How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5836
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:53 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:36 pm
Yes it is interesting. Here is a summary of the scholarship on the subject - https://www.academia.edu/5362559/Jesus_ ... _Africanus
Good one. Thanks. Reading it now.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

John2
Posts: 2361
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by John2 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:56 am

Ben,

If you can send me a copy of that above that'd be great. I can't see it on my work computer or at the library.

Regarding what you said about Eusebius using Hegesippus despite having what I see as "heretical" views, my first thought was that is a great point and that's that, then. But my understanding of the "big picture" is that Eusebius is the first person (I am aware of) who actually names Hegesippus and that everyone after him (excepting perhaps Photius/Gobar re: "no eye has seen" and Epiphanius re: Roman bishops) uses Eusebius' citations. In other words, while maybe Irenaus used his Roman bishop list (if Hegesippus did make one), no one before Eusebius mentions Hegesippus' name.

And though Eusebius was opposed to Jewish Christians and has no issue with citing Hegesippus whenever it serves his purpose, in keeping with the former he does qualify what Hegesippus says about the family of Jesus (unlike Hegesippus, who never has a fancy "exaplanation" for it). For example, before citing Hegesippus on James he says in EH 2.1.2:
2. Then James, whom the ancients surnamed the Just on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem. This James was called the brother of the Lord because he was known as a son of Joseph, and Joseph was supposed to be the father of Christ, because the Virgin, being betrothed to him, “was found with child by the Holy Ghost before they came together,” Matthew 1:18 as the account of the holy Gospels shows.
So, in my view, here we have Eusebius interpreting Hegesippus (and, to be fair, you could say the same thing about me) in a way that was typical in the fourth and fifth centuries CE (i.e., anything but a natural brother of Jesus). Yet there is nothing like that in Hegesippus; he at least never similarly tries to "explain" the relationship between Jesus and his family. And without these kinds of "explanations," I think Eusebius (and Irenaeus) would find (what I see as being the "plain meaning" of) Hegesippus' view "heretical."

He does the same thing (in my view) with Papias and Origen, who were also later deemed to have "heretical' views. As he says of Papias in EH 3.39.12-13:
12. To these belong his statement that there will be a period of some thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth. I suppose he got these ideas through a misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not perceiving that the things said by them were spoken mystically in figures.

13. For he appears to have been of very limited understanding, as one can see from his discourses. But it was due to him that so many of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man; as for instance Irenæus and any one else that may have proclaimed similar views.
So Eusebius was not above citing people with views he doesn't necessarily agree with, as long as he thinks they serve his purpose and he can
"explain" their "wrong" stuff, like in EH 2.1.2 re: Jesus' family.

And what I don't get about the Roman bishop list is why Eusebius doesn't see fit to mention Hegesippus. Even if Hegesippus' list was not "complete," I would think Eusebius would at least mention him to lend support to the antiquity of the list, since he elsewhere says things like Hegesippus "lived immediately after the apostles [and] gives the most accurate account." But I'm still mulling everything over.
Tell me all that you know and I'll show you snow and rain.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9965
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:51 am

But remember that 'heresy' is always defined in two similar but distinct ways - (a) judging someone on what they say and (b) taking the opinion of someone who is an authority or a saint about who or what is heretical. You'd think that the two would be one and the same. But the reality is that orthodoxy changes over time and later Church Fathers would have had a hard time reconciling Justin, Irenaeus, Hegesippus and the like outside of (b) if they were solely to judge these writers based on (a)
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5836
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:28 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:56 am
Ben,

If you can send me a copy of that above that'd be great. I can't see it on my work computer or at the library.

Regarding what you said about Eusebius using Hegesippus despite having what I see as "heretical" views, my first thought was that is a great point and that's that, then. But my understanding of the "big picture" is that Eusebius is the first person (I am aware of) who actually names Hegesippus and that everyone after him (excepting perhaps Photius/Gobar re: "no eye has seen" and Epiphanius re: Roman bishops) uses Eusebius' citations. In other words, while maybe Irenaus used his Roman bishop list (if Hegesippus did make one), no one before Eusebius mentions Hegesippus' name.

And though Eusebius was opposed to Jewish Christians and has no issue with citing Hegesippus whenever it serves his purpose, in keeping with the former he does qualify what Hegesippus says about the family of Jesus (unlike Hegesippus, who never has a fancy "exaplanation" for it). For example, before citing Hegesippus on James he says in EH 2.1.2:
2. Then James, whom the ancients surnamed the Just on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem. This James was called the brother of the Lord because he was known as a son of Joseph, and Joseph was supposed to be the father of Christ, because the Virgin, being betrothed to him, “was found with child by the Holy Ghost before they came together,” Matthew 1:18 as the account of the holy Gospels shows.
So, in my view, here we have Eusebius interpreting Hegesippus (and, to be fair, you could say the same thing about me) in a way that was typical in the fourth and fifth centuries CE (i.e., anything but a natural brother of Jesus).
I completely agree that Eusebius interpreted Hegesippus. I think that all of the earlier fathers (Clement, Justin, Hegesippus, Papias, and so on) had to be interpreted, or in some cases excused for poor thinking in one area if they were useful enough in another, by the later fathers. Hegesippus is hardly alone in this.
And what I don't get about the Roman bishop list is why Eusebius doesn't see fit to mention Hegesippus.
Because the (more complete) list that Eusebius actually used came from Irenaeus, as Eusebius tells us explicitly. I am not sure why this is so hard to understand. Just because I know that Matthew and Mark both contain a pericope about the feeding of the four thousand does not mean that I credit Mark every single time I am actually quoting the Matthean version (or vice versa).
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9965
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:08 pm

An example from the common material behind Against the Jews and Against Marcion 3 might prove instructive for the origin of "Judas and the brothers of Jesus according to the flesh." Here is what is written in Against the Jews:
just as Christ was sold by Israel "according to the flesh," by His "brethren" --when He is betrayed by Judas. For Joseph is withal blest by his father after this form: "His glory (is that) of a bull; his horns, the horns of an unicorn; on them shall he toss nations alike unto the very extremity of the earth." (sicut et Christus ab Israele, carnaliter a fratribus venumdatus, a Iuda cum traditur. Nam et benedicitur a patre in haec verba Ioseph: Tauri decor eius, cornua unicornis cornua eius; in eis nationes ventilabit pariter ad summum usque terrae)
Here is what was preserved in Against Marcion 3:
Joseph also, himself to be a type of Christ—and not for this reason alone <that I delay not my course> that he suffered persecution from his brethren because of God's grace, as Christ suffered from the Jews, his brethren according to the flesh—when blessed by his father in these precise terms, His glory is that of a bullock, his horns are the horns of a unicorn with them will he winnow the nations together, even to the end of the earth (Ioseph et ipse Christum figuraturus1 (nec hoc solo, ne demorer cursum, quod persecutionem a fratribus passus est ob dei gratiam, sicut et Christus a Iudaeis carnaliter fratribus) cum benedicitur a patre etiam in haec verba, Tauri decor eius, cornua unicornis cornua eius, in eis nationes ventilabit pariter ad summum usque terrae
Here we see quite clearly that 'Judas' became 'Jews' and this pattern continues in many places in these two books demonstrating that the suggested transformation in Hegesippus is not without precedent.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Nasruddin
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Nasruddin » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:36 am

There is no problem with the list. There is no evidence that the men who succeeded to the leadership of the Jerusalem church were young men, nor that they held the position for life. Succession might have favoured the more elderly due to concepts of wisdom or that they knew Jesus and his disciples personally. Plus the early Christians seemed to think the final reckoning was close at hand, so a need for a leader who would live many years was not a priority. A number of old men from the same generation dying within a dozen years of each other is no surprise.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 9965
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:20 am

Ok. You've obviously not read the thread. The difficulty is with Symeon taking over c. 60 CE and the way the death is referenced by Epiphanius during Trajan while listing other heads of the Church in the interim.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Nasruddin
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Nasruddin » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:08 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:20 am
Ok. You've obviously not read the thread. The difficulty is with Symeon taking over c. 60 CE and the way the death is referenced by Epiphanius during Trajan while listing other heads of the Church in the interim.
I read the thread. My post says there is no problem with the amount of names squeezed into a short space of time.

Joseph D. L.
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:10 am

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Joseph D. L. » Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:51 am

Nasruddin wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:08 am
Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:20 am
Ok. You've obviously not read the thread. The difficulty is with Symeon taking over c. 60 CE and the way the death is referenced by Epiphanius during Trajan while listing other heads of the Church in the interim.
I read the thread. My post says there is no problem with the amount of names squeezed into a short space of time.
That is not the issue. The issue is how Symeon succeed James the Just, ca 60 ad, and suffered death under Trajan, 98-117 ad. What's more, if they were expecting the End within their lifetime, then there is little reason for a quick succession of bishops and leaders. And unless Symeon for whatever reason gave up his position and lived another 40+ years, then the listing doesn't make sense. Christian patriarchs seem to live exceptionally long lives.

Nasruddin
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: How Could Symeon be James the Just's Successor on the Episcopal Throne of Jerusalem if He was Crucified Under Trajan

Post by Nasruddin » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:08 pm

Since the OP was stimulated by taking the dates indicated in Epiphanius as reliable, perhaps the rest of Epiphanius' chronology could be looked at in reference to the bishop list.

Epiphanius agrees with Eusebius in placing Symeon’s death under Trajan. But he then lists another 6 bishops who seemingly existed under Trajan also. This is where the OP starts to question the list. Eusebius does not indicate any dates for these bishops, until he gives the last circumcised bishop as Judas in the time of Hadrian. Epiphanius agrees with Eusebius by giving Judah (Eusebius’ Judas) as the last circumcised bishop, but places him in the 11th year of Antonius (whoever he might be – presumably Antoninus Pius the successor to Hadrian), a full four bishops after Justus who Epiphanius does allocate to the time of Hadrian. But having told us that the last circumcised bishop was Judah in the 11th year of Antonius, he then lists 5 gentile bishops until Julian in the 10th year of Antoninus Pius. If Antonius is Antoninus Pius, Epiphanius is giving his chronology backwards since the gentile bishops succeeded the circumcised ones, but here we have 5 gentile bishops in the year previous. So who is Antonius? We later have bishop Gaius in the 8th year of Verus, then 3 more bishops until Maximus in the 16th year of Verus. Who is this Verus, since the Emporer Lucius Verus only reigned 8 years? Is it Aurelius?

It seems muddled, whichever way the actual list is interpreted (as successive or concurrent occupancy). Did Epiphanius add the dates himself? Have the dates been transcribed wrong? Is there really a hidden history here, or just faulty transmission in Epiphanius? The use of the names Hadrian/Antonius/Verus seem to show that the allocated emperors in Epiphanius have been transposed or misnamed (at least from the modern standard names). So could it just be that Epiphanius' reference to John as bishop in the time of Trajan was originally meant to refer to a different Emperor?

Post Reply