Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

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Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:51 am

Pauli tempus demorantis Romae et multos confirmantis in fide
I have a question about demorantis in that opening sentence to the Vercelli Acts of Peter. This version of the Acts of Peter is strange because the first three chapters are not devoted to Peter at all but Paul. It is translated as 'sojourning' in the standard English translation:
At the time when Paul was sojourning in Rome and confirming many in the faith, it came also to pass that one by name Candida, the wife of Quartus that was over the prisons, heard Paul and paid heed to his words and believed. And when she had instructed her husband also and he believed, Quartus suffered Paul to go whither he would away from the city: to whom Paul said: If it be the will of God, he will reveal it unto me. And after Paul had fasted three days and asked of the Lord that which should be profitable for him, he saw a vision, even the Lord saying unto him: Arise, Paul, and become a physician in thy body (i.e. by going thither in person) to them that are in Spain.

He therefore, having related to the brethren what God had commanded, nothing doubting, prepared himself to set forth from the city. But when Paul was about to depart, there was great weeping throughout all the brotherhood, because they thought that they should see Paul no more, so that they even rent their clothes. For they had in mind also how that Paul had oftentimes contended with the doctors of the Jews and confuted them, saying: Christ, upon whom your fathers laid hands, abolished their sabbaths and fasts and holy-days and circumcision, and the doctrines of men and the rest of the traditions he did abolish. But the brethren lamented (and adjured) Paul by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he should not be absent above a year, saying: We know thy love for thy brethren; forget not us when thou art come thither, neither begin to forsake us, as little children without a mother. And when they besought him long with tears, there came a sound from heaven, and a great voice saying: Paul the servant of God is chosen to minister all the days of his life: by the hands of Nero the ungodly and wicked man shall he be perfected before your eyes. And a very great fear fell upon the brethren because of the voice which came from heaven: and they were confirmed yet more in the faith.
The implication here is whether Paul actually went to Rome proper or merely had a 'stopover' at the ancient equivalent of an airport. We've all made the joke before "Oh Amsterdam, I've been there ... well almost, I had a stopover last year." Now I am not suggesting that this was a day-long stopover. Ancient travel was different. But the question Meinhardus brings up is whether Paul was originally on his way to Spain and then merely spent some time at Ostia, the port city of Rome, or whether he went all the way to the heart of Rome and then came back to Ostia. I tend to see this as confirmation of an Ostian stopover. The reason is that there is no mention of travel to and from anywhere and the possible implication of demorantis meaning something like delay, detained or stopover.

The only other example I see is Tertullian's use of the terminology where it is translated in English as lingering essentially:
There is, I believe, a Ninevitan suspension of business! A Jewish fast, at all events, is universally celebrated; while, neglecting the temples, throughout all the shore, in every open place, they continue long to send prayer up to heaven. And, albeit by the dress and ornamentation of mourning they disgrace the duty, still they do affect a faith in abstinence, and sigh for the arrival of the long-lingering [demorantis] evening star to sanction (their feeding).
What Tertullian is describing here is apparently developed in the 1641 trial of Gabriel of Granada. His Judaizing practices were identified because he maintained a fast set to the appearance of the evening star:
and on this occasion and on many others his said mother told him and taught him how in the month of September the fast of the great day must be kept in observance of the said law, bathing on the eve of the day previous and putting on clean clothing and supping on fish and vegetables, and not flesh (meat) and that wax candles must be lighted and put on a clean cloth, and that on that night the prayers of the said law must be recited without going to sleep until after midnight ; and that all the following day they had to go without eating until night when the evening star came forth ; and that then they must sup on fish and vegetables and not meat ; and that they must ask forgiveness one of another, and those who had quarreled become friends again. And in conformity with this, this confessant made the said fast of the great day in the month of September of last year with his said mother Dona Maria de Rivera and with his grandmother Dona Blanca and his aunts Margaret.
Similarly Mayor Gonzalez of Herrera in 1484 confessed to practicing the fast this way:
likewise I fasted and observed it as best as I could , refraining from spinning and from doing other things , not eating or drinking the entire day until the evening star had emerged.
So demorantis means something like 'delayed.' But could it mean 'stopover'?

What complicates the passage in the Vercelli Acts is that the structuring of the first sentence doesn't seem usual in Latin. More like Greek sentence structure.

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:35 am

Paul in the Vercelli Acts has clearly been preaching to the people of Rome and this seems to imply that he is present n the city itself.

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:20 pm

I see that the word Rome keeps appearing in the text. But airports are named after cities but not usually downtown per se. Ostia was the port of Rome and possibly associated with Paul's martyrdom. When Christians come to see Paul from Rome they take the Tiber to Ostia. Also when Peter comes to visit those converted by Paul in chapters 1 - 3 from Puteoli he doesn't take the Appian Way but a "rough" way a road made of pebbles (silica strato). The Appian Way was not rough or made of pebbles/stones.

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by mbuckley3 » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:43 pm

Demorantis : the natural reading would be 'was delaying' but context determines translation. Whatever (lost) Acts of Paul chapters 1-3 have been spliced from, it depends on the narrative arc of the Acts of the Apostles. Paul is only free to travel because the jailer released him; it is only because of a subsequent vision that he determines to go to Spain. There is no implication of his being en route to Spain and indulging in a 'stopover'. So 'sojourning'/'tarrying' is a decent translation.

As so often, Stephan, your post prompts the reader to take a fresh look at a neglected text. The Acts of Peter is usually presented and discussed as a C2 text. Yet it is a scholarly construct : the (Coptic) Act of Peter + the (Latin) Actus Vercellenses + the (Greek) Martyrium Petri ( replacing ch.30-41 of the Actus) = the Acts of Peter mentioned, but not described, by Eusebius. Harnack was the first to confidently identify the Actus with the Acts. Lipsius, the capable first editor of the Actus, regarded the original Acts of Peter as thoroughly lost. Matthew Baldwin, in his 'Whose Acts of Peter?' (2005), made a well-argued demonstration (rather in the manner of Markus Vinzent's recent work) of the tenuous nature of the arguments for that identification and for ever-earlier dating of the text. Indeed, he is sceptical of the existence of a C2 text, and urges a consideration of the Actus in the context of its late C4 translation and its relation to the Pseudo -Clementines (whose 'Vorlage' is similarly irrecoverable). Certainly, it is telling that Justin, Irenaeus and Tertullian know nothing of the death of Simon Magus. The first mention is in Hippolytus (Refut.6.20.2). It happens in Rome, it follows conflicts with Peter, but does not result from falling from the sky, but from Simon having himself buried alive by his disciples and failing to resurrect on the third day. Shades of Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae !

There does seem to be an obsession within mainstream scholarship with early dating which goes beyond putting the canonical gospels in the C1. Certain privileged texts (Didache, Ignatius etc) are dated 'very' early despite immense problems with the manuscript tradition, as they are deemed useful evidence for primitive Christianity. Other similarly complex texts (Acts of Peter, Apology of Aristides etc) are mistreated as C2 artefacts so as to expand the limited range of sources. Hypotheses are necessary to organise evidence, but there is always the need to evaluate the evidence to see what questions it can answer....

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:28 pm

I appreciate the compliment. Here is my dilemma. I think the Acts of Peter is more historical than the Acts of the Apostles and I don't seem them complimenting one another with respect to Paul's visit. It is hard to squeeze " For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him" and the Acts of Peter. This is more than a delay. I will read your post in more detail before posting more. But I think Paul was in the environs of Rome. I think this was historical. But the structure of the Acts of Peter is odd: chapters 1 - 3 Paul is delayed in Rome converts the first Christians in Rome (n'est ce pas?). Then 'a vision of Paul' prompts Peter's reception at Puteoli (they didn't have phone lines). Peter comes because 'Simon Magus' has converted everyone save for seven of Paul's original converts to heresy. But isn't there also a Roman tradition (= Clement) that Paul was Simon Magus? Gaius of Rome's statement about two cultic centers is also part of this. Anyway, thank you.

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:41 am

mbuckley3 wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:43 pm
Demorantis : the natural reading would be 'was delaying' but context determines translation. Whatever (lost) Acts of Paul chapters 1-3 have been spliced from, it depends on the narrative arc of the Acts of the Apostles. Paul is only free to travel because the jailer released him; it is only because of a subsequent vision that he determines to go to Spain. There is no implication of his being en route to Spain and indulging in a 'stopover'. So 'sojourning'/'tarrying' is a decent translation.

As so often, Stephan, your post prompts the reader to take a fresh look at a neglected text. The Acts of Peter is usually presented and discussed as a C2 text. Yet it is a scholarly construct : the (Coptic) Act of Peter + the (Latin) Actus Vercellenses + the (Greek) Martyrium Petri ( replacing ch.30-41 of the Actus) = the Acts of Peter mentioned, but not described, by Eusebius. Harnack was the first to confidently identify the Actus with the Acts. Lipsius, the capable first editor of the Actus, regarded the original Acts of Peter as thoroughly lost. Matthew Baldwin, in his 'Whose Acts of Peter?' (2005), made a well-argued demonstration (rather in the manner of Markus Vinzent's recent work) of the tenuous nature of the arguments for that identification and for ever-earlier dating of the text. Indeed, he is sceptical of the existence of a C2 text, and urges a consideration of the Actus in the context of its late C4 translation and its relation to the Pseudo -Clementines (whose 'Vorlage' is similarly irrecoverable). Certainly, it is telling that Justin, Irenaeus and Tertullian know nothing of the death of Simon Magus. The first mention is in Hippolytus (Refut.6.20.2). It happens in Rome, it follows conflicts with Peter, but does not result from falling from the sky, but from Simon having himself buried alive by his disciples and failing to resurrect on the third day. Shades of Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae !

There does seem to be an obsession within mainstream scholarship with early dating which goes beyond putting the canonical gospels in the C1. Certain privileged texts (Didache, Ignatius etc) are dated 'very' early despite immense problems with the manuscript tradition, as they are deemed useful evidence for primitive Christianity. Other similarly complex texts (Acts of Peter, Apology of Aristides etc) are mistreated as C2 artefacts so as to expand the limited range of sources. Hypotheses are necessary to organise evidence, but there is always the need to evaluate the evidence to see what questions it can answer....
This passage from the Didascalia Apostolorum c 250 CE seems to be dependent on something like the Acts of Peter
Now the party of Simon followed hard upon me Peter, and came to corrupt the word. And when he was in Rome he disturbed the Church much and subverted many; and he even made a show as though he would fly. And he was capturing the Gentiles, moving them by the power and agency of his magic arts. And on a certain day I went and saw him flying in the air; then I stood still, and said: 'By the power of the name of Jesus I cut off thy powers.' And he fell and broke the ankle-bone of his foot. And then many turned back from him; but others, worthy of him, continued with him.
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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:47 am

I would have missed that if you hadn't mentioned it. Immensely valuable. Thank you Andrew.

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:44 am

Ok. I am ready to begin. Why is this true?
it depends on the narrative arc of the Acts of the Apostles.

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by mbuckley3 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:37 pm

Sorry have to be brief (UK time difference !)

Stephan : as per my first paragraph, the situation in the Actus is that at the end of canonical Acts : Paul requires release from prison, he requires divine guidance as to where to go next, he has not been interrupted on a journey to Spain.

Andrew : in the Didascalia, Simon's fall is not fatal, indeed his 'mission' continues, so while interesting in itself it does not show literary dependence on any of the Petrine Acta that we have...

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Re: Is Paul Described as Having a 'Stopover' in Rome?

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Apr 05, 2021 2:41 pm

So the Marcionite claim that Acts is spurious MUST BE IGNORED because ... it reminds me about the manner in which Samaritan textual claims are ignored. We like the Jewish recession better!

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