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RE: [Synoptic-L] writing

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... early CE centuries? How soon after delivery were Cicero s speeches published, for example? Were these speeches revised at all in the process? Same with
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 3, 2000
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      Rick Strelan asked:

      >>Can anyone point me to literature on 'publishing' practices in the
      early CE centuries? How soon after delivery were Cicero's speeches
      published, for example? Were these speeches revised at all in the
      process? Same with someone like Dio Chrysostom.<<

      Try Harry Y. Gamble, _Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History
      of Early Christian Texts_ (Yale Univ. Press, 1995). Of course, there
      may be a difference between the publication of letters and the process
      which saw the publication of gospels, a more or less unique genre.
      Also, the practices of the literary elite (members of the ruling class
      or their retainers) may bear little resemblance to that of the classes
      in which early Christian writers existed (urbanites in the classes
      servicing the bureaucratic needs of the retainers, like scribes, or
      the tradesmen who were not really part of the retainer class at all,
      but tended to do their business in towns). Much of this social
      analysis has only recently become the subject of serious study. John
      Kloppenborg-Verbin has devoted quite a lot of material to social
      setting in _Excavating Q_, and so does John D. Crossan in _Birth of
      Christianity_. Those would be good starting points from which to
      branch out.

      >>How sure can we be that the Gospels as we now know them existed as
      such in the first century? I would suggest we can't be very sure at
      all.<<

      You can look at how they were quoted or alluded to by later writers
      (ca. 90 CE +), or compare the NT literature for common themes, or
      signs of editing. This, in conjunction with an understanding of
      non-Christian historical remains, may allow us to devise interpretive
      frameworks within which the NT evidence can be turned into "facts."
      Unfortunately we are not there yet. For instance, the authenticity of
      the early non-canonical Christian writings, and how much editing they
      may have undergone themselves, is not clear, so comparison is always a
      risky deal.

      Regards,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA



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