From: Ben Crick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Aug 19 1997 - 22:01:54 EDT
On Sun 17 Aug 97 (20:59:34), email@example.com wrote:
[snip] [summarising my points]
> The first is that *both* the Matthean *and* the Lukan versions of
> the Lord's prayer go back to Jesus himself, and are accurate
> records of what Jesus taught, albeit at different times of his
> The second is that your interpretation of what the "lead us not
> into PEIRASMOS" clause means (= "do not allow us to be
> tempted/tested"), an interpretation which is grounded in an
> understanding of "but deliver us from TOU PONHROU" that assumes
> PONHROU means "the Evil One" (= Satan or the Devil) and that the
> whole clause means "deliver us from the temptation/testing Satan
> brings to believers", is supported by the theology of who or what
> the Evil One is said to be/do as this is set out in the Wilderness
> temptation narrative (Matt. 4:1-11//Lk. 4:1-13).
> The third is that what the disciples were actually instructed to
> pray for when they were given the LP was "nothing less than the
> return of Christ to reign on earth".
Thank you for your gentle handling of my post. The Synoptic Problem is still
with us; there is still no "Synoptic Solution" in sight.
I am a pastor and minister of religion; I am not an academic, though I have
studied under John Wenham et al at Bristol in the early 60s. I have been a
parish priest, an Army chaplain and a Prison chaplain. I still am a part-time
parish priest and prison chaplain, though now officially retired. I have to
expound the Lord's Prayer to ordinary (and extraordinary) people in the pew;
not before scholars like Paul in the Areopagus. However, I take pains to see
that what I teach is not, academically speaking, rubbish.
Yes, the Synpotic accounts of our Lord's ministry go back to his life on
earth. Matthew was called by Jesus, ISTM, specifically for his scribal skills
to record His teaching in permanent form. He would have written his notes up
very soon after the Resurrection and Ascension; no reason why it could not
have been done before the end of 33 AD (Hoehner's chronology). This would be
the /Logia/; not the 1st Gospel as we have it.
Peter is the witness behind Mark's Gospel. There is no reason why Mark could
not have written his Gospel as early as 43 AD, while Peter was in Rome
following his escape from prison (Acts 12). He fled to Caesarea, and from
thence to Rome, taking John Mark with him. "Mark became the interpreter of
Peter and he wrote down accurately, but not in order, as much as he remembered of the sayings and doings of the Lord. And so Mark made no mistake when he
thus wrote down some things as he remembered them; for he made it his especial care to omit nothing of what he heard, and to make no false statement therein" (Papias, in Bettenson, /Documents/, 2nd ed., p 39).
Luke was the friend and colleague of Paul. His Prologues to Luke and Acts
speak for themselves. Possibly whilst Paul was left in prison by Felix
(Acts 24:27), Luke travelled the Holy Land interviewing key witnesses such
as Mary, and collecting written statements such as Matthew's Logia and Mark's
Paul in prison at Rome wrote to Timothy "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and
bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. ...When
thou comest... bring the books, but especially the parchments" (2 Timothy
4:11-13). Surely this is the /terminus ad quem/ for the writing of the Gospels as we have them. For what other purpose would Paul need Luke and Mark and the
books and the parchments? Here is the Synoptic Scriptorium.
Bishop John Robinson was drawn into the dating business by the Gospel of John. 19th century German critics placed it into the 2nd century; but the DSS and
other finds forced the date back to 90-100 AD. Robinson still thought that
unbelievably late, since the Gospel makes no mention of the sack of Jerusalem
and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Robinson abandoned the Werner
Kümmel consensus of 1963. Owing to scholarly "sloth", the "tyranny of
unexamined assumptions" and "almost wilful blindness", people had abandoned
the traditional authorship and dating of the NT books, he claimed.
It is axiomatic that if you wish to study Redaction Criticism, you have to
accept its principles: (1) that Miracles are unscientific and therefore
impossible; (2) that future prophecy is impossible, and therefore fraudulent.
The alleged "Miracles" are the hero-stories of a later generation, and the
"Prophecies" are /vaticinia post eventum/, recent history fraudulently
backdated and represented as prophecy. All this was the stuff of /Essays and
Reviews/, 1860, and with the general Theory of Evolution formed the mainstay
of liberal negative criticism ever since. Renan's /Vie de Jesus/ and Farrar's
/Life of Christ/ just followed suit. Schweitzer went on his /Quest of the
Historical Jesus/, and Bultmann on his "Demythologising".
Dr Dick France of Oxford (who studied under Wenham at Bristol) headed his
learned review of Wenham's /Redating Matthew Mark and Luke/ "A Broadside at
some Sacred Cows in New Testament Studies" (Church of England Newspaper,
3 May 1991). There will be no more progress until they are slain.
Believing that the Holy Scriptures (as originally given) are the inerrant
Word of God for man, I don't want to write them off as the fallible products
of mere men. There are two versions of the LP, because Jesus gave instruction
on prayer more than once. Jesus did many more things than are recorded
in the Gospels; what we have is a selection. Each Gospel gives us a different
selection. Few believe that Jesus preached a single one-off "Sermon on the
Mount"; this in Matthew 5 thru 7 is a summary of the things he was always
preaching in all the towns and villages he went through. Likewise the Lukan
"Sermon on the Plain".
Scholars are sometimes perverse. They prefer the "difficult" reading to the
"simple". Like the defence advocates of ancient Greece, they argue for the
worse case rather than for the better. We have seen how certain persons on
this List forever want to insist on QEOS HN hO LOGOS meaning "the Word was a
god" although it is foreign to all Scriptural doctrine. A more notorious
example is PASA GRAFH QEOPNEUSTOS KAI WFELIMOS ktl (2 Timothy 3:16).
Evangelicals translate "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is
profitable...". The RV text of 1881 prefers "Every Scripture inspired of God
is also profitable...", and relegates the familiar version to the margin.
This chimes in with the skeptical liberal outlook, that some Scripture is NOT
inspired by God, and is UNprofitable, and can be ignored or countermanded. MH
The LP is NOT a "Parrot prayer" for mindless repetition; it is a Pattern-
prayer, a model for our own prayers. So the Matthaean and Lukan patterns
are not identical. The former does show signs of literary polishing; but as
we have seen, the Sermon on the Mount is not one sermon, but a Digest of many
"Lead us not into PEIRASMOS" is an example of scholarly obtuseness in choosing the less obvious and more unlikely meaning. Not many Christians are going to
fall into the sin of putting God to the test; whereas just about every
Christian falls daily to one or another of the temptations of the world, the
flesh, and the Devil. So the meaning of the petition is GLARINGLY OBVIOUS to
every Christian pastor. The temptation narrative is where Jesus was tempted to "put God to the test" by presuming that the Almighty would suspend the Law of
Gravity for his sake. This isn't really a temptation that comes my way!
The disciples were expecting Christ's imminent setting up of a political
kingdom; e.g. Acts 1:6-7. Christ's "Kingdom" is not the Church, nor
Christendom; it is "among us", but is not "us". Christ's Kingdom will be
achieved when "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
The Bible ends with "He who testifieth these things saith, Surely I come
quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20). MARANAQA!
In the affluent West we are content to go on a long while yet; but the
persecuted Church in e.g. South Sudan or mainland China just can't wait for
His imminent Return! Like the souls under the altar, they cry "How long?"
I am acutely aware that the above is probably NOT germane to the b-greek FAQ.
However, let us not forget the "b" in "b-greek". Introduction is not as
important as content; but it is not unimportant. It is paradoxical to argue
for an inerrant text, and then discount its own statements of authorship and
date! I am not going to follow the ways of the fundamentalist obscurantists;
but neither will I be led by the theological liberals.
-- Revd Ben Crick, BA Bristol, 1963 (hons in Theology) <firstname.lastname@example.org> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
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