What happened in Ephesus?

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rgprice
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What happened in Ephesus?

Post by rgprice » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:23 am

Paul's anachronistic speech to the Ephesians in Acts:
Acts 20:
25 “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26 Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29 I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears.
It appears to me that Ephesus was a major Pauline community in the first century, but something happened and the community was destroyed. We know that Ephesus later became associated with John as opposed to Paul. What went on here? This seems to be a key to understanding Christian origins.

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: What happened in Ephesus?

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:59 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:23 am
It appears to me that Ephesus was a major Pauline community in the first century, but something happened and the community was destroyed. We know that Ephesus later became associated with John as opposed to Paul. What went on here? This seems to be a key to understanding Christian origins.
Whatever it may mean, there is Revelation 2:1-6 too

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.


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Ben C. Smith
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Re: What happened in Ephesus?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:29 am

Some time ago I floated a possible trajectory for Paul versus John: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3221. It was an experiment to begin with, and since then I have changed my mind on many of the points I suggested there, but maybe something can be salvaged that might trigger a productive line of inquiry for someone.

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Irish1975
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Re: What happened in Ephesus?

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:17 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:23 am
Paul's anachronistic speech to the Ephesians in Acts:
Acts 20:
25 “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26 Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29 I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears.
It appears to me that Ephesus was a major Pauline community in the first century, but something happened and the community was destroyed. We know that Ephesus later became associated with John as opposed to Paul. What went on here? This seems to be a key to understanding Christian origins.
This is all a literary game. Nothing “happened” in Ephesus.

The author of Acts is from the same circle as the final editor of the NT collection. These verses are an allusion to 1 John, basically. Notice the saving power of the Son’s blood and the necessity of staying true to the elders/apostles. The reference to “some even from your own group” is about those awful schismatics who “went out from us.” But the author of Acts doesn’t know any more than we do about the circumstances underlying 1 John. Somewhere else in Acts he gives a cameo to the apostle John, who reliably babbles about “what we have seen and heard.”

Bernard Muller
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Re: What happened in Ephesus?

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:38 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:59 am
rgprice wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:23 am
It appears to me that Ephesus was a major Pauline community in the first century, but something happened and the community was destroyed. We know that Ephesus later became associated with John as opposed to Paul. What went on here? This seems to be a key to understanding Christian origins.
Whatever it may mean, there is Revelation 2:1-6 too

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

I think Kunigunde Kreuzerin is right:
The author of Acts had Paul prophesying about future disruptions (away from Paul past Christian preaching there) in the church of Ephesus, caused, at least in part, by the Nicolaitans (who were also active in Pergamum: Rev 2:15).

Notes:
1) Acts and Revelation do not state "the community was destroyed".
2) With Revelation normally dated 90-95 (I agree with that), that would put Acts written earlier, and Paul's public life even earlier.

Cordially, Bernard

rgprice
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Re: What happened in Ephesus?

Post by rgprice » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:07 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:29 am
Some time ago I floated a possible trajectory for Paul versus John: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3221. It was an experiment to begin with, and since then I have changed my mind on many of the points I suggested there, but maybe something can be salvaged that might trigger a productive line of inquiry for someone.
Yes, that's helpful. I'm going down a similar road. It seems to me that every writing in the NT (with the exception of 2 Peter, which is sort of a late one-off) can be put into one of two groups, either Pauline or Johannine.

The 14 letters of Paul are of course Pauline. As Ehrman shows, 1 Peter is a Pauline letter that got assigned the name Peter later. James and Jude are both anti-Pauline letters that were written by someone who had read Paul's letters, i.e. they are anti-Pauline forgeries derived from Pauline letters. The Synoptics are all Pauline, or Pauline derived, and I believe possibly all written in Ephesus. Acts of the Apostles isn't exactly Pauline, but uses Pauline material. This leaves just the Epistles of John, the Gospel of John and Revelation of John as works that don't have direct connections to Pauline works (though of course GJohn uses the Synoptics, which use Pauline works.) As I said, 2 Peter is the only thing that doesn't fall into either group, but 2 Peter appears to be the most recent work of the NT and is really just a late 2nd century writing that's part of a 2nd wave of literature.

In Acts, as you say, Apollos is said to be someone in Ephesus who knows only "John the Baptist". As explored in other threads here and Vridar, it seems that "John the Baptist" is a misappropriated label used by the writer of the Gospel of Mark, for some real John. So, it seems that there was some real John, not called "the Baptist", who was talking about the coming of the Messiah (whether he named him Jesus I don't know). This John's work took place in Ephesus (and perhaps other places).

The writer of Mark knew a bit of this tradition, but he erroneously tied this early John to the Josephean "John the Baptist". The John mentioned by Paul as being one of the pillars does appear to be a totally different person. The early real John of Ephesus got lost in the traditions under the label of John the Baptist. Other Johannine works got attributed to various Johns out of confusion, often being tied to the fictional John bar Zebedee of Jerusalem, who is based on John the Jerusalem pillar, who is just an entirely different figure from the original Ephesian John, aka John the elder.

The main question that now arises is, if all of this is really rooted in Ephesus, then how did knowledge of the Ephesian roots get lost? That's the only thing that makes me uncomfortable about this. Here I've got basically both the Pauline and Johannine traditions emerging from Ephesus, but if that's true one would think that the Ephesian roots of Christianity would have been well known. So either, this is wrong, and so much stuff can't be tied back to Ephesus (though it really seems that a lot of stuff is pointing to Ephesus, and I think the idea of the Synoptics all being produced in one place makes sense) OR somehow the fact that basically all of the NT literature can be traced back to Ephesus got lost. But how would that be? Is there a war or something that took place that I'm missing?

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