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Old 07-28-2001, 08:48 PM   #11
Bill
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If you get into the whole business of kernals of Gospels existing for substantial periods before they are committed to paper, I'd like to note that Eisenman argues strongly (in James the Brother of Jesus) that Acts shows substantial evidence of multiple revisions over time, such as the whole business of James not appearing in the early chapters and then "all of a sudden" appearing as the head of the Jerusalem group (or however you wish to refer to them). Eisenman is convinced that followers of Paul wrote James out of the earlier material. But why they didn't go all the way and get rid of James entirely is somewhat of a mystery. On the other hand, the answer could be as simple as the fact that Acts is the pasting together of two or more related manuscripts (including the "we document" that appears late in the text), and that these were not edited after "pasting together" to ensure internal consistancy.

Anyway, just a thought to throw out into the breeze.....

== Bill
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Old 07-28-2001, 10:54 PM   #12
James Still
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Quote:
...Acts shows substantial evidence of multiple revisions over time, such as the whole business of James not appearing in the early chapters and then "all of a sudden" appearing as the head of the Jerusalem group (or however you wish to refer to them). Eisenman is convinced that followers of Paul wrote James out of the earlier material. But why they didn't go all the way and get rid of James entirely is somewhat of a mystery.
Perhaps Peter can weigh in on this (since I think he has studied this problem at length) but I think the answer to the James question lies in the fact that the audience for Luke-Acts knew James and knew how important he was to the movement. Writing him out of history was just not an option but it was very possible to qualify his role in the young movement, especially after the fall of Jerusalem. (We often forget that the whole of Christian doctrine is post-Easter interpretation of events in which even the participants did not themselves understand at the time.) We also see a role reversal in the figure of John the Baptist, for whom a powerful role is given in Mark's gospel (as well as in the extrabiblical sources) but who is fully subsumed into the Jesus cult within canonical Luke and Matthew. For instance in Mark Jesus seeks out baptism from John for the remission of sin. But Matthew's redaction includes a lengthy qualification, surely placed on Jesus' lips, in which John is apologizing to Jesus for baptizing him. And in the Gospel of John the two are nearly conflated so that Jesus escapes arrest and takes up position on the spot at the river Jordan where John had baptized. (Chapter 3 contains a fascinating account in which the disciples of John point out to him that a rival named Jesus has moved in and has begun to baptize too.) Anyway we know that history belongs to the winners. There's something suspicious about the canonical texts in that the Baptist, James, and Peter seem to have had a much larger role but we're not being told the whole story because it might steal the limelight from the Jesus story.
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Old 07-29-2001, 04:49 PM   #13
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It's striking how this commentary of Dr. Still's (sorry for the formality, but you have the same first name as one of the subjects of this discussion) suggests that the canonical Jesus was invented to displace Peter and James from their place in the early Church, not merely as a way to combat the gnostics. Jesus seems to neat solve both problems at once.

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