Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Bart Ehrman - mistaken on Judas? (2)

I did receive a reply from Bart Ehrman:

I’m not saying that any of htese terms means any one thing; but I am saying that if you want to say “betray” in Greek you use PRODIDOMI, not PARADIDOMI. If you want to pursue this further, you might look at my discussion in my book on Judas. (I’m out of the country now and can’t remember which scholar convinced me on this point. Was it William Klassen???)

Ok so I got caught short there - neither have I read Bart's book on Judas nor do I know William Klassen, but I wasn't about to admit that was I?!

Another lady responded, then I also replied with a post that was probably too long to be read by him, but you never know. To the faithful of this blog I am SURE that won't be a problem, right?!

Mark 3:19 is an example of the verb applied directly to Judas, and as I said there are multiple examples from all four gospels. It seems to me that Bart is saying that this is not a pure form of betrayal. It speaks more of a (simpler? more descriptive?) “handing over”, even when applied to Judas like in Mk 3:19.

Couple of problems in trying to protect the two Greek words from possibilities of overlap or of flexibility (at least on the part of the one we are probing more deeply, paradidomi). Firstly, if Jesus hands *himself* over, therefore not implying deceit, how can we see “the man” by whom the Son of Man will be “handed over” in Mark 14:21/Luke 22:22 as equally guiltless? We can’t, whether or not Paul was familiar with these accounts. Secondly, as you mention, it seems that many of the Greek reference sources agree that betrayal IS one of the shades of meaning of this word.

Regarding the whole issue of “the twelve” – I don’t see why, if I put myself temporarily in Bart’s shoes (big and very respectable shoes that I shouldn’t be toying with probably), then I don’t see why I would be so heavily leaning on a book like Acts and its historicity about precisely when the twelfth member was re-appointed. There are waaaay to many “what ifs” that could come into play to explain Paul saying “the 12”. What if Judas did betray Jesus but Jesus also was known to have appeared to him as one of the 12 before Judas banished himself to another country in perpetual shame (hence discordant death stories)? What if Paul made a mistake (hardly anyone would have remembered the very short period when people went around talking about the “eleven”)? What if the only person who EVER mentioned “the Eleven” like that was Luke telling his story decades later in a Tolkienian fashion to engage his readership (before the Mark long-ending-writer grabbed it from Luke) (Luke IS the only one to mention "The Eleven" in the NT)? What if Luke made a mistake about the timings of the replacement apostle, and would it be the first time he fitted events and stories into a timeline he applies to keep a narrative feel? What if Paul really didn’t know much about what happened in terms of the technicalities of the betrayal/handing-over (like Judas’ name)? What if saying Judas’ name (for some) for a relatively short period of early church history was sooo bad that it was like exposing yourself spiritually to similar betrayal? What if… well I’m not as good as Bart is for the what-if scenarios, but I am sure he and probably many others on this blog could come with a really good list if they really wanted to.

Theology really is quite crazy. I just forgot why this Judas-betrayal question even matters! I guess the familiarity of Paul with the gospels is a big one.
BTW I still loved the “spilling the messianic secret beans” post. Seems more and more plausible each time I think about it, unlike this one, which I think has to remain open. I am grateful for being made to think about it quite deeply and discover more of the nuances here in the Greek.

Final thought on Paul’s remarkable ignorance – I can’t find another mention of him after Acts. So it’s not just Paul who does not focus on this key gospel figure.

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