The Problem of Paul and Marcionism

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
davidmartin
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Re: The Problem of Paul and Marcionism

Post by davidmartin »

Ebion, you mention negating the law being antinomian
do you see a difference between simply 'fulfilling' the spirit of it and negating it as obsolete entirely?
would you see the former being the gospel Jesus message and the latter being the epistles?
this is how I tend to see it. I'm interested if you see it that way or not

let me give a better example of how incompatible the two are
it is worth studying the law to see how it can be 'fulfilled' spiritually, without necessarily following it to the letter
why is it worth doing this? because the law brings sanctification and also one can say one is following the law 'in spirit' under the old covenant
this is what I see Jesus doing in the gospels

on the other hand if the law does not bring sanctification, it cannot be fulfilled spiritually and I'm being more moderate than the language the epistles use here. the epistles argue the law brings the opposite of sanctification - sin and condemnation and introduce a new covenant
if the law doesn't bring sanctification it's pointless to try and fulfill it spiritually
I see all this as 'Marcionite', i.e. a later development within proto-orthodoxy
ebion
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Re: The Problem of Paul and Marcionism

Post by ebion »

I personally feel Jesus downplayed anything that could be interpreted as denying the old(OT) law because he did not want to play into the hands of the Zealots of the time. It was a very political period and I want to understand the politics of the time: not just in relation to the Romans, but also the fights of Herodians. Family relations get complex when fathers execute their wives and sons.
davidmartin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 2:08 am on the other hand if the law does not bring sanctification, it cannot be fulfilled spiritually and I'm being more moderate than the language the epistles use here. the epistles argue the law brings the opposite of sanctification - sin and condemnation and introduce a new covenant
if the law doesn't bring sanctification it's pointless to try and fulfill it spiritually
I see all this as 'Marcionite', i.e. a later development within proto-orthodoxy
The epistles are manifestly Marcionite and argue the law brings the opposite of sanctification - sin and condemnation - which is the opposite of what Christ taught. So to me the Faulines, and any orthodox Church that teaches them, are anti-Christian.
ebion
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Re: Isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees

Post by ebion »

davidmartin wrote: Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:05 am this is worth looking at for sure:
https://malankaralibrary.com/ImageUploa ... ca3194.pdf
You're right that is worth looking at. I found this on the IA isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees.
See also: https://archive.org/details/mystic_trea ... 1_librivox

Someone has done a table of contents of it MYSTIC TREATISES BY ISAAC OF NINEVEH - TRANSLATED FROM BEDJAN'S SYRIAC TEXT - WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND REGISTERS by A. J. WENSINCK. There's an HTML table of contents and links at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Mystic_Treatises . There's a table of contents to A J Wensinck's translation t https://www.oeaw.ac.at/resources/Record ... 228224/TOC and a copy of his translation on the Assyrian website: https://www.atour.com/media/files/libra ... nsinck.pdf

More info about St Isaac of Syria (Nineveh) can be found, among other places, here: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Isaac_of_Syria
Last edited by ebion on Tue Feb 13, 2024 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Peter Kirby
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Re: Isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees

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ebion wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:09 pm
davidmartin wrote: Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:05 am this is worth looking at for sure:
https://malankaralibrary.com/ImageUploa ... ca3194.pdf
You're right that is worth looking at. I found this on the IA isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees.
See also: https://archive.org/details/mystic_trea ... 1_librivox

Someone has done a table of contents of it MYSTIC TREATISES BY ISAAC OF NINEVEH - TRANSLATED FROM BEDJAN'S SYRIAC TEXT - WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND REGISTERS by A. J. WENSINCK
For those of us in the back row ... what would you say this is about, and why is it posted here?
ebion
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Re: Isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees

Post by ebion »

Peter Kirby wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:23 pm
ebion wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:09 pm
davidmartin wrote: Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:05 am this is worth looking at for sure:
https://malankaralibrary.com/ImageUploa ... ca3194.pdf
You're right that is worth looking at. I found this on the IA isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees.
See also: https://archive.org/details/mystic_trea ... 1_librivox

Someone has done a table of contents of it MYSTIC TREATISES BY ISAAC OF NINEVEH - TRANSLATED FROM BEDJAN'S SYRIAC TEXT - WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND REGISTERS by A. J. WENSINCK
For those of us in the back row ... what would you say this is about, and why is it posted here?
That's possibly a good question which I assume was asked in Good Faith.. The obvious answer is that it responds to davidmartin's assertion that Isaac of Nineveh's Mystic Treatises are worth looking at for sure. I knew of him as an early bishop of huge importance to the Apostolic Church of the East. For those in the back row, he's roughly an eastern equivalent of "Golden Mouth" Chrysostom, but less political and more refined. He was made bishop of Nineveh (now Mosul) but walked out after a few months to go back to an ascetic life in the monasteries.

I didn't know that there was a translation of his Mystic Treatises in English on the net - he wrote in Aramaic and perhaps some Arabic - and was glad to find an english translation, so I posted a link and summary. The Treatises are the rough equivalent of the greek Orthodox Philokalia, and the milleu of Issac of Nineveh is the Eastern correspondent to the greek Orthodox Hesychasts. The treatises of Issac are written at the same time as The Syriac Paradise of the Fathers by Anân Ishô, which is/includes a translation into the Aramaic of the Apophthegmata Patrum attributed to Anthansius of Alexandria. IMHO he was the creator of the Western canon used by most Westerners. It was the history and sayings of the Pachomian desert fathers, who are likely the librarians that buried the NHL; the NHL probably came from the nearby Pachomian monasteries as a result of Anthansius' canon letter of Easter 367AD, as they were in his bishopric. The Apophthegmata forms the foundation for the later Hesychasts. The translator of the Apophthegmata Patrum into Aramaic/Syriac was ordained by the same man as Isaac of Nineveh: the Eastern Patriarch George/Gewargis I.

On a deeper level anything mystical is the antithesis of the obsequiance to authority of Paul and Marcion; as OP, I welcomed the addition of the mystical aspect to the thread as it is a fundamental part of the Problem of Paul and Marcionism, especially in American Protestantism (Marcionism2.0). The Faulines served the Constantinian Church in the West to denigrate the mystical side of Christianity, but the greek orthodox and eastern catholik church largely ignore Paul to this day, and the greeks formally accepted the Hesychasts at a synod held at Constantinople. A J Wensinck's translation has paralells to the NT and OT as footnotes, and there are very few to the Faulines; the majority are to passages in Matthew.

We will open a Readings list to our canon thread and will add the Isaac Of Nineveh's Mystic Treatises translated from the Aramaic/Syriac to it; thanks davidmartin.
Last edited by ebion on Wed Feb 14, 2024 1:24 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees

Post by Peter Kirby »

ebion wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 10:24 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:23 pm
ebion wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:09 pm
davidmartin wrote: Thu Jan 25, 2024 9:05 am this is worth looking at for sure:
https://malankaralibrary.com/ImageUploa ... ca3194.pdf
You're right that is worth looking at. I found this on the IA isaac of Nineveh Mystical Treatisees.
See also: https://archive.org/details/mystic_trea ... 1_librivox

Someone has done a table of contents of it MYSTIC TREATISES BY ISAAC OF NINEVEH - TRANSLATED FROM BEDJAN'S SYRIAC TEXT - WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND REGISTERS by A. J. WENSINCK
For those of us in the back row ... what would you say this is about, and why is it posted here?
That's possibly a good question which I assume was asked in Good Faith.. The obvious answer is that it responds to davidmartin's assertion that Isaac Of Nineveh's Mystic Treatises are worth looking at for sure. I knew of him as an early bishop of huge importance to the Apostolic Church of the East. For those in the back row, he's roughly an eastern equivalent of "Golden Mouth" Chrysostom, but less political and more refined.

I didn't know that there was a translation of his Mystic Treatises in English on the net - he wrote in Aramaic and perhaps some Arabic - and was glad to find an english translation, so I posted a link and summary. The Treatises are the rough equivalent of the greek Orthodox Philokalia, and the milleu of Issac of Nineveh is the Eastern correspondent to the greek Orthodox Hesychasts. The treatises of Isscac are written at the same time as The Syriac Paradise of the Fathers by Anân Ishô , which is/includes a translation into the Aramaic of the Apophthegmata Patrum written perhaps by Anthansius of Alexandria. IMHO he was the creator of the Western canon used by most Westerners. It was the history and sayings of the Pachomian desert fathers, who are likely the librarians that buried the NHL, and the Apophthegmata forms the foundation for the later Hesychasts. The NHL probably came from the nearby Pachomian monasteries as a result of Anthansius' canon letter, as they were in his bishopric. The translator of the Apophthegmata Patrum into Aramaic/Syriac was ordained by the same man as Isaac of Nineveh: the Eastern Patriarch George/Gewargis I.

On a deeper level anything mystical is the antithesis of the obsequiance to authority of Paul and Marcion; as OP, I welcomed the addition of the mystical aspect to the thread as it is a fundamental part of the Problem of Paul and Marcionism, especially in American Protestantism. The Faulines served the Constantinian Church in the West to denigrate the mystical side of Christianity, but the greek orthodox and eastern catholik church largely ignore Paul to this day, and the greeks formally adopted the Hesychasts at a synod held at Constantinople. A J Wensinck's translation has paralells to the NT and OT as footnotes ,and there are very few to the Faulines; most are to passages in Matthew.

We will open a Readings list to our canon thread and will add the Isaac Of Nineveh's Mystic Treatises translated from the Aramaic/Syriac to it.
It must have been a good question, because that's really a great answer. Thank you.
ebion
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Re: Detering: A new examination of the question of the historical setting from which the Pauline Epistles are to be unde

Post by ebion »

From: The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles - Hermann Detering (we have taken the liberty of changing "Paul" to Faul where the subject is excludively the Faulines, as we want to separate it from Paul-in-Acts, the son of Herod, and we have replaced "Jewish-Christians" by Ebionaens.)

4. We most urgently need a new examination of the question of the historical setting from which the Fauline Epistles are to be understood. It is still everywhere assumed as a matter of course that the historical references in the Epistles relate to situations in the middle of the first century. Although the radical Dutch critics indicated a series of anachronisms that seem to hint at a later period, they have so far scarcely been considered by scholarly research. To mention only a few:
  • The question of Israel's repudiation, dealt with exhaustively in Romans 9-11 (e.g. (Rom. 11:15)f; cf. (1Thess. 2:16)), as well as the updating of the Old Testament remnant theme (Rom. 9:27; 11:5), could only arise later, presumably only after 135 (at the earliest after 70).
  • For the persecutions of Christians, of which mention is made again and again in the Fauline Epistles (Rom 8:35; 12:14; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Cor 4:9; 12:10; Gal 6:12; 1 Thess 2:14 etc.) there is no evidence before Nero. The putative persecution of Christians in 64 after the fire of Rome is, moreover, historically disputed. Speaking of persecutions isapart from those under Domitian (Eusebius, EH 3.17ff.) and the ones the Ebionaens were exposed to under Bar Kochba (Justin, Apol. 1,31; Eusebius, EH 4. 8,4) only possible after 135 in connection with the so-called Aposynagogos, i.e., the exclusion of Christians from synagogue life. And indeed, the Aposynagogos itself is unattested before Justin in the middle of the second century (Justin, Dial. 48.5).
  • Does the dispute concerning Faith and Law, indeed just like the question of circumcising, belong to the first century, or rather in the second? (Cf. Justin, who in his Dialogue with the Jew Trypho again and again occupies himself with exactly these questions: e.g., Dial. 23.4, where the theme of circumcision is debated.)
  • The implied theological level of the congregations of the Fauline Epistles assumes a longer period of incubation and could not possibly have been arrived at within two decades.
  • The Frenchman DelaFosse, congenial to the Dutchmen, has drawn our attention to indications in the Fauline Epistles that their author in a few pericopes refers to the so-called "Pascha conflict" under Victor in the second century, reported by Eusebius (1 Cor. 5:8).[^45]
  • Proxy baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29) has not been confirmed earlier than among the Marcionites in the second century.[^46]
Apart from such observations (and a series of other ones not mentioned here) which negate any possibility of a first-century date for the Fauline Epistles, Dutch Radical Criticism also, in a positive vein, experimented with alternative models, seeking to determine if and how the Fauline Epistles allow their being inserted into the historical frame of the second century.

The (re)construction of such a scenario could take place, e.g., with the help of the Epistle to the Galatians. In my opinion, the point of departure should be the altercation about the question of the figure and importance of the apostle, which manifested itself in the middle of the second century among Catholic, Ebionaen, Marcionite, and Gnostic Christianity. The questions were, as we learn mainly from Irenaeus and Tertullian:[^47] Who was Paul? What was his attitude towards the Law of the Old Covenant and to circumcision? Which Christian group has the greatest right to appeal to him? Was he the "apostle of the heretics," i.e., the Marcionites and Gnostics (Tertullian), or was he the apostle of the Catholics? Or, was he even the "Fiend," as the Ebionaens maintained?[^48]

Whereas the Ebionaens rejected Paul, both Marcionism and Catholicism (after an initial reluctance) appropriated the apostle. For Marcion Faul was the most important apostle, as God had entrusted only him with the secret of revelation (Irenaus, Haer. 3.13.1: solus Paulus). The exclusive appeal to Faul i.e., precisely the Faul of the Epistles (in the Marcionite version) enabled Marcion to launch his attack against Catholic Christianity and cleanse the Gospel of Judaistic additions.[^49]

Catholic Christianity about this time was consolidating itself in Rome, and from Rome outwards. It, too, started (after initial resistance) appealing to the apostle Paul in addition to Peter. The Catholic concept of Paul is the one that we meet with in the Acts of the Apostles. The author of the Acts sketches the apostle's image in such a way that he (quite unlike the Faul of the Epistles, which the author mentions nowhere!) appears as a Law-abiding Jewish Christian, who, e.g., practiced ircumcision (Acts 16:3). Paul is further made second to the Twelve as a representative of (Rome-) Jerusalem. This comes to pass through denying Paul's having been an eye-witness of the resurrection and his being relegated, immediately after his conversion, to the congregation in Jerusalem.[^50] In this way the pretension of the Marcionites that God has entrusted the secret of the revelation to Faul and to him only ("solus Paulus"; Irenaeus Haer. 3.13.1), the supreme patron of their religious community, is definitely combated. Paul did not receive his knowledge from immediate revelation, but from the representatives of the Jerusalem congregation.[^51]

My opinion is that the Epistle to the Galatians (in its original form) must be understood against just this background as a Marcionite polemic pamphlet. The (Marcionite) author of Galatians defends himself against the annexation of the apostle and the falsification of his image by the Catholics. Contra the allegation of his dependence on the apostles (as Acts would have it), he straight away starts his letter by pointing out that his apostle is an "apostle not of men neither by men" (Gal 1:1). What is more, he has Faul give information about the historical circumstances of his relationship to the Jerusalem apostles before him, viz. the exact information now needed by the Marcionites in order to legitimate themselves as a sovereign church. In the Marcionite version of Galatians (in which 1:18-1:24 is missing, just like the "again" in 2:1,[^52] and consequently only one journey to Jerusalem is mentioned) Faul, after his revelation that came straight from God (1:16), did "not take up contact" with the Jerusalem Christians. That appears from the fact that, to be sure, he went to Arabia and returned again unto Damascus, but he did not go immediately to Jerusalem. Only after fourteen years (2:1) did he go to Jerusalem because of the problem of circumcision.

It is evident that, for us today, the protest of Galatians (2 Corinthians, too) against Luke's [the author of Acts - ed.] image of Paul remains perceptible only in a curiously dimmed way. The reason is that the Catholic editors saw themselves obliged to gag the apostle in crucial places. A clear example of this is the pericope (Gal. 1:18)-(Gal. 2:2), which, as already mentioned, did not yet form part of the Marcionite version of the Epistle.

What is obvious here, is the attempt at "cutting Paul down to size," i.e., to subordinate the hero of the Marcionites to the leader of the Jerusalem party to whom Rome appealed, i.e., Kephas-Petrus, and this, indeed, as soon as possible after Paul's conversion. The insertion has as its purpose to rob Paul of his sovereignty and to make him a man dependent on Jerusalem. The Epistle to the Galatians, where in the introduction it is explicitly said that Faul is the apostle called by God, "not of man, neither by man," is remodeled on the basis of the Catholic Acts of the Apostles. Just as in Acts, the tendency of the Galatian gloss is that Faul has had "no revelation of his own" at all (against the assertion of the Marcionites), but that he was with the Apostles, i.e., with Peter. The latter (and not God) instructed him as the representative of the Jerusalem congregation. Consequently the Marcionites cannot appeal to Paul, nor can they claim to be an independent church. Just as Paul was dependant upon Jerusalem, they are dependent on Rome (the legitimate successor to the Jerusalem church!).

This is merely a quick sketch of how we might reconstruct the historical context of Galatians if we were to place the Epistle in the first half of the second century and understand it anew. It should at least show the perspective under which a historical location of the document in the second century could be attempted. The key question must be the one regarding the cui bono? To which Christian group in the second century could the Epistles be useful?

The answer is clear: the first to profit by the Fauline Epistles were undoubtedly the same as those in whose midst a canon of ten Fauline Epistles is demonstrable for the first time: the Marcionites. Only a thorough re-editing has made possible the reception of the Fauline Epistles by the Catholic Church. Only such a redaction has transformed Marcion's Faul, the "apostle of the heretics," into the Catholic Saint Paul, who henceforth ranks equally beside Saint Peter.
ebion
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Was the Paul-in-Acts a pagan?

Post by ebion »

ebion wrote: Wed Feb 14, 2024 11:24 pm So there's the possibility of a Roman sub-strata to anything that is Pauline in Christianity, even before Marcion. The sub-strata might be dark and Mithran.
Was the Paul-in-Acts a pagan? The question arises because Paul was a member of Herod's immediate family, and Herod's family was close to, and favoured by, the Romans, including the Caesar and Augustus. This is long before Christianity was accepted in Rome,

The following is from Doug del Tondo who brings out this spirit of Python promoted Paul in Acts 16:16:

And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying, she having followed Paul and us, was crying, saying, `These men are servants of the Most High God, who declare to us a way of salvation;' and this she was doing for many days, but Paul having been grieved, and having turned, said to the spirit, `I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come forth from her;' and it came forth the same hour. And her masters having seen that the hope of their employment was gone, having caught Paul and Silas, drew them to the market-place, unto the rulers, and having brought them to the magistrates, they said, `These men do exceedingly trouble our city, being Jews; (Acts 16:16-20 [YLT])
A "spirit of Python" meant a specific type of demonic spirit. The NLT of Acts 16:16 translates it simply as she is a "demon-possessed girl."

This Python priestess or Pythia oracle, as she was known, was a role rotated by three young women during the course of a day at Delphi and there was one at Philippi. (See below.) This had gone on for centuries. As we shall see, she spoke in gutteral grunts and screetches, and her words were translated by her scribe on a piece of paper to the person who wished her prophecy.

When she spoke, pagans thought she was supposed to have been given inspired messages from Apollo, the god of the Sun. Her prophecies were published far and wide, as the news of the day. People across Europe would be familiar with what her oracles said. This is reflected in the following instructive bit of information from an early church writer.

The famous church commentator, Origen, in 248 AD was debating with Celsus on what inspiration truly means. Celsus claimed there is not "only one God" (link), and instead there are many gods, and hence many inspired prophets. Celsus cited specifically "the oracles of the Pythian priestess" as unjustly being ignored as inspired by Origen. (Origen, Contra Celsum, link, at bk. 7, ch. 3, pg. 170.)

Origen in reply conceded the Pythian Oracle was inspired (reflecting that Origen submitted to consensus in all Europe). However, Origen said her inspiration was not from God, but from demons, and hence were not true. Origen wrote -- apparently unfamiliar with what impact his words would have on a Christian reading Acts 16:6 -- as follows. Origen said to Celsus that two of her well-known famous prophecies of a divine and pious quality of two different individuals were demonstrably incredible, and hence obviously from a demon. So Origen writes in the 200 AD period to Celsus in Contra Celsum as follows:
And in the responses of the Pythian oracle also you may find some injunctions which you may find are not in accordance with reason, two of which we shall adduce on the present occasion, viz. when it gave commandment that Cleomedes -- the boxer, I suppose -- should be honoured with divine honors, seeing some great importance or other attaching to his pugilistic skill, but did not confer on either Pythagoras or Socrates the honors which it awarded on pugilism; and also when it called Archilocus "the servant of the Muses" -- a man who employed his poetic powers upon topics of the most wicked and licentious nature, and whose public character was dissolute and impure -- and entitled him "pious" in respect of his being a servant of the Muses, who are deemed to be goddesses. Now I am inclined that no one would assert he was a pious man.... [N]othing that is divine itself is shown to belong ... to the prophetic power of Apollo [i.e., Pythia, his oracle] ... [H]ow could anyone worship [him] as a pure divinit[y]? -- and especially when the prophetic spirit of Apollo ... secretly enters through the private parts of the person of her who is called priestess, as she is seated at the mouth of the Pythian cave! .... But let it be granted the responses by the Pythian ... were not false [prentention] of divine inspiration but on the other hand [they] may be traced to wicked demons.... (Contra Celsum, ch. XXV, link, at page 63, 170.)
Hence, Origen says on two ocassions of which he presumed Celsus would know about, the Python priestess proved her inspiration was from demons as she gave divine honors to a boxer for being a boxer, and another time declared "pious" a dissolute poet for his service to his Muse goddesses.

This background helps understand who is this Python Priestess, and how important she was across Europe. Origen lived in Alexandria, Egypt -- far from Greece where Celsus lived. Yet, Origen knew well these oracles, and could presume Celsus would acknowledge them as true in their written debate.

This quote from Origen thus readily reveals why Acts 16:6 is highly damaging to Paul. Yet, Acts 16:6 perfectly suited Luke's primary goal to address Theophilus to prepare Paul's defense in an upcoming trial before pagans, including Nero, the emperor. Why so? Because Nero would respect what the Python priestess had said about Paul.

PS: See the following posts, and according to Wickedpaedia, the Oriacle at Delphi had fallen into disuse during the lifetime of Paul.
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Re: Was the Paul-in-Acts a pagan?

Post by GakuseiDon »

ebion wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 11:05 pmThis background helps understand who is this Python Priestess, and how important she was across Europe. Origen lived in Alexandria, Egypt -- far from Greece where Celsus lived. Yet, Origen knew well these oracles, and could presume Celsus would acknowledge them as true in their written debate.

This quote from Origen thus readily reveals why Acts 16:6 is highly damaging to Paul.
I'm sorry, why is it highly damaging to Paul? The legend that early Christians could exorcise demons - Paul exorcises a demon.
ebion wrote: Tue Feb 20, 2024 11:05 pmYet, Acts 16:6 perfectly suited Luke's primary goal to address Theophilus to prepare Paul's defense in an upcoming trial before pagans, including Nero, the emperor. Why so? Because Nero would respect what the Python priestess had said about Paul.
Acts 16 continues with her masters being upset that the woman could no longer sooth-say, so they complained to the authorities and had Paul and Silas arrested. I don't think it leads onto Nero. Also, the woman wasn't a Pythian priestess, just a sooth-sayer.
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Re: Was the Paul-in-Acts a pagan?

Post by ebion »

GakuseiDon wrote: Wed Feb 21, 2024 12:57 am Acts 16 continues with her masters being upset that the woman could no longer sooth-say, so they complained to the authorities and had Paul and Silas arrested. I don't think it leads onto Nero. Also, the woman wasn't a Pythian priestess, just a sooth-sayer.
You may be right, but I don't think so: the KJV softens it but the literal translation is more explict:
And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying, (Acts 16:16 [YLT])
The Pythia was a huge business and made a lot of money; emperors, kings, rulers came for their pronouncements, so this is not just a sooth-sayer. del Tondo and Mauck made me read Acts very subtley; they argue that the author of Acts had a subtle role: if Acts is a legal brief to a Roman prosecutor, he had to argue for Paul in a way that would be liked and accepted by a Roman pagan prosceutor. The results for Christianity of a guilty verdict could be catastropic: Christianity could be made an illicit religion - with a possible death sentence associated with membership.

So there are little perks added in for a pagan audience, like the reference to Castor and Pollux (Acts 28:11 KJV). As well as serious digs against Paul thrown in for Christians that a Roman would take as a compliment but Christians as a dig.

But it does not end there for me, and the followup is important to me. After the council of Nicea Constantine moved the Pythia from Delphi to his new capital at Constantinople. He was Pontifex Maximus of the SolInvictus/Apollo/Mithras pagan cult, and showed beyond doubt whose side he was on. Del Tondo has some of videos on YouTube on this: PS: See the following posts, and according to Wickedpaedia, the Oracle at Delphi had fallen into disuse during the lifetime of Paul, and that Constantine was known to have moved the tripod of the Phythias in 324 AD, but there's nothing to say the Phythias, who were local girls in the region at Delphi, came with the tripod.
Last edited by ebion on Fri Feb 23, 2024 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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