Re: Q and Papias
On Mon, 31 Oct 1994, Michael I Bushnell wrote:
> While various Christians disagree about the bounds of the canon, there
> is no diversity about the bounds of the NT, nor about most of the OT.
> We have only a few books of disputed status to consider. And, in a
> discussion of the synoptic Gospels, the status of the Apocrypha is
> truly irrelevant.
It seems to me discussions of New Testament origins and sources do in fact
cast doubt on the proper limits of canon, not to mention the dependability
of the canon itself. That is one reason, I think, why this topic is so
sensitive for some.
> Is this list Academy, or is it Church?
> Or is it somewhere in the middle?
> The very detachment you ask for produces, in my opinion, academically
> interesting results which are *strictly* and *exactly* of no use for
> the Church. Much of my objection to the nature of much current
> theological education is just this--it asks for a detachment which
> removes it from the Church in its theological and educative roles.
There is a difference between detachment and disinterest (as I think a
great Anglo-Catholic poet once said), and I guess between what we know and
what we decide to do about what we know. This is obviously another "fuzzy
grey area" but I would draw the line where it enables people of different
varieties of Christianity to work constructively together on academic
projects that are useful for all. I'm not sure if that makes sense to
anyone else, and I have no idea if that is the ideal for this List (the
list owner would have to say), but it's just my rule of thumb.
Obviously, theological education in a sectarian seminary can avoid the
need for consensus-building etc., and there must always be a place for
> So it gets to one's motivations for being on this list. Is the New
> Testament simply an interesting ancient text of scholarly interest for
> its own sake, and to be studied on the same terms as Homer or
> Or, if one's motivation for being interested in the topic is one's
> religious faith and/or ecclesiastical commitment, then doesn't just
> the detachment you ask for amount to a request that one *pretend* to
> have a different motivation, and play a language game that produces
> results of no value to one's actual purpose?
There is a difference between deliberately limiting one's manner and
content of speaking, on the one hand, and deliberately misleading others
by false pretenses, on the other hand. I think we can all play with all our
cards on the table, with all our different hands, and still play by the
same rules. Or not? It seems to me the alternative is aimless and
endless argument to no constructive purpose.