1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

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rgprice
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1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by rgprice »

This is the only place in the Pauline letters that directly accuses "the Jews" of killing Jesus. I'd long just thought of this as some later interpolation, but it is indeed attested to in Marcion's version of the letter.

14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.

From Tertullian, Against Marcion 5.15
I shall not be sorry to bestow attention on the shorter epistles also. Even in brief works there is much pungency. The Jews had slain their prophets. 1 Thessalonians 2:15 I may ask, What has this to do with the apostle of the rival god, one so amiable withal, who could hardly be said to condemn even the failings of his own people; and who, moreover, has himself some hand in making away with the same prophets whom he is destroying? What injury did Israel commit against him in slaying those whom he too has reprobated, since he was the first to pass a hostile sentence on them? But Israel sinned against their own God. He upbraided their iniquity to whom the injured God pertains; and certainly he is anything but the adversary of the injured Deity. Else he would not have burdened them with the charge of killing even the Lord, in the words, Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, although (the pronoun) their own be an addition of the heretics. Now, what was there so very acrimonious in their killing Christ the proclaimer of the new god, after they had put to death also the prophets of their own god? The fact, however, of their having slain the Lord and His servants, is put as a case of climax. Now, if it were the Christ of one god and the prophets of another god whom they slew, he would certainly have placed the impious crimes on the same level, instead of mentioning them in the way of a climax; but they did not admit of being put on the same level: the climax, therefore, was only possible by the sin having been in fact committed against one and the same Lord in the two respective circumstances. To one and the same Lord, then, belonged Christ and the prophets.

A few things:
1) This indicates that the "churches" in Judea were Gentile.
2) There are propositions that 1 Thess 2:13-16 are an interpolation. But if that is the case, it was interpolated before prior to Marcion.

This raises some complicated issues. Either:
1) This is all authentically from Paul, and Paul believed that Jesus was executed by the Jews, but he never made that clear anywhere else.
2) 1 Thess is a forgery in its entirety (however it is used by the writer of Mark also)
3) 1 Thess 2:13-16 is an interpolation, added by Marcion himself. That it exists in the orthodox version then can only be explained by the orthodox version having derived from Marcion's version.
4) 1 Thess 2:13-16 is an interpolation added to the base sources, prior to Marcion. The orthodox version may come from an independent branch of the documents.
5) 1 Thess 2:13-16 contains some post-Marcion interpolated revisions, but the core is original. (see issue #1)

None of these seem satisfactory. This seems to be a really problematic passage. Thoughts on it?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by Ben C. Smith »

You can read BeDuhn's take here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1840&p=40619#p40613.

I have long suspected that 1 Thessalonians has been interpolated by someone of a Matthean mindset. I think that most of 5.1-11 is an interpolation, as well, and that passage has a Matthean cast to it, too. YMMV.
rgprice
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by rgprice »

BeDuhn says that Marcion omitted Jesus following the Lord, but the version I read has Jesus there. What's going on? BeDuhn is claiming that Tertullian reads: "Who both killed the Lord and their own prophets", but the text has "Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets".
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by Ben C. Smith »

rgprice wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:14 am BeDuhn says that Marcion omitted Jesus following the Lord, but the version I read has Jesus there. What's going on? BeDuhn is claiming that Tertullian reads: "Who both killed the Lord and their own prophets", but the text has "Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets".
The Latin has qui et dominum interfecerunt. I do not know why the English translation adds Jesus to this line, except perhaps on the raw assumption that Tertullian's original would have matched our text of 1 Thessalonians 2.15.

Always verify the original. Always.
rgprice
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by rgprice »

I find Schmidt's case for interpolation pretty convincing, but he doesn't deal with the evidence from Tertullian. Interpolations that are unattested in Marcion are pretty easy to accept. But the proposition of an interpolation that existed in Marcion's version as well is more difficult, especially since it also exists in the orthodox version.

It would seem then, that if Schmidt is correct, then there are really two layers of interpolation, which adds to the problems. Basically this would argue for 2:13-15a as a principal interpolation, and then 2:15b-16 as a secondary, post-Marcion, interpolation. But, the problem there is that I would think the case for 2:13-15a by itself being an interpolation is weakened without the material from v15b-16. So there still seems to remain no good solution here.
Last edited by rgprice on Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by Ben C. Smith »

rgprice wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:39 am I find Schmidt's case for interpolation pretty convincing, but he doesn't deal with the evidence from Tertullian. Interpolations that are unattested in Marcion are pretty easy to accept. But the proposition of an interpolation that existed in Marcion's version as well is more difficult, especially since it also exists in the orthodox version.

It would seem then, that is Schmidt is correct, that there are really two lays of interpolation, which adds to the problems. Basically this would argue for 2:13-15a as a principal interpolation, and then 2:15b-16 as a secondary, post-Marcion, interpolation. But, the problem there is that I would think the case for 2:13-15a by itself being an interpolation is weakened without the material from v15b-16. So there still seems to remain no good solution here.
What are your reasons for thinking that 2.13-15a is an interpolation? What prevents it from being original, to your mind?
rgprice
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by rgprice »

Ben C. Smith wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:41 am What are your reasons for thinking that 2.13-15a is an interpolation? What prevents it from being original, to your mind?
Well, all the points laid out by Schmidt. I won't go into all the linguistic issues, which he addresses. Of course, it does seem that 2:17 follows nicely from 2:12.

7 But we proved to be gentle among you. As a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, 8 in the same way we had a fond affection for you and were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

9 For you recall, brothers and sisters, our labor and hardship: it was by working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, that we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how devoutly and rightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; 11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

...

17 But we, brothers and sisters, having been orphaned from you by absence for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope, or joy or crown of pride, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Or is it not indeed you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

But it seems to me that the statement that the Jews killed the Lord is quite problematic. Nowhere else does Paul say this or even imply it. And indeed it would seem that there are many statements from Paul that contradict such a claim. And of course there are many glaring omissions where one would expect him to say it if this was something he thought, including many places in Romans.
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by robert j »

rgprice wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:34 am
But it seems to me that the statement that the Jews killed the Lord is quite problematic. Nowhere else does Paul say this or even imply it. And indeed it would seem that there are many statements from Paul that contradict such a claim.
Acknowledging your qualifier, I am curious to see a few examples of the many statements from Paul that contradict such a claim.

I'm not promoting a position either way on the original nature of the passage in question. And absent the passage, I think the question of the culprits within the realm of Paul's letters remains an tantalizing mystery.
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by perseusomega9 »

If the Jews killing Jesus is original (and early) in Thess., it takes us back to the GPeter and GLuke additions of Herod in the passion narrative. So which is more original, crucifixion of Jesus by Pilate and the Romans, or killing of Jesus by Herod?
andrewcriddle
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Re: 1 Thess 2:14-15 : "the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus"

Post by andrewcriddle »

perseusomega9 wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:56 am If the Jews killing Jesus is original (and early) in Thess., it takes us back to the GPeter and GLuke additions of Herod in the passion narrative. So which is more original, crucifixion of Jesus by Pilate and the Romans, or killing of Jesus by Herod?
Assuming FTSOA that Paul knew an account of Jesus' death similar to Mark then IMO he could plausibly regard the Jewish leaders as responsible for the death. They found Jesus worthy of death and brought him to Pilate for final sentencing.

Andrew Criddle
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