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Re: [textualcriticism] Jewish Scripture in 1st Century Rome

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  • 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 1 of 5 , Jul 3, 2009
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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 2 of 5 , Jul 3, 2009
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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 3 of 5 , Jul 4, 2009
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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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