Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The historical Jesus according to Crossan

The Historical Jesus;

According to John Dominic Crossan’s First Strata Sources

Dennis Ingolfsland, Crown College, 2001

Note: This paper was presented at the 2001 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Colorado Springs and subsequently published in the September 2002 issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.


When John Dominic Crossan wrote The Historical Jesus ten years ago, there were undoubtedly many who thought that his idiosyncratic view of Jesus was just another fad. In the last ten years, however, Crossan has written no less than nine additional books[1] and has contributed to several others.[2] He has also written at least nine articles[3] and has appeared in numerous videos, [4] debates, [5] teleconferences[6] and television programs. [7] Most of these have been to promote his view of Jesus as a peasant Jewish Cynic. [8] Since Crossan continues to be so influential in American Jesus studies, I thought it would be good to examine the basis for his view of Jesus from what may be a different perspective.


In The Historical Jesus, Crossan established a method by which to separate the core of what can be known about Jesus from the decades of tradition that supposedly accumulated after his death. Crossan’s method consists of classifying biblical and non-biblical sources for the life of Jesus into “complexes” of texts with similar topics. For example, all texts relating Jesus’ crucifixion are combined in one complex, all texts relating to Jesus’ teaching on divorce are in another complex, etc.

Crossan then lists these complexes by “strata”, depending on the dates he assigns to his sources.[9] First strata sources are those written from AD 30-60, second strata sources date from AD 60-80, third strata sources date from AD 80-120 and fourth strata sources date from AD 120-150.

Finally, within each strata the complexes are grouped by the number of times each saying is attested, once, twice, three times or more. In Crossan’s methodology, the data that is most often attested in the earliest strata is generally considered to be the most historically reliable. Data must be attested at least twice to even be considered. Crossan then uses this data pool to determine what can be known about the historical Jesus.

While this method may sound reasonable, in actual practice it functions as a way to divide (or deconstruct) and conquer by eliminating evidence from consideration. For example, Crossan lists nine first strata complexes in which the phrase son of man occurs in an apocalyptic context. [10] This would seem to be strong evidence to conclude that Jesus was known by his earliest followers as the apocalyptic son of man. Not so. Crossan points out that the phrase “son of man” occurs only once in each complex.

For example, complex “30 Revealed to James” lists three first strata passages that record Jesus’ appearance to James.[11] Of these three passages, only one refers to Jesus as the son of man. Since “son of man” is attested only once in this complex, it is excluded from consideration as evidence even though Jesus is called son of man in eight other first strata apocalyptic complexes.

Even when the phrase “son of man” occurs more than once in a single complex, Crossan finds ways to explain why the evidence should not be counted. For example, the complex “2 Jesus apocalyptic return” consists of (1) First Thessalonians 4:13-18, (2) Didache 16:6-8, (3) Matthew 24:30a, (4) Mark 13:24-27 = Matthew 24:29, 30b-31 = Luke 21:25-28, (5) Revelation 1:7, 1:13, 14:14, and (5) John 19:37. While Crossan admits that all of these passages, except John 19:37, are references to the apocalyptic coming of Jesus in language that alludes to Daniel 7:13, he argues, first, that the phrase “son of man” does not appear in First Thessalonians 4:13-18, and was not originally in the [hypothetical] source behind the Didache 16:6-8 and Matthew 24:30. Then, after arguing that the writers of Mark and Revelation were merely creating ideas of Jesus coming in the clouds out of their reflection on Zechariah 12:10 and Daniel 7:13, Crossan concludes that:

this whole stream of tradition, far from starting on the lips of Jesus, began only after his crucifixion with meditation on Zechariah 12:10, then moved on to combine Daniel 7:13 with that prophecy…[12]

Even apart from the myriad of undemonstrated assumptions in these arguments, the fact still remains that at least three first strata sources independently refer to Jesus as the son of man,[13] and two other first strata sources[14] independently assert the apocalyptic return of Jesus in terms which allude to Daniel 7:13-14. These sources are supported by numerous other independent sources in later strata. But this evidence is not seriously considered because Crossan has classified the data in separate “complexes.” If all nine apocalyptic son of man complexes[15] had been combined into one, the result of Crossan’s study might have been different.

This raises the question: What would happen if we were to follow Crossan’s method of stratification and multiple independent attestation but without his sometimes arbitrary division of material into complexes. My hypothesis was that an entirely different picture of Jesus would emerge.

This study will, therefore, apply the criteria of multiple independent attestation to Crossan’s first strata sources to see if the result supports his view of Jesus as a peasant Jewish Cynic. In other words, we will assume, for the sake of argument, that Crossan’s first strata sources are valid. These sources include: First Thessalonians, Galatians, First Corinthians, Romans, the Gospel of Thomas,[16] the “Egerton Gospel”,[17] Papyrus Vindobonensis 2325,[18] Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1224,[19] the “Gospel of the Hebrews,”[20] the sayings Gospel Q,[21] the “Miracles Collection,”[22] the “Apocalyptic Scenario,”[23] and the “Cross Gospel.”[24] The following is a sampling of information about Jesus multiply attested in these first strata sources.

A Prophet

According to the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said that no prophet is accepted in his own village and no physician heals those who know him.[25] Although the Gospel of Thomas does not provide enough context to be sure that Jesus was referring to himself as a prophet, it does provide several hints which would lead to that conclusion. First, according to the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus taught: “He who will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.”[26] That Jesus saw himself as a revealer of hidden things is certainly consistent with the hypothesis that Jesus considered himself to be a prophet.

Second, according to GosThom 18, Jesus’ disciples asked him how their end would be. Without a context it is hard to know how to interpret this passage, but regardless of whether the disciples were asking how their lives would turn out, how they would die, or how the world would end, their question implies that they expected Jesus to know the future, which would be consistent with the idea that they thought of him as a prophet.

Third, according to the Vindobonensis papyrus, Jesus predicted that his disciples would betray him. When Peter denied that he would ever betray Jesus, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him before the cock crowed twice.[27] The Vindobonensis papyrus, therefore, appears to attribute prophetic insight to Jesus.

Fourth, according to the “Egerton Gospel”, people once came to Jesus to test him regarding payment of taxes to Caesar. Jesus rebuked them saying that Isaiah was prophesying about them when he said “these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”[28] Although it is possible to read this as a general statement about the hearts of Jesus’ enemies being far from Yahweh, the context implies that that Jesus viewed the people’s rejection of him as a rejection of Yahweh. If this is the case, it would seem at the very least, that Jesus viewed himself as an agent of God, which is consistent with the hypothesis that Jesus considered himself to be a prophet.

Finally, Paul wrote that Jesus’ return would be as a thief in the night and with the sound of a trumpet. Paul says he knows this “by the word of the Lord.”[29] Although some argue that Paul was referring to subjective visions of the Christ of faith, the fact that the thief and trumpet traditions are independently attested in the “Apocalyptic Scenario”[30] make it more likely that Paul is referring to traditions passed down from Jesus himself. [31] If this is the case, it would appear that Jesus presented himself as a prophet who could predict future events.

While the first strata evidence does not directly call Jesus a prophet, the evidence from four independent first strata sources seems to imply that Jesus thought of himself as a prophet and was thought of as a prophet by his contemporaries. There is also, however, evidence that Jesus was considered to be more than just a prophet.


In The Historical Jesus, Crossan discussed five men from the first century AD whom he recognized as messianic claimants.[32] Although Josephus didn’t directly call any of these men “messiah,” Crossan accepted them as messianic claimants because all had aspirations to royalty. It is significant that Crossan accepts this information as historical even though it is only attested one source, i.e. Josephus, and Josephus would not even qualify as one of Crossan’s first strata sources. On the other hand, Crossan does not recognize Jesus as a messianic claimant even though the evidence that he was seen as such is multiply attested in the first strata.

First, according to the “Cross Gospel” Jesus was mocked by being seated on a judgment seat, crowned with thorns and hailed as the king of Israel. Whether Jesus held this view of himself is not clear from the Cross Gospel alone, but it seems clear that the writer of the Cross Gospel intended to portray Jesus as the Messiah, the king of Israel.

The Gospel of the Hebrews directly calls Jesus the Christ or Messiah several times and speaks of him as one who reigns forever. Even if the word Christ had not appeared in this source, however, the assertion that Jesus would reign forever should have been enough for Crossan to conclude that the writer considered Jesus to be the Messiah.

Since there is no doubt that Paul called Jesus the Christ, this point will not be argued. While Crossan simply ignores this evidence in The Historical Jesus, some scholars dismiss Paul’s claims as “mythmaking”[33] or “meaning making.”[34] Crossan’ methodology provides several reasons to reject the mythmaking theory. First, the fact that Jesus was known as messiah by two other independent first strata sources argues strongly that Paul was not merely mythmaking. Second, the fact that there were several known messianic claimants in the first century AD means that Paul’s claims meet the criteria of contextual credibility, [35] which simply means that “The Historical Jesus must be understood within his contemporary Judaism.”[36] Finally, there is the sheer unlikelihood that Paul would give his life to the preaching of a dead Jewish Cynic whom he had mythologized as a messiah.

While Crossan acknowledged five first century men as being messianic claimants on the basis of only one source that would not even qualify as a first strata source, he denies that Jesus was a messianic claimant even though this is supported by three independent first strata sources.


While recent scholars have emphasized that there was a variety of “Judaisms,” in the first century AD,[37] almost all faithful first century Jews would have agreed that Yahweh was the only one who could bring salvation. It is, therefore, notable that three first strata sources appear to present Jesus as the one who brings salvation.

First, according to GosThom 82, Jesus said, “He who is near me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom” (emphasis mine). In the Old Testament it was the people’s relation with Yahweh that determined their future in the kingdom, but the Gospel of Thomas seems to indicate that Jesus thought it was people’s relation to him that determined their future in the kingdom.

Second, Paul calls Jesus’ death a sacrifice of atonement[38] and likens it to the sacrifice of the Pascal lamb.[39] Paul says that for those who have faith in Jesus, [40] his death resulted in the redemption,[41] justification,[42] reconciliation,[43] salvation, [44]eternal life,[45] removal of condemnation[46] and rescue from coming wrath.[47]

Finally, according to the Cross Gospel, one of the men being crucified with Jesus called Jesus the “savior of men.” [48] While the word “savior” in a first century context could refer to one who was to deliver the Jews from the Romans, it is hard to imagine that a man being crucified by the Romans was referring to a fellow crucifixion victim as a deliverer from the Romans. It is more likely, that the writer of the Cross Gospel is providing independent attestation to the idea of Jesus being savior in the full Pauline sense of the word.

While Crossan might be excused for disagreeing with Paul’s interpretation of Jesus’ death, there is no excuse for ignoring the evidence that Jesus was presented as the bearer of salvation in no fewer than three independent first strata sources.


The fact that three first strata sources present Jesus as the one who brings salvation, which only Yahweh could do, raises the question of whether the Johannine view of Jesus as the incarnation of God can be found in first strata sources as well.

First, there is a hint of Jesus’ incarnation in the Miracles Collection. The first miracle of that collection is recorded in Mark 2:1-12 = John 5:1-18 in which a paralyzed man is healed by Jesus. In Mark’s version, Jesus tells this man that his sins are forgiven and, as a result Jesus’ opponents charge him with blasphemy. In John’s version Jesus is charged with making himself equal with God. Regardless of which version better represents its Miracles Collection source, both Mark and John interpret that source as presenting Jesus as one who thought he could forgive sins and who was charged with blasphemy for thereby making himself equal with God.”[49]

Second, there can be little doubt that the writer of the Gospel of the Hebrews believed in the pre-existence and incarnation of Jesus:

When Christ wished to come upon the earth to men, the good Father summoned a mighty power in heaven, which was called Michael, and entrusted Christ to the care thereof. And the power came into the world and it was called Mary, and Christ was in her womb seven months.[50]

The Gospel of the Hebrews also records that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism, saying that Jesus was the first-begotten son who reigns forever.[51] In Crossan’s view these are “abbreviated mythological narratives” based on the myth of the embodiment of divine wisdom.[52] While these narratives certainly have mythological elements, the question Crossan avoids is why such a myth would be attributed so early to a peasant Jewish Cynic who had no such pretensions. The fact that Jesus’ incarnation is multiply attested in independent first strata sources is evidence that the theology of Jesus’ incarnation and deity comes from the teaching of Jesus’ earliest followers, if not from Jesus himself.

Third, the writer of the Gospel of Thomas also appears to hint that Jesus was the incarnation of God. According to GosThom 77 Jesus said:

“It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the all. From me did all come forth, and unto me did the all extend (emphasis mine).[53]

While this passage is undoubtedly open to a variety of interpretations, the idea that all came forth from Jesus and unto him all extend sounds similar in some ways to 1 Corinthians 8:6[54] where Paul writes:

“yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (emphasis mine).

Gordon Fee comments on this passage:

“Although Paul does not here call Christ God, the formula is so constructed that only the most obdurate would deny its Trinitarian implications.”[55]

The idea that all things came forth through Jesus is a theology that is,

therefore, multiply attested in first strata sources and, in a first century Jewish context, would seem to imply belief in Jesus’ deity.

Fourth, not only does Paul claim that all exist through Jesus, he also calls Jesus the “Son of God”[56] and “Lord of Glory”,[57] and applies Joel 2:32 directly to Jesus even though in its original context it referred to Yahweh.[58] In Romans 9:5, Paul may actually go as far as to directly attribute deity to Jesus, calling him “God over all”. While this passage is strongly disputed, Harris examined it in nearly exhaustive detail and concluded that it is indeed highly probable that Paul intended to do just that.[59] In fact, the idea that Paul taught that Jesus was the incarnation of God makes sense of his statement that Jesus was “born of a woman,” [60] which otherwise seems rather strange since everyone is born of a woman.

If Jesus actually believed that he was the embodiment of God, it would also make sense of multiply attested statements to the effect that Jesus demanded allegiance to himself above all else. According to GosThom 55, for example, Jesus said:

“Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple of me. And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me.[61]

This idea is also attested in Q1 14:26.[62] While the Hebrew prophets often demanded such unqualified allegiance to God, there is no evidence that they ever demanded this kind of loyalty to themselves. In fact it is possible to read GosThom 55 and Q1 14:26 as a practical application of the first commandment, “thou shalt have no other gods before me.”


Multiple independent first strata sources, therefore, present Jesus as a prophet, messiah, savior, and incarnation of God. They also present these views as coming not only from Jesus’ followers but, in some cases, from Jesus himself. This raises several important questions. First, if Jesus actually taught these things about himself, wouldn’t such views result in opposition and even questions about Jesus’ mental stability?

The answer is yes, and that is precisely what we find in first strata sources. The Gospel of Thomas,[63] the Oxyrhynchus papyrus 1224, the “Egerton Gospel”, Paul’s letters, and the “Cross Gospel” all attest to opposition between Jesus and his enemies. In addition to the opposition expressed in these first strata sources, Jesus was accused of blasphemy,[64] insanity, [65] and of being demon possessed.[66] While this evidence does not come from the first strata it is all multiply attested in independent sources and is supported by the criteria of embarrassment.[67] Such opposition and accusations are what we might have expected toward someone who made himself equal with God and claimed to be Israel’s savior. This raises the next question, however: Why would anyone believe such claims?

Those who came to believe in Jesus’ claims apparently did so in part because of his miracles. The “Egerton Gospel” records Jesus’ healing of a leper,[68] and the Gospel of Thomas records that Jesus sent his disciples out to heal the sick, which may imply that he also had that ability.[69] According to the “Miracles Collection,” Jesus fed 5000 men with five loaves and two fishes, [70] he walked on water, [71] healed a man born blind,[72] healed a man who couldn’t walk, [73] and raised Lazarus from the dead. [74]

Remarkable deeds like these may be the reason that, according to “Egerton Gospel”, Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that he did works “beyond that of all the prophets.”[75] While they are not sincere in their accolades, it seems very probable that they are echoing popular beliefs about Jesus. It seems likely, therefore, that Jesus’ followers believed his claims in part because of his ability to perform miracles greater than those of the prophets or magicians.

Second, those who believed Jesus’ claims did so in part, because of his resurrection which is also attested in Crossan’s first strata sources: The Gospel of the Hebrews records that Jesus appeared to, and ate with his brother James after the resurrection. According to the Cross Gospel, two men appeared from heaven after Jesus’ death and escorted Jesus out of the tomb with their heads reaching to the heavens, being followed by a cross.

It would be easy to dismiss this entire narrative as symbolic or mythological but there are at least two arguments against this possibility. First, the resurrection is multiply attested in other first strata sources. Second, the rest of the events in the Cross Gospel are historically plausible and many of the details recorded therein are attested in multiple independent sources.

Finally, Paul refers to the resurrection of Jesus in all four of the letters Crossan assigns to the first strata. Although some critics argue that Paul was only teaching a spiritual resurrection, Paul’s statement in Romans 14:9 that Jesus died and lived again would be a very misleading way of expressing a spiritual resurrection which left Jesus body still in the tomb.

Summary and Conclusion

This study has shown that four independent first strata sources provide reason to believe that Jesus thought of himself as a prophet and was thought of as a prophet by his contemporaries. Three first strata sources either directly call Jesus the messiah or present him in messianic terms. Three first strata sources referred to Jesus as one who brings salvation. Four first strata sources say that Jesus either thought of himself as the incarnation of God or was thought of in those terms by his followers. Three first strata sources attest to the resurrection of Jesus.

Nothing in the paper should be construed as lending support for Crossan’s creation of sources out of whole cloth, like the “Cross Gospel” or the “Apocalyptic Scenario,” or the “miracles collection”[76] nor for his idiosyncratic use and dating of sources like Egerton 2, Oxyrhynchus 1224 etc. Nor did this paper attempt to construct a comprehensive picture of Jesus from Crossan’s first strata sources.

The purpose of this paper was to show that even assuming Crossan’s system of stratification and the idiosyncratic dating of most of his sources, the Jesus we find in Crossan’s own multiply attested first strata sources is radically different than the Jesus Crossan is proclaiming. While Crossan proclaims Jesus as a peasant Jewish Cynic who preached a message of egalitarianism and did not even think of himself as messiah, much less as someone who was equal with God, Crossan’s first strata sources actually paint a picture of Jesus as the as the Jewish Messiah, Savior and incarnation of God who performed amazing miracles and rose from the dead.

[1] Titles include: The Birth of Christianity; Discovering what happened in the years immediately after the execution of Jesus, (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1998). The Essential Jesus; Original sayings and earliest images, (Edison, NJ : Castle Books, 1998). Excavating Jesus; beneath the stones, behind the texts, (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 2001). Four Other Gospels: Shadows on the contours of canon, (Sonoma CA : Polebridge Press, 1992). In Parables: The challenge of the Historical Jesus, (Sonoma CA : Polebridge Press, 1992). Jesus; A revolutionary biography, (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1994). Who is Jesus?: Answers to your questions about the historical Jesus, (Louisville, KY : Westminster John Knox Press, 1999). Who Killed Jesus?: Exposing the roots of anti-Semitism in the Gospel story of the death of Jesus, (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1995). Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up: a Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan, (Grand Rapids : Baker, 1990).

[2] “The Historical Jesus in Earliest Christianity.” In Jesus and Faith. (Maryknoll, NY : Orbis, 1994) 1-21. “Itinerants and Householders in the Earliest Jesus Movement.” In Whose Historical Jesus? (Waterloo, Ont : Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 1997) 7-24. “Itinerants and Householders in the Earliest Kingdom Movement.” In Reimagining Christian Origins. (Valley Forge, PA : Trinity Press International, 1996) 113-129. “Our Own Faces in Deep Wells: A future for Historical Jesus Research” in God, the Gift, and Postmodernism. (Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, 1999) 282-310. “Why is historical Jesus Research Necessary?” in Jesus Two Thousand Years Later. (Harrisburg PA : Trinity Press International, 2000) 7-37.

[3] “Adventure story” Bible Review. 16.5 (2000): 27. “Blessed plot: a reply to N.T. Wright’s review of “The Birth of Christianity” Scottish Journal of Theology. 53.1 (2000): 92. “The Challenge of Christmas: Two Views.” Christian Century. 110.36 (1993): 1270. “Commentary and History” Journal of Religion. 75.2 (1995): 247. “Earliest Christianity in Counterfactual Focus.” Biblical Interpretation. 8:1-2 (2000): 92-112. “The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant.” Christian Century. 108.37 (1991): 1194. “A Tale of Two Gods.” Christian Century. 110.36 (1993): 1270. “What Victory? What God? A review debate with N.T. Wright on “Jesus a Victory of God. Scottish Journal of Theology. 50.3 (1997): 345. “Why Christians Must Search for the Historical Jesus.” Bible Review. 12 (1996): 34-39, 42-45.

[4] A Death in Jerusalem. (Sonoma CA : Polebridge Press, 1996). Faces on Faith: An Interview with John Dominic Crossan. (Nashville : EcuFilm, 1995). Faith and Reason. (Shreveport, LA : D.L. Dykes Jr. Foundation. 1997). The Historical Jesus and Earliest Christianity. (Louisville, KY : Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1996). The Historical Jesus Lecture. (Duluth, MN : University of Minnesota at Duluth, 1995). Jesus and the Kingdom: Peasants and Scribes in Earliest Christianity. (New York : Parish of Trinity Church, 1996). Jesus the Peasant. (Washburn University, 1993). Westar Institute and the Jesus Seminar Present John Dominic Crossan: Jesus, a Revolutionary Biography. (Sonoma, CA : Polebridge, Press, 1994).

[5] E.g. “Will the Real Jesus please stand up: A debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan. Buckley, William, Copan, Paul, eds. (Grand Rapids : Baker, 1999).

[6] Jesus @ 2000. New York : Episcopal Cathedral Teleconferencing Network, 1996). The Jesus Summit: The Historical Jesus and Contemporary Faith. San Francisco : HarperCollins, 1994.

[7] E.g. “The Search for Jesus.” (ABC News Special, 2000). “From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians. (Frontline. Public Broadcasting System. 1998). “Jesus the Complete Story” (Discovery Channel, 1998).

[8] Crossan, John Dominic. The Historical Jesus; The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1991) 421.

[9] The cutoff date for the first strata is AD 60, which as Boyd and others have pointed out, conveniently eliminates the canonical gospels from consideration since Crossan dates the first canonical gospel to the AD 70’s

[10] Crossan, Historical, 243.

[11] 1 Corinthians 15:7a, the Gospel of Thomas 12 and the Gospel of the Hebrews 7.

[12] Crossan, Historical, 247, 454.

[13] The Gospel of the Hebrews, the Gospel of Thomas 86, and Q1 9:57-58 = Matthew 8:19-20

[14] First Thessalonians 4:13-18 and the “Apocalyptic Scenario = Didache 16:6-8/ Matthew 24:30a

[15] Crossan, Historical, 454.

[16] Crossan postulates two editorial strata to the Gospel of Thomas, the first being composed of passages with independent attestation elsewhere. Crossan dates this strata to the AD 50’s. Crossan. Historical. 427. “The Gospel of Thomas is known in the tradition from the 3rd century on.” Eusebius list’s it as being rejected by the church. A second century date is probable, though Blatz comments that “the collected sayings material may in part go back even into the first century.” Schneemelcher. Apocrypha. 110-113.

[17] The “Egerton Gospel”, or Papyrus Egerton 2, as it is usually known, is a papyrus document discovered in 1935 consisting of two full leaves and a part of a third. Much of the content is paralleled by the Gospel of John. It is usually dated between AD 150 and 200. Schneemelcher, Wilhelm, ed. New Testament Apocrypha. Vol. 1. (Louisville, KY : Westminster John Knox Press, 1991) 96.

[18] Discovered in 1885, this papyrus leaf is also known as the “Fayyum Fragment. It consists of only a few lines dealing with the prediction of Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. Schneemelcher comments that “The brevity of the fragment forbids sure statements of any kind…” Schneemelcher. Apocrypha. 102.

[19] “The remains of a papyrus book, the writing of which points to the beginning of the 4th century…” Schneemelcher. Apocrypha. 100.

[20] The Gospel of the Hebrews was probably written in the first half of the second century and is known from quotations by Cyril of Jerusalem, Jerome, Origen, and Clement of Alexandria.

[21] Crossan follows Kloppenborg in postulating three editions to Q, the first of which is placed in the first strata. Crossan, Historical, 429.

[22] The Miracles Collection is a reconstruction of a hypothetical source for the miracles in Mark 2, 6, and 8, the John 5, 6, 9, and 11, and the Secret Gospel of Mark. Crossan. Historical. 429.

[23] The Apocalyptic Scenario is a hypothetical document which, according to Crossan “is a common apocalyptic source behind both Did. 16:3-8 and Matt. 24:10-12, 30a…” Crossan. Historical. 429.

[24] According to Crossan, the Cross Gospel is now embedded in The Gospel of Peter. It consists of GosPeter 1:1-2, 2:5b-6:22, 7:25, 8:28-9:34, 9:35-10:42 and 11:45-49 Crossan. Historical. 429. The Gospel of Peter was mentioned in early Christian writing including Eusebius who lists it among those not recognized by the church. Schneemelcher suggests that the date of the middle of the second century AD. Schneemelcher Apocrypha. 217-221.

[25] GosThom 31; Luke 4:2-4. All translations of The Gospel of Thomas are from Robinson, James M., ed. The Nag Hammadi Library. (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1988) 124-138.

[26] Gospel of Thomas 108.

[27] Vindobonensis (Fayyum Fragment) in New Testament Apocrypha ed. Wilhelm Schneemelcher. (Louisville, KY : Westminster John Knox Press, 1991): 102.

[28] Isaiah 29:13, Mark 7:6ff.

[29] 1 Thessalonians 4:15.

[30] The Apocalyptic Scenario was reconstructed from material now embedded in Matthew 24:10-12, 30a, and the Didache 16:3-8,[30]

[31] See Wenham, David. Paul; Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity? (Grand Rapids : Eerdmans, 1995): 289-337, who argues persuasively that the common themes in Paul (1 Thessalonians 4-5, 1 Corinthians 15), in Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 24) and in Luke’s gospel point to a high probability that these themes go back to Jesus himself.

[32] Judas in Galilee, Simon in Perea, Athronges in Judea, Manahem, son (or grandson) of Judas the Galilean, and Simon son of Gioras. Crossan. Historical. 200-204.

[33] Mack, Burton. Who Wrote the New Testament; The Making of the Christian Myth. (San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, 1996).

[34] Schussler Fiorenza, Elisabeth. Jesus and the Politics of Interpretation. (New York : Continuum, 2000).

[35] Ehrman, Bart. Jesus; Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. (New York : Oxford University Press, 1999): 94-95. “For ancient documents, reliable traditions must conform to the historical and social context to which they relate.” Ehrman illustrates this principle by pointing out that the phrase “When you undress without being ashamed and you take your clothes and put them under your feet as little children and trample on them, then you shall see the Son of the Living One and you shall not fear” fits much better in a second century Gnostic setting then in the days of Jesus.

[36] Crossan, Historical, 417.

[37] Crossan, Historical, 417.

[38] Romans 3:21-26.

[39] 1 Corinthians. 4:7.

[40] Galatians 2:16-17; 3:2-29; Romans 3:22-30, Galatians 2:16-20;

[41] Galatians 3:13-14.

[42] Romans 4:25; 5:16, 18.

[43] Romans 4:24-25; 5:1, 6, 8, 10; 6:9; 7:4).

[44] 1 Thessalonians. 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1:23-24; 1:30; Romans10:13, 17

[45] Romans 2:7, 5:21; 6:23.

[46] Romans 8:1.

[47] Romans 5:9, 1Thessalonians 1:10.

[48] Cross Gospel 4:13.

[49] Crossan, Historical, 324. Crossan acknowledges that being “equal to God’ is implicitly present in the accusation of blasphemy from Mark 2:7

[50] Gospel of the Hebrews as quoted by Cyril of Jerusalem. Schneemelcher. Apocrypha. 177.

[51] Schneemelcher. Apocrypha. 177.

[52] Crossan, Historical, 232.

[53] Gospel of Thomas 77. cf. John. 8:12: 9:5; 12:46.

[54] It is also, of course, strikingly similar to Colossians 1:15-17 which teaches that through Jesus all things were created and in him all things hold together. Crossan attributes Colossians to an disciple of Paul and places it in his second strata. Crossan. Historical. 430.

[55] Fee, Gordon. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. New International Commentary on the New Testament. (Grand Rapids : Eerdmans,1987): 375.

[56] Galatians 1:15; 4:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Romans 1:9; 8:3; 8:29; 8:31-32.

[57] 1 Corinthians 2:8.

[58] Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13.

[59] Harris, Murray. Jesus as God; The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus. (Grand Rapids :Baker, 1992): 143-172.

[60] Gal. 4:4-5. cf. Cousar, Charles. Galatians. Interpretation series. (Atlanta : John Knox Press, 1982): 95 “…the preexistence and incarnation of Christ are stated in verse 4…”

[61] Gospel of Thomas 55, cf. 102; Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26; Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23.

[62] This paper follows the usual practice of identifying Q passages by their versification in the Gospel of Luke.

[63] Gospel of Thomas 39, 68, 102.

[64] Mt 26:65; Mt 9:3=Mk 2:7?; 14:64; Luke 5:21; 33-36.

[65] Mark 3:21; John 10:20.

[66] John 7:20; 8:48-52; 10:19-21; 2Q: Luke 11:14-15, 17-18a=Matthew 9:32-34; 12:22-26.

[67] The criteria of embarrassment states that material that would have been embarrassing to early Christians is more likely to be historical since it is unlikely that they would have made up material which would have placed them or Jesus in a bad light.

[68] cf. Mark 1:40-44 = Matthew 8:1-4 = Luke 5:12-14.

[69] Gospel of Thomas 14:2.

[70] Mark 6:33-44 = John 6:1-15. Crossan, Historical, 311.

[71] Mark 6:45-52 = John 6:16-21. Crossan, Historical, 311.

[72] Mark 8:22-26 = John 9:1-7. Crossan, Historical, 311.

[73] Mark 2:1-12 = John 5:1-18 Crossan, Historical, 311.

[74] Secret Mark 1v20-2r11a = John 11:1-57. Crossan, Historical, 311. Note that postulating a miracles collection behind Mark and John prevents these miracles from being seen as two separate attestations.

[75] Egerton 2.

[76] It is hard to avoid wondering whether these “sources” were imagined specifically to eliminate multiple attestation for an apocalyptic Jesus who performs nature miracles. The “Miracles Collection,” for example, conveniently avoids having multiple attestation for three “nature” miracles.