WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
StephenGoranson
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WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by StephenGoranson » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:21 am

The Social Worlds of Early Christians: A Symposium in Honor of L.
Michael White is a free online conference in honor of the retirement
of L. Michael White, the Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Religious
Studies and Classics at the University of Texas at Austin, Director of
the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins, and
Director of the excavations at the ancient synagogue of Ostia Antica
in Italy.

The symposium will be part asynchronous and part synchronous.
Pre-recorded video presentations will be uploaded to the conference
website on October 23rd: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www ... BhOgzmZgIk$ . Presenters
include David Balch, Ross Kraemer, Stanley Stowers, John T.
Fitzgerald, Gregory E. Sterling, Clare Rothschild, Michele Salzman,
Angela Standhartinger, Jennifer Knust, Emma Wasserman, Geoffrey Smith,
Brent Landau, Tony Keddie, Mary Jane Cuyler, Jaimie Gunderson, Jin
Young Kim, and Brad King.

On October 24th, anyone who has registered will have access to live
Zoom panel discussions of the video presentations (the panels are
scheduled intermittently throughout the day) as well as to an
interview with L. Michael White (moderated by Douglas Boin), which
will conclude the symposium.

All are welcome to this free online event. Please register here:
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www ... BhOi-yXzTO$ .

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Secret Alias
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:51 am

Michael White is one of the good ones. Nice guy.
“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

StephenGoranson
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by StephenGoranson » Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:48 am

From the zoom symposium, I have watched/listened (just once, so far) to very interesting recorded presentations by Brent Landau and then (in the schedule sequence) Geoffrey Smith. Thanks for this symposium! Here, some very provisional and perhaps partly mistaken first reactions
Brent Landau stressed that there are several relevant photographs, black and white sets (plural, some not yet published) and a color set. He says that the better--but not great resolution--color photos can allow for better analysis of the ms than has been presented so far. But he does not--unless I missed it!--give a single example of such better paleographical analysis. That was, to me, the most disappointing aspect of his presentation. Landau, quite correctly, dismissed several of the claims (though not all of them!) for modern forgery as weak. He mentioned that there has been little attention to the unproven “Smith had a handwriting accomplice” proposal. It was unclear whether he has read Yonatan Moss’s presentation which claimed precisely that—though, I caution, what would be a motivation for such a putative unproven accomplice? He does mention the useful published contribution co-authored by Stephan Hüller. My question for Landau in the discussion to follow: please give an example of better analysis of the ms.
Landau did not mention Smith’s aggressively snarky humor, as, to mention just one of several possible examples, in his HTR article title about the (game-playing language) “score” after a decade, nor Smith’s possible over-estimate of how supposedly widely accepted was the letter as genuine Clement. Nor did he mention the interpretation of letters to Scholem about his work on Clement and a planned book on Mark as relevant here, and the soon-after claims to Scholem (wisely not fully accepted by him, along with A. D. Nock). Landau does not attribute the manuscript to Smith. But hints, if that’s the right term, at a setting sometime before Smith but not very ancient.
Geoffrey Smith gave a very helpful presentation in which—rather persuasively, to my mind—he argued that is really quite highly likely that whoever wrote the putative Clement letter—“Clement” in his usage—did so after and using Eusebius’ Church History written in the 320s, long after Clement’s death. (Also, if Clement had known such a tradition about Mark in Alexandria, would not Origen also have known?)
(Jennifer Knust also gave a quite fine presentation on John Baptist related geography.)

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Secret Alias
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:32 am

TBH I only prevented the documents from being thrown in a trash compactor. Gullotta should get the academic credit. He's a remarkably good writer.

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Secret Alias
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:16 am

Another thing. I don't agree with the Eusebius argument. Egyptian Christianity is at least as old as our earliest Patristic sources. Our information about Christianity ultimately come from Rome and Asia Minor - to a large part because Irenaeus had ties with those locations. For whatever reason Irenaeus wasn't interested or didn't draw much positive information about earlier Christianity from Egypt. Sort of like the way election coverage focuses on Wisconsin more than California even though the latter is more important outside of the electoral college. Maybe future historians will read newspapers and imagine that California didn't exist or wasn't that important if all that survived were newspapers from an election cycle.

For whatever reason Egyptian Christianity isn't invited to the table and when emissaries come they are inevitably heretical. Surely there must have been a late first century Egyptian Christian tradition. Mark was likely the banner that tradition developed.

If Eusebius is a reliable source he drew his information about Egyptian Christianity at least in part from traditional Egyptian sources. If he is an unreliable source there still was an Egyptian Christianity for which we have little information. Not sure why parallels between Clement and Eusebius mean that Eusebius was the Letter to Theodore's source. I mean I get why the argument is made as a tactic but it rings hollow. No one says that parallels between Eusebius and other sources mean that Eusebius was the source. It's a mountainman argument. Internet trolls use the same logic to say that the canon was invented in the fourth century.

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:11 am

Also:
I agree about Eusebius, and would go so far as to say that many of the dates he gives for figures from the first half of the second century are best guesses.
But the Letter to Theodore can't be based only on information from Eusebius. Eusebius as far as I know doesn't mention the Church of St Mark which was a prominent feature of the Alexandrian coastline before the engineering efforts of Nasser. My friend Harry Tzalas, a Greek who grew up in Alexandria remembers seeing the ruins of the church when he played on Chatby beach. He's spent his life trying to keep memory of this central object in Christian Alexandria through underwater archaeological efforts https://www.ancientportsantiques.com/wp ... as2018.pdf

As such it is untrue to say that the author of the Letter to Theodore exclusively drew upon things said in Eusebius. He either grew up in Alexandria or took an interest in obscure literature related to early Alexandria Christianity or like Harry, visited Alexandria before the time of Nasser.

Eusebius's statement in Book 2 DOES NOT MENTION a church founded in Alexandria in his name:
And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life.
Reading this you'd just assume that Egyptian Christianity and its earliest structures (plural) were founded by Mark. No mention of a Church of St Mark in Alexandria as in to Theodore:
But when Peter died a martyr, Mark came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those of Peter, from which ... he composed a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected ... Nevertheless, he yet did not divulge the things not to be uttered ... (which would) lead the hearers into the innermost sanctuary of that truth hidden by seven veils. Thus, in sum, he prepared matters, neither grudgingly nor incautiously, in my opinion, and, dying, he left his composition to the church in Alexandria (τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ ἐνἈλεξανδρείᾳ), where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.

But since the foul demons are always devising destruction for the race of men, Carpocrates, instructed by them and using deceitful arts, so enslaved a certain presbyter of the church in Alexandria that he got from him a copy of the secret Gospel, which he both interpreted according to his blasphemous and carnal doctrine and, moreover, polluted, mixing with the spotless and holy words utterly shameless lies.
The Church of St Mark in Alexandria was beating heart of Egyptian Christianity, the place where the throne of St Mark was found, the seat from which Arius drew his authority. There is no inkling of this situation from Eusebius. Eusebius entirely skips over the notion that Mark founded an Egyptian tradition centered in a physical structure in eastern Alexandria. Tselikas's excavations have confirmed the significance of the location with large numbers of adjacent buildings which he takes to be other Christian buildings.

If the text is a forgery the History of the Patriarchs must also have been one of the sources of the author:
In the year 646 , the Muslims captured Alexandria , and they burned the Church of St . Mark , which was built by the sea where his body was laid , and this was the church to which the father, the patriarch Peter the Martyr, went before his martyrdom and blessed St. Mark.
If not the History of the Patriarchs, perhaps the Martyrdom of Pope Peter or various fifth through seventh century texts. But it's not possible that Eusebius is the forgers sole source. And I think this was Oden's point. You can't simply view this as an attempt to forge Clement. The author doesn't need to get into the stuff about the Church of St Mark as the center of Egyptian Christianity. There is a subtle but pronounced understanding of Alexandria as the seat of a rival tradition, a tradition rival to the authority of Rome. Oden sees it. I see it. If it is a forgery and the author was simply using Eusebius he would have said that Mark went to Lake Marout and settled among the Therapeuts and wrote his gospel there. The author understands and accepts Alexandrian independence from Rome. He doesn't shout it from the rooftop. That's not the Alexandrian (secret) way.

For what is the story about Mark telling us? That there's more to Christianity and the Christian gospel than the four texts Irenaeus bundled together. It may well have also been a subtle attempt of Clement to argue for Alexandrian independence after the model of Polycarp. If Anicetus could agree to disagree about the calculation of Easter maybe that approach could be extended to the authority of the canon. At least that seems to be his intention as I read it. The ancient edition of don't ask, don't tell ...

andrewcriddle
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:54 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:11 am
Also:
I agree about Eusebius, and would go so far as to say that many of the dates he gives for figures from the first half of the second century are best guesses.
But the Letter to Theodore can't be based only on information from Eusebius. Eusebius as far as I know doesn't mention the Church of St Mark which was a prominent feature of the Alexandrian coastline before the engineering efforts of Nasser. My friend Harry Tzalas, a Greek who grew up in Alexandria remembers seeing the ruins of the church when he played on Chatby beach. He's spent his life trying to keep memory of this central object in Christian Alexandria through underwater archaeological efforts https://www.ancientportsantiques.com/wp ... as2018.pdf

As such it is untrue to say that the author of the Letter to Theodore exclusively drew upon things said in Eusebius. He either grew up in Alexandria or took an interest in obscure literature related to early Alexandria Christianity or like Harry, visited Alexandria before the time of Nasser.

Eusebius's statement in Book 2 DOES NOT MENTION a church founded in Alexandria in his name:
And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life.
Reading this you'd just assume that Egyptian Christianity and its earliest structures (plural) were founded by Mark. No mention of a Church of St Mark in Alexandria as in to Theodore:
But when Peter died a martyr, Mark came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those of Peter, from which ... he composed a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected ... Nevertheless, he yet did not divulge the things not to be uttered ... (which would) lead the hearers into the innermost sanctuary of that truth hidden by seven veils. Thus, in sum, he prepared matters, neither grudgingly nor incautiously, in my opinion, and, dying, he left his composition to the church in Alexandria (τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ ἐνἈλεξανδρείᾳ), where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.

But since the foul demons are always devising destruction for the race of men, Carpocrates, instructed by them and using deceitful arts, so enslaved a certain presbyter of the church in Alexandria that he got from him a copy of the secret Gospel, which he both inKterpreted according to his blasphemous and carnal doctrine and, moreover, polluted, mixing with the spotless and holy words utterly shameless lies.
The Church of St Mark in Alexandria was beating heart of Egyptian Christianity, the place where the throne of St Mark was found, the seat from which Arius drew his authority. There is no inkling of this situation from Eusebius. Eusebius entirely skips over the notion that Mark founded an Egyptian tradition centered in a physical structure in eastern Alexandria. Tselikas's excavations have confirmed the significance of the location with large numbers of adjacent buildings which he takes to be other Christian buildings.

If the text is a forgery the History of the Patriarchs must also have been one of the sources of the author:
In the year 646 , the Muslims captured Alexandria , and they burned the Church of St . Mark , which was built by the sea where his body was laid , and this was the church to which the father, the patriarch Peter the Martyr, went before his martyrdom and blessed St. Mark.
If not the History of the Patriarchs, perhaps the Martyrdom of Pope Peter or various fifth through seventh century texts. But it's not possible that Eusebius is the forgers sole source. And I think this was Oden's point. You can't simply view this as an attempt to forge Clement. The author doesn't need to get into the stuff about the Church of St Mark as the center of Egyptian Christianity. There is a subtle but pronounced understanding of Alexandria as the seat of a rival tradition, a tradition rival to the authority of Rome. Oden sees it. I see it. If it is a forgery and the author was simply using Eusebius he would have said that Mark went to Lake Marout and settled among the Therapeuts and wrote his gospel there. The author understands and accepts Alexandrian independence from Rome. He doesn't shout it from the rooftop. That's not the Alexandrian (secret) way.

For what is the story about Mark telling us? That there's more to Christianity and the Christian gospel than the four texts Irenaeus bundled together. It may well have also been a subtle attempt of Clement to argue for Alexandrian independence after the model of Polycarp. If Anicetus could agree to disagree about the calculation of Easter maybe that approach could be extended to the authority of the canon. At least that seems to be his intention as I read it. The ancient edition of don't ask, don't tell ...
I don't think EKKLHSIA here can mean a physical church building in Alexandria, it must mean the Alexandrian church as an institution.

Andrew Criddle

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Secret Alias
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:46 am

But then the passage has even less dependence on Eusebius

Τοῦτον δὲ Μάρκον πρῶτόν φασιν ἐπὶ τῆς Αἰγύπτου στειλάμενον, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, ὃ δὴ καὶ συνεγράψατο, κηρῦξαι, ἐκκλησίας τε πρῶτον ἐπ' αὐτῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας συστήσασθαι. 2.16.2 Τοσαύτη δ' ἄρα τῶν αὐτόθι πεπιστευκότων πληθὺς ἀνδρῶν τε καὶ γυναικῶν ἐκ πρώτης ἐπιβολῆς συνέστη δι' ἀσκήσεως φιλοσοφωτάτης τε καὶ σφοδροτάτης, ὡς καὶ γραφῆς αὐτῶν ἀξιῶσαι τὰς διατριβὰς καὶ τὰς συνηλύσεις τά τε συμπόσια καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν ἄλλην τοῦ βίου ἀγωγὴν τὸν Φίλωνα

The assembly and the physical place where the Athenians gathered was called ἐκκλησῐ́ᾱ

StephenGoranson
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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by StephenGoranson » Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:04 am

I found Geoffrey Smith’s presentation the more informative of the two.
If Mark founded Egyptian Christianity, why is the Gospel of Mark so comparatively scantly attested in Egyptian papyri?

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Re: WEBINARS: The Social Worlds of Early Christians (Oct. 23-24, 2020)

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:07 am

You confound familiarity with authenticity and originality. Hence your adherence to this barbarity.

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