Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:30 pm

Rather than supposing that Acts and its sources (including possibly Papias) were unaware that Babylon in 1 Peter means Rome or that Acts (and it sources) did not know that Peter ever went to Rome, I'm starting to wonder what evidence there is that Peter did go to Rome.

According to this blogger:

The earliest testimony to the apostle Peter’s presence in Rome is a letter from a Christian deacon named Gaius. Writing probably toward the end of the second century C.E.—so, around 170 or 180 C.E. ...Interestingly, the Bible says nothing about Peter ever traveling to Rome. When the gospels end, Peter is in Jerusalem. It’s the same in the Book of Acts. The apostle Paul, in his letters, also talks about meeting Peter in the eastern Mediterranean. After Jesus’ death, Paul says that Jesus’ brother, James, and Peter are the co-leaders of the “church,” or assembly, of Jesus-followers in Jerusalem. In short, there is no early textual evidence for Peter in Rome, so for some people, it’s very hard to believe that he ever traveled there ... The absence of connection between Peter and Rome in the New Testament, the lack of references to him in our earliest Roman Christian literature, and what we know of Peter’s background and character all combine to make it unlikely, to my mind, that he ever went to Rome.


https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... r-in-rome/



Setting aside the Acts of Peter (which the blogger mentions), if this is all there is (and who is Gaius?), wouldn't it make more sense if Acts and it sources (including Papias) did not say anything about Peter going to Rome because he didn't go there (and thus Babylon in 1 Peter not meaning Rome) rather than Acts wanting to be vague about it for some unknown reason? Perhaps it was the misunderstanding of the meaning of Babylon by later Christians that led to the idea that Peter went to Rome.
Last edited by John2 on Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:33 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:07 pm
Alright, but if Acts knew 1 Peter and Babylon means Rome, then why doesn't Acts tell us that Peter ever went to Rome, given that 1 Peter doesn't specify when Peter was in "Babylon"? It just seems like a curious omission to me.
The ending of Acts is kind of curious anyway. Some have proposed that a third volume was intended but never materialized. At any rate, Acts has Peter handing off the baton to Paul in the middle, and once that happens, Peter is never referred to again. So it is not just an omission of Peter in Rome: it is an omission of the entire second half of Peter's career.

John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:51 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:33 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:07 pm
Alright, but if Acts knew 1 Peter and Babylon means Rome, then why doesn't Acts tell us that Peter ever went to Rome, given that 1 Peter doesn't specify when Peter was in "Babylon"? It just seems like a curious omission to me.
The ending of Acts is kind of curious anyway. Some have proposed that a third volume was intended but never materialized. At any rate, Acts has Peter handing off the baton to Paul in the middle, and once that happens, Peter is never referred to again. So it is not just an omission of Peter in Rome: it is an omission of the entire second half of Peter's career.

I guess the questions now are why doesn't Acts say anything about Peter's later career, and why does it appear to connect the reference to Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13 with Ezek. 12:3 (whether symbolically or literally) and not explicitly with Rome?

What if, aside from Antioch, Peter never left Israel, and that is why Acts and it sources don't say anything about Peter being in Rome? Acts' omission of Peter being in Antioch makes sense given my presumption that it did not wish to highlight divisions in early Christianity. But if Peter did go to Rome (and if Babylon in 1 Peter means Rome), why not mention that, particularly when it places Paul there?

The only thing I can think of is that since I suspect the author of Acts was a follower of Paul, that they simply chose to focus on Paul. After its last reference to Peter is about the point when the "we" passages kick in, at least. But it would still seem weird if Acts or its sources knew more about Peter (beyond Antioch) and Acts chose to not mention it, or conversely if it (and its sources) didn't know anything about Peter's later career. And if the latter was the case, why not just make something up?

Maybe a third volume was in the works. I suspect that the author of Acts was the Epaphroditus who was executed by Domitian c. 95 CE, so maybe he wasn't able to finish his work. I was already thinking this might explain the variant versions of Acts, that perhaps different unfinished drafts had circulated after Epaphroditus' death, so maybe that's also why Acts doesn't say what happened to Peter, i.e., the author didn't have time to start another volume.

What else would there be to say though? "And then Peter came to Rome and visited Paul during his house arrest, and when Paul was released they preached the word of God together for a few years until Nero's persecution of Christians. The End." Why not just say that in the Acts that we have?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:23 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:51 pm
I suspect that the author of Acts was the Epaphroditus who was executed by Domitian c. 95 CE, so maybe he wasn't able to finish his work.
What are the grounds for this suspicion?

John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:05 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 7:23 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:51 pm
I suspect that the author of Acts was the Epaphroditus who was executed by Domitian c. 95 CE, so maybe he wasn't able to finish his work.
What are the grounds for this suspicion?

I'll have to get back to you on that. My mind is elsewhere at the moment and I don't have enough time to explain it as well as I would like right now in any event.

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:13 pm

Sure, no rush.

hakeem
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by hakeem » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:07 pm

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:48 am
..Paul was persecuting churches because they weren't engaging in circumcision, until he "saw the light" and adopted anti-circumcision himself.
As far as I understand Jews were circumcised 8 days after birth so all the Jewish males in the supposed Jerusalem church would have already been circumcised and even the alleged character Paul if he was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin.

It was Saul not Paul who was blinded by a bright light in Acts. The character Paul is a late addition to Acts of the Apostles.

What has been completely overlooked is that Pauline Epistles are based on the fictional accounts in Acts that there were thousands of people in and out of Judea who believed the Jesus story whom the supposed Saul persecuted.

There is no historical record to show a single Jew was worshiping a man called Jesus of Nazareth as a God up to at least 300 CE.

There was no Jerusalem Church of Christ in the time of Aretas.

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by davidmartin » Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:37 am

Why was it was perfectly logical for the author of acts to omit Peter's later career?

"Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law,' to whom we gave no commandment"

Maybe the "Some who went out" teaching this is Peter and James themselves and Acts is trying to pretend this didn't happen and they accepted Paul
If Peter followed Paul to Rome he'd have been opposing him, which is what the Clementine writings say happened
In other words there are 'Ebionite' style Christians in the author's day telling a different story with Paul as the bad guy
If Acts had placed Peter in Rome it would be supporting the argument of these present day opponents, better to leave him in Jerusalem
The later tales of Peter being in Rome have him opposing Simon Magus not Paul, so this probably was based on the stories of these opponents with of course Simon Magus being Simon Magus not Paul

But I think it's naive to suggest Peter and James are somehow the 'original Christians' all it suggests is there was a Torah observant branch of early Christianity that has an uncertain role in the origins of the movement. Maybe they were original, maybe they were a derivative movement themselves which i think is more likely all it means is they might well have existed and not been of the same sentiments as Paul.

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by hakeem » Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:30 am

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:30 pm
Rather than supposing that Acts and its sources (including possibly Papias) were unaware that Babylon in 1 Peter means Rome or that Acts (and it sources) did not know that Peter ever went to Rome, I'm starting to wonder what evidence there is that Peter did go to Rome.
Likewise, what evidence is there that the so-called Paul actually went to Rome?

John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:53 pm

davidmartin wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:37 am
Why was it was perfectly logical for the author of acts to omit Peter's later career?

"Because we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, 'You must be circumcised and keep the law,' to whom we gave no commandment"

Maybe the "Some who went out" teaching this is Peter and James themselves and Acts is trying to pretend this didn't happen and they accepted Paul

But we know from Paul in Galatians that he was accepted by Jewish Christian leaders and that it was "false brothers" who advocated for Gentile circumcision (like the ones in Acts 15:1 and 5).

If Peter followed Paul to Rome he'd have been opposing him, which is what the Clementine writings say happened

That is an interesting thing to consider (even setting aside the Clementine writings). If Peter did go to Rome, I can imagine his "opposition" to Paul as being more of a reproval though considering that he sided with the people James sent to Antioch and James reproves but does not reject Paul in his letter.

I look at Paul as a being on the opposite extreme of the Christians he calls "false brothers," with Jewish Christian leaders taking the middle road between them. Just because the views of Christian "extremists" didn't prevail with Jewish Christian leaders doesn't mean they "opposed" or rejected those Christians. But I can imagine that the author of Acts wouldn't have cared to highlight any reproval of Paul by Peter in Rome any more than they appear to have regarding Paul's reproval by those sent from James in Antioch. So maybe that's the reason for the "omission" of Peter's later career in Acts, all the more so if the author was a follower of Paul, as I suspect.


In other words there are 'Ebionite' style Christians in the author's day telling a different story with Paul as the bad guy

But Acts is quite open about Jewish Christian opposition to Paul too, to the extent that it caused a riot in Jerusalem and led to Paul's arrest. I call those Jewish Christians "proto-Ebionites" and I think they are behind the hostile view of Paul in the Clementine writings. And I suppose they were entitled to their views, just like Paul was entitled to his, but neither of their views appear to have prevailed with Jewish Christian leaders.

If Acts had placed Peter in Rome it would be supporting the argument of these present day opponents, better to leave him in Jerusalem

Not necessarily, given that Peter sided with those sent by James to Antioch and James reproves but does not reject Paul in his letter and neither did Nazarenes.

The later tales of Peter being in Rome have him opposing Simon Magus not Paul, so this probably was based on the stories of these opponents with of course Simon Magus being Simon Magus not Paul.

I'll need to think about that.

But I think it's naive to suggest Peter and James are somehow the 'original Christians' all it suggests is there was a Torah observant branch of early Christianity that has an uncertain role in the origins of the movement. Maybe they were original, maybe they were a derivative movement themselves which i think is more likely all it means is they might well have existed and not been of the same sentiments as Paul.

Well, they are presented as being leaders of Jewish Christianity by all accounts, but most importantly by Paul himself in Galatians.

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