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Re: [XTalk] Paul's Gnosticism (and Jesus?)

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  • William Arnal
    Howdy Bob. I m guessing your weather down there is MUCH better than ours up here -- Canada as a whole seems to be deferring spring indefinitely. Anyway, ...
    Message 1 of 34 , May 2, 2002
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      Howdy Bob. I'm guessing your weather down there is MUCH better than ours up
      here -- Canada as a whole seems to be deferring spring indefinitely. Anyway,
      you wrote:

      >I've had similar thoughts, although I have not attempted a detailed
      >analysis. I consider Paul proto-Gnostic.

      I've not attempted a detailed analysis either. I just keep tripping over the
      fact that when I look at some aspect of Thomas, the best ancient Christian
      (and I include here "Gnostics") parallel I can find usually ends up being
      Paul.

      >How about another possibility: That Paul's dualism here is due to the
      >*audience* that he is addressing, amongst whom platonic dualism was (I
      >suppose) commonplace? Paul's debate style (e.g. Mars Hill) famously >takes
      >into consideration certain aspects of his target audience.

      I have some problems with the way you use Acts here to make your point --
      indeed, I think Paul himself would have had serious problems with how Luke
      makes him speak, PARTICULARLY in that speech. We HAVE a large bunch of
      (apparently -- and Dutch radicals notwithstanding) primary sources! So why
      bother with a MUCH later and dubious source?

      This aside, though, I have to agree that the tone Paul adopts differs from
      letter to letter (of course) and that 1 Corinthians, e.g., contains a whole
      LOT of ideas and expressions NOT found in, say, 1 Thess (although there's
      some common ground too). What does seem to me to be pretty consistent is: a)
      an inversionary rhetoric (however expressed; even in texts like 1 Thess:
      "when they say, 'there is peace and security' . . ."); and b) the "Christ
      myth" (although this is NOT present everywhere!). So regardless of audience,
      I think, we CAN assert that Paul does indeed devalue this world (and
      "flesh") in one way or another; and that his central myth (Christ crucified
      and resurrected) not only intrinsically devalues the world but actually
      MOCKS it. These are really striking features, and I wonder to what extent
      (to repeat my question, probably unnecessarily) they tell us anything about
      the HJ.

      Bill
      ___________________________
      William Arnal
      Department of Religion
      University of Manitoba

      "I wish that I was born a thousand years ago.
      I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
      on a great big clipper ship,
      going from this land here to that,
      in a sailor suit and cap."
      -- Lou Reed


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    • Richard Anderson
      David Friedman wrote: Richard has actually written a paper on this subject. He makes some good points, [thank you] . . . . If Luke was following Josephus by
      Message 34 of 34 , May 12, 2002
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        David Friedman wrote:

        Richard has actually written a paper on this subject. He makes some good
        points, [thank you] . . . .

        If Luke was following Josephus by writing an apology dedicated to a patron
        that would make it more likely that Theophilus was a literary creation.

        Notice that "most excellent" connected to a Roman governor. That makes it
        inconceivable that Theophilus was meant to be a Jew.
        . . .
        I don't think so. Isaiah mentions vicarious atonement.

        Theophilus as the HP is the highest ranking Jewish official in Judea but he
        is nonetheless a Roman appointee; consequently Luke has correctly addressed
        him.

        There is no evidence that Luke is dependent upon Josephus or that Josephus
        is dependent on Luke. It is more likely, according to Gary Goldberg who has
        written on this subject, that Luke and Josephus are using a common source.
        See http://members.aol.com/FLJOSEPHUS/home.htm

        Isaiah does has vicarious atonement according to most scholars (Whybray has
        a strong dissent in JSOT) but only in the Hebrew MT; there is no vicarious
        atonement in the Greek Septuagint and Luke quotes the Septuagint.

        Richard H. Anderson
        Wallingford PA
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