Re: Criteria

>Wouldn't it be more accurate to say, if one must say something like this, that
>the question of the authentic text (of the gospels) is a theological one, but
>the question of the authenticity of sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels
>is strictly a historical one?

No, I don't believe it would be.  I believe both questions might
accurately be said to be of both a theological and an historical

One would first have to decide what "Authentic" meant in each of these

For instance, if "Authentic text" means that the text we have is "jot
and tiddle" of what the original authors penned in their autographs
then it appears we have an historical question.

If however, we interpret "Authentic text" to mean that the text
communicates that which God intends to communicate, then it is a
theological one.  (Could an alteration of the text by a copyist be an
act of God, addressing an imperfection of the original author?  Could
the original text have been authentic for its original audiance, and
the "altered" text be authentic for *its* audiance?)

If "Authentic sayings" means that the gospels record Jesus' sayings
word-for-word, then this is an historical point.  (If Jesus said these
things in Aramaic, then following this definition, a text which quotes
him in Greek arguably could not include his "Authentic sayings".)

If "Authentic sayings" means that the gospels truly present the
sayings of Jesus, so that the original intent of the sayings is not
lost then this too is a theological question.  (Would God allow a bad
translation of the Bible?  Is there a translation of the Bible that
God could not speak through?  Was the original text "Authentic"?)

					Tom Blake
					Binghamton University