The Pastorals

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:22 am

Prompted by a recent thread started by robert j, I've been thinking about the Pastorals lately, which I'd never taken a close look at before. I actually like 1 and 2 Timothy, it turns out, while Titus strikes me as being the worst NT writing (on par with the apocryphal epistle of Barnabas). I couldn't believe my eyes.

But 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy seem interesting and are easily incorporated into my big picture view of (Jewish) Christianity being a Fourth Philosophic faction, and thus at least emerging in the same milieu as the DSS (the majority of which are dated to the Herodian era), if not being directly associated with some of them, in this case with the Damascus Document.

And while the resemblances to the Damascus Document were immediately "obvious" to me, I poked around Google books to see if anyone else notices them too, and sure enough it is Eisenman, who points out exactly what I was seeing in his The New Testament Code (which I never finished reading due to being too old to navigate his writing style when it came out).

And while I of course do not agree with (or understand) Eisenman in plenty of respects, in this case (and in his general reading of, if not his every interpretation of, the DSS), I tend to agree.

Take 2 Tim. 2:26, 3:8-9 and 16-17:
Then they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will.
Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth. They are depraved in mind and disqualified from the faith. But they will not advance much further. For just like Jannes and Jambres, their folly will be plain to everyone.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.
Damascus Document:
... these are the three nets of Satan with which Levi son of Jacob said that he catches Israel by setting them up as three kinds of righteousness. The first is riches, the second is fornication, and the third is profanation of the Temple. Whoever escapes the first is caught in the second, and whoever saves himself from the second is caught in the third.
For (already) in ancient times God visited their deeds and His anger was kindled against their works; for it is a people of no discernment, it is a nation void of counsel inasmuch as there is no discernment in them. For in ancient times, Moses and Aaron arose by the hand of the Prince of Lights and Satan in his cunning raised up Jannes and his brother when Israel was first delivered.
Hear now, all you who know righteousness, and consider the works of God ... Hear now, my sons, and I will uncover your eyes that you may see and understand the works of God, that you choose that which pleases Him and reject that which He hates, that you may walk perfectly in all His ways and not follow after thoughts of the guilty inclination and after eyes of lust.


And the context of the Damascus Document is the New Covenant (which is a renewed Old Covenant, like in Jewish Christianity), living in Damascus (like Jewish Christians did), the Way (which is what Acts says early Christianity was called), the coming of the Messiah, the Last Days, etc..

It also refers to Abraham (as do 2 Chron. 20:7 and Is. 41:8, of course, but bearing in mind the context) as being called a "friend of God" because of his Torah observance, like James does in 2:22-23:
Abraham did not walk in it, and he was accounted friend of God because he kept the commandments of God ...
James 2:22-23:
You see that his faith was working with his actions, and his faith was perfected by what he did, and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God.
So 1 and 2 Timothy fit right into this to me. And I can't help but think that since they purport to be Paul but (in my view) promote Torah observance, that perhaps they (like I suspect could also be the case with 2 Peter) were written by someone who observed or was influenced by Nazarene Jewish Christianity, since Nazarene Jewish Christians are said to have observed the Torah and were cool with Paul (like modern Messianic Jews).
Last edited by John2 on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:03 am, edited 3 times in total.
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:38 am

And look at the "three nets of Satan" (which is actually "Belial" and not Satan in Hebrew, but that's six on one hand, half a dozen on the other) in the translation above (which is Vermes'):
... these are the three nets of Satan with which Levi son of Jacob said that he catches Israel by setting them up as three kinds of righteousness. The first is riches, the second is fornication, and the third is profanation of the Temple. Whoever escapes the first is caught in the second, and whoever saves himself from the second is caught in the third.
All three of these "nets" have resonance with Jewish Christianity, like the castigation of "riches" in James 5:1-6:
Come now, you who are rich, weep and wail for the misery to come upon you. Your riches have rotted and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and consume your flesh like fire.

You have hoarded treasure in the last days. Look, the wages you withheld from the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.

You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous, who did not resist you.
And the prohibition against "fornication" in Acts 15:19-21 (and repeated in 21:25):
It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not cause trouble for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.
And the third "net," the concern with "profanation of the Temple," was also in force in Jewish Christianity, considering that all of the other prohibitions mentioned in Acts pertain to ritual purity (I.e., improperly slaughtered and eaten animals) and what it says in Acts 21:17-29:
Then they said to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the Law. But they are 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. What then should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come.

Therefore do what we advise you. There are four men with us who have taken a vow. Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth to these rumors about you, but that you also live in obedience to the Law.

As for the Gentile believers, we have written them our decision that they must abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality.”

So the next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he entered the temple to give notice of the date their purification would be complete and the offering would be made for each of them.

When the seven days were almost over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and against our Law and against this place. Furthermore, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
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perseusomega9
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:53 am

The pastoral are late (post marcion), and meant to bridge the differences between Pauline and non-Pauline christians

John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:57 am

perseusomega9 wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:53 am
The pastoral are late (post marcion), and meant to bridge the differences between Pauline and non-Pauline christians
Sure, and Nazarene Jewish Christians also existed long after 70 CE (if dating is an issue for you). And they would have also had to contend with emergent Gnosticism and bridging "the differences between Pauline and non-Pauline Christians," right?
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:08 pm

It's just seems you see Jewish christian in everything, which makes me think "no shit" the religion started in Judaism, but your findings are so broad as to be meaningless.

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Re: The Pastorals

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:55 pm

John2 wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:57 am
Sure, and Nazarene Jewish Christians also existed long after 70 CE ... And they would have also had to contend with emergent Gnosticism and bridging "the differences between Pauline and non-Pauline Christians," right?
I've seen several scholars say Christianity was Jewish (ie. it was a 'Jewish Christianity') until the 4th century.

But, somewhat separately, I'm not sure 'early Christianity' started out Jewish by branching directly from Judaism. I thinking Gnosticism, which many say was started in Jewish communities in Egypt (Alexandria or its surrounds?), may well have been a forerunner for 'early Christianity' and that early Gnostic-Christianity was later 'judaized'.

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Re: The Pastorals

Post by perseusomega9 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:10 am

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/euangelio ... d-2-peter/


John2, you might like that article on Jude and 2 Pete

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Re: The Pastorals

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 am

'Jewish Christianity' before the middle of the second century is a meaningless term - like oxygen breathing mammal. In what sense where 'Gentile Christians' non-Jewish? The only reason why the term makes sense after the middle of the second century is that proselytizing was banned for Jews. But to what degree 'Jews' were literate and 'non-Jews' were authoritative with respect to 'Jewish tradition' is difficult to determine. It is hard to see how that is a meaningful terminology. Moreover I think that by the end of the bar Kochba revolt most 'Jews' that remained were sons of proselytes. It seems that 70 years of war against the Roman state decimated the native born Jewish population. The priesthood was wiped out for the most part. The leadership of Jewry seems to have been increasingly derived from converted 'non-Jewish' populations. The only people today that promote the idea of a 'racially distinct' Jewish population in this period are - (a) Jewish people with an agenda to see their population as racial pure until this day and (b) anti-Semites closeted or otherwise who want Christian to somehow derive from non-Jews. Meaningless term.
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:20 am

MrMacSon wrote:
I've seen several scholars say Christianity was Jewish (ie. it was a 'Jewish Christianity') until the 4th century.
That's how it looks to me lately (or at least up to the mid to late second century CE). In the big picture, for example, the most popular NT gospel (and the one placed first in the canon) is Matthew, the primary one that was used by Jewish Christians. And I view the gospel of Mark as being "Jewish Christian" as well, given that Jesus promotes Torah observance in it (like Jewish Christians did) and my comfort with the idea that it was written by a follower of Peter. And Revelation is commonly regarded as being "Jewish Christian" (and in line with Papias' chiliasm).

And I would add to this (based on my reading) the letters of James, 1 Peter, Jude, and 1, 2 and 3 John as being "Jewish Christian" (if by that we mean Jews who believed in Jesus and continued to observe the Torah). It's just how they strike me, and I've given many reasons why in other threads on the forum.

And 2 Peter is striking me in a similar way, with the exception of it being later than the above letters (since it appears to use Jude, for example) and being openly cool with Paul. And since it appears to promote Torah observance and belief in Jesus and is cool with Paul, it sounds like Nazarene Jewish Christianity to me. And 1 and 2 Timothy are striking me the same way now. But my OP itself shows that I'm not seeing "Jewish Christian in everything" (as someone else has said), since I don't get the impression that Titus is Jewish Christian (and I compared it to the epistle of Barnabas). I also do not see the gospels of Luke and John as being Jewish Christian, or any of Paul's letters (according to my definition in my recent What is a Jewish Christian thread), or Colossians, or Ephesians, or Hebrews, or Acts. So the only NT writings I see as being Jewish Christian are the ones that look Jewish Christian to me.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:14 pm

perseusomega9 wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:08 pm
It's just seems you see Jewish christian in everything, which makes me think "no shit" the religion started in Judaism, but your findings are so broad as to be meaningless.
But I think we can say more than that Jewish Christianity started in Judaism. I think there is enough information in the NT, Josephus and the DSS to say what kind of Judaism Christianity is, and in my view it seems most like the Fourth Philosophy.

For example, Josephus says that one of the consequences of the Fourth Philosophy was that "the customs of our fathers were altered," which is a common way of referring to the oral Torah of the Pharisees (c.f., Gal. 1:14: "I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers").

And Jesus also altered "the customs of our fathers," like in Mk. 7:3-13 (and you could say that Paul did too after his conversion, if along with the written Torah, and that he too was in his way a Fourth Philosopher):
Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially. And on returning from the market, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions for them to observe, including the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and couches for dining.

So the Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus: “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders? Instead, they eat with defiled hands.”

Jesus answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men.’

You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.”

He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘The help you would have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift committed to God), he is no longer permitted to do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by the tradition you have handed down. And you do so in many such matters.”


And the DSS are also commonly understood to reject the oral Torah of the Pharisees (and while there are older copies of the Damascus Document, with older statutes and such, all of the copies that refer to the Teacher of Righteousness are dateable to the Herodian era, when the Fourth Philosophy was active, and even after in the case of the two copies found in Egypt, which date to the Middle Ages). So we can say that the Fourth Philosophy, Christianity and the DSS rejected the oral Torah of the Pharisees (which is a quite "radical" position both then and now).

And Fourth Philosophers (including Josephus), Christianity and the DSS were heavily into Daniel (and refer to him as a prophet), unlike in Rabbinic Judaism, which does not regard him as a prophet, e.g.:
According to Judaism, Daniel is not one of the 55 prophets. His writings include visions of the future, which we believe to be true; however, his mission was not that of a prophet. His visions of the future were never intended to be proclaimed to the people; they were designed to be written down for future generations. Thus, they are Writings, not Prophecies, and are classified accordingly.

http://www.jewfaq.org/prophet.htm#Daniel
Yet Josephus calls Daniel one of the greatest prophets (Ant. 10.266), and copies of Daniel and Daniel-related writings make up a relatively large part of the DSS and explicitly refer to him as a prophet. And Jesus' philosophy is based on Daniel (i.e., the "son of man"). So Christianity sounds more like the Fourth Philosophy and the DSS than Pharisaic/Rabbinic Judaism to me.

But aside from rejecting the oral Torah, the Fourth Philosophy is said to "agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions" (like the resurrection of the dead), and so do the DSS and Christianity (unlike the Sadducees).

And these are just some examples. So, given that Josephus tells us that there were four kinds of Judaism during the first century CE, if I had to pick one of them from which Christianity emerged, I would pick the Fourth Philosophy, because that's what it looks like to me.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:12 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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