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Re: [gthomas] Re: Y Kuchninsky's Proposed dating methods for GThom

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    ... Well, I beg to disagree, Rick. ... Not at all. To the contrary, establishing that there was an early Jewish-Christian period of gospel-production would be
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 27, 2000
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      On Mon, 24 Jul 2000, Rick Hubbard wrote:

      > The as-yet-unresolved problem of how to devise a defensible dating
      > theory for the Gospel of Thomas moves no closer to denouement by
      > simply adopting Loisy's hypotheses about the origin and development of
      > the intracanonical gospels.

      Well, I beg to disagree, Rick.

      > Whether or not, for example, there existed early versions of the NT
      > gospels(proto-gospels)is irrelevant to the issue.

      Not at all. To the contrary, establishing that there was an early
      Jewish-Christian period of gospel-production would be very relevant

      > Similarly, questions about literary relationships among the synoptics
      > and issues of priority are also not important.

      Most people will disagree with your here.

      > The first observation about Loisy's views of the gospels is that much
      > of what he asserted about them was simply an endorsement of the views
      > of other scholars (with numerous qualifications, of course). There is
      > virtually no question that Loisy embraced the general conclusions of
      > the purely historical approach to the NT that began with D.F. Strauss'
      > monumental work which was published in 1835-1836, _Das Leben Jesu,
      > kritisch bearbetet_.

      But this was a very influential work not only for Loisy.

      > Strauss, and others after him, regarded the majority of the material
      > in the NT gospels as "mythical," an assertion repeated over and over
      > again by Loisy [_Origins_, 15-18, 28, 31]. Moreover, Loisy denied
      > that the gospels in any way reflected historical memories of Jesus
      > [Birth, 12, 41].

      But this is what Bultmann was saying too. Loisy borrowed quite a lot from

      > At the same time he dismissed the notion of divine authorship of not
      > only the gospels, but of the entire biblical corpus [Origins, 10-13].

      And you support the notion of divine authorship of the gospels?

      In such a case, it is not surprising in the least that you will not
      appreciate Loisy.

      > Loisy thus approaches the text as a dispassionate critical historian
      > ideologically indistinguishable from the likes of D.F. Strauss, F.C.
      > Bauer and J. Weisse

      I think Loisy would have welcomed such a comparison.

      > (especially the latter's interest in the eschatological implications
      > of the gospels).

      > But still, this is not to say that Loisy did not contribute his own
      > originality to the discussions. In fact what is distinctly
      > characteristic of Loisy is his assertions that the gospels were
      > didactic instruments [Birth, 43], or catechisms, the sole purpose of
      > which was to advance the propaganda of the church (Birth, 17].

      Yes, this and the following are correct.

      > The gospels were in effect, nothing else than teaching documents in
      > their earliest forms. Those early forms, it needs to be said, were
      > heavily edited from the time of their origins until, in some cases
      > after their canonization (Origins, Birth, 44].
      > Loisy argues that the gospels were formed around two fundamental
      > catacheses, each of which conformed to the Christian rites of baptism
      > and the eucharist [Origins, 78]. The earlier of the two catacheses was
      > that of the eucharist around which formed the passion cycle and the
      > traditions of the risen Christ [Origins, 78]. The second catachesis,
      > the baptismal, became the core of the stories about Jesus' public
      > ministry, from his baptism at the hands of John to the passion
      > narrative [Origins, 78]. Loisy designates the eucharistic catachesis
      > as the the eschatological and the baptismal he calls the evangelical.

      "Eschatological" and "evangelical" are primarily the labels that Loisy
      uses to distinguish two major compositional layers in the canonical
      gospels. According to him, the earliest layer was the eschatological, and
      the later one was the evangelical. Loisy says that the focus of the
      earliest believers was to anxiously expect the "Great Event", when Jesus
      as Messiah/Christ will arrive in glory to put everything right in the
      world. In other words, the End-Times.

      But when such expectations waned, after 70, then a theological adjustment
      followed. Instead of the End of the World, a new burgeoning Christian
      movement, the Ecclesia, arrived in the world. So the focus of the movement
      shifted to dealing with this new reality.

      > The earliest cathechesis he argues did not originate with the gospels
      > but in the confessions found in Pauline Christianity [Origins, 77].

      This is not in the Collier edition. Are you using the other edition?

      I don't think Loisy said that the Pauline confessions were the earliest.
      Perhaps you misinterpreted him. According to him, the earliest catechesis
      was eschatological.

      > In his analysis of the Markan gospel, Loisy continues with the
      > thematic study of the traditions under the rubric of catacheses His
      > analysis [Origins, 77-110] and his conclusions [Origins, 315-318] keep
      > these concepts continually before the reader. What may be derived from
      > Loisy's analysis and conclusions is that the most primitive forms of
      > the traditions were fundamentally confessional and were intertwined
      > almost exclusively with the consecration of the Messiah and the
      > revelation of the mystery in the risen Christ.

      For Loisy, Jesus was not consecrated as the Messiah in his earthly life.

      > If Loisy's analysis and conclusions are correct, then it follows that
      > the earliest strata of the gospels which he dates to just prior to 70
      > CE (for Mark) [Birth, 45] should be expected to exhibit content
      > consistent with the earliest catechesis, i.e., material related to the
      > "revelation of the mystery" [Birth, 43].

      But the nature of this "mystery" should be further specified.

      > The question then is this: Where in GThom, are those elements which by
      > Loisy's own set of criteria, define Thomas as "early" as Kuchinsky
      > argues?

      These are the Jewish-Christian elements in GOT.

      > I argue that those elements are not there at all and that therefore
      > either GThom is not earlier than Mark or that, if it is earlier, then
      > Loisy's hypotheses are inadequate tools in this case.

      Your misunderstanding continues, but judging by what you said above, it's
      not in the least surprising.

      > As a final note, it is impossible not to respond to Kuchinsky's
      > persistent complaint that Loisy is unknown to which was raised by this
      > most recent post on [Loisy]:
      > "PS. As far as Loisy goes, it's curious how many "new experts" have
      > now appeared on the horizon who apparently have never even read him.
      > They merely cite some secondary literature that seems quite as clued
      > out as they are. And then on this basis they claim breathlessly that
      > Loisy is "well known" to NT professionals! Really, this is rather
      > funny. Will deal with this later."
      > There are indeed a good number of people who have probably not read
      > Loisy extensively.

      A "good number of people" like 99%? I mean biblical scholars of course.

      > Given his general irrelevance to contemporary NT research, there is no
      > good reason why anyone should spend much time doing so. He is not much
      > more than a subject of historical curiosity. Moreover, one who does
      > take time to read virtually any of Loisy's works will be immediately
      > stricken by the eccentricity of his hypotheses when viewed
      > three-fourths of a century later, from the perspective of contemporary
      > scholarship.

      An alternative interpretation, of course, would be that he was way ahead
      of his time.

      > Contrary to Kuchinksy's assertion in the quote above, as well as in
      > previous posts, Loisy *is* well known to reputable NT "professionals"
      > (which I presume to mean, NT scholars). His publications are regularly
      > acknowledged in the bibliographic sections of innumerable major
      > scholarly works published since 1950. A few of the most important
      > scholars who have given recognition to Loisy in this way include R.
      > Bultmann, J. Fitzmeyer, G. Ludemann, R. Brown and of course W. G.
      > Kummel (the latter who Kuchinsky deprecates, even though Kummel's _New
      > Testament Introduction_ has continued to be a standard handbook on the
      > subject in colleges, universities and seminaries for more than forty
      > years).

      Yes, his early works are cited now and then. But, as I said before, at
      this time, no adequate critical review of his crucial later contributions
      exists in English-language scholarship. It's as simple as that.

      Yours truly,


      Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- http://www.trends.ca/~yuku

      "Genuine ignorance is ... profitable because it is likely to be
      accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness; whereas ability
      to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the
      conceit of learning, and coats the mind with varnish water-proof to new
      ideas" -- John Dewey
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