The Pastorals

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

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:39 pm

And since we know that the Damascus Document had circulated post-70 CE (because copies of it were found in Egypt that date to the Middle Ages), and given the similarity of content between it and 1 and 2 Timothy (Torah observance, Jannes and Jambres, the snare of the devil and such), I don't see any reason why 1 and 2 Timothy could not have known of (or have been influenced by people who knew of) the Damascus Document. (And in fact, I already suspect this could be the case for Acts as well.)
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:02 pm

VanderKam writes regarding Daniel being regarded as a prophet in the DSS (unlike in Rabbinic Judaism):
The Book of Daniel is cited in two places in [DSS] texts that seem to be sectarian. It has, of course, always been of interest that Daniel is explicitly called a prophet in 4QFlorilegium .... 4QFlorilegium dates from the Herodian period and uses Daniel to clarify what the writer understands as an eschatological passage in Psalm 2 ...

https://books.google.com/books?id=2393T ... an&f=false
Cf. Mt. 24:15:
So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel -let the reader understand ...
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:00 pm

For me it's just a process of elimination. I often hear that there were many Jewish sects during the first century CE, but the guy who was there (Josephus) says that there were four (not counting the Samaritans). And Christianity can't be Pharisaic because it rejects the oral Torah, it can't be Sadducaic because it believes in the resurrection of the dead, and Christians have never called themselves Essenes or even mention them in the NT (like they do the Pharisees and Sadducees). And Hegesippus, who was in my view a "Jewish Christian" or was at least influenced by them, explicitly says that the Essenes had opposed Christians in EH 4.22.6:
The following were those that were opposed to the tribe of Judah and the Christ: Essenes ...


And since Christianity (to me) resembles and existed during the same time as the Fourth Philosophy, and the Fourth Philosophy actually had no name since it is Josephus' label, it was up for grabs what each Fourth Philosophic faction called themselves. And I think in the case of Christianity it was "Christianity" (and "the Way" and "Nazarenes" and such). If the followers of Theudas had prevailed post-70 CE, perhaps they would have called themselves "Theudists." And I think this is why Josephus doesn't mention Christianity (excepting, indirectly, in the James passage, which I view as genuine); he didn't need to, because from his point of view it was just another one of the many factions of the Fourth Philosophy. In fact, I don't think anything could better describe Jesus than what Josephus says about certain Fourth Philosophers in War 2.13.4:
These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty.
In my view, Jesus was just a relatively peaceful Fourth Philosopher (even if his overall goal was the same, i.e., "procuring innovations and changes of the government").
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:31 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:00 pm
I often hear that there were many Jewish sects during the first century CE, but the guy who was there (Josephus) says that there were four (not counting the Samaritans).

And since Christianity (to me) resembles and existed during the same time as the Fourth Philosophy, and the Fourth Philosophy actually had no name since it is Josephus' label, it was up for grabs what each Fourth Philosophic faction called themselves.
I think you are too dependent upon Josephus for the information in your first quote, as your second quote already implies. Josephus' fourth category is obviously a grab bag of different sects with different (kinds of) leaders and different (kinds of) followers, even if many of them might have shared some of their overall approaches. To me it is like categorizing Christianity as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and cults. While the first three groups deserve to be considered as self-contained organizations in some way, the "cults" could be pretty much anything, whether related to one another or not. Even so, however, it stands to reason that a lot of "cults" might share a distrust of complicated religious hierarchies and received traditions, since those are exactly the things which are used to legitimize the first three categories. We might even expect some cults to use other cults' texts (as happens all the time in such Christian circles: as, for example, when Christian "church growth" groups in the 70's and 80's used texts from Watchman Nee, from Brother Lawrence, and from many other diverse sources). This may be what is happening at Qumran, for example.
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:18 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:31 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:00 pm
I often hear that there were many Jewish sects during the first century CE, but the guy who was there (Josephus) says that there were four (not counting the Samaritans).

And since Christianity (to me) resembles and existed during the same time as the Fourth Philosophy, and the Fourth Philosophy actually had no name since it is Josephus' label, it was up for grabs what each Fourth Philosophic faction called themselves.
I think you are too dependent upon Josephus for the information in your first quote, as your second quote already implies. Josephus' fourth category is obviously a grab bag of different sects with different (kinds of) leaders and different (kinds of) followers, even if many of them might have shared some of their overall approaches. To me it is like categorizing Christianity as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and cults. While the first three groups deserve to be considered as self-contained organizations in some way, the "cults" could be pretty much anything, whether related to one another or not. Even so, however, it stands to reason that a lot of "cults" might share a distrust of complicated religious hierarchies and received traditions, since those are exactly the things which are used to legitimize the first three categories. We might even expect some cults to use other cults' texts (as happens all the time in such Christian circles: as, for example, when Christian "church growth" groups in the 70's and 80's used texts from Watchman Nee, from Brother Lawrence, and from many other diverse sources). This may be what is happening at Qumran, for example.
I think the difference is that according to Josephus, these Fourth Philosophic "cults" had certain things in common, things that Christianity also has in common (and more so than it does with the other three sects, by my reckoning), And unlike Christian "cults" today, the Fourth Philosophy was by far the most popular "sect" and "had a great many followers" and "the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree."

Of course all Fourth Philosophic factions weren't exactly the same, and Josephus says they more or less hated each other and that this was one of the causes of their downfall. But his overview of the things they did have in common (strong interest in Daniel, the belief that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth," rejection of the oral Torah, etc.) resembles Christianity to me.

And I think this Fourth Philosophic hostility to other Fourth Philosophic factions and leaders has something to do with what Jesus says in Mk. 13:5-6 and 21-23:
Jesus began by telling them, “See to it that no one deceives you. Many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many ..."
At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.
Not to mention all the "false teachers" that Paul and Jude and James and seemingly every early Christian is concerned about. And I think this is also why Hegesippus lists some "wacky" sounding Jewish sects (in addition to the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Samaritans) and says that they were opposed to Christians. I think these otherwise unknown "wacky" sounding sects could be some of these other Fourth Philosophic factions.
The same writer also records the ancient heresies which arose among the Jews, in the following words: “There were, moreover, various opinions in the circumcision, among the children of Israel. The following were those that were opposed to the tribe of Judah and the Christ: Essenes, Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbothæans, Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees.”
.

"Galileans" sounds to me like they could be followers of Judas the Galilean, for example. And maybe the other two (besides the Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Samaritans) were Fourth Philosophic factions as well.
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:28 pm

And notice Hegesippus' dig against these Jewish opponents of Christians as being also opposed to "the tribe of Judah," which in my view is his way of saying that they weren't "real" Jews, which reminds me of Rev. 2:9:
I know your affliction and your poverty—though you are rich! And I am aware of the slander of those who falsely claim to be Jews, but are in fact a synagogue of Satan.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:56 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:18 pm
I think the difference is that according to Josephus, these Fourth Philosophic "cults" had certain things in common, things that Christianity also has in common (and more so than it does with the other three sects, by my reckoning)....
As I said, so do many Christian cults or sects, so much so that umbrella terms (like Restorationism) are used of many of them, much in the same way that Josephus uses an umbrella term (the Fourth Philosophy) of his "miscellaneous" category.
And unlike Christian "cults" today, the Fourth Philosophy was by far the most popular "sect" and "had a great many followers" and "the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree."
You may be misapprehending what I would count as a Christian cult or sect. Under the umbrella term Restorationism alone we would find Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Plymouth Brethren and all their offshoots, the Millerites and Seventh-Day Adventists, lots of Charismatics, and so on. This is not a small company. And, besides, I am not sure what relative size has to do with the propriety of the grouping policy, which is what I am questioning.

The only reason Josephus' fourth category was so broad is that it was literally "everything else" after one had considered the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. And you already pointed out that he omitted the Samaritans (unless they, too, ought to be considered part of the Fourth Philosophy).
Of course all Fourth Philosophic factions weren't all exactly the same....
Nor were they necessarily even part of the same overall grouping. That is my point. Grouping them all together is artificial. It is a bit like grouping all aboriginal peoples together: sure, the Cherokee and the Sioux may hail from the same genetic stock, but neither of them necessarily has much to do genetically with the aboriginal peoples of, say, Australia or Africa.
...and Josephus says they more or less hated each other and that this was one of the causes of their downfall.
Much like the Christian cults/sects, then.
But his overview of the things they did have in common (strong interest in Daniel, the belief that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth," rejection of the oral Torah, etc.) resembles Christianity to me.
So Judas the Galilean is the founder of Christianity? Do you not see how artificial this grouping is? It is like saying that John Darby is the founder of the House Church Movement in the US. Yes, some House Church leaders were inspired by Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, but the House Church Movement was fundamentally a different organization than the Brethren, and also found inspiration in the Anabaptists and the Quakers and other sects.

If the Fourth Philosophy is, as Josephus seems to want to claim, limited only to the group(s) founded by Judas the Galilean, then Christianity seems excluded. If Christianity and other sects are included, then Josephus' group is purely artificial.

The fact is, any and all groups considered under that umbrella term must be considered in their own right; there ought to be no presumption of any historical relationship between any two of the groups, though doubtless some groups did morph and fragment to produce others.

You could do a connect-the-dots exercise on Christian sects much like the one you are performing on these Jewish sects, and you would find tons of overlap in theme and thrust between groups which really have little historically to do with one another.
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:16 pm

Alright, I will ponder all your feedback. As for:
So Judas the Galilean is the founder of Christianity? Do you not see how artificial this grouping is? It is like saying that John Darby is the founder of the House Church Movement in the US. Yes, some House Church leaders were inspired by Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, but the House Church Movement was fundamentally a different organization than the Brethren, and also found inspiration in the Anabaptists and the Quakers and other sects.

If the Fourth Philosophy is, as Josephus seems to want to claim, limited only to the group(s) founded by Judas the Galilean, then Christianity seems excluded. If Christianity and other sects are included, then Josephus' group is purely artificial.
In a sense, yes, I would say Judas (along with Saddok) was the "founder of Christianity," in the sense that he apparently kick started the idea of rejecting the oral Torah and had some other beliefs that other Fourth Philosophic factions (which in my view would include Christianity) also took up. I think it may even be possible that Judas (or the founding of the Fourth Philosophy c. 6 CE) could be the "root of planting" mentioned in the Damascus Document. As Blanton writes regarding this imagery:
The language of "root"/"shoot" combined with the planting imagery is related to biblical passages such as Isa 11, to Jewish texts of the Second Temple period such as Jub 1:16; 21:24; 1 Enoch 10:16, and to other texts that were produced by the sectarian Association, such as 1QS 8:5. Using this imagery the sect is able to establish its pedigree as a group that was founded by an act of divine election, as God chose and nourished the "root" that would later constitute the sect.

https://books.google.com/books?id=rdaTp ... sm&f=false
In this scenario (and I'm not set on it), the founding of the Fourth Philosophy c. 6 CE would have been followed twenty years later by the rise of the Teacher of Righteousness, who I think (in this scenario) could be Jesus. As the Damascus Document puts it, God had:
... caused a root of planting to spring from Israel and Aaron to inherit His Land and to prosper on the good things of His earth. And they perceived their iniquity and recognized that they were guilty men, yet for twenty years they were like blind men groping for the way.

And God observed their deeds, that they sought Him with a whole heart, and He raised for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of His heart.
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:26 pm

I think of Judas as being like Anan ben David, the supposed founder of Karaite Judaism (which, similar to the Fourth Philosophy, emerged from Rabbinic Judaism). Karaites after him did not necessarily agree with him in every particular, but he still kick started to idea of rejecting the oral Torah, so in that sense he was the "founder" of Karaite Judaism.
Anan Ben David (c. 715 - c. 795) ... is widely considered to be a major founder of the Karaite movement of Judaism. His followers were called Ananites and, like modern Karaites, did not believe the Rabbinic Jewish oral law (such as the Mishnah) to be authoritative ...

A number of ben David's teachings differ from those of Rabbinic Jews and of the majority of modern Karaites.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anan_ben_David
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John2
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Re: The Pastorals

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:47 pm

Jesus was at least a "teacher of righteousness," right? Righteousness seems to be the core of his message anyway (just as it is in the Damascus Document).

Mt. 5:10 and 20:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
This is exactly what the Damascus Document is about as well, which rejects Pharisaic "smooth things" (which is commonly understood to be a wordplay on the oral Torah) and begins by saying:
Hear now, all you who know righteousness ...
And goes on to say:
But all those who hold fast to these precepts, going and coming in accordance with the Law, who heed the voice of the Teacher and ... who have listened to the voice of the Teacher of Righteousness and have not despised the precepts of righteousness when they heard them; they shall rejoice and their hearts shall be strong, and they shall prevail over all the sons of the earth. God will forgive them and they shall see His salvation because they took refuge in His holy Name.
And the part about seeing "His salvation" has always intrigued me, because in Hebrew it is His "yeshua" (which is Jesus' name).
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