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Re: [XTalk] RE: Thess. Correspondence (was: 2nd Century Christianity)

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  • Frank McCoy
    Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 21:15:18 -0400 Subject: [XTalk] RE: 2nd Century Christianity (Snip) (David Hindley) RSV 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any
    Message 1 of 104 , Aug 6, 2002
      Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 21:15:18 -0400
      Subject: [XTalk] RE: 2nd Century Christianity

      (Snip)

      (David Hindley)
      RSV 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any
      way; for that day will
      not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the
      man of lawlessness is
      revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and
      exalts himself against
      every so-called god or object of worship, so that he
      takes his seat in the
      temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

      I take this to be an allusion to the attempt by the
      emperor Gaius (Caligula)
      to erect his statue in the temple in Jerusalem, events
      which occurred about
      39-40 CE. This passage is part of the underlying text
      as I see it.


      Dear David Hindley:

      But the statue never was erected in the Jerusalem
      temple. Further, there is
      no evidence (to my knowledge) that Gaius claimed to be
      a higher deity than
      any other object of worship, e.g., Jupiter.

      More likely, I suggest, the Man of Lawlessness is
      Simon Magus.

      Let us look at II Thess 2:3-10, [Let] not anyone
      deceive you in any way
      because, unless first comes the Apostasy and the Man
      of Lawlessness, the Son
      of Destruction, be revealed--the one setting himself
      against and exalting
      himself above all being called God or an object of
      worship--so as [for] him
      to sit in the temple of God, presenting himself that
      he is God. Do you not
      remember that, [while] yet being with you, these
      things I was telling you?
      And, now, the One Holding Him Back you know, for him
      (i.e., the Man of
      Lawlessness) to be revealed in his own time. For
      already is working the
      Mystery of Lawlessness, only [there is the] One
      Holding Back right now,
      until out of [the] midst (of humanity) he (i.e., the
      One Holding Back) is
      gone. And then will be revealed the Lawless One, whom
      the Lord will consume
      with the breath of his mouth and will destroy by the
      appearance of the
      coming of him: who is coming according to the working
      of Satan with all
      power and signs and wonders of falsehood and with
      every deception of
      unrighteousness for the ones being destroyed, because
      the love of the Truth
      they did not accept for them to be saved."

      Who is this Man of Lawlessness (who is also the Son of
      Destruction), who is
      already in the world and who will, once the One
      Holding Him Back dies,
      become active and deceive the unrighteous?

      Well, it certainly doesn't sound like he is Gaius, who
      had no one
      restraining him and who was very active while he was
      Caesar!

      He could, though, be Simon Magus.

      There is evidence that Simon, like the Man of
      Lawlessness, exalted himself
      above any other divine being. So, in the Clementine
      Homilies (Homily II,
      Chap. XXII), it is stated, Simon Magus "wishes to be
      accounted a certain
      supreme power, greater even than the God who created
      the world."

      There is evidence that Simon, like the Man of
      Lawlessness, claimed, as the
      supreme object of worship, to be God. According to
      Justin (see Eusebius,
      History, Book II, Sect. 13), the people of Rome,
      during the reign of
      Claudius, erected a statue with the inscription,
      "Simoni Deo Sancto (To
      Simon, the holy God)".

      In this case, the One Holding Him Back is undoubtedly
      Claudius--who I do not
      think would have tolerated anyone running around Rome
      and claiming to be the
      Supreme Being, and so would likely have imprisoned
      Simon in order to
      effectively silence him (compare how Herod Antipas
      initially tried to
      silence John the Baptist by imprisoning him)

      There is evidence that Simon, like the Man of
      Lawlessness, planned to take
      over the temple of God. So, according The Clementine
      Homilies (Ibid.), he
      promised his followers that their statues would be
      placed in the temple.

      Too, that the Man of Lawlessness will perform signs
      and wonders once the One
      Holding Him Back dies also suggests that he is Simon,
      who was surnamed Magus
      (Magician) and had a reputation as a wonderworker
      (Acts 8:9). Conversely,
      as far as I know, Gaius did not have a reputation as a
      performer of signs
      and wonders.

      So, to summarize, there is evidence that, in II Thess.
      2:3-10, the Man of
      Lawlessness is Simon Magus and that the One Holding
      Him Back is Claudius:
      with it being predicted that, once Claudius dies, then
      Simon Magus, deluding
      people with signs and wonders, will take over the
      temple of God and claim,
      there, to be the Supreme Being

      Further, this fits well with the dating of II Thess.
      to c. 51 CE--for
      Claudius didn't die until 54 CE.

      In this case, with the Man of Lawlessnes being Simon,
      the temple of God the
      Man of Lawlessness planned to take over would probably
      have been the small
      one, built by Herod the Great, in the Samaritan city
      of Sebaste.

      First, while statues were forbidden in the Jerusalem
      temple, they were
      permitted in the Sebaste temple: for, when it was
      excavated, a large
      fragment of a marble statue of a Roman Emperor was
      found close to the altar.
      So, that Simon apparently promised his followers that
      their statues would be
      placed in the temple suggests that he had the Sebaste
      temple in mind.

      Second, Simon was a Samaritan who, hence, probably did
      not recognize the
      Jerusalem temple but probably did recognize the
      Sebaste temple.

      Did Simon, as predicted, take over the Sebaste temple
      after the death of
      Claudius and, there, proclaim himself the Supreme
      Being? Unfortunately, we
      don't know the answer: for we haven't the faintest
      idea what sorts of
      activities went on at the Sebaste temple between 51 CE
      and its destruction
      by the Jews in the revolt of 66-70 CE! So, it'll have
      to remain one of
      life's little mysteries as to whether this prophecy
      found fulfillment.

      Incidentally, ISTM, the author of II Thess. 2:3-10 is
      not Paul but
      Silvanus--who is listed as being a co-author in 1:1.

      First, the author implies that he is a prophet:
      reminding the Thessalonians
      of how he made this prophecy while with them. This
      fits best with him being
      Silvanus (Silas): who, according to Acts 15:32, was a
      prophet.

      Second, there is a strong Essenic "flavor" to this
      passage. For example,
      the Essenes preferred to use cryptic phraseology in
      describing people and
      groups: not speaking of the Pharisees by name but,
      rather, under the cryptic
      phrase of "Makers of Smooth Ways", and not naming
      their founder but, rather,
      cryptically referring to him as "Teacher of
      Righteousness". Similarly, in
      this passage, Simon is not named but, rather,
      cryptically referred to as
      "Man of Lawlessness" and "Son of Destruction", and
      Claudius is not named
      but, rather, cryptically referred to as "One Holding
      Him Back".

      Again, in the Essenic work Blessings (V, 25), it is
      said of the Prince
      (i.e., Royal Messiah), "May you bring death to the
      ungodly with the breath
      of your lips!" Compare II Thess 2:3-10, which speaks
      about how "the Lord
      will consume with the breath of his mouth".

      This strong Essenic "flavor" to this passage suggests
      that someone other
      than Paul wrote it--for Paul was a converted Pharisee.
      Since Silvanus
      (Silas) was one of the leading members of the
      Jerusalem Church Council (Acts
      15:22), he would have known about the Essenes and
      might very well have been
      strongly influenced by them.

      So, ISTM, this passage is a warning to us that, as
      respects the Thessalonian
      correspondence, Silvanus might be a true co-author
      responsible for some of
      the passages in each of the two epistles--with
      evidence of an Essenic
      influence on a passage in one of these two epistles
      being a "red flag" that
      the author of this particular passage is Silvanus
      (Silas) rather than Paul.

      (snip)

      (David Hindley)
      There is nothing in Philippians or Colossians. 1 Thess
      2:15, though, gets a
      bit mean: "[Jews] who killed both the Lord Jesus and
      the prophets, and drove
      us out, and displease God and oppose all men 16 by
      hindering us from
      speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved -- so
      as always to fill up
      the measure of their sins. But God's wrath has come
      upon them at last!" That
      does *not* sound to me like a member of a Jewish
      faction venting against
      another Jewish faction. There is nothing in 2 Thess.

      (Frank McCoy)
      I Thess. 2:14-16 is an example of a passage, from the
      Thessalonian
      correspondence, that likely comes from Silvanus
      (Silas) rather than from
      Paul.

      The "red flag" is in 2:16, where the phrase "ephthasen
      de ep autous he orge
      eis telos" is clearly related to a phrase in a passage
      (i.e., Levi 6:11)
      from the Greek version of the Testaments of the Twelve
      Patriarchs, "epthasen
      de he orge kuriou ep autous eis telos."

      Testaments is a pre-Christian work that has been
      edited (mainly by
      interpolation) by one or more early Christians. Levi
      6:11
      and the verses right around it do not show any evident
      editing, so it
      appears to belong to the pre-Christian original text.

      There are fragments of a number of testaments strewn
      through the Dead Sea
      scrolls, so the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      appears to be an Essenic
      work that has been edited by an early Christian. In
      line with this, the
      chief Messianic figures in this work (the Prophet, the
      Royal Messiah, and
      the Priestly Messiah) all appear in the Dead Sea
      scrolls.

      Hence, that a phrase from an apparently unedited part
      of this pre-Christian
      text forms the basis for a part of I Thess 2:16 is an
      indication that the
      author of I Thess. 2:14-16 was strongly influenced by
      the Essenes and, so,
      was probably Silvanus (Silas) rather than Paul.

      Let us take a closer look at this passage, which
      reads, "For you, brothers,
      became imitators of the churches of God being in Judea
      in Jesus Christ:
      because the same things you also suffered by your own
      fellow-countrymen
      (i.e., the Thessalonians) as also they by (their
      countrymen) the
      Judeans--the ones having killed both the Lord Jesus
      and the prophets and
      having severely persecuted us and God not pleasing and
      contrary to all men,
      forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might
      be saved, so as to
      always fill up their sins. Ephthasen de ep autous he
      orge eis telos (But on
      them came the wrath to the uttermost)."

      Note that the author of this passage identifies
      himself as being one of
      those Judean Christians who had been persecuted by
      their countrymen,
      speaking of "having severely persecuted *us*". This
      is another clear
      indication that he is Silvanus (Silas) who, as a
      leading member of the
      Jerusalem Church Council, was a Jerusalemite and,
      hence, a Judean. Paul, on
      the other hand, was a citizen of Tarsus and, so, was
      not a Judean.

      (Note: David, as can be seen, I disagree with you
      taking the Ioudaiwn of
      this passage to be the Jews. In the context, I think,
      Ioudaiwn is the name
      given to the people residing in Judea and, so, is more
      accurately translated
      as Judeans.)

      (Note: The wrath to the uttermost, which had recently
      befallen the Judeans,
      since I Thess. dates c. 50 CE, is probably the event,
      during the Passover of
      48 CE, when somewhere between 10 and 20 thousand
      people were crushed and
      trampled to death while fleeing the temple area due to
      a pitched battle
      arising between Roman soldiers and some young Zealots.
      As Josephus remarks
      in Wars (Book II, Chap. XII, Sect. 1), "This
      (Passover) feast became the
      cause of mourning to the whole nation (of Judea), and
      every family
      lamented.")

      Regards,

      Frank McCoy
      1809 N. English Apt. 17





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    • Thomas G. Barnes
      I know this is off topic, however, during the past few days I noticed the discussion going on about the use of copyrighhted material. Anyway, my question is
      Message 104 of 104 , Nov 13, 2002
        I know this is off topic, however, during the past few days I noticed the
        discussion going on about the use of copyrighhted material. Anyway, my
        question is this, how do I properly cite a web page I used information from
        in an academic paper. I am a student and an interested historical Jesus
        individual. I realize this is off topic so please send reply to me off the
        list.

        Thomas G. Barnes
        Philadelphia, PA
        Temple University
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