Dating Paul's letters

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

Post by neilgodfrey »

mlinssen wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 2:28 am
A temple still standing - it is possible, I think. But what would drive this new religion then? What would necessitate abolishing the food laws of Judaism, and replacing Judaic Law by Catholic dogma / ritual?
Mere convenience? Or the going mainstream of an idea?
Religions and groups within religions mutate all the time for different reasons. I skimmed the surface of some of the studies into these sorts of developments at https://vridar.org/2020/06/20/modes-of-religiosity/ and https://vridar.org/2021/03/23/changing- ... societies/

The destruction of the temple would certainly open up room for more mutations of Judaism of various kinds. (Though we keep in mind that the existence of the Temple did not prevent some Jewish groups rejecting the cultic worship at the temple.) Jewish writings left open the view that the Mosaic laws were not God's original plan but that prior to the Fall the primary law was very simple: love God and love neighbour. One sees the writings making such points coming to the fore in the early Christian writings so it is conceivable that the "new religion" was a revision of Judaism as the Jewish writings themselves explained was originally without the Mosaic laws.

mlinssen wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 2:28 am I grew up a Roman Catholic, and it's a very relaxed religion really. You say your prayer before dinner, go to church once a week, and you get saved! I'm not being sarcastic, it's a form of religion that allows for billions to practice it. Judaism will never grow big, there just are too many rules - it interferes with regular life, or rather, average life
Your experience is a common one but it is not the only one. Sometimes people can find themselves in a place where changing their way of life and embracing rules (that they may well interpret as liberating or adding a new meaningful dimension to their lives, not binding or frustrating at all). Judaism is already pretty "big" and some people continue to find it attractive and convert to it today. Though of course the strict legalists are a minority within Judaism, as we know.
mlinssen wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 2:28 am. . . . I can imagine that conversion to Roman religion was not a real option, and perhaps all that needed to happen was "an authentic story of religion", something not only new but also young, to open the ways to the "aurea mediocritas" in between Judaism and Greco-Roman religion
People did not actually "convert" to Roman/Hellenistic religions though they could be initiated into them. There was no conversion involved in the sense Christianity or Judaism understands it. What they did "convert to", where they did change their ways of thinking and way of living, were popular philosophical ideas led by charismatic or otherwise persuasive teachers. Paul's letters have been understood by some to imitate those philosophical teachings in their explanations of conversion. The main difference is that where, say, Stoics spoke of conversion to Reason (=Logos), Paul spoke of conversion to Christ (also=Logos in Gospel of John).

But of course there was also the religious element, obviously. The old stories of the Jewish scriptures were being retold by Christians. So the new stories were also rooted in a venerably old religion, too.
lclapshaw
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:04 am
Stuart wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:03 pm Neil,

I like to dig down to the root of the text to see who wrote what. I'm not satisfied looking at the finished product after multiple revisions and saying "yes, this was the original intent."

As for the factory concept, I think you are creating new language for something conceptually already out there (e.g., Jesus communities which Q people love to speculate about). But the way you stated it sounds like a centralized factory as opposed to distributed sources. And you give it a directive or specific purpose, which may in fact be only coincidental. It's a localized version of the intelligent universe concept, if you will (said tongue in cheek). All the various Nationalist Jewish movement hijacked and Flavian conspiracy theories of the NT origin are based on the concept of a mastermind, an intelligence directing a factory. A twisted version of special pleading for Christian uniqueness IMO.

I prefer to think of the process more along evolutionary lines. A lot of trial and error, many forms failing. But those concepts which found an audience and which resonated with some community or other stuck. A lot of cross pollination, a lot of false starts. There did not have to be a directed mission for it to form. A mold colony doesn't need a brain or a directive grow in the most efficient way to fill it's local niche. For me it's more a case of each step along the way, the (source) document had to serve a purpose in order to survive and propagate long enough to be picked up and reused in new form until finally it landed in the NT.
Fwiw, yes, I am looking at the finished product but that does not at all preclude consideration of what appear to be discretely added sections, redactions, etc. I am at the moment attempting to understand the most likely context in which the letters and gospels were conceived and from there took various directions. I see that context as most likely well prior to Marcion. The only certain external contexts I can identify so far are Jewish writings, both what became canonical and apocryphal. But until I can find a way to decide if Paul's letters originated in the mid first century or the later first century or the second century some time then I have to remain completely open to questions that hang on knowing that much.
Here Neil, some of this content might entertain you. Enjoy.

http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopi ... hilit=Paul
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopi ... hilit=Paul
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopi ... hilit=Paul
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopi ... hilit=Paul
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopi ... hilit=Paul
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopi ... hilit=Paul

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mlinssen
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:35 am]

Religions and groups within religions mutate all the time for different reasons. I skimmed the surface of some of the studies into these sorts of developments at https://vridar.org/2020/06/20/modes-of-religiosity/ and https://vridar.org/2021/03/23/changing- ... societies/
I thoroughly enjoyed the first post! Saved the second for later

One enters the doctrinal mode through long periods of instruction so that one comes to internalize the doctrines. The rituals performed, being repetitive, become as routine as riding a bike, driving a car or swimming

I call it deep programming (I work in IT), and the same function is exercised while "spreading the news": you program others but also yourself
The old stories of the Jewish scriptures were being retold by Christians. So the new stories were also rooted in a venerably old religion, too.
I'd state that (emphasis mine) as "eventually came to be ... when Christianity reached the stage where it had been firmly linked to Judaism via alleged fulfilling of scripture"

I still adhere to it all starting with Thomas, and Marcion changing that into a religion.
Then Mark placed that prior to 70 / 135 CE and linked it to Judaism, and Paul sold that concept to Judaics, undoing some of Mark's damage to Judaic concepts. Justin Martyr finished it off by turning Marcion into Luke and writing Matthew himself.
And John - he grabs back to Thomas while writing under the new umbrella

But I should stick to my Thomas, all this is just a lot of imagination backed by very little research. Although my Thomas research points to absolute Thomasine priority, I really don't have time or energy to take on a project this size

But I like to give my opinion on it, and see if I encounter arguments against it - call it passive research if you like :lol:

But I can't shed the impression that Mark as well as Paul describe a purely "Gentile" movement
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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Neil,

I think you dodged the main question, which is explain what you mean by a factory. Is there a directive going on? To me that seems rather conspiratorial, so I'm disinclined to accept such speculation.

That is the conceptual problem I see.
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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Stuart wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 2:09 pm Neil,

I think you dodged the main question, which is explain what you mean by a factory. Is there a directive going on? To me that seems rather conspiratorial, so I'm disinclined to accept such speculation.

That is the conceptual problem I see.
You used the word "factory" but I prefer the word "scribal schools" which one finds often enough in the literature. I don't know where anything conspiratorial enters the question. We do know that there were scribal debates relating to the writings in the second temple era and afterwards.

With respect to the OT writings we see at some point a collation of different ideas within a single writing so that contradictions exist side by side (e.g. creation in Genesis 1 and 2). Leaving motives and intentions aside, do we not see some indications of a comparable process with NT writings -- though in the case of the gospels we find contradictory accounts accepted into a single canon.

(You said I was studying the letters as finished wholes -- but my illustrations have only ever addressed subsections. I would have thought that if a section is cogently explained, and with extensive detail, as originating as a coherent literary unit then it is more likely than not to have been composed originally as such a unit. I would have thought such a study to be useful when undertaking a quest to see what line was original, what secondary, etc.)
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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mlinssen wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:41 pm
But I can't shed the impression that Mark as well as Paul describe a purely "Gentile" movement
How many "purely gentiles" would have any appreciation for the Jewish Scriptures that we find thoroughly embedded in the writings of Mark and Paul? Would we not expect a "purely gentile" movement to rely instead on Homer, Plato, Serapis, ....?)
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:42 pm
mlinssen wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:41 pm
But I can't shed the impression that Mark as well as Paul describe a purely "Gentile" movement
How many "purely gentiles" would have any appreciation for the Jewish Scriptures that we find thoroughly embedded in the writings of Mark and Paul? Would we not expect a "purely gentile" movement to rely instead on Homer, Plato, Serapis, ....?)
In that sense, it really was "new wine". There were countless movements like those you mention, and this, for a change, was just about a man performing miracles and healing physically sick, and speaking in mystic ways.
It was authentic, as some would say. And it was a genuine movement, it really existed, and it had nothing to do with any Judaism whatsoever. Call it Marcionism if that helps

Then that was used and abused by Mark and Paul and twisted and turned into their own version, molded onto Judaism and indeed thoroughly embedded in the writings

And I wonder how you take or define those italics. If anything is thoroughly embedded in Mark, it is an anti-Pharisean attitude, with Jesus and Co ignoring and even rejecting core parts of Judaic Law, such as food laws (14). Paul is infamous for his circumcision labyrinth of course (53)
lclapshaw
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

Post by lclapshaw »

neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:14 pm
That looks like one of those hypotheses that finds abundant support in the confirmation bias of the proposer.
Wow! Just jump straight to insult huh? Bother even reading any of the material?

Just so that you know, I am not the proposer, and I have been very careful to refrain from confirmation bias when researching the possibility of this hypotheses. If you can find anything wrong with the material being presented do let us know. You see, the result of this investigation shows very conclusively that dating Paul with the materials that we now have is a pointless waste of time. This is compounded by using modern translations of the materials and ignoring the implications of the nomina sacra.

Have a nice day.
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Re: Dating Paul's letters

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neilgodfrey wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:25 pm
Stuart wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 2:09 pm Neil,

I think you dodged the main question, which is explain what you mean by a factory. Is there a directive going on? To me that seems rather conspiratorial, so I'm disinclined to accept such speculation.

That is the conceptual problem I see.
You used the word "factory" but I prefer the word "scribal schools" which one finds often enough in the literature. I don't know where anything conspiratorial enters the question. We do know that there were scribal debates relating to the writings in the second temple era and afterwards.

With respect to the OT writings we see at some point a collation of different ideas within a single writing so that contradictions exist side by side (e.g. creation in Genesis 1 and 2). Leaving motives and intentions aside, do we not see some indications of a comparable process with NT writings -- though in the case of the gospels we find contradictory accounts accepted into a single canon.

(You said I was studying the letters as finished wholes -- but my illustrations have only ever addressed subsections. I would have thought that if a section is cogently explained, and with extensive detail, as originating as a coherent literary unit then it is more likely than not to have been composed originally as such a unit. I would have thought such a study to be useful when undertaking a quest to see what line was original, what secondary, etc.)
I'm not sure where I thought I saw that "factory" in your commentary. Perhaps I conflated your post and another, either on this board or Vridar. Apologies for my misunderstanding.

I did some reading into your Vridar post on Deuteronomy 17 (especially 17:7) and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. You may well have found the relevant passage for this element, which the Catholic editor used to revise the text. I am convinced verses 5:3-4 are from the Catholic editor by the Marcionite form being used as pastiche in 1Timothy 1:20.

The Catholic editor's purpose was to impart an ecclesiastical procedure, drawn from one he knew, to deal with incidents of indecency by members of the church. He used the incident from the Marcionite text as example, not terribly dissimilar to what one finds in Leviticus for the myriad of ordinances and minor sacrifices (or as I like to say in faux Jewish accent, "a little story, then a little law"; or in the youth sports league I help run, we say every rule has back story, so we sometimes name them after the person whose actions caused us to write the rule in the first place -- an example of an organic process rather than planned). It makes sense being that Paul was beloved by the antinomian elements that no direct reference would be made, so that the suggested structure be accepted.

To me this signals a growth in the church, moving from a leader directive organization to one where, of necessity, decisions are distributed with certain bodies being granted authority to take on the delegated tasks. I see this change from Marcionite form to Catholic form as an example of church growth between the two versions more than anything theological. There is no doubt the proto-orthodox held in their arsenal their skill of exegesis of the OT to support their arguments. This is less a case of the material being used to illustrate a particular theological point than being used for organizational control purposes, or politics if you will.
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