The Euphemist

Reflections on Jewish Studies and many other subjects big and little, by a perpetual student who sometimes searches a little too long for just the right word ...

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Christian, truth seeker, husband, son, brother & uncle, Lutheran pastor, musician (cello, etc.), Jewish Studies grad student, intellectual historian, aquarium enthusiast & pet owner, philologist, astronomer, Norwegian-American, Ford pickup driver, buffoon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My "Dangerous Idea"

Professor Jim Davila of recently responded to a challenge for bibliobloggers to post "their one 'dangerous idea' for biblical studies." Being a biblioblogger wannabe myself (a biblioblogger is basically someone who blogs on the study of biblical and related texts) I thought I would submit my "dangerous idea":

The differentiation between Judaism and Christianity did not begin at the time of Jesus Christ's earthly life or afterward. The parting of ways between Judaism and proto-Christianity was already under way some time before Christ was born.

While attempting to find out if anybody else has conceived of my wild little idea, I learned that a scholar named Gabriele Boccaccini has written of what he calls "Enochic Judaism", apparently a parent community both of Essene Judaism and Christianity, and which parted ways from what he calls "Zadokite" Judaism, which had a closer connection to the Temple. Whether this relates to my "dangerous idea" I really don't know yet, since I haven't yet read Boccaccini. But I'm intrigued. Meanwhile, in my quest to master elementary Hebrew I've just been getting into the "absolute" and "construct" states and pronominal suffixes, so it'll be awhile before I can run with the big dogs of Biblical studies. Maybe by the time I've gathered the tools, someone will have already offered a compelling proof (or rebuttal) of my Dangerous Idea.

I like someone else's Dangerous Idea that "Q is a mirage". The Q Theory really isn't a bad theory. It's a very ingenious way of accounting for the fact that Matthew and Luke have lots of overlap besides the parts they share with Mark. But the Big Reason why people shouldn't be so dogmatic about Q is as simple as this: Nobody's ever found a manuscript of Q. There's an ancient tradition that Matthew is, in fact, the first Gospel written, and a number of scholars have been favorable to that theory lately. There's nothing like a missing primary source to tempt people to fill in the blanks themselves.


Blogger Fred Carpenter said...

Hi Michael, just catching up to you again.... One dangerous idea I might ask is, "Did the Early Church fathers (Origen,,) have it right when they held that the doctrine of Hell was ultimately redemptive rather than retribution and endless torment?"

I have been reading several books about this topic this Fall and Winter and have posted some preliminary thoughts on my blog. And I Peter 3 19-4:6 wouldn't necessarily be my first consideration in defending redemptive hell, but more in the "all" passages right in the book of Romans, normally considered the Calvinist "elect" stonghold of the Bible. Here are some thoughts on my blog if interested.

Enjoyed reading up your happenings Michael and was sad to hear of the recent deaths, especially the local young person.

8:59 PM  

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