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Re: Galatians chap. 1

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  • BERNARD MULLER
    ... Yuri, did it occur to you that Paul was after the followers of the Group of Seven, who dispersed in the Diaspora (that would includes Damascus)? ...
    Message 1 of 23 , Aug 2, 1998
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      y.kuchinsky@... wrote:
      >
      > On Fri, 31 Jul 1998 PetersnICS@... wrote:
      >
      > [Mahlon:]
      > > <<If Paul is correct in claiming that there was no Christian gentile
      > > mission before his,
      >
      > Mahlon,
      >
      > Paul (or whoever authored those verses) cannot be correct about this.
      >
      > The matter is quite simple, really. It is hardly possible that there was
      > not a Christian gentile mission before Paul. Because Paul received his
      > call in Syria. But he could not be persecuting Christians in Syria if
      > there were not Christian missionaries in Syria already at that time!

      Yuri, did it occur to you that Paul was after the followers of the Group
      of Seven, who dispersed in the Diaspora (that would includes Damascus)?

      >
      > The balance of evidence indicates that Paul was not connected with
      > Jerusalem in any way when he became active as a persecutor of Christians

      Really? First you have to throw away Ac8:3 and Ac26:10-11. Then you have
      to ask: Why Gluke in Acts, which is very much pro-Pauline would invent
      something to make Paul look very bad by persecuting the "saints"?

      Bernard, au revoir
      http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
    • BERNARD MULLER
      ... If Paul had been persecuting the church of Jerusalem, you would not expect the persecutees (in hiding) to come face to face with the persecutor! ... By
      Message 2 of 23 , Aug 2, 1998
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        Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
        >

        > Correction accepted. Paul claims he did not "go up to Jerusalem" after
        > his revelation. But he never gives any indication that he had been
        > anywhere in Judea previously. In fact, three years later when he did go
        > to Jerusalem for a brief visit with Kephas & James, he claims he "was
        > still unknown by sight to the assemblies of Judea that are in Christ."
        > So his reference to persecuting & trying to destroy "the church of God"
        > is probably not a reference to activity in Judea.

        If Paul had been persecuting the church of Jerusalem, you would not
        expect the persecutees (in hiding) to come face to face with the
        persecutor!


        >
        > This calls into question Luke's description of Paul's persecution of
        > Judean Christians in Acts 8:3: "But Saul was ravaging the church by
        > entering house after house; dragging off both men and women he committed
        > them to prison." Unless he was masked, there would have been at least
        > some Judean Christians who would have known Paul by sight

        By that times, many if not all of these Greek Jews had fled to the
        Diaspora. Most of the one left were the Nazarenes and some new converts.

        IF Luke's 2nd
        > hand description of Paul's early career is accurate. Luke further
        > totally forgets to mention the mission to the Arabs, which Paul insists
        > was his first act as a Christian. And his picture of Paul deciding to
        > undertake a mission directly to the gentiles only after he was a
        > prisoner in Rome (Acts 28:28) completely contradicts Paul's own
        > testimony that this was his primary missionfield from the very first. In
        > short, Luke's portrait of Paul's career cannot be relied on as
        > historical fact. Paul's own testimony has to be primary in any
        > historical reconstruction of his career. That was my basic point.

        I agree with that. Paul's testimony comes first but a lot of Acts can be
        salvaged if it does not conflict with Paul's epistles and the obvious
        biases are taken out.

        >
        > > nor that he
        > > had had no contact with any partisans of Jesus the Messiah there, as
        > > Heitmüller has led uncounted numbers of NT scholars to think.
        >
        > On the contrary. Read Gal 1:22-23.

        This 2 verses surely indicates that Paul had been persecuting the
        churches in Judea. And Jerusalem is in Judea.

        >
        > > The passage says rather ...<snip>
        > > that Paul was personally
        > > unacquainted with "the EKKLHSIAI of Judea which are in Jesus Christ," broadly
        > > speaking.
        >
        > I think you have it backwards. Paul says *they* did not know even what
        > *he* looked like. Jerusalem was still in Judea when I last checked. So
        > someone is not exactly clear on the historical details. And my
        > historian's instincts tell that that someone is Luke rather than Paul.
        >

        Agreed

        > > That this does not mean that Paul was completely unknown to any
        > > Judean Messianists can be seen from 1:18–19, where Paul attests that he lodged
        > > with Peter a fortnight (EPEMEINA PROS AUTON hHMERAS DEKAPENTE) and during this
        > > time was introduced to James -- thus having personal contact with the two most
        > > prominent leaders of the Jerusalem EKKLHSIAI (the first two "pillars" listed
        > > in Gal 2:9).
        >
        > This happened 3 years *after* his revelation of the resurrected Jesus &
        > mission to Arabia. And he deliberately went to Jerusalem to seek out the
        > two most prominent Christian missionaries who could also claim to have
        > had a resurrection appearance (1 Cor 15:5-7). It was this vision that
        > brought these men together, not prior acquaintance. There is nothing in
        > this account that indicates Paul's prior presence or activity in Judea
        > or Jerusalem. IF he had been there 3 years earlier "ravaging the church"
        > as Luke says, someone must have had a short memory to not know what he
        > looked like.

        I do not agree as commented earlier.

        >
        > I wrote:
        >
        > > Is it likely that Paul would have characterized these
        > > traditions as "Judaism" if he was referring to an intra-Jewish attempt
        > > to get native Jews to join the Pharisaic party?
        >
        > Jeff replied:
        > >
        > <snip>
        > > Paul's statements
        > > in Gal 1:13–14 make good sense if his concern to preserve the Jewish way of
        > > life as practiced by the Pharisees led him to oppose the Messianists, whose
        > > practices or convictions involved what seemed to him unacceptable compromises
        > > -- the possible motives for such opposition ranging from the heterodoxy of
        > > venerating Christ as sharing divine prerogatives (which non-Messianists might
        > > well perceive as a compromise with pagan polytheism) to heteropraxy regarding
        > > prescriptions of the Torah regarded by the Pharisee Paul as essential to
        > > Judaism. No pre-call Pharisaic mission is required, or even intimated so far
        > > as I can see.
        >
        > Granted that Gal 1:13-14 does not refer to *any* mission *to* Damascus
        > (either to convert or to destroy, as Acts 9:1-2).

        If I was Paul, I would not give too many details about the days I
        persecuted the Church of Jerusalem. So, it would not be too surprising I
        skipped some details as where exactly the persecution took place.
        Furthermore, the Gentile Christian of Galatea were certainly reminded
        about Paul shameful early days by Judaizers and Jewish Christians,
        trying to depict him on a bad light. This is probably why Paul, in that
        letter, is briefly admitting about the persecution but then goes on in
        Gal1:21-24 to indicate that thanks to his missionary work in Cilicia and
        Syria, he had been forgiven by the same churches (of Judea) he
        persecuted. He redeemed himself, that's the whole point of Gal1:13-24.

        Gal 1:17, however,
        > infers that Paul's previous activity had been *at* Damascus rather than
        > in Judea.
        >
        > While there were Jews of various kinds at Damascus in the early 1st c.
        > CE, Damascus had been capital of a Nabataean (= gentile) province for
        > more than a century. So, unless Paul was a local Jew or traveling
        > merchant, something related to his Jewish zeal probably took him there.
        >
        > Luke claims that Saul(=Paul) went to Damascus as legate of the high
        > priest to arrest Christians & return them "bound" to Jerusalem. This
        > scenario is historically dubious for a number of reasons. Paul was a
        > Pharisee, the high priest a Sadducee. Collaboration was unlikely except
        > in cases of mutual interest involving the temple. The high priest in
        > Jerusalem had no jurisdiction to arrest Jews in territory governed by
        > Aretas IV. Luke fails to give the slightest hint of why Christians in
        > Damascus (rather than, say, Galilee) would have been wanted as criminals
        > in Jerusalem.

        The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
        condemn heretics. Then what if some of these heretics took refuge in
        Damascus? At the other end, what if someone who committed a crime in
        Damascus settled in Jerusalem? The solution? That some representatives,
        with letters of REQUEST would go in the other city, contact the local
        authorities who would review the REQUEST and agree or disagree.
        Agreement would encourage reciprocity arrangement and send the message
        to would be criminal, that wherever you take refuge, you can be arrested
        and brought back. Disagreement would occur if the charges are believed
        to be unfounded: You do not want your tax payer city folks to feel they
        can be arrested by some trumped up charge from afar!
        So I do not think it is unfounded that Paul got letters for arresting
        "heretics" in Damascus. By the way, the logical choice for those
        persecutees would be the followers of the Group of Seven who were
        dispersing in the Diaspora. And Damascus is part of the Diaspora cities.

        Bernard, au revoir
        http://ww.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
      • BERNARD MULLER
        Message 3 of 23 , Aug 2, 1998
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          >BERNARD MULLER wrote:
          >
          > >Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
          > >
          >
          > > Correction accepted. Paul claims he did not "go up to Jerusalem" after
          > > his revelation. But he never gives any indication that he had been
          > > anywhere in Judea previously. In fact, three years later when he did go
          > > to Jerusalem for a brief visit with Kephas & James, he claims he "was
          > > still unknown by sight to the assemblies of Judea that are in Christ."
          > > So his reference to persecuting & trying to destroy "the church of God"
          > > is probably not a reference to activity in Judea.
          >
          > If Paul had been persecuting the church of Jerusalem, you would not
          > expect the persecutees (in hiding) to come face to face with the
          > persecutor!
          >
          > >
          > > This calls into question Luke's description of Paul's persecution of
          > > Judean Christians in Acts 8:3: "But Saul was ravaging the church by
          > > entering house after house; dragging off both men and women he committed
          > > them to prison." Unless he was masked, there would have been at least
          > > some Judean Christians who would have known Paul by sight
          >
          > By that times, many if not all of these Greek Jews had fled to the
          > Diaspora. Most of the one left were the Nazarenes and some new converts.
          >
          > IF Luke's 2nd
          > > hand description of Paul's early career is accurate. Luke further
          > > totally forgets to mention the mission to the Arabs, which Paul insists
          > > was his first act as a Christian. And his picture of Paul deciding to
          > > undertake a mission directly to the gentiles only after he was a
          > > prisoner in Rome (Acts 28:28) completely contradicts Paul's own
          > > testimony that this was his primary missionfield from the very first. In
          > > short, Luke's portrait of Paul's career cannot be relied on as
          > > historical fact. Paul's own testimony has to be primary in any
          > > historical reconstruction of his career. That was my basic point.
          >
          > I agree with that. Paul's testimony comes first but a lot of Acts can be
          > salvaged if it does not conflict with Paul's epistles and the obvious
          > biases are taken out.
          >
          > >
          > > > nor that he
          > > > had had no contact with any partisans of Jesus the Messiah there, as
          > > > Heitmüller has led uncounted numbers of NT scholars to think.
          > >
          > > On the contrary. Read Gal 1:22-23.
          >
          > This 2 verses surely indicates that Paul had been persecuting the
          > churches in Judea. And Jerusalem is in Judea.
          >
          > >
          > > > The passage says rather ...<snip>
          > > > that Paul was personally
          > > > unacquainted with "the EKKLHSIAI of Judea which are in Jesus Christ," broadly
          > > > speaking.
          > >
          > > I think you have it backwards. Paul says *they* did not know even what
          > > *he* looked like. Jerusalem was still in Judea when I last checked. So
          > > someone is not exactly clear on the historical details. And my
          > > historian's instincts tell that that someone is Luke rather than Paul.
          > >
          >
          > Agreed
          >
          > > > That this does not mean that Paul was completely unknown to any
          > > > Judean Messianists can be seen from 1:18–19, where Paul attests that he lodged
          > > > with Peter a fortnight (EPEMEINA PROS AUTON hHMERAS DEKAPENTE) and during this
          > > > time was introduced to James -- thus having personal contact with the two most
          > > > prominent leaders of the Jerusalem EKKLHSIAI (the first two "pillars" listed
          > > > in Gal 2:9).
          > >
          > > This happened 3 years *after* his revelation of the resurrected Jesus &
          > > mission to Arabia. And he deliberately went to Jerusalem to seek out the
          > > two most prominent Christian missionaries who could also claim to have
          > > had a resurrection appearance (1 Cor 15:5-7). It was this vision that
          > > brought these men together, not prior acquaintance. There is nothing in
          > > this account that indicates Paul's prior presence or activity in Judea
          > > or Jerusalem. IF he had been there 3 years earlier "ravaging the church"
          > > as Luke says, someone must have had a short memory to not know what he
          > > looked like.
          >
          > I do not agree as commented earlier.
          >
          > >
          > > I wrote:
          > >
          > > > Is it likely that Paul would have characterized these
          > > > traditions as "Judaism" if he was referring to an intra-Jewish attempt
          > > > to get native Jews to join the Pharisaic party?
          > >
          > > Jeff replied:
          > > >
          > > <snip>
          > > > Paul's statements
          > > > in Gal 1:13–14 make good sense if his concern to preserve the Jewish way of
          > > > life as practiced by the Pharisees led him to oppose the Messianists, whose
          > > > practices or convictions involved what seemed to him unacceptable compromises
          > > > -- the possible motives for such opposition ranging from the heterodoxy of
          > > > venerating Christ as sharing divine prerogatives (which non-Messianists might
          > > > well perceive as a compromise with pagan polytheism) to heteropraxy regarding
          > > > prescriptions of the Torah regarded by the Pharisee Paul as essential to
          > > > Judaism. No pre-call Pharisaic mission is required, or even intimated so far
          > > > as I can see.
          > >
          > > Granted that Gal 1:13-14 does not refer to *any* mission *to* Damascus
          > > (either to convert or to destroy, as Acts 9:1-2).
          >
          > If I was Paul, I would not give too many details about the days I
          > persecuted the Church of Jerusalem. So, it would not be too surprising I
          > skipped some details as where exactly the persecution took place.
          > Furthermore, the Gentile Christian of Galatea were certainly reminded
          > about Paul shameful early days by Judaizers and Jewish Christians,
          > trying to depict him on a bad light. This is probably why Paul, in that
          > letter, is briefly admitting about the persecution but then goes on in
          > Gal1:21-24 to indicate that thanks to his missionary work in Cilicia and
          > Syria, he had been forgiven by the same churches (of Judea) he
          > persecuted. He redeemed himself, that's the whole point of Gal1:13-24.
          >
          > Gal 1:17, however,
          > > infers that Paul's previous activity had been *at* Damascus rather than
          > > in Judea.
          > >
          > > While there were Jews of various kinds at Damascus in the early 1st c.
          > > CE, Damascus had been capital of a Nabataean (= gentile) province for
          > > more than a century. So, unless Paul was a local Jew or traveling
          > > merchant, something related to his Jewish zeal probably took him there.
          > >
          > > Luke claims that Saul(=Paul) went to Damascus as legate of the high
          > > priest to arrest Christians & return them "bound" to Jerusalem. This
          > > scenario is historically dubious for a number of reasons. Paul was a
          > > Pharisee, the high priest a Sadducee. Collaboration was unlikely except
          > > in cases of mutual interest involving the temple. The high priest in
          > > Jerusalem had no jurisdiction to arrest Jews in territory governed by
          > > Aretas IV. Luke fails to give the slightest hint of why Christians in
          > > Damascus (rather than, say, Galilee) would have been wanted as criminals
          > > in Jerusalem.
          >
          > The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
          > condemn heretics. Then what if some of these heretics took refuge in
          > Damascus? At the other end, what if someone who committed a crime in
          > Damascus settled in Jerusalem? The solution? That some representatives,
          > with letters of REQUEST would go in the other city, contact the local
          > authorities who would review the REQUEST and agree or disagree.
          > Agreement would encourage reciprocity arrangement and send the message
          > to would be criminal, that wherever you take refuge, you can be arrested
          > and brought back. Disagreement would occur if the charges are believed
          > to be unfounded: You do not want your tax payer city folks to feel they
          > can be arrested by some trumped up charge from afar!
          > So I do not think it is unfounded that Paul got letters for arresting
          > "heretics" in Damascus. By the way, the logical choice for those
          > persecutees would be the followers of the Group of Seven who were
          > dispersing in the Diaspora. And Damascus is part of the Diaspora cities.
          >
          > Bernard, au revoir
          > http://ww.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
        • Lewis Reich
          ... Do we have any source indicating that this was so besides inferences from Paul? Any indication that the Temple priesthood cared about heresy? Lewis Reich
          Message 4 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
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            On 2 Aug 98, at 20:55, BERNARD MULLER wrote:

            > The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
            > condemn heretics.

            Do we have any source indicating that this was so besides inferences from
            Paul? Any indication that the Temple priesthood cared about heresy?

            Lewis Reich
            LBR@...
          • Bob Schacht
            ... The term heresy is fraught with too much post-Irenaean baggage. The etymological basis of the term is _hairesis_, and simply meant a party or sect. Thus,
            Message 5 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
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              At 04:21 AM 8/3/98 -0400, Lewis Reich wrote:
              >On 2 Aug 98, at 20:55, BERNARD MULLER wrote:
              >
              >> The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
              >> condemn heretics.
              >
              >Do we have any source indicating that this was so besides inferences from
              >Paul? Any indication that the Temple priesthood cared about heresy?
              >
              >Lewis Reich
              >LBR@...
              >

              The term heresy is fraught with too much post-Irenaean baggage. The
              etymological basis of the term is _hairesis_, and simply meant a party or
              sect. Thus, Pharisees & Sadducees were _hairesis_, too, and the term
              originally was somewhat neutral. Besides, the term heresy requires an
              orthodox referent, a doctrinal norm. This loads the term because
              Christianity has been arguably more obsessive about doctrine than Judaism.

              Here is one case where I suspect Paul had a lot of influence, because his
              style seems to have frequently relied on a divide and conquer strategy
              (e.g. Acts 23:6-10), using doctrinal issues to fan the flames.

              There is much on "Heresy and Orthodoxy in the N.T." in the Anchor Bible
              dictionary.

              Bob
              "Is it not extraordinary to the point of being a miracle, that so loose
              and ill-constructed a narrative in an antique translation of a dubious
              text should after so many centuries still have power to quell and
              dominate a restless, opinionated, overexercised and undernourished,
              twentieth-century mind?"
              Malcolm Muggeridge _Jesus Rediscovered_ (1969), writing about
              the KJV New Testament -
            • Lewis Reich
              Let me rephrase my question in response to Bob s acute and helpful comments. Do we have any source indicating that the Sanhedrin had any interest in policing
              Message 6 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
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                Let me rephrase my question in response to Bob's acute and helpful
                comments. Do we have any source indicating that the Sanhedrin had any
                interest in policing the Jewish beliefs or practices, much less the power to do
                so in the diaspora? Especially given the wide divergence of beliefs and practice
                in evidence among the Pharisees, Essenes, and Saduccees?

                Lewis Reich
                LBR@...


                On 3 Aug 98, at 7:17, Bob Schacht wrote:

                > At 04:21 AM 8/3/98 -0400, Lewis Reich wrote:
                > >On 2 Aug 98, at 20:55, BERNARD MULLER wrote:
                > >
                > >> The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
                > >> condemn heretics.
                > >
                > >Do we have any source indicating that this was so besides inferences from
                > >Paul? Any indication that the Temple priesthood cared about heresy?
                > >
                > >Lewis Reich
                > >LBR@...
                > >
                >
                > The term heresy is fraught with too much post-Irenaean baggage. The
                > etymological basis of the term is _hairesis_, and simply meant a party or
                > sect. Thus, Pharisees & Sadducees were _hairesis_, too, and the term
                > originally was somewhat neutral. Besides, the term heresy requires an
                > orthodox referent, a doctrinal norm. This loads the term because
                > Christianity has been arguably more obsessive about doctrine than Judaism.
                >
                > Here is one case where I suspect Paul had a lot of influence, because his
                > style seems to have frequently relied on a divide and conquer strategy
                > (e.g. Acts 23:6-10), using doctrinal issues to fan the flames.
                >
                > There is much on "Heresy and Orthodoxy in the N.T." in the Anchor Bible
                > dictionary.
                >
                > Bob
                > "Is it not extraordinary to the point of being a miracle, that so loose
                > and ill-constructed a narrative in an antique translation of a dubious
                > text should after so many centuries still have power to quell and
                > dominate a restless, opinionated, overexercised and undernourished,
                > twentieth-century mind?"
                > Malcolm Muggeridge _Jesus Rediscovered_ (1969), writing about
                > the KJV New Testament -
                >
              • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
                ... This is indeed what I think, Bernard. ... Yes. ... And you will have to throw away Gal 1:22. One of these needs to be thrown out any way you look at it.
                Message 7 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
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                  On Sun, 2 Aug 1998, BERNARD MULLER wrote:
                  > y.kuchinsky@... wrote:

                  > > The matter is quite simple, really. It is hardly possible that there was
                  > > not a Christian gentile mission before Paul. Because Paul received his
                  > > call in Syria. But he could not be persecuting Christians in Syria if
                  > > there were not Christian missionaries in Syria already at that time!
                  >
                  > Yuri, did it occur to you that Paul was after the followers of the Group
                  > of Seven, who dispersed in the Diaspora (that would includes Damascus)?

                  This is indeed what I think, Bernard.

                  > > The balance of evidence indicates that Paul was not connected with
                  > > Jerusalem in any way when he became active as a persecutor of Christians
                  >
                  > Really?

                  Yes.

                  > First you have to throw away Ac8:3 and Ac26:10-11.

                  And you will have to throw away Gal 1:22. One of these needs to be thrown
                  out any way you look at it.

                  > Then you have to ask: Why Gluke in Acts, which is very much pro-Pauline
                  > would invent something to make Paul look very bad by persecuting the
                  > "saints"?

                  You misunderstand. Paul himself admitted more than once to persecuting
                  Christians. So Lk/Acts didn't need to "invent" that part. What Lk/Acts
                  invented was only Paul's early association with Jerusalem. But that was
                  very much in line with Lk's theological agenda. Do I need to explain this
                  for you also?

                  Yuri.
                • y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
                  ... Sam, What we can surmise from the Epistle to the Romans is that there were already a number of Christian groups in Rome when Paul was writing his letter.
                  Message 8 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
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                    On Sun, 2 Aug 1998, Sam Gibson wrote:
                    > Yuri:

                    > >>The matter is quite simple, really. It is hardly possible that there was
                    > >>not a Christian gentile mission before Paul. Because Paul received his
                    > >>call in Syria. But he could not be persecuting Christians in Syria if
                    > >>there were not Christian missionaries in Syria already at that time!

                    > Jim:
                    > >Further- there was a well established Church in Rome before Paul ever
                    > >arrived.
                    >
                    > Now I agree that there was movement away from ritual Judaism going on,
                    > but an established church in Rome to convert gentiles before Paul?!?

                    Sam,

                    What we can surmise from the Epistle to the Romans is that there were
                    already a number of Christian groups in Rome when Paul was writing his
                    letter. Since he doesn't mention any single leader of the Christian
                    community there, it seems like there was none. Paul is being very careful
                    around this issue of unity. Most likely there were a few groups, started
                    by various missionaries, that were at odds with each other.

                    This is further evidence, if any more were needed, that the Gentile
                    mission certainly was not started by Paul.

                    I understand that some commentators doubted that Paul could know so many
                    people in Rome personally by name as are mentioned in the last chapter of
                    Romans. Hence it was suggested that Ch. 16 was from some other letter. I
                    don't know about this myself. He could have known many of these people if
                    they went to Rome from other cities where Paul may have worked with them.

                    What strikes me as remarkable is that there are so many of Paul's
                    relatives in Rome if we accept Ch. 16 as authentic. Andronicus & Julia,
                    Herodion, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater -- all named as "relatives". And
                    even Paul's mother, herself! (16:13) What was going on down there? Paul's
                    relatives taking the city by storm? He must have come from a large
                    family...

                    Best,

                    Yuri.
                  • Bernard Muller
                    ... Here are my two bits: a) Romans was written in Corinth in early 58C.E. b) Many Jews were forced out of Rome by Claudius (49C.E.). Many of them settle in
                    Message 9 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
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                      y.kuchinsky@... wrote:
                      >
                      > On Sun, 2 Aug 1998, Sam Gibson wrote:
                      > > Yuri:
                      >
                      > > >>The matter is quite simple, really. It is hardly possible that there was
                      > > >>not a Christian gentile mission before Paul. Because Paul received his
                      > > >>call in Syria. But he could not be persecuting Christians in Syria if
                      > > >>there were not Christian missionaries in Syria already at that time!
                      >
                      > > Jim:
                      > > >Further- there was a well established Church in Rome before Paul ever
                      > > >arrived.
                      > >
                      > > Now I agree that there was movement away from ritual Judaism going on,
                      > > but an established church in Rome to convert gentiles before Paul?!?
                      >
                      > Sam,
                      >
                      > What we can surmise from the Epistle to the Romans is that there were
                      > already a number of Christian groups in Rome when Paul was writing his
                      > letter. Since he doesn't mention any single leader of the Christian
                      > community there, it seems like there was none. Paul is being very careful
                      > around this issue of unity. Most likely there were a few groups, started
                      > by various missionaries, that were at odds with each other.
                      >
                      > This is further evidence, if any more were needed, that the Gentile
                      > mission certainly was not started by Paul.
                      >
                      > I understand that some commentators doubted that Paul could know so many
                      > people in Rome personally by name as are mentioned in the last chapter of
                      > Romans. Hence it was suggested that Ch. 16 was from some other letter. I
                      > don't know about this myself. He could have known many of these people if
                      > they went to Rome from other cities where Paul may have worked with them.
                      >
                      > What strikes me as remarkable is that there are so many of Paul's
                      > relatives in Rome if we accept Ch. 16 as authentic. Andronicus & Julia,
                      > Herodion, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater -- all named as "relatives". And
                      > even Paul's mother, herself! (16:13) What was going on down there? Paul's
                      > relatives taking the city by storm? He must have come from a large
                      > family...
                      >
                      > Best,
                      >
                      > Yuri.

                      Here are my two bits:
                      a) Romans was written in Corinth in early 58C.E.
                      b) Many Jews were forced out of Rome by Claudius (49C.E.). Many of them
                      settle in Corinth (example: Aquila and Priscilla, Ac18:1-2)
                      c) There they got Christianized by Paul or others (example: Again Aquila
                      and Priscilla (Ac18:19)
                      d) After Claudius' death (54C.E.), many of them progressively, went back
                      to Rome (example: Again Aquila and Priscilla, Ro16:3).
                      e) Returning, they founded a Christian community in Rome.
                      Note: I cannot see how the names in the greeting of Ro16:3-15 would
                      refer to Paul's relatives. Also, I cannot believe that Ro:16 to be a
                      later addition.

                      Bernard, au revoir
                      http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/
                    • Mahlon H. Smith
                      ... Excellent clarification, Bob. One can argue, in fact, that heresy was officially *not* a legal offense in 1st c. Judaism since the Sanhadrin was composed
                      Message 10 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Bob Schacht wrote:
                        >
                        > At 04:21 AM 8/3/98 -0400, Lewis Reich wrote:
                        > >On 2 Aug 98, at 20:55, BERNARD MULLER wrote:
                        > >
                        > >> The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
                        > >> condemn heretics.
                        > >
                        > >Do we have any source indicating that this was so besides inferences from
                        > >Paul? Any indication that the Temple priesthood cared about heresy?
                        > >
                        > >Lewis Reich
                        > >LBR@...
                        > >
                        >
                        > The term heresy is fraught with too much post-Irenaean baggage. The
                        > etymological basis of the term is _hairesis_, and simply meant a party or
                        > sect. Thus, Pharisees & Sadducees were _hairesis_, too, and the term
                        > originally was somewhat neutral. Besides, the term heresy requires an
                        > orthodox referent, a doctrinal norm. This loads the term because
                        > Christianity has been arguably more obsessive about doctrine than Judaism.
                        >

                        Excellent clarification, Bob. One can argue, in fact, that "heresy" was
                        officially *not* a legal offense in 1st c. Judaism since the Sanhadrin
                        was composed of members of rival HAIRHSES. Not only plurality of ritual
                        observance was tolerated but plurality of beliefs (witness conflicting
                        opinions about judgment & resurrection).

                        The one doctrinal standard that was not compromisable is Israel's
                        worship of one God. But even that did not prevent a wide range of
                        tolerated interpretations well into the Christian era. The radical
                        ethical dualism of the Qumran sectarians which viewed the world through
                        Zoroastrian eyes of a war between the spirits of light & darkness
                        evidently influenced the theology of many conservative Jews including
                        some who became Christians. Philo Judaeus, who was official
                        representative of the Jewish community on more than one occasion,
                        repeatedly identifies the Logos as "a second god" (*deuteros theos*).
                        And Jewish speculation on mythic agents of God like Michael ("who is
                        like God") & Melchizedek ("my king is just") was rife in apocalyptic
                        circles & is found scattered through apocryphal literature of Judaic
                        origin. Even in rabbinic circles of the late 1st & 2nd c. CE there was a
                        divided opinion among leading tannaim (including Yohanan b. Zakkai & R.
                        Aqiba & R. Ishmael) over the "2 powers in heaven" controversy that
                        envisioned a divine agent other than YHWH himself as enthroned on high.
                        In fact, there is nothing in Luke's report of Stephen's final words ("I
                        see the heavens opened and the Son of Man *standing* at the right hand
                        of God!") that would have upset most Jews (as Acts 1:57 infers), since
                        it merely echoes OT texts. (The two powers controversy was about whether
                        anyone but YHWH himself could be *enthroned* in heaven, not about
                        whether it was proper for an anonymous humanoid agent to stand at God's
                        right hand).

                        The one issue that did divide early Christians from other Jews who
                        dabbled in such theological speculations was their identification of
                        that godlike cosmic agent with the Galilean Yeshu bar Yosef who had been
                        crucified under Pilate. But stictly speaking this is a historical rather
                        than a theological judgment & there is nothing that I know of in Jewish
                        sources that would indicate that this was regarded as grounds for the
                        charge of blasphemy.

                        Shalom!


                        Mahlon
                        --

                        *********************

                        Mahlon H. Smith,
                        Associate Professor
                        Department of Religion
                        Rutgers University
                        New Brunswick NJ

                        http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                      • Bernard Muller
                        ... Please note that Stephen appears to be paraphrasing part of The LORD said to my Lord, *Sit* at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for
                        Message 11 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                          >
                          > Bob Schacht wrote:
                          > >
                          > > At 04:21 AM 8/3/98 -0400, Lewis Reich wrote:
                          > > >On 2 Aug 98, at 20:55, BERNARD MULLER wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > >> The priests had the power, through the Sanhedrin, to arrest, judge and
                          > > >> condemn heretics.
                          > > >
                          > > >Do we have any source indicating that this was so besides inferences from
                          > > >Paul? Any indication that the Temple priesthood cared about heresy?
                          > > >
                          > > >Lewis Reich
                          > > >LBR@...
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > The term heresy is fraught with too much post-Irenaean baggage. The
                          > > etymological basis of the term is _hairesis_, and simply meant a party or
                          > > sect. Thus, Pharisees & Sadducees were _hairesis_, too, and the term
                          > > originally was somewhat neutral. Besides, the term heresy requires an
                          > > orthodox referent, a doctrinal norm. This loads the term because
                          > > Christianity has been arguably more obsessive about doctrine than Judaism.
                          > >
                          >
                          > Excellent clarification, Bob. One can argue, in fact, that "heresy" was
                          > officially *not* a legal offense in 1st c. Judaism since the Sanhadrin
                          > was composed of members of rival HAIRHSES. Not only plurality of ritual
                          > observance was tolerated but plurality of beliefs (witness conflicting
                          > opinions about judgment & resurrection).
                          >
                          > The one doctrinal standard that was not compromisable is Israel's
                          > worship of one God. But even that did not prevent a wide range of
                          > tolerated interpretations well into the Christian era. The radical
                          > ethical dualism of the Qumran sectarians which viewed the world through
                          > Zoroastrian eyes of a war between the spirits of light & darkness
                          > evidently influenced the theology of many conservative Jews including
                          > some who became Christians. Philo Judaeus, who was official
                          > representative of the Jewish community on more than one occasion,
                          > repeatedly identifies the Logos as "a second god" (*deuteros theos*).
                          > And Jewish speculation on mythic agents of God like Michael ("who is
                          > like God") & Melchizedek ("my king is just") was rife in apocalyptic
                          > circles & is found scattered through apocryphal literature of Judaic
                          > origin. Even in rabbinic circles of the late 1st & 2nd c. CE there was a
                          > divided opinion among leading tannaim (including Yohanan b. Zakkai & R.
                          > Aqiba & R. Ishmael) over the "2 powers in heaven" controversy that
                          > envisioned a divine agent other than YHWH himself as enthroned on high.
                          > In fact, there is nothing in Luke's report of Stephen's final words ("I
                          > see the heavens opened and the Son of Man *standing* at the right hand
                          > of God!") that would have upset most Jews (as Acts 1:57 infers), since
                          > it merely echoes OT texts.

                          Please note that Stephen appears to be paraphrasing part of "The LORD
                          said to my Lord, "*Sit* at my right hand, until I make your enemies a
                          footstool for your feet. The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from
                          Zion; You will rule in the midst of your enemies."" Ps110:1-2.
                          And many scholars would agree that Jesus as the "Son of Man" is a Jewish
                          Christians trademark:
                          Ps80:17-19: "Let your hand rest on the man of your right hand, the *Son
                          of Man* you have raised up yourself. Then we will not turn from you;
                          revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O Lord God
                          Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved."

                          I have to agree we will never know why Stephen got stoned but consider:
                          a) "The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large
                          number of priests became obedient to the faith." (Ac6:7).
                          In my HJ, I gave an explanation for that: Jesus' 7th year anniversary of
                          his crucifixion was approaching.
                          Obviously something was thought to be cooking. The other priests must
                          have felt threatened by such a big surge in numbers of a
                          sect/cult/religious group, right at their doorstep.
                          b) "Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the
                          Freedmen (as it was called) - Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria as well as
                          the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen
                          [in public!]," (Ac6:9)
                          c) Stephen got stoned to death.
                          d) " ... On that day [the same day as the stoning. Stephen must have
                          said something very blasphemous!] a great persecution broke out against
                          the church of Jerusalem, ..." (Ac8:1).

                          Bernard, au revoir.
                          http://www.concentric.net/~Mullerb/


                          (The two powers controversy was about whether
                          > anyone but YHWH himself could be *enthroned* in heaven, not about
                          > whether it was proper for an anonymous humanoid agent to stand at God's
                          > right hand).
                          >
                          > The one issue that did divide early Christians from other Jews who
                          > dabbled in such theological speculations was their identification of
                          > that godlike cosmic agent with the Galilean Yeshu bar Yosef who had been
                          > crucified under Pilate. But stictly speaking this is a historical rather
                          > than a theological judgment & there is nothing that I know of in Jewish
                          > sources that would indicate that this was regarded as grounds for the
                          > charge of blasphemy.
                          >
                          > Shalom!
                          >
                          > Mahlon
                          > --
                          >
                          > *********************
                          >
                          > Mahlon H. Smith,
                          > Associate Professor
                          > Department of Religion
                          > Rutgers University
                          > New Brunswick NJ
                          >
                          > http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                        • Bob Schacht
                          ... Thanks! ... I had toyed with the idea of introducing the term blasphemy into this thread, too. Of course, the doctrinal standard here is the Shema , and I
                          Message 12 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
                          • 0 Attachment
                            At 02:01 PM 8/3/98 -0400, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                            >Bob Schacht wrote:
                            >>
                            >> The term heresy is fraught with too much post-Irenaean baggage. The
                            >> etymological basis of the term is _hairesis_, and simply meant a party or
                            >> sect. Thus, Pharisees & Sadducees were _hairesis_, too, and the term
                            >> originally was somewhat neutral. Besides, the term heresy requires an
                            >> orthodox referent, a doctrinal norm. This loads the term because
                            >> Christianity has been arguably more obsessive about doctrine than Judaism.
                            >>
                            >
                            >Excellent clarification, Bob. ...

                            Thanks!

                            >
                            >The one doctrinal standard that was not compromisable is Israel's
                            >worship of one God.... Philo Judaeus, who was official
                            >representative of the Jewish community on more than one occasion,
                            >repeatedly identifies the Logos as "a second god" (*deuteros theos*).
                            >...
                            >The one issue that did divide early Christians from other Jews who
                            >dabbled in such theological speculations was their identification of
                            >that godlike cosmic agent with the Galilean Yeshu bar Yosef who had been
                            >crucified under Pilate. But stictly speaking this is a historical rather
                            >than a theological judgment & there is nothing that I know of in Jewish
                            >sources that would indicate that this was regarded as grounds for the
                            >charge of blasphemy.
                            >

                            I had toyed with the idea of introducing the term blasphemy into this
                            thread, too. Of course, the doctrinal standard here is the Shema', and I
                            think this has ALWAYS been the biggest problem dividing Jews and
                            Christians. I'll bet it was THE issue in the expulsion of the Christians
                            from the synagogues.

                            What is the difference between blasphemy and heresy? To say that Jesus'
                            contemporaries were concerned about blasphemy but not about heresy requires
                            that we be of clear mind about the difference. And I DO think they were
                            concerned about blasphemy:


                            Matthew 12:31
                            Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the
                            blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

                            Matthew 26:65
                            Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, "He has uttered blasphemy.
                            Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy.

                            Mark 2:7
                            "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but
                            God alone?"

                            Mark 14:64
                            You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all
                            condemned him as deserving death.

                            John 10:33
                            The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for
                            blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God."

                            Admittedly, these sources are later than Jesus. But four of the five record
                            accusations of blasphemy against *Jesus*, and the fifth is about blasphemy
                            against the holy spirit. I can see the fifth being an invention of the
                            church, but not all of the other four, which include two different
                            pericopes from Mark. I think there is a passage from the Mishnah that could
                            also be interpreted as a charge of blasphemy against Jesus, but I don't
                            have the reference at hand.

                            If this is not enough smoke to indicate some fire/truth that Jesus was
                            regarded (arguably) as guilty of blasphemy, it is at least enough to
                            attribute this charge to his early followers. And the importance of
                            blasphemy is indicated by its association in both Mark and Matthew with
                            Jesus' "trial" (or whatever it was) before the Jewish authorities
                            (Sanhedrin, or whoever they were).

                            But one final thought about heresy, and maybe Lewis can help us here: who
                            were the '(ha-)minim', what was their 'crime', and were they an issue in
                            the mid-first century, or only later?

                            Bob
                            *******************************
                            Robert M. Schacht
                            Northern Arizona University

                            Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
                            (Where charity and love are [found], God is there)
                            9th century latin hymn
                          • PetersnICS@aol.com
                            In light of the discussion of E. P. Sanders in _Judaism: Practice and Belief_, it is doubtful that any evidence attests a representative Jewish legislative and
                            Message 13 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
                            • 0 Attachment
                              In light of the discussion of E. P. Sanders in _Judaism: Practice and Belief_,
                              it is doubtful that any evidence attests a representative Jewish legislative
                              and judicial assembly with authority to determine orthodoxy and proscribe
                              heresy. Sanders holds that SYNEDRION, BOULH, and the like in the NT and
                              Josephus refer to ad hoc councils of the high priest's advisors called to deal
                              with difficult situations as they arose -- and more often than not (Sanders
                              suggests) to ratify the course of action that the high priest had already
                              determined to take.

                              For sorting out the verisimilitude of the Lucan account in Acts 8, the
                              question would then be what sort of relations obtained between the Jerusalem
                              temple heirarchy (with the high priest at the apex) and Diaspora Jewish
                              communities? What sort of leverage could the priesthood exercise outside the
                              temple precincts, and what would Diaspora synagogues be willing to do in order
                              to remain in favor with the Jerusalem priesthood?

                              Jeff Peterson
                              Institute for Christian Studies
                              Austin, Texas, USA
                              e-mail: peterson@...
                            • Lewis Reich
                              ... All necessary questions. Before the last, however, I would ask whether there was any need for [diaspora or other] synagogues to remain in favor with the
                              Message 14 of 23 , Aug 3, 1998
                              • 0 Attachment
                                On 3 Aug 98, at 17:32, Jeff Peterson wrote:


                                > For sorting out the verisimilitude of the Lucan account in Acts 8, the
                                > question would then be what sort of relations obtained between the Jerusalem
                                > temple heirarchy (with the high priest at the apex) and Diaspora Jewish
                                > communities? What sort of leverage could the priesthood exercise outside the
                                > temple precincts, and what would Diaspora synagogues be willing to do in order
                                > to remain in favor with the Jerusalem priesthood?

                                All necessary questions. Before the last, however, I would ask whether there
                                was any need for [diaspora or other] synagogues to remain in favor with the
                                Jerusalem priesthood.

                                Lewis Reich
                                LBR@...
                              • Mahlon H. Smith
                                ... I m sorry, Bob, you just lost me. How do you see the Shema as always...the biggest problem dividing Jews and Christians ? Is there any indication that a
                                Message 15 of 23 , Aug 4, 1998
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Bob Schacht wrote:
                                  >
                                  > I had toyed with the idea of introducing the term blasphemy into this
                                  > thread, too. Of course, the doctrinal standard here is the Shema', and I
                                  > think this has ALWAYS been the biggest problem dividing Jews and
                                  > Christians. I'll bet it was THE issue in the expulsion of the Christians
                                  > from the synagogues.

                                  I'm sorry, Bob, you just lost me. How do you see the Shema' as
                                  "always...the biggest problem dividing Jews and Christians"? Is there
                                  any indication that a Jewish Christian could not recite it? I can
                                  understand how the orthodox dogma of the Trinity would prevent an
                                  insurmountable obstacle; but that was not defined till Nicea & acc. to
                                  Athanasius more than half of then Christians were agin it precisely
                                  because they, like Arius, thought it compromised biblical monotheism.
                                  Where's the evidence that the Shema' figured in Christians' "expulsion"
                                  from synagogues? The expanded version of the *birkhat ha minim* in the
                                  Amidah probably had something to do with *preventing* Jewish Christians
                                  from participating in the synagogue liturgy. But I've always naively
                                  assumed that the few NT references to "expulsions" had to do more with
                                  official Jewish attempts to prevent Jewish Christians from using the
                                  local synagogues as a forum for their messianic propaganda (e.g., Luke
                                  (=Q?) 6:22, John 16:2, 1 Thess 2:15)? Do we have reason to suspect that
                                  there was even a single cause for diverse Christians being tossed out of
                                  synagogues scattered around the Mediterranean? Josephus seems to assume
                                  that the "tribe" of Jewish Christians was still very much part of the
                                  Jewish community near the end of the 1st c. CE. So I don't know quite
                                  what situation you were thinking of when you wrote this.
                                  >
                                  > What is the difference between blasphemy and heresy? To say that Jesus'
                                  > contemporaries were concerned about blasphemy but not about heresy requires
                                  > that we be of clear mind about the difference. And I DO think they were
                                  > concerned about blasphemy:

                                  Agreed. But the question is who accused whom of blasphemy first? You
                                  cite the Christian logion in Matt 12:31 which makes blasphemy of the HS
                                  the sole unforgiveable offense. Since the HS is a Jewish concept
                                  (witness DSS) referring to charismatic possession by YHWH this saying
                                  can be & has been interpreted as a Judeo-Christian confirmation of the
                                  the Shema' even though Mark interprets it as prompted by a slur against
                                  Jesus. Matt goes on to cite the Q variant of this logion (12:32) that
                                  pronounces a blanket pardon for anyone who bad mouths the SofM (read:
                                  Jesus); so I don't see how even the most anti-Christian Jew could find
                                  cuase for a blasphemy charge here.

                                  As for your 4 gospel references to Jewish charges that J blasphemed.
                                  These have to be reviewed individually rather than lumped together:
                                  1. Matt 26:65. A scene fabricated by Mark. Had J been found guilty of
                                  blasphemy he would have had to be held for stoning under Jewish law
                                  rather than turned over to the Romans for crucifixion.
                                  2. Mark 2:7. Another Markan invention that betrays his unfamiliarity
                                  with what constituted criminal blasphemy under Jewish law (disrepect to
                                  the sacred name; cf. Lev 24). Presumption to forgive someone's sins
                                  would have struck Jews as an act of unwarranted hubris. But it did not
                                  constitute blasphemy.
                                  3. Mark 14:64. The original source of Matt 26:55 (#1 above).
                                  4. John 10:33. This looks like a knowledgeable Jewish charge of
                                  blasphemy since the Judaeans prepare to stone J, the prescribed
                                  punishment for blasphemy. But again nothing in what John reports of J's
                                  claim of identity with "the Father" constitutes formal blasphemy since J
                                  did not utter the tetragrammaton. The *ego eimi* statements elsewhere in
                                  John *might* be construed as blasphemy IF (& only if) the Greek I AM
                                  translated the Hebrew *ehyeh* which was generally accepted as equivalent
                                  to YHWH on the basis of Ex 3:14. But GJohn never portrays Jewish
                                  opponents of J as considering any of these logia blasphemous.

                                  Conclusion: there is no reliable evidence that HJ was ever formally
                                  accused of blasphemy. Allegations to that effect in the gospels are
                                  EITHER part of the attempt of Mark & Matt to make Jewish rather than
                                  Roman authorities responsible for Jesus' death OR GJohn's retrojection
                                  of Jewish criticism of his own theology into the story of Jesus.

                                  >
                                  > If this is not enough smoke to indicate some fire/truth that Jesus was
                                  > regarded (arguably) as guilty of blasphemy, it is at least enough to
                                  > attribute this charge to his early followers.

                                  It is possible that blasphemy was a charge leveled against J's followers
                                  who deified him after his crucifixion. But please note that there is not
                                  one single instance in the NT where this is made explicit. So I suspect
                                  that the blasphemy charge against J was a product of the polemic between
                                  gentile Christians & Jews.

                                  Shalom!


                                  Mahlon


                                  --

                                  *********************

                                  Mahlon H. Smith,
                                  Associate Professor
                                  Department of Religion
                                  Rutgers University
                                  New Brunswick NJ

                                  http://religion.rutgers.edu/mhsmith.html
                                • Lewis Reich
                                  ... I ll have to disagree on the last two. I think that the doctrine of the trinity came to be the lightning rod, as it were, for Jewish objections to
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Aug 4, 1998
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    On 3 Aug 98, at 13:40, Bob Schacht wrote:

                                    > I had toyed with the idea of introducing the term blasphemy into this
                                    > thread, too. Of course, the doctrinal standard here is the Shema', and I
                                    > think this has ALWAYS been the biggest problem dividing Jews and
                                    > Christians. I'll bet it was THE issue in the expulsion of the Christians
                                    > from the synagogues.

                                    I'll have to disagree on the last two. I think that the doctrine of the trinity
                                    came to be the lightning rod, as it were, for Jewish objections to Christian
                                    teaching - the most prominent problem. However, I think that the earliest
                                    problem, and a more basic one, is the abrogation of the Torah ritual
                                    requirements, and especially circumcision. If there is any historical truth to
                                    the notion of early expulsion from the synagogue, I'll bet that was the issue.

                                    > What is the difference between blasphemy and heresy? To say that Jesus'
                                    > contemporaries were concerned about blasphemy but not about heresy requires
                                    > that we be of clear mind about the difference. And I DO think they were
                                    > concerned about blasphemy:

                                    The quotes adduced do of course show that there was likely a concern about
                                    blasphemy.

                                    > Admittedly, these sources are later than Jesus. But four of the five record
                                    > accusations of blasphemy against *Jesus*, and the fifth is about blasphemy
                                    > against the holy spirit. I can see the fifth being an invention of the
                                    > church, but not all of the other four, which include two different
                                    > pericopes from Mark.

                                    The question is, are the elements of blasphemy as recounted there truly the
                                    type of blasphemous utterance that really would have mattered to first-
                                    century Jews?

                                    > I think there is a passage from the Mishnah that could
                                    > also be interpreted as a charge of blasphemy against Jesus, but I don't
                                    > have the reference at hand.

                                    As I've mentioned before, although I am inclined to see the Mishna as
                                    preserving much authentic tradition from times considerably earlier that its
                                    redanction in the late second century CE, I am very skeptical of any mentions
                                    of Jesus in the Talmud reflecting authetic traditions independent of Christian
                                    sources.

                                    > If this is not enough smoke to indicate some fire/truth that Jesus was
                                    > regarded (arguably) as guilty of blasphemy, it is at least enough to
                                    > attribute this charge to his early followers.

                                    I'm not sure I understand this. Does the last sentence mean that you thyink
                                    that the early followers were accused of blasphemy? Or that the early
                                    followers suggested that he had been charged with blasphemy?

                                    > And the importance of blasphemy is indicated by its association in
                                    > both Mark and Matthew with Jesus' "trial" (or whatever it was)
                                    > before the Jewish authorities (Sanhedrin, or whoever they were).

                                    I'm inclined to think it was a highly informal consultation of the "major
                                    players" to try and decide what to do about the difficult situation rather than
                                    any kind of formal trial. It seems to me also, that the prominence of the
                                    blasphemy issue is equally well explained by the authors' need to find some
                                    offense that would plausibly cause the Jewish authorities to agitate for Jesus
                                    execution, but not offend Roman sensibilities.


                                    > But one final thought about heresy, and maybe Lewis can help us here: who
                                    > were the '(ha-)minim', what was their 'crime', and were they an issue in
                                    > the mid-first century, or only later?

                                    How many dissertations would you like me to assign me to write by the end of
                                    the week? :-)

                                    I'll address this in a separate post...

                                    Lewis
                                  • Bob Schacht
                                    ... Mahlon, What I had in mind was the Shema s insistence on one God vs. Paul s deification of Jesus as Lord . In the mind of Christians, we still consider
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Aug 4, 1998
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      At 03:20 AM 8/4/98 -0400, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                                      >Bob Schacht wrote:
                                      >>
                                      >> I had toyed with the idea of introducing the term blasphemy into this
                                      >> thread, too. Of course, the doctrinal standard here is the Shema', and I
                                      >> think this has ALWAYS been the biggest problem dividing Jews and
                                      >> Christians. I'll bet it was THE issue in the expulsion of the Christians
                                      >> from the synagogues.
                                      >
                                      >I'm sorry, Bob, you just lost me. How do you see the Shema' as
                                      >"always...the biggest problem dividing Jews and Christians"?

                                      Mahlon,
                                      What I had in mind was the Shema's insistence on "one God" vs. Paul's
                                      deification of Jesus as "Lord". In the mind of Christians, we still
                                      consider ourselves monotheistic, but it doesn't look that way to many Jews.
                                      But perhaps I'm guilty of retrojection.

                                      >Is there any indication that a Jewish Christian could not recite it?

                                      You raise the valid point that first Century Christianity was diverse, and
                                      not all of them exalted Jesus as "Lord" the way Paul did. To Jewish
                                      Christians of the Ebionite persuasion, if I remember correctly, Jesus was
                                      not "Lord" in the same sense as Paul's.

                                      Any Christian, myself included, can say the Shema' with conviction.
                                      However, any Christian who, like Paul, proclaims Jesus as Lord would have
                                      trouble with other Jews because of THEIR understanding of the Shema'. That
                                      was the thought, anyway.

                                      I found your dismissal of all the 'blasphemy' texts in my post
                                      unconvincing. I shall have to re-read your analysis when I have more time
                                      to see if I can explain why.

                                      Thanks,
                                      Bob
                                      Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
                                      (Where charity and love [are found], God is there.)
                                      -9th century latin hymn, revived by the Taize community
                                    • Mark Goodacre
                                      ... I am not so sure that you are. Tom Wright wrote an excellent article on the Shema lying behind 1 Cor. 8.6 in an explicitly monotheistic vs. polytheistic
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Aug 4, 1998
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        On 4 Aug 98 at 6:31, Bob Schacht wrote:

                                        > At 03:20 AM 8/4/98 -0400, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                                        > >Bob Schacht wrote:
                                        > >>
                                        > >> I had toyed with the idea of introducing the term blasphemy into this
                                        > >> thread, too. Of course, the doctrinal standard here is the Shema', and I
                                        > >> think this has ALWAYS been the biggest problem dividing Jews and
                                        > >> Christians. I'll bet it was THE issue in the expulsion of the Christians
                                        > >> from the synagogues.
                                        > >
                                        > >I'm sorry, Bob, you just lost me. How do you see the Shema' as
                                        > >"always...the biggest problem dividing Jews and Christians"?
                                        >
                                        > Mahlon,
                                        > What I had in mind was the Shema's insistence on "one God" vs. Paul's
                                        > deification of Jesus as "Lord". In the mind of Christians, we still
                                        > consider ourselves monotheistic, but it doesn't look that way to many Jews.
                                        > But perhaps I'm guilty of retrojection.

                                        I am not so sure that you are. Tom Wright wrote an excellent article on the
                                        Shema' lying behind 1 Cor. 8.6 in an explicitly monotheistic vs. polytheistic
                                        context:

                                        " . . . 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 whome we exist."

                                        Wright argues in _The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law
                                        in Pauline Theology_ (Edinburgh: T & T Clarke, 1991) that Paul is here
                                        "bifurcating" the Shema -- stressing one God yet identifying the one God as
                                        "Father" and "Lord Jesus Christ". Deut. 6 is undoubtedly in view in the
                                        context -- witness 1 Cor. 8.4, for example.

                                        All the best

                                        Mark
                                        --------------------------------------
                                        Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
                                        Dept of Theology Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7512
                                        University of Birmingham Fax: +44 (0)121 414 6866
                                        Birmingham B15 2TT
                                        United Kingdom

                                        Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
                                        World Without Q: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q
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