Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

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robert j
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Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by robert j » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:15 am

ETA: The question posed directly below may seem narrow or even a bit arcane. But this post widens into an analysis of the salient points of chapter 3 of Galatians, and sets-the-stage --- in my follow-up posts --- for an investigation of the origin of the earliest Christian thought.

robert j wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:18 am
The question then is this --- In Galatians, are the Abrahamic arguments inconsistent with the Christ-related arguments?
DCHindley wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:55 pm
I really did at first want to get the two perspectives to "mesh," but in the end I couldn't get them to work together.
I’ve moved this to a new thread. Why? Because I can. And because that other thread viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4521 was too warm and fuzzy ---
DCHindley wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:45 pm
But enough with this ... away with the atheists!
I do agree with David that the Christ-related arguments --- those associated with the Abrahamic arguments in Galatians --- do seem like they were tacked-on. Yes, I think in a way they were.

However, I think the Christ-related arguments in Galatians are compatible with the Abrahamic arguments and are necessary and required to adequately make the argument in Galatians even work. Why? Because the Abrahamic arguments alone are woefully inadequate. One might even say the Abrahamic arguments alone fail under their own weight.

Regardless of rhetorical gymnastics to make the Abrahamic requirement for circumcision go away with arguments about faith, about the promise, about slaves and sons, and flesh and spirit, those alone are all too easily refuted by God’s own words ---

And God said to Abraham, Thou also shalt fully keep my covenant, thou and thy seed after thee for their generations. And this [is] the covenant which thou shalt fully keep between me and you, and between thy seed after thee for their generations; every male of you shall be circumcised. And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between me and you. (Genesis 17:9-11, LXX)

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whatsoever woman shall have conceived and born a male child ... on the eighth day she shall circumcise the flesh of his foreskin. (Leviticus 12:1-3, LXX)

And not just for newborns ---

And about this time the Lord said to Joshua ... circumcise the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made sharp knives of stone, and circumcised the children of Israel ... And [this is] the way in which Joshua purified the children of Israel; as many as were born in the way, and as many as were uncircumcised of them that came out of Egypt, all these Joshua circumcised ... most of the fighting men that came out of the land of Egypt, were uncircumcised, who disobeyed the commands of God; concerning whom also he determined that they should not see the land, which the Lord swore to give to their fathers, [even] a land flowing with milk and honey. (Joshua 5:2-6. LXX)

Those directives directly from the deity are unequivocal --- no ifs or ands or buts --- no exception for “faith”. If one wanted to share in the Abrahamic covenant with God, if one wanted to be included among God’s chosen people, with the milk and honey --- it’s off with their little heads!

I think Paul would have recognized the inadequacy of an Abrahamic-only argument. After all, the concept of Gentiles becoming full-participants with the Israel of God was foundational to his system. And without that concept his system would fall apart, along with his work and income from his only audience and patrons --- the Gentiles.

A discussion about circumcision would naturally be formulated around the covenant between Abraham and God. But Paul needed a much stronger argument than could be teased from those concepts alone --- he needed some divine mitigation. I think Paul formulated such an argument well before he embarked on his entrepreneurial missions into Gentile territory. He needed a good argument to convince Gentiles that despite centuries of tradition, they could actually be full participants with the Israel of God without the need for circumcision or following the Mosaic laws.

I suspect Paul presented some version of his Abraham-Christ-circumcision argument, like we see in the letter Galatians, during his evangelizing visit with each his congregations. Circumcision never became a significant issue among his other congregations, but we are fortunate for the situation among the Galatians to allow us a peek as Paul elaborated on his solution.

Paul used his Christ figure to counter the clear position on circumcision found in the Jewish scriptures. Paul set the stage, emphasizing the ideas of faith and the promise. Paul introduced the concept of his assemblies of Christ as God’s plan all along.

Notice Paul’s clever use of the term προευηγγελίσατο (foretold the gospel) --- to Abraham no less --- this term nicely describes a scriptural foretelling of his gospel, the announcement of good news (τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν), his version of the story.

And the Scripture, having foreseen that God justifies the Gentiles by faith, foretold the gospel (προευηγγελίσατο) to Abraham: "All the nations will be blessed in you." (Galatians 3:8)

Paul played word games to establish Christ as the “seed of Abraham”, thereby placing his Jesus Christ figure 'in the driver’s seat'.

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say, 'and to seeds,' meaning many, but 'and to your seed,' meaning One, who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

In the letter, Paul had already established his coup de grace with more creative readings of the Jewish scriptures. Apparently intending to include both the Abrahamic covenant and the Mosaic laws, Paul’s divine agent accomplished the necessary act of exemption ---

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us; for it has been written: "Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree". (Galatians 3:13).

Paul constructed his argument from two verses in Deuteronomy ---

Accursed is every man whoever shall not adhere to all the words of this law … (Deuteronomy 27:26)

… for being cursed by God is every one hanging upon a tree … (Deuteronomy 21:23)

Paul explained ---
Why then the Law? It was added on account of transgressions, until the seed [i.e. Christ] to whom the promise has been made would come … (Galatians 3:19)

In other letters the knowledge about Paul’s Christ was characterized as a mystery kept secret in times of the ages, and only recently revealed. (1 Corinthians 2:7 and Romans 16:25-26). Only recently had the “promise” come, that is, had been made known.

Whether or not some among the Galatians found Paul’s arguments convincing we’ll likely never know. But his argument has held sway for millions, over millennia, down to this day for those who believe that anyone with faith in a Jesus Christ can be a full participant among God's chosen people.

robert j

"Abe says where do you want this killin' done?
God says out on highway 61"

Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan, 1965

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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by DCHindley » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:19 pm


In my POV, Paul had a good deal of knowledge of books of the Law and Prophets, maybe even having copies of some of them for personal reading, or access to them for personal or group readings. So, apparently, did my proposed editor. I have made that clear in the citations he chose to quote or allude to, but individual gentiles may be drawn to Judean scriptures for different reasons.

I'll have to look closer at what you wrote above.


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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Christ in the driver’s seat

Post by robert j » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:47 am

Could Paul’s problem --- and his rhetorical maneuvers and creative use of the Jewish scriptures to solve that problem --- be the very origin of the Christian concept of a crucified mediator?

Paul needed a darn good argument for why now --- in the face of centuries of tradition and clear requirements in the Jewish scriptures --- could Gentiles fully participate with the great and ancient God of the Jews without circumcision or following the Jewish rituals?

That was the foremost problem that Paul had to solve before he could even think about setting-off into Gentile territory in search of Gentile converts and patrons. In the opening post, I outlined in greater detail the solution to that problem that Paul derived from creative readings of the Jewish scriptures and argued for in Galatians chapter 3.

Paul’s fertile imagination here seems to be the origin of the concept of a redemptive act in a Jewish tradition to set aside the Jewish law ---

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us; for it has been written: "Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree (ξύλου)". (Galatians 3:13).

Paul used the term ξύλου here because this is the term used in the LXX in Paul’s source material ----

… for being cursed by God is every one hanging upon a tree (ξύλου) … (Deuteronomy 21:23. LXX)

In the LXX in this passage, the Greek ξύλου was used to translate the Hebrew הָעֵ֗ץ. Despite the preference in most bible translations, that term in the Hebrew, as well as the Greek ξύλου, can be used for a live tree, but also for almost anything made from wood like a cut timber, or a pole or stake for impaling a body.

The use of ξύλου in Galatians 3:13 makes perfect sense as Paul derived it from his source material. Galatians 3:13 is the only place Paul used the term ξύλου for the mode of humiliation for his Christ --- elsewhere he always used σταυρός (stake).

The Greek nouns ξύλου and σταυρός can be used synonymously in certain applications --- including as a wooden stake for impaling or suspending a victim. However, ξύλου is a general term for just about anything consisting of wood, and σταυρός is a more specific term for a wooden stake or pale. Verb forms of σταυρός like Paul used such as ἐσταύρωται (has been staked/suspended), were often used in texts in antiquity for suspending, affixing, or impaling a corpse or live person on a wooden stake. And "hanging on a tree/wood" (κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου) like Paul used in Galatians (3:13) as derived from his source material in Deuteronomy (21:23, LXX), is also a phrase found in ancient texts in Greek, sometimes associated with forms of "σταυρ".

LSJ --- σταυρός ---
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... stauro%2Fs

A. upright pale or stake
II. cross, as the instrument of crucifixion,
b. pale for impaling a corpse

LSJ --- ξύλου ---
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... Dcu%2Flon1

A. wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc, ship-timber, logs cut square,
II. in sg., piece of wood, log, beam, post … hence anything made of wood,
3. an instrument of punishment,
d. gallows, in NT, of the cross,
e. stake on which criminals were impaled,
III. of live wood, tree,

I think Paul intended his use of these terms, in his context, in the more general sense of the Greek texts (a stake for suspending or impaling a victim) rather than in the technical sense in which they were later understood and used in most other NT texts (a Roman-style cross or a Roman execution).

If one sees the evolution of the texts with the author of GMark --- with lots of help from the LXX --- imagining how a story of Paul’s Jesus Christ might have played-out if set in the early 1st C. Roman-controlled Judea. Then --- before Mark’s tale was even conceived --- there is no reason to assume that Paul’s “stake” was anything other than the Jewish tradition of humiliation by hanging a corpse on a wooden stake or tree as found in his source material in Deuteronomy.

robert j
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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:40 am

Genesis » Lech Lecha
15:4 Suddenly God's word came to him: 'That one will not be your heir! One born from your own body will inherit what is yours.'
15:5 He then took [Abram] outside and said, 'Look at the sky and count the stars. See if you can count them.' [God] then said to him, 'That is how [numerous] your descendants will be.'

15:6 [Abram] believed in God, and He counted it as righteousness.

http://bible.ort.org/books/torahd5.asp? ... &portion=3

"covenant and birth
For a second time Abram hears the divine promise that he will be father of a great nations.The promise is made to him in a special and more solemn form-- with darkness, smoking oven and flaming torch. A b'rit or covenant is made.
Thereafter, God's promise seems to move forward its first stage of fulfilment: Abram will have an offspring. But again there is a delay; the patriarch fathers a son , but not with Sarai . Chapter 16 heightens the dramatic tension by introducing Hagar and Ishmael as foil to the main personages."
The Torah
A modern commentary
Revised edition
General editor, W. Gunther Plaut
Union for Reform Judaism
New York
ISBN 9780807408834

NB: Ishmael was the son of the promise, and Jesus was born of the seed of Abram. Isaac was the son the Akedah.

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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:20 pm

Could Paul’s problem --- and his rhetorical maneuvers and creative use of the Jewish scriptures to solve that problem --- be the very origin of the Christian concept of a crucified mediator?

The problem
Paul explains that Adam and Eve were truly made in the image of God in the perfect world of the Garden of Eden, but they managed to lose all that wealth as if in a bad investment.

They and their descendants became beggars in an unforgiving world .The solution for Paul is to repair the broken world and make humanity as good as new , as they were when first created by God.

Modern Judaism has found almost the same solution of the same problem that Paul discovered over a thousand years before Luria .


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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:44 am

The solution of Paul
Re: But Now That Faith Has Come
Re: But Now That Faith Has Come
Post by iskander » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:26 pm
yalla wrote: ↑
Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:04 pm
Whatever you say Iskander.

But Joe is right too.

See what I just did?
That is what Paul is bragging about doing.
Saying different things to different people which necessarily involves contradiction [and dishonesty].

He is saying to the weak that God is his shield and ...
Paul offers the resurrection of the dead and life in the Garden of Eden . This he says to everyone. He also says that everyone of this enormous multitude is a winner because Jesus had already opened the door of heaven wide open for all. How people are is not important to Paul. It should not be important at all.

John 14 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?*

He is not saying different things to people, he saying that there are many different paths to the same destination: the house of the father of Jesus who is the shield of us all, the shield of Abram.

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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:12 am

Whence the solution of Paul ?. Paul understood Jesus very well and it is from his sayings that he constructed the second Adam as the return to the holy land of the Garden of Eden.

For example :
Mark 1:42 ,As soon as Jesus had spoken, the man was cleansed, This verse is a beautiful and powerful statement empowering human liberty and signalling the defeat of Judaism.

The man begging for help belongs to any period of time and to anywhere on earth where slavery is enforced by cruel servants of the occult. His complaint is vague because he may be complaining of a physical condition attracting the wrath of god for some obscure reason e.g. a menstruating woman . But he could be the victim or some spiritual shortcoming as defined by the writers of endless rules.

The man wants liberation from his tormentors who insist on 613 rules or perhaps insist on extra ecclesiam nulla salus or whatever.Mark says the man immediately became cleansed when he realizes that it was in his power to break the chains.

Jesus said to the man , God is in your heart.


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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Fri Oct 05, 2018 11:17 am

The opposition :
Galatians 2:4, But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us— 5 we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you

Jewish study bible
27.26 Cursed be who will not uphold the terms of this Teaching and observe them-- and all the people shall say , Amen

The Stone edition of , the Chumash
27.26 Accursed is one who will not uphold the words of this Torah, to perform them. And the entire people shall say , Amen

Footnote 26 who will not uphold. The nation accepted a curse upon anyone who does not uphold all the Torah(Rashi)

Ramban explains this to mean that every Jew must accept the Torah's validity in full, and dare not claim that even one of its commandments is not relevant.

However , this curse is not imposed on any Jew who commits a sin, only on one who denies a part of the Torah is God given or relevant.

Ranban cites approvingly a view in the Jerusalem Talmud (Sotah 7.4) that this curse applies to anyone who can influence others to be loyal to the Torah , but does not care to do so, especially people in position of authority, who have the power to mold the behavior of others.

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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:56 am

By Pvasiliadis - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2093182
or whichever.

The death of one man

For Paul the death of Jesus is about Law and Death.

The execution was carried out by roman soldiers according to Roman Law and it is important only for the suffering inflicted on the victim.
It is the Law and the hanging from a cross ( pole , stake, tree, wood ,gibbet, gallows, ...) that which Paul is considering in his mind.

Devarim - Deuteronomy - Chapter 21
https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cd ... rashi=true
22 If a man commits a sin for which he is sentenced to death, and he is put to death, you shall [then] hang him on a pole
23 But you shall not leave his body on the pole overnight. Rather, you shall bury him on that [same] day, for a hanging [human corpse] is a blasphemy of God, and you shall not defile your land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you as an inheritance

The Jewish study bible explains in footnote 21:22-23
The treatment of the executed. Public exposure of the corpse of an executed criminal, which was not the norm, was a form of reproach directed against enemies of the state...
22: Impale him on a stake: The Hebrew phrase may also mean death caused by hanging from a tree or gallows, or suspending someone who has already been executed from a pole or gallows ( josh.10:26; Esth. 9:11-14) .

Yehoshua - Joshua - Chapter 10
26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five poles; and they were hanging upon the poles until the evening.

Mark 15:46
45 When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Then Josephj bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.


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Re: Out on Highway 61 --- Paul riding shotgun with Abraham and Christ

Post by iskander » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:30 pm

John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Galatians 3:25-29
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

For over two millennia, Jews have been practicing tevilah, immersion of the entire body in water for the purpose of removing ritual impurity (טומאה)...
The Traditional-Rabbinic Understanding
The traditional rabbinic approach views immersion as a practice mandated by the Torah itself. One early rabbinic source (Sifra, Emor 4:7 [ed. Weiss, 96d]) exegetically derives this interpretation from the adjacent phrases found in Lev. 22:6–7:..
On the Origins of Tevilah
(Ritual Immersion)
Dr. Yonatan Adler
https://thetorah.com/on-the-origins-of- ... immersion/

Tevilah: Immersion of Vessels

Koshering Appliances and Utensils

The Jewish table is likened to an altar, its holiness compared to that of the Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple). Before dishes and utensils can be used in the kosher kitchen, they must acquire an additional measure of holiness which is conferred through the ritual immersion in a pool of naturally gathered water, or mikvah. A mikvah is a specially constructed ritual pool connected to a source of pure rainwater. Vessels may also be immersed in certain natural bodies of water such as the ocean. The procedure is known as tevilah, or toveling (derived from the Hebrew tovel, to immerse).
https://www.chabad.org/library/article_ ... essels.htm

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