectively referred to as disciples;
            4. and then with Matthew and Mark specific individual followers began to be
            regarded as disciples (interestingly, first with Joseph of Arimethea! [Matt
            27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named
            Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.]

            Happy New Year!
            Bob







            >All of the gospels also "post-dated the historical Jesus." So are they to be
            >dismissed as "of little use to us"?
            >
            >There is a syllogistic error in reasoning that the term MAQHTHS in the
            >gospels must have originated with Jesus simply because there is no evidence
            >that Xns used that term to refer to each other after his death. The term
            >MAQHTHS is not an absolute title but describes a particular temporal social
            >relationship (learner-teacher). It is dependent on access to the
            >instructional activity of a DIDASKALOS. People aren't generally referred to
            >as perpetual "students" after their teacher has passed away. Apart from
            >alleged resurrection appearances, HJ's role as instructor ended with his
            >crucifixion, if not before. Ergo with HJ's disappearance from the historical
            >stage Kephas & Co. graduated to a post-MAQHTHS status in the Jesus movement.
            >They became APOSTOLOI ("missionaries").
            >
            >Paul, pseudo-James & the Pastor are witnesses that there continued to be Xn
            >DIDASKALOI in the primitive church (1 Cor 12:28, 1 Tim 1:7, Jms 3:1), each
            >of whom would have had his/her own MAQHTAI (even if that word is not used in
            >these texts). But the term MAQHTAI did not properly describe the current
            >social relationship of any member of the EKKLHSIA to Jesus himself; nor was
            >its implication of subservience adequate to characterize early
            >Xns'egalitarian ideal of their relationship to each other. Xns
            >demonstrably preferred to refer to each other as ADELFOS (presumably because
            >HJ referred to his own associates as such - Mark 3:35par).
            >
            >*If* HJ taught his groupies to regard God as their personal ABBA &
            >themselves as his brothers, then it is highly unlikely that the term MAQHTHS
            >in the gospels would have originated with HJ himself. Rather, MAQHTHS was
            >the standard Attic academic term from Plato on (cf. Liddell-Scott 1072) for
            >designating those who subordinated themselves to a mentor & committed
            >themselves to passing on *his* instruction (as Plato pretends to do for
            >Socrates). Thus, as Hellenistic authors who claimed to be transmitting the
            >DIDAXH of HJ himself, it is easy to see why the evangelists regularly
            >characterized HJ's followers as MAQHTAI. For in the social world in which
            >they were writing this automatically accorded HJ the social status of a
            >protean sage & vested his words with the authority of eternal wisdom. At
            >the same time it was useful for down-playing the reputations of pillars of
            >the early church such as Peter, James & John -- just as it makes a
            >difference to my reputation whether I am presented as a "disciple of R.W.
            >Funk" (one of his many students) or "Prof. Smith" (i.e., a teaching
            >authority in my own right).
            >
            >If the *concept* of learning implied by the term MAQHTHS is retrojected to
            >the time of HJ himself, then it approximates the status of a Jewish TALMID
            >(learner) who was accustomed to addressing his mentor as RABBI. In this
            >case, then the concept is better seen as originating with HJ's followers
            >themselves rather than with the one whom *they* addressed as "Master" (MAR,
            >KYRIOS). For it could be argued (akin to Mark's thesis) that the term
            >MAQHTHS reflects the failure of HJ's most avid devotees to grasp fully the
            >anti-hierarchical implications of their mentor's own social message.
            >
            >Shalom!
            >
            >Mahlon
            >
            >
            >Mahlon H. Smith
            >Department of Religion
            >Rutgers University
            >New Brunswick NJ 08901
            >
            ><http://religion.rutgers.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html>http://religion.rutgers
            >.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html
            >
            >Synoptic Gospels Primer
            ><http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/>http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/
            >
            >Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
            ><http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/>http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
            >
            >
            >Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
            >ADVERTISEMENT
            >
            >The XTalk Home Page is
            ><http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/>http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
            >
            >To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
            ><http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>Yahoo! Terms of Service.


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David C. Hindley
            ... Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers, nine of which occur in the writings of Ignatius. I could find no reference in
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              Jim Bacon replied:

              >>By Meier's count, the term *mathetes* occurs 261 times in
              Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the
              "Apostolic Fathers," nine of which occur in the writings of
              Ignatius. I could find no reference in Meier's footnotes to
              the Letter to Diognetus. He doesn't address the
              post-Apostolic Fathers literature.<<

              Well ... I may just have to break down and secure a copy of
              a Greek concordance of the Apostolic Fathers. None of the
              translations of these works in my possession seems to have
              the word "disciple" indexed, nor are there Greek word
              indices.

              If Meier is true to form, the answer to the question of
              whether Diognetus includes one or more of those 3 occasions
              of use of the word MAQHTHS (spelled right this time) not in
              Ignatius is probably buried in one of those references in
              the notes.

              Thank you!

              Respectfully,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio, USA
            • Jeffrey B. Gibson
              ... I have just uploaded a TLG D Disk search of all instances of MAQHTH (using MAQHT as my search term) from the 3rd cent. BCE through the second century CE
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                "David C. Hindley" wrote:

                > Jim Bacon replied:
                >
                > >>By Meier's count, the term *mathetes* occurs 261 times in
                > Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the
                > "Apostolic Fathers," nine of which occur in the writings of
                > Ignatius. I could find no reference in Meier's footnotes to
                > the Letter to Diognetus. He doesn't address the
                > post-Apostolic Fathers literature.<<
                >
                > Well ... I may just have to break down and secure a copy of
                > a Greek concordance of the Apostolic Fathers. None of the
                > translations of these works in my possession seems to have
                > the word "disciple" indexed, nor are there Greek word
                > indices.
                >
                > If Meier is true to form, the answer to the question of
                > whether Diognetus includes one or more of those 3 occasions
                > of use of the word MAQHTHS (spelled right this time) not in
                > Ignatius is probably buried in one of those references in
                > the notes.
                >

                I have just uploaded a TLG D Disk search of all instances of MAQHTH
                (using MAQHT as my search term) from the 3rd cent. BCE through the
                second century CE (excluding the instances in Galen, Origen, and the
                Ecumenical Councils) to our files section.

                It may be accessed at

                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/MAQHTH.htm

                The Greek text is in beta code. To transform it to Greek, you will need
                to have SGreek in your fonts file.

                I hope this helps, rather than hinders, the discussion.

                Yours,

                Jeffrey Gibson
                --
                Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
                1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                Floor 1
                Chicago, Illinois 60626
                e-mail jgibson000@...
                jgibson000@...



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.