Early to mid 2nd c. works on Christianity listed by theme

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Early to mid 2nd c. works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:07 pm

I am sorting the works listed on the Early Christian Writings chronology page below, like I did on the 1st c. thread. (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2786&p=62053#p62053)

Church Fathers and writings respected in the early mainstream Church

105-115 Ignatius of Antioch
110-140 Polycarp to the Philippians
110-140 Papias
120-130 Quadratus of Athens
120-130 Apology of Aristides
130-150 Aristo of Pella
130-200 Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
140-150 Epistula Apostolorum (within the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, counters gnosticism)
150-160 Justin Martyr
150-160 Martyrdom of Polycarp
150-400 Anti-Marcionite Prologues (found in early Latin codices)
2nd c. - 4th c. Old Roman Creed
160-180 Claudius Apollinaris
160-250 Octavius of Minucius Felix
161-180 Acts of Carpus
165-175 Melito of Sardis
165-175 Hegesippus
165-175 Dionysius of Corinth

Fragmentary or unsure how to categorize
110-160 Oxyrhynchus 840 Gospel (maybe from Gospel of the Hebrews)
140-170 Infancy Gospel of James (Once popular, but Pope Innocent I condemned it in 405 A.D)
140-170 Infancy Gospel of Thomas (popular in High Middle Ages)
150-200 Acts of Peter
150-200 Acts of Paul ("Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to preach and baptize. The Acts were considered orthodox by Hippolytus but were eventually regarded as heretical when the Manichaeans started using the texts." -Wiki)
150-200 Acts of Andrew ("Eusebius of Caesarea knew the work, which he dismissed as the production of a heretic and absurd." - Wiki)
150-350 Preaching of Paul
150-400 Acts of Pilate (inspired medieval works)

Ebionite
?-375 Ascents of James (Considered a potential source for Hegessipus' 170 AD History, Commonly Dated to Late 2nd c., brought into the Clementine Recognitions 1.27-71) (Research is in the next message, except I haven't yet reviewed the Aramaic Herald article on it, http://aramaicherald.blogspot.com/2010/ ... james.html)
_____? Circuits of Peter (G.Mead in 1900 had dated it to the 2nd c. S.Jones in recent years dates it to 200 or 220. One would expect it to be written not earlier than the shorter Ascents of James that are placed at the beginning of the Recognitions.)(researched as below) (Circuits of Peter and Ascents of James apparently are what Epiphanius calls the Ebionites' Acts of the apostles)

Encratitic
160-170 Tatian's Address to the Greeks (Tatian was later rejected for ascetic Encratiticism and gnostic Valentinianism)
160-180 Julius Cassianus (considered Encratitic and Docetic)

Elchasite
101-220 Book of Elchasai ("The Cologne Mani-Codex describes the parents of Mani, founder of Manichaeanism, as Elkasites." ~ Wikipedia)

Gnostic
120-180 Gospel of Mary (commonly considered gnostic)
120-140 Basilides
120-140 Naassene Fragment
120-160 Valentinus
120-180 Dialogue of the Savior (Nag Hammadi text on salvation via gnosis)
120-180 Apocryphon of John (Sethian gnostic)
120-180 Gospel of the Savior ("heavily gnostic in that salvation is... only to those who understand the secret knowledge (gnosis)" ~ Wiki)
120-180 2nd Apocalypse of James (gnostic)
120-180 Trimorphic Protennoia (Sethian gnostic)
120-180 Gospel of Perfection (considered gnostic)
120-200 Genna Marias (gnostic Descent of Mary)
130-140 Marcion
130-160 Epiphanes On Righteousness
130-160 Ophite Diagrams
130-170 Gospel of Judas
140-160 Ptolemy (student of Valentinus)
140-160 Isidore, son of Basilides
140-180 Gospel of Truth
150-180 Excerpts of Theodotus
150-180 Heracleon
150-200 Interpretation of Knowledge
150-200 Testimony of Truth
150-200 Acts of John (condemned as gnostic)
150-225 Book of Thomas the Contender ( Nag Hammadi library )(gnostic style, likely gnostic)
150-225 Acts of Peter and the Twelve (allegory + gnostic commentary)
150-250 Paraphrase of Shem
150-300 Prayer of the Apostle Paul (not by Paul, probably gnostic and Valentinian)
150-300 Authoritative Teaching
150-300 Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth (Hermetic)
150-300 Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
150-300 Melchizedek (Nag Hammadi)
150-350 Hypsiphrone (probably gnostic, Hypsiphrone could be Sophia, who descends to interact with another figure)
150-350 Act of Peter (not "Acts of Peter", http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/actpeter.html ; found in book of gnostic works, has likely gnostic detail about not having sex with someone who became a sister by sharing in a single spirit)
150-350 Questions of Mary
150-350 Allogenes, the Stranger
150-350 Valentinian Exposition
150-360 Concept of Our Great Power
150-400 Dialogue Between John and Jesus
160-180 Apelles

Non-Christian Jews writing about Christianity
110-135 Rabbi Akiva

Pagans writing about Christianity
111-112 Pliny the Younger
115 Suetonius (on Christians, and on Epaphroditus, Domitylla and Flavius Clemens)
115 Tacitus
140-170 Fronto
165-175 Lucian of Samosata
167 Marcus Aurelius

Other major 2nd c. figures:
Hegesippus (110-180)
Athenagoras of Athens (133-190)
Melito of Sardis (-180)
Theophilus of Antioch (-180s)
Tatian (120-185)
P.Victor of Rome (-199) notable for Quartodeciman controversy
Irenaeus (130-202)
Clement of Alexandria (150-215)
Tertullian (155 – c. 240)
Polycrates
Early Church controversies
Judaizing/Demanding all Christians observe the Torah (rejected at the council of Jerusalem)
Docetism (rejected in 2 Peter)
Gnosticism (The gnosts were in conflict with the Apostles)
Chiliasm
Montanism
Quartodeciman

On early Christian inscriptions:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=129
Last edited by rakovsky on Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:51 am, edited 41 times in total.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:35 pm

The Ascents of James is
a lost work briefly described in a heresiology known as the Panarion (30.16.6–9),[n 1] by Epiphanius of Salamis; it was used as a source for a polemic against a Jewish Christian sect known as the Ebionites.[1] The document advocated the abolition of the Jewish sacrifices, esteemed James, the brother of Jesus as the leader of the Jerusalem church, and denigrated Paul of Tarsus as a Gentile and an opponent of Jewish Law.[2]

A Jewish Christian source document thought to be embedded within the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions (1.27 or 1.33–71)... may be related to the otherwise lost work mentioned by Epiphanius... Distinguishing features of the text include an advocacy for the observance of Mosaic Law... The text recounts the salvation history of Israel from Abraham to Jesus from a Jewish Christian perspective.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascents_of_James

In "Early Jewish Christianity", David Horrell writes about the Ascents of James:
The Gentile mission is accepted [by Ascents of James] and is regarded as a result of Jewish rejection of the message (1.42.1)... a belief in Christ's pre-existence.... and acceptance of the Gentile mission may also distinguish the writer of the Ascents from the Ebionites. One the other hand, the rejection of sacrifice in both the Gospel of the Ebionites and the Ascents, along with Hegessipus' description of James, like the EBionites, as abstaining from meat (In Eusebius HE 2.23), may suggest that the groups should not be neatly differentiated. The Ebionites may well have held James in high regard, just as they may also have done with Peter, if the Kerygmata Petrou is Ebionite.
Horrell also says that it's commonly considered a late 2nd c. work.

The part about James being vegetarian is curious, because on one hand in the gospels the closest Jesus comes to eating meat is fish AFAIK. So one might perceive a vegetarian practice among them. The Ebionites were known for vegetarianism as a rule. Paul criticized the idea of vegetarianism being a Christian requirement. The Epistles say:
Romans 14:1-2
Welcome all the Lord’s followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don’t criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak WILL EAT ONLY VEGETABLES.

1 Timothy 4
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; ... commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian Church proposes that the Ascents of James could be the basis for Hegessipus' account of James and that it is a source for the theory that James was Jesus' brother by law but not by blood:
The dramatic account of James by Hegesippus [329] is an overdrawn picture from the middle of the second century, colored by Judaizing traits which may have been derived from the "Ascents of James" and other apocryphal sources. He turns James into a Jewish priest and Nazirite saint (comp. his advice to Paul, Acts 21:23, 24), who drank no wine, ate no flesh, never shaved, nor took a bath, and wore only linen. But the biblical James is Pharisaic and legalistic rather than Essenic and ascetic.
....
The half-brother-theory regards the brethren and sisters of Jesus as children of Joseph by a former wife, consequently as no blood-relations at all, but so designated simply as Joseph was called the father of Jesus, by an exceptional use of the term adapted to the exceptional fact of the miraculous incarnation. ... This theory is found first in the apocryphal writings of James (the Protevangelium Jacobi, the Ascents of James, etc.), and then among the leading Greek fathers (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius, Cyril of Alexandria)
Epiphanius writes:
16:7 They lay down certain ascents and instructions in the supposed 'Ascents of James,' as though he were giving orders against the temple and sacrifices, and the fire on the altar—and much else that is full of nonsense.

16:8 Nor are they ashamed to accuse Paul38 here with certain fabrications of their false apostles' villainy and imposture. They say that he was Tarsean—which he admits himself and does not deny. And they suppose that he was of Greek parentage, taking the occasion for this from the (same) passage because of his frank statement, 'I am a man of Tarsus, a citizen of no mean city.'39

16:9 They then claim that he was Greek and the son of a Greek mother and Greek father, but that he had gone up to Jerusalem, stayed there for a while, desired to marry a daughter of the high priest, and had therefore became a proselyte and been circumcised. But since he still could not marry that sort of girl he became angry and wrote against circumcision, and against the Sabbath and the legislation.
A book review by Robert Price of Van Voorst's The Ascents of James, History and Theology of a Jewish Christian Community equating the Ascents with part of Recognitions says:
Van Voorst ... argues quite ably that Recognitions 1. 33-71 present us with ...the hitherto-enigmatic ­Ascents of James­ mentioned by Epiphanius. The work as Van Voorst isolates it, begins with a summary of the salvation history of Israel culminating with the career of Jesus, the Prophet like Moses, who came to replace sacrifices with baptism. Sacrifice had been allowed for the hardness of Israel's hearts (thus here is a difference from the well known Ebionite hermeneutic of the false pericopae). [It] is especially valuable in that it seems to preserve actual bits of [John the] Baptist polemic and theology.

... It is a late work like the Acts of Pilate, though of course it may preserve early emphases or traditions here and there.

http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/ ... scents.htm
I can see how this idea in the Ascents of James differs from the Canonical NT, wherein the sacrifices are replaced by Jesus' own sacrifice on the Cross, rather than with baptism. I also see how the Ascents' belief that sacrifices had been allowed could differ from the Ebionites' belief that the sacrifices were not part of the law. But maybe the two beliefs are reconcilable- sacrifices could theoretically be allowed under a Law while not being a commandment and rule component of that Law either.

Robert Price casts doubt on whether the Ascents of James is the same as the passage in the Recognitions. The Recognitions do copy major features of what Epiphanius says of the Ascents, but they don't narrate an "Ascent", although the title has been theorized to refer to James' ascent up stairs to give a speech narrated in the Recognitions.

Since Hegessipus is supposed by some scholars to base his writing about James on the Ascents or something like it, wouldn't that suggest that the Ascents of James could predate Hegessipus' History?

Some notes on the Periodoi Petrou AKA Circuits of Peter:

Joel Willits mentions Stanley Jones' dating for it of 200 AD:
F. Stanley Jones ... believes [The Circuits of Peter] was composed around 200 C.E. near Syrian Antioch. In the first footnote he states that this text is what others call the Grundschrift, but rather than see this as a complied and heterogenous set of materials, he believes this source was the "first truly Christian novel". It should be pointed out too that Jones, as Stanton, dispenses with the so-called Kerygmata Petrou source hypothesis in his suggestion of the Christian novel The Circuits of Peter. In his essay does not provide an overview of the constitute elements of the Pseudo-Clementine writings in the way Stanton did, but he does assert that The Circuits of Peter was absorbed into the Homilies and Recognition texts which comprise the Pseudo-Clementine wrtings. Furthermore, he believes that The Circuits of Peter can be found in the places where the Homilies and Recognitions share ideas and phrases--much like the synoptic scholars hypothesize Q. Furthermore, he argues for two discernable sources that this hyopthetical source Circuits of Peter depends on: the Book of Elchasai and an "Anti-Pauline Counter-Acts of the Apostles". The former source is known to us through Epiphanius, Panarion 19:1:6 and is discernable in the Contestation (Contestatio) document of Pseudo-Clementines and the latter source is what Stanton referred to as an "Apologia for Jewish believers in Jesus" found in the Recognitions 1:27-71.

http://euangelizomai.blogspot.com/2008/ ... ature.html
Bernard Pouderon finds Origen's quoting of the Circuits of Peter reliable in his essay "Origène, le pseudo-Clément et la structure des Periodoi Petrou ":
Two pieces of evidence argue in favor of the authenticity of Origen’s quotations of the Periodoi Petrou: first, the agreement of these testimonies taken from two differents works: the Greek Philocalia and the Latin translation of the Commentary on Matthiew; second, the influence that the Clementines had on Origen’s thought. The consequences are very important for the knowledge of the genesis of the novel. Origen introduces his quotation of the Periodoi by indicating the number of the book where he took it from. Now this number doesn’t square with the number of the corresponding book of the Recognitiones, but with that of the Homilies. Consequently the structure of the Periodoi fits that of the Homilies, and not that of the Recognitiones. Another consequence: the discussion with Appion must have been present in the Periodoi Petrou, that is to say (in our opinion) in the Grundschrift.
http://www.brepolsonline.net/doi/abs/10 ... A.2.300554
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that the Clementine Recognitions and Homilies
attempted to exalt the position of the Oriental churches in relation to Rome and were based on an earlier work, the Circuits of Peter, attested by Epiphanius and probably mentioned by the ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea and by Origen, the theologian of the Greek church (early 3rd century).
G. Mead, in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (1900), considered Circuits of Peter to be dated to the 2nd century, writing that Justin's Martyr's narrative about Simon Magus
is the nucleus of the huge Simonian legend which was mainly developed by the cycle of Pseudo-Clementine literature of the third century, based on the second century Circuits of Peter.
...
Above all things, the Ebionites were in bitterest strife with the Pauline churches. Later on General Christianity set itself to work to reconcile the Petrine and Pauline differences, principally by the Acts document; and in course of time Ebionite tradition was also edited by the light of the new view, and the name of Simon substituted for the great "heretic" with whom the Ebionites had striven. And so the modified Ebionite tradition, which was presumably first committed to writing in the Circuits of Peter, gradually evolved a romance, in which the conflicts between Simon Peter the Ebionite, and Simon the Magician, are graphically pourtrayed, the magical arts of the Samaritan are foiled, and his false theology is exposed, by the doughty champion of the "Poor Men."

http://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/fff/fff21.htm
This theory, however, that the character of Simon Magus was based on an Ebionite portrayal of Paul is put in major doubt by more recent scholarship.

In his book Whose Acts of Peter?, M. Baldwin writes about how Bauer's view was based on a theory that the Pseudo-Clementines saw Peter as in conflict with Paul, with Simon Magus symbolizing Paul. Baldwin notes that "naturally this included a relatively early, Jewish Christian Acts of Peter or (Periodoi Petrou), dating from as early as the first decades of the second century."

Stanley Jones in his essay "Jewish Christianity of the Pseudo-Clementines" says that Circuits of Peter was the original name of the original version of the Pseudo-Clementines. He proposes that the places where the Recognitions and Homilites agree are places that reflect the original version, the Circuits of Peter.

Epiphanius himself took the view that the Pseudo-Clementines were inventions because they took positions opposite of the ones that Clement himself was known to hold from his known letters. Epiphanius said that the Circuits were used by the Ebionites and he concluded from the Circuits that the Ebionites performed daily washings, claiming to imitate Peter, abstain from meat, claiming to imitate Peter, avoid the "mixing of bodies", celebrate the eucharist once annually with unleavened bread and water, hold a dualism of powers established by God, the powers being Christ and the devil. (Source: Jewish Ways of Following Jesus: Redrawing the Religious Map of Antiquity
By Edwin Keith Broadhead)

M. Baldwin says that Origen's writing on the Circuits of Peter is often seen as cited in Philocalia 23:22. However, Baldwin then clarifies that this passage is not really a citation by Origen himself as it is taken to be from other scholars. Rather, the 4th c. Philokalia is itself the one that is associating the Circuits with the Pseudo-Clementines, even though the context is a review of Origen's writing.

So it looks like the Circuits of Peter are most clearly cited in Epiphanius and the Philokalia, whereas one must estimate how much they are reflected in the Pseudo-Clementines.

It's difficult to find much about the Ebionites' version of the other Acts of the Apostles, and I even question whether a specific Ebionite "Acts of the Apostles" existed.

Epiphanius mentioned them in his Panarion.

Sakari Hakkinen writes in the anthology "A Companion to Second Century Christian 'Heretics'": "The explanation of the poverty of the Ebionites was, according to them, derived from the story told in Acts (Pan 30.12.2)." He then cites the Panarion passage, which doesn't actually quote from Acts, but only talks about their voluntary poverty as the basis for their name. Hakkinen next writes:
The connection to Acts 4:34-35 is obvious. It is clear that the Ebionites were committed to poverty and traced their origin back to the first Christian community in Jerusalem.... Was the Acts used by the Ebionites an abbreviated version of the canonical Acts of the Apostles? The connections between the gospel used by the Ebionites and Acts are also noteworthy. The Acts used by the Ebionties may have been based on the canonical Acts which was edited by the Ebionites.
In the same anthology, S. Jones writes that "Recognitions 1.27-71 draws from a source that was a Jewish-Christian refutation of Luke's Acts of the Apostles and blamed Paul not only for the failed mission to the Jewish nation, which was on the way to be baptised, but also apparently for the death of James the brother of Jesus."

It makes sense that just as the Ebionites had their own gospel that harmonized the Synoptics and included Luke that they could also have their own version of Luke's Acts of the Apostles.

Panarion 30 says after describing the Circuits of Peter:
"They also mention other Acts of the Apostles.. In the Anabathmoi of James they accept some steps and stories for example that he preaches against the temple and the sacrifices".

My question here is whether based on the original Greek grammar this means that Epiphanius is not actually talking about another Acts of the Apostles, but about "other Acts of the Apostles", such as the Ascents of James. That is, does Epiphanius here by "Acts of the Apostles" mean "Acts" in the sense of the "Acts of Peter", "Acts of Paul", etc.?

HJ Schoeps on the other hand does specifically theorize an Ebionite "Acts of the Apostles". As F. Bruce writes in his book "The Book of Acts",
Schoeps pays special attention to similarities between the presentation of Stephen in Acts and that of jaes the Just in the pseudo-Clementine literature (which he finds to preserve much Ebionite material). .... the solution of the problem is not that propounded by Schoeps, who concludes that Stephen, 'far from being a historical character, is an ersatz figure brought forward by Luke, in order to unload on to him doctrines which the author found it inconvenient to acknowledge as his own'... For a critique of Schoeps on this point see M. Simon, 'Saint Stephen and the Jerusalem Temple," JEH 2 (1951); he concludes that on the contrary Stephen is the original and the pseudo-Clementine James the tendentious creation.
Last edited by rakovsky on Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:52 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by iskander » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:59 pm

rakovsky wrote:I see that there are a huge volume of gnostic writings from 100-150 AD.
What do you think the value would be in me studying them?
I can think that they may include some real stories about the apostles that didn't make it into the canonical gospels.
But I am skeptical of how much that would happen. It seems like much of the gnostic writings that differ from the mainstream church of the time are the result of the gnostics' own inventions and aren't something that the apostles taught that was lost by the mainstream church.

And then, supposing that some stories in the gnostic writings did come from the apostles themselves, it seems it would be hard to filter those legitimate stories out.
There is nothing of any value in the ' Gnostic' literature. The Gnostics hated the physical world of the living and preached extreme ascetic practice.
Marcion provides entertainment for imbeciles.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by andrewcriddle » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:46 am

I noted you don't have the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Thomas on your list.

Andrew Criddle

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by davidbrainerd » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:19 am

iskander wrote:
rakovsky wrote:I see that there are a huge volume of gnostic writings from 100-150 AD.
What do you think the value would be in me studying them?
I can think that they may include some real stories about the apostles that didn't make it into the canonical gospels.
But I am skeptical of how much that would happen. It seems like much of the gnostic writings that differ from the mainstream church of the time are the result of the gnostics' own inventions and aren't something that the apostles taught that was lost by the mainstream church.

And then, supposing that some stories in the gnostic writings did come from the apostles themselves, it seems it would be hard to filter those legitimate stories out.
There is nothing of any value in the ' Gnostic' literature. The Gnostics hated the physical world of the living and preached extreme ascetic practice.
Marcion provides entertainment for imbeciles.
I wonder if you would say the same about the canonical Johanine material.

1st John 2:15-16 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Sounds like he "hated the physical world of the living".....


"For all that is in the world...is not of the Father, but is of the world"--Marcion, is that you?

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by iskander » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:58 am

Yes , I would.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:33 pm

rakovsky wrote:
I am sorting the works listed on the Early Christian Writings chronology page below, like I did on the 1st c. thread. (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2786&p=62053#p62053)

Church Fathers and writings respected in the early mainstream Church*
105-115 Ignatius of Antioch
110-140 Polycarp to the Philippians
110-140 Papias
120-130 Quadratus of Athens
120-130 Apology of Aristides
130-150 Aristo of Pella
130-200 Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
140-150 Epistula Apostolorum (within the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, counters gnosticism)
150-160 Justin Martyr
150-160 Martyrdom of Polycarp
150-400 Anti-Marcionite Prologues (found in early Latin codices)
* It would depend on what you mean by "the early mainstream Church", and where each writing was respected (if the 'early church' was diverse in spatial distribution).

There have been arguments (on this forum and elsewhere that Ignatius is later-developed literature set in the early 2nd century).

Papias does not mention Jesus. Some think Papias and Quadratus are the same person or the writings attributed to them are from the same 'tradition'.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:53 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:I noted you don't have the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Thomas on your list.

Andrew Criddle
Yes. It's in the 1st century list:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2786

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by Peter Kirby » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:43 pm

It may be worth mentioning that Gnostics did not create the timeline and that, when I created the timeline, I created it with reference to the work of non-Gnostics (primarily, Christian scholars) regarding dates.

Christian scholars definitely have a tendency to want to make sure that none of the Gnostic texts -- if actually identified as full-blown Gnostic -- are dated to the first century. The first century possesses, in the modern Christian mindset, a sort of canonicity about it, and that's how it's been used in this thread as well. If it's not first century (or if we are convinced it isn't) and if it doesn't agree with what is first century (or what we're convinced is), it is perhaps not even worth studying (not edifying for a Christian).

There's a certain circularity in all this, where these "Gnostic" texts have had the deck stacked against them, as they have been tried by a jury that's mobbed full of modern Christians and not Gnostics. We can call it scholarly consensus, but if it contains zero Gnostic opinion, it could be more like a lynch mob (yes, that's hyperbole). The consensus there tends to be nearly universal too.

We actually have a very hard time knowing what is authentic to the "first century" or not, and that's true of Gnostic and non-Gnostic material. Sure, I'd place bets it (=gnostic speculation on aeons etc.) came after Paul, but so did a lot of stuff, including most of the things that make orthodoxy, orthodoxy. And even that bet's not fully certain. There's been research into the problem of "pre-Christian" Gnosticism.
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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:19 pm

Peter Kirby wrote:
Christian scholars definitely have a tendency to want to make sure that none of the Gnostic texts -- if actually identified as full-blown Gnostic -- are dated to the first century. The first century occupies, in the modern Christian mindset, a sort of canonicity about it, and that's how it's been used in this thread as well. If it's not first century (or if we are convinced it isn't), and if it doesn't agree with what is first century (or what we're convinced is), it is perhaps not even worth studying (not edifying for a Christian).

There's a certain circularity in all this, where these "Gnostic" texts have had the deck stacked against them, as they have been tried by a jury that's mobbed full of modern Christians and not Gnostics. We can call it scholarly consensus, but if it contains zero Gnostic opinion1, it could be more like a lynch mob (yes, that's hyperbole). The consensus there tends to be nearly universal too.

We actually have a very hard time knowing what is authentic to the "first century" or not, and that's true of Gnostic and non-Gnostic material. Sure, I'd place bets it (=gnostic speculation on aeons etc.) came after Paul2, but so did a lot of stuff, including most of the things that make orthodoxy, orthodoxy. And even that bet's not fully certain. There's been research into the problem of "pre-Christian" Gnosticism.
  • Well said

    1. or zero or little secular or non-Christian opinion or consensus [edit to add]

    2. or camea with Paul -ie. concurrent to Paul (and maybe Gnostic texts even started appearing slightly before him).
    • a. The relativity of the comingi of the Pauline and the Gnostic texts depends on when Paul really came.
      • i. pun intended (despite the lack of reference to a second coming); and no, I did not mean that.

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