Redaction Criticism

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Craigbythesea, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    At the request of a dear brother in Christ, I wish to carry over to this forum a discussion that is ongoing in a thread in a Baptist only forum. I introduced that thread with the following words:

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  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Thanks for that Craig! Will endeavour to post something vaguely substantive tomorrow (I may even mention Acts eg WT/AT) but it's bedtime here...so [​IMG]
     
  3. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Here's a good example of redaction in the NT - as promised, its Acts, but also the point can be made about Luke's Gospel too; basically two of the chief manuscripts we have for the Lucan corpus are the Western Text and the Alexandrian Text. Here's an example of both from Acts 18:1-3 (NB I am endeavouring to transliterate directly from the Greek MSS here so it won't necessarily read well in English!):-

    AT: After leaving Athens Paul arrived in Corinth. Having found a certain Jew named Aquila originally from Pontus who had recently arrived from Italy and Priscilla his wife for Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome he attached himself to them. And through their being of the same trade he stayed with them and they were working. They were tent makers.

    WT: After leaving Athens Paul arrived at Corinth. Having found Aquila originally from Pontus a Jew who had recently arrived from Italy with Priscilla his wife he greeted them with joy. They had left Rome for Claudius Caesar had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome they had emigrated to Achaia. Paul was known to Aquila through their being of the same kind and he stayed with them.

    Between the two above texts, Aquila undergoes a bit of a significant change. From the AT, Aquila is relatively innocuous and unremarkable; he's from Italy, not necessarily Rome, and like Paul is a tentmaker; this is the only thing he apparently has in common with Paul acc to the AT. We can guess that he will become a disciple of Paul, but that's it.

    In the WT, however, Paul and Aquila are said to belong to the same movement already; the word I've translated 'kind', 'ομοφυλος, could be rendered I suppose "being of the same tribe" eg: Benjamin in Paul's case, but in fact φυλη means any body of persons united by a common bond or purpose. Of the two of them, Aquila is now the more important, since the fact that Paul is already known to him is significant in the narrative; in this context "having found" takes on a new meaning - Paul was actively seeking out Aquila to get his support and possibly legitimacy. (CP Acts 11:26 where Barnabas seeks out Paul/ Saul for the same reason). In addition, Aquila now comes from Rome, not merely Italy. We know not just form Acts but also from Suetonius, 'Claudius, ch 25', that Claudius did indeed expel some Jews from Rome in 41AD, but not all Jews, just those who were creating 'disturbances'; Aquila was clearly one of them and it is highly likely that those 'disturbances' were the result of the 'movement' or 'kind' to which both Paul and Aquila belonged acc to the WT. The real question to throw in therefore is what was this 'movement'? Was it fully-fledged Christian or more zealot/ Messianic in character?

    Both the AT and the WT in addition are together redactions (known collectively as Acts II) of an earlier text, Acts I. Acts 18:2-3 only appear in Acts II and are a later addition to a narrative in Acts I describing Paul's arrival (v1), discussion in the synagogue (v4a) and then an outburst (v6). Within the two Acts II texts, the WT is a secondary development of the AT, albeit one with theological significance (as above), when Paul and Aquila separate (v7). But the redactor of Acts I has given plenty of evidence that he the redactor is a Messianizing Jew ("the saviour of Israel is close at hand" is a dominant theme of the text), a description which probably also suits Aquila. Since acc to the WT, Paul and Aquila are both of the same movement, then that would suggest that Paul also at this stage in the narrative and/ or its redaction is merely a Messianizing Jew and it throws a big question up as to whether he can therefore be considered a fully-fledge 'Pauline Christian' at this stage, even though in the final redaction (Acts III) Paul appears to be thoroughly Christian because that text makes his conversion at Damascus a total and instantaneous change.

    Thoughts?
     
  4. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    And, with that, I seem to have killed this thread! :( Sorry, Craig.
     
  5. FriendofSpurgeon

    FriendofSpurgeon
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    Good topic. Excellent post Matt. There is indeed a "messiness" to the Scriptures. From what I've seen, more conservative churches act like these issues simply don't exist. I assume that conservative seminaries are similar, though I don't know that for a fact.

    The church and seminaries should openly address these items. God is still God and the Scriptures are still inspired. But it borders on dishonesty not to address these things. And then when these issues are brought up, most Christians are left totally defenseless.
     
  6. TaterTot

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    THis is a great topic. And I do believe seminaries are addressing these things. At least at NOBTS they are.

    We have blindy believed what we have been told for years, and I for one, want to know the whole truth! It wont change the fact that Scripture is inspired divinely. But our understanding of it may be enhanced greatly. I find this stuff really interesting.
     
  7. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    Isn't REDACTION criticism (not critical study as a whole) falling a bit out of "vogue" these days?

    But yes it is important to address these issues. God chose to preserve scripture using human hands.
     

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