Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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StephenGoranson
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by StephenGoranson »

"Complete" is your (mh's) unnecessary, and black and white, added word. Possibly to maintain your either/or dogmatic view--not up for reconsideration or much further reading-- view.

The Gallio inscription, btw, was not written by a Christian, and was probably (geographically) not available to the author of Acts.

Ancient historians, btw, are not all Christians.
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 6:27 am "Complete" is your (mh's) unnecessary, and black and white, added word. Possibly to maintain your either/or dogmatic view--not up for reconsideration or much further reading-- view.

The Gallio inscription, btw, was not written by a Christian, and was probably (geographically) not available to the author of Acts.

Ancient historians, btw, are not all Christians.


Stephan Goranson: To attempt to seize one person in Damascus did not require complete control of the city,

So - partial control of Damascus is what Aretas IV had ? And the evidence is ???

:popcorn:
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by GakuseiDon »

maryhelena wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 6:48 amSo - partial control of Damascus is what Aretas IV had ? And the evidence is ???
Not evidence as such, but wouldn't we expect there to have been a Nabataean community within Damascus? An "ethnarch" is literally a leader of an ethnic community, though whether Paul was using that term in that way can't be determined by context. Still, we know that communities had their own sets of leaders within the ancient world. Philo writes about "the council of [Jewish] elders" that looked after the Jewish community in Alexandria in Flaccus. They had ties to Herod Agrippa and other Jewish communities as well. And Paul was sent by Jewish authorities to persecute the church of God. If he did that within Jewish communities outside of Judea like in Damascus, then that might be an equivalent also. It's not like when Rome conquered communities those communities suddenly thought "well, that's it, I guess we're Romans now." People defined themselves by traditions and culture rather than by leaders, much as they still do now.

I don't think it is outlandish to think that a king in a neighbouring kingdom, who had ruled for 40 years (assuming standard timelines), might have influence and indeed some partial control(!) of a community of Nabataeans within a city like Damascus. Not evidence, I agree, but also not far-fetched. This is where a Bayesian approach might be useful, weighing up Paul's references to Caesar, Corinth, Philippi vs Aretas.

The conversation might have gone this way:

"King Aretas, Paul is in Damascus stirring things up!"
"Isn't there a community of Nabataeans in Damascus?"
"Yes, sire!"
"Release the Ethnarch!"

Maryhelena, how do you account for Paul's reference to Corinth? It didn't exist when Aretas III lived. It did exist when Aretas IV lived. Do you have any suggestions with regards to how Paul could refer to Corinth if he lived in the time of Aretas III? I don't mind speculation btw, as long as it is clearly marked.
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

GakuseiDon wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 1:51 pm
maryhelena wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 6:48 amSo - partial control of Damascus is what Aretas IV had ? And the evidence is ???
Not evidence as such,

:thumbup:
'' but wouldn't we expect there to have been a Nabataean community within Damascus? An "ethnarch" is literally a leader of an ethnic community, though whether Paul was using that term in that way can't be determined by context. Still, we know that communities had their own sets of leaders within the ancient world. Philo writes about "the council of [Jewish] elders" that looked after the Jewish community in Alexandria in Flaccus. They had ties to Herod Agrippa and other Jewish communities as well. And Paul was sent by Jewish authorities to persecute the church of God. If he did that within Jewish communities outside of Judea like in Damascus, then that might be an equivalent also. It's not like when Rome conquered communities those communities suddenly thought "well, that's it, I guess we're Romans now." People defined themselves by traditions and culture rather than by leaders, much as they still do now.''



spin here

AJ 14:116-118


....and it hath come to pass that Egypt and Cyrene, as having the same governors, and a great number of other nations, imitate their way of living, and maintain great bodies of these Jews in a peculiar manner, and grow up to greater prosperity with them, and make use of the same laws with that nation also. Accordingly, the Jews have places assigned them in Egypt, wherein they inhabit, besides what is peculiarly allotted to this nation at Alexandria, which is a large part of that city. There is also an ethnarch allowed them, who governs the nation, and distributes justice to them, and takes care of their contracts, and of the laws to them belonging, as if he were the ruler of a free republic. In Egypt, therefore, this nation is powerful, because the Jews were originally Egyptians, and because the land wherein they inhabit, since they went thence, is near to Egypt. They also removed into Cyrene, because that this land adjoined to the government of Egypt, as well as does Judea, or rather was formerly under the same government.''

This makes a case for the separatist nature of the Jews in the lands of Egypt and Cyrene and it is on account of this that the Jews were given a "governor" (ethnarch, according to Josephus). There is no reason to think that such a position, if it were indeed called an "ethnarch", was anything other than a special concession for the Jews in Egypt and Cyrene. The position was the status quo before Augustus set up a 38-member council in place of previous arrangements.

Philo: In Flaccum, 74


[Flaccus] arrested thirty-eight members of our council of elders, which was appointed to manage Jewish affairs after the death of the genarch by the saviour and benefactor, Augustus.''

spin: here

First, the report of Josephus concerning these extraordinary ethnarchs in AJ 19.283 does not agree with what Philo says, In Flacc. 74, that a council of elders was appointed by Augustus to manage Jewish affairs after the death of the genarch. It would seem that Josephus got it wrong. Second, the report of this "ethnarch" deals specifically with the Jews and can in no way be associated appointments by Aretas IV present in Damascus. Third, the Jews were inside the Roman empire, while the Nabataeans were not and had no political existence inside the empire, especially in the few years between the war with Herod Antipas and the death of Aretas. It is therefore certainly not very plausible that Aretas had an official agent of any sort in or around Roman controlled Damascus, let alone one between 37 and 40 CE.


I don't think it is outlandish to think that a king in a neighbouring kingdom, who had ruled for 40 years (assuming standard timelines), might have influence and indeed some partial control(!) of a community of Nabataeans within a city like Damascus. Not evidence, I agree, but also not far-fetched. This is where a Bayesian approach might be useful, weighing up Paul's references to Caesar, Corinth, Philippi vs Aretas.
Partial control - no evidence.

The conversation might have gone this way:

"King Aretas, Paul is in Damascus stirring things up!"
"Isn't there a community of Nabataeans in Damascus?"
"Yes, sire!"
"Release the Ethnarch!"
Nice try but no cigar..... :)

Maryhelena, how do you account for Paul's reference to Corinth? It didn't exist when Aretas III lived. It did exist when Aretas IV lived. Do you have any suggestions with regards to how Paul could refer to Corinth if he lived in the time of Aretas III? I don't mind speculation btw, as long as it is clearly marked.

Ancient Corinth

The Romans demolished Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC, and later made it the provincial capital of Greece.

OK - what age would Paul be when he was escaping from Aretas III ? Last date for the escape would be just prior to Aretas III losing control of Damascus - around 64/63 b.c. Maybe Paul was aged somewhere between 20 and 30 years - placing his birth somewhere between 94 and 84 b.c. That would make Paul somewhere between 39 and 49 years old when Corinth was rebuilt in 44 b.c. Speculation really as we don't know Paul's age .....

Anyway, speculation aside - I don't view the NT figure of Paul as being a historical figure. Paul is the paper apostle.

maryhelena here

By all means reject a historical Paul in Damascus under Aretas III in the years 85 to 72 b.c. and 69 to 64/63 b.c.. (I do so myself as I view the NT Paul figure as a paper apostle.) But that rejection does not allow you to assume that Aretas IV had control of Damascus in the lst century c.e.. i.e. the standard NT timeline - there being no historical evidence to support Aretas IV controlling Damascus.

Consequently, you have no valid reason to support a theory regarding Paul in Corinth during the standard NT timeline. Have Paul in Corinth by all means but the timeline for that could be any dating up to most probably early 2nd century. 2 Cor.11.32 is the only historical time marker within 2 Cor.11. If your theory rests upon a historical Paul in Corinth within the standard NT timeframe - then I'm afraid your historical Paul has flown the nest ...welcome, of course, by some people.

Bottom line - Aretas IV had no control of Damascus during the NT standard timeline. Thus, no way to date Paul - and no way to date Paul in Corinth.

(I'm interested in the historical dates/events that can be found in the NT - that way a timeline relevant to the NT story can be developed - a historical timeline which does, of course, stretch out the standard model NT timeline - which is, in effect, a condensed version of the early Jewish roots of Christianity.)
StephenGoranson
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by StephenGoranson »

In this thread, mh repeatedly quoted approvingly a truncated portion of the opinion of a Christian (maybe she didn’t know) minister and historian, R. Reisner, without including his argued view that Paul did escape Damascus.

mh brushed off, with characteristic certainty, Glen W. Bowersock, a prof. of classics, but elsewhere praised Robin Faith Walsh because she is a prof. of classics. And pretended that ancient historians back her view, even when--as Bowersock-- they explicitly do not.

mh claimed to be interested in dates, but ignored the dated Latin (non-Christian, but Acts timeline-related) Gallio inscription.

Based on the writings of mh, has she flipped from one type of faith to another?

History may be more complicated than either that former or this current declared extreme.
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 3:57 am In this thread, mh repeatedly quoted approvingly a truncated portion of the opinion of a Christian (maybe she didn’t know) minister and historian, R. Reisner, without including his argued view that Paul did escape Damascus.

mh brushed off, with characteristic certainty, Glen W. Bowersock, a prof. of classics, but elsewhere praised Robin Faith Walsh because she is a prof. of classics. And pretended that ancient historians back her view, even when--as Bowersock-- they explicitly do not.

mh claimed to be interested in dates, but ignored the dated Latin (non-Christian, but Acts timeline-related) Gallio inscription.

Based on the writings of mh, has she flipped from one type of faith to another?

History may be more complicated than either that former or this current declared extreme.

Damascus

It is speculated that control of Damascus was gained by Aretas IV Philopatris of Nabatea between the death of Herod Philip in 33/34 AD and the death of Aretas in 40 AD but there is substantial evidence against Aretas controlling the city before 37 AD and many reasons why it could not have been a gift from Caligula between 37 and 40 AD.[52][53] In fact, all these theories stem not from any actual evidence outside the New Testament but rather "a certain understanding of 2 Corinthians 11:32" and in reality "neither from archaeological evidence, secular-historical sources, nor New Testament texts can Nabatean sovereignty over Damascus in the first century AD be proven."


Aretas III

Conquest of Damascus

Damascus straddled the primary commercial route from the Mediterranean Sea to India and the Middle East. The city was taken from the loosening grip of the Seleucid Empire in 85 BCE by Aretas, who styled himself as Aretas Philhellen (Philhellen, "friend of the Greeks").[4] He ordered the mints of Damascus to produce the first silver Nabataean coins, in a Hellenic style and lettering his name in the Greek language instead of Nabatean Aramaic.[5] To further reinforce the new culture of the Nabataeans, Aretas endeavoured to bring architecture of Greek and Roman fashion to the Nabataean capital, Petra,[6] and to new settlements such as Humayma, including a 26.8 km aqueduct.[7] Nabataean rule of Damascus was interrupted in 72 BCE by a successful siege led by the Armenian king Tigranes II. Armenian rule of the city ended in 69 BCE when Tigranes' forces were pulled out to deal with a Roman attack on the Armenian capital, allowing Aretas to re-take the city.


Delphi Inscription

Text
The reconstructed inscription begins thus:

Tiber[ius Claudius Cae]sar Augustus Ge[rmanicus, invested with tribunician po]wer [for the 12th time, acclaimed Imperator for t]he 26th time, F[ather of the Fa]ther[land...]. For a l[ong time have I been not onl]y [well-disposed towards t]he ci[ty] of Delph[i, but also solicitous for its pro]sperity, and I have always guard[ed th]e cul[t of t]he [Pythian] Apol[lo. But] now [since] it is said to be desti[tu]te of [citi]zens, as [L. Jun]ius Gallio, my fri[end] an[d procon]sul, [recently reported to me, and being desirous that Delphi] should retain [inta]ct its for[mer rank, I] ord[er you (pl.) to in]vite well-born people also from [ot]her cities [to Delphi as new inhabitants....][4]
The reference to proconsul Gallio in the inscription provides an important marker for developing a chronology of the life of Apostle Paul by relating it to the trial of Paul in Achaea mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (18:12-17).[5][6]

Stephen Goranson wants to date the NT Paul by Acts..... :shock:

Page 148

Paul may have been born in Tarsus, and he had been a Pharisee, but he could not have received both the Jerusalem education of which be boasted and spent the time in Tarsus required to receive citizenship there. The Jerusalem background is dubious, and the claims of citizenship at Tarsus unlikely. Was Paul a Roman citizen? It is possible, but not certain. More importantly, he was not likely to have been a citizen of the high standing presented in Acts, where his procession of the franchise works as a “get out of jail free” card that is never played before the last possible minute (if then) and not played at all where one expects it - as grounds for an appeal to Caesar.

The purpose of Luke’s portrait is clear. Paul is certainly heroic, multi-cultural and omnicompetent, but Luke did not wish simply to paint a larger than life character. His “Renaissance man” is a universal figure, the all-but-perfect representative of an aspirating world religion that would clothe it’s Jewish message in Greek finery and conquer the Roman world. History would show that Luke was an insightful portrait painter.

.....Acts is replete with historical implausibility, an almost non-existent chronology, and a quite improbably characterization of its leading personality, none of which elements serve history and all of which serve the purpose of the author.

The Mystery of Acts: Richard Pervo

2 Cor. is dated, re manuscripts, re Peter KIrby's Early Christian writings website as 50 - 60 c.e. Acts is dated 80 - 130 c.e.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/index.html

Thus, within early christian manuscripts, Aretas precedes Gallio....

So, Stephen, Gallio is no get out of jail card for you - dating the NT Paul is linked to an Aretas controlling Damascus.
Aretas III dating for Damascus is: 85 to 72 b.c. and 69 to 64/63 b.c.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by StephenGoranson »

I want to consider all evidence.
Date(s) of extant mss and date of composition are different things.
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Jax
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by Jax »

Stephen Goranson wants to date the NT Paul by Acts..... :shock:
Of course he does. It's obvious that he is a true believer.
davidmartin
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by davidmartin »

if Paul is a paper apostle then his story would have been written by those whose grasp of history was flakey? there's already some kind of hints of that in Acts compared to Josephus for example
so in attempting to place him in one time they managed to place him in another
another observation is - isn't this episode in 2 Corinthians and Acts one of the few places to contain the same episode in both writings?
since Acts seems unaware of Paul's letters that's kind of suspect cause it should have been original to 2 Corinthians yet the same story is in Acts which is unaware of his letters

this doesn't mean such a character didn't exist in the standard timeline just his story was embellished and given a polish at some point which is confusing on this Aretas
if this be so it's banal so quickly switch gears and keep it interesting - that list of early quotes of Paul or lack of is fascinating - my money is on Paul's sect being a minority and quickly fading fad that suddenly re-appeared around the time of Marcion. that explains the lack of church father info and it explains the Acts lack of knowledge of his letters - the letters themselves were in use by hardcore Marcionites and were not accepted at that point even as Paul style theology was being accepted more and more, his letter's hadn't been yet cause they were used or even came from the Marcionites church. They were too hot potatoes
Ultimately i think it would be hard to fabricate entirely such a character without some historical basis although if anyone could have the ancients were the masters at it!
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mlinssen
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by mlinssen »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 4:54 am I want to consider all evidence.
Date(s) of extant mss and date of composition are different things.
Oh really? How different is that exactly, and does that apply to all extant MSS then - or just those that are "favourite to a cause"?
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