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

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  • David C. Hindley
    ... is no evidence (to my knowledge) that Gaius claimed to be a higher deity than any other object of worship, e.g., Jupiter.
    Message 1 of 104 , Aug 8, 2002
      Frank McCoy said:

      >>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.<<

      Probably I should have better said that Gaius' attempt to erect his statue
      was the event that Paul *alludes* to in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. It is
      entirely possible that he felt this event foreshadowed a yet future event,
      or he wrote after learning of the command but before it was implemented (and
      his imagination filled in the blanks). But on that last note, I would think
      that Gaius' very intention of having his bust placed in the temple of the
      One God (of the Jews) could easily be taken as an affirmation of his own
      divinity (and he was encouraging provincials to worship him as divine).

      >>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!<<

      No one restraining him? What about Petronius, the Governor of Syria? He
      dragged his feet at first by having lots of meetings and forming committees,
      delayed the implementation by replacing the first statue with a second one
      (these things take time to make), and was finally resolved to openly oppose
      the emperor. If it had not been for Gaius' assassination, there would have
      been another Roman civil war. If not Petronius, Paul might also have been
      thinking of the non-violent Jewish protests in Syria (if he had heard about
      them).

      >>He could, though, be Simon Magus. [...] 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)".<<

      You do know, of course, that a statue recovered from St. Sebastian Island in
      the Tiber river in 1574 has a strikingly similar inscription: "Semoni Sanco
      Deo (To the God Semo Sancus) ... " (see the Loeb edition, vol 1, pg. 137
      note 2, and _Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 1, page 171, and for the full text of
      the Tiber inscription, pg 187 note 1) To be honest, I think Justin was just
      mistaken, or jumped to conclusions, having seen or heard of this statue.

      I also think that the Simon Magus traditions, where he is the arch-heretic,
      were created after the writing of Acts, since Acts 8:9-13 does not seem to
      know anything of them (i,.e., Simon repents and believes). Acts, I am
      confident, followed any genuine Pauline letters in time.

      >>The "red flag" is in [1 Thes.] 2:16, where the phrase "ephthasen de ep
      autous he orge eis telos" is clearly related to a phrase in a passage (i.e.,
      [Testament of] Levi 6:11) from the Greek version of the Testaments of the
      Twelve Patriarchs, "epthasen de he orge kuriou ep autous eis telos."<<

      Yet this passage in T.Levi is about Samaritans, while the author of 1 Thes.
      2:14-16 is clearly speaking of Jews or Judeans. Even so, I do not discount
      the possibility that Paul was influenced by the language of one of the Greek
      Testaments, but it is by no means certain that they are Christian reworkings
      of Jewish sources. As for evidence for editing, the phrase "seems to be
      based on Gen. xxxv.5 and presupposes" a different reading than the MT or
      Jubilees. Greek Mss "a" also has a variant "of God" (APOT vol 2, pg 308),
      although I'll concede that this is also a common variant in NT mss of 1 Thes
      2:16.

      Is this red flag necessitated by your Simon Magus proposition?

      >>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.<<

      From what I understand, none of those fragments can be clearly determined to
      be the Hebrew or Aramaic basis for the "Jewish" portions of the Testaments.
      They are similar in theme, but not close enough in wording to have served as
      a vorlage. I am not sure what the current opinion is of Charles' supposed
      Hebrew fragment of T.Levi. I cannot be as certain as you of the Jewish
      provenance of T.Levi, and if Jewish and not Christian, what flavor of
      Judaism the author was. Charles finds as much evidence for "Jewish"
      interpolations as "Christian."

      >>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."<<

      Not as much as they lamented the *utter* destruction of their national
      temple and the deaths or enslavement of huge numbers of their fellow Jews.

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    • 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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