Who existed ? When ? Where ?

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

Post by spin » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:46 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:19 pm
to MrMacSon,
His references to 'Chrestus' and to 'Christians' were probably not about Jesus-believing Christians. They were probably about another religion that used those terms or to which those terms were applied (eg. an Egyptian mystery religion)
Please substantiate your "probably" about that other religion whose members would be called "Christians".
You've just done the same thing yourself with just as valid a conclusion:
Suetonius probably did not have a high opinion on Christians, considering them as garbage, about the same as Tacitus did.
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MrMacSon
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:51 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:44 pm

OK, Eusebius was loosely quoting from Tertullian's Apology V:
Consult your histories; you will there find that Nero was the first who assailed with the imperial sword the Christian sect, making profess then especially at Rome. But we glory in having our condemnation hallowed by the hostility of such a wretch. For any one who knows him, can understand that not except as being of singular excellence did anything bring on it Nero's condemnation.

Such assertions by Eusebius and Tertullian don't reflect history: they reflect legends that started with legends about Nero* and then incorporated legends about Christians, and legends about Peter and Paul's supposed fate in Rome (supposedly at his hand), to try to shore up what was really a false history.


* first as his return (the Nero Redivivus legend), and then as Nero as the anti-Christ. The two legends co-existed as the Nero Redivivus legend lasted for a few centuries.

.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DCHindley
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by DCHindley » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:04 pm

Jax wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:22 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:18 am
Jax wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:34 am
I find it interesting to note that, besides Marcion in the 140's, Philemon isn't used by anyone else until the 4th century.
The Muratorian canon has it: "Nevertheless, he wrote one to Philemon and one to Titus, and two to Timothy for his affection and love." Also, Origen apparently wrote a commentary on Philemon; this has been lost except for a quotation by Rufinus.
I for one am willing to assume that Marcion had a letter to Philemon as part of his Paul letters.

Thanks for the John letters link above BTW. Very interesting.
Folks around here sometimes like to poke fun at my hypothesis that the Paulines, all of them (to cities or individuals), were "authentic" letters of an advocate for Judean-gentile inclusiveness, but later overlayed with the Christ talk as a way to "bring them up to date." That "date" was sometime in the late 1st century CE, when whoever Jesus was as a historical person in his earlier day was fast transforming into a figurehead for a salvation myth. The original author, whoever he was, didn't know anything of Jesus.

One of the consequences of this fusion of traditions, which did not see eye to eye on many issues, was that contradictory statements abound in the form we have received them, one beside the other, in a way that defies any attempt at interpretation of discreet letters as organic wholes. In Galatians, for instance, in that section about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, there are two different but complete commentaries going on, all spliced together.*

I get the impression that Marcion actually did encounter these letters already interpolated as described above. The way Tertullian and others describe Marcion's treatment of this section of that letter, both of these independent commentaries are made more difficult to interpret, and what the Christian sources say of Marcion's message still doesn't really make any sense.

That doesn't mean that the original Paulines didn't go through it own editorial history before it reached Christian hands. David Trobisch points to the present collection to consist of three sub-collections, two of which were to congregations in cities and one collection addressed to individuals. Like any collection of a famous person's letters in antiquity, a few pseudepigraphs slip in. Whatever corpus that Christian interpolator had worked over may not have been 100% the purported author's actual letters. I would not be surprised to see a letter to Philemon in whatever interpolated collection he had access to.

DCH

*http://www.earlywritings.com/forum/view ... agar#p5882

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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:55 pm

to spin,
You've just done the same thing yourself with just as valid a conclusion:
Suetonius probably did not have a high opinion on Christians, considering them as garbage, about the same as Tacitus did.
My "probably" is justified by what appears in Suetonius' work: "Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition"

to MrMacSon,
The Egyptian god Serapis was known as 'Serapis Chrestus'. The cult of Serapis was spreading through the eastern Mediterranean through the 1st to 3rd centuries ad.
Rome is not considered to be in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Chrestus in Suetonius' work caused trouble within the Jewish community in Rome. Consequently, that Chrestus most likely is not Serapis: "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

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

Post by Jax » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:09 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:29 am
I don't see how you can assign definite dates to Paul without relying on Acts, a document that directly contradicts Paul in his own letters, a document, further, that seems to be a response to Marcion and his use of Paul as the only authoritative source of scripture.
A document that has no credibility among modern scholars as a historical source for Paul.
Acts still has some credibility among non-mythicists. Even the very critical Westar Acts Seminar declared in 2013:
"This is not to say that Acts is totally unhistorical but to observe that it is less helpful in the historical reconstruction of Christian beginnings than previously assumed."
About the Westar Acts Seminar:
http://historical-jesus.info/75.html and http://historical-jesus.info/76.html
The highlighted is just a polite way of saying that Acts is all but worthless as a source of history for the early Christian cult.

I hate to break this to you but it's not just the "mythicists" that have issues with Acts but rather the (by far) greater non-fundamentalist critical scholarship of the last two hundred years.

Really. When you remove the letters of Paul from Acts, a whole different picture emerges.

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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:10 pm

to MrMacSon,
Such assertions by Eusebius and Tertullian don't reflect history:
Why not?
they reflect legends that started with legends about Nero* and then incorporated legends about Christians, and legends about Peter and Paul's supposed fate in Rome (supposedly at his hand), to try to shore up what was really a false history.
How do you know that?
Eusebius & Tertullian did not deal with only Peter & Paul's persecution by Nero (and not Nero Redivicus), but also with Christians of Rome.

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

Post by Jax » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:20 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:55 pm
to spin,
You've just done the same thing yourself with just as valid a conclusion:
Suetonius probably did not have a high opinion on Christians, considering them as garbage, about the same as Tacitus did.
My "probably" is justified by what appears in Suetonius' work: "Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition"

to MrMacSon,
The Egyptian god Serapis was known as 'Serapis Chrestus'. The cult of Serapis was spreading through the eastern Mediterranean through the 1st to 3rd centuries ad.
Rome is not considered to be in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Chrestus in Suetonius' work caused trouble within the Jewish community in Rome. Consequently, that Chrestus most likely is not Serapis: "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

Cordially, Bernard
Actually, if I'm not mistaken, Serapis was the savior God of sailors, throughout the Mediterranean.

I have often wondered if "Jar Head" for a Marine isn't a holdover from this tradition for sailors having Serapis as their protector God. Does anyone here have a better explanation for the term "Jar Head"? Just curious. :)

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:53 pm

Jax wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:20 pm
I have often wondered if "Jar Head" for a Marine isn't a holdover from this tradition for sailors having Serapis as their protector God. Does anyone here have a better explanation for the term "Jar Head"? Just curious. :)
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jarhead: jar +‎ head, due to the regulation high and tight haircut of the marines.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jarhead: The term originates from the "high and tight" haircut that many Marines have, which makes their head look like a jar.
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yalla
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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by yalla » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:02 pm

Wiki "Serapeum"
A serapeum is a temple or other religious institution dedicated to the syncretic Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis

Serapea in Italy
1. Regio tertia - first half of the 1st century BCE
2. Campus Martius - This temple, dedicated to Isis and Serapis, was first dedicated by the triumvirs in 43 BCE.
3. Quirinal Hill - late 2c
4. Hadrian's Villa - 117-138 ce -"To mark the inauguration of his temple, Hadrian struck coinage that carry his effigy accompanied by Serapis"
5. Ostia antica -"The Serapeum of Ostia Antica was inaugurated in 127 CE and dedicated to the syncretic cult of Jupiter Serapis."
6. Pozzuoli - "...when the discovery of a statue of Serapis led to the building being misidentified as the city's serapeum,.." - " late first and early second century AD".

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Re: Who existed ? When ? Where ?

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:06 pm

to spin,
My previous comment already dealt with the issue, but to expand... The ethnarch as I said was the ethnarch of King Aretas, not about being the ethnarch of a hypothesized group of (presumably) Nabataeans living in Damascus. The description of the ethnarch as "of King Aretas" makes him a political functionary of the king, not of a groujp of people. This is highlighted by the fact that the ethnarch was in the political position of keeping watch over, or guarding, the city. That's the prorogative of the ruler of Damascus. The passage does not suggest the reading of some illegal clandestine operation.
The etnarch would have been appointed by king Aretas, so etnarch of Aretas makes sense. "etnarch" does not have to mean absolute ruler, as is shown in Josephus and Strabo's works: http://historical-jesus.info/61.html.
There is nothing to say that etnarch & his posses were involved in an illegal clandestine operation, as long as Paul, if captured, would be delivered to the proper authorities with a charge.
You shouldn't mind-read. And it is interesting that both passages use the same term for christ and christians being executed. Christian execution certainly does not fit the context of the bannings to maintain public order in Suetonius. It does not belong where it is located. I've gone to great detail of how the latter part of Ann. 15.44 hijacks the subtle anti-Neronian discourse and dissipates in a sorry passage about burning christians.
I think the bit about Christians fits well into a passage dealing with various actions taken by Nero.
Eusebius is not a trustworthy source for a period ostensibly 250 years earlier.
I do not see why he would lie on that topic: " To describe the greatness of his depravity does not lie within the plan of the present work. As there are many indeed that have recorded his history in most accurate narratives" (that certainly would apply to Tacitus' narration). And then, earlier, there is also Tertullian "Consult your histories; you will there find that Nero was the first who assailed with the imperial sword the Christian sect, making profess then especially at Rome."
The problem with the polemic against Nero is that it really starts with his war against the Jews and he becomes the arch-villain raled against in the Sibylline Oracles. He is a prime candidate for folk tradition development.
That's very suggestive and no evidence at all.

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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