Daily Archives: 2010-10-31 23:45:39 UTC

The Twelve Apostles had to be a very late invention, surely

Greek Icon of the Twelve Apostles

Almost as fundamental to the Christian narrative as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is surely the calling, election and sending forth of the twelve disciples to preach the gospel.

But of all the evangelists to which our canonical gospels have been attributed, only one unequivocally delivers this message. Only the author (or final canonical-redactor) of Luke-Acts unambiguously pronounces that the twelve disciples called by Jesus were endowed with power and sent forth (with only one name-switch) as the twelve apostles to be witnesses of Jesus from Jerusalem “unto the uttermost parts of the earth.”

The Gospel of Mark concludes (at 16:8) with the question left hanging as to whether the twelve disciples ever received the message and were converted at all; the Gospel of Matthew concludes (28:17) with the possibility that some of the disciples did not believe that they saw the resurrected Jesus; the Gospel of John’s post-crucifixion scenes portray a rivalry between Peter and John in the race to the tomb and as regards who was the one of these to have faith (20:3-8), and then a diminution of the authority of Thomas (20:24-29). (For reasons I will delay for another post, Thomas appears to be criticized as the leader of a rival sect to the Johannine Christians — Gregory Riley sees the rivalry being prompted over the nature of the resurrected body; April DeConick argues the rivalry is over the need for a vision as opposed to the need for faith. Either way, John’s gospel is written as a rebuttal of another apostle’s – or even apostles’ – doctrines.)

And then we finally have Luke-Acts,  . . . . (I ought to explain that I lean towards the final “canonical” Luke-Acts being completed after the composition of our canonical gospels of Mark, Matthew and John — following Matson, Shellard, Wills . . . ) . . . . and then we see a most diligent effort not only to establish the authority of Twelve Apostles, but even to push the idea that Paul, too, was on the side of the Twelve, and as good as a “thirteenth”, such is the unity proclaimed in this Gospel-Acts narrative. read more »

Dog ate my post or an excuse as good as

My dog ate my homework
Image by Girl.in.the.D via Flickr

I had a really good post gestating in my mind while I was visiting Hanoi the last couple of days, and had it all worked out what I would write up. It was based on April DeConick’s ‘Voices of the Mystics” and her interesting (also very persuasive) accounting for the intrusion into John’s last supper scene of those disciple names so nondescript in the Synoptic gospels, Judas and Thomas, and how they were originally the one and the same disciple, and the conflict between vision (visio Dei) and faith Christianity and what this led me to wonder about the larger question of the narratives and “tradition” of the 12 disciples in the first place, and how it would finally answer all the big questions about how Christianity arose, – – – –

but on my way to my home computer I discovered I had left my book with notes at the hotel in Hanoi so I can’t do the post after all till the hotel staff mail it to me and it will take about two weeks to arrive and it has to be sent to my Australian address because I’m moving back there this week so I can’t do the post till after then!

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