NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
gmx
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NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by gmx » Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:35 am

A frequently cited problem with the NT is the absence of references within the Paulina to the details of Jesus' life as presented in the Gospels. One explanation is that the Pauline epistles were composed before the invention/fabrication of the synoptic narrative expansion. My question is whether this explanation holds for the deutero-Pauline and pastoral epistles, the Petrine and Johanine epistles, and the near-contemporaneous apocrypha (Clement et al)? If anyone can point me in the way of scholarly research of the above, or wants to venture their own opinion, that would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:24 am

Doesn't 1 Peter make allusion to the Transfiguration story?
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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by andrewcriddle » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:33 am

perseusomega9 wrote:Doesn't 1 Peter make allusion to the Transfiguration story?
2 Peter chapter 1
17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by gmx » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:07 am

2 Peter is comparatively late, in terms of NT development. Is it fair to assume that all NT literature that appears ignorant of the Gospel narratives was composed before said narratives?
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Tenorikuma
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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by Tenorikuma » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:25 am

That's right. There are no apocryphal writings from the first century that mention any details from the earthly life of Jesus, to my knowledge.

There are even post-Gospel writings that ignore Jesus' life where you might expect otherwise.

gmx
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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by gmx » Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:34 am

Tenorikuma wrote:There are even post-Gospel writings that ignore Jesus' life where you might expect otherwise.
This is exactly the point I have been considering.

If post-Gospel writings ignore Jesus' life, then one of two things is true:
  • those writings are in fact not post-Gospel, or
  • those writings are unconcerned with Jesus' life for some other reason, and therefore Paul's abstract conception of Jesus Christ is not due to primacy but rather theology
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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by andrewcriddle » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:39 am

One issue here is that there are several 2nd century texts which are certainly later than the canonical Gospels which have little or no information about the historical Jesus.

e.g. Theophilus of Antioch to Autolycus.

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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by Ulan » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:58 am

gmx wrote:
Tenorikuma wrote:There are even post-Gospel writings that ignore Jesus' life where you might expect otherwise.
This is exactly the point I have been considering.

If post-Gospel writings ignore Jesus' life, then one of two things is true:
  • those writings are in fact not post-Gospel, or
  • those writings are unconcerned with Jesus' life for some other reason, and therefore Paul's abstract conception of Jesus Christ is not due to primacy but rather theology
Your first point is the solution that people field for the primacy of Marcion's gospel, as the battle over Marcion's gospel basically opens the discussion of gospels. It looks as if nobody cared about gospels before that. There are a few similar sentences from our gospels that occasionally show up in some of the writings though.

The "therefore" in your second suggestion does not follow, as there is no real anchor to hang that connection on. I know that the point that it is theology that keeps details from the life of Jesus out of the Pauline Epistles is very popular in apologetic circles, but I have never, not even once, seen anyone give an even half-way logical explanation what theological reason that might be. That there may be other texts that don't deal with the life of Jesus has no bearing on this. You would have to find an explanation that fits the "other" text and the Pauline Epistles to the same extent. For Paul, the obvious explanation is that he only new about five points about Christ, and nothing else. This is what he has given us to think about. The less silly apologetic position is that Paul simply didn't care, and his followers didn't mind his lack of knowledge. Which still doesn't answer the question why that would be so.

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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:24 am

Ulan wrote:
gmx wrote:
Tenorikuma wrote:There are even post-Gospel writings that ignore Jesus' life where you might expect otherwise.
This is exactly the point I have been considering.

If post-Gospel writings ignore Jesus' life, then one of two things is true:
  • those writings are in fact not post-Gospel, or
  • those writings are unconcerned with Jesus' life for some other reason, and therefore Paul's abstract conception of Jesus Christ is not due to primacy but rather theology
Your first point is the solution that people field for the primacy of Marcion's gospel, as the battle over Marcion's gospel basically opens the discussion of gospels. It looks as if nobody cared about gospels before that. There are a few similar sentences from our gospels that occasionally show up in some of the writings though.

The "therefore" in your second suggestion does not follow, as there is no real anchor to hang that connection on. I know that the point that it is theology that keeps details from the life of Jesus out of the Pauline Epistles is very popular in apologetic circles, but I have never, not even once, seen anyone give an even half-way logical explanation what theological reason that might be. That there may be other texts that don't deal with the life of Jesus has no bearing on this. You would have to find an explanation that fits the "other" text and the Pauline Epistles to the same extent. For Paul, the obvious explanation is that he only new about five points about Christ, and nothing else. This is what he has given us to think about. The less silly apologetic position is that Paul simply didn't care, and his followers didn't mind his lack of knowledge. Which still doesn't answer the question why that would be so.
There may be a case that Paul knew rather little about the life of Jesus.

However the fact that most of what he tells us about the historical Jesus is mentioned once only, makes it likely on statistical grounds that he knew a lot more than occurs in his surviving letters.

If only half of Paul's letters had survived we would have substantially less information about Paul's beliefs about the life of Jesus. If we had many more letters we would probably know substantially more about Paul's understanding of the historical Jesus.

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Re: NT/apocrypha and its knowledge of the Gospels

Post by Ulan » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:46 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:There may be a case that Paul knew rather little about the life of Jesus.

However the fact that most of what he tells us about the historical Jesus is mentioned once only, makes it likely on statistical grounds that he knew a lot more than occurs in his surviving letters.
I must admit that the logic behind this statement evades me. What are those statistics based on? Aren't we in outlier territory here?
andrewcriddle wrote:If only half of Paul's letters had survived we would have substantially less information about Paul's beliefs about the life of Jesus. If we had many more letters we would probably know substantially more about Paul's understanding of the historical Jesus.
Sure. And if 10% of the text in his letters is from interpolations, he may have known even less or nothing. I don't say this because I think it is so, I just think musings like these are rather ungrounded.

Nevertheless, if you think Paul knew quite a bit more of the life of Jesus, why do you personally think he didn't want to talk about it in his letters?

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