Talbert John and Christology

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andrewcriddle
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Talbert John and Christology

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:02 am

After Ben mentioned The Development of Christology During the first hundred years by Charles Talbert, I have been reading it. Thanks Ben.

I find its ideas very interesting, some of them more likely than others.

I have one major problem. Talbert IIUC holds that the present form of the Gospel of John, read on its own without reference to the rest of the NT, represents the incarnation of the pre-existent word as occurring at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. IMO this is almost impossible. The present form of the Gospel of John marginalises the baptism of Jesus, (it is only present as an allusion made by John the Baptist). I don't believe that an ancient reader would have understood this briefly alluded-to event as having the ontological significance that Talbert claims the author of John intended. (There may have been an earlier version of John for which Talbert's exegesis would be legitimate, but this is a separate issue.)

Talbert's understanding of John appears to be a central part of his picture of 1st century Christology and I just can't regard it as plausible.

Andrew Criddle

Paul the Uncertain
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Re: Talbert John and Christology

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:30 am

Is the hangup as simple as a too-casual harmonization?

John 1:32-34 is as vivid a rendering of the "descent of the spirit" visionary-initiation incident as anybody could wish, but the character John doesn't say when he saw the event, not saying whether or not it happened during the baptism. Mark integrates the event into the baptism, with divine commentary, as a climax of the ritual; Matthew pretty much follows suit, but Luke places the incident an unspecified interval after the baptism, while Jesus is praying (3:21-22).

Is Talbert referring to the "God singles Jesus out as The One" incident specifically, by placing it during an event that all four canonical gospels at least "associate it" with, some more closely than others?

Don't know if that helps.

andrewcriddle
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Talbert John and Christology

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:39 am

Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:30 am
Is the hangup as simple as a too-casual harmonization?

John 1:32-34 is as vivid a rendering of the "descent of the spirit" visionary-initiation incident as anybody could wish, but the character John doesn't say when he saw the event, not saying whether or not it happened during the baptism. Mark integrates the event into the baptism, with divine commentary, as a climax of the ritual; Matthew pretty much follows suit, but Luke places the incident an unspecified interval after the baptism, while Jesus is praying (3:21-22).

Is Talbert referring to the "God singles Jesus out as The One" incident specifically, by placing it during an event that all four canonical gospels at least "associate it" with, some more closely than others?

Don't know if that helps.
It would, I agree, be possible to harmonize the Johannine and Synoptic accounts of the baptism in this way.

However Talbert seems to be specifically concerned with how the Johannine tradition would be understood in isolation in the ancient world.
Talbert argues that the account of the virginal conception in Matthew and Luke requires that Jesus be in some sense the Son of God from his conception.

Someone in the ancient world who knew canonical Mark and John but not canonical Matthew and Luke, might interpret the baptism as the moment when the Word became incarnate, (Cerinthus maybe understood the baptism like this), but I don't think that is what Talbert is arguing. Talbert seems to be suggesting that the author of canonical John intended the baptism to be understood as the moment of incarnation.

Andrew Criddle

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