Sunday, February 5, 2012

Conversation with Hermann Detering

Last year I opened a conversation with Dr. Detering by criticizing his reconstruction of Marcion's Romans for not being radical enough, especially verses 1:1-7. As I go into my concerns and my arguments for a more compact reading than simply removing Romans 1:2-6, I think this might be instruction for any passer by who happens upon my bog to get a feeling for what I am thinking.

If anyone wants I can post it with Dr. Detering's comments.


  1. I would be extremely glad to see your exchange with Detering, together with your arguments concerning the marcionite version of Romans 1 and your reconstruction of it. Please, post it! Thanks

    1. Fabrizio,

      I updated the blog with my conversation with Dr. Detering. Also check out my updated version of 1 Corinthians in Marcionite form. It appears I am the first person in the world to have published such a document. I will follow with commentary and then 2 Corinthians. FYI, IMHO Dr. Detering has the best Galatians reproduction, and I only disagree with about 3 verses (2 are in the concluding statements, not significant)

    2. I know yours is the first reconstruction of I Corinthians in marcionite form, and I thank you for that. What about having it published in some peer reviewed journal? Have you ever considered that? I'm aware of the difficulties in getting marcionite priority accepted by mainstream scholars, but I think we are on the verge of a paradigm shift in NT studies (not only in Pauline studies), please give it a try. For what concerns Galatians, I've studied (time ago) Detering's reconstruction and consider it a marvelous example of scholarly pursuit (together with his Romans). But everything is perfectible and I'm eager to see your valuable contribution. Thanks again!

    3. I do have one paper published a decade ago, but my opinions have shifted since then. It is the purpose of this blog to allow me to build up the material required to publish. I have five years of research papers backlogged that I need to get into publishing shape.

      To get anywhere in the establishment journals, where this stuff belongs, you have to be very circumspect. A much better job of laying the groundwork to support Marcionite priority is required, which has NOT been done to date. By this I mean examining elements such as the organization of the Church in Marcion's time versus that of the Catholic, and then demonstrating the small details, piece by piece that will show that Marcion must have come first. And this must be proven in non-theological terms, strictly mechanical, structural, and linguistic.

      Put another way higher critics need to do the boring hard work. It's far easier and sexier (and financially rewarding) to simply proclaim the conclusion that Jesus never existed (a position I refuse to even consider, because it is just as speculative as saying he existed, and equally unprovable).

      The hard work is tying every verse in the New Testament to specific groups that are known to have existed in the 2nd - and in Hebrews case 3rd - century. The concept of Jesus communities, which got thrown out by the Quelle people, is sound, simply placed in the wrong century. We know nothing of Christianity before the Bar Kochba revolt, and it is absurd to claim we do.

      My work on the Antithesis is one such project. I had the unexpected finding that Matthew almost certainly used it as a source.

      Another project is examining the vocabulary usage. The main stream will have a very difficult time accepting the notion that there is a difference between the Church of God and the Church of the Saints; or that Jews referred proto-Orthodox Christians, or that the descriptions in the Gospels of scribes searching the scriptures referred to the proto-Orthodox. So it must be extremely detailed.

      The short answer is I do plan to push this out. But I am in no rush.

  2. Ok, I see, and more or less agree. By the way I was a Journal of Higher Criticism subscriber, and possess a copy of your paper, which I read at the time. Bye!