What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:29 am

The following quotes from another thread have raised particularly the my attention:

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:29 pm
. To jump from the stories being derived from scripture to Mark having done all of the derivation himself is a fantastic slap in the face of reason.
Irish1975 wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:00 pm
The idea was to interpret the (mainly synoptic) Gospels by sifting stories and sayings into three types:

1) stories or sayings that can justifiably be attributed to the "earthly" life experience of Jesus (sitz im leben Jesu)
2) stories or sayings that reflect the experiences and theology of the original Jesus-worshipping communities (sitz in leben der kirche)
3) stories or sayings that reflect the agenda of the Gospel author(s) and/or editors (sitz im Evangelium)

... Today, there seems to be a movement to focus on type 3 material (Trobisch, for example).
In particular, being indebted from this POV particularly to Robert Price, Stuart Waugh and Jean Magne, I don't see the midrash from scriptures as a neutral action and as too much distinct from the "type 3 material" (see the quote above): at contrary, I think that only who was strongly interested to judaize Jesus against the old de-judaizers (=de-ethnicizers) à la Marcion could have any interest to (buy and) sell midrashical stories as "Remembered History".

So the my question for this thread is: apart Vinzent, is prof Trobisch a scholar who, at least partially (I know that he is historicist), does this kind of arguments (I am interested to)?

Thanks for any answer.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Irish1975
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by Irish1975 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm

I wish I understood the question but I just don't.

I can say that Trobisch's 2000 book The First Edition of the New Testament is revolutionary to my thinking about the NT, having just read it cover to cover. It is ideal to start from an understanding of what the editor(s) intended, and it is actually possible when the author has an exhaustive, up-to-date knowledge of the manuscripts. The state of the manuscripts provides the best evidence about the origins of the canon, he argues, not patristic commentary or sketchy documents like the Muratorian fragment. Trobisch is convincing that the editor(s) -- whether or not it was Polycarp of Smyrna, as he has suggested -- were working alongside the author(s) of Acts, 2 Timothy, and 2 Peter. Trying to understand the intentions behind the whole 27-book collection makes for a much clearer picture than torturing gMark and hoping it will yield its secrets. It won't.
"Jesus tricked everyone" ~the gospel of Philip

perseusomega9
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by perseusomega9 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:46 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm
I wish I understood the question but I just don't.

:whistling:

Giuseppe
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:59 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm
I wish I understood the question but I just don't.
An example may help you to understand what I mean for “to judaize Jesus against the old de-judaizers (=de-ethnicizers) à la Marcion could have any interest to (buy and) sell midrashical stories as "Remembered History"”:

Marcion and generally the Gnostics were known to defame the Creator God (called by them 'demiurge') and to adore a Jesus Son of Father where the “Father” is the Supreme God as distinct from the Creator.

Against the Gnostics, the Christians who adored the Creator as the Supreme God introduced in the Gospel tradition the episode of “Jesus Barabbas”, the irony being that who escapes the cross is just the Jesus “Son of Father” (='Bar-Abbas') as distinct from the true Jesus “called Christ”: in this way the readers are secured about the Jewish identity of the crucified Jesus.

More info on this interpretation of Barabbas as a polemical parody of the marcionite Christ here:
https://vridar.org/wp-content/uploads/2 ... r_engl.pdf

This is an example of invention of an entire Gospel episode by Judaizers to combat a rival (Gnostic) theology.

Insofar the function of the midrash serves to link the Gospel Jesus with the OT scriptures, then surely what is going to be done is an attack against the Gnostics who despised the Jewish Bible.

So the my question about Trobisch is:
does he give some examples in the Gospels where we see the same phenomenon in action? Episodes that are introduced in the Gospel only to attack rival theologies? Thanks in advance for any answer.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Irish1975
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by Irish1975 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:22 am

That's much more clear, thanks.

I think Trobisch provides the right framework for teasing out the kind of "3rd type material" or 2nd century polemical Midrash that interests you, but I don't specifically recall examples.

Trobisch is a textual critic and scholar of the canon. He reads the redactional or editorial aspects of the NT with a sharp eye towards 2nd century debates, such as the ones you mention involving Marcionites and gnostics. However, the main drama that he sees the editors concerned above all to address is the Peter-Paul conflict in Galatians, which is also a Paul-James conflict, and has further obvious connections to the Marcion-Judaizers conflict. I suppose a case could be made that the editors/publishers of what became the NT were primarily concerned to reject both a dead-end Judaic Christianity post-Bar Kochba, and a Marcionite anti-Jehovah radical Paulinism. I guess this is just a reframing of what FC Baur identified almost 2 centuries ago as a Hegelian Aufhebung of the Pauline and Petrine traditions in the early Church.
"Jesus tricked everyone" ~the gospel of Philip

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DCHindley
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by DCHindley » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:17 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm
I wish I understood the question but I just don't.

I can say that Trobisch's 2000 book The First Edition of the New Testament is revolutionary to my thinking about the NT, having just read it cover to cover. It is ideal to start from an understanding of what the editor(s) intended, and it is actually possible when the author has an exhaustive, up-to-date knowledge of the manuscripts. The state of the manuscripts provides the best evidence about the origins of the canon, he argues, not patristic commentary or sketchy documents like the Muratorian fragment.
I too found his book very interesting. Not too many moderate-conservative Christian scholars want to delve into redactional (gasp!) history of the NT collection we have now. The most interesting part for me was how NT manuscripts came to be transmitted in almost uniform groups. There was the four-gospels, the Pauline corpus, Acts & non-Pauline epistles, and the Apocalypse. Over 95% of the time it was those groupings and no others were circulating, which suggests they were considered more or less "authorized" or "standard" sets of books.

The fact that by the 4th century CE there were hardly any stray single book manuscripts of individual books being transmitted, suggests that the sets were so popular that they drove the "non-standard" collections into disuse. So, I conclude that Bishops of the proto-Orthodox factions eventually only wanted "standard " sets of grouped books.
Trobisch is convincing that the editor(s) -- whether or not it was Polycarp of Smyrna, as he has suggested -- were working alongside the author(s) of Acts, 2 Timothy, and 2 Peter. Trying to understand the intentions behind the whole 27-book collection makes for a much clearer picture than torturing gMark and hoping it will yield its secrets. It won't.
This systematic adoption of standard sets of books suggests a later date for the origin of the practice than early (takes time to build a consensus). I'd have expected the 3rd century for this type of uniformity. On the other hand, the only books cited by Irenaeus were from the books transmitted in the four NT groupings (I think he omits one book, but adds no others). So he already was aware of and approved these standards.

Irenaeus, taught by Polycarp, supposedly lived in the latter half of the 2nd century. But this is just after the time of Marcion of Sinope, so perhaps it is true that the threat of Marcion's book choices forced "standard" editions of all popular Christian books. No Gospels of the Egyptians or Hebrews were cited by Irenaeus, unlike Origen, Clement of Rome, and the authors of the "Apostolic" Fathers.

He has "circled the wagons" around core sets of books, to ward off the attacks by heretics.* If one wants to sample what "heretic" Marcionite worship looked like, I think that this is what Pliny the Younger encountered in Pontus/Bithynia around 115 CE. This is not the kind of orthodox Christianity described by Irenaeus or even the Alexandrian fathers, with agape love feasts and prophecies and all.

This Polycarp connection to Irenaeus, and what Trobisch believes was a clue by the final editor of the "standard edition" which alluded to this name, is why Trobisch thinks that Polycarp was the final editor. Whether it was, or was not, Polycarp, these books were "standard" in Irenaeus' circles. Clement & Origen were from far away Alexandria, which was a "Wild West" of heterodox ideas and books, meaning (to Irenaeus and his crowd) they just didn't "get" it, as this area was also a hotbed of heretical Gnostic speculations.

DCH

* "Circling the Wagons" in the US refers to the popular Old West themed movies & TV shows trope of white settlers creating a defensive perimeter so that attacking native Americans could be picked off as they pointlessly rode their ponies around the wagons randomly shooting arrows, which mostly missed. Of course, one shot fired by a Caucasian would often kill at least 2-3 native Americans.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:24 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:17 pm
The most interesting part for me was how NT manuscripts came to be transmitted in almost uniform groups. There was the four-gospels, the Pauline corpus, Acts & non-Pauline epistles, and the Apocalypse.
Yes, that information was pretty revelatory for me, as well. I had until then thought for some reason, without giving it much reflection, that the "eapr" system, including the combination of Acts with the Catholic epistles under the "a" in "eapr," in Greek New Testaments was just a convenience.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

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MrMacSon
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:13 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:17 pm
Irish1975 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm
I wish I understood the question but I just don't.

I can say that Trobisch's 2000 book The First Edition of the New Testament is revolutionary to my thinking about the NT, having just read it cover to cover. It is ideal to start from an understanding of what the editor(s) intended, and it is actually possible when the author has an exhaustive, up-to-date knowledge of the manuscripts. The state of the manuscripts provides the best evidence about the origins of the canon, he argues, not patristic commentary or sketchy documents like the Muratorian fragment.
I too found his book very interesting.

My copy arrived a couple of hours ago :D (along with BeDuhn's 'The First New Testament...')


DCHindley wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:17 pm
The most interesting part for me was how NT manuscripts came to be transmitted in almost uniform groups. There was the four-gospels, the Pauline corpus, Acts & non-Pauline epistles1, and the Apocalypse. Over 95% of the time it was those groupings and no others were circulating, which suggests they were considered more or less "authorized" or "standard" sets of books.
  1. the Praxapostolos !!

Irish1975
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Re: What is more fatal for "oral tradition"

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:54 am

DCHindley wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 6:17 pm
Irish1975 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm
I can say that Trobisch's 2000 book The First Edition of the New Testament is revolutionary to my thinking about the NT, having just read it cover to cover. It is ideal to start from an understanding of what the editor(s) intended, and it is actually possible when the author has an exhaustive, up-to-date knowledge of the manuscripts. The state of the manuscripts provides the best evidence about the origins of the canon, he argues, not patristic commentary or sketchy documents like the Muratorian fragment.
I too found his book very interesting. Not too many moderate-conservative Christian scholars want to delve into redactional (gasp!) history of the NT collection we have now. The most interesting part for me was how NT manuscripts came to be transmitted in almost uniform groups. There was the four-gospels, the Pauline corpus, Acts & non-Pauline epistles, and the Apocalypse. Over 95% of the time it was those groupings and no others were circulating, which suggests they were considered more or less "authorized" or "standard" sets of books.
I wish I understood the Second and early Third centuries better. Have been trying to get through Vinzent's book on the fall and rise of Jesus Resurrection belief in the 2nd, but it's a lot of scattered material. I wish there were a solid, thorough anthology/analysis of Christian literature from, say, the apostolic fathers to Origen.

In the preface to his The First New Testament, BeDuhn writes: "It now appears to me that we are at the beginning, rather than the end, of serious historical investigation of Christian, and biblical, history unfettered by entrenched assumptions that in many cases have passed into modern scholarship directly from prior theologically-motivated judgments." Maybe we'll just have to wait a decade or two.
"Jesus tricked everyone" ~the gospel of Philip

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