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Re: Galatians chap. 1 (Was: Cult vs Sect)

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  • 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 1 of 23 , Aug 3 1:21 AM
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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 2 of 23 , Aug 3 7:17 AM
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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 3 of 23 , Aug 3 8:16 AM
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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 4 of 23 , Aug 3 9:59 AM
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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 5 of 23 , Aug 3 10:03 AM
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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 6 of 23 , Aug 3 10:47 AM
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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 7 of 23 , Aug 3 11:01 AM
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                  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 8 of 23 , Aug 3 1:03 PM
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                    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 9 of 23 , Aug 3 1:40 PM
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                      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 10 of 23 , Aug 3 2:32 PM
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                        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 11 of 23 , Aug 3 8:44 PM
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                          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 12 of 23 , Aug 4 12:20 AM
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                            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 13 of 23 , Aug 4 2:35 AM
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                              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 14 of 23 , Aug 4 6:31 AM
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                                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 15 of 23 , Aug 4 8:42 AM
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                                  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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