The start of the Jesus story

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:09 pm

hakeem wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:44 pm

All you seem to have shown is that the author of Acts of the Apostles used the writings of Josephus which implies that Acts was written no earlier than the end of the 1st century or no earlier than c 95 CE.

I do think Acts was written c. 95 CE and I think its author(s) used Josephus, but it makes more sense to me to suppose that Josephus' account of Saul resembles what the NT says because he is the historical Paul.

By the way, Josephus went to Rome to argue for Jews imprisoned there and was shipwrecked around c 63 CE about the same time as Saul/Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome in Acts.

Josephus' only interest in Rome was securing the release of Jewish priests as soon as possible and then returning home, though I suppose it's not out of the realm of possibility that he met Paul there too, particularly since I think his patron Epaphroditus could have been Paul's follower of the same name.

... I became acquainted with Aliturius, an actor of plays, and much beloved by Nero, but a Jew by birth; and through his interest became known to Poppea, Caesar's wife, and took care, as soon as possible, to entreat her to procure that the priests might be set at liberty. And when, besides this favor, I had obtained many presents from Poppea, I returned home again.


No person called Paul wrote a single letter in Acts of the Apostles.

It sounds to me like Paul wrote a letter to Ephesus in Acts 20:17, as I noted above. The word for "sent" can have the sense of writing a letter (https://biblehub.com/greek/3992.htm) and Acts doesn't say that Paul had sent people to Ephesus ("From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church").


Saul got letters from the High Priest to arrest Jews in Damascus and also got letters from the Jerusalem Church. The contents of the supposed letters from the Jerusalem Church are also documented in Acts.
Acts of the Apostles is not a witness for the so-called Pauline Epistles so you have no NT corroboration at all than an apostle called Paul wrote Epistles to Churches


Acts shows that Christians wrote letters to each other, possibly including Paul to the church in Ephesus. Do you suppose Acts mentions every letter that Christians wrote to each other or has to mention the letters that happened to end up in the NT?


You seem to have forgotten that the author of the Epistles boasted that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else. The Pauline writers just don't make any sense. If talking in tongues was incoherent and doesn't build up the Church why does he boast about himself talking incoherently. And if believers cannot understand talking in tongues why would unbelievers?

Paul thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than other Christians because "he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God" and thus thinks it has no benefit to other Christians without interpretation ("Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?"), but unbelievers were apparently more impressed with talking incoherently.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:24 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:48 pm
hakeem wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:01 pm

The writings attributed to Josephus do not mention the apostle Paul so you have no historical evidence to date the apostle Paul before c 70 CE.
Josephus does mention someone named Saul who I think resembles Paul. Both are said to have lived during the same time and were related to the Herodians ("Saulus ... of the royal family"; cf. Rom. 16:11: "Greet my kinsman Herodion") and had one sister (Cypros in the case of Saul and unnamed in the case of Paul) who had a son (either Antipas or Archelaus in the case of Saul and unnamed in the case of Paul in Acts 23:16: "the son of Paul’s sister") and were violent towards "those that were weaker than themselves."

Ant. 20.9.4:
Costobarus also, and Saulus, did themselves get together a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they were of the royal family; and so they obtained favor among them, because of their kindred to Agrippa; but still they used violence with the people, and were very ready to plunder those that were weaker than themselves.


Cf. Acts 8:3 and 9:1 and Gal. 1:13:
But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison ... Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord.
For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how severely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.
Both men were also associated with Nero.
How does the timing work out if Saul/Paul is still persecuting Christians under Nero and Albinus?

hakeem
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by hakeem » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:51 am

John2 wrote:
I do think Acts was written c. 95 CE and I think its author(s) used Josephus, but it makes more sense to me to suppose that Josephus' account of Saul resembles what the NT says because he is the historical Paul.
The accounts of the character called Saul in Josephus do not resemble those in Acts at all. There is nothing about Saul being blinded by a bright light, hearing a voice of Jesus, being filled with a Ghost and converting thousands of Jews to a new religion in the writings of Josephus.

John2 wrote:Josephus' only interest in Rome was securing the release of Jewish priests as soon as possible and then returning home, though I suppose it's not out of the realm of possibility that he met Paul there too, particularly since I think his patron Epaphroditus could have been Paul's follower of the same name.
In the works of Josephus there is no mention of an apostle Paul anywhere in the world.

hakeem wrote:No person called Paul wrote a single letter in Acts of the Apostles.
John2 wrote:It sounds to me like Paul wrote a letter to Ephesus in Acts 20:17, as I noted above. The word for "sent" can have the sense of writing a letter (https://biblehub.com/greek/3992.htm) and Acts doesn't say that Paul had sent people to Ephesus ("From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church").
The word "sent" does not sound like "Epistle" or "letter"
John2 wrote:Acts shows that Christians wrote letters to each other, possibly including Paul to the church in Ephesus. Do you suppose Acts mentions every letter that Christians wrote to each other or has to mention the letters that happened to end up in the NT?
Scholars argue that the Epistle to the Ephesians is a forgery and there is no mention of Saul or Paul writing to the Ephesians in Acts.
You seem to have forgotten that the author of the Epistles boasted that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else. The Pauline writers just don't make any sense. If talking in tongues was incoherent and doesn't build up the Church why does he boast about himself talking incoherently. And if believers cannot understand talking in tongues why would unbelievers?
John2 wrote:Paul thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than other Christians because "he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God" and thus thinks it has no benefit to other Christians without interpretation ("Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?"), but unbelievers were apparently more impressed with talking incoherently.
Again, you present more and more confusion from the Pauline writers. It is apparent he is contradicting himself over and over. He claims Christians can have the gift of interpretation so it should be obvious then that believers may benefit or gain some knowledge from those who speak in tongues.

The so-called Pauline Epistles are just BS using Acts of Apostles a known source of fiction.

John2
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:55 am

hakeem wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:51 am

The accounts of the character called Saul in Josephus do not resemble those in Acts at all. There is nothing about Saul being blinded by a bright light, hearing a voice of Jesus, being filled with a Ghost and converting thousands of Jews to a new religion in the writings of Josephus.
That's because Josephus was not a Christian. He had his own "special effects" regarding Vespasian being the Messiah. But his Saul resembles Paul in that they had the same name, lived at the same time, were related to the Herodians, associated with Corinth and "Caesar's household," had one sister who had a son, and used violence against "those that were weaker than themselves."

In the works of Josephus there is no mention of an apostle Paul anywhere in the world.

But Acts 13:9 says that Paul was also called Saul ("Saul, who was also called Paul"), and I think the Saul that Josephus mentions resembles him, just like the Simon he mentions in Ant. 19.7.4 resembles the Simon who is also called Peter in Christian writings.

You seem to have forgotten that the author of the Epistles boasted that he spoke in tongues more than anyone else. The Pauline writers just don't make any sense. If talking in tongues was incoherent and doesn't build up the Church why does he boast about himself talking incoherently. And if believers cannot understand talking in tongues why would unbelievers?
John2 wrote:
Paul thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than other Christians because "he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God" and thus thinks it has no benefit to other Christians without interpretation ("Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?"), but unbelievers were apparently more impressed with talking incoherently.
Again, you present more and more confusion from the Pauline writers. It is apparent he is contradicting himself over and over. He claims Christians can have the gift of interpretation so it should be obvious then that believers may benefit or gain some knowledge from those who speak in tongues.

Paul says that speaking in tongues has no benefit to the church without interpretation and that otherwise people who speak in tongues should remain silent (1 Cor. 14:27-28: "If anyone speaks in a tongue, two, or at most three, should speak in turn, and someone must interpret. But if there is no interpreter, he should remain silent in the church and speak only to himself and God").

And I forgot that in 1 Cor. 14:23 Paul says that the reason why speaking in tongues without interpretation is "a sign not for believers" is because they would think Christians were crazy ("So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who are uninstructed or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds?").
Last edited by John2 on Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John2
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:16 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:24 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:48 pm
hakeem wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:01 pm

The writings attributed to Josephus do not mention the apostle Paul so you have no historical evidence to date the apostle Paul before c 70 CE.
Josephus does mention someone named Saul who I think resembles Paul. Both are said to have lived during the same time and were related to the Herodians ("Saulus ... of the royal family"; cf. Rom. 16:11: "Greet my kinsman Herodion") and had one sister (Cypros in the case of Saul and unnamed in the case of Paul) who had a son (either Antipas or Archelaus in the case of Saul and unnamed in the case of Paul in Acts 23:16: "the son of Paul’s sister") and were violent towards "those that were weaker than themselves."

Ant. 20.9.4:
Costobarus also, and Saulus, did themselves get together a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they were of the royal family; and so they obtained favor among them, because of their kindred to Agrippa; but still they used violence with the people, and were very ready to plunder those that were weaker than themselves.


Cf. Acts 8:3 and 9:1 and Gal. 1:13:
But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison ... Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord.
For you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how severely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.
Both men were also associated with Nero.
How does the timing work out if Saul/Paul is still persecuting Christians under Nero and Albinus?

I don't know if the Saul in Josephus persecuted Christians at that time (though I wouldn't rule it out given Paul's hostility towards some of them, e.g., "When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face"), but it shows that he and Paul share a pattern of violence towards "those that were weaker than themselves." And I don't know where Paul went or what he did between c. 62 CE and c. 68 CE, but the Saul in Josephus was in Jerusalem and Corinth during that time and nothing is said of him after 66 CE. So the Saul in Josephus would fill in that time gap, and it is curious that Acts ends at the beginning of it and he and Paul disappear from the record at the end of it.

hakeem
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by hakeem » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:54 pm

John2 wrote:

I don't know if the Saul in Josephus persecuted Christians at that time (though I wouldn't rule it out given Paul's hostility towards some of them, e.g., "When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face"), but it shows that he and Paul share a pattern of violence towards "those that were weaker than themselves." And I don't know where Paul went or what he did between c. 62 CE and c. 68 CE, but the Saul in Josephus was in Jerusalem and Corinth during that time and nothing is said of him after 66 CE. So the Saul in Josephus would fill in that time gap, and it is curious that Acts ends at the beginning of it and he and Paul disappear from the record at the end of it.
You very well know that it is claimed Saul/Paul was in Rome around c 62 CE in Acts of the Apostle--not Jerusalem.

The authors the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistle writers used the works of Josephus to assemble their stories of Jesus. the apostles and Saul/Paul.

John2
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 pm

hakeem wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:54 pm
John2 wrote:

I don't know if the Saul in Josephus persecuted Christians at that time (though I wouldn't rule it out given Paul's hostility towards some of them, e.g., "When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face"), but it shows that he and Paul share a pattern of violence towards "those that were weaker than themselves." And I don't know where Paul went or what he did between c. 62 CE and c. 68 CE, but the Saul in Josephus was in Jerusalem and Corinth during that time and nothing is said of him after 66 CE. So the Saul in Josephus would fill in that time gap, and it is curious that Acts ends at the beginning of it and he and Paul disappear from the record at the end of it.
You very well know that it is claimed Saul/Paul was in Rome around c 62 CE in Acts of the Apostle--not Jerusalem.

Right, but Acts doesn't say what happened to Saul/Paul after c. 62 CE, and the Saul in Josephus was in Jerusalem when Albinus was procurator, and he ruled from 62 CE to 64 CE. And since Josephus says right after the account of Saul that "Albinus heard that Gessius Florus was coming to succeed him," I assume the time was 63 CE or 64 CE.


The authors the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistle writers used the works of Josephus to assemble their stories of Jesus. the apostles and Saul/Paul.

I think Luke/Acts used Josephus, but I don't see that as being any different than Luke/Acts using other sources that mention Christians. I think the author of Luke used Mark, Matthew and some NT letters but made some changes to them (like smoothing over tensions between Paul and Jewish Christian leaders regarding Jewish Torah observance), and I think Luke/Acts did the same thing with Josephus, like turning his account of Simon caving in to Agrippa in Caesarea into a miraculous escape, confusing his chronology of Theudas and Judas the Galilean, and ending Acts before his account of Saul's violence in the time of Albinus, his siding with the Romans and conferring with Nero during the outbreak of the 66-70 CE war, and the breakdown of order in Jerusalem ("And from that time it principally came to pass that our city was greatly disordered, and that all things grew worse and worse among us").

But I think the resemblance between Christians in Mark, Matthew and the NT letters and what Josephus says about the Fourth Philosophy is due to Christians being Fourth Philosophers rather than those authors using Josephus.

hakeem
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by hakeem » Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:48 pm

hakeem wrote:You very well know that it is claimed Saul/Paul was in Rome around c 62 CE in Acts of the Apostle--not Jerusalem.
John2 wrote: Right, but Acts doesn't say what happened to Saul/Paul after c. 62 CE, and the Saul in Josephus was in Jerusalem when Albinus was procurator, and he ruled from 62 CE to 64 CE. And since Josephus says right after the account of Saul that "Albinus heard that Gessius Florus was coming to succeed him," I assume the time was 63 CE or 64 CE.
I am dealing with what is written in Acts and the Epistles about Saul or Paul not what you imagine or assume.

It is claimed in Acts that Saul/Paul was preaching about the resurrected Jesus Christ and travelling to many cities like Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Ephesus, Galatia before he went to Rome around c 62 however the author called Paul in the Epistles only mentioned two visits to Jerusalem in 14 years which events are not mentioned in the works of Josephus.

Saul/Paul in the NT is a completely different character to Saul in Josephus.

wrote:The authors the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistle writers used the works of Josephus to assemble their stories of Jesus. the apostles and Saul/Paul.
John2 wrote:I think Luke/Acts used Josephus, but I don't see that as being any different than Luke/Acts using other sources that mention Christians. I think the author of Luke used Mark, Matthew and some NT letters but made some changes to them (like smoothing over tensions between Paul and Jewish Christian leaders regarding Jewish Torah observance), and I think Luke/Acts did the same thing with Josephus, like turning his account of Simon caving in to Agrippa in Caesarea into a miraculous escape, confusing his chronology of Theudas and Judas the Galilean, and ending Acts before his account of Saul's violence in the time of Albinus, his siding with the Romans and conferring with Nero during the outbreak of the 66-70 CE war, and the breakdown of order in Jerusalem ("And from that time it principally came to pass that our city was greatly disordered, and that all things grew worse and worse among us").

But I think the resemblance between Christians in Mark, Matthew and the NT letters and what Josephus says about the Fourth Philosophy is due to Christians being Fourth Philosophers rather than those authors using Josephus.
Your post is just endless speculation. No Christians are mentioned in gMark , gMatthew and the NT letters. In addition, Josephus did not claim the Fourth Philosophy referred to Christians.

John2
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:07 pm

hakeem wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:48 pm
hakeem wrote:You very well know that it is claimed Saul/Paul was in Rome around c 62 CE in Acts of the Apostle--not Jerusalem.
John2 wrote: Right, but Acts doesn't say what happened to Saul/Paul after c. 62 CE, and the Saul in Josephus was in Jerusalem when Albinus was procurator, and he ruled from 62 CE to 64 CE. And since Josephus says right after the account of Saul that "Albinus heard that Gessius Florus was coming to succeed him," I assume the time was 63 CE or 64 CE.
I am dealing with what is written in Acts and the Epistles about Saul or Paul not what you imagine or assume.

If Paul is the Saul in Josephus then the timing of the accounts of the latter is important and it looks to me like it begins in 63 CE or 64 CE and ends in 66 CE, which corresponds to the time gap of information we have about Paul.

It is claimed in Acts that Saul/Paul was preaching about the resurrected Jesus Christ and travelling to many cities like Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Ephesus, Galatia before he went to Rome around c 62 however the author called Paul in the Epistles only mentioned two visits to Jerusalem in 14 years which events are not mentioned in the works of Josephus.

But Josephus doesn't say everything that Saul had done in his life, only certain things after 62 CE that pertained to the growing disorder in Jerusalem and the outbreak of the 66-70 CE war. Whatever Saul had done before this time was either unknown or unimportant to him.

No Christians are mentioned in gMark , gMatthew and the NT letters.

I mean people we now call Christians (though 1 Peter 4:16 mentions Christians: "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name").

In addition, Josephus did not claim the Fourth Philosophy referred to Christians.

The Fourth Philosophy is Josephus' umbrella term for various groups between 6 CE and 73 CE that rejected the oral Torah and agreed with "Pharisaic notions" (like resurrection of the dead) and believed that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth," which I think aptly describes Christianity. But Josephus mentions Jesus and says that he was called Christ in Ant. 20.9.1 and I don't think it is an interpolation.

hakeem
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by hakeem » Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:49 pm

My position is that the NT Pauline letters were not early and had no role in the start of the Jesus story. As can be seen the NT Pauline letters were written after the claim that the character called the Lord Jesus was dead.

If Jesus did live then stories about him must have been known before the Epistles were written.
If Saul/Paul persecuted those who believed the stories of Jesus then the Epistles must have been written after stories of Jesus were already known.

Even, the NT itself shows that stories of Jesus must have predated the Epistles.

1. In the gMark story , Jesus tells his disciples to meet him in Galilee after he is raised from the dead.
2. In gMatthew' and gJohn's stories the disciples meet Jesus in Galilee.
3. In the gLuke and Acts stories the location for the post resurrection meeting is changed to Jerusalem as commanded by the resurrected Jesus.
4. In the Acts story the disciples received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues.

Now, look at 1 Cor. 12 it will be seen that the Pauline writer introduces "gifts" of the Church that were unknown to the author of Acts.

In Acts all those who were filled with the Holy Ghost also began to talking in tongues-there was no gift of interpretation.

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


1 Cor.`12
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues

The Pauline story that there were people with the gift of "interpretation of tongues" is a later embellishment unknown to the authors of the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles.

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