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Old 08-17-2001, 10:04 PM   #11
Peter Kirby
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>
I agree is that Luke's silence is a strong point. That Luke not using Paul's writings, if s/he knew of them, is difficult to credit, for not only did Luke use sources, but ancient historians, as a rule, were quick to use such sources as were available. The obvious inference is that Luke did not know of Paul's letters, or s/he would have used them.
</STRONG>
But historians do not always use all their sources or even mention all known documents relating to the matter at hand. For example, Tacitus wrote about forty years after Josephus published his _Jewish Wars_. But it is generally agreed among scholars that Tacitus did not make use of the _Jewish Wars_, even though as a senator and all-around well-read historian Tacitus would have had access to the document, if he chose to use it. My own guess is that Tacitus bypassed the use of Josephus because of Tacitus' anti-semitic tendencies. Suetonius mentions the oracle stated by Josephus that Vespasian would be declared emperor, but Tacitus omits this from his own history. One gets the impression that Tacitus had deliberately ignored Josephus, even though Tacitus wrote concerning the Jewish revolt. Tacitus, like Luke-Acts, had a penchant for using sources.

To tie these observations into the discussion of Luke-Acts, the question would be, what could account for the author's deliberate avoidance of Paul's letters? One possible explanation comes to mind if we adopt a mid second century date for Acts, and that is the same explanation given for the deliberate avoidance of Paul's letters by Justin Martyr (who must have heard of Paul, for he was familiar with Marcion and wrote an entire polemic against Marcion, now lost). That explanation is that the epistles of Paul had fallen into the hands of the heretics such as Marcion, and the nascent catholic church consequently avoided the use of Paul as "the apostle of the heretics." Later writers such as Irenaeus would find a way to domesticate Paul for orthodoxy. Indeed, Irenaeus is the first to mention explicitly either the Acts or the Pastorals, which both can be seen as attempts to neutralize the heretical use of Paul.

On the other hand, I am hesitant to state that Acts is post-Marcion. I recognize that there may be strong arguments for the literary unity of Luke-Acts, and this would rule out this line of speculation before it could really get off the ground, for Marcion clearly had some version of Luke (even if we think that Marcion made no adjustments, which has been pointed out as a dubious proposition, most of the text of canonical Luke is there anyway).

This leads to the question, then, when was it that the epistles of Paul would have been collected and known to everyone throughout Christendom? Was it shortly before the writing of the Revelations (c. 95 CE), as most seem to believe, or perhaps sometime well into the second century, perhaps even as late as the time of Marcion? The date of the collection and publishing of the Pauline epistles has important ramifications for the use of this type of argument for the dating of Luke-Acts.

Robert Price has an interesting article about the formation of the Pauline corpus at the Journal of Higher Criticism.

http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/Rpcanon.html

So while it is an interesting observation that the author of Luke-Acts does not mention any letters of Paul, I'm not sure that it secures the case yet for a dating of Luke-Acts as early as 85 CE. The author of Luke-Acts may have had some reason to avoid the use of the Pauline letters deliberately, or the collection and wider use of the Pauline epistles may be later than usually believed, or the author of Luke-Acts may have lived in a locale (other than Asia Minor, perhaps Greece) in which the epistles of Paul weren't circulated for some time.

Quote:
<STRONG>
However, this does not imply an early date, necessarily. After all, nearly everyone agrees that Luke was written AFTER Matthew and not before, yet Luke is judged not to be aware of Matthew's Gospel.
</STRONG>
I'm not sure that this is a good argument.

Even if "nearly everyone agrees" that Luke was written at some time after the writing of Matthew, what exactly is the evidence for this position?

Also, even though Luke-Acts may have been written after Matthew, the argument goes that Luke-Acts could not have been written very long after the Gospel of Matthew in order to have been ignorant of Matthew. Some think that Luke and Matthew would have to have been written within 5 years of each other to have been literarily independent. While perhaps that is cutting it too finely, the point is: the later that we date Luke-Acts, the harder it is to think that the author of Luke-Acts didn't know of Matthew. So long as we think that Luke-Acts was ignorant of Matthew, it is difficult to date Luke-Acts much later than Matthew, because Matthew soon eclipsed the inferior Mark, so Mark would not have been used as the basis of Luke-Acts without being at least supplemented by Matthew. (Another argument could be made here: perhaps Q would have been phased out soon after the writing of Matthew, so it is also unlikely that the author of Luke-Acts would have used Q independently instead of using Matthew, if we date Luke-Acts much later than Matthew.)

Quote:
<STRONG>
A silence is not as clear-cut as all that. Let us also recall that Paul's authentic epistles are not great in number; it is entirely possible that Luke never knew them even at a later date.
</STRONG>
I'm not sure what the number of Paul's authentic epistles has to do with the argument that Luke was ignorant of them. If Luke was ignorant of them, he was ignorant of all of them, whether we number them 1, 7, 70, or whatever.

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Old 08-17-2001, 10:11 PM   #12
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I forgot to mention that my discussion of the relationship of Luke-Acts to Matthew presumes the hypothesis of the Two Source Theory. Some, however, have argued that the author of Luke-Acts made use of Mark, Q, and Matthew. The view has been defended by Gundry, E. Simons, and R. Morgenthaler. The view is also defended by Ron Price on this web site.

http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_home.html

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Old 08-19-2001, 06:20 PM   #13
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This is a bump. I look forward to hearing something from Nomad concerning the relationship of Josephus to Luke-Acts.

I have read Mason's _Josephus and the New Testament_, and the case that Mason makes is not an unpersuasive one. So I am interested in hearing any counter-arguments.

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Old 08-20-2001, 10:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:

Nomad: Here you have misunderstood the argument being made. As a rule, scholars have set 70 as the earliest possible date for the Gospels because of the Olivet Discourse. But if the saying is a legitimate one from Jesus Himself, then this argument fails utterly, and one of the largest objections to an early date for ALL of the Gospels collapses.

Michael: No, Nomad, you've misunderstood its application. Even if we set the Olivet Discourse all the way back to Jesus, there is still no reason to assume that the Gospels/Acts have an early date. All we know is that they must come after this Discourse, whenever it was made. Assuming that it dates from the early 30s, the Gospels/Acts must date later than the early 30s. But we already knew that.....if you are right (and few scholars think you are) all it says it that L/A could have been written in the 60s, not that it was.
I have understood your argument Michael, but I do not think that you have appreciated the importance traditional critical scholarship has attached to setting the Olivet Discourse to the post-70 destruction of Jerusalem. Every theory on dating the Gospels is driven by this underlying assumption, placing the earliest terminous date for the Synoptics at no earlier than the start of the rebellion against Rome, and then, this charity in dating is granted only to Mark. Luke and Matthew are not even considered to come prior to this date, so what you will find in many arguments is reasons to set the Gospels later rather than earlier. This is, of course, placing the theory before the evidence, and when it comes to Biblical studies, we get a lot of that.

Quote:
Silence on Paul's Letters

As I said in the first post, the silence on Paul's letters is useless in dating Luke, since there are known writings from the mid 2nd century that are silent on Paul. It does seem rather strange that if Luke traveled with Paul, he does not even mention the mere fact that Paul wrote letters.....but I do not accept that silence as compelling evidence of anything. It is inconclusive.
Given that Luke is portraying Paul as the central figure of his work, the silence is really rather deafening. And speculating on the reasons for this silence can get as wild as we wish, but the simplest assumption, as I have said, is to grant that Luke was writing before these letters were widely disseminated (IOW, before the 2nd Century).

Quote:
A few scholars have argued that the writer of Luke also wrote Epistles in Paul's name as a sort of 3rd volume. This position is not widely supported, however.
I have not encountered this argument before, although I am aware that some have theorized that Luke served as Paul's scribe in some of his letters. Given the paucity of evidence either way, I tend to shy away from such arguments myself.

Quote:
...You are correct in noting that the ending in 62 is prima facie evidence of an early date, but the dating of Luke/Acts is done with a web of evidence, not a single dating point. And this web of evidence indicates that Luke/Acts is from a later date, up to sixty years later, than 62.
But the only important question here is does the web of evidence point to a 2nd Century date or not? If the more probable answer is that Luke/Acts is 1st Century, then all of the theories about Luke using Josephus as a source go out the window. Remember, Josephus wrote in 95AD, so if the probablility that Luke wrote after 95 looks very remote, then the likelyhood that he used Josephus becomes equally problematic.

I will get into this in greater depth in my discussion of Mason and Carrier's theories. For now I want it to be clear that we do not have to prove that Luke dates to 62AD. Only that it does not date to after 95-100AD.

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Old 08-20-2001, 11:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nomad:
<STRONG>

I will get into this in greater depth in my discussion of Mason and Carrier's theories. For now I want it to be clear that we do not have to prove that Luke dates to 62AD. Only that it does not date to after 95-100AD.

Nomad</STRONG>
62 wouldn't have come up, if that wasn't the date you originally argued for.

We'll take it that a Josephus link can be disproven if we can prove a date for Luke prior to 95.

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Old 08-20-2001, 06:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>62 wouldn't have come up, if that wasn't the date you originally argued for.

We'll take it that a Josephus link can be disproven if we can prove a date for Luke prior to 95. </STRONG>
Excuse me? The Jewish War was completed early in the 70s, as far as I recall, and it at least mentions many thing that are repated (with some elaboration) in Antiquities of the Jews in the early 90s. So, why could not Luke/Acts have used The Jewish War as a source and still be written in the mid-to-late 70s? I fail to understand your reasoning for making 95 CE the dividing line.

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Old 08-20-2001, 06:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:
<STRONG>Excuse me? The Jewish War was completed early in the 70s, as far as I recall, and it at least mentions many thing that are repated (with some elaboration) in Antiquities of the Jews in the early 90s. So, why could not Luke/Acts have used The Jewish War as a source and still be written in the mid-to-late 70s? I fail to understand your reasoning for making 95 CE the dividing line.

== Bill</STRONG>

95 is more fun, Bill. And some of Luke's material appears to be from Jewish Antiquities.

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Old 08-21-2001, 09:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>95 is more fun, Bill. And some of Luke's material appears to be from Jewish Antiquities. </STRONG>
OK, then. The finer points of this argument seem to be getting beyond my limited capacity to wield facts in support of any argument I might prefer ..... In point of fact, I'm not certain if I really care much about the distinction between 75CE, 95 CE, and/or 150 CE for any of these books. At the end of the day, at best Jesus was a man who had a bunch of mythical stories made up with him as the central character. Whether you believe that Paul concocted those stories (as I tend to) or you believe that the Qumran sect concocted those stories (which would make them "early", as Barbara Thiering asserts, along with her idea that Jesus himself was the author of the Gospel of John), in either case, the miracle stories are there as plot devices and not as assertions of truth. There is no reason to believe that any miracle is "truth." That's just a plain fact as far as I can see things.......

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