Paul baptizes “twelve”

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Irish1975
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Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:49 pm


Acts 19:

It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples [τινας μαθητὰς]. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether [a]there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men. [ἦσαν δὲ οἱ πάντες ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ δώδεκα.]

Is this a strange way to end the story?

By the way, reader, the number of those guys was TWELVE. Not that that number means anything. I just wanted you to know how many they were. Approximately.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:29 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:49 pm

Acts 19:

It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples [τινας μαθητὰς]. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether [a]there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men. [ἦσαν δὲ οἱ πάντες ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ δώδεκα.]

Is this a strange way to end the story?

By the way, reader, the number of those guys was TWELVE. Not that that number means anything. I just wanted you to know how many they were. Approximately.
I have wondered that very thing. On this forum somewhere I once speculated that it might be a garbled reference to the Twelve, but I have precisely zero confidence in that speculation.

Early on in Acts, the author likes to count crowds (Acts 1.15; 2.41; 4.4), but that trend does not continue, and it is nowhere else a figure as low as twelve.

Luke-Acts as a corpus also likes to estimate numbers or amounts with ὡσεί (Luke 3.23; 9.14 [×2], 28; 22.41, 59; 23.44; Acts 1.15; 2.41; 10.3; 19.7), a trend which includes the verse at issue. I have wondered aloud before whether this preference might not be a way of historicizing numbers which the author suspected might be purely symbolic in origin. (This would apply mainly to the smaller sums; for large crowds it might just be for the same reason, or for the verisimilitude of the reason, that most people estimate the number: large crowds are hard to count perfectly.)
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Irish1975
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:55 pm

Interesting that throwing numbers around is a pattern in Luke-Acts.
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:29 pm
I have wondered that very thing. On this forum somewhere I once speculated that it might be a garbled reference to the Twelve, but I have precisely zero confidence in that speculation.
So in this story Luke seems to use these nameless disciples to bring together various issues:

1) The baptism of John (Gospels) vs. baptism into Christ (Pauline epistles) vs. baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts).

2) The controversy or tension between Paul and Apollos at Corinth, as reflected in the early chapters of 1 Corinthians, in which various significances of baptism played a role.

3) The gifting of the holy spirit, which in Acts 2 is the event of Pentacost, not directly tied to baptism, whereas in the Pauline churches the holy spirit is received in baptism. “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...” (1 Cor 12:13). In this story, and a few others in Acts, Luke seems to distinguish the two while also bringing them closely together in various ways, particularly when Paul is concerned (since he wasn’t there at Pentacost).

If the mention of “twelve” does indeed resurrect the all-consuming “battle of the apostles,” then we might add:

4) Luke quietly agreeing with Paul against e.g. the James of the epistle of James, that there is more to following Jesus than simply correct teaching and acknowledgement of Jesus’ messiahship, which Apollos also enjoys. That is, receiving the HS through a proper Christian baptism in the name of Jesus (although the later Church would later side with the trinitarian formula in Matthew 28 and the Didache) is essential for Christians. Paul got this right, but the “twelve” did not.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:22 am

I would agree with Stahl, here:
  • the Mandeans (followers of John) hated the holy spirit (and its effects) and the evil demiurge YHWH.
  • Hence, they were made converted by the holy spirit by the episode of Acts 19:1-7. They were twelwe-ized, i.e. judaized.
  • Revelation 2:2 adresses the Judaizers of Ephesus:
    I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

  • Greg Doudna is right: that John is not John the Baptist, but the Gnostic John from Ephesus
  • Despite the warning of Revelation 2:2, that John of Ephesus succeed to be confused with an apostle, and even with John the Baptist, a sincere adorer of YHWH!
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Irish1975
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Irish1975 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:00 am

That’s a good connection, Giuseppe, thanks. The name “John” is just as slippery and polysemic as “James” or “Mary.” It’s certainly possible that Luke would be alluding to a John in Ephesus.

I recently got hold of Simone Petrement’s book “A Separate God,” which postulates a Christian origin for gnosticism. He makes quite a lot of both Apollos and the church in Ephesus.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:42 am

I am curious about your view on John the Baptist in Josephus.
Irish1975 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:00 am
I recently got hold of Simone Petrement’s book “A Separate God,” which postulates a Christian origin for gnosticism. He makes quite a lot of both Apollos and the church in Ephesus.
My fear, about who assumes a Christian origin for gnosticism, is that they do so to make the figure of the historical Jesus greater, as founder of two religions (!) and not only of one.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Irish1975
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Irish1975 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:58 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:42 am
I am curious about your view on John the Baptist in Josephus.
Can you be more specific?
Irish1975 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:00 am
I recently got hold of Simone Petrement’s book “A Separate God,” which postulates a Christian origin for gnosticism. He makes quite a lot of both Apollos and the church in Ephesus.
My fear, about who assumes a Christian origin for gnosticism, is that they do so to make the figure of the historical Jesus greater, as founder of two religions (!) and not only of one.
I take the opposite view. If “original Christianity,” whatever that was, birthed two incompatible religions, then it seems to me less likely that it got started by a historical man as the redeemer figure. Much more probable that it started with a polymorphous cult, such as what Paul calls “the church of God.”

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Jax
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Jax » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:36 pm

Important people were attended by 12 lictors in the ancient Roman world.

davidmartin
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by davidmartin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:54 pm

I recently got hold of Simone Petrement’s book “A Separate God,” which postulates a Christian origin for gnosticism. He makes quite a lot of both Apollos and the church in Ephesus.
I recon there was a split among the gnostics
The Trimorphic Protennoia is the best evidence
It was Turner who says the layers of redaction are easy to see in it and the overtly Christian Gnostic stuff is a later stratum
The earlier part appears to contain zero demiurge and a sort of panentheistic worldview (as do other 'gnostic' writings, Thunder is another and GoT + the Odes and the Simonians of Hippolytus)
If the 'original Christians' held this kind of view they would never 'hate YHWH' even if some later Christian Gnostic offshoot with a different cosmology appeared at an early date and maybe that happened
Mary's Christianity vs Gnostic Christianity vs Pauline Christianity vs Ebionite Christianity?

Charles Wilson
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Re: Paul baptizes “twelve”

Post by Charles Wilson » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:33 pm

2nd attempt. Off the radar for awhile, using a smartphone
Like the Lictor above.
If “Paul” is built around Mucianus, “12 Disciples” may be 12 Legions. See Tacitus Histories,Book 4 and Acts

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