The "Assembly of God"

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
rgprice
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by rgprice »

Irish1975 wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 10:23 am
rgprice wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 8:36 am Yeah, 1 Thess 2 is particularly thorny. It's both important and a can of worms. I also find that trying to make sense of the canonical Pauline letters is increasingly difficult because it's clear that alterations and multiple authors abound. Trying to come up with any consistent line of reasoning is almost impossible. It's also a challenge specifically because of the nature of the editing that was done to the letters. Just as in the case of 1 Thess 2, many of the most significant elements are hampered by interpolation.
Yes. I largely agree with your account of the 2nd century interpolators/editors in the Roman church (maybe Ephesus too). I'm starting to eschew the concept of "the (7) authentic Pauline epistles" in favor of a more vague "Pauline Corpus." If we knew there were only one man behind the big four epistles Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, that would be one thing. But it almost seems easier to identity the personality behind 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians than to identify the Paul of Romans with the Corinthian Paul.
We do not know if the "authentic letters of Paul" within Marcion's collection contained interpolations.
What about 1 Cor 2:6-16? See recent discussion about Arthur Droge's case for interpolation there.
It also seems to me that there is a relationship between the writing of the Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles, and the orthodox version of Paul's letters.
Indeed. I've argued that the intro to Romans (at least 1:1-4) and Romans 15 are particularly suspect. It is standard to use Romans 15 to situate the epistle in a historical context, but what a phony context. Quite clear that Marcion had only a 14 chapter epistle, and the orthodox crafting of 15 was particularly concerned to weasel in a respect for Peter's apostlehood in the eyes of Paul, similar to the much more flagrant interpolation at Galatians 2:7b-8.
Yeah, I largely agree with that. Romans 16 is also a complicated one. And even Romans 10 for that matter. Romans 16 does seem to make sense as an authentic work, but clearly it wasn't a part of Marcion. However, I can accept that Romans circulated as an independent letter that was different from the version in the collection. I can also see why Romans 16 would be excluded from Marcion's publication even if he knew of it, because its largely irrelevant material that's mostly just a cover letter. So I could agree that Romans 16 was both authentic and not a part of Marcion's version and that later orthodox compilers had hold of an independent version of that one letter. Yet it remains suspect that the only place ekklēsia exists in Romans is in Romans 16.

But lots of Romans 15 looks suspect to me. Romans 15 contains many elements that appear designed to glorify the Romans and even subversive slights against Paul himself, meant essentially to show that Roman Christianity preceded Paul and was superior to Paul's ministry.
Stuart
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by Stuart »

Romans 16 is not in the Marcionite. It's a letter from Tertius to Phoebe. Somehow that got tacked onto Romans. Of note "Greetings" or "Salute" or Salutations" is one of the words missing from the attested Marcionite Pauline letters, and only appears in the gospel pejoratively (Luke 10:4 "greet no one", 11:43 and 20:46 about those who make a show of piety to gain the salutes of men). Yes, that means almost all of chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians is probably not in Marcion and neither are the greetings to Mark and Luke in Colossians chapter 4.

It's a digression, but my strong suspicion is the Marcionite church made a big deal about being against titles and ranks. Something similar to gnostics, which appears to have extended to allowing women to preach and prophecy. My take is that these greetings at the end of some of the letters are mostly done to claim authority of the book (names largely drawn from Acts of the Apostles or various Apocryphal Acts) by association or to extend the authority of Paul to favored people, in effect blessing them. Those favored are likely claims of patrons of particular churches (i.e., family bishopric rights). Apelles may be the famous Apelles whose sect (Johannine? Apollos?) reputedly with the proto-orthodox (Petrine, Cephas) ... that would explain how the Johannine and Pauline literature found it's way into Canon, but who knows?
Last edited by Stuart on Fri May 21, 2021 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by GakuseiDon »

My input, for what it's worth: they were a group or groups of Jews and possibly God-fearers who believed they were inspired directly by God rather than by the law and the Temple system. I suspect that one of their beliefs was that the Christ was going to come soon and would do away with the Temple, the sacrifices and the priests, and then establish God's kingdom on earth.

Jesus came from one of those groups, and after he was crucified for criticising the Temple system, visions of him made the groups decide that Jesus had in fact been the Messiah. Later members retroactively put their sayings about the coming Christ and their activities as being said and performed by Jesus. That's the origin of gMark. Paul wasn't interested in all that, just the crucified Christ.

It makes sense with respect to what we see in Paul and other early letters, but no real evidence for it though.
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Irish1975
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

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Stuart wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 10:42 am I mean "Church of God" accompanies the "Gospel of God" and the Davidic formula or Jesus being chosen as Christ, and the idea that the father rose Jesus from the dead, as opposed to the Johannine formula where he is preexisting or the Marcionite (and Apellean, although they gave him flesh drawn from the substance of each realm as he descended) where he comes to earth without a childhood, without being born of woman, and that Christ chose his death and rose himself (Galatians 1:1 Marcionite form).

It's not one thing here, but a number of related themes. Our Catholic Romans lays out the full formula

Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,
the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the Gentiles,
including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:

There are many proto-orthodox elements in there, such as servitude or slave to Christ as opposed to freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1, John 15:15), Paul being called (hearing) as opposed to receiving revelation (seeing), God's resurrecting Jesus (implied here, not spelled out as in Romans 4:24, 8:11, 10:9, et al) as opposed to Christ raising himself (Galatians 1:1 Marcionite form, John 10:17-18) and obedience of the Gentiles (this is a factional identification, not a true ethnic identification) as opposed to their prior (Christian) beliefs.

We really cannot separate these other elements from the Church of God. They sit aside each other as part of a larger theme. That is why I suspect something is going on here about placing a new regime and program on existing churches that had different beliefs, and possibly different branding.
The problem with this is that our topic, the phrase "he ekklesia tou theou," does not appear in Romans. Nor does "ekklesia" itself, except in Ch. 16 (a separate letter). Perhaps "Assembly of God" is inseparable from "Gospel of God" as you say, but some textual evidence would be necessary to make that case.

"The Assembly of God" is in fact a persistent topic for Paul, and the texts cited in the OP indicate that it is not some theological trope like "the kingdom of God," but an actual social practice or institution already in existence when Paul had his calling (per Galatians and 1 Cor). We should at least try to separate it from the Pauline theology, since it could tell us something (even if very little) about the social origins of Christianity. Not least because traditional NT scholarship habitually glosses over the primitive Pauline ekklesia in favor of the fairytale in Acts, the cosmic mystical body Church in Ephesians and Colossians, or the ideology of the actual 2nd century Church of Rome that was so decisive in defining the NT.
lclapshaw
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by lclapshaw »

"I would never join a club that would have me as a member"!

I seriously doubt that we will ever actually weed Paul out of the thrash. All we can hope for IMO is exclude the most obvious interpolations, but as everyone views the Paul problem from different positions a real Paul will never be found (if he even ever existed in the first place). Hell, we even say things like "Paul says such and such about Jesus" when in reality all we have is the Nomina Sacra IS to go off of. Until we acknowledge this failing we have no hope of understanding the letters.

Sorry to sound nihilistic but that is the way I see it.
Stuart
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by Stuart »

I do not mean that assembly of God is the same as the Gospel of God. Rather that these two concepts are missing in Marcion's Paul, and that each has the purpose of replacing forms that Emphasized Christ above God. The purpose in both cases is to elevate God, that is the Jewish God/Creator God/Law Giving God, above Jesus, to subordinate Christ to him. These are themes not consistent with the heterodox, but are consistent with the proto-orthodox.

Remember these texts, even the redacted Catholic texts, are written before the unification theology of Trinity had been constructed.

But you could be right, Churches of God may be independent. I need to research that more.
gryan
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by gryan »

Re: the meaning of "Assembly of God"

It may have something to do with ὁμοθυμαδόν i.e. being "with one mind"--unanimously, with one accord, at the same time.

This word is used often in Acts, and the usage in 15:25 is sometimes translated "in assembly": "it has seemed good to us in assembly to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul"

It is also used to present the apostles and biological family of Jesus as being of one mind:

"...they went to the upper room where they were staying: Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. With one accord they all continued in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."

I think the two James of Gal became one in the narrative of Acts so as to present the "early church" (so called) as being of "one accord" i.e. also being "in assembly".
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Irish1975
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

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gryan wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 4:29 am Re: the meaning of "Assembly of God"

It may have something to do with ὁμοθυμαδόν i.e. being "with one mind"--unanimously, with one accord, at the same time.

This word is used often in Acts, and the usage in 15:25 is sometimes translated "in assembly": "it has seemed good to us in assembly to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul"

It is also used to present the apostles and biological family of Jesus as being of one mind:

"...they went to the upper room where they were staying: Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. With one accord they all continued in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."

I think the two James of Gal became one in the narrative of Acts so as to present the "early church" (so called) as being of "one accord" i.e. also being "in assembly".
By contrast, there is the suggestion of Steven Davies (Spirit Poessession and the Origins of Christianity) that the 500 brothers of 1 Cor 15 would have been some kind of group of worshippers who “became of one mind” in the mystical-psychological sense, by having a shared ecstatic experience “of the Lord.” Paul and the Pillars managed to define this big bang moment as a “vision” of the risen Jesus, to suit their ambitious purposes. But the original thing would have been the type of mass religious experience that happens all the time across many cultures and periods of history.

On this reading, the formative bond of the ekklesia tou theou was a type of worhip and/or group religious experience. Not being “of one mind” in some deliberative, ethical, or theological sense (the ideology of Acts and gJohn).
rgprice
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by rgprice »

Well I think the 500 brothers is simply an anti-Marcionite interpolation. I think its just intended to show that Paul was not the one and only apostle to see Jesus, as the Marcionites claimed. Not only did James and Peter, etc. see Jesus, but a whole 500 brothers did as well. Therefore, Paul wasn't actually special.

The term "assembly of God" was used by Jews to refer to both specific bodies of worshipers and to concept of the whole nation of Israel. So the question really is, when Paul used it, did he use it as a way of including the groups we was proselytizing to in the larger body of Jews, or was he saying that these groups, such as the group in Corinth were the "true" "assembly of God" in contra-distinction to the claims of Jews who claimed that they were the "assembly of God"?
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The "Assembly of God"

Post by GakuseiDon »

Irish1975 wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 7:21 am"The Assembly of God" is in fact a persistent topic for Paul, and the texts cited in the OP indicate that it is not some theological trope like "the kingdom of God," but an actual social practice or institution already in existence when Paul had his calling (per Galatians and 1 Cor).
Yes, Paul claims that the church in Christ said that Paul started teaching what they were teaching. Paul also seems to have a travelling 'revelations' show in which 'signs of the apostles were given':

1 Cor 12:
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
28 And God has appointed these in the church [ekklēsia]: 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.

Rom 15:
17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.
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.

1 Cor 12:
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

2 Cor 12:
11 I have become a fool *in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.

These were travelling faith shows where apparent miracles, speaking of tongues and healings were performed. Maybe they had 500 people attend one of the earlier ones, that experienced Christ in action at the show.
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