Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

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cienfuegos
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by cienfuegos » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:29 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:to cienfuegos,
I am not sure how we can conclude (note I said "not sure") that "Zion" in Isaiah 28:16 doesn't refer to "Israel" as a community of people, just as the Suffering Servant is thought to be an allegory for Israel. Isn't the stumbling block the gospel that frees people from legalistic Judaism? The Romans 10:4 quote conflates Christ with the Good News.
First, I do not think the suffering servant is an allegory for Israel.
Second, even if Zion refers to Israel, or community of people (Jews), that place or community would be on earth and nowhere else.

On my blog post, I gave many example from the OT (including Isaiah 1st and 2nd part) to show "Zion" means the heartland of the Jews.
Here are some more, in the 1st part of Isaiah:
4:3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
33:20
Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken.

"Isn't the stumbling block the gospel that frees people from legalistic Judaism?"
That's Carrier' argument. I addressed that in my blog post:
From OHJ page 572
"Paul likewise says God put 'in Zion a stone of stumbling' although anyone who trusts in it will not be ashamed (Rom. 9.33); but he is quoting scripture here (not citing a historical fact), and the context is the Torah and the gospel (Rom. 9.30-32), not Jesus. Thus Paul does not mean Jesus was crucified 'in Zion' as some sort of geographical fact. Even if Paul believed he had been (as could be the case on minimal historicity), that is not what Paul is talking about here. The subject is not Jesus at all, but the old Torah law that Jews were still trying to obey, yet could never succeed at (Rom. 9.30-10.6). They are thus stumbling over the gospel's concept that faith succeeds where works fail (9.32), as God intended (9.33); but it was still Paul's hope that the Jews would be saved (Rom. 10.1)." It is thus the gospel that originated 'in Zion'. And even that is not geography but ethnography: he simply means it originated within Judaism."
I objected:
"Paul's gospel is never considered a 'skandalon' anywhere else in his epistles (or just shameful), but the crucifixion of Jesus is, for Jews (and others), as I have shown.
And in 'Hebrews' (12:2), we have "... Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame ..."
I'll comment later on "Zion", which is consistently a geographical location in the Old Testament; it is certainly the case in Isa 28:16. And if ever "in Zion" here meant "within Judaism", then, according to Carrier, we would have Paul saying his gospel came from within Judaism, which is absurd, more so when he admitted he received it through revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12)."


Cordially, Bernard
The question though is what does Paul mean when he uses the term? One point, and I do think I was wrong on my initial reaction, but I think "stumbling stone" refers to the Law (for Paul, not the OT).
StPaul wrote: But the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
This has no reference to Jesus crucified in Jerusalem that I can see. I'm still looking at the second case.

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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by Bernard Muller » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:20 pm

to cienfuegos,
The question though is what does Paul mean when he uses the term? One point, and I do think I was wrong on my initial reaction, but I think "stumbling stone" refers to the Law (for Paul, not the OT).
"But Israel, pursuing after a law of righteousness, has not attained to [that] law. Wherefore? Because [it was] not on the principle of faith, but as of works. They have stumbled at the stumblingstone, according as it is written, Behold, I [God] place in Zion a stone of stumbling and rock of offence ['skandalon']: and he that believes on him [or "on it": "Christ crucified", or Christ)] shall not be ashamed."

You may be right with "stumbling stone". But the issue is about "offence". Offence" does not show as 'skandalon' in the LXX (Isa 8:14), and Paul changed a LXX word to 'skandalon', a word that he used also in:
- 1 Cor 1:23 Darby "but *we* preach Christ crucified, to Jews an offence ['skandalon'], and to nations foolishness;"
- Gal 5:11 NKJV "... Then the offense ['skandalon'] of the cross has ceased."

Note: according to the Greek, "an offence" (μὲν σκάνδαλον) in 1 Cor 1:23 could be better translated as "indeed an offence" or "truly an offence". Translations as "stumbling block" are misleading.

Because of 1 Cor 1:23 & Gal 5:11, it is clear Paul had the offence ('skandalon') as referring to "Christ crucified", or the cross, in Ro 9:31-33.

PS: I found some new things researching that post and I will make some minor changes on my blog post in order to make it more accurate and clear.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by neilgodfrey » Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:38 pm

Morton Smith argued against the traditionally assumed (i.e. generally apologist-based) view that the scandal of the cross was the idea of a crucified messiah. Rather, the scandal or offence of the cross is the teaching that the law is no longer necessary for salvation because of the cross. It's not the crucifixion of a messiah that is the offence but the displacement of the law from its central function for salvation that scandalizes. I have written up Smith's argument before: http://vridar.org/2014/08/02/was-paul-r ... ed-christ/

Another scholar argues the same. This is James C. Hanges, Christ, the Image of the Church. The points on which he bases his case:
  • In Galatians 5:11 Paul says that if he preached circumcision he would not be persecuted and the scandal of the cross would be removed. The scandal is not the cross per se but it is the cross alone, that is, the cross without the law. No problem, no offence, no scandal, if anyone preached the cross of Christ AND the importance of the law as a package.
  • James, the brother of the Lord, head of the Christian community in Jerusalem, proclaimed the same gospel of a crucified messiah, appears to have been able to live safely enough in Jerusalem right up to the time of the Jewish rebellion. When this James was executed by the high priest it was the "most fair-minded and the most accurate interpreters of the law" who protested, according to Josephus. So law-abiding Jews came to the defence of James even though he preached a crucified messiah like Paul. Of course this James also taught circumcision and so his interpretation of the meaning of the cross was not a scandal or offence to the Jews -- just as Paul said.
  • James' career also indicates that when Paul was persecuting the church he was not worried by the Jerusalem church. Was this because they kept the law despite their belief in a crucified messiah?
  • Paul in his letters speaks against his opponents but never once hints that these opponents rejected the cross gospel. The impression we get is that the differences were among preachers who all taught the crucified Christ -- so their differences were over other matters.
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:49 am

to Neil Godfrey,
On your own blog post, you wrote:
If Paul’s crucified messiah really was a scandalous polar opposite (so opposite as to be virtually inconceivable or blasphemous to many Jews) to a standard messianic idea with which Jews as a whole identified, then we would expect to find Paul addressing that contrary messianic figure somewhere and making it clear why it was deficient and why his crucified messiah was indeed superior.
That's what Paul did in his later epistles: the crucified messiah is superior because his sacrifice for atonement of sins of his followers (Christians) made him the Savior for eternity.

On your own blog post, you also wrote:
And this is not surprising when we attempt to find out what the “Jewish” idea of a messiah actually was in the time of Paul. There was none. Or more correctly, there were several ideas alongside an apparent lack of interest in the idea altogether.
Definitively, Paul was not warm about the main traditional idea of a Jewish Messiah, a messiah who would liberate the Jews and install a Kingdom on earth superior to the one of their occupier.

Here are allusions, in the NT, to that Kingdom of earth and/or Jesus Christ as his King and/or liberator.

a) Mark's gospel:
""Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" ..." (11:10a)

b) Matthew's gospel:
"your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (6:10)
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (5:5)
"When the Son of Man [Jesus] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people on from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world ... But he will say to those on his left ' "Depart from me, ..., into the eternal fire ...'"
(25:31-34,41)

c) Luke's 'Acts':
"Therefore, when they [the disciples] had come together, they asked Him [Jesus], saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"" (1:6)

d) 'Revelation' (with 'James' & gMatthew, the most Jewish NT text):
- God's wrath:
"... hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne [God] and from the wrath of the lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" (6:16b)
- The Kingdom of one thousand years:
"... they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth - Gog and Magog - to gather them in battle. In number they are like the sand of the seashore. They surrounded the camp of God's people, the city [Jerusalem] he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them." (20:6b-9)
- The "New Jerusalem":
"The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. [the "New Jerusalem", a kingdom twice the size of Mexico!]" (21:24)
- About the Word of God, who is also, king of kings, and the Lamb (17:4), which is also Jesus Christ (14:1, 21:14), as the ultimate conqueror: 19:11-21 (too long to quote here).

That Jewish Messiah was anti-Roman and Paul & his Christians did not want to look as rebels. In 'Romans', Paul asked the Christians to be obedient and fearful of Roman authorities. Paul put the Kingdom in heaven accessible by relatively few Christians (some already dead) in spiritual bodies. The whole process would be of little consequence for the Roman Empire.
Also in 1 Cor 15:50, Paul showed his aversion about believing flesh and blood to inherit the kingdom of God.

I do not care about Morton Smith's opinions, and his observations are not closely related to the topic of this thread. Furthermore, I do not see why bother making points about Paul & other apostles being persecuted because they preached "Christ crucified". Paul never said that in his epistles.

Furthermore, Paul, most likely did not first named his Lord Jesus: "Christ". That title was inherited from Jewish Christians in Antioch, at the latest (according to Acts 11:26). He had to work from that title and progressively changed the function & purpose of that Messiah.

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:39 am

To Neil Godfrey:
In Galatians 5:11 Paul says that if he preached circumcision he would not be persecuted and the scandal of the cross would be removed. The scandal is not the cross per se but it is the cross alone, that is, the cross without the law. No problem, no offence, no scandal, if anyone preached the cross of Christ AND the importance of the law as a package.
Exactly, that proves Paul was persecuted (by Jews) for not making proselytes of his Gentile Christians, not because he preached "Christ Crucified".
Furthermore, Jewish Christians then accepted also a "Christ crucified" (but not dead and ready to come back from heaven as King over the saved ones)
James, the brother of the Lord, head of the Christian community in Jerusalem, proclaimed the same gospel of a crucified messiah,
I do not agree with "same gospel" and James seeing Jesus as a messiah. See Note below.
appears to have been able to live safely enough in Jerusalem right up to the time of the Jewish rebellion. When this James was executed by the high priest it was the "most fair-minded and the most accurate interpreters of the law" who protested, according to Josephus. So law-abiding Jews came to the defence of James even though he preached a crucified messiah like Paul. Of course this James also taught circumcision and so his interpretation of the meaning of the cross was not a scandal or offence to the Jews -- just as Paul said.
James was an ultra Jew and not a Christian. See Note below.
James' career also indicates that when Paul was persecuting the church he was not worried by the Jerusalem church. Was this because they kept the law despite their belief in a crucified messiah?
Paul in his letters speaks against his opponents but never once hints that these opponents rejected the cross gospel. The impression we get is that the differences were among preachers who all taught the crucified Christ -- so their differences were over other matters.
Who said Paul did not persecute Greek speaking proto-Christians in Jerusalem?
Jesus' disciples & relatives (those among them who moved to Jerusalem) were not persecuted then because they did not believe Jesus as a messiah, but dead forever. See Note below.

Note: as explained in these blog posts below
http://historical-jesus.info/8.html
http://historical-jesus.info/9.html
http://historical-jesus.info/10.html
http://historical-jesus.info/11.html
http://historical-jesus.info/12.html
http://historical-jesus.info/28.html
http://historical-jesus.info/38.html
http://historical-jesus.info/48.html
http://historical-jesus.info/79.html
http://historical-jesus.info/83.html

I think your James C. Hanges is assuming a lot.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:57 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:to Neil Godfrey,
On your own blog post, you wrote:
If Paul’s crucified messiah really was a scandalous polar opposite (so opposite as to be virtually inconceivable or blasphemous to many Jews) to a standard messianic idea with which Jews as a whole identified, then we would expect to find Paul addressing that contrary messianic figure somewhere and making it clear why it was deficient and why his crucified messiah was indeed superior.
That's what Paul did in his later epistles: the crucified messiah is superior because his sacrifice for atonement of sins of his followers (Christians) made him the Savior for eternity.
I don't know where Paul anywhere addresses "the contrary messianic figure" -- he simply doesn't.
Bernard Muller wrote:On your own blog post, you also wrote:
And this is not surprising when we attempt to find out what the “Jewish” idea of a messiah actually was in the time of Paul. There was none. Or more correctly, there were several ideas alongside an apparent lack of interest in the idea altogether.
Definitively, Paul was not warm about the main traditional idea of a Jewish Messiah, a messiah who would liberate the Jews and install a Kingdom on earth superior to the one or their occupier.
Your response simply misses the point you seem to be wanting to address.
Bernard Muller wrote:Here are allusions, in the NT, to that Kingdom of earth and/or Jesus Christ as his King and/or liberator.
These tell us about the views expressed in the gospels but that's not what Smith or Hanges are addressing.
Bernard Muller wrote:That Jewish Messiah was anti-Roman and Paul & his Christians did not want to look as rebels. In 'Romans', Paul asked the Christians to be obedient and fearful of Roman authorities. Paul put the Kingdom in heaven accessible by relatively few Christians (some already dead). The whole process would be of little consequence for the Roman Empire.
Also in 1 Cor 15:50, Paul showed his aversion about believing flesh and blood to inherit the kingdom of God.

I do not care about Morton Smith's opinions, and his observations are not closely related to the topic of this thread. Furthermore, I do not see why bother making points about Paul & other apostles being persecuted because they preached "Christ crucified". Paul never said that in his epistles.

Furthermore, Paul, most likely did not first named his Lord Jesus: "Christ". That title was inherited from Jewish Christians from Antioch, at the latest (according to Acts 11:26). He had to work from that title and progressively changed the function & purpose of that Messiah.

Cordially, Bernard
I know you disagree, but I thought it worth mentioning for the benefit of anyone else reading the thread that there is an alternative view that some of us find persuasive enough to question the traditional assumptions through which Paul is widely read.
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by cienfuegos » Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:48 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:to cienfuegos,
The question though is what does Paul mean when he uses the term? One point, and I do think I was wrong on my initial reaction, but I think "stumbling stone" refers to the Law (for Paul, not the OT).
"But Israel, pursuing after a law of righteousness, has not attained to [that] law. Wherefore? Because [it was] not on the principle of faith, but as of works. They have stumbled at the stumblingstone, according as it is written, Behold, I [God] place in Zion a stone of stumbling and rock of offence ['skandalon']: and he that believes on him [or "on it": "Christ crucified", or Christ)] shall not be ashamed."



Cordially, Bernard
It seems that Paul views the "stone of stumbling" and the "rock of offence" as part and parcel of the same thing, while the law and Christ crucified are opposites. God placed in zion the stumbling stone(the law) and rock of offense (pursuit of righteousness) where Jesus brings the good news that one is justified by faith and belief in God(or Jesus, as the case may be).

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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:48 pm

to cienfuegos,
It seems that Paul views the "stone of stumbling" and the "rock of offence" as part and parcel of the same thing, while the law and Christ crucified are opposites. God placed in zion the stumbling stone(the law) and rock of offense (pursuit of righteousness) where Jesus brings the good news that one is justified by faith and belief in God (or Jesus, as the case may be).
I wonder where did you get rock of offense = pursuit of righteousness?
Actually, the word "rock" exists in the LXX (also the Hebrews) for Isa 8:14 (and "rock" is "Christ" in 1 Cor 10:4). So, according to you, it should be: rock of offense = rock of pursuit of righteousness
BTW, pursuit of righteousness is not an offense ('skandalon') because, one verse earlier, at Rom 9:30, we have:
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness [not following the Law], have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
That shows pursuit of righteousness is not an offense (if you are in the right track!). You can attained righteousness without following the Law. But following the Law prevents you to get righteousness.
And nowhere else in Paul's epistles 'skandalon' means "pursuit of righteousness", but means "Christ crucified" and "cross" in 1 Cor 1:23 and Gal 5:11.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by Peter Kirby » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:41 pm

You've got a nice collection of references there, Bernard. Thank you for taking the time to compile them.
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Re: Paul indicated Jesus was crucified on earth.

Post by GakuseiDon » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:11 pm

Peter Kirby wrote:You've got a nice collection of references there, Bernard. Thank you for taking the time to compile them.
But is it fair to leave it at that? Do we conclude, even if provisionally:
1. There is good evidence that Paul thought Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem
2. There is fair evidence that Paul thought Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem
3. There is arguably evidence that Paul thought Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem
4. There is no evidence that Paul thought Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem

Because this topic will come up again. And again. It struck me when I recently read Ben C Smith's convincing refutation of Doherty's view on Ascension of Isaiah back in 2006 that lots of arguments get raised and lost on this board and her predecessors. It won't be long before someone states "Paul didn't even believe that Jesus was crucified on earth!" Or, as on another thread, "Justin Martyr's Trypho character claimed that Jesus was an invented figure!" It might be good to have a sub-board where these arguments are kept for future reference, so that the wheel doesn't keep spinning.
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