Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Take the Koester Challenge

A poster singing himself "LO" has criticized my understanding of Koester's ideas on pre Markan redaction. This is serious because I rely heavily upon Koester's concept, my understanding of which is under fire, that the pre Markan redaction was circulating in written form as early as AD 50. I've been waiting to find my copy of Koeter's book to answer. I've now gone through all the boxes and must conclude the book is well and truely lost. Nevertheless, I will still answer these arguments.



LO:You keep repeating this bit:

"Well, we can show that the basic story that makes up the Pre Markan redaction was used by all four Gospels, and that it was circulating as early as AD 50, that's just 18 years after the original events."

You rely on a single book by a single scholar (Helmut Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels) to establish the existence of a hypothetical document.



He says scornfully that I rely on a source by just one scholar. The fact of the matter is this point is from the ravings of just one guy (although that guy is the major textual critic in the world). Koester himself says that John Domnic Crosson also agrees with him on the point, and he includes as an apendix to his book an article by Diateseron scholar Jurgen Denker who also agree. Moreover, there is a general trend toward dating the dating the Gospels at a point ealier than the traditional AD 70 for Mark and latter for others. John A.T. Robinson, in his work Dating the New Testmaent places the "proto Mark" as AD45. While evidence from the Talmud indicates that Matthew had to have been circulating as early as AD 70, meaning that in as much as Matt used Mark, Mark must have been written much earlier than 70. We know that something was circulating before Paul began to write, which was about AD 50, becuase Paul quotes or alludes to Jesus teachings and sayings so consistently that Koester assumes he possessed one of the sayings documents. See my chart on Pauline allusion (scroll to bottom of page). Lo goes on,however, and continues his challenge:



The two problems here are, first, that Koester's views are of course contestable, and are contested by a number of scholars, and second, that you inject a large amount of your own interpretation into what Koester (and Petersen) actually say in the book. You really need to take another look at this claim and stop simply repeating it.


Too bad we have no specifics here. He does not produce a single scholar who disagrees with Koester, nor does he indicate what he's talking about when he says I interject too much of my own opinion. Now I am aware that I interject, of course I do because I'm using many sources to build a case for a certain view point. This is an art form through which one uses documentation to mold an original idea. It's deriving originality out of set works that are not one's own. Typically this is called "argumentation." But it is Lo's own burden of proof to show that I inject too much of my own ideas suppported. So far he has not even been specific about what he means.





This is the kind of thing I meant when I said you should take another look at this claim and stop simply repeating it. First, as I said earlier, Crossan says “the 50’s” not “by 50.” Koester describes Crossan’s position as dating the Cross Gospel to “the middle of the 1st century CE.” You interpret this “middle” to mean by 50 precisely, but “middle” means a range of possible dates in the middle, not the exact middle.



That may be a fair criticism, however, I think Koester does say exactly "AD 50." I am sure remember seeing that but I can't find the book. Since I can't prove my point at the moment let's assume our friend LO is right. Now if Corsson says "in the middle fo the century" I agree that a range is implied not a specific year. Narrowing the date to one year in particular seems a bit of a leap, I always assumed that the statement, even if Koester literally says it ("AD 50") Is meant as a rounding off not a hard and fast date. But I think what Lo forgets is that a range means that it could as earlier refer to 45 60 50 as 50-55. It could even mean AD 40-50 as easily as 50-60. So at that rate saying "50" seems reasonable. But I never meant that it must have come out that very year. Now supposed it did come out and begin to circulate in 55? That's still 23 years after events, still eye witnesses around, still a little less than half the distance from the original events that most skeptics assume or that the traditional dates assume. So I really think this point is too damaging to my argument. I think it hardly touches the argument.



Second, Koester is describing Crossan’s position, not his own. You say Koester never says otherwise. Even if this were the case, it would not mean that he endorses Crossan’s position or that he actually says he dates the Passion Narrative source to 50. But in fact, Koester disagrees with Crossan, and on a lot more than the epiphany stories. After describing Crossan’s theory in the paragraph on pp. 218-219, Koester criticizes it, saying, “There are three major problems regarding this hypothesis.” The second of these major criticisms has to do with Crossan’s early dating of a “major literary composition,” by which Koester means Crossan’s Cross Gospel.



Yea I remember that if you read far enough you see that he grounds down the problems to a point where he is not preserving any essential disagreement with Corsson. He's basically knocking out the problems. While he does disagree with Crosson on many fine points he certainly does not disagree with the idea that a pre Mark redaction served as the basis for all four canonical Gospels, that this contained the passion narrative and ended with the story of the empty. He further agrees that this was circulating "in the middle of the century." He certainly does not disagree and if you look you will see that the time period of circulation is not one of the three problems that he puts up. Again, this does nothing to my argument. you are merely knit picking. You are desperate to show that I can't do scholarship and I'm stupid and I'm not good and you are smarter and your just piicking on trivia and bull shit and you don't do anything to touch the basis of my arguments.

There is no way you could read that book and think that Koester disagrees on that key point; the pre Markan redaction circulated sometime in the middle fo the century, before the traditional date of Mark and that it was uses by the four gospels. The whole structure of the book supports that view. There would be no point at all in speaking of Diatesseron if that was not his point, that's the whole idea of talking about readings in the Diatesseron. It would absurd to present an article on the subject by another scholar at the end fo the book if that was not his major point. This is not just some small thing that he happens to agree on, it's a major point to what he has to say about the evolution of Gospels as a whole. It's the whole point of showing that the Gospel of Thomas is independent of the canonicals and it's the whole point of showing that Egerton 2 is not dependent upon John. He quotes about 10 verses, I use four of them on Doxa, showing the differences in the readings for Mark and for Egerton 2. That would be totally useless if his point was not that the Egerton 2 readings are ealier and more primative than the Mark readings. He's not arguing that they are more Jewish to be Politcially correct on ethnicity, he's arguing that they are older, they were circulating first, the represent readings that existed before those in Mark. The whole point of that is to show that here is an original soruce from whch the canoncials are taken. Naturally it has to be an older source.



You also jump ahead to p. 131 to cite two sentences about the PN source, where Koester is no longer discussing Crossan’s position. Yes, Koester believes that all the gospels depend on one PN source and that it ends with the empty tomb story. However, he does not say that this PN source was written by 50.



Yea I think he does. But what if he doesn't? He doesn't disagee with Corsson that it was circulating by "the middle fo the century." Thats' the ssence of my argument. The exact year, as I've already mentioned is not the point.In saying as much as you just said you basically demonstrate that my argument is true.


You pull that from the earlier paragraph describing Crossan’ theory on pp. 218-219, though, as I’ve said you misinterpret “middle of the 1st century” to mean specifically the year 50. Crossan’s study is not one of the studies Koester is referring to on p. 131. Crossan’s hypothetical source, the Cross Gospel, did not contain the empty tomb story. Crossan thinks that story was composed later by the author of Mark.


If he thinks that how could he disagree on the part about the epiphanies coming from more than one source? Koester thinks they came from many sources, in so far as he disagreew with Crosson on that point apparently Crossen doesn't so it's illogical to think he would say that.

So you are ignoring what Crossan actually says about when he dates his Cross Gospel, you are forcing an overly specific interpretation on Koester’s description of Crossan’s “middle of the 1st century”, and you mistakenly take Koester to be agreeing with Crossan on all but the epiphany stories.


No I don't think I"m doing any of that. I think you are so intent on showing what a bastard I am that you missing what I'm saying. The regifity to your mind to assuem that I mean litterally has to be AD 50, not 51, but 50 itelf! thta's jsut stupid. Only someone would take that way who is activley seeking to interprit the things I say in the worst possible light.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a good Christmas Joe. This is going to be a long post.

>>A poster singing himself "LO" has criticized my understanding of Koester's ideas on pre Markan redaction. This is serious because I rely heavily upon Koester's concept, my understanding of which is under fire, that the pre Markan redaction was circulating in written form as early as AD 50. I've been waiting to find my copy of Koeter's book to answer. I've now gone through all the boxes and must conclude the book is well and truely lost. Nevertheless, I will still answer these arguments.<<

If you don’t have Koester’s book, it might be a good idea for you to refrain from making claims about it because you’re very likely to misremember and misinterpret, and in fact you have.

>>LO:You keep repeating this bit: "Well, we can show that the basic story that makes up the Pre Markan redaction was used by all four Gospels, and that it was circulating as early as AD 50, that's just 18 years after the original events." You rely on a single book by a single scholar (Helmut Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels) to establish the existence of a hypothetical document.

He says scornfully that I rely on a source by just one scholar. The fact of the matter is this point is from the ravings of just one guy (although that guy is the major textual critic in the world).<<

First, Helmut Koester is not the “major textual critic in the world.” In fact, he’s not particularly known as a textual critic, as Bruce Metzger, Bart Ehrman, David Parker, and the late Kurt Aland are. Textual criticism is the field which compares the different witnesses (manuscripts, translations and outside quotations) to the texts of a particular document, such as the gospel of Matthew, and tries to deduce what the earliest reading of that particular document was and how the various different readings in the manuscripts came about in the course of being copied. While I don’t doubt Koester knows a good deal about textual criticism, his primary interests are in source, form, and redaction criticism, and particularly in the branch of form criticism called traditiongeschichte (“tradition criticism” or “tradition-history”). He looks at *different* documents, as opposed to copies of *the same* documents, and tries to reconstruct the relationships of those different documents and how they came to be.

I am not denying that Koester is a major New Testament scholar (though textual criticism is not his field). He undoubtedly is. That doesn’t mean he’s right about everything. You yourself are actually greatly disagreeing with Koester (and with Crossan, as will be explained later) in what they say about the passion narrative. You are arguing that since Koester thinks there was a pre-Markan Passion Narrative that ended with the empty tomb story, the events in it must have happened pretty much as described because there would have been eyewitnesses still alive at the time. This is not at all what Koester thinks about the Passion Narrative, and if you’re going to cite Koester as your authority, maybe you ought to make clear what he thinks as opposed to what you think.

Koester says: “One can assume that the only historical information about Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion and death was that he was condemned to death by Pilot and crucified. The details and individual scenes of the narrative do not rest on historical memory, but were developed on the basis of an allegorical interpretation of scripture” (p. 224).

>>Koester himself says that John Domnic Crosson also agrees with him on the point, and he includes as an apendix to his book an article by Diateseron scholar Jurgen Denker who also agree.<<

It would help greatly if you would clarify what “the point” is. If all you’re saying is that Koester and Crossan believe in a pre-Markan Passion Narrative, you’re right. If you’re saying they think it was circulating by 50 CE (“just 18 years after the original events”), or that Crossan thinks it contained the empty tomb story, or that either scholar thinks its content largely rests on historical memory or was largely controlled by eyewitnesses or, you’re wrong.

Koester cites Jurgen Denker on the Gospel of Peter (p. 218), not the Diatesseron. The article on the Diatesseron at the end of the book is by William L. Petersen, who passed away a few days ago. I will discuss what Petersen says below.

>>Moreover, there is a general trend toward dating the dating the Gospels at a point ealier than the traditional AD 70 for Mark and latter for others. John A.T. Robinson, in his work Dating the New Testmaent places the "proto Mark" as AD45. While evidence from the Talmud indicates that Matthew had to have been circulating as early as AD 70, meaning that in as much as Matt used Mark, Mark must have been written much earlier than 70. We know that something was circulating before Paul began to write, which was about AD 50, becuase Paul quotes or alludes to Jesus teachings and sayings so consistently that Koester assumes he possessed one of the sayings documents. See my chart on Pauline allusion (scroll to bottom of page).<<

There is, and long has been, a tendency among some conservative Christian scholars to date the gospels early. There are also a very few less conservative scholars that date one or more of the gospels early. There is no “general trend” toward an earlier dating. Most scholars date Mark in the period 65-75 CE and the other Gospels at least a decade later. Koester himself dates Mark shortly after 70 (p. 290), and Matthew and Luke either not long before or not long after 100 (p. 275).

J. A. T Robinson, who published Redating the New Testament in 1976 and died in 1983, wanted to date ALL of the documents in the New Testament before 70. (Why do you say “proto” Mark? Robinson was talking about Mark, wasn’t he?). His thesis has not been widely accepted by scholars in the thirty years since then. His major argument was that, while several of the documents in the New Testament, including the gospels, talk about the destruction of the temple, none of them referred to it in the past tense as something that had already occurred (as it did in 70 CE). This is an argument from silence based on his presupposition that the authors of the gospels would have interrupted the narrative timeframe of their stories in order to tell their audiences that the temple had been destroyed just as Jesus had predicted. It seems very unlikely, however, that after 70 the audiences of the gospels would have been ignorant of the temple’s destruction or that they would fail to recognize that Jesus’ predictions about it in the gospel stories were fulfilled.

To try to use the stories from the Talmud to date the gospels is to use the less certain to deduce the more certain. Dating the different material in the Talmud is even more problematic than the dating of the documents in the New Testament. The Talmud consists of two parts: the Mishna, compiled around 200 CE, and the Gemara, of which there are two versions: the Jerusalem, compiled around 400, and the Babylonian, compiled sometime after 500. The feature story (!) you appeal to as an authority does not bother to cite the location in the Talmud where this story is to be found, but I believe it’s from b. Shabbat 116a-b (in the Babylonian Gemara). The article says “some scholars” date the story to 72 CE or earlier. It doesn’t say who they are (except for one person) or how they did that. IF we could date the story, recorded a few centuries later, to 72 CE or earlier, and IF it accurately records what Rabbi Gamaliel said at that date, and IF he was citing the Gospel of Matthew, THEN Matthew would have to have been written by 72. But none of those IFs can be established and scholars of early Rabbinic Judaism today are skeptical about using the Talmudic texts that way (see the works of Jacob Neusner especially). This argument for a pre-72 Matthew is not likely to persuade many scholars (see Prof. James Davila’s comments on his blog Paleojudaica on 12/14/2003:

http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2003_12_14_paleojudaica_archive.html#107139097610567421

The argument about dating Matthew based on the Gamaliel story in the Talmud will appeal mostly to the sort of Christian apologists who are not too picky about historical-critical methodology when it comes to opinions that support what they already want to believe.

As for your claim “We know that something was circulating before Paul began to write”, well, sure. But it makes quite a bit of difference what that “something” was.

>>Lo goes on, however, and continues his challenge:
The two problems here are, first, that Koester's views are of course contestable, and are contested by a number of scholars, and second, that you inject a large amount of your own interpretation into what Koester (and Petersen) actually say in the book. You really need to take another look at this claim and stop simply repeating it.

Too bad we have no specifics here. He does not produce a single scholar who disagrees with Koester, nor does he indicate what he's talking about when he says I interject too much of my own opinion. Now I am aware that I interject, of course I do because I'm using many sources to build a case for a certain view point. This is an art form through which one uses documentation to mold an original idea. It's deriving originality out of set works that are not one's own. Typically this is called "argumentation." But it is Lo's own burden of proof to show that I inject too much of my own ideas suppported. So far he has not even been specific about what he means.<<

What is the point of saying we have no specifics “here” or that I haven’t been specific “so far” when, at the time you wrote this, you knew perfectly well what several of my criticisms were and you even discussed them later in the same post?

Actually, I had pointed out several of them on this blog over a year ago (“Doherty’s Stupidity”, September 2005). At that time, you said you couldn’t find the Koester book. It looks like you still haven’t found it, but you keep repeating the same claims based on it. It’s true that I don’t name scholars that disagree with Koester, except for Crossan, because at the moment I’m more concerned with the claims you seemingly attribute to Koester and Crossan but which are actually yours. Until we’ve established what Koester actually says, there isn’t much point in discussing whether one agrees with it.

>>This is the kind of thing I meant when I said you should take another look at this claim and stop simply repeating it. First, as I said earlier, Crossan says “the 50’s” not “by 50.” Koester describes Crossan’s position as dating the Cross Gospel to “the middle of the 1st century CE.” You interpret this “middle” to mean by 50 precisely, but “middle” means a range of possible dates in the middle, not the exact middle.

That may be a fair criticism, however, I think Koester does say exactly "AD 50." I am sure remember seeing that but I can't find the book. Since I can't prove my point at the moment let's assume our friend LO is right. Now if Corsson says "in the middle fo the century" I agree that a range is implied not a specific year. Narrowing the date to one year in particular seems a bit of a leap, I always assumed that the statement, even if Koester literally says it ("AD 50") Is meant as a rounding off not a hard and fast date. But I think what Lo forgets is that a range means that it could as earlier refer to 45 60 50 as 50-55. It could even mean AD 40-50 as easily as 50-60. So at that rate saying "50" seems reasonable. But I never meant that it must have come out that very year. Now supposed it did come out and begin to circulate in 55? That's still 23 years after events, still eye witnesses around, still a little less than half the distance from the original events that most skeptics assume or that the traditional dates assume. So I really think this point is too damaging to my argument. I think it hardly touches the argument.<<

First, if you were to actually look at a copy of Koester’s book and cite a specific a place where he says he thinks the Passion Narrative source was written by 50, that would be evidence. But I suspect your recollection of what Koester wrote on the subject is inaccurate, as it is where you attribute the article on the Diatesseron at the end of Koester’s book to Jurgen Denker.

Second, you have repeatedly claimed that Koester said that the Passion Narrative was written or circulating by 50. That means 50 or earlier. That’s the way anyone reading you would take it, especially since you then go on to say “just 18 years” after the original events. Or did you just pick 18 as a round number? And why did you spend so much time arguing against me if you didn’t mean that in the first place? When I wrote that Koester never said the PN was written by 50, you responded: “yes Koster does say that. He says it exactly.”

You also claim that it would not make much difference to your argument if the PN was written by 55 (instead of 50), just 23 (instead of 18) years after the event and still well within the lifetime of eyewitnesses. That’s largely true. The point about the dates is about how you read (or don’t read) what Koester and Crossan actually say. What DOES make a big difference to your argument is that Koester says that the PN does not rest on historical memory but on allegorical interpretation of scripture and Crossan says the PN source did not contain the story of the empty tomb, which was composed later by the author of Mark. You present your case by relying on an appeal to the authority of Koester and Crossan to establish the existence of a pre-Markan PN, and you fail to mention that your claim about it being reasonably historically accurate because it circulated during the lifetimes of eyewitnesses is completely at odds with what they say.

Third, the quotation on “the middle of the century” is from Koester’s description of Crossan’s position, not from Crossan. Since I already quoted Crossan as saying that the Cross Gospel was composed “by the 50's” (Historical Jesus, p. 429), you don’t need to speculate on whether “the middle of the century” might mean the 40's. I think we ought to take Crossan’s word for what Crossan’s position is, no matter what you speculate that Koester might have meant.

>>Second, Koester is describing Crossan’s position, not his own. You say Koester never says otherwise. Even if this were the case, it would not mean that he endorses Crossan’s position or that he actually says he dates the Passion Narrative source to 50. But in fact, Koester disagrees with Crossan, and on a lot more than the epiphany stories. After describing Crossan’’s theory in the paragraph on pp. 218-219, Koester criticizes it, saying, “There are three major problems regarding this hypothesis.” The second of these major criticisms has to do with Crossan’s early dating of a “major literary composition,” by which Koester means Crossan’s Cross Gospel.

Yea I remember that if you read far enough you see that he grounds down the problems to a point where he is not preserving any essential disagreement with Corsson. He's basically knocking out the problems. While he does disagree with Crosson on many fine points he certainly does not disagree with the idea that a pre Mark redaction served as the basis for all four canonical Gospels, that this contained the passion narrative and ended with the story of the empty. He further agrees that this was circulating "in the middle of the century." He certainly does not disagree and if you look you will see that the time period of circulation is not one of the three problems that he puts up. Again, this does nothing to my argument. you are merely knit picking. You are desperate to show that I can't do scholarship and I'm stupid and I'm not good and you are smarter and your just piicking on trivia and bull shit and you don't do anything to touch the basis of my arguments.<<

I don’t know what methods you use to determine what is an “essential disagreement” and what is a “fine point” or “trivia” or “b.s.”, but the claims you make about what Koester and Crossan agree on are imprecise or just plain wrong. Koester and Crossan agree in hypothesizing a pre-Markan written source for the Passion Narrative. They greatly disagree about what was in it and which of the later gospels had access to it and how those later gospels relate to each other. Crossan’s reconstruction of the Cross Gospel does not contain the empty tomb story about the women discovering the tomb, which he thinks was a later addition by the author of Mark (I provide several citations for this below; please read them before responding). That seems like an “essential difference” to me. Crossan has published his reconstruction of the Cross Gospel in The Cross That Spoke and Who Killed Jesus? Please look at them before you make more claims about what Crossan thinks.

>>There is no way you could read that book and think that Koester disagrees on that key point; the pre Markan redaction circulated sometime in the middle fo the century, before the traditional date of Mark and that it was uses by the four gospels. The whole structure of the book supports that view. There would be no point at all in speaking of Diatesseron if that was not his point, that's the whole idea of talking about readings in the Diatesseron. It would absurd to present an article on the subject by another scholar at the end fo the book if that was not his major point.<<

1) No one here is denying that Koester thinks he can identify earlier stages of the tradition than are found in the manuscripts of the New Testament documents, including Mark. Nor is anyone here denying that Koester thinks there was a pre-Markan Passion Narrative and that he thinks this was written before Mark, which he dates to “shortly after 70". I suppose if one interprets “the middle of the century” very broadly (maybe allowing the 60's), that could be true. But please stop saying Koester says the PN was circulating by 50, just 18 years after the events. And Koester’s book is about how the tradition changed over time and came down to us in the documents we have. It’s not specifically about the pre-Markan tradition.

2) You keep referring, in this post and elsewhere, to THE pre-Markan redaction as though it were a single specific document. But when Koester says he can identify “pre-Markan redaction” in a particular tradition what he means is that he thinks he has found signs that someone had edited that particular tradition before Mark. He doesn’t mean all the different traditions belonged to a document called The Pre-Markan Redaction. He is not claiming, for instance, that the pre-Markan Passion Narrative and the pre-Markan tradition from the Egerton fragments ever belonged to the same document. He means that there were various different traditions that circulated before Mark.

3) You misunderstand what William L. Petersen says about Reading 3 in the article on the Diatesseron at the end of Koester’s book. He is not saying that the Diatesseron’s reading of Mt. 8.4 is from a source older than the canonical gospels. He is saying that it is possible that the manuscripts of the canonical gospels that Tatian had in the second century may have been different from the manuscripts of the canonical gospels that we have today, and that the readings from the manuscripts Tatian had may be older. Thus he is not saying that Tatian’s reading of Mt. 8.4 and parallels is “pre-Markan” in the sense that they come from a source older than Mark’s gospel; he is saying that Tatian’s reading may be closer to what Matthew and/or Mark originally wrote than are the surviving manuscripts of the gospels which may have been edited by the gentile church (pages 424, 428).

>>This is not just some small thing that he happens to agree on, it's a major point to what he has to say about the evolution of Gospels as a whole. It's the whole point of showing that the Gospel of Thomas is independent of the canonicals and it's the whole point of showing that Egerton 2 is not dependent upon John. He quotes about 10 verses, I use four of them on Doxa, showing the differences in the readings for Mark and for Egerton 2. That would be totally useless if his point was not that the Egerton 2 readings are ealier and more primative than the Mark readings. He's not arguing that they are more Jewish to be Politcially correct on ethnicity, he's arguing that they are older, they were circulating first, the represent readings that existed before those in Mark. The whole point of that is to show that here is an original soruce from whch the canoncials are taken. Naturally it has to be an older source.<<

Koester thinks there were pre-Markan sources of various different types, both oral and written. That is not one of the points in dispute.
>>You also jump ahead to p. 131 to cite two sentences about the PN source, where Koester is no longer discussing Crossan’’s position. Yes, Koester believes that all the gospels depend on one PN source and that it ends with the empty tomb story. However, he does not say that this PN source was written by 50.

Yea I think he does. But what if he doesn't? He doesn't disagee with Corsson that it was circulating by "the middle fo the century." Thats' the ssence of my argument. The exact year, as I've already mentioned is not the point.In saying as much as you just said you basically demonstrate that my argument is true.<<

Your argument is true? Not the way you wrote it, it isn’t. Maybe you should clarify a bit. Something like: “Koester and Crossan both believe there was a Passion Narrative that circulated before Mark’s Gospel. I think it must be pretty historically accurate because this would have been within the lifetime of eyewitnesses, though Koester and Crossan both think it contains little historical information and does not rest on historical memory but was developed out of Old Testament passages which were turned into a narrative.” You could conceivably be right. But before we discuss that, maybe you should accurately represent the opinions of the authorities you cite.

>>You pull that from the earlier paragraph describing Crossan’s theory on pp. 218-219, though, as I’ve said you misinterpret “middle of the 1st century” to mean specifically the year 50. Crossan’s study is not one of the studies Koester is referring to on p. 131. Crossan’s hypothetical source, the Cross Gospel, did not contain the empty tomb story. Crossan thinks that story was composed later by the author of Mark.

If he thinks that how could he disagree on the part about the epiphanies coming from more than one source? Koester thinks they came from many sources, in so far as he disagreew with Crosson on that point apparently Crossen doesn't so it's illogical to think he would say that.<<

I can’t figure out quite what you’re trying argue here, but fortunately we don’t need to try to deduce what Crossan thinks second-hand or third-hand from your current recollection of what you thought Koester was saying about Crossan the last time you looked at Koester’s book (which was more than a year ago now, wasn’t it?). Crossan himself has written books in which he says what he thinks. Here are a few quotes:

Crossan: “My working hypothesis is that the original stratum or Cross Gospel in Peter had only the guards at the tomb. It was Mark himself who created the empty tomb story and its failed anointing as a fitting climax to the literary and theological motifs of his gospel” (Who Killed Jesus?, p. 183).

Crossan: “That [the motif of the failure of the disciples] explains why Mark created the empty tomb story just as he created the sleeping disciples in Gethsemane” (The Birth of Christianity, p. 557).

Crossan: “The empty tomb story is neither an early historical event nor a late legendary narrative but a deliberate Markan creation” (The Birth of Christianity, p. 558).

Koester knows perfectly well that Crossan’s reconstruction of the early Cross Gospel did not contain the story of the discovery of the empty tomb by the women and that Crossan consider it a later addition (Ancient Christian Gospels, footnote 3 on page 231).

>>So you are ignoring what Crossan actually says about when he dates his Cross Gospel, you are forcing an overly specific interpretation on Koester’s description of Crossan’s “middle of the 1st century”, and you mistakenly take Koester to be agreeing with Crossan on all but the epiphany stories.

No I don't think I"m doing any of that. I think you are so intent on showing what a bastard I am that you missing what I'm saying. The regifity to your mind to assuem that I mean litterally has to be AD 50, not 51, but 50 itelf! thta's jsut stupid. Only someone would take that way who is activley seeking to interprit the things I say in the worst possible light.<<

Yes; you have done all of those things. You keep repeating erroneous claims on your blog, on your doxa pages, and on various internet discussion groups. Here’s an example from
http://pub18.ezboard.com/fhavetheologywillarguerules.showMessage?topicID=18.topic, where you mitsakenly appeal to Crossan in arguing with J. Lowder about the empty tomb (edited to correct typographical errors):

>>That's just where he's wrong, for many of the top scholars including Crossan believe that there was a pre-Markan Gospel narrative that all five Gospels (that of Peter being the fifth) use, and that this source included the empty tomb and was written by AD 50, that's just 18 years after the events, plenty of time for eyewitnesses to still be alive.<<

>>That's Rich, because as I will show, Crossan himself believes that there was a Pre-Markan tradition which included the empty tomb and dates to 50 AD. Now what one concludes about that is another matter, but the great talisman of atheist Biblical scholarship is at odds with the core of Lowder's attack.<<

I’m sorry you feel that I am interpreting everything you say in the worst possible light. But when you make fun of other people’s opinions and base your own on mistaken information that you never bothered to check, it’s hard to see what you say in a good light.

Regards,

L. O.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

What happened to your response from December 27, "Know It All Strikes Again"? Did you delete it? If so, that was probably wise.

L. O.

J.L. Hinman said...

Yes I deleted it because my tone was too mean. I don't want to set that kind of tone on my blog.