Was "James the Lord's brother" Paul's thorn?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
gryan
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Was "James the Lord's brother" Paul's thorn?

Post by gryan »

gryan wrote: Sat Jun 04, 2022 7:37 am 1 Cor 12:7-8 "he" vs "it"

...and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary (ἄγγελος Σατανᾶ, masculine singular), that he might buffet (κολαφίζῃ, 3 person singular) me, that I might not be exalted overmuch. 8Concerning this [i.e. "this man" τούτου, should be read as Masculine, not Neuter] thrice the Lord did I call upon, that it he might depart (ἀποστῇ, 3 person singular) from me... YLT

If Paul's adversary was a person, the bolded 3rd pers singular verbs should both read "he" rather than "it".
Re: "thrice the Lord did I call upon, that he might depart from me...

I'm considering the possibility that the anatama in Galatians may exemplify one of "the three times" Paul called upon the Lord "that he (i.e. James the Lord's brother) might depart from me."

Gal 1:6-10

"Unless there be some who are troubling you, and wishing to pervert the good news of the Christ, I am surprised that ye are so quickly removed from Him who did call you in the grace of Christ to a qualitatively different good news which does not exist anymore.

But even if we or a messenger/angel out of heaven may proclaim good news to you different from what we did proclaim to you — anathema let him be! As we have said before, and now say again: If any one to you may proclaim good news different from what ye did receive — anathema let him be! For now am seeking to persuade people, or God? Or do I seek to please people? For if yet men I did please — Christ’s servant I should not be."

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Das argues that, in Galatians 1:9, "Paul is indeed persuading God [i.e. "calling upon the Lord"] to wrath against the contrary teachers thereby persuading the Galatians to avoid them." (From, The Rhetoric of curse in Galatians 1:10 -- Persuading God, a chapter in Studies in honor of Troy W. Martin, 2020).

On persuasion, a closely related verse is Gal 5:7-9, and the blame is put on one person:

"Who hindered you so that you are persuaded regarding the truth? That persuasion is not from the one who called you. A little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough. I myself am persuaded in the Lord about you that you will not think otherwise. But the one troubling you will bear the judgment, whoever he might be."

"Whoever he might be" may refer to the contested authority of one prominent adversary, i.e. "no matter how much authority he may seem to possess."

On one hand, I hear Galatians as Paul's request to have James the Lord's brother taken away from him; on the other hand, I doubt that this request was granted. Instead, the Lord advised him to find power in weakness in 2 Cor 10-13. Paul had to learn to love his enemy: ὁ γὰρ ἀγαπῶν τὸν ἕτερον νόμον πεπλήρωκεν. "Whoever loves τὸν ἕτερον [the qualitatively different one] has fulfilled the whole law" (Rom 13:8).
gryan
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Was "James the Lord's brother" Paul's thorn?

Post by gryan »

Here is a key text in my argument against Jerome and against modern scholarly consensus:

"Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses (Μαρία ἡ Ἰωσῆτος) saw where he was laid. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου), and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body" (Mark 15:47-16:1).

In this snippit, it is obvious and commonsensical that these are two different Marys! I have shown that this snippit is representative of a pattern. I argue that, in broader context, Mary the mother of Joses (Μαρία ἡ Ἰωσῆτος) and Mary the mother of James (Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου) are two different women named "Mary", both with sons named "James". "Mary of Joses" is identified by her middle son to distinguish her from "the other Mary" (cf. Matt 27:61 and 28:1), mother of the other "James."

To derail any readers from going down the exegetical path I have followed, Jerome was evasive even where he said he was trying to avoid the charge of evasive argument. Watch how his evasion works:

Jerome's argument against Helvidius:

"Mark [Mk 15:40] also, 'And there were also women beholding from afar, among whom were both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome; and in the same place shortly after, And many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.' Luke too, Luke 24:10 'Now there were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them.' [This makes it look obvious that "Mary the mother of James the less" and "Mary the mother of James" are one and the same!] My reason for repeating the same thing again and again is to prevent him from raising a false issue and crying out that I have withheld such passages as make for him, and that his view has been torn to shreds not by evidence of Scripture, but by evasive arguments.

Helvidius's argument (according to Jerome):

Observe, he says, James and Joses are sons of Mary, and the same persons who were called brethren by the Jews.

Jerome's argument against Helvidius:

Observe, Mary is the mother of James the Less and of Joses. And James is called the less to distinguish him from James the greater, who was the son of Zebedee, as Mark elsewhere states (in 15:47 and an abbreviated 16:1), 'And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. And when the sabbath was past, they bought spices, that they might come and anoint him.' ["Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome" is reduced to 'they' in order to make it seem obvious that "Mary the mother of Joses" was present when 'they brought spices!']"
https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm
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Modern scholars are similarly evasive. John Painter takes it for granted (with support from many modern scholars) that "James the less" was the son of Mary of Clopas (p. 2 in his influential book "Just James"). Painter never quotes Mark 15:47-16:1 as a single unit (this is typical of modern scholars, for example Shillington, in his book James and Paul, 2015, Fortress press, never even cites Mark 15:47). Painter's only discussion of the problem of these texts is tucked away in a footnote where he writes this: "Having mentioned both sons in 15:40, Mark mentions only one in 15:47 and the other in 16:1 in the reverse order of the first mention." Thus Painter argues that "Mary of Joses" and "Mary of the James" are one and the same. But it is not obvious at all! What would be the point of "the reverse order of the first mention" if Mark wanted to show that this was a single Mary? There is no point!

Mark 15:47-16:1 presents Mary Magdalene on two different days with two different Marys.
gryan
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: Was "James the Lord's brother" Paul's thorn?

Post by gryan »

gryan wrote: Sat Jun 04, 2022 7:37 am 1 Cor 12:7-8 "he" vs "it"

...and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary (ἄγγελος Σατανᾶ, masculine singular), that he might buffet (κολαφίζῃ, 3 person singular) me, that I might not be exalted overmuch. 8Concerning this [i.e. "this man" τούτου, should be read as Masculine, not Neuter] thrice the Lord did I call upon, that it he might depart (ἀποστῇ, 3 person singular) from me... YLT

If Paul's adversary was a person, the bolded 3rd pers singular verbs should both read "he" rather than "it".
Re: Parallel stories involving revelation, flesh, and a personal opponent.

2 Cor 12:7-8
"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations (apokalypseōn/
ἀποκαλύψεων, there was given (ἐδόθη) to me a thorn in the flesh (sarki/σαρκί) , a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. Concerning him, three times I called upon the Lord, that he might depart from me.

My translation. 3rd person understood as a "he" rather than an "it".

Gal 1:15-19
But when God, the One having selected me from my mother’s womb and having called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal (apokalypsai/ἀποκαλύψαι) his Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles,
A. not immediately did I consult (lit. "I consulted" προσανεθέμην) with flesh (sarki/σαρκὶ) and blood
B. nor [immediately] did I depart to Jerusalem to the apostles before me,
C. but I [immediately] departed to Arabia;
C’.indeed, I [immediately] returned back to Damascus.
B’. Only then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to make acquaintance with Cephas, and I remained with him fifteen days. But, belonging to the apostles, I discerned [εἶδον] no qualitatively different one [ἕτερον],
A’. except James, the Lord’s brother

"Flesh and blood" lines up with "brother" in the ABC...C'B'A' chiastic structure of the narrative.

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I suspect that, in response to Paul's story of a "revelation" of Jesus "in" him, James, the "flesh and blood" brother of Jesus may well have been offended enough that he literally "buffeted" Paul. Looking back, Paul saw a purpose in this: "lest I should be exalted above measure."

"I consulted in the sphere of flesh and blood [i.e. in the sphere of Jesus' blood relatives]" and "was given" a personal opponent "to buffet me".
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