مرکزی صفحہ The Journal of Theological Studies The Birthing of the New Testament: The Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings. By...
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doi:10.1093/jts/fli284 JAMES D. G. DUNN University of Durham The Birthing of the New Testament: The Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings. By T HOMAS L. B RODIE . Pp. xxxi þ 653. SheYeld: SheYeld Phoenix Press, 2004. ISBN 1 905048 03 3. THIS large monograph, the first in a series based at the Department of Biblical Studies at SheYeld, consists of 14 ‘units’ containing a total of 54 chapters and eight appendices. Parts have been published throughout Dr Brodie’s career, from a short article on ‘Creative (R2) Writing’ in 1978 and an unpublished Rome dissertation on ‘Luke–Acts as a Systematic Rewriting and Updating of the Elijah–Elisha Narratives in 1 and 2 Kings’ to a recent monograph on Proto-Luke: A Christ-Centred Synthesis of Septuagintal Historiography, and a Deuteronomy-Based Alternative to Q (2002). Over the years the thesis has developed from a plausible literary theory about the influence of a portion of Old Testament historiography on the composition of Luke– Acts into a broader claim about rewriting and literary imitation in the ancient world and its tentative application to much ß The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org Downloaded from http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/ at Northeastern University Libraries on March 17, 2015 REVIEWS 232 and ‘Judaism’ as sharply defined entities already in the earliest centuries CE; as Parkes and Simon had already shown, there was a considerable degree of overlap at ‘ordinary’ member level, despite leadership exhortations; and it took a number of strong leaders on the Christian side (like Ignatius and Justin) to sharpen the distinction and to enforce an identity (Israel!) which excluded others who could fairly be said to have at least as good a claim to that identity. The most salutary feature is the reminder that both Christianity and Judaism found their own identity by excluding the overlapping and threatening middle— and both precisely by defi; ning that too near and therefore too threatening ‘other’ as ‘heresy’. All this is done with great élan, with a tendency towards being too discursive, and heavily footnoted (103 pages of footnotes for 228 pages of text), but with a fineness of exegesis and a robustness of challenge to what might be called ‘established orthodoxies’ which enthrals and should stimulate a fresh round of discussion on what Boyarin calls ‘Judaeo-Christianity’. Downloaded from http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/ at Northeastern University Libraries on March 17, 2015 REVIEWS 233 of the New Testament. The implication of the theory for questions of historicity is not considered, and it is unclear whether Dr Brodie draws the radical consequences which his theory suggests. The importance of the Septuagint for Luke, and the special appeal of the Elijah stories, will be readily agreed, but the notion of ‘intertextuality’ employed here is not suYciently clarified. The metaphors used leave it unclear how much is being claimed when, to give a particularly fanciful example, Judges 21 is identified as ‘one thread’ in the Last Supper text, Luke 22: 1–30. No doubt the New Testament writers knew parts of their Scriptures well, but the criteria given here for identifying ‘rewriting’ are inadequate and the case is much weaker in most places than in Luke’s ‘use’ of the Elijah narrative. The argument of chapters 44–52 (Unit 11) that Luke is ‘reworking’ Judges amounts to little more than interesting possible echoes, and the same applies to ‘the Chronicles-Based Aspect of Luke 1.1–4.22a’. Some of these are labelled ‘explorations’ (the use of 2 Chron. 10–36 in Acts 4–15; the use of Daniel in 1 Corinthians), and some are not (the use of Tobit in 1 Corinthians). Ninety-nine tables of correspondences, some containing many items, clarify the claims, but do not make them persuasive. All these hundreds or thousands of possible echoes deserve to be followed up, but it is hard to believe that they justify the far-reaching claims made for them. However, it is the literary relationships discovered within the New Testament itself which will make most specialists set the work aside as eccentric. Here a large edifice is built on a very precarious hypothesis about a new version of Proto-Luke (or rather Proto-Luke–Acts, since it extends to Acts 15:35). Dr Brodie identifies a shorter version of Luke–Acts consisting of about 25 chapters characterized by a distinctive attitude to the Septuagint. Since he leaves open the question whether this was written by Luke, it could be treated as a theory about the evangelist’s compositional methods. There is no attempt to claim historicity for this early supposed document, as Streeter once did. Instead it is made into a new key to the synoptic problem, with Mark using Proto-Luke as a source (‘one component, not a systematic proof’). But first the picture is thickened with an ‘auxiliary thesis’ about Matthew’s Logia which leads into 1 Corinthians before going on to Proto-Luke. These logia consist of about 26 verses: five beatitudes and five antitheses (plus prologue and sequel) from Matthew 5, and also Matt. 11:25b–30. They are said to stand doi:10.1093/jts/flj005 ROBERT MORGAN Sandford-on-Thames email@example.com Advance Access publication 28 November 2005 Downloaded from http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/ at Northeastern University Libraries on March 17, 2015 REVIEWS 234 in a distinct literary relationship with Deuteronomy and Sirach, and so the hypothesis is said to be verifiable. The argument looks circular, especially when its success in explaining the development of the New Testament writings is adduced in support. Mark’s use of 1 Peter is labelled ‘an exploration’; ‘the systematic use of Romans in Matthew 1–17:20 an ‘exploratory survey’; and parts of Deuteronomy ‘one component’ of Matthew 17–28. John uses Matthew, Mark, and Proto-Luke. Luke uses Proto-Luke (unchanged), Mark (slightly changed), Matthew (changed considerably), and John (changed radically). It will be a pity if the inadequately supported (and unsupportable) elements of the structure discredit the more plausible suggestions. The blank rejection of oral tradition is surely unwarranted, but it makes sense to look for literary connections too. However, these have the advantage over alternative hypotheses only where we have both writings to compare. This new hypothetical Proto-Luke–Acts has all the weaknesses of the Q hypothesis and none of its strengths. A claim that it was used by Mark has no advantages over the more common view that Luke used Mark. Matthew’s supposed use of Proto-Luke subverts the author’s further (and more credible) claim that Luke used Matthew. Dr Brodie seems not to know Barbara Shellard’s arguments for Luke using John, but his possible agreement with some of these is similarly subverted by his claim that John used Proto-Luke–Acts. His Proto-Acts is perhaps the weakest part of the whole structure, e.g. chapter 51: ‘The Civil War against Benjamin (Judges 20) as Part of the Background for Gamaliel’s ‘‘Anti-War’’ Speech (Acts 5.33–42)’. Some will understandably read no further, and so will miss the interesting and suggestive comments to be found in this book. Talking of intertextuality, Julia Kristeva suggested that we should reread the Bible and ‘let it carve out a space for our own fantasies and interpretive delirium’. Well, maybe; and the author and publisher can be referred to the Western text of Luke 6:5.