- Dear Tom Butler,
I think we mean the same thing but are using different words. An oracler
to me is a story-teller and not a historian in our 21st century sense. I
use the word 'theme' to describe the FG's strands of narrative, you use
'theology'. We mean the same thing.
I take your point about 11:2, but I would suggest that means FG's first
readers must have already known the story about Mary. If that is the
assumption, then FG's alternative reading of 20:31 'that you may
continue to believe' must apply.
If the FG is directed to people who do not already know the facts, then
why does not 11:2 have a future aspect rather than a past aspect?
Anyhow, I think we both agree that FG is not a chronological narrative.
I confess to not being sure about FG showing Jesus as replacing the
Mosaic concepts of priesthood and worship. I am also troubled by the
notion that, in a primarily oral community, documents have to be there
in front of authors. I have often wondered where Christian authors would
have purchased or had access to Hebrew documents housed in synagogues.
Would synagogue officials have permitted heretics to enter their
building, let alone handle their scriptures with 'unclean' hands? If a
Hebrew male had to be able to recite the book of Deuteronomy by heart as
part of his initiation, and was able to memorise other books of
scripture, why the need to have the actual manuscript in front of him?
People then learned with their ears and not with their eyes.
I guess each of us will identify the themes or theologies that appeal to
And in case anyone quotes Acts 8:26?28 as proof that Judeans were happy
to let Gentiles have copies of scripture, I do think that a request from
a neighbouring Queen who sends an important official to worship at the
temple and purchase a copy of Isaiah in Greek is rather different from a
Galilean who has defected from Judaism and uses Moses against the temple
I think that access to the LXX documents is not as simple as it has been
taken to be. I have long noticed that the most cited book of the LXX in
the NT generally is the book of Psalms. Is this not because Hebrew
worshippers and Gentile godfearers knew the Psalms by heart from regular
synagogue worship? Notice how often Paul quotes from the Psalms to
answer ethical and moral questions rather than from the Pentateuch.
Maybe someone has done a study that shows the attitude of diaspora
Hebrews to allowing 'unclean' hands to unroll their scrolls.
Ross Saunders from DownUnder