James 1.1 and 2.1.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:44 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:55 pm
to Ben,
... Nobody thinks that Paul is personally confessing to being a pious liar in Romans 3.7 ...
From a Christian perspective, sure. That would be sacrilege, horrific, and opening a whole can of worms.

But some nowadays see Paul would be consider a liar by Jews: As example, from a certain Bill Cummings:
https://www.macon.com/opinion/opn-colum ... 58704.html
"What do I think James did? Well, James was a faithful Jew just like his brother, Jesus. Paul, on the other hand, was a transformed Jew, transformed into following an image of the “Christos;” an image created by a vision with a broken connection to the Judaism of Jesus (2:2). James obviously didn’t share the Pauline vision; instead, he remembered the actual words and actions of his Jewish brother, and when Paul said, “We are justified by faith in the Christos, not by the works of the Torah” (Gal.2:16), I think James, a lover of the Torah, might have screamed, “Liar! Liar!”
We know Paul was called a liar many times, and not just by James. Paul was forced to defend himself time after time in his epistles. He starts a paragraph in Romans by saying, “I speak the truth; I am not lying” (Rom. 9:1). In his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, he outlines all the problems he’s had and then adds, “I am not lying” (2 Cor. 11:31). This same theme is repeated in 1 Tim. 2:7 where he says he was “appointed” as an apostle, and then: “I am telling the truth; I am not lying.”"
However, Bill says Paul did not think he was lying, but believed in his (alleged) visions!!! Good excuse.
Now you are confusing three different things!
  1. Did Paul unknowingly tell untruths? (In this case, Paul is wrong, but not a liar.)
  2. Did Paul knowingly tell untruths? (In this case, Paul is both wrong and a liar.)
  3. Did Paul admit to telling untruths? (In this case, Paul is both wrong and a liar, except about this point.)
To repeat myself, I am interested only in the third question. I am happy to stipulate that one of the first two is correct, at least for the sake of argument. It is the third that is wrong.
There are others thinking the same as I do about Ro 3:7:
See https://jdstone.org/cr/files/pauladmits ... fraud.html
"Paul, in his zealot exaltation, admits and justifies, on Jesuitical principles, the preaching of falsehood, and feels really aggrieved that honest men should take exceptions to such mendacious propaganda:
"For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" (Rom. 3.7)
In a spirit of good-humored naiveté he winks at the flock of Corinthians whom he has hooked into the fold, and admits that he had tricked them:
"Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so: ... nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile." (2 Cor. 12.15-16)
As a "man that striveth for the mastery" (1 Cor. 9.25), Paul expounds to the church leaders the modus operandi of the successful propagandist:
"I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, that I might gain them that are without law. ... I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake" (1 Cor. 9.19-23)."
Okay, so my "nobody" goes too far. This person is wrong, too, just like you are. (I was referring mainly to scholars and to informed students of the text, and I do not know who this person is.)

I am not even sure why you think your argument is attractive, let alone strong. Do you really think that Paul, out of the blue, confessed to piously lying here, after having vehemently denied lying several times before? Do you really not see the rhetorical devices in effect in this chapter of Romans?
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Bernard Muller
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Bernard Muller » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:56 pm

to Ben,
Did Paul admit to telling untruths? (In this case, Paul is both wrong and a liar, except about this point.)
Because of the "if" in front of the verse, Paul was very careful and did not admit affirmatively he had been lying. But, if Paul says:
"For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?" (Ro 3:7 KJV), and knowing that Paul was prone to be accused of just that, and therefore judged as a sinner, that looks to me a veiled admission by Paul that he had been lying. But that's not affirmative because of the "if", which attenuate the whole thing. Paul cleverly did not commit himself he is a liar on a particular area.
For Paul, adding to the truth of God by all means was not a sin.
And I do not buy Paul was answering an imaginary dialogue partner. He was answering real persons accusing him to be a liar. And I think your gist of the commentaries on Romans 3:7 is based on three apologist Christians who give convoluted (and different) explanations on the verse.

Cordially, Bernard
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:04 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:56 pm
to Ben,
Did Paul admit to telling untruths? (In this case, Paul is both wrong and a liar, except about this point.)
Because of the "if" in front of the verse, Paul was very careful and did not admit affirmatively he had been lying. But, if Paul says:
"For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?" (Ro 3:7 KJV), and knowing that Paul was prone to be accused of just that, and therefore judged as a sinner, that looks to me a veiled admission by Paul that he had been lying. But that's not affirmative because of the "if", which attenuate the whole thing. Paul cleverly did not commit himself he is a liar on a particular area.
For Paul, adding to the truth of God by all means was not a sin.
And I do not buy Paul was answering an imaginary dialogue partner. He was answering real persons accusing him to be a liar. And I think your gist of the commentaries on Romans 3:7 is based on three apologist Christians who give convoluted (and different) explanations on the verse.
Suit yourself, Bernard. No need to do any more study on that verse. You obviously have it all well in hand. Case solved.
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John2
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:21 am

robert j said he was done discussing the issue with me but I wanted to follow up on something he wrote about faith and good works:
But even with justification by faith, good works were required ---

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

It was not the Mosaic rituals that the author of James promoted, but rather the author of James railed against these very same kind of activities that Paul does here. For both authors, both faith and good works are required.


First, it seems to me that James is talking about Torah observance given what he says in 2:10-12:
Whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.
I take the "he" here to mean God and not Moses (since these are citations from the Ten Commandments), so I take the following reference to "the law that gives freedom" to mean the Torah.

As for Paul's "deeds of the flesh," do you know the expression "the pot calling the kettle black"? Isn't it possble for Paul to rail against "strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, dissentions, factions and envying" (in keeping with James) while (from James' perspective) being guilty of these things himself?

Compare Paul's dissention, anger and jealousy in Galatians and 2 Cor. 11 with what James says in 3:13-17 in his chapter on how to be a proper teacher (a topic that in and of itself seems applicable to Paul):
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good conduct, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor in your hearts bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, do not boast in it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.
Given his MO in 1 Cor. 11:20-22, would you describe Paul as "sincere"? And given what he says about Jewish Christian leaders in 2 Cor. 11 and Gal. 2, would you describe Paul as "peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit and impartial"?
To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), to win those under the law. To those without the law I became like one without the law (though I am not outside the law of God but am under the law of Christ), to win those without the law ... I have become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some.
I consider myself in no way inferior to those “super-apostles.” Although I am not a polished speaker, I am certainly not lacking in knowledge. We have made this clear to you in every way possible ... But I will keep on doing what I am doing, in order to undercut those who want an opportunity to be regarded as our equals in the things of which they boast. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their works ...

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am speaking like I am out of my mind, but I am so much more.
Gal. 2:11-14:
When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, because he stood to be condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself, for fear of those in the circumcision group. The other Jews joined in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray ... I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the gospel ...
And where do you suppose Paul got his "knowledge" from if not from "above"? That is in fact the only place Paul claims to have gotten his wisdom.

Gal. 1:11-12:
For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
So while I don't think Paul was the only teacher James could be referring to who claimed to have received wisdom that "comes down from above," given what he says about the "foolish man" in chapter 2 and what Paul says in the citations above, his reproval of such teachers at least seems applicable to Paul.

And sure, there are important instances where Paul and Jewish Christians were in line, such as what he says in Gal. 5:19-21 and 1 Cor. 15:3-11 and his belief in Jesus as Christ. But he does not appear to be in line with them regarding Torah observance. Otherwise, what he is arguing with them about? Why else did some post-70 CE Jewish Christians reject him? Why else does James say in Acts 21:22 that some pre-70 CE Jewish Christians were "under the impression that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe our customs"?
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Re: James 1.1 and 2.1.

Post by John2 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:37 pm

And I think it's worth pointing out here something I've noted before elsewhere, that the only other instance of the use of Paul's expression "works of the law" in ancient writings is in the Dead Sea Scrolls, where it means exactly what I'm suggesting it means in Paul's case, i.e., Torah observance and not just "good works."

As VanderKam and Flint note:
The phrase works of the law apparently occurs nowhere else in ancient writings other than once in MMT (C 26-27) and eight times in Paul's letters (in the Greek form erga nomou: Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16 [3 times], 3:2, 5, 10).

https://books.google.com/books?id=SBMXn ... MT&f=false
And Dunn writes:
That parallel [between MMT and Galatians] is indicated not only by the phrase 'works of the law', but by two other points of contact between MMT and Galatians ... The writers of MMT remind the addressees that 'we have separated ourselves from the multitude of the people [and from all their impurity]' ... The letter itself is obviously intended at least in some measure to provide an explanation of why they had thus 'separated' themselves. The verb used is precisely equivalent to the verb used by Paul to describe the action of Peter, followed by the other Jewish believers, who 'separated himself' ... from the Gentile believers in Antioch, having previously eaten with them (Gal. 2:12-13). The point is that the attitude behind both 'separations' is the same ... in each case the primary concern on the part of the 'separatists' was their own purity: they 'separated' because they feared the defilement which would be contracted by associating with those who did not maintain the same degree of purity. In short, the motivation and theological rationale were the same in MMT and Antioch: that it was necessary for Torah-true, covenant-loyal Jews to separate themselves from impurity, whether the impurity of apostate Jews or the impurity of Gentiles. That is what Paul objected to.

The parallel extends to the idea of righteousness as dependent on observing such regulations: 'This will be "reckoned to you for righteousness" in doing what is upright and good before him' ... with the same echo of Gen. 15.6 which was central to Paul's reasoning on the subject (Gal. 3.6; Rom. 4.3-12). Clearly the letter writer(s) believed that those who followed Qumran's halakhoth would be 'reckoned righteous'; that is, they would be 'reckoned righteous by reference to their ma'ase hatorah', or, in the term used by Paul, they would be 'justified ex ergon nomou'. In both cases, that is to say, what was seen to be at stake by the separatists was their own righteousness/justification; their own righteousness/justification would somehow be imperiled by association with those who did not so understand and practice the Torah, that is, by the impurity of these others. And, once again, it is precisely that attitude and praxis to which Paul objects ...

What has proved so interesting about 4QMMT at this point is that it has used the very same phrase, 'the works of the law', in the very same way as does Paul in characterizing the attitude of Peter, and with the very same implication that such 'works of the law' were deemed by the observant to be necessary bulwarks to sustain and preserve their self-definition, their identity.

https://books.google.com/books?id=ZJDKs ... on&f=false
And that Paul and the DSS use this expression is another element that makes me think Paul could be the Liar in the latter.
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

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