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Re: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas

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  • FMMCCOY@msn.com
    In a post of 7-29-2007, David Hindley writes: I think the term Hellenist as used by Frank has to be distinguished from a term designating persons influenced
    Message 1 of 31 , Jul 29 11:34 AM
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      In a post of 7-29-2007, David Hindley writes:
      I think the term "Hellenist" as used by Frank has to be distinguished
      from a term designating persons influenced by "Hellenism" such
      as by language (Greek) or location (Asia Minor, Alexandria, etc).

      Frank's scenario appears similar in many ways to one proposed by Barbara
      Theiring. She also sees Essene influence, eastern and
      western wings of the Essenes headed by different persons familiar from
      Christian history, etc.

      David Hindley:

      To the best of my knowledge, the first scholar to suggest that the
      Therapeutae were a wing of the Essene movement was Karl Georg Kuhn in
      "Uber den ursprunglichen Sinn des Abendmahles und sien Verhaltnis zu den
      Gemeinschaftsmahlen der Sektenschrift (Evangelische Theologie 10,
      1950-51, pp. 508-27)". A revised and English translation of it, "The
      Lord's Supper and the Communal Meal at Qumran", is found in The Scrolls
      and the New Testament (ed. Krister Stendahl, pp. 65-93). In it (p. 76),
      he states, "These Egyptian Therapeutae had their settlement at the
      Mareotic Sea. Though they did not belong to the Essenes proper, and
      were an Order by themselves, they certainly had a close relationship to
      the Essenes. They were an Egyptian offshoot of the Palestinian Order of
      the Essenes."

      Also, yes, I have argued that the earliest Jerusalem Assembly was
      Essenic in a generic sense, with the Hebrews most strongly influenced by
      the Essenes proper and the Hellenists most strongly influenced by the
      Therapeutae.

      However, by the same token, I do think that the labels of "Hebrew" and
      "Hellenist" were applied to the two groups because of a difference of
      opinion over what should be the primary language for the full members of
      the earliest Jerusalem Assembly.

      The Essenes used Aramaic and Hebrew as their main languages. There are
      some Greek DSS, but they a small minority. So, I think, the Hebrews, as
      they had been strongly influenced by the Essenes, got their label of
      "Hebrew" because, they maintained, the main language of the earliest
      Jerusalem Assembly should be Hebrew or Aramaic.

      It is likely that their leader, Simon Peter, didn't know Greek very
      well. There is the tradition, known to Papias, that Peter needed Mark
      to act as his interpreter. I Peter is said to have been written for
      Peter by Silvanus. If genuine, this suggests that Peter didn't know how
      to write in Greek. If it is a spurious work, it is still based on a
      tradition that Peter didn't know how to write in Greek. Paul preferred
      to refer to Simon Peter as "Cephas", presumably because Peter's primary
      language was Aramaic.

      The Therapeutae, being Egyptian Jews, used Greek as their main language.
      So, I think, the Hellenists, as they had been strongly influenced by the
      Therapeutae, got their lable of "Hebrew" because, they maintained, the
      main language of the earliest Jerusalem Assembly should be Greek.

      It is likely that their leader, James, the brother of Jesus, did use
      Greek as his primary language. I have argued that James is the author
      of the Epistle of James. This argument is given in post #7785. See:

      http://groups..yahoo.com/group/gthomas/message/7785

      The key point is that this epistle is written in polished Greek, even
      quotes the Greek language Septuagint used by the Therapeutae, and it is
      nowhere stated in it that somebody wrote it for James. So, it
      indicates, Greek had been the primary language of James, the brother of
      Jesus.

      Now, it is true, almost all scholars would reject this conclusion that
      James, the brother of Jesus, had Greek as his primary language and could
      write in polished Greek. This is because of the wide-spread scholarly
      opinion that Jesus had been a Galilean village tekton. How in the world
      could a brother of a Galiean village tekton be fully literate and use
      Greek as his primary language? On the face of it, this is absurd!

      Still, I stand by this conclusion because it is where the evidence has
      led me. So, I strongly suspect, this wide-spead scholarly opinion is as
      mythological as the tooth fairy.

      The first thing to note is that this wide-spread scholarly opinion has
      support only in the Hebrew tradition. It is in Mark, based on the the
      Hebrew tradition, that Jesus is said to be a tekton. It is in Mark and
      John 6:1-7:14 and chapter 21 of John, all based on the Hebrew tradition,
      that Jesus is a Galilean spending almost all of his time in Galilee.

      The Hellenist tradition paints a radically different picture.

      In original John (John less 6:1-7:14 and chapter 21), which is based on
      the Hellenist tradition, Jesus' ministry is centered in Jerusalem and,
      while it is admitted that Jesus was born in Galilee, it is denied that
      he was a Galilean at the time of his ministry(see 4:45-47). Also, the
      three closest friends of Jesus, whom he loved, are three people from the
      Jerusalem suburb of Bethany. Further, these three friends appear to be
      rich. Lazarus had a rock-hewn tomb favored by the high priestly
      aristocracy and Mary pours out an ointment worth the equivalent of the
      average yearly income of a Palestinian Jew at the time.

      What I contend is that the Hellenist version is correct. Both Jesus and
      James hailed from Nazareth of Galilee. But, at least from their teens
      on, they spent most of their time in Jerusalem and, in this sense, they
      ceased to be Galileans. Further, the Holy Family was rich, so while
      living in Jerusalem, Jesus and James, circulated in elite circles
      peopled by the rich like Lazarus and Mary and Martha and the High Priest
      (so I think the unnamed disciple of Jesus known to the High Priest in
      John 18:15-16 is James). Even further, while residing in Jersualem, at
      least James received an upper-class education in which he learned to
      speak and write in polished Greek.

      Further, we can see why the Hebrews had a motivation to falsely portray
      Jesus as being a tekton. The Essenes taught that one should work during
      the day in an occupation involving physical labor. See Hypothetica
      (11:8-9), where Philo states, "Some of them labour on the land skilled
      in sowing and planting, some as herdmen taking charge of every kind of
      cattle and some superintend the swarms of bees. Others work at the
      handicrafts...and shrink from no innocent way of getting a livelihood."
      So, it would have been natural for the Hebrews, strongly influenced by
      the Essenes, to have eventually become convinced that Jesus "must" have
      worked with his hands and, so, have created a myth of him being a
      tekton.

      In closing, it should be noted that the widespread scholarly belief in
      Jesus being a Galilean village tekton has, besides the Hebrew tradition
      of Jesus being a Galilean village tekton , two other "legs" upon which
      it rests: (1) the wide-spread belief that Nazareth was nothing but a
      peasant village and (2) the wide-spread belief in Q--for Jesus in Q can
      be viewed as being just such a person.

      However, both of these other legs, IMO, are as false as the first one.
      As John Moon has recently pointed out, not only was Nazareth only a few
      miles from Sepphoris, but it apparently had a Roman bath. This would
      make it an ideal location for a family of wealth to reside--close to a
      highly Hellenized city with all of its amenities for one with wealth,
      but out in the peaceful and relatively quiet countryside, where where
      one could soak one's cares and worries away in the baths.

      As for Q, there is not a shred of tangible evidence for its reality.
      Further, the Q material can be explained under the hypothesis that Luke
      used both Mark and Matthew as sources. I personally think that the
      evidence is best explained by the fuller hypothesis that Matthew used
      Mark, Thomas and James as sources and that Luke used Matthew, Mark and
      Thomas as sources.

      Frank McCoy
      2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
      St. Paul, MN USA 55119




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    • Ron McCann
      Thanks, Frank. Clearly, I totally misunderstood you and the point you were making in your post, and further confused the references to James the son of
      Message 31 of 31 , Aug 9, 2007
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        Thanks, Frank.

        Clearly, I totally misunderstood you and the point you were making in your post, and further confused the references to James the son of Alphaeus and James the son of Zebedee. Can't keep track of so many durned Jameses! Creeping Alzheimers, no doubt.. (grin). My apologies.

        Ron
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: FMMCCOY@...
        To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 2:47 PM
        Subject: Re: [GTh] Hellenist Material in Thomas


        Ron McCann writes, "In closing, Frank. Just one more point on the
        Jerusalem Council, the leadership of James and your suggestions that it
        was James sons of Zebbedee, not James the Just that lead it. I remember
        now reading something you posted about that and recall shaking my head
        at the time. How do you square that with the fact that Acts 12 tells us
        that James Zebedee was killed by Herod at about the same time that Peter
        was arrested by him and made his miraculous escape from Prison-
        something that occurs much much earlier and earlier in the account than
        the Jerusalem Council events?"

        Ron, if you re-read what I said, you will realize that what I maintain
        is that, Luke wants us to believe, the James of the Jerusalem Council is
        James *the son of Alphaeus*. Luke nowhere, in either Luke or Acts, ever
        states that Jesus had a brother named James. He names two James in
        Acts--one the son of Zebedee and the other the son of Alphaeus. Since
        the son of Zebedee was dead by the time of this Council, Luke implies
        that the James of this Council is the son of Alphaeus. It is only by
        illegitimate importation of ideas from outside the conceptual universe
        of Luke-Acts that anyone can conclude that the James of this Council
        meeting is a brother of Jesus. In any event, IMO, Luke's account of the
        Council meeting, including the edict, is bogus. IMO, if such an edict
        had ever been issued, Paul would have said something about it because it
        directly impacted on the Gentiles under his jurisdiction.

        Ron, you have an interesting line of argumentation in the rest of your
        post. I will be responding to it, but only after giving it much
        thought.

        Frank McCoy
        2036 E. Magnolia Ave.
        St. Paul, MN 55119









































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