Re: [XTalk] Pauline chronology
- A preliminary apology to all, for the discrepancy in font size between
my text and the quotations from Richard's text;
this is not something intended and came as something of a surprise to
me, one that I have been wrestling with and repairing ... but
unfortunately incompletely, for there is still the clear discrepancy ...
it is at least an improvement over what I began with. But this is the
best I can do at least for now, so if Richard's text is near illegible
in what you receive, I can only claim technological incompetence,
nothing else - sorry about this, if it cause any problems!
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I stand up from my usual seat in the balcony to intrude in this
exchange, mostly to seek clarification of Richard's most interesting
points, but let me begin by practicing "full disclosure" as John Knox
was one of my teachers in my graduate school days at Union in New York
City; so, yes, I have remained more or less a "Knoxian," especially on
this topic of the chronology of Paul's career. Still, I find Richard's
bringing in the aspect of the cycle of "sabbatical years," which I shall
have to mull over for a while, so for now on to two other things.
> Bruce Brooks wrote:I find the idea that "the collection" is from the Galatian churches to
>> On the chronology of Paul, I here follow Knox, with a few
>> improvements by
>> subsequent scholars. Is there a refutation of their conclusions? I
>> heard a convincing one. Failing one, we can only construe Luke as
>> high-handed, even with facts which were presumably well known to him.
> Bruce, here is my chronology, which I believe fits the evidence of
> Acts and that of the letters. Perhaps you could lay out your
> chronology and explain what advantages it has over mine.
> 34 Conversion of Paul
> 37 Paul's first visit to Jerusalem
> 48 Paul's visit to Jerusalem of Gal 2:1-10 (=Acts 15). 48/49 was a
> Sabbatical year. This explains why Paul was able to recall that the
> preceding interval had been "14 years" (2 Sabbatical year cycles). It
> also explains why the pillars asked Paul to "remember the poor":
> agriculture was not permitted in Judea during sabbatical years and
> there would have been a food shortage, especially as the recent famine
> would have prevented provisioning. Paul sent Titus (who was re-named
> "Timothy") from Jerusalem to south Galatia to organize a collection
> for Jerusalem.
be a most interesting and clever suggestion, one worth considering, for
it also suggests that Paul's "sending aid" to Jerusalem was not a "one
time deal." That there might have have been more than one is a thesis
that is worthy of further consideration, even if this location of "the
Jerusalem conference (of 48)" (i.e. Gal. 2 = Acts 15) involves a big
problem, one that Knox focuses our attention on - that this has Paul
promising to collect funds from congregations not yet founded.
Of course with the idea of this as being the first of several, this
problem would seem to be resolved, but this ignores the rest of Paul's
account of the agenda handled at this "meeting of the apostles and
elders," namely his authority as an apostle over the churches which he
founds through his own personal evangelistic activity.
My first point is that we must remember just what Paul claimed when he
claimed to be an "apostle," a title/function/office identical to "those
other apostles" like Peter, James and John. Paul claims the name/word
as one having authority (and not just authority tp "preach the gospel")
"straight from the boss himself," as he lays out clearly in the first
verses of Gal. 1.
Thus Paul claims in Gal. 2 that James recognized that Paul did indeed
"have authority" over the churches he founded, ones that were
predominantly gentile - in effect, the result of this conference was a
"division of labor" if not division of ecclesiastical "spheres of
By the way, my own analysis and approach to this as other aspects of
"church history" rests upon the insight from P. T. Forsyth, a much too
neglected "turn of the (last) century" English scholar and theology who
in his biggest book, appropriately named "The Principle of Authority"
holds forth that all ecclesial, liturgical, theological issues logically
rest upon the issue of "authority," namely the question as who has the
proper authority to make decisions about such matters. This has been
illuminating for me in many areas of life, ancient and contemporary!
But note (and I find this crucial in our understanding of these early
days in "Christian history") Paul's account of the agreement is not a
two-way "division of labor" but a three-way division, for Peter enters
into this formula! Thus, it appears to me to be that the result of this
conference is that James is recognized as "the apostle" to/of/over the
Aramaic-speaking "Christian Jews" of Palestine/Israel/Judea while Paul
"went to the gentiles" ... and Peter? Peter "goes to the Jews" ... of
the Diaspora, which means the congregations like the one in Antioch,
where Peter was clearly revered and remembered as "their apostle" and
source of their own particular traditions of beliefs and practices.
So how does this fit into other accounts in Acts? For example, the
author of Acts claims that when Paul "preached the gospel" to the
(south) Galatians that he was functioning with (even "under"?) Barnabas
as the authorized agents (perhaps "missionaries"?) of the elders of the
congregation(s) of Christians in Antioch! This is hardly any "mission
to the gentiles" ... at least not yet, although that Paul "had the idea"
by then is most possible, perhaps even likely. For Knox (and I), the
picture of Acts is one of "officialdom in Jerusalem" as authorizing a
mission of Paul's as being "to the gentiles" before it happens ... and
places Paul as the "authorized agent" of "mother church" presided over
by James, a depiction at loggerheads with what we find in Galatians. To
make clear my point - the Book of Acts shows Paul as being first an
authorized missionary sent by Antioch and then by Jerusalem, a depiction
that must have existed at the time of Paul himself as it would seem that
this is precisely the depiction to which he protests most vociferously
in his letter, which suggests that it was one "alive and well" at the
time in ... well, Galatia!
Here we get a bit further afield as this raises the pertinent issue of
just why Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians in the first place, and
with the suggestion of P. T. Forsyth in mind I suggest it must have been
his concern that they did not recognize his authority as an independent
apostle ... i.e. as THEIR one and only "apostle"!
A further (hopefully final) personal foot-note - part of my approach
rests upon George Howard.s helpful little book, "Crisis In Galatia," in
which he notes that when Paul does send his (last?) "relief funding" to
Jerusalem (which he has collected from his churches) that there is no
mention of any representative from the province of Galatia, just Asia,
Thrace, Macedonia, and Achaea - i.e. Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica,
and Corinth; Howard infers that Paul's letter to the Galatian Christians
did not convince them as to his authority over them ... and I would add
that the reason they did not is that when Paul evangelized them that he
was in fact representing the authority of Antioch! Thus, the Galatian
Christians followed the lead of Peter (who permitted gentile Christians
to convert to Judaism) rather than Paul as who was the Christian
authority over them. And yes, this further suggests that the
"trouble-makers" who were unsettling "Paul's Christians in Galatia" were
"out-siders" ... from Antioch ... sent by Peter! But "that's another
So, let's get back to my interacting with what Richard has said.
> The Knox chronology does not tie in with any of these Sabbatical yearQuite correct, which is why I find your bringing in the cycle of
> notices, or with the death of Claudius, or with the Gallio datum, or
> the probable food shortage of 51.
Sabbatical years to be so interesting, one that I must think about for
it might well have merit ... but whether or not this creates a problem
(or perhaps just an adjustment) to Knox's "Pauline chronology" is
something not yet clear to me.
> The split between Paul and Barnabas was before the evangelization ofI fin your observation here about the split between Paul and Barnabas
> Europe because Barnabas is absent from 1 Thess 1:1 and 2 Cor 1:19. So
> the Knox chronology has difficulty explaining why Barnabas is back
> with Paul in Gal 2:1-10.
is "on target," for available evidence does indicate that on the
separation between Paul and Banabas we find the letters of Paul and the
book of Acts are in agreement, even if different reasons are offered or
suggested ... but the claim that this is a problem for Knox's account is
clear clear to me, althoughI should admit that for years I was puzzled
about this aspect of Paul's account in Gal. 2
and this had concerned me ... but no longer, if we follow the thread of
"the questions of authority."
If Paul began his evangelistic career as an agent of Antioch but claims
in Galatians that such is not the case then it would seem necessary to
infer that somewhere along the way that he "went independent" (others
might say "jumped ship" or "went rogue"!), something that Barnabas did
not do. So why then is Barnabas at this conference? Not "with Paul" in
the sense of being Paul's associate but "with Paul" as making common
cause in facing James on the "question of Antioch" as he represents
Antioch's views and practices, which permits gentile Christians to
"become Jews" but does not require it, as James did. Simply put, he is
"speaking up" for Antioch ... and Peter.
> According to Knox the pillars asked Paul to "remember the poor" in 51Well, yes ... and no, for this was more of a problem for Paul rather
> and he did not deliver the aid until 54. This three year delay does
> not fit with Paul's statement that he was eager to "remember the
> poor". (I here turn Knox's principle argument against him).
than for Knox. Your point is well taken that Paul "should have" been
more prompt, but as Knox himself observes, this was Paul's
intention/expectation but "things got in the way," which suggests why
Paul "got excited" (even intemperate) from his anxiety arising from this
delay. I would opine that Paul's axiety was rooted in his aware that
his agreement with James could "fall aprt" if he did not hold up his end
of the bargain by "delivery the good" ... er, funds, as promised. Yes,
the Christians in Jerusale did need help sooner than this but Paul
simply found himself unable to do so, which might well explain the
anxiety found in his post-conference letters, written while he was in
the midst of his "making good" on his promise to James.
> In short, I don't see any advantage to the Knox chronology. If youThanks for his reference, which I must look up.
> would like a more detailed refutation for Knox, take a look at Rainer
> Riesner's (poorly named) "Paul's Early Period".
> By the way, I too amWhether the Book of Acts is to be taken as a "primary" or a "secondary"
> not convinced that Acts was based on "sources" (Luke's gospel may be
> different). I see it as largely based on the author's own recollection
> of events and his memory of conversations with some of the major
historical source is indeed a crucial point but one that perhaps
requires further reflection rather than just being assumed ahead of time
as a "working hypothesis" (???).
> Richard FellowsAnyway, thanks Richard for providing me more "food for thought," which
might well produce further comment from me ... but perhaps
unfortunately, not soon.
Clive F. Jacks, Th.D. (Union, New York)
Professor of Religion, Emeritus
(but now happily retired back home in the metro Atlanta area!)
- Thanks for your thoughts, Bruce and Frank.
Frank, you are right that my chronology and Knox's do not require the
awkward assumption that Paul agreed to collect money from churches
that he had not founded yet. I think that Paul had a collection in
mind even before he was asked to 'remember the poor'. This would
explain why he says that remembering the poor was the very thing that
he had been eager to do. Paul's motives for this collection may have
been to relieve real poverty and also give the Gentile churches the
status of benefactor in their relationship to the Judean churches. I
suspect that Paul took Titus to Jerusalem to equip him to organize
this collection. Titus was to meet the poor Judean believers and learn
about their needs and then be able to communicate those needs to the
In any case, if the tense of MNHMONEUWMEN alludes to multiple
collections, I think it refers to the earlier famine relief as well as
the collection that Titus-Timothy organized from south Galatia
immediately after the conference. I don't imagine that at the time of
the conference Paul looked ahead to the following sabbatical year, 7
Pauline chronology is crucial because, as Frank has shown, the
chronological issues are intertwined with other issues such as Paul's
relationship to the Jerusalem church, the accuracy of Acts, and the
background to Galatians. I hope in the future to post my own thoughts
on the background to Galatians, building on Mark Matson's well made
point about Galatians being rhetorical.
Bruce raised the question of the number of Jerusalem visits. I count
5. I take the famine visit to be historical because there was a famine
in Judea in that timeframe and because I take the name
"Agabus" (locust) to be an appropriate nickname given to this prophet
who predicted famine.
- Way back on 5/3/2009, I wrote:
>Well, I am still hoping for more feedback on my Peter thesis. But IAs you may recall, Gordon Raynal picked up my challenge and we had a
>am still intrigued by it. ...
go at it for a couple of weeks, with welcome participation by a few
others. My questions were inspired by the description of Peter's role
in the beginning chapters of Acts.
Now Mark Goodacre has returned to the subject
>Pod 5: Simon Peter in Mark's Gospel
>The fifth episode of the NT Pod discusses Mark's depiction of Simon
>Peter and the disciples, noting the use of the language of the
>skandalon or "stumbling block" with respect to the idea of the
>It is just under eight minutes long. ....
It is an interesting look at Peter, mainly according to the Gospel of Mark.
I guess I'm an old fuddy duddy, because I prefer the printed word to
Goodacre's charming British accent.
Because Mark's delivery is spoken, rather than written, I cannot
easily cut and paste a few things to talk about.
But one of the interesting thoughts in Goodacre's oration is to draw
our attention to the Parable of the Sower, and the section on Rocky
ground, as a coded (and punny) reference to Peter (Rocky). I don't
recall ever hearing that suggestion before.
Goodacre also suggests, if I understood correctly, that Mark's Peter
is a kind of Everyman: that is, someone capable of both insight and
folly, with whom we are meant to identify. In other words, perhaps
there is a pastoral element to the story in addition to the history
that we usually look for.
Also, his stress on the skandalon might also make it easier to
understand why Mark does not say all that much about the
resurrection. Mark doesn't say this, but the implication to me was
that if the skandalon is the main point of the gospel, then the
resurrection is, in a sense, anticlimactic.
I hope that a written version of your podcast will be available soon.
Anyway, do give a listen, and let us know what you think.
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- Thanks for the plug and the comments, Bob. I have added some short
programme notes over on my NT Blog at
. I also already have an article on the topic which explores the
portrayal of Peter in Mark and Matthew. It was published in 2006 in a
Fs for Henry Wansbrough, but since Fs articles get little attention, I
plan to make it available online. I also plan a future episode of the
NT Pod on Peter in Matthew. Cheers, Mark.
Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
Department of Religion
Gray Building / Box 90964
Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530
- Hi Bob,
On Jul 22, 2009, at 5:06 AM, Bob Schacht wrote:
> As you may recall, Gordon Raynal picked up my challenge and we had a
> go at it for a couple of weeks, with welcome participation by a few
> others. My questions were inspired by the description of Peter's role
> in the beginning chapters of Acts.
It was an enjoyable chat.
now cutting to one of your paragraphs...
> Also, his stress on the skandalon might also make it easier to
> understand why Mark does not say all that much about the
> resurrection. Mark doesn't say this, but the implication to me was
> that if the skandalon is the main point of the gospel, then the
> resurrection is, in a sense, anticlimactic.
Interesting. Why say "anticlimactic?" How about considering the
function of resurrection affirmation regarding the way the good news
story is told/ the message is affirmed?
For Paul (per Romans 1) Jesus is "declared Son of God with power
according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the
For Mark God says in 1:11, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I
am well pleased." (NRSV) and this is after John baptizes him.
Doing theology Paul's way then per I Cor. 15 the authority of the
apostles is lined up by Paul in terms of "opthe's" of the risen
Jesus... and it, of course, is a decidedly male oriented listing.
Doing theology Mark's way focuses attention on Jesus in ministry and
it is most decidedly the nameless woman who anoints Jesus while he is
quite alive who is the model for discerning faith and therefore a
(the? for the Markan community???) key testifier for the future.
(in Mark 14:9 Mark's Jesus says of her, "Truly I tell you, where the
good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be
told in remembrance of her.") Resurrection announcement is part of
both kinds of communication, but it functions differently. And then
besides that, resurrection is just a necessary journey stage
description. The proverbial end of the story until "THE END" is that
Jesus has got to get up to that throne on "the right hand of the
Father:)!" Resurrection is never the climax for any of the early
materials that use this affirmation formula.
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