Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Response to Dr. Jim West


posted July 1st at:

begs to differ with me. He says in his off the cuff remarks that Richard implies that the Biblical authors were Dilettantes or Amateurs. Since Jim wants to talk about the collective group of Biblical authors, let’s discuss one of them, Paul. In Romans, Paul begins: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” This statement is a claim of institutional authority, something which I said Luke lacked.” Paul claims to be an apostle, a claim which he asserted in most of his letters. Luke does not make any claim of institutional authority nor does he claim that his writing is a gospel or that his writing was peer-reviewed. Jim apparently agrees with my statements.

If I understand Jim’s argument correctly, Luke was not an amateur because he was a theologian of the first order and this must mean he was professionally trained. You see, Jim refuses to recognize the possibility that an amateur could be a theologian. As Jim said in a comment to my post, “Luke, whoever that was, was clearly no amateur. His theology, as pointed out by Conzelmann, is profound.”

Let’s discuss Luke’s profound theology. Conzelmann also recognized that Luke has no theology of the cross. As Ehrman recognized this was unacceptable to second and third century professional scribes who added verses to make Luke theologically acceptable to the professionals.

Mark was right; the disciples did not get it!!! They continued to worship in the temple every day presumably offering their sacrifices. And because, Luke had no theology of the cross, he must not have gotten it! Matthew and Mark corrected the situation by adding the necessary material and including the condemnation of the animal sacrificial system missing in Luke.

Why did Matthew and Mark need to correct Luke? Why did Matthew and Mark add to their accounts senseless killings and miracles, walking on water, cursing a fig tree and pulling a coin out of the mouth of a fish? Why is it that there is no indication in the Didache that an initial repentance connected with the idea of personal sinfulness for which Jesus' death atones was considered basic to the Christian life? Why did second and third centuries scribes need to add verses to Luke to make his writing professionally acceptable?

No wonder Luke is an embarrassment to the professionals but not to amateurs like me. However this embarrassment is the circumstantial evidence of motive that explains why Matthew and Mark corrected Luke and why the second/third century professional scribes added the verses identified by Ehrman.

It is called theology in transition. Theology does change to meet new social conditions.

Copyrighted 2006


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