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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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by Peter Kirby » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:19 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:09 pm
maybe it was the other way around, and 4 Esdras was a Jewish Christian work that incorporated the Apocalypse of Peter
I don't think so.
rakovsky wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:09 pm
many articles that are directly about 4 Esdras seem pretty flexible about the date
As quoted from Early Jewish Writings, the site doesn't present a "very flexible" dating of 4 Esdras.
rakovsky wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:09 pm
So this flexibility and variety of opinions on 4 Esdras is a reason why I think it's worth estimating the potential date for the Apocalypse of Peter earlier than 100 AD.
No. I'm not going to try to hug the date of the Apocalypse of Peter to the very same year as 4 Esdras.
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by Peter Kirby » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:22 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:08 am
Why are you so interested in all this exactness?
It occurs to me that the "first century" has some quasi-mystical significance to some moderns and that the date corrections so far have involved nibbling around the edges of certain texts that might be brought into the first century more (and thus make it a better "first century" listing, as opposed to the separate thread for "second century" texts).

When you divide texts into "first century" and "second century," the "exactness" does loom larger, I suppose.
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by rakovsky » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:11 am

I guess that the earliest date for the Testament of Isaac could be the 1st century because the Early Jewish Writings page for it says::
M. Delcor (no. 507, p. 83) affirms its earliness, suggesting because of affinities with the Dead Sea Scrolls that it may come from approximately the same milieu and date as the Testament of Abraham. Kuhn cautions, however, that there is really no convincing evidence for a precise dating of the Testament of Isaac (no. 904). Nagel (no. 907) argues that the Sahidic version, the earliest, is translated from Greek.
The latest date would be 380 because the Apostolic Constitutions from c. 375-380 mention the Apocryphal books the Three Patriarchs, and as John Fadden notes in his dissertation, "T. 3 Patr. is the only collection of books of Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob that is known from antiquity." (digitalcommons.du.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1970&context=etd)

The Odes of Solomon could be dated as early as 70 AD, because the Early Writings page for them says: "Most scholars now think they are from the years A.D. 70-125; the similarities to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of John indicate for some that they were written near the end of the first century A.D. (cf. Charlesworth, nos. 1297, 1295, 1290)." But some scholars think that they were written before the 70 AD destruction of the Temple because they talk about the importance of "the holy place".

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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by rakovsky » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:11 am

Could the Gospel of the Ebionites be a first century document?
Encyclopedia Britannica says:
The Ebionite movement may have arisen about the time of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (ad 70). Its members evidently left Palestine to avoid persecution and settled in Transjordan (notably at Pella) and Syria and were later known to be in Asia Minor and Egypt.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ebionites

They wrote the Gospel of the Ebionites probably based on the Gospel of Matthew, so it would have to be after that date.

Wikipedia notes Jerome's theory:
Jerome believed that Ebion lived at the time of John the Apostle[6] and had been refuted by John for not believing Jesus existed before Mary.[7]

[6] Jerome, Dialogus Adversus Luciferianos, 23 & Matthew Prologue.
[7] Jerome, e Viris Illustribus Liber Ad Dextrum, 9.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebion
I think that this is probably mistaken - there was no leader named Ebion, and rather the group took its name Ebionites based on the meaning of the word, ie. "the poor".

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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by John2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:53 am

They wrote the Gospel of the Ebionites probably based on the Gospel of Matthew, so it would have to be after that date.
I'm thinking that it is just one of the Greek translations that were made of the original Hebrew Matthew that Papias mentions in EH 3.39.16. If that is the case, then it would pre-date Papias, and I view Papias as being relatively early, as per Matthews in Philip, Apostle and Evangelist (pg. 30-31):
There has been a propensity among modern scholars to date Papias' writing during the reign of Hadrian (117-138 GE) or later rather than earlier, although the reasoning behind such estimates is often not spelled out. Eusebius considers Papias in connection with his treatment of Polycarp, Ignatius, and Clement of Rome during the reign of Trajan (98~117 GE). As Vernon Bartlet has pointed out, in the third book of the Historia ecclesiastica, Eusebius nowhere goes beyond Trajan's time, and in fact still treats this period at the start of book four. "Eusebius . . . saw no reason . . . to infer from internal evidence that Papias wrote after rather than before A.D. 110, though he is at pains to refute Irenaeus's statement that Papias was actually 'a hearer and eye-witness of the sacred Apostles.' " Bartlet's view has recently been confirmed by Ulrich Kortner, whose interpretation of the Papias fragments substantiates the early date suggested by Eusebius' relative chronology. Kortner argues persuasively that the polemical function of Papias' work, the Tradentenkreis of the presbyters, and Papias' association with the daughters of Philip are all more suited to a time around 110 than the middle of the second century. Since there is no convincing reason to dispute Papias' contact with the daughters of Philip, a date before 110 CE for his writing is to be preferred, lest we find ourselves constantly rewarding early Christian figures with extraordinary life spans.
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by John2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:12 pm

I look at it this way. Just like the NT Matthew was translated from the original Hebrew Matthew and reflects orthodox beliefs (and was combined with Mark), so did the Ebionite translation reflect Ebionite beliefs (hence its particular variants that the Church fathers point out).
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by John2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:24 pm

... there was no leader named Ebion, and rather the group took its name Ebionites based on the meaning of the word, ie. "the poor".
You know, I've always been inclined to think that too, but lately I'm starting to wonder why there couldn't have been someone named Ebion, and your comment is spurring me to look into it. And to my surprise, in addition to the usual things I've seen that say there is no way it could be, I'm seeing some interesting references to Lightfoot, who said a founder of sects named Ebion is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud. And if I read it correctly (in a broken up snippet view I can't find again), it appeared to be said to be in San. 29 "c," but there is no San. 29"c," of course, only a and b, and it is supposedly a saying of Rabbi Yohannan (ben Zakkai?). But he does not appear to be mentioned in San. 29a or b, though he is mentioned four times in San. 27b, and I don't see a reference to Ebion there yet (via a quick eyeball scan and word search of אביון, which is how it is spelled in the OT, since I can only find the Jerusalem Talmud online untranslated so far).
... Lightfoot says that he is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud as a founder of sects.

https://books.google.com/books?id=WA1QA ... ud&f=false
And here are the references to Rabbi Yohannan in San. 27b (which can be scrolled down to 29a and b).

https://www.sefaria.org/Jerusalem_Talmu ... 7b?lang=bi

Maybe (if it's in there somewhere) it only reflects what orthodox Christians said, but I can only speculate at the moment and it is very curious.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by John2 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:59 pm

Oh, maybe the problem could be if Ebion is spelled differently in Aramaic (which I'm not familiar with). In any event, I wouldn't mind seeing a translation of whatever Lightfoot saw.
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:24 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:59 pm
Oh, maybe the problem could be if Ebion is spelled differently in Aramaic (which I'm not familiar with). In any event, I wouldn't mind seeing a translation of whatever Lightfoot saw.
Here is what I take to be the original reference in Lightfoot: https://books.google.com/books?id=-SlWA ... 22&f=false. (This is not the famous Lightfoot of the Victorian era, but rather John Lightfoot, the churchman from century XVII.)
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Re: First Century Christian Writings Missing from our Forum's Website

Post by John2 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:41 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:24 pm
John2 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:59 pm
Oh, maybe the problem could be if Ebion is spelled differently in Aramaic (which I'm not familiar with). In any event, I wouldn't mind seeing a translation of whatever Lightfoot saw.
Here is what I take to be the original reference in Lightfoot: https://books.google.com/books?id=-SlWA ... 22&f=false. (This is not the famous Lightfoot of the Victorian era, but rather John Lightfoot, the churchman from century XVII.)
Ah, thanks for the clarification. It feels like I've hit a roadblock though since I can't find what he saw in the Jerusalem Talmud.
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