Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by GakuseiDon » Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:38 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:22 pm
Furthermore, you said
GakuseiDon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:47 am
As Carrier notes, early historicist theology produced works not influenced by the Gospels that are "no less expected on myth as on historicity". The "few things Barnabas says about Jesus are rarely specific and never sourced". If the two types are similar except that one has a few statements -- one or two -- then how to distinguish between them?
But Carrier's comment, "no less expected on myth as on historicity", was in reference to how Epistle of Barnabas "could reflect an example of early historicist theology" [italics mine], so "as such it is no less expected on myth as on historicity and thus makes no difference to their consequents."
Thanks, MrMacSon. I'm afraid I'm not sure what you are saying. Do you think I've misinterpreted Dr Carrier here somehow? If so, how?

The point I'm raising is: Carrier is saying that the Epistle of Barnabas says few things about Jesus, and those things are "rarely specific and never sourced anyway". This, according to Carrier, may reflect an example of early historicist theology.

From this, it seems that, even though the Epistle of Barnabas "assumes the historicity of Jesus", Carrier acknowledges that there is a layer of "early historicist theology" that "few things about Jesus" and either didn't know or wasn't interested in the Gospels. This "is no less expected on myth as on historicity".

Am I representing Carrier fairly here?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:25 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:38 pm
Thanks, MrMacSon. I'm afraid I'm not sure what you are saying. Do you think I've misinterpreted Dr Carrier here somehow? If so, how?

The point I'm raising is: Carrier is saying that the Epistle of Barnabas says few things about Jesus, and those things are "rarely specific and never sourced anyway". This, according to Carrier, may reflect an example of early historicist theology.

From this, it seems that, even though the Epistle of Barnabas "assumes the historicity of Jesus", Carrier acknowledges that there is a layer of "early historicist theology" that "few things about Jesus" and either didn't know or wasn't interested in the Gospels. This "is no less expected on myth as on historicity".

Am I representing Carrier fairly here?
What I always want to know from anyone who would suggest that Barnabas did not know any gospels is what is happening in this verse:

Barnabas 4.14: 14 And still, my brothers, consider: when you observe that Israel was abandoned even after such signs and wonders had occurred in it, we too should pay close attention, lest, as it is written [ώς γέγραπται], we be found “many called, but few chosen [πολλοὶ κλητοί, ὀλίγοι δὲ έκλεκτοίς]” (= Matthew 22.14).

Matthew 22.14: 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen [πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ, ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί].”

I am open to arguments that Barnabas is quoting from some lost apocryphon or some such, but I always find myself wondering whether such arguments are put forward because the evidence demands them or, rather, they are required to save somebody's pet theory of Christian origins.

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:12 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:38 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:22 pm
Furthermore, you said
GakuseiDon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:47 am
As Carrier notes, early historicist theology produced works not influenced by the Gospels that are "no less expected on myth as on historicity". The "few things Barnabas says about Jesus are rarely specific and never sourced". If the two types are similar except that one has a few statements -- one or two -- then how to distinguish between them?
But Carrier's comment, "no less expected on myth as on historicity", was in reference to how Epistle of Barnabas "could reflect an example of early historicist theology" [italics mine], so "as such it is no less expected on myth as on historicity and thus makes no difference to their consequents."
Thanks, MrMacSon. I'm afraid I'm not sure what you are saying. Do you think I've misinterpreted Dr Carrier here somehow? If so, how?

The point I'm raising is: Carrier is saying that the Epistle of Barnabas says few things about Jesus, and those things are "rarely specific and never sourced anyway". This, according to Carrier, may reflect an example of early historicist theology.

From this, it seems that, even though the Epistle of Barnabas "assumes the historicity of Jesus", Carrier acknowledges that there is a layer of "early historicist theology" that "few things about Jesus" and either didn't know or wasn't interested in the Gospels. This "is no less expected on myth as on historicity".

Am I representing Carrier fairly here?
I had noted you recently referring to 'historicist writers' in a few or your recent posts (and saying Carrier and Doherty were referring to them). I was interested in what you were referring to. You gave a specific example. I looked into it. I don't think it's a good one b/c what you seem to be hooking onto - ie. Carrier saying "(which assumes the historicity of Jesus)" - is a somewhat isolated reference to a vague assumption of 'historicity of Jesus' (which may or not be Carrier's assumption, he's not clear) in relation to the Epistle of Barnabas in a footnote, in turn, largely about the dating of it in relation to the dating of the Ignatian letters. What Carrier is saying seems to be very vague as is your reference to and application of "assumes the historicity of Jesus". A text cannot assume: it doesn't not have [cognitive] agency to be able to express that.

I also initially missed the reference to historicist theology, but that's about theology, not about historicity or showing it. And I don't know how something that says little if anything specific about Jesus can be called historicist.

But I am interested in what you might think might be historicist writers of the NT.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by GakuseiDon » Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:12 pm
I had noted you recently referring to 'historicist writers' in a few or your recent posts (and saying Carrier and Doherty were referring to them). I was interested in what you were referring to.
By putting 'historicist' in single quotes, I mean those early writers whom Dr Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers.
MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:12 pm
What Carrier is saying seems to be very vague as is your reference to and application of "assumes the historicity of Jesus". A text cannot assume: it doesn't not have [cognitive] agency to be able to express that.
C'mon, that's a bit silly. Carrier is a poor writer, but not that poor. Give him a break. The convention of using the title of a text to stand in for the author is well accepted. I don't see anything wrong in him using that expression there.

My point is that Carrier recognises the vagueness of details about Jesus in 'historicist' texts, but misses the implications of this.
MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:12 pm
I also initially missed the reference to historicist theology, but that's about theology, not about historicity or showing it. And I don't know how something that say little if anything specific about Jesus can be called historicist.

But I am interested in what you might think might be historicist writers of the NT.
I lean towards ALL the writers of the NT and early Christianity as being historicists, though proving it in the absence of explicit statements in the texts is very difficult. My point is that the ones missing details about Jesus's life are so similar to the ones that are deemed 'historicist' texts -- which have only vague details about Jesus on earth, and usually only a single statement at that -- that it is easy to flip one side for another with but a simple addition or subtraction of a single vague statement about Jesus. My analysis rests not on that single statement, but on the rest of the text. That's the implication that Carrier is missing.

The earliest Christians were about "Christ is dead! And that's significant!" From the middle of the Second Century it was "Christ was alive! And that's significant!"
Last edited by GakuseiDon on Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:05 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 am
those early writers whom Dr Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers.
Who are those writers who Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers?

Where do they identify those writers?
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by GakuseiDon » Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:06 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:05 am
GakuseiDon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 am
those early writers whom Dr Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers.
Who are those writers who Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers?

Where do they identify those writers?
I created a thread a couple of years ago where I went through the NT, using Dr Carrier and Doherty, to look at which books they identify as 'historicist' and 'mythicist': viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4753
MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:05 am
I think this -
...
- should be this:
Oops! Darn quote tags. :( I've edited my post. Thanks for the correction.

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:05 pm

About the epistle of Barnabas.
From http://historical-jesus.info/gospels.html#barnabas
7. The epistle of Barnabas, dependency and dating:

7.1 Introduction:
The epistle of Barnabas is in reality anonymous. The author never called himself "Barnabas" (a contemporary of Paul and also an apostle to the Gentiles) or even pretended to be an early Christian missionary. He was against Jewish Christians:
Barnabas12:10 "Behold again it is Jesus, not a son of man, but the Son of God, and He was revealed in the flesh in a figure. Since then men will say that Christ is the son of David, David himself prophesied being afraid and understanding the error of sinners ... David called Him Lord, and called Him not Son [of David]."
His letter to Gentile Christians was written after the temple & Jerusalem destruction (in 70C.E.):
Barnabas16:4-5 "... for because they went to war it [the temple] was pulled down by their enemies. Now also the very servants of their enemies shall build it up. Again, it was revealed how the city and the temple and the people of Israel should be betrayed."
The uncanonical long epistle is very much in line with the earlier one, 'to the Hebrews', but much more extreme in its "allegories", with noticeable lack of logic & clarity.

Note: chapter & verse according to J.B. Lightfoot's translation
For more translations and commentaries, go to Peter Kirby's page on the Epistle of Barnabas


7.2 Dependency on GMatthew:
The epistle has numerous quotes from the scriptures and also allegedly from Jesus, which are not known from any other early Christian texts. However, it is likely "Barnabas" knew about bits & pieces of GMatthew, probably by mouth to ears or recollection from past readings. Let's review the evidence:
- Barnabas7:3 "But moreover when crucified He had vinegar and gall given Him to drink ..."
Only in GMatthew, Jesus is given a mixture of vinegar and gall at his crucifixion:
Mt27:34 "they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink."
Note: the gall is not necessary for the argument developed by "Barnabas" in 7:3-5.
- Barnabas4:14 "as the scripture saith, many are called but few are chosen."
It appears "Barnabas" was confused about the origin of this citation, not appearing in the O.T. But in the N.T., it shows in GMatthew and only here:
Mt22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
Furthermore, the saying is typically Matthean, and about the treatment of undesirables:
Mt7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven"
Also, the saying fits very well into the heavily "colored" all-Matthean ending (22:11-14) of the parable of the wedding banquet. More about Matthew's undesirables here.

7.3 Other dependencies:
a) 'Barnabas' and GMatthew or GMark
- Barnabas7:9 "... Is not this He, Whom once we crucified and set at nought and spat upon;"
Jesus is spat upon only in Mk15:19 & Mt27:30
- Barnabas5:9 "He came not to call the righteous but sinners"
Mk2:17 & Mt9:13 "... I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners ..."
b) 'Barnabas' and the gospels (generally):
- Barnabas5:8 "... He preached teaching Israel and performing so many wonders and miracles ... He chose His own apostles who were to proclaim His Gospel"
- Barnabas 12:10-11 "... David himself prophesies ..."The Lord said to my Lord sit thou on my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool." ... See how "David calls him Lord" and does not say Son."
This is very similar to:
Lk20:41-44 "... How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? Now David himself said ...: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' Therefore David calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?" (see also Mk12:35-37 and Mt22:42-45)
- Barnabas6:6 "What then saith the prophet again [about Jesus]? ... For My garment they cast a lot." as in:
Mt27:35: "And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots;" (see also Mk15:24, Lk23:34 & Jn19:23)
c) 'Barnabas' and GLuke?
Barnabas15:8 "... the eighth day [Sunday] for rejoicing, in the which also Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens."
This is according to GLuke (24).
d) 'Barnabas' and 'Acts':
Barnabas7:2 "... the Son of God, who is Lord all things, and who will judge the living and the dead ..."
Ac10:42 "He [Jesus] who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead."

7.4 Dating:
As we saw already, the epistle was written after the fall of Jerusalem in 70C.E.
Can we determine a more accurate dating?
Let's consider:
Barnabas4:3-4 "The last offence is at hand, ... For to this end the Master has cut the seasons and the days short, that His beloved might hasten and come to His inheritance.
[the end" was expected soon, as also in 4:9 "... let us take heed in these last days ..." and 21:3 "The day is at hand ...". This is typical of 1st century Christian writings]
` ... Ten reigns shall reign upon the earth, and after them shall arise another king, who shall bring low three of the kings under one." ("Barnabas" obviously intended to have a prophecy from Daniel 7:7-8 (about ten horns (kings), three of them disposed off by a fourth horn (king)) applied to his present times)
Do these ten and three kings make sense in a 1st century context?

The three kings might be the Flavian dynasty (Vespasian and sons Titus & Domitian). It was ended by the accession to the Roman throne by Nerva (96-98), the same day of Domitian's murder. Nerva may have been thought to be the king who brought low the previous threesome.
Also, in chapter 16, "Barnabas" attacked the inadequacy of any man-made God's temple, past or future: did some Jewish Christians (or/and Jews) think Nerva, not from the same family of the ones who destroyed it (Vespasian & Titus), would allow its rebuilding?

Note: More so because Nerva abolished or greatly reduced the tax that was imposed on Jews. This is according to a coin minted under Nerva's reign, with the inscription: "malicious prosecution of the Fiscus Iudaicus has been abolished".
It is probable:
Barnabas16:1 "Moreover I will tell you likewise concerning the temple, how these wretched men being led astray set their hope on the building, and not on their God that made them, as being a house of God."
What about the other seven kings?
This series of kings, obviously Roman emperors (as the following four ones, Vespasian to Nerva), had just to make some sense in order to be believed as part of a fulfilled prophecy. Who are the candidates?
1) Julius Caesar (49-44)
2) Augustus (44-14)
3) Tiberius (14-37)
4) Caligula (37-41)
5) Claudius (41-54)
6) Nero (54-68)
7) Galba (Jun68-Jan69)
8) Otho (Jan69-Apr69)
9) Vitellius (Apr69-Dec69)
Out of these nine "kings", two of them never got to be emperor ("princeps"): Julius was dictator for life and Vitellius took only the title of consul for life.
Or one might keep Julius Caesar, the true founder of the imperial system, and remove Otho & Vitellius, because of their short-lived reign and the facts they were usurpers.
PS: Clement of Alexandria provided two lists of Roman emperors in 'Stromata', I, XXI. The first one excludes Julius, Otho and Vitellius; the second includes the three of them:
"And nothing, in my opinion, after these details, need stand in the way of stating the periods of the Roman emperors, in order to the demonstration of the Saviour's birth. Augustus, forty-three years; ... Galba, one year; Vespasian, ten years; ...
Some set down the dates of the Roman emperors thus: Caius Julius Caesar, three years, four months, five days; after him Augustus ... Galba, seven months and six days; Otho, five months, one day; Vitellius, seven months, one day; Vespasian ..."
Cordially, Bernard

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by MrMacSon » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:21 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:05 am
GakuseiDon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 am
those early writers whom Dr Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers.
Who are those writers who Carrier and Doherty have identified as 'historicist' writers?

Where do they identify those writers?
GakuseiDon wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:06 pm
I created a thread a couple of years ago where I went through the NT, using Dr Carrier and Doherty, to look at which books they identify as 'historicist' and 'mythicist': viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4753

You determined
GakuseiDon wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:54 pm

Of the 27 texts in the NT:
  1. 23 texts could have been written by Mythicists. These include texts that seem to support mythicism strongly according to Carrier, to texts that don't offer any details about a historical Jesus, or any Gospel details.
  2. 4 epistles were probably written by 'historicists', though 3 of the Gospels could have been written by 'historicists' as well.
You considered 4 non-Gospel texts not written by Mythicists
  1. Acts of the Apostles
  2. 1 Timothy
  3. 2 Peter
  4. 1 John
Carrier discusses 2 Peter in Chapter 8, §12, in relation to Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, specifically about where Trypho is depicted as challenging Justin in Dialogue 8.4 -

But the Christ, if he has indeed been born, and exists anywhere, is unknown, and doesn’t even yet know himself, and has no power until Elijah comes to anoint him, and make him appear to all. But you, on the basis of groundless hearsay, invent a Christ for yourselves ...


Carrier refers to Justin's response (and Celsus) and then to 2 Peter 1-2 responding to a non-specified group of eccentric Christians 'teaching that the story of Jesus was (as Justin also denies) a ‘cleverly devised myth’,' -

Justin’s reply to this suggestion is simply that ‘we have not believed empty fables [kenois mythois], or stories without any proof [anapodeiktois logois], but stories filled with the Spirit of God, and bursting with power, and flourishing with grace’, which merely gainsays the charge without any proof offered [Carrier refers to this in footnote 115 as the affective fallacy: "the Gospels are so moving and inspiring, they ‘must’ be true."]. Indeed, the dialogue depicts Justin threatening to leave in a huff, rather than actually presenting any evidence that Trypho was in any way wrong; they change the subject instead.

More importantly, this looks very much like the response given to fellow Christians (of some opposing sect) in 2 Peter 1–2. This is a second-century forgery, passed off as written by the apostle Peter, an example of how readily Christians fabricated not only their own history but the documents attesting it (see, again, Element 44). There we see an attack upon certain fellow Christians who were actually teaching that the story of Jesus was (as Justin also denies) a ‘cleverly devised myth’ [sesophismenois mythois] and who were thereby creating a ‘destructive heresy’. Similar hints can be found in other forged Epistles (e.g. 1 Tim. 1.3-4; 4.6-7; 2 Tim. 4.3-4; 1 Jn 1.1-3; 4.1-3; 2 Jn 7-11; etc.). In 2 Peter we also see a related anxiety over the strange celestial Jesus found in Paul’s letters—to the extent that now only the properly ‘informed’ were authorized to interpret them (2 Pet. 3.15-17).

Obviously the forgers of 2 Peter would have to represent these Christians as introducing a novel heresy. But in reality, these may have been Christians still connected to the original mysteries who knew the exoteric myths were only cleverly constructed allegories. The fact that this is all we ever hear of them demonstrates that we cannot expect to have heard more—for here, clearly, 2 Peter is attacking some Christian heresy we know nothing else about and have no documents from. Instead, we get a forgedeyewitness testimony’ cleverly designed to refute the claim that 'the Gospel' was a myth—refuting it, that is, with a fabricated historical report. This letter [2 Peter] is therefore a decisive proof-of-concept for the transition from the original Christian mysteries to a historicizing sect fabricating its own historical testimonies toproveits claims.
.


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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by GakuseiDon » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:51 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:21 am
You considered 4 non-Gospel texts written by Mythicists
  1. Acts of the Apostles
  2. 1 Timothy
  3. 2 Peter
  4. 1 John
I think you mean texts that Dr Carrier thinks was written by 'historicists', not 'mythicists'. Here is what I wrote in my NT analysis thread:
Of the 4 texts considered not written by Mythicists:
  1. Acts of the Apostles seems to have included Mythicist material, to the extent that Carrier considers that Acts supports mythicism rather than historicity. Best/worst case according to Carrier: 18/25 to 1/5 (e.g. Acts is 5 times more likely to support mythicism than historicity). It contains few statements supporting an 'earthly' Jesus.
  2. The single 'earthly' statement in 1 Tim may be an interpolation. If that is the case, then 1 Tim would fall into the pattern of 'mythicism' (e.g. no historical details about Jesus, no Gospel details, vague statements not supporting time and place such).
  3. 2 Peter contains a single 'earthly' statement about being 'eye witnesses' to the glory of Jesus. If that is an interpolation, then 2 Peter would fall into the pattern of 'mythicism' (e.g. no historical details about Jesus, no Gospel details, vague statements not supporting time and place such).
  4. 1 John contains a single 'earthly' statement 'we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life'. Otherwise, it seems to fall into the pattern of 'mythicism', as above.
MrMacSon wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:21 am
Carrier refers to Justin's response (and Celsus) and then to 2 Peter 1-2 as giving 'a fabricated historical report' in response to a non-specified group of eccentric Christians 'teaching that the story of Jesus was (as Justin also denies) a ‘cleverly devised myth’,' -
That's right. 2 Peter, according to Carrier, was written by 'historicists' as 'a fabricated historical report'. Read through 2 Peter for yourself, and you can see it isn't much different to the other 'mythicists' letters. No teachings, no miracles, no Mary, no Pilate, no cross, no crucifixion, no Jerusalem (though 'the mount' is mentioned), etc.

Think of the implications of this. Historicists writing a fabricated historical report would be free to put in whatever 'historical' details they wanted. Instead there is just a vague statement that "we were eye-witnesses" and "we heard the voice from heaven" and that's about it. The rest of it reads pretty much like any other of the so-called 'mythicist' texts.

And really, this is not even about 'mythicism' vs 'historicism'. It's about setting expectations on what we should find in the earliest layers of Christian writings. The implications are that the earliest 'historicists' either didn't know any Gospel-like details or weren't interested in reporting Gospel details.

As rgprice wrote in his OP (my emphasis):
So does anyone have a good reason why we should conclude that 1 Clement is aware of the Gospel Jesus, who had crowds of followers, healed the lame, cast out demons, predicted the fall of the Temple, stood trial, was persecuted, and was executed under the rule of Pilate at the direction of the Sanhedrin? Unless I'm missing something, 1 Clement has multiple opportunities to reflect on the life of Jesus and never shows any sign of such knowledge.
1 Clement doesn't have those things? Well, that's unexpected. 2 Peter doesn't have those things? Well, that's unexpected. 1 John doesn't have those things? Well, that's unexpected. 1 Timothy doesn't have those things? Well, that's unexpected. Other texts outside the NT like the Shepherd of Hermas doesn't have those things? Well, that's unexpected. And so on.

At a certain point, it stops being unexpected. Unexplained perhaps, but not unexpected. The implications of that seem to be overlooked.

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Re: Convince me that 1 Clement knew a Gospel

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:34 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:51 am
.
Think of the implications of this. Historicists writing a fabricated historical report would be free to put in whatever 'historical' details they wanted.
I disagree with this. If a historicist wanted to fabricate a forgery under the false name of Paul, he had to copy his style as much as possible. Even his silence. Which is the reason the Pastorals or 2 Peter mention only rarely a Gospel Jesus.

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