Can anyone here explain to me, in plain English, if the author is saying that what was written about Jesus' supernaturalism, miracles, His own claims etc. in the early days when Scripture was being orally transmitted and later hand copied was true or if it was a form of embellishment, fabrication, or due to the evolution of new and false information over a period of time?
The Evangelists - Beyond Tradition
<<<<< .............Were the fantastic accounts of Jesus -- supernaturalism, miracles, his own claims, etc. -- which make up about 80% of the gospel traditions merely legend and theology that was invented in its evolution and infused into the traditions as they were transmitted? The theory of form and redaction criticism implies it was. Textual criticism says this is not the case, even though numerous variants exist, because modifications that are as radical as the ending of Mark are statistically nonexistent in comparison to the thousands of minor variants that we know occurred. It becomes clear when we understand and distinguish these theories why it's easy to use the argument of textual criticism to convince people, particularly those not really privy to the distinctions between the theories, that form and redaction criticism theories are just as plausible based on textual criticism, or that these so-called legends were gradual developments as the early traditions were orally transmitted over and over (assuming the telephone game here) and then later redacted and edited again as they were transcribed to written form. But now that we understand the difference between textual criticism and the hypothetical theories of form and redaction criticism, and that the former actually counters the latter, is form and redaction criticism still a plausible theory? >>>>>>>
Criterion of dissimilarity
<<<<<< But just because the movement was controlled by an apostolic authority doesn't mean this authority itself wasn't moved by its own prerogative to shape the traditions for their own self-interests or the interest of the church they themselves catered to. Once again, we're talking about Jews here who were overseeing these traditions and how they were being relayed to outsiders. But putting this aside, and putting aside chaos theory, how does the theory of form and criticism stack up against logic? Since 80% of the gospels contain something supernatural (miracles, claims of deity, divine intervention, implied supernaturalism and theology in the dialogue, etc.), the inevitable conclusion of a secular scholar and historian is to apply the theories of form and redaction criticism to explain this as a natural evolution of the Jesus-traditions. They argue that the traditions started simple, stories and rumors about a historical charismatic Jew named Jesus, which evolved into fantastic theological and legendary developments by his adherents and admirers as the movement grew and developed as per an oral form of doctrine, then into written form, which eventually become the gospels, the final works. Even though we examined some of facts that make this argument untenable, well put that aside for now and ask the question: is there actual proof that the early Judeo-Christians had these carefree embellishment habits, or instead is this view perhaps just assumption based on the presupposition that form and redaction criticism theory is true. Is the argument of form and redaction criticism begging the question and just circular reasoning, a case where presupposition of theory A -- the stories evolved -- presupposes theory B -- they consciously changed the accounts for specific reasons, and vice versa? Unfortunately there is no sure way to prove how the gospels developed outside of this circular methodology when it's based on speculation and hypotheticals.>>>>>>>