Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

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rgprice
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by rgprice »

@cora I'm not sure what you keep going on about? Ekklēsia was a normal term. It was used by Greeks and Jews for both political and religious organizations. I'm not sure what you are talking about Paul founding anything. You think Paul came into town and put up flyers and personally organized a bunch of unrelated people? No, he went to the local fellowship of Jewish sympathizers and told them about Jesus and how they didn't need to worry about circumcision. It's pretty simple. It would have been like someone going to a Unitarian Universalist church and proselytizing about some new religious movement today. And he won some converts there.

Yo0uare right, church is an inappropriate translation. I think most of us have acknowledged that, so I'm not sure why you are still going on. These weren't "churches", they were typical Judeo-Gentile assemblies that worshiped the Jewish God and likely had been long before Paul came along. They were called ekklēsia before Paul came on the scene.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by GakuseiDon »

I see the early churches as travelling shows in the same tradition as the travelling shows in the Second Great Awakening in the USA in the 19th Century. The "church" were groups of Christians who made up the body of Christ. They had received the Spirit of God directly, rather than through following the Law. They held faith shows which attracted the curious.

1 Cor 12:
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire the *best gifts.


It was all about the magic! These were demonstrations of the presence of the Spirit of God, which trumped Mosaic Law:

Gal 3
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
[/i]

Paul had his own travelling show, which he used to demonstrate that he had the Spirit of God in him:

Rom 15:
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.


While "church" means an assembly of people, outside of Jerusalem I see it in the context of a small group of people that quickly set up a temporary tent used to bring in a crowd of curious locals for a travelling show. Maybe this is where the tradition of Paul being a tent-maker came from. Just the speculation by an interested amateur!
rgprice
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by rgprice »

I've been reading a bit of The Origin and Meaning of Ekklēsia in the Early Jesus Movement. It's dense, but seems pretty good. In it, Korner argues that Paul's use of ekklēsia was a means of including Gentiles within the Jewish covenant. That's Paul's use of the term appropriated Jewish usage of the term and was a means of bestowing Jewish religious identity upon these Gentile communities. (From the preview of the intro).

Korner identifies Philo as the main predecessor to make use of the term ekklēsia in the way that Paul did, which is interesting because there are multiple similarities between Paul and Philo.
Last edited by rgprice on Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by Ben C. Smith »

rgprice wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:55 pm I've been reading a bit of The Origin and Meaning of Ekklēsia in the Early Jesus Movement. It's dense, but seems pretty good. In it, Korner argues that Paul's use of ekklēsia was a means of including Gentiles within the Jewish covenant. That's Paul's use of the term appropriated Jewish usage of the term and was a means of bestowing Jewish religious identity upon these Gentile communities. (From the preview of the intro).
That makes a lot of sense to me.
rgprice
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by rgprice »

I've read this, and would be interested to hear what you have to say about it Ben: https://www.academia.edu/38769401/Pauls ... p_SBL_2019_

But, this still gets us back to, what did Paul mean by, "I used to persecute the assembly of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it"?

Paul tells us that he was a devout Jew, and presumably he was persecuting the "assembly of God" because of his devotion to Judaism. But we've also seen that the term "assembly of God" would have been understood by Jews to be something entirely Jewish.

It seems to me that if a typical Jew off the street in Jerusalem said something like, "I hate the assembly of God", fellow Jews would take that to be a blasphemous statement against the God of Israel and the Temple. So how can Paul say that he was a devout Jew, and because of his devotion to Judaism he was trying to destroy the assembly of God? It doesn't seem to make any sense.

Edit: Also, now I'm reading parts of The Pauline Church and the Corinthian Ekklēsia: Greco-Roman Associations in Comparative Context

This seems to suggest that Paul the "assembly of God" Paul was talking about was a Gentile "Yahweh group", i.e. an association of non-ethnic Jews, who worshiped the Jewish God. It would seem plausible then that Paul persecuted such groups simply as "non-Jews" who were worshiping the Jewish God, which again gets back to the issue of circumcision. So perhaps initially Paul saw uncircumcised worship of the Jewish God as abhorrent. I still find his use of the term "assembly of God" confusing though. It seems like a term that would be easily misunderstood. I do wonder if "assembly of God" meant the specific group in Corinth? So, in speaking to the Galatians is Paul saying that he was known for having persecuted the Corinthian "Yahweh group" prior to changing his ways?

It would seem to me that "assembly of God" is a term that could easily be misunderstood among a general audience, but must have meant something specific to his particular audience.
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Jax
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by Jax »

rgprice wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:24 am I've read this, and would be interested to hear what you have to say about it Ben: https://www.academia.edu/38769401/Pauls ... p_SBL_2019_

But, this still gets us back to, what did Paul mean by, "I used to persecute the assembly of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it"?

Paul tells us that he was a devout Jew, and presumably he was persecuting the "assembly of God" because of his devotion to Judaism. But we've also seen that the term "assembly of God" would have been understood by Jews to be something entirely Jewish.

It seems to me that if a typical Jew off the street in Jerusalem said something like, "I hate the assembly of God", fellow Jews would take that to be a blasphemous statement against the God of Israel and the Temple. So how can Paul say that he was a devout Jew, and because of his devotion to Judaism he was trying to destroy the assembly of God? It doesn't seem to make any sense.

Edit: Also, now I'm reading parts of The Pauline Church and the Corinthian Ekklēsia: Greco-Roman Associations in Comparative Context

This seems to suggest that Paul the "assembly of God" Paul was talking about was a Gentile "Yahweh group", i.e. an association of non-ethnic Jews, who worshiped the Jewish God. It would seem plausible then that Paul persecuted such groups simply as "non-Jews" who were worshiping the Jewish God, which again gets back to the issue of circumcision. So perhaps initially Paul saw uncircumcised worship of the Jewish God as abhorrent. I still find his use of the term "assembly of God" confusing though. It seems like a term that would be easily misunderstood. I do wonder if "assembly of God" meant the specific group in Corinth? So, in speaking to the Galatians is Paul saying that he was known for having persecuted the Corinthian "Yahweh group" prior to changing his ways?

It would seem to me that "assembly of God" is a term that could easily be misunderstood among a general audience, but must have meant something specific to his particular audience.
Interesting and thought provoking article but at the end of the day we are left with this statement.
Before exploring how the word ekklēsia can also be considered as a Jewish synagogue term, it is worth noting at this point that, unlike how the word synagōgē is used within Jewish epigraphic and literary records, the word ekklēsia in the New Testament is never used in reference to a physical building or structure.
I hate to sound like a broken 8 track...
It seems to me that if a typical Jew off the street in Jerusalem said something like, "I hate the assembly of God", fellow Jews would take that to be a blasphemous statement against the God of Israel and the Temple. So how can Paul say that he was a devout Jew, and because of his devotion to Judaism he was trying to destroy the assembly of God? It doesn't seem to make any sense.
This would be true of the 1st century for the most part but when we look to the early 1st century BCE we find the civil war of Alexander Jannaeus and the Pharisees https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judean_Ci ... d%20Empire.

IMO it's when we insist on keeping Paul in the 1st century that we run into problems, problems that disappear in the century before it. Is Yehoshua Ben Perachia perhaps the IC/IHC that we seek? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_ben_Perachiah

Just a thought.
Bernard Muller
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by Bernard Muller »

According to my research on the very beginning of Christianity, Paul participated in the persecution of Greek speaking proto-Christian Jews. They belonged to the "assembly/church of God", an expression Paul used for Christian "assembly/church", as in 1 Co 1:2.

Cordially, Bernard
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by Ben C. Smith »

Jax wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:08 am
rgprice wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:24 am I've read this, and would be interested to hear what you have to say about it Ben: https://www.academia.edu/38769401/Pauls ... p_SBL_2019_
Interesting and thought provoking article but at the end of the day we are left with this statement.
Before exploring how the word ekklēsia can also be considered as a Jewish synagogue term, it is worth noting at this point that, unlike how the word synagōgē is used within Jewish epigraphic and literary records, the word ekklēsia in the New Testament is never used in reference to a physical building or structure.
I hate to sound like a broken 8 track...
Synagogue and assembly are certainly different in this way.

The quote from Philo on page 4 of the article paraphrases Deuteronomy 23.8. This kind of language seems to rely on the Hebrew scriptures for its content.

Paul may simply be engaging in a kind of in-group speech. It does not matter to a lot of modern evangelical Christians that Mormons call themselves Christians; the evangelicals simply deny them that title. The Mormons are "not real Christians," according to them. Likewise, if Paul really believes that Israel as a whole has gone astray, and that the true remnant of Israel is represented both by Gentiles and by a few faithful Jews, then he may simply deny the term "assembly of God" to those he deems apostate. The ones preaching Jesus as the Christ/Messiah are the real assembly of God. Before coming around to that point of view, of course he would not have said he was persecuting the assembly of God; he would have said he was stamping out something deviant. After his turnaround, however, maybe he just now thinks that the only real assemblies of God are those who agree that Jesus is Lord, and he denies his religious opponents that term.
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Jax
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by Jax »

Ben C. Smith wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:44 am
Jax wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:08 am
rgprice wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:24 am I've read this, and would be interested to hear what you have to say about it Ben: https://www.academia.edu/38769401/Pauls ... p_SBL_2019_
Interesting and thought provoking article but at the end of the day we are left with this statement.
Before exploring how the word ekklēsia can also be considered as a Jewish synagogue term, it is worth noting at this point that, unlike how the word synagōgē is used within Jewish epigraphic and literary records, the word ekklēsia in the New Testament is never used in reference to a physical building or structure.
I hate to sound like a broken 8 track...
Synagogue and assembly are certainly different in this way.

The quote from Philo on page 4 of the article paraphrases Deuteronomy 23.8. This kind of language seems to rely on the Hebrew scriptures for its content.

Paul may simply be engaging in a kind of in-group speech. It does not matter to a lot of modern evangelical Christians that Mormons call themselves Christians; the evangelicals simply deny them that title. The Mormons are "not real Christians," according to them. Likewise, if Paul really believes that Israel as a whole has gone astray, and that the true remnant of Israel is represented both by Gentiles and by a few faithful Jews, then he may simply deny the term "assembly of God" to those he deems apostate. The ones preaching Jesus as the Christ/Messiah are the real assembly of God. Before coming around to that point of view, of course he would not have said he was persecuting the assembly of God; he would have said he was stamping out something deviant. After his turnaround, however, maybe he just now thinks that the only real assemblies of God are those who agree that Jesus is Lord, and he denies his religious opponents that term.
Just so that you know. When I wrote that I hate to sound like a broken 8 track I placed it where it is simply to break up the two quotes for clarity. It is actually a reference to the second half of my post which I am sure that some here are sick of hearing. I guess it works for the first half of the post as well but that wasn't my original intention. Created confusion when I was trying to remove it. :P

Yeah, your thoughts on Paul's point of view is certainly possible, even plausible.
cora
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Re: Galatians 1:21-24 : churches of Judea

Post by cora »

I don't think so. Paul was FOUNDING communities all in the utmost west of Turkey. There is even a map where you can see where they are. His own communities. There had nothing been there before.

He is bringing in "godfearers" who had assemblies which were there long before Paul, where Paul then went. I have no idea of these assemblies, I have never read about them. But godfearers are people who want to be jewish without circumcision as yet. They go to the normal synagogues.

Paul is NOT a godfearer. Nor has he anything to do with them. They are Jahweh-worshippers. Paul is NOT. I know the church stole the father, the son and the holy spirit from him, so we all are brainwashed to believe it is about OT Jahweh, but it is NOT. The Jews do not even recognise "god the father": it is NOT their god. A son and a holy spirit have also nothing to do with them. It comes from Paul. It is gnostic. Paul means another god, who HAS a son and a holy spirit. Paul was taken in as theirs by the church, and was very thoroughly interpolated to look Christian. Thank god there are now people who recognise that there are "2 different people" in Paul.

Since what I say is considered "heretic" and "gnostic" still is a dirty word, I get all this ignoring or put down. Mostly ignoring. I probably will be seen as out of my mind. They simply cannot take me seriously. Then even not, but that does not mean that I am not telling the truth. Paul is a (very moderate) gnostic. If people would be able to put away their prejudices, and simply look what he says, they would see that too. Putting Paul in connection with "godfearers" is a delusion, and saying it is certain it becomes a psychosis.
This goes much further than recognizing church is a fake word, and saying it must be called an assembly and not a community (which it is).
I stand here, I cannot do differently, as Luther was reported to have said (he didn't).
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