In Depth Meets

The In Depth Group met on July 15 2008 and there was a presentation about Q and sayings.
I wondered what community would have been associated with a document of sayings. If the New Testament focusses on drama, why have sayings? I alleged that the Didache is not 'salvationist' as are those in the NT. A document does not tell all about a group, it was suggested.
One wanted to affirm, because the four gospels change little of the Easter narratives, that the resurrection is central. I said there is no historical method or evidence. My point was this was hellenistic Christianity, with Paul, "proto-orthodox", yes, early - say 45 CE - and yet against this is the Didache.
But, for me, it was not just about the Didache, but rather imagining a social anthropologist going back in time and place writing about a culture in an exotic place. Taking notes in full detail, he writes a coherent account that becomes the reality, but the coherent account excludes all else that is going on.
One said it is not what Jesus says but what Jesus did, but I said this implies "the work of Christ" idea and is theological: the argument came back that it is all theological and exists as a frame of reference. I agreed that all things have boundaries.
An attack was made on the Elaine Pagels and Channel 4 News approach, but I said he was preaching to the converted on this (the exotic is not the point, but tackling the central narrative and the historical method).
Another was baffled, however, on the assertions being made by the resurrection upholder: that yet in having accepted that it is difficult to know what Jesus said, nevertheless it is the "magic words" that are remembered and hardly supports the "heap of tradition" in the liturgies. The asserter replied that this [mixture] is what clergy had been taught over the last 100 years.
I presented about what might be in the 'theology course' being considered but one person said it depends who presents the course.


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful