The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Bernard Muller
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:44 pm

Wouldn't Mark have needed to have read Antiquities to write about John the Baptist?
Not if Mark knew about John the Baptist from oral tradition (requiring no more than one or two intermediaries) from John's later followers.
According to Acts, there were followers of John the Baptist's baptism in Ephesus in the 50's (19:3-4).
GJohn, likely completed around 100 CE in Asia Minor, has very severe passages against the importance of John, very likely because here he had followers (who thought he was Christ) and the fierce competition between them and Jesus' Christians. (1:15-28, 3:22-36)
Even "Mark", "Matthew" and "Luke" demeaned John the baptist in their gospel "not worthy to untie or carry Jesus' sandals".

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jax
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Jax » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:52 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:44 pm
Wouldn't Mark have needed to have read Antiquities to write about John the Baptist?
Not if Mark knew about John the Baptist from oral tradition (requiring no more than one or two intermediaries) from John's later followers.
According to Acts, there were followers of John the Baptist's baptism in Ephesus in the 50's (19:3-4).
GJohn, likely completed around 100 CE in Asia Minor, has very severe passages against the importance of John, very likely because here he had followers (who thought he was Christ) and the fierce competition between them and Jesus' Christians. (1:15-28, 3:22-36)
Even "Mark", "Matthew" and "Luke" demeaned John the baptist in their gospels "not worthy to untie or carry Jesus' sandals".

Cordially, Bernard
I'm sorry but Acts is fiction. Pure and simple.

As are the Gospels.

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Blood
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Blood » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:01 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:25 pm
Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:06 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:The only positive argument I offer in this section for a primitive Judaic church is the epistles of Paul, and I am still very much in the middle of evaluating those epistles; who knows what I may eventually conclude?
"The epistles of Paul" ... which are also in Greek, written by a person somewhat skilled in Greek argument and rhetoric. A person who, unlike Philo or Josephus, makes no reference to the Hebrew words or possible meanings of the Hebrew text, and only seems aware of the γραφῶν in Greek.

Not what one would expect from a Hebrew sectarian with roots in Jerusalem, even to a Greek recipient. If anything, one would expect him to be even more like Philo, schooling his ignorant, foreign audience on what the Hebrew text really means.
Philo?

Adam Kamesar, The Cambridge Companion to Philo, page 235: Many of Philo’s biblical interpretations were completely dependent on the Septuagint version, which he invariably cites as his starting point. H. A. Wolfson did indeed insist that, in writing for Greek readers, Philo naturally quoted the translation familiar to them, ‘even though his knowledge of Hebrew was such that he could himself without too much effort provide his own translation.’ While admittedly there is no positive evidence of his knowledge of Hebrew, the burden of proof, according to Wolfson, is upon those who would deny him such knowledge. Yet, although the evidence for Philo’s ignorance of Hebrew is only cumulative, it is all but irresistible. A few examples will illustrate Philo’s utter dependence on the Greek version of the Bible. Y. Amir has noted that Philo interprets the biblical description of the earth on the first day of creation as being tohu va-vohu (Gen 1:2), rendered in the Septuagint ‘invisible and unformed’ (aoratos kai akataskeuastos), as referring to the ‘Idea’ of the earth, a part of the Platonic intelligible world. This Hebrew expression, however, cannot designate such a higher level of reality. Similarly, D. Gooding has pointed out that in various places, Philo expounds a passage by playing on the etymology of a word in the Septuagint regardless of whether the Hebrew word that it represents has a similar etymology (Deus 103). Moreover, where a Greek word had more than one meaning, Philo will sometimes select one of those meanings, regardless of whether the underlying Hebrew word can have the meaning he insists on (Deus 168–71). In any case, one of the strongest arguments once relied on in order to demonstrate Philo’s knowledge of Hebrew, namely, the many etymologies of Hebrew names adduced by him, has been effectively removed by the discovery of papyrological evidence that makes it evident that Philo, as some had already conjectured earlier, did make use of Greek onomastica that provided him with the information he needed for this purpose.

The critics may be wrong; maybe Philo knew Hebrew. But he apparently never relies upon the Hebrew text for his quotations.
I meant more like Philo in his exegesis, i.e. explaining what Biblical words "really" meant ... which, in a hypothetical Paul-in-Jerusalem context, would mean explaining to his Gentile-Greek recipients what Hebrew words meant when translated into their tongue. But nothing like this happens in Paul. He seems to assume that the recipients have the same base texts he has, and all that needs to be explained are concepts, not the nuances of Hebrew-to-Greek translation.
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

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Blood
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Blood » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:03 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:31 pm
Your point would make sense only if Paul were the first Christian. Ex hypothesi, and in accordance with several statements from the epistles, he was not. Paul using (mainly) the LXX for his gentile converts no more disproves a Judean/Semitic origin for Christianity than Philo using the LXX for his fellow Alexandrian Jews disproves a Judean/Semitic origin for Judaism.
The point being made was which city was associated with Christian origins, and why, not what ethnicity or religious group.
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:12 pm

Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:03 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:31 pm
Your point would make sense only if Paul were the first Christian. Ex hypothesi, and in accordance with several statements from the epistles, he was not. Paul using (mainly) the LXX for his gentile converts no more disproves a Judean/Semitic origin for Christianity than Philo using the LXX for his fellow Alexandrian Jews disproves a Judean/Semitic origin for Judaism.
The point being made was which city was associated with Christian origins, and why, not what ethnicity or religious group.
What does Paul's use of the LXX have to do with which city Christianity started in?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:13 pm

Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:01 pm
I meant more like Philo in his exegesis, i.e. explaining what Biblical words "really" meant ... which, in a hypothetical Paul-in-Jerusalem context....
I have not hypothesized that Paul started in Jerusalem. The epistles suggest that he visited once or twice; they do not suggest that he came from there in any sense.
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Jax
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Jax » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:10 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:13 pm
Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:01 pm
I meant more like Philo in his exegesis, i.e. explaining what Biblical words "really" meant ... which, in a hypothetical Paul-in-Jerusalem context....
I have not hypothesized that Paul started in Jerusalem. The epistles suggest that he visited once or twice; they do not suggest that he came from there in any sense.
It occurs to me that the only place that we might pin on him as a hometown from his letters is Damascus.

Perhaps the Damascus Document is a literal text and this is our source.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:23 pm

Jax wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:10 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:13 pm
Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:01 pm
I meant more like Philo in his exegesis, i.e. explaining what Biblical words "really" meant ... which, in a hypothetical Paul-in-Jerusalem context....
I have not hypothesized that Paul started in Jerusalem. The epistles suggest that he visited once or twice; they do not suggest that he came from there in any sense.
It occurs to me that the only place that we might pin on him as a hometown from his letters is Damascus.

Perhaps the Damascus Document is a literal text and this is our source.
That is a good guess. However, it seems likely that Galatians 1.18-24 was absent from the Marcionite version of the epistle; if so, then it may be an interpolation. There are versions of the text which lack πάλιν ("again") in 2.1, which would also seem to imply that the first visit to Jerusalem in 1.18-24 was at one time absent from the text, and the visit in 2.1-10 was the first, not the second.

If Galatians 1.18-24 is not original to Paul, then Damascus is still possible because of 2 Corinthians 11.32 (if that passage is not an interpolation, too!), but another good guess would be Antioch (Galatians 2.11).
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Jax
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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by Jax » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:47 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:23 pm
Jax wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:10 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:13 pm
Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:01 pm
I meant more like Philo in his exegesis, i.e. explaining what Biblical words "really" meant ... which, in a hypothetical Paul-in-Jerusalem context....
I have not hypothesized that Paul started in Jerusalem. The epistles suggest that he visited once or twice; they do not suggest that he came from there in any sense.
It occurs to me that the only place that we might pin on him as a hometown from his letters is Damascus.

Perhaps the Damascus Document is a literal text and this is our source.
That is a good guess. However, it seems likely that Galatians 1.18-24 was absent from the Marcionite version of the epistle; if so, then it may be an interpolation. There are versions of the text which lack πάλιν ("again") in 2.1, which would also seem to imply that the first visit to Jerusalem in 1.18-24 was at one time absent from the text, and the visit in 2.1-10 was the first, not the second.

If Galatians 1.18-24 is not original to Paul, then Damascus is still possible because of 2 Corinthians 11.32 (if that passage is not an interpolation, too!), but another good guess would be Antioch (Galatians 2.11).
Ah! Very nice. :thumbup: I will look this information over and get back to you.

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Re: The syncretistic origins of Christianity.

Post by archibald » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:43 am

Blood wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:03 pm
The point being made was which city was associated with Christian origins, and why, not what ethnicity or religious group.
Can you make a better case for somewhere else, other than in Judea?

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