Aretas V

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Giuseppe
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Re: Aretas V

Post by Giuseppe »

maryhelena wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 8:28 am It seems to me, Giuseppe, that you are running way ahead of what Greg Doudna wrote. Yes, Greg has a theory - a 'could be' - but that is miles away from your words ' official history'.
his theory is enough reasonable to reject Aretas IV once and for all as the best candidate for the Paul's Aretas.

I use "reasonable" as quoted from the article:
These disturbances could be a context for Roman military presence in Damascus. Whereas it is not credible that a rational Nabataean ruler of the first century CE, a client king of the Romans, would invade the Roman province of Syria to take control of Damascus which would be a declaration of war upon the Roman Empire, a Nabataean auxiliary military unit as part of the Roman army is a reasonable mechanism by which a Nabataean chieftain could be referred to in 2 Cor 11:31-32 at Damascus in a role as a military commander at the time of the First Jewish Revolt, when there was known military cooperation and support from Nabataean units to the Roman legions in the region.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Aretas V

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The argument goes something as the following:

1) an inscription says this Se’udat was a Nabataean queen, a queen who reigned. (FACT)
2) no other Nabataean queen is known to have exercised sole rule without a husband or son. (FACT)
3) we know that an Aretas son of Malichus II existed really (FACT)
4) we know that Paul talks about troops of Aretas in Damascus (no reason by Paul to invent that detail: therefore it is a FACT)
5) we know that Paul assumed, without fear of being contradicted, that this Aretas was someway dangerous and threatened his life (hence, the bad reputation of this Aretas — totally beyond if he really threatened the Paul's life — is a FACT)
6) points (1), (2) (3), (4) and (5) make it more probable that the Aretas referred to is Aretas V, rather than Aretas IV.
Last edited by Giuseppe on Mon May 24, 2021 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
maryhelena
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Re: Aretas V

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Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 8:39 am
maryhelena wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 8:28 am It seems to me, Giuseppe, that you are running way ahead of what Greg Doudna wrote. Yes, Greg has a theory - a 'could be' - but that is miles away from your words ' official history'.
his theory is enough reasonable to reject Aretas IV once and for all as the best candidate for the Paul's Aretas.

I use "reasonable" as quoted from the article:
These disturbances could be a context for Roman military presence in Damascus. Whereas it is not credible that a rational Nabataean ruler of the first century CE, a client king of the Romans, would invade the Roman province of Syria to take control of Damascus which would be a declaration of war upon the Roman Empire, a Nabataean auxiliary military unit as part of the Roman army is a reasonable mechanism by which a Nabataean chieftain could be referred to in 2 Cor 11:31-32 at Damascus in a role as a military commander at the time of the First Jewish Revolt, when there was known military cooperation and support from Nabataean units to the Roman legions in the region.

Ah, Giuseppe, but you didn't use 'reasonable' in your little chart in your earlier post. Again, this is what you wrote:

Official history
68 CE: Nabatean troops in Damascus

'Official history' is what you wrote. No way, Giuseppe, that you can wave a magic wand and abracadabra Greg's 'reasonable' is changed into 'official history'.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Aretas V

Post by Giuseppe »

well, I have used 'official' in the sense of 'real', as opposed to 'reported explicitly in secular sources as Josephus'.

Paul is not a secular source, obviously, however he sounds very secular when he is using the bad reputation (FACT) of an "Aretas in Damascus" to make himself better accepted by his readers.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Aretas V

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Note also the clues of Paul's invention of his presumed fugue from Damascus: his expedient to escape was a 'basket', to make again the point that a basket (same meaning of "Tarsus"?) was sufficient to contain him, PAULUS, the "little one".

It is evident that even by this episode, Paul was attacking the strong "apostles of Christ", who were probably not equally "little ones" as the little seed, Paul. Hence, not equally able, as Paul, to escape persecutors by using his littleness.

Hence the episode had also a didactic function: the readers would have learned that one has to be as Paul (use cunning, not physical strength) to overcome obstacles.

ADDENDA: The message is the same as Romans 13:1-7:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

maryhelena
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Re: Aretas V

Post by maryhelena »

Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 8:52 am The argument goes something as the following:

1) an inscription says this Se’udat was a Nabataean queen, a queen who reigned. (FACT)
2) no other Nabataean queen is known to have exercised sole rule without a husband or son. (FACT)
3) we know that an Aretas son of Malichus II existed really (FACT)
4) we know that Paul talks about troops of Aretas in Damascus (no reason by Paul to invent that detail: therefore it is a FACT)
5) we know that Paul assumed, without fear of being contradicted, that this Aretas was someway dangerous and threatened his life (hence, the bad reputation of this Aretas — totally beyond if he really threatened the Paul's life — is a FACT)
6) points (1), (2) (3), (4) and (5) make it more probable that the Aretas referred to is Aretas V, rather than Aretas IV.
Aretas IV did not rule Damascus.
No historical evidence for an Aretas V.

Historical evidence: Aretas III controlled Damascus.

Aretas III (/ˈærɪtəs/;[1] Arabic: حارثة الثالث‎ Ḥārthah; Greek: Αρέτας Arétās) was king of the Nabataean kingdom from 87 to 62 BCE. Aretas ascended to the throne upon the death of his brother, Obodas I, in 87 BCE.[2] During his reign, he extended his kingdom to cover what now forms the northern area of Jordan, the south of Syria, and part of Saudi Arabia. Probably the greatest of Aretas' conquests was that of Damascus, which secured his country's place as a serious political power of its time. Nabataea reached its greatest territorial extent under Aretas' leadership.[3]

The city was taken from the loosening grip of the Seleucid Empire in 85 BCE by Aretas, who styled himself as Aretas Philhellen (Philhellen, "friend of the Greeks").[4] He ordered the mints of Damascus to produce the first silver Nabataean coins,

Nabataean rule of Damascus was interrupted in 72 BCE by a successful siege led by the Armenian king Tigranes II. Armenian rule of the city ended in 69 BCE when Tigranes' forces were pulled out to deal with a Roman attack on the Armenian capital, allowing Aretas to re-take the city.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretas_III

Obviously, if one upholds a historical NT Paul then one will not be interested in Aretas III. However, once Paul's historicity is questioned, that this NT figure is in the same league as the NT Jesus figure ( ie. as a literary figure reflecting the historical background from which Christianity arose) then 2 Cor. 11.32. can be allowed to uphold Nabataean history.

In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes.....

Official history - Aretas III controlled Damascus from 85 b.c.

The first thing one can learn about 85 b.c. is that this is the time of Alexander Jannaeus - who lost a battle against Aretas III. (Toldot Yeshu time as well...) Another Hasmonean King, Hyrcanus II, sought refuge with Aretas III around 67/66 b.c.

The NT Paul, in Damascus, had the scales removed from his eyes. Indicating that Paul 'saw' the relevance of Hasmonean history for the 'good news' that he was going to preach to the Gentiles. Although Hasmonean history was fundamental to christian origins - Paul has to take his 'good news' of a spiritual kingdom to the Gentiles.

Theories about Aretas IV and Damascus and theories about Aretas, grandson of Aretas IV, and troops in Damascus around 68 c.e. - contribute nothing to a search for early christian origins. Theorizing about 'could be' or 'may read'.....while the historical fact that Aretas III ruled Damascus from 85 b.c. is shortsighted. Yes, accepting that historical fact involves questioning the historicity of the NT figure of Paul....not an easy hurdle to jump for the mythicists......

Thomas Brodie: Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus.

PAUL: THE PENNY FINALLY DROPS

Historicized fiction.

A mass of data had suddenly fallen into place.
What hit me was that the entire narrative regarding Paul, everything the
thirteen epistles say about him or imply-about his life, his work and travels,
his character, his sending and receiving of letters, his readers and his
relationship to them-all of that was historicized fiction. It was fiction,
meaning that the figure of Paul was a work of imagination, but this figure had
been historicized-presented in a way that made it look like history, history like,
'fiction made to resemble the uncertainties of life in history'
......

So- and this reality took time to sink in-the figure of Paul joined the
ranks of so many other figures from the older part of the Bible, figures who,
despite the historical details surrounding them, were literary, figures of the
imagination.

maryhelena
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Re: Aretas V

Post by maryhelena »

Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 8:59 am well, I have used 'official' in the sense of 'real', as opposed to 'reported explicitly in secular sources as Josephus'.
:popcorn:
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Giuseppe
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Re: Aretas V

Post by Giuseppe »

maryhelena wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:29 am Obviously, if one upholds a historical NT Paul then one will not be interested in Aretas III.
this is a non-sequitur. Do you think that the Aretas is Aretas III? Well, then in full coherence you should assume that Paul (or the interpolator posing as "Paul") was meaning Aretas III. Sic stantibus rebus, how of grace can you even only harmonize all this with the rest of your reconstruction based on the last hasmonean king as the historical Jesus?

It is very hard to come out from the complex theorem you are entered in, via introduction of an Aretas III.

Why do people reject so rapidly the idea that Christianity started it all only after the First Jewish Revolt ? A true mystery. Even when the idea explains very a lot of things.
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Re: Aretas V

Post by maryhelena »

Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:47 am
maryhelena wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:29 am Obviously, if one upholds a historical NT Paul then one will not be interested in Aretas III.
this is a non-sequitur. Do you think that the Aretas is Aretas III? Well, then in full coherence you should assume that Paul (or the interpolator posing as "Paul") was meaning Aretas III.
The consensus interpretation of 2 Cor.11.32 is based upon the assumed historicity of the NT story regarding JC and Paul. A chronological framework based on the ministry of JC followed by that of Paul. A first century chronology from the mid 30s to late 60s. During that time frame there was no Aretas ruling Damascus.

Options:

1. The writer of 2 Cor. 11.32 made a historical error.
2. Propose ways in which an ethnarch of Aretas IV could somehow be in control of Damascus - prior to his death in 39/40 c.e.
3. Propose a grandson of Aretas IV, named Aretas, was, maybe, a King and, maybe, had troops in Damascus in 68 c.e.
4. Nabataean history is allowed to identify which of it's Kings ruled Damascus: Aretas III in 85 b.c.
5. The NT figure of Paul, being within the NT time frame, cannot be in Damascus during the time it was controlled by Aretas III
6. Nabataean history verse the NT Paul, a figure whose historicity cannot be established. ?
7. 2 Cor. 11.32 is combining Nabataean history with an origin story, an allegory, of early Pauline christian history.
8. Nabataean history of Aretas III has connections with Hasmonean history.
9. Hasmonean history is the ground zero - the historical root from which Christianity developed.

Years ago, on FRDB, spin proposed Aretas III as the ruler of Damascus for 2 Cor. 11.32. At that time I argued the point that the text is ambiguous; the text does not identify which Aretas it is referencing. Thus, allowing for some sort of symbolism or figurative aspect to the text. (The escape over the wall of Damascus reflecting the escape of the spies, under Joshua, escaping over the wall of Jericho prior to the conquest of the Promised Land. The 100 year time period between Aretas III losing control of Damascus around 63 b.c. to the victory in the war of Aretas IV with Antipas (re Josephus) around 36/37 c.e.)

However, at the end of the day, the basic historical impact of the text has to be established. The historical core to the text of 2 Cor. 11.32 is that Aretas III controlled Damascus from 85 b.c. Questions only then arise as to what the writer of 2 Cor. 11.32 was wanting to convey with placing the NT figure of Paul outside of the NT chronological framework. History is paramount - especially so if it's early christian origins that are of interest.

Why do people reject so rapidly the idea that Christianity started it all only after the First Jewish Revolt ? A true mystery. Even when the idea explains very a lot of things.
To view the First Jewish Revolt as somehow being the catalyst for christian origins fails to acknowledge, and hence to appreciate, what the loss of sovereignty had on Jewish thinking. Christianity is all about a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom of neither Jew nor Greek. A Jerusalem above rather than the Jerusalem below. The question becomes what was it in Jewish history that brought about this desire to move away from an earthly kingdom. Sovereignty was not lost in 70 c.e. - It had been lost 107 years earlier. Options for the Hasmoneans were limited. Fight on with the Romans - or move forward towards a kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, without end. Yes, 70 c.e. probably escalated the new philosophical world view - but that new world view would have been ready for prime time.....

==================
footnote:

The writer of 2 Cor. 11.32 has placed an Aretas in control of Damascus outside of the NT chronological time frame. In a similar vein the Lukean writer has placed a ruler outside of the NT chronological framework: Lysanias of Abilene was not ruling during the time of Pilate. He was, re Josephus, executed by Marc Antony. (Ant. book 15 ch. 4 - dated re Wikipedia to 33 b.c. ) The placement of these two historical figures, Aretas III and Lysanias of Abilene, within the NT chronological framework does not indicate errors on the part of the NT writers - they indicate that the NT chronological time frame is a condensed time frame. i.e. it is, as it were, a snapshot of a longer historical period, a longer historical period from which a christian origin story was developed. Within the NT chronological time frame these two historical figures are, as it were, out of context. The 'solution' is not to cry error on the part of the NT writers - the 'solution' is to allow these 'errors' to widen out, to stretch out, the historical canvas from which the NT story was composed.

Sometimes it's good to keep in mind that what we may think is error or downright crazy there might be method in it -''Though this be madness, yet there is method in it' (paraphrase of Shakespeare).
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Baley
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Re: Aretas V

Post by Baley »

Greg Doudna's hypothesis indeed seems reasonable and merits further investigation. To limit oneself a priori to the consensus interpretation is quite restrictive.
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