antonio.jerez at privat.utfors.se
Sun Mar 18 15:22:31 EST 2001
JF Alward wrote
> >Mark made extensive use of the Old
> >Testament in creating his stories about Jesus, as has been demonstrated
> >repeatedly on this list.
Hudson Barton (?) replied:
> This list has demonstrated nothing of the sort. The use of the word
> "create" in the above context sets forth Mark as a charlatan. That
> conclusion is well outside the scholarship that I am aware of, and I
> doubt there's any consensus to that effect here.
Though I don´t agree with JF Alward about the degree as to which Mark
has created his stories about Jesus out of the OT, I do not think he has called
the author of GMark a charlatan. That is a conclusion Hudson Barton has drawn
> The gospel narratives are quite unlike the narrative accounts of
> Genesis where the text begs to be understood as non-history. In the
> gospels, the narrative begs to be understood as historically
> reliable. Hence the oft repeated claims to being "witnesses." Luke
> and John go to great pains to establish their gospels as factual
> (Luke i.1) and as being "real" (Jn xix.35). They are clearly
> concerned that the gospel(s) might be read as nothing more than myth.
> The issue of historicity was seen by the New Testament writers and by
> the early church as crucial to its credibility.
I don't see the author of GMark claiming that he is writing factual history.
That again appears to be a conclusion drawn by Hudson Barton without
> I believe it was Aristotle who said that when considering the
> meaning, purpose and origin of a text, that primary consideration
> ought to be given to what the text says about itself. The gospels
> claim to be historical. That much is a fact.
Some gospels may claim to be historical. But that doesn't mean that a
historian has to take that claim at face value all the time. I for one see a
lot in all the gospels that is not historical, but fictional. Despite being the
gospel most clearly pointing out that it is presenting the "truth" John is the
most fictional of them all. If that makes the author, or more probable the
editor, of the verses in 21:24-25 a charlatan is up for debate.
> Some of the many justifications for NT historical reliability are:
> 1. There is much corroborated historical detail in the NT, notably from Luke;
And you can find just as much "historical" detail in the NT that is totally uncorroborated
and makes nonsense from a historical viewpoint. The census as claimed by Luke is such a
thing. Matthew's slaughter of the innocents another.
> 2. All of the NT writers were close to Jesus and/or his disciples
> (meaning that there are just a few short years of oral tradition, if
None of the authors of the gospels appear to have been a disciple of
Jesus himself. But even if they were it doesn't take away the fictional
character of much in the gospels. Jewish scribes knew the art of writing
sacred fiction - just take a look at the OT.
> 3. Jesus's messianic vision differs significantly from the messianic
> vision commonly held in the culture (arguing against the notion that
> messianic fervor could concoct these stories).
And how do you decide which messianic vision was the one the real
Jesus held? It is hard to reconcile the more human prophet-king in
Luke with the divine Logos presented by John. Both cannot possibly be
> If I'm not mistaken, the arguments put forth by Mr. Alward for a
> fictional NT origin are almost universally circular in logic. More
> specifically his error is one of petitio principii, making the same
> statement both as premise and as conclusion. To paraphrase, he says
> that the claims and events of the gospel account are not believable,
> therefore they must not be believed.
I agree that there is much wrong with some of Mr. Alwards arguments, but
his basic claim that much in the gospels is theological fiction is something that
any critical scholar and or historian of any repute could subscribe to.
More information about the GMark