John2 does a good point about Saul...

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9077
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

John2 does a good point about Saul...

Post by Giuseppe »

I quote fully this John2's point, even if I disagree totally with the rest of his view:

John2 wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:50 am What the Recognitions say about Saul attacking James and his followers (including priests) is in keeping with what Josephus says about a Herodian named Saul who is mentioned right after the James passage in Ant. 20.9.4:
Costobarus also, and Saulus, did themselves get together a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they were of the royal family; and so they obtained favor among them, because of their kindred to Agrippa; but still they used violence with the people, and were very ready to plunder those that were weaker than themselves.
Cf. Rec. 1.70:
... one of our enemies entering the temple with a few men, began to cry out ... While he was thus speaking, and adding more to the same effect, and while James the bishop was refuting him, he began to excite the people and to raise a tumult, so that the people might not be able to hear what was said ... he began to drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been arranged with much labour, and at the same time to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse, and, like a madman, to excite every one to murder ... he first, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, were carried away with like readiness. Then ensued a tumult on either side, of the beating and the beaten. Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked James ...
And this fits with what Josephus and the Talmud say about this era.

Ant. 20.8.8:
And now arose a sedition between the high priests and the principal men of the multitude of Jerusalem; each of which got them a company of the boldest sort of men, and of those that loved innovations about them, and became leaders to them; and when they struggled together, they did it by casting reproachful words against one another, and by throwing stones also. And there was nobody to reprove them; but these disorders were done after a licentious manner in the city, as if it had no government over it. And such was the impudence and boldness that had seized on the high priests, that they had the hardiness to send their servants into the threshing-floors, to take away those tithes that were due to the priests, insomuch that it so fell out that the poorest sort of the priests died for want. To this degree did the violence of the seditious prevail over all right and justice.
Ant. 20.9.2:
... he [the high priest] also had servants who were very wicked, who joined themselves to the boldest sort of the people, and went to the thrashing-floors, and took away the tithes that belonged to the priests by violence, and did not refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. So the other high priests acted in the like manner, as did those his servants, without any one being able to prohibit them ...
Pes. 57a:
... their servants strike the people with clubs, and otherwise act inappropriately.
And that some of James' followers are said to be priests fits with what Acts 6:7 says:
The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
That the enemy Saul in Recognitions 1.70 (who "began ... to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse and, like a madman, to excite everyone to murder" and used "a strong brand from the altar" to "set the example of smiting") is Paul and that he was a servant of the high priests (as per the Talmud) is clear from what follows in 1.71:
... that enemy had received a commission from Caiaphas, the chief priest, that he should arrest all who believed in Jesus, and should go to Damascus with his letters, and that there also employing the help of the unbelievers, he should make havoc among the faithful; and that he was hastening to Damascus chiefly on this account.
And even after his conversion Paul remained a hothead and verbally abused Cephas "to his face ... in front of them all" in Gal. 2:11-14:
When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, because he stood to be condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself, for fear of those in the circumcision group. The other Jews joined in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

When I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all ...
And he continued to brag about his prowess in 1 Cor. 9:25-26:
Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable. Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air.
So I am inclined to take what the Recognitions say about Saul seriously and to see Josephus' Saul as Paul. Not only do these details fit, but how many Herodians named Saul who used violence against "those who were weaker than themselves" do you suppose there were during this time? Josephus mentions only one, and Christian writings mention only one.
In order to save a historical nucleus from Galatians, only the arguments along these lines (Josephus' Saul == Paul) can work, otherwise a historical Paul is really lost foverer and foverer.

And that historical nucleus was the following:
  • The Herodian Saul and Costobarus persecuted the insurgent Zealots.
  • Saul and Costobar are meant behind the "two demon-possessed men":

    When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.

    (Matthew 8:28)
  • The Gospel of Barnabas places the swine episode in Capernaum, the same place where the Marcionite Witness par excellence (who other than Paul, of course?) saw "the descent of Jesus from above", docet the famous Marcionite incipit.
  • The swine episode tradition is based on a war episode from the First Jewish Rebellion: only this could explain the reference to "Legion". Someway, Paul/Saul was defeated and got his life saved. His defeat before Jesus b. Sapphat (and probably his flattery to save himself) was interpreted as a "conversion".
  • Taking advantage of this best knowledge of the enemy, Paul/Saul was sent by Titus as diplomatic among some leaders of the Zealots, in a besieged Jerusalem. The diplomacy failed and after the war, when Simon bar Giora was lead by Titus in a prison of Antioch, Paul insulted him publicly, before the people of Antioch.
  • In Antioch, Paul was already preaching a crucified Christ as symbol of a new pacifist messianism. Christianity was born.
  • many years later, "Mark" and/or Marcion, wanting to fill the holes about the "things of Jesus", collected more and more possible information and hearsay about the Jesus they presumed Paul was referring to. That information derived essentially from the memories about Jesus b. Sapphat.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9077
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: John2 does a good point about Saul...

Post by Giuseppe »


An obscure work, published with little attention in French and Spanish but never in English (written not by a NT scholar or classicist but by an historian of medieval esoteric thought) that made a sweeping book-length argument for identification of Josephus’s Saul with Paul is Robert Ambelain, La vie secrete de saint Paul (1971). Then from the late 1980s Robert Eisenman independently popularized the idea in English in a series of publications. Mainstream scholars take no notice of even consideration of the possibility, remaining certain that “Josephus never mentions Paul”.

https://vridar.org/2020/01/31/guest-pos ... ment-98529
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9077
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: John2 does a good point about Saul...

Post by Giuseppe »

"Well, now I want to invent a fake biography of Paul, against Marcion, and to defame him properly in comparison with Peter I will make him a pre-Christian persecutor, along the lines of that Herodian persecutor of Zealots mentioned in Josephus, (the one named Saul), the same Josephus from whom I have drawn so many names and episodes. I will call Paul "Saul", regardless of whether people then put 2 + 2 together and unwittingly recall that same Herodian gangster so intent on dividing the Jews."

It doesn't hold up, does it?
Post Reply