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Re: [XTalk] Paul's Gnosticism (and Jesus?)

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  • William Arnal
    ... Sure, but I do think Paul adopts the latter. Yes, of course he uses metaphors of opposition, but he seems to apply these consistently to both experience
    Message 1 of 34 , May 2, 2002
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      Howdy Gordon:

      >1. "Radical dualism?" You, of course, know that there is a difference
      >between the metaphorical use of opposites (dualities of thought and
      >experience) and hard and fast dualism.

      Sure, but I do think Paul adopts the latter. Yes, of course he uses
      metaphors of opposition, but he seems to apply these consistently to both
      experience and theology. Metaphoric or mythological oppositions between,
      say, "flesh" and "spirit" are pretty consistently coordinated with actual
      behaviors oriented to rejecting the former and promoting the latter. Or do I
      misunderstand your point?

      >2. With this... to attribute a consistent philosophical dualism to >Paul
      >is,
      >in my view, to credit him, too much as a consistent philosophical
      > >thinker;)!
      > His writings show him digging all over the place to make his >points.

      I'm not sure HOW intellectual we should regard Paul to have been. I've got a
      Ph.D., and *I* dig all over the place to make my points! Paul sometimes
      strikes me as pretty sophisticated. However, in a way this is all beside the
      point. I don't need to describe Paul's dualism as "philosophical" for the
      point to stand. Indeed, I find myself thinking right now of the huge body of
      scholarship on "primitive" systems of classification, the "savage mind," and
      so on, all of which seem to reinforce the idea that, even absent FORMAL
      intellectual operations, people classify and "metaphorize" their world in
      terms of enormously sophisticated systems of thought. The same TYPES of
      mental operations are present in "I am a parrot" (I have a t-shirt that says
      this, by the way -- but nobody gets it) and "I am pursuing 'the Good'" (or
      what have you). So, just to clarify -- I am imputing THOUGHT to Paul (this
      should be uncontroversial!), but there's no need for this to be formal
      philosophical thought.

      >And,
      >as an aside, I seriously wonder about the 1st century influence the
      >historical Paul actually had?

      Il ne matter pas. The question is how much influence on Paul the HJ
      (mediated through the earliest "Christians," of course) might have had. I
      tend to agree that Paul's influence in 1C was VERY limited. But he is
      himself a 1C thinker, and so may tell us something about those who
      influenced HIM.

      >this). Some went to a contemplative focus and the earliest collection >of
      >sayings in Thomas suggest this and I would say some of Paul's writing
      > >shows
      >this kind of emphasis in places.

      I agree. But WHY? Why this direction? Does it have anything to do with the
      original content of Jesus' teaching or the character of his life? Or is it
      solely a function of the circumstances of those who pursued this direction?

      >Still others seem to have avowed "a Cynic
      >like" itinerant movement (as the earliest layer of Q suggest). I would

      Cynic-like, sure. Itinerant, no. I suggest reading, on this issue, the
      positively brilliant book, _Jesus and the Village Scribes_. I forget who
      wrote it, but it'll change your life.

      >And so I'm not surprised that "Jesus was taken to mean" a range of >things.

      But why "this thing" and not "that thing"? Or is this totally unanswerable?

      Bill
      ___________________________
      William Arnal
      Department of Religion
      University of Manitoba

      "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
      I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
      on a great big clipper ship,
      going from this land here to that,
      in a sailor suit and cap."
      -- Lou Reed


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    • Richard Anderson
      David Friedman wrote: Richard has actually written a paper on this subject. He makes some good points, [thank you] . . . . If Luke was following Josephus by
      Message 34 of 34 , May 12, 2002
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        David Friedman wrote:

        Richard has actually written a paper on this subject. He makes some good
        points, [thank you] . . . .

        If Luke was following Josephus by writing an apology dedicated to a patron
        that would make it more likely that Theophilus was a literary creation.

        Notice that "most excellent" connected to a Roman governor. That makes it
        inconceivable that Theophilus was meant to be a Jew.
        . . .
        I don't think so. Isaiah mentions vicarious atonement.

        Theophilus as the HP is the highest ranking Jewish official in Judea but he
        is nonetheless a Roman appointee; consequently Luke has correctly addressed
        him.

        There is no evidence that Luke is dependent upon Josephus or that Josephus
        is dependent on Luke. It is more likely, according to Gary Goldberg who has
        written on this subject, that Luke and Josephus are using a common source.
        See http://members.aol.com/FLJOSEPHUS/home.htm

        Isaiah does has vicarious atonement according to most scholars (Whybray has
        a strong dissent in JSOT) but only in the Hebrew MT; there is no vicarious
        atonement in the Greek Septuagint and Luke quotes the Septuagint.

        Richard H. Anderson
        Wallingford PA
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