What did Paul mean by brother(s) of the Lord?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: What did Paul mean by brother(s) of the Lord?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:34 pm

Paul the Uncertain wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:17 pm
Finally, howdy Ben.
Hi there. :)
Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:06 pm
And for the Origen business, I think Ben is right, and damned, I will have to make some changes on some of my web pages, maybe only one, I hope.
Bookmark both this post and also the one in which you changed your mind about 1 Corinthians 11.23-28. Next time someone accuses you of being stubborn, you can point to these examples of you changing your mind, and your website to match. :)
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

Paul the Uncertain
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Re: What did Paul mean by brother(s) of the Lord?

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:02 am

Hi again, Bernard
I think you are dealing with minuscule unevidenced possibilities, as I noticed you do some time ago. Keep them if you please. But you look to me like as an extreme "uncertaintist".
You are, of course, entitled to your view. However, your opinion of me has no relevance to the questions discussed here.

This is not a methodological thread, but it is obvious that the evidence available to any of us is sparse and equivocal. It follows that our individual prior opinions, what "makes sense" to each of us, will differ and loom large in our individual conclusions. Personalizing that global situation to any individual is unhelpful.
I already explained that: there was no need to identify the James in Gal 2:9 & 12 other than by his name, because that was done in Gal1:19.
But Paul did anyway. So what?
Forget about 1 Corinthians "brothers of the Lord": these brothers are not identified by number & name.
I am reluctant to forget half of what little evidence there is on point. These brothers are plural, which suffices to conclude that James is not the only one whom Paul ever called the brother of the Lord That's a small step but a step all the same in reconstructing what he meant. It also helps in estimating (against) the chances of interpolation, not a lot, but some.
And next, in Galatians, first it is James, the brother of the Lord, then James as one of the pillars. That follows the rule of good writing.
What Paul wrote is good writing if there were two Jameses, and equally good writing if there were only one James. Good writing doesn't discriminate between one-James and two-James hypotheses.
If I would mention in a text, at first, "Reagan, a past US president", and then a few lines after, I mention "Reagan" again (only his last name), everybody (except maybe yourself) will know it is Reagan, the former US president.
Paul did not refer to James on either occasion by name alone. So the better analogy would be a text where you wrote "Reagan, a past US President" then a few lines after, "Reagan, a former governor of California."

Now, I happen to know that there was one man named Reagan who was both president and governor, and only one US President named Reagan. So yes, you may rely on a contemporary American like me knowing who is being discussed, and that he is one person you've mentioned twice.

You cannot assume, and perhaps don't much care, whether your good writing will be as effortlessly understood two thousand years from now, particularly not in a discussion prompted by the question of what a "US president" meant to you, yours being the only then-extant use of the phrase.

Finally, I am glad to read that you and Ben had a productive conversation here.

Bernard Muller
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Re: What did Paul mean by brother(s) of the Lord?

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:21 pm

to Paul the Uncertain,
Paul did not refer to James on either occasion by name alone. So the better analogy would be a text where you wrote "Reagan, a past US President" then a few lines after, "Reagan, a former governor of California."
But a former governor of California is still a unique description for that Reagan. After all there was only one governor of California named Reagan.
Gal 2:9 "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars ..." does not provide an additional identifying detail about specifically James.
There may have been other "James" as pillars, but if it was not the one in Gal 1:19, Paul would have given a unique personal attribute for that other "James", to avoid confusion.

Cordially, Bernard
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Paul the Uncertain
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Re: What did Paul mean by brother(s) of the Lord?

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:14 pm

Hi, Bernard

We seem to be in agreement that Paul would describe each James sufficiently that his first readers could identify which James was meant with enough confidence for them to follow Paul's argument. That doesn't necessarily suffice for us to identify the James(es) with similar confidence two millennia later.

Thanks for the information that there has been only one California governor named Reagan. I didn't know that. I'm unsure what difference it makes to the necessity of improving your example; Paul did not simply designate his James(es) by name alone on either occasion. That was the point of adding something to your second bare mention.

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