Re: LXX and gospels

From: Perry L. Stepp (
Date: Tue Mar 24 1998 - 10:01:29 EST

Hello Nichael, all.

> From: Nichael Cramer <>
> Eric Weiss wrote:

> > Randel Helms, in his GOSPEL FICTIONS (Prometheus 1988), proposes that
> > the gospels, rather than being historical documents, are actually
> > reworkings of LXX accounts of Elijah, etc. [snip]

> > Have other authors done this, i.e., listed or catalogued or shown
> > striking verbal/linguistic/events parallels between the Greek gospels
> > and the LXX that might lend credence to what Helms proposes - or,
> > contrariwise, use the same "evidence" to argue for another explanation
> > for the correspondences?

> More to the point, the only people who shocked by this suggestion --that
> the Evangelists may not have been writing strict, rigorous historical
> accounts-- are 1] extreme biblical literals and 2] extreme biblical
> anti-literalists like Helms above. I think everybody else recognizes
> "history", in real sense of the term, had next to nothing to do with what
> the Evanglists were trying to do.

Not to be pedantic (okay, so I *am* being pedantic), but as one who has
been swimming in ancient historiography and biography for the last few
semesters, I must comment.

Nichael, you ought to further qualify the last sentence in the above
paragraph with the modifier "modern" in place of "real"--as in, "everybody
else recognizes that 'history', in the *modern* sense of the term, had next
to nothing to do with what the Evangelists were trying to do." Whether
the "real" sense of history does/does not have anything to do with the
gospels is a question open to fierce debate.

The fact that the gospels have a polemical purpose, report events
interpretively, etc., does not make the concept "history" inapplicable (not
according to the ancient understanding of history and historiography.)

An interesting discussion that comes to my mind here is the difference
between ancient history and ancient biography--in those terms, we could
argue about whether "history" should be applied to the Gospels. But I
don't take that to be your point, so I haven't pursued it here.


Perry L. Stepp

Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
Ph.D. Candidate in New Testament, Baylor University
Keeper of the Top-10 List,
#1 Cowboy Homer

"Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves
against all that might do you good!"
               --Aslan, *The Magicians Nephew*

Any system of morality which is based on relative
emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly
vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it
and nothing true.
               --Plato, *Phaedo* 69b


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