Paul Without Acts

Discuss the world of the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
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Jax
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:27 am

DCHindley wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:34 am
Jax wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:12 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:47 pm
Good post.

Can you outline which of those cities, if any, with a military presence in the first century BC would have lacked one in the (middle of the) first century AD? In other words, if the connection between most of these cities is a military one, does that mean that it also has to be a combatant one? Does there have to be a war going on, or can it simply be one soldier going to the people he knows best, his "fellow soldiers" (taken literally)?
If I understand your question, I think that the only city that was invested with a heavy military presence, of the ones that I mention, in the 1st century was Syria.

I'll have to look it up but I think that is correct. Augustus really cut down on the military in Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor after Actium and ramp'd things up in Spain, the Danube and Rhine areas with Germany, and the eastern areas with Parthia.

Aside from the revolt in Illyricun and the massacre at Teutoburg, for the most part, things were pretty quiet from Augustus to Nero.
Hi Lane,

You've probably heard of Emil Schürer's A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ. The English translation of the original 2nd German edition was published as 5 volumes between 1885 & 1910. There was a revision of the ET, based on the 3rd German edition, edited by Vermes, Miller, et al, as 4 volumes between 1973 & 1987. I always considered it rather good, and am surprised that it has never been reprinted in its entirety as either a hardback or even as paperbacks.

Well, volume 2 of the revised ET has sections devoted to overviews of most places of town size or larger in the area of Syria and Palestine, giving background histories and some interesting facts about them (and not "hokey" ones like in many bible commentaries). I think you would profit from finding copies of the revised ET at a local regional or college/university library and review it carefully. The problem is that it will probably be a "reference" copy that cannot be checked out. I have it, so if there are specific sections you want to look at at your leisure, let me know and I'll scan copies to send to you ("For research purposes only!" I say, stepping back a pace and holding up my hands in alarm).

The ETs based on the 2nd German edition are available online at www.archive.org if you hunt for them.*
CONTENTS OF DIVISION II. VOL. I.

22. THE STATE OF CULTURE IN GENERAL, .... 1
I. Mixture of Population, Language, .... 1
II. Diffusion of Hellenic Culture, . . . . .11
1. Hellenism in the Non-Jewish Regions, . . .11
2. Hellenism in the Jewish Region, . . . .29
III. Position of Judaism with respect to Heathenism, . . 51

23. CONSTITUTION. SANHEDRIM. HIGH PRIEST, . . .57
SECTIONS
I. The Hellenistic Towns, ..... 57
Raphia, 66. Gaza, 68. Anthedon, 72. Ascalon, 74.
Azotus, 76. Jamnia, 78. Joppa, 79. Apollonia, 83.
Straton's Tower Caesarea, 84. Dora, 87. Ptolemais,
90. Damascus, 96. Hippus, 98. Gadara, 100. Abila,
104. Raphana, 106. Kanata, 106. Kanatha, 108.
Scythopolis, 110. Pella, 113. Dium, 115. Gerasa,
116. Philadelphia, llr. Sebaste = Samaria, 123.
Gaba, 127. Esbon (Hesbon), 128. Antipatris, 130.
Phasaelis, 131. Caesarea Panias, 132. Julias = Bethsaida,
135. Sepphoris, 136. Julias = Livias, 141.
Tiberias, 143.

II. The strictly Jewish Territory, . . . . .149
CONTENTS OF DIVISION I. VOL. II
APPENDICES

I, History of Chalcis, Iturea, and Abilene, . . 325

II. History of the Nabatean Kings, .... 345
You'll have to go elsewhere for regions of Asia Minor and Greece. I'd recommend the following very detailed and FREE! resource:

(Smith, Wm) Dictionary of the Bible (4 volumes, sometime around 1870), all available for download at www.archive.org.

DCH

*
By far one of the most important set of volumes in my library is Emil Schürer's History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C. - A.D. 135), Revised edition, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 1973-1987.

This edition of the English translation was based on the three volume 3rd German edition, entitled Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes im zeitalter Jesu Christi. (2nd & 3rd vol 1898; 1st vol 1901); a "4th" German edition, identical to the 3rd, was published in 1909, plus an Index to the whole in 1911).

Volume I (ISBN 0 567 02242 0): A New English Edition, revised and edited by Geza Vermes & Fergus Millar, Literary Editor Pamela Vermes, Organizing Editor Matthew Black, 1973, Jewish History.

Volume II (ISBN 0 567 02243 9): A New English Edition, revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar, Matthew Black, Literary Editor Pamela Vermes, Organizing Editor Matthew Black, 1979, Jewish Culture, Political & Social Institutions, Messianism.

Volume III.1 (ISBN 0 567 02244 7): A New English Edition, revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar, Martin Goodman, Literary Editor Pamela Vermes, Organizing Editor Matthew Black, 1986, Jewish-Gentile relationships in the Diaspora, Jewish literature in Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek.

Volume III.2 (ISBN 0 567 09373 5): A New English Edition, revised and edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar, Martin Goodman, Literary Editor Pamela Vermes, Organizing Editor Matthew Black, 1987, Jewish literature such as Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha (including some that may by Christian revisions of originally Jewish works), Philo, and finally a complete index of all volumes.

The previous English translation, published in five volumes as A History of the Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ (1885-1891), was based on the 2 volume 2nd revised German edition, which like the 3rd German edition, was entitled Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes im zeitalter Jesu Christi, published between 1885-1891 (ISBN 10 for the whole set is 1-56563-049-1, ISBN 13 is 978-1-56563-049-9). This set is still in print, and incredibly cheap to buy in hardcopy if you don't like to work from scans downloaded from the Internet, but outdated in many ways.

Volume 2 of the 2nd revised German edition was published as the "2nd Division" in three volumes (1885), while Volume 1 of the German 2nd revised edition was published in two volumes as the "1st Division" (1890). An index to the 5 volume set was published in 1891.

First Division: Political History of Palestine from BC 175 to AD 135.
Vol 1, 1890.
Vol 2, 1890

Second Division: The Internal Condition of Palestine, and the Jewish people, in the Time of Jesus Christ.
Vol 1, 1885
Vol 2, 1885
Vol 3, 1885

Index to all five volumes, 1891

This 2nd German edition was, in turn, was an expansion of Schürer's original one volume German handbook entitled Lehrbuch der neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte, which means "Manual of the History of New Testament Times," in 1874 (J C Heinrichs, i-vii, 698 pages).
Hi back Dave. :)

Thank you for this information and source links, I'll look into them. :thumbup:

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Jax
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:30 am

OMG! we've made it to page two and I haven't been completely eviscerated yet. :D

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MrMacSon
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:52 am

Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:21 am
1. I presume you are referring to the unlikelihood of a Jewish man from the Levant travelling to these places in the 1st century AD/CE.
Correct. Not impossible mind you, just less likely IMO.
Cheers.

Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:21 am
2. I presume you are referring to the Roman Empire
Late Roman Republic actually.
aha, of course.

Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:21 am
What [other] writer or historian of antiquity would have recorded these military events? and grouped them together?
I'm not sure that I understand your question.
What are the primary or main sources for these events in these places?

Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:21 am
Through several centuries?
I am sure that I do not understand this question.
Would 500 men be the size of a normal Roman military axillary unit through the Roman Empire as well, say, through to the late 4th century?

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Jax
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:52 pm

Would 500 men be the size of a normal Roman military axillary unit through the Roman Empire as well, say, through to the late 4th century?
Ah, that's the rub. 500 men is the usual maximum size of an auxiliary unit of the Roman Empire. We have no actual numbers of the size of auxiliary units of the late Republic. It is thought that the size would be the same but there is no way to know.
What are the primary or main sources for these events in these places?
Our main ancient sources for this period are Appian, Dio Cassius, and Plutarch as well as Cicero and Caesar.

This is helpful.
The primary sources become increasingly abundant as we approach the final years of the republic, and the dictatorship of Caesar. The major source for this period is Cicero, who vividly described his impressions of the history of his age, both in his speeches and in the two collections of his letters, the Letters to Atticus and the Letters to Friends. We also possess Caesar's personal account of his successful wars, the Gallic War and the Civil War.

Two later Greek writers provide a continuous history of the period: Dio Cassius in Books 36-45 of his Roman History, and Appian in Books 2-5 of his Civil Wars.

Biographies illuminate the characters of some of the leading men of the period. Plutarch wrote lives of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus, Cato, Cicero, Brutus, and Antony; and Suetonius includes lots of entertaining details in his life of Julius Caesar.

Other writers provide details about particular episodes. Sallust wrote an account of Catiline's Conspiracy; Asconius wrote a historical commentary on the speeches of Cicero; Nicolaus of Damascus described the events leading up to the death of Caesar, in his Life of Augustus; and in the reign of Nero, Lucan wrote the Pharsalia, an full-scale epic poem about Caesar's civil war.

This was the first golden age of Latin poetry, and two very different masterpieces were published around 55 B.C. - De Rerum Natura (an impassioned defence of Epicurean philosophy) by Lucretius , and Carmina (love poems and other highly polished lyric poems) by Catullus.
From: Roman history from 70 to 30 B.C. http://www.attalus.org/info/overview.html

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DCHindley
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by DCHindley » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:20 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:52 am
Would 500 men be the size of a normal Roman military axillary unit through the Roman Empire as well, say, through to the late 4th century?
It would be the size of either a Legionary Cohort (480 infantry soldiers), or Auxiliary units called Cohors (quingenaria) (about 500 soldiers, maybe slingers, archers, skirmishers, etc), a mixed Cohors equitata/quingenaria, 380 infantry soldiers & 120 cavalrymen), or an Ala quingenaria (512 cavalrymen). It would not correspond well to a Jewish military unit, which appear to have retained Hellenistic terminology. No Greek military unit was ca. 500 men strong, unless the Jewish units used Greek terminology (many Judeans spoke Greek) but adopted Roman unit strength (the scholarly opinion is divided). I will have to respectively disagree with Jax (Lane) about not knowing the unit strengths in later times, but based on the source below, it seems that units varied in strength between themselves and the same unit at different times, and that relative unit sizes can be deduced from accounts of battles in the literature of the time.

These unit strength figures come from the 2016 revision of a book called The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (1976). I was able to find a copy online, but it may be pirated, so beware. :eek: It traces:
1 The Julio-Claudian System: Client States and Mobile Armies from Augustus to Nero 6
The System in Outline 10 / The Client States 19 / The Management of the Clients 28 / The Tactical Organization of the Armv 42 / The Strategic Deployment of Forces 50 / Conclusion 53
2 From the Flavians to the Sever!: “Scientific” Frontiers and Preclusive Defense from Vespasian to Marcus Aurelius 56
The System in Outline 60 / Border Defense: The Tactical Dimension 67 / Border Defense: The Strategic Dimension 89 / The Decline of the Client System 125 / The Army and the System 132 / Conclusion 144
DCH

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Jax
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:49 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:20 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:52 am
Would 500 men be the size of a normal Roman military axillary unit through the Roman Empire as well, say, through to the late 4th century?
It would be the size of either a Legionary Cohort (480 infantry soldiers), or Auxiliary units called Cohors (quingenaria) (about 500 soldiers, maybe slingers, archers, skirmishers, etc), a mixed Cohors equitata/quingenaria, 380 infantry soldiers & 120 cavalrymen), or an Ala quingenaria (512 cavalrymen). It would not correspond well to a Jewish military unit, which appear to have retained Hellenistic terminology. No Greek military unit was ca. 500 men strong, unless the Jewish units used Greek terminology (many Judeans spoke Greek) but adopted Roman unit strength (the scholarly opinion is divided). I will have to respectively disagree with Jax (Lane) about not knowing the unit strengths in later times, but based on the source below, it seems that units varied in strength between themselves and the same unit at different times, and that relative unit sizes can be deduced from accounts of battles in the literature of the time.

These unit strength figures come from the 2016 revision of a book called The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (1976). I was able to find a copy online, but it may be pirated, so beware. :eek: It traces:
1 The Julio-Claudian System: Client States and Mobile Armies from Augustus to Nero 6
The System in Outline 10 / The Client States 19 / The Management of the Clients 28 / The Tactical Organization of the Armv 42 / The Strategic Deployment of Forces 50 / Conclusion 53
2 From the Flavians to the Sever!: “Scientific” Frontiers and Preclusive Defense from Vespasian to Marcus Aurelius 56
The System in Outline 60 / Border Defense: The Tactical Dimension 67 / Border Defense: The Strategic Dimension 89 / The Decline of the Client System 125 / The Army and the System 132 / Conclusion 144
DCH
I always found it interesting that later tradition had Paul as short and bowlegged. Cohors equitata/quingenaria perhaps?

Paul uses the Greek pentakosiois πεντακοσίοις while the Latin Vulgate uses quingentis.

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Jax
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:56 pm

Is this the book? The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire From the First Century CE to the Third by Edward N. Luttwak. http://www.lander.odessa.ua/doc/(ebook% ... Empire.pdf

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DCHindley
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by DCHindley » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:22 pm

Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:49 pm
I always found it interesting that later tradition had Paul as short and bowlegged. Cohors equitata/quingenaria perhaps?
That was investigated by Robert Eisler in Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist (1933):
Students of Christian iconography have for some time been
familiar with a similarly quite relentlessly realistic portrait of the
'second founder of Christianity,' the apostle Paul.
In the Acts of Paul and Thekla, composed, or rather forged, 'out
of love for Paul,' by some presbyter of Asia Minor about the
year A.D. 170, we read (Section 2):

'And a man named Onesiphorus, who had heard that Paul was
coming to Iconium, went forth with his children Simmias and Zeno
and his wife Lektra to meet him (and) to invite him to his house.
For Titus had informed him (...) what Paul was like in
appearance. For he (Onesiphorus) had not seen him before in the
flesh, but only in the spirit. And he proceeded to the royal road
that leads to Lystra and stood waiting for him, and he scanned the
passers-by with the report of Titus to guide him (...). And he saw
Paul coming, a man small in stature, baldheaded,
bow-legged, in good form [euektikos, used by Plato Laws 3.684c &
Aristotle Ethics 5.11 of athletic bodies], with meeting eyebrows and a
rather prominent nose, full of grace, for at times he looked like a
man, and at times he had the face of an angel.

A brief counterpart to this occurs in the so-called Passion of Paul,
where we are told how Paul was arrested en route by the sentries:
'and he was easily recognizable, having a crooked body (...),
a black beard, and a bald head.' (pages 442-443, a gigantic copy of
this PDF is linked to in the debate prep section)
He suggests that these descriptions come from identifying features of the bearer encoded in the original heading of letters he may have been carrying, but as far as I know, Paul never carried any letters to deliver to others, although in real life this would have been pretty common when a business patron dispatches a client (e.g., Paul) to do business in his name with some peer of the patron. "From Y to X. Greetings, my dear friend X! I send you Paul, who has black hair with bald spot, and crooked legs, to fulfill my promise to deliver to you 100 tents/awnings. Treat him well, thank you, for he is well regarded in my household. Farewell." However, this sort of code to describe couriers was also used in the military, but all Roman aristocrats who would act as patrons probably had some military background.

These kinds of descriptions, at least in the case of Jesus, may have been from "hue & cry" leaflets (wanted posters) advertising that Jesus needs to be arrested. However, in the cases of Jesus, his appearance seems to constantly change, like the Vorlon outside of his encounter suit in the old Babylon 5 TV show.
Paul uses the Greek pentakosiois πεντακοσίοις while the Latin Vulgate uses quingentis.

The Roman term for the Cohort/Alae may just be a generic because of the approximately 500 men in it.

DCH

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:56 pm

Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:30 am
OMG! we've made it to page two and I haven't been completely eviscerated yet. :D
I doubt there will be a true smoking gun to eliminate your hypothesis. I think there are excellent reasons to reject dates before 27 BC, and there are excellent reasons to reject dates long after AD 70, but everything else in between those poles would seem to be, if we completely eschew the apostolic fathers and the Acts, up for grabs.

Just as I am open to reconsidering the dates assigned to Jesus' ministry, I am open to reconsidering the dates assigned to Paul.

Without smoking guns, however, we are left with "best fit" scenarios, and I would invite you to consider Lightfoot's observations concerning the names Aristobulus and Narcissus in Romans 16.10-11. The phrasing, "those who are of Aristobulus" or "those who are of Narcissus," sounds like it is referring to slaves/servants of the household of a person famous enough to stand on his own, since there is no indication that either Aristobulus or Narcissus himself is included. Now, the Aristobulus in question could be any of that line, stretching from the prince who died in AD 44 all the way back to the Hebrew king who died in 103 BC. But Lightfoot argues that the Narcissus in question would be Tiberius Claudius Narcissus, who had influence with Claudius, and there are not as many famous people named Narcissus as there are named Aristobulus. One would probably have to suppose that there was an otherwise unknown Narcissus who lived earlier, and these people in Romans 16.11 belonged to his household; but the fit with the famous Narcissus known to us from Roman history is surely tempting.

Also, if we are talking "best fit" here, there no longer remains a reason to completely exclude Acts or the apostolic fathers. Paul dating to the middle of century I is a viable explanation for later tradition (universally?) assigning him to that time period: not the only explanation, but a perfectly viable one.

I have nothing to add yet to the observations about Paul possibly being a soldier (and it has to be admitted that the Pauline letters, even some of the pseudonymous ones, use military imagery quite a bit), but I checked for instances of Paul using the Greek prefix συν- to indicate a "fellow" participant in some activity, and this is what I get: fellow worker (Romans 16.3, 9, 21; 1 Corinthians 3.9; 2 Corinthians 8.23; Philippians 2.25; 4.3; 1 Thessalonians 3.2; Philemon [1.]1, 24); fellow prisoner (Romans 16.7; Philemon [1.]23); fellow soldier (Philippians 2.25; Philemon [1.]2); fellow heir (Romans 8.17). You did not include Philemon in your list of letters to examine, but I included it for the sake of completeness, since it is commonly regarded as genuine in mainstream scholarship. I did not include, however, Colossians, Ephesians/Laodiceans, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, the letters to Seneca, or 3 Corinthians. I might have included 2 Thessalonians, but it did not come up anyway.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

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Jax
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Re: Paul Without Acts

Post by Jax » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:49 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:56 pm
Jax wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:30 am
OMG! we've made it to page two and I haven't been completely eviscerated yet. :D
I doubt there will be a true smoking gun to eliminate your hypothesis. I think there are excellent reasons to reject dates before 27 BC, and there are excellent reasons to reject dates long after AD 70, but everything else in between those poles would seem to be, if we completely eschew the apostolic fathers and the Acts, up for grabs.

Just as I am open to reconsidering the dates assigned to Jesus' ministry, I am open to reconsidering the dates assigned to Paul.

Without smoking guns, however, we are left with "best fit" scenarios, and I would invite you to consider Lightfoot's observations concerning the names Aristobulus and Narcissus in Romans 16.10-11. The phrasing, "those who are of Aristobulus" or "those who are of Narcissus," sounds like it is referring to slaves/servants of the household of a person famous enough to stand on his own, since there is no indication that either Aristobulus or Narcissus himself is included. Now, the Aristobulus in question could be any of that line, stretching from the prince who died in AD 44 all the way back to the Hebrew king who died in 103 BC. But Lightfoot argues that the Narcissus in question would be Tiberius Claudius Narcissus, who had influence with Claudius, and there are not as many famous people named Narcissus as there are named Aristobulus. One would probably have to suppose that there was an otherwise unknown Narcissus who lived earlier, and these people in Romans 16.11 belonged to his household; but the fit with the famous Narcissus known to us from Roman history is surely tempting.

Also, if we are talking "best fit" here, there no longer remains a reason to completely exclude Acts or the apostolic fathers. Paul dating to the middle of century I is a viable explanation for later tradition (universally?) assigning him to that time period: not the only explanation, but a perfectly viable one.

I have nothing to add yet to the observations about Paul possibly being a soldier (and it has to be admitted that the Pauline letters, even some of the pseudonymous ones, use military imagery quite a bit), but I checked for instances of Paul using the Greek prefix συν- to indicate a "fellow" participant in some activity, and this is what I get: fellow worker (Romans 16.3, 9, 21; 1 Corinthians 3.9; 2 Corinthians 8.23; Philippians 2.25; 4.3; 1 Thessalonians 3.2; Philemon [1.]1, 24); fellow prisoner (Romans 16.7; Philemon [1.]23); fellow soldier (Philippians 2.25; Philemon [1.]2); fellow heir (Romans 8.17). You did not include Philemon in your list of letters to examine, but I included it for the sake of completeness, since it is commonly regarded as genuine in mainstream scholarship. I did not include, however, Colossians, Ephesians/Laodiceans, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, the letters to Seneca, or 3 Corinthians. I might have included 2 Thessalonians, but it did not come up anyway.
I agree that Tiberius Claudius Narcissus being the Narcissus referred to in Romans 16:11 is tempting and I have read arguments supporting that idea (Lightfoot's as well as others). But at the end of the day the name Narcissus is just too common to do anything with.
From Romans 16:11 I consider "Herodion, my relative" much more interesting as it is a much less common name and seems to be someone actually related to Paul. Do you have anything to work with on that angle?

As for the Apostolic fathers and Acts: the Apostolic fathers are just as elusive as historical figures as Paul if indeed they even exist as such and Acts is obviously a fictional account with a theological and political agenda as are most likely the writings of the Apostolic fathers. As reliable information they can't be trusted.
Acts is completely useless in dating Paul IMO but if you have anything from the fathers that you would like to submit for consideration please feel free.

My point in this is not to hang on to my theory like grim death but to have it suffer the fate of "Death from a thousand cuts". I will support my position as well as I can but not to the exclusion of reason.

Lane

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