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.

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