Gospel "according to" ___

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Irish1975
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Gospel "according to" ___

Post by Irish1975 »

[Apologies if this point is well known.]

Writing about the form of the Gospel titles, Trobisch writes that "indicating the authorial source by κατά and the accusative is extremely rare for book titles" (The First Edition of the New Testament, p. 38).

How then did these titles come about? One hypothesis not mentioned by Trobisch is that the editor who fashioned the titles was seeking to contradict and correct the declaration in Galatians 1:12 that Paul's gospel had no human source:

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τὸ εὐαγγελισθὲν ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν κατὰ ἄνθρωπον·

Just as the author of Acts explicitly contradicts the author of Galatians on many points, so in the case of the titles, the editor is asserting that the gospel does in fact come from human sources, i.e. the apostles and sub-apostles, under whose authority the NT is presented. Paul is included as a special case, but even if "his" gospel came by heavenly revelation, there were other apostles who delivered the εὐαγγέλιον on their own authority, κατὰ ἄνθρωπον. Theirs is the authority of a human being who knew the human Jesus. And, for the editor and for readers of the NT, the authority of the 4 Evangelists is greater than Paul's. The editor is contradicting not only Paul but also Marcion, who published a solitary Gospel with no attributed source.
gryan
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by gryan »

Rings true! Reminds me of how people will say in the dedications to books--All the credit for what is true goes to my sources, and all the blame for the mistakes comes back to me. I think such titles suggest an awareness of flaws, and further suggests that the flaws are κατὰ ἄνθρωπον.
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by gryan »

gryan wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:39 am Rings true! Reminds me of how people will say in the dedications to books--All the credit for what is true goes to my sources, and all the blame for the mistakes comes back to me. I think such titles suggest an awareness of flaws, and further suggests that the flaws are κατὰ ἄνθρωπον.
Alternatively, I wonder if, for Paul, κατὰ ἄνθρωπον in Galatians, was similar to κατὰ σάρκα in 2 Cor 5:16.

"Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh (κατὰ σάρκα); even though we have known Christ according to the flesh (κατὰ σάρκα), yet now we know Him in this way no longer."

In that context, each of the four gospels are speaking of Jesus κατὰ ἄνθρωπον/κατὰ σάρκα -- Jesus as he was perceived "in the days of his flesh" (Hebrews).

By contrast, the gospel preached by Paul was revealed from heaven after the death of Jesus κατὰ σάρκα.
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Irish1975
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by Irish1975 »

Thanks gryan. Yeah it was a bold gambit by the catholics to diffuse the divine authority over a number of imperfect "witnesses." You make a good point about kata sarka. They are also trying to move past Paul's heavenly visions, towards a story of Christ's resurrection as earthly manifestation of his revivified corpse. In this way Paul was right but also wrong. He only knew so much, and the real apostles had to fill in the story.
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by StephenGoranson »

As you know, Trobisch continued by observing that “The closest parallel is found in the formula used by Christian authors when referring to various competing Greek translations of the Jewish Scriptures”—by Aquila, by Symmachus, by Theodotion, etc.

So it is possible that such titles are neutral, merely distinguishing different gospels, of this perhaps-new genre.

Some related discussion is by Johannes Munck, “Evangelium Veritatis and Greek Usage as to Book Titles,” Studia Theologica [Aarhus] 17.2 (1963) 133-40. According to [kata?] Munck, early Greek texts usually did not have titles. In the case of the Nag Hammadi text Gospel of Truth--which had no title in the manuscript--it was given the Latin title Evangelium Veritatis by modern scholars, taking it (translated) from the Coptic first words, the incipit. (Some scholars had tended to used Latin titles, even for works of Greek writers such as Philo, e.g., Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit, Every Good Man is Free.

Gospel in this case, according to Munck, may not be an appropriate title for this Nag Hammadi homily. He also notes the different opinions as to whether this text discovered in the 1940s in Egypt is identical or not with a Gospel of Truth mentioned by Irenaeus.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by neilgodfrey »

Our first evidence of the four "kata gospels" comes with Irenaeus but before then there were Justin's "Memoirs of the Apostles". If these were also called gospels or a gospel it is unlikely that that word had quite the same meaning as it does in Paul's letters.

What advantage would there have been in replacing the Memoirs of the Apostles with a fourfold "kata" set if that's what happened?
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by StephenGoranson »

Of course the Letter of Aristeas story version that 70 (or 72) Hebrew Bible translators came up with identical Greek texts is a claim that tried to do away with relying on any one individual.
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by neilgodfrey »

To bring out a point I glossed too quickly earlier -- more contra-Paul than assigning personal names to our canonical gospels would be the mere fact of calling a biographical narrative of Jesus a "gospel". I don't think this is what the word meant for Paul.
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Irish1975
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by Irish1975 »

neilgodfrey wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:34 am To bring out a point I glossed too quickly earlier -- more contra-Paul than assigning personal names to our canonical gospels would be the mere fact of calling a biographical narrative of Jesus a "gospel". I don't think this is what the word meant for Paul.
But it was Marcion who made that innovation, without any "kata __." Was it part of Marcion's editorial concept that Paul was in fact the source, partly or entirely, of "the euangelion" (i.e. the narrative)? It seems to follow, if Paul was the only true apostle.

So, regarding the τὸ εὐαγγέλιον part of the title, the catholic editors were copying Marcion. The κατὰ ἄνθρωπον part was inspired by Galatians.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Gospel "according to" ___

Post by neilgodfrey »

Irish1975 wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:38 am
neilgodfrey wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:34 am To bring out a point I glossed too quickly earlier -- more contra-Paul than assigning personal names to our canonical gospels would be the mere fact of calling a biographical narrative of Jesus a "gospel". I don't think this is what the word meant for Paul.
But it was Marcion who made that innovation, without any "kata __." Was it part of Marcion's editorial concept that Paul was in fact the source, partly or entirely, of "the euangelion" (i.e. the narrative)? It seems to follow, if Paul was the only true apostle.

So, regarding the τὸ εὐαγγέλιον part of the title, the catholic editors were copying Marcion. The κατὰ ἄνθρωπον part was inspired by Galatians.

It's been a while since I studied Marcion so maybe you can remind me of the evidence that the catholic editors were copying Marcion re the "gospel" part of the "title".

On the main point, though -- if the accusation that a gospel sourced to men was a put-down, then would not the more likely response be to demonstrate that one's own gospel did not derive from men but that it, too, or even moreso, derived from the risen Christ? This seems to have been the foundation of Justin's claim for the truth of the gospel: that the resurrected Jesus revealed his teachings to the twelve and that this teaching was all prophesied in the Scriptures. Paul makes comparable claims.

I would have expected an accusation that one's gospel was inferior because it was sourced from "men" to have prompted the claim that it wasn't.

I'm reminded of the case for authority to be established in anonymity rather than identifiable fallible human authorship:
The anonymity of the NT historical books should not be regarded as peculiar to early Christian literature nor should it be interpreted in the context of Greco-Roman historiography. The striking fact that the NT Gospels and Acts do not mention their authors’ names has its literary counterpart in the anonymity of the OT history books, whereas OT anonymity itself is rooted in the literary conventions of the Ancient Near East. Just as in the OT, where the authors of books that belonged to the genre of wisdom and prophetic literature were usually named while historical works were written anonymously, only the NT letters and the Apocalypse were published under their authors’ names while the narrative literature of the NT remained anonymous. The authorial intent of the Gospels’ anonymity can also be deduced from its ancient Near Eastern and OT background. Unlike the Greek or Roman historian who, among other things, wanted to earn praise and glory for his literary achievements from both his contemporaries and posterity, the history writer in the Ancient Near East sought to disappear as much as possible behind the material he presented and to become its invisible mouthpiece. By adopting the stylistic device of anonymity from OT historiography the Evangelists of the NT implied that they regarded themselves as comparatively insignificant mediators of a subject matter that deserved the full attention of the readers. The anonymity of the Gospels is thus rooted in a deep conviction concerning the ultimate priority of their subject matter.
Baum, A. D. (2008). The Anonymity of the New Testament History Books: A Stylistic Device in the Context of Greco-Roman and Ancient near Eastern Literature. Novum Testamentum, 50(2), 120–142.

To establish an authority above Paul Justin merely had to say there were twelve who received revelation from the resurrected Jesus and that this revelation was backed by longer list of details that were "proved" by Scripture's "prophecies".

If the above points hold then nothing was to be gained by assigning names to the respective gospels. There must have been some other reason.
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