Early Christian Ebionaen Canon

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ebion
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Early Christian Ebionaen Canon

Post by ebion »

(For the Early Christian Ebionaen Canon discussion, skip down)
I
just came across this in Tyndale's NT and it has me stumpted. I'd appreciate any thoughts on it.

As a preface, I consider Tyndale to be an extremely careful translator. He was burned at the stake for his refusal to bend over the "etc cetera" words like translating ekklesia as assembly or congregation not church, and whilst running and hiding and fleeing the agents of a sadistic English Lord Chancellor who wanted him dead, he still took the time to write a book back at the sadist defending his choices. So if he uses a word, I respect that he paid with his life to put it in there.

My starting point is the famous Paul in Acts 9 on "road to Damascus" KJV:
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
(Acts 9:1-3 [KJV])
It's not that far from Jerusalem to Damascus Syria, unless you are walking that is, and I have always assumed that the "road to Damascus" was the "road to Damascus, Syria" - am I alone in that?

But on reflection, that makes no sense. Besides being a long walk, it's in a different Roman province of the time. Whatever mandate Paul might have in Jerusalem would not extend to the Syrian province. And Paul says he's working for the high priest, not the Romans, so he would have no mandate at all.

So I was reading that verse in Mario Valente's careful compilation TyNT and saw "Damasco"
And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damasco, to the synagogues: that if he found any of this way whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. But As he went on his journey, it fortuned that he drew nigh to Damasco, and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven.
(Acts 9:1-3 [TyNT])
"Damasco" not "Damascus", and all further occurences in Acts. TyNT is a modern spelling version of the Tyndale bibles, so I consulted the original spelling version and TyNT is right - Damasco.

Strongs in the KJV has: 1154 Damaskos dam-as-kos' of Hebrew origin (1834); Damascus, a city of Syria:--Damascus. see HEBREW for 01834

What's going on here? Is Tyndale signaling something with "Damasco" not "Damascus"?

Is the author of Acts signalling something?

PS: we don't reply to posts in this thread by StephenGoranson,Ulan as we do not see them.
PPS: There may have been a way Paul could operate in Damascus, but it's a stretch.
Last edited by ebion on Wed Nov 15, 2023 5:32 am, edited 6 times in total.
Ulan
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by Ulan »

The English name "Damascus" is basically identical to the Latin name, which in turn is derived from the Greek name ("Damaskos", using the Latin alphabet here for simplicity). As a Greek (or Latin) word, the name of the town is subject to declension, or in other words, uses different inflected forms, depending on the grammar of the sentence it is used in. As pretty much all mentions of Damascus in the Greek text are expressions like "to Damascus" or "in Damascus", the nominative form "Damaskos" shouldn't appear in the text, but some form of inflection, like "Damasko(u)" or "Damaskon", and if you look at a concordance, that's exactly the case. I guess Tyndale didn't know the name of the town and simply used one of the common inflected forms, or for some reason, he used the Italian/Spanish/Portuguese names, which are still Damasco today.
ebion
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by ebion »

Ulan wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 1:10 am As pretty much all mentions of Damascus in the Greek text are expressions like "to Damascus" or "in Damascus", the nominative form "Damaskos" shouldn't appear in the text, but some form of inflection, like "Damasko(u)" or "Damaskon", and if you look at a concordance, that's exactly the case.
Thanks Ulan - I don't know Latin or Greek. I've seen Damaskon also in some of his texts; they vary according to who edited them after his death, and who compiles the modern works.

As for the general problem of Paul having no mandate outside of Jerusalem/Palestina, it reinforces my suspicion that Paul is lying about the whole incident anyway.
RandyHelzerman
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by RandyHelzerman »

ebion wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 12:07 am I'd appreciate any thoughts on it.
Well...since you asked ;-)
As a preface, I consider Tyndale to be an extremely careful translator...I respect that he paid with his life to put it in there.
Amen. Tyndale is by far my favorite translation into English. At the time he was writing, English had less speakers than Finnish does today, but after he made that translation--and after Shakepeare wrote his plays--it was all but a foregone conclusion that English would be a world language.
jude24,25,Tyndall wrote: Vnto him that is able to kepe you that ye faule not and to present you fautlesse before the presence of his glory with ioye
yt is to saye to God oure saveour which only is wyse be glory maiestie dominion and power now and for ever. Amen.
Transparently anti-marcionite, but still, even to this closet Marcionite, it fills me with awe to my core. A mighty, mighty translation.

That being said, perhaps your best bet for marshaling anti-Damscus evidence would be the earliest witnesses to the text we have, and not (alas) medieval English translations, however much we put them down with regret.

The earliest witness we have to the text of Galatians is Tertullian's quotations, and most reconstructions of the Marcionite recension leave out any mention of Damascus. The account of Paul's life in Acts agrees too closely with Canonical Galatians for there to not have been some literary dependence between the two, so....

...depending upon where you are with Marcion and Lucan priority, its reasonable to conclude that Paul really wasn't on his way to Damascus when he had his mystical experience with the risen Jesus. And, as you say:
But on reflection, that makes no sense. Besides being a long walk, it's in a different Roman province of the time. Whatever mandate Paul might have in Jerusalem would not extend to the Syrian province. And Paul says he's working for the high priest, not the Romans, so he would have no mandate at all.
...Paul had no official authority there anyways. Not that Paul ever let *that* hold him back, but neither was Paul one to 'beat the air' or shadowbox either; when he fought, he fought to win. And this was a fight he would have been bound to lose.

Even if you *do* take Acts seriously, you have to take seriously the fact that Acts gives us 3 different versions of the Damascus road story, and all of them contradict each other. The more seriously you take Acts, the less seriously you have to take this story. Clearly, even to the author of Luke-Acts, the fine details were not really the point, and he is signaling to us that this story isn't literally true. Perhaps he even heard contradictory versions of this story himself, but that's not the point either. The point is that Paul is the *only* character in the NT who says, in a full-throated, first person voice, that he *saw* the risen Jesus, and he was *alive*.
rgprice
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by rgprice »

ebion wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 9:46 am As for the general problem of Paul having no mandate outside of Jerusalem/Palestina, it reinforces my suspicion that Paul is lying about the whole incident anyway.
Keep in mind that "Paul" had nothing to do with writing Acts of the Apostles. So the narrative about Paul's vision of Jesus never came from Paul in the first place. "Paul" talks about having the son of God revealed to/in him, but nothing in the Pauline letters claim that Paul saw a vision of Jesus while traveling on a rood. My reading of the Pauline letters leads me to conclude that when "Paul" says that "His Son" was revealed to him, he is talking about a scriptural revelation, i.e. that he came to see the Son of God in the scriptures.
RandyHelzerman
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by RandyHelzerman »

rgprice wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 11:06 am My reading of the Pauline letters leads me to conclude that when "Paul" says that "His Son" was revealed to him, he is talking about a scriptural revelation, i.e. that he came to see the Son of God in the scriptures.
That's an interesting take, and it has a lot going for it. We do know that Paul went to the Torah to help him understand this whole Jesus thing--and we know it because he told us that, e.g. in Romans he quotes Torah saying "Everyone is cursed who hung on a tree." Clearly a verse he would have some cognitive dissonance with. And the one mystical experience Paul *does* tell us about, he doesn't even say unambiguously it happened to him, and even if it did, it wasn't something he could put into words anyways. Paul does claim he has a direct pipe to Jesus, but he never explicitly says he got his gospel in a mystical experience. And god knows, most of the wing nuts today who claim that 'God told me..." got that "revalation' from reading the scriptures.

So I have to conclude (as per usual) that you might be on to something here.

Nevertheless, mystical experiences--from whatever, diverse, causes (fasting and prayer, fungi, and other various herbs and spices)--*are* a part of the human experience. And *something* must have sent him to the Torah, looking for answers to the questions he got from somewhere. What was it? Or was the whole thing just something that happened to a fictional character?
ebion
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EcLive: Faul and the Faulines

Post by ebion »

rgprice wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 11:06 am
ebion wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 9:46 am As for the general problem of Paul having no mandate outside of Jerusalem/Palestina, it reinforces my suspicion that Paul is lying about the whole incident anyway.
Keep in mind that "Paul" had nothing to do with writing Acts of the Apostles. So the narrative about Paul's vision of Jesus never came from Paul in the first place.
I try to distinguish between the "Paul in Acts" and the "'Paul' in the Paulines" (written by the MarcionOrLater).
Paul to me has everything to do with Acts, because I accept that Acts was a trial brief for the Roman/Pagan trial of Paul, which the Jamesian Christans had a lot riding on. Mauck and del Tondo have brought out too many tiny details in Acts to read it otherwise, like the Pythia and Castor and Pollux. So I accept Paul in Acts, as an apostate who was rebuked by James, and didn't get along very well with the Jamesian church and the 12 apostles. (At the same time, I'm cognisant of small things in Acts that can be read as against Paul, but by Christians only).

(Maybe I should switch to using Paul for Acts and Faul - False Paul - for the Paulines, for those knowledgable of contempory English history - I'll try it.)
rgprice wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 11:06 am "Paul" talks about having the son of God revealed to/in him, but nothing in the Pauline letters claim that Paul saw a vision of Jesus while traveling on a rood. My reading of the Pauline letters leads me to conclude that when "Paul" says that "His Son" was revealed to him, he is talking about a scriptural revelation, i.e. that he came to see the Son of God in the scriptures.
Jesus said he would not reveal himself they way Paul said he did: he's very explicit and categorical in (Matt. 24:23-27), and like the Ebionaens, I cling to Matthew. So that leads me to conclude that Paul is Acts is lying, and I suspect that Acts tells us that the Jamesian/Ebionaen church felt that way about him too: not only did they not make him an apostle (they chose Matthias instead in Acts 1:23), they didn't even give him the letter of credentials.

My reading of the Pauline letters leads me to conclude that whoever wrote them, had Acts to provide the storylines, but turned them into an anti-Christian polemic. They never quote Christ, they never evoke his sermons or parables, and they are anti-Christian in doctorine. They're pure Crowleyism: "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" (Rom. 7:6).

But there's something else that nags at me: the argumentation in the Paulines is often nonsense, which is unnecessary. Look at (1Cor. 7:38) KJV on virginity: I get the feeling that their argumentation is talmudic in character, and given that Paul claimed he "was" a Pharasee, perhaps another lie, I wonder if the Paulines are a Pharasitical attack on the gospels of Jesus. Maybe that's the force that pushed the Marcionite church to rapidly become the largest denomination for a hundred years.

Either way, I save a lot of time by ignoring Faul and the Faulines (can you imagine the bytes/hours we'd save in this forum if we all completely ignored Faul!) and, like the Ebionaens, I delete the Faulines from my Canon:
"Those who are called Ebionites . . . use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. "
(Irenaeus, Adversus haereses (Against Heresies), 180 A.D.)
That leaves me the time to ask: If the Faulines are gone, what else should be in an "Ebionaen Canon", after Matthew of course?

This post is tagged with EcLive: to your can easily search for the important postngs that are kept up-to-date.
Last edited by ebion on Mon Nov 20, 2023 4:45 am, edited 9 times in total.
ebion
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EcLive: What is an Ebionaen?

Post by ebion »

I think I'll use this post to define the term Ebionean, so that I can keep this thread focussed. I'll just state things as given without trying to justify them so we can focus on the consequence of these assumptions.

After Christ, James, called James the Just, and said to be the brother of Jesus, accepted the invitation of the Apostles to be the head of the Earliest Christian church in Jerusalem. He was well respected and arbitrated wayward members of the Christian community (like Paul), and prayed a lot. This is described in Acts.

After the murder of James by the Sadducees in ~63 AD, the remaining members of the church under James had the good sense to flee Jerusalem to Pella, in what is now Jordan, and what was then a part of the Roman Decapolis, a sort of set of 10 citystates outside of Palestina. The we define the Ebionaens as that Christian sect, starting then, and they survived the sack of Jerusalem because they were outside of the area that was sacked.

The Ebionaens were known for several things, all very Christian from the book of Matthew:
  • They clung to (and perhaps wrote) the book of Matthew, and carefully guarded a copy, in HAramaic in a library.
  • The Matthew they clung to lacked the first 2 chapters of the current Matthew, and was therefore seen by later heresy hunters as "corrupt and mutilated".
  • There was no virgin birth in their canon, so Jesus was a man of Joseph's Davidic line, who acquired his divinity at his baptism.
  • They were monotheistic in the sense of the Shema, and nothing but God was worsjipped.
  • They were mainly Hebrews but accepted converts, and kept Christ's respect for the Mosaic law.
  • They kept the Mosaic tradition of circumcision, likely just of infants.
  • They rejected the idea of Temple sacrifices, which became a moot point with the fall of the Temple.
  • They hated the Pharisees as Jesus did, and the Sadducees because of the murder of James.
  • They rejected Paul as an apostate for teaching anti-Christian doctorines.
We have introduced the term HAramaic, which is taken to mean Aramaic written in Hebrew letters, but could be Aramaic or Hebrew. Palestinian Aramaic was the language of the land, and Hebrew was mainly confined to the educated in the synagogues and temples, but the alphabets are the same and we won't waste time trying to distinguish one from the other. From here we can make the following assumptions:
  • Although they clung to Matthew, they are said to have read Luke.
  • They used not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well,
  • We define the HAramaic Matthew to be the original gospel, and assume the NT Matthew and Luke in Greek are the translations of it. (Mark seems to us to be fudged to minimize the obvious conflicts between Christ and Paul.)
  • We assume the Matthew and Luke in the Aramaic PeshittA come from it, and may be it. From the early writings, if there are any differences to the original Matthew, they are too small enough to affect doctorine.
  • Because they rejected Paul, we save a lot of time by ignoring the Paulines. In fact we suspect those were written by Marcion, and refer to "Paul in Acts" and "Faul in the Faulines".
  • Because they had the Original Matthew, we save a lot of time ignoring Q, which we use to add other things considered to be Ebionaen to our canon.
  • We assume that they celbrated the Hebrew holidays such as Sukkoth, Pessach,
  • They accepted converts, but requiring circumcision might have limited their appeal to adult men :-)
With all of the above, it is hard to say from the writings of the Early Christians what the difference is between the Ebionaens and the Nazoreans, except for the rejection of Paul. In addition we define our Ebionaens as naming a post-Jamesian congregation, whereas some writers write of both before 70 AD. Additionally there may have been some merging with fleeing Essene communies after 70 AD. So for the sake of this thread, we will make the following conjectures or definitions, even if it conflicts with some writings:
  • The only important difference between the Ebionaens and the Nazoreans is that the former rejected Paul.
  • They both probably embraced marriage and children, unlike some of their friends the Essenses,
  • Either may have been vegetarian, but it's not known be a religious obligation.
  • In time they grew or migrated to Antioch, which already had a Christian community during James.
  • Thomas and Bartholomew are said to have travelled east even during James, and the CoE may have met and merged with their disciples.
  • They were still around at the time of Jerome.
And for those who were wondering, the Ebionites were heretics that Epiphanius hated, wheras Ebionaens are the Earliest Christians who everybody loves. And wants to know more about...

This post is tagged with EcLive: to your can easily search for the important postngs that are kept up-to-date.
Last edited by ebion on Fri Nov 03, 2023 5:13 pm, edited 11 times in total.
lclapshaw
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by lclapshaw »

ebion wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 6:18 pm
ebion wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 5:30 pm
rgprice wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 11:06 am
ebion wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 9:46 am As for the general problem of Paul having no mandate outside of Jerusalem/Palestina, it reinforces my suspicion that Paul is lying about the whole incident anyway.
Keep in mind that "Paul" had nothing to do with writing Acts of the Apostles. So the narrative about Paul's vision of Jesus never came from Paul in the first place.
I try to distinguish between the "Paul in Acts" and the "'Paul' in the Paulines (written by the Marcions)"
Paul to me has everything to do with Acts, because I accept that Acts was a trial brief for the Roman/Pagan trial of Paul, which the Jamesian Christans had a lot riding on. Mauck and del Tondo have brought out too many tiny details in Acts to read it otherwise, like the Pythia and Castor and Prolux. So I accept Paul in Acts, as an apostate who was rebuked by James, and didn't get along very well with the Jamesian church and the 12 apostles. (At the same time, I'm cognisant of small things in Acts that can be against Paul for Christians only).

(Maybe I should switch to using Paul for Acts and Faul - False Paul - for the Paulines, for those knowledgable of contempory British history - I'll try it.)
rgprice wrote: Wed Oct 25, 2023 11:06 am "Paul" talks about having the son of God revealed to/in him, but nothing in the Pauline letters claim that Paul saw a vision of Jesus while traveling on a rood. My reading of the Pauline letters leads me to conclude that when "Paul" says that "His Son" was revealed to him, he is talking about a scriptural revelation, i.e. that he came to see the Son of God in the scriptures.
Jesus said he would not reveal himself they way Paul said he did: he's very explicit and categorical in (Matt. 24:23-27), and like the Ebionaens, I cling to Matthew. So that leads me to conclude that Paul is Acts is lying, and I suspect that Acts tells us that the Jamesian/Ebionaen church felt that way about him too: not only did they not make him an apostle (they chose Matthias instead in Acts 1:23), they didn't even give him the letter of credentials.

My reading of the Pauline letters leads me to conclude that whoever wrote them, had Acts to provide the storylines, but turned them into an anti-Christian polemic. They never quote Christ, they never evoke his sermons or parables, and they are anti-Christian in doctorine. They're pure Crowleyism: "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" (Rom. 7:6).

But there's something else that nags at me: the argumentation in the Paulines is often nonsense, which is unnecessary. Look at (1Cor. 7:38) KJV on virginity: I get the feeling that their argumentation is talmudic in character, and given that Paul claimed he "was" a Pharasee, perhaps another lie, I wonder if the Paulines are a attack on the gospels of Jesus. Maybe that's the force that pushed the Marcionite church to rapidly become the largest denomination for a hundred years.

Either way, I save a lot of time by ignoring Faul and the Paulines (can you imagine the bytes/hours we'd save in this forum if we all completely ignored Faul!) and, like the Ebionaens, I delete the Paulines from my Canon. That leaves me the time to ask: If the Paulines are gone, what else should be in an "Ebionite Canon", after Matthew of course?
Probably just stick with Matthew and Acts (KJV of course) what else do you need?
lclapshaw
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Re: Damasco vs. Damascus in Tyndale NT

Post by lclapshaw »

Never mind
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