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, http://www.therighthandoffellowship.blogspot.com/ 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, http://www.therighthandoffellowship.blogspot.com/ , 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.