'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

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MrMacSon
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'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:37 am

In the Introduction to 'Connecting Gospels: beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide' (2018), the editors Francis Watson and Sarah Parkhouse say, amongst other things (including "The aim of the present book is to explore ways in which the study of early Christian gospels might proceed. The approach taken is to seek connections across the divide between canonical and non-canonical gospels by way of thematic comparisons”), -
... Rather than focusing primarily on ‘the four gospels’, perhaps with just a passing mention of non-canonical texts or text-fragments such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, or the Egerton Gospel, we might envisage a broader object of study, that of early Christian gospel literature viewed as a single though differentiated field. Framed in this way, the fourfold canonical gospel would be seen to emerge out of a more extensive literary activity in which traditions about Jesus’ earthly life and teaching were shaped and created—presumably in response to popular demand for gospel-like works from a burgeoning Christian reading-and-listening public ...

... the distinction between canonical and non-canonical gospels is relative to the communities in which they are regarded as such.

Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide (Kindle Locations 253-258, 276). OUP Oxford, 2018.

The first chapter titled Praeparatio Evangelica in Early Christian Gospels' is by Simon Gathercole -

Some early Christian texts make extensive reference to scripture, including the canonical Gospels, GPeter and GEgerton. Other works appeal to additional sources: the Apocryphon of John refers to the Book of Zoroaster (Ap. John II 19.10) while the Exegesis on the Soul cites and explores Homer (Exeg. Soul II 136.16–137.11) ...

... GTruth was clearly known as such to Irenaeus (even while he remarks on its difference from the canonical Gospels), and this work is very likely to be substantially the same as Nag Hammadi I,3. ... the title ‘the Egyptian Gospel’ (or Gospel of the Egyptians) must be considered to be one of the titles of NHC III,2 and IV,2 alongside The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit. This should occasion no surprise, given that double-titles were very common in antiquity: Diogenes Laertius, for example, gives double-titles for almost all of Plato’s dialogues, while other authors refer to the same work variously as the Phaedo (Aristotle, Celsus, Clement) or the Peri Psuchēs (Galen, Sextus Empiricus, Clement again). Although GEgyptians is often referred to as the ‘so-called’ Gospel of the Egyptians, Hedrick may well be correct that the Gospel title included in the colophon in Codex III attests to the fact that ‘the document is “gospel” in the sense of the proclamation of the early church’.


THE GOSPEL OF TRUTH

GTruth is a Valentinian work often described as a homily or a meditation, but in reality it is difficult to classify as far as form is concerned. Its subject matter, however, is clearly ‘the good news’, as noted in the opening words (16.31) as well as later: ‘This is the word of the gospel of the discovery of the pleroma, for those who await the salvation which is coming from on high’ (34.34–35.2) ... GTruth focuses on two main elements, Jesus’ revelatory teaching and his suffering. The ‘Word appeared’ and ‘became a body’ ...

... Jesus is further described as ‘the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep which were not lost. He went searching for the one that had gone astray’ (31.35–32.3). Or again, still in the shepherding imagery: ‘Even on the Sabbath, he laboured for the sheep that he found fallen into the pit’ (32.18–20). Another parabolic section describes the coming of the Word in the incarnation almost as a bull bursting into a china-shop . .

There is a genuine interest in the historical life of this incarnate Word, then: ‘the merciful one, the faithful one, Jesus, was patient in accepting sufferings’ (20.10–11) .... The dominant focus in GTruth is not the earthly ministry but the mythological backdrop to the Gospel history ...

Where does GTruth stand, then, on the question of how the gospel events assume and relate to a past? Is there antecedent revelation which is in some sense fulfilled in what is recounted in GTruth? Negatively, there is no hint of scriptural fulfilment or antecedent textual revelation of any kind. This is not to say that GTruth rejects other texts: it contains dozens of allusions to New Testament writings. As far as the Old Testament is concerned there is just one potential allusion, the passage according to which Jesus ‘was nailed to a tree and became the fruit of the knowledge of the Father’ (18.24–6). Layton reads this passage in light of the Genesis narrative, contrasting the tree of the cross and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This interpretation is probable in view of the reference to Jesus as the fruit of the knowledge of the Father on the tree, the fruit that ‘does not bring ruin’, in contrast presumably to the tree of knowledge in Genesis that did (GTr 18.11–33). This may be the tip of an exegetical iceberg, but it is unclear what the particular iceberg might be. A wider discourse about the fall may be presupposed here, expressible in terms other than those expounded in GTruth. Alternatively, there may be a kind of Law/Gospel contrast, and the contrast might even be with an account of the fall which it rejects altogether.

Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide (Kindle Locations 541-624). OUP Oxford, 2018.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

rgprice
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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by rgprice » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:10 am

Well I do address the non-canonical gospels in my book, but my conclusion is that every single one of them is dependent on the Markan narrative. The "Gospel of Mark" was the first story, and everything else flows from it, canonical and non-canonical.
the fourfold canonical gospel would be seen to emerge out of a more extensive literary activity in which traditions about Jesus’ earthly life and teaching were shaped and created—presumably in response to popular demand for gospel-like works from a burgeoning Christian reading-and-listening public
Baseless assumption with no evince to support it. Indeed the evidence goes the other way.

The Gospels didn't emerge out of a demand for more information about a real life Jesus, the Gospel of Mark created the concept of a real-life Jesus, and everything else was produced in response.

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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:55 am

The heresies did not develop their doctrines from canonical Mark. The Marcionite sect did not spring from canonical Mark. Note: the Philosophumena knows of a mystical gospel of Mark. Look carefully and read what it says - Marcion used a gospel of Mark with mystical bits from Empedocles added by Marcion. Read it and see. The letter to Theodore accuses Carpocrates of copying the longer Alexandrian gospel of Mark and adding things. Clement acknowledges Alexandrian Mark is not only longer Mark but Mark with added mystical bits from Mark's own hand. Three testimonies to a longer, mystical and ultimately 'heretical' gospel of Mark. The question then is canonical Mark an edited version of this alternative text or did the heresies really add the bits. You already know what I think. I am not swayed by a fanciful modern conspiracy theory the way some are.

I think that early Christianity was highly mystical but in ways that would make modern observers uncomfortable. I think this 'mysticism' explains why there is an institutionalize pedophilia, ritualized homosexuality in Roman Catholicism. I mean even as early as Montaigne we see it manifest and it surely dates back to ritualized 'unions' between monks evidenced in the fifth and sixth centuries. My mind is made up on this one issue. The revolution of early Christianity was that it trounced social convention in favor of a new social ordering based on the monad - a male monad with monachoi wanting to refashion themselves alongside a beloved 'partner' both seeking after the image of this previously unknown 'cosmic Man' likely a dickless androgynous Man which finds its reflection in the earliest Jewish sources. This was a truly bizarre religious community which caught on to the mainstream for the same reasons that Roman Emperors were attracted to like minded pagan cults. The world is strange and we've become to boring to appreciate the tastes of antiquity.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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rgprice
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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by rgprice » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:21 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:55 am
The heresies did not develop their doctrines from canonical Mark.
If there is a longer Mark, which I support that it's likely, then canonical Mark is just a shortened version of it. The same still holds, everything is copied from some original Mark, which may have been longer than canonical Mark.
The Marcionite sect did not spring from canonical Mark.
It most likely was derived from Luke, which was derived from Mark. It could also have been derived from a longer Mark.
Note: the Philosophumena knows of a mystical gospel of Mark. Look carefully and read what it says - Marcion used a gospel of Mark with mystical bits from Empedocles added by Marcion. Read it and see. The letter to Theodore accuses Carpocrates of copying the longer Alexandrian gospel of Mark and adding things. Clement acknowledges Alexandrian Mark is not only longer Mark but Mark with added mystical bits from Mark's own hand.
This may well be, but it's still the same thing. Prior to the writing of the first version of Mark, whatever that was, there were no other stories about Jesus. Every single Gospel is derived from one single story.
Three testimonies to a longer, mystical and ultimately 'heretical' gospel of Mark. The question then is canonical Mark an edited version of this alternative text or did the heresies really add the bits. You already know what I think. I am not swayed by a fanciful modern conspiracy theory the way some are.
I personally don't know, but I think both are possibilities. See my commentary on this subject here (you can just scroll down to the diagrams if you want): http://www.rationalrevolution.net/artic ... ospels.htm

meh
This was a truly bizarre religious community which caught on to the mainstream for the same reasons that Roman Emperors were attracted to like minded pagan cults.
It caught on because of the Gospels, particularly because the Gospels made it appear as though Jesus had fulfilled dozens of prophecies and people actually believed that this prophecy fulfillment was legit. The so-called prophecies are really just cases of literary references, which got copied around to all of the different Gospel versions, making it look like multiple different people independently recorded the same things.

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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by Martin Klatt » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:40 am

-_-_
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MrMacSon
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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:59 am

rgprice wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:10 am
Well I do address the non-canonical gospels in my book, but my conclusion is that every single one of them is dependent on the Markan narrative. The "Gospel of Mark" was the first story, and everything else flows from it, canonical and non-canonical.

The Gospels didn't emerge out of a demand for more information about a real life Jesus, the Gospel of Mark created the concept of a real-life Jesus, and everything else was produced in response.
And, of course you (and Tom Dykstra, and Carrier (I think), and maybe others) think Mark is based on Paul (and the Hebrew texts). That all seems reasonable [best correct me if I'm wrong].

To me, key questions are 'when?', and 'what else was going on when that happened?'.

The scholarship in the last 3-4 yrs of of Klinghardt, Vinzent, and Bedhun has proposed all this happened around the time of Marcion, through who we also find the first evidence of Paul (and Robert Price also ties the Pauline texts to Marcion). I think1 Beduhn and Klinghardt2 think Marcion had a urMark3 (which Klinghardt calls Mcn). Vinzent thinks G.Mark or perhaps a ur- or proto- Mark arose via Marcion or his group.

1 I'm still trying to pin down the specifics of what these guys are saying.

2 Klinghardt has shifted from what he said in his 2008 paper (Novum Testamentum 50 (2008), 1-27).

3 which some call 'Marcions' Gospel', but generally say it wasn't written by Marcion; he just used it.

Complicated by all that^ is various discussions about whether there were two versions of Luke (or a ur- or proto- Luke, or whatever) at the same time ie. in parallel.

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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:09 pm

..
'The synoptic schema favored by M. Klinghardt, adapted from his 2015 volumes (I:272)'

Klinghardt postulates one or more pre-Marcionite/proto-canonical gospels.

Klinghardt-syn-schema-1100x806.jpg
Klinghardt-syn-schema-1100x806.jpg (77.47 KiB) Viewed 2297 times

The dating of Mcn (per Klinghardt) is 90–150 CE (I:378).

via Rene Salm at http://www.mythicistpapers.com/2016/04/ ... -solution/


eta: I would propose, as per rgprice et al, that (3)^ would involve the Pauline texts

.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rgprice
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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by rgprice » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:11 pm

Well, my view is that GMark was created some time between 70 and 80 CE, probably closer to 72ish. I think the First Jewish-Roman War is what prompted the writing. I don't support Marcionite priority. I don't think there was any proto-gospel narrative. I also don't support trying to push the writing of Mark back beyond 80 CE. There would need to be really strong evidence to support GMark having been written after 80 CE.

My proposal can be seen as an extension of Dykstra's. Dykstra proposes that GMark was written by a defender of Paul. I say it was written by a defender of Paul as a result of the war, which, to the writer, had proven that Paul was right, i.e. the war was a result of the Jews not following Paul's teachings about harmony between Jews and Gentiles.

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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:18 pm

rgprice wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:11 pm

Well, my view is that GMark was created some time between 70 and 80 CE, probably closer to 72ish. I think the First Jewish-Roman War is what prompted the writing. I don't support Marcionite priority. I also don't support trying to push the writing of Mark back beyond 80 CE. There would need to be really strong evidence to support GMark having been written after 80 CE.

My proposal can be seen as an extension of Dykstra's. Dykstra proposes that GMark was written by a defender of Paul. I say it was written by a defender of Paul as a result of the war, which, to the writer, had proven that Paul was right, i.e. the war was a result of the Jews not following Paul's teachings about harmony between Jews and Gentiles.
I think it's highly feasible that the First Jewish-Roman War is what prompted the writing (and other writings), but plenty of others have noted aspects of Josephus accounts in the NT texts to the extent that they are unlikely to have come from the same sources that Josephus used: it seems likely that they had to have come from Josephus, including Antiquities, which is post 90-95 AD/CE. (I also wonder about possible influence of the 2nd War.)

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Re: 'Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide'

Post by rgprice » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:31 pm

As far as I know, the discussion of influences from Josephus focuses on Luke. I think Mark comes between 70 and 80, then Matthew likely comes between 90 and 110, with Luke likely between 100 and 140 and John between 110 and 150.

Paul's letters are clearly written before the 1st war. Mark is clearly written after the 1st war. I think the relevance of Mark to both Paul and the war indicates that is was written in close proximity to those events (the war and Paul's ministry). It's a topical story. The story's focus is on both Paul and the war. Why would such a story be written decades later? I think the story was written shortly after the war and Paul's passing, within 10 years of those events.

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