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Vs: [XTalk] James and the Ebionites

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  • Sakari H�kkinen
    ... among Jerusalem ... Ebionites? As a ... the invocation ... in Jerusalem in 2 ... terms of famine ... descriptive label later ... Of course, the ...
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 1, 2000
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      Bob wrote:
      > Given this background on James and his leadership role
      among Jerusalem
      > Christians, do you see in this group the origin of the
      Ebionites? As a
      > link, I would propose especially Romans 15:25-29; and also
      the invocation
      > of Psalm 112:9 regarding the collection for the "saints"
      in Jerusalem in 2
      > Cor. 9:9; Galatians 2:9; Acts 11:29 (couched there in
      terms of famine
      > relief), and perhaps elsewhere. I can see here a
      descriptive label later
      > becoming the name for a particular branch of Christianity.
      Of course, the
      > theology & soteriology of the later Ebionites also seems
      compatable with
      > what we know of the Jerusalem church under James, through
      Paul's letters &
      > Acts. What do you think?

      I am just preparing a paper on the Poor of Jerusalem to be
      presented here and to be published later - again in my own
      language. It is quite clear to me that at the time of the
      collection there was no such group that was designated as
      "The Poor" in Jerusalem, to which Paul would have collected
      money. In Rom. 15:25-29 and Gal. 2:10 Paul mentiones the
      poor, which were also "saints", but saints living in poverty
      because of quite understandable reasons. At least the part
      of the community in Jerusalem that used Aramaic was in need
      of support.

      It seems to me that later the community was even more
      clearly separated to the Hellenists, which did quite well,
      and the Hebrews, who were much poorer. I think we have
      something on this in Acts 6:1-6.

      After the Jewish war we have a great gap of reliable data.
      There is this Pella-legend, of which we just discussed with
      Stephen Goranson, but that is not much to build on.
      Eusebius, by whom we have the first mentions of Pella, never
      alluded Pella and Ebionites to each other. This was done
      only in 370's when Epiphanius wrote his Panarion. Epiphanius
      used Eusebius' Church History as one of his sources - and
      got the Pella-legend from it. Nevertheless, it is
      interesting that Epiphanius reports, in a passage (Panarion
      30,17.2) that is based on an unknown source, that Ebionites
      were proud of their poverty, because they claim - against
      the truth according to Epiphanius - that they gave up all
      their possessions and properties and started to live ascetic
      life in apostolic time. I consider this report as the "basic
      story" of Ebionites that was written in the now lost version
      of Acts, that Epiphanius mentioned in Panarion 30,16.6.
      (Cf. canonical Acts 4:34-35). This basic story of Ebionites
      worked as an explanation to the name and the way of life to
      Ebionites, but it tells to a historian nothing about real
      connections between Ebionites and the Aramaic-speaking poors
      of the community in Jerusalem before Jewish war.

      According to Epiphanius Ebionites held James in very high
      esteem. They also presented Peter as a pious vegetarian, who
      practised ritual baptisms. This is close to the view of the
      Pseudo-Clementines, which are based on same sources that
      were used by Epiphanius when he wrote on Ebionites.

      So, it is possible, one could say even probable, that
      Ebionites had their origins in the poor Aramaic-speaking
      community in Jerusalem. But that is only a hypothesis that
      is not based on very reliable data. We have also remarks of
      influence from quite another direction, e.g. "The Book of
      Elchasai" and Cerinthian form of Christianity. For this
      reason, it is not possible to reconstruct the way of the
      earliest "christian" community simply by referring to the
      way of life of Ebionites (which has been done sometimes in
      scholarship!).
      I have written much on this in my dissertation. It looks
      like the book will be translated if we still go on our
      discussion. ;)

      With best wishes,

      Sakari Hakkinen, PhD
      University of Helsinki
      Department of Biblical Studies
      sakari.hakkinen@...
      http://www.helsinki.fi/teol/hyel/henkilo/henkilo.html
    • Richard Anderson
      In response to Sakari Häkkinen: Michael Goulder in St. Paul v. St. Peter, A Tale of Two Missions said: In time the Jerusalem church fell on evil days. They
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 1, 2000
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        In response to Sakari Häkkinen:


        Michael Goulder in St. Paul v. St. Peter, A Tale of Two Missions said: "In
        time the Jerusalem church fell on evil days. They had to leave the city when
        the Jewish War came (66) and were not allowed to return after it was
        destroyed in 70. They were scattered to various centres in Syria and became
        knwon as the 'Ebionim, the Poor, a term oftern used in the Psalms for God's
        faithful, persecuted remnant. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cypus about
        370, questioned some of them and asked them about their name; they replied
        that they were descended from the Jerusalem church. and their forebears had
        become poor by sharing their money in the days of Acts. Epiphanius a harsh
        and untruthful man himself though that they were lying: they were called
        Ebinities after their wicked first treacher Ebion (Panarion, 30.15.4). But
        we may think they were telling the truth: there never was such a persion as
        Ebion. end quote.

        Richard H. Anderson
      • Sakari Häkkinen
        ... Missions said: In ... leave the city when ... after it was ... Syria and became ... Psalms for God s ... Salamis in Cypus about ... name; they replied ...
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 1, 2000
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          Richard Anderson wrote:

          > In response to Sakari H�kkinen:
          >
          > Michael Goulder in St. Paul v. St. Peter, A Tale of Two
          Missions said: "In
          > time the Jerusalem church fell on evil days. They had to
          leave the city when
          > the Jewish War came (66) and were not allowed to return
          after it was
          > destroyed in 70. They were scattered to various centres in
          Syria and became
          > knwon as the 'Ebionim, the Poor, a term oftern used in the
          Psalms for God's
          > faithful, persecuted remnant. Epiphanius, Bishop of
          Salamis in Cypus about
          > 370, questioned some of them and asked them about their
          name; they replied
          > that they were descended from the Jerusalem church. and
          their forebears had
          > become poor by sharing their money in the days of Acts.
          Epiphanius a harsh
          > and untruthful man himself though that they were lying:
          they were called
          > Ebinities after their wicked first treacher Ebion
          (Panarion, 30.15.4). But
          > we may think they were telling the truth: there never was
          such a persion as
          > Ebion. end quote.
          >

          Richard,
          I know well Goulder's book and his writings on the topic
          elsewhere. Indeed, in my dissertation I criticize him just
          for building a theory on weak evidence (I have a whole
          chapter on Goulder). One of the problems of Goulder's book
          is that he does not use footnotes. It would be fair to
          express what are the sources. Goulder uses all the same
          patristic material, which I claim to know quite well, and I
          am quite sure he has nothing more. His book is quite close
          to what I meant in an earlier message: "For this
          reason, it is not possible to reconstruct the way of the
          earliest "christian" community simply by referring to the
          way of life of Ebionites (which has been done sometimes in
          scholarship!)."
          On the other hand, there are some such descriptions of
          Ebionite belief in Goulder's book, which I have found very
          useful and which are on more solid ground, e. g. his
          description of the "possession Christology" by Ebionites.
          BTW, Michael D. Goulder has my book, but I am not sure if he
          can read Finnish better than the American scholars... Well,
          he visited us some years ago, but his ability of Finnish did
          not include too many words.

          Best wishes,

          Sakari Hakkinen, PhD
          University of Helsinki
          Department of Biblical Studies
          sakari.hakkinen@...
          http://www.helsinki.fi/teol/hyel/henkilo/henkilo.html
        • Mark Goodacre
          First of all, apologies for sending a private message to the list. I think it s the first time I ve ever done that, so I m really annoyed with myself! I
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 1, 2000
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            First of all, apologies for sending a private message to the list.
            I think it's the first time I've ever done that, so I'm really
            annoyed with myself! I suppose I hadn't realised that Xtalk
            was set up so that the automatic reply goes to the list instead
            of the individual, but I still should have checked.

            Second, a brief comment:

            On 1 Dec 2000, at 15:32, Sakari Häkkinen wrote:

            > I know well Goulder's book and his writings on the topic
            > elsewhere. Indeed, in my dissertation I criticize him just
            > for building a theory on weak evidence (I have a whole
            > chapter on Goulder). One of the problems of Goulder's book
            > is that he does not use footnotes. It would be fair to
            > express what are the sources.

            Well, Goulder is in good company here! His mentor Austin
            Farrer was also criticized for not using footnotes in his work.
            But in the case of _A Tale of Two Missions_ (_St Paul vs St
            Peter_ in the U.S.), it seems to have been a self-conscious
            decision to publish a popular-level book before writing the
            more serious, academic defences. Many of the theories in
            _Tale of Two Missions_ have, as you know, now appeared in
            various articles in journals and Festschrifts and Goulder has a
            monograph on 1 and 2 Corinthians, focusing on the Paul v.
            Peter thesis, published soon by Hendrickson's -- he is
            currently working through the proofs.

            Mark
            --------------------------------------
            Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
            Dept of Theology tel: +44 121 414 7512
            University of Birmingham fax: +44 121 414 6866
            Birmingham B15 2TT United Kingdom

            http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
            Homepage
            http://www.ntgateway.com
            The New Testament Gateway
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