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[Synoptic-L] Re: A Solution for Consideration

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  • khs@picknowl.com.au
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 7, 2001
      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
      proposed solution.

      > You argue first of all for a very early dating of Revelation, which
      is > something I’ve 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 Paul’s Roman imprisonment, and
      subsequent > 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 and
      polished it, seems quite reasonable, > and again the dating
      doesn’t 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 John’s Gospel is somewhat
      plausible, 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. John’s 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 the
      > unity of style and ideology contained in the Gospel might work
      against this.

      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 the
      final part, > relating Luke and Matthew to Mark, John and
      John’s 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
      of them.

      Kym Smith
      South Australia

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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