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Jewish Scripture in 1st Century Rome

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  • Ted Clore
    I was wondering how available would the Jewish scriptures be available to the Roman population in the 1st Century? The Apostle relies heavily on the OT when
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 2 4:35 PM
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      I was wondering how available would the Jewish scriptures be available to the Roman population in the 1st Century? The Apostle relies heavily on the OT when he wrote his epistle to the Roman church. Which makes me think that either there were copies available to the general public outside of the synagogues, or the Roman Christians where involved with the Jewish community in such a way that they had copies of the OT.

      So how available were the scriptures at this time and what text would they have had?
    • steve_huller@yahoo.com
      Hi Ted The other possibility you don t mention is that the historical Apostle originally wrote to an audience of Jews or Jewish proselytes (note the consistent
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 3 5:52 AM
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        Hi Ted

        The other possibility you don't mention is that the historical Apostle originally wrote to an audience of Jews or Jewish proselytes (note the consistent Marcionite emphasis on Christ as "the Stranger" = ger cf Tertullian Against Marcion III where this Marcionite understanding of a Pauline mission to the proselytes is explicitly referenced).

        The point being that EVEN in this supposedly "antinomian" Christian communities a intimate familiarity with the OT was assumed on the part of Paul's readership (Marcion "retained" Pauline references to the Torah and Isaiah in a culture which excluded the OT from the Bible).

        It is also worth noting that the Marcionites viewed the Pauline letters as originating from the author of the gospel so that they essentially represent a kind of commentary or halacha of the New Torah ie the gospel.

        It was like having Moses explaining Moses or perhaps a position similar to that reported of a number of early Jewish sects (the Sadducees, Samaritans cf Memar Marqe) that only the ten utterances came from God and the rest (or occassionally the Book of Deuteronomy) was written only on the authority of Moses.

        In summa the Marcionite position necessarily rejects our traditional assumptions about Paul as missionary to a Gentile community unfamiliar or ignorant of Jewish halacha.

        The Torah was likely viewed in much the same way as it was by the communities of Shabbatai Zevi, Jacob Frank etc - viz it wasn't "despised" (despite what the Church Fathers say) as much as it was viewed as being eclipsed by a more perfect revelation (even the one suggested by Deut 32 according to the Samaritan reading).

        Stephan

        Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


        From: "Ted Clore"
        Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 23:35:15 -0000
        To: <textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: [textualcriticism] Jewish Scripture in 1st Century Rome

        I was wondering how available would the Jewish scriptures be available to the Roman population in the 1st Century? The Apostle relies heavily on the OT when he wrote his epistle to the Roman church. Which makes me think that either there were copies available to the general public outside of the synagogues, or the Roman Christians where involved with the Jewish community in such a way that they had copies of the OT.

        So how available were the scriptures at this time and what text would they have had?

      • Tony Zbaraschuk
        ... It s not impossible that various people had copies of the Septuagint (or some other Greek translation of the OT) during this period, but I suspect that
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 3 8:40 PM
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          On Thu, Jul 02, 2009 at 11:35:15PM -0000, Ted Clore wrote:
          > I was wondering how available would the Jewish scriptures be available
          > to the Roman population in the 1st Century? The Apostle relies
          > heavily on the OT when he wrote his epistle to the Roman church.
          > Which makes me think that either there were copies available to the
          > general public outside of the synagogues, or the Roman Christians
          > where involved with the Jewish community in such a way that they had
          > copies of the OT.
          >
          > So how available were the scriptures at this time and what text
          > would they have had?

          It's not impossible that various people had copies of the Septuagint
          (or some other Greek translation of the OT) during this period, but
          I suspect that people or communities associated with the synagogues
          would be far more likely not only to have them, but to make regular
          use of them and (much more importantly if you are an apostle)
          already treat them as "holy word to be believed in", rather than
          "reference books for beliefs of odd Palestinian hill tribe."

          The record in Acts is that the apostles seem to have started work
          in new towns by going first to synagogues, and only if their
          message had no response, later going "to the Gentiles". Certainly
          Paul in Romans assumes a very considerable amount of buy-in among
          his audience to the value of the Old Testament, which argues not
          merely occasional acquaintance, but extensive use of and belief in,
          the books he is quoting. I suspect that his primary audience was,
          indeed, the local audience of Christians associated with the Roman
          synagogue community. (I am deliberately using rather loose
          vocabulary here; we know from other evidence that apparently
          there was extensive disagreement among the Roman Jewish community
          on the whole issue of the Christ; Claudius didn't expel people
          from the city on no basis. So it's not clear to what extent
          Paul's target audience was still part of the synagogue network or
          might otherwise be considered "Jewish", versus having already set
          up on their own independently of the Jewish community in Rome.
          The situation was probably _very_ much more complicated than the
          present state of the evidence allows us to specify, in any case.)


          Tony Zbaraschuk

          --
          O, how comely it is, and how reviving
          To the spirits of just men long oppressed,
          When God into the hand of their deliverer
          Puts invincible might. -- Milton, _Samson Agonistes_
        • Jack Kilmon
          ... From: Ted Clore To: Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2009 6:35 PM Subject: [textualcriticism] Jewish
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 3 11:08 PM
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Ted Clore" <tedclore@...>
            To: <textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2009 6:35 PM
            Subject: [textualcriticism] Jewish Scripture in 1st Century Rome


            >I was wondering how available would the Jewish scriptures be available to
            >the Roman population in the 1st Century? The Apostle relies heavily on the
            >OT when he wrote his epistle to the Roman church. Which makes me think
            >that either there were copies available to the general public outside of
            >the synagogues, or the Roman Christians where involved with the Jewish
            >community in such a way that they had copies of the OT.
            >
            > So how available were the scriptures at this time and what text would they
            > have had?


            There appears to be an anachronism in your question. Diaspora Jews used the
            Greek OT but with less than 5% literacy, copies were probably held by the
            archesynegogoi. Paul of Tarsus as well as the hagiographers relied on the
            Greek OT since all were in the Diaspora. Greek was the literate language
            and Roman "Christians" were, at the time of the writing of Romans (around
            50-55 CE), primarily Jews. When Claudius expelled the Jews around 45 CE, it
            included the Christians. The "general public" was illiterate. Paul almost
            certainly owned a Greek Tanakh himself which would have been included among
            the "scrolls and parchments" he requested brought to him by Timothy.
            Sometime in the first quarter of the 2nd century Paul's epistolary was
            collected and appended to the Septuagint for use by Christians. An LXX
            would have been extremely expensive and wealthy families would have
            purchased them from scriptoria. Other copies would have been maintained in
            libraries such as the ones in Caesarea and Alexandria but the illiterate
            general population would have listened to the scriptures from lectors at
            church houses.

            Jack
          • George F Somsel
            This assumes that Paul was actually the author of the Pastorals, which is highly questionable.  More likely it was written by someone who desired to acquire a
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 4 10:33 AM
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              This assumes that Paul was actually the author of the Pastorals, which is highly questionable.  More likely it was written by someone who desired to acquire a certain acceptance for his writing at a later date after Paul had achieved a standing within the Christian community.
               
              george
              gfsomsel


              … search for truth, hear truth,
              learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
              defend the truth till death.


              - Jan Hus
              _________



              From: Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...>
              To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, July 3, 2009 11:08:47 PM
              Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Jewish Scripture in 1st Century Rome


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Ted Clore" <tedclore@yahoo. com>
              To: <textualcriticism@ yahoogroups. com>
              Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2009 6:35 PM
              Subject: [textualcriticism] Jewish Scripture in 1st Century Rome

              >I was wondering how available would the Jewish scriptures be available to
              >the Roman population in the 1st Century? The Apostle relies heavily on the
              >OT when he wrote his epistle to the Roman church. Which makes me think
              >that either there were copies available to the general public outside of
              >the synagogues, or the Roman Christians where involved with the Jewish
              >community in such a way that they had copies of the OT.
              >
              > So how available were the scriptures at this time and what text would they
              > have had?

              There appears to be an anachronism in your question. Diaspora Jews used the
              Greek OT but with less than 5% literacy, copies were probably held by the
              archesynegogoi. Paul of Tarsus as well as the hagiographers relied on the
              Greek OT since all were in the Diaspora. Greek was the literate language
              and Roman "Christians" were, at the time of the writing of Romans (around
              50-55 CE), primarily Jews. When Claudius expelled the Jews around 45 CE, it
              included the Christians. The "general public" was illiterate. Paul almost
              certainly owned a Greek Tanakh himself which would have been included among
              the "scrolls and parchments" he requested brought to him by Timothy.
              Sometime in the first quarter of the 2nd century Paul's epistolary was
              collected and appended to the Septuagint for use by Christians. An LXX
              would have been extremely expensive and wealthy families would have
              purchased them from scriptoria. Other copies would have been maintained in
              libraries such as the ones in Caesarea and Alexandria but the illiterate
              general population would have listened to the scriptures from lectors at
              church houses.

              Jack

              .


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