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Re: [GTh] Out from Jerusalem

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  • Thomas Bond
    ... 3. Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4. Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 10, 2003
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      Tom Saunders writes:

      >> The following verse doesn't relate that John and Peter did anything that Phillip had not.

      >> 25. They therefore, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

      >> This says to me that Peter was in Samaria to find out if Phillip had failed, or gone astray. The Simon Magus mess must have looked good, huh? Phillip had done well. Accordingly, he had the 'goods' to evoke "Holy Spirit" according to Matthew's account while Jesus was still alive. And had already converted others outside the Jewish state. Mat. 10-

      >> 2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
      3. Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
      4. Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
      5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans:
      6. but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
      7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
      8. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give.

      >> Peter and John had no special powers to do these things that Phillip did not. It must have been somewhat stressful at least in part to have Peter and John show up. Not to mention it would have been a good time to get out of town in Jerusalem.


      >> So Phillip left and made a success of it, to the point he knew he could go forever and did.


      Thomas Bond replies:

      It seems to me that one thing that should be kept in mind here is the difference between "Philip" and the "Philip in narrative of Acts." Matthew cannot be used to define the Philip in Acts. In Acts, Philip is not an Apostle; he is among the circle of Stephen, i.e., "deacons." The issue for the author of Acts is the continuity of Apostolic Christianity and a Jerusalem center. That is why Peter and John are sent to Samaria, much as Barnabas is sent to Antioch. Moreover, the author of Acts does not say that Philip could not impart the Holy Spirit, just that the believers in Samaria had not received the Holy Spirit. Whereas, in Antioch, gentile believers did receive the Spirit through non-apostolic witness. It seems to me that the issue of the reception of the Spirit in Samaria is a set-up for the confrontation between Peter and Simon. In Acts, Philip is just not a main character. Peter is the hero of Acts 1-15 for the author of Acts.


      Tom Saunders writes:

      >> Acts 8-26. But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert.

      >> This is what makes me believe that Thomas saw his opportunity to leave, and form his own ministry, which is what he did. The GThom reflects a very not-Jewish angle on the acts of ritual purity, property, women, etc. Compared to Luke and Paul, Thomas seems far less Jewish, and certainly far more community oriented.

      >> Perhaps saying 88, "when the angels come" is an inner reflection of Thomas' angel, like Phillip's, telling him to give......


      Thomas Bond writes:

      First, in your last statement, keep in mind that the Paul of the letters is far less "Jewish" than the Paul of Acts. Kloppenborg notes some parallels between segments of GTh and Paul which seem reasonable to me.

      Second, I am not arguing for or against what Philip or Thomas might have done, "historically," only in how that should be argued from the text of Acts. I have no opinion, yet, of the former. Keep in mind that the author of Acts does not give an "historical" account of Paul. From the text of Acts, a person just cannot give evidence that Philip went his own way. Does Philip continue in mission in Acts, yes. Is it somehow in conflict with Peter and Jerusalem in Acts, no. If you were to argue that Philip "went his own way" it would have to be an argument for a parallel in the author's treatment of Paul and Philip.

      Thomas Bond
    • Michael Grondin
      ... difference between Philip and the Philip in narrative of Acts. Matthew cannot be used to define the Philip in Acts. In Acts, Philip is not an
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 10, 2003
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        > Thomas Bond replies:
        >
        > It seems to me that one thing that should be kept in mind here is the
        difference between "Philip" and the "Philip in narrative of Acts." Matthew
        cannot be used to define the Philip in Acts. In Acts, Philip is not an
        Apostle; he is among the circle of Stephen, i.e., "deacons." The issue for
        the author of Acts is the continuity of Apostolic Christianity and a
        Jerusalem center. That is why Peter and John are sent to Samaria, much as
        Barnabas is sent to Antioch. Moreover, the author of Acts does not say that
        Philip could not impart the Holy Spirit, just that the believers in Samaria
        had not received the Holy Spirit. Whereas, in Antioch, gentile believers
        did receive the Spirit through non-apostolic witness. It seems to me that
        the issue of the reception of the Spirit in Samaria is a set-up for the
        confrontation between Peter and Simon. In Acts, Philip is just not a main
        character. Peter is the hero of Acts 1-15 for the author of Acts.

        Just some remarks in addition to yours, Thomas:

        Philip the evangelist isn't a star in Acts, as you say, but he does play an
        intriguing and dramatically important role. We first meet him at the
        beginning of chapter 6, where the Hellenists are complaining that their
        widows are being "overlooked" (whatever that means) at the daily servings
        (diakonia). The response of the Twelve (who've evidently been doing the
        serving up to that point) is sort of a non sequitur. They say that it's not
        desirable/pleasing that they themselves should wait tables (thus
        side-stepping the charge of discrimination against the Hellenistic widows),
        and ask that the community select seven men "full of the Spirit and wisdom"
        as deacons (servants). Philip is the second-named of these seven, after
        Stephen, who is said to be "full of faith and the Holy Spirit". The order of
        the names reveals that the author of Acts takes Philip to be the second
        most-prominent, and in the remainder of Acts he mentions none of the others
        (to the best of my reading).

        Politically, it appears that the Twelve have met the charge of
        discrimination against the Hellenistic widows by allowing the Hellenists to
        select some (or all) of the Seven. (BTW, Stevan Davis has written about this
        episode in _The Revolt of the Widows_, no longer in print, I believe.)

        Thematically, the selection of the Seven is followed by a plot development
        tying together Stephen, Philip, and Saul, and with continuing implications
        about the difference in fortunes between the two segments of the movement.
        In chapter 5, Peter and the apostles escape capital punishment by the
        intervention of Gamaliel the Pharisee, but the Hellenists are not so lucky
        in chapter 7. Stephen is brought before the Council for his overzealous
        oratory and, after a long speech, taken outside Jerusalem and stoned to
        death. Here we meet Saul for the first time. In a wrenchingly dramatic
        moment, Stephen's clothing is placed at Saul's feet prior to the stoning
        (which, if true, may indicate that Saul had a leading role in the
        execution - perhaps as representative-on-the-spot of the Council.)

        Stephen's execution (for blasphemy) is followed in chapter 8 by a general
        persecution led by Saul - but not, evidently, directed at the apostles ("...
        they were all scattered ... except the apostles" - still under the
        protection of Gamaliel?) Philip goes to Samaria, and what we now know as
        chapter 8 is devoted to his preaching and baptizing there. Quite a meaty
        chapter, really, and not entirely focused on the Simon incident; there's
        also the lengthy baptism scene with the Ethiopian eunuch, which doesn't
        involve anybody except him and Philip. Finally, Philip ends his independent
        missionary journey at Caesarea. End of chapter 8. But not end of dramatic
        irony, for at 21:8 we meet Philip again, briefly, for one last time. Now
        called an "evangelist", he's still in Caesarea and Saul (now Paul) is
        passing through on his way to Jerusalem - a journey that'll culminate in his
        own trial in Jerusalem and his eventual execution in Rome. The circle is
        complete. The man who oversaw the martyrdom of Stephen is now about to
        undergo his own martyrdom. Philip is the connecting link between these two
        momentous events that stand at opposite ends of the story of Saul/Paul in
        Jerusalem in Acts - a masterpiece of dramatic literature "based on a true
        story", as they say nowadays.

        Regards,
        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
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