2. 26 October 1984
Such a good essay. Of course the logic of pragmatism (once it is pointed out) requires that the first documents are circular instructions and the like, followed by background notes, policy
statements, etc. So Epistles preceded Gospels, and what's more the categories are conceptually quite separate, because serving wholly distinct purposes. All this implies, interestingly, a pre‑existing private office (with, as you might call them, ministers) and some sort of secretariat. What was the likeliest nexus and focus, I wonder? How about Jesus's brother?
I liked the reminder about the writing in the sand. The same is said of Socrates. I suppose the Levantine deserts were like vast unbroken sheets of paper, written on only by the wind. At least Shakespeare, son of a smallholder and stock farmer, had sheepskin not parchment. And one could always pick up a quill or two (literally); dirt cheap. And what were the scriptures written on, in and with, I wonder? Why didn't they all speak Greek, incidentally, from the beginning? Who needs Aramaic? Might not Jesus himself as an educated person (and indeed infant prodigy) have spoken some Greek?
I very much liked too the marshalling of data in orderly sequence, as an essential preliminary, without preconception. I'm not sure though that Church usage is much of a criterion. I see you place it last in your list.
I enjoyed too the forthright denunciation of Revelations as lunatic ravings. I think its author must have been a Baconian.