Understanding the Christian Story

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:50 am

The best argument I can come up with against the chronological ordering of the epistles is that it seems unlikely that 1 and 2 of anything were back to back correspondences. In other words, 1 and 2 Corinthians can't have immediately followed one from the other.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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John2
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by John2 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:54 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:49 am
At the very least we have to acknowledge that the Marcionite rejection of Acts went hand in hand with their rejection of the description of Paul in that book.

I agree, but the description of Paul as being Torah observant in Acts is in keeping with what he says in 1 Cor. 9:20:

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

Is this an anti-Marcionite interpolation or is Acts reflecting what Paul wrote here? To me the latter would make more sense, since orthodox Christians rejected Jewish Christianity and Torah observance, and thus it's hard for me to accept that they would "Judaize" Christians writings to counter Marcion (or for any reason).

This is not to suggest that Paul was sincere in his Torah observance (since he says that he only pretended to be observant), only that the description of him in Acts seems in keeping with what he says in 1 Cor. 9:20 and would explain the (in my view later) Marcionite rejection Acts.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:49 pm

I agree, but the description of Paul as being Torah observant in Acts is in keeping with what he says [in our canon which the Marcionites say was interpolated by "Judaizers"] in 1 Cor. 9:20:
And? Are you trying to tell me that the Marcionites were so irrational that they had an explicit confirmation of something like this in their canon. So the question becomes did the Marcionites delete it (as Irenaeus would have us believe) or did Irenaeus add the reference? But clearly it seems hard to believe that passage was authentic. To argue that it was authentic is tantamount to admitting Justin's idea about demons controlling the world and the heretics being their irrational puppets.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Joseph D. L.
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:59 pm

Marcionism appears as a natural progression in the soil of Judaism and the pagan mysteries. Catholicism, however, appears deliberately contrived through subterfuge.

John2
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by John2 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:04 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:49 pm
I agree, but the description of Paul as being Torah observant in Acts is in keeping with what he says [in our canon which the Marcionites say was interpolated by "Judaizers"] in 1 Cor. 9:20:
And? Are you trying to tell me that the Marcionites were so irrational that they had an explicit confirmation of something like this in their canon. So the question becomes did the Marcionites delete it (as Irenaeus would have us believe) or did Irenaeus add the reference? But clearly it seems hard to believe that passage was authentic. To argue that it was authentic is tantamount to admitting Justin's idea about demons controlling the world and the heretics being their irrational puppets.

I would sooner think that the Marcionites deleted this verse than that orthodox Christians added it, since, as I wrote above, "orthodox Christians rejected Jewish Christianity and Torah observance, and thus it's hard for me to accept that they would 'Judaize' Christians writings to counter Marcion (or for any reason)."

I think it would be odd if orthodox Christians added it to counter Marcion because it says that Paul only pretended to observe the Torah ("to win the Jews"). In other words, what it says defeats the purpose of "Judaizers" because it says outright that "I myself am not under the law."

And now that I think about it, this verse doesn't help Marcionites or orthodox Christians, since it says Paul was willing to at least pretend to be Torah observant, which would grate both groups, and I think that favors its authenticity.
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Charles Wilson
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Charles Wilson » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:35 am

John2 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:04 am
In other words, what it says defeats the purpose of "Judaizers" because it says outright that "I myself am not under the law."
Acts 22: 25 - 29 (RSV):

[25] But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?"
[26] When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen."
[27] So the tribune came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes."
[28] The tribune answered, "I bought this citizenship for a large sum." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."
[29] So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

There may be more mischief here than meets the eye. This may be a Technical Argument. "Paul" finds that the "Jesus" character provides Salvation through the risen Christ but what really matters is the Roman Authority to keep his ass out of the wringer.

"Let others get tortured for the Glory of God. Me? I got friends..."

CW

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:40 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:49 pm
I agree, but the description of Paul as being Torah observant in Acts is in keeping with what he says [in our canon which the Marcionites say was interpolated by "Judaizers"] in 1 Cor. 9:20:
And? Are you trying to tell me that the Marcionites were so irrational that they had an explicit confirmation of something like this in their canon?
Does anything prevent it? Catholics and most/all other Christian sects to this day have explicit confirmations of things in their canons that are not in keeping with their own brand of orthodoxy. This is what happens (extremely commonly) when religious groups value both orthodoxy and either antiquity (in the case of the Catholics) or personality (in the case both of Marcion and of the Catholics): they wind up revering texts (either for their antiquity or for the sake of the person who wrote them, or both) which do not square with contemporary orthodoxy.

To my eye, absolutely the best principle that the "new wave" of scholars of Marcion (especially BeDuhn and Roth) has laid down is that X cannot be assumed to have been missing from the Marcionite canon just because X seems contrary to Marcionite belief.
John2 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:04 am
I would sooner think that the Marcionites deleted this verse than that orthodox Christians added it, since, as I wrote above, "orthodox Christians rejected Jewish Christianity and Torah observance, and thus it's hard for me to accept that they would 'Judaize' Christians writings to counter Marcion (or for any reason)."
Interestingly:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:31 am

Peter Kirby remarks concerning 1 Corinthians 9.20a: The Greek manuscript p46 omits “and unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that,” and it is not explicitly attested as belonging to Marcion’s Apostolikon. However, this seems to be a clear case of homoioteleuton, since the remaining text of p46 appears to lack grammatical sense and also does not have the verb ἐγενόμην (became). I do not really believe it was absent in Marcion’s Apostolikon.
Peter Kirby's criteria: (1) Passages attested as absent from the Marcionite version by the patristic writers. (2) Unattested passages that have miscellaneous manuscript support and/or patristic support for omission. (3) Unattested passages that Tertullian is likely to have cited were they present in the Marcionite version. (4) Unattested passages that correspond to a scholarly conjecture for interpolation on grounds other than the alleged absence in the Marcionite version.

(I am not committing here and now to either option; just putting the variant on the table.)
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Secret Alias
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:44 am

To my eye, absolutely the best principle that the "new wave" of scholars of Marcion (especially BeDuhn and Roth) has laid down is that X cannot be assumed to have been missing from the Marcionite canon just because X seems contrary to Marcionite belief.
I agree that it is difficult to know that something DEFINITELY isn't in the canon. But it works the other way too. We can't know that anything that is in Irenaeus's canon is a reflection of Paul's true beliefs IF IT SEEMS to reflect the kinds of arguments Irenaeus and Tertullian attacked as part of Marcionite dogma. Fair enough? We can't just assume that Jews were the cause of World War II in a world where Hitler triumphs. We cannot simply assume that 'science' attests to a correlation between the thickness of African-American skulls and IQ scores (I've seen this in books printed in the Southern United States c. 1960s). What we can be sure of is that the winners write history. Arguing the Paul is who Irenaeus says he is (Against Heresies 3.11 - 16) because Irenaeus's canon says things that sound like Irenaeus's Paul isn't a fair argument. Similarly, arguing that Marcion's gospel is refuted by Tertullian's (Irenaeus's) citation of Luke, and the Marcionite canon being a corrupt version of Luke, is another version of anti-Semitism, racism, sexism etc.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Secret Alias
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:50 am

And as a side note I know that you don't see yourself as an apologist for Irenaeus. You see it as 'necessary' to use the surviving canon because it is all we have. But that's a lot like arguments that the boycott of South Africa or BDS wasn't/isn't worth pursuing because innocent people would get hurt. I am not asking that we 'boycott' Irenaeus's canon. But let's stop pretending that the surviving material isn't associated with Irenaeus - that it isn't tainted - or isn't problematic when trying to determine the origins of Christianity. It is.

Another rant. I am friends with a lot of academics on Facebook. I often find myself puzzled by the lack of awareness (at least from my POV) that their work really doesn't matter, is inconsequential. They're always griping about being an associate professor or lacking tenure, how low they get paid. But really, does the world need any of this nonsense they write about? I remember when there was a friend who was a specialist on the LXX and Jim West used to ridicule him for it. I know everyone hates Jim West these days. But I couldn't help noticing how silly it is that most of these people have a job doing something essentially useless for the human race. I find what they get paid for is interesting. But the way they are always griping about how low the pay is, the lack of benefits etc. My point would be that people are always biased in favor of self-importance. In the same way I guess, we take for granted that 'the canon' is what we study, it is what it is. Move on. But really, why do we have to move on? It's not like the world is going to end if we imagine that Christianity came from space aliens.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

robert j
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Re: Understanding the Christian Story

Post by robert j » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:51 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:50 am

But let's stop pretending that the surviving material isn't associated with Irenaeus - that it isn't tainted - or isn't problematic when trying to determine the origins of Christianity. It is.
Secret Alias wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:48 am

... about Paul. ... second and third century Christians believed he had "the Holy Spirit." He knew "by prophesy" ... But if this is removed can any sort of "Christianity" be reasonably explained in the so-called apostolic age?
Secret Alias wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:59 am
robert j wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:24 am

... trying too hard to make sense of the apologetics and polemic ravings of Tertullian and his ilk.
But what else is there? Is Acts really a superior source of information?
No, not Acts. But Paul’s letters.

I think the author of Acts belonged among --- within reasonable parameters --- the same doctrinal compadres with Tertullian and Irenaeus --- as well as with the author(s) of the Pastorals. And also those who polluted chapters 1 and 15 of Romans (perhaps not even different from some of those mentioned).

For example, in all the letters attributed to Paul by the majority of critical scholars, nowhere does Paul identify his Jesus Christ as Davidic --- except in chapters 1 and 15 of Romans that is (Romans 1:3 and 15:12). And not coincidentally in my opinion, early MSS and early attestations reveal evidence of those two chapters having been tampered with. Gamble presents evidence that can be interpreted for an original 14-chapter version of Romans lacking most or all of chapter 15.

One can only speculate why the emerging catholics were bold enough to interpolate the first chapter of Romans and to add most or all of a chapter 15. But I have argued why I think they were not bold enough to insert much in the way of other significant doctrinal material in the rest of Paul’s letters (see the link at the end of this post).

I think it’s also interesting to note that some other NT texts seems to demonstrate that there may have been from early-on some difference of opinion about the Davidic nature of Jesus Christ. In GMark and perhaps GJohn, the authors appear to express equivocation on the issue --- Mark 10:47 and 11:9-10 vs Mark 12:35-40 from Jesus' own mouth no less; and John 7:40-44. In the Epistle of Barnabus 12:10-11, the author expresses the same equivocation as in GMark.

However, the other NT Gospels, and especially other relatively late texts, are clearly on-board with a Davidic Jesus --- GMatthew, GLuke, Acts, 2 Timothy, Revelation, Justin, and Tertullian.

Back to Romans, only in chapters 1 and 15 is there any mention in the letter of writing to, or planning a visit to Rome. And I suspect that for Paul, just like for Peter, and for Marcion with his ‘Simonian’ bag of silver in hand --- in the traditions of the emerging catholics, all roads must lead to Rome. I don’t buy it, most especially for Peter and Paul.

I think Paul’s letters survived relatively intact, that is, clearly excepting chapters 1 and 15 of Romans, and perhaps a very-few other significant interpolations in the letters, and of course several entirely expected instances of, for the most part, relatively less significant scribal errors and scribal initiative.

I certainly recognize that Secret Alias is not at all likely to be persuaded in any way by opinions of how Paul’s letters may have survived relatively intact. But for others that might be interested in arguments in this regard, see ---

“How Paul’s Letters Survived Marcion” (perhaps a better title would be ‘How Paul’s Letters Survived the Emerging Catholics Reasonably Intact’) ---
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3470

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