JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
davidmartin
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by davidmartin »

"Papyrus 45 P45 or P. Chester Beatty I) is an early New Testament manuscript which is a part of the Chester Beatty Papyri. It has been paleographically dated to the early 3rd century CE"

It's really wishful thinking that the 4th century church crafted these texts. They did craft something but it wasn't the texts it was the universal dogma
I'm more interested in the problems being solved. What you think happened in the 4th century happened in the 2nd
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Irish1975
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

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From the conclusion to Nongbri’s article, cited above—
Since the 1960s, p75 has held a central place in the textual criticism of the New Testament. Yet much of the importance imputed to p75 has rested on the presumed late-second- or early-third-century date for the codex. As we have seen, the actual evidence used to establish that date was not strong. While one cannot absolutely rule out a late-second- or early-third-century date for p75 on the basis of the evi- dence presently available, the materials analyzed in this essay point toward the fourth century as an equally likely, if not more likely, date for this codex.77 If the guild finds this argument persuasive, we will need to rethink one of the twentieth century’s most significant conclusions in New Testament textual criticism
The wishful thinking of one of today’s most respected textual critics.
davidmartin wrote: Thu Aug 26, 2021 7:59 am What you think happened in the 4th century happened in the 2nd
I don’t know what you’re saying that I think happened in the 4th century. Not that the Gospels were invented in the 4th century, but that our version of them is very poorly attested prior to the 4th century (especially if Nongbri is to be taken seriously). I accept Trobisch’s account of a 2nd century first edition, and external testimonies to the existence of the Gospels at that time. But the bulk of our “evidence” for Jesus of Nazareth comes from documents that were continually revised and reshaped for some two centuries after they were first published.
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Irish1975
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

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Even if one should accept the optimistic 2nd/3rd century dating of some manuscripts, the picture of Gospel evolution over time is not encouraging. Here is the view of one scholar in a volume edited by Craig Evans & Jeremiah Johnston (i.e. forthright Christian apologists)—
…the second century still remains an era of unusual freedom, liberality, or even “uncontrolled” recomposition, in respect of the transmitted text of the living Gospels. The bundles of extant textual variants found during the post-inaugural period of the second century points to an era when the gospel texts appeared, early on, to have grown rather freely. As Epp (2002: 57) noted in his forthright appraisal of D. C. Parker’s (1997) “disarmingly small volume,” one can persuasively argue that the earliest period of the gospel texts was not firmly fixed, but rather represented the product of much “interpretive rewriting of tradition,” to slightly rephrase Parker’s words (1997: 93).

Does that mean we must despair of ever recovering anything close to an “original” gospel text or that our extant evangels do not reflect something close to an auctorial autograph? Of course not, for they surely do. But a number of competing texts, at times, among the welter of biblical manuscripts, will continue to challenge our assumptions about the integrity of a given reading, even if the bulk of what we have remains surprisingly accurate and stable. Perhaps we must accept in our academic praxis that a “variant-conscious approach” (Epp 2007) will remain the best way to address the vagaries of the text of our New Testament, a text that early on, seemed especially open to vibrancy and modification. Until the discovery of more light from the papyri, or further insights from the early Church Fathers, or fresh comparanda from the Apocryphal Gospels, or even new readings of the Diatessaron, our best hopes for attempting new inroads into an “original” text of the Gospels must be measured one papyrus at a time, and perhaps even one “gospel-parallel” at a time. With the caveat, of course, that it will always remain important to endeavor to champion one reading over-and-against another, or to envision how a particular text might have given rise to another, we must remain at the mercy of discovery and insight in order to achieve a closer appreciation of the original text of the New Testament. For the faith-minded, the Scriptures will always remain Holy Writ, and a good measure of credo may be required in reminding us that what we have inherited in the New Testament is surely the product of a remarkable, and unmistakably divine, legacy of scribal endeavor.

Roy Kotansky, “The Early Papyri, ‘Gospel-Parallel’ Variants, and the Text of the New Testament in the Second Century” (2020).
davidmartin
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by davidmartin »

I don’t know what you’re saying that I think happened in the 4th century. Not that the Gospels were invented in the 4th century, but that our version of them is very poorly attested prior to the 4th century (especially if Nongbri is to be taken seriously). I accept Trobisch’s account of a 2nd century first edition, and external testimonies to the existence of the Gospels at that time. But the bulk of our “evidence” for Jesus of Nazareth comes from documents that were continually revised and reshaped for some two centuries after they were first published.
Even from this quote there's a realistic possibility the bulk of this reshaping occurred in the 2nd century and the changes after that were relatively minor. There are no truly massive differences in the earliest MS but there are plenty of little differences that to me suggest the major 'shaping' occurred earlier on (for example Luke's gaining the birth narrative). The largest textual differences we can see are things like the Mark ending, or the woman caught in adultery that snuck into John. What we can't see in the MS tradition is because it occurred earlier

This timeline fits in with Irenaeus who was able to proclaim a 4 gospel 'canon' in the late 2nd century. I think they had things mostly buttoned up by then and were churning out the official versions

To be honest taking a slight step back what i'm suggesting is pretty much the same just seeing the action more compressed into the 2nd century rather than spread out over a couple
But it's advantageous of my theory if it were earlier

Then the lack of gospel references in the epistles and pastorals isn't evidence a gospel didn't exist. it's evidence no gospel was accepted by the authors of those writings. The Pauline faction describes a Jesus who has no biography how could they accept a gospel?
Likewise, the lack of references to Paul in the gospels is because he wasn't really accepted by the authors of the earlier gospels at least (Mark and John). All these offshoots had their own writings
Simply put I see early 2nd century factionalism as the key in solving a lot of problems that's all
I think it should be assumed there was a historical basis in the 1st century for a genuine spiritual movement with a charismatic leader who really did exist, the lack of references is due to the factionalism that was slow to adopt gospels for themselves



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Irish1975
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

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If there had been a 1st century “charismatic leader” known to the epistle writers, why would they have needed to agree on the authority of a written gospel merely in order to relay historical information about him? Wouldn’t there have been the so-called “oral tradition,” on which the written Gospels are supposedly based? Paul and his circles should have had access to that same oral tradition, if indeed his “Jesus Christ” was one and the same figure as Jesus of Nazareth. But there is no evidence that he did.

To assert that the epistle writers and apostolic fathers knew of a Gospel and knew of Jesus of Nazareth, but carefully refrained from writing anything about it and him “because no gospel was accepted” is both ad hoc and implausible. How can anyone suppose that the writer of Galatians was shy to speak about things that lack a general acceptance in the churches?
davidmartin
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by davidmartin »

Irish1975 wrote: Fri Aug 27, 2021 7:33 am If there had been a 1st century “charismatic leader” known to the epistle writers, why would they have needed to agree on the authority of a written gospel merely in order to relay historical information about him? Wouldn’t there have been the so-called “oral tradition,” on which the written Gospels are supposedly based? Paul and his circles should have had access to that same oral tradition, if indeed his “Jesus Christ” was one and the same figure as Jesus of Nazareth. But there is no evidence that he did.

To assert that the epistle writers and apostolic fathers knew of a Gospel and knew of Jesus of Nazareth, but carefully refrained from writing anything about it and him “because no gospel was accepted” is both ad hoc and implausible. How can anyone suppose that the writer of Galatians was shy to speak about things that lack a general acceptance in the churches?
I think the answer to this is that Paul spiritualised the life of the man in question to the extent of ignoring these historical details (hence "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!"). So "the old" passing away includes the gospel type information isn't he comparing the old life to Christ without distinction here?
Also, it's not clear if these early type Christians were agreed on who the Christ might have been, there seems to have been a bit of a choice but i don't want to get sidetracked on this point just worth mentioning it
So following on from this, Paul would have had problems with competing groups who did hold to these details and, likely, the teaching as they saw it not how Paul saw it. He sure did have problems with competing apostles, ie those that might have known who he is talking about
So i submit Paul intentionally didn't relate any gospel type information, not that it didn't exist and Paul's churches didn't have a general acceptance of any gospel except what Paul wrote ... to begin with. Years later that changed

The earlier actual gospels / oral tradition would have been outsider material that in the end was accepted only after a while and probably not fully until Matthew came out and not the four as a package until Irenaeus's time - and these obviously would have been updated to accommodated the sentiments of the emerging orthodox church where appropriate/possible
I suspect Justin's or other earlier fathers lack of a gospel stuff is due to the lingering status quo and lack of trust
So i might be wrong but i do think it at least makes logical sense what i'm saying and does solve some problems?
Steven Avery
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by Steven Avery »

Steven Avery wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:57 am Discussed on a Facebook group named:
The Apostolic Fathers and Second Century Christianity
Since I believe the full New Testament was written before AD 70, I look forward to learning more.
And I asked if he is including the Theophilus Proposal.
Here is the Rethinking discussion

The Apostolic Fathers and Second Century Christianity
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1795609 ... 621173022/

This has been followed up with a discussion on NT dating, looking at Theophylact, in

Patristics for Protestants
https://www.facebook.com/groups/patrist ... 743487721/
andrewcriddle
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by andrewcriddle »

It is little purpose for non-specialists to quote one palaeographer against another.
But FWIW Early NT manuscripts and their dates by Orsini and Clarysse a recent (but pre-Nongbri) analysis of NT manuscript dates, written to oppose the tendency of some scholars to date manuscripts too early, dates P45 P66 and P75 to the 1st half of the 3rd century CE.

Andrew Criddle
Steven Avery
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by Steven Avery »

Brent Nongbri in his writings makes a special point that the terminus post quem of these manuscripts is far too early, making the date range far too thin. The scripts could easily be used in many cases into the 300s, 400s, 500s, maybe later. Unless there is a specific date marker, as occurs rarely. (Brent gave one example in our correspondence.)

Afaik, this argument stands very strong. While a terminus ante quem often can be fixed neatly (nobody can write in a future script) the ending point is far more fluid. This simple and obvious point seems to be overlooked.

People today can write in script that looks like a 1611 Authorized Version printing. Archaic Mark was not busted by its script. Benedict, Simonides and the Mt. Athos crew in general had no problem with the Sinaiticus script. Copying an earlier script is especially likely in Bible texts.

The phenomenon of copying an earlier or ongoing script can even be normative.
andrewcriddle
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Re: JAT Robinson's early dating redux

Post by andrewcriddle »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 7:28 am It is little purpose for non-specialists to quote one palaeographer against another.
But FWIW Early NT manuscripts and their dates by Orsini and Clarysse a recent (but pre-Nongbri) analysis of NT manuscript dates, written to oppose the tendency of some scholars to date manuscripts too early, dates P45 P66 and P75 to the 1st half of the 3rd century CE.

Andrew Criddle
Orsini appears to have changed his dates to ones closer to Nongbri's.
https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/ ... 46-002/pdf
https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016 ... f-p66-p75/

Andrew Criddle
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