OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 22, 2014, 06:40:53 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The 'Evolution' of The Gospels  (Read 2525 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« on: November 30, 2005, 02:47:31 AM »

Lately, I've been reading Borg and Crossan. One thing that strikes me is how they assume that the deity of Christ must be a myth that evolved over time.
Their evidence for this assumption is that since Mark was the earliest Gospel and the least explicit on the divinity of Christ, Jesus must not have believed himself to be God. This is, however, a rather fuzzy argument, especially is one actually reads Mark's Gospel. For example, Jesus forgave people's sin by his own authority; not only those who sinned against him personally but those who sinned against their neighbors. This was clearly a claim to godhood given that under the Jewish tradition, only God can forgive sin. This is exactly why the Jews in Mark accuse Jesus of blasphemy.
Furthermore, in claiming to be the "Son of Man", Jesus was also claiming godhood:
"I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like a son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. And he gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him: his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom shall not be destroyed." — Daniel 7:13

I honestly have no problem with Markan priority. But when it used to claim that Matthew could not have been an eye witness, that crosses the line.
Mark was a disciple of Peter and wrote down the life of Christ as Peter had taught him. Therefore, Matthew, if he did rely upon Mark, was only using the testimony of a fellow Apostle as a source. Of course, there is no real problem with this. As a journalist, I oftentimes research what other journalists have reported on a particular event before I investigate myself.
Even if I were an eye witness to an invent, that would not mean that I would not want to check the notes, film, audio, of other journalists who were present at the event in order to verify the reliability of my own recollection.
If the Gospel of Matthew merely corrected and supplemented Mark, who better qualified to do that than an Apostle of Christ?

This brings us to the purported Q document, one which we have no evidence to have actually existed. The material which Luke and Matthew share in common can be explained by Luke's reliance upon Matthew as an eye witness of Christ.
Just to review, the non-existence of Q makes good sense considering that -

A. Luke was a historian and therefore, relied upon witnesses of Jesus.

B. There is no hard evidence that Q ever existed.


As you can see, we have witnessed an 'evolution' so far in the Synoptic Gospels. Mark wrote the first Gospel, which wasn't particularly informative of a historical account, Matthew then wrote the second Gospel, which corrected Mark with his eye-witness as an Apostle, and then Luke wrote his Gospel utilizing Matthew as an eye-witness source.
Does this development in any way make the Gospel message less accurate? Only if the 2005 Microsoft Encarta makes my 1995 edition false. This is not an evolution of mythology, given that the Synoptic Gospels were writtin within the generation of Christ and the changes from one Synoptic to another were slight, but the effort of each Synoptic writer to make his Gospel more historically accurate than the last. For further reference, please read the first chapter of Luke's Gospel.

We've now covered the Synoptics. But what about John? Is it so much different from the Synoptics that we must discard it as historically inaccurate? Most scholars would agree that the author of John wrote his Gospel with the others already available. John's intention of writing his Gospel, therefore, was to supplement and compliment what the Synoptics had written with his own eye witness testimony instead of merely re-writing what they had done before him. What evidence do we have of Johannean authorship?

"The tradition is unanimous, from the earliest records that we have. There are some small variations in the wording and the emphasis, but there are no real contradictions. In this case, we can even trace our knowledge of the information back to John the Apostle, by way of Irenaeus by way of Polycarp. This alone is enough to establish John as the author. However, we actually have more information, from the text itself. From John 21:20-24 we know that the curious figure of "The disciple whom Jesus loved," or "the other disciple" wrote the Gospel of John. He is mentioned several times (Jn 13:23, 18:15-16, 19:26, 20:2-8 and 21:20-24). There are many clues that lead us to believe that this is John the apostle. First, we must realize that this disciple was present at the last supper, and shows a very close relationship to Jesus.

When he had said this, Jesus deeply troubled and testified, "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus's side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He said to him, "Master, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it." So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. (John 13:21-26).

This indicates that the title, "The disciple whom Jesus loved" was not merely an honorific. It indicated the real relationship between Jesus and the disciple. That means that the disciple is one of the apostles, and probably one of the closest apostles. Additionally Mark 14:17 (and parallels in Mt 26:20, Lk 22:14) indicate that no one except the apostles were at the last supper. All of the apostles are named in the gospel except for John, son of Zebedee, James, son of Zebedee, Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, Bartholomew, Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot. From the synoptic gospels, it is understood that the closest apostles to Jesus are Peter and the sons of Zebedee. For example, these three were his companions for the vigil at Gethsemane (Mk 14:33 and parallels) The disciple whom Jesus loved cannot be Peter, because Peter and the disciple are mentioned together in the above passages. He cannot reasonably be James, because James was martyred no later than A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2). This argument from the gospel itself falls short of proof, but it does complement well the tradition, which is sufficient proof by itself.

However, there is one substantial caveat. It appears that more than one person had a hand in this Gospel. The Prologue has a different style than the rest of the gospel. The Epilogue was written after the death of the primary author. Within the gospel, there is some clunkiness that a single writer would have been unlikely to create. For example, there are two endings to the public ministry (Jn 10:40-42 and Jn 12:37-43), and two endings for the last supper discourse of Jesus (Jn 14:31 and 18:1). It appears that the current gospel is a combination of shorter, homogeneous originals.

So, we have proof that John the apostle wrote the gospel, and that the gospel was written by more than one person. How do we resolve this apparent contradiction? We must understand that the people of this time had a slightly different definition for author than we do. When they said author, they meant the source of the tradition, not the person who actually held the pen. To know that this is a reasonable interpretation, look at Jn 22:22, "Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.' " Here Pilate is saying that he wrote the inscription on Jesus's cross, but what he means is that he is responsible for the inscription. That he did not actually do the writing is clear from the previous several verses as well as the very low probability that a governor of a province would have a direct hand in the execution of a convict.

In conclusion, John is the primary source of this Gospel. If this was a modern science paper, we would call him the first author. He told those around him what he remembered of Jesus. It is probable that much of this was written down by his disciples while he was alive, but the Gospel was not put in its final form until after his death. Some of the clunkiness could have been smoothed out by asking him what he remembered, but he was no longer around to ask. Instead, the authors were cautious and kept the somewhat contradictory material in rather than risk losing an authentic tradition."
http://people.ucsc.edu/~mgrivich/The...dingtoJohn.htm

"Attestation of Johannine authorship is found as early as Irenaeus. Eusebius reports that Irenaeus received his information from Polycarp, who in turn received it from the apostles directly. Although Irenaeus’ testimony has been assailed on critical grounds (since he received the information as a child, and may have been mistaken as to which John wrote the gospel), since all patristic writers after Irenaeus do not question apostolic authorship, criticism must give way to historical probability. The list of fathers include Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, etc. Further, the Muratorian Canon suggests that John was given the commission to write this gospel after Andrew received a vision indicating that he would do so. If one were to sift out the possible accretions in this statement, the bare fact of Johannine authorship is not disturbed. Finally, the anti-Marcionite Prologue also affirms Johannine authorship.

In countering this external evidence are two considerations. (1) There would be a strong motivation on the part of patristic writers to suggest authorship by an apostle. Further, the internal evidence, when compared with the synoptics, strongly suggests John as the leading candidate. But this is off-set by the remarkably early documentary testimony of Johannine authorship4 as well as early patristic hints (Ignatius, Justin, Tatian). Further, P52—the earliest fragment for any NT book—contains portions of John 18:31-33 and 37-38 and is to be dated as early as 100 CE5; and the Papyrus Egerton 2, which is to be dated at about the same time, draws on both John and synoptics for its material.6 Although the early patristic hints and the early papyri do not explicitly affirm Johannine authorship, they do illustrate its early and widespread use, an implicit testimony to its acceptance by the church. Indeed, there seems never to have been a time when this gospel bore any name other than John’s.

(2) There is some evidence of an early martyrdom for John (based on Mark 10:39) which, assuming a late date for the production of this gospel, would preclude Johannine authorship. However, the earliest patristic evidence for this supposition is from the fifth century (Philip of Side and the Syrian martyrology of 411 CE), from sources which show themselves to be unreliable as historical guides in other matters. Further, in our dating of John’s Gospel, even an early martyrdom would not preclude Johannine authorship, though it would preclude Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse.

In conclusion, the external evidence is quite strong for Johannine authorship, being widely diffused and early."
http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=1328


John's Gospel isn't different from the Synoptics for being a 'later mythology'. The convergence is explained by John, Jesus' beloved disciple, merely providing whatever facts that the Synoptics had missed:

“Last of all John, perceiving that the external facts had been set forth in the Gospels, at the insistence of his disciples and with the inspiration of the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel."
Clement of Alexandria


Peace.
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2005, 08:29:18 PM »

Hm.... Perhaps this isn't the right palce to discuss Biblical scholarship? Cheesy
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
DavidH
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 531



WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2005, 09:30:37 PM »

Hmmm-
  that depends...."modern Biblical scholarship" seems to assume that the traditional views of the Gospels aren't worth consideration - is that your view too?
In Christ,
Rd. David
Logged
CRCulver
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Finland and Romanian Orthodox Church
Posts: 1,159


St Stephen of Perm, missionary to speakers of Komi


WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2005, 09:39:51 PM »

Matthew, read Luke Timothy Johnson's The Real Jesus and Philip Jenkins' Hidden Gospels. Both, written by very respected historians who happen to be conservative Christians, reveal the Jesus Seminar and its school to be dishonest historians trying to push their own unfounded anti-religion views on the academy. The traditional teachings of the Church concerning the New Testament reveal a rich trustworthiness.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2005, 09:40:24 PM by CRCulver » Logged
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2005, 10:14:38 PM »

Hmmm-
ÂÂ  that depends...."modern Biblical scholarship" seems to assume that the traditional views of the Gospels aren't worth consideration - is that your view too?
In Christ,
Rd. David

If you actually read the OP, you'd know my view. Wink
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Matthew777
Warned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,497

Seek and ye shall find


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2005, 10:16:17 PM »

the Jesus Seminar and its school to be dishonest historians trying to push their own unfounded anti-religion views on the academy. The traditional teachings of the Church concerning the New Testament reveal a rich trustworthiness.

This is the entire point of the OP.  Ho hum.  Smiley
Logged

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 29,866



« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2006, 06:56:09 PM »

I had forgotten about this thread, but last night a cable station (A&E I think) has some program on about how we got the Bible, and it brought this thread back to mind. Q was discussed as though it would never be found, but was something that unquestionably existed. I find the evidence put forth for the Q document absolutely maddening. They point out that all three synoptic Gospels have similar sayings. Therefore, scholars* say that Mark came first, and then Matthew and Luke must have copied, some from Mark and some from Q or another shared written source. That makes about as much sense as the Steelers scoring a touchdown in the Super bowl, somebody reporting it on ESPN, and then when other people report it, claiming that the other reports must have copied ESPN since ESPN wrote it first. Um, yeah, or maybe the people just happen to be watching the game as well, but transmitted what happened a bit later.

And, maybe the Gospel writers got the sayings and life of Jesus from Peter, Paul (who would have been told by other apostles), or through some oral tradition. But even though we know that there were such oral traditions floating around, and even though we know that Peter and James and others would certainly have shared what they knew (and there stories would have more or less agreed with one another), still people feel the need to speculate about some mysterious written sources that no one has ever talked about for eighteen hundred years, and which no one has ever found a trace or even hint of outside of theory.

I might also add some things that bothered me about the Bible special. First, they were given to generalizations, and then later clarified, but it all left a very convoluted story. For example, they claimed outright that the Old Testament had been settled, while the New Testament had been disputed for hundreds of years after the closing of the OT canon. Then, they discuss the Apocrypha. It is not that any of this is wrong (they should have merely clarified, e.g., the HEBREW canon was closed before the NT disputes). The generalizations also tended towards a western viewpoint: it was either Catholic or Protestant, there was no mention of Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, etc., unless these groups had to be mentioned in passing (e.g., when discussing St. Catherine's Monastery).

Another thing that betrayed the decidedly western bias was the way they spoke of Scripture among the common people. They basically painted a picture of only Churches and Monasteries having the Bible, and it being essentially kept away from the people on purpose. That may be true in some areas of the west later on, but it certainly was not in the east. St. John Chrysostom, in fact, chastises his audience for letting the Scripture and other spiritual books lying around collecting dust, while people turn their attention to what amounted to ancient celebrities. But the Bible special treated the situation as though Christianity was trying to keep the people ignorant, and then without a breath moved on to Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door, thereby implying that while the Church had tried to keep the people ignorant, Protestantism and the printing press was setting them free. This is anachronistic and biased, at best.

Other things that bothered me was attributing too much authority to various people. Paul was said to have written half the documents in the New Testament. This might be true if you count the total documents, regardless of size and disregarding which are considered most important. However, if you add up the actual content of the New Testament, Paul only wrote about 26% (a bit more if you count Hebrews to be Pauline), but Luke (Luke/Acts) wrote just as much, and John (Gospel/Revelation/Epistles) also wrote 20% or so. In another place, the producers seem to take Crossan as Gospel when he says that the defining moment for when the New Testament canon was closed was at the Council of Nicea in 325, when Constantine ordered 50 copies. But this is ludicrous. Apart from the fact that the Council of Nicea's Old Testament Canon was not accepted (Jerome mentions certain books, and it is not the same canon as was accepted by ANYONE else), certain New Testament books went on being disputed for another hundred years.

Most people do not even try to draw a line in the sand till the canon given by St. Athanasius in 367,and rightly so. The main part that bugs me though is the idea that they were trying to give that Constantine was basically ruling the Church and dictating what they were to believe (ok TomS, you can leave a comment here Smiley ). Again they came in with the "religion of the empire" stuff, which may have been somewhat true in practice, but it was still another 50 years before Christianity would be the official religion of the empire, orthodox Christians were still persecuted long after Constantine came to power, and if the Church was really so smitten with Imperial will, then Constantine's influence would have worn off and been subverted with each new Emperor that had a different view. That Christianity continued teaching things like the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, even when Emperors rose up who taught differently, shows exactly that while imperial power might have played a role, it did not corrupt Christianity.


* Not that I would call Crossan and his ilk scholars, which the Bible Special producers apparently thought they were...
« Last Edit: February 06, 2006, 07:00:57 PM by Asteriktos » Logged
Bizzlebin
Theologian
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodoxy
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 714

MonkBot, Go Forth!


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2006, 07:38:24 PM »

I had forgotten about this thread, but last night a cable station (A&E I think) has some program on about how we got the Bible, and it brought this thread back to mind. Q was discussed as though it would never be found, but was something that unquestionably existed. I find the evidence put forth for the Q document absolutely maddening. They point out that all three synoptic Gospels have similar sayings. Therefore, scholars* say that Mark came first, and then Matthew and Luke must have copied, some from Mark and some from Q or another shared written source. That makes about as much sense as the Steelers scoring a touchdown in the Super bowl, somebody reporting it on ESPN, and then when other people report it, claiming that the other reports must have copied ESPN since ESPN wrote it first. Um, yeah, or maybe the people just happen to be watching the game as well, but transmitted what happened a bit later.

I saw the same show (I believe it was on the History Channel). To comment on this specifically, they use two different arguements for two similar situations, showing a bias toward Gnosticism. For example, they say, as you pointed out, that Matthew and Luke are copies because they share common characteristics with Mark. Yet, when they point out the similarities to Mark that some Gnostic texts share, they don't attribute this to being copied also, but to it being an actual record! An interesting prejudice.
Logged

Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,374


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2006, 08:50:41 PM »

Most people do not even try to draw a line in the sand till the canon given by St. Athanasius in 367,and rightly so.

There was also the 59th and 60th cannon of the Nicene Council which dictated the different "cannonical" books of scripture, along with a dictation of what "cannonical" means if any of you have a Rudder and care to look it up, its well worth the read. 
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 29,866



« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2006, 09:25:17 PM »

Bizzlebin,

You are probably right about the station, and an interesting point about the double standard. They did try to paint them as a persecuted sect who were forced to hide in the mountains (which, I suppose, there might be some truth to), while the "conventional" Christians (ie. orthodox) were painted as being corrupted and persecutors.

Serb,

I'm afraid I don't quite follow. Smiley Perhaps you are thinking of the 59th and 60th canons of the Council of Laodicea, since the Ecumenical Council at Nicea only had 20 canons, and the discussion on the Biblical canon established at Nicea was only written about later (e.g., Jerome mentions that the Council included Judith in its canon)? The only problem with that would be that Councils both before and after Laodicea gave different canons, and the 6th Ecumenical Council (Canon 2) essentially endorsed this situation where there was no one, set-in-stone canon.

Edit--It occured to me that the Laodicea canons might be appended to the Nicene canons... ? Not having a Rudder, I don't know.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2006, 09:26:45 PM by Asteriktos » Logged
BJohnD
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 213


St. John of Damascus, pray for us.


« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2006, 06:47:52 PM »

I thought it was "gospel" that the earliest extant list setting out all 27 books of the NT as sacred Scripture is found in St. Athanasias' Paschal Sermon, c. 367 AD. 

As for those History/Discovery/Nat. Geographic, et al., Channel shows on Church History, I've always found them annoying or worse, as even I -- hardly a theologian, but someone with a little book learnin' -- can spot error after error in them.  Sometimes these are tiny things, like getting dates wrong, other times they are far larger.  And it's always bugged me to have to watch someone like Crossan try to tell me it was all a dream. 

The one exception I can think of to this pattern was a mid-90s A&E special called something like, "Christianity:  The First Thousand Years," which raced across the centuries from 33 AD to 1054.  Sure, it got things wrong, especially when talking about things Eastern, and sure, there was old J.D. Crossan smiling politely at the silly things that St. Paul would say -- but at the very end, they gave the last word not to Crossan or Marcus Borg, etc., but to the Dean of one of the GOA cathedrals in the Northeast.  He was great.  That made up for everything else.
Logged
serb1389
Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Global Moderator
Merarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 8,374


Michał Kalina's biggest fan

FrNPantic
WWW
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2006, 11:00:56 AM »

You are right actually, its both.  Laodicia has its own heading but it is appendixed to Nicea.  So its a little bit of both.  That's why I got confused.  Good call!  Thanks! 


 The only problem with that would be that Councils both before and after Laodicea gave different canons, and the 6th Ecumenical Council (Canon 2) essentially endorsed this situation where there was no one, set-in-stone canon.

As for this, it was my understanding that the Laodicia cannons were basically the definition, becuase even the later cannons did not ever actually speak to the Laodician cannon which explicitely talked about books of scripture.  I believe that the other cannon talks mainly about "cannonicity" and other complications along those lines.  Maybe I misread it though...
Logged

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.093 seconds with 39 queries.