Thursday, December 31, 2009

"90 Days" Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I will, along with members of my church, begin reading the entire Bible in 90 days.  I think most will be reading from the NIV.  I have wanted to use another translation since I have read the entire Bible in the NIV.  I may use the NLT, of which I have read little, but I haven't decided yet.  My progress will be posted daily; I'm not sure whether posting will begin tomorrow or the next day.  In the meantime, I have been reading the non-Pauline epistles in the RSV and have been working on a series of devotionals entitled "Monday Morning Devotions" that appears on my main blog .  While I am taking the month of January off on that blog, I will be posting other articles on this one.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reading The Bible In 90 Days

My Church will engage in a program to read the entire Bible in 90 days starting on 1/1.  I will be participating as well, even while I am home in WV.  My daily progress will be chronicled on this blog.  What version shall I read?  I thought about using the NLT since I have read next to nothing of that version even though I do not have a large print NLT in my possession. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Submission To Authority

The following are verses cited in John Howard Yoder's "The Politics of Jesus" as the basis of the Christian's relationship to authority. 

I Tim 2: 3-7, Titus 3:3-7, 2:11-14, I Pet. 2: 21-25, 3:18, Eph. 5:25-27, 4:32-5:2, Phil. 2: 21-25, Col 2: 18ff, 4:1, Eph 6: 1-9, I Cor. 7:20ff, 8:11f, Rom 14:7ff, 15:3f, Gal 5:24; 6:2, Phil. 2:5 .

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I had planned to read and respond to articles analyzing Baukham's book. However, when I went back to the link to the articles I had saved, I find that to access these articles I would have to pay the theological journal they appear in $25.00/article.  There are at least 6 or 7 articles plus a responding article by Baukham.  I'll have to pass on that.  Also, I switched to a new version of blogger and I don't see a spellcheck option anywhere.  Can anyone tell me how to find it?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Jesus And The Eyewitnesses: The Gospels As Eyewitness Testimony" by Richard Baukham

In a perfect world, "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony" by Professor Richard Baukham, Professor of New Testament Studies at St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, would be the stake that would finally kill Form Criticism's century plus long view of New Testament origins and authorship. It has been the contention of Form Criticism that the Gospels are not the accounts of eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry, or accounts by those who heard directly from such witnesses. Form Criticism has maintained that the Gospels are nothing more than folklore and the process by which they became what we now possess is no different from the development of mythology or folk tales. Form Critics envision a process of the original Gospels being reshaped by each generation for its own needs. The changes were the result of communities retelling the Gospels with no controlling authority making sure each retelling remained true to the original. Form Critics believe that the Gospels we now have resulted from several centuries of retelling and that if one can remove layer after successive layer of Gospel retelling that occurred over the centuries, one can discover the true Gospel, as it was first told. The Gospels, according to Form Critics, were the product of Oral Tradition and were not written down during the lifetimes of the original witnesses to Jesus' ministry. "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" demonstrates that the overwhelming evidence indicates that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses to Jesus. The Synoptics were the result of the witness of the original twelve disciples, John was written by an eyewitness, and those accounts of personal encounters with Jesus by named individuals originated from those named in those accounts. Baukham fashions his argument from a wide array of sources and disciplines. The Scripture references to the Gospels being written in the lifetime of the disciples is overwhelming. The list of names that appear in the New Testament, when compared to the list of all known names of Jews living in Israel before and centuries after Jesus lived on Earth, makes it plain that the Gospels were not folk tales retold over time. Baukham provides the reader with studies in Folklore which demonstrate that the model of Folklore's development over time does not conform to what the original Form Critics, such as Bultman, envisioned. Folk lore did not by in large develop through uncontrolled community involvement. There were processes by which the message of Folk Tales and Myths remained true to the original form. Baukham also demonstrates that the original Church drew on the tradition of Jewish and Hellenistic Schools to preserve knowledge of history, secular and religious. Such methods included teachers certified to pass on the knowledge, students whom teachers deemed worthy to be entrusted with such knowledge and who could memorize vast amounts of information. Paul received just such an education; as Baukham points out, Scripture makes it clear that even Paul had to learn from Peter and other Apostles in Jerusalem. Baukham also points out that the Form Critics ignore the role of Jerusalem in guarding the purity of the Gospel message. While most of Baukhams evidence is irrefutable, some of his evidence is not as strong. Baukham points to a literary device he calls an "inclusio" to prove the authorship of Mark and John. In Mark, Peter's name is the first of the disciples to appear, and the last to be mentioned. This phenomenon, which Baukham calls an inclusio, shows that Peter is the source Mark used when compiling the Gospel. While this is an intelligent theory, even Baukham admits that it is speculation on his part. There are no examples of this literary device in other documents of the same time period, though a few appear later. In John, the Beloved Disciple, named John, appears before Peter and after Peters last appearance, indicating that this disciple has greater credentials to expound the message of John's Gospel than Peter does. Baukham believes that the author of John, John's Epistles, and Revelation, were not written by John Son of Zebedee, but by another John, the Beloved Disciple. I found the language of his case quite speculative. Yet dispite my disagreements with some of Baukham's arguments, I can do nothing but heartily endorse this book, which is one of the most important works in New Testament study to appear in many a year. It is amazing that while the methods and conclusions of the Form Critics have been refuted convincingly by Baukham and earlier scholars, many New Testament scholars still cling to Form Criticism. Why? Some think that if it could be demonstrated that the Gospels changed over the centuries before they reached their final form, the commands in the Gospels we now have can be disregarded. Others seem to be addicted to the idea of the Gospels developing in the same manner as folklore. Others are simply brain dead.

Professor Baukham is a Fellow of the British Acadamy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a member of the Doctrine Commission of the church of England.

"Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony" was originally published by Eerdmans.

To read my reviews of "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" on my study blog, click here and scroll down.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baukham Chapter 18

I finally finished "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony" by Richard Baukham. This concluding chapter, "The Jesus of Testimony" mainly concerns how scholars are to treat statements by eyewitnesses to events or those who have heard directly from such eyewitnesses. Baukham points out that past sources for historians which were treated uncritically have received a more thorough investigation. Yet the pendulum has swung too far the other way in that all sources of testimony are considered suspect until proven otherwise. Baukham traces this phenomenon to the Enlightenment which produced an individualism never experienced before. In the field of history, this has led to the view of the historian as interrogator of his sources, not bound to believe any source. This has not boded well for the study of the origin of Scriptures. This professional attitude has led to a distrust of all Biblical claims as to the origin of Scripture. Baukham believes that the approach of Samuel Bysork, in treating the Gospels as documents of ancient historiography, is the best approach in evaluating who wrote them and when were they written. This approach leads to the conclusion that the Gospels were written by either eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry, or by those who heard from those who were original eyewitnesses. Of course this synopsis does no justice to the final chapter or the book as a whole. In an ideal world, this book should be the stake that is finally driven into the heart of Form Criticism. While I enjoyed the book, I am glad to be finished so I can move on. But first, I will read articles from a theological journal responding to "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses"; this journal contains articles critical to the book as well as articles supporting it, with a final article by Baukham in response. I will also post a brief review on my main blog.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baukham Chapters 16 And 17

In chapter 15 of "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony", author Richard Baukham expresses his view that John the brother of Zebedee and the Beloved Disciple who appears in the Gospel of John are not one and the same person. In chapters 16 and 17 Baukham states his case in detail, also claiming the the Beloved Disciple, also named John, wrote the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, and Revelation; he believes that John the Son of Zebedee did not write these documents.

In Chapter 16, "Papius on John", Baukham points out that the Synoptic Gospels list the twelve Apostles and that these lists acknowledge the debt to the twelve for the contents of them. But the Gospel of John contains no such list. To Baukham, this is evidence that the one most responsible for this Gospel's contents was not one of the twelve. Also, the Son of Zebedee is mentioned only once in this Gospel, Jn. 21:2. Baukham also points to the quote of Papius, see here for the quote, where Papius lists the Apostles in the same order listed in John's Gospel, indicating to Baukham that Papius used that Gospel in constructing his document. Baukham believes Papius made a distinction between John the apostle and the Beloved Disciple. I did not pick up that impression reading the quote.

In chapter 17, "Polycrates and Irenaeus on John", Baukham examines quotes from Polycrates and Irenaeus, both 2nd Century church figures. Polycrates was a bishop of Ephesus who was related to past bishops of Ehphesus and knew those who, like Polycarp,had learned from the original Apostles. A tradition that the Beloved Disciple lived in Ephesus in his final years was well established by the time Polycrates was writing. Baukham believes this document shows that Polycrates claimed a blood relation with both the Beloved Disciple and Philip the Evangelist through one of Philip's daughters. I do not make that connection from reading the document Baukham presents in his book. Baukham also believes that this document is evidence that John was a member of the High Priest's family and may have briefly served as High Priest. I find neither Polycrates document nor Jn. 18:16 evidence for this claim. Baukham also states that the tradition linking the Beloved Disciple to Ephesus never labels this disciple and John the Son of Zebedee the same person. According to Baukham, neither does any of the writings of Irenaeus link the two.

There is much information in these chapters that I can not delve into detail because of time constraints. While I am not competent to establish the correctness or lack thereof for much of what Baukham asserts, the language Baukham uses is more in line with speculation rather than assertion of fact. Baukham himself admits that there is no hard evidence to back up either his theories on this subject or those who advocate alternatives. He also states that the majority of scholars attribute all the writings of John in the New Testament to John the Son of Zebedee.

Only one more chapter to go.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baukham Chapter 15: "The Witness Of The Beloved Disciple"

"Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospel as Eyewitness Testimony" by Richard Baukham is greatly influenced by the work of Samuel Bysork. Bysork applies the standards of ancient historiography to the concept of "witness" in the New Testament. Baukham applies these standards to the Gospel of John in chapter 15. According to Bysork, the histories considered the most credible in the ancient world were those which were written by or relied upon those who had direct contact with the events in question. Josephus advertised his qualifications as a historian this way: "My qualification as a historian of the war was that I had been an actor in many, and an eyewitness of most, of the events." The portrayal of Jesus' ministry in the Gospels is taken from the direct testimony of those in direct contact with Jesus' ministry; the text of the Gospels is closer to the original eyewitnesses reports than most modern scholars will allow, according to Bysork/Baukham. Not only are the original eyewitnesses the active guarantors of the factual record concerning Jesus' ministry, the are the chief interpreters of that ministry and its message through the four Gospels, which preserve their witness for the Church until the second coming of Christ.

The concept of witness in the Gospel of John confuses some because of the English translation of such words as witness, testify and testimony. English can only translate the word from the martureo word group, which are classified as legal metaphors. (Jn. 15:27, 1:21-22) But there is another word for witness which not tranlated into English because English has no corresponding word. This word is autopes, a word denoting first hand experience. (Lk. 1:2) Some scholars take the position that "witness" is only a legal term, and that John's Gospel was not written by a personal eyewitness to Jesus' ministry but one who was giving theological witness to the message of Jesus's teaching. But the concept of personal eyewitness as participant is contained in the words translated from the autopes word group.

Baukham returns to a concept he introduced earlier, "the inclusio." Baukham believes that Mark's Gospel witnesses to Peter's influence by the use of inclusio, a literary device in which Peter is the first disciple introduced and the last one heard from in Mark. In John, Baukham sees an inclusio that represents the eyewitness testimony of John, a witness that makes John more qualified than Peter to witness to the Gospel in written form. The inclusio begins with the unnamed beloved disciple seeking Jesus out in Jn. 1:35 and ends at Jn 21:22. In 1:35, the beloved disciple is still a disciple of John the Baptist. He is a witness to John's testimony of Jesus being the Lamb of God and is later able to fully understand the significance of the fact that Jesus died with no bones broken and that when pierced, blood and water flowed from Jesus' body. Peter, not a disciple of John the Baptist, had not fully grasped this yet. In Jn. 21:22, Jesus states that John's witness of Him will continue until He returns. The inclusio concerning John, showing that he has a witness apart from Peter's, shows that Johns witness began before Peter's and continued after Peter's witness was finished. It is not that Peter's witness was any less valuable than John's, but Peter's ministry was to be the Shepherd of the new Church, while John was to be a witness to the full meaning of Jesus' acts and teachings. I am not giving full justice to Baukham's presentation because of time constraints, yet the inclusio argument is not the strongest argument in Baukhams book. Baukham himself says that the inclusio is based on speculation more than hard evidence. Part of his argument for an inclusio in the Gospel of John is that the beloved disciple who wrote the Gospel is not the Apostle John listed in the lists of Apostles in the Synoptics. Where he gets that from I do not know. I have been reading the book for a while and remember no such previous reference to this claim. I am very sure I would have remembered it if I had come across it earlier in the book. The claim seems to pop up out of thin air.

Some scholars believe that John could not have written the Gospel bearing his name because to designate himself as the disciple Jesus loved would be an act of self aggrandisement. Baukham states that this view reflects modern sensibilities rather than the thinking of the world the disciples lived in. John was showing his readers the intimacy he had with Jesus so that he could demonstrate his qualifications as a witness as portrayed in the Gospel. Paul was no less willing to remind readers concerning his special call to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:1-5, Gal. 1: 15-16).

On to chapter 16.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baukham Chapter 14: "The Gospel Of John As Eyewitness Testimony."

Chapter 14 of "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospel as Eyewitness Testimony" is so full of information that it would be difficult to summarize as I have done with the previous chapters. Not that it cannot be done, but the time is just not available to me now.

As author Richard Baukham points out, the Gospel of John is the only one of the four Gospels to claim that its contents originate in eyewitness testimony and that the Gospel itself was written by such an eyewitness. John 21:24-25 claims that the author is who had been referred to in key points in the Gospel as "the beloved disciple." This claim was taken at face value until the modern period. The only scholar to present evidence for disputing the claim for John's authorship did so in 1928. His sole evidence was that the Greek verb graphein appeared in the causative sense, that is, John caused the Gospel to be written but did not write it himself. The word appears in Jn. 19:19 where it is stated that Pilate had the inscription proclaiming Jesus as King of the Jews written and placed on the Cross. Also, Paul used graphein to indicate that he was dictating certain portions of his letters (Rom 16:22, cf. Gal 6:11, IPet 5:12) as opposed to Paul informing his readers that he was actually writing (Rom 15:15, ICor 4:14, 5:9, 9:15, 14:37). All this indicates, according to Baukham, is that graphein CAN refer to authorship by dictation. But it still means that the author dictates; nowhere does the use of graphein by John indicate that John was not solely responsible for the content of the fourth Gospel. Only a zeal among those devoted to form criticism can see in the use of the word graphein evidence that John was not the author of the Gospel of John. Baukham quotes K.J. Vanhoozer in making his point:

"...The Fourth a finely tuned work, depending on subtleties of structure, irony and so forth to achieve its effect. It is difficult to see how the substance of the witness could be preserved if the beloved Disciple were not also responsible for its form. But if he is responsible for its form and substance, would he then not be the sole author?"

Some scholars believe that the Gospel of John actually ended at chapter 20 and that chapter 21 was a later add-on. These scholars isolate Jn 21:24 from 21:25. Yet most scholars believe both these verses are meant to be read together to indicate that the author was claiming authorship not only of chapter 21 but of the whole Gospel. Jn. 21:24 means that John wrote the entire Gospel, whether or not he actually wielded the pen.

Jn 21: 21-23 is meant to be a Narrative Epilogue framed by a conclusion divided into two carefully designed stages: Jn. 20: 30-31 and 21: 24-25. The portion fenced off in chapter 21 serves as a narrative epilogue balancing the prologue which appears in Jn 1: 1-18. The prologue in chapter 1 concerns pre-history going all the way back to creation. The epilogue deals with the disciples mission which will extend all the way until Christ's return. The prologue contains 496 syllables while the epilogue contains 496 words. The two frames that fence off chapter 21 each contain 43 words. These examples of symbolism were important to ancient writers.

Baukham spends the second half of the chapter focusing on what scholars call "the 'We' of authoritative testimony." This is in reference to Jn. 21:24 in which John states "We know that his testimony is true." Some believe that the use of "we" in this verse shows that John was not the sole author of the Gospel that bears his name. Baukham compares the use of the word "we" in Jn. 3:11, IJn. 1:1-5, 4:14 and 3Jn. 9-10, 12 to prove otherwise. It is here the attempt to summarize this chapter becomes too time consuming.

The next three chapter focus on the Gospel of John as well. On to Chapter 15.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baukham Chapter 13

I did my best, but I could not get into chapter 13 of Baukham, which consists mainly of forty pages of psychological studies on memory. I tried to give it the attention that I gave to chapters 1-12, but was unable to do so. I choose to skip it because:
1. I have no interest in the subject.
2. I cannot envision a scenario where this information would be taught in a pastoral setting.
3. I still have nearly 200 pages to go to finish the book. I am enjoying the book and consider it to be one of the most important works in its field, but I do want to move on to other things. On to chapter 14.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Baukham Chapter 12

In this chapter, entitled "Anonymous Traditions or Eyewitness Testimony?", Baukham continues to analyze the models of transmission that have been put forward to explain how the testimony of the original eyewitnesses of the acts and teachings of Jesus ended up in the form of the four canonical Gospels. While Baukham lauds the theories of Kenneth Baily, who greatly influenced the work of Dunn and N.T. Wright, Baukham contends that Baily's model of oral transmission is not an adequate model. Baily believes that the traditions concerning Jesus came into being through a community controlled process, as opposed to authorized individuals maintaining the purity of the teaching. Baukham disagrees. First, he points out that the Form Criticism that has been applied earlier to Biblical studies by figures such as Bultman has almost uniformally dismissed the value of individual recollection in favor of a collective memory. Much current scholarship in the field is now challenging this attitude. Baily and Dunn focus their models upon Palestinian villages without reference to the authority exercised by the Jerusalem Church during the first decades after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Although as the Gospel spread and the individual churches covered a wide geographical area, the churches were part of a network which was engaged in close communion with each other. Individual leaders traveled frequently so that it was not uncommon for villages to be visited by an original witness to the ministry of Jesus or one who was trained by such eyewitnesses from the Jerusalem Church. Apparently, those churches addressed by the writer of Hebrews were formed by the testimony of such eyewitnesses (Heb. 2:3-4). Paul himself acknowledges the authority of the Jerusalem Church in Gal. 1:1-10 and Rom. 15:19. The Jerusalem Church's authority was the purpose for the collection Paul organized (cf. Rom. 15:25-27). Such authority should not be surprising considering that the early Christians considered Christ's teachings and ministry to be the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture. In I Cor. 15: 3-8, Paul's account of Christ's appearance after the His resurrection is dominated by the names of key figures in the Jerusalem Church. Paul was counting on the continuing accessibility of those key figures if those he was writing to wished to investigate on their own. In fact, the ultimate purpose of the Gospels was to preserve that accessibility to eyewitness testimony after the original eyewitnesses died. Of all the testimony available to the Church, the fact that the four canonical Gospels survived as the authorized accounts of Christ's ministry can be attributed to the strong belief as to their origins as the testimony of the original eyewitnesses. The mode of transmission of the four Gospels has its antecedents in the manner in which Pharisees and Hellenistic Philosophical Schools transmitted their teachings. No where in the New Testament or in early Christian Literature is the model of Community control mentioned as the main source of transmission. This quote from Papius, which appears more than once in Baukham, is example of the testimony available to us as to how the original testimony of the eyewitnesses to Christ's ministry was transmitted:

"I shall not hesitate to put into properly ordered form for you (sing.) everything I learned carefully in the past from the elders and noted down well, for the truth of which I vouch. For unlike most people I did not enjoy those who have a great deal to say, but those who teach the truth. Nor did I enjoy those who recall someone else's commandments, but those who the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and preceding from the truth itself. And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I enquired about the words of the elders-[that is,] what [according to the elders] Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas or James or John or Matthew or any of the Lord's disciples, and whatever Ariston and the elder John, the Lord's disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice."

Papius wrote these words long after the original eyewitnesses died, but he was writing of a time in his life when many eyewitnesses were still alive and when Matthew, Luke and John were compiling their Gospels, using the same criteria for authority as mentioned by Papius.

Those listed in the Book of Acts as original eyewitnesses to Christs ministry:

Peter (chapters 1-15), James (12:2), the sons of Zebedee and the rest of the original twelve (1:13), Matthius (1: 23-26), James the Lord's brother (12:17, 15: 13-21, 21: 18-25) and other brothers (1:14, not named), Barnabus (4:36-37, 9:27, 11:22-26,30, 12:25-15:39), Mnason (21:16-an early original disciple of Jesus, one of the founders of the Jerusalem Church), Silas (15:22-18:5).

Those listed in Acts who may have been original eyewitnesses to Christ's ministry:

Agabus (11:28, 21:10-11), Ananius and sapphira (5:1-10), John Mark (12:12, 25, 13:5,13), Stephen (6:5-8:1), Philip the Evangelist (6:5-6, 8:4-40, 21:8-90 and the rest of the seven (6:5), Philip's daughters (21:9), Rhoda (12:13-15).

Those mentioned by Paul to have been original eyewitnesses of Christ's ministry:

Peter (I Cor 1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5, Gal. 1:18, 2:9, 11-14), John the son of Zebedee (Gal.2:9), the rest of the twelve (I Cor. 15:5), James the Lord's brother (I Cor. 15:7, Gal. 1:19, 2: 9, 12), and the other brothers (ICor. 9:5), Barnabus (ICor. 9:6, Gal. 2: 1,13, Col. 4:10), Andronicus and Junia (Rom 16:7) Silvanus (IICor. 1:19, I Thess. 1:1, IIThess. 1:1).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baukham Chapter 11

Baukham points out in Chapter 11, "Transmitting The Jesus Traditions", that there is unequivocal evidence located in the Scriptures themselves that the early Church practiced a formal method of transmission of the teachings of Jesus and the stories of what He did. This formal method was employed to ensure that the traditions were faithfully handed down from qualified "traditioners" to others. Such evidence appears in Paul's writings. Paul uses the technical term for handing down a tradition, paradidom (corresponding to the Hebrew word masar), in I Cor. 11: 2, 23; he used the term for receiving a tradition, paralambano (corresponding to the the Hebrew word qibbel) in I Cor 15:1,3, Gal. 1:9, Col. 2:6, IThess 2:13, 4:1, IIThess. 3:6. These terms were commonly used in Hellenistic Schools signifying methods of transmitting and preserving information. These terms would have been familiar to Paul's Gentile readers and listeners. These terms may also be found in Mark 7:4, 13, Acts 6:14. Paul also spoke of faithfully speaking and retaining tradition in ICor 11:2, 15:2, IIThess 2:15, 3:6. These terms were also used to denote Jewish traditions in Matt 15:2, Mk. 7:3,4,5,8,Gal. 1:14. These terms would be familiar to Paul as he came in contact with them in his training as a Pharisee. Outside Paul, these terms were used in Jude 3, Lk 1:2, Acts 16:14, the Didache 4:13, and Barnabus 19:11. Traditions were taught by those qualified to be authoritative in such a manner as to guarantee retention. While Paul was certainly capable from the beginning of his ministry to expound upon the Old Testament witness to Christ, where did he learn about the teachings and actions of Jesus? He learned them when he first went up to Jerusalem to confer with the Apostles, where he learned from Peter (Gal 1:18). If Paul wanted to add weight to his teachings, he could have claimed that he learned from the Lord all that he taught. But ICor 7: 10-16 shows that he made a distinction between what he taught and the original teachings handed down to him. In v. 10-11, he refers specifically to what Jesus taught concerning marriage, while in 12-16, he teaches on matters not mentioned in the earliest traditions of what Jesus taught. As for using Kenneth Baily's model for the transmission of tradition (see previous post) Paul does speak of entrusting the community with the accuracy of his teaching (ICor 11:2, 23, 15: 1-3, IIThess 2:15) and entrusting chosen individuals to pass on what he taught (Rom 12:7, ICor 12: 28-29, Gal. 6:6, Eph 4:11) Examples of this second type appear outside of Paul (Acts 13:1, Heb 5:12, James 3:1) Baukham also points out that Jesus is spoken of in different terms before and after the Resurrection. As to the contention of Form Criticism that communities had no interest in preserving the past, only in presenting traditions that reflected current need, Baukham pointed out in the previous chapter that some communities had more interest than others in preserving their history. The Christian community preserved history because that history concerned salvation and it was the fulfillment of the Old Testament. There was a mixture of freedom and restriction in preservation of tradition, some material was seen to be presented differently, such as the stories of Jesus actions, while others were not open to any alteration, namely the teachings of Jesus. While traditional Jewish culture and the culture of the early Church was mainly oral, writing did serve the purpose of emphasizing what should be memorized. In IITim 4, Paul mentions his notebooks. These were no doubt aids in remembering oral tradition.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chapter 10 of Baukham

Last night I read chapter 10 of Baukham: "Models of Oral Tradition." (Links to Baukham and the book can be found in previous posts on this blog.) This chapter was an absolutely devastating criticism of Form Criticism which has dominated New Testament scholarship for a century. It is the contention of Form Criticism that the traditions of Jesus handed down to us in the New Testament are the results of generations of oral story telling. The traditions, Form Critics tell us, tell us more about the communities that produced them rather than about the historical Jesus. The oral transmission of these stories had no formal control mechanism and the traditions were modified to meet the current needs of the community. These communities had no interest in preserving the historical past. Baukham notes that while nearly all of the early contentions of Form Criticism have been refuted by subsequent scholarship, the picture of the process of oral transmission of the Gospels by Form Criticism still dominates the views of New Testament Scholars and their students. Early form critics, such as Bultman, classified the Gospel as folk literature which was developed in the same manner as other folk literature, the process determined by Sitz im Leben, the setting in life, of the community. There was a pure first version of the Gospel, according to Bultman. Each retelling of the Gospel was a new layer, adding onto and editing the previous layer, until there was no resemblance of the latest version to the original. As stated earlier, Form Critics believed this process lacked all formal control.

Subsequent research of Folklore development has refuted the theories of Form Criticism. First, research has shown that the roots of folk tales are not pure in that the original telling of them contained mixed and modified messages. Second, there is often no correlation between form and Sitz im leben; there was no correlation between the historical information preserved in these tales and the subsequent communities that repeated them. Some communities valued the preservation of history more than others and one cannot determine the ages of tradition using Form Criticism. More recent scholarship has determined a greater role for authoritative individuals in passing on folk traditions than uncontrolled communities. Concerning the Gospels, the evidence is overwhelming that the timeline for the transmission of the teachings of Jesus into the Gospels we now have is considerably shorter than the traditional development of folklore over many generations. In the end, it has been shown that while Form Criticism can deal with matters of form, it cannot be used to help determine the ages of traditions.

A recent attempt to explain the transmission of the oral teachings of Jesus to the written Gospels has been done by Kenneth Baily. Baily has spent considerable time in Middle Eastern villages and has witnessed how villages preserve local traditions concerning their own past. Villages gather formally to recite traditions. Anyone who has grown up in the village is allowed to be a reciter of tradition, although other factors such as status and wealth determine who recites. If there is any major deviation from accepted tradition, the village may correct the reciter. In this way, traditions concerning the past are preserved primarily intact. Baily believes that this mode of preservation may be the best explanation of how the teachings of Jesus were preserved until they were written down. This theory has greatly influenced the work of James Dunn and N.T. Wright. Baukham believes that this theory has great merit, though there are some questions it leaves unanswered. Baily's model does not adequately explain the role of the original eyewitnesses in preserving the teachings of Jesus intact. Nor does it give the Church in Jerusalem an authoritative role that evidence indicates that it actually had. Baily's model may give too much of a role to entire communities at the expense of individual authorities in preserving the Gospel's message. Yet Baukham still believes this explanation is a great step forward in scholarship on this issue.

I still have eight chapters to go in Baukham. All other blogger activity will be halted till I finish this book.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Scriptural References concerning Genesis

The following Scriptural references from Genesis or from the New Testament quoting Genesis are from "No Final Conflict: The Bible Without Error In All That It Affirms" by Francis Schaeffer. It is available for order with other Schaeffer works. See my review on my main blog, here.

Toledoths- "these are the generations of" indicating a unity throughout the entire book of Genesis-Gen 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 25:19, 36:1, 36:9, 37:2. All refer to the section preceding them.

New Testament references to the historicity of Genesis: Mt. 19: 4-5 (Jesus links both Gen 1 and 2 together, undercutting the theory that both chapters contain two totally separate creation accounts), Lk 13:38 (which proclaims the historicity of Enos, Seth and Adam), Rom 5:12 (the historicity of Adam is equal to the historicity of Moses), Rom 5:15 (the historicity of Adam is equal to the historicity of Christ), ICor 6:16, 11:8, 9, 12, 15:21, 22,45, II Cor 11:3, Eph 5:31, ITim. 2:13-14, IJn 3:12, Jude 11.

The following is also from "No Final Conflict": Scriptural Evidences that the genealogies contained in Scripture were not meant to be a chronological account of every family featured in these genealogies: Gen 5:32 and 9:24 where the order of Noah's sons are different, Ex 3:2 where it may be inferred that Moses is the oldest son is clarified by Ex. 7:7 in which it is stated that Aaron was actually three years older than Moses, I Chron. 6: 3-14 and Ezra 7:2 shows that Ezra deliberately left out some names of the genealogy he put together (which was a common practice of those who compiled genealogies in the ancient world), I Chron. 26:24 omits 400 years of history, Mt 1:8 omits three generations. The purpose of these genealogies is not to present chronological history but to show that certain Biblical figures came from a specific origin. The compilers of these genealogies were more interested in showing trends of history rather than tracing families generation by generation (which again is a common feature of ancient genealogies). Genesis 10 shows that one man could produce not only children but whole peoples and places ( v. 4, 7, 15). For further study, consult K.E. Kitchen's "The Ancient Orient and the Old Testament." Next week I hope to continue in Baukham and read the rest of the articles I had printed out on these topics.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scriptural References Concerning The Origin Of Scripture

On my main blog, , I recently did a five part review of J.I. Packer's " 'Fundamentalism' and the Word of God." (To read the individual articles see here, here, here, here and here.) For the benefit of readers and myself, here is a list of the Biblical references Packer provides in asserting the divine origin of Scripture:

The message of the Apostles was called "the word of God", "the word of the Lord", or "the word"- Acts 4:31, 6:2, 8:4, 14, Col. 1:25, IThess. 1:8, 2:13, etc.

The New Testament Message labels itself "The word of Christ", "the word of the Cross"- Col. 3:16, 1Cor 1:18 (RV)

Scripture's divine origins guarantee its contents to be of divine truth- IICor 6:7, Col. 1:5, Eph 1:13, IITim 2:15, James 1:18

People come to faith by hearing the Word and that faith is called "obeying the truth"- Gal. 3:1, 7, IPet 1:22, cf. Rom 6:17, 10:16, IIThess. 1:8, IPet 4:17, Lk 6:46.

"The faith of God's elect" goes with "the knowledge of the truth"- Titus 1:1 (RV)

The entire Old Testament is considered in the New Testament as the oracles of God- Rom 3:2

The disobedience of Old Testament Laws brought about disaster while obedience to them resulted in prosperity- Lev. 26, Deut 28, cf. IIKings 22:13

Christ's teaching was of divine origin and He placed His entire authority behind the Old Testament as being of divine origin- Matt 5:17, 18,cf. LK 16:17, Matt 19:4, Jn 5:35, MK 12:24, Matt 12:3,5, 21: 16:42, Matt 9:13, cf. 12:7 (These last two references quoting Hos. 6:6)

Christ avowed His intention to obey what was written- Matt 4:1, LK 4:1, cf. Mt. 16: 21-23

Christ told His critics that they misunderstood the meaning of The Law- cf. Mk 2:24, 3:4, Lk 13:14, Jn. 7:21

Christ stated that His preaching fulfilled Scripture: Lk 4:18 quoting Is. 61:1-2

Christ's healings fulfilled Scripture- Matt 8:16 quoting Is. 53:4

In Mt. 11:5, to restore John The baptist's faith in His messiahship, Jesus linked His cures to the day of redemption described in Is 35:5

Jesus taught from the Old Testament concerning His own death- Mk 8:31, cf. 9:31 and 10:33, Lk 18:31, Mt. 26:24, Lk 22:37 (RSV quoting Is 53:12)Mt 26: 53,56 (RSV), Lk 24:44, 46

Jesus considered Himself the key to understanding the Old Testament- Jn. 5:39, 46

The Apostles argued for Christ's authority based on the Old Testament- Acts 4:25, Rom 1:2, 9:17, Gal 3:8

The Old Testament spoke of Christ for our benefit- Rom 15:4, ICor 10: 11 (RSV), IPet 1:12 (RSV)

The reckoning of righteousness to Abraham was not just for his sake but for ours- Rom 4:23

The Old Testament writings are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ- IITim 3:15

To those who had faith in Christ, the meaning of the Old Testament was opened to them; those who failed to accept Christ had a veil cast upon them in their understanding of the Old Testament- IICor 3:14

The Old Testament was not the only divinely inspired Scripture, according to the Apostles; also divinely inspired are the words of Christ- cf. Acts 20:35, I Cor 7:10 quoting the words recorded in Mt. 5:32. The Apostles teaching was also divinely inspired to build up the churches- Gal. 2:7, IICor 10:8, 13:10. They presented themselves as Christ's ambassadors-IICor 5:19-20. They presented their own teaching as God's Word- IThess. 2:13. Their words were inspired by the Holy Spirit- I Cor 2:13-teaching to them what Christ had left unsaid before Pentecost- Jn. 16:12. Paul described his own proclamation of the Gospel as a norm of truth- Gal 1:8. Paul issues commands in the name of Jesus, in the authority of Christ's name- IIThess. 3:6, cf. IThess 4:2. One mark of spirituality is submission to Paul's authority- ICor 14: 37-38 (RSV). All Church's must bow to Paul's teachings; those who do not will be expelled until they are ready to obey- ICor 11:2, IIThess 2:15, IIThess. 3:6,14. The Apostles reqirement that there letters be read in Church pointed the way for the Church to recognize their letters as Scripture- IThess 5:27, Col 4:16, Rev 1:3. Early on Peter labeled Paul's writings as Scripture- IIPet 3:16.

Scripture supplies what the Church needs to live righteously and to be corrected when the Church fails- IITim 3:16.

Scripture warns us against uncritical deference to human tradition and theology- Mk. 7:6-13.

Scripture warns us against rewriting the Gospel to align the message with secular thought- Col 2: 8,18. The message of Paul in Col. is the Gospel and salvation was predicated on obeying that message- Col. 1: 5,23,25.

All Biblical doctrines terminate in mystery, we can know them only in part because of our inability to completely comprehend them. Therefore, thorough knowledge of Scripture does not mean we have all the answers- ICor 8:9.

The doctrine of the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture is not a theory of "divine dictation." God prepared the writers for their predestined task- Jer. 1:5, Is. , Gal 1:15. Some inspired documents were the product of firsthand research- LK 1:3. Some books underwent revisions until they reached their final form- Prov. 10:1, 24:23, 25:1.

All Scripure is divinely written (pasa graphe) and theopneustos (inspired)-Mt. 5:18, IITim 3:16. No element of human sinful thought appears in Scripture; God has the power to prevent the Scripture from being corrupted; Scripture was written according to His predetermined will-Eph. 1:11, Ps. 135:6. Example, the Pslams of David were the work of God and the work of David at the same time- Acts 1:16, 4:25.

Jesus Christ is the key to all of Scripture; all Scripture in some way bears witness to Him- Jn 5:39, Lk 24: 27,44, IICor 3:14-16.

The Old Testament is referred to as God's Word in its entirety and in its individual sayings. In Ps. 119, 42 references are made to The Law as God's Word. The New Testament declares the Old Testament to be the "oracles of God."- Rom 3:2.

B.B. Warfield identified 2 classes of Scripture where the New Testament writers refered to Scripture as God (examples include- Gal 3:8 quoting Gen. 12:1-3, Rom 9:17 quoting Ex. 4:16. The words of God spoken to Old Testament figures were so identified in the minds of New Testament writers as the Word of God that they refered to them as "Scripture says...") and refered to God as Scripture (examples include- Mt 19:4-5 quoting Gen 2:24, Heb 3:7 quoting , Acts 4:24-25 Ps. 2:1, Acts 13: 34-35 quoting Is. 54:3, Ps 16:10, Heb 1:6 quoting Dt. 32:43, Ps. 104:4, Ps. 55:7, Ps. 102:36). These words were not presented as having been spoken by God in the text, but by others speaking about or to God. The New Testament writers spoke of these verses as divinely inspired, "God says..."

Christ's employed various forms of logic in His teaching- analogy (LK 11:13), reductio ad absurdum (Mt 12:26), excluded middle (Mt. 12:30), a fortiori (Matt 12: 1-8), law of non-contradiction (Lk 6:39). Jesus and the New Testament writers derived propositional doctrine from the Old Testament using correct rules of grammar and logic- Mk 12:26-27, Gal 3: 10-12, Rom 9: 15-18.

The Bible is not a textbook on modern science. Sometimes it speaks of the created world in metephors that reflect a mindset different from our modern mindset- ISam 2:8, Job 38:4, Gen 1:8, Ex 24:10, Ps. 55:15, Gen 1:7, Ps. 148:4, Gen 7:11, Ps. 35:10, Gen 43:30, Job 12:11, Ps. 16:7. The writers certainly did not intend that these passages be taken literally.

Scripture must interpret Scripture- Jesus used Gen. 2:24 to interpret Moses Law of divorce, to show that Moses's Law on divorce (Dt. 24:1)was only a concession to human hard-heartedness.

Scripture is understandable even to the most unlearned- Ps. 119:30.

The Holy Spirit is the interpreter of Scripture- ICor 2:14-15, ICor 1:25, Mt 15:14, 23: 16, 17, 19,26, Jn 9:39-41, Mt 11:25, 16:17, Jn 14:26, 15:26, 16:13-14, Jn 17:20, ICor 2: 10-16, ICor 2:4., Jn 3:3, IICor 4:6, Eph 1:18, Gal. 1:16, IICor 4:4, Eph 4:18, IJn. 2: 20, 27, 5:7, 20.

Faith responds to the Biblical Writers words as God's testimony of Himself and responds to it as such- IThess. 2:13, IIThess. 2:11-12, cf. Rom 2:8, IITim 2:25, Titus 1:1, IPet 1:22, etc.

We are to contend for the propositional truths of faith- Jude 3.

Thoughts that do not express faith are sin- cf. Rom 14: 22,23.

We are to assume the attitude of a little child, looking to our divine instructor for wisdom- Ps. 25:4, 119:12 (and nine times more), 71,73, Mt 11:29, Jn 14:26, etc.

God's children are not to lose interest in the world. We are to be its stewards (Gen. 1:28). Yet it is not to be our home. To do so would be what God calls worldliness (cf. IJn. 2:15, Rom 12:2, IITim 4:10, James 4:4). We must cultivate an "other worldliness" (Phil. 1:21). When Jesus commands us to love the world with all our mind (Mt. 22:37), one way to obey Him in this is to apply the doctrines of the Bible to all areas of life. Also, when we communicate God's truth, we reason with those who challenge our thinking- Acts 17:2, 18:4, 19, 24:25.

Final scriptures on obedience- IKings 18:21, Acts 24:14.

If anyone finds any errors in my list, please feel free to send me a comment so I can fix the problem.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Three More Chapters In Baukham

Chapters 7,8 and 9 deal almost exclusively with the Gospel of Mark, so they will be dealt with in one post.

Chapter 7: The Petrine Perspective in the Gospel of Mark: The earliest evidence that the Apostle Peter was the main source for Mark's Gospel has been under attack by modern scholarship for some time now. It seems that if one believes that Peter was indeed the source, then the reason for such a view is that one takes the testimony of Papius, that John the Apostle told him that Peter was the source, at face value. But are there any internal evidences within the Gospel itself that Mark relied mainly on Peter? Baukham believes there is. He cites the work of Cuthbert Turner who noticed in the Gospel Mark's use of what Turner called "The Plural to Singular Narrative Device." There are several passages introduced by Mark by a plural verb without an explicit subject followed by a singular verb or pronoun. The plural verb describes the movement of Jesus and His disciples from place to place (Baukham believes the disciples refer to just the twelve). The singular verb or pronoun describes the actions of Jesus once they arrive. (5:1-2, 8:22, 14:32) The effect the reader experiences is experiencing the action through eyewitness testimony, as opposed to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke who were not present to witness these events. (Remember that Baukham does not think that the Matthew the tax collector wrote the Gospel of Matthew.) Baukham maintains that an eye witnesses such as Peter would relate the events in the first person while when Mark wrote down what Peter said, Mark changed the narrative from first to third person. Peter is portrayed with more individuality than the other Apostles, yet he is never portrayed as having a relationship with Jesus apart from the rest of the group. Peter typifies the relationship between the entire group and Jesus: understanding-nonunderstanding, loyalty-apostacy. Yet Peter was more extreme in his behavior. It was Peter who first understood that Jesus was the Christ, but he did not understand Christ's mission and actually rebuked the Lord. It was Peter who most vociferously proclaimed his loyalty to Jesus at the Last Supper, yet he not only just ran away when Jesus was arrested but went a step further, publicly denying Christ. The Gospel of Mark is Peter's confession of self recognition leading to a life changing experience, the realization of the necessity of Jesus dying on the Cross. Only through failure could Peter realize his need of Jesus. Then he could disciple others concerning the twin themes of the nature of the identity of Jesus and the nature of discipleship. The Gospel of Mark does not contain Peter's private personal memories of Jesus because it was not his purpose to produce an autobiography. Peter was fulfilling his task of preaching the Gospel and discipling believers.

Chapter 8: Anonymous Persons in Mark's Passion Narrative: Who are these anonymous persons and why are they unnamed? Most of them are named in John's Gospel; some scholars maintain that they never existed in the first place and when the Gospel of John was written, after the Synoptics, the writers were just adding to the Church tradition, trying to make the Biblical story of Christ's ministry more plausible. If that is the case, Baukham asks, then why were the names not added to Mark's Gospel instead? Who are these anonymous persons? Christ's disciple who cut off the High Priest's servant's ear in the Garden when Christ was arrested; the High Priest's servant; the woman who anointed Jesus; the owner of the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem on; the owner of the house where Jesus and His disciples ate the Last Supper; the young man who fled naked after the arrest of Jesus. Three of these are named in John. Peter cut off the servant's ear, the servant's name was Malchus and the woman who anointed Jesus was Mary, sister of Lazarus. Why did they remain anonymous in Mark? As Baukham points out, Mark and the other Synoptics were written before the Church spread far from Jerusalem, before the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. These persons were probably still alive and residing in Jerusalem when the Synoptics were written. Publication of their names in connection with these events could have jeopardized their safety, perhaps their very lives. The family of Annas and Ciaphus remained in charge of the leadership and continued to persecute the Church. It was the son of Annas, Anunus II who had the brother of Jesus, James, executed in 62 A.D. When Jesus was arrested, the Garden of Gethsemane was dark, so Peter could not be readily identified as assaulting Malchus. To name Malchus would only draw attention to the event. The anointing of Jesus could have been seen by the Jewish leadership as a proclamation that Jesus was King, threatening the power of the religious elite. Lazarus was already threatened because Jesus raised him from the dead after Lazarus was dead four days. By the time John's Gospel was written, these persons were probably dead. The others might still have been alive when John wrote his Gospel. Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was a statement proclaiming Him to be the Messiah; the donkey's owner could have been arrested. The owner of the house where the Last Supper was celebrated was kept secret so that the location could not be betrayed. The secret may have been kept by the few who knew the real names of the owners. As for the young man, it is not Mark, since Papius maintains that Mark never participated in Christ's earthly ministry or ever saw Christ in person. The youth might have been one of the crowd of disciples, or one of the pilgrims in Jerusalem there for the Passover who camped outside the city. Maybe he was only wearing his tunic because he heard the commotion of the arrest, slipped his tunic on and went to see what was going on. There is no real symbolic significance to the tunic; it slipped off while the youth escaped arrest. Baukham quotes H.M. Jackson on this point: "Ancient cloaks and mantles of the sort our youth's sindon is likely to have been...were merely...simple (i.e. shirtsleeves) rectangles of cloth, and they were regularly unwrapped or draped around the body without any belt or fasteners of any kind to hold them on; even in the best of circumstances,consequently, they were likely to slip off with the normal movements of the body. With any such violent action, particularly involving the arms and the legs, the garment was practically assured of being thrown off." The identity of one who escaped arrest was probably known to the early Church and so his identity needed to be protected. This theory is not original to Baukham. Other scholars have theorized in such manner. Baukham calls this theory "Protective Anonymity." He cites Gerd Theissen who was one of the originators of this theory.

Chapter 9: Papius on Mark and Matthew: The statement by Papius, quoting John the elder (John the Apostle), is the earliest record of attributing Peter's influence upon Mark's Gospel. Some scholars maintain that all the references to Mark in the New Testament refer to different persons with the same name. Yet Mark was such a common name that had there been more than one Mark in the New Testament, the writers would distinguish between them to avoid confusion, as we saw in the treatment of names in an earlier chapter. (See article on chapters 3 and 4.) Why is the tradition credible? Besides the testimony of Papius, we have the evidence of the use of the inclusio (see article on chapter 6), the evidence of the Petrine perspective (see chapter 7 above) and we have the quote of Papius on his standard for historical accuracy: "I did not think that information from books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice." (see chapter 2 article) Papius knew John the Apostle, who was the source for Papius on this matter. John would certainly know Peter's speaking style and discern Peter's influence on Mark. If Papius was making this tradition up, why give credit to Mark, an largely unknown figure? Why not give full credit to Peter himself? Baukham cites the work of Joanna Dewey who asserts that the Gospel of Mark was written for the purpose of being read as an oral performance, written in Peter's own speaking style. It may be that Peter's Greek was not the best so Peter spoke in Aramaic and Mark translated Peter into Greek. Papius lamented that Mark's Gospel was not "in order." Papius,a professional historian was judging Mark's composition by the standards of classical histories.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Our Lord's Use Of The Old Testament" by R.V.G. Tasker

Last night I read "Our Lord's Use of the Old Testament" by R.V.G. Tasker. This article is a transcript of a lecture given in 1953. Tasker's time was therefore limited and so he makes great generalizations instead of providing the detail required by a scholarly publication. I suspect that the audience for this lecture were mostly lay people, not his colleagues. Much of what he says is not new to me, although he provided helpful interpretations I had never heard before of a few scriptural passages. Tasker lists three principles that he considers axiomatic in any sound exegesis of the New Testament:

1. Jesus considered the Old Testament to foreshadow the role He was to play in the climax of the divine plan of salvation.
2. Christ's quotations from the Old Testament not only demonstrate His mastery of its content but shows His evaluation of it as eternal truth. John 10:34-36 quotes Jesus as declaring that "scripture cannot be broken." Tasker believes that the rendering of this verse in the R.V. is the most correct: "scripture cannot be disintegrated." In other words, scripture, and Jesus was at that time referring to the Old Testament, must be treated as a whole. Scripture must not be interpreted by selective treatment of texts.
3. The Old Testament was the final, absolute authority to which our Lord appealed in controversies with His adversaries to justify His claims, vindicate His authority and substantiate His judgements.

While these points may seem obvious to Evangelicals, it is important to remind ourselves of them since the Divine authorship of and inerrancy of the Old Testament is not only under attack by liberals but by some in the Evangelical world as well. I have two more articles to read on the subject of the Old/New Testament relationship before I move on to articles on inerrancy.

Beginning Oden's "Classical Pastoral Care" v. 3

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Running Time: 6 min./7 sec.

I have completed reading the first chapter of Thomas Oden's "Classical Pastoral Care, v. 3: "Pastoral Counsel." Thomas Oden's three volume systematic theology is the primary text for the two semester Systematic Theology class at Wesley Biblical Seminary. Oden was the professor of some of the WBS faculty.

The introduction makes the point that from the very beginnings of the Church, pastors have required wisdom to struggle for the health and life of the souls entrusted to their care. The methods employed in soul care throughout the centuries anticipated many of elements of contemporary psychotherapy. Oden quotes from Church leaders from the ancient Church to the Reformation to answer these nine questions:

1. How do sources of the classical pastoral tradition describe the necessary and sufficient conditions of the helping relationship, the essential elements of the therapeutic relationship and how do these descriptions correspond with recent accounts?
2. What constitutes counsel, what should one expect from it, and how is an apt counselor found?
3. How does God's own emphatic caring and providential guidance shape the process of human care-giving?
4. Why is the timing of seasonable wisdom such a crucial prudential element of pastoral counsel?
5. How did the classic Christian psychologists understand the language of the body, and its relation to the struggle for language in self-disclosure, as well as the significance of silence?
6. Why are admonition and discipline such distinctive features of constructive behavioral change?
7. Can responsible freedom be rightly nurtured without moral guidance?
8. How do classic therapeutic understandings and procedures anticipate contemporary psycotheraputic assumptions and procedures?
9. Finally, what patterns recur in classic analyses of the psychological dynamics of the will that have been rediscovered by modern behavioral science? (Oden, p. 5)

The title of chapter one is called "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of a Helping Relationship." Oden lists five conditions and quotes from historical Church figures in expounding upon them. These five conditions are:
1. Accurate emphatic listening.
2. Congruent, open awareness of one's own experiencing process, trusting one's own soul, one's most inward experiencing, enabling full disclosure.
3. Unconditional accepting love.
4. Rigorous self-examination.
5. Narrative comic insight.

Oden explains that the Greek word for a helping, healing relationship is theripea. The Greek noun therapon describes one who helps, serves and heals others. The Latin word for therapon is ministerium, where we derive our English word minister. The pastoral office, Oden states, as been historically seen as a therapeutic one.

A sample of quotations from the book are included in the audio portion of this post above to give you a flavor of the wisdom available to the contemporary Church from the wisdom of Classical Pastoral Tradition.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chapter Six Of Baukham

Last night I read chapter six of Richard Baukham's "Jesus And The Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony" (see previous articles for links to purchase). The chapter is called "Eyewitnesses 'from the Beginning' " How can one trust that the eyewitnesses relied upon by the Gospel writers were the best sources for information concerning the acts and teachings of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry? Because these particular eyewitnesses had followed Jesus from the very beginning of His ministry and were still with Him at that ministry's end. These witnesses were active participants in Christ's ministry from beginning to end. The Gospels agree that the time span of Christ's ministry covered His baptism by John to His Resurrection. Some would argue that the beginning would also include those preliminary chapters concerning the birth and early youth of Jesus. However, the Greek words used to describe the commencement of Christ's ministry (archein, arxamenos) are used in the above mentioned time span. (Lk. 3:23, 23:5, Acts 1:1, 10:36) A parallel passage occurs in Jn. 15:26-27 when Jesus tells His followers that they will witness to Him since they had been with Him from the beginning, that is, after his baptism by John. Baukham states that when the word "witness" occurs in John's Gospel, it refers not to all believers but specifically to those who had been with Him at the beginning. (Baukham covers this in more detail in chapter 15.) In Luke's introduction to his gospel, he used the Greek word autoptai, which means first hand observer, when referring to witnesses. In fact, Baukham tells us, we are not to consider those Luke mentions in his introduction, eyewitnesses and ministers of the work, as two separate groups. We are to look upon them as those who first were active participants in Christ's ministry and taught what they saw and heard in their own presentations of the Gospel message. Baukham cites another scholar concerning Luke's introduction in dealing with the statement that Luke investigated these sources. The Greek word Luke used, parekoloutrekoti, does not mean to investigate, but "to follow the mind." What Luke actually said was that he fully comprehended the eyewitness testimony of those who had participated in Christ's earthly ministry from the beginning to the end. This qualified Luke to write a history of that ministry. This standard of writing histories based on testimony of those who participated in all the actions described can be found in other historical works of antiquity, such as the works of Josephus. The standard used by the Apostles to choose a replacement for Judas was that the new Apostle had to have been with Jesus from the beginning. Baukham spends the second half of the chapter examining a phenomenon he calls "Inclusio." (I don't know if this designation is of Baukham's own making or some other scholar.) In Mark's Gospel, Simon/Peter is the first name mentioned after Jesus began His ministry and Peter is the last name of a disciple to appear at the end. The same is true in Luke. This indicates that Peter had been with Jesus from the beginning to the end and that he was the main witness Mark relied on. Peter's influence extends to Luke's Gospel as Luke relied on Mark's when Luke wrote his own. This is what Baukham calls an inclusio, a way of framing the work to indicate that the witness most relied upon was present for the entire time period covered by the work. In John, there is an inclusio demonstrating again that Peter was with Jesus for the entirety of His ministry. Yet the first disciple mentioned in John was the disciple Jesus loved and this same disciple is mentioned last, after Peter. In fact, this disciple identifies himself as the author of the Gospel. So the inclusio of Peter is an inclusio within an inclusio, indicating that the disciple whom Jesus loved was even more qualified than Peter as a witness since he was with Jesus previous to Peter. Another inclusio is Luke's inclusion of Christ's female disciples. In Luke, they appear earlier in his Gospel than the others (Lk 8: 2-3) and they are mentioned at the end (Lk 24:6) This indicates that they may have been the sources to Gospel traditions unique to Luke's Gospel. No such inclusio appears in Matthew. Matthew was not with Jesus at the very beginning; he doesn't appear in the Gospel bearing his name until chapter 9. The inclusio does not appear in other writings that come down to us from that time, however, it does appear in works from later time periods. Therefore the phenomenon of the inclusio being a known literary device during the time period when the Gospels were written is merely speculation on Baukham and others' part. Since most literary works from that time period disappeared, Baukham and others believe that it is entirely plausible that literary works which contained standard literary practices that the Gospel writers emulated no longer exist. Therefore, however convincing Baukham's argument is here concerning the inclusio, this is the one part of "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" that is not based on hard evidence. However, more analysis of inclusio appears in chapter 15.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Lord's Use Of Scripture

The latest article I have read concerning the Old and New Testament relationship is "Our Lord's Use of Scripture" by Pierre Ch. Marcel, available in the April 2009 archives of . To be honest, I found Marcel's style eccentric; there were sections which I simply could not quite grasp his meaning. Too bad. I think that if the article were better written it would have been more useful. Included here are some of its highlights.

How did Christ refer to the Old Testament: Scripture, the Law, the Prophets, the Law and the Prophets, It is written, etc. While Christ's various designations of the Old Testament does not describe the scope and limitations of the Scriptural Cannon, they do indicate that He believed the Old Testament existed as a complete, sacred collection of Jewish writings distinct from all other literature.

Christ interpreted the Old Testament in various ways:

He engaged in what we would call "Free Interpretation"; summarizing various Old Testament Scriptures in one or two sentences. Jn. 8:17, Matt. 19:5, 22: 37-39.

He gave interpretation to Old Testament passages: Matt. 11:10, Lk. 7:27.

Sometimes He would focus on one segment of a Scriptural passage, emphasizing its meaning: Matt. 26:31, 15:7-9.

Christ also practiced what Marcel calls "Exegetical Profundity". Two examples: In Matt. 15:9, which quotes Is. 29:13, Jesus combines both Hebrew and the Septuagint. In Matt. 13: 14-16, quoting Is. 6:9-10, Jesus shows a preference for quoting the Greek because of this passage's historic aorists.

In The Sermon on the Mount, in chapter 5, when Jesus states "It is said", He is not quoting Scripture, but man-made traditions which corrupted Old Testament interpretation.

When religious groups sought to trip up Jesus with their questions, such as in Matt 19:3-9, Jesus demonstrated unsuspected resources of Scripture for those who know Scripture and use it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus points to a wisdom, a profoundness which His disciples can escape dilemmas that human casuistry and rationalism propound.

Marcel emphasizes that Christ's use of the Old Testament establishes an important principle: Scripture interprets Scripture. In following this principle, Christ overruled contradictions and revealed heresies which spring from a lack of proper Scripture synthesis or any true spirituality. Examples: Matt. 19:6, Matt 22:36.

Here is a quote from Marcel's conclusion: "From the manner in which Christ quotes Scripture we find that he recognizes and accepts the Old Testament in its entirety as possessing a normative authority, as the true Word of God, valid for all time."

The bibliography at the end of this article refers to two other articles on this subject, one by R.V.G. Tasker and another by J.W. Wenham. I will read these two before I precede to the third article I had decided to read on the relationship between the Testaments.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Glory In The Cross: A Study Of The Atonement" by Leon Morris

Recently I drove to Fairmont WV to visit a Christian bookstore : "Praise The Lord Store." I found 3 items of interest for less than $5.00. One was a book published in 1966 entitled "Glory In The Cross: A Study In The Atonement" (I could find no direct link for purchase) by the late Biblical scholar Leon Morris. It interested me because of the praise my Systamatic Theology professor gave to a much more full treatment of the Atonement by Morris. I have completed it and will feature my impressions on it within a few months on my main blog. I am not sure but I think Morris was a Calvinist and I have a mixed view of his presentation.

Finishing The Job

When I typed my last entry, I neglected to type page one of my notes. I decided to rectify the situation by making these notes available. So, after one reads these notes, they should then go back to the previous article to gain a full understanding of "The Old Testament As Christian Scripture" by M.J. Evans. Links to this article are to be found in the previous post.

3 Propositions Concerning The Old Testament:

1. The Old Testament must be interpreted within its own context; the straightforward sense must be upheld if its claims as the Word of God are to be taken seriously. The Old Testament must be taken within its context to be taken seriously. But does this mean that the New Testament can be used only as a commentary on the Old Testament, but not as an exegetical tool of the Old Testament.?

2. The Old Testament, rightly understood, speaks constantly of Christ and must be interpreted in that light- Luke 24:27, 44-47, Acts 8:35, 28:23, 2Cor 1:20. Yet not all Old Testament prophesies and proclamations refer directly to Jesus. How can we take seriously the Christiological implications of a text without throwing overboard the original context?

3. The Old Testament is the Word of God. It is not simply a historical survey of God's dealings with Israel, it also speaks directly as God's Word to us in our situation. True, but those who expouse this view are not entitled to ignore the actual meaning of the text. Evans give examples of how Bible studies ask questions about the text, such as "How does this passage relate to me?" and "What blessings can I get from reading this verse?" Evans labels such questions as invalid methods of seeking the text's meaning.

1-3 are valid, but how do we uphold all three at once? How do we practice Old Testament as scripture? In what ways do we use the New Testament in clarifying our understanding of the Old. If scripture is the word of God, then rightly discerning that Word has to be the key to everything else. Therefore, the question of the relationship between the two is not an academic one.

Some say that the New testament can be interpreted in light of the Old Testament, but not vice-versa. Can the New Testament be used to arrive at the meaning of Old Testament Passages?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"The Old Testament In Scripture" And "The Law In James"

(It appears that I made a major error when composing this article; I took two pages of notes on the first mentioned article, but when typed it up, I neglected to use page one. I thought something was wrong. I decided not to rewrite this article. If one reads the first article, which is only seven pages, then they could see what I failed to mention.)

I have begun reading articles for this blog that appear on the blog . The first two I have read are by M.J. Evans. The first article I read was "The Old Testament As Christian Scripture." (Click on this link and scroll down to March 16th.) Evans provides four views of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments:
1. The Old Testament as solely background or preface to the New Testament which is the only real scripture.
2. The Old Testament as the only real scripture with the New Testament being an interpretive gloss.
3. The Old Testament in its entirety consists of allegories of Christ.
4. Both Old and New Testaments are scripture; both are to be taken seriously in their own right. If this last view is correct, then what difference does the existence of the New Testament make in understanding and in interpreting the Old Testament? Evans gives us three possibility using the analogy of a photograph:
1. Is the Old Testament like an enlargement of a photograph which shows what was always there but not clear to the naked eye?
2. Is the New Testament like a color photo replacing a black and white photo of the same scene?
3. Is the New Testament like an old photo touched up and colorized to give it a sense of reality and clarity which may or may not reflect the original colors?

As Evans points out, the New Testament does not provide specific rules as to Old Testament interpretation. If we accept that it is legitimate to use the New Testament as an interpretive tool of the Old Testament, which method of interpretation is acceptable? To insist on one approach, Evans insists, ignores the variety of form and genre within the Old Testament itself and could therefore lead very quickly to error. While Evans accepts that Old Testament passages should be first interpreted in their own context, he warns against the tendency of some scholars who use the Old to interpret the New but believe to use the New as an interpretive tool of the Old is illegitimate. If we take for granted that the Old Testament text must stand within its own context first, how are we to employ the Old Testament as an interpreter of the New? Evans gives us six possibilities, but I will list only the first three:
1. As background; the context for ideas in the New Testament but more fully developed in the Old, such as the subject of sacrifice.
2. As salvation history.
3. As prophecy that reaches its fulfillment in the New Testament. The Old Testament points outside itself; it contains expectations and promises which are unfulfilled.

Evans states that if we accept that scripture, both Testaments, are the word of God, then the question of their relationship is no mere academic question to be inquired into by just theologians or just pastors.

This article contained a link to another article by Evans on the Old/New Testament relationship entitled "The Law in James." Evans asks three questions:
1. What does James refer to when he speaks of the Law?
2. What function does James ascribe to the Law? Is James saying that the Law is salvific?
3. What attitude or response does James call for from his readers toward the Law?

When James composed this pastoral letter, he assumed three things:
1. The Law is good; the Law brings freedom rather than bondage.
2. The Law calls for a response from its hearers.
3. There is a close correlation between being a doer of the Word and a doer of the Law.
James knew that those who heard his message knew that the Law was good and to speak against it was wrong.

According to Evans, James expects us to obey specific commands; James is not just concerned with a right state of the heart. However, he makes no mention of the ceremonial components of the Law. Nor does he specifically explore the relationship between faith and works in context of the Law. It appears that when James speaks of the Law, he is speaking of more than the Torah; he is also referring to the teachings of Jesus as Law.

Evans believes that James does not call on us to respond to the Law except in the context of our own salvation. The Law does not save, which some scholars believe is the message of James.

I hope to read two other articles on the Old/New Testament relationship soon.