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Some women damage feminist causes by vociferating. Others are quiet, even diffident, and might not, in any case, wish to be reckoned as feminists; but they make the point impressively when they rise to the top, and by sheer ability come to occupy positions of responsibility and influence. Nobody who knows Professor Morna Hooker-Stacey can hesitate as to the category in which she belongs. Before I had met her, I recognized the independent mind of a scholar in her early book, Jesus and the Servant (1959). In it, and later, in The Son of Man in Mark (1967), she risked her reputation by unfashionable views. Subsequently, she devoted much attention to Pauline thought (From Adam to Christ is a collection of such studies between 1960 and 1989), though The Message of Mark (1983) and some of her articles in journals show that she was also continuing to work at material for what emerged in 1991 as her magnum opus, the A. and C. Black commentary on Mark. Since then, her Didsbury Lectures of 1994 expound the meaning of the Cross in all the main writers of the New Testament. In the Pauline area, Professor Hooker is known especially for her variations on the theme of ‘interchange’ in the theology of incarnation – Christ became what we are, that we might become what he is.
Tendenzkritik is a technique in historical research specially associated with F. C. Baur and A. Schwegler and others of the Tübingen school, since it was they who applied it to the reconstruction of the early history of the church. In principle, it is a matter of plain common sense, and was already in use among secular historians before the Tübingenians adopted it. If it can be established that a document was written with a clear propagandist purpose, then it becomes probable (other things being equal) that its writer bent the facts, or made a tendentious selection from among them, to fit his purpose; and it is therefore necessary to make allowance for such distortion, in any attempt to get back to the truth about what actually happened. Accordingly, a question of prime importance for the historian in interpreting a document and estimating its worth is, What was this document for? What did its author hope to achieve by it? A classic example of Tendenzkritik is the estimate of Acts reached by New Testament scholars over against Galatians. It is a familiar fact that, whereas the Epistle to the Galatians shows Paul at one point taking issue with Peter, and reflects a difference (if not a conflict) between the leaders of the Gentile and Jewish missions respectively, the Acts presents a picture of basic harmony between Paul and the leading figures in the Jerusalem church. Equally, it is well known that, in certain details, Galatians and Acts are difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile.
This collection - which has established itself since publication as one of the best surveys of the subject - investigates issues of great importance to our knowledge of Jesus in its balanced appraisal of his contact with the armed resistance movement of his day.
Many attempts have been made, particularly in recent years, to interpret the life of Jesus of Nazareth in terms of the Jewish nationalistic movements of his day. This collection of essays is aimed at throwing light on the events, and the motives behind them, of those significant days by a sober investigation of the evidence relating to Jesus's attitude to authority, both Jewish and Roman.
Owing to unfortunate delays, it is only now possible to publish these essays, some of which were completed about a decade ago. The authors must not be held responsible for not having brought their contributions up to date. To all of them the editors are greatly indebted, both for their willingness to undertake a task which, in some cases, involved considerable research, and for their patience in the face of delay. The editors wish to record their gratitude also to those who translated certain contributions, to those at the Cambridge University Press who have devoted skill and patience to the production of the book; and their special thanks to the Reverend G. M. Styler for much hard work in correcting the proofs and the Reverend Dr W. Horbury for assistance with the index.
It is extremely interesting to watch different books of the New Testament coming successively into the forefront of research. There were the days of the so called ‘Marcan hypothesis’, when Mark was treated as the most important of all New Testament documents because it was deemed to lead us back, as no other document did, to the original Jesus. Then followed a period when the evangelists were, so to speak, shouldered out of the way in the attempt to see behind them and past them into the oral period before the traditions reached the shape which they assume in the Gospels. But more recently still has come a re-valuation of the work of the evangelists themselves, less for its historical importance than for the religious message they were themselves conveying. And so Mark came back into the foreground, no longer as a chronicler, but rather as a theologian; and there soon followed studies in the distinctive outlook and message of Luke-Acts. And now there are signs of considerable reawakening of interest in Matthew's message and meaning.
In view of this activity over Matthew, it would not be easy to find many, if any, totally neglected features. What I want to do, however, is to call attention to certain features which, although indeed noticed before, seem (to the best of my knowledge) to have been too lightly set aside or forgotten; and then to see whether a plausible account of the Gospel can be offered which will take them all into account.
The main purpose of this paper is (1) to re-examine and call in question an assertion that has frequently been made over the past century – that Paul was not interested in the historical Jesus. But, since the discussion of this question involves asking what the Pauline epistles were for and in what category they should be classified in contrast to other Christian writings, a further inquiry springs quite naturally from it by way of contrast, namely, an inquiry (2) into the purpose and category of the Synoptic Gospels. And the comparative study of the purpose and category of the Gospels and the Pauline epistles respectively involves, finally (3), a brief reassessment of the structure and contents of Christian evangelism or ‘initial preaching’. A question-mark is thus placed (or replaced, for it has been done again and again before) against several assumptions which are characteristic of much current New Testament scholarship. Whether or not this is acceptable (many of my German colleagues, whose friendship I greatly value, will, I am afraid, view it only as a typically English tilting at windmills), it is at any rate offered, with high regard and friendship, to a scholar who has always had the courage to pursue truth without deference to prevailing fashions.
It is a common practice to declare that Paul, and, indeed, the early Church generally, was not interested in the story or the personality of Jesus.
Much attention has always been paid by New Testament theology to the names and titles applied to Jesus. Dr Vincent Taylor's monograph on The Names of Jesus is a recent example of this approach, and still more recently, Dr Oscar Cullmann's work on Christology has in some respects followed the same method. The intention of this essay, however, is not to traverse precisely this ground once more, but rather, moving selectively over parts of it, to inquire into the reasons for the appearance and disappearance, for the advance and retreat, of one title and another. In other words, it will try to relate the names and designations of Jesus to the circumstances and conditions of their use.
Two notoriously difficult problems in this connexion are, of course, the strikingly limited occurrence of the term ‘the Son of Man’, and the comparative rarity with which the figure of the suffering Servant is applied to Christ. Why, for instance, is there in early Christian apologetic outside the gospels no application to Jesus of a full-length testimonium from Dan. vii? Or again, Isa. liii is almost the only Old Testament passage which seems to recognize innocent suffering as possessing redemptive power. Why, then, are direct references to Isa. liii in the gospels so very rare? Why are the occurrences scarcely less meagre in the whole of the rest of the New Testament? And – most surprising of all – why are the explicitly redemptive phrases from Isa. liii only quoted once or twice in all?
The primary purpose of this lecture is simply to give further definition to the long-standing problem of the Pastoral Epistles. I am inclined to think, though this is a harsh remark, which may recoil, that there is no area of New Testament investigation where theories are proposed with greater inattention to the difficulties attaching to them. It may, therefore, be of some service – however negative – to the cause of scholarship if the difficulties can be clarified. Whether I shall be able also to contribute anything positive towards a solution I doubt (and here, indeed, my strictures are almost bound to recoil), although anyone who underlines a problem is almost under an obligation to make some attempt to find a possible way through it or round it.
It was one of my proudest moments when I received the invitation to give this lecture. Although, early in my university days, T. W. Manson examined me for a university prize and wrote me a characteristically kind note afterwards, in his beautiful hand, it was not until towards the end of his life that I began to know him personally, as a colleague in the making of the New English Bible. But even those few years were enough to kindle in me, in addition to the profound admiration I had already conceived for him as an exact scholar of great erudition, that genuine affection for him as a friend which he won, I think, from all who had the privilege of personal acquaintance with him.
It is widely held that the marantha of I Cor. xvi. 22 (construed as an imperative, ‘O our Lord come!’) is to be understood as an invocation of Christ to be present in the eucharist. Support for this is sought in the fact that other words and phrases in the same context can also be interpreted eucharistically: the kiss (ν. 20), the ‘anathema’ upon anyone who does not love the Lord (ν. 22), and the grace (ν. 23) can all be supposed to be among the preliminaries to the eucharist (in terms both of inclusion and of exclusion). Further, the maranatha also occurs in Didache x. 6, in a section connected at least in some way with the eucharist; and the Greek equivalent, ἔρχού κύριε ʾΙησοῦ, occurs in Rev. xxii. 20, together with amen (cf. Didache x. 6 again) and not far from what might seem to be a eucharistic ‘invitation’ (ν. 17).
But how much of this is really cogent? If I Corinthians was really intended to be (as it were) the homily, leading on into the eucharist, why is there so little trace of this in other New Testament epistles? Why does the maranatha in I Cor. xvi. 22 come at this particular point, before the grace (and the apostle's love)? Why does it occur where it does in the Didache? In spite of all that is said, is there sufficient evidence to suggest that it was meant to lead straight into the eucharist proper?
Archbishop Carrington, Dr Selwyn, and others have made us familiar with the idea of a more or less definable body of teaching for catechumens underlying the New Testament writings; but less attention seems to have been given to the possibility that a body of illustrative material consisting of parables, allegories, and familiar authoritative sayings may also have been current for use in the same connexion, although this is indeed implied by the belief entertained by many scholars that some of the material of this sort in the gospels is to be traced to early catechists and preachers rather than to the Lord himself.
This note, an attempt to ask some questions in relation to this matter, was suggested by the fact that the Lucan story of Martha and Mary (Lk. x. 38–42) provides a curiously apt pictorial illustration of the attitude alluded to by St Paul in I Cor. vii. 35, and is also strikingly close to that verse in vocabulary. St Paul says that his object in urging the single estate is not to cast a snare upon them (is this curious metaphor itself an allusion to some image now lost to us?), but πρὸς τὸ εὔσχημον καὶ εủπάρεδρον τῳ Κυρίῳ ἀπερισπάστως, ‘with a view to their behaving in a decorous way, duly seated by the Lord without distraction’.
In The Ethic of Jesus in the Teaching of the Church (New York, 1961; London, 1962), Professor John Knox analyses the dilemma facing the Christian when he recognizes at once the inescapability and the impossibility of the demands of Christ. The demands of Christ are selfauthenticating; they are such that the honest conscience is bound to accept them. And yet they are unattainable. Therefore the Christian is forced into a tension, a tension which would be unendurable – ‘how can we be really obligated to do the impossible?’ (p. 15) – were it not for the accompanying forgiveness which is offered – a forgiveness, however, which, because it is real forgiveness and not a mere forgetting or ignoring, involves not the slightest relaxation of the demand.
This characteristic of the ethic of Jesus – namely, the undiminished costliness of repentance – is described with the writer's usual clarity and feeling, and in an entirely convincing manner. Professor Knox has brought back into view an element in the teaching of Jesus which had tended to be forgotten; and I have no intention of making clumsy attempts to improve on it. It is in connexion with the treatment, in the same book, of Paul's standpoint that I venture to offer some further reflexions. In this part of his argument, Professor Knox reiterates a conclusion which he had expressed some ten years earlier in Chapters in a Life of Paul (New York, 1950; London, 1954), ch. 9.