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[gthomas] Re: Where's the beef?

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  • Stevan Davies
    ... Actually, if you read my letter with great care, you ll see that I think that the separate parts business did happen, with Paul focusing in on the
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 26, 1999
      Mike wrote:
      > But let me introduce a piece of evidence which or may not be helpful to
      > your case. We have a letter from Pliny describing the Christian service in
      > his area of the world at the time. The service consisted of three parts, in
      > order:
      >
      > 1. Hymns of praise
      > 2. Pledges of ethical behavior
      > 3. Communal meal
      >
      > What you seem to have here are three "parts" of Jesus, or three aspects of
      > the movement, or three Jesuses (and how many times am I gonna get to use
      > *that* word?), however you want to put it. But did these parts coalesce, or
      > were they all there from the beginning? As I understand it, your grounds
      > for starting with separate parts (as opposed to separate aspects of a
      > single movement) is that if text A talks just about the A-aspect of Jesus,
      > then that's all that the author of A *knew* about. Why not say that that's
      > all that the author of A *cared* about?

      Actually, if you read my letter with great care, you'll see
      that I think that the "separate parts" business did happen, with
      Paul focusing in on the die/rise bit, John into the Revealer bit,
      and Hebrews into the Heavenly Temple Sacrifice bit. Otherwise,
      as I said, I have a great many more Jesuses than I know what
      to do with. You, though, still haven't helped me get from the
      proverbs-parables talker about a kind of Maoist social order
      who was born a carpenter in Galilee to those others. You still
      leave me with a pre-Paul group of the followers of that Talker
      who thought HJ died to get rid of Torah and that HJ created
      the Universe so that Paul could just pick those bits out and
      ignore all the stuff that put the group together in the first place.
      This puzzles me.

      Steve
    • Mike Grondin
      ... Because I imagine that an active attempt to spread the ideas of group out beyond its own borders requires some hard-headed organization and planning, and
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 26, 1999
        > ... given that there was an earlier movement, what was the
        > nature of it? ISTM that it's more likely to have been a John-the-Baptist
        > movement than an Odes-of-Solomon "movement" (that latter seeming to me
        > oxymoronish). So what evidence favors the latter over the former?
        Steve:
        > ... Presumably JB is connected to the CT tradition.
        > The Odes are indeed a "movement" in the sense of a group actively
        > engaged in asceticism and ritual and hymnody. Why oxymoronish?

        Because I imagine that an active attempt to spread the ideas of group out
        beyond its own borders requires some hard-headed organization and planning,
        and the Odes strikes me as being quite antithetical to that. What I see
        there is an individualistic revelation, and while you can have those within
        an organization's corpus, they can't very easily serve as formative or
        representative texts of a "movement". By way of comparison, I'd call
        Gnosticism (whose corpus is filled with just such individualistic
        revelations) a school of thought, rather than a movement. The definition of
        'movement' evidently requires an organized outreaching to non-members -
        i.e., missionary or conversion activities - but that seems quite foreign to
        the Odist's frame of mind. Hence the felt oddity about describing a group
        of Odists as a "movement".

        What about "a group actively engaged in" whatever intra-group behaviors? If
        that's all they do, it doesn't sound like much of a "movement" to me.

        Mike
        (p.s.: 'oxymoronish' is a word of my own (unconscious) creation, but like
        many such made-up "words", it has a certain grammatical logic to it. Anyone
        who insists that it be corrected to 'oxymoronic' is moronish.)
      • Stephen C. Carlson
        ... I having some difficulty understanding your characterization of my objection. My objection is not that the Odes is an entirely unrelated second thing.
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 27, 1999
          At 05:52 PM 7/26/99 -0500, Stevan Davies wrote:
          >Now in a very general sense the Odes of Solomon testify to such a
          >Christianity. It's got a savior coming into the world taking on human
          >form getting (seemingly) persecuted to
          >death. This is the Christ the Son of God --- human beings may put Christ
          >on as a garment and become Sons of God and ascend through the
          >heavens.
          >I can hear Stephen Carlson saying "And that's just why the Odes are
          >NOT pre-Christian!"
          >His objection presupposes the standard model "From one thing
          >an entirely unrelated second thing arose for no known reason"
          >while the model I'm working on presupposes "From two entirely
          >unrelated things there came to be one thing combining the two."

          I having some difficulty understanding your characterization
          of my objection. My objection is not that the Odes is "an
          entirely unrelated second thing." That appears to be your
          position, which, if I were actually to agree with it, I would
          not make the objection.

          No, my objection is that when a work such as the Odes uses imagery
          in a distinctly Christian combination (some elements of which
          appear in a later developed Mariology), there is no reasonable
          basis to assume that the Odes are not influenced by Christianity,
          in any of its varieties.

          In fact, I would go on to say anyone who thinks that the Odes
          are entirely unrelated to Christianity is being influenced by an
          orthodoxy bias in thinking that the only Christianity at the time
          was orthodox Christianity. Although such an assumption would make
          Irenaeus proud, surely the "standard model" among modern scholars
          does not adopt this position.

          Stephen Carlson
          --
          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
          Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
        • William Arnal
          ... Well, then, I ll deal with the second quickly -- I don t and didn t actually say this: I think (with Davies) that there was a real human being named
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 27, 1999
            At 05:52 PM 7/26/99 -0500, Stevan Davies wrote:

            >> The recent constructs I have in mind are (1) that there was a pre-existing
            >> pantocrator movement onto which Yeshuines grafted the historical figure of
            >> Jesus, and (2) that "Jesus" is a fictional character deriving from the
            >> (supposedly) historical Jesus of Ananus.
            >
            >I'll worry about the first only.

            Well, then, I'll deal with the second quickly -- I don't and didn't actually
            say this: I think (with Davies) that there was a real human being named
            "Jesus" behind the sayings tradition (or something), but that, as long as
            we're considering conflation theories, I see no reason NOT to speculate that
            Mark's portrait of Jesus has taken over elements from the story of Jesus b.
            Ananus.

            >That doesn't work for me. So actually rather than "no Jesus"
            >I've got two of them. One of them, HJ if you like, is whatever Bill Arnal
            >says he was, based on the CT material.

            Part of the problem with THIS particular method is that Bill Arnal is
            clueless about who the historical Jesus might have been. I feel pretty
            comfortable describing the CT, but not comfortable at ALL trying to infer
            from Jesus from it. And part of the problem HERE is that there's a whole
            bunch of stuff that gets linked to the CT -- miracles, controversies, etc.
            -- that, on the one hand, are clearly NOT all that linked to or derived from
            pre-Pauline tradition, but on the other hand, and contra Mack, do not seem
            derivable from the CT either. I'm somewhat more inclined to find the
            historical Jesus (who DOES, nonetheless, serve as the figure that teh CT
            gets attached to) in this wacko stuff.

            >Last I heard he was a counterculturalwisdomcynic. Whatever.

            No, the characterization that *I* REALLY liked was "Maoist." Let's go with
            that. But again, I'm talking about the CT, and not Jesus himself.

            >Josephus? As Bill? mentioned earlier, all you need do is ask yourself
            >where Josephus got his information. Of course he got it from Christians
            >(they being the only humans on earth who cared one hoot AND who
            >would give a positive report about him).
            >Josephus is no more independent evidence for HJ than Mark is.

            Damn right.

            >Remember that the standard model asserts that the Q Jesus
            >(Meier, more or less) or the Q1 Jesus (Crossan, more or less)
            >instigated a movement that HISTORICALLY CAUSED there to
            >be a Paul etc. movement which they admit has almost nothing
            >to do with the originating factor.

            Right. And this is a silly closed-ness of vision. We somehow feel the need
            to work with a singular and linear model of the development of Christianity
            -- how can I put this? It's as though the only way to explain Xian
            development "b" is in terms of earlier Xian development "a." But this is
            never how things work in the real world. The best example I can think of
            (but probably not a great example for this list) is Louis Althusser. The
            guy's a Marxist. So, you can read his stuff and try to interpret it in terms
            of developments within Marxism -- but can you get from Marx and Engels to
            Louis Althusser just by thinking about it? I doubt it very much. OR, you can
            say, here's a dude who, yes, was a Marxist, but who was profoundly
            influenced especially by Spinoza and by Jacques Lacan. And his weird Marxism
            is ONLY an intelligible development in light of those influences. Or again
            -- a less clear but maybe more familiar example -- anti-semitism in NT
            studies has diminished considerably in the last three decades. Is this
            because NT scholars, wholly isolated from the world around them, suddenly
            decided that anti-semitic presuppositions were historically distorting? Or
            is it because a new generation of scholars, educated after WW2, came to the
            fore? You can guess what *I* think.
            The point here is not necessarily that Xianity NEEDS to be
            understood as a conflation of Odes stuff + CT stuff; I'll reserve judgement
            on that for a while, I think. BUT there's nothing unreasonable about such a
            claim, and the main objections to it seem to stem primarily from an
            unrealistic notion of the growth and development of "movements" as somehow
            shut off from "external" factors, and as developing wholly in terms of their
            own internal logic.

            scatteredly,
            Bill
            __________________________________
            William Arnal wea1@...
            Religion/Classics check out my web page, at:
            New York University http://pages.nyu.edu/~wea1/
          • Stevan Davies
            ... I was thinking just last night that there once was a standard model more or less going back to Irenaeus that took it as established that Gnosticism arose
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 27, 1999
              > From: "Stephen C. Carlson"
              > No, my objection is that when a work such as the Odes uses imagery
              > in a distinctly Christian combination (some elements of which
              > appear in a later developed Mariology), there is no reasonable
              > basis to assume that the Odes are not influenced by Christianity,
              > in any of its varieties.
              >
              > In fact, I would go on to say anyone who thinks that the Odes
              > are entirely unrelated to Christianity is being influenced by an
              > orthodoxy bias in thinking that the only Christianity at the time
              > was orthodox Christianity. Although such an assumption would make
              > Irenaeus proud, surely the "standard model" among modern scholars
              > does not adopt this position.

              I was thinking just last night that there once was a standard model
              more or less going back to Irenaeus that took it as established
              that Gnosticism arose from Christianity and that all Gnostic
              texts were produced by nonorthodox Christians. There still may
              be some who hold to this position (I dimly remember Jim Davila
              arguing for it (or at least against the possibility of any Jewish
              Gnosticism)). But the prevailing view today is nothing more or
              less than a coalescence model. There was a Gnostic religion
              and a Christian religion and the two gradually coalesced into
              the movement that produced the Christian Gnostic texts. So it
              certainly can be that a standard one-origin-then-diversity
              model can be replaced by a dual-origin-then-coalescence model.

              The question is whether texts that have
              elements that are also elements found in Christian texts
              (all of those by definition were written by people who are historically
              connected with the movement that began with Jesus of
              Nazareth ca. 28 AD) are NECESSARILY texts that
              are Christian texts. I think your position is that they are.

              My position is that there appears to be good reason
              to think that there existed a religious movement
              prior to the one that began with Jesus of Nazareth
              ca. 28 AD, one that had elements that were later
              absorbed into Christianity. I haven't got a good label for
              it yet ("Odes religion" of course begs the question re: Odes),
              but I'll call it (with Paul) the Church of God movement.
              So bear with me... IF there was a Church of God movement
              and that movement produced texts, how would we be
              able to tell if such texts were or were not from the movement
              that began with Jesus of Nazareth?

              Wouldn't it be possible to suppose that such texts would
              be identifiable by virtue of the fact that they contained
              absolutely zero reference to Jesus of Nazareth or to any
              historical events associated with Jesus of Nazareth?
              I guess the answer is "no" because we might well be
              dealing with a non-orthodox Christian texts arising from
              a Christian group that had managed completely to delete
              Jesus of Nazareth from its purview. And yet surely one cannot
              rule out by hypothesis the possibility that such texts
              originated within a group that existed prior to, or at least in
              absolute ignorance of, Jesus of Nazareth.

              The standard model posits
              either
              A) Semi-Pauline Christianity existed from Jerusalem
              through Judea to Damascus (and Antioch?) prior to
              ca. AD 35: the Churches of God.
              or
              B) Paul invented Pauline Christianity and incorrectly claimed
              not to have done so. [Reasons to doubt this have been given
              previously.]

              I'm not sure of the status of any question in Pauline studies,
              but suspect that A) above is not an unusual position.
              If we assume A) two possibilities exist.

              1) The Churches of God arose from the activity of, or
              reflections upon the activity of, Jesus of Nazareth.
              This is the standard theory.

              2) The Churches of God are unrelated to Jesus of Nazareth
              but indeed did hold opinions that came into Christianity
              through the instance of Paul and others.
              This is the coalescence theory.

              What I find disturbing in what you have written is that
              as far as I can tell there can be no allowable textual
              evidence to support the coalescence theory because
              from the standard theory all Christian language arose
              after 28 AD. Thus the Odes necessarily are (albeit
              extremely nonorthodox) expressions of Christianity and
              not Church of God religion. This is not, though, an appraisal
              of the texts themselves but is an application of an historical
              model to the texts. If we agree that this is the only possible
              model, then your argument holds. But if there is another
              possible model, then your argument does not speak against
              it by virtue of insisting on the truth of the alternative model.

              If I were to say that NOTHING in the Odes material is
              attested in any other known Christian writing before 125 AD
              except for vocabulary and motifs that are utilized quite
              differently than they are in Christian writing (with the exception
              of standard Jewish views regarding God, often taken from
              the Psalms)... then the question would have to be raised:
              "Did the Odes vocabulary and motifs, having arisen independently
              of the Christian movement become modified
              within the Christian movement (showing up, e.g. in John, Paul)
              or are the Odes a very nonorthodox form of the Christian movement?"

              I'm not sure, at present, that I can prove that the former is
              the case and not the latter (although it strikes me as potentially
              provable within the parameters of scholarship). But I do insist
              that the question cannot be answered simply by the appeal
              to the standard model.

              Steve
            • Stephen C. Carlson
              ... The word NECESSARILY does not accurately describe my position. My position is that when you have a text that refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 28, 1999
                At 04:53 PM 7/27/99 -0500, Stevan Davies wrote:
                >The question is whether texts that have
                >elements that are also elements found in Christian texts
                >(all of those by definition were written by people who are historically
                >connected with the movement that began with Jesus of
                >Nazareth ca. 28 AD) are NECESSARILY texts that
                >are Christian texts. I think your position is that they are.

                The word "NECESSARILY" does not accurately describe my position.
                My position is that when you have a text that refers to the Father,
                Son, and Holy Spirit, when you have a that also refers to the
                perpetual virginity of a virgin mother, when you have a text also
                that mentions a Messiah (Christ), and when you have a text that
                also refers a crucifixion and salvation, the burden of proof
                shifts to the person claiming that it was not influenced by
                Christianity.

                Therefore, I think that you need to prove, not assume, that the
                Odes of Solomon are not influenced by Christianity. Radiocarbon
                dating before 28 of existing MSS is one acceptable proof.

                >My position is that there appears to be good reason
                >to think that there existed a religious movement
                >prior to the one that began with Jesus of Nazareth
                >ca. 28 AD, one that had elements that were later
                >absorbed into Christianity. I haven't got a good label for
                >it yet ("Odes religion" of course begs the question re: Odes),
                >but I'll call it (with Paul) the Church of God movement.
                >So bear with me... IF there was a Church of God movement
                >and that movement produced texts, how would we be
                >able to tell if such texts were or were not from the movement
                >that began with Jesus of Nazareth?

                I suspect that we do know of a religious movement prior to
                the one that began with Jesus of Nazareth with elements later
                absorbed into Christianity -- and that movement would be
                the John the Baptist movement. Acts 19:1-7 virtually admits
                as much. I don't know much about the texts of this movement,
                but it is possible that the Mandaeans' own scriptures might
                contain early enough portions.

                >Wouldn't it be possible to suppose that such texts would
                >be identifiable by virtue of the fact that they contained
                >absolutely zero reference to Jesus of Nazareth or to any
                >historical events associated with Jesus of Nazareth?

                You mean a text like 3 John?

                >I guess the answer is "no" because we might well be
                >dealing with a non-orthodox Christian texts arising from
                >a Christian group that had managed completely to delete
                >Jesus of Nazareth from its purview. And yet surely one cannot
                >rule out by hypothesis the possibility that such texts
                >originated within a group that existed prior to, or at least in
                >absolute ignorance of, Jesus of Nazareth.

                I think is better to deal with the probable rather than the
                merely possible. Lots of things are possible; it does not
                mean they actually happened. On balance, the evidence on
                the Odes weighs in favor of Christian influence. That is
                the probable position.

                >What I find disturbing in what you have written is that
                >as far as I can tell there can be no allowable textual
                >evidence to support the coalescence theory because
                >from the standard theory all Christian language arose
                >after 28 AD. Thus the Odes necessarily are (albeit
                >extremely nonorthodox) expressions of Christianity and
                >not Church of God religion. This is not, though, an appraisal
                >of the texts themselves but is an application of an historical
                >model to the texts. If we agree that this is the only possible
                >model, then your argument holds. But if there is another
                >possible model, then your argument does not speak against
                >it by virtue of insisting on the truth of the alternative model.

                You shouldn't be disturbed, because what you have written
                is not my position. My position has been that the Odes,
                based on their content, are presumptively (but not
                necessarily, as you characterize it) influenced by
                Christianity. You are prefectly free to actually produce
                evidence rebutting that presumption. As for your
                coalescence theory (as a theory, it is not inherently
                implausible), there may well be evidence in favor of it,
                but I wouldn't go looking in the Odes for it.

                >I'm not sure, at present, that I can prove that the former is
                >the case and not the latter (although it strikes me as potentially
                >provable within the parameters of scholarship). But I do insist
                >that the question cannot be answered simply by the appeal
                >to the standard model.

                I don't think I have done so, see above.

                Stephen Carlson
                --
                Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
                "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
              • Jon Peter
                Steve has provoke me with his ideas about the Odes undermining the Standard Model, so I will take the other side for the sake of giving him an alternative.
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 28, 1999
                  Steve has provoke me with his ideas about the Odes undermining the Standard
                  Model, so I will take the other side for the sake of giving him an
                  alternative. Among othe things he wrote --


                  <<The Odes, then, to conclude, are an example of one of two things. They
                  either exemplify very late first century Xianity where the Historical Jesus
                  in any sense whatsoever (speaker, healer, crucified) has vanished to the
                  ZERO point, or they exemplify early first century "pre-Paul-non-HJ-Xianity"
                  where the Historical Jesus hasn't yet been invented by coalescing the CT
                  sayings tradition with the Crucified Son tradition. >>


                  I like Steve's 2nd possibility. Now here is how it could fit the Standard
                  Model too …


                  Jesus, in real life, taught the KoG in parables, spoke wisdom, debated, gave
                  halakhic views. He drew crowds. He also instituted a New Covenant consisting
                  of rituals for a few privileged granted access to his straight-and-narrow.
                  One of these was some kind of bonding / spiritual marriage. He taught a few
                  selected apostles to impart this also as his means disseminating the KoG.

                  After Jesus' death these Jesus-trained initiates experienced dreams and
                  sporadic visions about him, which are common bereavement events. Also, in
                  weekly meetings (prescribed by the New Cov) the friends believed that
                  Christ's pneuma spoke through their mouths. The Holy Spirit inspired hymns
                  and love ballads to him, etc.

                  (The very 1st prototype model for this behavior, which Xians naturally
                  followed, was the psalms and prophets. Very important to realize this. These
                  Xians, like David the psalmist, and like Isaiah, were alternating
                  speaking-parts between praise-givers and deity in the 1st person.)

                  So far, no "CT" has developed. People who'd actually heard Jesus speak in
                  real life didn't need one or care much about one. They entered ecstatic
                  possession-trances in which they imitated his voice, his aphoristic style
                  and his pet themes --. cf Acts 2.17, 1Co 14. 1Pe 4.11 -- in speaking.
                  Sometimes they mixed-in their recollections of his actual sayings.

                  Others, overhearing this, started writing-down the better-sounding
                  post-resurrection. sayings. Eventual result -- GoT, Dialogues of the
                  Savior and maybe other such pre-NHL source material.

                  Some of the early results of this early stage sound, to our ears, merely
                  quasi-Christian, because people were imitating HB psalmists and prophetic
                  models, and not synoptic vocabulary. Hence, Pauline Risen Lord, Pantokratur,
                  high Christology of Hebrews. (Occasionally the early Xians were even
                  channeling Bible heroes other than Jesus.) The all-important thing is that
                  they believed their pneuma experiences were sufficient. Jesus was vivid in
                  their imaginations. Some or many thought He would return soon anyway.
                  People felt no need for chronology of his life, authoritative utterances, or
                  even doctrinaire Christology. They really, really believed he was present
                  and acquired in Holy Spirit baptism.

                  Odes of Solomon came from this state of mind, was very early, and
                  psalms-imitative. Again, remember how the synoptics identify Jesus as the
                  voice behind David's psalms and of psalm-like Isaiah

                  Again, relatively little interest at this 30s stage went into collecting /
                  circulating actual Jesus sayings. (This is where I disagree most with modern
                  assumptions, which regard CT as all the rage.) Those persons who cared about
                  Jesus thought that his spiritual voice was inside them at the prayer
                  meetings.

                  Moreover, *only* inner-circle apostles KNEW all of Jesus' teachings
                  accurately anyway. Think about about this please. Vast majority of
                  converts and followers recollected mere bits and pieces of HJ --
                  recollections which went no-where, really. The authenticity of their
                  remembrances was hard to "validate," if that even mattered. These
                  remembered Jesus- sayings were quite indistinguishable from the inspired
                  pneuma-imitations uttered at prayer meetings. See the problem? No CT was
                  possible, nor needed. People didn't create an oral tradition of CT sayings,
                  nor a Q-something either, as a prelude to gospels. Jesus' words and
                  quasi-words were in their hearts, and the agape feast "with him" was what
                  mattered anyway.

                  Next: The only scripture necessary to early Xians meetings, and the *only*
                  interest shown for scripture by anyone in these years, was towards the HB --
                  exegesis of which yielded signs and allusions to the messiah. (This exegesis
                  dates back to Jesus still alive. And it was the basis for all early
                  apostolic preaching, cf Acts and I Co 15.13) Prophecy fulfillement was the
                  tactical theme for persuading Jews/Gentiles alike.

                  Apart from this, you had only locally inspired psalms, hymns, maybe
                  apocalyptic utterance stenography

                  The movement's early appeal and reason for popularity was the combination
                  of --
                  it's being a fad and novelty,
                  it's being a mystery religion,
                  its romance,
                  its superiority to archaic and deservedly maligned paganism,
                  its subversiveness,
                  the psychological uplift it gave and--
                  its having all these provocative Hebrew scripture to back it up.

                  Throughout the 40s and early 50s the small apostolic group who *could*
                  recite and authenticate "CT" sayings fully -- especially Peter, James and
                  the Zebedees -- wrote little or nothing. Wisdomcynic Jesus was known *only*
                  to these very few people who had accompanied Jesus and the inner circle!!!
                  Think about it. How could anyone but a few day-by-day imtimates assimilate
                  all that sagacity? For most everyone else, Jesus was an invisible
                  mysteryinitiation theme park, period. The plethora of cosmic images merely
                  reflect good apostolic marketing.

                  Matthew had been recording-secretary. (It's inconceivable to me that no one
                  following Jesus would have written down his sayings during his life or soon
                  after, since they all agreed and acted as if he was establishing a new
                  covenant.). At some point Matthias wrote but he did not circulate a
                  sayings-list. Believers already 'have the mind of Christ' and enjoy him in
                  their lives. Perhaps on a limited basis, some evangelists, pastors and
                  apostles used Matthean logia as an inspirational source. cf I Peter and
                  James.

                  Beginning with the late 40s / early 50s, as the movement grew, problems
                  arose that required more formally written explication. Paul discovered this
                  need when he saw that "Judaizers" were attempting to undo his conversions in
                  Asia Minor. Peter found the same farther north. Hellenistic docetic
                  Christians were speculating their brains out. Paul wrote corrective tracts
                  to various churches and he outlined christologies which were in synch with
                  James, Peter and the 1 remaining Zebedee. James' letter followed Paul's
                  supportively (containing non-attributed Jesus sayings he'd personally heard
                  his brother say).

                  Around the late 50s / early 60s, the Church shifted attention to Rome, after
                  Paul and Peter had been successfully christianizing Asia Minor for a
                  decade+. Everyone now focused on Paul's trial there, which would be a big
                  deal to all. While gathered in Rome, the surviving authorities -- Peter,
                  Paul, Luke, Matthew -- realized they needed a definitive work that would
                  preserve the sayings. It would also position the defendant Paul and the
                  Church as innocent, good folk, submissive citizens, and distinguish
                  Christianity from Judaism. The skillfully designed results were Mt. Mk,
                  later. Lk, and I Peter (following Paul's direction).

                  In sum there was no haphazard dependence whatsoever on a shaky
                  oral-tradition or on a pastiche called Q. Peter, Mark, Matthew and
                  eventually Luke took pains with their organized product. (cf. Papias) When
                  I say "took pains" I mean, for accuracy in *sayings* and to a lesser degree,
                  in episodes they wrote. Dramatizing of events achieved a valid theological
                  impact and extended the old sacred history by mixing-in HB prophecies.

                  Certain gospel content had to be re-cast appropriately (toned down) for
                  audiences by Peter (cf. Papias). Remember, this mystery religion consisted
                  of both "the many" and "the few," of those "outside" and those "within."
                  This NT allegorizing properly followed the Old Testament model.

                  Above all, the apostles had to explain to the world that they were
                  supplanting Judaism, and they wanted respect for themselves and their
                  founders.

                  A few sayings not spoken by Jesus in rea; life were nonetheless "spoken" by
                  him in spirit to these apostles' minds. Very little inauthentic Jesus stuff
                  is in Mark. Especially if you believe Jesus is alive inside you.

                  Within a few decades the Jesus tracts displaced the earlier
                  Pantokratur-spiritism etc found in the Odes.

                  Christians in the 80s 90s, being under lethal scrutiny, shifted their
                  interest away from endtimes ecstasy visions and more to stoic ethical
                  conduct, didache and contemplation of impending martyrdom.

                  Pre-60s literary works that remained in Judea wound-up in Mesopotamia and
                  eventually Alexandria. NHL retains more of the flavor of mystical
                  pre-synoptic Jesus worship.

                  I think the foregoing accounts pretty plausibly for the Odes within the
                  early church, and explains the connections between disparate christologies,
                  and where the wisdomcynic sayings fit.

                  Best regards,

                  Jon


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