I hate to disappoint, but most of my recent investigations have been been hitting dead ends. I have, for example, been trying to piece together what is going on with James the Just, the other "brothers of the Lord," and the δεσπόσυνοι, but none of my reconstructions seem to come out measurably better than other reconstructions which draw conclusions opposite to mine. I mean, my reconstruction seems viable, but I cannot articulate very many or very good reasons for preferring it over others.
I can relate what may be my most promising recent insight, if you can forgive it being virtually skeletal in its details so far. I wrote in the OP on that thread:
I have obviously given Philippians 2.5-11 a great deal of thought, and it has struck me that I have no real way of demonstrating whether it predates Paul (who incorporated it into his epistle), it was composed by Paul (whether for this exact epistolary context or for some other context and he decided to include it here), or it postdates Paul (as an interpolation). Verses 6-7 have apparently been identified as an interpolation by Ernst Barnikol, though I am not familiar with his argument, and verses 9-11 have been identified as an interpolation by our own Stuart. The phrase "even death on a cross" in verse 8 has been suspected as a gloss by many different researchers. A very common approach to the pericope, even when it is taken as a whole, is to regard it as independent of and prior to Paul, who merely incorporated it into his letter. Methodologically, however, if we are willing to countenance somebody other than Paul as the author, then it is at least possible that it postdates Paul instead of predating him. If David Trobisch and others are correct that our extant manuscripts of the Pauline epistles derive from early editions, rather than from the autograph itself, then we ought not to expect to find manuscript evidence of interpolations which preceded those editions. The combination of the seemingly proven willingness of some Christians to interpolate authoritative texts and the distinct possibility that our ability to investigate their individual textual histories comes to a screeching halt somewhere in century II forces us, even if against our will, to allow for a lot of possibilities which may rest on what would in other circumstances have to be regarded as flimsy evidence.I also find it interesting that Parvus has identified, not only 1 Corinthians 2.6-9, but also Philippians 2.5-11 as part of a secondary layer in the Pauline epistles. I have been slowly thinking along the same lines myself with respect to both passages, which seem closer in spirit to some of the deutero-Paulines than to the Pauline stuff that I think I can demonstrate to be earlier and probably primary.
The possibility that I have in mind here is that the Jesus Hymn is an interpolation. My only reason for suspecting it as one (besides its distinctness from its immediate context, of course) is that the atmosphere that it seems to breathe more closely resembles the epistles thought to be spurious (such as Colossians and Ephesians) than those genuinely regarded as genuine (including Philippians, which has long been susceptible to partition theories). This is not much to go on, I freely admit. I would love to have more evidence (one way or another), but I am not sure that any exists.
There is more evidence for 1 Corinthians 2.6-9 being an interpolation, not on its own, but rather as part of a longer interpolation: 1 Corinthians 2.6-16.
Now, both of these passages were integral to my idea that Christ was once thought of as a crucified slave. So was Romans 13.1-7, often argued to be an interpolation. And so was 1 Peter 2.13-24, which already has much in common with the spurious Pauline epistles. The point is: that entire "crucifixion of a slave" idea of mine rests upon passages that I cannot with any confidence assign to Paul himself, or as early as Paul, or even to the period of time before the fall of Jerusalem. I was beginning to doubt that it had any merit whatsoever as an expression of early Christian thought.
However, it occurred to me that I had never really explained how Peter and Paul or anyone could be so impossibly naïve as to suggest that rulers are never a threat to those who follow the law. It seemed improbable, of course, that someone familiar with the crucifixion of a blameless Jesus Christ by the ruling authorities, or someone who was even vaguely aware of persecutions of Christians at the hands of the law, could have penned these passages, but honestly: it seemed improbable that anyone could have penned those passages. How could someone have been so sublimely clueless about what can happen in the ordinary course of legal (in)justice?
One thought led to another, and I now suspect that these passages were not penned as general instructions applicable to all times and places, even if later Christians may have read them that way (and simultaneously blunted their impact by acknowledging that sometimes the authorities can be wrong). Rather, they were penned in reaction to a very specific event or set of events.
Let me back up a bit and call our attention to the liberation movement extant in Judea before the fateful war with Rome. We know that there were Judeans who advocated violence against Rome; they later became the sicarii and the zealots whose blades led to bloody conflict. We also know that there were Judeans who advocated against such violence, to the point of being accused of collaborating with Rome: the Sadducees, for example. But I think we also know that there were Judeans who neither collaborated with Rome nor espoused violence against Rome. Many of them were apocalypticists who preached that God himself would overthrow Rome without any necessary human intervention. My argument would be that these kinds of Judeans counted among their ranks those responsible for the synoptic apocalypse, which advises people, not to fight, but rather to run when things begin to get hot, and which announces that the Son of Man himself will put things right after a period of tribulation. Some of the sign prophets would fall kind of in between these apocalypticists and the outright revolutionaries: they wanted to jumpstart the eschatological process, like an active revolutionary, but they did so by marching in hope that God himself would part the Jordan or make the walls fall, like a more passive apocalypticist. There also seem to have been other groups who were waiting for God himself to inaugurate the fight, but who were then going to join in once it was underway.
From among this spectrum of possible reactions to Rome, there would certainly have been ideological winners and losers once Jerusalem had fallen. Anyone who had suggested that taking up arms against Rome was the best way to get the eschatological calendar to turn its page from "this present age" to "the age to come" would have been proven wrong in the most humiliating fashion that history has to offer. Anyone who had suggested a more peaceful path or a "wait and see" approach, on the other hand, would get to deliver a resounding "I told you so" to the revolutionary wing of the movement. At the very least, they would be able to hold up the revolutionaries (however many of them may have remained) as an object lesson. And it seems to me that the texts I had used to identify that "crucified slave" strain of Christianity may well be the "I told you so" or object lesson I am talking about:
- Romans 13.1-7 would not be an example of innocent naïveté about the authorities; rather, it would be an indictment of the revolutionary spirit. It is not mainly about the individual's standing with any given state; rather, it is about the movement's/church's standing with Rome, which history had just proven "does not bear the sword for nothing," and which was, in fact, "a minister of God" (in the same way that Babylon and Assyria were viewed as instruments of God by some of the prophets) "who brings wrath" (in the form of the total defeat of Jerusalem). It makes more sense to me that the naïveté on display here should be deliberate and calculating than that it should be genuinely ignorant.
- Philippians 2.5-11 casts Jesus as (someone in the form of) a slave/servant who was crucified. This could be a way of making sure that Jesus was not thought of as one of those revolutionaries whom Rome so handily dealt with. "See? He was a servant/slave, exactly as predicted by Isaiah. He was no zealot."
- 1 Peter 2.13-24 both evinces the same brand of naïveté as Romans 13.1-7 and also discusses the imitatio Christi, not in the section about submitting to the authorities, but rather in the section about slaves obeying their masters. Two birds with one stone: Christ was a servant, not a revolutionary, and one ought to obey the authorities, so as to avoid the fate suffered by revolutionaries.
- 1 Corinthians 2.6-9 may be interpreted in line with almost any thesis presented. The rulers may be human, or they may be demonic; if demonic, their influence may be direct, or it may be indirect. So I doubt that this passage was written specifically in reaction to the revolutionary spirit; rather, it is merely compatible (at least potentially) with the other passages under discussion. (I have a lot of work to do as yet on this passage and on similar passages from the Ascension of Isaiah, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and others.)
And that may well be the case. Certain churches in Judea, including the Jerusalem one, may have been the principal targets for these sorts of texts.
At any rate, if this thesis is correct, then this whole stratum of passages may well postdate 70 and be, indeed, a direct reaction to the events of that year. (That "if," as usual, is a pretty big one.)