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Re: [gthomas] motivations

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  • Yuri Kuchinsky
    ... Andrew, But one can argue that this is how Matthew and Luke really imagined the Historical Jesus to have been. So do you really think the way they came up
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 4, 2000
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      On Thu, 3 Aug 2000, Andrew Smith wrote:
      > on 8/3/00 8:18 AM, Yuri Kuchinsky at yuku@... wrote:

      ...

      > > Is there really a big tendency in modern HJ research to emphasize the
      > > Jewishness of Jesus? Maybe, maybe not. But was there a tendency in
      > > ancient HJ research to emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus? There surely
      > > was.
      >
      > Are Matthew and Luke trying to research the historical Jesus? Luke
      > maybe.

      Andrew,

      But one can argue that this is how Matthew and Luke really imagined the
      Historical Jesus to have been. So do you really think the way they came up
      with their picture of Jesus was so radically different from the ways our
      modern scholars come up with their own pictures of Jesus? Because in both
      cases personal presuppositions may play their roles.

      > > Mt 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the
      > > Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
      > >
      > > Lk 16:17 "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the
      > > least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law."
      > >
      > > So then I guess this nasty political correctness business was already
      > > quite a problem 1900 years ago?
      >
      > This was one of Steve's good points, which you are confirming here:-

      [Steve:]
      > > 3. The presentation of Jesus as a man concerned with the Judean
      > > Law in a postitive sense changes in a remarkably straight-line
      > > way from the earliest sources, which advocate freedom from the
      > > Law (Paul), to intermediate sources that by no means give Jesus
      > > anything like a clear positive pro-Torah stance (Mark), to later
      > > sources that do in fact present Jesus as a Torah teaching pharisaic
      > > Judean (Matthew).

      So please observe the personal presuppositions in the above snippet of
      Steve's. According to him, the "earliest sources" (Paul) advocate "freedom
      from the Law". But how can we be sure that everything in Paul was really
      written by Paul? A presupposition that is certainly questionable, although
      almost never questioned.

      Next, according to him, "intermediate sources" (Mark) "by no means give
      Jesus anything like a clear positive pro-Torah stance". But how can we be
      sure that Mk is really so early in its entirety? A presupposition that is
      rather doubtful.

      I have addressed this whole issue before on this list in more detail.
      Here's that article,

      GOT and its historical context (3/15/2000),
      http://www.egroups.com/message/gthomas/2436

      And here's a relevant exerpt,

      [quote]

      Is it possible that Jesus was un-apocalyptic, and then his followers
      became apocalyptic? This is how Crossan would like to see things. But I
      think it's a lot more natural to see the source of un-apocalypticism in
      the years much after 70, as the Messianic expectations were being
      inevitably disappointed. The movement would have been looking for a new
      focus then, and gnosticism would have seemed like a good one.

      So what are the early daters really saying? They would like HJ to be
      un-apocalyptic laid-back social worker, I suppose, maybe even mostly
      secular-minded? ...

      So, all right, Jesus was un-apocalyptic, but then for some reason his
      followers all went astray and became apocalyptic? All except one, that is,
      by the name of Didymus Judas Thomas, who managed to preserve the "original
      teachings" in some "little pocket" of society, until that too vanished
      (except for what little managed to trickle into the sands of Nag Hammadi
      for us to discover, to be sure).

      If we suppose that all his followers went astray and became OT-oriented
      and apocalyptic all of a sudden, then this must have happened before 70,
      right? But I thought that according to Crossan we have the Gentiles taking
      over the Jesus movement before 70 in a big hurry? Sure seems like there
      are some problems with this scenario somehow? One may indeed wonder how
      could back-to-the-Torah movement be happening at the same time as the
      let's-dump-the-Torah movement..

      [unquote]

      And now I will also add a clarification to what I wrote back in March. The
      purpose of that post was to argue that all NT materials, as well as GOT
      should be dated later rather than earlier. Because I concluded then as
      follows,

      "In my view, GOT had a similar history to that of the synoptic gospels,
      i.e. it was a work-in-progress for perhaps 100 years from 50 to 150."

      So while as compared to most commentators I tend to date _everything_
      later, at the same time, if one wishes to date GOT vis-a-vis the
      Synoptics, then clearly from the redactional standpoint GOT precedes much
      of the Synoptic sayings materials. And also, in my view, chronologically
      GOT precedes a lot of stuff that is now found in Mk.

      Regards,

      Yuri.

      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
    • Yuri Kuchinsky
      ... Sure, Bill, presuppositions and motivations do enter into scholarly reconstructions in a big way. ... Yes, intellectual currents are also important. But if
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 4, 2000
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        On Thu, 3 Aug 2000, William Arnal wrote:
        > At 11:18 AM 8/3/00 -0400, Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
        >
        > >The problem with this line of argument, Andrew, is that it leaves the area
        > >of objective historical scholarship, and begins to focus on personal
        > >presuppositions and motivations. But this is pure speculation.
        >
        > It's no more (or less) "pure speculation" than redaction criticism.
        > It's a reasonable area of scholarly inquiry: historiography and its
        > various tendency at various times and places. Schweitzer's book, for
        > instance, advanced the field of historical Jesus scholarship immensely
        > by focusing on precisely this. And several modern scholars (Sean
        > Freyne is an excellent example) freely admit that contemporary issues
        > (in Freyne's case, the Holocaust) do figure into their scholarship.

        Sure, Bill, presuppositions and motivations do enter into scholarly
        reconstructions in a big way.

        > Also: "personal" here is a little misleading. No one is claiming that
        > scholar "x" believes "y" about the historical Jesus because of the way
        > his parents potty-trained him, or some such thing. The issue is
        > historic intellectual currents and their manifestation in biblical
        > studies (as elsewhere). Moreover, while the accusation of bias
        > certainly does not in itself disprove any hypothesis (actual direct
        > evidence is needed for that), observing bias may tell us something
        > useful about why some hypotheses are defended so vigorously, or why
        > they are maintained even when the evidence for them is very weak.

        Yes, intellectual currents are also important.

        But if one begins to deal with such things, then those raising such issues
        should _also_ expect their own presuppositions and motivations to be fair
        game for some close scrutiny. Isn't this only fair?

        I did follow the recent email conference with Crossan, and I recall that
        he complained quite a lot about those who try to focus on _his_
        presuppositions and motivations. So obviously, this is not the thing that
        he welcomes too much. That's why I expressed the view that since,
        generally, it's a sword that can cut both ways, perhaps such lines of
        reasoning should be avoided, because they can easily degenerate into
        personal exchanges.

        > >Is there really a big tendency in modern HJ research to emphasize the
        > >Jewishness of Jesus? Maybe, maybe not. But was there a tendency in
        > >ancient HJ research to emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus? There surely
        > >was.
        >
        > The ancient tendency to emphasize the Jewishness of Jesus could be
        > just as, well, tendentious as the modern tendency.

        Sure!

        > And there is in fact an opposite ancient tendency, i.e., to repudiate
        > or at least minimize the Jewishness (whatever that means) of Jesus.

        Of course. The question is which came first? See my previous reply to
        Andrew.

        > >So then I guess this nasty political correctness business was already
        > >quite a problem 1900 years ago?
        >
        > That's gratuitous. The issue is not "political correctness," it's
        > agenda. The agenda which drive some aspects of the presentation of
        > Jesus today are certainly not those that drove the evangelists, but
        > that needn't prevent the results from being similar.

        Yes, and again I agree. Indeed, it's all about the agendas. So suppose we
        now focus on the agendas which drive some aspects of the presentation of
        Jesus today? It was Steve's repost that brought out the bugaboo of
        "political correctness". OK, fine. So then I will ask in turn, who are the
        people who are usually known as "anti-PC" today? It's the right-wing
        yahoos like Rush, Jerry Fallwell, etc. Some of them, to be sure, with a
        discernible air of anti-semitism hanging about them. So which of these two
        camps would I rather find myself in?

        Remember what I already said about those raising such issues? That they
        should also expect their own presuppositions to be fair game?

        Regards,

        Yuri.

        Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

        Open biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - loisy-l

        To subscribe to loisy-l, send blank email to loisy-subscribe@...

        The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
        equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
      • Andrew Smith
        ... Yes, of course it was radically different! Are you suggesting that Matthew and Luke were critical scholars in the modern fashion? ... Paul s attitude to
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 4, 2000
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          >
          > Andrew,
          >
          > But one can argue that this is how Matthew and Luke really imagined the
          > Historical Jesus to have been. So do you really think the way they came up
          > with their picture of Jesus was so radically different from the ways our
          > modern scholars come up with their own pictures of Jesus? Because in both
          > cases personal presuppositions may play their roles.
          >

          Yes, of course it was radically different! Are you suggesting that Matthew
          and Luke were critical scholars in the modern fashion?

          > So please observe the personal presuppositions in the above snippet of
          > Steve's. According to him, the "earliest sources" (Paul) advocate "freedom
          > from the Law". But how can we be sure that everything in Paul was really
          > written by Paul? A presupposition that is certainly questionable, although
          > almost never questioned.
          >

          Paul's attitude to the law isn't a personal presupposition of Steve, it's
          the general consensus of modern scholarship. He's simply taking the standard
          datings of the gospels and epistles and showing that they point to quite a
          different model of early Christianity. And nobody thinks that everything in
          the Pauline letters was written by Paul.

          <snipped>
          >One may indeed wonder how
          >could back-to-the-Torah movement be happening at the same time as the
          >let's-dump-the-Torah movement..

          If it began with anomian or antinomian elements this isn't such a problem.
          Some parts of the movement maintain the original attitude, other parts slip
          back into nomian Judaism.

          <rest snipped>

          I'm sorry that I haven't got time to address all of your points, except to
          mention that Thomas does have an apocalyptic *protology* .

          What makes your posts so difficult, Yuri, is that you argue so broadly using
          phrases like "It's my opinion that", "in my view", etc. and so you end up
          not arguing but just asserting. You very rarely ground anything in a
          specificic piece of text or a critical observation, so your theories are
          seldom taken seriously, especially since you are working uphill with most of
          them.

          Best Wishes

          Andrew Smith
        • Jacob Knee
          For those who are interested Eerdmans theological publishers seem to have activated their web site at www.eerdmans.com Best wishes, Jacob Knee (Cam,
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 5, 2000
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            For those who are interested Eerdmans theological publishers seem to have
            'activated' their web site at www.eerdmans.com

            Best wishes,
            Jacob Knee
            (Cam, Gloucestershire)
          • Yuri Kuchinsky
            ... But who said anything about critical scholars , Andrew? Exactly how many of today s scholars are critical scholars still remains to be determined. In my
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 6, 2000
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              On Fri, 4 Aug 2000, Andrew Smith wrote:

              > > Andrew,
              > >
              > > But one can argue that this is how Matthew and Luke really imagined the
              > > Historical Jesus to have been. So do you really think the way they came up
              > > with their picture of Jesus was so radically different from the ways our
              > > modern scholars come up with their own pictures of Jesus? Because in both
              > > cases personal presuppositions may play their roles.
              >
              > Yes, of course it was radically different! Are you suggesting that
              > Matthew and Luke were critical scholars in the modern fashion?

              But who said anything about "critical scholars", Andrew?

              Exactly how many of today's scholars are critical scholars still remains
              to be determined. In my view, there're not enough.

              > > So please observe the personal presuppositions in the above snippet of
              > > Steve's. According to him, the "earliest sources" (Paul) advocate "freedom
              > > from the Law". But how can we be sure that everything in Paul was really
              > > written by Paul? A presupposition that is certainly questionable, although
              > > almost never questioned.
              >
              > Paul's attitude to the law isn't a personal presupposition of Steve,
              > it's the general consensus of modern scholarship. He's simply taking
              > the standard datings of the gospels and epistles

              And now you don't really seem like a truly critical scholar yourself...

              > and showing that they point to quite a different model of early
              > Christianity. And nobody thinks that everything in the Pauline
              > letters was written by Paul.
              >
              > <snipped>
              > >One may indeed wonder how
              > >could back-to-the-Torah movement be happening at the same time as the
              > >let's-dump-the-Torah movement..
              >
              > If it began with anomian or antinomian elements

              But I've examined this assumption already and found it lacking.

              > this isn't such a problem. Some parts of the movement maintain the
              > original attitude, other parts slip back into nomian Judaism.

              So you're suggesting now that the "anomian or antinomian elements" split
              off early, and that the rest of the movement became nomian before 70? But
              then you have a problem because according to Crossan et al the rest of the
              movement became _anomian_ before 70 as is witnessed by Mk. Thus,
              persistence in dating Mk early creates serious problems for a critical
              scholar. In actual fact, a lot of Mk seems late.

              Thus, your objection had already been answered. The incongruity is still
              there.

              > I'm sorry that I haven't got time to address all of your points,
              > except to mention that Thomas does have an apocalyptic *protology* .

              So this supports my point of view?

              > What makes your posts so difficult, Yuri, is that you argue so broadly
              > using phrases like "It's my opinion that", "in my view", etc. and so
              > you end up not arguing but just asserting. You very rarely ground
              > anything in a specificic piece of text or a critical observation, so
              > your theories are seldom taken seriously, especially since you are
              > working uphill with most of them.

              But I think my theories are seldom taken seriously because, in order to
              take them seriously, great many scholars would have to stop taking so much
              of their own previous work seriously...

              Yours,

              Yuri.

              Yuri Kuchinsky | Toronto | http://www.trends.ca/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

              Open biblical history list http://www.egroups.com/group/loisy - loisy-l

              To subscribe to loisy-l, send blank email to loisy-subscribe@...

              I doubt, therefore I might be.
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