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[XTalk] Re: HJ through Gentile eyes

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  • Bernard Muller
    Steven Carr wrote: In message , Bernard Muller So why did Paul persecute these Jews in 35?
    Message 1 of 20 , Jun 29, 1999
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      Steven Carr wrote:
      > In message <376C31EC.50BB@...>, Bernard Muller
      > <skip>
      > >So why did Paul persecute these Jews in 35?
      > <skip>
      > >b) The persecution started in earnest right after Stephen's stoning
      > >(Ac8:1) by a mob. It was probably caused by some of the last words of
      > >Stephen, at least that's what Acts is alluding to.
      > >c) Any belief that the Kingdom (of God), with heavenly (right hand man)
      > >Jesus as his King/Savior (Mt25:31-35), would come soon, not only would
      > >attract Jewish converts by the thousands (and in Jerusalem, the capital
      > >of the Kingdom to be), but also be considered too dangerous to be
      > >unopposed. Even if Jesus was dead (really dead), these "sectarians"
      > >could have produce someone who looked like HJ, and then ...
      > >Better to have them flee Jerusalem, even Judea and as far as possible.
      > But it is not even hinted at in Paul's letters that this was a point of
      > contention or a cause of persecution.

      Better late than never, but now I have the time to respond to your post.
      Paul never hinted why he persecuted them because:
      a) He did not have to say it, in the context of the letter.
      b) Paul did not want to acknowledge that these Jews were persecuted for
      things he was now preaching, which probably was way beyond these
      proto-Christians believed at the time:
      Jesus saved as the Son of Man (or Lord Ps110:1) at the right of God
      Jesus had become the preexistent Son of God (Gal4:4), when Galatians was

      And why would persecution ever
      > stop in that case? Christians continued to believe that Jesus would come
      > soon but managed to survive in Jerusalem for decades.

      In my HJ pages, I gathered up evidence that the "Nazarenes" who took
      control of the Church in Jerusalem were not Christians at all, but
      followers of Jesus (and Peter, and James). So that would explain they
      manage to survive for so long, but not with some life taking
      persecutions along the way (the two James, at least).

      On the other hand,
      > we know from Galatians 6:12 that there was a reason why persecution
      > stopped - Christians compromised on the circumcision issue.

      The Judaizers in Galatians were Jewish Christians probably acting on
      their own. I think the "pillars" never came back on their words with
      Paul (Gal2:1-10). Even during the feud with Peter (Gal2:11-14), Paul
      never said that he was a Judaizer, just that he was pushing Gentiles to
      embrass Jewish customs (probably only when James' men were around).
      Peter himself ("you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew" Gal2:14)and
      Barnabas and other Jewish Christians appeared to have mingled with the
      Gentiles, in their home: not the mark of Judaizers. And certainly Paul
      was a Christian and never compromised on the circumcision issue.

      > Stephen may well not have been killed for the exact reasons given in
      > Acts - it ties in just too neatly with Lukan thought and there is no
      > hint of this being an issue of contention in Paul's letters (as far as I
      > know)

      I already explained why.
      Now let's consider:
      We are in 34-35 in Jerusalem. A particular sectarian group suddenly
      multiplies and even makes converts among priests. Certainly a cause of
      alarm. Then this group is opposed by other Diaspora Jews. Stephen,
      acting as the spokeman of the group, says something like Jesus has
      become the son of man seen at the right hand of God (or is he seated as
      in Ps110:1?). We are talking about a risen Jesus, the ex-crucified
      "disturber", the one that Caiphas, the high priest still then, had
      pushed to the cross. But that's not even the main point. For the first
      time in Judaism, we have a specific human, and not an unassigned
      mysterious "son of man", and not a heavenly vague Messiah, and not
      Moses, as the number 2 in heaven, maybe not as a God but as a Lord
      (Ps110:1: "The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand ...""). That
      was very new, unheard off and likely to be considered an encroachment of
      monotheism. And of course, according to the third commandment "You shall
      not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold
      anyone guiltless who misuses his name.". Maybe I am speculating a
      little, but not going too far from Ac7:52-56.
      Yes these proto-Christians were certainly considered breaking the Law,
      the same way the latter Christians who believed in the pre-existent Son
      of God did and were booted out of the synagogues (GJohn). And that would
      explain why young Paul, as "extremely zealous for the traditions of my
      fathers" (Gal1:14) went after these "heretics". Please also note that
      the "Nazarenes" were not persecuted in Jerusalem at that time, stayed
      there and later took control of the Church (or what was left of it) as
      in Eusebius' HC (2,23), quoting Hegesippus (2nd century) fifth book:
      "Control of the Church passed to the apostles, together with the Lord's
      brother James ..."
      Anyway, considering the little evidence we have on the subject, that
      what I would go by.


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