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Monday, June 25, 2007

Another quick response...on Aramaisms

Doug Chaplin this time...and could I possibly forgive the comment on Man U (cf. Mk 3:28-29)?

It all really involves Aramaisms. Doug says:

I was taken to task in the comments by James Crossley (what can you expect from a Man U fan?) who sees Aramaisms as absolutely vital for historical Jesus research. As I pointed out there:

"I am not remotely convinced that Aramaisms have any significant place in historical Jesus research. First, I think that the language of the Septuagint distorts the whole question. Second, I can imagine a Jesus-saying that actually enters the Greek tradition well-translated by a fluently bilingual follower of Jesus showing little trace of the source language. Thirdly I can imagine a saying of Jesus made up by an Aramaic speaking follower."

1,2 and 3 are correct, though, there are other, far better arguments than those in favour of Aramaisms not touched upon by Sanders and Meier (Doug refers to these) though to be fair there has been important stuff written since the two wrote their comments. But anyway, he is not answering anything I said so no need to continue on that.

On Mike Bird's blog (on the 12 Worst Ideas post), Doug also said,

I think I'm astounded by James Crossley's comment. (Not the Son of Man bit: it's a place where discussion of Aramaic idiom has a significnat place). I am not remotely convinced that Aramaisms have any significant place in historical Jesus research.

I hope poor Doug did not fall off his chair or anything like that in his astonishment. But he should not have done! For, once again, I did not make any judgement on Aramaisms, except for the son of man problem and how it is requires a concept of Aramaisms and Doug agreed with that. This is all I said:

On Aramaisms (Doug's no. 5), the son of man problem and the historical Jesus would be impossible without the concept of Aramaisms.

I do have views on Aramaisms but I haven't said much so I'll keep quiet for now. Just to say, that again poor old me has been told I've said something I haven't (I don't recall ever saying they were absolutely vital or anything like that!) in the space of a couple of days. But I'm strong, I think I can cope...

Anyway, it is all a welcome relief from these ******* floods now typical of the ******* English summer.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A very quick response on Q and gentiles...

because I'm in a rush...

Michael Bird has made some comments on my view of Christian origins and Q/gentiles.

I am slowly and spasmodically reading through James Crossley's book Why Christianity Happened?

Ok, this may put me in pedants' corner but, ahem, no question mark.

I find myself agreeing with parts and groaning at other parts of his volume.

Good for you. But, come on, do we really need the antiquated, rhetoric of the non-argument 'groaning' (minus evidence). Come on Mike, you're a youthful blogging 30-something, not 94 (no offence meant to our older readers)!!!

On Q and the Gentiles (something I have thought and written about), it will take more than a footnote to H. Schurmann to convince me that Mt. 10.5-6b is part of Q

Again, good for you, and it would take more for me too. But then I never made the case on Mt 10:5-6 that Mike implies. I said some people think this and referenced a prominent example (Schürmann). I also qualified the case strongly and deliberately made next to nothing of Mt 10:5-6. I did say 'assuming for the moment that it was part of Q' (or something like that) just to show a hypothetical situation and why we do not necessarily have to worry about Mt. 10:5-6 (Matt, for instance, could retain it along with a pro-gentile message)! As my argument went (and indeed goes) this had to be done because of the deliberately vague, open and agnostic definition of Q I was using because if the chaotic view is chosen then a good case could be made for Mt. 10:5-6 being a pre-Matthean tradition and potentially something we call 'Q' (actually the same could be, and has been, made for other Q models). But, as I said, the point of the brief discussion of Mt 10:5-6 was not to convince anyone that it definitely was or was not part of 'Q' (however defined) but that it is not necessarily required for a reconstruction of Q and the gentiles and so Mike has missed the point of the discussion here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Finkelstein denied tenure

Norman Finkelstein has been denied tenure at DePaul. A report and the text of the letter are available here. This is probably unsurprising given the campaign against Finkelstein (despite what DePaul say, it is difficult to imagine that the highly vocal campaign had no impact).

The issue of Israel-Palestine is arguably the most contentious topic in US higher education and there will be more news, I suspect, in the UK in the light of the recent rumblings on the issue among the UCU.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jesus and Nationalism

This post may explained some slow/unanswered emails. I'll be at this conference doing more on scholarship in contemporary historical context:


University of Oslo, 7-8 June 2007

Halvor Moxnes,: “What is it to write a biography of Jesus? Schleiermacher’s Life of Jesus, 19th century nationalism and the present challenge”

Peter Normann Waage: “Jesus and Nationalism in Dostoyevsky”

Ward Blanton, “Schweitzer’s Jesus, the crisis of modernism and beyond”

Leif E. Vaage, “Beyond Nationalism: Jesus the Anarchist?“

William E. Arnal, “Jesus as Battleground in a Period of Cultural Complexity. Beyond Nationalism: Constructing the “Historical” Jesus in a Period of Cultural Complexity”

James Crossley, “Jesus the Jew since 1967”

Oddbjørn Leirvik, “Jesus in contemporary Muslim theology”

Halvor Moxnes, “Towards a Jesus in cultural complexity?”