Uneducated Fishermen? Nuh-uh


Ignorant (willfully?) of ancient literary conventions, higher critics explained the carelessness of arrangement they thought was apparent in Old Testament books with fallacies like the JEDP theory. It turns out they were very wrong. James Jordan writes:

“Chiastic literary analysis has completely destroyed liberal literary criticism. Liberalism is in tatters, bleeding and dying. Liberalism cannot survive Dorsey’s chiastic proof of the total unity of Isaiah, for instance. Dorsey finds loads of 7-fold chiasms in the Bible. I’ve found scores more, quite independently. What Dorsey does not see is that these are recaps of the chiasm of the 7 days in Genesis 1. And that’s good, because it means he did not go through the Bible forcing passages into heptamerous chiasms. He just found them there, and others can see that these track Genesis 1 as “new creation” passages.” [1]

All of the books of the New Testament display the same phenomenal craftsmanship inherent in the Old. Post-exilic Jews were people of the book, as Christians are, and this flows into culture as literacy. The gospels, the synoptic ones at least, were written very early. They aren’t a later record of oral traditions and they weren’t written by trailer trash. They are high art, written by people of means.

“It is often assumed by people, though not by all scholars by any means, that the disciples of jesus were poor and uneducated people. This is not so, and it can be shown rather quickly that it is not.

First, we find that Matthew, Peter and John were capable of composing very sophisticated literary works that are right in line with the style and form of the canonical works of what we call the “Old Testament.” This means that they were aware of the stylised hieratic scribal Hebrew used in the Hebrew Bible and capable of joining in that flow of writing. So also were Mark, Luke, Paul, James and Jude.” [2]

The Jews examined their Scriptures very closely. They turned them inside out and upside down and still do. The crowd at Biblical Horizons have done this with the New Testament and discovered the same literary structures.

Perhaps the Old Testament and New Testament departments in Bible colleges and seminaries ought to talk to each other more often, and drop the false critical paradigm that maintains the authors of Scripture, and their writings, are “encultured” and therefore must be analysed with blinkers on. [3]

Jordan despises the Old/New Testament division and rightly so. The 400 year gap between Malachi and Matthew is in reality no more significant (or just as significant, typologically) than the gap between Joseph and Moses, and the later ones.

[1] James B. Jordan, A Reply on the Nature of the Psalter, Biblical Horizons blog, biblicalhorizons.wordpress.com, referring to David A. Dorsey, The Literary Structure of the Old Testament. Dorsey’s book is a must-have for reference.
[2] James B. Jordan, Getting Real in the Gospels, Biblical Horizons Newsletter No. 205, October 2009. Subscribe at www.biblicalhorizons.com
Jordan goes on to discuss the great evidence for the disciples, apostles, and indeed Joseph and Mary, being upper middle (working) class. 
[3] See Threshing the Text.

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