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Not Docetic: "As One Who Had No Pain"

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  • voxverax
    In the latest NTS there is an article by Matti Myllykoski -- Tears of Repentance or Tears of Gratitude? P. Oxy. 4009, the Gospel of Peter and the Western
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 10 7:50 AM
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      In the latest NTS there is an article by Matti Myllykoski -- "Tears of Repentance or Tears of Gratitude? P. Oxy. 4009, the Gospel of Peter and the Western Text of Luke 7.45-49" -- in which the author proposes a reconstruction of the flip-side of P. Oxy 4009, and proposes that this reconstruction shows that P. Oxy 4009 is a fragment of the Gospel of Peter, and proposes that this text of the Gospel of Peter reflects the author's awareness of a text of Luke that did not include Luke 7:47b-48 -- and, by inference, P. Oxy 4009 becomes the earliest witness to the text of Luke 7:45-49.

      All rather ambitious. But I don't have time to examine the article in detail or to examine the notion that the Western Text omits notonly Lk. 7:47b but also v. 48. I just want to mention something about a phrase in the "Gospel of Peter" that I just came across, before I misplace it.

      "Gospel of Peter" is suspected of being written by someone with a docetic Christology. Serapion, bishop of Antioch in 190-203, expressed that suspicion, and J.A. Robinson, back in 1892, commented as follows about the phrase "But He held His peace, as in no wise having pain," which occurs near the beginning of ch. 4:

      "'He held His peace, as if in no wise having pain,' is our first sign that this is the Gospel of the /Docetae./ Observe that, to make room for this, the words 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' must be omitted." (He goes on to note that the same words are absent from B, D, and a corrector of Aleph.)

      But in 1984, in NTS, Jerry McCant proposed, "That 'WS is not to be understood casually is evident from the context," and generally suggests that the "silence motif" in "Gospel of Peter" is not docetic but is rather a re-presentation of Jesus as the silent-lamb-before-its-shearers. That is, "Gospel of Peter" depicts Jesus being silent in spite of the pain, not because He is insensate to it.

      Now I think I have a small additional verification of McCant's view. In Cureton's translation of the Syriac text of Eusebius' Account of the Martyrs of Palestine, on p. 15-16 we find the description of the martyrdom of Epiphanius. Epiphanius, having boldly testified for Christ, was sentenced to have his feet wrapped in cotton, dipped in oil, and set on fire. So:

      "And for a long time his feet were burning in a sharp fire, so that the flesh of his feet, as it was consumed, dropped like melted wax, and the fire burnt into his very bones like dry reeds. But at the same time, although he was in great suffering from what befel him, be became, by his patience, like one who had no pain, for he had within, for a helper, that God who dwelt within him."

      Inasmuch as docetism is not in play in the account of Epiphanius' martyrdom where the phrase "like one who had no pain" occurs, it seems unlikely that it is at work when a similar phrase is used in "Gospel of Peter." This does not exonerate the entire work, but this particular phrase should be understood to describe a person's mastery over pain, not a person's lack of pain-sensation.

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
    • Peter M. Head
      Thanks Jim, If you want to track this idea further, some years ago I argued the view that the Gospel of Peter was closer to the accounts of martyrdoms than the
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 11 7:09 AM
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        Thanks Jim,
        If you want to track this idea further, some
        years ago I argued the view that the Gospel of
        Peter was closer to the accounts of martyrdoms than the docetic viewpoint -
        ‘On the Christology of the Gospel of Peter’
        Vigiliae Christianae 46 (1992), 209–224
        Pete

        At 15:50 10/09/2009, you wrote:
        >In the latest NTS there is an article by Matti
        >Myllykoski -- "Tears of Repentance or Tears of
        >Gratitude? P. Oxy. 4009, the Gospel of Peter
        >and the Western Text of Luke 7.45-49" -- in
        >which the author proposes a reconstruction of
        >the flip-side of P. Oxy 4009, and proposes that
        >this reconstruction shows that P. Oxy 4009 is a
        >fragment of the Gospel of Peter, and proposes
        >that this text of the Gospel of Peter reflects
        >the author's awareness of a text of Luke that
        >did not include Luke 7:47b-48 -- and, by
        >inference, P. Oxy 4009 becomes the earliest
        >witness to the text of Luke 7:45-49.
        >
        >All rather ambitious. But I don't have time to
        >examine the article in detail or to examine the
        >notion that the Western Text omits notonly Lk.
        >7:47b but also v. 48. I just want to mention
        >something about a phrase in the "Gospel of
        >Peter" that I just came across, before I misplace it.
        >
        >"Gospel of Peter" is suspected of being written
        >by someone with a docetic
        >Christology. Serapion, bishop of Antioch in
        >190-203, expressed that suspicion, and J.A.
        >Robinson, back in 1892, commented as follows
        >about the phrase "But He held His peace, as in
        >no wise having pain," which occurs near the beginning of ch. 4:
        >
        >"'He held His peace, as if in no wise having
        >pain,' is our first sign that this is the Gospel
        >of the /Docetae./ Observe that, to make room
        >for this, the words 'Father, forgive them; for
        >they know not what they do' must be
        >omitted." (He goes on to note that the same
        >words are absent from B, D, and a corrector of Aleph.)
        >
        >But in 1984, in NTS, Jerry McCant proposed,
        >"That 'WS is not to be understood casually is
        >evident from the context," and generally
        >suggests that the "silence motif" in "Gospel of
        >Peter" is not docetic but is rather a
        >re-presentation of Jesus as the
        >silent-lamb-before-its-shearers. That is,
        >"Gospel of Peter" depicts Jesus being silent in
        >spite of the pain, not because He is insensate to it.
        >
        >Now I think I have a small additional
        >verification of McCant's view. In Cureton's
        >translation of the Syriac text of Eusebius'
        >Account of the Martyrs of Palestine, on p. 15-16
        >we find the description of the martyrdom of
        >Epiphanius. Epiphanius, having boldly testified
        >for Christ, was sentenced to have his feet
        >wrapped in cotton, dipped in oil, and set on fire. So:
        >
        >"And for a long time his feet were burning in a
        >sharp fire, so that the flesh of his feet, as it
        >was consumed, dropped like melted wax, and the
        >fire burnt into his very bones like dry
        >reeds. But at the same time, although he was in
        >great suffering from what befel him, be became,
        >by his patience, like one who had no pain, for
        >he had within, for a helper, that God who dwelt within him."
        >
        >Inasmuch as docetism is not in play in the
        >account of Epiphanius' martyrdom where the
        >phrase "like one who had no pain" occurs, it
        >seems unlikely that it is at work when a similar
        >phrase is used in "Gospel of Peter." This does
        >not exonerate the entire work, but this
        >particular phrase should be understood to
        >describe a person's mastery over pain, not a person's lack of pain-sensation.
        >
        >Yours in Christ,
        >
        >James Snapp, Jr.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >------------------------------------
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        Peter M. Head, PhD
        Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament
        Tyndale House
        36 Selwyn Gardens
        Cambridge CB3 9BA
        01223 566601
      • sahidiccoptic
        Although I have not examined Matti s article in detail yet either, I don t recall the author dialoguing with or noting a few other important observations
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 11 9:40 AM
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          Although I have not examined Matti's article in detail yet either, I don't recall the author dialoguing with or noting a few other important observations scholars have made regarding the textual transmission of 2 Clem. 5.4 (and/or P.Oxy. 4009):

          1. Donfried notes that in "seven out of nine quotations from the Gospel tradition, 2 Clement is dependent on a source other than the Synoptic Gospels" (Karl Donfried, The Setting of Second Clement in Early Christianity [Leiden: Brill, 1974],79).

          2. Luomanen suggests it's an independent attestation (68-71) and writes, "the author of 2 Clement had access to pre-Diatessaronic harmonizing traditions that also ended up in the Gospel of Thomas and in the Jewish-Christian gospel fragments" (Petri Luomanen, ` "Let Him Who Seeks, Continue Seeking": The Relationship between the Jewish-Christian Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas', in Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity: The Social and Cultural World of the Gospel of Thomas [eds. Jon Ma. Asgeirsson, April D. DeConick, and Risto Uro; Boston: Brill, 2006], p. 137).

          3. Gregg goes even further to argue that 2 Clem. 5.4 transforms the threat, gives its own interpretation of the saying, emphasizes the reward, and shifted the focus (157). In other words, much was modified. His conclusion seems to rest on his belief that Q 12.4-5 is the most primitive layer of tradition (153). He reiterates this point later by writing, "Scholarly arguments for the inauthenticity of Q 12:4-5 are few and far between. Those who do dismiss it as an authentic saying often do so without any substantive reasons. . . . [and] this reflects the lack of treatment this saying has received in historical Jesus studies" (157). Source: Brian Han Gregg, The Historical Jesus and the Final Judgment Sayings in Q (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006).

          4. P.Oxy. 4009's reconstruction is (too?) heavily based on the text of 2 Clem. Cf. Andrew E. Bernhard, Other Early Christian Gospels: A Critical Edition of the Surviving Greek Manuscripts (New York: T & T Clark, 2006); Larry Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006).

          I may have missed these points (or do not understand them completely myself), but I wanted to at least throw them out here since I've worked with this passage a little bit myself.

          erroso,

          brian

          --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "voxverax" <voxverax@...> wrote:
          >
          > In the latest NTS there is an article by Matti Myllykoski -- "Tears of Repentance or Tears of Gratitude? P. Oxy. 4009, the Gospel of Peter and the Western Text of Luke 7.45-49" -- in which the author proposes a reconstruction of the flip-side of P. Oxy 4009, and proposes that this reconstruction shows that P. Oxy 4009 is a fragment of the Gospel of Peter, and proposes that this text of the Gospel of Peter reflects the author's awareness of a text of Luke that did not include Luke 7:47b-48 -- and, by inference, P. Oxy 4009 becomes the earliest witness to the text of Luke 7:45-49.
          >
          > All rather ambitious. But I don't have time to examine the article in detail or to examine the notion that the Western Text omits notonly Lk. 7:47b but also v. 48. I just want to mention something about a phrase in the "Gospel of Peter" that I just came across, before I misplace it.
          >
          > "Gospel of Peter" is suspected of being written by someone with a docetic Christology. Serapion, bishop of Antioch in 190-203, expressed that suspicion, and J.A. Robinson, back in 1892, commented as follows about the phrase "But He held His peace, as in no wise having pain," which occurs near the beginning of ch. 4:
          >
          > "'He held His peace, as if in no wise having pain,' is our first sign that this is the Gospel of the /Docetae./ Observe that, to make room for this, the words 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' must be omitted." (He goes on to note that the same words are absent from B, D, and a corrector of Aleph.)
          >
          > But in 1984, in NTS, Jerry McCant proposed, "That 'WS is not to be understood casually is evident from the context," and generally suggests that the "silence motif" in "Gospel of Peter" is not docetic but is rather a re-presentation of Jesus as the silent-lamb-before-its-shearers. That is, "Gospel of Peter" depicts Jesus being silent in spite of the pain, not because He is insensate to it.
          >
          > Now I think I have a small additional verification of McCant's view. In Cureton's translation of the Syriac text of Eusebius' Account of the Martyrs of Palestine, on p. 15-16 we find the description of the martyrdom of Epiphanius. Epiphanius, having boldly testified for Christ, was sentenced to have his feet wrapped in cotton, dipped in oil, and set on fire. So:
          >
          > "And for a long time his feet were burning in a sharp fire, so that the flesh of his feet, as it was consumed, dropped like melted wax, and the fire burnt into his very bones like dry reeds. But at the same time, although he was in great suffering from what befel him, be became, by his patience, like one who had no pain, for he had within, for a helper, that God who dwelt within him."
          >
          > Inasmuch as docetism is not in play in the account of Epiphanius' martyrdom where the phrase "like one who had no pain" occurs, it seems unlikely that it is at work when a similar phrase is used in "Gospel of Peter." This does not exonerate the entire work, but this particular phrase should be understood to describe a person's mastery over pain, not a person's lack of pain-sensation.
          >
          > Yours in Christ,
          >
          > James Snapp, Jr.
          >
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