måndag, juli 31, 2006

The 4 gospels

Liz Calhoun wrote: “And Goran, I recently read a work on NT studies that suggested that the Fourth Gospel was intended to REPLACE the previous three, late in the 1st century.”

A far as I understand, the 4th gospel (John) is the 3rd and the 1st (Matt) is the newest. There is no trace of it in the West before Ireneus’s Adversus Haeraeus around 170, who pleads 4 gospels, saying they are like the 4 winds (= 4 directions ;=)

Up till around 180 there are a number of Greek and Latin Prologues to the other 3 (many of them anti-Marcionite, that is post 140, some monarchic, that is advocating a shift in power from the autonomy of the local congregation to the regional authority of a metropolitan bishop) but there is no Prologue to Matt.

The claim often heard that Bishop Papias talks of the gospel of Matt around 140 is bogus. He does nothing of the sort. He talks of a sayings gospel (like the famous Q); the logia, the words of Jesus collected “in the Hebrew language” (= Aramaic) by (the real) Matthew Levi the Publican and interpreted by all “as best they could”. Pages 8-10 or so of which was found in Oxyrhynchos in Egypt in 1889.

The gospel of Thomas is the same kind of collection of sayings (the latter 1/3 of Thomas to my mind being a later Gnosticist addition).

Originally the 4 gospels were used in different parts of the world, each in its own Patriarchate; the oral Aramaic gospel in Jerusalem or Caesarea, Mark in Rome, Luke in Antioch and lastly Matt – where?

IMO in Alexandria (see the confusion of geographic and historic detail, the “in King Herod’s days” (all Herodian kings were King Herod), the Magi, the slaying of the Innocents, all not so subtly placing the child Jesus in Egypt (cf the horrible “childhood gospels”) and so on.

The present order reflects a time when several gospels were put into use in one place, the resulting collection – as always in Antiquity – being added to a core; the eldest in the middle, the ones newer to that place front and back.

The eldest Western order (preserved in some manuscripts) was Matt, John, Mark, Luke + Acts + Letters of Paul. Later the Catholic Letters (= general subjects, without addressees) + Johannine letters + Apocalypse. Originally these collections were all separate - a state of affairs that lasted well into the 2nd Millennium.

All scriptures were not accepted in all Patriarchates – Alexandria, for instance, not accepting the Corpus johanneum, having their own apocalypsis; The Shepherd of Hermas. Antioch likewise did not accept the 2nd century Alexandrian letters, and so on. The standing and placing of Alexandrian Hebrews and non-Pauline Pastorals differed.

There also were many more scriptures read than are found in our (different) modern post mid 16th century "canonical" Bibles.

The story of the woman in the Temple yard was especially difficult for later generations influenced by Neo Platonism; originally Luke 21:39ff, it ended up in Byzantine manuscripts (in different places) in John (in modern “translations” John 7:51-8:11, if not excised all together ;=)

The order we use today is the (late) Antiochene one (which became the Alexandrian).

Matt was most certainly put together (from both sayings gospel and story gospel) as a lectionary, to be read continuously in the local/regional churches, the way the Torah is read in the Synagogue. It is clearly dependent on the published Letters of Paul (after 100) not seldom following Paul when he disagrees with Mark and Luke. Matt is very clearly competing with the Judaism of its day, which makes me think much of it post-dates the parting of the ways after the 2nd Jewish War of around 130, upon which Judaism became illegal and Christianity hurried to proclaim its loyalty to the Emperor and conformity to the Ways of the World (the Pastorals, Alexandrian letters).

Our present European lectionaries are all based on the Carolingian Lectionary, which used Matt supplementing it with the other 3 for “lacunae”.
Från diskussion på Father Jake Stops the World (länk till höger)

1 kommentar:

peter sa...

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