The start of the Jesus story

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:50 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 5:33 am
Tertullian Apparel of Women
what the same (God) has said through the apostle: Let your probity appear before men.
probably paraphrases 2 Corinthians 8:21
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
I am not sure about that:

Tertullian, On the Apparel of Women 2.13.1a: 1a Perhaps someone will say, “To me it is not necessary to be approved by men; for I do not require the testimony of men. God is the inspector of the heart.” That we all know, provided, however, we remember what the same (God) has said through the apostle, “Let your probity appear before men [probum vestrum coram hominibus appareat].”

Romans 12.17: 17 Never repay evil for evil to anyone, taking care to do good things before all men [προνοούμενοι καλὰ ἐνώπιον πάντων ἀνθρώπων].

2 Corinthians 8.21: 21 For we take care to do good things [προνοοῦμεν γὰρ καλά], not only before the Lord, but also before men [ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐνώπιον ἀνθρώπων].

Tertullian is closer to 2 Corinthians 8.21 in omitting the πάντων, but closer to Romans 12.17 in the statement being an exhortation. In 2 Corinthians 8.21 Paul is discussing his own honesty, not exhorting others to honesty. I am not sure we need 2 Corinthians 8.21 to explain the omission of the superfluous πάντων from what looks more like a paraphrase of Romans 12.17.

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Jax
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Jax » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:11 am

hakeem wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:00 am
hakeem wrote:
If Paul found Churche, documented his teaching and had revelations from Jesus then we would have expected Paul to be the most important evangelist. However we see that the Gospel writers appear to have no awareness of this apostle and evangelist and had to use gMark whose author is unknown and of whom there is not even an Epistle.
What you say seems very confusing. On one hand, you state that Paul founded a 'Churche'. I am not aware of this addition of an extra e in modern research. Can you expand on this? Is the e silent? Is your statement evidence of a breakthrough in research? Is the e an interpolation??

Also, how could Paul found anything if you had admitted in a previous post that he was indeed fictional? It seems that in light of this, your previous point of Paul founding a 'Churche' has been utterly destroyed! (regardless if the e was silent!)
Have you not read Acts of the apostles? It is claimed Saul/Paul physically preached the gospel in the same cities as the letters are addressed.
In the Epistles the writer claimed he abode with Peter in Jerusalem for fifteen days after Jesus was dead yet in gMark and gMatthew it is claimed Peter was a fisherman living in Galilee and was told to meet Jesus in Galilee after he was resurrected which eventually happened in gMatthew and gJohn.
It is clear to me that the authors of gMatthew, gMark and gJohn did not know of Paul ,did not know of his Epistles and did not hear him publicly preach that Peter was living in Jerusalem after Jesus was was raised from the dead.

The story that Peter and the apostles lived in Jerusalem and were commanded to live there comes from gLuke which is evidence that the authors of the so called Pauline Epistles were alive after gLuke was written.
I wonder, Where did the author of Acts come up with Paul in the first place? Unlike Cephas or Petros Paul is, as you say, nowhere to be found in the Gospel stories so why would the writer of Acts create a character with a Roman name to be a messenger from Israel? I realize that the author of Acts tries to make Paulos Jewish with the clumsy fiction of his name really being Saul but why bother in the first place? Simply have Petros be the one that spreads the Gospel out of Israel, it's all made up anyway, right? What need is there for a Paulos?

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by hakeem » Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:51 am

In Acts of the Apostles it is seen that there is really no indication that the apostles called James the brother of John or James the son of Alphaeus were bishops of a Jerusalem Church. In fact there are only two references to James the brother of John, once in Acts 1.13 and the other in Acts 12.2.

Acts 12:2
And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

It is very important to note that for the entirety of Acts all we know about the apostle James, the brother of John, was that he was killed--that’s all.

Next, the other apostle James listed as the son of Alphaeus is scarcely mentioned. There is only three references to a character called James who maybe assumed to be the apostle James, son of Alphaeus--Acts 1.13, Acts 15.13 and Acts 21.18.

Again, all we know about the assumed apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, is that he was in Jerusalem and met Saul/Paul


Now, look at the activities of the other apostles like John, Matthew, Judas, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew and Simon Zelotes we hardly have any direct references to them preaching the Gospel outside of Jerusalem except the apostle Peter who is mentioned 56 times and only up to chapter 15.

In Acts, it was not the apostles who preached the Gospels to the Gentiles it was Saul/Paul.

Since it was supposedly known and documented in the Epistles and by Paul’s converts since the time of Aretas that it was Paul with Barnabas and others who preached the Gospel to the Gentiles then how could Christian writers say that it was the twelve illiterate disciples who preached the Gospel to every race of men.

Justin’s First Apology XXXIX
For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of God

There is no indication that Saul/Paul was illiterate in Acts of the Apostles and the so-called Pauline Epistles, however it is implied in the Gospels that the disciples were illiterate.

It is clear that Justin Martyr had not known of Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul and the Pauline Epistles.

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Jax » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:25 pm

It is clear that Justin Martyr had not known of Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul and the Pauline Epistles.
From the evidence that I have seen I can agree with this statement.

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by hakeem » Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:56 pm

The problem with the stories of Saul/Paul in Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles where it appears that an assumed apostle Saul/Paul was a well known early evangelist who converted thousands and started Churches is that multiple Christian writers knew nothing at all of such an apostle, his converts, his Churches and letters--nothing.

Aristides, writing c 117-138, before Justin, also knew nothing of an apostle called Paul or his Epistles and his evangelism among the Gentiles.

Aristides Apology
...This Jesus, then, was born of the race of the Hebrews; and he had twelve disciples in order that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished. But he himself was pierced by the Jews, and he died and was buried; and they say that after three days he rose and ascended to heaven.

Thereupon these twelve disciples went forth throughout the known parts of the world, and kept showing his greatness with all modesty and uprightness. And hence also those of the present day who believe that preaching are called Christians, and they are become famous.

And, it is even more significant when it is realised when both Aristides and Justin are supposedly non-Jews who should be expected to have likely attended or met converts of Pauline Churches or those who knew of Pauline Epistles.

Stories of Saul/Paul should have been in circulation for around 100 years before Justin in the Christian community and Churches even if Acts of the Apostles was not written provided that Saul/Paul did actually preached to the Gentiles, converted thousands and wrote Epistles.

Aristides and Justin apparently only came in contact with people in the Christian community who knew the Gospels.

The Gospels must have been composed before Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles and at least sometime after the writings of Aristides and Justin.

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 2:36 pm

Jax wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:25 pm
It is clear that Justin Martyr had not known of Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul and the Pauline Epistles.
From the evidence that I have seen I can agree with this statement.

Me too, but it doesn't mean that Paul and his letters didn't exist (setting aside Acts for the moment). Maybe not everyone was that into Paul. Hegesippus doesn't say anything about Paul or his letters, but because he is said to have known 1 Clement I think he was aware of his existence and that he wrote at least one letter to the Corinthians. So people could conceivably be aware of Paul but not mention him. And since I date 1 Clement c. 95 CE I think Paul (and Peter) existed no later than then.

As for what Justin says in First Apology 39:

For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking: but by the power of God they proclaimed to every race of men that they were sent by Christ to teach to all the word of God.

To me this could be evidence that Justin knew Acts, since some of the Twelve are said to have preached to Gentiles (like in the following excerpts) and others preached to Jews, which covers "every race of men." And the account of Philip fits the idea that the Twelve couldn't read because the Ethiopian does the reading and not Philip ("So Philip ran up and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked ... The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture ...").

So he [Philip] started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official in charge of the entire treasury of Candace,a queen of the Ethiopians. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his return was sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah the prophet ...

Then Philip began with this very Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road and came to some water, the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is there to prevent me from being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism, but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. He has sent this message to the people of Israel, proclaiming the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all" ... All the circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
... Peter got up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you that the Gentiles would hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe ..."
Last edited by John2 on Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:05 pm

I used to think that perhaps Justin did not know or like Paul. That is no longer a very attractive option for me. I think that his silence on Paul in the works known to us can be easily explained. But a lot of his argumentation seems to be based on Paul. It is more and more obvious the deeper one digs.

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Bernard Muller » Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:25 pm

to Hakeem,
'Acts' has the disciples (former companions of Jesus) staying in Jerusalem while Christian preaching outside Palestine were made by others (foremost Paul). That goes against the idealistic picture of the twelve, immediately after the ascension, going all over the known world in order to make converts and essentially creating the Christian world:

a) Mk16:20a (interpolation made after other gospels were known) (early 2nd century?) "And they [the disciples, right after the alleged ascension] went out and preached everywhere ..."

b) Aristides (120-130) Apology "... ascended to heaven. Thereupon these twelve disciples went forth throughout the known parts of the world ..."

c) Justin Martyr (150-160), in his 1Apology XLV "His apostles, going forth from Jerusalem, preached everywhere"
Also from Justin's works:
- 1Apology XXXIX "For from Jerusalem there went out into the world, men, twelve in number, and these illiterate, of no ability in speaking"
- 1Apology XXXIX "But the Gentiles, who had never heard anything about Christ, until the apostles set out from Jerusalem and preached concerning Him"
- Trypho LIII "For after His crucifixion, the disciples that accompanied Him were dispersed, until He rose from the dead, and persuaded them that so it had been prophesied concerning Him, that He would suffer; and being thus persuaded, they went into all the world, and taught these truths."

d) Despite attesting 'Acts' in 'Against Heresies', Irenaeus (180) wrote in his 'Demonstration apostolic':
"His disciples, the witnesses of all His good deeds, and of His teachings and His sufferings and death and resurrection, and of His ascension into heaven after His bodily resurrection----these were the apostles, who after (receiving) the power of the Holy Spirit were sent forth by Him into all the world, and wrought the calling of the Gentiles"

e) Also acknowledging 'Acts', Origen wrote (246-248), in 'Commentary of the gospel according to Matthew' X, 18:
"And the Apostles on this account left Israel and did that which had been enjoined on them by the Saviour, "Make disciples of all the nations," and, "Ye shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." For they did that which had been commanded them in Judea and Jerusalem; but, since a prophet has no honour in his own country, when the Jews did not receive the Word, they went away to the Gentiles."

So, when was Acts written? Into or after the 2nd century? but then, could the author go against the grain, breaking the idealisc tradition of Jesus' eyewitnesses preaching Christianity all other the world, right after the ascension? I don't think so.

Therefore Acts had to be written in the 1st century.

Maybe what trigger that idealistic picture is:
Mt 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by John2 » Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:26 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:05 pm
I used to think that perhaps Justin did not know or like Paul. That is no longer a very attractive option for me. I think that his silence on Paul in the works known to us can be easily explained. But a lot of his argumentation seems to be based on Paul. It is more and more obvious the deeper one digs.

Cool. Either way works for me.

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Re: The start of the Jesus story

Post by Jax » Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:04 pm

hakeem wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:56 pm
The problem with the stories of Saul/Paul in Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles where it appears that an assumed apostle Saul/Paul was a well known early evangelist who converted thousands and started Churches is that multiple Christian writers knew nothing at all of such an apostle, his converts, his Churches and letters--nothing.

Aristides, writing c 117-138, before Justin, also knew nothing of an apostle called Paul or his Epistles and his evangelism among the Gentiles.

Aristides Apology
...This Jesus, then, was born of the race of the Hebrews; and he had twelve disciples in order that the purpose of his incarnation might in time be accomplished. But he himself was pierced by the Jews, and he died and was buried; and they say that after three days he rose and ascended to heaven.

Thereupon these twelve disciples went forth throughout the known parts of the world, and kept showing his greatness with all modesty and uprightness. And hence also those of the present day who believe that preaching are called Christians, and they are become famous.

And, it is even more significant when it is realised when both Aristides and Justin are supposedly non-Jews who should be expected to have likely attended or met converts of Pauline Churches or those who knew of Pauline Epistles.

Stories of Saul/Paul should have been in circulation for around 100 years before Justin in the Christian community and Churches even if Acts of the Apostles was not written provided that Saul/Paul did actually preached to the Gentiles, converted thousands and wrote Epistles.

Aristides and Justin apparently only came in contact with people in the Christian community who knew the Gospels.

The Gospels must have been composed before Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles and at least sometime after the writings of Aristides and Justin.
Thing is that I don't get the impression from Paul's letters that he was responsible for converting thousands of people to his Christ cult. A couple hundred maybe. Introductions to groups like chapter 16 in Romans only have a handful of names in it.

I have been playing around with a concept where I place Paul in the mid to late 1st century BCE to see what sticks viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5464&hilit=Paul

If Paul was writing say between the 40s and 20s BCE then by the time of Justin et all in the mid second century almost 200 years would have elapsed since Paul was active. Further say that while the Christianity cult was still ongoing it does not necessarily follow that Paul and his letters were still known to most Christians especially those from outside the Pauline communities, like Justin.

After the war between Rome and Judea the historian Josephus writes his histories and some in the Christ cult find material in them to flesh out a possible Christ. However a man named Marcion sees this as Judaizing the Christ cult as he knows it and produces a 'Gospel' and the compiled letters of Paul to prove that he has the true story. In this way you have people in the Christ cult that do not know of Paul until Marcion introduces the letters.

Now, I'm not saying that this is how it went down, no way to prove it for one thing, but it could explain how Paul could be unknown to the Christ cult followers yet still be predating the Gospel stories.

Just a thought experiment.

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