Did Paul really make it to Rome?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
robert j
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Re: Did Paul really make it to Rome?

Post by robert j » Fri Jan 08, 2021 1:38 pm

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:38 am

Actually, The Authentic Letters of Paul puts Philippians in Ephesus.
If the hypothesis that Paul wrote Philippians from Rome seems doubtful, is it possible to identify a more probably place of origin? A rather good case can be made for the possibility that Paul wrote his letters to the Philippians from Ephesus. Paul himself says that he had been imprisoned a number of times (2 Cor 6:5; 11:23), but he never specifies where these confinements occurred. The one location that Paul does mention by name as a place where he had experienced an especially difficult, even life-threatening time and that could have been the place from which he wrote Philippians is Ephesus.

McGaughy, Lane; Dewey, Arthur J.; Hoover, Roy W.; Schmidt, Daryl D.. The Authentic Letters of Paul
Yes, I agree with this. For the reason stated, as well as others. (But adequately presenting the other reasons would require way more verbiage than I am willing to lay-out on a forum)

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:38 am

Actually, The Authentic Letters of Paul puts Philippians in Ephesus.
A similar extension of meaning is apparent in the case of the expression “Caesar’s household.” For example, in the course of his account of the subversive scheming of Herod the Great’s son, Antipater, Josephus says that Herod’s first impulse upon learning of his son’s duplicity was to put an end to him on the spot for plotting against him “and for having corrupted the household of Caesar” (Antiquities 17.5.8 [142]). In this passage the phrase plainly refers to Herod’s family and household staff in Judea, not to the emperor’s in Rome. As this example illustrates, it had become customary to refer to a provincial ruler’s family and to all in his employ, from high officials to menial servants, as “the household of Caesar.” Obviously, then, the occurrence of that expression in Phil 4:22 does not constitute compelling evidence that Paul wrote these lines while he was in Rome.

McGaughy, Lane; Dewey, Arthur J.; Hoover, Roy W.; Schmidt, Daryl D.. The Authentic Letters of Paul
Yes. I've posted the following before ----

Paul wrote to the Philippians when imprisoned in Ephesus in an imperial facility (using the term πραιτωρίῳ, from the Latin praetorium) (Philippians 1:13). Ephesus was a large and important regional center --- very likely to have a Roman administrative center with a prison.

As Paul often did, he seemed to be putting lipstick on a pig --- trying to put a positive spin on his situation --- explaining that what happened to him had resulted in “the advancement of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12) because ---

“… my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else.” (Philippians 1:13, NASB).

Paul is not known for his sense of humor, but he came-up with a dry, wry, pun for the benefit of his most supportive congregation. Trying to make light of his situation, Paul’s gave his closing from "Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22) --- I think the Philippians would have understood Paul’s little joke.

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:38 am

Anyway, I'm pretty skeptical of the authenticity of Pauline letters beyond Romans 1 & 2 Cor and Galatians anyway. The whole business of letters from prison seems pretty suspect to me.
How much confidence do you have in the textual integrity of chapter 15 of Romans? And portions of chapter one?

The textual evidence for chapter 15, and portions of chapter one as well, is complicated by clear signs of textual manipulation based on manuscripts and early attestations. Based on Gamble's work, a 14-chapter version of Romans is evident as both relatively early and geographically widespread. And a 14-chapter version is associated with manuscripts lacking the addresses to Rome in chapter one. Sure, Gamble concludes that the 14-chapter version was edited down from a more original, longer version; but the evidence can be used equally well to argue for the 14-chapter version as being more original.

It's not just irregularities in the textual record. Even Gamble admits the textual record alone is not enough to settle these issues. One also needs to consider the context. In chapters 1 and 15 of Romans are the only places in all of Paul's letters, and in the Deutero-Paulines, where Paul's Jesus is identified as Davidic. And the author of GMark, an interpreter of Paul, seems to throw cold water on the concept of a Davidic Jesus, from Jesus' own lips no less (Mark 12:35-38). Even the author of GJohn admits a difference of opinion on a Davidic lineage (John 7:40-43). Sans the questionable appearances in chapters 1 and 15 of Romans, one can see an evolution of the concept of a Davidic Jesus in the extant texts, from silence to both equivocation and acceptance in the 1st century, to an apparent move to widespread acceptance as one gets well into in the second century,

And Paul having any interest in a visit to Rome --- and the existence of congregations of believers in a Jesus Christ in Rome in Paul's day --- hang entirely on textually compromised passages in chapter 1 and 15 of Romans. At least until one gets to the 2nd century legends found in Acts.

And the claim in chapter 15 of Romans that Paul had completed his collection and was planing on delivering it to Jerusalem is found nowhere else in early Christian texts. Even the author of Acts didn't touch that one. Paul only wrote of this collection to the Corinthians, a group that was not paying him directly despite his pleas. And in the Corinthian correspondence, Paul used the Macedonians to guilt trip the Corinthians, but there is nothing about a collection for the saints in the Macedonian letters. And in the Corinthian correspondence, there is no evidence that the collection was completed, rather the Corinthians seem to have accused Paul and Titus of trying to take advantage of them. As far as I know, there are no other Christian texts in the 1st or 2nd centuries to claim that Paul had completed his collection, or delivered a collection, or even had plans to deliver a completed collection to the saints in Jerusalem. Other than chapter 15 of Romans, when and by whom is the earliest mention of this?

I smell early catholic additions to the letter --- three doctrinal and situational concepts that one could make a good case for providing benefits for early catholics. And what better location to add material than at the beginning and the end of the letter?

I dashed all this off fairly quickly and I'm not likely to become involved in further discussion for a while. Comments to this are likely to go by without a response from me, at least for now, but please have at it anyone, if you wish. I wanted to raise these questions in light of the topic of the thread.

Bernard Muller
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Re: Did Paul really make it to Rome?

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:29 am

I consider only 2 Pauline letters to be "prison" letters from Paul: Philemon & one of the Philippians letters (three combined into one): http://historical-jesus.info/phpb.html
And they were written from Ephesus. For arguments and evidence see http://historical-jesus.info/appp.html then "find" on: 2.6

I am not certain Paul made it to Rome. However, there are these verses which puzzle me in 2 Timothy:
1:15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, and among them Phy'gelus and Hermog'enes.
1:16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph'orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains,
1:17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me--
1:18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day--and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

2 Timothy was not written by Paul and is normally dated first half on the second century. But could this account be drawn from some lost genuine letter by Paul?

Cordially, Bernard

andrewcriddle
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Re: Did Paul really make it to Rome?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:46 am

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:38 am
Actually, The Authentic Letters of Paul puts Philippians in Ephesus.
A similar extension of meaning is apparent in the case of the expression “Caesar’s household.” For example, in the course of his account of the subversive scheming of Herod the Great’s son, Antipater, Josephus says that Herod’s first impulse upon learning of his son’s duplicity was to put an end to him on the spot for plotting against him “and for having corrupted the household of Caesar” (Antiquities 17.5.8 [142]). In this passage the phrase plainly refers to Herod’s family and household staff in Judea, not to the emperor’s in Rome. As this example illustrates, it had become customary to refer to a provincial ruler’s family and to all in his employ, from high officials to menial servants, as “the household of Caesar.” Obviously, then, the occurrence of that expression in Phil 4:22 does not constitute compelling evidence that Paul wrote these lines while he was in Rome.

McGaughy, Lane; Dewey, Arthur J.; Hoover, Roy W.; Schmidt, Daryl D.. The Authentic Letters of Paul
If the hypothesis that Paul wrote Philippians from Rome seems doubtful, is it possible to identify a more probably place of origin? A rather good case can be made for the possibility that Paul wrote his letters to the Philippians from Ephesus. Paul himself says that he had been imprisoned a number of times (2 Cor 6:5; 11:23), but he never specifies where these confinements occurred. The one location that Paul does mention by name as a place where he had experienced an especially difficult, even life-threatening time and that could have been the place from which he wrote Philippians is Ephesus.

McGaughy, Lane; Dewey, Arthur J.; Hoover, Roy W.; Schmidt, Daryl D.. The Authentic Letters of Paul
Anyway, I'm pretty skeptical of the authenticity of Pauline letters beyond Romans 1 & 2 Cor and Galatians anyway. The whole business of letters from prison seems pretty suspect to me.
Philippians 1:13
so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest;
may imply a Roman origin.

Andrew Criddle

rgprice
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Re: Did Paul really make it to Rome?

Post by rgprice » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:17 am

Yeah, I'm not sure why people argue for the authenticity of Philippians and Thessalonians. Neither seem reasonable to me. Thessalonians claims to have converted idol worshipers to belief in Jesus just like that. Really? How does that happen? Imagine a Scientologist walks into a Baptist church and converts the whole church in the course of a few visits. Really?

Philippians, supposedly written from prison (were they really into allowing letter writing campaigns from prisons?), also claims to be converting the guards. So really, we are to believe that there was some prison, in which this guy is ranting and raving about visions of a Jewish son of God who was raised from the dead and is going to raise everyone else from the dead when the world ends, and the prison guards and others are like, "Yeah, let's listen to this prison, this makes sense!"

That in no way sounds plausible, especially when you put it up against 1 & 2 Cor and Galatians, where Paul is unable to convince people who were apparently already God-fearers. Throughout those letters Paul is struggling and of course the Galatians ended up leaving Paul's ministry. To me Philippians looks like a bogus open letter. The Corinthian letters look like real correspondence. Romans is an open letter, and arguably Galatians is too. Philippians purports to be a letter of correspondence, but looks like an open letter which is more about establishing bunch of (mostly unbelievable) claims than actually communicating with anyone.

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GakuseiDon
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Re: Did Paul really make it to Rome?

Post by GakuseiDon » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:14 pm

rgprice wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:17 am
Yeah, I'm not sure why people argue for the authenticity of Philippians and Thessalonians. Neither seem reasonable to me. Thessalonians claims to have converted idol worshipers to belief in Jesus just like that. Really? How does that happen? Imagine a Scientologist walks into a Baptist church and converts the whole church in the course of a few visits. Really?
Might it not be: "Imagine a Scientologist claiming to walk into a Baptist church and convert the whole church in the course of a few visits" (and with the "Mission Impossible" theme playing.)

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