Angelika Reichert on the Positive Statements about the “I” in Romans 7

In my preparations for my Paul class this semester, I have enjoyed reading through many of the fine essays in The Letter to the Romans (ed. U. Schnelle). In my judgment, Angelika Reichert‘s essay “Literarische Analyse von Römer 7,7-25A” in this volume presents a perceptive reading of Romans 7 as a whole and an especially insightful analysis of the positive statements about the “I” in this chapter. Thus, today’s post will look at an excerpt from her discussion of this topic. As usual, I will alternate between my English translation and the German text (pp. 321-322):

Consequently, it appears sensible to modify how the question is posed, i.e. instead of the question of the meaning of the positive statements about the “I”, to place the question of their function in the flow of vv. 14-23 in the foreground.

Daraufhin erscheint es sinnvoll, die Fragestellung zu modifizieren, d.h. statt der Frage nach der Bedeutung der positiven Aussagen über das Ich diejenige nach ihrer Funktion im Duktus von V. 14-23 in den Vordergrund zu rücken.

With regard to the flow of the text, we have already shown [or: it had already become clear] that it stands under the leading thesis of v. 14b, “sold under sin,” and all three subsections (vv. 15-17, 18-20, 21-23) lead to a statement about the “I” being occupied by sin.

Zum Duktus des Textes hatte sich schon gezeigt: Er steht unter der Leitthese von V. 14b, “unter die Sünde verkauft”, und alle drei Unterabschnitte (V. 15-17.18-20.21-23) münden in eine Aussage über das Besetztsein des Ich durch die Sünde.

If, consequently, the positive references cannot have the function of modifications or reservations in relation to the leading thesis, then they can be understood only as its intensification.

Wenn folglich die positiven Hinweise im Verhältnis zur Leitthese nicht die Funktion von Modifikationen oder Vorbehalten haben können, dann lassen sie sich nur als deren Verstärkung auffassen.

This means, first, that the references to the willing (of the good), the agreement with or joy in the law, and the mention of the tendency of the ἔσω ἄνθρωπος and of the νοῦς underline the strength of the power of sin.

Das heißt: Zum einen unterstreichen die Hinweise auf das Wollen (des Guten), die Zustimmung zum bzw. Freude am Gesetz, die Erwähnung der Tendenz des ἔσω ἄνθρωπος und des νοῦς die Stärke der Sündenmacht.

This has not brought a “no man’s land” under its rule when it took possession of the “I” and determined its reality in such a way that in it the actual willing of the “I” and its positive state of being addressed by God’s announcement of his will do not come to fruition.

Dies hat kein “Niemandsland” unter ihre Herrschaft gebracht, als sie vom Ich Besitz ergriff und seine Wirklichkeit so prägte, dass darin das eigentliche Wollen des Ich und dessen positives Angesprochensein durch Gottes Willenskundgabe grundsätzlich nicht zum Zuge kommen.

Secondly, it is precisely the positive references that bar conceivable escapes from the situation of the “I” sold under sin. There is no sense in showing this “I” what it actually wants, what is actually in its interest; it wants, after all, the good in the comprehensive sense, but it cannot translate this into its reality.

Zum anderen versperren gerade die positiven Hinweise denkbare Auswege aus der Situation des unter die Sünde verkauften Ich: Es hat keinen Sinn, diesem Ich zu zeigen, was es eigentlich will, was eigentlich in seinem Interesse liegt; es will ja das Gute im umfassenden Sinn, kann dies aber nicht in seine Wirklichkeit übersetzen.

There is also no sense in confronting this “I” with the will of God; it has, after all, its joy in it, but this has no effect de facto.

Es hat auch keinen Sinn, dieses Ich mit dem Gotteswillen zu konfrontieren; es hat ja seine Freude daran, aber diese wirkt sich faktisch nicht aus.

Finally, there is certainly no sense in expecting something from an inner instance (ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, νοῦς) of the “I”; the “law of my mind” has no chance against the “law of sin”, i.e. no possibility of determining the reality of the “I”.

Schließlich hat es erst recht keinen Sinn von einer inneren Instanz (ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, νοῦς) des Ich irgendetwas zu erwarten; das “Gesetz meiner Vernunft” hat gegen das “Gesetz der Sünde” keine Chance, also keine Möglichkeit, die Wirklichkeit des Ich zu bestimmen.

** After completing this blog post, I was pleased to (re)discover that Reichert’s excellent essay has been published in an English translation (see here)! I have not yet had a chance to consult the English version, but I look forward to re-reading this fine essay in English and no doubt discovering ways in which I could have improved my own rendering of this key passage.

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Jörg Frey, the Glory of the Crucified One, and the Dwelling of God in Jesus Christ

Alongside many other good moments at this year’s SBL, I especially enjoyed the review session that was dedicated to the most recent BMSEC volume, Jörg Frey’s The Glory of the Crucified One, which I co-translated with Christoph Heilig. For me, there were many highlights from this session. For example, Tobias Nicklas’ provocative exploration of features of John that may have facilitated the development of spiritualizing readings of the Gospel by certain readers in conversation with Frey’s sixth chapter on bodiliness and resurrection, Jo-Ann Brant’s probing questions regarding Frey’s discussion of predestination and his challenge to the validity of speaking of a “dualism of decision” in his fourth chapter on Dualism in John (e.g. 146-152, 165), Susan Hylen’s attention to the value of Frey’s historically differentiated discussion of noble death, effective death, vicarious death, and salvific death in the fifth chapter, and Daniel Weiss’ presentation of his own interpretation of the topic of ‘the Jews’ in John in dialogue with Frey’s second chapter on ‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John and the ‘Parting of the Ways’ and his tenth chapter on God in the Fourth Gospel. And perhaps most of all, I found Susan Hylen and Jörg Frey’s substantive discussion of issues of methodology to be especially thought-provoking!

My only real disappointment with the review session is that little was said about my two favorite chapters in the volume! Accordingly, I would like to use this blog post to share two quotes from these chapters. As usual, I will alternate between the English and the German for those who are using this blog to keep up their German.

The first quotation comes from chapter 7, “The Glory of the Crucified One,” which I think captures especially well the particular way in which Frey reads John:

The Glory of the Crucified One 243: This Easter experience, which includes the concomitant experience of the Spirit, is reflected in the Johannine Gospel writing. It is not only the Farewell Discourses—in which Jesus’ impending death is programmatically interpreted—that aim to show the crucified one as the glorified one. The whole Gospel portrays the way of the earthly one in the light of his δόξα, i.e., in a perspective that was opened up to the witnesses only in retrospect, in the Spirit-effected remembrance and Spirit-effected reading of Scripture. Therefore, talk of the δόξα of the earthly one and especially talk of the δόξα of the preexistent one are likewise possible only in retrospect, in the believing recognition of the glorification of the crucified one. Here lies—at least noetically—the basis of the Johannine Christology.

Die Herrlichkeit des Gekreuzigten 646: Dieser Ostererfahrung bzw. die damit verbundene Geisterfahrung haben sich in der johanneischen Evangelienschreibung niedergeschlagen: Nicht nur die Abschiedsreden, in denen Jesu bevorstehender Tod programmatisch gedeutet wird, wollen den Gekreuzigten als Verherrlichten zeigen. Das ganze Evangelium zeichnet den Weg des Irdischen im Licht seiner δόξα, d.h. in einer Perspektive, die den Zeugen erst im Rückblick, in der geistgewirkten Erinnerung und Schriflektüre, erschlossen wurde. Die Rede von der δόξα des Präexistenten sind deshalb ebenfalls nur im Rückblick, in der glaubenden Erkenntnis der Verherrlichung des Gekreuzigten möglich. Hier liegt – zumindest noetisch – der Grund der johanneischen Christologie.

The second quotation comes from chapter 8, “The Incarnation of the Logos and the Dwelling of God in Jesus Christ.” While chapter 7 emerged as one of my favorite chapters from the moment I read it, it is interesting to me that chapter 8 first gained its ‘favorite status’ in the course of translating the volume. In short, in the course of working through this chapter I became convinced that sustained reflection on the stichos “and he dwelt among us” is indeed essential for interpreting the meaning and significance of John 1.14.

The Glory of the Crucified One 283-84: The “bridge” between the statement of the Logos becoming flesh and the beholding of his glory, which is established by the shekinah tradition, allows the full and unreduced humanity of Jesus of Nazareth and the presence of the divine δόξα in him, in his words, and in his way to be held together. … Theologically the shekinah theology provides an expression of the “condescension” of God, which is intensified in the Gospel of John all the way to the cross of Jesus, and precisely this horizon is already signaled in advance in 1.14 by the pronounced talk of the σάρξ. What the Gospel of John expresses in its narrative, which is directed to the passion—namely, that the crucified one is, in truth, the one clothed with glory by God and as such is the basis of faith and salvation—is already signaled in an anticipatory way in the collocation of σάρξ and δόξα in the Prologue, and the employment of the biblical model of the dwelling of God in the world or, more concretely, in “his people” illustrates this ostensibly paradoxical connection and fits it into the biblical tradition history. The becoming flesh of the Word—as a variation of the dwelling of God in the midst of his people—is aimed at the cross, where the sent one, who is crucified as “king of the Jews,” completes his way. And God’s nature and primordial loving will are, according to John, enduringly recognizable precisely in this glorified crucified one.

Das Geheimnis der Gegenwart Gottes 255-256: Die durch die Schechina-Tradition gebildtete “Brücke” zwischen der Aussage von der Fleischwerdung des Logos und der Schau seiner Herrlichkeit erlaubt es, die ganze und unverkürzte Menschlichkeit Jesu von Nazareth und die Gegenwart der göttlichen δόξα in ihm, seinen Worten und seinem Weg zusammen zu halten. … Theologisch bietet die Schechina-Theologie eine Aussageform der “Kondeszendenz” Gottes, die sich im Johannesevangelium bis zum Kreuz Jesu steigert, und eben dieser Horizont ist bereits in Joh 1,14 durch die prononcierte Rede von der σάρξ vorab angedeutet. Was das Johannesevangelium in seiner auf die Passion hinzielenden Erzählung zur Darstellung bringt, dass der Gekreuzigte in Wahrheit der von Gott mit Herrlichkeit Umkleidete und als solcher der Grund des Glaubens und des Heils ist, das ist in der Zusammenstellung von σάρξ und δόξα im Prolog schon vorausgreifend angedeutet und die Heranziehung des biblischen Modells der Einwohnung Gottes in der Welt bzw. konkreter in “seinem Volk” veranschaulicht diese augenscheinlich paradoxe Verbindung und ordnet sie in die biblische Traditionsgeschichte ein. Die Fleischwerdung des Wortes – als Variation der Einwohnung Gottes inmitten seines Volkes – zielt auf das Kreuz, an dem der als “König der Juden” gekreuzigte Gesandte seinen Weg vollendet. Und gerade im verherrlichten Gekreuzigten ist nach Johannes bleibend Gottes Wesen und sein uranfänglicher Liebeswille erkennbar.

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Thomas Söding and the Christology of Mark

Ever since my student days in Tübingen, I have enjoyed reading the publications of Thomas Söding. Most recently, I profited from his short book Das Markus-Evangelium: Anregungen zum Lesejahr B. This post will look at an excerpt from his section on “The christological basic line” (pp. 34-35):

Through the arrangement of his Gospel, Mark develops a fundamental theological interpretation of the person, activity, suffering, and resurrection of Jesus.

Markus entwickelt durch die Anlage seines Evangeliums eine fundamentale theologische Deutung der Person, des Wirkens, des Leidens und der Auferstehung Jesu.

On the one hand, the evangelist shows that the authoritative miracle worker and teacher Jesus can be understood and believed only on the basis of his death and resurrection.

Einerseits zeigt der Evangelist, das der vollmächtige Wundertäter und Lehrer Jesus nur von seinem Tod und seiner Auferweckung her verstanden und geglaubt werden kann.

In the Gospel of Mark the sometimes enigmatic appearing silence commands and motifs of incomprehension serve to work this out. They warn against breaking out into overly great rejoicing already with Jesus’ performance of a great deed of power—as if Jesus did not end up hanging powerless on the cross. And they project the failure of the disciples during the passion (14.50, 66-72) into the time of the public activity of Jesus—in order to make clear that the one who would deny or relativize Jesus’ suffering and death basically understands nothing at all about his parables, miracles, and discourses. [not really sure how to capture the force of wollte here]

Dies herauszuarbeiten, dienen im Markusevangelium die vielen, teils rätselhaft erscheinenden Schweigegebote und Unverständnismotive: Sie warnen davor, schon bei einer großen Machttat Jesu in allzu großen Jubel auszubrechen – so als ob Jesus nicht am Ende ohnmächtig am Kreuz hinge; und sie projizieren das Versagen der Jünger während der Passion (14.50, 66-72) in die Zeit des öffentlichen Wirkens Jesu hinein – um klarzustellen, dass von Jesu Gleichnissen, Wundern und Reden im Grunde gar nicht versteht, wer sein Leiden und Sterben leugnen oder relativieren wollte.

On the other hand, the evangelist shows that the proclamation of the death and resurrection of Jesus continues to be dependent on remembering that it brings to expression the death and resurrection of the basileia-messenger Jesus of Nazareth. [basileia is Greek word for kingdom/reign/rule/dominion].

Andererseits zeigt der Evangelist, dass die Verkündigung des Todes und der Auferweckung Jesu bleibend darauf angewiesen ist, zu erinnern, dass sie den Tod und die Auferstehung des Basileia-Boten Jesu von Nazareth zur Sprache bringt.

What Jesus did and taught is not made obsolete by his death and resurrection but rather confirmed by God.

Was Jesus getan und gelehrt hat, wird durch seinen Tod und seine Auferweckung nicht überholt, sondern von Gott bestätigt.

More than that: Jesus is so unreservedly affirmed by God right through death that he can be active universally as the risen one in the power of God in the way in which he acted under the conditions of his earthly existence in Galilee and Jerusalem and sealed through his death. [tricky sentence, e.g. hard to translate durch … hindurch and difficult to get the last part right]

Mehr noch: Jesus wird von Gott durch den Tod hindurch so rückhaltlos bejaht, dass er als Auferweckter in der Kraft Gottes universal in der Weise wirken kann, wie er es unter den Bedingungen seiner irdischen Existenz in Galiläa und Jerusalem getan und durch seinen Kreuzestod besiegelt hat.

Mark makes this clear not least through the open conclusion of his Gospel: In the empty tomb the angel not only explicitly identifies the risen one with the crucified Jesus of Nazareth (16.6); he reminds the women also of the promise that he gave to the disciples on the way from the room of the Last Supper to Gethsemane: that he, despite their failure, will go ahead of them to Galilee, where they will see him, who calls them anew into discipleship (14.28; 16.7 [Psalm Sunday; Easter night]).

Markus macht dies nicht zuletzt durch den offenen Schluss seines Evangeliums deutlich: Im leeren Grab identifiziert der Engel nicht nur ausdrücklich den Auferweckten mit den gekreuzigten Jesus von Nazareth (16,6); er erinnert die Frauen auch an die Verheißung, die er den Jüngern auf den Weg vom Abendmahlssaal nach Getsemani gegeben hat: dass er ihnen trotz ihres Versagens nach Galiläa vorangehen wird, wo sie ihn sehen werden, der sie neu in die Nachfolge ruft (14,28; 16.7 [Psalmsonntag; Osternacht]).

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My Jesus Blog Review of the Jesus Handbook

The Jesus Blog is pleased today to publish Wayne Coppins’s detailed review of the new Jesus Handbuch, edited by Jens Schroeter and Christine Jacobi and published by Mohr Siebeck in their Handbuecher Theologie series. This review will particularly be helpful for those readers of the Jesus Blog who can’t read the Jesus Handbuch in German, though…

via Wayne Coppins’s Review of the Jesus Handbuch — The Jesus Blog

Michael Wolter, Luke 2:13, and “the multitude of the heavenly host”

In this year’s Christmas post, I will look at Michael Wolter’s striking interpretation of the significance of Luke’s mention of “the multitude of the heavenly host” in Luke 2:13. As usual I will alternate between the English and the German version for those (re)learning German. For my other Christmas posts, see here

ET (vol. 1, p. 128): Something happens that never occured before in the history of Israel. Not only a single angel but the whole heavenly host, which surrounds the throne of God (cf. 1 Kings 22.19: στρατιὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ; Joseph and Aseneth 14.8 speaks of the στρατιὰ τοῦ ὑψίστου [“army of the Most High”], Greek Apocalypse of Ezra 6.16, 17 of the στρατιὰ ἀγγέλων [“army of angels”]), arrives on earth in order to perform its incumbent task of praising God (the plural αἰνούντων . . . καὶ λεγόντων is constructio ad sensum). …

GV (p. 130): Es ereignet sich etwas, was in der Geschichte Israels noch nie gab: Nicht nur ein einzelner Engel, sondern der gesamte himmlische Hofstaat, der Gottes Thron umgibt (vgl. 1 Kön 22,19: στρατιὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ; JosAs 14,8 spricht von der στρατιὰ τοῦ ὑψίστου “Heer des Höchsten”, griechApkEsr 6,16.17 von der στρατιὰ ἀγγέλων “Heer der Engel”), findet sich auf der Erde ein, um der ihm obliegenden Aufgabe des Gotteslobs nachzukommen (der Plural αἰνούντων . . . καὶ λεγόντων ist constructio ad sensum). …

ET (vol. 1, p. 128): Luke describes what has never happened before and in this way expresses the significance of the birth of Jesus. The distance that separates heaven and earth from each other is removed for a moment; the earth becomes the place of the heavenly praise of God and humans become its earwitnesses.

GV (p. 130): – Lukas beschreibt noch nie Dagewesenes und bringt dadruch die Bedeutung der Geburt Jesu zum Ausdruck: Die Distanz, die Himmel und Erde voneinander trennt, ist für einen Moment aufgehoben; die Erde wird zum Ort, und Menschen werden zu Ohrenzeugen des himmlischen Gotteslobs.

Analysis: What I find striking about Wolter’s analysis is the fact that he interprets πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου as a reference to the whole heavenly host rather than simply to a big group of angels, which functions on his reading as a way for Luke to highlight the great significance of the birth of Jesus.

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Jan Rüggemeier on Markan Christology in Cognitive-Narratological Perspective

Today’s offering falls under one of my favorite categories on this blog, namely “German scholars.” The purpose of this category is to introduce German scholars and their research to the English-speaking world. Each post will consist of (I) an excerpt (or series of excerpts) from a publication submitted by the German author him/herself and (II) some biographical-bibliographical information about the scholar in question.

Today’s German scholar is Dr. Jan Rüggemeier (Acad) of the University of Bern. In part 1 of this post I will provide an English translation and the German text of five key quotations from his 2017 book Poetik der markinischen Christologie. Eine kognitiv-narratologische Exegese. As usual I will alternate between English translation and German text for those who are using these excerpts to (re)learn German.

Quote 1 (pp. 3-4)

The goal of this work is therefore to transfer the historical and philological methods of exegesis, which are already always subject to the influence of other scholarly insights, and newer approaches, especially from the sphere of literary criticism and narrative studies, into a common system of viewing the text.

Das Ziel der vorliegenden Arbeit ist es deshalb, die historischen und philologischen Methoden der Exegese, die ihrerseits immer schon dem Einfluss anderer Wissenschaftserkenntnisse und -strömungen unterlagen, und neuere Ansätze, insbesondere aus dem Bereich der Literatur- und Erzählwissenschaften, in ein gemeinsames System der Textbetrachtung zu überführen.

At the same time, the possibilities of such a viewing of the text are to be demonstrated with reference to the example of the Markan picture of Jesus in order ultimately to answer the material question of the Christology of the earliest Gospel anew and with as much nuance as possible.

Zugleich sollen die Möglichkeiten einer solchen Textbetrachtung am Beispiel des markinischen Jesusbildes demonstriert werden, um letztlich die inhaltliche Frage nach der Christologie des ersten Evangeliums neu und möglichst differenziert zu beantworten.

Here it is precisely the recent developments within narrative studies today, which are usually summarized under the keyword of the cognitive turn (cf. chapter 2.1) that contain within themselves a high potential for integration and can lead to an overcoming of the differentiation—which has been unsatisfactory up to now and anything but precise or unified—between so-called synchronic and diachronic methodological steps.

Gerade die neueren Entwicklungen innerhalb der heutigen Erzählwissenschaften, die zumeist unter dem Stichwort der Kognitiven Wende bzw. des cognitive turn zusammengefasst werden (vgl. Kap. 2.1), bergen dabei ein hohes Integrationspotenzial in sich und können zu einer Überwindung der bisher unbefriedigenden und alles andere als präzisen bzw. einheitlichen Differenzierung zwischen sogenannten synchronen und diachronen Methodenschritten führen.

Because it is above all through the narrative-critical “re-discovery” of the recipient that the understanding of the text as an interactive process is grasped, in which there is always an alternating alignment between text-external pre-existing knowledge and text-internal guiding mechanisms, historical source work and narrative-critical interpretation are interdependent.

Weil v.a. durch die erzählwissenschaftliche „Wiederentdeckung“ des Rezipienten das Textverstehen als ein interaktiver Prozess begriffen wird, bei dem es immer zu einem wechselseitigen Abgleich zwischen textextern vorgegebenen Wissensbeständen und textintern angelegten Steuerungsmechanismen kommt, sind historische Quellenarbeit und erzählwissenschaftliche Interpretation aufeinander angewiesen.

Thus, in the case of ancient narratives the text-external knowledge of an intended recipient cannot be drawn out in any other way than with the methods and possibilities of historical source work.

So können bei antiken Erzählungen die textexternen Wissensbestände eines intendierten Rezipienten gar nicht anders als mit den Mitteln und Möglichkeiten einer historischen Quellenarbeit erhoben werden.

And, conversely, a purely historical study of the sources in the context of an explanation of the text would remain deficient, for only by taking into account the specific inferential processes as well as the cognitive-psychological propositions of the recipient can one adequately trace how, conditioned by a selection of individual possibilties of understanding, an actual or intended understanding of the text arises when it is read.

Und umgekehrt bliebe ein rein historisches Quellenstudium im Zusammenhang der Texterklärung defizitär, weil erst unter Berücksichtigung der spezifischen Inferenzprozesse sowie der kognitionspsychologischen Propositionen des Rezipienten hinreichend nachgezeichnet werden kann, wie es bedingt durch eine Auswahl einzelner Verstehensmöglichkeiten bei der Lektüre zu einem tatsächlichen bzw. intendierten Textverstehen kommt.

Quotation 2: Character Traits (pp. 529-30)

Through Jesus’s supernatural knowledge (4.3.1g), his non-limited perception (4.3.1b), and his behavior (4.3.1d), but also on the basis of his repeatedly articulated claim of authority (4.3.1a) or through the overcoming of evident spatial limits (4.3.1-2) and the sudden change of his appearance (4.3.1e), Jesus can be contrasted with other awaited figures of the endtime or paralleled with the Old Testament Kyrios (cf. 4.3.2b).

Durch Jesu übernatürliches Wissen (4.3.1g), seine entgrenzte Wahrnehmung (4.3.1b) und sein Verhalten (4.3.1d), aber auch aufgrund seines wie- derholt artikulierten Vollmachtsanspruchs (4.3.1a) oder durch die Über- windung offensichtlicher Raumgrenzen (4.3.1f) und den plötzlichen Wandel seines Äußeren (4.3.1e) kann Jesus mit anderen erwarteten Gestalten der Endzeit kontrastiert oder mit dem alttestamentlichen Kyrios parallelisiert werden (vgl. 4.3.2b).

A significant function of the character traits consists in setting Jesus into relation with text-external conceptions of characters and precisely in this way to portray his uniqueness and unity with God.

Eine wesentliche Funktion der Figurenmerkmale be- steht darin, Jesus mit textexternen Figurenvorstellungen in Beziehung zu setzen und gerade so seine Einzigkeit und Einheit mit Gott zu inszenieren.

This explains the occasional incoherence, which can be recognized in the characterization of Jesus.

Dies erklärt die gelegentliche Inkohärenz, die sich in der Charakterisierung Jesu erkennen lässt.

Thus, the narrator pursues not the goal of producing a unified conception of Jesus’s [outer] appearance but the appearance has primarily a functional relevance, because it serves the purpose of making a contrast in individual episodes (9.15 after 9.2-6) or gives the recipient a spatial orientation (6.56).

So verfolgt der Erzähler nicht das Ziel eine einheitliche Vorstellung vom Figurenäußeren zu erzielen, sondern das Äußere hat primär eine funktionale Bedeutung, weil es in einzelnen Episoden der Kontrastierung dient (9,15 nach 9,2–6) oder dem Rezipienten eine räumliche Orientierung bietet (6,56).

Quote 3: The Narrator’s Point of View (523):

The actual standpoint of the narrator (cf. chapter 4.2.1) is characterized by a surprisingly small degree of explicitness.

Der eigentliche Erzählerstandpunkt (vgl. Kap. 4.2.1) zeichnet sich durch eine überraschend geringe Explizität aus.

This is probably a co-cause of the large differences in interpretation within the history of scholarship up to now.

Dies dürfte mitursächlich für die großen Interpretationsunterschiede innerhalb der bisherigen Forschungsge- schichte sein.

The Markan Christology shows itself in its core to be emergent, i.e. the standpoint of the narrator cannot be reduced to individual pieces of textual information or be completely aligned with the standpoints of individual characters but can only be deduced from the interplay of all individual perspectives.

Die markinische Christologie erweist sich im Kern als emergent, d.h. der Standpunkt des Erzählers lässt sich nicht auf einzelne Textinformationen reduzieren oder mit einzelnen Figurenstandpunkten voll- ständig in Deckung bringen, sondern kann erst aus dem Wechselspiel aller Einzelperspektiven abgeleitet werden.

Through explicit narrative asides, the perspectival means of the reduplication of information, the presented (un)reliability of individual bearers of perspectives or other means of hierarchization, the narrator positions himself in an indirect—but nevertheless unmistakable—way.

Durch explizite Erzählerkommentare, das perspektivische Mittel der Informationsverdoppelung, die vor Augen gestellte (Un)Zuverlässigkeit einzelner Perspektiventräger oder andere Mittel der Hierarchisierung positioniert sich der Erzähler auf eine indirekte – aber nichtsdestotrotz unmissverständliche – Weise.

Quote 4: Kyrios-Christology (p. 531):

Through the contrast character of John-Elijah and the opening prophet quotation in 1.2-3 it is suggested from the start (= primacy effect) that Jesus is to be identified with the Kyrios and his Sonship is to be understood in the sense of a unique relationship of belonging between God and Jesus (cf. 4.3.2b).

Durch die Kontrastfigur des Johannes-Elia und das einleitende Prophetenzitat 1,2f.) wird von Anfang an nahegelegt (= Primäreffekt), dass Jesus mit dem Kyrios zu identifizieren ist und seine Sohnschaft im Sinne eines einzigartigen Zugehörigkeitsverhältnisses zwischen Gott und Jesus zu verstehen ist (vgl. 4.3.2b).

This parallelization is taken up in the further course of the narrative so that one can by no means speak only of a ‘sporadic Kyrios-Christolgy’ in the Gospel of Mark.

An diese Parallelisierung wird im weiteren Erzählverlauf angeknüpft, so dass keineswegs nur von einer ‚sporadischen Kyrios-Christologie’ im Markusevangelium zu sprechen ist.

Rather, Mark materially takes up the early Christian confession of the one God of Israel and of the one Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor 8.6) and joins it narratively with the episodic narratives of the primitive community, with a far-reaching continuity between the pre- and post-Easter nature of Jesus being postulated.

Vielmehr greift Markus das frühchristliche Bekenntnis zu dem einen Gott Israels und dem einen Herrn Jesus Christus (vgl. 1Kor 8,6) inhaltlich auf und verknüpft es erzählerisch mit den episodenhaften Erzählungen der Urgemeinde, wobei eine weitgehende Kontinuität zwischen dem vor- und nachösterlichen Wesen Jesu postuliert wird.

The frequency of the explicit and implicit Kyrios-allusions, the high relevance for action that can be ascribed to Jesus self-claim and the opposing accusation of blasphemy by the authorities, and the explicit questions about Jesus’s identity as well as the disciples’ obvious lack of understanding (e.g. 1.27; 4.41; 6.52; 8.17-20), which increase the attention of the recipient along the lines of the suspense of a mystery, reveal the great significance of this character parallel.

Die Häufigkeit der expliziten und impliziten Kyrios-Anspielungen, die hohe Handlungsrelevanz, die sich dem Selbstanspruch Jesu und dem entgegengesetzten Blasphemievorwurf der Autoritäten zuschreiben lässt, und die expliziten Fragen nach Jesu Identität sowie das offensichtliche Unverständnis der Jünger (z.B. 1,27; 4,41; 6,52; 8,17–20), die im Sinne einer Rätselspannung die Aufmerksamkeit des Rezipienten erhöhen, lassen die große Bedeutung dieser Figurenparallele erkennen.

Quote 5: Main Function (p. 532)

The main function of the Markan narrative can be designated as the epistemological function.

Die Hauptfunktion der markinischen Erzählung kann als epistemologische Funktion bezeichnet werden.

In distinction from today’s narrative, this is not meant to suggest that the Gospel of Mark disputes every human possibility of knowing in principle or that the question of what identity to ascribe to Jesus can be answered in an exclusively subjective manner.

Im Unterschied zu heutigen Erzählung ist hiermit nicht gemeint, dass das Markusevangelium jede menschliche Er- kenntnismöglichkeit prinzipiell bestreitet oder dass sich die Frage, welche Identität Jesus zuzuschreiben ist, ausschließlich subjektiv beantworten lässt.

Rather, it is demonstrated through the narrative that humans have de facto not recognized Jesus in his actual identity—and this means, according to Markan understanding, as preexistent Son and Kyrios.

Es wird durch die Erzählung vielmehr aufgezeigt, dass die Menschen Jesus in seiner eigentlichen Identität – und d.h. nach markinischem Verständnis als präexistenten Sohn und Kyrios – faktisch nicht erkannt haben.

II. Biographical-Bibliographical Information

Born in 1981, Dr. Jan Rüggemeier (Acad) studied Protestant Theology in Heidelberg, Oxford (Regent’s Park College) and Tübingen. Between 2011 and 2016 he has worked with Prof. Hans-Joachim Eckstein (Tübingen). In 2017 he joined the Institute of New Testament Studies at the University of Bern, where he is preparing a research project on urban christianity with Prof. Benjamin Schliesser. So far his research is focused on the gospels, on biblical narratology and on methodology of the New Testament in general. His handbook Methoden der neutestamentlichen Exegese. Ein Lehr- und Arbeitsbuch, published 2016 together with Sönke Finnern, gives an overview of important exegetical “tools” and introduces new trends in Biblical Studies

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Eve-Marie Becker, Ancient History Writing, and the Genre of Mark

Not too long ago, I finished reading through Eve-Marie Becker‘s new collection of essays Der früheste Evangelist. Studien zum Markusevangelium, which contains  nine English essays and eleven German essays on the Gospel of Mark. As with other works of hers that I have blogged about, I enjoyed Becker’s multidisciplinary approach, her impressive grasp of the history of scholarship, and her independence of thought, all of which will undoubtedly also be showcased in her most recent book The Birth of Christian History: Memory and Time from Mark to Luke-Acts. For my full range of posts on the topic of historiography, see here.

If one is looking for an avenue into Eve-Marie Becker’s work, I recommend beginning with her autobiographical English essay “Mark in the Frame of Ancient History Writing: The Quest for Heuristics” (pp. 279-291, esp. pp. 284-291 in Der früheste Evangelist), which conveys central elements of her approach, provides insight into how she got there, and relates her research to her teaching. Here is a quotation from that essay:

289: So, where have we come? The contextualization of the Markan Gospel in the frame of ancient history writing has huge implications for textual interpretation. It leads us to a comprehensive view of Mark’s literary concept as well as its theological outline. Seen against the broader frame of ancient history writing, the Markan Gospel appears to be a piece of literature in which past time is depicted as a narrative construct of “history,” while the display of “time” becomes a matter of temporal orientation. By transforming the memory of the past into a cohesive narrative account for contemporary readers as well as for posterity, the Markan Gospel largely contributes to the shape of a narrative identity in early Christian times. To be sure, it hardly claims to be historiography stricto sensu, but it does certainly prepare the way for historiographical access (Luke-Acts; Eusebius) to the beginnings of the gospel proclamation and its memorization among Christ-believing groups.”

The reader, of course, will also profit greatly from Becker’s new introductory chapter “Der früheste Evangelist im Lichte der aktuellen Markusforschung. Eine Standortsbestimmung” (pp. 1-13), which introduces her own approach and helpfully situates her work in relation to recent scholarship on Mark. Here is a quotation and translation from that chapter:

1 (cf. p. 8): Der vorliegende Aufsatzsammlung liegt ein gemeinsamer Ansatz zugrunde: die Sicht auf Markus als den frühesten Evangelisten, der mit seiner Evangelienerzählung eine neue literarische Form, eine Gattung sui generis, schafft, die sich in den weiteren Rahmen der frühkaiserzeitlichen Historiographie einzeichnen lässt. / A shared conception underlies the present collection of essays: the perspective on Mark as the earliest evangelist, who, with his Gospel narration, creates a new literary form, a genre sui generis, which can be placed in the broader framework of the historiography of the early imperial period.

As indicated by the previous two quotes, Eve-Marie Becker returns at multiple points to the question of the genre of Mark’s Gospel. Here are two more quotations on that topic (and references to some others):

31 (cf. 188, 274): Wir haben es, so meine ich, hier nicht mit einer Biographie oder einer biographischen Darstellungsform, sondern mit einer personzentrierten vorhistoriographischen Erzählung zu tun, wie sie besonders aus dem Bereich der frühjüdischen Historiographie bekannt ist / Here we are dealing, so I believe, not with biographical form of presentation but with a person-centered pre-historiographical narrative, as it is known especially from the sphere of early Jewish historiography. [this claim is then given further justification in what follows]

126 (cf. 230, 244): Mark shapes a proto-type of a writing, which does have immediate (Matthew and Luke) and later (apocryphal gospels) successors. Because the Markan Gospel deals with a sequence of a ‘history of events’ that is related to the activity of a specific person (Jesus of Nazareth) and his mission, it might in terms of its macro-genre best be placed in the broader frame of ancient historiographical writings in which it appears more precisely as a ‘person-centered pre-historiographical account.”

Whether or not one is convinced by Becker’s argument that Mark should be classified as a ‘person-centered pre-historiographical account’ and not as a biographical form of presentation, I think that there is much to be learned from Becker’s extensive comparison of the ways that Paul, Mark, and Luke work with history – for example in “Patterns of Early Christian Thinking and Writing of History: Paul – Mark – Acts” (219-239), which includes an interesting discussion of 1 Cor 15:3b-5 and 11:23-25 (pp. 231-237), and “The Konstruktion von ‘Geschichte’. Paulus und Markus im Vergleich” (253-278), which I have discussed here.

From among the essays focused on key issues or texts in Mark, I profited especially from Becker’s discussion of the Markan summaries, i.e. “Die markinischen Summarien – ein literarischer und theologischer Schlüssel zu Mk 1-6” (pp. 327-349).

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Michael Wolter on Jesus’s ἀγωνία in Luke 22.44

After two years of very hard and very rewarding labor, I am particularly pleased that both volumes of my co-translation (with Christoph Heilig) of Michael Wolter’s commentary on the Gospel of Luke are now complete and published as volumes 4 and 5 of the BMSEC series. I have, of course, produced multiple blog posts on these volumes already, but with this post I want to start a new series titled “Wolter Words” (the apparent alliteration is of course illusory), which will focus on one of my favorite aspects of his commentary, namely his tendency to challenge conventional assumptions about the meaning of many words and phrases in the Gospel.

In today’s post, we will look at Wolter’s interpretation of γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ in Luke 22:44.

Before turning to this issue, however, let me briefly comment on two others:

First, it is worth noting that Wolter (II: 483), based on a detailed analysis of the evidence, thinks the arguments for and against the originality of Luke 22:43-44 are quite evenly balanced, so that “we must remain for the time being with a non liquet.

Second, in response to a common misinterpretation of this text, Wolter (II: 479, 485) rightly stresses that when Luke says that Jesus’s “sweat became like drops of blood falling to the earth,” he does NOT intend to communicate that “Jesus sweats blood or that his sweat changed into blood” but rather that “Jesus sweats so profusely that his sweat drops to the ground,” i.e. “The tertium comparationis is … not the ‘consistency of his sweat’ (thus Klostermann 217) but its quantity. There is so much of it that—like when a person bleeds profusely—drops form that fall to the ground. Thus, the thrust of the statement wants to illustrate the intensity of the praying of Jesus and—at least indirectly—the greatness of his ἀγωνίᾳ.”

What then is meant by the phrase γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ? In what follows I will give Wolter’s answer in abbreviated form, alternating between the English translation (II: 483-484) and the German Version (723-724):

ET: That the appearances “strengthen” the recipient of the appearance is also known from many other texts … Elsewhere God also always “strengthens” the mediators sent by him so that they can fulfill their task … Therefore, the fact that Jesus nevertheless  falls into ἀγωνίᾳ, i.e., into inner agitation, need not stand in contradiction to the strengthening by the angel.

GV: Auch dass Erscheinungen den Erscheinungsempfänger “stärken”, ist aus vielen anderen Texten bekannt … Gott “stärkt” auch sonst immer die von ihm gesandten Mittler, damit sie ihren Auftrag erfüllen können … Dass Jesus trotzdem in ἀγωνίᾳ gerät, d.h. in innere Erregung, muss darum nicht in Widerspruch zur Stärkung durch den Engel stehen.

ET: Many interpreters have not been able to reconcile the two with each other. In the wake of Paton 1913 they therefore do not think that ἀγωνίᾳ designates the inner agitation of Jesus but equate it with ἀγών. In this view, the concern is with a “contest” or “struggle” (cf. e.g. Neyrey 1980, 159ff [“victorious struggle”]; 1985, 58ff. [“combat”]; Nolland III: 1084 [“the battle in prayer”]; Brown 1994, I: 189-90; Tuckett 2002, 138-39), which takes place in the “fervent” prayer of Jesus.

GV: Viele Interpreten haben beides nicht miteinander vereinbaren können. Sie sehen darum in Gefolge von. W.R. Paton, Ἀγωνία (Agony), CIR 27 (1913) 194 mit ἀγωνίᾳ nicht die innere Erregung Jesu bezeichnet, sondern setzen es mit ἀγών gleich: Es handele sich um einen “Kampf” (engl. “contest” or “struggle”; cf. z.B. Neyrey*, Absence, 159ff [“victorious struggle”]; Passion, 58ff [“combat”]; Nolland III, 1084 [“the battle in prayer”]; Brown* I, 189f; Tuckett* 138f.), der in dem “inständigeren” Beten Jesu stattfindet.

ET: In doing so, however, they make the error of arguing only with the lexical sense and not paying attention to the syntagmatic connection with γενόμενος; cf. e.g. Vita Aesopi 81 (“They fell into agitation [εἰς ἀγωνίαν γενάμενοι] … and regarded this great misfortune as an important sign”). Elsewhere, too ἀγωνίᾳ designates inner agitation in the face of coming unsalvation … [additional texts are adduced] … Furthermore the talk of Jesus as γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ must be placed in the nexus of all the texts in which there is talk of “coming” or “falling” ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ or εἰς ἀγωνίᾳ (e.g. Diodorus Siculus 14.35.2; 16.42.9; 20.51.1; Josephus, Antiquitates judaicae 6.107; 8.373; 11.326; 13.87 and especially P. Tebt II 423.13-14: “I have commissioned you …; you have not yet given me information about it, so that I have fallen at present into agitation [ὡς εἰς ἀγωνίαν με γενέσθαι ἐν τῷ παρόντι]”).

GV: Dabei machen sie jedoch den Fehler, nur mit der Wortbedeutung zu argumentieren und nicht die syntagmatische Verknüpfung mit γενόμενος zu beachten; vgl. z.B. Vita Aesopi 81 (“sie gerieten in Erregung [εἰς ἀγωνίαν γενάμενοι] … und hielten dieses große missgeschick für ein wichtiges Zeichen”). Auch anderswo bezeichnet die innere Erregung angesichts eines kommenden Unheils … [zusätzliche Texte sind angeführt] … Darüber hinaus ist die Rede von Jesus als γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ in den Zusammenhang all jener Texte zu stellen, in denen von ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ oder  εἰς ἀγωνίᾳ “geraten” oder “kommen” oder “fallen” die Rede ist (z. B. Diodorus Siculus 14,35,2; 16,42,9; 20,51,1; Josephus, Ant. 6,107; 8.373; 11,326; 13,87 und vor allem P. Tebt. II, 423,13f: “Ich habe dir aufgetragen …; du hast mir darüber noch nicht Auskunft gegeben, so dass ich zur Zeit in Erregung geraten bin [ὡς εἰς ἀγωνίαν με γενέσθαι ἐν τῷ παρόντι]”).

ET: It would therefore be a truncation if one wanted to reduce Jesus’s ‘strengthening’ to the empowerment to “fervent” prayer. The aforementioned linguistic contexts do not make the  ἐκτενέστερον προσεύχεσθαι of Jesus an expression of his ἀγωνία but rather let it become the reaction to it (cf. Philo, Legatio ad Gaium 366: “We had the souls no longer in us but they had gone forth ὑπ’ ἀγωνίας in order to implore the true God…”).

GV: Es wäre darum eine Verkürzung, wenn man Jesu ‘Stärkung’ auf die Befähigung zum “inständigeren” Beten reduzieren wollte. Die vorgenannten sprachlichen Zusammenhänge machen das ἐκτενέστερον προσεύχεσθαι Jesu nicht zum Ausdruck seiner ἀγωνία, sondern sie lassen es zur Reaktion auf sie werden (vgl. Philo, Leg. Gai. 366: “Wir hatten die Seelen nicht mehr in uns, sondern sie waren ὑπ’ ἀγωνίας herausgetreten, um den wahren Gott anzuflehen, …”).

In short, for Wolter attention to the syntagmatic connection of ἀγωνία with γενόμενος shows that the phrase means “als er in inneren Aufruhr geriet” (GV: 720) or “when he fell into inner turmoil” (ET: II: 479) rather than signaling that he is engaged in “victorious struggle,” “combat,” or “battle in prayer”.

Addendum: Luke 22:44 in the 2016 ESV Translation:

Not too long ago, there was a minor eruption in the blosphere when Crossway announced that “Beginning in the Summer of 2016, the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway—in much the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained unchanged ever since the final KJV text was established almost 250 years ago (in 1769)” (quoted from Scot McKnight; cf. Christianity Today).

While I did not follow this controversy in detail at the time, my work on Wolter’s commentary did make me sensitive to the change made in Luke 22:44:

2011: And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

2016: “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

While it is not exactly clear to me how the translators are interpreting this verse in the two cases, it seems to me that the 2016 translation might move a bit closer to Wolter’s understanding. However, if Wolter’s analysis is correct, it would probably be preferable to revise the 2016 ESV translation further and to translate γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ with “having fallen into inner turmoil” or “having come into inner turmoil” or “when he fell into inner turmoil” (Wolter II: 479) or “when he fell into inner agitation.” Moreover, since Crossway wisely ended up reversing its initial decision (see here), it is at least conceivable that they could reconsider their translation of this verse if the ESV translation is revised again in the future.

For a more complete list of changes that have been made to the ESV, see here and here.

For a small sample of the many blog posts on the controversy over the ESV’s initial statement about the finality of the 2016 ESV translation, see e.g. Anderson/Alsup, Kevin Antlitz, Denny BurkJoe CarterAmy GannettSusanna KrizoClaude Mariottini, Scot McKnightRachel MillerCarolyn MoorePorter/Yoon.

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Jörg Frey on the Source-Critical and Redaction-Critical Approach to the Gospel of John

I am happy to announce that I have just submitted my co-translation (with Christoph Heilig) of a selection of essays on John by Jörg Frey (Eng), which will be published in the BMSEC series in 2018 with the title The Glory of the Crucified One. Thus, it seemed fitting to celebrate this occasion by continuing my series of posts on Frey’s chapter “Wege und Perspektiven der Interpretation des Johannesevangelium,” which will be titled “Approaches to the Interpretation of John” in our volume. For my full range of posts on The Glory of the Crucified One, see here.

Today’s key quotation comes from section 1.4 of this chapter : “The Source-Critical and Redaction-Critical Approach: The Search for ‘Original’ Sources and the Question of the Theological Development of the Johannine Community.”

After presenting specific criticisms of several recent source-critical works, Frey has this to say about the lasting value of this approach (page 20 in Die Herrlichkeit des Gekreuzigten):

Such works are well suited to discredit the method of source criticism as a whole. At the same time, here too a particula veri should be upheld. For the Gospel of John can scarcely be regarded as a text ‘made from a single mold,’ as a completely homogeneous literary unity.

Solche Arbeiten sind geeignet, die Methde der Literarkritik gänzlich zu diskredieren. Gleichwohl sollte auch hier eine particula veri festgehalten werden: Das Johannesevangelium kann eben doch kaum als ein Text ‘aus einem Guß’, als eine völlig homogene, literarische Einheit gelten.

It probably grew over a rather extended period of time, and strongly synchronic interpretations are justified text-theoretically rather than in a way that is actually historical.

Es ist wahrscheinlich über einen längeren Zeitraum gewachsen, und dezidiert synchrone Interpretationen sind eher texttheoretisch als tatsächlich historisch begründet.

At least for chapter 21 the question of a secondary expansion or edition of an existing text arises, and the question of what else was possibly added in this context can only be approached with cautious deliberations, since we have no parallel texts for comparison.

Zumindest für Kapitel 21 stellt sich die Frage einer sekundären Ergänzung bzw. Edition eines vorliegendes Textes, und die Frage, was in diesem Zusammenhang eventuell noch ergänzt wurde, läßt sich, da keine Paralleltexte zum Vergleich bereitliegen, nur mit vorsichtigen Erwägungen angehen.

The same applies to the by no means irrelevant question of the presupposed sources and traditions. For it seems clear that the evangelist presupposes sources and traditions.

Das gleich gilt für die keineswegs irrelevante Frage nach den vorausgesetzten Quellen and Traditionen: Daß der Evangelist Quellen und Traditionen voraussetzt, scheint klar zu sein.

As long as one regarded the Johannine line of development as completely independent and not dependent on other early Christian traditions (especially the Synoptics), one had to reckon with sources that consisted of larger narrative pieces (semeia source and passion narrative or Grundschrift). If one assumes knowledge of the Synoptic tradition, such continuous sources can scarcely be reconstructed any longer, but even then the taking up of individual special traditions from the Johannine community or other circles must be assumed.

Solange man die johanneische Entwicklungslinie für völlig eigenständig und von anderen frühchristlichen Überlieferungen (insbesondere den Synoptikern) unabhängig ansah, mußte man dann mit größeren erzählerischen Quellenstücken (Semeiaquelle und Passionsbericht oder Grundschrift) rechnen, wenn man mit Kenntnissen der synoptischen Überlieferung rechnet, können solche durchlaufenden Quellen kaum mehr rekonstruiert werden, aber auch dann ist die Aufnahme einzelner Sonderüberlieferungen aus dem johanneischen Gemeindekreis oder anderen Kreisen anzunehmen.

Now the source situation for a resolution of the associated problems are anything but great, so that one can scarcely expect source criticism to provide the key for the interpretation of the Fourth Gospel.

Freilich ist die Quellenanlage für eine Lösung der damit gegebenen Probleme alles andere als günstig, so daß von der Literarkritik der Schlüssel zur Interpretation des vierten Evangeliums kaum zu erwarten ist.


As a single comment on the translation of this passage, let me simply flag up the difficulty of translating the German terms Literarkritik and literarkritisch. Since it is now used to refer to a very different approach, “literary criticism” is not a viable solution in my judgment. Accordingly, the translator must find another term for the subject matter in question. This, however, is difficult. In fact, since Literarkritik is a more far-reaching term than “source criticism” (see e.g. here), I considered retaining the noun Literarkritik (see e.g. here) and even gave considerable thought to whether it would be possible to coin a new word for the adjective. However, in the end, while recognizing the shortcomings of using “source criticism” and “source-critical” (see e.g. here), I decided to adopt this common translation, albeit with reservations.

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Torsten Jantsch on Jesus, the Savior: The Soteriology of the Lukan Doppelwerk

Since I have featured the work of Torsten Jantsch (Eng; Acad; Blog) on several occasions in the past (see here and here), I am especially pleased to include a post on his new book Jesus, der Retter: Die Soteriologie des lukanischen Doppelwerks (WUNT 381), Tübingen: Mohr, 2017, which is based on his LMU Munich habilitation thesis.

1. Translation and German Text (p. 351)

Even though this is not a “German Scholars Post” in the strict sense, I will include both a key excerpt from his book and a brief biographical note. As usual I will alternate between the English translation and the German text (p. 351):

Luke sketches a remarkably coherent picture of Jesus and his way from the prophet to the heavenly Christ, Lord, Ruler, and Savior.

Lukas zeichnet ein bemerkenswert kohärentes Bild von Jesus und seinem Weg vom Propheten zum himmlischen Christus, Herrn, Herrscher und Retter.

Jesus was active as Spirit-filled prophet and suffered the fate of the prophets of Israel, rejection and murder.

Jesus hat als geisterfüllter Prophet gewirkt und das Schicksal der Propheten Israels, Ablehnung und Tötung, erlitten.
* note: murder is not quite right for Tötung here, but it is perhaps better than “killing” or simply “death”

God, whose characteristic trait it is to exalt the lowly (Luke 1.51-53), restored the righteous and anointed servant of God Jesus, who had been lowered and killed, and exalted him to the Christ, Lord, Ruler, and Savior, who in and from heaven bestows his benefactions of the forgiveness of sins and following from this eternal life.
Gott, dessen Wesenszug es ist, die Niedrigen zu erhöhen (Lk 1,51–53), hat den erniedrigten und getöteten Gerechten und gesalbten Gottesknecht Jesus restituiert und zum Christus, Herrn, Herrscher und Retter erhöht, der im und aus dem Himmel seine Wohltaten der Sündenvergebung und daraus folgend ewiges Leben schenkt.

This will be visibly fulfilled at his parousia; in the time in between this Lord is accessible for believers in prayer.

Dies wird sich bei seiner Parusie sichtbar erfüllen; in der Zwischenzeit ist dieser Herr für die Gläubigen im Gebet zugänglich.

A fundamental statement of Lukan soteriology is: “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2.21/Joel 3.5).

Eine Grundaussage der lukanischen Soteriologie lautet: „Jeder, der den Namen des Herrn anruft, wird gerettet werden“ (Apg 2,21/Joël 3,5).

With this Luke sets forth the picture of a salvation that is consistently grounded in the person of Jesus.

Lukas entwirft damit das Bild eines konsequent in der Person Jesu begründeten Heils.

He does not, it is true, place the death of Jesus at the center of his soteriology – but the person of the exalted Savior.

Er stellt zwar nicht den Tod Jesu in das Zentrum seiner Soteriologie – aber die Person des erhöhten Retters.

Luke is the theology of salvation, which for him is to be obtained solely through Jesus as the Christ and Savior: He is the theologian of a consistently applied solus Christus.

Lukas ist der Theologe des Heils, das für ihn allein durch Jesus als den Christus und Retter zu gewinnen ist: Er ist der Theologe eines konsequent gedachten solus Christus.
* Not sure how to best capture the force of konsequent gedachten: consistently applied, consistently considered, consistently contemplated, consistently thought out, consistently applied, something else.

2. Biographical-Bibliographical Information

Torsten Jantsch, Dr. theol. from Humboldt University, Berlin, in 2009 with a dissertation on the concept of God in 1 Thess and 1/2 Cor, published as “Gott alles in allem” (1Kor 15,28): Studien zum Gottesverständnis des Paulus im 1. Thessalonicherbrief und in der korinthischen Korrespondenz (WMANT 129), Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener 2011. Habilitation in Munich (Ludwig Maximilian University) in 2015 on the concept of salvation in Luke-Acts, published as Jesus, der Retter: Die Soteriologie des lukanischen Doppelwerks (WUNT 381), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017. Hellenistic philosophies, particularly Cynicism, and the reception of Socrates from the beginnings (Xenophon, the early Platonic dialogues) until the time of the Roman Empire, the ancient ruler cult and prophecy in the Greco-Roman world were, among others, issues of his research so far. Several future research projects concern the perspective of collective memory in early Christianity, e.g. concerning the question of strategies of identity construction in Luke-Acts. Currently, he holds the position of Visiting Professor for New Testament II at the University of Munich (LMU).

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! I hope to be able to write at least one Monday blog post each month. Best, Wayne