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Switch to Forum Live View What is the Xn Origins Task?
7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 11:12AM #41
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=MisterC;101308]That's also around the time of Irenaeus, so it wasn't any news. I've been talking about Irenaeus and his rebuttals of Marcion for a long time. What was interesting about it is that it was preceded by Marcion's canon and that it considered Paul's writings to be influenced by and after John's Revelation.

There seems to be a distinct "wall,"  before Marcion and after Marcion. I read somewhere lately that Harnack (a famous scholar of old stated that Marcion was the first person to read Paul. (Harnack said Marcion got it wrong.) Then, however, we need to account for folks like Basilides, Valentinus, the people who compiled Thomas, probably (according I think to Pagels) as a rebuttal of GoJohn, and, somewhere in the background, the gospels of the canon.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Re. your first paragraph, I guess I don't understand the point you've made several times that we don't know much about Paul prior to the 3rd century.

Re. your second paragraph, couldn't it just be a coincidence that the explosion of extant Xn literature happened to be when the Marcion debate was raging?  There were debates before, and debates after--and other ones going on it that literature.

Also, good point about Basilides et al.  A reconstruction of origins needs to take into account all of the "minority voices" that are evidenced in the 2ce literature.  How did they come to be?  Where and when?  When and why did they become controversial?  When and why did they "lose"?

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 11:21AM #42
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=MisterC;101588]Not according to the Jesus Seminar, Gene S. The default position is that Acts is not historical and the burden is to show that it isn't.  It is seen fairly strongly as a response to Marcion and an attempt to make "Paul" palatable to other groups. It wasn't a "memory," according to the votes (which are in several years of "Forum"), but the creation of a myth of Christian origins.
Dennis[/QUOTE]

Dennis and Gene,

There is a difference between history, fiction, and historical fiction.  I believe the JS is saying Acts is not history--that the burden of proof is on the historian, scene by scene, to argue for the historicity of a particular item.

But Acts is not pure fiction; it is historical fiction.  For example, one would be hard pressed to argue that Lk made up major characters such as Peter, James or Paul, or major churches such as Corinth or Ephesus.  There are certainly memories *within* Acts.  And yet I certainly agree that the purpose of the book (along with GLk) is to create a myth of Xn origins.

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 11:51AM #43
hortonthrockmorton
Posts: 3,497
I have a hard time sometimes understanding the focus some folks make on the paucity of the Christian textual record prior to the second century, and the tendencity of many to presume that later writings cannot be reliably mined for historical information

It doesn't seem as noteworthy to me when one looks at the history of Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism.

Assuming that the linkage between the Pharisess and post-165 Rabbinic Judaism is legit, and I tend to think it is, then you have a Jewish movement that pre-dates Christianity by many years.  Yet we don't see much in the way of texts arising out of that movement until the Talmudic literature -- much of which postdates the New Testament writings.

I agree with the notion that neither the gospels nor Acts were written as history texts, but as thematic works that allowed for manipulation of historical events.  But I think the notion of some to be hyper-skeptical of anything contained in these works is not doing good history.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 12:10PM #44
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=hortonthrockmorton;102851]
I agree with the notion that neither the gospels nor Acts were written as history texts, but as thematic works that allowed for manipulation of historical events.  But I think the notion of some to be hyper-skeptical of anything contained in these works is not doing good history.[/QUOTE]

Horton,

I think it's bad history specifically because of the focus of this thread.  To the extent that the content of these works aligns with what we do know from other sources--in this discussion, 2ce Xn writings--then there is no reason not to accept that content.  The burden of proof Dennis mentioned has been met.

Hyper-skepticism can actually reach a point where it is not just reinterpreting history, but is creating an alternate history (a la there was no holocaust).

With apologies to Dennis for talking about him, to me the idea that there was no first century Gentile church founder named Paul is an example of this.  It goes beyond being a very low probability interpretation of the data.  It actively ignores virtually all of the data.

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 2:48PM #45
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=chuckj;102889]

the idea that there was no first century Gentile church founder named Paul is an example of this.  [/QUOTE]

Oops.

I meant that (Jewish) Paul founded Gentile churches.

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 4:18PM #46
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
"I think it's bad history specifically because of the focus of this thread. To the extent that the content of these works aligns with what we do know from other sources--in this discussion, 2ce Xn writings--then there is no reason not to accept that content. The burden of proof Dennis mentioned has been met.  Hyper-skepticism can actually reach a point where it is not just reinterpreting history, but is creating an alternate history (a la there was no holocaust)."

Chuck, you haven't met any burden. Specifically, since y'all were talking about Acts, let's see what the Jesus Seminar votes are (remember, the JS, not the campus crusaid for christie)! If you are true to your nature, you and probably Gene will key in on one or maybe two pieces of data, not realizing the global significance of what was debated and voted.

I’m going to begin with the latest Forum Votes, from Volume 5.2. If at the end, Chuck, you and Gene S feel a need to turn in your Jesus Seminar decoder rings and join the Wright, Dunn, Hays group, Ill understand. Keep in mind, I have read both the position papers and the Forum articles (roughly the same) of all the Acts Seminar votes. There is actually quite a bit to see.  I’ll star a few that have to jump out to me, but remember, you need to get the gist of what is being said.

I’ll leave the Luke parts out. (There were only a bit. There was also a bit about Ephesians.)
1. Acts is a work of imaginative religious literature unable to support the high level of trust Christian interpreters have traditionally placed on the historical accuracy of the story. .98 red
2. The author of Luke-Acts was a companion of Paul.  .02 Black
3. We know who wrote the book of Acts.  .07 Black
5. In Acts the author often creates new stories to fit his theological program.  .89 Red
6. If we find that the writer of Acts made use of sources and data that may be very early, this in itself does not establish the historical reliability of the source or datum. .98 Red
7. If the writer of Acts made use of the letters of Paul as a source, the Book of Acts provides little, if any, independent data on Paul.
8. The Luke-Acts story of the ascension is a literary fiction.  .94 red
9. The Pentecost story is a literary fiction.  .94 Red
10. The idea that the disciples did not leave Jerusalem after Jesus’ death is a Lukan literary fiction.
11. The idea that there was a singular beginning of Christianity in Jerusalem is a Lukan literary literary fiction.  ..94 Red
12. The prologues of Luke and Acts may mislead the modern reader into thinking Luke-Acts can be read as reliable history.   .91 red
13. The genre of literature to which Acts belongs is the historical novel.  .76 red
14. The Book of Acts contains allusions to the stories of Homer.   .83 red
*15. Acts is a work of fiction with some relatively minor historical elements in it.  .84 red
*16. The burden of proof rests with those who claim that particular stories in Acts are primarily history rather than fiction.  .93 Red
17. The Book of Acts contains allusions to the stories of Vergil in some form.  .76 Red
*18. The genre of litgerature to which Acts belongs is ancient historiography.  .39 gray
*19. Canonical Acts’ basic outline of the historical development of Christianity is accurate. ..02 Black

1. Acts was written before the year 70 ce.  .00 Black
2. Acts was written in the last quarter of the first century.  .07 black
3. Acts was written in the second century ce.  .89 Red
4. Acts was written by a companion of Paul. .01 Black
*5. A major factor behind the composition of Acts was the perceived threat posed by Marcion and Marcionite Christianity.  .76 Red
6. One purpose of the composition of Acts was to provide assurance that Marcion’s interpretation of Paul was wrong.  .78 Red

1. The shipwreck narrative in Acts 27:1-44 is created out of motifs from the epic tradition.  .89 red
2. The character of Julius… is based on historical reminiscence. .13 Black
*3. By imitating epic tradition, the author of Acts is promoting an ‘epic’ view of Christian history, which culminates, on the model of the Aeneid, with the hero arriving in Rome to become the founder of a great people.  .83
4. The character of Julius… is based on the character of Julius in Vergil’s Aeneid.   .63 Pink

6. Canonical Acts was written as a consensus document, intended to produce conciliation between opposing groups of Christians.   .98 Red

Whew! That was a lot of typing. Chuck, Gene, where in it do we have a whiff of memories?  At a certain level, I suppose we could call Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn “historical fiction.” I have three other “Acts Seminar Forums,” the votes I haven’t the time right now to post. It seems, Chuck, Gene, that you are taking the conservative stance and that mine is more in line with the JS. Do you consider this evidence to be “hypercritical?” It doesn’t seem to be that different than what I have said. I consider it a bit conservative, actually, even though it is far different than you see Acts. Do you have some data to rebut it?
Dennis
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 5:06PM #47
hortonthrockmorton
Posts: 3,497
What is the JS 'vote' on:

*Was there a historical Peter?
*Was there a historical Paul?
*Was there a historical James the leader of the Christians in Jerusalem?
*Was there a controversy involving Paul over the requirements of Gentile converts?
*Was there a significant meeting among the leadership of the early church in Jerusalem to hash out this controversy?
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 5:12PM #48
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=MisterC;103531]At a certain level, I suppose we could call Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn “historical fiction.”[/QUOTE]

Dennis,

Before we go further we might want to make sure we are not miscommunicating.  I wonder if you could share brief definitions are historical fiction, fiction and history.  (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are not historical fiction in any sense, which is why I'm asking.)

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 5:14PM #49
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=hortonthrockmorton;103658]What is the JS 'vote' on:

*Was there a historical Peter?
*Was there a historical Paul?
*Was there a historical James the leader of the Christians in Jerusalem?
*Was there a controversy involving Paul over the requirements of Gentile converts?
*Was there a significant meeting among the leadership of the early church in Jerusalem to hash out this controversy?[/QUOTE]

Horton,

I know the JS considers the first three to be rock solid red.  Don't recall about the last two.

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 29, 2007 - 5:21PM #50
chuckj
Posts: 443
[QUOTE=MisterC;103531]Specifically, since y'all were talking about Acts, let's see what the Jesus Seminar votes are[/QUOTE]

Dennis,

A couple of weeks ago Lloyd shared a link to a site where a formal debate was beginning on whether there was an historical Jesus.  I was clicking around on that site, and in some context that I can't recall some overall rules of debate were listed.  One of them was "citing a scholar is not a form of evidence."  I thought it was awesome.

What *is* a form of evidence is citing a scholar and then saying why their work makes sense to you.  In this context it would be how those votes from the JS help us understand the development of Xnty prior to the 2ce Xn literature.  What's your thinking on how they do that?

Chuck
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