2006-11-28

Romans 1:2-6 – An anti-Marcionite Interpolation?

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by Neil Godfrey

I’m undergoing a long process of bringing myself up to date with blogs and the web 2 world and part of that is trying to bring together one by one bits and pieces I have written notes on over the years. Here is another one, where I present a case for arguing that the whole of Romas 1:2-6 was an interpolation by an anti-Marcionite redactor.

Criteria I’ve used are taken from William O. Walker’s “Interpolation in the Pauline Letters” (2001).

Constructive criticism most welcome of course.

Neil Godfrey


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marcion, romans, rom.1.2-6, pauline+epistles


2006-11-27

Review Notes re Collision Course

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by Neil Godfrey

There are two ways of reading John Norris’s ‘Collision Course: one can read it as a student of diplomacy and perhaps be soberly impressed with its contents; or one can read it as a complete outsider, as an Outsider in Albert Camus’ sense, as simply a fellow human who identifies with not only Americans but also Russians and Serbs, be totally depressed by the stark bullying of the stronger power that poses as “diplomacy”. Not only the bullying, but the willingness of the stronger power to quite knowingly risk full scale great power war and treat the slaughter of civilians as a “pressuring bargaining chip”. I suspect many Americans would be shocked to read a US diplomat having no discomfort with identifying openly with Chairman Mao’s dictum of “fight, fight, talk, talk”.

I have been wanting to finish a review of this book for weeks now and still have not had the chance to structure, cut down and complete my notes, especially the brief chapter by chapter contents. It shouldn’t be that hard. Maybe I want to achieve too much with it. But for anyone interested in the meantime here are my raw notes and quotations from the book:

Continue reading “Review Notes re Collision Course”


Mark and Homer

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by Neil Godfrey

One more catch-up link for this new trial blog: notes I made from Dennis MacDonald’s book on the Gospel of Mark and Homeric epics. One plan for the future would be to go have checkboxes against each comparison indicating which criteria are met, and to what extent. I’m not confident that all of my own comparisons would go very far — I’m sure some are way “out there” but hey, why not push an idea to its limits and see what happens? It would be interesting to checkbox each one against the criteria some time.

Book details

Neil Godfrey


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gospel+of+mark, homer, iliad, odyssey, literary+mimesis, intertextuality


2006-11-26

Comparing the Gospel of Peter with the Canonical Gospels

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by Neil Godfrey

To write the earlier essays I found it helpful to prepare a table of comparisons between the Gospel of Peter and the canonical gospels. I’ve added the link here for convenience for myself and anyone else interested.


Retraction already?

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by Neil Godfrey

Am I going mad? This looks like a retraction that my memory just told me I have not yet had time to write! When did I do this? Too busy, too busy….. Anyway, here ’tis.


Another view of the origin of the Gospel of Mark

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by Neil Godfrey

Again about a year or so ago I woke in the middle of the night with “a brilliant revelation” that I had to work out on keyboard asap. I had been exploring the range of views in the scholarship on the date and theology of the Gospel of Peter and it occurred to me that the Gospel of Mark, with so many cryptic unexplained references and incidents, might very well be best explained as a response to the sort of gospel narrative that we find in the Gospel of Peter. I was not arguing that the Gospel of Peter as we have it pre-dates GMark, but if GPeter was setting down in ink a previously known oral gospel then many apparent anomalies in GMark are resolved.

Alas, I have since in my mind revised this idea, but have not yet had time to put down my retractions in any essay yet. I did once begin to do this and on re-reading my GPeter-GMark piece began to wonder again if my retraction would hold water. Anyway, for what it’s worth, I’ve attached a link to my original essay on a GPeter related trajectory of the GMark and other synoptics. It did at least provoke some kind comments and thoughtful responses when first released. I may write something opposite tomorrow, but will leave this idea stand for at least discussion and thought nonetheless.


The Gospel of Mark’s fictional characters

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by Neil Godfrey

A year or so ago I wrote an essay discussing characterization in the gospel of Mark and attempted to show that the author paradoxically shows as little interest in the earthly person of Jesus as we find in Paul’s letters. A little thought about the way Mark depicts his characters demonstrates, I think, that he is working at a level as far removed from any interest in Jesus’ earthly history as was Paul. At the time I titled it a bit clumsily Notes on the fictive and parabolic character of Mark’s gospel.


Justin Martyr and the 2nd century gospel story

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by Neil Godfrey

A little while ago while trying to trace the evidence for Christian origins one block in the scholarship that frustrated me was the lack of dedicated studies to what was known of the gospel narrative in the mid-second century. There was no lack of resources on the asserted “sayings of Jesus” and supposed “canonical gospel” allusions, but the only way I decided I would find out what a mid-second century Church Father actually knew or understood the gospel narrative about Jesus to have been was to make the time to prepare this table which I have titled Justin Martyr’s Gospel Narrative.


Related post: Justin Martyr’s 2nd century understanding of church origins, heresy and eschatology



The end of faith: religion, terror, and the future of reason / Sam Harris. (Norton, 2005) Review

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by Neil Godfrey

This is a disturbing book principally for its ignorant tirade against Moslems. As an atheist myself I had hoped for something more rational and informative given the enormous popularity of this book in the U.S. but find Harris here is too often little more than a mega-mouthpiece for Western (read American?) ignorance of Moslems and the Moslem world outside the U.S. borders. Continue reading “The end of faith: religion, terror, and the future of reason / Sam Harris. (Norton, 2005) Review”


Gospel of Mark’s bookends

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by Neil Godfrey

Have updated and webbed a table to help me keep track of some of the bracket points found in the Gospel of Mark. The opening and closing scenes contain numerous matching “bookends” that are either intended to guide the interpretation of the gospel and/or to help an original oral storyteller recall how the narrative is meant to go (see Shiner’s ‘Proclaiming the Gospel, 2003).


A Cyrenius-Cyrenian link between Josephus and Mark?

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by Neil Godfrey

It is not hard to see curious shifting reflections between the lead characters in Josephus and the Gospel of Mark. Judas first, then Simon with James and Simon with John are Jewish rebel leaders and Alexander and Rufus are two Romans responsible for their executions (though John is apparently spared). In Mark we have Judas, Simon Peter, James and John as leaders and Alexander and Rufus named as identifiers of the one pressganged into the execution of their leader. (And the one executed in place of that leader was anciently believed by at least one form of Christianity, and by modern deconstructionists, the author of Mark himself being characteristically ambiguous, to be Simon himself.)

But is there another name also shiftingly reflected between Josephus and Mark that has not yet been remarked on?

“The sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius (Quirinius in Luke 2:2) came to take account of the estates of the Jews, as we have shown in a foregoing book. The names of those sons were James and Simon, whom Alexander commanded to be crucified.” (Josephus, Ant. 20.5.2, Whiston trans.) Continue reading “A Cyrenius-Cyrenian link between Josephus and Mark?”


2006-11-25

Paul’s reception in Italy and Rome: another Josephus link?

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by Neil Godfrey

While it is commonplace to think of the Book of Acts as an unfinished work, appearing to end without a real narrative resolution (with Paul left a prisoner in Rome for “2 years” — no trial, no death, no release) , I keep wondering if the real problem is that we are missing something critical about the intent of the narrative. As one small facet of this question I have raised before the possibility that the author of Acts was emulating the conclusion of the Primary History of Israel which ends with the king of Judah a prisoner in Babylon (sometimes later used as a cypher for Rome) and the circumstances of his imprisonment.

Now on reading bits of Josephus again I wonder if another piece is falling into place, Continue reading “Paul’s reception in Italy and Rome: another Josephus link?”


2006-11-21

Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society / Ghassan Hage (Pluto Press, 2003) Review

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by Neil Godfrey

This was the first book I read by an Australian Lebanese academic and I found its discussion of fundamentalism and suicide terrorism most informative. It opened my eyes to seeing how our own Australian nationalism can be seen by non-westerners as just as fundamentalist as any other kind: Continue reading “Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for Hope in a Shrinking Society / Ghassan Hage (Pluto Press, 2003) Review”


Facts about suicide terrorism

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by Neil Godfrey

Earlier this year I wrote up a flyer for distribution at one of our public rallies. Thought I’d share it here — make use of it as you will: Facts about suicide terrorism