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

Fw: Re: [GTh] Skinner's Interview with Davies

Expand Messages
  • Michael Grondin
    ... From: stevandavies To: Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:15 AM Subject: Fwd: Re: [GTh]
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 12, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "stevandavies" <stevandavies@...>
      To: <gthomas-owner@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:15 AM
      Subject: Fwd: Re: [GTh] Skinner's Interview with Davies

      Bob Schacht wrote:

      > But now that you have jolted me into remembering the passion
      > narrative issue, I think that the most credible sequence would start
      > with bare bones information about what Jesus did, or what happened to
      > Jesus (the Passion Narrative, Paul's emphasis on the centrality of
      > the resurrection, and the Signs Gospel). But what these accounts of
      > "deeds" lack is any explanatory context. Why would Pilate crucify
      > Jesus? So now my thoughts are meandering in other directions.

      This is what happens when you try to get back to the beginning. Even the
      idea of the resurrection needs some rethinking because as Greg Riley
      pointed out (I think) in his Resurrection Reconsidered book, people are
      not altogether eager to have dead people wandering around their cities.
      I would just as soon not have people rising from the dead and coming to
      my house. There are a lot of movies about this sort of thing and in none
      of them are the risen dead greeted with joy.

      Or, to look at it another way, the History Channel and other channels
      have begun obsessively to provide us real science proofs of ghosts
      inhabiting all sorts of places. I ask students in class occasionally how
      many have seen ghosts and usual a few have, mostly close relatives
      recently deceased.

      So we have either the ghost paradigm or the zombie paradigm for people
      rising from the dead and the ancient world wanted nothing to do with
      either of them. We might even go a step further and talk about the
      zombie paradigm being a physical bodily resurrection and the ghost
      paradigm being a more fuzzy ecotoplasmic resurrection.

      So here come the Christians! They announce to your village that their
      leader was seen walking around Emmaeus and Jerusalem and even in Galilee
      although strangely changed in form. Your mission, if you choose to
      accept it, is to explain to me why people would be a) impressed by this
      at all b) think it is a positive thing and c) join up with Christianity
      on the basis of it. I'm not arguing against the idea because the fact
      that the resurrection never did happen is rather irrelevant, but I do
      want to know why somebody seeing a dead guy walking would then give rise
      to a hugely successful religious movement.

      Steve
    • Bob Schacht
      At 10:14 AM 11/12/2009, Michael Grondin forwarded a message from ... Heh. I know I m pushing against the Modern Consensus in this regard, but I kinda like my
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 12, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        At 10:14 AM 11/12/2009, Michael Grondin forwarded a message from
        Stevan Davies, who wrote:
        >Bob Schacht wrote:
        >
        > > But now that you have jolted me into remembering the passion
        > > narrative issue, I think that the most credible sequence would start
        > > with bare bones information about what Jesus did, or what happened to
        > > Jesus (the Passion Narrative, Paul's emphasis on the centrality of
        > > the resurrection, and the Signs Gospel). But what these accounts of
        > > "deeds" lack is any explanatory context. Why would Pilate crucify
        > > Jesus? So now my thoughts are meandering in other directions.
        >
        >This is what happens when you try to get back to the beginning.

        Heh.
        I know I'm pushing against the Modern Consensus in this regard, but I
        kinda like my suggestion that the early core data on Jesus focused on
        what happened to him, and what he did (the Passion Narrative, Paul's
        emphasis on the centrality of the resurrection, and the Signs Gospel)
        rather than what he said. I'm going to have to dig out my copy of The
        Acts of Jesus from my pile of boxes of books from my move back to
        Flagstaff, I guess.
        I was never too enthralled by the idea that the earliest data about
        Jesus was a collection of his bon mots. That sounds like just the
        kind of approach a bunch of college professors would dream up.

        As for the development of Christian narrative, I have another idea:
        Rather than developing as a way to contextualize the sayings of
        Jesus, I suspect that it started as a basic liturgical formula, the
        *anamnesis.* To quote *An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church,*
        "This memorial prayer of remembrance recalls for the worshipping
        community past events in their tradition of faith that are formative
        for their identity and self-understanding." [cf. Acts 4:33]
        This sounds just exactly right, and seems like the nucleus around
        which greater narratives would be organized.


        >Even the idea of the resurrection needs some rethinking because as Greg Riley
        >pointed out (I think) in his Resurrection Reconsidered book, people are
        >not altogether eager to have dead people wandering around their cities.
        >I would just as soon not have people rising from the dead and coming to
        >my house. ...

        Well, there are two at least three ways to look at this: One is "What
        will happen to me after I die?" The second is "Why did my sainted
        Mother have to die so young? Would that she could come back and be
        with us again!" And finally, there is, "What will happen to that jerk
        Aaron after he dies?" One might be perfectly fine with confining
        Aaron to his final resting place, but not so fine with being so
        confined oneself, as well has having some confused ideas about the
        return of Momma from the grave. The Jesus story is built somewhat on
        the second perspective, IMHO.

        Bob Schacht
        Northern Arizona University


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • stevandavies
        ... I know I m pushing against the Modern Consensus in this regard, but I kinda like my suggestion that the early core data on Jesus focused on what
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 13, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <Bobschacht@...> wrote:



          I know I'm pushing against the Modern Consensus in this regard,
          but I kinda like my suggestion that the early core data on Jesus
          focused on > what happened to him, and what he did (the Passion
          Narrative, Paul's
          > emphasis on the centrality of the resurrection, and the Signs Gospel)

          But Bob, the Passion Narrative seems to presuppose a resurrection that
          never happened and a Barabbas story that never happened and various bits
          made up on the basis of OT "prophecies" (gambling for clothing,
          for instance). Paul's emphasis on what happened to Jesus after he
          died isn't exactly prime historical Jesus data and the Signs Gospel
          is completely fiction. So where does this lead you?




          > rather than what he said. I'm going to have to dig out my copy of The
          > Acts of Jesus from my pile of boxes of books from my move back to
          > Flagstaff, I guess.
          > I was never too enthralled by the idea that the earliest data about
          > Jesus was a collection of his bon mots. That sounds like just the
          > kind of approach a bunch of college professors would dream up.

          Yes, it does.... and the bon mots don't make much sense. Some
          are so meaningful that they can apply to all sorts of things, but you
          don't know Jesus' application and so you don't know anything
          (proverbs), and some are meaningless as they stand even if they may have
          meant something to HJ (parables).

          Then we understand that people had no hesitation in just making stuff up
          (later levels of Q, Thomas, John from start to finish, much synoptic
          filler material). And this means to me that it is absolutely not the
          brilliance and meaningfulness of HJ's bon mots that made people list
          them and narrativeize them. Rather, Jesus was understood to be God or
          something of the sort and then his mots become important. But why was
          Jesus understood to be God? It cannot have been the resurrection, for
          reasons I gave recently.

          > As for the development of Christian narrative, I have another idea:
          > Rather than developing as a way to contextualize the sayings of
          > Jesus, I suspect that it started as a basic liturgical formula, the
          > *anamnesis.* To quote *An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church,*
          > "This memorial prayer of remembrance recalls for the worshipping
          > community past events in their tradition of faith that are formative
          > for their identity and self-understanding." [cf. Acts 4:33]
          > This sounds just exactly right, and seems like the nucleus around
          > which greater narratives would be organized.
          >

          Sure, as long as you have a nice solid Worshipping Community. But
          where did that come from? Or, as I mentioned in the Skinner interview,
          the key question may be what was up with the Churches of God in Judea
          that Paul was persecuting? To me that is THE key question and I
          don't have any answer except they were breaking the law in
          significant ways.
          >
          > >Even the idea of the resurrection needs some rethinking because as
          Greg Riley
          > >pointed out (I think) in his Resurrection Reconsidered book, people
          are
          > >not altogether eager to have dead people wandering around their
          cities.
          > >I would just as soon not have people rising from the dead and coming
          to
          > >my house. ...
          >
          > Well, there are two at least three ways to look at this: One is "What
          > will happen to me after I die?" The second is "Why did my sainted
          > Mother have to die so young? Would that she could come back and be
          > with us again!" And finally, there is, "What will happen to that jerk
          > Aaron after he dies?" One might be perfectly fine with confining
          > Aaron to his final resting place, but not so fine with being so
          > confined oneself, as well has having some confused ideas about the
          > return of Momma from the grave. The Jesus story is built somewhat on
          > the second perspective, IMHO.



          I'm working right now on Japanese Buddhist questions, that
          stem from an interest in a) Mongolian Buddhist questions and b) getting
          a free trip to Oahu out of it. Last night I ran across two sentences in
          an article by an expert on Japanese Buddhism. He wrote, "The
          Buddhist priest's main function in the funeral is to effect the
          successful spiritual transformation of the deceased through symbolic
          ordination, merit transference, sutra chanting, and, in Zen sects, a
          short talk (indo) designed to help the dead attain enlightenment.
          Through proper performance of these rituals the priest ensures not only
          a rebirth in paradise for the deceased, but also safety for the family
          who would be threatened if the spirit remained attached to this
          world." (Rowe: Stickers for Nails in JJRS 27/3-4 pg. 358). Note
          here that in two sentences Rowe shifts from an understanding of the
          afterlife of ordinary folks after a normal funeral as attaining
          enlightenment to their rebirth in paradise while also assuming an
          understanding that without the funeral they would just turn into ghosts
          and haunt people. What happens after death seems pretty incoherent but
          people don't appear to be bothered by it. What was the early Xian idea
          of the afterlife?

          I learned in Sunday School that the apostles went out announcing that
          Jesus had Risen and that this joyful news caused lots of gentiles to
          join up with the church and give birth to what eventually became the
          PCUSA. But wouldn't the reaction have either been, "ho hum, my uncle
          Edgar came back last year and it cost a fortune to get rid of him," or
          "Omigod, Zombies! Hide!" The "He is risen, hallelulia" reaction
          presupposes a solid Worshipping Community who joined up for other
          reasons. What were those reasons?

          Steve







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bob Schacht
          ... I think your conclusions are anachronistic, and do not necessarily reflect the conclusions of First Century people. I see that my error was in referring to
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 16, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            At 07:57 AM 11/13/2009, stevandavies wrote:
            >
            >--- In <mailto:gthomas%40yahoogroups.com>gthomas@yahoogroups.com,
            >Bob Schacht <Bobschacht@...> wrote:
            >
            >>I know I'm pushing against the Modern Consensus in this regard,
            >>but I kinda like my suggestion that the early core data on Jesus
            >>focused on what happened to him, and what he did (the Passion
            >>Narrative, Paul's emphasis on the centrality of the resurrection,
            >>and the Signs Gospel)
            >
            >But Bob, the Passion Narrative seems to presuppose a resurrection that
            >never happened and a Barabbas story that never happened and various bits
            >made up on the basis of OT "prophecies" (gambling for clothing,
            >for instance). Paul's emphasis on what happened to Jesus after he
            >died isn't exactly prime historical Jesus data and the Signs Gospel
            >is completely fiction. So where does this lead you?

            I think your conclusions are anachronistic, and do not necessarily
            reflect the conclusions of First Century people. I see that my error
            was in referring to "early core data" when I should have written
            "early core story." I then should have followed up that it "focused
            on what [allegedly] happened to him, and what he [allegedly] did (the
            Passion Narrative, Paul's emphasis on the centrality of the
            resurrection, and the Signs Gospel)."

            What it also leads me to is to suspect that whatever stuff Paul was
            preaching for the first few years after his conversion (his sojourn
            in Arabia) didn't go down so well, so we don't even know what it was.
            In contrast, however, his emphasis on the centrality of the
            resurrection has since survived for about 2000 years, so apparently
            some folks found it worthy of preservation.


            > > rather than what he said. I'm going to have to dig out my copy of The
            > > Acts of Jesus from my pile of boxes of books from my move back to
            > > Flagstaff, I guess.
            > > I was never too enthralled by the idea that the earliest data about
            > > Jesus was a collection of his bon mots. That sounds like just the
            > > kind of approach a bunch of college professors would dream up.
            >
            >Yes, it does.... and the bon mots don't make much sense. Some
            >are so meaningful that they can apply to all sorts of things, but you
            >don't know Jesus' application and so you don't know anything
            >(proverbs), and some are meaningless as they stand even if they may have
            >meant something to HJ (parables).
            >
            >Then we understand that people had no hesitation in just making stuff up
            >(later levels of Q, Thomas, John from start to finish, much synoptic
            >filler material). And this means to me that it is absolutely not the
            >brilliance and meaningfulness of HJ's bon mots that made people list
            >them and narrativeize them. Rather, Jesus was understood to be God or
            >something of the sort and then his mots become important. But why was
            >Jesus understood to be God? It cannot have been the resurrection, for
            >reasons I gave recently.

            But the reasons you gave recently are more convincing to you than to
            those who became Christians.
            Your question, "why was Jesus understood to be God?" is an important
            one, however, and distinguishes Christians from Jews, Moslems,
            secular humanists, and others..And for most Christians, the answer
            seems to lie in what he [allegedly] did, although for some, what he
            [allegedly] said was more decisive.

            > > As for the development of Christian narrative, I have another idea:
            > > Rather than developing as a way to contextualize the sayings of
            > > Jesus, I suspect that it started as a basic liturgical formula, the
            > > *anamnesis.* To quote *An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church,*
            > > "This memorial prayer of remembrance recalls for the worshipping
            > > community past events in their tradition of faith that are formative
            > > for their identity and self-understanding." [cf. Acts 4:33]
            > > This sounds just exactly right, and seems like the nucleus around
            > > which greater narratives would be organized.
            > >
            >
            >Sure, as long as you have a nice solid Worshipping Community. But
            >where did that come from? Or, as I mentioned in the Skinner interview,
            >the key question may be what was up with the Churches of God in Judea
            >that Paul was persecuting? To me that is THE key question and I
            >don't have any answer except they were breaking the law in significant ways.

            Yes, indeed. The answer may lie in the earliest anti-Christian
            writings, whether Jewish or Roman, as well as in the early arguments
            against the "heretics." Would that Tom Kopecek was participating in
            this discussion-- some of that is his specialty.


            >...I'm working right now on Japanese Buddhist questions, that
            >stem from an interest in a) Mongolian Buddhist questions and b) getting
            >a free trip to Oahu out of it. Last night I ran across two sentences in
            >an article by an expert on Japanese Buddhism. He wrote, "The
            >Buddhist priest's main function in the funeral is to effect the
            >successful spiritual transformation of the deceased through symbolic
            >ordination, merit transference, sutra chanting, and, in Zen sects, a
            >short talk (indo) designed to help the dead attain enlightenment.
            >Through proper performance of these rituals the priest ensures not only
            >a rebirth in paradise for the deceased, but also safety for the family
            >who would be threatened if the spirit remained attached to this
            >world." (Rowe: Stickers for Nails in JJRS 27/3-4 pg. 358). Note
            >here that in two sentences Rowe shifts from an understanding of the
            >afterlife of ordinary folks after a normal funeral as attaining
            >enlightenment to their rebirth in paradise while also assuming an
            >understanding that without the funeral they would just turn into ghosts
            >and haunt people. What happens after death seems pretty incoherent but
            >people don't appear to be bothered by it. What was the early Xian idea
            >of the afterlife?

            Well, you recall the split between the Pharisees and Sadducees on this issue.
            I imagine that the Christians were bothered by the same questions.
            And no doubt you recall the parable of the Rich Man who died. There
            are a number of allusions in the Gospels and elsewhere in the NT
            about the afterlife.


            >I learned in Sunday School that the apostles went out announcing that
            >Jesus had Risen and that this joyful news caused lots of gentiles to
            >join up with the church and give birth to what eventually became the
            >PCUSA. But wouldn't the reaction have either been, "ho hum, my uncle
            >Edgar came back last year and it cost a fortune to get rid of him," or
            >"Omigod, Zombies! Hide!" The "He is risen, hallelulia" reaction
            >presupposes a solid Worshipping Community who joined up for other
            >reasons. What were those reasons?

            In such a search, it does not help to exclude "reasons" a priori on
            the basis of anachronistic considerations, and ideological assumptions.

            Cheers,
            Bob Schacht
            Northern Arizona University

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