Historical Authenticity

Posted to Surefish 24th April 2004 at 02:28

Of course we are more confident in what Gandhi said and Martin Luther King said than what Jesus said. This stands to reason. There was no recording equipment in Jesus' day. As has been mentioned, there was an oral tradition, but the writings are theological, taking bits handed down already as told stories and weaving them into another narrative. These are Paul preaching a faith of Christ crucified and appearing, with a world known about to come to its end, and the inclusion of more than just Jews. There is the faith of Jerusalem too, of the suffering servant who will return, and those observant do not need to be circumcised (eventual agreement). So these texts are post-resurrection faith. The teachings fit into that. So people who follow the New Testament are identified with that community. There is the centre of the identification, not whether what Jesus said as written is to be taken as true in a recorded sense. We know not so very much about him. Paul knew little about him, only what the communities enthused and expected, and his own attaching of appearances to the tradition already in play.

Posted to Surefish 2nd May 2004 at 02:21

One for the inerrancy people. It is not just a matter of between different gospels. At the end of Luke Jesus ascends to heaven on Easter Day; at the beginning of Acts, written by the same bloke (apparently), Jesus ascends 40 days afterwards. Which is it?

Posted to Surefish 18th May 02:42

...let's say three centuries ago the sacred canopy under which people lived was fairly secure. We cannot but ask now whether something is true, or rather how the truth of something can be found (not quite the same thing). But I am misunderstood here (maybe my fault) because I indeed do ask, whether it is believed as true or not, what does it mean. That is what a narrative approach involves. My Easter Day and 40 days after quip for the same event was for those who like a touch of inerrancy: it is no difficulty forme because these texts were fitted into a timetable to suit different theological points (under the whole). I am of the view that a great deal of the New Testament is not historical at all, and that it consists of fragments and intentions woven into the various authors' stories. This includes how those authors presented the strange figure of Jesus. What I do try to do with my narrative is have some consistency between how I understand the world and universe to function and how a very different world view of the New Testament. There is an issue of whether the latter can be understood in a contemporary sense, and sometimes this is impossible because the NT worldview does not allow such consistency. Nevertheless this world view that we have now, that by and large works, is the one that must take precedence over that world view of the supernatural and coming Kingdom etc... When push comes to shove, the basis of what something means is not within a sacred canopy as was but is within an ordinary basic functioning of the world as it is understood now, and there is plenty of fascination and mystery in contemporary science, in sociology, in philosophy and so on to be going on with.


Adrian Worsfold