Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
spin
Posts: 2083
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:44 pm
Location: Nowhere

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by spin »

DCHindley wrote:
Adam wrote:However, this whole Sarah & Hagar section is very complex, and in my must-be-wrong point of view, interpolated.
If the christians are the children of the promise, the Jews are the children of bondage. The Jews have suddenly become the children of Hagar! Those who believe are the sons of Abraham (3:7). Hagar we are told is Mt Sinai (where the Jews received the law which is their bondage), which corresponds to the present Jerusalem! Jerusalem being where James and crew abide. But the Jerusalem above is free. Bondage/slavery is one of those frequent ideas in Galatians, 2:4, 4:3, 9, 24, 25, 5:1. I think it's a crucial rewriting of theology, which reflects—at least for me—Paul's transference of god's patronage onto the Jesus believers.
Dysexlia lures • ⅔ of what we see is behind our eyes
User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 3001
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by DCHindley »

spin wrote:
DCHindley wrote:
Adam wrote:However, this whole Sarah & Hagar section is very complex, and in my must-be-wrong point of view, interpolated.
If the christians are the children of the promise, the Jews are the children of bondage. The Jews have suddenly become the children of Hagar! Those who believe are the sons of Abraham (3:7). Hagar we are told is Mt Sinai (where the Jews received the law which is their bondage), which corresponds to the present Jerusalem! Jerusalem being where James and crew abide. But the Jerusalem above is free. Bondage/slavery is one of those frequent ideas in Galatians, 2:4, 4:3, 9, 24, 25, 5:1. I think it's a crucial rewriting of theology, which reflects—at least for me—Paul's transference of god's patronage onto the Jesus believers.
Below I have laid out side by side what I think the "original" narrative consisted of as opposed to the counter narrative:

"Paul's" narrative = Gentiles can become children of God via faith and do not have to convert to Judaism to receive God's promises to Abraham. Isaac is the child of promise. Hagar was the child of human weakness. Relish in the promise.
Counter Narrative of a redactor = Judaism is basically slavery as taught by the history of its people. Judeans think they are children of promise through Sarah, but prove themselves to be children of ther slave woman Hagar, as their destiny included slavery (in the Judean rebellion). The seed of Abraham to whom the promises were made was really Christ, and so the faith in the promise was really faith in Christ.
3:6 Thus Abraham "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Gen 15:6)
3:7 So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the good news beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." (Gen 12:3)
3:9 So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith.
3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them." (Deu 27:26)
3:11 Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for "He who through faith is righteous shall live"; (Hab 2:4)
3:12 but the law does not rest on faith, for "He who does them shall live by them." (Lev 18:5)
3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" -- (Deu 21:23)
3:14a that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles,
3:14b in *Christ Jesus*
3:14c that the *promise*
3:14d of the Spirit
3:14e we might receive through faith.
3:15 To give a human example, brethren: no one annuls even a man's will, or adds to it, once it has been ratified.
3:16a Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring.
3:16b It does not say, "And to offsprings (pl)," referring to many; but, referring to one, "And to your offspring (sg)," (Gen 12:7; 13:15; 17:7; 24:7) which is Christ.
3:17a This is what I mean: Given a covenant previously ratified by *God,*
3:17b then that which came four hundred and thirty years (Exo 12:40) afterward, the Law, does not annul it so as to make the promise void.
3:18 For if the inheritance is by the law, it is no longer by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions,
3:19b till the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made;
3:19c and it was ordained by angels through an intermediary.
3:20 Now an intermediary implies more than one; but God is one.
3:21 Is the law then against the promises *of God*?
3:21b Certainly not; for if a law had been given which could make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
3:22a But the scripture consigned all things to sin, that the promise
3:22b out of faith in Jesus Christ
3:22c might be given to those who believe.
3:23 Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed.
3:24 So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian;
3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
3:28 There is neither Judean nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate;
4:2 but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.
4:3 So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe.
4:4a But when the time had fully come, God sent forth
4:4b his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
4:6a And because you are sons,
4:6b God sent forth [dittograph from vs 4a?]
4:6c the Spirit
4:6d of his Son
4:6e into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
4:7a So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir
4:7b *through God*.
4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods; (2 Chr 37:19; Isa 13:9; Jer 2:11)
4:9 but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more?
4:10 You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years!
4:11 I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.
4:12 Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong;
4:13 you know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the good news to you at first;
4:14 and *you were tested*, by (or despite) my fleshly condition, you did not ignore or reject me, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.
4:15 What has become of the satisfaction you felt? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
4:16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
4:17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.
4:18 For a good purpose it is always good to be made much of, and not only when I am present with you.
4:19 My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!
4:20 I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law?
4:22a For it is written that Abraham had two sons,
4:22b one by a slave (Gen 16:15)
4:22c and one by a free woman (Gen 21:2).
4:23a But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh,
4:23b the son of the free woman through promise.
4:24a Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants.
4:24b One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery;
4:24c she is Hagar.
4:25a the
4:25b *but Hagar (represents) Sinai*
4:25c mountain in Arabia;
4:25d she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
4:27 For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married" (Isa 54:1).
4:28 *Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.*
4:29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now.
4:30 But what does the scripture say? "Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son (Gen 21:10) of the free woman."
4:31 So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
5:1 *For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore,* and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Each column represents a wholly self-contained narrative, but they do not compliment one another as we might expect if Paul is trying to get all psychological on us (insert favorite critic here) or even trying to dazzle us with rhetorical genius (a la Betz). One stands against the other, almost as though a commentator, column 2, is trying to "explain" the narrative of column 1, even though the messages are like oil and water. He sometimes expands on words and phrases used by the author of column 1, sometimes even placing his narrative before the passage from column 1 that he comments upon in order to enhance his take on things. Both can rattle off proof texts from the LXX Pentateuch like no one's business. In fact, the author of the column 2 commentary rattles them off at a rate something like 3 to 1 as opposed the author of column 1.

However, in my view the author of column 1 (who I call "Paul" for convenience) is clearly a Jew, proud of his heritage, who happens to think gentiles can ALSO be children of God and inherit his promises to Abraham's children, without becoming Jews via circumcision and the accompanying observance of the Law of Moses.

The author of column 2, on the contrary, thinks that the Law was a temporary expedient, overshadowed by Christ, who was the true "seed" (offspring) to whom the promise was made, and that this requires faith and baptism in Christ to be adoptive sons of God. This man is no Jew, but seems to have once become a Jew and came to regret it in light of Christ doctrine. The purpose Christ serves in God's plan for things is not stated in this passage, but elsewhere it is said that it was to effect vicarious atonement for mankind if they put faith in the whole atonement story.

DCH :silenced:
Diogenes the Cynic
Posts: 485
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:59 pm
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by Diogenes the Cynic »

Adam wrote:
hjalti wrote:
Maurice Casy dates Mark and Matthew very early. Mark before Paul's epistles.
So how does Writer Casey explain the parts in Mk that are clearly talking about the Romans crushing the Jews (e.g. Mk 12:9)? Do those verses mean something else in Aramaic? 8-)
I don't think Mk 12:9 would be any problem for Casey, as lots of persecution had long been going on.
Persecution of who? The Jews? How would that lead to prescient knowledge of the destruction of the Temple?
Besides, this verse is usually understood as warning that Christians would be persecuted, as Jesus was expecting for himself momentarily.
It can't have anything to do with Christians, because Jesus, if he existed, would never have heard of Christianity. This would have been a purely a Jewish movement. The earliest sectarians (be they followers of a real historical personality or be they mystics) would have had no conception or intention whatsoever of starting a new religion or as being anything but Jewish.
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2081
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by andrewcriddle »

hjalti wrote:
Maurice Casy dates Mark and Matthew very early. Mark before Paul's epistles.
So how does Writer Casey explain the parts in Mk that are clearly talking about the Romans crushing the Jews (e.g. Mk 12:9)? Do those verses mean something else in Aramaic? 8-)
I can't find a reference to this parable in Casey's new book. However I don't think that Mark 12:9 clearly refers to the Romans crushing the Jews. In context it seems at least as likely to refer to God's judgment against the Jewish religious leadership who will be replaced by those Jews who accept Jesus' message (see Mark 12:12 And they [The Jewish religious leaders] were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.)

Matthew 21:43 Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. does IMO refer to the Romans crushing the Jews. This is one reason why I am uneasy with Casey dating Matthew before 70 CE.

Andrew Criddle
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2081
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by andrewcriddle »

chapter 5 is a relatively short chapter arguing that the infrequency of references to the Historical Jesus in Paul and other epistles does not imply that the authors did not believe in a historical figure. Generally convincing IMO. Good discussion of how Hebrews 5:7-9 clearly refers to Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane. Explains how it is wildly unlikely that Golgotha would have been a Christian place of pilgrimage while still in use as a place of execution.

More to come.

Andrew Criddle
stevencarrwork
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:57 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by stevencarrwork »

When was Golgotha a Christian place of pilgrimage?

And how does Hebrews 5:7-9 'clearly' refer to Jesus prayer in Gethsemane? 'days of his flesh' is hardly a precise time reference.

Hebrews 7:5-9 says that this prayer to save Jesus from death was heard.

But Jesus prayer in the Gospels was not heard. Jesus certainly drank deeply from the cup of suffering he prayed to be spared from. Indeed, in the Gospels Jesus is resigned to his prayer not being answered.

Casey knows this. He has read Doherty. What does he say about Doherty's arguments that a prayer which is not heard is not a reference to a prayer which is heard?


And how is the prayer in Gethsemane historical? How did the disciples hear it?

Is Casey claiming the prayer in Gethsemane is historical fact, when all the disciples were asleep while it was happening?
stevencarrwork
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:57 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by stevencarrwork »

andrewcriddle wrote:Chapters 3 and 4 are about the Gospels and Q. There is intersting material about the Jewish and/or Aramaic basis of much of this material but IMO there are serious problems.

Maurice Casy dates Mark and Matthew very early. Mark before Paul's epistles. Matthew (who used Mark) before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. IMO this is unlikely and the argument as presented is not very strong. Solid evidence for very early material in Mark and Matthew does not necessarily imply an early date for the finished work. (IMO the late dates favoured by many on this forum are also unlikely but this is another issue.) Maurice Casey believes in something vaguely like Q but also holds that Luke used Matthew as well as Mark and "Q type material". This is quite possibly true but if a correct solution of the synoptic problem is one that is probably impossible to demonstrate.

The best thing in these chapters is the attack in chapter 4 on Earl Doherty's use of the Q material.

More to come.

Andrew Criddle
So his dating of Mark and Matthew are fringe positions.

And he has a 'chaotic' model of Q, because his approach to Christian origins is so full of ad hoc hypotheses that it is chaos trying to put them all together into one picture. He can't produce a coherent model, because of his own presuppositions that everything comes from Aramaic (even though he has never produced a verified , single translation of any Greek document back into Aramaic.)

And if Doherty is using mainstream views of Q, and those mainstream views are wrong (as they may well be), how does that prove Jesus existed?
stevencarrwork
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:57 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by stevencarrwork »

andrewcriddle wrote:chapter 5 is a relatively short chapter arguing that the infrequency of references to the Historical Jesus in Paul and other epistles does not imply that the authors did not believe in a historical figure.
I see ex-Professor Casey's point.

There are many Soviet pictures where people who used to be in the picture have now vanished. Does that mean they never existed? Of course not.

There are many North Korean webpages where there is now no mention of Kim Jung Un's uncle. Does that mean he never existed? Of course not.

Doherty produces many examples of places in the Epistles where Paul seems to be deliberately leaving no room for Jesus to have acted.

Perhaps Jesus was subject to Communist style airbrushing from history by early Christians.

I'm sure ex-Professor Casey will complaining that I am strawmanning his arguments. Hard to avoid strawmanning people who are clutching so many straws...
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2081
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by andrewcriddle »

stevencarrwork wrote:When was Golgotha a Christian place of pilgrimage?
According to Casey, Doherty argues that if Paul was interested in the historical Jesus he would have taken the opportunity to visit Golgotha/Calvary.
stevencarrwork wrote: And how does Hebrews 5:7-9 'clearly' refer to Jesus prayer in Gethsemane? 'days of his flesh' is hardly a precise time reference.

Hebrews 7:5-9 says that this prayer to save Jesus from death was heard.

But Jesus prayer in the Gospels was not heard. Jesus certainly drank deeply from the cup of suffering he prayed to be spared from. Indeed, in the Gospels Jesus is resigned to his prayer not being answered.

Casey knows this. He has read Doherty. What does he say about Doherty's arguments that a prayer which is not heard is not a reference to a prayer which is heard?


And how is the prayer in Gethsemane historical? How did the disciples hear it?

Is Casey claiming the prayer in Gethsemane is historical fact, when all the disciples were asleep while it was happening?
Casey argues that in context 'days of his flesh' must mean Jesus' earthly life.
The passage in Hebrews 5:7-9 cannot mean that Jesus was heard in the sense that God delivered him from having to suffer death. This interpretation is incompatible with the rest of Hebrews. The passage may mean that Jesus was heard in the sense that God strengthened him to face death.
Casey argues (IMO plausibly) that Jesus in Mark prays aloud at a little distance from the disciples who hear the beginning of Jesus' prayer before going to sleep.

Andrew Criddle
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2081
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Thoughts on Maurice Casey's new book

Post by andrewcriddle »

stevencarrwork wrote:
andrewcriddle wrote:Chapters 3 and 4 are about the Gospels and Q. There is intersting material about the Jewish and/or Aramaic basis of much of this material but IMO there are serious problems.

Maurice Casy dates Mark and Matthew very early. Mark before Paul's epistles. Matthew (who used Mark) before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. IMO this is unlikely and the argument as presented is not very strong. Solid evidence for very early material in Mark and Matthew does not necessarily imply an early date for the finished work. (IMO the late dates favoured by many on this forum are also unlikely but this is another issue.) Maurice Casey believes in something vaguely like Q but also holds that Luke used Matthew as well as Mark and "Q type material". This is quite possibly true but if a correct solution of the synoptic problem is one that is probably impossible to demonstrate.

The best thing in these chapters is the attack in chapter 4 on Earl Doherty's use of the Q material.

More to come.

Andrew Criddle
So his dating of Mark and Matthew are fringe positions.

And he has a 'chaotic' model of Q, because his approach to Christian origins is so full of ad hoc hypotheses that it is chaos trying to put them all together into one picture. He can't produce a coherent model, because of his own presuppositions that everything comes from Aramaic (even though he has never produced a verified , single translation of any Greek document back into Aramaic.)

And if Doherty is using mainstream views of Q, and those mainstream views are wrong (as they may well be), how does that prove Jesus existed?
Casey argues both that Doherty is using a probably wrong model of Q and that even using this model Doherty is wrong. E.G. Casey argues that Q1 is less Hellenistic and more Jewish than Doherty makes it out to be.
Post Reply