Paul and Bonhoeffer on Humility according to Eve-Marie Becker

Amidst the stresses of the last year, I have not managed to keep up with my blogging. As such this is not such a problem, but I do regret the fact that I have therefore not written a single post on my translation of Prof. Eve-Marie Becker‘s excellent book Paul on Humility, which I greatly enjoyed and from which I profited significantly both personally and intellectually.

1) One characteristic that I appreciated about Becker’s book is the nuanced way in which she develops the multilayered character and constructive potential of humility. I think that the following excerpts from Becker’s concluding “Attempt at Terminological Specification” give a good sense of this strength of the book (pp. 147-150):

147-148: With ταπεινοφροσύνη, Paul, rather than shaping a ‘moral norm’ that would follow the flow of “Greco-Roman morality,”50 expresses an ethical attitude that must be conceptualized from the standpoint of the individual and related to the fellowship in a polity. Thus, viewed against the Greco-Roman world of ideas (especially Plato and Aristotle) as outlined in this study, the goal of Paul’s concept of humility is communitarian and political rather than individual: the goal of humility, according to Paul, is the unity of the community with a view to the expectation of eschatological time—humility functions here as an ethical and ecclesiological tool. It promotes the fellowship also with the apostle, even across physical separation.

50 So Horrell 2019, 148, 150ff.

148-149: Paul propagates ταπεινοφροσύνη as ethos, which has characteristics of an ethical, but even more of a dianoetic (phronesis), virtue. For the striving for conformity to Christ and fellowship with God reckons with an establishment of the justice of God, for which the κλητός prepares not only morally but—in the sense of φρονεῖν—with the whole person. The fact that the term ταπεινοφροσύνη rapidly fell into the intellectual discourse of (Christian) virtues and their relation to the ancient doctrine of virtue is already grounded, to a certain degree, in the Pauline concept and is promoted by corresponding lexis (e.g., ἀρετή in Phil 4.8). The Pauline term humility is, however, multilayered and opens up far-reaching theological-ethical perspectives on life together in the Christian community and its place in space, time, and history. History ultimately arises out of “accepting this responsibility for other human beings” and “for entire communities or groups of communities,”52 and humility is the basis that enables this. Thus, ethical thinking has not only eschatological but also historical implications. The term humility in Paul is arranged in a correspondingly large and complex way. The mere reproduction of ταπεινοφροσύνη in post-Pauline virtue catalogues signifies, by contrast, a reduction of Pauline humility to a moral category. Here, the dualistic thinking on virtues and vices is in danger of morally charging humility according to the need of the moment or, alternatively, discrediting it (cf. already the discourse behind Col 2).

52 Bonhoeffer 2005, 220 (GV = 1992, 219).

2) A second characteristic of Becker’s book from which I benefited greatly was her facilitation of a dialogue with a remarkable range of ancient and modern voices and perspectives on humility. To give a sense of this wonderful feature of the book, I will provide an excerpt from her discussion of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s reflections on humility, which she finds to be especially close to those of Paul:

36-38 (cf. also 147 and 189 [index]): Against this polyphonic cultural-historical and philosophical-historical background, it is thus impressive how Barth and especially Bonhoeffer, in the midst of political resistance and in the confusion of World War II—partly in direct confrontation with Nietzsche73—dealt with humility ethically and ecclesiologically. In 1944 Bonhoeffer ( “Entwurf für eine Arbeit” / “Outline for a Book”) sketched out a conception of a church, which opposes the “vices of hubris” and instead speaks of “patience, discipline, humility, modesty, contentment.”74 In conscious confrontation with ancient teaching on virtue, Bonhoeffer formulates an ‘ecclesial catalogue of virtues,’75 which goes beyond New Testament (e.g., Col 3.12) conceptions of virtues:76

The church is church only when it is there for others. As a first step it must give away all its property to those in need. The clergy must live solely on the freewill offerings of the congregations and perhaps be engaged in some secular vocation [Beruf]. The church must participate in the worldly tasks of life in the community—not dominating but helping and serving. It must tell people in every calling [Beruf] what a life with Christ is, what it means “to be there for others.” In particular, our church will have to confront the vices of hubris, the worship of power, envy, and illusionism as the roots of all evil. It will have to speak of moderation, authenticity, trust, faithfulness, steadfastness, patience, discipline, humility, modesty, contentment. . . . All this is put very roughly and only outlined. But I am eager to attempt for once to express certain things simply and clearly that we otherwise like to avoid dealing with. Whether I shall succeed is another matter, especially without the benefit of our conversations. I hope that in doing so I can be of some service for the future of the church.77

Bonhoeffer’s reflections on humility shape his theology.78 It is initially motivated ecclesiologically or ‘ecclesio-sociologically’ and thus builds on the lines of questioning of his dissertation Sanctorum Communio (1930). However, Bonhoeffer’s life’s work also circles thereafter around the themes of “Christ, community, and concreteness.”79 However, his late conceptualization of humility in the “Entwurf für eine Arbeit” / “Outline for a Book” and his sketches on an ethics lead beyond the framework of ecclesiology in two respects. As Charles Marsh has recently shown, they are closely connected, first, with Bonhoeffer’s reflections on a religionless Christianity. Bonhoeffer hopes for a new elite, who “exhibit the highest values” and thus will exemplify “what a life with Christ is.”80 In an ethical respect, the practice of humility is an expression of ‘good works,’ which characterizes human life together and especially the ‘good’ “in relation to God.”81

Second, it is then especially Bonhoeffer’s personal fate of becoming a political martyr as a theologian82 that lets ecclesiology and ethics become a political ethic. As we shall see, here we find a direct point of contact with Paul and ταπεινοφροσύνη in Phil 2. A further concretization of Pauline ταπεινοφροσύνη takes place in the life and political martyrdom of a contemporary of Bonhoeffer, namely with Ernst Lohmeyer. We will need to return to the tragic fate of Lohmeyer, one of the most significant—if not the most significant—commentators on Philippians in the twentieth century.83

Bonhoeffer’s reflections on humility also come close to Phil 2 because in 1944 they were probably written under the impression that the theologian, who had already proven himself to be a brilliant interpreter of Paul early on,84 was in a parallel situation to the person of Paul as a prisoner. The imprisonment with an expectation of a violent death as well as reflections on a possible suicide or escape from prison, as Marsh describes this in the last chapter of his biography on Bonhoeffer,85 are close to the reality of life, as Paul also presents it in Phil 1.86 Especially after the events of July 20, 1944, these life circumstances probably became important—whether consciously or unconsciously—for Bonhoeffer’s interpretation of humility. During and because of the separation from their communities, in a situation of farewell, the apostle to the gentiles and the resistance fighter reflect on the connection between ethics, community, and humility. For both the elite action of the individual, which finds its standard in the model of Christ, becomes the key to existential understanding. Bonhoeffer also formulates this thought explicitly:

It (= our church) will have to see that it does not underestimate the significance of the human “example” (which has its origin in the humanity of Jesus and is so important in Paul’s writings!); the church’s word gains weight and power not through concepts but by example. (I will write in more detail later about “example” in the NT—we have almost entirely lost track of this thought.87

Thus, what is regarded as essential to humility becomes clear only in the personal model and example. With this we are also close to Phil 2. In the originating text of Christian humility, Paul makes Christ the paradigm of ταπεινοφροσύνη. With his understanding of humility, Bonhoeffer appears to come very near to Paul personally and materially. He proves himself to be a genuine interpreter of the Pauline term humility—not least through the way that reflections on humility have the character of a testament and are precisely therein an expression of an ‘unfinished ecclesiology.’88

73 Cf., e.g., Bonhoeffer 1993, 93.

74 Bonhoeffer 2009a, 503 (GV = 1998, 560)

75 On this, cf. Bonhoeffer 1993, 26, where Bonhoeffer, in connection with his preliminary studies on an “ethic,” points out that in the ancient teaching on virtue, “obedience. Service. Truthfulness. Knightly faithfulness humility, mercy, thankfulness, love, chastity” [sic!] are lacking.

76 Some terms (“illusionism, trust, steadfastness, patience, modesty”) are, however, subsequent additions; cf. Bonhoeffer 2009a, 503, nn. 28-29 (GV = 1998, 560, nn. 27-28).

77 Bonhoeffer 2009a, 503-4 (GV = 1998, 560-61). With the exception of the phrase “our church,” the italics have been added by E.-M. Becker.

78 Cf. the numerous attestations in the indices to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s works (Anzinger/Pfeifer 1999, 496; Barnett/Wojhoski 2014, 24).

79 Marsh 2015a, 57 (GV = 2105b, 78).

80 Marsh 2015b, 465-66; cf. 2015a, 378.

81 Bonhoeffer 1993, 36 and 61-66.

82 On the problems of the distinction made between “Christian martyrdom and political resistance” made by the Berlin-Brandenburg church in the reception of Bonhoeffer, cf. Bethge 2000, 930ff., quotation on 931 (GV = 1978, 1041ff., quotation on 1042).

83 See under section 7.3 below.

84 On this, cf. Bonhoeffer’s 1926 essay “Joy in Primitive Christianity” (“Freude im Urchristentum”), which Marsh (2015a, 51-52 [GV = 2015b, 71-72]) refers to in this context.

85 Marsh 2015a, 348ff. (GV = 2015b, 428ff.) Cf., much more cautiously, Bethge 2000, 832 (GV = 1978, 934).

86 On this, see E.-M. Becker 2013.

87 Bonhoeffer 2009a, 503-4 (GV = 1998, 560-61).

88 Cf. Bethge 2000, 887 (GV = 1978, 995). Bethge evaluates this unfinished ecclesiology of Bonhoeffer critically and even characterizes it as a failure (ibid.). In light of how similar the fragmentary reflections on ecclesiology that Boonhoeffer makes in his imprisonment are to Phil 2 and the role that humility has in the two situations of imprisonment, this evaluation of Bethge can possibly be revised.

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

For a list of my E.-M. Becker posts, see here.

Facebook Page: To receive notifications of future blog posts, please subscribe to this blog and/or like my facebook page here.

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

Oda Wischmeyer on the “Grandness” of N.T. Wright with a Review of God and the Faithfulness of Paul

Over the last few weeks I have enjoyed reading through God and the Faithfulness of Paul (edited by Christoph Heilig, J. Thomas Hewitt, and Michael F. Bird), which contains many excellent responses to N.T. Wright‘s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Hence, after providing a key excerpt—in English and German—from Oda Wischmeyer (Eng) on the “grandness” of N.T. Wright, this post will also include some brief comments on the chapters written by German-language-sphere scholars. On another note, readers of this blog may be interested in participating in the 2016 Mainz Summer School in German (and) Theology.

I. Oda Wischmeyer on the “Grandness” of N.T. Wright

I both profited from and greatly enjoyed co-translating (with Christoph Heilig) Oda Wischmeyer‘s chapter in God and the Faithfulness of Paul. What I found so remarkable was the honest and profound way that she was able to interact with both N.T. Wright’s work and her own academic tradition (cf. Christoph Heilig’s comments on Wischmeyer’s essay). Unlike many of us—whether we are Wright’s adoring admirers, sharp critics, or somewhere in between—Wischmeyer seemed to be entirely comfortable in her own shoes when discussing Wright and his work, so that she was able both to reflect on her own tradition with great insight and self-awareness and to draw out striking aspects of N.T. Wright’s work in a way that was both appreciative and critical in the best sense of the word. I don’t know why exactly this is the case. Perhaps it is because Prof. Wischmeyer herself is a senior scholar who has nothing to prove. Or perhaps it is simply because her hermeneutical approach has given her better tools for observing and reflecting on what is going on with Wright and in her own tradition. Whatever the reason, I found the tone and content of her essay to be both refreshing and illuminating. Let me turn then to my key excerpt, alternating between the English translation and the German original for those who are learning—or seeking to revive their—German:

GFP 74: Exactly one hundred years after the publication of Wilhelm Bousset’s great Paul article in the first edition of Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, N. T. Wright in his two-volume work Paul and the Faithfulness of God has again struck that sonorous tone which one could probably last hear in Germany in the the Pauline research of the history of religion school. …

Genau hundert Jahre nach dem Erscheinen des großen Paulus-Artikels von Wilhelm Bousset in der ersten Auflage der “Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart” hat N.T. Wright in seinem zweiteiligen Werk „Paul and the Faithfulness of God“ wieder jenen klangvollen Ton angeschlagen, den man in Deutschland wohl zuletzt in der Paulusforschung der Religionsgeschichtlichen Schule hören konnte…

GFP 74: At the first reading of Wright, it is the perception of the lofty tone, the liveliness of the historical narration and methodological discussion, and finally the certainty, elegance, and joy in the details of the presentation that excites an exegete who comes from the Bultmann school. …

Es ist die Wahrnehmung des hochgestimmten Tones, der Lebendigkeit der historischen Erzählung wie der methodischen Diskussion und schließlich der Sicherheit, Eleganz und Detailfreude der Darstellung, die eine Exegetin, die aus der Bultmannschule kommt, bei der ersten Lektüre von Wright begeistert. …

GFP 75: Wright writes today as Bousset … wrote a hundred years ago and as one does not write in contemporary German-language exegesis. …

Wright schreibt heute, wie Bousset … vor hundert Jahren schrieb und wie in der zeitgenössischen deutschsprachigen Exegese nicht geschrieben wird. …

GFP 76: For “German” ears or, more specifically, for a hermeneutical perception from the German-language exegetical tradition it is first—this deserves to be repeated once more—Wright’s tone or style that demands our full attention. …

Für „deutsche“ Ohren bzw. für eine hermeneutische Wahrnehmung aus der deutschsprachigen exegetischen Tradition ist es – es sei noch einmal wiederholt – zuerst der Ton oder der Stil Wrights, der alle Aufmerksamkeit beansprucht. …

GFP 76: Behind the pages of Wright we hear Handel’s music and Shakespeare’s language and we might not only be impressed by the force and energy of the presentation, but even saddened, or at least discontent, that we ourselves have lost this tone so completely and can no longer rhetorically orchestrate “grandness.”

Wir hören hinter den Seiten Wrights Händels Musik und Shakespeares Sprache und sind unter Umständen nicht nur beeindruckt von der Wucht und Energie der Darstellung, sondern auch betrübt oder mindestens unzufrieden, dass uns selbst dieser Ton so ganz abhandengekommen ist und wir „Größe“ nicht mehr rhetorisch instrumentieren können.

GFP 76: Or we react critically and regard this tone as too pious, too triumphalistic, too self-assured, not analytical enough—depending on our own academic background.

Oder wir reagieren kritisch und halten diesen Ton für zu fromm, zu triumphalistisch, zu selbstgewiss, zu wenig analytisch – je nach unserer eigenen akademischen Prägung.

GFP 76: Precisely these signals should be observed hermeneutically.

Gerade diese Signale gilt es hermeneutisch aufzufangen.

II. Review of Chapters by German-Language-Sphere Scholars

* For the complete table of contents, see here.

In “Paul and the Faithfulness of God among Pauline Theologies” Benjamin Schliesser (Eng) effectively situates Wright’s contribution in relation to the Pauline theologies of Bultmann, Dunn, Schreiner, Wolter, and Schnelle, displaying a remarkable gift of synthesis (cf. also his 2013 German article).

In “N.T. Wright’s Biblical Hermeneutics” Oda Wischmeyer (Eng) discusses both the history and present situation of German-language Pauline scholarship and the biblical hermeneutics of N.T. Wright.

In “Wright’s Version of Critical Realism” Andreas Losch offers a valuable discussion of “critical realism” in relation to the works of Ian Barbour, Bernard Lonergan, Ben F. Meyer, and N.T. Wright. Whether or not his thesis that Wright’s “critical realism” was initially developed with respect to Barbour and only associated with Lonergan/Meyer secondarily is correct (Wright rejects it [p. 718]), I found this chapter to be a helpful presentation of different versions of “critical realism” and benefited from Losch’s own assessment of the value and limitations of this approach.

In “Historical Methodology” Theresa Heilig and Christoph Heilig (Eng) provide a careful discussion of abduction, inference to the best explanation, and Bayesian confirmation, which includes a systematic analysis of the crucial issues in the debate between Barclay and Wright over whether Paul is criticizing the Roman empire (pp. 145-148)

In “Wright’s Paul and the Paul of Acts” Eve-Marie Becker (Eng) argues from the perspective of recent advances in historiography that Wright should have taken greater account of Acts as a source for Paul, suggesting, inter alia, that such an approach would have preventing him from problematically failing to incorporate Paul’s activities as miracle worker into his overall portrayal of Paul (pp. 160-161). In some respects her argument reminded me of perspectives advanced in Benjamin White’s important book.

In “N.T. Wright’s Narrative Approach” Joel R. White provides a sympathetic presentation and defense of much of what Wright is doing (e.g. he defends “the existence of a common first-century Jewish metanarrative highlighting God’s faithfulness to Israel in spite of her ‘ongoing exile'”), while also criticizing Wright at specific points (e.g. his treatment of apocalyptic language in relation to the notion of cosmic cataclysm, pp. 198-199). Significantly, at certain points White made me feel the force of Wright’s vision to a greater extent than Wright himself has done!

In “N.T. Wright’s Understanding of Justification and Redemption” (trans. Lars Kierspel), Peter Stuhlmacher both challenges key elements of Wright’s interpretation (e.g. the validity of his controlling narrative; cf. John BarclayAlexandra Brown, and Chris Tilling [part I]; but see also Joel R. White’s defense of this metanarrative) and, perhaps more importantly, provides a compact and eloquent presentation of his own views on sacrifice and justification in critical dialogue with Wright (cf. Christoph Heilig’s comments on Stuhlmacher’s essay).

In “God and His Faithfulness in Paul” Torsten Jantsch (Eng) both presents a very helpful discussion of the history of research on God in Paul and compactly outlines aspects of the “concept of God” in Romans in critical dialogue with N.T. Wright (cf. also here). In my judgment Jantsch’s chapter would be an excellent place to start for anyone interested in recent (German) research on God (in Paul). It complements well Jochen Flebbe’s fine monograph on God in Romans.

In “Demythologizing Apocalyptic?” Jörg Frey (Eng) provides both an extensive discussion of recent perspectives on apocalyptic and a hard-hitting critique of Wright’s treatment of apocalyptic, which he regards as a “neutralizing” or “taming” of apocalyptic. In particular, Frey stresses that there is no need to deny that Paul drew on mythological concepts such as the idea of an end of the world and personally reckoned with the return of Christ during his lifetime (p. 526; cf. Joel R. White’s comments on pp. 198-199; cf. also Paula Fredriksen; Larry Hurtado). In his lengthy response Wright emphasizes the extent of their agreement (744-745, 748), differentiates between 6 forms of apocalyptic (pp. 745-748), denies the charge of neutralizing/taming (751), and responds to their primary disagreement about whether or not Paul’s “end-of-the-world” language is concerned with the end of the world as well as the relationship between this question and the early Christian conviction that Jesus the Messiah would return from heaven (748-754).

In “The Faithfulness of God and Its Effects on Faithful Living” Volker Rabens investigates Tom Wright’s portrayal of Paul’s ethics. In addition to providing a valuable discussion of Wright’s treatment of “plight” and “solution”, Rabens develops an especially perceptive critique that warns against Wright’s tendency to give pride of place to cognitive renewal and presses Wright to give greater attention to relational transformation and, more specifically, to “the transforming and empowering transferal by the Spirit into loving relationships to the divine and the community of faith” (p. 577; cf. Wright’s response on 729, 762 and 766).

In “Barth, Wright, and Theology” Sven Ensminger provides a concise sketch of Barth’s treatment of revelation, religion, and Christology with some points of comparison with N.T. Wright. Ensminger seeks to contribute to the question of the relationship between biblical studies and theology (658), and gives particular attention to the following question: “to what extent can God be bracketed out of theological reflection about a key figure of the Christian church such as Paul in order to consider him as a historical figure with his socio-political background?” (p.656). See also my post Sven Ensminger on N.T. Wright, Karl Barth, and the Aufhebung of Religion.

In “Evangelism and the Mission of the Church” Eckhard J. Schnabel tackles a range of topics related to evangelism and mission, including a) a challenge to Wright’s suggestion that Paul wanted to visit places “where Caesar’s power was the strongest” (p. 688), b) the interpretation of Gal 2:7-9 (691-692), c) the validity of the language of “conversion” (692-696; but cf. 759), d) the meaning of gospel (796; but cf. 729), and e) a critique of Wright’s alleged repetition of caricatures of missionaries (700-704; but cf. 757-758).

Finally, if I could mention only one of the many fine essays by English-language-sphere scholars—I realize, of course, that some of the scholars could be classified in both groups—I would highlight Gregory Sterling‘s chapter “Wisdom or Foolishness? The Role of Philosophy in the Thought of Paul”. Sterling shows genuine appreciation for N.T. Wright’s treatment of philosophy, while suggesting, inter alia, that Wright has not given sufficient attention to the later Platonic tradition and specifically to what we call Middle Platonism. Among other observations, I found Sterling’s discussion of prepositional metaphysics to be especially illuminating (cf. here). More generally, I found his chapter to be a very helpful introduction to recent scholarship on philosophy and early Christianity, and I will certainly return to it (for N. T. Wright’s very positive response to Sterling’s essay, see p. 754-756).

For more posts on GFP, see here and here.

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

Facebook Page: To receive notifications of future blog posts, please subscribe to this blog and/or like my facebook page here.

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

Bibliographies of Neutestamentler/innen in the German Language Sphere

For the most up-to-date version of BNGLS, see here.

As a new feature for this blog, I have spent the last two weeks compiling Bibliographies of Neutestamentler/innen in the German Language Sphere (BNGLS). This task has greatly expanded my own understanding of what is going on in the German-speaking world, and I hope it will also prove beneficial for others who are seeking to engage with the ‘German’ tradition. A distinctive feature of this new resource is that I have provided a separate bibliography of the English publications of each German-language-sphere scholar as well as a link to their full bibliographies, webpages, pages etc. For the bibliographies themselves see the BNGLS tab of my blog or click here.

Eve-Marie Becker on the Construction of History in Mark, Paul, and Luke

Adding to my other posts on historiography and New Testament scholarship, today’s post will provide a translation of a key excerpt from the work of another leading scholar in this area, namely Prof. Eve-Marie Becker (cf. here) of Aarhus University .

Our quotation is taken from her 2014 essay “Die Konstruktion von ‘Geschichte’. Paulus und Markus im Vergleich“, which appeared in Paul and Mark (ed. Oda Wischmeyer et al). It stands alongside her many other important publications in this area, such as her 2006 book Das Markus-Evangelium im Rahmen antiker Historiographie, her 2014 essay “Patterns of Early Christian Thinking and Writing of History: Paul – Mark – Acts” and her forthcoming book Historiography in New Testament Times (cf. here). More generally, readers of this blog may also be interested in her edited volume Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft. Autobiographische Essays aus der Evangelische Theologie.

Let us turn then to our excerpt. Since I will not be providing a grammatical commentary, I will alternate between the German text and my English translation.

Die Konstruction von ‘Geschichte’ (p. 415-16): Markus wählt für seine Erzählung eine ‘personzentrierte Darstellungsweise’. Die Geschichte der Evangeliumsverkündigung ist an einzelne Handlungsträger wie den Täufer, in erster Line aber an Jesus von Nazaret gebunden.

Mark chooses for his narrative a ‘person-centered manner of presentation’. The (hi)story of the proclamation of the gospel is tied to individual agents such as the Baptist, but primarily to Jesus of Nazareth.

Diese Personzentrierung wird nicht zuletzt deswegen möglich und nötig, weil Markus – anders als der Briefschreiber Paulus – nicht im Sinne der Selbst-Referentialität seine eigene Person als narratives Scharnier oder auch als autorisierenden Referenzpunkt seiner Darstellung anführen kann.

This person-centeredness is possible and necessary not least because Mark – unlike the letter writer Paul – cannot bring in his own person as (the) narrative hinge or as (the) authorizing reference point of his presentation in the sense of self-referentiality.

Im Lukanischen Doppelwerk ändert sich die narrative Bedeutung der Personzentrierung wiederum. Indem Lukas nämlich in beiden Werken eingangs die Hetero-Referentialität seiner Erzählung explizit macht, ermöglicht er dem Leser, die Handlungsträger der Darstellung, also vor allem Jesus, Petrus und Paulus, deutlicher von der Rolle des erzählenden Historikers abzugrenzen.

In the Lukan Doppelwerk [or in Luke-Acts] the narrative significance of the person-centeredness changes once more. For by making the hetero-referentiality of his narrative explicit at the outset in both works, Luke makes it possible for the reader to demarcate the agents of the presentation, i.e. above all Jesus, Peter and Paul, more clearly from the role of the narrating historian.

Damit variiert auch der geschichtliche Raum, dem sich der einzelne Autor narrativ zuwenden kann: Während Paulus faktisch nur über den von ihm selbst erlebten Zeitraum sprechen und Markus lediglich die zeitliche Periode, die an das Wirken seiner Handlungsträger gebunden ist, in den Blick nehmen kann, dehnt Lukas den zeitlichen Rahmen seiner Darstellung nach vorne und hinten erheblich aus:

In this way the historical space to which the individual author can turn also varies. While Paul can speak de facto only about the period of time experienced that he has experienced and Mark can only consider the temporal periods that are bound to the activity of his agents, Luke considerably extends the temporal framework of his presentation both forward and backward.

Die ereignisgeschichtliche Darstellung kann dort beginnen, wo der Historiker und Erzähler – für seine Leser erkennbar – seinen Quellen folgt. So kann erst die Explikation der Hetero-Referentialität zur zeitlichen Ausdehnung der ereignisgeschichtlichen Darstellung führen.

The event-historical presentation can begin where the historian and narrator – recognizably for his readers – follows his sources. Thus only the explication of the hetero-referentiality can lead to the temporal extension of the event-historical presentation.

II. Substantive analysis: What I liked about this quotation (and Becker’s essay as a whole) is that it brings the category of history into connection with Mark and Paul rather than relating it exclusively to Luke, while simultaneously showing with great precision how concrete differences in the authors’ perspectives and approaches resulted in important differences in the ways that they construct ‘history’ in their works.

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

For tips on how to use this blog, please see here.

Facebook Page: To receive notifications of future blog posts, please subscribe to this blog and/or like my facebook page here.

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