First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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rakovsky
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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:15 am

Ben,

L. Wallace in his essay "The Textual History of an Aramaic Proverb" points to an idea found in the gospel of the Hebrews, which might be referring to the Ebionties':
Wallace quotes the "Syrian Theophany", which says: that Jesus
dominates the whole world through these [words]: 'I have come to split, to bring down the sword and the split upon mankind'...[he] splits all the houses... so that some think the way he does, while the others oppose him...he taught the cause of the split of the souls, which would take place in the houses, as we have found it written somewhere in the Gospel, that is spread among Jews in the Hebrew tongue.
In the Ebionite Pseudo-Clementine writings, there is a discussion on dividing souls between male and female souls (eg. Adam vs. Eve), so I can see how that can be a special theme in "the Gospel, that is spread among Jews in the Hebrew tongue".

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:24 am

rakovsky wrote:Ben,

L. Wallace in his essay "The Textual History of an Aramaic Proverb" points to an idea found in the gospel of the Hebrews, which might be referring to the Ebionties':
Wallace quotes the "Syrian Theophany", which says: that Jesus
dominates the whole world through these [words]: 'I have come to split, to bring down the sword and the split upon mankind'...[he] splits all the houses... so that some think the way he does, while the others oppose him...he taught the cause of the split of the souls, which would take place in the houses, as we have found it written somewhere in the Gospel, that is spread among Jews in the Hebrew tongue.
In the Ebionite Pseudo-Clementine writings, there is a discussion on dividing souls between male and female souls (eg. Adam vs. Eve), so I can see how that can be a special theme in "the Gospel, that is spread among Jews in the Hebrew tongue".
I have never read the article itself, but I know that Aurelio de Santos Otero, on page 53 of Los evangélios apócrifos, throws in the following Aramaic saying on the authority of that same article by L. Wallace:

אהא חמרא וכטש לשרגא׃

Vino el asno y rompió la lámpara.

The ass came and broke the lamp.

I myself have no idea whether it is plausible to attribute this saying to any of the Jewish-Christian gospels; I have not read the article.

ETA: Just located the article on JSTOR, so I may get a chance to read it sometime soonish.
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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:44 am

Ben:

I like your text Excavations page, so I want to be helpful. Please note: Wallace in his essay does not say that the proverb "The ass knocked over the lamp" is a trace of the Ebionite Gospel, as you wrote that he did on the Text Excavations page. Wallace in fact says that the proverb is a hostile satire on Ebionite beliefs. The proverb is used against a judge whom Wallace (perhaps wrongly) thinks expresses Ebionite gospel beliefs in a Talmud story.

Wallace is claiming that the textual history of the anti-Christian Aramaic proverb can be traced to the Ebionian Gospel, not that the anti-Christian proverb is part of that gospel.

The Textual History of an Aramaic Proverb (Traces of the Ebionean Gospel)
"The Aramaic proverb 'The ass came and overthrew the lamp' is a Jewish retort upon heretic Jewish Christian [ie. Ebionite] doctrines."
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3262461?seq ... b_contents

Wallace refers the reader to Tertullian's Apology, which says:
But let me tell you, would you acquit yourselves with any appearance of equity, you ought on both sides to be equally severe in the examination of fact, and see to the bottom of those reports, so frequently and so falsely thrust upon us. For instance, to bring in a true list of how many infants every Christian has killed and eaten, what incests committed in the dark, what cooks we had for the dressing these children's flesh, and what pimping dogs for putting out the candles.2

[W. Reeves' Translator's Footnote]
2 For a fuller explication of this passage, and the foundation of this horrid
slander, see my notes upon Justin Martyr's Apology, Apol. i. sec. 35. The dogs
which are said to be tied to the candlesticks, and to have crusts thrown them
just beyond the reach of their string, in order to make them leap and strain
and pull down the candles, are by Tertullian, cap. 7, called Luminum Eversores
et Lenones, which to follow his own biting way I translate pimping dogs.
"Wallace contends that this proverb bears a trace of the Ebionite gospel (de Santos 11)"
http://www.textexcavation.com/jewishgospels.html
http://www.textexcavation.com/ebionitegospel.html
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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:50 am

rakovsky wrote:Ben:

I like your text Excavations page, so I want to be helpful. Please note: Wallace in his essay does not say that the proverb "The ass knocked over the lamp" is a trace of the Ebionite Gospel, as you wrote that he did on the Text Excavations page. Wallace in fact says that the proverb is a hostile satire on Ebionite beliefs. The proverb is used against a judge whom Wallace (perhaps wrongly) thinks expresses Ebionite gospel beliefs in a Talmud story.

Wallace is claiming that the textual history of the anti-Christian Aramaic proverb can be traced to the Ebionian Gospel, not that the anti-Christian proverb is part of that gospel.

The Textual History of an Aramaic Proverb (Traces of the Ebionean Gospel)
"The Aramaic proverb 'The ass came and overthrew the lamp' is a Jewish retort upon heretic Jewish Christian [ie. Ebionite] doctrines."
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3262461?seq ... b_contents

Wallace refers the reader to Tertullian's Apology, which says:
But let me tell you, would you acquit yourselves with any appearance of equity, you ought on both sides to be equally severe in the examination of fact, and see to the bottom of those reports, so frequently and so falsely thrust upon us. For instance, to bring in a true list of how many infants every Christian has killed and eaten, what incests committed in the dark, what cooks we had for the dressing these children's flesh, and what pimping dogs for putting out the candles.2

[W. Reeves' Translator's Footnote]
2 For a fuller explication of this passage, and the foundation of this horrid
slander, see my notes upon Justin Martyr's Apology, Apol. i. sec. 35. The dogs
which are said to be tied to the candlesticks, and to have crusts thrown them
just beyond the reach of their string, in order to make them leap and strain
and pull down the candles, are by Tertullian, cap. 7, called Luminum Eversores
et Lenones, which to follow his own biting way I translate pimping dogs.
"Wallace contends that this proverb bears a trace of the Ebionite gospel (de Santos 11)"
http://www.textexcavation.com/jewishgospels.html
http://www.textexcavation.com/ebionitegospel.html
Ah, okay. Thanks.
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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:01 am

Here are my notes on the issue:
There is an essay called Traces of the Ebionean Gospel, by L Wallace, that you can read here:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3262461?log ... b_contents
The author proposes that a saying by Rabbi Gamaliel in the Talmud is used against the Ebionites (and not itself an Ebionite saying). Wallace points to the story of Imma Shalom (that you can read here: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/imma-shalom), where a Christian judge says that the Law is superseded by the Gospel, and then Gamaliel says that in the Gospel, Jesus says he did not come to overturn the law, referring to a quote in Matthew. Wallace sees the judge's reaction as Ebionite, but I am not sure of this. It seems to me that there is a sense in which in Christianity the Law is superseded, and in another sense in which it is not. Tertullian writes about the disposal of the law as designed by the disposition/desire of the Creator, and that the spiritual worship aspect of the Law remains in force.

Wallace notes though that this same section of the Talmud, B. Shabbat 116, sees a difference between "Ebionites" and "Nazoreans". The story about Imma Shalom could be dealing with a special aspect of the Ebionites that distinguishes them from the Nazoreans. Wallace writes about the Ebionites: "In their opinion the system of the sacrifices as codified by the Jewish law had been supplanted by the baptism. For this reason they did not hesitate to be critical of the transmission of the OT, an attitude to which [the story of Imma Shalom] clearly testifies." However, I think that this doesn't well describe the views of the judge in the story. There, the judge saw the law as legitimate but superseded, whereas the Ebionite view was that the sacrifices were not legitimate in the first place. The Ebionites did not accept David or the prophets after him either.

Wallace also sees the story as referring to the judge as Ebionite because of the theme of division of a house. Wallace points to the book "Syrian Theophany", which says: that Jesus
dominates the whole world through these [words]: 'I have come to split, to bring down the sword and the split upon mankind'...[he] splits all the houses... so that some think the way he does, while the others oppose him...he taught the cause of the split of the souls, which would take place in the houses, as we have found it written somewhere in the Gospel, that is spread among Jews in the Hebrew tongue.
In the Ebionite Pseudo-Clementine writings, there is a discussion on dividing souls between male and female souls (eg. Adam vs. Eve), so I could see how the brother-sister dispute in the Talmudic story of Imma could be related to the Ebionite theory of dividing souls.

Wallace mentions an idea that the saying in Matthew 5, "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house", or a similar Jewish saying not to put a lamp under a bushel, has been changed at the end of the story in the Talmud to Gamalie's "The ass knocked over the lamp". To clarify, this is not an Ebionite saying, but one that the Talmud story used against Christianity.
So first, Santos is incorrect if he wrote in his book (that you read) that Wallace thinks this is an Ebionite saying. The whole point of Wallace's essay was to describe the proverb as anti-Ebionite.

Second, I doubt that the judge in the Talmud story was Ebionite and not just Christian.
1. Wallace thinks the judge was Ebionite because elsewhere this Talmud section differentiates Ebionites from Nazoreans.
But the Talmud story doesn't say if the judge was Ebionite or Nazorean.

2. Wallace also thinks that the judge was Ebionite because the judge talks about the gospel superseding the old law. However, the supersession of the Law, at least in some sense, was a mainstream Christian belief as laid out by Tertullian and the apostle Paul (Hebrews 8:13). In contrast, the vegetarian Ebionites said that they didn't even believe that parts of the law like sacrifice were valid in the first place, whereas other parts of the Mosaic ritual covenant they still ritually observed. The Ebionite ideology therefore was definitely not supersessionist.

There is a very common confusion in academic circles between Biblical Christianity's "Supersessionism" (belief that the Torah has in some ways been superseded) and Marcion's and others' belief that the Torah or parts of it were never valid int he first place.


3. Wallace sees the Talmud story about dividing inheritance between a sister and a brother as Ebionite because it talks about dividing a house based on religious fractions. However, the gospel itself talks about how religion divides houses, so I don't find this Talmud story about the judge as particularly Ebionite for this reason either.
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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:19 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wallace is claiming that the textual history of the anti-Christian Aramaic proverb can be traced to the Ebionian Gospel, not that the anti-Christian proverb is part of that gospel.

The Textual History of an Aramaic Proverb (Traces of the Ebionean Gospel)
"The Aramaic proverb 'The ass came and overthrew the lamp' is a Jewish retort upon heretic Jewish Christian [ie. Ebionite] doctrines." (from the article)
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3262461?seq ... b_contents
Ah, okay. Thanks.
I can see how the title is easily misleading.

Imagine a title:
"The Textual History of Darwinist writings (Traces of Creationism)".
If you didn't know who Darwin was, you could think Darwin's writings have traces of Creationism, not that their history involved traces of the topic of Creationism!

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:53 am

I cannot access that book right this moment to see whether it was my mistake or de Santos Otero's, but in the meantime I have removed that reference both from my page on the Jewish-Christian gospels and from my page on the Ebionite gospel. Thank you.
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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by DCHindley » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:10 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
DCHindley wrote:
That is, if one believes that they are really from 100 AD to 300 AD like scholars tend to claim, instead of being from the same time as the rest of the Apostolic Constitutions.

Personally, I didn't notice anything convincing to say that the Hellenistic Prayers though were from a particularly separate era than the Constitutions. It just seemed to be a logic used for this claim that since the Hellenistic Prayers are a version of known 8-Fold Jewish Prayers, that they must have been earlier and not something that was taken from Jewish prayers in eg. the 4th c.
I thought D. R. Darnell's article, "Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers" which includes a new English translation of the relevant parts of the Apostolic Constitutions with an analysis (in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed James H. Charlesworth, vol. 2, 1985), was fairly persuasive. The introduction covers the history of proposals that these are based on Hellenistic Jewish Synagogal prayers starts with K. Kohler (1893), W. Bousset (1915), R. Goodenough (1935), J. H. Charlesworth (1981), so it is more than just whimsy.

DCH
IIUC there is an agreement on the synagogue origin of these prayers.

What we have been discussing is whether the late IVth century author of the Apostolic Constitutions used contemporary (late IVth century) synagogal prayers or much older prayers (say from synagogue practice c 200 CE).
It just seemed rakovsky's(?) dismissal was because scholars cannot agree on when the synagogue prayers originate, we can just ignore them. Personally I am not a big fan of pushing the origins of things as early as possible. On what basis can we assume that these prayers significantly predate the time they were appropriated by the author(s) of the A.C.? I also don't like excessively early dating of biblical books (NT as well as OT), or of early Christian apocrypha like the Didache or Apostolic Fathers (Barnabas, 1 Clement,) or even the "core" of the Clementine corpus (the elusive Ebionite Preaching of Peter). If we cannot securely date those documents, should we throw out the OT, NT or Apostolic fathers?

Of course, I am biased. The things which the editor of the translation in Charlesworth's OT Pseudepigrapha think represent the Christian additions are very similar to what I have been noticing in the Pauline corpus.

DCH

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:31 am

Wikipedia says:
"Two other papyrus fragments from Oxyrhynchus (P.Oxy 4009 and P.Oxy. 2949) were uncovered later and published in 1972. They are possibly, but not conclusively, from the Gospel of Peter"

It would be helpful to mention them on the page for ECW's G.Peter section. The two fragments are from parts of the book before the Akhmim text- they cover dialogues with Jesus whereas the Akhmim text covers the Passion.

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:26 am

rakovsky wrote:Wikipedia says:
"Two other papyrus fragments from Oxyrhynchus (P.Oxy 4009 and P.Oxy. 2949) were uncovered later and published in 1972. They are possibly, but not conclusively, from the Gospel of Peter"
I have the text and translation for the latter on my gospel of Peter page here on ECW: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1852, and the former on a page of its own: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1873.
It would be helpful to mention them on the page for ECW's G.Peter section. The two fragments are from parts of the book before the Akhmim text- they cover dialogues with Jesus whereas the Akhmim text covers the Passion.
However, your statement here applies only to 4009, since 2949 is about the passion and actually overlaps material from the Akhmîm fragment.
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