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"Jesus the Nazirite from Capernaum" and Tertullian

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  • yeshua666
    Folks, I d be interested in your comments on the latest twists and turns in my discussions with the Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has ensued with
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 9, 2010
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      Folks,

      I'd be interested in your comments on the latest twists and turns in my discussions with the Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has ensued with one of them regarding the idea that Jesus came from Nazareth. The point was made that this detail is likely to be historical, given that his origin in Nazareth is reported in gJohn as a reason not to believe he was the Messiah and the efforts gLuke and gMatthew go to in their infancy narratives to "explain" how a man from Nazareth came to be born in Bethlehem the way a Messiah was (we assume) supposed to. So the conclusion was that Nazareth is in the Jesus tradition, despite its awkwardness, because he was historical and was from Nazareth.

      Of course, the ahistoricists are having none of this, though their counter argument is as convoluted it as it ingenious. I'll try to summarise it below. They argue:

      1. Nazareth is not in the early versions of the Jesus tradition at all. In the earliest traditions Jesus is depicted as being from Capernaum, not Nazareth. They base this largely on the reference in Mark 2:1 to the crowd hearing that Jesus had returned to Capernaum and was "at home" (en oiko), arguing that this is an idiomatic expression which always means "in the house/place where they live" rather than just in a house where they are staying.

      2. The sole reference to Jesus coming "from Nazaret in Galilee" at Mark 1:9 is a later addition. Otherwise Mark never refers to Jesus coming from Nazareth/Nazaret and only ever refers to him as a "nazarene". We only see Jesus depicted from somewhere called "Nazareth", "Nazara", or "Nazaret" in the later gospels and none of these are in any of the Q material.

      3. This indicates that there was an earlier tradition that had Jesus coming from Capernaum and calling him a "nazarene". This had nothing to do with any "Nazareth", "Nazara", or "Nazaret" and wasn't a place name at all – it was a reference to him being a Nazirite. This connects to the prophecy referred to at Matt 2:23 – he's referring to Judges 13:5 and this is a remnant of an earlier tradition in which Jesus was a Nazirite like Samson.

      4. The later gospels remove this Nazirite element from the story (why? I have no idea) and historicise the remnants of it into "Jesus from the town of Nazareth". The oblique reference to Judges 13:5, and the odd variants of "Nazareth",/"Nazara"/"Nazaret" are all remnants of the earlier tradition where Jesus was depicted as a Nazirite from Capernaum, not a man from Nazareth.

      If you've digested all that, my particular bone of contention with them right now is a further claim. They argue that despite the gospels' removal of this tradition of Jesus as a Nazirite, the tradition persisted for centuries. They claim both Tertullian and Eusebius were both aware of it and refer to it in their writing. This passage of Tertullian, they argue, reflects this knowledge:

      "The Christ of the Creator had to be called a Nazerene according to prophecy; whence the Jews also designate us, on that very account, Nazerenes after Him. For we are they of whom it is written, `Her Nazirites were whiter than snow;' even they who were once defiled with the stains of sin, and darkened with the clouds of ignorance. But to Christ the title Nazarene was destined to become a suitable one, from the hiding-place of His infancy, for which He went down and dwelt at Nazareth, to escape from Archelaus the son of Herod."

      They argue that the quote here (from Lamentations 4:7) refers specifically to Nazirites and so Jesus is called a "Nazarene" because Tertullian is aware of the earlier Nazirite tradition about Jesus. When I objected that Tertullian was simply referring to Matt 2:23 ("he shall be called a Nazarene") they countered that the word translated above as "Nazarene" is "Nazaraeus" in Tertullian's Latin. This is precisely the word used in the Vulgate to translate "Nazirite" in Judges 13:5 so it shows that Tertullian was specifically referring to Jesus as a Nazirite.

      I further countered that this "Nazaraeus" is simply a Latin transliteration of the Greek "nazoraios" used in Matt 2:23 and that this is the transliteration used in the Vulgate version of that passage as well. They reply that all other usages of "nazoraios" are transliterated in the Vulgate as "Nazarenus" and NOT "Nazaraeus" and the use of the latter in the Vulgate version of Matt 2:23 is simply yet more evidence of awareness of that passages' link to Judges 13:5 and the residual early tradition of Jesus as a Nazirite from Capernaum.

      I must say I find all this contrived and highly unconvincing but the last few points have me stumped. I can't think of any other reason the word "nazoraios" in Matt 2:23 would be transliterated as Nazaraeus" here and as "Nazarenus" everywhere else. Perhaps there is a Latinist here who can help me.

      Incidentally, I had read that Tertullian was literate in Greek but haven't been able to check that. Was he? If not, what Latin translation of Bible would he have been working from?

      Any assistance on any of the above would be appreciated.

      Tim O'Neill
      Online Foe of Mythers and Ahistoircist Hypersceptics
    • Bob Schacht
      ... If you search our archives for key words such as Nazareth, Nazarene, etc. you will find that we have already covered this ground quite a bit. Bob Schacht
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 11, 2010
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        At 05:56 PM 12/9/2010, yeshua666 wrote:
        >Folks,
        >
        >I'd be interested in your comments on the latest
        >twists and turns in my discussions with the
        >Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has
        >ensued with one of them regarding the idea that
        >Jesus came from Nazareth. The point was made
        >that this detail is likely to be historical,
        >given that his origin in Nazareth is reported in
        >gJohn as a reason not to believe he was the
        >Messiah and the efforts gLuke and gMatthew go to
        >in their infancy narratives to "explain" how a
        >man from Nazareth came to be born in Bethlehem
        >the way a Messiah was (we assume) supposed
        >to. So the conclusion was that Nazareth is in
        >the Jesus tradition, despite its awkwardness,
        >because he was historical and was from Nazareth.
        >
        >Of course, the ahistoricists are having none of
        >this, though their counter argument is as convoluted it as it ingenious.

        If you search our archives for key words such as
        Nazareth, Nazarene, etc. you will find that we
        have already covered this ground quite a bit.

        Bob Schacht
        Northern Arizona University

        > I'll try to summarise it below. They argue:
        >
        >1. Nazareth is not in the early versions of the
        >Jesus tradition at all. In the earliest
        >traditions Jesus is depicted as being from
        >Capernaum, not Nazareth. They base this largely
        >on the reference in Mark 2:1 to the crowd
        >hearing that Jesus had returned to Capernaum and
        >was "at home" (en oiko), arguing that this is an
        >idiomatic expression which always means "in the
        >house/place where they live" rather than just in
        >a house where they are staying.
        >
        >2. The sole reference to Jesus coming "from
        >Nazaret in Galilee" at Mark 1:9 is a later
        >addition. Otherwise Mark never refers to Jesus
        >coming from Nazareth/Nazaret and only ever
        >refers to him as a "nazarene". We only see
        >Jesus depicted from somewhere called "Nazareth",
        >"Nazara", or "Nazaret" in the later gospels and
        >none of these are in any of the Q material.
        >
        >3. This indicates that there was an earlier
        >tradition that had Jesus coming from Capernaum
        >and calling him a "nazarene". This had nothing
        >to do with any "Nazareth", "Nazara", or
        >"Nazaret" and wasn't a place name at all ­ it
        >was a reference to him being a Nazirite. This
        >connects to the prophecy referred to at Matt
        >2:23 ­ he's referring to Judges 13:5 and this is
        >a remnant of an earlier tradition in which Jesus was a Nazirite like Samson.
        >
        >4. The later gospels remove this Nazirite
        >element from the story (why? I have no idea)
        >and historicise the remnants of it into "Jesus
        >from the town of Nazareth". The oblique
        >reference to Judges 13:5, and the odd variants
        >of "Nazareth",/"Nazara"/"Nazaret" are all
        >remnants of the earlier tradition where Jesus
        >was depicted as a Nazirite from Capernaum, not a man from Nazareth.
        >
        >If you've digested all that, my particular bone
        >of contention with them right now is a further
        >claim. They argue that despite the gospels'
        >removal of this tradition of Jesus as a
        >Nazirite, the tradition persisted for
        >centuries. They claim both Tertullian and
        >Eusebius were both aware of it and refer to it
        >in their writing. This passage of Tertullian,
        >they argue, reflects this knowledge:
        >
        >"The Christ of the Creator had to be called a
        >Nazerene according to prophecy; whence the Jews
        >also designate us, on that very account,
        >Nazerenes after Him. For we are they of whom it
        >is written, `Her Nazirites were whiter than
        >snow;' even they who were once defiled with the
        >stains of sin, and darkened with the clouds of
        >ignorance. But to Christ the title Nazarene was
        >destined to become a suitable one, from the
        >hiding-place of His infancy, for which He went
        >down and dwelt at Nazareth, to escape from Archelaus the son of Herod."
        >
        >They argue that the quote here (from
        >Lamentations 4:7) refers specifically to
        >Nazirites and so Jesus is called a "Nazarene"
        >because Tertullian is aware of the earlier
        >Nazirite tradition about Jesus. When I objected
        >that Tertullian was simply referring to Matt
        >2:23 ("he shall be called a Nazarene") they
        >countered that the word translated above as
        >"Nazarene" is "Nazaraeus" in Tertullian's
        >Latin. This is precisely the word used in the
        >Vulgate to translate "Nazirite" in Judges 13:5
        >so it shows that Tertullian was specifically referring to Jesus as a Nazirite.
        >
        >I further countered that this "Nazaraeus" is
        >simply a Latin transliteration of the Greek
        >"nazoraios" used in Matt 2:23 and that this is
        >the transliteration used in the Vulgate version
        >of that passage as well. They reply that all
        >other usages of "nazoraios" are transliterated
        >in the Vulgate as "Nazarenus" and NOT
        >"Nazaraeus" and the use of the latter in the
        >Vulgate version of Matt 2:23 is simply yet more
        >evidence of awareness of that passages' link to
        >Judges 13:5 and the residual early tradition of
        >Jesus as a Nazirite from Capernaum.
        >
        >I must say I find all this contrived and highly
        >unconvincing but the last few points have me
        >stumped. I can't think of any other reason the
        >word "nazoraios" in Matt 2:23 would be
        >transliterated as Nazaraeus" here and as
        >"Nazarenus" everywhere else. Perhaps there is a Latinist here who can help me.
        >
        >Incidentally, I had read that Tertullian was
        >literate in Greek but haven't been able to check
        >that. Was he? If not, what Latin translation
        >of Bible would he have been working from?
        >
        >Any assistance on any of the above would be appreciated.
        >
        >Tim O'Neill
        >Online Foe of Mythers and Ahistoircist Hypersceptics
        >
        >
        >
        >------------------------------------
        >
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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ronald Price
        ... Tim, It may or may not be much help, but I wonder whether you are Œdrawing the line¹ in the right place. The earliest evidence for Jesus¹ origin in
        Message 3 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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          Tim O¹Neill wrote:

          > I'd be interested in your comments on the latest twists and turns in my
          > discussions with the Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has ensued with
          > one of them regarding the idea that Jesus came from Nazareth. The point was
          > made that this detail is likely to be historical, given that his origin in
          > Nazareth is reported in gJohn as a reason not to believe he was the Messiah
          > and the efforts gLuke and gMatthew go to in their infancy narratives to
          > "explain" how a man from Nazareth came to be born in Bethlehem the way a
          > Messiah was (we assume) supposed to.

          Tim,

          It may or may not be much help, but I wonder whether you are Œdrawing the
          line¹ in the right place. The earliest evidence for Jesus¹ origin in
          Nazareth is that of Mark¹s gospel, ca. 70 CE. It is clear that Mark was
          somewhat embarrassed by the label ³Messiah² because of its likely
          revolutionary implications. He presented Jesus as wanting to keep it a
          secret (Mk 8:29-30). Thus Mark *could* have posited a birth in insignificant
          Nazareth in order to pour cold water on the idea of his messiahship, and
          when the memory of the Jewish rebellion had subsided the later gospel
          writers would have felt free to put the spotlight again on the messiahship
          of Jesus.

          To my mind the conclusive evidence for the historicity of Jesus is Paul¹s
          testimony in Gal 1:19, written at least 15 years before Mark¹s gospel and
          while James and Peter were still alive. To Paul, James was a bitter rival,
          and therefore there is no way he would have admitted that James and Jesus
          were brothers (nor would he have chosen his words in such a way as to allow
          this conclusion) if it had not at the time been a well-known historical
          fact.

          Ron Price,

          Derbyshire, UK

          http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David Mealand
          Not being familiar with the thought processes of a-historicists I don t quite see how they can deny the historical existence of Jesus yet claim him to have
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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            Not being familiar with the thought processes
            of a-historicists I don't quite see how
            they can deny the historical existence of Jesus
            yet claim him to have been a Nazirite from
            Kephar Nahum. (Looks like a logical RAA)

            But maybe their answer to this would cover
            several pages.

            David M.


            ---------
            David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


            --
            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
          • Rikk Watts
            Ron, I wonder why you think Mark was embarrassed about the label Messiah? We all know from email exchanges how difficult it is to discern emotions in a
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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              Ron,

              I wonder why you think Mark was "embarrassed" about the label Messiah? We
              all know from email exchanges how difficult it is to discern emotions in a
              written text and how easy it is to misread them. But given the apparent
              assured confidence ‹ not a hint of any embarrassment‹with which the earlier
              Paul uses Christos, why read in embarrassment in Mark? Would it not make
              more sense to assume the same assured confidence for Mark? If so, then
              Mark's Jesus' concern to control the degree to which Messiah was applied to
              him, seems not to have come from Mark but earlier and might have nothing to
              do with embarrassment at all.

              And why pick Nazareth? But there is more here. Given that the most recent
              work on Christology in the NT including Mark is reminding us of earlier
              scholarship on a high Christology and making it's own contribution (Hurtado,
              Fee), then it seems to me that the revisionists face a serious historical
              problem. That is, if Jesus was already and from the very earliest literary
              evidence we have to hand being shown devotion offered only to Yahweh, how is
              it that his followers would make so free with the details of his life? This
              makes no historical sense to me.

              Concerning James, we actually have very little evidence here. From Paul
              himself that he met with James and that James had recognized the grace given
              to him. And then that some had come from James and that this led to Peter's
              withdrawal. I suppose one could point to James' show me your faith by your
              works as opposed to Paul's justification by faith. But that strikes me as a
              somewhat tendentious and particularly non-Jewish reading. Given this tiny
              and highly fragmented data, baldly to state that for Paul, James was a
              bitter rival seems far to outrun the evidence.


              Best
              Rikk Watts


              > From: Ronald Price <ron-price@...>
              > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              > Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 11:01:24 +0000
              > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
              > Subject: Re: [XTalk] "Jesus the Nazirite from Capernaum" and Tertullian
              >
              > Tim O¹Neill wrote:
              >
              >> I'd be interested in your comments on the latest twists and turns in my
              >> discussions with the Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has ensued with
              >> one of them regarding the idea that Jesus came from Nazareth. The point was
              >> made that this detail is likely to be historical, given that his origin in
              >> Nazareth is reported in gJohn as a reason not to believe he was the Messiah
              >> and the efforts gLuke and gMatthew go to in their infancy narratives to
              >> "explain" how a man from Nazareth came to be born in Bethlehem the way a
              >> Messiah was (we assume) supposed to.
              >
              > Tim,
              >
              > It may or may not be much help, but I wonder whether you are Œdrawing the
              > line¹ in the right place. The earliest evidence for Jesus¹ origin in
              > Nazareth is that of Mark¹s gospel, ca. 70 CE. It is clear that Mark was
              > somewhat embarrassed by the label ³Messiah² because of its likely
              > revolutionary implications. He presented Jesus as wanting to keep it a
              > secret (Mk 8:29-30). Thus Mark *could* have posited a birth in insignificant
              > Nazareth in order to pour cold water on the idea of his messiahship, and
              > when the memory of the Jewish rebellion had subsided the later gospel
              > writers would have felt free to put the spotlight again on the messiahship
              > of Jesus.
              >
              > To my mind the conclusive evidence for the historicity of Jesus is Paul¹s
              > testimony in Gal 1:19, written at least 15 years before Mark¹s gospel and
              > while James and Peter were still alive. To Paul, James was a bitter rival,
              > and therefore there is no way he would have admitted that James and Jesus
              > were brothers (nor would he have chosen his words in such a way as to allow
              > this conclusion) if it had not at the time been a well-known historical
              > fact.
              >
              > Ron Price,
              >
              > Derbyshire, UK
              >
              > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
              >
              > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
            • webulite@gmail.com
              I would imagine the way to the best way to handle Jesus mythicists would be to clearly demonstrated with historical methods that a Jesus is demonstrated to
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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                I would imagine the way to the best way to handle Jesus mythicists
                would be to clearly demonstrated with historical methods that a Jesus
                is demonstrated to have existed. Perhaps get some people with history
                degrees to come out and indicate that using the tools that historians
                use, that they can demonstrate that a Jesus existed.

                I think that the Jesus mythicists bring up a number of good points. It
                seems that the question of Jesus historicity has worked with a number
                of undemonstrated assumptions. So, it would seem to me would be the
                best way to address the subject would be to clearly demonstrated with
                historical tools that a Jesus existed.

                Cheers!

                Rich Griese
                RichGriese.NET
                Bloomfield, NJ, USA

                -----

                On Dec 12, 2010, at 6:01 AM, Ronald Price wrote:

                > Tim O�Neill wrote:
                >
                > > I'd be interested in your comments on the latest twists and turns
                > in my
                > > discussions with the Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has
                > ensued with
                > > one of them regarding the idea that Jesus came from Nazareth. The
                > point was
                > > made that this detail is likely to be historical, given that his
                > origin in
                > > Nazareth is reported in gJohn as a reason not to believe he was
                > the Messiah
                > > and the efforts gLuke and gMatthew go to in their infancy
                > narratives to
                > > "explain" how a man from Nazareth came to be born in Bethlehem the
                > way a
                > > Messiah was (we assume) supposed to.
                >
                > Tim,
                >
                > It may or may not be much help, but I wonder whether you are
                > �drawing the
                > line� in the right place. The earliest evidence for Jesus� origin in
                > Nazareth is that of Mark�s gospel, ca. 70 CE. It is clear that Mark
                > was
                > somewhat embarrassed by the label �Messiah� because of its likely
                > revolutionary implications. He presented Jesus as wanting to keep it a
                > secret (Mk 8:29-30). Thus Mark *could* have posited a birth in
                > insignificant
                > Nazareth in order to pour cold water on the idea of his messiahship,
                > and
                > when the memory of the Jewish rebellion had subsided the later gospel
                > writers would have felt free to put the spotlight again on the
                > messiahship
                > of Jesus.
                >
                > To my mind the conclusive evidence for the historicity of Jesus is
                > Paul�s
                > testimony in Gal 1:19, written at least 15 years before Mark�s
                > gospel and
                > while James and Peter were still alive. To Paul, James was a bitter
                > rival,
                > and therefore there is no way he would have admitted that James and
                > Jesus
                > were brothers (nor would he have chosen his words in such a way as
                > to allow
                > this conclusion) if it had not at the time been a well-known
                > historical
                > fact.
                >
                > Ron Price,
                >
                > Derbyshire, UK



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • jgibson000@comcast.net
                ... I wonder if you d be kind enough to state clear just what in your eyes these undemonstrated assumptions are. And perhaps you d also like to outline what
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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                  On 12/12/2010 11:35 AM, webulite@... wrote:
                  > I think that the Jesus mythicists bring up a number of good points. It
                  > seems that the question of Jesus historicity has worked with a number
                  > of undemonstrated assumptions.

                  I wonder if you'd be kind enough to state clear just what in your eyes
                  these "undemonstrated assumptions" are.

                  And perhaps you'd also like to outline what the "good points" are that
                  he JM people bring up as well as name the JM people that you have in
                  mind as those who do the "good" you see them doing.

                  Yours,

                  Jeffrey Gibson

                  --
                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                  Chicago, Illinois
                  e-mail jgibson000@...
                • jgibson000@comcast.net
                  ... Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly, but are you actually saying that this has not been done before? Jeffrey Gibson -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil.
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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                    On 12/12/2010 11:35 AM, webulite@... wrote:
                    > I would imagine the way to the best way to handle Jesus mythicists
                    > would be to clearly demonstrated with historical methods that a Jesus
                    > is demonstrated to have existed. Perhaps get some people with history
                    > degrees to come out and indicate that using the tools that historians
                    > use, that they can demonstrate that a Jesus existed.
                    >
                    Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly, but are you actually
                    saying that this has not been done before?

                    Jeffrey Gibson

                    --
                    Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon)
                    1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
                    Chicago, Illinois
                    e-mail jgibson000@...
                  • Joseph Codsi
                    Hello Tom, I have a simple comment on your third point:
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 12, 2010
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                      Hello Tom,
                      I have a simple comment on your third point:

                      <<< 3. This indicates that there was an earlier tradition that had Jesus
                      coming from Capernaum and calling him a "nazarene". This had nothing to
                      do with any "Nazareth", "Nazara", or "Nazaret" and wasn't a <<<place
                      name at all - it was a reference to him being a Nazirite. This connects
                      to the prophecy referred to at Matt 2:23 - he's referring to Judges 13:5
                      and this is a remnant of an earlier tradition in which <<<Jesus was a
                      Nazirite like Samson.>>>

                      In Arabic the word nazir (Judges 13:5) is spelled with a "zayin" not a
                      "Saad" (the equivalent of "tzade") but the wred Nazareth, on the other
                      hand, is spelled with a "Saad"

                      I assume from this indirect evidence that the word Nazareth was spelled
                      in Hebrew and Aramaic with a "tzade." Can you check and see if this is
                      correct? If this is correct, what your opponent says in the third point
                      will be based on a mistaken reading.

                      Joseph Codsi
                      Seattle



                      ________________________________

                      From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com] On
                      Behalf Of yeshua666
                      Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2010 4:56 PM
                      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [XTalk] "Jesus the Nazirite from Capernaum" and Tertullian




                      Folks,

                      I'd be interested in your comments on the latest twists and turns in my
                      discussions with the Jesus ahistoricists. A very long debate has ensued
                      with one of them regarding the idea that Jesus came from Nazareth. The
                      point was made that this detail is likely to be historical, given that
                      his origin in Nazareth is reported in gJohn as a reason not to believe
                      he was the Messiah and the efforts gLuke and gMatthew go to in their
                      infancy narratives to "explain" how a man from Nazareth came to be born
                      in Bethlehem the way a Messiah was (we assume) supposed to. So the
                      conclusion was that Nazareth is in the Jesus tradition, despite its
                      awkwardness, because he was historical and was from Nazareth.

                      Of course, the ahistoricists are having none of this, though their
                      counter argument is as convoluted it as it ingenious. I'll try to
                      summarise it below. They argue:

                      1. Nazareth is not in the early versions of the Jesus tradition at all.
                      In the earliest traditions Jesus is depicted as being from Capernaum,
                      not Nazareth. They base this largely on the reference in Mark 2:1 to the
                      crowd hearing that Jesus had returned to Capernaum and was "at home" (en
                      oiko), arguing that this is an idiomatic expression which always means
                      "in the house/place where they live" rather than just in a house where
                      they are staying.

                      2. The sole reference to Jesus coming "from Nazaret in Galilee" at Mark
                      1:9 is a later addition. Otherwise Mark never refers to Jesus coming
                      from Nazareth/Nazaret and only ever refers to him as a "nazarene". We
                      only see Jesus depicted from somewhere called "Nazareth", "Nazara", or
                      "Nazaret" in the later gospels and none of these are in any of the Q
                      material.

                      3. This indicates that there was an earlier tradition that had Jesus
                      coming from Capernaum and calling him a "nazarene". This had nothing to
                      do with any "Nazareth", "Nazara", or "Nazaret" and wasn't a place name
                      at all - it was a reference to him being a Nazirite. This connects to
                      the prophecy referred to at Matt 2:23 - he's referring to Judges 13:5
                      and this is a remnant of an earlier tradition in which Jesus was a
                      Nazirite like Samson.

                      4. The later gospels remove this Nazirite element from the story (why? I
                      have no idea) and historicise the remnants of it into "Jesus from the
                      town of Nazareth". The oblique reference to Judges 13:5, and the odd
                      variants of "Nazareth",/"Nazara"/"Nazaret" are all remnants of the
                      earlier tradition where Jesus was depicted as a Nazirite from Capernaum,
                      not a man from Nazareth.

                      If you've digested all that, my particular bone of contention with them
                      right now is a further claim. They argue that despite the gospels'
                      removal of this tradition of Jesus as a Nazirite, the tradition
                      persisted for centuries. They claim both Tertullian and Eusebius were
                      both aware of it and refer to it in their writing. This passage of
                      Tertullian, they argue, reflects this knowledge:

                      "The Christ of the Creator had to be called a Nazerene according to
                      prophecy; whence the Jews also designate us, on that very account,
                      Nazerenes after Him. For we are they of whom it is written, `Her
                      Nazirites were whiter than snow;' even they who were once defiled with
                      the stains of sin, and darkened with the clouds of ignorance. But to
                      Christ the title Nazarene was destined to become a suitable one, from
                      the hiding-place of His infancy, for which He went down and dwelt at
                      Nazareth, to escape from Archelaus the son of Herod."

                      They argue that the quote here (from Lamentations 4:7) refers
                      specifically to Nazirites and so Jesus is called a "Nazarene" because
                      Tertullian is aware of the earlier Nazirite tradition about Jesus. When
                      I objected that Tertullian was simply referring to Matt 2:23 ("he shall
                      be called a Nazarene") they countered that the word translated above as
                      "Nazarene" is "Nazaraeus" in Tertullian's Latin. This is precisely the
                      word used in the Vulgate to translate "Nazirite" in Judges 13:5 so it
                      shows that Tertullian was specifically referring to Jesus as a Nazirite.

                      I further countered that this "Nazaraeus" is simply a Latin
                      transliteration of the Greek "nazoraios" used in Matt 2:23 and that this
                      is the transliteration used in the Vulgate version of that passage as
                      well. They reply that all other usages of "nazoraios" are transliterated
                      in the Vulgate as "Nazarenus" and NOT "Nazaraeus" and the use of the
                      latter in the Vulgate version of Matt 2:23 is simply yet more evidence
                      of awareness of that passages' link to Judges 13:5 and the residual
                      early tradition of Jesus as a Nazirite from Capernaum.

                      I must say I find all this contrived and highly unconvincing but the
                      last few points have me stumped. I can't think of any other reason the
                      word "nazoraios" in Matt 2:23 would be transliterated as Nazaraeus" here
                      and as "Nazarenus" everywhere else. Perhaps there is a Latinist here who
                      can help me.

                      Incidentally, I had read that Tertullian was literate in Greek but
                      haven't been able to check that. Was he? If not, what Latin translation
                      of Bible would he have been working from?

                      Any assistance on any of the above would be appreciated.

                      Tim O'Neill
                      Online Foe of Mythers and Ahistoircist Hypersceptics
                    • Ronald Price
                      ... do with embarrassment at all. Rikk, I think Mark was embarrassed because he presented Jesus as demanding that the disciples keep quiet about his messianic
                      Message 10 of 17 , Dec 13, 2010
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                        Rikk Watts wrote:


                        > I wonder why you think Mark was "embarrassed" about the label Messiah? We
                        > all know from email exchanges how difficult it is to discern emotions in a
                        > written text and how easy it is to misread them. But given the apparent
                        > assured confidence ‹ not a hint of any embarrassment‹with which the earlier
                        > Paul uses Christos, why read in embarrassment in Mark? Would it not make
                        > more sense to assume the same assured confidence for Mark? If so, then
                        > Mark's Jesus' concern to control the degree to which Messiah was applied to
                        > him, seems not to have come from Mark but earlier and might have nothing to
                        do with embarrassment at all.


                        Rikk,

                        I think Mark was embarrassed because he presented Jesus as demanding that
                        the disciples keep quiet about his messianic status. Mk 8:29ff. hardly
                        suggests confidence in this particular role. Even Paul did not express the
                        enthusiasm about the status that one might have expected. In almost every
                        reference in the extant letters of Paul, ³Christ² is used merely as a sort
                        of surname.

                        Regarding the case for an early high Christology, I haven¹t read Hurtado¹s
                        arguments, so I¹m not in a position to comment on that part of your
                        response.

                        > Concerning James, we actually have very little evidence here. From Paul
                        > himself that he met with James and that James had recognized the grace given
                        > to him. And then that some had come from James and that this led to Peter's
                        > withdrawal. I suppose one could point to James' show me your faith by your
                        > works as opposed to Paul's justification by faith. But that strikes me as a
                        > somewhat tendentious and particularly non-Jewish reading. Given this tiny
                        > and highly fragmented data, baldly to state that for Paul, James was a
                        > bitter rival seems far to outrun the evidence.

                        Galatians and Acts provide sufficient evidence for the rift between James
                        and Paul.
                        (1) Paul repudiated the legitimacy of the leadership role of James, Peter et
                        al. (Gal 2:6).
                        (2) Paul argued at length against James¹ reproach of Peter (Gal 2:11ff.).
                        (3) Paul called himself an ³apostle². But he was clearly not one of the
                        ³twelve², and so his opponents would naturally have challenged his right to
                        be called an apostle (c.f. 1 Cor 9:2).
                        (4) If Acts is to be believed on this point, the Apostolic Council edict
                        (?!) that Paul was to restrict his missionary work to the gentiles (Gal 2:9)
                        was blatantly ignored because he went on to preach in synagogues (Acts
                        18:26; 19:8).
                        (5) The public vow in Acts 21:17-26 must have seemed to Paul¹s gentile
                        companions to be a betrayal of his message of justification by faith alone.
                        James could hardly have done more to show his contempt for Paul¹s gospel.

                        Against this background, Paul¹s admission that James was the brother of
                        Jesus can only be seen as the acceptance of a well-known fact.

                        Ron Price,

                        Derbyshire, UK

                        http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Rikk Watts
                        Ron, ... As you rightly noted earlier, it helps to start with Paul, a first century Jew, once a dedicated Pharisee, zealous for the traditions of the fathers
                        Message 11 of 17 , Dec 13, 2010
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                          Ron,

                          > I think Mark was embarrassed because he presented Jesus as demanding that
                          > the disciples keep quiet about his messianic status. Mk 8:29ff. hardly
                          > suggests confidence in this particular role. Even Paul did not express the
                          > enthusiasm about the status that one might have expected. In almost every
                          > reference in the extant letters of Paul, ³Christ² is used merely as a sort
                          > of surname.
                          >
                          > Regarding the case for an early high Christology, I haven¹t read Hurtado¹s
                          > arguments, so I¹m not in a position to comment on that part of your
                          > response. Thanks Ron,

                          As you rightly noted earlier, it helps to start with Paul, a first century
                          Jew, once a dedicated Pharisee, zealous for the traditions of the fathers
                          and with a deeply eschatological outlook. He persecuted the people of the
                          Way, as least in part, for the blasphemy of calling Jesus, Messiah. Not
                          exactly what you'd expect of someone who thought it merely a surname.
                          Further, he closely identifies Jesus with God (so Fee's landmark work) such
                          that Christos frequently exists in contexts that celebrate God's greatness
                          or goodness, often employing in such contexts Father (of God) and Lord (of
                          Christ). Hardly, the stuff of "mere" surname; let alone the strong
                          possibility that the very notion of "surname" is anachronistic. How exactly
                          is this not expressing the enthusiasm one might have expected? Given Paul's
                          monotheism, associating Jesus Christ so closely with Israel's God is
                          probably about as "enthusiastic" as a first century Jew could get about
                          Jesus and his status as Israel's exalted Messiah.

                          Re Mark: Ron, I'm not sure you've advanced much beyond mere assertion. That
                          the majority of Markan scholars see at the very least a Messianic
                          Christology in Mark and increasingly so as he approaches Jerusalem, makes an
                          assertion that Mark is embarrassed by the title on the basis of this one
                          instruction, which can be readily interpreted in other ways that do not run
                          against the overall drift of Mark, seem particularly tendentious. Might this
                          "embarrassment" theory merely be a hangover from Wrede's Messianic secret
                          theory from which even Wrede himself resiled in his last days?

                          Re High Christology: it really would be worth your while engaging with
                          Hurtado and Fee. Things have moved on a great deal in the last ten years.

                          > Galatians and Acts provide sufficient evidence for the rift between James
                          > and Paul.
                          > (1) Paul repudiated the legitimacy of the leadership role of James, Peter et
                          > al. (Gal 2:6).
                          > (2) Paul argued at length against James¹ reproach of Peter (Gal 2:11ff.).
                          a. Re Galatians: the well-recognized problem of dokew‹which at least in Gal
                          2:2 and 9, seems to be used positively as "recognized"‹and the precise
                          nature of the relationship between the trouble-makers and James, to my mind
                          makes any bald statements about Paul's relationship with James highly
                          dubious. Paul's issue in Galatians is not with Jerusalem but the agitators
                          who in troubling his congregation appear to be making exalted claims about
                          that leadership. Gal 2:6 is less an attack on them but on any attempt to put
                          too much store in human status, hence his comments on his own
                          self-assessment in 1 Cor 4:3-4 even as he asserts his own apostleship. Even
                          if one allows that James had concerns about Peter a Jew eating with
                          Gentiles‹and we don't know why or on what grounds: was it related to his
                          being the apostle to the Jews?‹this hardly justifies the emotive "bitter
                          rival."

                          Far from James challenging Paul's right to be an apostle, Paul himself
                          claims exactly the opposite when he says that James offered him the right
                          hand of fellowship (Gal 2:9-10, all of which seems pretty positive actually,
                          and from Paul's own mouth). The problem with Paul's apostleship in 1 Cor is
                          unrelated (no mention of James in this respect at all in that letter;
                          further the reference to James in 15:7 is positive but has nothing to do
                          with questioning Paul's apostleship).

                          I'm not sure I can see where either Paul or Peter are forbidden to speak,
                          respectively, to Jews and Gentiles. Acts 15 says nothing about this, we know
                          Peter had earlier preached to Cornelius and here in Gal fellowships with
                          Gentiles, and requires reading a strict limitation into Gal 2:7-8 which is
                          as far as I can see borne out nowhere else in the extent literature. I
                          don't see anywhere in our evidence where someone attacks Paul for preaching
                          to Jews qua Jews in Synagogues or anywhere else (btw Acts 18:26 is talking
                          about Apollos, not Paul). Not even his opponents in Galatia seem to accuse
                          him of preaching where he ought not. So.. to say that Paul "blatantly
                          ignored" an instruction for which there is no hard evidence goes a very long
                          way beyond the evidence.

                          As to Acts 21, let's see, we have comments about greetings, relating what
                          God had done through Paul's ministry, then James and the elders praising
                          God. And this sounds to you like someone who holds Paul in contempt? If
                          James is Paul's bitter rival then please God that we may all have such. No,
                          this is again a very odd and tendentious reading of the evidence. Paul
                          nowhere forbids Jews from behaving according to Jewish customs. Instead, he
                          gives a great deal of latitude to personal conscience on these matters, and
                          it is precisely because Paul believes in justification by faith alone that
                          he does so: eschatologically, Jewish customs are no longer significant; so
                          he is free to be a Jew to the Jews, etc. That's all that he doing here. He
                          nowhere tells Jews that they must forsake the Law of Moses nor circumcise
                          their children, as some are claiming. He might not agree with James on the
                          importance of the Law, but this looks a lot more like Paul's friendly
                          accommodation to James sensibilities than any kind of repudiation of his
                          gospel.


                          Best
                          Rikk



                          > (3) Paul called himself an ³apostle². But he was clearly not one of the
                          > ³twelve², and so his opponents would naturally have challenged his right to
                          > be called an apostle (c.f. 1 Cor 9:2).
                          > (4) If Acts is to be believed on this point, the Apostolic Council edict
                          > (?!) that Paul was to restrict his missionary work to the gentiles (Gal 2:9)
                          > was blatantly ignored because he went on to preach in synagogues (Acts
                          > 18:26; 19:8).
                          > (5) The public vow in Acts 21:17-26 must have seemed to Paul¹s gentile
                          > companions to be a betrayal of his message of justification by faith alone.
                          > James could hardly have done more to show his contempt for Paul¹s gospel.
                          >
                          > Against this background, Paul¹s admission that James was the brother of
                          > Jesus can only be seen as the acceptance of a well-known fact.
                          >
                          > Ron Price,
                          >
                          > Derbyshire, UK
                          >
                          > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >
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                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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                        • Ronald Price
                          ... Rikk, I was referring to the period during which Paul wrote the extant letters. His outlook changed considerably after his conversion, and this probably
                          Message 12 of 17 , Dec 14, 2010
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                            Rikk Watts wrote:

                            > As you rightly noted earlier, it helps to start with Paul, a first century
                            > Jew, once a dedicated Pharisee, zealous for the traditions of the fathers
                            > and with a deeply eschatological outlook. He persecuted the people of the
                            > Way, as least in part, for the blasphemy of calling Jesus, Messiah. Not
                            > exactly what you'd expect of someone who thought it merely a surname.


                            Rikk,

                            I was referring to the period during which Paul wrote the extant letters.
                            His outlook changed considerably after his conversion, and this probably
                            included his attitude to the role of Messiah.

                            > Further, he closely identifies Jesus with God (so Fee's landmark work) such
                            > that Christos frequently exists in contexts that celebrate God's greatness
                            > or goodness, often employing in such contexts Father (of God) and Lord (of
                            > Christ). Hardly, the stuff of "mere" surname; let alone the strong
                            > possibility that the very notion of "surname" is anachronistic. How exactly
                            > is this not expressing the enthusiasm one might have expected?

                            Paul used the name ³Christ² around 250 times in his extant letters, yet
                            unless I¹ve missed something it seems that only once (Rom 9:5) does he say
                            anything about the Jewish meaning of the term. So I contend that although he
                            clearly liked the label, he was so unenthusiastic about its background
                            meaning that he didn¹t bother to explain it even when his audience was
                            primarily gentile.

                            > Re Mark: Ron, I'm not sure you've advanced much beyond mere assertion. That
                            > the majority of Markan scholars see at the very least a Messianic
                            > Christology in Mark and increasingly so as he approaches Jerusalem, makes an
                            > assertion that Mark is embarrassed by the title on the basis of this one
                            > instruction, which can be readily interpreted in other ways that do not run
                            > against the overall drift of Mark, seem particularly tendentious.
                            >
                            Of course a messianic christology exists in Mark. But I must take issue with
                            your ³can be readily interpreted in other ways², for it sounds as if a
                            congenial interpretation is somehow privileged over an uncongenial
                            interpretation. I applaud your desire to measure the interpretation of the
                            text in ch. 8 against the context of the ³overall drift of Mark². Like you,
                            I see no contradiction. But we appear to differ in regard to both the text
                            and the drift. As far as the latter is concerned, I see a deliberate
                            contrast between the flawed christology of the Jew Peter (³You are the
                            Messiah²) and the Œcorrect¹ (Pauline) christology of the gentile centurion
                            (³Truly this man was God¹s Son²). Two frames help to identify the Markan
                            section which I label ³The way of the cross² (8:27-15:39). The first
                            comprises the contrasting declarations mentioned above. The second comprises
                            Peter¹s verbal denial of the way of the cross (8:32) and his subsequent
                            denial of Jesus (14:66-72). I see these frames as a sure indication that
                            Mark¹s ³overall drift² was to discourage the older idea of Jesus as the
                            Messiah, presenting instead the newer idea of Jesus as ³Son of God², and
                            vilifying people like Peter (and of course the even more conservative James)
                            who (I would argue) declined to adopt the new christology.

                            > Paul's issue in Galatians is not with Jerusalem but the agitators
                            > who in troubling his congregation appear to be making exalted claims about
                            > that leadership. Gal 2:6 is less an attack on them but on any attempt to put
                            > too much store in human status

                            Surely those who seem to be something (OI DOKOUNTES) cannot refer to mere
                            agitators. REB has ³men of repute².

                            > Far from James challenging Paul's right to be an apostle, Paul himself
                            > claims exactly the opposite when he says that James offered him the right
                            > hand of fellowship (Gal 2:9-10, all of which seems pretty positive actually,
                            > and from Paul's own mouth).

                            The trouble with this is that Paul was desperate to win the approval of
                            James, as shown by the effort he put into the collection for the poor in
                            Jerusalem. If Paul was motivated to present his mission as approved by
                            James, how can we rely on what he wrote here?

                            > we know Peter had earlier preached to Cornelius

                            Your trust in the uncorroborated testimony of Acts is at the heart of our
                            differences. You seem to take a text of scripture as reliable unless it can
                            be proved otherwise, whereas I take the more cautious approach and deem it
                            unreliable unless it is clearly consistent with other evidence.

                            > I don't see anywhere in our evidence where someone attacks Paul for preaching
                            > to Jews qua Jews in Synagogues or anywhere else (btw Acts 18:26 is talking
                            > about Apollos, not Paul).
                            >
                            I stand corrected on the last point. But as regards the first point, we have
                            no clear unbiased expression of James¹ viewpoint, and we would not expect
                            such attacks by Paul¹s supporters who were behind most of our NT sources.

                            > As to Acts 21, let's see, we have comments about greetings, relating what
                            > God had done through Paul's ministry, then James and the elders praising
                            > God. And this sounds to you like someone who holds Paul in contempt?

                            The author of Acts loved to paper over the cracks ­ we shouldn¹t take it all
                            at face value.

                            > ..... eschatologically, Jewish customs are no longer significant; so
                            > he is free to be a Jew to the Jews, etc. That's all that he doing here.

                            As I see it, what Paul is presented as doing there is not the same as what
                            he was actually doing. James had trapped Paul into denying his own gospel in
                            front of gentiles who had risked their lives by responding to his plea to
                            help with delivering the no doubt valuable collection. Paul¹s policy of Œall
                            things to all men¹ would not have worked in a situation where the ³men²
                            concerned belonged to opposite camps.

                            Ron Price,

                            Derbyshire, UK

                            http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/
                            >



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Rikk Watts
                            Hi Ron, ... Really? I wonder what texts you can point to that suggest as much? ... That s a novel interpretative method. Paul s theological horizons are
                            Message 13 of 17 , Dec 14, 2010
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                              Hi Ron,

                              > I was referring to the period during which Paul wrote the extant letters.
                              > His outlook changed considerably after his conversion, and this probably
                              > included his attitude to the role of Messiah.
                              Really? I wonder what texts you can point to that suggest as much?

                              >> Further, he closely identifies Jesus with God (so Fee's landmark work) such
                              >> that Christos frequently exists in contexts that celebrate God's greatness
                              >> or goodness, often employing in such contexts Father (of God) and Lord (of
                              >> Christ). Hardly, the stuff of "mere" surname; let alone the strong
                              >> possibility that the very notion of "surname" is anachronistic. How exactly
                              >> is this not expressing the enthusiasm one might have expected?
                              >
                              > Paul used the name ³Christ² around 250 times in his extant letters, yet
                              > unless I¹ve missed something it seems that only once (Rom 9:5) does he say
                              > anything about the Jewish meaning of the term. So I contend that although he
                              > clearly liked the label, he was so unenthusiastic about its background
                              > meaning that he didn¹t bother to explain it even when his audience was
                              > primarily gentile.
                              That's a novel interpretative method. Paul's theological horizons are
                              largely Jewish, the authorities he cites are overwhelmingly so, the god of
                              whom he speaks is Israel's god and Christos is a Jewish term which he uses
                              over and over. And hence, because he doesn't explain the term, therefore it
                              probably doesn't have a Jewish meaning? How exactly does that follow?

                              Re his primarily Gentile audience: wouldn't it be more reasonable to assume
                              that if a term was a central as Christ was to Paul, as a teacher/apostle he
                              would want to be sure that his audience understood? Can you cite any
                              evidence from the first century where the recipients of Paul's letters
                              didn't know what he meant by Christos? (Recall too that he often begins his
                              work in a city by gathering adherents from Synagogues... which according to
                              you is precisely why James is unhappy with him; that being so I'd expect
                              there be a very good chance that the core of his communities knew exactly
                              what he meant by the thoroughly Jewish Christos.)

                              >> Re Mark: Ron, I'm not sure you've advanced much beyond mere assertion. That
                              >> the majority of Markan scholars see at the very least a Messianic
                              >> Christology in Mark and increasingly so as he approaches Jerusalem, makes an
                              >> assertion that Mark is embarrassed by the title on the basis of this one
                              >> instruction, which can be readily interpreted in other ways that do not run
                              >> against the overall drift of Mark, seem particularly tendentious.
                              >>
                              > Of course a messianic christology exists in Mark. But I must take issue with
                              > your ³can be readily interpreted in other ways², for it sounds as if a
                              > congenial interpretation is somehow privileged over an uncongenial
                              > interpretation.
                              Not at all. It's a simple principle that the ancients taught in the schools:
                              let Homer interpret Homer and which was later used of Scripture. So I'm
                              simply following that ancient practice and letting Mark interpret Mark. Why
                              import an idea that is not required by the text and that ends up introducing
                              something foreign into it?

                              > I applaud your desire to measure the interpretation of the
                              > text in ch. 8 against the context of the ³overall drift of Mark². Like you,
                              > I see no contradiction. But we appear to differ in regard to both the text
                              > and the drift. As far as the latter is concerned, I see a deliberate
                              > contrast between the flawed christology of the Jew Peter (³You are the
                              > Messiah²) and the Œcorrect¹ (Pauline) christology of the gentile centurion
                              > (³Truly this man was God¹s Son²).
                              Isn't this a somewhat tendentious dichotomy? First century Jewish evidence
                              has Jews not uncommonly declaring righteous people and the Messiah "god's
                              son" (goes back to Ex 4.22; Deut 32:4ff; Ps 2 etc. as you'd know). I.e. the
                              so-called Pauline Christology, surprise surprise, is actually Jewish. If
                              Israel has a long tradition of holding both Messiah and son of God together
                              on what Markan grounds do you justify distinguishing them?

                              >Two frames help to identify the Markan
                              > section which I label ³The way of the cross² (8:27-15:39). The first
                              > comprises the contrasting declarations mentioned above. The second comprises
                              > Peter¹s verbal denial of the way of the cross (8:32) and his subsequent
                              > denial of Jesus (14:66-72). I see these frames as a sure indication that
                              > Mark¹s ³overall drift² was to discourage the older idea of Jesus as the
                              > Messiah, presenting instead the newer idea of Jesus as ³Son of God², and
                              > vilifying people like Peter (and of course the even more conservative James)
                              > who (I would argue) declined to adopt the new christology.
                              You're kidding right? Son of God is already there in the baptism and the
                              transfiguration, and both texts are generally agreed to come from Ps 2‹a
                              Messianic Psalm; i.e. from Mark's point of view they belong together. Isn't
                              it also a bit odd that at the very moment on your reading Mark is backing
                              away from a Messianic Christology he begins to introduce, beginning with the
                              explicit faith-expressing and healing-rewarded "son of David" confession of
                              Bartimaeus, the most intensely Messianic imagery of all (from Juel's Messiah
                              and Temple to more recently Ahearne-Kroll on the Pss in Mark)?

                              >> Paul's issue in Galatians is not with Jerusalem but the agitators
                              >> who in troubling his congregation appear to be making exalted claims about
                              >> that leadership. Gal 2:6 is less an attack on them but on any attempt to put
                              >> too much store in human status
                              >
                              > Surely those who seem to be something (OI DOKOUNTES) cannot refer to mere
                              > agitators. REB has ³men of repute².
                              Of course (as I noted)... your point?
                              >
                              >> Far from James challenging Paul's right to be an apostle, Paul himself
                              >> claims exactly the opposite when he says that James offered him the right
                              >> hand of fellowship (Gal 2:9-10, all of which seems pretty positive actually,
                              >> and from Paul's own mouth).
                              >
                              > The trouble with this is that Paul was desperate to win the approval of
                              > James, as shown by the effort he put into the collection for the poor in
                              > Jerusalem. If Paul was motivated to present his mission as approved by
                              > James, how can we rely on what he wrote here?
                              How exactly do you know that the reason behind Paul's collection was to win
                              James' approval? According to Gal he already had that. I'm kind of intrigued
                              by the polarities that seem consistently to characterize your theses.
                              Everyone seems opposed to someone else‹reminds me a great deal of Hegel.
                              How's your Kierkegaard going? ; )

                              >> we know Peter had earlier preached to Cornelius
                              >
                              > Your trust in the uncorroborated testimony of Acts is at the heart of our
                              > differences. You seem to take a text of scripture as reliable unless it can
                              > be proved otherwise, whereas I take the more cautious approach and deem it
                              > unreliable unless it is clearly consistent with other evidence.
                              Well, I don't think so, seeing that this is the only time I think I
                              mentioned Acts. BUT I'd assumed that since you were willing to cite Acts
                              yourself that you were giving it some evidentiary value‹but apparently only
                              when it suits your thesis.

                              >> I don't see anywhere in our evidence where someone attacks Paul for
                              >> preaching
                              >> to Jews qua Jews in Synagogues or anywhere else (btw Acts 18:26 is talking
                              >> about Apollos, not Paul).
                              >>
                              > ..as regards the first point, we have
                              > no clear unbiased expression of James¹ viewpoint, and we would not expect
                              > such attacks by Paul¹s supporters who were behind most of our NT sources.
                              Two points: if we have no clear expression of James' viewpoint then how can
                              you make such strong claims about Paul and James' relationship? Second, if
                              Paul is not reticent to mention his detractors over his gospel and his
                              personal presence, why suddenly when it comes to where he preaches?

                              >> As to Acts 21, let's see, we have comments about greetings, relating what
                              >> God had done through Paul's ministry, then James and the elders praising
                              >> God. And this sounds to you like someone who holds Paul in contempt?
                              >
                              > The author of Acts loved to paper over the cracks ­ we shouldn¹t take it all
                              > at face value.
                              Sorry, but you seemed to do that; but apparently only when it suits your
                              argument?

                              >> ..... eschatologically, Jewish customs are no longer significant; so
                              >> he is free to be a Jew to the Jews, etc. That's all that he doing here.
                              >
                              > As I see it, what Paul is presented as doing there is not the same as what
                              > he was actually doing. James had trapped Paul into denying his own gospel in
                              > front of gentiles who had risked their lives by responding to his plea to
                              > help with delivering the no doubt valuable collection. Paul¹s policy of Œall
                              > things to all men¹ would not have worked in a situation where the ³men²
                              > concerned belonged to opposite camps.
                              Sorry where in the text does it actually indicate that? Here's a Paul who
                              goes fearlessly before kings and Caesars, who risked his life before Jewish
                              mobs for what he believes, who withstands Peter to his face, who in his own
                              bears in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus, and he simply caves in before
                              James? There's a very odd reading of someone's psychology. And where is the
                              evidence that James was seeking "to trap" anyone, or that Paul ever felt
                              James was that kind of individual?

                              I think Ron that all too often folk make mountains out of molehills. Sure
                              people have tensions, we all do. But perhaps it says more about the exegete
                              that the only interpretative model they have for reading such tensions is
                              for the two to become life-long rivals. Might it not be the case though that
                              two followers of someone who apparently urged forgiveness and died for their
                              sins might not also have been able to show just a bit more grace to each
                              other?

                              Best
                              Rikk

                              > Ron Price,
                              >
                              > Derbyshire, UK
                              >
                              > http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/
                              >>
                              >
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                            • yeshua666
                              While I appreciate all the responses, it seems no-one has been able to shed any light on why Tertullian would call Jesus a Nazaraeus rather than a
                              Message 14 of 17 , Dec 14, 2010
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                                While I appreciate all the responses, it seems no-one has been able to shed any light on why Tertullian would call Jesus a "Nazaraeus" rather than a "Nazarenus". If the former doesn't mean that he believed Jesus was a Nazirite, then why use this word? And if he did believe this, why is this the only place that I can see where he refers to this (oddly unorthodox) belief?

                                I'm still finding this very puzzling because I can't see that Tertullian did regard Jesus as a Nazirite, yet I can't find any reason why he uses the word "Nazaraeus" to describe him.

                                Tim O'Neill
                              • Ronald Price
                                ... probably ... Rikk, We have no direct evidence about Paul¹s views prior to his conversion. But ... So surely on your own testimony, Paul must have changed
                                Message 15 of 17 , Dec 15, 2010
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                                  I had written:

                                  >> His (Paul¹s) outlook changed considerably after his conversion, and this
                                  probably
                                  >> included his attitude to the role of Messiah.

                                  Rikk Watts replied:

                                  > Really? I wonder what texts you can point to that suggest as much?

                                  Rikk,

                                  We have no direct evidence about Paul¹s views prior to his conversion. But
                                  anyway you seem to have answered your own question earlier:

                                  > He persecuted the people of the
                                  > Way, as least in part, for the blasphemy of calling Jesus, Messiah.

                                  So surely on your own testimony, Paul must have changed his attitude to the
                                  role of Messiah, for after his conversion he obviously didn¹t any longer
                                  consider the role to involve blasphemy.

                                  > Paul's theological horizons are
                                  > largely Jewish, the authorities he cites are overwhelmingly so, the god of
                                  > whom he speaks is Israel's god and Christos is a Jewish term which he uses
                                  > over and over. And hence, because he doesn't explain the term, therefore it
                                  > probably doesn't have a Jewish meaning?
                                  >
                                  I never said it didn¹t have a Jewish meaning, merely that he refrained from
                                  explaining its (Jewish) meaning to the largely gentile recipients of his
                                  letters.

                                  > Re his primarily Gentile audience: wouldn't it be more reasonable to assume
                                  > that if a term was a central as Christ was to Paul, as a teacher/apostle he
                                  > would want to be sure that his audience understood?
                                  >
                                  Maybe or maybe not. But anyway this would not apply to the Roman Christians,
                                  for Paul had never taught there. In Romans we have Paul¹s magnificent
                                  exposition of his theology, and yet for the part addressed to gentiles,
                                  Jesus¹ role as Messiah gets no mention at all, with only a cursory mention
                                  in the part addressed to Jews (chs. 9-11). He is content to use the label
                                  ³Christ² repeatedly, but the Jewish thinking behind the role is apparently
                                  of no importance for his grand theological scheme.

                                  > First century Jewish evidence
                                  > has Jews not uncommonly declaring righteous people and the Messiah "god's
                                  > son" (goes back to Ex 4.22; Deut 32:4ff; Ps 2 etc. as you'd know). I.e. The
                                  > so-called Pauline Christology, surprise surprise, is actually Jewish. If
                                  > Israel has a long tradition of holding both Messiah and son of God together
                                  > on what Markan grounds do you justify distinguishing them?

                                  Paul and subsequent orthodox Christians meant something very special by the
                                  ³Son of God², a uniqueness already indicated in the earliest extant letter
                                  of Paul (1 Thess 1:10). If it were not for this distinctive claim, which
                                  presumably was and still is repugnant to Jews, what do you think
                                  distinguished Christians from Jews who merely took Jesus as a role model,
                                  let¹s say at the end of the first century?

                                  > If Israel has a long tradition of holding both Messiah and son of God together
                                  > on what Markan grounds do you justify distinguishing them?
                                  >
                                  Mark was a Christian and as Goulder used to say, a ³Pauline². If Mark had
                                  stuck to Israel¹s tradition he would of course have been a Jew. Are you
                                  suggesting there were no theological differences between Jews and Christians
                                  in the last third of the first century?

                                  > You're kidding right? Son of God is already there in the baptism and the
                                  > transfiguration, and both texts are generally agreed to come from Ps 2‹a
                                  > Messianic Psalm; i.e. from Mark's point of view they belong together.

                                  Once selected from Psalm 2 and put into the gospel, Mark had no obligation
                                  to interpret these texts in the same way as a Jew might have interpreted
                                  their originals in Psalm 2. So it¹s surely a nonsense to say that Mk 1:11
                                  and 9:7 in their respective *Markan* contexts have to be messianic just
                                  because of their origin in a psalm.

                                  >> Paul's issue in Galatians is not with Jerusalem but the agitators
                                  >>> >> who in troubling his congregation appear to be making exalted claims
                                  >>> about
                                  >>> >> that leadership. Gal 2:6 is less an attack on them but on any attempt to
                                  >>> put
                                  >>> >> too much store in human status
                                  >> >
                                  >> > Surely those who seem to be something (OI DOKOUNTES) cannot refer to mere
                                  >> > agitators. REB has ³men of repute².
                                  >
                                  Of course (as I noted)... your point?

                                  My point is that Paul¹s issue in Galatians 2:6 *is* with James et al. in
                                  Jerusalem, and not with mere agitators.

                                  > How exactly do you know that the reason behind Paul's collection was to win
                                  > James' approval? According to Gal he already had that.
                                  >
                                  The perceived need for James¹ approval is stated in Gal 2:2. This approval
                                  seems to have been conditional on the collection for the poor in Jerusalem
                                  (2:10). I take the statement about ³right hand of fellowship² to be Paul
                                  encouraging the Galatians to think he had the approval of James, when in
                                  reality he had been barely tolerated, and that only on certain conditions
                                  (mission only to gentiles, collection for the Jerusalem poor).

                                  > I'd assumed that since you were willing to cite Acts yourself that you were
                                  > giving it some evidentiary value‹but apparently only when it suits your
                                  > thesis.

                                  With a document of highly variable reliability one must be selective. By all
                                  means challenge me if I quote a text in Acts about whose historicity you are
                                  dubious!!

                                  > I'm kind of intrigued
                                  > by the polarities that seem consistently to characterize your theses.
                                  >
                                  I¹m intrigued by the total lack of polarities in your interpretations,
                                  bearing in mind that the period we have been discussing is the time when a
                                  new religion was being born out of an old one, and this was bound to cause
                                  considerable tension between the Jesus followers who remained loyal to
                                  Judaism and those who didn¹t.

                                  > if we have no clear expression of James' viewpoint then how can
                                  > you make such strong claims about Paul and James' relationship?

                                  In the same way as you do, i.e. making deductions from what is available.
                                  Now I do take Acts to be reliable where it lets slip apparently incidental
                                  information which runs counter to the general aims of the author. Among
                                  these cases are references to James et al. worshipping in the Temple (2:46;
                                  3:1 etc.), sticking to Jewish ritual customs (21:21-25), and including
                                  priests (6:7) and Pharisees (15:5) among their fellow-believers. Thus the
                                  Jerusalem community headed by James and including Peter were primarily Jews
                                  and only secondarily followers of Jesus.

                                  > Here's a Paul who goes fearlessly before kings and Caesars, who risked his
                                  > life before Jewish mobs for what he believes, who withstands Peter to his
                                  > face, who in his own bears in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus, and he
                                  > simply caves in before James?
                                  >
                                  I do agree that this is very strange. But it is also very strange that the
                                  same Paul presents a passionate case for a Jesus of freedom in Rom 1-10 and
                                  then messes it up with contradictory claims in 9-11. The reason in both
                                  cases is related to his desperate desire not to make a clean break with
                                  Judaism even though the theology he has so painstakingly developed cries out
                                  for freedom from the constraints of the mother faith. Paul was trying to do
                                  the impossible, and as with John Wesley many centuries later wanting to
                                  remain within the CofE, his followers soon gave up the uneven struggle for
                                  unity.

                                  > Might it not be the case though that two followers of someone who apparently
                                  > urged forgiveness and died for their sins might not also have been able to
                                  > show just a bit more grace to each other?

                                  In an ideal world maybe so. But the world is not ideal, nor unfortunately
                                  are the people in it, in spite of the inspiration of heroes old and new.

                                  Ron Price

                                  Derbyshire, UK

                                  http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Jack Kilmon
                                  ... From: yeshua666 Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:06 PM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: [XTalk] Re: Jesus the Nazirite from Capernaum and
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Apr 27, 2011
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                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: yeshua666
                                    Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:06 PM
                                    To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: [XTalk] Re: "Jesus the Nazirite from Capernaum" and Tertullian

                                    While I appreciate all the responses, it seems no-one has been able to shed
                                    any light on why Tertullian would call Jesus a "Nazaraeus" rather than a
                                    "Nazarenus". If the former doesn't mean that he believed Jesus was a
                                    Nazirite, then why use this word? And if he did believe this, why is this
                                    the only place that I can see where he refers to this (oddly unorthodox)
                                    belief?

                                    I'm still finding this very puzzling because I can't see that Tertullian did
                                    regard Jesus as a Nazirite, yet I can't find any reason why he uses the word
                                    "Nazaraeus" to describe him.

                                    Tim O'Neill

                                    Here is the Hebrew of Psalm 80:10:
                                    כָּסּוּ הָרִים צִלָּהּ וַעֲנָפֶיהָ אַֽרְזֵי־אֵֽל׃


                                    And the Targum Aram,aic:
                                    פניתא מן־קדמיהון כנענאי ושׁרשׁתא שׁורשׁיהון ומלאת ארעא׃11 חפיין טוריא
                                    דירושׁלם טול בית מקדשׁא ובתי מדרשׁיא רבנין אמרין אלימין דמתילין לארזין
                                    תקיפין׃
                                    שׁבישׁת שׁבשׁין שׁדרת תלמידהא עד ימא רבא ולנהר פרת יניקהא׃

                                    Where in the last line above we see "Branches" interpreted as talmydaha
                                    (disciples).

                                    Lets now move to Isaiah 11:1

                                    וְיָצָא חֹטֶר מִגֵּזַע יִשָׁי וְנֵצֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶֽה׃

                                    And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch
                                    shall grow out of his roots:

                                    .......where the נצר "netser" (branch) of Jesse Ιεσσαι gave rise to both
                                    the Netseraya/Ναζωραῖος/Nazarenes and the Yeeshaya/IESSAIAOI/Jesseans and I
                                    find this in Epiphanius Panarion 29 5.1-4 "For a short time they were given
                                    the name Iessaians before the disciples in Antioch began to be called
                                    Christians (this was around 60 CE Acts 11:26 jk ) and they were called
                                    Iessaians because of Jesse, it seems to me, since David was from Jesse." So
                                    the Nazarenes were equated with the Jessians making the case that both of
                                    these designations, had the same origin in Isaiah. Also Nilus, Bishop of
                                    Ancyra, in "de monastica exercitatione, 3 This connection is also made by E.
                                    A. Abbott "The Beginning" (Vol 2) in "The Fourfold Gospel" (Cambridge 1914)
                                    p. 318. I accept it since it is the most logical connection and Ναζωραῖος
                                    perfectly fits the Greek transliteration with the addition of the noun
                                    ending. If a group was founded by someone considered by his followers as
                                    the "Netser of Jesse," I can see them being called the "branchers"
                                    (Netseraya/Nazarenes) and "Jessians" (Yeeshaya/Iessaioi).

                                    This "root" and "branch" formula is used in both Psalms and Isaiah.

                                    I think the Church "Fathers" were confused over the distinctions between
                                    נזיר Nazirites ναζιραῖοι and Nazarene Ναζωραῖος where the Matthean author
                                    flipped a zeta for a tsade (Ναζαρὲτ) to conform to "Nazareth" (which was
                                    spelled with the tsade) to force the Judges 13:5 prophecy ὅτι ἰδοὺ σὺ ἐν
                                    γαστρὶ ἔχεις καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν καὶ σίδηρος οὐκ ἀναβήσεται ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ
                                    ὅτι ναζιρ θεοῦ
                                    ἔσται τὸ παιδάριον ἀπὸ τῆς κοιλίας καὶ αὐτὸς ἄρξεται τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ
                                    χειρὸς Φυλιστιιμ "For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no
                                    razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God
                                    from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the
                                    Philistines." Matthew used the LXX because he sucked at Hebrew. Even Bible
                                    translators get confused since most translations spell it NazArite with an A
                                    instead of NazIrite with the proper I (the zayin before the yod in "nazyr"
                                    נזיר is with an hiriq gadhol).

                                    Jack

                                    Jack Kilmon
                                    San Antonio, TX
                                  • David Mealand
                                    Tim O Neill wrote-------- While I appreciate all the responses, it seems no-one has been able to shed any light on why Tertullian would call Jesus a
                                    Message 17 of 17 , May 1, 2011
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                                      Tim O'Neill wrote--------
                                      While I appreciate all the responses, it seems no-one has been able to
                                      shed any light on why Tertullian would call Jesus a "Nazaraeus" rather
                                      than a "Nazarenus". If the former doesn't mean that he believed Jesus
                                      was a Nazirite, then why use this word? And if he did believe this,
                                      why is this the only place that I can see where he refers to this
                                      (oddly unorthodox) belief?

                                      I'm still finding this very puzzling because I can't see that
                                      Tertullian did regard Jesus as a Nazirite, yet I can't find any reason
                                      why he uses the word "Nazaraeus" to describe him.
                                      ---------------

                                      Mark 4 times has Nazarenos, Luke has it twice.
                                      Matthew, Luke, 4th Gospel & Acts all have Nazwraios (w=long o)
                                      on which Fiztmyer, Lk., p.1215 has a lengthy note. He
                                      lists explanations by the place, Nazirite, Netser and
                                      Notsri and says "it is still a problem to explain
                                      the long o; nor can the shift from ts to z be accepted
                                      without further ado". (He prints s with dot under it
                                      I have to use ts).

                                      If Tertullian has Nazareus or Nazaraeus he is too early to be following
                                      the Vulgate but it might be worth trying the Old Latin to
                                      see what that has. Incidentally I note that the Vulgate
                                      has Nazareus for Nazwraios only at Matt.2.23 and appears to
                                      have Nazarenus in most places where the Greek has Nazwraios,
                                      but I only have the smaller Wordsworth & White to hand.

                                      David M.






                                      ---------
                                      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


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