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Robyn Faith Walsh

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Second Interview with Robyn Faith Walsh & Dennis R. MacDonald

Check out the second Freethinker Podcast interview between host Edouard Tahmizian and New Testament scholars Robyn Faith Walsh and Dennis R. MacDonald for about an hour as they review reactions to MacDonald's recent Synopses of Epic, Tragedy, and the Gospels from academics and Christian apologists, particularly on his account of mimesis (literary imitation mythologizing Jesus) and his alternative Q (the Logoi of Jesus), and then preview MacDonald's forthcoming Homer and the Quest for the Earliest Gospel on understanding the Gospels as mimetic projects that are contesting the canonical past of the Greeks, which in turn helps us understand how early Christians contested the canonical past of the Hebrew Bible (and brings us closer to understanding the world in which Jesus lived). The discussion then turns to why MacDonald dates the Q document back to the early 60s CE (such that no part of Q dates to the post-Temple period), the narrative differences that suggest to him that Papias predates Luke, how scholars reconstruct lost books from antiquity, where the attribution of names like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to the canonical Gospels came from (given that the early Q was simply anonymous sayings of Jesus), how promoting sacred texts as anonymous gives them more authority as revelations from God rather than simply the perspectives of particular people, how MacDonald applies social identity theory from sociology to generate a kind of social identity literary criticism to identify and stereotype the villain and the insider/protagonist in literature from antiquity, and much more. MacDonald ultimately explains why he doesn't feel comfortable attributing any sayings attributed to Jesus, in either the canonical Gospels or the earlier Q document, to the historical Jesus, though he does think that New Testament scholars can understand the alternative Jewish voice that the historical Jesus represented, which had an alternative understanding of Jewish laws than the predominant one at the time. The discussion ends on areas where MacDonald partially agrees, and partially disagrees, with Walsh. Tune in for a wide-ranging interview on a number of topics of great interest within biblical scholarship between top-notch experts in the field!

Interview with Robyn Faith Walsh & Dennis R. MacDonald on their Differences

Tune in with Edouard Tahmizian in this over one-hour interview with New Testament scholars Robyn Faith Walsh and Dennis R. MacDonald for a novel first-of-its-kind conversation on the literary imitation of ancient Greek poetry and philosophy in the canonical Gospels. Does Mark imitate Virgil (who in turn imitates Homer)? Or is there a stronger case for imitation of Virgil in Luke-Acts? How do Mark and Paul deploy ideas in similar ways? In what ways do Achilles—and especially Hector—find their parallels in the Gospels? These and other questions are addressed before the discussion turns to the bigger-picture view of literary networks and mimetic chains where authors imitate other imitations. Given the common background agreement between Walsh and MacDonald about the 'game' that the ancients were playing in their writings, where do their perspectives diverge on Q source material? One must separate the question of whether there ever existed a Q document from the question of whether such a document, assuming that it did exist, can ever be reconstructed into a meaningfully readable document today (especially since there are several plausible reconstructions of Q). Can Q reasonably be viewed as a collection of the sayings of John the Baptist? And what should we make of Jesus mythicism? Do Jesus mythicists selectively cherry-pick the historical evidence, or not? Does it even matter whether a historical Jesus existed since the Gospel Jesus is clearly not the historical Jesus anyway? Check out this fantastic interview with world-class philologians finally getting together to discuss the interpretation of literature while highlighting their areas of interest and respectful disagreement!