"Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face."

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
davidmartin
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by davidmartin » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:16 pm

Thankyou Ben that does help

I wonder if part of the problem is that we expect people of long ago to think the way we do and rationalise things like us
Sometimes some ancient authors come close and fool us into thinking that
As for Marcion - his world was polytheistic. It would be normal and regular to propose someone else's god was a lower deity. It's the sort of thing that wouldn't even raise an eyebrow
If Paul appeared to be going in that direction then Marcion was just completing his work even though it appears to go against what Paul had in mind
Probably his antithesis explained all that

Bernard Muller
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:36 pm

to gryan (bolding mine],
Bernard: You seem to be referring to Acts 15:

1Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
Not at all. My reference to Acts was from 16:1-3 for Timothy's circumcision:
16:1 And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra: and behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewess that believed; but his father was a Greek. 16:2 The same was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and he took and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those parts: for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

My reconstruction of events is first concerned with a coherent reading of Galatians. In Galatians, Paul went to Jerusalem "in response to a revelation"--no mention of the circumcision party yet.
Paul's message in Jerusalem was proactive, not defensive: to "set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles." According Galatians--as I read it-- it is in Jerusalem that he first encountered opposition from the "circumcision party".
I don't think so. In Jerusalem then, Paul only dealt with the pillars, who did not add up one thing to Paul's message to the Gentiles.
That pressure seems to have followed him. Apparently they had made their way to Galatia! Thus the letter.
I noted that in Paul never said these Judaizers were circumcising his converts going to them. He alluded (Galatians 5:2) that could be possible (scare tactics)
I think our different reading of events comes from a different method of weighing evidence from Acts vs Galatians. I that my reading of Gal does not sync well with Acts, but neither does your view of Acts sync well with Galatians, as I read it. So there is no perfect fit. I further admit that your view is mainstream, and mine is far from mainstream.
I don't see your point: why my view of Acts does not sync well with Galatians?

Cordially, Bernard

gryan
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by gryan » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:31 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:36 pm
I think our different reading of events comes from a different method of weighing evidence from Acts vs Galatians. I that my reading of Gal does not sync well with Acts, but neither does your view of Acts sync well with Galatians, as I read it. So there is no perfect fit. I further admit that your view is mainstream, and mine is far from mainstream.
I don't see your point: why my view of Acts does not sync well with Galatians?
Oh, I thought I was making a statement you would agree with. If you think your view of Acts does sync well with Galatians, well, I'm drawing a blank. So be it.

Stuart
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by Stuart » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:19 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 6:24 am
davidmartin wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:54 am
What's interesting to me is that a Marcionite reading ended up becoming the official one
There is a large swath of Marcionite readings which are also found in various textual streams (the Western, the Old Latin, the Syriac, and so on), which is what has led a lot of modern researchers to conclude that Marcion was part of a textual stream himself. Marcion was not the origin of any of the works he published; rather, he published what was available to him in his time and place, and the Marcionite text looks strange to us only because we are getting a snapshot of an earlier stage in the textual tradition than we are accustomed to. Marcionite readings (not the manuscripts, but their readings) predate even our earliest manuscript finds.
You summed up what I said much more succinctly. :notworthy:

My only variance is that I think the Marcionites left the church at some point, as there is much reference to their having their own churches which were hard to distinguish from the Catholics, with their own line of bishops. That is why I think the text froze. When they left they fell out of the process of editing and adjustments.

I am not convinced a person named Marcion existed, rather I believe it is simply the patron saint, a form of Mark (the names differ by one letter in Greek) which the group took their name. The legends are anything but reliable, so I largely dismiss them (not completely, but no argument can put much weight on them IMO). The key point is the Marcionites took their patron saint for the lineage and authority of their bishops and their movement. But I do agree the ten letter form, and probably the prologues are of Marcionite origin.

I think the church elevated Marcion in the pantheon of heretics because there were throughout the 3rd to 5th centuries a significant number of Marcionite churches that took considerable effort to reel into the fold and counter their influence and evangelism. Only the Manichean movement rose to similar threat level. The Marcionite movement was to a large extent Catholic, in that it was scripture based, lineage based leadership and the same structure, the same demand for adherence to specific doctrine. That makes it different than the free form Gnostics. Other Catholic structured movements such as those of Tatian and Apelles were absorbed quickly enough, so got a lot less write up.

John2
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:21 pm

While I'm fine with either reading of "yield" or "did not yield" (and even lean towards "yield" since it fits with Acts and 1 Cor. 9:20), I'm having trouble fitting it with what Paul says in Gal. 2:3:

Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

What sense does this make if the "yield" reading is correct?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:49 pm

Stuart wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:19 pm
You summed up what I said much more succinctly. :notworthy:
You and I occasionally agree on some things. I will try not to let it go to my head if you try not to let it go to yours. ;)

gryan
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by gryan » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:26 pm

John2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:21 pm
While I'm fine with either reading of "yield" or "did not yield" (and even lean towards "yield" since it fits with Acts and 1 Cor. 9:20), I'm having trouble fitting it with what Paul says in Gal. 2:3:

Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

What sense does this make if the "yield" reading is correct?
As I read it, Paul and those who were with him took a posture of yielding to the others in Jerusalem, ie to the "esteemed pillars" and their way of dealing with "those from James." Those "esteemed pillars" did not compel Titus to be circumcised, even though "those from James" may have been pleased if they had. Whether Paul may have voluntarily--without being compelled--had Titus circumcised seems unlikely to me.

John2
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:41 pm

gryan wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:26 pm
John2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:21 pm
While I'm fine with either reading of "yield" or "did not yield" (and even lean towards "yield" since it fits with Acts and 1 Cor. 9:20), I'm having trouble fitting it with what Paul says in Gal. 2:3:

Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

What sense does this make if the "yield" reading is correct?
As I read it, Paul and those who were with him took a posture of yielding to the others in Jerusalem, ie to the "esteemed pillars" and their way of dealing with "those from James." Those "esteemed pillars" did not compel Titus to be circumcised, even though "those from James" may have been pleased if they had. Whether Paul may have voluntarily--without being compelled--had Titus circumcised seems unlikely to me.

To me it sounds like Paul is boasting but I'm keeping an open mind. And since I know very little about Titus I looked him up and noticed this interesting detail on his Wikipedia page:

... certain manuscripts of Galatians have been taken (by Marius Victorinus, for example) to indicate that Paul did circumcise Titus.

This would fit the "yield" reading, I guess, but I'm not familiar with these manuscripts and am wondering if you are.

John2
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by John2 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:57 pm

Victorinus discusses Galatians 2:3-4 here, but I'm not getting the impression that it is based on a variant of 2:3 but rather only of 2:4 (the one that says "yielded" instead of "did not yield," as you've noted). But he goes on to say:

Some read the last phrase as follows: not even for an hour did we submit in subjection. The sense fits with the previous verse, that: not even Titus, a Greek, was forced to be circumcised.


https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ma ... frontcover



And while Victorinus defends the "yielded" reading, I'm still inclined to agree with him that the "did not yield" reading "fits with the previous verse."

gryan
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Re: "Esteemed pillars" vis a vis "men from James": Re-imagining the context for the way Paul spoke to Peter "to his face

Post by gryan » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:21 am

John2 wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:57 pm
Victorinus discusses Galatians 2:3-4 here, but I'm not getting the impression that it is based on a variant of 2:3 but rather only of 2:4 (the one that says "yielded" instead of "did not yield," as you've noted). But he goes on to say:

Some read the last phrase as follows: not even for an hour did we submit in subjection. The sense fits with the previous verse, that: not even Titus, a Greek, was forced to be circumcised.


https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ma ... frontcover



And while Victorinus defends the "yielded" reading, I'm still inclined to agree with him that the "did not yield" reading "fits with the previous verse."
I think Victorinus was thinking like a textual critic. He was saying that a scribal error was the result of following the perceived logic of the previous verse. Here is my translation with a focus on this textual decision:

(This issue arose because of the false brothers who had been smuggled in under false pretenses
to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us).
[We did not yield] We yielded in submission for a "time"...

A scribe thought that Paul would surely not yield to men he describes as, "false brothers who had been smuggled in under false pretenses to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us."

Nevertheless, Victorinus considers the "We yielded" reading original, and he goes on to explain the logic of that reading:

"...I have always made his policy clear: on some occasions Paul submitted, even when it came to matters of the truth. For this is the meaning of his saying as a Jew that I might win over the Jews (2 Cor 11:13), and so on. At this time, therefore, we submitted on account of stealthily introduced false brothers (since there are many pseudo-apostles whom he calls false brothers): certain men began to come around and to sneak in by their persuasions, and so to spy on the freedom of the apostles' speech--that is, they were wanting to get in among us. Can they be true apostles who belong only to Christ? Or were they making an attack on the freedom which we have in Christ? Therefore, because we saw their plan to lead us over into servitude, for an hour we did indeed submit in subjection, meaning that for a brief period we performed some actions. This is not permitted to everyone; rather, we must understand that it is permitted to one who is advanced and mature in faith..."

I think Victorinus makes a persuasive argument for the coherence of the "We yielded" reading. Maybe Saint Titus was circumcised! But it remains unclear whether Victorinus thought Titus came under the knife.

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