Understanding the Christian Story

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:14 pm

But Paul’s letters
I admit it's a weak argument but I strongly suspect that no biographical information of Paul was contained in the Marcionite recension of the letters based on what Irenaeus says in 3.11 - 16 and Tertullian at the beginning of Book 5. Of course the statement in Book 4 that Marcion learned about Paul's fight with the apostles over his written gospel from Galatians contradicts that understanding. But I don't think this is a plausible explanation of why there are differences between the Marcionite and orthodox recensions. If anything it questions Irenaeus and Tertullian's methodology.
“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
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by robert j » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:48 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:14 pm
robert j wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:51 pm

... But Paul’s letters ...
I admit it's a weak argument ...
Well, that's more from you than I expected.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:15 am

I'm getting older
“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

davidmartin
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by davidmartin » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:41 am

John2 wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:54 am
Is this an anti-Marcionite interpolation or is Acts reflecting what Paul wrote here? To me the latter would make more sense, since orthodox Christians rejected Jewish Christianity and Torah observance, and thus it's hard for me to accept that they would "Judaize" Christians writings to counter Marcion (or for any reason).
There is one good reason why orthodox Christians would 'Judaize' things
The early church fathers were almost obsessively reliant on the Jewish bible and keen to be the literal inheritors of it, and the new covenant people replacing Jews. This is very bold when you think about it but that's because we are used to this i think
The Jewish bible is their primary source material to begin with

To connect and reinforce the link between the early Christians and Judaism was essential for them

John2
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:39 am

davidmartin wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:41 am
John2 wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:54 am
Is this an anti-Marcionite interpolation or is Acts reflecting what Paul wrote here? To me the latter would make more sense, since orthodox Christians rejected Jewish Christianity and Torah observance, and thus it's hard for me to accept that they would "Judaize" Christians writings to counter Marcion (or for any reason).
There is one good reason why orthodox Christians would 'Judaize' things
The early church fathers were almost obsessively reliant on the Jewish bible and keen to be the literal inheritors of it, and the new covenant people replacing Jews. This is very bold when you think about it but that's because we are used to this i think
The Jewish bible is their primary source material to begin with

To connect and reinforce the link between the early Christians and Judaism was essential for them

That is a good point and one I've been bearing in mind. I should thus more aptly say that orthodox Christians were "semi-Judaizers" in that respect, but they were still opposed to Torah observance, so they were in the same boat with Marcionites in that respect. If I recall correctly, orthodox Christians opposed Marcionites for rejecting the OT and the OT God and not for rejecting Torah observance (though I suppose they could have argued that because of their rejection of the OT, but did they?).

And Jesus' pro-Torah stance (for Jews) in the gospels (at least in Mark, Matthew and Luke) and that of Jewish Christians in Acts makes me think that these writings pre-date Marcionites and orthodox Christians, and it's to such a degree that I find it implausible that either of them could be responsible for creating these writings (though they do appear to have tinkered with them to some extent, and the former more than the latter).

Jesus is pro-Torah observance in Mark, Matthew and Luke, as are Jewish Christians after him (including Paul in Acts, however insincere he may have been, as per 1 Cor. 9:20). Take what Acts says about Ananias in 22:12-15, for example:

There [in Damascus was] a man named Ananias, a devout observer of the law who was highly regarded by all the Jews living there ... he said, "The God of our fathers has appointed you [Paul] to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear his voice. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard."



This is Jewish Christianity in a nutshell, of the very sort that is condemned by orthodox Christians, and it's after Jesus' death, no less. This, along with other indications, tells me that the latter could not have created (and likely post-date) Acts.


Take Acts 21:20-24 for another example:

Then they [Jewish Christian leaders] said to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. But they are under the impression that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe our customs ... Therefore do what we advise you. There are four men with us who have taken a vow. Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses so they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that there is no truth to these rumors about you, but that you also live in obedience to the law."



I don't know why orthodox Christians came to use Acts, or even Mark, Matthew and Luke. To me it looks like they and Marcionites liked what Paul taught to Gentiles and then viewed these writings through that lens, with the orthodox explaining away or ignoring their pro-Torah stance and Marcionites excising it (and to such a degree that they rejected Acts entirely).

With respect to their pro-Torah observance stance, Mark, Matthew, Luke and Acts do not support the agendas of orthodox Christians or Marcionites, at least not wihtout some intervention on their parts (an interpolation or explanation here or an excision there). But I woukd say that orthodox Chrisitans at least preserved these writings in more of their original state than Marcionites did and that it appears to have involved (in addition to whatever interpolations and excisons they made) ignoring or explaining away the pro-Torah observance stance that remains in them. And they did the same thing with the OT.
The move about is all we do.

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