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[Synoptic-L] " early christans"

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  • K. Hanhart
    Brian Wilson wrote on May 2 at 20:46.18
    Message 1 of 2 , May 4, 2000
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      Brian Wilson wrote on May 2 at 20:46.18

      <It was the theology of the very earliest Greek-speaking Gentile
      "Christians" at Antioch in Syria at about A.D. 38, whatever theology
      that may have been. And they must have had some theology, and it must
      have been in some sense "Christian".>

      Brian rightly excercised caution in writing "Christians" in parenthesis
      and in attributing to (what he estimated to be) 'Greek-speaking Gentile'
      christians a theology that "in some sense" must have been christian.
      Nevertheless it appears to me that even greater caution must be
      exercised when we ply our trade as exegetes. For our modern
      understanding of a christian is not only someone who believes in and
      follows Jesus Christ, but also a member of a christian denomination
      subscribing to the Nicene Creed and the follwing ecumenical creeds. But
      who can historically assure us that the earliest followers of Jesus were
      thinking in terms of these dogma's?
      A new and more cautious vocabulary is needed to reflect the situation
      in the first century. For our historical knowledge about the first
      followers of Jesus is extremely limited. They were part of the Jewish
      people. But we all read their story as it were with Greek eyes, namely,
      exclusively through Greek manuscripts, Gospels as well as Epistles. They
      certainly were not "Gentiles", but should we call them Jews? In order to
      do justice to their unique place in history I proposed to adopting the
      term "Christian Judeans" for our exegetical vocabulary for these early
      followers of Jesus Christ. 'Judean' is simply a translation of the Greek
      word IOUDAIOS designating a member of the Jewish people of the first
      century. At that time their situation and beliefs were fluid reflecting
      their Judean context. Only in this way - it seems to me- are we able to
      avoid dogmatic presuppositions in our analysis of the text.

      And who can assure me that the Greek speakers in Antioch were
      'Gentiles'?

      cordially Karel
    • Brian E. Wilson
      Karel Hanhart wrote -- ... Karel, Just looking through the commentaries on Acts that I have to hand here, you could try -- (1) F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the
      Message 2 of 2 , May 4, 2000
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        Karel Hanhart wrote --
        >
        >And who can assure me that the Greek speakers in Antioch were
        >'Gentiles'?
        >
        Karel,
        Just looking through the commentaries on Acts that I have to hand
        here, you could try --

        (1) F. F. Bruce, "The Acts of the Apostles" (London, 1951), pages
        235-236 on Acts 11.19-26 --
        >
        > "Here the contrast with IOUDAIOI in verse 19 (which probably refers to
        >Greek-speaking Jews) plainly implies that the Greek speakers of verse
        >20 are Gentiles." .

        (2) G. W. H. Lampe, 'Acts' in "Peake's Commentary on the Bible" (London,
        1962) page 901 on Acts 11.19-26 --
        >
        >"The story makes no sense if these are not Gentiles, admitted into the
        >Church without first being circumcised as Jews."
        >

        (3) E. H. Burch, 'Acts' in "The Abingdon Bible Commentary" (London,
        1929) page 1107 on Acts 11.19-21 --
        >
        >"The instant success of this movement was marked by large accessions
        >of Gentiles to the church. The context implies that these converts were
        >received into fellowship with Jewish Christians without first
        >submitting to the rite of circumcision."
        >

        (4) M.Goguel, "The Birth of Christianity" (London, 1953) pages 181-182
        on Acts 11.20-21 --
        >
        >"At Antioch those who were Gentiles were not compelled to keep the law;
        >there is no doubt that those who had been converted from Judaism
        >continued to observe Jewish customs to some extent at any rate; they
        >must not, however, have been very rigorous legalists as they agree in
        >their religious life to have close relationships with believers who
        >had remained uncircumcised."
        >

        (5) H. Lietzmann, "The Beginnings of the Christian Church", (London,
        1937) page 171 on Acts 11.19-21 --
        >
        >"We know further that the Hellenists who fled on account of the
        >persecution of Stephen carried on a missionary work in Phoenicia,
        >Cyprus and Antioch the capital of Syria, and that they developed the
        >last named into a centre of Christianity free from the Mosaic law. Here
        >was the first mission to the gentiles."
        >

        (6) A. Ehrdardt, "The Acts of the Apostles" (Manchester, 1969) page 68 -
        >
        >"These men were only loosely attached to the Jerusalem apostles and did
        >as the Spirit bade them. Quite unaware of the implications of their
        >activities, they started preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, leaving
        >it to the apostles to regularize what they had done... a new situation
        >was arising which had not been foreseen: the 'middle wall of partition'
        >between Jews and Gentiles had collapsed."
        >

        (7) G. Luedemann, "Early Christianity according to the Traditions in
        Acts: a Commentary" (London, 1989) page 134 on Acts 11.19-20 --
        >
        >"That is in contrast to v.20 which follows, according to which members
        >of the Hellenists also preached to the Gentiles...Also underlying
        >vv.19f. is the scheme 'to the Jews first - then to the Gentiles', which
        >also holds for Luke's Paul (cf. Acts 13.5,14; 14.1; 16.13; 17.1f.;
        >10.17)."
        >

        In my view, it may well have been that in such a context the Greek Notes
        were produced as a set of teaching notes in Greek for teaching Jesus
        tradition to Greek-speaking Gentile converts to Christianity who had
        virtually no background knowledge of the Jewish scriptures.

        Best wishes,
        BRIAN WILSON

        E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk

        Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
        > "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot
        > speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
        _
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