Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:06 am

MrMac

To me at least the end of Matthew chapter 2 is strange. It clearly attempts to define 'Nazarene' in a manner which does not mean 'Nazarite' but resident of Nazareth, and as if the prophets predicted that the messiah would come from Nazareth. and in a manner which seems absolutely artificial and would not have gotten much traction:
Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
To that end we have to ask - why was this strange explanation included in Matthew? It is clear that 'of Nazareth' is not the reason that a sect of 'Nazarenes' existed. Then why posit it at all and strange still why does Tertullian - seemingly apropos of nothing - bring this argument up in a discussion about Marcion's gospel?
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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:33 am

And for me at least Matthew 2:23 is very strong evidence for a late date for the gospel of Matthew. For me at least, it would seem that if Matthew was written in the first century or was an early gospel there would be a cohesion to the work as a whole. The author would - in effect - have written the text 'straight through' with a simplistic understanding of who Jesus was, how Christianity was started (i.e. with the ministry of Jesus) and that simplistic understanding would necessarily seem antiquated in terms of doctrine or dogma that emerged in the second century onward.

But look at what Matthew actually suggests. There is a 'triple explanation' about the origin of Jesus. Jesus has really FOUR origins:

1. Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary (because of prophesy)
2. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (because of prophesy)
3. Jesus was Egyptian (because of prophesy)
4. Jesus was born in Nazareth (because of prophesy)

It is uncanny that each and every origin for Jesus has a scriptural starting point. This can't have come to the imagination of a single individual. It is almost as silly as the same author arguing for scripture predicting 4 different INDIVIDUALS as the messiah rather than 4 different origins for the same individual!

So what happened? I think that Matthew was compiled in the middle of the second century absorbing things that were written by Christians from the beginning of the movement (likely the first century or end of the first century) until the time of compilation. That Jesus was born of a virgin seems to have emerged either owing to the Panthera narrative or because of the gnostic 'whore Wisdom' myth. The Bethlehem prophesy was likely pre-existent to Christianity. 'Out of Egypt' Hosea 11:1 is cited in Mathew 2:15 and was originally applied to Israel itself but likely transformed into a prophecy for the messiah too. Yet the argument that Jesus being born in Nazareth is prophetic and explains why he was called a Nazarene is the most perplexing. I see this as a very late attempt to explain something akin to being a 'hidden one' - some gnostic understanding of the terminology.

But the gospel we have before us - i.e. 'according to Matthew' - was established sometime between 150 and 180 CE.
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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by spin » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:14 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:33 am
1. Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary (because of prophesy)
2. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (because of prophesy)
3. Jesus was Egyptian (because of prophesy)
4. Jesus was born in Nazareth (because of prophesy)
#3 is not a prophecy about a birth or origin, but of a return. That is how the "out of Egypt" ideas is always understood. Israel went down to Egypt and came back after the sojourn.

The only certain birth that the Matthew tradition extracts from the HB is the story of Samson, which is both the origin of the "he will be a Nazorean" comes from (the original has "Nazirite"), along with the fact that "he will save his people from sins", a reworking of Jdg 13:5's "he will save Israel from the Philistines", "save being the probable source of Jesus' name. Actually both these references are from the same verse referring to the birth of Samson. It is not a coincidence that these two figures would save their people, Israel for Samson and an ideal Israel for Jesus, those who need saving from their sins.

I don't know where Mary fits in regarding #1. "Born of a virgin" is the mistreatment of Isaiah 7:14, but Mary? Whatever the case we have another HB verse brought into the developing Matthean birth narrative. It too deals with a birth.

The Bethlehem "prophecy" of Micah 5:2 has nothing to do with a birth and needed to be mangled to be of use of the Matthean tradition—no longer "(too) little to be in the clans of Judah", but now "not the least" (Mt 2:6). Still it is repurposed to explain why Jesus might be from Bethlehem. Bethlehem is found in no parallel text in other gospels though it is the scene of Jesus' birth in Luke. This suggests that Bethlehem was part of the oral tradition in circulation at the time of writing of the two separate synoptic gospels. (The Johannine, 7:42 use provides insufficient context to relate it to other uses.)

#1, #2 and #4 point to disparate fragments about a birth collected probably at different times and incorporated into the fabric of the birth narrative. They suggest an oral background available to be ransacked by the scribe(s) responsible for the overhaul of the Marcan gospel. It doesn't suggest a simple overhaul, but a piecemeal one. The tradents of the Matthean collection can be seen accommodating their piecemeal data, working to explain the disparate elements Bethlehem, Nazareth and Capernaum and featuring two moves, 2:22-23 and 4:13 after the Bethlehem birth. We seem to have an evolution of the Matthean tradition, not a big single effort. I think this [to clarify: this same sort of] evolutionary process can be seen in all the synoptics, as also seems to be the case with John (though John with no significant parallels is harder to work on).
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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:38 am

spin wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:14 am
I think this evolutionary process can be seen in all the synoptics, as also seems to be the case with John (though John with no significant parallels is harder to work on).
Agreed that John is harder to work on, but I think we may be able to see some back-and-forth between the Johannine traditions and those which ended up in Luke (Lazarus, Mary & Martha, the Jerusalem appearances, and so on).
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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:56 am

I basically agree with the above. I think it puts challenges on our traditional assumptions about the development of the gospels as a canonical set insofar as the 'set' concept itself. The 'set' isn't an accident. The 'set' wasn't voted on. The 'set' - as I have argued many times here (to apparent no interest from anyone) most closely resembles the Mishnah as a codified collection of 'opinions.' In fact in many ways the gospel itself has come to be treated as 'Jesus's take on the Torah' by many where strangely Jesus is recorded as saying many different - even explicitly contradictory things through four different witnesses. The Mishnah-like characteristic of the canonical 'set' of four IMHO allows us to safely date the 'set' to the end of the second century even the turn of the third (I don't have a problem with the idea that Irenaeus's Adv Haer is itself a reworked collection of things from the writings of Irenaeus where even the canonical set of four ascribed to Irenaeus was injected into Adv Haer by someone like Hippolytus. Hippolytus, then, is the latest possible date for the canonical 'set' with Irenaeus being the earliest date for the set (thus roughly equivalent to the dates of the final codification of the Mishnah).

What is so odd about Matthew in particular and moreover Luke as a 'second birth narrative' is that I think it speaks to 'collusion' (to use a term taking over the news lately) or better yet a deliberate falsification of what is supposed to be primary evidence for the Jesus story. Either Irenaeus or Hippolytus said something like 'here are the elementary (hence the number 'four') sources for all existing gospels. The four gospels are supposed to be the building blocks for the 'harmonies' (which interestingly only become 'harmonies' because of the positing of four 'elemental' gospels like this. But the four gospels are clearly composite. Matthew having four different 'origins' for Jesus isn't accidental either. It's part of a deliberate plan to muddy the waters - EXACTLY like the Mishnah.

The Mishnah restricts what is permissible through its codification of what is permissible. There must have been other logical interpretations of the Pentateuch. The last words of John if taken to apply to the whole set (as Trobisch does) is a reflection of the same reality. But by effectively focusing attention of a limited subset of halakhah - and in the case of the 'set' a limited subset of things that Jesus did which reflect the proper application of the Pentateuch - 'the authorities' effectively subvert the future development of both of religions.

The point then is that R Akiba, R Meir and all the other sources which make up the Imperial collaborator Judah 'the Prince's' 'Mishnah' had likely millions of interpretations or applications of the Pentateuch between them. The Mishnah represents a small 'gleaning' of acceptable opinions before its codification. The gospels before the canonical 'set' similarly had hundreds of variant narratives to what appears in the gospel and the Pauline writings. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John aren't 'innocent' collections. They are Imperially sanctioned - either explicitly or implicitly - collections of tolerated narratives or halakhah. Where did Judah get his authority to prune the massive subset of accepted opinions before the Mishnah? The Emperor. There can be no doubt about that. Judaism was castrated by the Imperial authorities. Where did Irenaeus or Hippolytus get the authority to establish a wholly falsified canon of four 'faux' first century gospels? Do the math.
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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by spin » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:10 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:38 am
spin wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:14 am
I think this evolutionary process can be seen in all the synoptics, as also seems to be the case with John (though John with no significant parallels is harder to work on).
Agreed that John is harder to work on, but I think we may be able to see some back-and-forth between the Johannine traditions and those which ended up in Luke (Lazarus, Mary & Martha, the Jerusalem appearances, and so on).
There is material in John whose relationship with the Synoptics is relatively strong without showing text-linguistic similarities that begs for explanation. That seems to be a problem with no forthcoming solution... at least to me.
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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:25 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:06 am
MrMac

To me at least the end of Matthew chapter 2 is strange. It clearly attempts to define 'Nazarene' in a manner which does not mean 'Nazarite' but resident of Nazareth, and as if the prophets predicted that the messiah would come from Nazareth. and in a manner which seems absolutely artificial and would not have gotten much traction:
Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
To that end we have to ask - why was this strange explanation included in Matthew? It is clear that 'of Nazareth' is not the reason that a sect of 'Nazarenes' existed. Then why posit it at all and strange still why does Tertullian - seemingly apropos of nothing - bring this argument up in a discussion about Marcion's gospel?

Matt 2 is about beginnings, via Egypt, and then a supposed 'return' to Nazareth.

Nazareth is a word based on the word netzer (or it's variants): Nazaret is netzer/etc plus the feminine ending (designated by a Tav)

Nazeroth is the feminine-plural. Nazareth is written with a nun and a vav.

Nazir is a variant of net.ser, etc., and Nazarite, an OT term that generally which means (i) under a vow; (ii) consecrated; (iii) vow of 'separation'; or (iv) crowned, is based on nazir.


I'd say these NT narratives are midrash aggadah variants of OT narratives.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:44 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:56 am

I basically agree with the above. I think it puts challenges on our traditional assumptions about the development of the gospels as a canonical set insofar as the 'set' concept itself. The 'set' isn't an accident. The 'set' wasn't voted on. The 'set' -as I have argued many times here (to apparent no interest from anyone)- most closely resembles the Mishnah as a codified collection of 'opinions.'

.... strangely Jesus is recorded as saying many different -even explicitly contradictory- things through four different witnesses.

The Mishnah-like characteristic of the canonical 'set' of four IMHO allows us to safely date the 'set' to the end of the second century even the turn of the third (I don't have a problem with the idea that Irenaeus's Adv Haer is itself a reworked collection of things from the writings of Irenaeus, where even the canonical set of four ascribed to Irenaeusx1 was injected into Adv Haer by someone like Hippolytus. Hippolytus, then, is the latest possible date for the canonical 'set', with Irenaeus being the earliest date for the set (thus roughly equivalent to the dates of the final codification of the Mishnah).

What is so odd about Matthew in particular and moreover Luke as a 'second birth narrative' is that I think it speaks to 'collusion' (to use a term taking over the news lately) or, better yet, a deliberate falsification of what is supposed to be primary evidence for the Jesus story. Either Irenaeus or Hippolytus said something like 'here are the elementary (hence the number 'four') sources for all existing gospels. The four gospels are supposed to be the building blocks for the 'harmonies' (which interestingly only become 'harmonies' because of the positing of four 'elemental' gospels like this.

But the four gospels are clearly composite. Matthew having four different 'origins' for Jesus isn't accidental either. It's part of a deliberate plan to muddy the waters - EXACTLY like the Mishnah ...

The point then is that R Akiba, R Meir, and all the other sources which make up the Imperial collaborator Judah 'the Prince's' 'Mishnah' had likely millions of interpretations or applications of the Pentateuch between them. The Mishnah represents a small 'gleaning' of acceptable opinions before its codification.

The gospels before the canonical 'set' similarly had hundreds of variant narratives to what appears in the gospel and the Pauline writings. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John aren't 'innocent' collections. They are Imperially sanctioned - either explicitly or implicitly - collections of tolerated narratives or halakhah. Where did Judah get his authority to prune the massive subset of accepted opinions before the Mishnah? The Emperor. There can be no doubt about that. Judaism was castrated by the Imperial authorities.

Where did Irenaeus or Hippolytus get the authority to establish a wholly falsified canonx2 of four 'faux' first century gospels? Do the math.
.

There are various later embellishments and legends about Hipoolytus, too. But, Hipoolytus is credited with championing the Logos doctrine of the Greek apologists (eg. Justin Martyr) which distinguished the Father from the Logos ("Word").

As you have alluded to before, we are probably dealing with many layers of changing doctrine.

x1,2 Was it a falsified canon? Or was it an intermediate canon?

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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:25 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:56 am

... [re] our traditional assumptions about the development of the gospels as a canonical set insofar as the 'set' concept itself. The 'set' isn't an accident. The 'set' wasn't voted on. The 'set' -as I have argued many times here (to apparent no interest from anyone)- most closely resembles the Mishnah as a codified collection of 'opinions.'
Your point has my attention now that I know both the Mishnah is the result of 1st to 3rd century literary efforts and the nature of those literary efforts.

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Re: Matt 2:23 and Tertullian’s 'Adv. Marc.' IV.viii

Post by John T » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:23 pm

If you allow the prophet to be Jeremiah and accept that Qumran DSS had at least two different versions of Jeremiah then you can postulate that the prophecy of a Nazarene/nazirite messiah would be found somewhere in one of the missing chapters, my guess is chapter 35.

Sincerely,

John T
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