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RE: [GTh] From One to Several Traditions--a Proposed Scenario

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  • Frank McCoy
    {This is a re-posting of a previous post for which there were technical problems getting it to all list members} William Arnal thusly closes his post of March
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 5, 2007
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      {This is a re-posting of a previous post for which there were technical
      problems getting it to all list members}

      William Arnal thusly closes his post of March 4th:
      "Or let me put it this way: if it is unlikely that an early source
      would have "collected" all these different "strands" of tradition, it
      is correspondingly LIKELY that an early source would have disseminated
      various traditions throughout a range of different "strands." That early
      source need not be Thomas -- it could be oral tradition, but the effect
      would be the same. So this argument fails completely, and, I would it
      add, Meier's use of it strikes me as either wildly blinkered or
      intellectually dishonest at some level."

      Dr Arnal:

      Perhaps there even was one original root tradtion from which the others,
      including the Thomas tradition, aose.

      I propose a radical scenario: After the crucifixion of Jesus, his
      movement died out except for a group at Jerusalem--which can be called
      the Jerusalem Assembly. It was composed of people who belonged to the
      Essenic movement in a generic sense, i.e., in a sense in which it not
      only includes the Essenes proper, but the Therapuetae and the followers
      of John the Baptist as well. They tried to create an ideal community
      modelled to a certain extent after both Qumran the the Therapeutic
      settlement in Egypt. The oral traditions of the Jerusalem Assembly
      constituted the root tradition. Because the Jesus assembly was divided
      into two sub-groups, the Hebrews and the Hellenists, from this root
      tradition sprang two traditions. In turn:
      1. From the first tradition, rooted in the oral traditions of the
      Hebrews, sprang the Synoptic tradition
      2. From the second tradition, rooted in the oral traditions of the
      Hellenists, sprang the Thomas tradition
      3. From a mixing of both these two traditions sprang the Johannine
      tradition..

      Introduction

      Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem, some of his
      followers founded a religious community there. I will call it the
      Jesus Assembly.

      In the New Testament, the chief source on the Jesus Assembly is
      Acts-which Luke[1] wrote about 100 CE, give or take roughly 20 years[2]

      In this report, we will briefly look at the early history of this Jesus
      Assembly. It concludes with a postulated trajectory of gospel
      traditions

      Part I-The Founders

      Luke lists the founders of the Jesus Assembly in Acts 1:13-15, "And,
      when they entered, they went up into the upstairs where they were
      staying: both Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas,
      Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and
      Judas of James. These all, with one mind, were devoting themselves to
      prayer with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers."

      Luke begins his list of the founders by listing eleven men. He also
      lists these same eleven men plus a twelfth man, i.e., Judas the traitor,
      in Luke 6:14-16. From Luke 6:14-16, we learn, these eleven men plus
      Judas the traitor constituted the Twelve--the members of Jesus' inner
      circle of disciples.

      As a result, in Acts 1:13-15, this is the order in which the founders
      are listed:
      1. The Twelve (minus Judas the traitor)
      2. The women
      3. The mother of Jesus
      4. The brothers of Jesus

      Compare Luke 8:1b-3 &19a, "And the Twelve were with him and some women
      who had been healed from evil spirits and diseases: Mary, the one called
      Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of
      Chuza, the steward of Herod, and Susanna and many others-who were
      providing for them from their possessions...And came to him his mother
      and his brothers."

      Here we have the same sequence of (1) the Twelve, (2) the women (who are
      said to be Mary Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Chuza, and some others),
      (3) the mother of Jesus and (4) the brothers of Jesus.

      The implication: the founders of the Jesus Assembly were the Twelve
      (albeit minus Judas the traitor), Mary the Magdalene, Joanna the wife of
      Chuza, some unnamed women, the mother of Jesus and his brothers.

      According to Luke, the founders he lists in Acts 1:13-15 "were devoting
      themselves to prayer". This means that they were suppliants to God.

      This raises the possibility that these founders intended the Jesus
      Assembly to be modeled, at least to a certain extent, after the
      community of the Therapeutae near Alexandria, Egypt.

      We have only one source on these Therapeutae and their community. This
      is Philo's essay, "On the Contemplative Life or the Suppliants". As can
      be seen from the full title of Philo's essay, the members of this Jewish
      sect deemed themselves to be suppliants and, therefore, deemed their
      community to have been a community of suppliants.

      Outside of the Jesus Assembly in its foundational stage, I know of no
      other Jewish community in the period of 30-60 CE that was a community of
      suppliants. Since the Jesus Assembly began later than did the
      Therapeutic community, this strongly suggests that the Jesus Assembly
      was initially modeled, at least to a certain extent, after the
      Therapeutic community.

      Indeed, there is another indicator that the Jesus group, in its
      foundational stage, had been modeled, at least to a certain extent,
      after the Therapeutic community. This is that the foundational Jesus
      Assembly included even unmarried women as full members[3].

      This is unusual. The full members of the Pharisee sect had all been
      men. The full members of the Sadducee sect had all been men. Most
      Essene groups limited full membership to men.

      There were some Essene groups that permitted wives to also become full
      members. However, even they did not permit unmarried women to become
      full members.

      In marked contrast, full membership in the Therapeutic community was
      open to all women, even the unmarried. Indeed, according to Philo, most
      of its full members who were women were "aged virgins", i.e., unmarried
      old maids.[4]

      To summarize: We find Luke's list of the founders of the Jesus Assembly
      in Acts 1:13-15. Because the same four-fold sequence of people also
      occurs in Luke 8:1b-3 & 19, it appears that these founders consisted of
      the Twelve (minus Judas the traitor[5]), Mary the Magdalene, Joanna the
      wife of Chuza, Joanna, some unnamed women, the mother of Jesus and his
      brothers. There are two indications that they modeled the foundational
      Jesus Assembly, at least to a certain extent, after that of the
      Therapeutic community in Egypt. First, they apparently intended it to
      be, like the Therapeutic community, a community of suppliants. Second,
      as with the Therapeutic community, even unmarried women could become
      full members of the Jesus group.

      II Pentecost

      Next, let us turn to Acts 2:1-4, "And, when is fulfilled the day of
      Pentecost, they were all together at the same place. And, suddenly,
      there was a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent wind and it
      filled the whole house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of
      fire appeared to them and it sat on each one of them and all were filled
      with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak in other tongues as the
      Spirit was giving to them to speak."

      Note that:
      1. The members of the Jesus Assembly gathered together at
      Pentecost
      2. Three things happened that have parallels in the story of the
      Israelites escaping Egypt by crossing the Red Sea[6]
      3. The members of the Jesus Assembly spoke as directed by the Holy
      Spirit.

      Rather similarly,
      1. The members of the Therapeutic community gathered together at
      Pentecost eve[7]
      2. They celebrated the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites[8]
      3. They sang as directed by the Holy Spirit[9]

      This suggests that the Pentecostal assembly of the Jesus Assembly was
      inspired, at least to a certain extent, by the Pentecostal eve assembly
      of the Therapeutic community.

      In support of this suggestion, it is noteworthy that, in each case, the
      participants appeared to be drunk due to alcoholic over-indulgence, but
      actually were not. So, Philo states, "Thus they (i.e., the Therapeutae)
      continue (singing) till dawn, drunk with this drunkenness in which there
      is no shame."[10] Again, in Acts 2:15, Peter states, "These ones are not
      drunk, as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day."

      The bottom line: It appears that the Jesus Assembly had a Pentecostal
      assembly inspired, at least to a certain extent, by the Pentecostal eve
      assembly of the Therapeutic community.

      Part III-An Initiation Rite

      Next, let us turn to Acts 2:38-41, "Peter said, 'Repent--and each of you
      be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins
      and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to
      you and to your children and to all the ones at a distance, as many as
      may call to the Lord our God.' And with many other words he testified
      and was appealing to them, saying, 'Be saved from this crooked
      generation.' The ones, having welcomed his word, were baptized and
      there were added, on that day, about 3,000 souls."

      This occurs later on Pentecost day.

      What Luke portrays is an en masse enrollment into the Jesus Assembly
      through a baptismal rite based on the baptism of John the Baptist.[11]

      However, it is unique in that one is baptized in the name of Jesus
      Christ.

      So, it is John's baptism, but adapted for use as an initiation rite into
      the Jesus Assembly.

      Now, an en masse enrollment into the group was not one of the
      characteristics of the Therapeutae community's Pentecostal eve assembly.
      Rather, it appears, it was a characteristic of the Essene sect's
      Pentecostal assembly.[12]

      So, while, as we have seen, the Pentecostal assembly of the Jesus
      Assembly appears to have been modeled, at least to a certain extent, on
      the Pentecostal eve assembly of the Therapeutae community, yet it also
      had an en masse enrollment that was characteristic of the Essene sect's
      Pentecostal assembly and an initiation rite that was an adaptation of
      John's baptism.

      Part IV--Togetherness

      Next, let us turn to Acts 2:44-47a, "And all the ones believing were at
      the same place and they were having all things in common and they were
      selling the properties and the possessions and were distributing these
      things to everyone as someone had need. And, day by day, devoting with
      one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were
      sharing food with exultation and simplicity of heart, praising God and
      having favor with all the people."

      Here, Luke pictures the full members of the Jesus Assembly as:

      1. Pooling their assets and drawing from the communal fund based on
      need.

      2. Meeting daily at the temple

      3. Communally eating their meals.

      This practice of pooling of assets into a communal fund and drawing from
      it based on need is unusual. The Therapeutae turned their personal
      assets over to relatives and friends rather than to the community.[13]
      Pharisees and Sadducees held on to their personal assets.

      There is one group, though, who did pool their assets and draw from the
      communal fund based on need. This is the Essenes.

      For example, Josephus states, "For it is a law among them (i.e., the
      Essenes), that those who come to them must let what they have be common
      to the whole order, --insomuch that among them there is no appearance of
      poverty or excess of riches, but every one's possessions are
      intermingled with every other's possessions".[14]

      This suggests that the Jesus Assembly was modeled, to a certain extent,
      after the Essene sect.

      In support of this suggestion, it appears that the Jesus Assembly's
      practice of eating communally also had a precedent in the practices of
      the Essene sect.

      For example, Philo states, "Again they (i.e., the Essenes) have a single
      treasury and common disbursements; their clothes are held in common and
      also their food through their institution of public meals."[15]

      Also, there is a Dead Sea scroll document, the Community Rule. In the
      opinion of most scholars, it is an Essene work. One of its rules is
      that he who becomes a full member will participate in communal meals and
      merge his assets into the community fund. It states, "But when the
      second year has passed, he shall be examined, and if it be his destiny,
      according to the judgment of the Congregation, to enter the Community,
      then he shall be inscribed among his brethren in the order of his rank
      for the Law, and for justice, and for the pure Meal; his property shall
      be merged and he shall offer his counsel and judgment to the
      Community."[16]

      The bottom line: Given that:
      (1) Both the full members of the Jesus Assembly and the full members
      of the Essene sect had the two practices of (a) pooling their assets and
      drawing from the communal fund based on need and (b) communally eating
      their meals,
      (2) The Essene sect temporally preceded the Jesus Assembly,
      It appears that the Jesus Assembly was modeled, to a certain extent,
      after the Essene sect.

      However, the third practice of the Jesus Assembly, i.e., meeting daily
      at the temple, was not also an Essene practice.

      Rather, the Essenes worked during the day. So, Philo states, "Some of
      them labor on the land and others pursue such crafts as co-operate with
      peace."[17]

      Nor was it a practice of the Therapeutae. Rather, except on the
      Sabbath, each of them stayed within his or her residence during the
      day.[18]

      Indeed, this practice of the full members meeting daily at the temple
      appears to be a practice that was unique to the Jesus Assembly.

      In view of the evidence, in Acts 1:13-15, that the founders of the Jesus
      Assembly intended it to be a community of suppliants to God, I suggest
      that the primary reason why its full members met daily at the temple was
      to supplicate God. After all, what better place could there be in
      Jerusalem for supplicating God than His temple?

      To summarize: In Acts 2:44-47a, there are two indications that the Jesus
      Assembly was modeled, to a certain extent, after the Essene sect.
      First, like the Essenes, they pooled their assets and distributed them
      according to need. Second, like the Essenes, they ate their meals
      communally. However, their practice of meeting daily at the Jerusalem
      temple apparently was unique to them.

      Part V-The Twelve Apostles Have Extra Duties

      Next, let us turn to Acts 4:32-35, where Luke states, "Now the number of
      the ones having believed were one in heart and soul and not one had any
      of his possessions, but everything was in common to them. And the
      Apostles, with great power, were giving testimony of the resurrection of
      the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all: for not needy was
      anyone among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses were
      selling them. They were bringing the proceeds of the things being sold
      and were placing them at the feet of the Apostles. And they were
      distributing to each as anyone was having need."

      Here, we learn, the twelve Apostles had the duties of:
      1. Giving testimony regarding the resurrection of the Lord Jesus
      2. Taking care of the community property, both receiving it and
      meting it out as needed.

      Part IV-The Hebrews and the Hellenists

      Next, let us turn to Acts 6:1-7, "Now, in these days of the disciples
      being increased, there was a complaint by the Hellenists against the
      Hebrews, that their widows were being overlooked in the daily service
      (diakonia). The Twelve, having called together the disciples, said, 'It
      is not desirable for us, having neglected the Word of God, to serve
      (diakonein) tables. But, brethren, select seven men among you, well
      spoken of, full of the Spirit and Wisdom, whom we will appoint over this
      duty. But we will be devoted to the service (diakonia) of the Word.'
      And the word pleased all the multitude and they chose Stephen, a man
      full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip and Prochorus and Nicanor
      and Timon and Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch, whom they
      placed before the Apostles. And, having prayed, they laid their hands
      upon them. And the Word of God was increasing and the number of
      disciples in Jerusalem was being greatly multiplied. And a great crowd
      of the priests were obeying the faith."

      So, according to Luke, the Jesus Assembly was divided into two factions:
      (1) the Hebrews and (2) the Hellenists. However, he does not further
      describe them.

      Who, then, were the Hebrews and the Hellenists?

      Well, from what we have learned so far, it appears that there were two
      visions of how to model the Jesus Assembly:

      1. To model it, at least to a certain extent, upon the Therapeutic
      community. This is why the Jesus Assembly began as a community of
      suppliants and why they offered full membership even to unmarried women

      2. To model it, at least to a certain extent, upon the Essene sect.
      This is why the Jesus Assembly pooled their assets and distributed them
      according to need and why they ate their meals communally.

      So, I propose this hypothesis:

      The Hebrews were pro-Essene and wanted to model the Jesus Assembly after
      the Essene sect, while the Hellenists were pro-Therapeutae and wanted to
      model the Jesus Assembly after the Therapeutic community.

      In this case:

      1. The Hellenists would have been the ones responsible for making
      the Jesus Assembly a community of suppliants and for enabling even
      unmarried women to become full members of the Jesus Assembly

      2. The Hebrews would have been the ones responsible for the
      practices of communally pooling assets and communally eating meals.

      3. The Hebrews, being pro-Essene, probably would have accepted the
      Essene belief that, with the possible exception of wives, only men ought
      to be able to become full members of a religious group.

      This hypothesis explains why the Hebrews withheld the daily
      distribution from the widows. In this case, the Hebrews believed,
      unmarried women, such as these widows, should not be treated as full
      members of the group and, therefore, should not be permitted to
      participate in the daily distribution.

      This hypothesis also explains why all the widows had been Hellenists.
      In this case, they had become empowered full members of the group only
      through the actions of the Hellenists and, so, had a powerful motivation
      to be Hellenists themselves.

      In this case, the leader of the Hebrews had probably been Peter, the
      head of the Twelve:

      1. The Twelve were responsible for allotting the community assets
      according to need. Therefore, it is they who implemented the Hebrew
      program to exclude the widows from the daily distribution and it is
      difficult to understand why they would have done this unless Peter,
      their boss, had been one of the Hebrews.

      2. There is evidence that, as one would expect of a Hebrew, Peter had
      ardently supported the principle that all assets should be communally
      owned, that he had been an ardent advocate of communally eating meals,
      and that he did not believe that women should be permitted to be full
      members of a religious community. Thus, in Acts 5:1-11, Peter so
      zealously goes after Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, for withholding
      some of their assets that they fall dead. Again, according to Paul in
      Galatians 2:11-12, Peter, in Antioch, was so zealous for communally
      eating together with other followers of Jesus that he even communally
      ate with Gentile followers of Jesus until messengers came from Jerusalem
      with orders for Peter to desist from doing this. Finally, in Thomas
      114:1, Peter tells the other disciples, "Let Mary leave us, for women
      are not worthy of Life."

      It was the Hellenists who were victorious in the dispute. The Twelve,
      led by Peter, ceded their authority over the distribution of the
      community's assets to a group of seven Hellenists-who, presumably,
      reinstated the widows as participants in the daily distribution.[19]

      How can this be when the chief Hebrew had apparently been Peter and when
      Luke, in Acts, portrays Peter as having been the head of the Jesus
      Assembly? How could the Hellenists have over-ridden the will of such a
      powerful figure?

      I propose this hypothesis: Luke misleads us in portraying Peter as being
      the head of the Jesus Assembly. Rather, it was James the brother of
      Jesus who had been the head of the Assembly and he had been a Hellenist.
      Being the leader of the group, he was able to rein in even Peter.

      Here are some key points in support of this hypothesis:
      1. There is overwhelming evidence that it had been James, rather
      than Peter, who had been the leader of the Jesus Assembly. John Painter
      states, "The tradition of the leadership of James in the Jerusalem
      church is found in diverse expressions. The Gospel of the Hebrews and 1
      Cor. 15:7 suggest that James's leadership was based on the priority of
      the appearance of Jesus to him. The Gospel of Thomas makes his
      leadership dependent on the direction of Jesus to the disciples.
      Clement of Alexandria makes James's leadership dependent on his choice
      by Peter, James, and John, while Eusebius speaks of appointments by the
      apostles (H.E. 2.23.1), from the savior and the apostles (H.E. 7.19.1),
      and of appointment to the throne of Jerusalem (H.E. 3.5.2-3). There is
      a tendency, in the summaries, to add the apostles to the formula stating
      that James received his leadership directly from 'the savior.'"[20]
      2. There is evidence that James, as one would expect of a
      Hellenist, had approved of empowering women and had been a classic
      example of a suppliant to God. So, in the First Apocalypse of James, he
      asks Jesus, "Who are the [seven] women who have [been] your disciples?
      And behold, all women bless you. I am amazed how [powerless] vessels
      have become strong by a perception which is in them." Again, Hegesippus
      states that James "was often found on his knees beseeching forgiveness
      for the people, so that his knees grew hard like a camel's from his
      continually bending them in worship of God and beseeching forgiveness
      for the people."[21]

      3. The Epistle of James, traditionally attributed to James the
      brother of Jesus, is something we might expect someone labeled a
      Hellenist to have written-for this epistle was written by a Hellenized
      Jew who was expert in Greek.

      4. James had likely been a vigorous advocate of the lower orders of
      the priesthood against the high priestly aristocracy[22] So, if he had
      been the leader of the Jesus Assembly at the time of the dispute over
      the widows, this explains why, at that time, a large number of priests
      decided to join the group.

      To summarize: Acts 6:1-7 regards an important point in the history of
      the Jesus Assembly. The group was divided between the Hellenists, who
      appear to have been pro-Essene, and the Hebrews, who appear to have been
      pro-Therapeutae. The leader of the Hebrews appears to have been Peter,
      the leader of the Twelve. The leader of the Hellenists appears to have
      been James, the brother of Jesus-who had been the leader of the Jesus
      Assembly. The dispute regarded the question of whether unmarried women
      should be permitted to become full members of the Jesus Assembly. The
      Hebrews thought that they should not be permitted to become full
      members, but the Hellenists thought that they should be permitted to
      become full members. Perhaps because the Hellenists apparently had the
      leader of the group on their side, they won the dispute.

      Part VII-The End

      Next, let us turn to Acts 8:1b-3, where Luke states, "And there came
      about in that day a great persecution against the Assembly in Jerusalem
      and everyone, except for the Apostles, were scattered throughout the
      regions of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and they made
      loud lamentation over him. But Saul was destroying the
      Assembly-entering, house by house, dragging both men and women, he was
      delivering to prison."

      This was the effective end of the early Jesus Assembly. Except for the
      Apostles [23], the members of the early Jesus
      Assembly either had to flee Jerusalem or else face imprisonment. No
      longer could they meet daily at the temple, communally own their
      property and have communal meals. An era was over.

      Part VIII-The Nature of the Assembly

      The early Jesus Assembly had been an attempt to create a community of
      holy ones, i.e., saints, akin to that of the Therapeutic community in
      Egypt and the Essene community at Qumran. Indeed, these two earlier
      communities acted, to a large extent, as models for the early Jesus
      Assembly.

      Yet, it had some unique features as well. For example, while the
      Therapeutic community was in rural farm country outside of Alexandria
      and Qumran was in the wilderness outside of Jerusalem, the Jesus
      Assembly was in Jerusalem itself. Again, they alone met daily at the
      temple. Finally, they alone had an entry rite based on the water
      baptism of John.

      It was divided into two main groups-the Hebrews and the Hellenists. The
      Hebrews were led by Peter, who had been the chief disciple of Jesus.
      The Hellenists were led by James, who had been a brother of Jesus and
      the over-all leader of the early Jerusalem Assembly. The Hebrews tended
      to be pro-Essene and the Hellenists tended to be pro-Therapeutae.

      The Therapeutae were akin in many respects to the Essenes-so much so
      that some scholars deem them to have been an Egyptian Jewish offshoot of
      the Palestinian Jewish Essene sect. Again, John the Baptist appears to
      have been akin in many respects to the Essenes and it appears that, at
      least at times, he resided near Qumran.

      AS A RESULT, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE EARLY JESUS ASSEMBLY HAD BEEN
      INFLUENCED BY THE ESSENES, BY THE THERAPEUTAE, AND BY JOHN, IT APPEARS
      THAT ITS MEMBERS HAD BEEN ESSENES-ALTHOUGH ONLY IN A GENERIC SENSE THAT
      INCLUDED, BESIDES THE ESSENES PROPER, THE THERAPEUTAE AND JOHN THE
      BAPTIST AND HIS FOLLOWERS. SINCE THE MEMBERS OF THE EARLY JESUS
      ASSEMBLY WERE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS, WITH THEIR LEADERSHIP CONSISTING OF A
      BROTHER OF JESUS AND HIS CHIEF DISCIPLE, THIS INDICATES THAT JESUS,
      HIMSELF, HAD BEEN AN ESSENE IN THIS GENERIC SENSE.

      Part IX-The Later Jesus Assembly

      Eventually, the persecution ended and the Jesus Assembly was
      re-constituted.

      However, it was now a radically different community. No more do we hear
      of them being suppliants to God, meeting daily at the temple, holding
      the community goods in common and eating their meals communally. Also,
      a group of men, called elders, came into existence. James continued as
      the community leader and he shared power with Peter and a person named
      John. Together, they were called the three pillars. Above all, the
      Jesus Assembly in Jerusalem was transformed from a small utopian-like
      community, akin to those at Qumran and at the main Therapeutic
      settlement, into the central headquarters of a mass movement akin to the
      one launched by John.

      Part X-From One Tradition Comes Several

      In the beginning were the oral traditions of the Jerusalem Assembly.
      This is the root tradition.

      The Jerusalem Assembly divided into two main groups: the Hebrews and the
      Hellenists. The Hebrews accepted Peter as their leader and tended to
      be pro-Essene (in the classic sense of the Palestinian sect) and
      anti-women. The Hellenists accepted James as their leader and tended to
      be pro-Therapeutic and pro-women.

      As a result, the original root tradition became two traditions:

      1. The Hebrew tradition-which tended to exalt Peter over James,
      which tended to be attracted to the apocalyptic spirit of the Qumran
      group, and which tended to argue that women should either be excluded
      from the group or, at least, kept out of the leadership of the group

      2. The Hellenist tradition-which tended to exalt James over Peter,
      which tended to be attracted to the non-apocalyptic spirit of the
      Therapeutae and which tended to argue that women should be included in
      leadership roles of the group.

      Then, when the Jesus movement became a mass movement and rapidly spread
      from Jerusalem even to beyond Palestine, these two traditions became the
      sources for the other traditions that sprang up among its members.

      The Hebrew tradition is the source of the Synoptic tradition-in which
      Peter is held to have been the legitimate successor to Jesus as the head
      of his movement, in which James is down-graded in importance, which
      tends to be apocalyptic and which tends to be against the idea of women
      in leadership roles.

      The Hellenist tradition is the source of the Thomas tradition-in which
      James is held to have been the legitimate successor to Jesus as the head
      of his movement, in which Peter is down-graded in importance and
      criticized, which tends to be non-apocalyptic and which tends to support
      the idea of women in leadership roles.

      As for the Johannine tradition, it appears to have a rather complicated
      history. It apparently arose out of synthesizing the Hebrew and
      Hellenist traditions. At first, it was heavily tilted towards the
      Hellenist tradition. Then, at a later stage, exemplified in, but not
      limited to, Chapter 21, which is a late addition to John, it became
      heavily tilted towards the Hebrew tradition.

      Frank McCoy

      St Paul, MN USA 55109

      _____
      [1] The name of the author of Acts is unknown. However, since this
      person also wrote the Gospel of Luke, the standard convention is to call
      this person "Luke".
      [2] Acts ends with Paul in Rome around 62 CE.
      So, some scholars date it to the early sixties. However, most scholars
      think that Luke was aware of the Gospel of Mark-which was probably
      written sometime in the period of 65-70 CE. A fairly typical example of
      estimating the date for Acts is found in Udo Schnell's work, "The
      History and Theology of the New Testament Writings". Here (pp.260), he
      states, "If Luke is placed around 90 CE, then Acts is a little later,
      between 90 and 100 CE."
      [3] Mary, the mother of Jesus, apparently was
      an unmarried widow at the time. This clearly is the understanding in
      John 19:25-27, where Jesus turns over the responsibility for the care of
      his mother to the Beloved Disciple. Also, Mary the Magdalene, who
      apparently was another one of these women, appears to have been
      unmarried. Even if, as some claim, she had been a wife of Jesus (a
      claim that, IMO, is unlikely to be valid), Jesus was now dead, making
      her an unmarried widow.
      [4] The Contemplative Life, 68.
      [5] According to Luke, a man named Matthias
      was, soon thereafter, chosen to replace Judas the traitor, thereby
      enabling the Jesus community to continue the institution of the
      Twelve-see Acts 1:15-26.
      [6] The three important parallels to the story of the crossing of the
      Red Sea by the Israelites are:
      1. There was a strong wind. Acts 2:1-4, "And, suddenly, there
      was a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent wind." Exodus
      14:21, "And the Lord carried back the sea with a strong south wind."
      2. There was fire. Acts 2:1-4, "And divided tongues of fire
      appeared to them and it sat on each one of them. Exodus 14:24, "The
      Lord looked forth on the camp of the Egyptians through the pillar of
      fire and cloud.
      3. There was the Holy Spirit-which entered the participants.
      Acts 2:1-4, "And all were filled with the Holy Spirit." Isaiah 63:11,
      "Then he remembered the ancient days, saying, 'Where is he that brought
      up from the sea the shepherd of the sheep? Where is he that put his
      Holy Spirit in them?'"
      [7] Philo, the Contemplative Life 65
      [8] Ibid. 85-86
      [9] Ibid 87-88 Here, Philo states, "This
      wonderful sight and experience (of the pursuing Egyptian army drowning
      in the Red Sea), an act transcending word and thought and hope, so
      filled with ecstasy both men and women that forming a single choir they
      sang hymns of thanksgiving to God their Savior, the men led by the
      prophet Moses and the women by the prophetess Miriam. It is on this
      model above that the choir of the Therapeutae of either sex, note in
      response to note and voice to voice, the treble of the women blending
      with the bass of the men, create an harmonious concert, music in the
      truest sense."

      Here, the "ecstasy" is the ecstasy of those who are possessed by the
      Divine Spirit-who directs their singing, making it "an harmonious
      concert, music in the truest sense". See Who is the Heir (265-266),
      where Philo states, "The mind is evicted at the arrival of the Divine
      Spirit, but when that departs the mind returns to its tenancy. Mortal
      and immortal may not share the same house. And therefore the setting of
      (human) reason and the darkness which surrounds it produce ecstasy and
      inspired fury.Unseen by us that Other beats on the chords with the skill
      of a master-hand and makes them instruments of sweet music, laden with
      every harmony."

      So, in Ibid. 87-88, Philo implies that both the Israelites who sang
      along the shore of the Red Sea and the Therapeutae who sang in imitation
      of them did so while possessed by the Divine Spirit, who directed their
      singing.
      [10] Ibid 89
      [11] The number of enrollees (3000) is clearly legendary. That this
      baptism is based on the baptism of John is readily apparent by comparing
      what Luke says in Luke 3:3, "And he (i.e., John) came,.preaching a
      baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins", with what Luke
      pictures Peter as saying in Acts 2:38a, "Repent each of you be
      baptized.for the forgiveness of your sins."
      [12] See Marcel Simon, Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus, p. 126, "It
      was on Pentecost that they (i.e., the Essenes) proceeded with the
      admission of new members."
      [13] Ibid. 13
      [14] The Wars of the Jews Book II, Chapter VIII, Section 3
      [15] Every Good Man is Free 86
      [16] As translated by Geza Vermes in The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in
      English
      [17] Every Good Man is Free 76. Also see Josephus, The Wars of the Jews
      Book II Chapter VIII Section 5. Here, he stresses, they labor through
      the day except to break for a communal lunch.
      [18] Philo The Contemplative Life 30
      [19] Also, in Luke's narrative, Peter implies that the primary purpose
      of the seven was "to serve (diakonein) tables". This is a clear
      indication that they were modeled, at least to a certain extent, after
      the Therapeutic community's group of Servers-whose primary function was
      to serve the food and drink for the Therapeutae during their Sacred
      Banquet. So, in the Contemplative Life (71), Philo states, "In this
      Sacred Banquet there is as I have said no slave, but the services are
      rendered by free men who perform their tasks as Servers (Diakonikos)".
      This underscores the point that it was the pro-Therapeutic Hellenists
      who won the dispute over the widows.
      [20] Who Was James, p.34 (In The Brother of Jesus, edited by Bruce
      Chilton and Jacob Neusner, pp. 10-65)
      [21] As cited by Eusebius in the History of the Church, Book 2, Section
      23
      [22] In Jesus and the Zealots (pp. 124-125), S.G.F. Brandon states,
      "Thus, most notably, what he (i.e., Hegesippus) says about the
      sacerdotal privilege enjoyed by James and his attachment to the Temple
      accords remarkably with our inference from the Josephean account,
      namely, that James had championed the cause of the priests and so was
      considered dangerous by the sacerdotal aristocracy of the Sadducees."
      [23] By "the Apostles", Luke probably means "the Twelve". At least, up
      to this point in Acts, Luke appears to be limiting the Apostles to the
      Twelve.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • paul
      ... Hi Frank, I think oyu have provided a framework which unifies many apparently disparate NT traditions. Along these lines, the Hebrew-Hellenist community
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 6, 2007
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        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Frank McCoy" <FMMCCOY@...> wrote:
        >
        > I propose a radical scenario: After the crucifixion of Jesus, his
        > movement died out except for a group at Jerusalem--which can be called
        > the Jerusalem Assembly. It was composed of people who belonged to the
        > Essenic movement in a generic sense, i.e., in a sense in which it not
        > only includes the Essenes proper, but the Therapuetae and the followers
        > of John the Baptist as well.

        Hi Frank,

        I think oyu have provided a framework which unifies many apparently
        disparate NT traditions.

        Along these lines, the Hebrew-Hellenist community split may have been
        the natural product of a young community which brought together both
        Greek speakers and Aramaic speakers. Possibly the adherents drawn from
        Judea spoke Aramaic and preferred the Hebrew scriptures while those
        from Egypt spoke Greek and used the Septuagint. It seems tempting to
        place the early Hellenist conflict in such a historical context, one
        in which where Jews from Qumran and its extended communities spoke
        Aramaic while those from Alexandria and its extended communities spoke
        Greek. Perhaps the saying, "a divided house cannot stand" reflects the
        tension between these two competing groups.

        I also think it sensible to identify the extended Qumran communities
        with restoration of the Jewish kingdom by revolt against Rome. This
        suggests Jesus was first a member of the Egyptian therapeutae and
        later became an adherent of John the Baptist and the Qumran community,
        since Jesus died in the manner of a Jewish insurrectionist.

        Support for this includes the Greek name for Jesus, which is identical
        to that for the conqueror Joshua in the Septuagint. Likewise Mark's
        name, "Legion," for a group of demons seems clearly anti-Roman.

        I have also wondered if active recruitment for Qumran could have taken
        place at the Temple on the Sabbath. Possibly potential recruits were
        asked to meet the following day (Sunday) for an interview by an
        overseer or initiation into the community by baptism. This seems a
        natural explanation for why the early community met on Sundays rather
        than the Sabbath. Possibly recruitment is described by the NT
        metaphors "fishing for men" and "harvest."

        I think you have identified some important DSS-NT parallels which
        support your thesis. I have collected some more at jplan.org (DSS tab,
        "Common themes of the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls").

        regards, Paul
      • William Arnal
        ... [huge amounts snipped] This is certainly an interesting set of speculations, but I wasn t myself proposing any substantial historical reconstruction along
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 6, 2007
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          Frank McCoy writes:

          >Perhaps there even was one original root tradtion from which the
          >others, including the Thomas tradition, aose.
          >
          >I propose a radical scenario:

          [huge amounts snipped]

          This is certainly an interesting set of speculations, but I wasn't myself
          proposing any substantial historical reconstruction along these lines. My
          point was simply that Meier was describing the data in a loaded way,
          producing the results he wants, rather than actually forming a real argument
          based on real data. No matter what the source of Thomas' traditions, Meier's
          argument actually points to nothing much at all, aside from a degree of
          overlap between Thomas' traditions and those of a bunch of other texts
          (equally true of Mark, Q, Luke, Matthew, John, etc., if those traditions are
          treated the same way as Meier has treated Thomas). I personally remain
          thoroughly uncertain about the provenance of Thomas' traditions, never mind
          any specific links between the people responsible for Thomas and other
          groups of Jesus-people.

          regards,
          Bill
          ______________________
          William Arnal
          University of Regina

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