No Christology in the Q community

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
robert j
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by robert j » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:19 am

What was Paul’s purpose for specifying the 14-year time period in his letter to the Galatians?

Prosecutors are typically very skeptical about stories and testimonies in which information is left vague, where equivocations are rife, and where any witnesses other than the suspect's own partners are about as good as useless ---
Just when was the starting point for the 14 years?
Just where did Paul harass the early believers?
But hey, the Judean believers wouldn’t recognize me anyway.
The meeting with the Pillars was in private.
Others came in secretly.
But just ask Jim and John and a guy named Rock in far-away Jerusalem.

Why would the Galatians even care about the specific number of years?

I think the more important division of time and events in this portion of the letter is not generally recognized as a possible solution. I think Paul divided this part of the letter that contains his own back-stories into two broad sections --- what he had already told the Galatians during his visit, and then new events that happened after his visit with them.

Paul’s Galatian readers would readily recognize the division.

First come the parts of his story that he had already told them about before, during his evangelizing visit with them. In the letter, Paul reminded his Galatians about what he had already told them ---

For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to harass the assembly of God… (Galatians 1:13)

I think Paul continued with his reminder about what he had told them during his visit --- his revelation from God --- his sojourn in Arabia --- and his two-week visit with Cephas in Jerusalem. I suspect Paul probably told a similar back-story to each of his other congregations (the table I posted previously in this thread provides some evidence for that).

I have mentioned before the nature of the letter Galatians as similar to a legal affidavit. Here, Paul makes a transition with new information and events that that he had not previously told the Galatians, including his claim of a second trip to Jerusalem to meet with the three Pillars. An event that Paul used to significant benefit to further his argument against those encouraging his local converts to get circumcised. Paul introduced and “authenticated” that new information with an oath before God ---

Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying. (Galatians 1:20).

I think the 14 year interval was included simply to provide an adequate period of time (regardless of the intended starting point) for Paul to have done other things, as well as make a second trip to Jerusalem to meet with the three Pillars, after his visit with the Galatians --- and before the writing of his letter to the Galatians.
Last edited by robert j on Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bernard Muller
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:39 pm

to robert j,
Prosecutors are typically very skeptical about stories and testimonies in which information is left vague, where equivocations are rife, and where any witnesses other than the suspect's own partners are about as good as useless ---
Paul wanted his converts in Galatia to know that the pillars had accepted his gospel to the Gentiles without the addition of any judaization, before seeing these Galatians.
What prosecutors? This is not a trial. And there was one witness of the meeting, other than Paul & the pillars: Barnabas. Furthermore, I think Paul provided all the essential details about what happened in Jerusalem & Antioch according to his agenda: I am right, they are wrong.

Also, these later Judaizers probably told the Galatians about the split off the churches of Antioch & Jerusalem, something that Paul, understandably, likely did not tell to his converts ("Luke" in Acts is also silent about that ;) ). And we see Paul acknowledging what happened in Antioch and then energically defending in most of his epistle that he was (still is) right against Judaization of Gentiles.

The split came because there was a change of mind by James.
Why? I think because the members of his church got to know about the secret meeting with Paul & Barnabas and were furious about the Judaization on Gentile converts was not required by the pillars (see Gal 2:4).
James had to change his mind in a hurry because of the pressure by members of his own church. He had to issue new directives to Antioch (and possibly other churches).

So why did the pillars not require any Judaization initially at the meeting (of Jerusalem)?
Not to disturb Paul and his Gentile converts and to risk of loosing them altogether.
Why was that so important? Because the pillars knew they required collections of money among these Gentiles in order to satisfy their church need. And it is likely Paul knew that too; that's why him and Barnabas asked to see the pillars only. If they would have to deal with the all the members of that church, they would have screamed for Judaization of the Gentiles converts over the head of their leaders.
Just when was the starting point for the 14 years?
Because of the "again" in Gal 2:1, obviously the previous trip to Jerusalem where he stayed with Peter for 15 days, when he also saw James.
Just where did Paul harass the early believers?
Jerusalem, because that's where the "Greek" proto-Christians were (according to Acts).
But hey, the Judean believers wouldn’t recognize me anyway.
These "Greek" proto-Christians either went in hiding or fled to other cities in Judea (among further places). Here they founded their own churches.
So it makes sense those never saw Paul by face, but remembered about the persecution, in which Paul participated.
Why would the Galatians even care about the specific number of years?
Why not? the info requires only a few words.
But if the Galatians knew when Paul got converted, with a little bit of math, and Paul's mention of 3 & 14 years, they would be reassured that the council of Jerusalem happened before Paul visited them.
what he had already told the Galatians during his visit, and then new events that happened after his visit with them.
According to my research, I am certain that the council of Jerusalem, the big split in Antioch happened before Paul's visit to the Galatians. Actually the two former events happened in succession in 52, followed immediately by Paul in Galatia (from the later part of the same year: 52). Also in early 52 (or possibly late 51) was the Gallio's incident in Corinth. 52 was a very busy year for Paul, with events which actually created many Christianity beliefs as we know it.
Why? after the big split in Antioch, Paul felt free from any constraint and progressively adopted stuff to make his theology/Christology more suitable to Gentiles (& not offensive to Romans). These additions (and things said before, like Christ crucified & its salvatic value) created holes which Paul had to fill up, because of the questioning of his converts, especially the ones from Corinth & Galatia.

Cordially, Bernard
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robert j
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by robert j » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:58 pm

robert j wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:19 am
... as a possible solution ... I think Paul divided this part of the letter that contains his own back-stories into two broad sections --- what he had already told the Galatians during his visit, and then new events ...

Paul’s Galatian readers would readily recognize the division.
Within the first two chapters of Galatians, I think Paul’s oath before God is the divider between two portions of his back-story --- what he had already told his converts during his visit, and then new stories they had not heard before.

Now in what I write to you, behold before God that I am not lying. (Galatians 1:20).

The purpose of this oath finds various interpretations, including but not limited to --- Paul’s defense against his opponents, assuming they had accused him of lying --- an oath verifying all of Paul’s stories in the letter --- or even just a parenthetical, unnecessary in the context.

However, I think a comparative examination of the nature of Paul’s narrative before the oath, with that after the oath, reveals the purpose of the oath.

Before the oath --- and beginning with “For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to harass the assembly of God…” (Galatians 1:13) --- all the back-story events are little more than outline form, brief reminders of what Paul had already told the congregation during his visit. Even very critical events are just briefly described.

Then comes the oath before God. I see the oath as a divider, and as an introduction and formal authentication of the new information that follows. Following the oath is a brief apologetic equivocation, before Paul quickly dives head-long into his story of his meeting with the three Pillars in Jerusalem. And a story it is --- not a brief reminder. Paul provided a complete narrative because the Galatians had not heard the story before.

For Paul’s arguments in this portion of the letter, the meeting in Jerusalem with the three Pillars is second only in importance to his direct revelation from God. Yet Paul’s revelation from God warranted little more than a couple of phrases --- because the Galatians had already heard about all that. But I think the visit with the three Pillars went on for 10 long verses because the Galatians had not heard that story before.


But How Reliable is the Story?

When considering the reliability of Paul’s story of his visit with the three Pillars in Jerusalem, I consider the following ---

Paul chose to insert several equivocations into the story.

The story lacks useful witnesses. Other than Jim and John and a guy named rock in Jerusalem, only Paul’s own partners are named. Not only that, there is no evidence that the Galatians (or any congregation) ever met the elusive Barnabus --- only that Paul may have told the Galatians and the Corinthians about a partner named Barnabus.

The story with the Pillars conveniently provided very significant support for Paul’s arguments in the letter --- second only to his revelation from God.

The story with the three Pillars also provided very significant support and credibility for his missionary work overall, yet there is no mention of that event in any other letter.


Taken together, I think these considerations provide ample justification to question Paul’s story of his visit with the three Pillars in Jerusalem, as told in the letter Galatians.
Last edited by robert j on Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Bernard Muller
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:15 am

to robert j,
You are entitled to your opinions about that "possibility" ("possibility" only because not considering all the data available). As for me, I rather follow the evidence even if it comes from flawed writings, such as Acts (that is after a critical and careful analysis).

I think the construct of Gal 1-2 makes a lot of sense without your possibility.

Paul is reacting here to the dirt that these Judaizers threw against Paul in order to destroy his credibility. That would include Paul's participation to the persecution and the big split in Antioch, which made Paul look like a heretic and a paria of the church of Antioch and Jerusalem, stuff that Paul had no reason to tell the Galatians when converting some of them.

First he says he was a very learned zealous Jew and God revealed his Son to him so he might preach him to the Gentiles. (that is not a freelance preacher & heretic!).
Then he admits he persecuted early on "the Church of God".
But wait,
to compensate for that, Paul say he preached a Christian message in Syria & Cilicia and the Churches of Judea in Christ glorified him for that.
Also, Paul indicates he had meetings with some of the pillars and, at the last one, they tolerated his gospel to the Gentiles without adding Judaization.

Then why would Paul made the oath at Gal 1:20?
Because, what Paul says about his early preaching and his contacts and dealing with the pillars clashes with the depiction of Paul (as persecutor & heretic) by the later Judaizers .
He wants to make sure that the Galatians trust him about the "good" Paul's past actions.
(I don't think that these Galatians heard before from Paul his early preaching and his relationship with the pillars, because at that time that would not be necessary).

Then, finally, in Antioch, after a change of mind of James (a betrayal of some sort), there was the big split about Judaization of Gentiles, leaving Paul alone. Then in his epistle, a furious Paul fight vigorously against the Judaization, by all means.

And I don't see why, after Gal 1:20, the events had to be set after Paul visited (alone: no Silas or Barnabas) the Galatians when he became sick.

Acts says that Paul (without Barnabas or Silas & Timothy) went to "Northern" Galatia, then Phrygia after being in Antioch for some time, and prior to that to Jerusalem (18:22-23).
Please note that Acts does not call "Southern" Galatia as Galatia.
Then Acts tells about Apollos being converted to Pauline brand of Christianity, and then preaching and then going to Corinth (which must have take some time).
"And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus ..." (19:1).
One thing which goes against my case is that Acts says there were Christians in Galatia before Paul went there (18:23). But I don't think that's true, mostly because very rural Galatia, would be not be attractive for Paul, who preached in cities, not in villages. It was by accident that Paul spent time there and made converts.
Also in 16:6, Paul is said to go through Phrygia & Galatia on the way to Mysia, but not alone, with Timothy and Silas.

Anyway, I don't think I'll change your mind and your consideration that Acts is complete trash.

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

robert j
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by robert j » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:20 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:15 am
to robert j,

And I don't see why, after Gal 1:20, the events had to be set after Paul visited (alone: no Silas or Barnabas) the Galatians when he became sick.
Yes, thanks, I may not have been adequately clear. I think the oath before God in Galatians 1:20 served as a marker within the first two chapters --- between the back-stories Paul had already told the congregation, and then new back-stories they had not heard before. Paul shifts focus beginning with chapter 3. I did not intend to include other events from the rest of the letter. I edited my post to make that more clear.

In my last post, I divided Paul's back-stories as either heard before, or new stories not heard before. I do not assume that any of the "events" that Paul claimed in his back-stories had actually happened --- we only know that Paul claimed they happened.

I generally use the term “back-stories” for Paul’s stories about his own past experiences --- experiences for which his congregations were dependent upon what Paul told them. Paul getting sick in Galatia, on the other hand, was a shared experience witnessed by the Galatians that cared for him.

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:15 am

As for me, I rather follow the evidence even if it comes from flawed writings, such as Acts ...

Acts says that Paul ...
Please note that Acts does not call ...
Then Acts tells about ... and then ....
One thing which goes against my case is that Acts says there were ... But I don't think that's true ...
Also in [Acts] 6:6, Paul is said to ...
Yes, you need Acts.

In this thread you have characterized Acts as second-hand information for which quite a bit of time passed before she wrote it down, full of embellishments, and as being dead wrong or consisting of lies many times.

Yet you pick out some portions of Acts that fit your theory before rejecting or downplaying the rest. And you carve away a few portions of Paul’s letters that don’t fit --- and Voila --- everything fits. Bravo.

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:15 am

Anyway, I don't think I'll change your mind and your consideration that Acts is complete trash.
I don’t think Acts is complete trash. I think Acts provides a very good source of early second-century church traditions and legends.

I’m just not interested in theories of early Christian origins that depend on Acts, nor in the use of Acts to interpret Paul.

Bernard Muller
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:39 pm

to robert j,
Yes, you need Acts.
I never said I did not need Acts for my reconstruction of Paul's travels with places visited, time markers, durations and some events.
I don’t think Acts is complete trash. I think Acts provides a very good source of early second-century church traditions and legends.
From http://historical-jesus.info/64.html:
A) 'Acts' has the disciples (former companions of Jesus) staying in Jerusalem while Christian preaching outside Palestine were made by others (foremost Paul). That goes against the idealistic picture of the twelve, immediately after the ascension, going all over the known world in order to make converts and essentially creating the Christian world:

a) Mk16:20a (interpolation made after other gospels were known) (early 2nd century?) "And they [the disciples, right after the alleged ascension] went out and preached everywhere ..."

b) Aristides (120-130) Apology "... ascended to heaven. Thereupon these twelve disciples went forth throughout the known parts of the world ..."

c) Justin Martyr (150-160), in his 1Apology XLV "His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere"
Also from Justin's works:
- 1Apology XXXIX "For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking"
- 1Apology XXXIX "But the Gentiles, who had never heard anything about Christ, until the apostles set out from Jerusalem and preached concerning Him"
- Trypho LIII "For after His crucifixion, the disciples that accompanied Him were dispersed, until He rose from the dead, and persuaded them that so it had been prophesied concerning Him, that He would suffer; and being thus persuaded, they went into all the world, and taught these truths."

d) Despite attesting 'Acts' in 'Against Heresies', Irenaeus (180) wrote in his 'Demonstration apostolic':
"His disciples, the witnesses of all His good deeds, and of His teachings and His sufferings and death and resurrection, and of His ascension into heaven after His bodily resurrection----these were the apostles, who after (receiving) the power of the Holy Spirit were sent forth by Him into all the world, and wrought the calling of the Gentiles"

e) Also acknowledging 'Acts', Origen wrote (246-248), in 'Commentary of the gospel according to Matthew' X, 18:
"And the Apostles on this account left Israel and did that which had been enjoined on them by the Saviour, "Make disciples of all the nations," and, "Ye shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judæa and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." For they did that which had been commanded them in Judæa and Jerusalem; but, since a prophet has no honour in his own country, when the Jews did not receive the Word, they went away to the Gentiles."
That's a considerable embellishment over what shows in Acts, typical of subsequent Christian writings, just like gLuke and gMatthew copying from gMark.
Simply Acts does not belong to the 2nd century, but before that. Also the 2nd century aforementioned quotes would explain why Acts has few external evidence about its very existence. The main ones are within gJohn: http://historical-jesus.info/63.html. Also if Acts & gLuke were written by the same author, as widely accepted (including myself), then Acts could not have been written much later than gLuke. For gLuke, see http://historical-jesus.info/62.html for a 1st century dating.
And here I commented on the findings of the Acts Seminar:
http://historical-jesus.info/75.html & http://historical-jesus.info/76.html

Cordially, Bernard
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robert j
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by robert j » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:54 am

The Fiasco in Antioch

I think Paul’s back-story of an incident in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14) is perhaps the low-point of all his arguments in the entire letter. Why? Because Paul’s concluding accusation is not supported by his story.

Cephas was eating with the Gentiles until some people associated with James showed-up. Note that the issue involved table rituals, but Paul --- associating the story with the main issue of the letter --- characterized Cephas as being afraid of “those of the circumcision”. Cephas drew-back from the Gentiles and separated himself. Paul even threw his own purported partner Barnabus under the bus for exhibiting hypocrisy.

OK, Cephas exhibited a weak spine, he withdrew from eating with the Gentiles and separated himself. I think Paul could have made a good point here --- with more emphasis on a leader from Jerusalem being inconsistent with the Jewish rituals. But no, Paul pushed his conclusion well beyond the supporting story.

Paul accused Cephas --- to his face and before every one --- of compelling (ἀναγκάζεις) Gentiles to live as Jews (Galatians 2:14). In the story, Cephas was lily-livered, but he didn’t compel or force anyone to do anything.

If the story happened as told, it would have been Paul that made a fool of himself.
Last edited by robert j on Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:58 am

robert j wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:54 am
Paul accused Cephas --- to his face and before every one --- of compelling (ἀναγκάζεις) Gentiles to live as Jews (Galatians 2:14). In the story, Cephas was lily-livered, but he didn’t compel or force anyone to do anything.
I think the "force" is supposed to be indirect: Cephas "forces" gentiles to live like Jews insofar as, if they hope to share a table with Jews (which he knows they do), they must do something first. It's the more colloquial use of the term "force," not necessarily one implying the threat of direct violence or whatnot.
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robert j
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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by robert j » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:20 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:58 am
robert j wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:54 am
Paul accused Cephas --- to his face and before every one --- of compelling (ἀναγκάζεις) Gentiles to live as Jews (Galatians 2:14). In the story, Cephas was lily-livered, but he didn’t compel or force anyone to do anything.
I think the "force" is supposed to be indirect: Cephas "forces" gentiles to live like Jews insofar as, if they hope to share a table with Jews (which he knows they do), they must do something first. It's the more colloquial use of the term "force," not necessarily one implying the threat of direct violence or whatnot.
Yes, I agree that interpretation can be read into the story. But if that was Paul’s intention, I think his story was poorly presented in that case as well. I think “compel” is a better fit here than “force” in either case.

I think it is fairly safe to assume that Paul was aiming the “moral of the story” at his Galatian converts. I think that Cephas and the other Jews in Antioch served as examples, or stand-ins of sorts, for the Jews that were trying to convince Paul’s Galatian converts to be circumcised.

But Cephas seems a poor example based on the story in the preceding passage in which the three Pillars, including Cephas and James, did not compel (same Greek term) the Greek believer Titus to be circumcised. And the Pillars agreed to grant the mission to the Gentiles to Paul. Paul claimed the Pillars did not add anything to what he proclaimed among the Gentiles (that Gentiles could be full participants with the God of Israel without circumcision or the rituals).

I think I get the drift of Paul’s story set in Antioch --- I just think he did a poor job of making his point.

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Re: No Christology in the Q community

Post by Michael BG » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:53 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:12 pm
to Michael BG,
It is much more likely that Luke has put these verses on Jesus’ lips for religious reasons and to justify the claim that Jesus’ ministry was only a year long.
Absolutely. That's what I always thought, Isaiah & all.
It was you who claimed –
"Mark" might have implied one year, but "Luke" was more precise for this one year because of Lk 4:19.
As you agree with me, you should not use Lk 4:19 as evidence that Jesus’ ministry was one year, which was what you were doing!
Bernard Muller wrote:
Do you therefore accept the premise I set out (amended for you) – it would be wrong to think that John created his stories out of new cloth rather than concluding that he knew Mark and Luke when the gospel was completed?
That's what I said. "John" knew gMark, then gLuke, then Acts before the gospel was completed (http://historical-jesus.info/jnintro.html).
The conclusion to draw is that John’s stories do not agree with Mark and Luke but this is not evidence that John didn’t know Mark and Luke. Therefore we cannot use the fact that Acts disagrees with Paul’s letters to conclude that Luke didn’t know Paul’s letters.
Let's not generalize again: Acts is not gJohn. Every ancient Christian texts has their own particular make up.
About "Luke" not knowing the main Pauline epistles, I put forth my arguments in the two web pages I already posted earlier. And your so-called "evidence" is rather remote, peripheral, not direct, far from that.
Your argument is:

With so much differences (sometimes conflict) between the different accounts of the same events, it is very unlikely "Luke" knew about the Pauline epistles. There is no way "Luke" could have afforded to make the drastic changes & embellishments if Paul's letters were readily available in the community
This is flawed logic. You should not make such a sweeping assumption. We do not know what was known in the community. If Matthew, Luke and John could make drastic changes and embellishments from Mark there is no reason why Luke could not do the same from Paul’s letters. We have the evidence of the changes made in the gospels and this should lead people to see what could be done.

You should treat the methodology of Luke and John the same and not assume that Luke couldn’t do what John did.

To believe that Luke gives correct historical references is against your own methodology. You have made an ill-substantiated assumption (n), you have accepted “unproven claims” (p) and you have overlooked Luke’s pervious errors and not used these to determine how Luke operates (h).
Bernard Muller wrote:
Would you consider Patrick’s missionary work in Ireland to be too long a period?
Would you consider 7 years to do missionary work in the tiny kingdom of Kent too long a period?
Would you consider the 38 years that Boniface spent doing missionary work in Frisia and Germania too long a period?
I don't care. I did not study that. And that depends of what evidence we have on these three cases.
You wrote
And fourteen years is an abnormal long time for preaching in the cities of Syria & Cilicia.
This is an opinion. It doesn’t seem to be based on any evidence on how long we should expect someone to be preaching in Syria and Cilicia. Was the population of Syria when Paul was there larger than the population of Frisia and Germania? I think so. Therefore spending 14 years preaching to a larger population does not seem an abnormally long time.
Bernard Muller wrote: For the 14 years of Paul's preaching in Syria & Cilicia, what you have for evidence your wish these three verses (Gal 1:22,23,24) should not be here or your consideration they are an aside.
If you want to see verses "aside", verse Gal 1:21 should be included, understanding that the events in Gal 1:21,22,23,24 are within the 14 years period but not necessarily populate the whole 14 years period.
You are being inconsistent in not applying the time period to each geographical location. If you read it that Paul was in Arabia and Damascus for 3 years, then to be consistent you should read it that Paul was in Syria and Cilicia for 14 years.

In some translations verse 20 is in brackets because it is an aside. Paul often does asides.
The words between the “then”s are was happened in the 14 years. When Paul was in Syria and Cilicia he was unknown by sight to the churches of Christ in Judea, the only knowledge they had of him was hearsay, firstly that that he tried to stop people believing the "faith" in the past and for the 14 years he was preaching the "faith". The whole section is covered by the 14 years. If we didn’t have Acts why would you read it in any other way?
Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:39 pm
This thread has been exploding in many directions.
However since I am feeling rather secure about Jesus being crucified in 28, according to my research (as explained in http://historical-jesus.info/appa.html & http://historical-jesus.info/appb.html
You should not feel secure with your 28 date as it is based on one line from Luke.
Bernard Muller wrote: - Such as to explain why John the Baptist suddenly gets very popular and the Romans let crowds to meet him. See http://historical-jesus.info/digest.html.
I couldn’t get to the link on your page http://historical-jesus.info/hjes1x.html in section 10 where you say you present the case against John the Baptist being arrested and executed c. 35 AD.

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