[Synoptic-L] Re: A Solution for Consideration
- Dear Fred Rich,
Thank you for your response. One of the problems with my post is that
it involves about five e-lists. If someone wants to shift some of it
to another list that is fine, I just have to be careful about how
many discussions I can involve myself in. Hopefully some of the non-
Synoptic material here will be seen as necessary to justify the
> You argue first of all for a very early dating of Revelation, whichis > something Iâve not previously come across. This seems to
be dependant upon > how one views the book of Revelation. If one
wishes to read it as a vision, > then there are relatively few
problems with the dating. A lack of any > particularly early
manuscripts would be the only one that springs to mind > immediately.
However, if it is a literary creation by an early church author >
then the ideas expressed within Revelation would surely be too
advanced, > particularly in relation to its high Christology.
Yes I do accept that the Revelation was given as a vision as it
claims. No matter how highly an author might regard his work, the
caution against adding to or taking away from the book and the
threatened consequences of the same (22:18-19) do not fit with
anything else. The one who could present such a `high
Christology' must also be a person of considerable integrity. For
that one to make such claims about a fabrication does not fit.
The lack of early manuscripts is not a problem unique to the
Revelation. I suspect that very few copies were made when it was
first given perhaps only the apostles had them. Some scholars
(e.g. David Aune) hold that the Revelation was given in two stages. I
think this is true, however, unlike them I do not think that there
were subsequent literary alterations. Once it was realized that the
Church was to continue, the Revelation was `shelved', it was too
dangerous, politically, to be in open circulation. Any Roman reader
could only understand it as having a hostile view of the empire. My
hunch is that it was left with John to re-release either when he
again thought the time was right or, if such a situation did not
occur, before he died so as to ensure the survival of the book. I
also suspect that John expected, if not to see the parousia itself,
at least to live long enough to be able to identify the main players.
Hence that part of the appendix to the Gospel of John (21:20-23).
> Again your reconstruction of Paulâs Roman imprisonment, andsubsequent > transfer to Ephesus, seem rather too unsubstantiated to
leave unchallenged. > What evidence do you site for this theory?
Paul's return to Ephesus from Rome is unsubstantiated in the post. To
substantiate everything would be to rewrite the book. I have no hard
evidence, only a reconstruction which makes sense of the theological,
practical and incidental contents of the NT books, with some support
from other early writings. I believe Paul had to return to Ephesus to
deal with a group of dangerous and destructive heretics who had
spread across Asia and probably beyond, i.e. the Nicolaitans (I have
a large appendix dealing with this group). Before he was free to deal
with them, however, Paul had to face and clear the charges that had
been laid against him in Ephesus by Demetrius and co. (Acts 19:38).
It was because of these that the apostle avoided Ephesus on his
return to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16f).
>The idea that Peter wrote a > Gospel, and that Mark distributed andpolished it, seems quite reasonable, > and again the dating
doesnât pose any significant problems.
Origen stated of the Gospel that Mark ` composed it as Peter
explained it to him' (Eus. E.H. VI.25). Though he considered Mark
to be the author, Wenham sees the stress of Irenaeus' comment
that Mark `handed down in writing the things preached by Peter'
not to be on Mark's writing of the Gospel but of his handing down of
it, which is more in line with my suggestion that Mark was given
responsibility to (rapidly) distribute the book around the
Mediterranean (Wenham, J., `Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke', Hodder
and Stoughton,1991, p. 241f).
> Also your early dating of Johnâs Gospel is somewhatplausible, and off-hand I > can certainly think of a couple of
scholars who would agree with an early > dating (Carson, for one).
The Rylands fragment of the Gospel, and its early > dating add weight
to this proposal. Johnâs complex theology may cause some problem,
although your linking of Paul with John would perhaps go some way >
to explaining this. I have certainly noticed some similarities
between the > theology of\ John, and that of Paul (if one can talk
about a single theology > of Paul!).
John's `complex theology' should not be a problem for an early date.
As I said, John coordinated the production of the gospel which bears
his name, but it was the combined work of about half a dozen apostles
and other eyewitnesses. I would not be surprised if there were 20 or
more people involved in its production. While John directed its
writing, the group which attested to what he had written (21:24) was
those who contributed to it. Surely we could expect those who spent
three years with Jesus to be able to produce the highest theology.
Remember also that, according to the dates I am proposing, this is
the John who, six years earlier, had seen the Revelation.
As for the link between John and Paul, I suspect there was
considerable (and warm) correspondence and some visits between
the apostles, especially Peter, John and Paul.
>The corporate authorship sounds somewhat plausible, although theagainst this.
> unity of style and ideology contained in the Gospel might work
There is a unity of style in John (what e-list is this?). It has much
to do with John's overseeing the project and the unifying structure
of the whole.
> If one can go that far with your proposal, then I think that thefinal part, > relating Luke and Matthew to Mark, John and
Johnâs unused material, is quite > plausible. The only comment I
would make about that is the assumption that > Luke was written for a
Gentile audience, which I would strongly disagree > with. Luke has so
many allusions to Old Testament passages, and Jewish > concepts,
which would be lost on a Gentile audience, that I find this >
proposal highly unlikely.
Yes, Luke may have been writing to appeal to a broader group than one
which was purely Gentile as Matthew may not have had a solely
Jewish readership in mind (I like `em both!). However, much
scholarship is content with the thought that both books lean in those
respective directions and, with such a NT emphasis on the Jews and
Gentiles, with apostles to both, it makes sense for two gospels to
have been so directed. Even if he was writing to Gentiles only, Luke
could hardly divorce the gospel from its Jewish background (cf John
4:22 ` salvation is from the Jews').
Thank you for your questions, Fred, I hope this helps to satisfy some
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...