Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Kapyong
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Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Kapyong » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:26 pm

Gday all,
I've been following the discussion about methodology etc., but the fiddly bits of historical epistomology are getting a little dry for an amateur. So I'd like to go back to the basics as Neil suggested :
neilgodfrey wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:52 pm
The discussion [is], from my perspective, about what facts or events or persons might be considered historical. ...
So let's get to the basics:
What bloody happened. Who bloody existed. When? Where?
Let's go back to these very foundations - who can we say existed with a high level of confidence ?
(I've been struggling with wishy-washy terms like 'fairly certain' or 'almost certain', or 'quite likely etc., so I've decided to add rough estimates of probability of existence as percentages. Never 100% of course.)

Note to Bernard et al - I certainly am NOT claiming that ONLY these persons existed, just that they have fairly solid evidence. We can build on this foundation with others less likely.
I use the term 'primary evidence' to refer to contemporary evidence - if it's not contemporary then it's not primary.

The goal here is to see if we can reach a consensus on the foundational characters, and perhaps use it to discuss those less certain.


Considering the evidence - the early Christian writings and the early Greek, Jewish and Roman writings - here are the persons with solid foundations that I think we could all agree to with a reasonably high level of confidence :

Paul. 98%
Paul wrote letters mid 1st century - from primary evidence, although corrupt. Various cities around the Eastern Mediterranean.

James. 95%
Paul knew someone in Jerusalem named James, also called the Lord's Brother (confirmed by secondary evidence.)

Peter. 95%
Paul wrote of someone in Jerusalem called Peter, otherwise unknown.

...

Marcion. 90%
Probably wrote a gospel in Sinope in early-mid 2nd century. No primary evidence, but much secondary.

Tatian. 95%
Wrote the DiaTessaron and more in Syria mid 2nd century. Primary evidence in his Address.

Justin Martyr. 95%
Wrote about several 'memoirs' or gospels mid 2nd century, in Rome. Primary evidence of his own writing.

Irenaeus. 98%
Collected, named, and numbered four Gospels in Lyons in late 2nd century. Primary evidence from his own writing.


Somewhere in there are our old friends Athenagoras, M. Felix, and Theophilus, who left primary evidence of themselves at least. Followed by much primary evidence from Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen and Hippolytus around the turn into the third century, and more following.

Otherwise, I don't think anyone else in the first two centuries has a solid existence from primary evidence. Marcion is the furthest into secondary evidence I haved dared to go, and even he is not that certain.

I look forward to comments :)


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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:32 pm

Peter/Cephas is also mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Kapyong » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:37 pm

Gday :)
Bernard Muller wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:32 pm
Peter/Cephas is also mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians.
Cordially, Bernard
Hmmm... are we sure that Paul thought Peter and Cephas were the same person ?

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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:51 pm

Kapyong wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:26 pm


Paul. 98%
Paul wrote letters mid 1st century - from primary evidence, although corrupt. Various cities around the Eastern Mediterranean.
Which Paul?

The Paul of Acts of the Apostles or the Paul of the Acts of Paul and Thecla? The Paul of Galatians? The Paul of 2 Thessalonians? The Paul of 2 Timothy? The Paul of Ephesians? The Paul of Valentinus? The Paul of Marcion? The Paul of Tertullian? The Paul of Robert M. Price? The Paul of Herman Detering? The Paul of Roger Parvus? The Paul of Stanley Porter? The Paul of Hyam Maccoby? The Paul of Alan Segal? . . . . :confusedsmiley:
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:18 pm

Paul called Peter always "Cephas", in 1 Corinthians and Galatians. The two occurrences of "Peter" are in Gal 2:7-8. But, except for "on the contrary", these two verses are most likely an interpolation: see https://depts.drew.edu/jhc/Barnikol.html.

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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:25 pm

Minor points:

Marcion: "Probably wrote a gospel" - sure, 'published' one, but the wording 'wrote' hurts the probabilities.

Tatian: "Wrote the DiaTessaron" and "Address" -- I am not 95% sure these are by the same person.
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Kapyong » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:27 pm

Gday :)
Kapyong wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:26 pm
Paul. 98%
Paul wrote letters mid 1st century - from primary evidence, although corrupt. Various cities around the Eastern Mediterranean.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:51 pm
Which Paul?
The person who wrote the Big Seven, who we call 'Paul'.


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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:33 pm

Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:25 pm
Tatian: "Wrote the DiaTessaron" and "Address" -- I am not 95% sure these are by the same person.
Good call. Neither am I.
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Kapyong » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:59 pm

Gday gents :)

Thanks for all those useful comments.
Here is an improved list in response (I bumped Tatian to 98% on re-reading his personal account) :

'Paul'. 98%
Someone wrote several letters in mid 1st century which have come down to us as seven letters by 'Paul' - from primary evidence, although corrupt. Various cities around the North Eastern Mediterranean.

James. 95%
Paul knew someone in Jerusalem named James, also called the Lord's Brother (confirmed by secondary evidence.)

Cephas / Peter 95%
Paul wrote of someone in Jerusalem called Cephas, and possibly Peter, otherwise unknown.
...

Marcion. 90%
Very probably published a gospel in Sinope in early-mid 2nd century. No primary evidence, but much secondary.

Tatian. 98%
Wrote in Syria mid 2nd century. Primary evidence in his Address, in which he names and describes himself. May have published the DiaTessaron.

Justin Martyr. 95%
Wrote about several 'memoirs' or gospels mid 2nd century, in Rome. Primary evidence of his own writing.

Irenaeus. 98%
Collected, named, and numbered four Gospels in Lyons in late 2nd century. Primary evidence from his own writing.

Kapyong

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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:05 pm

Kapyong wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:59 pm
Marcion. 90%
Very probably published a gospel in Sinope in early-mid 2nd century. No primary evidence, but much secondary.
I think we (probably) actually do have primary evidence for his existence and an important element of his doctrine, though not for his publication of a gospel:

From Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 26: And there is Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive, and teaching his disciples to believe in some other god greater than the Creator. And he, by the aid of the devils, has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies, and to deny that God is the maker of this universe, and to assert that some other being, greater than He, has done greater works.

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