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[Synoptic-L] Jesus' Baptism

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  • Jim West
    I ve read the commentaries, thought about the possible reasons for it s inclusion in the tradition, and still cannot find a satisfactory explanation as to why
    Message 1 of 21 , Jun 1, 2004
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      I've read the commentaries, thought about the possible reasons for it's
      inclusion in the tradition, and still cannot find a satisfactory explanation
      as to why the early Church thought it necessary to relate the story of Jesus
      baptism. Matt 3:13ff has the account. John the Baptist himself cannot
      understand the "whyness" of the event. And what the heck does Jesus mean
      when he says "it fulfills all righteousness..." Huh????? How does baptism
      fulfill all rightousness?

      Anyway, the text is really bothersome. Bultmann gives what is the typical
      answer. So if any of you out there; you learned hordes, have some good idea
      as to the "whyness" I would love to hear it! (and please, please, please,
      don't point me to some commentary. I would rather hear what YOU think).

      Thanks

      Jim

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Dr Jim West
      Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
      http://web.infoave.net/~jwest Biblical Studies Resources
      http://biblical-studies.blogpspot.com Biblical Theology Weblog


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    • Jeffrey B. Gibson
      ... Perhaps you d first like to tell us which of the reasons given by commentators you find are unsatisfactory . Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
      Message 2 of 21 , Jun 1, 2004
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        Jim West wrote:

        > I've read the commentaries, thought about the possible reasons for it's
        > inclusion in the tradition, and still cannot find a satisfactory explanation
        > as to why the early Church thought it necessary to relate the story of Jesus
        > baptism.

        Perhaps you'd first like to tell us which of the reasons given by commentators
        you find are "unsatisfactory".

        Jeffrey
        --

        Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

        1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
        Chicago, IL 60626

        jgibson000@...



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      • Stuart Waugh
        Jim, Here is my two cents, more or less off the top of my head: The answer is to be found in the polemic debates of the second century. The usurping of the
        Message 3 of 21 , Jun 1, 2004
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          Jim,

           

          Here is my two cents, more or less off the top of my head:

           

          The answer is to be found in the polemic debates of the second century. The usurping of the Baptist movement was part of the early foundation of Christianity. The event depicted is looking backwards. John is passing the torch as it were to Jesus. His non-understanding of the event is really the non-understanding of his followers at the time of the story writing.

           

          Consider that Jesus' baptism occurs after Herod shuts John up in prison in the Gospel of Luke. If you accept Bart Ehrman's claim, as I believe may be the case, that the original reading of Luke 3:22 was "Thou art my beloved son, today I have begotten thee," we see a parallel with other Adoptionist verses 9:35 and 4:18-21. The formula is coherent. Luke ties Jesus to John in the Mary and Elizabeth nativity stories.

           

          Whatever the message of John, Luke has no knowledge of John baptizing Jesus. He has left the scene before Jesus even enters the stage. This I think is the earliest tradition we have of the story in the Gospel's.

           

          Mark's account is less tampered than Matthew's. Mark's source develops upon the concept of Jesus� baptism and usurping of the Baptist movement by having John baptize Jesus and thus pass the torch. The Adoptionist formula is gone from Mark 1:11, with a confirmation of Jesus' divine status. (Note: this is basically why Erhman thinks the same reading is an orthodox corruption of Luke.)  There is no record in either Luke or Mark of any reaction of those around to the voice from the heavens - it is perhaps personal or symbolic.

           

          Matthew's now version develops from the version we see in Mark, and in 3:13-15 we are told that

           

          a) Jesus specifically sought out John to be baptized by him

          b) that John announces his lower status, asking to be baptized by Jesus

          c) Jesus explains that is something that has to be done "to fulfill all righteousness"

           

          While all three of these items show the intrusion of orthodox creed, which will be fully developed in John 1:29-34 (in fact it is developed from John 1:1ff), they seem to betray knowledge two probable sources. The first is to counter readings of Romans 10:4 that take the meaning to be Christ nullifies (the Torah), but instead the Pauline writing is to be taken to mean that Christ's coming fulfills. Secondly my bible refers to Isaiah 42:1 for 3:17, where the words following Matthew's LXX quote are 'I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice (or 'righteousness') to the nations.' This could be an explanation for the words from the Spirit of God. I think this latter reason is more likely the real one.

           

          In short Matthew's account of the baptism story shows an orthodox theological development upon Mark's account, which itself is a development upon Luke's.

           

          Note: a partial counter argument is that Luke's account attempts to diminish John, and so removes him from the scene. But I find this unsatisfactory because of the build up Luke gives John going all the way back to infancy, to show the growth of the spirit in him (see 1:80).

           

          Regards,

           

          - Stuart Waugh

          Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:

          I've read the commentaries, thought about the possible reasons for it's
          inclusion in the tradition, and still cannot find a satisfactory explanation
          as to why the early Church thought it necessary to relate the story of Jesus
          baptism. Matt 3:13ff has the account. John the Baptist himself cannot
          understand the "whyness" of the event. And what the heck does Jesus mean
          when he says "it fulfills all righteousness..." Huh????? How does baptism
          fulfill all rightousness?

          Anyway, the text is really bothersome. Bultmann gives what is the typical
          answer. So if any of you out there; you learned hordes, have some good idea
          as to the "whyness" I would love to hear it! (and please, please, please,
          don't point me to some commentary. I would rather hear what YOU think).

          Thanks

          Jim

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Dr Jim West
          Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
          http://web.infoave.net/~jwest Biblical Studies Resources
          http://biblical-studies.blogpspot.com Biblical Theology Weblog


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


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        • Emmanuel Fritsch
          My point of view : ** Baptism was a rite of first christians ** It was common to another religious group from which it was inspired (the group of John s
          Message 4 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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            My point of view :
            ** Baptism was a rite of first christians
            ** It was common to another religious group from which it was inspired (the
            group of John's disciple)
            ** Jesus was at the beginning a follower of John, and had been baptised
            ** The previous fact was known either by christians and John's
            followers, and John's
            followers were using it in a theological way, arguing that John was
            greater than Jesus
            ** Chrristians produced the account of Jesus baptism in order to answer
            them
            ** The whyness is in the christian character given to John (the voice,
            the prophet, etc.)
            ** The whyness is not perfect because the situation was not perfect for
            christians
            in their debating with John's followers. Resurection was for them
            a better
            arguments.

            As a corollary, I think, in opposition to Stuart Waugh, that baptism is a
            quite early stage (which look coherent with its large presence in gospels).

            a+
            manu


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          • John C. Poirier
            I have not developed this to any real degree, but I think it s not impossible that some early Christians read the accounts of Jesus baptism with Paul s
            Message 5 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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              I have not developed this to any real degree, but I think it's not
              impossible that some early Christians read the accounts of Jesus'
              baptism with Paul's understanding of baptism in mind, that is, that it
              symbolizes the death and resurrection, and that by submitting to baptism
              Jesus was testifying to his fate. Such a reading certainly makes sense
              of the Baptist's unwillingness to baptize Jesus, as it begins the theme
              of the disciples' inability to comprehend Jesus' death.

              I am not saying that this is necessarily the main way in which the
              baptism was everywhere intended to be read, and the Pauline reading
              certainly has little to do with the actual historical baptism, but I
              don't think that the lack of any direct commentary on the part of the
              evangelists to this effect is as strong a consideration as some might
              make it to be. After all, there can be little doubt that "I have a
              baptism to be baptized with" in Luke 12:50 refers to the Passion, so we
              know that at least one of the evangelists took baptism to be a symbol of
              death. The probability that an early reader would have taken up the
              Pauline lens probably depends more on how widespread the Pauline formula
              was than on clear pointers by the evangelists.

              It furthermore seems that the Transfiguration connects the baptism with
              the Passion by echoing the former and forecasting the latter.

              Do others see problems with this (whether in terms of possibility or
              probability)?


              John C. Poirier
              Middletown, Ohio




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            • Ken Olson
              Very briefly: I think Mark is concerned about apostasty during a period of persecution and portrays Jesus (in contrast to Peter) as a model for Christian
              Message 6 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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                Very briefly:

                I think Mark is concerned about apostasty during a period of persecution and
                portrays Jesus (in contrast to Peter) as a model for Christian behavior in
                troubled times. Mark narrates Jesus' entire "Christian" existence from the
                time he receives the indwelling Holy Spirit to the time he is executed for
                refusing to deny that Jesus is the Christ.

                Best Wishes,

                Ken

                kaolson@...


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              • Ken Olson
                Very briefly: I think Mark is concerned about apostasty during a period of persecution and portrays Jesus (in contrast to Peter) as a model for Christian
                Message 7 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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                  Very briefly:

                  I think Mark is concerned about apostasty during a period of persecution and
                  portrays Jesus (in contrast to Peter) as a model for Christian behavior in
                  troubled times. Mark narrates Jesus' entire "Christian" existence from the
                  time he receives the indwelling Holy Spirit to the time he is executed for
                  refusing to deny that Jesus is the Christ.

                  Best Wishes,

                  Ken

                  kaolson@...


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                • Stuart Waugh
                  Emmanuel, I did not say that I thought the baptism concept was late. To the contrary I believe it is amongst the earliest, perhaps even pre-Christian,
                  Message 8 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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                    Emmanuel,
                     
                    I did not say that I thought the baptism concept was late. To the contrary I believe it is amongst the earliest, perhaps even pre-Christian, concepts. I concur with Poirier's point about Luke 12:50, as example for Luke's concept of the Baptism.
                     
                    Rather I simply think - and this is what I stated - the concept that it was John who baptized Jesus was later, though not so late. The details and explanation of John's relationship to and "why-ness" of his baptizing Jesus, as spelled out in Matthew and John, that I think is a somewhat later development. It specifically answers theological questions that arose from the formula we see introduced (as) in Mark.
                     
                    Hum. Say a little and you almost have to say more than you want.
                     
                    - Stuart

                    Emmanuel Fritsch <emmanuel.fritsch@...> wrote:

                    My point of view :
                    ** Baptism was a rite of first christians
                    ** It was common to another religious group from which it was inspired (the
                    group of John's disciple)
                    ** Jesus was at the beginning a follower of John, and had been baptised
                    ** The previous fact was known either by christians and John's
                    followers, and John's
                    followers were using it in a theological way, arguing that John was
                    greater than Jesus
                    ** Chrristians produced the account of Jesus baptism in order to answer
                    them
                    ** The whyness is in the christian character given to John (the voice,
                    the prophet, etc.)
                    ** The whyness is not perfect because the situation was not perfect for
                    christians
                    in their debating with John's followers. Resurection was for them
                    a better
                    arguments.

                    As a corollary, I think, in opposition to Stuart Waugh, that baptism is a
                    quite early stage (which look coherent with its large presence in gospels).

                    a+
                    manu


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                  • SRose63911@aol.com
                    A little input from a silent partner ... what if Jesus was not baptised at all but this information was added/invented to give authenticity to a new faith?
                    Message 9 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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                      A little input from a "silent partner" ... what if Jesus was not baptised at all but this information was added/invented to give authenticity to a new faith?  The event of Jesus' baptism is the starting point of his ministry and without it , it could it be seen that he had no "credentials" ~~
                       
                       Could this be worth considering?
                       
                      Sue Rose
                      (CJCR Cambridge)
                    • Jim West
                      ... I think, first, that the notion that the writers of the Gospel thought of themselves as the purveyors of a new religion is mistaken. They saw themselves
                      Message 10 of 21 , Jun 2, 2004
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                        At 01:56 PM 6/2/04 -0400, you wrote:
                        >A little input from a "silent partner" ... what if Jesus was not baptised at
                        >all but this information was added/invented to give authenticity to a new
                        >faith? The event of Jesus' baptism is the starting point of his ministry and
                        >without it , it could it be seen that he had no "credentials" ~~
                        >Could this be worth considering?

                        I think, first, that the notion that the writers of the Gospel thought of
                        themselves as the purveyors of a new religion is mistaken. They saw
                        themselves as Jews (save Luke) who were calling on their kindred to believe
                        that Jesus was the promised Messiah. So there would have been no need for
                        them to justify something that they didn't even think about being a new faith.

                        Second, baptism as the beginning point of "credentialed" ministry would have
                        seemed a strange and foreign notion to them. Baptism, in its johannine
                        context (the baptizer that is) was a visible representation of personal
                        repentence, not a first step in salvation (as conceived by many today).
                        John baptized folk because folk were in need of repentence because they had
                        not lived up to what it meant to be "Israel". Jesus was baptized,
                        evidently, for the same reason. Not to begin a new ministry.

                        To be sure, later on his followers saw this as the beginning of his earthly
                        ministry- but as to whether or not Jesus saw it that way is highly debatable.

                        Best

                        Jim

                        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                        Dr Jim West
                        Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
                        http://web.infoave.net/~jwest Biblical Studies Resources
                        http://biblical-studies.blogpspot.com Biblical Theology Weblog


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                      • Emmanuel Fritsch
                        ... Another positive element would be the presence of constituted theology in Paul, particularly theological or liturgical hymns. Are there anyone ? I would
                        Message 11 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                          John C. Poirier a écrit:

                          > I have not developed this to any real degree, but I think it's not
                          > impossible that some early Christians read the accounts of Jesus'
                          > baptism with Paul's understanding of baptism in mind, that is, that it
                          > symbolizes the death and resurrection, [...]
                          >
                          > I am not saying that this is necessarily the main way in which the
                          > baptism was everywhere intended to be read, and the Pauline reading
                          > certainly has little to do with the actual historical baptism, but I
                          > don't think that the lack of any direct commentary on the part of the
                          > evangelists to this effect is as strong a consideration as some might
                          > make it to be. After all, there can be little doubt that "I have a
                          > baptism to be baptized with" in Luke 12:50 refers to the Passion, so
                          > we know that at least one of the evangelists took baptism to be a
                          > symbol of death.

                          Another positive element would be the presence of constituted theology
                          in Paul,
                          particularly theological or liturgical hymns. Are there anyone ? I would
                          have a
                          look particularly on Col.

                          a+
                          manu


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                        • Emmanuel Fritsch
                          ... Sorry : when I say the baptism , I was thinking baptism narratives . ... If it is just a concept, it is a strange one. If Christians would have inveted
                          Message 12 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                            Stuart Waugh a écrit:

                            > Emmanuel,
                            >
                            > I did not say that I thought the baptism concept was late.

                            Sorry : when I say "the baptism", I was thinking "baptism narratives".

                            > To the contrary I believe it is amongst the earliest, perhaps even
                            > pre-Christian, concepts. I concur with Poirier's point about Luke
                            > 12:50, as example for Luke's concept of the Baptism.
                            >
                            > Rather I simply think - and this is what I stated - the concept that
                            > it was John who baptized Jesus was later, though not so late.

                            If it is just a concept, it is a strange one.

                            If Christians would have inveted lately a relation between Jesus and
                            John, they would have created Jesus as the master, and John as the
                            disciple. "Who is the greater, the master or the disciple" may have
                            been, before to be used in a christian sense, an argument of John
                            disciples against first christians.

                            And evidence of a debate between christians and John disciples are
                            early. So the construction of baptism narrative as "Jesus is baptised by
                            John, but Jesus is greater", looks quite early.

                            All that to conclude : I do not see any good reason to state Jesus
                            baptism to be late. All reason to assert it as genuine.

                            a+
                            manu




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                          • Fathchuck@aol.com
                            In a message dated 6/1/2004 6:44:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Are you claiming, then, that Luke is the earliest Gospel? Chuck Schwartz St. Joan of Arc
                            Message 13 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                              In a message dated 6/1/2004 6:44:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time, stuartwaugh@... writes:

                              In short Matthew's account of the baptism story shows an orthodox theological development upon Mark's account, which itself is a development upon Luke's


                              Are you claiming, then, that Luke is the earliest Gospel?


                              Chuck Schwartz
                              St. Joan of Arc
                              Marlton, NJ USA
                            • Stuart Waugh
                              Emmanuel, Again you seem to mistake what I say slightly then draw false conclusions from this. Lets get this straight. My argument is: 1) Baptism predates
                              Message 14 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                                Emmanuel,

                                 

                                Again you seem to mistake what I say slightly then draw false conclusions from this.

                                 

                                Lets get this straight. My argument is:

                                 

                                1) Baptism predates Christianity (it's in Paul afterall)

                                2) Luke's baptism narrative of Jesus is earliest account

                                      - It is symbolic of death and rebirth/resurrection (Luke 12:50)

                                      - It is part of an Adoptionist formula, quoting Psalm 2:7

                                      - John does not baptize Jesus in Luke (I can expand on v. 3:19-20, but it is long)

                                      - John character is developed, in the spirit, in parallel to Jesus; so too the baptism

                                      - John's prophetic RHMA is inferior to Jesus' PNEUMA (hence no embarrassment)

                                3) Mark's version, based on source lacking Luke 3:19-20

                                      - Concretely states that John baptizes Jesus (1:9)

                                      - Lacks the Adoptionist formula, quoting hybrid Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 42:1

                                4) Matthew's version, based on common source with Mark,

                                      - Is aware of Adoptionist readings

                                      - Is aware of Paul, specifically Romans 10:4, 3:21-25

                                            (See Hippolytus �The Discourse on the Holy Theophany�, part 5)

                                      - Shows polemic use of Isaiah 42:1b in v. 3:15

                                            (See Irenaeus Against All Heresies, III.9.3)

                                      - Shows use of 2nd Century orthodox creed

                                            (E.g., 1 Timothy 3:16, Ignatius �Epistle to the Smyrnaeans� Chapter 1)

                                      - John admits his inferiority because the RHMA vs. PNEUMA model is gone

                                5) John's version further develops orthodox creed

                                      - John declares he is not the Christ

                                      - John bears witness to the descending Spirit

                                      - pre-existent Christ (LOGOS) is through the baptism is developed 1:1ff

                                 

                                Each step shows theological development towards orthodoxy.

                                 

                                False Conclusions:

                                 

                                1) The Baptism of Jesus was a concept developed late

                                   - How you came up with this from the above is beyond me. The story is very early. Not as early as the concept of Adoption by being raised from the dead as in Paul, but early as in pre-evangelist.

                                 

                                Correct Conclusions:

                                1) The Baptism of Jesus is separate from the Baptism of John

                                2) The Jesus movement progressively integrates John�s baptism into Jesus�

                                3) Matthew's version shows intrusion of 2nd century orthodoxy

                                4) Thus Matthew 3:14-15 are probably later additions to the account

                                5) Matthew/Mark account is contra-Luke and anti-Adoptionist

                                6) Orthodox corruption changed Luke 3:22 to conform to Matthew/Mark

                                 

                                Also

                                 

                                The embarrassment argument rings hollow. The development shows a move toward binding John to the baptism of Jesus, it is not shyness from it. What is a worry is the Adoptionist (and consequently Separationist) exegesis of the story. This is an internal debate. It became critical also to show that the sign was public, not merely a symbolic event as orthodox creed developed; thus John the Baptist bears witness to the dove in John's account.

                                 

                                I would go into much greater detail, except I have to work.

                                 

                                - Stuart

                                 

                                P.S. - Emmanuel, the Master and Servant issue is well covered in the anti-Gnostic writings. Gnostic teachers, and arguably even Paul, seem to claim equality with Christ. Your application is undocumented by comparison.

                                 

                                Chuck Schwartz:  "Are you claiming, then, that Luke is the earliest Gospel?"

                                 

                                No, I am not saying this. Every of the Synoptic Gospels has places where more primitive traditions survived the composition and redaction process. Luke preserves many of them. All the Gospels (and also the Pauline Epistles) show here and there the intrusion of later materials. In the main this is a different issue than the main Synoptic Problem.

                                 

                                 


                                Emmanuel Fritsch <emmanuel.fritsch@...> wrote:


                                Stuart Waugh a �crit:

                                > Emmanuel,
                                >
                                > I did not say that I thought the baptism concept was late.

                                Sorry : when I say "the baptism", I was thinking "baptism narratives".

                                > To the contrary I believe it is amongst the earliest, perhaps even
                                > pre-Christian, concepts. I concur with Poirier's point about Luke
                                > 12:50, as example for Luke's concept of the Baptism.
                                >
                                > Rather I simply think - and this is what I stated - the concept that
                                > it was John who baptized Jesus was later, though not so late.

                                If it is just a concept, it is a strange one.

                                If Christians would have inveted lately a relation between Jesus and
                                John, they would have created Jesus as the master, and John as the
                                disciple. "Who is the greater, the master or the disciple" may have
                                been, before to be used in a christian sense, an argument of John
                                disciples against first christians.

                                And evidence of a debate between christians and John disciples are
                                early. So the construction of baptism narrative as "Jesus is baptised by
                                John, but Jesus is greater", looks quite early.

                                All that to conclude : I do not see any good reason to state Jesus
                                baptism to be late. All reason to assert it as genuine.

                                a+
                                manu




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                              • Stephen C. Carlson
                                ... This is probably the sticking point. If you can persuade on this one, it s all down hill from there. Stephen Carlson -- Stephen C. Carlson,
                                Message 15 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                                  Stuart Waugh wrote:
                                  >Lets get this straight. My argument is:
                                  ...
                                  >2) Luke's baptism narrative of Jesus is earliest account

                                  This is probably the sticking point. If you can persuade
                                  on this one, it's all down hill from there.

                                  Stephen Carlson

                                  --
                                  Stephen C. Carlson,
                                  mailto:scarlson@...
                                  "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35

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                                • Stuart Waugh
                                  Stephen, LOL Yup, that is the issue. But I think people have trouble dealing with theological arguments because they insist the Synoptics were done in a single
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                                    Stephen,
                                     
                                    LOL
                                     
                                    Yup, that is the issue. But I think people have trouble dealing with theological arguments because they insist the Synoptics were done in a single sitting redactions. I am inclined to agree with Parker on this issue, and see a prolonged process. Any given Gospel can have more primitive accounts of this or that story with this view. Besides model arguments are very weak.
                                     
                                    But perhaps somebody (Emmanuel?) would like to demonstrate the development toward the Adoptionism in Luke and why he needs to remove John from the scene. Some good Patristic evidence to show how this happened, would be nice as well. Afterall, my argument is based on theology, not upon model.
                                     
                                    Stuart
                                     

                                    "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
                                    Stuart Waugh wrote:
                                    >Lets get this straight. My argument is:
                                    ...
                                    >2) Luke's baptism narrative of Jesus is earliest account

                                    This is probably the sticking point. If you can persuade
                                    on this one, it's all down hill from there.

                                    Stephen Carlson

                                    --
                                    Stephen C. Carlson,
                                    mailto:scarlson@...
                                    "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35


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                                  • Stuart Waugh
                                    Stephen, Actually Luke s account being most primitive is only part of the argument. The issue of Matthew s account being intruded upon by 2nd century Orthodox
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Jun 3, 2004
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                                      Stephen,
                                       
                                      Actually Luke's account being most primitive is only part of the argument. The issue of Matthew's account being intruded upon by 2nd century Orthodox creedal material still holds regardless. Matthew's account is clearly aware of Adoptionist readings and sets a  formula to give an alternative, if clumsy, understanding of the story.
                                       
                                      So even if Luke's account is not prior to Mark, or it is from a separate primitive tradition, the Adoptionist reading was known, and every point in 1, 3, 4, 5 still holds. The sticking point of Luke's account being earlier is a not a robust counter argument.
                                       
                                      - Stuart

                                      Stuart Waugh <stuartwaugh@...> wrote:
                                      Stephen,
                                       
                                      LOL
                                       
                                      Yup, that is the issue. But I think people have trouble dealing with theological arguments because they insist the Synoptics were done in a single sitting redactions. I am inclined to agree with Parker on this issue, and see a prolonged process. Any given Gospel can have more primitive accounts of this or that story with this view. Besides model arguments are very weak.
                                       
                                      But perhaps somebody (Emmanuel?) would like to demonstrate the development toward the Adoptionism in Luke and why he needs to remove John from the scene. Some good Patristic evidence to show how this happened, would be nice as well. Afterall, my argument is based on theology, not upon model.
                                       
                                      Stuart
                                       

                                      "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
                                      Stuart Waugh wrote:
                                      >Lets get this straight. My argument is:
                                      ...
                                      >2) Luke's baptism narrative of Jesus is earliest account

                                      This is probably the sticking point. If you can persuade
                                      on this one, it's all down hill from there.

                                      Stephen Carlson

                                      --
                                      Stephen C. Carlson,
                                      mailto:scarlson@...
                                      "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35


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                                    • Randall Buth
                                      There is some language data to add to the discussion. ... but it is long) . . . ... 42:1
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Jun 4, 2004
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                                        There is some language data to add to the discussion.
                                        >2) Luke's baptism narrative of Jesus is earliest account
                                        > - It is symbolic of death and rebirth/resurrection (Luke 12:50)
                                        > - It is part of an Adoptionist formula, quoting Psalm 2:7
                                        > - John does not baptize Jesus in Luke (I can expand on v. 3:19-20,
                                        but it is long)
                                        . . .
                                        >3) Mark's version, based on source lacking Luke 3:19-20
                                        > - Concretely states that John baptizes Jesus (1:9)
                                        > - Lacks the Adoptionist formula, quoting hybrid Psalm 2:7, Isaiah
                                        42:1<

                                        Luke 3:21-22 is a Lucan rewrite. (this could be of a non-canonical source,
                                        so it
                                        is not necessarily diagnostic of Lucan-Marcan relationship). In any case,
                                        this
                                        is a example of the Lucan KAI EGENETO + aparemfaton rhma (infinitive) as
                                        the
                                        MAIN event. This is not a Hebraism but a Lucanism and to be clearly
                                        distinguished from the Hebraic KAI EGENETO (+/- time margin) + paremfaton
                                        rhma (finite verb). This latter (+ finite verb) only occurs in the gospel,
                                        while the
                                        former (infinitive as main event) occurs in both the gospel and frequently
                                        in
                                        Acts.
                                        No surprise there, of course. We get to see Luke's style in Acts and it is
                                        mixed with sources in the gospel.

                                        The language point, in sum, is that Luke 3:21-22 shows Luke's hand as an
                                        editor, which blunts (but certainly does not contradict) the case for
                                        originality of the perspective. (E.g. the other kind of KAI EGENETO could
                                        have gone a long way for clinching the argument for originallity.)
                                        The effect of the whole string of infinitives would be to demote the scene
                                        somewhat from the typically aorist indicative story line.

                                        ERRWSQE
                                        Randall Buth
                                        Randall Buth, PhD
                                        Director, Biblical Language Center
                                        www.biblicalulpan.org
                                        and
                                        Director, Biblical Studies in Israel
                                        Hebrew University, Rothberg International School
                                        ybitan@...

                                        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                                        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
                                      • Matson, Mark (Academic)
                                        I have followed this discussion with some interest. Here is my problem: I am suspicious of theological development problems. Why could not various approaches
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Jun 4, 2004
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                                          I have followed this discussion with some interest.
                                           
                                          Here is my problem:  I am suspicious of theological development problems.  Why could not various approaches to Christology (here expressed as a view of Jesus' baptism) have existed at various times and/or places?  Why must we think that these things always develop in a linear fashion?
                                           
                                          I don't have a problem with Luke perhaps drawing on some older traditions.  I am relatively convinced that there was still a substantial amount of oral material floating around that Luke could have used (thought I think Luke was written the latest of the gospels).  But I also think it equally possible, or even more possible, that each evangelist uses substantial authorial creativity in recasting the "stuff" of the gospel around his/her view of the Christ event.   And these authorial views need not be on a linear path of "development" (whatever that might mean). 
                                           
                                          After all, Paul is very early, and yet he has a remarkably "high" Christology -- even a pre-existent view (per Phil., or if you grant it as Pauline, Col.).  Yet the synoptic gospels, which are all later,  pull back a bit from that.  So we don't necessarily see development toward orthodoxy, but perhaps various stocatic bursts of interpretations of the Jesus story.
                                           
                                          Why could Luke not have been influenced by a more adoptionist theology at a later point?
                                           
                                          So, I don't necessarily agree with Stephen that if you can show the earliness of Luke's baptism scene it is a downhill from there.
                                           
                                          mark
                                           
                                           
                                          Mark A. Matson
                                          Academic Dean
                                          Milligan College
                                          http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/personal.htm
                                          -----Original Message-----
                                          From: owner-synoptic-l@... [mailto:owner-synoptic-l@...] On Behalf Of Stuart Waugh
                                          Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 3:56 PM
                                          To: Stephen C. Carlson; Emmanuel Fritsch
                                          Cc: synoptic-l@...
                                          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Jesus' Baptism

                                          Stephen,
                                           
                                          LOL
                                           
                                          Yup, that is the issue. But I think people have trouble dealing with theological arguments because they insist the Synoptics were done in a single sitting redactions. I am inclined to agree with Parker on this issue, and see a prolonged process. Any given Gospel can have more primitive accounts of this or that story with this view. Besides model arguments are very weak.
                                           
                                          But perhaps somebody (Emmanuel?) would like to demonstrate the development toward the Adoptionism in Luke and why he needs to remove John from the scene. Some good Patristic evidence to show how this happened, would be nice as well. Afterall, my argument is based on theology, not upon model.
                                           
                                          Stuart
                                           

                                          "Stephen C. Carlson" <scarlson@...> wrote:
                                          Stuart Waugh wrote:
                                          >Lets get this straight. My argument is:
                                          ...
                                          >2) Luke's baptism narrative of Jesus is earliest account

                                          This is probably the sticking point. If you can persuade
                                          on this one, it's all down hill from there.

                                          Stephen Carlson

                                          --
                                          Stephen C. Carlson,
                                          mailto:scarlson@...
                                          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35


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                                        • R. Steven Notley
                                          With apologies for not having time to get involved too much in this discussion. I am working under some deadlines, so I can t get too engage. However, I did
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Jun 4, 2004
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                                            With apologies for not having time to get involved too much in this
                                            discussion. I am working under some deadlines, so I can't get too
                                            engage. However, I did want to contribute a couple of tidbits to
                                            comments I have read.

                                            I have used Stuart's post as a point of response, since the discussion
                                            has sometimes ranged far and wide.

                                            > Lets get this straight. My argument is:
                                            > 1) Baptism predates Christianity (it's in Paul afterall)

                                            I assume that everyone on the Synoptic-L is already aware that this
                                            statement goes without saying. Jewish ritual immersion is attested in
                                            pre-Christian literary sources (e.g. Sir 34:30) and archaeologically
                                            before John or Jesus. Indeed, I find little in the manner and message
                                            of John's baptism that is Christian at all. Josephus (Ant. 18:116ff)
                                            in his description of John certainly does not connect his baptism in
                                            any regard to Jesus or Christianity.

                                            John's call to repentance echoes that of another first century sage
                                            from Galilee Yose Ha-Galili "Repentance brings redemption." John
                                            called people to repentance in the hope that God would respond and
                                            send the Redeemer. The language of this hope is also not unique.
                                            "Remission of sins" is not intended to signal the individual's
                                            "sinfulness" or obtaining forgiveness through the act of immersion.
                                            Instead, the vocabulary of "remission" is related to what Wachholder
                                            called "chronomessianism" or the belief that God would act redemptively
                                            according to a predetermined chronological framework. I think John
                                            like some of his contemporaries believed that redemption would happen
                                            in a Jubilee year (thus the language of remission--by the first century
                                            the terminology for "debts" could also be used for "sins"--i.e. Matt
                                            6:12). The Qumran community and others found significance in the fact
                                            that the Jubilee begins on the Day of Atonement--with the
                                            forgiveness/remission of sins. In other words, those who proposed a
                                            redemption that would coincide with the Jubilee year, suggested that
                                            God would forgive the sins of the nation and consequently bring
                                            redemption to his people.

                                            In this light, there is very little in John's call to repentance and
                                            ritual immersion that is of necessity "Christian."

                                            However, John's hesitation in Matthew's account, reflects later
                                            Christian concern at the portrayal of Jesus submitting to John.
                                            John's movement did not disappear with the arrival of Jesus and one can
                                            detect a certain competitiveness between the two movements in the NT.
                                            I personally would interpret John's hesitation to baptize Jesus and his
                                            confession of inferiority in Matthew's Gospel to be a product of the
                                            same kind of creativity that we see in the demotion of John in later
                                            strata of Christian tradition.

                                            Only in the Synoptic Gospels does Jesus testify to the elevated status
                                            of John. Matt 11:11: "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women
                                            there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist." While in the
                                            Synoptics Jesus says, "If you can accept it, [John] is Elijah," in
                                            John 1:21, when John is asked "Are you Elijah?" he says "No." I think
                                            the attempt to reduce John's status in later Christian presentations
                                            can not be more clear. Matthew's unique presentation of John's
                                            hesitation and confession "I need to be baptized by you" is part of
                                            this trend and an indication of the tradition's relative lateness.

                                            >    - It is symbolic of death and rebirth/resurrection (Luke 12:50)
                                            In the context of Luke 12:49-53 baptism does not speak symbolically to
                                            rebirth/resurrection. It is true that Mark 10:38 has presented the
                                            dominical saying in light of the Pauline notion that baptism symbolizes
                                            death and resurrection. Thus, Mark's addition "to drink the cup I
                                            drink". But Mark's innovation is not present in Luke or Matthew.
                                            Instead, baptism in Luke 12:49 occurs within the context of pending
                                            judgment. This use of baptism echoes language already heard on the
                                            lips of John (Luke 3:16 parr.) and parallels similar imagery in the DSS
                                            (e.g. 1QS 4:21-23). [On the grammatical voice of "baptizein" in Luke
                                            12:49, see below.'
                                            >
                                            >       - It is part of an Adoptionist formula, quoting Psalm 2:7
                                            Once again this statement is anachronistic. While Psalm 2:7 was used
                                            in later Adoptionist circles, one has to demonstrate that such is the
                                            intended meaning for its use by the Evangelists in the baptismal
                                            narrative. Personally, I am not sure Psalm 2:7 represents the earliest
                                            tradition of the content for the heavenly voice. I think Jeremias was
                                            correct in seeing Isaiah 42:1 as more fitting. Nevertheless, it is
                                            worth noting that Psalm 2:7 is used in (non-Christian) Jewish sources
                                            as part of scriptural testimonia concerning the coming King Messiah.
                                            In Hebrew it is linguistically connected to Psalm 110 and interpreted
                                            accordingly. Its use in connection with the Jewish hope for a
                                            redeemer has absolutely nothing to do with adoptionist tendencies in
                                            later Christianity.

                                            As an aside, one could more convincingly suggest that Mark (and perhaps
                                            an earlier recension of Luke that lacked the first two chapters) was
                                            structured without any details of Jesus' life before the baptism under
                                            the influence of adoptionist tendencies in some circles of the early
                                            church (i.e. nothing in the life of Jesus before his baptism is
                                            important). I am not sure one can prove this position with certainty
                                            either. I only give it as an example of how can read the data in light
                                            of later developments. As is noted on this list quite regularly, there
                                            is a world of difference between "possibility" and "probability."

                                            >       - John does not baptize Jesus in Luke (I can expand on v.
                                            > 3:19-20, but it is long)
                                            Luke's omission of John's direct physical involvement is not derived
                                            from a theological/ecclesiastical agenda, but instead is simply a more
                                            fitting description of what physically occurs in the Jewish act of
                                            ritual immersion. It is self-immersion. One is forbidden to be
                                            touched while in the water. It may be a coincidence but the oldest
                                            pictorial representation of this event from 2nd century catacombs in
                                            Rome portray John on the bank of the Jordan extending a hand to Jesus
                                            and assisting him to come up out of the water. It is likely that this
                                            would have been John's location.

                                            Please note something that is routinely overlook. When Matthew
                                            actually describes Jesus' baptism, his presentation likewise omits
                                            John's direct involvement, "And when Jesus was baptized..." (Matt
                                            3:16). He thus agrees with Luke here against Mark, in spite of the
                                            fact that he has followed Mark's presentation in Matthew 3:13=Mark 1:9
                                            in his introduction to the event.

                                            The reasons for the confusion on the mode of immersion may lie in the
                                            ambiguity of the semitic idiom. For example the Hebrew TaBaL (to
                                            immerse) can be read both transitive and intransitive in meaning (i.e.
                                            I immerse something or I immerse [myself]). Please note the same
                                            problem with the translation of Paul's actions in Acts 21. In both
                                            verses (21 and 24) the English translations rightly have rendered it as
                                            self-purification ("purify yourself" and "he purified himself") even
                                            though the verb is passive. By the way, the meaning here is also
                                            ritual immersion which was required before ascending to the Temple. In
                                            the Dead Sea Scrolls we read the verbs "to purify" and "to sanctify"
                                            with the meaning of "to immerse."
                                            >
                                            >

                                            Sadly, I am out of time. I need to get back to other things. Thanks
                                            for the discussion.

                                            shalom
                                            Steven Notley
                                            Nyack College NYC
                                          • Maluflen@aol.com
                                            In a message dated 6/3/2004 4:38:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, stuartwaugh@yahoo.com writes:
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Jun 4, 2004
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                                              In a message dated 6/3/2004 4:38:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time, stuartwaugh@... writes:

                                              << Actually Luke's account being most primitive is only part of the argument. The issue of Matthew's account being intruded upon by 2nd century Orthodox creedal material still holds regardless. Matthew's account is clearly aware of Adoptionist readings and sets a formula to give an alternative, if
                                              clumsy, understanding of the story.>>

                                              Could you please explain what you are saying here. It will continue to sound like utter nonsense to me (at least) until you do. Given which, it is a pity that you assert it with such confidence. Thanks.

                                              Leonard Maluf
                                              Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                                              Weston, MA

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