Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8006
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:41 pm

Subject: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:30 am
davidmartin wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:32 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:10 am
davidmartin wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:53 am
one question i'd like answered is about the birth narrative in Luke
Since Luke tells us he pulls from various sources in the incipit - could the birth narrative been taken from one of the infancy gospels
I really wish i researched this better but from memory one of them parallels Luke strongly, in the boy Jesus at the temple and i hope my memory is right here - the angel/annunciation. Protoevangelion of James? I would love someone to tell me what these parallels are in a list
I would like to consider the possibility that Luke drew from an infancy gospel and whether the ones we have may in fact be those sources
I doubt one of the infancy gospels as we currently possess it served as the direct source behind Luke 1-2. Luke 1-2, however, could perhaps have been its own infancy gospel of sorts before being tagged onto the rest of Luke; it has a certain independence to it. The infancy gospel of Thomas ends at exactly the same point: the visit to the Temple at age twelve.
The infancy gospel of James has
" And she took the cup and went out to fill it with water. (2) Suddenly, a voice said to
her, "Rejoice, blessed one. The Lord is with you. You are blessed among women." (3)
And Mary looked around to the right and the left to see where this voice came from. (4)
And trembling she went into her house. Setting down the cup, she took the purple
thread and sat down on the chair and spun it.
(5) Suddenly, an angel stood before her saying, "Do not be afraid Mary. You have found
grace before the Lord of all. You will conceive from his word."
(6) Upon hearing this, however, Mary was distraught, saying to herself, "If I conceive
from the Lord God who lives, will I also conceive as all women conceive?"
(7) And the Angel of the Lord said, "Not like that, Mary. For the power of God will come
over you. Thus, the holy one who is born will be called son of the most high. (8) And you
will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
(9) And Mary said, "See, I am the servant of the Lord before him. Let it happen to me
according to what you say.""

There is no obvious reason to think this couldn't be the source of Luke when the infancy gospel of James is dated to the 2nd century
So i wonder what is the research that has proved this wasn't the case beyond all reasonable doubt?
Does this infancy gospel use the rare word Kacharitomene like Luke?
I'm sure this work has been done but i'd like to read the arguments used
"Beyond all reasonable doubt?" You are in the wrong hobby, my friend. :D

At any rate, I harbor no special animus against the Protevangelium having served as source for the canonical infancy passages. And I will readily admit that I have dedicated less study to the infancy narratives overall than to other parts of the collective gospel story.

However, whenever I do deal with these materials, the infancy gospel of James always seems to come off as derivative of Matthew and Luke. For example, the latter two are anonymous, while the former claims to have been written by none other than James the step brother of Jesus; and him being a step brother (that is, Joseph having sons by a previous marriage) already appears to be preserving Mary's perpetual virginity, something which Matthew and Luke show no signs of caring about. The Protevangelium is mainly about Mary overall, as a matter of fact, as if, while Matthew and Luke assert that she has chosen for the task of birthing the Messiah, James is explaining why she was chosen.

At least two of the fragments of Basilides seem to be quoting from the infancy narratives in Matthew and in Luke; I do not think that anything this early quotes the Protevangelium. Hippolytus also cites Valentinus as interpreting the Lucan infancy narrative at one point.

But hey, again, I have not put a lot of time into this issue, and of course fragments of lost works (like those by Basilides and Valentinus) can be questioned, and of course regarding something as derivative of something else can be a subjective process. So feel free to look into it and let me know what you think.
Hi, David. I wanted to present a more complex reason for supposing that the Protevangelium copied both from Matthew and from Luke than I gave in the other thread in response to your post above.

In what follows, I am using J. K. Elliott's translation of the parts of the Protevangelium (11.1-24.4) which parallel Matthew and Luke, and I have moved his cross references from the footnotes into the body of the text, enclosed in brackets [], and added a couple of my own cross references which deserve a closer look. Also, I have given the canonical passage(s) at which the Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum (SQE) prints each section of the Protevangelium as a parallel:

SQE: Luke 1.26-38.
Protevangelium: 11. 1. And she took the pitcher and went out to draw water, and behold, a voice said, 'Hail, highly favoured one [Luke 1:28], the Lord is with you, you are blessed among women.' And she looked around to the right and to the left to see where this voice came from. And, trembling, she went to her house and put down the pitcher and took the purple and sat down on her seat and drew out the thread. 2. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her and said, 'Do not fear, Mary; for you have found grace before the Lord of all things and shall conceive by his Word.' When she heard this she considered it and said, 'Shall I conceive by the Lord, the living God, and bear as every woman bears?' 3. And the angel of the Lord said, 'Not so, Mary; for the power of the Lord shall overshadow you [Luke 1:35]; wherefore that holy one who is born of you shall be called the Son of the Most High. And you shall call his name Jesus [Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31]; for he shall save his people from their sins [Matthew 1:21].' And Mary said, 'Behold, (I am) the handmaid of the Lord before him: be it to me according to your word [Luke 1.31].'

SQE: Luke 1.39-56.
Protevangelium: 12. 1. And she made ready the purple and the scarlet and brought them to the priest. And the priest blessed her and said, 'Mary, the Lord God has magnified your name, and you shall be blessed among all generations of the earth [Luke 1.22, 48]'. 2. And Mary rejoiced and went to Elizabeth her kinswoman and knocked on the door. When Elizabeth heard it, she put down the scarlet and ran to the door and opened it, and when she saw Mary she blessed her and said, 'How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, that which is in me leaped and blessed you [Luke 1.41-44].' But Mary forgot the mysteries which the archangel Gabriel had told her, and raised a sigh towards heaven and said, 'Who am I, Lord, that all generations of the earth count me blessed?' 3. And she remained three months with Elizabeth.

SQE: Matthew 1.18-25; Luke 2.1-7.
Protevangelium: Day by day her womb grew, and Mary was afraid and went into her house and hid herself from the children of Israel. And Mary was sixteen years old when all these mysterious things happened. 13. 1. Now when she was in her sixth month, behold, Joseph came from his buildings and entered his house and found her with child. And he struck his face, threw himself down on the ground on sackcloth and wept bitterly saying, 'With what countenance shall I look towards the Lord my God? What prayer shall I offer for this maiden? For I received her as a virgin out of the temple of the Lord my God and have not protected her. Who has deceived me? Who has done this evil in my house and defiled the virgin? Has the story of Adam been repeated in me? For as Adam was absent in the hour of his prayer and the serpent came and found Eve alone and deceived her, so also has it happened to me.' 2. And Joseph arose from the sackcloth and called Mary and said to her, 'You who are cared for by God, why have you done this and forgotten the Lord your God? Why have you humiliated your soul, you who were brought up in the Holy of Holies and received food from the hand of an angel?' 3. But she wept bitterly, saying, 'I am pure, and know not a man.' And Joseph said to her, 'Whence is this in your womb?' And she said, 'As the Lord my God lives, I do not know whence it has come to me.' 14. 1. And Joseph feared greatly and parted from her, pondering what he should do with her. And Joseph said, 'If I conceal her sin, I shall be found to be in opposition to the law of the Lord. If I expose her to the children of Israel, I fear lest that which is in her may be from the angels and I should be found delivering innocent blood to the judgement of death. What then shall I do with her? I will put her away secretly.' And the night came upon him. 2. And behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Do not fear this child. For that which is in her is of the Holy Spirit. She shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins [Matthew 1.20-21].' And Joseph arose from sleep and glorified the God of Israel who had bestowed his grace upon him, and he guarded her. 15. 1. And Annas the scribe came to him and said to him, 'Joseph, why have you not appeared in our assembly?' And Joseph said to him, 'Because I was weary from the journey and I rested the first day.' And Annas turned and saw that Mary was pregnant. 2. And he went running to the priest and said to him, 'Joseph, for whom you are a witness, has grievously transgressed.' And the high priest said, 'In what way?' And he said, 'The virgin, whom he received from the temple of the Lord, he has defiled, and has secretly consummated his marriage with her, and has not disclosed it to the children of Israel.' And the priest said to him, 'Has Joseph done this?' And Annas said to him, 'Send officers, and you will find the virgin pregnant.' And the officers went and found as he had said, and brought her and Joseph to the court. And the priest said, 'Mary, why have you done this? Why have you humiliated your soul and forgotten the Lord your God, you who were brought up in the Holy of Holies and received food from the hand of an angel, and heard hymns, and danced before him? Why have you done this?' But she wept bitterly saying, 'As the Lord my God lives, I am pure before him and I know not a man.' And the priest said to Joseph, 'Why have you done this?' And Joseph said, 'As the Lord my God lives, I am pure concerning her.' And the priest said, 'Do not give false witness, but speak the truth. You have consummated your marriage in secret, and have not disclosed it to the children of Israel, and have not bowed your head under the mighty hand in order that your seed might be blessed.' And Joseph was silent. 16. 1. And the priest said, 'Give back the virgin whom you have received from the temple of the Lord.' And Joseph began to weep. And the priest said, 'I will give you both to drink the water of the conviction of the Lord, and it will make your sins manifest in your eyes.' 2. And the priest took it and gave it to Joseph to drink and sent him into the hill-country, and he returned whole. And he made Mary drink also, and sent her into the hill-country, and she returned whole. And all the people marvelled, because sin did not appear in them. And the priest said, 'If the Lord God has not revealed your sins, neither do I judge you.' And he released them. And Joseph took Mary and departed to his house, rejoicing and glorifying the God of Israel. 17. 1. Now there went out a decree from the king Augustus that all [Luke 2.1] those in Bethlehem in Judaea [Matthew 2.1] should be enrolled [Luke 2.1]. And Joseph said, 'I shall enrol my sons, but what shall I do with this child? How shall I enrol her? As my wife? I am ashamed to do that. Or as my daughter? But all the children of Israel know that she is not my daughter. On this day of the Lord the Lord will do as he wills.' 2. And he saddled his she-ass and sat her on it; his son led, and Joseph followed. And they drew near to the third milestone. And Joseph turned round and saw her sad and said within himself, 'Perhaps the child within her is paining her.' Another time Joseph turned round and saw her laughing and said to her, 'Mary, why is it that I see your face at one moment laughing and at another sad?' And Mary said to Joseph, 'I see with my eyes two peoples, one weeping and lamenting and one rejoicing and exulting.' 3. And having come half-way, Mary said to him, 'Joseph, take me down from the she-ass, for the child within me presses me to come forth.' And he took her down from the she-ass and said to her, 'Where shall I take you and hide your shame? For the place is desert.' 18. 1. And he found a cave there and brought her into it, and left her in the care of his sons and went out to seek for a Hebrew midwife in the region of Bethlehem. 2. Now I, Joseph, was walking, and yet I did not walk, and I looked up to the air and saw the air in amazement. And I looked up at the vault of heaven, and saw it standing still and the birds of the heaven motionless. And I looked down at the earth, and saw a dish placed there and workmen reclining, and their hands were in the dish. But those who chewed did not chew, and those who lifted up did not lift, and those who put something to their mouth put nothing to their mouth, but everybody looked upwards. And behold, sheep were being driven and they did not come forward but stood still; and the shepherd raised his hand to strike them with his staff but his hand remained upright. And I looked at the flow of the river, and saw the mouths of the kids over it and they did not drink. And then suddenly everything went on its course. 19. 1. And behold, a woman came down from the hill-country and said to me, 'Man, where are you going?' And I said, 'I seek a Hebrew midwife.' And she answered me, 'Are you from Israel?' And I said to her, 'Yes.' And she said, 'And who is she who brings forth in the cave?' And I said, 'My betrothed.' And she said to me, 'Is she not your wife?' And I said to her, 'She is Mary, who was brought up in the temple of the Lord, and I received her by lot as my wife, and she is not my wife, but she has conceived by the Holy Spirit.' And the midwife said to him, 'Is this true?' And Joseph said to her, 'Come and see.' [P. Bodmer omits Joseph's monologue of ch. 18 and reads as follows at the beginning of ch. 19: And he found one who was just coming down from the hill-country, and he took her with him, and said to the midwife, 'Mary is betrothed to me; but she conceived of the Holy Spirit after she had been brought up in the Temple of the Lord.'] And she went with him. 2. And they stopped at the entrance to the cave, and behold, a bright cloud overshadowed the cave. And the midwife said, 'My soul is magnified today, for my eyes have seen wonderful things; for salvation is born to Israel.' And immediately the cloud disappeared from the cave and a great light appeared, so that our eyes could not bear it. A short time afterwards that light withdrew until the baby appeared, and it came and took the breast of its mother Mary. And the midwife cried, 'This day is great for me, because I have seen this new sight.' 3. And the midwife came out of the cave, and Salome met her. And she said to her, 'Salome, Salome, I have a new sight to tell you about; a virgin has brought forth, a thing which her condition does not allow.' And Salome said, 'As the Lord my God lives, unless I insert my finger and test her condition, I will not believe that a virgin has given birth.' 20. i. And the midwife went in and said to Mary, 'Make yourself ready, for there is no small contention concerning you'. And Salome inserted her finger to test her condition. And she cried out, saying, 'Woe for my wickedness and my unbelief; for I have tempted the living God; and behold, my hand falls away from me, consumed by fire!' 2. And she bowed her knees before the Lord saying, 'O God of my fathers, remember me; for I am the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not make me pilloried for the children of Israel, but restore me to the poor. For you know, Lord, that in your name I perform my duties and from you I have received my hire'. 3. And behold, an angel of the Lord appeared and said to her, 'Salome, Salome, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Bring your hand to the child and touch him and salvation and joy will be yours.' 4. And Salome came near and touched him, saying, 'I will worship him, for a great king has been born to Israel.' And Salome was healed as she had requested, and she went out of the cave. And, behold, an angel of the Lord cried, 'Salome, Salome, do not report what marvels you have seen, until the child has come to Jerusalem.'

SQE: Matthew 2.1-12; Luke 2.8-20.
Protevangelium: 21. 1. And behold, Joseph was ready to go to Judaea. And there took place a great tumult in Bethlehem of Judaea. For there came wise men saying, 'Where is the new-born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.' 2. When Herod heard this he was troubled and sent officers to the wise men, and sent for the high priests and questioned them, 'How is it written concerning the Messiah? Where is he born?' They said to him, 'In Bethlehem of Judaea; for thus it is written.' And he let them go. And he questioned the wise men and said to them, 'What sign did you see concerning the new-born king?' And the wise men said, 'We saw how an indescribably greater star shone among these stars and dimmed them, so that the stars no longer shone; and so we knew that a king was born for Israel. And we have come to worship him.' And Herod said, 'Go and seek, and when you have found him, tell me, that I also may come to worship him,' 3. And the wise men went out. And behold, the star which they had seen in the east, went before them until they came to the cave. And it stood over the head of the cave. And the wise men saw the young child with Mary his mother, and they took out of their pouch gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 4. And having been warned by the angel that they should not go into Judaea, they went to their own country by another route. [Matthew 2.1-12 for entire chapter.]

SQE: Matthew 2.13-21.
Protevangelium: 22. 1. But when Herod realized that he had been deceived by the wise men he was angry and sent his murderers and commanded them to kill all the babies who were two years old and under [Matthew 2.16]. 2. When Mary heard that the babies were to be killed, she was afraid and took the child and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in an ox-manger [Luke 2.7]. 3. But Elizabeth, when she heard that John was sought for, took him and went up into the hill-country. And she looked around to see where she could hide him, and there was no hiding-place. And Elizabeth groaned aloud and said, 'O mountain of God, receive a mother with a child.' For Elizabeth could not ascend. And immediately the mountain was rent asunder and received her. And a light was shining for them; for an angel of the Lord was with them and protected them. 23. 1. Herod was searching for John, and sent officers to Zacharias saying, 'Where have you hidden your son?' And he answered and said to them, 'I am a minister of God and serve in the temple of the Lord. I do not know where my son is.' 2. And the officers departed and told all this to Herod. Then Herod was angry and said, 'His son is to be king over Israel!' And he sent to him again saying, 'Tell the truth. Where is your son? You know that you are at my mercy.' And the officers departed and told him these things. 3. And Zacharias said, 'I am a witness of God. Pour out blood! But the Lord will receive my spirit, for you shed innocent blood at the threshold of the temple of the Lord.' And about daybreak Zacharias was slain. And the children of Israel did not know that he had been slain. 24. 1. But at the hour of the salutation the priests were departing, and the customary blessing of Zacharias did not take place. And the priests stood waiting for Zacharias, to greet him with prayer and to glorify the Most High. 2. But when he failed to come they were all afraid. But one of them took courage and went in and he saw beside the altar congealed blood; and a voice said, 'Zacharias has been slain, and his blood shall not be wiped away until his avenger comes.' And when he heard these words, he was afraid and went out and told the priests what he had seen. 3. And they took courage and entered and saw what had happened. And the ceiling panels of the temple wailed, and they split their clothes from the top to the bottom. And they did not find his body, but they found his blood turned into stone. And they were afraid, and went out and told all the people that Zacharias had been slain. And all the tribes of the people heard and they mourned him and lamented three days and three nights.

SQE: Luke 2.21-38.
Protevangelium: 4. And after the three days the priests took counsel whom they should appoint in his stead and the lot fell upon Symeon. Now it was he to whom it had been revealed by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death until he had seen the Christ in the flesh [Luke 2.25-26].

I have color coded Matthew as blue and Luke as yellow.

There are only about four spots at which the Matthean material and the Lucan material either overlap or nearly so.

First:

11.3. And the angel of the Lord said, 'Not so, Mary; for the power of the Lord shall overshadow you [Luke 1:35]; wherefore that holy one who is born of you shall be called the Son of the Most High. And you shall call his name Jesus [Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31]; for he shall save his people from their sins [Matthew 1:21].' And Mary said, 'Behold, (I am) the handmaid of the Lord before him: be it to me according to your word [Luke 1.31].'

The only real overlap is in that one phrase, "you shall call his name Jesus," which famously derives from a verse in Isaiah:

Matthew 1.21: τέξεται δὲ υἱὸν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν, αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν.
Isaiah 7.14b: ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ λήμψεται καὶ τέξεται υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἐμμανουήλ.
Luke 1.31: καὶ ἰδοὺ, συλλήμψἐν γαστρὶ καὶ τέξυἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν.

In other words, the only true overlap not mediated by a constitutive verse from the Old Greek of the Hebrew scriptures is the name Jesus.

Second:

17. 1. Now there went out a decree from the king Augustus that all [Luke 2.1] those in Bethlehem in Judaea [Matthew 2.1] should be enrolled [Luke 2.1].

Separate phrases; no overlap.

Third: the SQE gives Matthew 2.1-12 (the Magi) and Luke 2.8-20 (the shepherds) in the same synopsis, but you can see from the above passage that the Protevangelium is in parallel strictly with Matthew here, not with Luke.

Fourth:

22. 1. But when Herod realized that he had been deceived by the wise men he was angry and sent his murderers and commanded them to kill all the babies who were two years old and under [Matthew 2.16]. 2. When Mary heard that the babies were to be killed, she was afraid and took the child and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in an ox-manger [Luke 2.7].

Once again, no overlap.

Overall, the only real overlap between Matthew and Luke that I can find in the Protevangelium is that memorable phrase from Isaiah 7.14. Would this not be suspicious were we to be of the opinion that the Protevangelium served as the source for either one of them? Imagine that Matthew wrote first, and then James, and then Luke; this means that Luke managed to pick out from James only those parts which Matthew had not contributed; if he did this by accident, then that seems like something of a coincidence; if on purpose, then what was the purpose of avoiding all the distinctly Matthean material? Imagine Luke writing first, and then James, and then Matthew, and you have the same issue with Matthew managing to avoid the Lucan material. Put James first and you will still have the same issue once you reach the third author, be it Matthew or Luke.

This pattern is one that I deliberately seek out in sets of three (or more) texts:

Text 1: A, B, C, D, E.
Text 2: F, G, H, I, J.
Text 3: A, F, G, B, C, D, H, I, J, E.

I do this because this arrangement implies either (A) that text 3 has combined two basically independent texts or (B) that either text 1 or text 2 was written by someone motivated for some reason to pick out all the material in text 3 which does not overlap material in the other text (1 or 2). If I cannot come up with a decent motive for that picking-out procedure, then I am looking either at a weird coincidence or at text 3 being a conflation of texts 1 and 2.

The Matthean and Lucan infancy narratives have almost no significant verbal overlaps between them; that one which matches Isaiah 7.14 is by far the most significant of the bunch. The rest of the parallels between the two are interesting, but they do not involve a lot of verbiage, either.

First, there are the parents, Mary and Joseph, and the fact that they are engaged to be married.

Second, an angel announces the birth. In Matthew the angel comes to Joseph, in Luke to Mary.

Third, the name is angelically announced as Jesus, which is linked to him also being Savior.

Fourth, the conception of the child is through the Holy Spirit instead of by a human male.

Fifth, Jesus is a scion of David through his father.

Sixth, the birth takes place in Bethlehem, with both parents apparently present.

Seventh, most of this happens during the reign of Herod.

Eighth, there is a move to Nazareth, albeit for completely different reasons.

Now, the Protevangelium does touch on the first seven of these conceptual overlaps, if you want to count those for something. I have long suspected that the Matthean and Lucan infancy narratives are essentially independent retellings of a growing story based almost purely (A) upon precedents set in the Hebrew scriptures (angelic annunciation, virgin birth, birthplace in Bethlehem) and (B) upon known "facts" about Jesus' own life (his name, his Davidic lineage, the names of his parents, the basic timeline), and these two concepts may well be the same in some cases (his Davidic ancestry, for example, may be scripturally motivated to the core).

But, overall, it seems a bit impressive to me both that Matthew and Luke seem so independent of one another and that the Protevangelium shares a lot of material with both, but seldom with both at the same time, with those few exceptions which seem almost necessary to tell the story of the same person's birth.

What do you think? Is there another angle to this whereby the Protevangelium fits more naturally as one of the source texts rather than as a harmonizing later effort?

Ben.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

maryhelena
Posts: 1702
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:22 pm
Location: England

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by maryhelena » Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:56 pm

Ben, just want to throw this into the mix....

John the Baptist: “destined to be king over Israel’?

https://frdbarchive.org/viewtopic.php?f ... 0832&hilit

The son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, John, “destined to be king over Israel’? And Mary’s son also! - and only around six months between the two pregnancies?

One could view the gospel of James as being written after the gospel storyline - as is usually the argument with the wonder-worker storyline in Slavonic Josephus. Or, one could, if one views the gospel storyline as a developing storyline (that what we now have is the story in its final, canonised, version) view these stories as being pre-gospel stories. In other words; work forward from these basic stories instead of trying to work backwards from the gospels, ie someone takes bits and pieces out of the canonical gospels, adds some of their own stuff, and that’s what one now sees in Slavonic Josephus and the Infancy Gospel of James. But is that not only the easy way out of the problem, it’s also relies on the assumption of a historical gospel JC.

The gospel storyline, that we now have, has it’s central figure, JC, as the only king to be - John the Baptist has no story re being destined to be king over Israel. That someone would take their cue from the canonical storyline and so distort that story, as to have John, son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, to also be in the same league as it’s JC figure regarding a claim to kingship, is illogical. Two rival claims to kingship. The gospels go with their JC figure. Was there another group that decided for the JtB claim? Or, was there something else going on here? The writer of the gospel of James seems to think both claims are warranted - albeit his timing raises questions.
=====================

Originally Posted by PhilosopherJay View Post
Hi maryhelena and Doug Shaver,

I think the text from Chapter one of Luke is setting us up for a John-the-next-king story:

Quote:
67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,

69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—

70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—

71 Salvation From Our Enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us.

It is kind of ridiculous to think that Zacharias (possessed by the Holy Spirit, no less) is announcing that his son will save Israel by announcing that someone else will save Israel. It only makes sense if he is announcing that his son John is going to be the new savior and King of Israel.

A Father (possessed by the Holy Spirit) announcing the birth of his son who will announce the birth of another son who will save Israel might happen in a comedy set in Freedonia, but not in Judea.

John the Baptist and JC both to be Kings of Israel? The gospel story has played down this element of the Infancy Gospel of James. The gospels only want one King of Israel story. A search for early christian history would need to put theological concerns aside and re-consider these two gospel figures, both born to be Kings of Israel, from a historical perspective. (yep, back again to the Hasmoneans and their bitter civil war...... ;) )

Interesting point, in a recent post on gLuke and JB nativity story, by Daniel Schwatz:

http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtop ... 2#p112517

================================================
added later

John the Baptist and JC both born to be Kings of Israel. It's here that the DSS might provide some insight into two Kings of Israel.

ALLUSIONS TO THE END OF THE HASMONEAN DYNASTY
IN PESHER NAHUM (4Q169)
Gregory L. Doudna


https://www.academia.edu/12144236/_All ... 169_2011_

If this sounds familiar, perhaps it is because this is the picture evoked
by the traditional portrayal of the Teacher of Righteousness as so often
described. After his overthrow by Antigonus Mattathias, Hyrcanus II
echoes the basic features of the Teacher of Righteousness in being an
ex-high priest, expelled from the temple, cast into exile and opposed to
a regime in Jerusalem which fell in a brutal Roman conquest


Despite the striking correspondences between Antigonus Mattathias and the
Wicked Priest just named and no obvious counter-indication, so far as
I have been able to discover there has never previously been a scholarly
suggestion that the Wicked Priest might allude to Antigonus Mattathias.
And in asking how Antigonus Mattathias was missed I am
including myself, for I too missed this in my study of Pesher Nahum
of 2001. Now let us return to Pesher Nahum again.

======================
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

davidmartin
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by davidmartin » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:44 am

thanks very much for this, i need some time to look at all this information
i guess it's also possible that there is a common source to both Luke and the Prot. of James if there's additional verses in one or the other that appear to be original....?

davidmartin
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by davidmartin » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:31 am

ok after reading this i would offer the following conclusions
if you take the birth narratives in matthew and luke together with that prot. of james it seems likely there were writings covering this topic going back to the time when the gospels were still being composed. there probably were multiple sources and we don't have the earliest ones in our possession

you could argue that Luke drew on these and the more fantastic elements were omitted (Mary being consecrated in the temple as a vestal virgin)
there's no reason to think these elements were later than luke for sure?
what this would indicate is divergent streams within the early church and they were willing to use each other's sources only up to a point
you could argue that the prot. of James represents the tradition found in the various 'Acts' eg of Andrew that ultimately were rejected but seemed to represent their own tradition that separated from orthodoxy later in the 2nd century.
it could be valuable to try and reconstruct the beliefs behind the various Acts and see what this wing of the early church was about, i seem to remember they had an egyptian branch with women priests and were generally ascetic but i've forgotten the source of this information
if this line of thinking is right then what we find in luke is an excerpt from a gospel that differed from the gospel represented by luke in interesting ways. Luke was happy to excerpt but present the gospel according to his own tradition. If on the other hand all these later Acts and Infancy gospels are purely later innovations then they hold no value at all and can all be rejected
So that question seems to be quite important. I think there is enough evidence that there were different gospels floating around and they are valuable for piecing together what happened.
Luke drew on some earlier source because it was anti-Marcionite but that was it, he didn't accept the gospel being presented by the sources he drew from

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8006
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:37 am

davidmartin wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:31 am
ok after reading this i would offer the following conclusions
if you take the birth narratives in matthew and luke together with that prot. of james it seems likely there were writings covering this topic going back to the time when the gospels were still being composed. there probably were multiple sources and we don't have the earliest ones in our possession

you could argue that Luke drew on these and the more fantastic elements were omitted (Mary being consecrated in the temple as a vestal virgin)
there's no reason to think these elements were later than luke for sure?
They sure look, sound, and feel later to me. Do you really think that the Immaculate Conception would have preceded the Virgin Birth? Surely the former is an explanation and development of the latter.

I am in complete agreement that our extant gospels are probably working with earlier materials, and I have made arguments to that effect on this forum before. For example, with respect to the infancy narratives, I once suggested that Luke 2.2 is an addition.

But I think there is stuff in the Protevangelium which is later than pretty much anything in the Lucan or Matthean infancy narratives. They all contain earlier material, but the Protevangelium as a whole is further downstream.

YMMV.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

davidmartin
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by davidmartin » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:02 pm

Ben let's slice it a different way. (In all probability you're right it's later than Luke i'm not gonna push that one too hard!)
What's interesting is there was some part of the earlyish church engaging in all this Marian speculation
Luke isn't an anomaly, nor was it the first and definitely not the last (!)
Then you have Ode 19 as another early witness. Then there's some stuff in the Shep. of Hermas
I grew up hearing the protestant belief that the RC church came up with all the Marian doctrines late, usually after Nicea (they magically 'went wrong' only after the NT canon was assembled, how convenient!)
But the more i think about it it does seem to have early origins (not only the infancy gospels, Ephrem really goes quite far into this as well)
So how far back does it go? Far back enough that no-one can really say

It's true not much of this stuff found it's way into the NT but what did shows this Marian theology was going on and is just a small portion of what was around being worked on in some corner of the early church. Outside the mainstream maybe but still within 'orthodoxy'.

Should Marian speculation be restored to an early date and given a lot more significance in primitive Christianity?
Ultimately it has to go back to some core Christian doctrine that is being expressed i think the other motivations don't explain it compelling as they are (undermine Marcion and the Gnostics, counter certain unwholesome stories about Jesus's birth, explain how the son of God got born) i think there's a doctrinal basis for it originally and it was probably a standalone mystery before it ever got into the gospels as stories

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8006
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:03 pm

davidmartin wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:02 pm
Ben let's slice it a different way. (In all probability you're right it's later than Luke i'm not gonna push that one too hard!)
What's interesting is there was some part of the earlyish church engaging in all this Marian speculation
Luke isn't an anomaly, nor was it the first and definitely not the last (!)
Then you have Ode 19 as another early witness.
I find myself reluctant to use the Odes of Solomon as guides for dating other materials until I get a better handle on how to date the Odes themselves. It is hard enough to be sure that all the materials in a text which presents itself as a unified whole are of the same date, and the Odes do not present themselves as unified anyway. They are basically a hymnbook, and hymnbooks often compile songs both old and new, as well as by different authors. The only hint at their overall unity comes from the extant title of the collection, a title which is universally regarded as passing fiction (since nobody supposes that they really are of Solomon). Some (but not all) of the Odes evince overlaps with some of the Qumranite materials. At least one may refer to the destruction of the Temple; that is not the only possible reading, but it is a viable one. At least one evinces a parallel with the Parables of Enoch, but they, too, are hard to date. So, for all I know, there may be Odes in the collection dating to Maccabean times and others dating to some hungover morning on the very day the collection was published in its current form, which could be up to late century II, although most specialists seem to opt for early century II.

Ode 19 itself, of course, has more in common with the so called "pocket gospel" in the Ascension of Isaiah than it does with the Protevangelium. Which came first, a midwife on hand who can help Salome testify to Mary's virginity, or the complete absence of a midwife to testify to the painlessness of the birth? Not sure myself. You? Any tips for dating Ode 19? Lactantius quotes from it, but that is not of much help.
I grew up hearing the protestant belief that the RC church came up with all the Marian doctrines late, usually after Nicea (they magically 'went wrong' only after the NT canon was assembled, how convenient!)
Oh, they date to before Nicea, the conference at which absolutely everything was settled under heaven, from the canon of scripture to what kind of kitchen utensils to use while baking Christmas cakes. Just kidding. As far as we know, the canon was not even a topic of conversation at Nicea. Even had it been, there were canonical lists published long afterward containing slightly different books than what are commonly accepted today in most mainline churches.

What do you think of how the gospel of Mark treats Mary? (A bit dismissively, to be honest.) Do you think some form of Marianism was already in play, and Mark just disagreed with it? Or do you think Marianism postdates Mark? (Not a rhetorical question. My own answer is not very firm.)
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

davidmartin
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by davidmartin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:31 am

Ode 19 itself, of course, has more in common with the so called "pocket gospel" in the Ascension of Isaiah than it does with the Protevangelium. Which came first, a midwife on hand who can help Salome testify to Mary's virginity, or the complete absence of a midwife to testify to the painlessness of the birth? Not sure myself. You? Any tips for dating Ode 19? Lactantius quotes from it, but that is not of much help.
Absence of midwife is always earliest (Eve didn't have one :) ). I believe 19 is about spiritual rebirth which is a major odes theme
No midwife needed for spiritual births. No birth pains either. I think that's the direction it points in which later tellings of the physical birth of Jesus drew from.
There's another line of enquiry. In a sense... how do preachers bring Jesus 'into the room'. They don't give birth to him on stage literally. It's all verbal and I detect in the Odes an awareness that the speaker is going through and bringing about the incarnation verbally in hearers. So the mother in Ode 19 doesn't need to be the Virgin Mary at all, she could be any other female who had a major role, eg Mary Magdalene. I suspect there's crossover between Magdalene and Virgin going on that's obscured later
I mean the mother in 19 'declaring with grandeur' following the birth looks like Mary M proclaiming Jesus is risen
What do you think of how the gospel of Mark treats Mary? (A bit dismissively, to be honest.) Do you think some form of Marianism was already in play, and Mark just disagreed with it? Or do you think Marianism postdates Mark? (Not a rhetorical question. My own answer is not very firm.)
I think Mark might have de-emphasized Jesus family and disciples and is borderline docetic leaving little room for Mary to play a role
Mark might date from a time before Marian ideas really developed beyond what is found in Ode 19 which leaves much room for interpretation mystically and something triggered more developed Marian theology later in the 1st century
Paul seems to hint there was this kind of speculation when he's forced to declare the heavenly Jersusalem is the true mother, as if speculation around this was going on. What are the chances Paul would get along well with Mary Magdalene? I rate them low!

davidmartin
Posts: 429
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by davidmartin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:14 am

Re: dating of the Odes
they are a lot more uniform than a lot of other texts and seem internally consistent if there's any advantage in their uniformity or non-uniformity it could be useful but the whole text is considered less important than others for some unknown reason, maybe because it scares people and they'd rather avoid something uncomfortable

and i think the whole approach to dating is wrong
there's nothing wrong in trying to date a text and give it a range of possible dates. that's rock solid
where it goes wrong is then trying to narrow it down based on weak criteria and this then get's put forward as the most likely date
this is where they go wrong. dating the Odes to early 2nd century is a classic example of this when it could easily date to the mid 1st century or be late 2nd century, so that early 2nd century date is a very weak and useless guess
it would be better to try and run with scenarios for early and late dating the text and see what problems it would create or solve based on this
all i say is early dating it solves more problems than late dating it
if it's early you have a window into the earliest origins of Christianity, if it's late then it's just an interesting throwback
but by slapping an early 2nd century date on it these implications are ignored and avoided and all they are trying to do is make it go away as if it had never been discovered, and that's what i think they are doing for whatever reasons. This leaves people like Charlesworth to present them as Christian hymns and that's all the attention they get and even that isn't much. i don't think that's acceptable or honest or anything but a short term period of obscurity, which kind of seems to have always been the lot of the Odes huh?!

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8006
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Matthew, Luke, & the Protevangelium of James (for David).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:47 am

davidmartin wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:14 am
Re: dating of the Odes
they are a lot more uniform than a lot of other texts and seem internally consistent if there's any advantage in their uniformity or non-uniformity it could be useful but the whole text is considered less important than others for some unknown reason, maybe because it scares people and they'd rather avoid something uncomfortable

and i think the whole approach to dating is wrong
there's nothing wrong in trying to date a text and give it a range of possible dates. that's rock solid
where it goes wrong is then trying to narrow it down based on weak criteria and this then get's put forward as the most likely date
this is where they go wrong. dating the Odes to early 2nd century is a classic example of this when it could easily date to the mid 1st century or be late 2nd century, so that early 2nd century date is a very weak and useless guess
it would be better to try and run with scenarios for early and late dating the text and see what problems it would create or solve based on this
all i say is early dating it solves more problems than late dating it
if it's early you have a window into the earliest origins of Christianity, if it's late then it's just an interesting throwback
but by slapping an early 2nd century date on it these implications are ignored and avoided and all they are trying to do is make it go away as if it had never been discovered, and that's what i think they are doing for whatever reasons. This leaves people like Charlesworth to present them as Christian hymns and that's all the attention they get and even that isn't much. i don't think that's acceptable or honest or anything but a short term period of obscurity, which kind of seems to have always been the lot of the Odes huh?!
It is not just Charlesworth, as I understand it. What are the criteria which are presented as leading to that date in early century II, and what issues do you find with the criteria themselves?
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

Post Reply