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.
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 6507
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

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

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:47 pm

Etymologically, the English word "bishop" derives from the Greek ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos), via the Latin episcopus. So translations often just use the cognate. But the Greek word literally means "overseer" (ἐπί + σκοπός), so using this term makes sense, as well. One simple solution that a lot of people go for is to use "overseer" when the position is a bit informal and "bishop" once we arrive at the point where it was more official; the issue, of course, is exactly when that point might be. But there are definitely early texts in which there are multiple bishops/overseers/episkopoi in a given assembly; at some point there began to be only one per assembly.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

Bernard Muller
Posts: 3242
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:02 pm
Contact:

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

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:12 am

to John2,
Actually the Ignatian epistles matter a lot for observing the rise of city-wide bishop in five cities in Asia Minore. the problem with Wikipedia (and even about our Peter) is they keep believing that the epistles of Ignatius were written around 100-115 (according to very untrustworthy Eusebius) and by Ignatius himself. For many reasons, as I explained in my aforementioned web page, the dating should be 135 +-10 years (for six of them; 'to Polycarp': much later).
If accepted, that would change the picture on when the first (city-wide) catholic bishops started to appear on the scene.

Anyway, going back to what started my participation here, it is quasi impossible that the author of 1 Peter would consider the heavenly Jesus as a bishop.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

andrewcriddle
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

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

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:21 am

I will just note that the a/ date and b/ authenticity of the letters attributed to Ignatius are to some extent different issues. IMO the letters date from c130 CE but are authentic in the sense that they were written by a church leader from Antioch called Ignatius while on his way to execution at Rome.

The traditional dating of Ignatius (reign of Trajan) depends on Eusebius, and although Eusebius appears to have known of a list of early 'bishops' at Antioch, this list was probably without dates or length of time in office and Eusebius had to provide absolute dates by gueswork.

Andrew Criddle

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 10750
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

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

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:43 am

There are three lengths to the Ignatian corpus. Let's call them 1, 2 and 3. Is there another parallel to the alleged shortening of 2 into 1? The only example I can come up with is Marcion.
“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

robert j
Posts: 698
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:01 pm

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

Post by robert j » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:32 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:47 pm

... the English word "bishop" derives from the Greek ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos) ...

... the Greek word literally means "overseer" (ἐπί + σκοπός) ...

... there are definitely early texts in which there are multiple bishops/overseers/episkopoi in a given assembly; at some point there began to be only one per assembly.
The earliest text about a faith in Jesus Christ in which the term ἐπισκόποις is found is in Paul's letter to the Philippians. I don't see much significance in the term used in the plural in that text other than there was more than one. The term was used in direct association with the term διακόνοις (servant/assistant/messenger), also in the plural.

Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers (ἐπισκόποις) and assistants (διακόνοις). (Philippians 1:1)

This is the only occurrence of the term ἐπισκόποις (overseer) in Paul's letters. The group in Philippi was the only one of Paul's congregations that clearly provided Paul with money for his needs and living expenses --- and that multiple times. I think it makes perfect sense for the congregation in Philippi to appoint "overseers" and "assistants" to collect, hold, assume responsibility, and to deliver the several monetary collections by the congregation.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your care for me. (Philippians 4:10).

… in the early days of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia, no congregation shared with me in the manner of giving and receiving except you alone. For even in Thessalonica, you sent twice for my needs. (Philippians 4:15-16).


Or did I commit sin … because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other congregations having received support to minister to you … the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs …. (2 Corinthians 11:7-9).


User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2726
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

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

Post by DCHindley » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:45 am

John2,

I don't think of it as a "tussle." :popcorn: Sure, I am not as enamored of the legend of James the Just as you have come to be.

As for your suggestion, I would think there is a big difference between 1) a two story platform or roof top, which is relatively accessible for the witness to come down and turn the condemned person face up or to stone him, and 2) the wall of the city or even the temple, which was several hundred feet high, and with no ready access for the witness to perform his/her duties. Even of we suppose the stone is dropped from the platform or wall top, it would be very difficult to hit the person. It isn't supposed to be bystanders at the point where the condemned person hits the ground who do it, unless the witness cannot effect the death after dropping the stone two times.

We don't know a thing about the charges other than it was a "violation of the law" (παρανομησάντων), but the method of execution suggests religious law. If civil, the matter could have waited until the new governor arrived.

However, the word for the type of execution, λευσθησομένους, has an uncertain etymology, and is only used a few times in the Perseus catalogue of Greek literature. The last time I looked up the non-Christian sources returned by a query of the verb λεύω in the Perseus.org morphology tool, they did appear to refer to execution using stones.

Now if it was a "vigilante" justice or the backroom justice of a government unable to enforce religious death sentences, we could consider these sources:
in a compilation made in 2007, DCH wrote:Jona Lendering, who contributed an article on Josephus to Livius.org … does cite a couple of sources to illuminate the possibility that the account reflects actual practices:

He cites the "third or fourth century" "Tannaite tradition" preserved in the Talmud at "Keth. 30a" (by way of "Strack-Billerbeck ii 197") to the effect: "... whosoever is guilty of being stoned either falls from the roof or a wild beast tramples him to death ..." which includes other examples of those convicted of death, when there was no power to enforce the decision, accidentally (on purpose) getting killed.

[Bab. Kethuboth 30a-b http://www.come-and-hear.com/kethuboth/ ... th_30.html

[a] Did not R. Joseph say, and R. Hiyya teach: Since the day of the destruction of the Temple, although the Sanhedrin ceased, the four forms of capital punishment have not ceased? 'They have not ceased,' [you say]? Surely they have ceased! But [say] the judgment of the four forms of capital punishment has not ceased. He who would have been sentenced to stoning, either falls down from the roof or a wild beast treads him down. He who would have been sentenced to burning, either falls into a fire or a serpent bites him. He who would have been sentenced to decapitation, is either delivered to the government or robbers come upon him. He who would have been sentenced to strangulation, is either drowned in the river or dies from suffocation.

See also Bab. Sotah 8b http://www.come-and-hear.com/sotah/sotah_8.html

MISHNAH. IN THE MEASURE with which a man measures it is meted out to him. She adorned herself for a transgression; the holy one, blessed be he, made her repulsive. She exposed herself for a transgression; the holy one, blessed be he, held her up for exposure. She began the transgression with the thigh and afterwards with the womb; therefore she is punished first in the thigh and afterwards in the womb, nor does all the body escape.

GEMARA. R. Joseph said: Although the measure has ceased, [the principle] IN THE MEASURE has not ceased. For R. Joseph said, and similarly taught R. Hiyya: From the day the Temple was destroyed, although the Sanhedrin ceased to function, the four modes of execution did not cease. But they did cease! — [The meaning is:] The judgment of the four modes of execution did not cease. He who would have been condemned to stoning either falls from a roof [and dies] or a wild beast tramples him [to death]. He who would have been condemned to burning either falls into a fire or a serpent stings him. He who would have been condemned to decapitation is either handed over to the [Gentile] Government or robbers attack him. He who would have been condemned to strangulation either drowns in a river or dies of a quinsy [from Gk kunankhē = dog collar that controls by strangling, latter meaning c 1300 tonsillitis with abscesses].

Then he cites "Tosephta Kelim, i. 1. 6; Bab. kam., 1 (middle)" to the effect: "...according to an affirmation on oath of R. 'Eli'ezer, the first pupil of R. Johanan b. Zakkai and therefore an inhabitant of Jerusalem contemporary with James the Just, 'even a high priest' who on entering the sanctuary is guilty of any breach of the purity laws of the precincts must have 'his skull split with a wooden club.' The barbarous punishment here threatened, like the 'fall from the roof' of the man condemned to be stoned, at once recalls the fate of the 'high priest' James, who was beaten to death with a wooden club by a man whom the Christians regarded as a 'fuller' accidentally on the spot."

[R. Jacob Neusner, The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, Hendrickson: 2002 (KTAV 6 v., 1977-86), vol 2, pg 1576, Sixth Division, Tohorot (Order of Purities), Kelim Baba Qamma 1:6 H.

"He [R. Eliezer, the first pupil of R Johanan b. Zakkai and therefore an inhabitant of Jerusalem contemporary with James the Just] said to him [R. Simon the Modest] 'By the [sacred] service! Even the high priest [who without washing his hands and feet enters the area between the porch and the alter] - they break his head with clubs.'"]


I guess it is possible something like this could have been was inflicted upon the James the Just described by Hegesippus (as quoted/paraphrased by Eusebius), but these rules originated after the destruction of the Temple. Since it is unsettled whether the Sanhedrin had the authority to put people to death, I cannot put much faith in attempts to take these practices as those employed by a HP before the destruction, after the Romans took control in 6 CE.

DCH

John2 wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:50 pm
DC wrote:
Some argue that it was something that Hegesippus had said, as he gives the crazy account of James' death (thrown over the city wall into the valley below *and* stoned to death) ...


I think we've tussled over this before, but I thought I'd express my view again that I don't see what's so "crazy" about the account of James' death in Hegesippus, since it's in keeping with the procedure for stoning in the Talmud (with the pinnacle of the Temple serving as a platform).

San. 45a:

The place of stoning from which the condemned man is pushed to his death is a platform twice the height of an ordinary person. He is made to stand at the edge of the platform, and then one of the witnesses who testified against him pushes him down by the hips, so that he falls face up onto the ground. If he turned over onto his chest, with his face downward, the witness turns him over onto his hips. And if he dies through this fall to the ground, the obligation to stone the transgressor is fulfilled.

And if the condemned man does not die from his fall, the second witness takes the stone that has been prepared for this task and places, i.e., casts, it on his chest. And if he dies with the casting of this first stone, the obligation to stone the transgressor is fulfilled. And if he does not die with the casting of this stone, then his stoning is completed by all of the Jewish people, i.e., by all the people who assembled for the execution, as it is stated: “The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people” (Deuteronomy 17:7).

https://www.sefaria.org/Sanhedrin.45a?lang=bi

John2
Posts: 2746
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

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

Post by John2 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:08 pm

DC wrote:
As for your suggestion, I would think there is a big difference between a 2 story platform or roof top, which is relatively accessible for the witness to come down and turn the condemned person face up or to stone him, and the wall of the city or even the templel, which was several hundred feet high, and with no ready access for the witness to perform his/her duties. Even of we suppose the stone is dropped from the platform or wall top, it would be very difficult to hit the person. It isn't supposed to be bystanders at the point where the condemned person hits the ground who do it, unless the witness cannot effect the death after dropping the stone two times.
But it happened during a time of near-anarchy. Just as Ananus had taken advantage of it to sentence James to death, so did those who did the killing. I'm certainly not suggesting James' death happened by the letter of the Talmud, only that it and Hegesippus' account suggest to me that this was more or less how the procedure for stoning was carried out pre-70 CE. And I don't worry about the Talmud being post-70 CE since in my view it is as close as we can get to what Pharisaic Judaism was like pre-70 CE (besides Josephus and the NT), when the Pharisees were running the show.

That Hegesippus' account is more or less in sync with the Talmud (someone being pushed off a platform and if that doesn't work then they are stoned) suggests three possibilities to me: a) this procedure was more or less in force pre-70 CE; b) it was developed after 70 CE and Hegesippus was aware of it because of his Jewish background or contact with Judaism and he added these details to his account of James (perhaps not even knowing that they weren't in force pre-70 CE); or c) he made it all up and the resemblance to the procedure in the Talmud is only a coincidence. And to me the first option makes the most sense.

I think any semblance of "normality" in Hegesippus' account is remarkable given the state of near-anarchy Josephus describes right before and after the James passage in Ant. 20.8.8 and 20.9.2:
And now arose a sedition between the high priests and the principal men of the multitude of Jerusalem; each of which got them a company of the boldest sort of men, and of those that loved innovations about them, and became leaders to them; and when they struggled together, they did it by casting reproachful words against one another, and by throwing stones also. And there was nobody to reprove them; but these disorders were done after a licentious manner in the city, as if it had no government over it.
... the boldest sort of the people ... went to the thrashing-floors, and took away the tithes that belonged to the priests by violence, and did not refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. So the other high priests acted in the like manner, as did those his servants, without anyone being able to prohibit them ...


So I would suppose, given these circumstances, that the people who killed James simply made due with pushing him off the pinnacle of the Temple ("without anyone being able to prohibit them") before they stoned and beat him. And I lean more towards the idea that James being beaten with a club had to do with this near-anarchic situation rather than following some kind of procedure, given that the person who beat him was just a fuller who used the club he used for cleaning clothes.

EH 2.23.18:
And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head.


And this seems more in keeping with what Pes. 57a says regarding the near-anarchic situation described by Josephus.
Woe is me due to the High Priests of the house of Baitos, woe is me due to their clubs. Woe is me due to the High Priests of the house of Ḥanin [the family that killed James]; woe is me due to their whispers and the rumors they spread. Woe is me due to the High Priests of the house of Katros; woe is me due to their pens that they use to write lies. Woe is me due to the servants of the High Priests of the house of Yishmael ben Piakhi; woe is me due to their fists. The power of these households stemmed from the fact that the fathers were High Priests, and their sons were the Temple treasurers, and their sons-in-law were Temple overseers. And their servants strike the people with clubs, and otherwise act inappropriately.

https://www.sefaria.org/Pesachim.57a?lang=bi
Show me something built to last.

User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2726
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

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

Post by DCHindley » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:52 pm

John2,


John2 wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:08 pm
DC wrote:
As for your suggestion, I would think there is a big difference between a 2 story platform or roof top, which is relatively accessible for the witness to come down and turn the condemned person face up or to stone him, and the wall of the city or even the templel, which was several hundred feet high, and with no ready access for the witness to perform his/her duties. Even of we suppose the stone is dropped from the platform or wall top, it would be very difficult to hit the person. It isn't supposed to be bystanders at the point where the condemned person hits the ground who do it, unless the witness cannot effect the death after dropping the stone two times.
But it happened during a time of near-anarchy. Just as Ananus had taken advantage of it to sentence James to death, so did those who did the killing. I'm certainly not suggesting James' death happened by the letter of the Talmud, only that it and Hegesippus' account suggest to me that this was more or less how the procedure for stoning was carried out pre-70 CE. And I don't worry about the Talmud being post-70 CE since in my view it is as close as we can get to what Pharisaic Judaism was like pre-70 CE (besides Josephus and the NT), when the Pharisees were running the show.


The sanhedrin assembled by HP Ananus to try the brother of Jesus, James by name, occurred in 62 CE, which is 4 years before the revolt started.
That Hegesippus' account is more or less in sync with the Talmud (someone being pushed off a platform and if that doesn't work then they are stoned) suggests three possibilities to me: a) this procedure was more or less in force pre-70 CE; b) it was developed after 70 CE and Hegesippus was aware of it because of his Jewish background or contact with Judaism and he added these details to his account of James (perhaps not even knowing that they weren't in force pre-70 CE); or c) he made it all up and the resemblance to the procedure in the Talmud is only a coincidence. And to me the first option makes the most sense.

I think any semblance of "normality" in Hegesippus' account is remarkable given the state of near-anarchy Josephus describes right before and after the James passage in Ant. 20.8.8 and 20.9.2:
And now arose a sedition between the high priests and the principal men of the multitude of Jerusalem; each of which got them a company of the boldest sort of men, and of those that loved innovations about them, and became leaders to them; and when they struggled together, they did it by casting reproachful words against one another, and by throwing stones also. And there was nobody to reprove them; but these disorders were done after a licentious manner in the city, as if it had no government over it.
... the boldest sort of the people ... went to the thrashing-floors, and took away the tithes that belonged to the priests by violence, and did not refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. So the other high priests acted in the like manner, as did those his servants, without anyone being able to prohibit them ...


So I would suppose, given these circumstances, that the people who killed James simply made due with pushing him off the pinnacle of the Temple ("without anyone being able to prohibit them") before they stoned and beat him.
There is a difference of time of 4 years between the execution of the brother of Jesus named James and the period when civil order had changed enough that each faction of the aristocrats and the high priestly families utilized private militias to achieve what they wanted (until then the Romans controlled the means of measuring and transporting grains used as in-kind tax payments).

DCH

John2
Posts: 2746
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

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

Post by John2 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:35 am

DC wrote:
There is a difference of time of 4 years between the execution of the brother of Jesus named James and the period when civil order had changed enough that each faction of the aristocrats and the high priestly families utilized private militias to achieve what they wanted (until then the Romans controlled the means of measuring and transporting grains used as in-kind tax payments).
But the disorder that Josephus mentions before the James passage began during the time of the Roman procurator Felix, who ruled from 52 to 60 CE. As he says at the beginning of Ant. 20.8.8:
About this time king Agrippa gave the high priesthood to Ismael, who was the son of Fabi. And now arose a sedition between the high priests and the principal men of the multitude of Jerusalem ...
And Ishmael ruled from 58 to 62 CE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_ben_Fabus
Show me something built to last.

John2
Posts: 2746
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

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

Post by John2 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:47 am

So not only does Hegesippus' account of James' death resemble the procedure for stoning and the wanton clubbing mentioned in the Talmud and the strife that Josephus mentions right before the James passage between "the high priests and the principle men of the multitude of Jerusalem," what Josephus says about them "casting reproachful words against one another" is also in keeping with Hegesippus' account, since EH 2.23.15 and 17 say:
And they cried out, saying, "Oh! Oh! The just man is also in error."
And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, "Stop. What are you doing? The just one prays for you."
Show me something built to last.

Post Reply