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[Synoptic-L] RE: [Excavating-Q] Q and the Historical Jesus: reply to David Hindley

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  • David C. Hindley
    Forgive me if this ends up posted twice, I accidentally sent the first attempt to owner-synoptic-l@bham.ac.uk, so I am not sure where it ended up... Professor
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2000
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      Forgive me if this ends up posted twice, I accidentally sent the first
      attempt to owner-synoptic-l@..., so I am not sure where it
      ended up...

      Professor Kloppenborg-Verbin,

      >>I would like to thank Dr. Hindley for his kind words about THE
      FORMATION OF Q<<

      Ditto to you as well, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of my
      educational status are greatly exaggerated! <I have a "mere" BA, with
      a major in psychology, and a full time job outside of academia>
      However, in my heart I will cherish my "honorary" Doctorate! <g>

      >>I have an article in HTR (1996) on Q and the historical Jesus, and
      another one coming out in the BETL volume on Q and the Historical
      Jesus (Leuven 2001?)<<

      >>Wendy Cotter, "Prestige, Protection and Promise: A Proposal for the
      Apologetics of Q2," in The Gospel Behind the Gospels: Current Studies
      on Q, edited by Ronald A. Piper, NovTSup, vol. 75 (Leiden; New York:
      K´┐Żln: E.J. Brill, 1995), 117-38<<

      >>Risto Uro, Sheep Among the Wolves: A Study on the Mission
      Instructions of Q, Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae.
      Dissertationes Humanarum Litterarum, vol. 47 (Helsinki: Suomalainen
      Tiedeakatemia, 1987<<

      Thank you for pointing these out to me, and I will make efforts to
      follow up on them. I was unaware of any of them.

      >>The methodological problem is that we don't have any access to the
      Jesus tradition independent of our earliest (somewhat tendentious)
      sources (Q, Mark, Thomas, bits of Paul, bits of James, some
      Sondergut), and it is rather problematic to *assume* that the "Jesus"
      behind these was a "radical" but that Q1, Mark, Thomas and the others
      all toned that down so that his original character is no longer really
      visible. I'd prefer to begin with the rhetorical construals of Jesus
      present in Q, Mark, James, Thomas, etc. and look for commonalities,
      both explicit and implicit.<<

      Your approach would have strongest support if Q, Mark, Thomas, bits of
      Paul, bits of James, and some Sondergut are all independent of one
      another, and represent parallel traditions deriving back to a single
      early Jesus movement. I would just note that traditions do not always
      radiate from a center, but often new twists branch off along the way,
      etc. Our surviving records are anything but a random selection of all
      existing traditions, and may even represent only traditions that
      derived from one of those branches.

      For example, 1) an early Jesus-Movement has a gentile oriented
      subgroup branch off at some key point. 2) This subgroup, in a process
      of re-identification, imports and integrates instructional or wisdom
      traditions into its tradition base. 3) A subgroup of students of
      wisdom traditions branches off from (2) and takes this incorporated
      wisdom literature a different direction. Our surviving literature only
      preserves branch 2 (NT gospels and materials) & 3 (Gospel of Thomas),
      but nothing produced directly by 1 or any of the other traditions
      radiating from it. In other words, we may not have enough detail to
      accurately deduce the authentic sayings using the method you propose.

      My approach is similar to the way that Birger Pearson has attempted to
      explain some forms of early Gnostic myth as of Jewish origin
      (_Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity_ Fortress, 1990). My
      understanding of Pearson's position is that the social-psychological
      impact of the failure of the first Jewish revolt served as a catalyst
      that prompted a syncretistic merging of Jewish traditions with those
      from middle Platonism. It is not impossible, I think, to extend this
      model to enhance our analysis of early Christian origins. And so I am
      open to hypothetical reconstructions that look at such alternatives.
      Some of them will be speculative, but the evidence will not fit well
      and in the dialectic process these hypotheses will be either modified
      or discarded.

      Using this approach, entities are hypothesized to explain
      relationships between materials, and this then enhances our ability to
      ferret out and group traditions using source critical means. Your
      strategy (articulated in your opening statement of 10/24) of looking
      "for signs of composition in literary aporiae, where there appear to
      be artificial joints, odd transitions, etc." as "the most secure basis
      for determining the literary history of a document" is one that I find
      appealing. The applications you mentioned in your opening message
      ("criticism of the Torah, the Fourth Gospel ... the Didache, etc.")
      all must postulate hypothetical entities in order to interpret the
      evidence.

      >>Thanks for prodding me in an interesting direction.<<

      Well good luck in this endeavor! I would definitely find the results
      of your research interesting when (and if) published!

      Regards,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

      Regards,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA



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