[Synoptic-L] " early christans"
- 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
- Karel Hanhart wrote --
>And who can assure me that the Greek speakers in Antioch were
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 --
>(2) G. W. H. Lampe, 'Acts' in "Peake's Commentary on the Bible" (London,
> "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." .
1962) page 901 on Acts 11.19-26 --
>(3) E. H. Burch, 'Acts' in "The Abingdon Bible Commentary" (London,
>"The story makes no sense if these are not Gentiles, admitted into the
>Church without first being circumcised as Jews."
1929) page 1107 on Acts 11.19-21 --
>(4) M.Goguel, "The Birth of Christianity" (London, 1953) pages 181-182
>"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."
on Acts 11.20-21 --
>(5) H. Lietzmann, "The Beginnings of the Christian Church", (London,
>"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."
1937) page 171 on Acts 11.19-21 --
>(6) A. Ehrdardt, "The Acts of the Apostles" (Manchester, 1969) page 68 -
>"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."
>(7) G. Luedemann, "Early Christianity according to the Traditions in
>"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."
Acts: a Commentary" (London, 1989) page 134 on Acts 11.19-20 --
>In my view, it may well have been that in such a context the Greek Notes
>"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.;
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.
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".