Talk:Parable of the Good Samaritan

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We could do with some specific page numbers on some references. There are five citations of "Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993. "Luke" p. 271-400." That's a block of more than 100 pages, and citing it doesn't really meet Wikipedia:Verifiability, since a reader would have to wade through the entire block looking for the various points being referred to. There's also a reference to "Vermes, Geza. The authentic gospel of Jesus. London, Penguin Books. 2004. Chapter 10: Towards the authentic gospel. p. 370-397." which is a much smaller block, but still 28 pages. Several other references are to other large blocks, or to entire chapters, and are equally difficult to verify. -- Radagast3 (talk) 07:39, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

I have in fact removed one of the references to Vermes after wading through the cited section and not finding the statement accredited to him. -- Radagast3 (talk) 08:38, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
And I have removed some incorrect geographical information which cited a map, but on checking did not match it. -- Radagast3 (talk) 11:13, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Since you are having a monologue here let me mention that 1. The images you added were pretty good and overall I fully support your edits here. 2. I am not sure why so many people are in love with Vermes. There seems to be a Vermes fan club out there and he is just one fellow. I would not mind giving him less of a pulpit. History2007 (talk) 17:16, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the support. I also wondered why there is so much Vermes, but was reluctant to remove anything without a specific reason. -- Radagast3 (talk) 01:35, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Reason: undue weight to one voice. History2007 (talk) 01:36, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, and that suggests that one or two Vermes comments might be removed, but gives no guidance as to which. So far I've addressed the WP:UNDUE issue by adding other voices instead. And some of the thing Vermes said are also said by other people.
Also I'd prefer not to start an edit war. -- Radagast3 (talk) 01:41, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
An edit war would require lack of consensus and two parties who are ready to revert instead of discuss. I do not see a war here. However if we have agreement that there is undue weight on Vermes, we can just trim his material. I can trim now anyway, and if you think that is not the best one to trim, just select another. In any case, I trimmed the Weasel words therein. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 02:56, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I fixed a few things that broke as a result, but we're better off without the "who is Vermes" side-discussion. -- Radagast3 (talk) 03:31, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Regarding all this huff and puff of authenticity, let me state as a matter of logic and common sense that ANY discussion of the authenticity of an event from 2,000 years ago in such detail and flimsy reasoning is just idiotic in my opinion, and just sells books - nothing else. Events in recent history like JFK's which had photographers around them are still unclear from a historical perspective and there are 20 theories about them. Now to argue at length about 2,000 years ago based on the estimation of if someone liked Samaritan's is just hot air and nothing else. History2007 (talk) 03:13, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Luke was a doctor before becoming a Disciple. It is therefore possible that a parable involving medical treatment made a greater impression on Luke than the others. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

The authenticity debate is a large and important one, and should be retained. Vermes' argument is certainly a weak one, and contrary to the scholarly opinion which says that the most surprising things are most likely to be authentic, but can perhaps be kept in its trimmed form. -- Radagast3 (talk) 03:31, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I've reshuffled a bit to remove duplication, but have retained Vermes' opinion, in the Halévy section. -- Radagast3 (talk) 05:55, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Retained is one thing, laughed at is another. Regardless of the Wikipage the books are out there and people discuss it - other like me laugh at the discussions as less than intelligent. History2007 (talk) 08:26, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

The ref problems are still there, though. -- Radagast3 (talk) 12:56, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Harmonization with other Gospels[edit]

Here is where the Brandon Scott material can materialize. Scott's work are based on harmonizing the Lukan account with other similar biblical passage. (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37). Ive started with the great John Calvin, who sees them as similar and yet not connected.Pottergreen (talk) 21:14, 24 June 2010 (UTC) Ive also added the rest of the disputed paragraph into this section. Again, the basis of the arguments are in comparing them to other gospels and trying to square them. This also solves the issue of "authenticity" as a headline for both historical and harmoniacal isues. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pottergreen (talkcontribs) 21:26, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

With the heading change to "Historical reliability", this material fits better with the rest, which has the advantage that the two aspects of the Jesus Seminar commentary are more closely integrated. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:21, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
The article is not about the Jesus Seminar.Pottergreen (talk) 18:00, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
After all, Scott's claim relates to an aspect of the historical reliability of Luke's account, namely whether the parable was actually told in that specific context. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:29, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
An aspect of historical reliability? This is the same kind of "aspect" that creates a conceptual garbage can into which anything can be thrown.Pottergreen (talk) 18:03, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

The Calvin material clearly identifies the biblical passages in question. It is important to identify all 3 texts that other critics refer to. The material under this heading are products of horizontal comparisons with the gospel passages. The full Calvin quote mentions that the differences between the Lukan text and Mark, Matthew are merely becuase Luke mentions the circumstances of the questions in another passage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pottergreen (talkcontribs) 18:25, 25 June 2010 (UTC) The Brandon Scott material is in clear dispute and must be removed pending some kind of resolution. Irregardless, as a member of the Jesus Seminar, there is no good reason to call out his particular views anyway, as that group can speak on behalf of its members, with the quote provided, lest someone find a list of those members, google-book their work, and cherry pick a quote out of context until their google reading privileges are revoked.Pottergreen (talk) 18:34, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia policy would, I believe, be for retaining the disputed material until there is a consensus to delete, unless you can provide a clearer explanation of why the material should be deleted.
As the article says, a number of other commentators share Scott's opinion; he is therefore representative of a class of scholars, whose opinion is notable. I've re-read the relevant two pages of Scott, and I believe I've represented his views accurately.
I also think the present structure flows much better than what you had, which separated some "response" sentences from their original context.
You are correct that the Bible passages should be identified: I've hyperlinked them in the Calvin quote. I also believe its important to quote Calvin's "it may be the same narrative", which gives a clearer view of his opinion.
I'm not sure why you reverted the complete Calvin citation back to a bare url.
I also believe that this discussion would be easier if we followed Wikipedia:Civility. -- Radagast3 (talk) 01:58, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy does not permit original research. Your view is that the question of neighbour is a separate oral tradition, and purport it to be Bernard Scott's position, but it is NOT in fact his position (he briefly considers the question and then rebuts it). If there are other scholars, then supply them. I cant recall a specific quote but I beleive the work of Rudolf Bultmann is the most radical of the group (whom the Jesus Seminar owe much to). Scott is clearly moved by the idea of "breaking down barriers" that entails neighbourliness and considers Luke authentic to the intent of the parable. He's not the best source anyway.
Its a problem with kerygma arguments, sure, we can deduce from John, Mark and Matthew that Zebedee's wife's name was Salome and that she and Jesus' mother Mary were sisters. Jesus would then have been cousins with his two disciples, John and James. This may have been widely understood by early Christians so the gospel writers felt no need to spell it out.But we cannot prove any of it. SImilarly with Scott's appropriation of oral traditions, there is no audio or video recordings of what that oral tradition and what its assumptions may be. It leads Scott to write complex positions: he considers the form-critical significance of neighbour, then considers it inadequate due to a rather emotional and sentimental argument that "breaking down barriers" is deeply profound. What you need is a Halevy.
The material is best left separated into two headings: the Halevy material and rebuts concern that very issue of historical reliability, eg the story got changed to suit some agenda, the original story would have read differently owing to this historical fact (no Samaritan in Judea rule). The other material concerns horizontal comparisons of the gospel verses and why the Lukan account differs from the Mark and Matthew circumstances. Scott relies on those comparisons, where the Halevy objection relies on an external criteria (no Samaritan in Judea rule).
The complete Calvin quote contains a very huge clue: the differences between Mark, Matt. and Luke regarding the circumstances of the lawyer's question, where different, were mentioned ELSEWHERE in Luke. Luke has already noted the circumstance described in the comparison verses (MK, MT). This would tend to undermine Scott's view that the differences evidence heavy Lukan editing - one must assume the passages are referring to the same event. Scotts assumption is that they are, but good old Calvin demonstrates the circumstance is noted elsewhere in Luke. Luke felt no need to reiterate them. Again, these are issues regarding harmonization, comparison strategies, not historical facts. Blending them under one heading lacks precision.
I beleive the virtue of Wiki civility to be as important as correct interpretations of quoted material. Our primary duty inherent to civility is to be civil to the intent of the quoted authors and accurately represent quoted viewpoints, not superimpose and reconstruct their quotes to paraphrase an alternative vision. Our dispute merely concerns Scott and neighbour-as-separate. Unlike previous entries, this section is much better than before becuase it balances the viewpoints. We are both passionate about this, so much the better than apathy.
I had some friends check the entry (non-experts). One thing that stood out is oral tradition and what it referred to: is it Jesus oral tradition or some common belief of early Christians about what Jesus taught or any idea floating around Judea at the time? One person wondered how could anyone know about an oral tradition unless they built a time machine: all you have is the bible. The only thing I can think of is that Scot et. al. are merely comparing gospels and accounting for the differences...thats the argument (and hence should be headed under "harmonizaton" )Pottergreen (talk) 18:03, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for that clear response. Let me take it point-by-point:
(1) There is no "original research" here. Everything is drawn for a selection of standard commentaries, and fully referenced.
(2) You are, in my view, misunderstanding Scott. He does not "briefly consider the question and then rebut it." Rather, he responds very positively to the parable in its Lukan form, while questioning aspects of the historicity of Luke's account. Scott says explicitly that the question at the end "is part of the Lukan formulation" but seems to believe that there is something "profound" about the parable that justifies Luke bringing the "neighbour" concept into it. Scott also raises the "twist" in which Luke has Jesus not directly answering the lawyer's question - an issue that both Green and the OBC address.
(3) Forbes lists 6 scholars who believe Luke has done substantial editing, and there are lots more (presumably, most of the Jesus Seminar).
(4) I see no benefit in splitting the "Historical reliability" section, since Scott is addressing the question: "Did this episode occur as Luke describes it?" Such a split would also separate the Jesus Seminar endorsement of the parable from their qualification, so that honesty would require duplicating the qualification in a somewhat messy way. In any case, there is an outstanding RfC on the section.
(5) We could quote more Calvin, but that seems pointless to me, in that he sits on the fence a little regarding whether the three gospels are describing the same episode, and doesn't seem to address the fact that Matthew and Mark don't mention "who is my neighbour?" and that Mark/Matthew and Luke disagree on who is the person who quotes the law. I'm sure there are better sources out there that could be quoted.
(6) I think this article has benefited from input by many people, including yourself. It's probably the best of the parable articles. However, it has to strike a careful WP:NPOV balance, or it will oscillate forever between liberal and conservative viewpoints. It has to do justice to all sides, which requires a bit of WP:Writing for the opponent. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:13, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
(1) The issue I have raised is your assessment that Brandon Scott questions the authenticity of the parable; you have taken quotes regarding his definitive position on "eternal life" (p. 191) and applying them to the more problematic position on "neighbour" (p 192). You once had p. 191 quoted in its complete form, then you changed it to "neighbour". It is quite obvious, even in the edit history, what you have done. My comments in the discussion over "authenticity" quote from Scott demonstrate my observation.
Further, your definition of historical reliability is far too vague for an encyclopedia; clarity and distinction is vital. You say the critics question "aspects of the historicity of Luke's account". What external criteria are they referring to that would lead to skepticism? None. Their argument is a harmonization strategy with other gospel accounts. Indeed, Scott uses historical evidence to demonstrate that both Luke and the parable "break down barriers" of sectarian norms in ancient civilizations, that the Christian community was at odds with this norm, hence the profundity, distinction and uniqueness of the Christian experience. it is authentic and historically reliable, which Luke merely paraphrases into one singularity: "who is thy neighbor?" To think that Scott is actually concerned about whether it "really" happened that way is anachronistic, as if scholars have an ancient court transcript to access.
I am questioning the use of the Jesus Seminar. Their deliberations on the authenticity of the biblical account of Jesus ministry include 5 Gospels, adding the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. In my view this violates the scope of the Wikibible projects. Canon works in Christianity absolutely and universally reject any but the 4 gospel accounts. The wikibible project has to assume orthodox canon if the word "bible" is to be distinct from other uses and on the matter of "gospel", there are only 4. The Gospel of Thomas is heretical; though apocryphal writings are an ancient written source, they cannot be used as if they are canon, which is what the Jesus Seminar has done in their determination of authenticity. Biblical canon was substantially agreed by AD 175, gospels much earlier, mainly in reaction to Marcion (who excluded the OT) and gnostic deviations.This is a telling argument against the Jesus Seminar insofar as they are not referring to the bible. Their harmonization strategy is to include a non-canon gospel. At the very least, this must be clearly prefaced in any JS usage, as an alert and warning.Pottergreen (talk) 19:54, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
(a) As I said, I stand by my summary of Scott: I believe you are misreading him. I guess that won't be resolved until some other editors read him and comment.
(b) Certainly Scott and others question "aspects of the historicity of Luke's account". Scott is quite clearly asserting that Luke incorporated elements from another episode. I don't see how you can deny that. We can debate going back to "Authenticity" as a section title if you prefer that (that's the section title that Peter Rhea Jones, for example, uses).
(c) The Jesus Seminar did not, as far as I know, refer to the Gospel of Thomas in discussing this parable.
(d) More generally, though, the inclusion of Jesus Seminar comments has been much debated on Wikipedia and the consensus has been to include them even when they are discussing Thomas. Nothing in the WikiBible project excludes the use of Thomas in discussing NT texts (and in fact, for the OT, there is more than one "canon of Scripture"). In fact, the consensus has even been to include parables that occur only in Thomas as part of the Parables of Jesus project (see the template on this article). You may think Thomas is heretical, but that's simply your personal point of view. You can call it Gnostic, which is more objective. I don't believe you fully understand the Wikipedia:NPOV policy on this sort of thing.
(e) You can't make the Jesus Seminar go away from Wikipedia (or from the world in general): all you can do is make sure that the opposing point of view is well-argued. In any case, the current state of the article is probably as close to your theological position as it's going to get: if it moves too far, more liberal editors will come in and justifiably cite WP:NPOV to give it a flavour more to their liking. I say that with confidence, because I've seen similar things happen dozens of times before. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:38, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Scott says that Luke "symbolized" the intent of the parable with the question "who is your neighbour" (p.192). Your reading of Scott and the organization of this section again confound the distinction between historical reliability (a la Halevy and external historical 'facts') and harmonization: Scott does not say the issue of neighbour was inauthentic to the parable. He merely asserts it was paraphrased from extant oral understandings of Jesus ministry in the Christian community (p 192), all justified and authentic and historically reliable. Luke reporting, while true to the intent, paraphrases and condenses, all based on comparisons with other gospels, assuming them to be referring to the same incident. WIth Halevy, the change to Samaritan entailed a theological consequence: the status of "non-Jews" - neighbour for Jesus referred only to Jews and class distinction in Halevy, breaking down barriers of authority, not nationality or religious belief. For Halevy, Jesus salvation is offered only to Jews. In Scott, the issue of Luke's editing (whether your view or my view) does not alter the basic theological consequence that neighbour referred to non-Jews, only that the account in comparison to the other 2 gospels requires an explanation in order to harmonize, assuming them all to refer to the same event (whether separate event or not). Again, distinction makes a difference. If historically inaccurate, then the original message of Jesus was altered; Halevy in the JE reference says it was for an anti-Semetic purpose, presumably to separate the Nazerenes as a Judaic sect into something else. Scott, on the other hand, says it was integral to Jesus ministry, that his striking parable envisions something far greater than sectarian communities, that salvation is offered to anyone. Therefore, historical reliability entails a theological consequence, a feature not present in Scott's work.
The Jesus Seminar material should include, without contradiction, a reference to their method and sources. I note the presence of "red" and "pink" voting, why not their considered sources? We have no idea to what extent the heretical work had on their dispositions. It is a courtesy to orthodox readers who may not know who the Jesus Seminar is, but sure as heck will know canon works.
The issue of bible is purely one of definition. Are all contemporaneous works considered biblical? Is Josephus 's "Jewish Wars" part of the bible? Thats the point, what is the definition of bible? A biblical study of a parable is by definition biblical. While since Martin Luther there are differences between Catholic and protestant canon, these are well understood and historically defined and orthodox in theology. WHy not rename the wikibible to wikiJesus project? Apocryphal works are not banned but must be noted as such. They are commonly used in biblical translation in order to establish models for meaning and usage but are not considered biblical; biblical has a theological requirement: orthodoxy. I cannot imagine why an encyclopedia entry would seek to redefine something so basic and universal as the idea of "biblical". Yet, the JS uses apocraphyl works as if they were. If "liberal" editors choose to liberalize the definition of bible, then let it be explicit, so that the ordinary enquirer can judge for themselves if the entry is worth considering.Pottergreen (talk) 21:50, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I believe we are unlikely to agree about Scott, and it might be best to wait for the RfC process.
If you have general problems with the way WP:Wikiproject Bible refers to the Jesus Seminar, you should take that up on the project talk page, because it would affect a large number of articles. Explaining who they are is a task for the Jesus Seminar article, which refers to some of the notable criticism of their work. However, their use of Thomas in other contexts is not really a valid criticism of their conclusions here. -- Radagast3 (talk) 23:43, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
I assume the same would apply for references to the Koran or Tanakh? Is there some debate about what those refer to? If the Jesus Seminar is cited, their methodology and sources are relevant.Pottergreen (talk) 18:34, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Their methodology in this case did not involve the Gospel of Thomas. General comments about them belong in the Jesus Seminar article. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:18, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
What proof do you have they did not use Thomas? I provided a cited source enumerating the Gospel of Thomas. Scott in his particular work we have been debating does not, as far as that chapter goes. But the reference to Jesus Seminar was not part of the Scott paragraph.Pottergreen (talk) 21:18, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
They did not use Thomas because this is not a parable with a parallel in Thomas. In any case, you would have had to have provided a source specifically supporting their use of Thomas in this parable. -- Radagast3 (talk) 21:47, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
ANd you have a quote to back up this opinion that they did not use the Gospel of Thomas despite the fact it has been noted they did as part of their general approach? They refer to that work as part of their investigation of Jesus sayings. They considered the gospels to be only 20% accurate to Jesus sayings. Its a simple fact and key to their notoriety. You not only purport to prove a negative without any evidence, you expect me to prove they did with an impossible criteria. I have the quoted reference; if you have rebuttal, then lets see it in writing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pottergreen (talkcontribs) 18:49, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
If there is no source specifically supporting their use of Thomas for this parable, its not relevant to this article. -- Radagast3 (talk) 22:53, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

RfC: Historical reliability (now "Authenticity")[edit]

The dispute above would benefit from additional input. They key points, as I understand them, are:

  • Whether this article should be more concise, containing only "relevant information"
  • Whether the article in its current form follows WP:NPOV
  • Whether the "Historical reliability" section accurately represents the opinions of Bernard Brandon Scott and John Calvin
  • What the best structure of the article should be. -- Radagast3 (talk) 03:23, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Comment: As it stands, the section on "Historical reliability" is neutral and balanced. I do think "Authenticity" would be a better heading, since it is also about the authenticity of the context. To say Scott "questions the authenticity of the parable's context" does indeed seem like a fair summary of his view. On the other hand, the Calvin quotations are confusing ("they are not the same... yet I do not dispute that it may be the same narrative") and I don't think the last paragraph in the section ought to be included. The Snodgrass quote is fine, and ought to be incorporated into the preceding paragraph. StAnselm (talk) 00:53, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the input! How about:
Differences between the gospels suggest that Luke is referring to a different episode from Mark and Matthew,* and Klyne Snodgrass writes that "While one cannot exclude that Luke has joined two originally separate narratives, evidence for this is not convincing."*
-- Radagast3 (talk) 09:22, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
StAnselm has not addressed the serious issue of Scott's view on the issue of "neighbour"; the quote construction attributes a false position. The use of vague arguments like "seems like a fair summary" pales in comparison to an assessment that requires "chapter and verse".Pottergreen (talk) 18:50, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
StAnselm has endorsed the existing wording of the article, and suggested changes which I will implement. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:20, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I am happy with those changes. StAnselm (talk) 02:49, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
That is unfortunate, as the Scott material i) distorts his position on neighbour and ii) trivializes it. Scott believes the issue of neighbour to be profound; you rendered it a banality questioning the parables authenticity. Another problem with the wording is your writing style, much like your rendering of Scott. I recommend reading examples of professional encyclopedic references to improve your "wording".Pottergreen (talk) 21:36, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Pottergreen, maybe you could be constructive and write up your version of what the Scott paragraph should say. Leadwind (talk) 22:17, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
  • The article isn't too long, but it has way to many long blockquotes. Read a good encyclopedia and you'll see that such block quotes are rare. Instead, we should summarize the block quotes and put the quotes themselves in the footnotes.
  • The article is pretty close to NPOV. Judging by the discussions on this page, sources that don't align well with orthodox Christianity are getting maligned. I'm thinking here Vermes and Jesus Seminar. But overall the article's not bad.
  • I'm not familiar with Scott, but he seems to be in line with the JS, which considers the parable and the question of who one's neighbor is to have been joined editorially by Luke. Is Calvin even in this section?
  • The structure of the article seems OK.

Leadwind (talk) 21:49, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the input. There was a Calvin quote, but it was cut at StAnselm's suggestion. -- Radagast3 (talk) 21:55, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Is that it for the RfC? -- Radagast3 (talk) 12:56, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Vermes, Sanders, and Jesus Seminar[edit]

It's not clear why people are hating on Geza Vermes. I prefer Sanders over Vermes, but Vermes is one of the top names and voices in contemporary Jesus scholarship. Sanders may be the only person who outranks him in this regard. This article refers to plenty of scholars who are nowhere near as notable as Vermes. Vermes is cited as an important voice both by Theissen (university textbook) and by Sanders (Encyclopedia Britannica).

E P Sanders is probably the number one expert on historical Jesus in the world. He's the guy that Encyclopedia Britannica chose to write their article on Jesus. If he's not notable, who is? He says that the parable is legit, and this article should cite him saying so. Sanders is cited as an important voice both by Theissen (university textbook) and by Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Jesus Seminar is hated mostly because they say loudly and publicly the very same things that scholars teach in the confines of academia: that the gospels contain all manner of inventions, elaborations, contradictions, and revisions. Yes, they investigate gospels without regard to sectarian opinions, but that's exactly what scholars using the historical-critical method do. The historical-critical method has become nearly universal in secular academia, as well as dominant in mainline seminaries. It is mainstream. The seminar's disrespect for canonical boundaries isn't a violation of good scholarship, it's an entry requirement. The seminar's co-founder, Crossan, is another notable voice in Jesus scholarship (per Theissen and Sanders), and fellows Funk, Harris, Borg, etc. are also notable.

I'm sure it must be hard when top-name scholars say things that contradict one's cherished beliefs, but WP policy is that we stick to what the experts say, even if some editors don't like it. Leadwind (talk) 22:02, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

The article has had a lot of back-and-forth from editors with different points of view, and in the past it's oscillated back and forth a little between "liberal" and "conservative" opinions. I would like to see the article stabilise on an WP:NPOV balance. I think that requires including the (clearly notable) Jesus Seminar opinion (with Scott as a notable representative of the JS, given his book Hear Then the Parable), as well as the opposing points of view from other experts.
Vermes and Sanders were both in there once, and I'm not sure who removed them. Looking back through the history, I think Vermes' role gradually shrunk because his position was so similar to that of Halévy (not surprising, since they both have the same religious affiliation). I think somebody cut Sanders back because he was quoted as simply saying Jesus' ethics were good, not quoted as saying anything about authenticity. -- Radagast3 (talk) 22:29, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Vermes' opinion is notable on its own because it's contemporary, because Vermes is a notable source, and because he provides an argument different from Helevy's: that Jesus didn't like Samaritans (despite what the authors of Luke and John said). Vermes gets cited a lot, but mostly it's for historical background, not original arguments. Sanders says not only that the parable is authentic but that it is in line with Jesus' ethics. Maybe we could do a short point-counterpoint. Vermes says it's not authentic because (he says) Jesus didn't like Samaritans; Sanders says it is authentic because it's in line with Jesus' open-hearted ethics. The issue of whether Jesus liked Samaritans is an open one in contemporary scholarship, and this parable is bound up in that debate. Showing how this parable plays into these debates would fit the perfect article guidelines, which say we should examine the topic from every encyclopedic angle.
My comments were not just about whether these sources are included but about how they don't deserve the criticism that they're subjected to here on the talk page. Leadwind (talk) 23:07, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
You're right: whether Jesus liked Samaritans is a different point from Halévy's (one that could go under "Authenticity" or "Jesus and Samaritans", for that matter). I do remember reading the cited book by Vermes, though, and it was mostly an assertion, without much in the way of reasoning. There may be a more detailed Vermes reference that could be cited. Do you know of one?
As to the talk page, I don't think the editors deserve the criticism that they're subjected to either. -- Radagast3 (talk) 23:34, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

FTR, here's the Vermes and Sanders information that was cut.

[[Geza Vermes]], an important voice in contemporary research into historical Jesus,<ref name = "TM1998 1">Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition). Chapter 1. Quest of the historical Jesus. p. 1-16</ref> considers the parable inauthentic. He acknowledges that the theme of loving-kindness is typical of Jesus, but Vermes regards the parable as not authentic because Jesus, in his estimation, disliked Samaritans.<ref name="Vermes 427">Vermes, Geza. The authentic gospel of Jesus. London, Penguin Books. 2004. p. 427.</ref> Matthew, for example, quotes Jesus as telling his disciples not to preach in pagan or Samaritan towns.<ref name="Vermes 152"/> However, the [[Gospel of John]] depicts Jesus interacting with a [[Jesus' interactions with women#The woman at the well in Samaria|Samaritan woman]],<ref name="Ellisen">Stanley A. Ellisen, ''[ Parables in the Eye of the Storm: Christ's Response in the Face of Conflict]'', Kregel Publications, 2001, ISBN 0825425271, p. 142: "Though the Jews of Jesus' day had no time for the 'half-breed' people of Samaria, Jesus never spoke disparagingly about them. He led the Samaritan woman of John 4 to believe, with the result that she won much of her city to Jesus. Later He healed a Samaritan leper who alone returned to thank Him."</ref> and Luke depicts Jesus healing a [[Cleansing ten lepers|Samaritan leper]].<ref name="Ellisen"/> Vermes concludes that such references result from early Christian editing.<ref name="Vermes10">Vermes, Geza. The authentic gospel of Jesus. London, Penguin Books. 2004. Chapter 10: Towards the authentic gospel. p. 370-397.</ref>

[[E.P. Sanders]], also an important representative of historical Jesus scholarship,<ref name = "TM1998 1"/> identifies the parable, along with other parables in Luke and with the Sermon on the Mount, as exemplifying Jesus' ethics.<ref name = "Sanders p6"/> These ethics have won nearly universal praise.<ref name = "Sanders p6"/> Even those who are at odds with organized religion, such as Thomas Jefferson, have looked to this parable and related material as summarizing authentic religion.<ref name = "Sanders p6"/>

Thanks for the time machine. I get the feeling Vermes is a minority pov in "historical Jesus" scholarship on Jesus and Samaritans, because if you discount what the gospels say, there is really no evidence on the topic at all. John P. Meier may give a better view of "historical Jesus" scholarship on the topic (see my just recently added citation). He argues that the Matthew passage is the least reliable of the gospel passages on the subject. In any case, the main discussion on Jesus and Samaritans should probably be in the section specifically on that topic, with maybe a brief sentence in "Authenticity" referring back to that discussion. I'm not sure how such a sentence should read, though. Perhaps something like "Arguments for and against authenticity have also been made based on Jesus' view of Samaritans, as discussed above", although I don't really like that wording, and could live with not having the sentence at all.
BTW, if I remember correctly, I was the one who deleted the claim "Vermes concludes that such references result from early Christian editing," because I couldn't find such a statement anywhere in the cited 28-page block of his book.
I'm not entirely happy with that Sanders para either, since "identifies the parable ... as exemplifying Jesus' ethics" doesn't actually state an opinion either way on authenticity. There may be something more detailed elsewhere in his book, or in some of his other writings, however. -- Radagast3 (talk) 00:40, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Halevy section?[edit]

The authenticity section starts with reference to a scholar from 100 years ago, Joseph Halévy. Why? We have a major, contemporary scholar (Vermes) whose opinion that Jesus didn't say this parable has been cut out from this section. Why prefer the 100YO source to a contemporary one? I don't mind keeping Halevy (esp. as he's way better than the JE, which was quoted in an early version of this article), but Vermes outranks him on the notability scale, so let's include Vermes as well.

Also, the William C. Placher citation is well-meant but off-base. Placher is referring to whether the good Samaritan story ever really happened. Halevy (like Vermes) isn't saying that the event never happened, he's saying that Jesus never told that parable. Placher's insistence that a parable should be understood as a parable has no bearing on the argument that Jesus never told this parable. Placher's rejoinder is actually a non sequitur. Leadwind (talk) 22:28, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

One reason for including Halévy is that so many books on the parable mention him; he's probably more notable than Vermes in that sense. Some mention Halévy to agree with him, and some to disagree with him, but almost everyone seems to mention him.
Vermes is still cited in the article, though -- seven times, which is more than any other source except Scott.
The Placher citation was from Pottergreen, but if I can speak for him, I think it relates to Halévy's suggestion that a Samaritan travelling down the road was implausible. Another editor strongly endorsed the inclusion of the quote; I'm not 100% wild about it myself, since it's really just a throwaway line in a very short article, but lean towards retaining it. -- Radagast3 (talk) 22:40, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
That's a fair point on why we include Halevy, and I now agree we should include him. Placher is beside the point. Halvey's criticism is that it's weird for a parable to be about a Samaritan on the Judean road, and that's true even if we accept that the parable isn't history. The Placher source says it's silly to worry about whether the good Samaritan story ever happened, but Halevy isn't arguing about that, so Placher is off-target. I understand that certain editors prefer Christian sources for Christian articles, but even they need to play by the rules. Leadwind (talk) 23:12, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I can live with the Placher quote, personally, but won't fight to retain it. I would fight to retain the I. Howard Marshall quote, which is from a serious scholarly work. -- Radagast3 (talk) 23:40, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
The suggestion that the Placher quote is off-base is poorly reasoned. Leadwind says Halevy thinks the parable "weird", despite the fact it is a historical observation that forms the basis of Halevy's skepticism; in fact, we have little information on Halevy's actual position. Placher references the parable; he also makes it clear that a parable is a scenario, not an event. Looking for historical evidence to question a fictional scenario misunderstands its biblical genre. If told today, Jesus might have joked "ok, a priest and rabbi and a gay man walk into a bar..." and someones offers the Philistinian response "yeah right, as if they would walk into a bar together" Get it? People who make comments like that get a swat in the back of the head in slapstick comedy. Its the obvious objection, a clear and simple critique, described in terms of current scholarship (bible genres) and referenced from a scholarly source. Someone mentioned the historical critical method, which recognizes various genres in the bible, eg are the Psalms taken to be historical prose? How can you prove a negative - unless a transcript of the circumstances of the original is provided, what jJesus "really" said is an imaginary argument in the face of the gospels.
Someone once asked about a Jewish context. Judging by the JE references to Jesus, they view his soteriology as restricted to the chosen people, to Jews. That is the ineluctable conclusion of Halevy's argument. In the JE, salvation is only for Jews, Jesus numbering amoung them, Jesus referring only to them. The change to Samaritan means the early church intentionally altered the parable to offer salvation to non_jews. So Luke "liberalized" the parable. However, with Halevy argument, all we have is the "no Samaritan on that road" rule, a historical observation.
This is why I feel the this "authenticity" section tends to banality: yes, we can question whether there are Samaritans on that road, or if Luke mixed two narratives into one or if Jesus hated Samaritans. But all of these bits and pieces labour to one question: Who is saved? If it is by birth, what of the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself, and who then is your neighbour when only one amoung many loves you in return? And if they are not Jewish, then what? Editors who want Christian (and Jewish) sources endeavor to identify what all these facts refer to in their time, and they do not refer to 20th century atheist or secular conceptions of the supernatural or the reliability of the bible; Halevy is fighting an old battle: who is in and who is out.Pottergreen (talk) 18:33, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll leave you to discuss it with Leadwind. I can accept the Placher quote being retained, and I can accept it being deleted. -- Radagast3 (talk) 23:06, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Art and Popular Culture[edit]

One sentence states: An older coin with this theme is the US "Good Samaritan Shilling" of 1652.

What is the US here? Obviously the United States didn't exist in 1652, but perhaps there is some other explanation for this. (talk) 01:48, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

A clear anachronism; fixed. -- (talk) 14:30, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

I tried the links provided to Biblical Art on the WWW, but I can't can't a picture anywhere, just a list of works. If others also cannot access any artwork by these links, then I suggest they be removed so others like me don't waste a bunch of time due to misplaced trust that the links do what they promise. On the other hand, if others can access the artwork as advertised, then I will be happy and try again.Olorin3k (talk) 18:10, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Neighbor (or neighbour) either one ;-)[edit]

> 'Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?" > He said, "He who showed mercy on him."

This passage seems to suggest the Samaritan was the neighbor while the other two were not. The sentence "love thy neighbor as thyself" seems then to imply he (the victim of robbers) need only love the Samaritan and not the other 2, and similarly, since they were not the the victim's neighbor, did not have to love the victim. Then we are to love only those people who are neighbors to us (I don't mean physical neighbors), not everyone? Although true it does not say "do not love those who are not your neighbors" but it doesn't say to love them either. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:49, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

"Didactic story"?[edit]

An article should not contain undefined esoteric terms. "Didactic story" does not link to an explanation of the term, but to the "Parables of Jesus" page. So, for the lay reader, "didactic story" is a gobbledygook term that sheds more darkness than light on the topic of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77Mike77 (talkcontribs) 14:27, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

The Name of the Good Samaritan[edit]

Question what was the Good Samaritan's Name?2001:E68:5413:4C3C:988:99E4:8DE3:81C7 (talk) 13:46, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Entitling the Samaritan as "Good"?[edit]

How did we come to characterize him as good, since the term is never used of him in the text? Do we know the oldest historical reference to his being "good"? Two textual indicators are given, "compassion" and a 3-word phrase indicating covenant loyalty (regrettably mistranslated as "mercy," etc.). I ask because a major part of my academic writing and lecturing over the last several years has been on how the tripartite ποιεῖν + ἔλεος + μετά collocation always (cf. Luke 1:72) deals with loyalty to obligations regarding a preexistant covenantal relationship (in this Luke 10 case, obedience to the Lev 19:18 covenant stipulation of financial etc. assistance to a fellow Israelite). Olorin3k (talk) 12:24, 9 September 2016 (UTC)