Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:53 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:36 am
No, my last clause is that Jesus is the new Melkizedek not because he is from Judash as opposed to Levi, but because he is without birth just as Melkizedek, sharing with him an life forever.
Yes, I know. I was agreeing with you on this. I said so explicitly.
What is the difference, since both are eternal beings?
The difference is merely one of perspective: the assumed figure is the Son of God, whereas Melchizedek is described in terms of the Son of God. If you miss this perspective you may miss what is important to the author; this sort of skewed focus is what bedeviled Doherty's interpretations of Hebrews, and he wound up making claims which were directly contradicted by the text on its account.

I don't think that Melkizedek is a midrashic figure. He was an archangel adored in Qumran, for example.
He was midrashic at Qumran, too. What is he, after all, even here in Hebrews? All of this comes from how he is introduced in Genesis as someone to whom Abraham owed tribute for some reason, and then how he is used in Psalm 110 (OG 109).
Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:36 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:26 am
Lots of Christians thought and still think both that Jesus was born and that he had no beginning of days. It is impossible; and yet millions believe it.
This is an Argument from Snowball: the Christians of today have to accept the entire snowball, not the Christians of yesterday.
First, I love your term for this. :lol:

And I remember thinking much like you before, to the effect that the earliest layers of Christianity had to be simple, and they got more complex only with time. But my thinking was incorrect, because the early Christians did have a snowball which they accepted. They did not start from scratch. They had an entire raft of Jewish speculations to play around with, and the notion, for example, of a divine entity who is also born is found in the Parables of Enoch. Enoch was born; and yet Enoch is somehow the preexistent Son of Man and Anointed One. This weird outlook is probably the result of combining two different perspectives on divinity (manifestation and exaltation), and so is Jesus Christ in early Christianity: the Christ was expected from Judah in many circles (hence his Judahite ancestry in Hebrews), and the Christ was a preexistent being in many overlapping circles (hence his preexistence in Hebrews). The very earliest layers of Christianity are already complex, and that it because it was not a religious novelty.
The interpolator wants us believe that Jesus became the new Melkizedek in virtue of the his not-provenance from Levi (but from Judah), just as Melkizedek didn't come from Levi.
This sentiment is not in the epistle; you are reading it in from elsewhere:

Giuseppe: Jesus was/became of the order of Melchizedek by virtue of his not being from Levi.
Hebrews: Jesus had to be of the order of Melchizedek because he was not from Levi.

Two completely different things.
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:01 am

I will give you this, Giuseppe. One could remove 7.13-14 (not just verse 14 alone) as an interpolation, and the argument would still work. A heavenly son of God would need a special priesthood just as much as any person or entity who was not of Levi.

What I question is why these verses would have to be removed. They fit in perfectly with other aspects of early Christianity, which was already combining different templates and applying them to Jesus.
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:15 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:53 am
The interpolator wants us believe that Jesus became the new Melkizedek in virtue of the his not-provenance from Levi (but from Judah), just as Melkizedek didn't come from Levi.
This sentiment is not in the epistle; you are reading it in from elsewhere:

Giuseppe: Jesus was/became of the order of Melchizedek by virtue of his not being from Levi.
Hebrews: Jesus had to be of the order of Melchizedek because he was not from Levi.

Two completely different things.
When I have written the my view in the post above, I have not put the emphasis on "Jesus was/became" as opposed to "Jesus had to be". Possibly this would help to clarify the my view:

Original author: Jesus had to be of the order of Melkizedek only because he was eternal.

Interpolator: Jesus had to be of the order of Melkizedek because he was not from Levi (just as Melkizedek was not from Levi): as effect, a tribe different from Levi is mentioned to that goal.

Verse 7:15 is 100% genuine and authentic and it goes against the interpolator:
And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

It is as if by divine coincidence (but a real coincidence!), the original author had written in the epistle a confutation of what the interpolator would have inserted later: the interpolator will say that Jesus is the new Melkizedek "on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry" from Judah, the exact thing denied by the original author in verse 7:14.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am

"Not on the basis of his ancestry" is in exact agreement with "he was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests." If being a priest normally requires a certain ancestry, then one requires a different order, one which is "not on the basis of ancestry," in order to be a priest.

I think you are trying to make "not on the basis of his ancestry" mean a different kind of ancestry, but it does not. It merely means that ancestry is irrelevant to this order of priesthood.
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:04 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am
"Not on the basis of his ancestry" is in exact agreement with "he was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests."
note that in the part in yellow it is still the interpolator who is talking.
If being a priest normally requires a certain ancestry, then one requires a different order, one which is "not on the basis of ancestry," in order to be a priest.
yes, but this is a denial not only of a "certain" ancestry, but of any possible ancestry.
I think you are trying to make "not on the basis of his ancestry" mean a different kind of ancestry,
precisely. I interpret it as meaning: totally beyond any possible provenance from this or that tribe. Whereas you interpret it as meaning: totally beyond the (only) provenance from one tribe: Levi. Hence leaving open the possibility that someone coming from a tribe different from LEVI could still become a new Melkizedek. Hence your error is to make the "right based on ancestry" exit from the door, and make it enter again by the window.
It merely means that ancestry is irrelevant to this order of priesthood.
yes bu the ancestry from any tribe, not only from the tribe of Levi.
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:13 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:04 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am
"Not on the basis of his ancestry" is in exact agreement with "he was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests."
note that in the part in yellow it is still the interpolator who is talking.
I know that you think so; it is essential to the meaning of my sentence that you think so. Do you not understand my point even slightly? (Not to agree with it, but just to understand it?)
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:46 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:13 am
Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:04 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am
"Not on the basis of his ancestry" is in exact agreement with "he was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests."
note that in the part in yellow it is still the interpolator who is talking.
I know that you think so; it is essential to the meaning of my sentence that you think so. Do you not understand my point even slightly? (Not to agree with it, but just to understand it?)
If you understand you correctly, you are pointing out the fact that it would seem to be a natural equation to say,

the denial of the right based on ancestry == the provenance from Judah

What raises suspicions here, is that the denial of the right based on ancestry is made by replacing an ancestry from Levi with an ancestry from Judah (hence: still someway a right based on ancestry: how could it be a real denial of the right based on ancestry per se, then?).

And the mere reason given for the replacement is : "Moses spoke nothing concerning priests" from Judah.

Basically, under the my theory, the interpolator used an Argument from Silence: since Moses didn't talk about high priests coming from Judah, then the new Melkizedek has to come from Judah, to deny the right based on ancestry from Levi. He seems a bit apologist here. The basic assumption is that, out of embarrassment, he had to find an expedient to have Jesus as new Melkizedek, and he found only as rational argument the silence of Moses about priests from Judah. All this in a context where the right based on ancestry is despised in 7:15-16.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:57 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:46 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:13 am
Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:04 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am
"Not on the basis of his ancestry" is in exact agreement with "he was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests."
note that in the part in yellow it is still the interpolator who is talking.
I know that you think so; it is essential to the meaning of my sentence that you think so. Do you not understand my point even slightly? (Not to agree with it, but just to understand it?)
If you understand you correctly, you are pointing out the fact that it would seem to be a natural equation to say,

the denial of the right based on ancestry == the provenance from Judah

What raises suspicions here, is that the denial of the right based on ancestry is made by replacing an ancestry from Levi with an ancestry from Judah (hence: still someway a right based on ancestry: how could it be a real denial of the right based on ancestry per se, then?).

And the mere reason given for the replacement is : "Moses spoke nothing concerning priests" from Judah.

Basically, under the my theory, the interpolator used an Argument from Silence: since Moses didn't talk about high priests coming from Judah, then the new Melkizedek has to come from Judah, to deny the right based on ancestry from Levi. He seems a bit apologist here. The basic assumption is that, out of embarrassment, he had to find an expedient to have Jesus as new Melkizedek, and he found only as rational argument the silence of Moses about priests from Judah. All this in a context where the right based on ancestry is despised in 7:15-16.
The highlighted part is the bit you are making up; the text says nothing even close to that.

And the Mosaic silence about priests from Judah is an understatement here; Mosaic law prohibits priests from any lineage other than Levite; this is not an argument from silence, and that you think it is an argument from silence is part of the problem here.
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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:24 pm

I see that for you the denial of the right (to be the new Melkizedek) based on ancestry is merely the denial of the provenance from the tribe of Levi. Are you not considering that also the provenance from Judah (as opposed to Levi) is in turn a new form of right based on ancestry?

The problem is not Levi such that one coming from Levi can't be the ideal high priest while one coming from Juda can be the ideal high priest.
The problem is to make the choice of the new ideal high priest a mere function of the his provenance from an earthly tribe.

It is this dependance of the choice of the ideal high priest from any earthly provenance that the author of 7:15-16 is addressing against. He is not addressing merely the role of Levi.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Hebrews 7:14 versus Hebrews 7:3: one of them is an interpolation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:26 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:24 pm
Are you not considering that also the provenance from Judah (as opposed to Levi) is in turn a new form of right based on ancestry?
No, of course not. That is not in the text, nor does it make any cultural sense.
The problem is not Levi such that one coming from Levi can't be the ideal high priest while one coming from Juda can be the ideal high priest.
The problem is to make the choice of the new ideal high priest a mere function of the his provenance from an earthly tribe.
I do not know what this means. The "order of Melchizedek," according to our author, has nothing to do with ancestry. One's physical heritage is off the table.
It is this dependance of the choice of the ideal high priest from any earthly provenance that the author of 7:15-16 is addressing against. He is not addressing merely the role of Levi.
Again, I am not sure what this means. The text is very clear; your words are opaque to me.
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