Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWebsite

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 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:03 pm

Just looking at my list in the OP, outside of maybe two epistles, the Biblical NT, and the Didache, the rest of the 1st c. Christian writings are very apocalyptic, visionary, or gnostic-like.

Besides 1 Clement, Preaching of Peter, Didache, Epistle of Barnabas... the Biblical epistles... maybe the 4 gospels and Acts... everything is apocalyptic, visionary, or seemingly gnostic. Even the gospels have a major apocalyptic and "hidden" aspect, like Jesus revealing the meaning of parables just to the apostles. And 1 Clement retells the story about the magical pagan phoenix as if it's factual, I haven't gotten to E.Barnabas yet, and who knows what all was in Preaching of Peter.

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by Peter Kirby » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:22 pm

rakovsky wrote:How about the Questions of Ezra:
The Questions of Ezra is an ancient Christian apocryphal text, claimed to have been written by the Biblical Ezra. The earliest surviving manuscript, composed in Armenian, dates from 1208 CE. It is an example of the Christian development of topics coming out from the Jewish Apocalyptic literature.[1] Due to the shortness of the book, it is impossible to determine the original language, the provenance or to reliably date it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Questions_of_Ezra

If the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra was written by Christians, maybe it should be mentioned in the Christian section.
Do you think it could be as early as the second century AD?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_Apocalypse_of_Ezra
The rule of thumb here is that Early Christian Writings is a tertiary source. It summarizes a lot of existing scholarship. If we can find a scholarly reference supporting a pre - AD 325 date, even if that isn't a solid fact, we can very comfortably put that as the lower range of dating of a text. If all the scholarly references are saying that the date is not clear, and if the only clear fact mentioned is the 13th century manuscript, then it's not yet clear that it should be in the collection. (I say this not to argue over what kind of things should be on the site -- that is my call -- but, if you can find a reference here that is more specific, that would be very useful.)
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:49 pm

Peter Kirby wrote:The rule of thumb here is that Early Christian Writings is a tertiary source. It summarizes a lot of existing scholarship. If we can find a scholarly reference supporting a pre - AD 325 date, even if that isn't a solid fact, we can very comfortably put that as the lower range of dating of a text. If all the scholarly references are saying that the date is not clear, and if the only clear fact mentioned is the 13th century manuscript, then it's not yet clear that it should be in the collection. (I say this not to argue over what kind of things should be on the site -- that is my call -- but, if you can find a reference here that is more specific, that would be very useful.)
OK. I think there are a number of cases like the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra where scholars will date it to 100-900 AD or 100-500 AD (I listed some in the OP), but not give a declaration on which they think is most likely.

Then there is Secret Mark where some scholars will say it's 73 AD and others will say it's a 20th century AD fraud. I believe it's the latter because of a lot of circumstances around it, like the fact that the discoverer was already making a unique rare thesis that the mentioned "fragment" could support. And since then the fragment got "lost". I mean, if my thesis was that Julius Caesar was gay and later "happened" to find a medieval passage that no one else happened to find before and that just happened to maybe support my special thesis and then just happened to get "lost", I think it would be pretty shady even if I had a PhD next to my name. The author of "America BC" was a Harvard professor and a lot of it is quackery. I believe that Greek Apocalypse of Ezra is 1000+ years older than Secret Mark. Still, so long as the jury is out on Secret Mark, I think it's worth mentioning Secret Mark in the database.

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by DCHindley » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:12 pm

rakovsky wrote:Why are some books like "Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs" in the "Christian" list on the EW site when they have only a few signs of Christian authorship, but others that scholars consider to have Christian parts (like 2 Esdras) in the "Jewish" list?
Maybe scholars can prove that Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs is Christian, but can't prove it for the others?
My thought is that T12P seems to most scholars to be an essentially Christian work that made use of Judaic sources, and that 2 Esdras (do you mean 4 Ezra aka the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra?) seems more like a Judaic work with perhaps a Christian interpolation or two. I think those have been the prevailing POVs among most Christian and secular scholars since the late 19th century, with R H Charles.

From what I understand, it can be extremely difficult to tell what is Judean and what is Christian, especially if written in a period when both traditions probably shared common ground. There have always been doubters about many particulars, and sometimes for good reason.

DCH

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:50 pm

DCHindley wrote: 2 Esdras (do you mean 4 Ezra aka the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra?) seems more like a Judaic work with perhaps a Christian interpolation or two.
Thanks for writing.
The beginning and end of Vulgate 4 Esdras AKA Protestant 2 Esdras are called 5 Esdras and 6 Esdras, respectively, and commonly considered to have a Christian authorship. So it's not just two short paragraphs interpolated, but whole distinct chapters.

Also, scholar James Davila wrote in his essay (see my full quote on the last page in this thread):
Works containing Christian signature features and no Jewish signature features:
Sibylline Oracles 6, 7, 8; Greek Apocalypse of Ezra; Vision of Ezra; Questions of Ezra; Apocalypse of Sedrach; Apocalypse of Elijah; Apocalypse of Daniel; Testament of Abraham; Testament of Jacob... Testament of Adam; Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah.
I consider all of these to be Christian compositions with the possible exception of the Testament of Abraham.
So there are a lot of books with possible Christian authors.

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by DCHindley » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:31 am

rakovsky wrote:
DCHindley wrote: 2 Esdras (do you mean 4 Ezra aka the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra?) seems more like a Judaic work with perhaps a Christian interpolation or two.
Thanks for writing.
The beginning and end of Vulgate 4 Esdras AKA Protestant 2 Esdras are called 5 Esdras and 6 Esdras, respectively, and commonly considered to have a Christian authorship. So it's not just two short paragraphs interpolated, but whole distinct chapters.

Also, scholar James Davila wrote in his essay (see my full quote on the last page in this thread):
Works containing Christian signature features and no Jewish signature features:
Sibylline Oracles 6, 7, 8; Greek Apocalypse of Ezra; Vision of Ezra; Questions of Ezra; Apocalypse of Sedrach; Apocalypse of Elijah; Apocalypse of Daniel; Testament of Abraham; Testament of Jacob... Testament of Adam; Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah.
I consider all of these to be Christian compositions with the possible exception of the Testament of Abraham.
So there are a lot of books with possible Christian authors.
I asked because Ezra books abound, some "canonical" or quasi-canonical alternate organization of materials, and a couple that are "apocryphal" (in the sense of being late Pseudepigrapha), all of them written by Jews.

This is Kevin Edgecomb's analysis:

Version/Document
Book of Ezra (10 chap)
Book of Nehemiah (13 chap)
Paraphrase of 2 Chronicles (35-36); the whole book of Ezra; Nehemiah 7:38-8:12; plus a tale about Darius' bodyguards
Ezra Apocalypse (16 chap)
LXX/Old Greek 2 Esdras (1-10); 2 Esdras (11-23) 1 Esdras N/A
Latin Vulgate Bible 1 Esdras 2 Esdras 3 Esdras 4 Esdras (16 chapters)
Many later Latin MSS 1 Esdras 3 Esdras 2 Esdras = chs 1-2; 4 Esdras = chs 3-14; 5 Esdras = chs 15-16
Douay Rheims (1609-1610) 1 Esdras 2 Esdras 3 Esdras 4 Esdras (16 chapters)
Russian Bible Moscow Patriarchate (1956) 1 Esdras Nehemiah 2 Esdras 3 Esdras (16 chapters)
KJV & NRSV Ezra Nehemiah 1 Esdras 2 Esdras (16 chapters)
Scholarly Literature Ezra Nehemiah 3 Ezra 5 Ezra = chs 1-2; 4 Ezra = chs 3-14; 6 Ezra = chs 15-16

Of these, only the tale of Darius' bodyguards, and the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra, are clearly Apocryphal/Pseudepigraphic. So, I'm thinking the source you read that said there was an apocryphal Ezra "book" that was Jewish, s/he probably meant the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra.

The Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs has a hefty number of Christian themed passages that, in their present forms, are clearly much different than the similar Hebrew/Aramaic testaments of famous patriarchs among the DSS materials discovered in the Qumran caves.

Earlier critics like R H Charles and the contributors of articles to his Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (2 vols., 1913), suspected that they were, as we have them, Christian Greek compositions that had incorporated Judean themed materials (already translated from Hebrew/Aramaic into Greek I suppose, unless the Christian author was multi-lingual).

The discovery publication of the DSS fragments in the 1950s to 1980s, among which were testaments of various patriarchs that resembled parts of the T12P that those scholars had identified as Judean sources, pretty much conformed the theory, although no one seems to agree what the Judean fragments had to say to Judeans. We already know how Christians made use of it, but the nature of the Judean sources seems to be a hot potato among scholars.

Many have expressed as fact what are merely their opinions, expressed not so much as bona-fide attempts to further our understanding of these writings and how they fit into the religio-political environment as described by Josephus and by a few pagan writers, but really just promoting one or another view about how the authors of the clearly sectarian writings among the DSS must be this or that kind of folks, to diminish their importance (make them seem like "outlier" opinions) or to promote the idea that the "sectarian" DSS were in fact Judaisms as they actually existed, in their own words, not as they were dressed up for Greek audiences as in Josephus' works.

The short and long of it is that the "in their own words" world expressed in them doesn't match especially well with any religious party as described by Josephus (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, 4th Philosophy adherents, and their predecessors the Judean Hellenizers, the Hasidim, the Maccabeans rebels, the Hasmonean dynasty and lastly the Herodian dynasty). We could just have a cache of works by an otherwise unknown group that happened to be too small to warrant mention by the authors of the surviving accounts of those times.

DCH
Last edited by DCHindley on Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:30 am

DCHindley wrote:
I asked because Ezra books abound, some non-canonical or quasi-canonical, and a couple that are "apocryphal" (in the sense of being late Pseudepigrapha), all of them written by Jews.

This is Kevin Edgecomb's analysis:

Version/Document
Book of Ezra (10 chap)
Book of Nehemiah (13 chap)
Paraphrase of 2 Chronicles (35-36); the whole book of Ezra; Nehemiah 7:38-8:12; plus a tale about Darius' bodyguards
Ezra Apocalypse (16 chap)
LXX/Old Greek 2 Esdras (1-10); 2 Esdras (11-23) 1 Esdras N/A
Latin Vulgate Bible 1 Esdras 2 Esdras 3 Esdras 4 Esdras (16 chapters)
Many later Latin MSS 1 Esdras 3 Esdras 2 Esdras = chs 1-2; 4 Esdras = chs 3-14; 5 Esdras = chs 15-16
Douay Rheims (1609-1610) 1 Esdras 2 Esdras 3 Esdras 4 Esdras (16 chapters)
Russian Bible Moscow Patriarchate (1956) 1 Esdras Nehemiah 2 Esdras 3 Esdras (16 chapters)
KJV & NRSV Ezra Nehemiah 1 Esdras 2 Esdras (16 chapters)
Scholarly Literature Ezra Nehemiah 3 Ezra 5 Ezra = chs 1-2; 4 Ezra = chs 3-14; 6 Ezra = chs 15-16

Good List.
It's missing the names Esdras A and B, the two books of the Greek Church's Bible that compose the first three columns in your table (combined into only two books).

America and Anglo countries are largely Protestant in heritage, and when you add in the fact that the Orthodox [Christian] Study Bible (OSB) and the Jewish Tanakh calls the first two columns "Ezra" and "Nehemiah" the default assumption is that in English people are going to call the books: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esdras 1 and Esdras 2 like the KJV and OSB do, or else follow the "scholarly literature" route (bottom row in your table).

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:59 am

QUESTION:
How does the Early Writings website calculate its estimated dates?
Traditions of Matthias says in the list: "Estimated Range of Dating: 110-160 A.D."
But all that the Early Writings webpage quotes for support is a scholar saying "Traditions of Matthias probably was composed in Egypt in the first half of the 2d century." (ie. 100-150)
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... thias.html

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:02 pm

Daniel Lieuwan writes about Clement Alexandrine:
"In addition to books that did not make it into the final New Testament canon but which had local canonicity, he also used the Gospel of the Egyptians, Preaching of Peter, Traditions of Matthias, Sibylline Oracles, and the Oral Gospel." (http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/ntcan ... gence.aspx)
Is "the Oral Gospel" an actual book, or does he just mean oral traditions?

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Re: Wiki EarlyChristian writings Missing from our Forum'sWeb

Post by rakovsky » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:55 pm

Are there any major church figures and writers from the 1st c. who I am missing from this list:
Thomas
Nicodemus
P.Clement of Rome (s. 99 AD)
Barnabas
Hermas
Polycarp (69-155)
Papias (70-163)
Bp. Dionysius the Areopagite, 1st. Bp of Athens (some pseudographical writings were ascribed to him some centuries later)
Bp. Ignatius Antiochene (35-108)
Quadratus of Athens (-129), wrote an "Apologia" to Hadrian c.124-125
Aristides of Athens ( -134)
The bishops of Antioch after Peter were Evodius (d.66 AD) and Ignatius(lived 35-108). Not much seems written of Evodius. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evodius

Rome's popes after Peter were Linus (d.76 AD), Anacletus/Cletus (d.92), Clement (d.99), Evaristus/Aristus (d. 107)
Clement was author of 1 Clement. Not much seems written of the authors. (See eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Linus)

Alexandria's Patriarchs were: Mark the Evangelist (d.68), Ananius (d.83), Avilius (d.95), Kedron (d. 106)
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Ania ... Alexandria , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Avil ... Alexandria)

Jerusalem's Patriarch after James' death in c.62-70 AD was Simeon I (.d 107 or 117). There is confusion over which and how many bishops Jerusalem had between then and the Bar Kokhba revolt of 135 AD, since the bishops listed could have been serving concurrently in that church. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simeon_of_Jerusalem)

The first bishop of Athens is sometimes listed as Hierotheos the Thesmothete, after whom came Dionysius the Areopagite (d. c.96), after which there was no bp until 117.

The bishop of Gaul before Ireneus was Pothinus (~87 AD - ~177 AD) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Pothinus)

I can't find a list of bishops for Damascus, except that maybe Ananius was one. He met Paul in Acts, and I wonder if he is the person who with his wife died later after Peter denounced them (although that would seem unlikely considering the place of honor Acts otherwise gives him). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananias_of_Damascus)

For Corinth, Saint Apollo of Ephesus AKA Apollos (mentioned in the NT) is considered the first bishop. Others sometimes considered to be 1st c. bishops are Silas, Onesiphorus, Sosthenes.

For Ephesus, St. Timothy, Onesimus (.d c. AD 68), Gaius (d.97) are considered the first c. bishops.

In Libya, Lucius of Cyrene is considered the first bishop. This could be St. Luke. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_of_Cyrene

For Crete, Titus is considered the first bishop (died 96 or 107)

For Caesarea, Zaccheus (the publican in the NT) is considered the first bishop.

In Pannonia (northern Yugoslavia, west Hungary), Andronicus preached, but there are not many records.
The bishop of Malta was Publius, who was transferred to Athens in 90 and d. 125.
For Edessa, there are apocryphal stories about Thaddeus, King Abgar, and the Mandylion (maybe Turin shroud).
For Britain, stories about Joseph of Arimathea are apocryphal.
For India, there are stories about Thomas, which have some credibility, as Christianity seems planted there already in the 2nd-3rd c.
For Cyprus and Provence (France) there are stories that Lazarus (from the NT) became a 1st c. bishop. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazarus_of_Bethany). Another is that Barnabas founded the church there.
For Galatia, Crescens is considered a 1st c. bishop in the 4th c. Apostolic Constitutions.
For Carthage, Crescens or Epenetus of Carthage could the first c. bishop.

There is so little written by or about these 1st c. figures that comes from the 1st to 2nd c. AD. But we know that they played a big role in establishing a serious religious community across the Mediterranean.

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