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RE: [John_Lit] Question & Answer

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  • Ray, Dr. Charles
    I appreciate the discussion generated by Thomas s theory and my reply. On the issue of multiple attestation, while I am aware that many studying the Bible as
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 25 1:08 PM
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      I appreciate the discussion generated by Thomas's theory and my reply. On
      the issue of multiple attestation, while I am aware that many studying the
      Bible as history dismiss as unproven any event without independent
      attestation, I find their logic less than compelling. On the particulars of
      many historical events (secular and biblical) we don't have the luxury of
      "two or three witnesses." We have to make do with what we have, and
      obviously, we will never achieve a level of empirical proof in historical
      investigations. We will always be examining the differences between possible
      and probable.

      My primary issue, however, is with reconstruction of the Lazarus parable in
      Luke, since it serves in the theory as the paradigm for understanding the
      Lazarus account in John. I agree that John or Luke could have written
      fiction if they had so desired. My question is the same as James's: "It
      really comes down to the question of what we think John's [or Luke's] aims
      were and what type of literature we think he was aiming to produce"
      (2/25/03). Since I see nothing in the text of Luke (either the immediate
      context of the parable or the larger context of the whole gospel) that
      suggests that the rich man must be the high priest, I assume that the
      evidence for the interpretation offered must be historical, not literary.

      So, I ask, Is there historical evidence in the first century to support the
      claim that "Only the High Priest would be in a position to feast on the
      finest food in all of Israel every day" (Butler, 2/24/03). Unless that
      evidence can be produced, it appears to me that the theory is baseless and
      comes very close to allegorical interpretation. If we are into reader
      response with the focus on the 21st century reader, then obviously Thomas's
      theory can be said to be possible. However, if we are looking at the 1st
      century reader in her context, I feel the argument must be judged as
      improbable. I hope that this clarifies my earlier comments.

      Charlie Ray
      New Orleans Baptist Seminary


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    • kymhsm <khs@picknowl.com.au>
      Dear James, You said:
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 25 2:18 PM
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        Dear James,

        You said:

        <<< it is fairly standard for those who are studying the Bible as
        historians to dismiss as unproven and unprovable those events
        and details that do not have independent attestation. This is
        based on a good Biblical principle - it takes two or three
        witnesses for testimony to hold weight in court! Obviously, we
        cannot say for certain that, just because only one person
        mentions something, we have proved that it DID NOT happen,
        but neither can we claim to be able to be certain that it did. >>>

        Yopu may consider my approach too simple, but I would have
        thought that John 21:24 might represent 'two or three witnesses'
        at least who were able to confirm the truth of John's account.

        "This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and
        who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is
        true"

        How do they know 'his testimony is true'? Because they trust him
        as an honest person? I suspect that that would not be sufficient.
        I think that they knew that his testimony was true because they,
        also, were witnesses of those things or, at the very least, had
        had those things confirmed to them by multiple winesses.

        Sincerely,

        Kym Smith
        Adelaide
        South Australia
        khs@...
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