E How the Jesus Tradition Was Used

The circumstantial and cumulative evidence cited above is not usually given the weight I am placing upon it, because Paul in particular seems to show so little interest in the ministry of Jesus and so little knowledge of Jesus tradition.44 We cannot assume that he ever encountered Jesus personally or had been in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus' mission. On the other hand, Paul would surely have used the two weeks spent in Peter's company (three years after his conversion) to fill out his knowledge of Jesus and of the traditions of Jesus' mission and teaching from Jesus' leading disciple (Gal. 1.18).46 Nevertheless, the fact remains that Paul cites Jesus explicitly on only three occasions, all curiously in 1 Corinthians (7.10-11; 9.14; 11.23-25), though he also implies that had he known Jesus tradition relevant to other issues of community discipline he would

42. See my The Partings ofthe Ways between Christianity and Judaism (London: SCM, 1991) 60; and further below §13.3.

43. Mark 5.37/Luke 8.51; Mark 9.2 pars.; 13.3; 14.33/Matt. 26.37.

44. Funk, e.g., stands in a line of argument stretching from Reimarus and through Baur in claiming that Paul was 'alienated from the original disciples and, as a consequence, from the written gospel tradition' (Honest 36).

45. At the same time, it can scarcely be credited that Paul received his training as a Pharisee away from Jerusalem (see below, vol. 2); if so, given the timescale between Jesus' death and Paul's conversion (perhaps only two years), the probability that he was indeed present in Jerusalem during the climax of Jesus' mission becomes quite strong. The evaluation of this possibility still suffers from the influence of the reading of 2 Cor. 5.16 common in the early decades of the twentieth century (see above §5.3; and further Dunn, Theology ofPaul 184-85).

46. See again my Theology ofPaul 188; and above §7.2.

have cited it (1 Cor. 7.25; 14.37).47 At the same time, there are various echoes of Synoptic tradition in Paul's letters,48 but none which he refers explicitly to Jesus; nor does he cite Jesus' authority to give the teaching more weight.

Does this evidence suggest Paul's own lack of interest in 'remembering' what Jesus said and that it was Jesus who said it? Those who argue for an affirmative answer seem to forget that the pattern we find in Paul's letters is repeated elsewhere within earliest Christianity, particularly in the letters of James and 1 Peter.49

47. 1 Thess. 4.15-17 is also frequently taken as a deliberate citation of a Jesus saying, though I doubt it (see my Theology of Paul 303-304).

48. Arguably among the most striking are:

Rom. 12.14 Luke 6.27-28/Matt. 5.44 Rom. 12.17/1 Thess. 5.15 Matt. 5.39/Luke 6.29

Rom. 12.18 Mark 9.50

Rom. 14.14 Mark 7.15

Rom. 14.17 kingdom of God

On the Romans passages see my Romans (WBC 38; Dallas: Word, 1988) ad loc.;see also Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels 52-57; other bibliography in my Theology ofPaul 182. On the possibility that Paul knew Q (material) see Allison, Jesus Tradition 54-60 (with further bibliography). For Colossians see Col. 2.22 (Mark7.7/Matt. 15.9); 3.13 (Matt. 6.12, 14-15; 18.23-

35); 4.2 (Mark 13.35, 37; Matt.

24.42; 25.13).

49. James 1.5

Luke 7.7

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Study Aid

Study Aid

This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Getting A Scholarship And Financial Support For Your Studies.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment