Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 »

I wrote (re: my division of NT writings into "Jewish Christian" and "Pauline":
Jewish Christian:

Mark
Matthew
James
1 Peter
Jude
1-3 John (maybe)
Revelation

Pauline Christian:

Luke/Acts
John
Letters of Paul (authentic and not)
Hebrews
2 Peter
If we go by this list, I'm starting to think Papias might qualify as being "Jewish Christian" too. Elmer discusses the situation in the link below, noting (as I do) that the books Papias is said to (or appears to) have known (like for Hegesippus) fall into my "Jewish Christian" category (Mark, Matthew/Gospel of the Hebrews, Revelation, 1 Peter, 1 John), and, like Hegesippus, he doesn't mention Paul. Plus he lived in a region with a sizeable Jewish Christian population (where 1 Peter and Revelation are addressed).
... commentators have proposed a Christian-Jewish context for Papias. For example, Tim Hegedus has detected evidence of midrash in the fragments of Papias suggesting that Papias and his sources may have been heavily influenced by Judaism, most probably via a connection to Johannine Christianity. Others have noticed that Papias' millenarian views owe much to Jewish apocalyptic eschatology. Given that later Christian Jewish texts were openly hostile towards Paul, we might reasonably expect something similar in Papias.

While Nielsen is aware of the dangers of making an argument from silence, he suggests that the absence of Paul's name from the list of Jesus' disciples and their presbyters might have some bearing on Papias' views on the origins of the Gospels. After all, Paul, even by his own admission was not an eyewitness to the Christ event (e.g., Gal 1.17; 1Cor 15.9). His relationship with the original disciples of Jesus was ambiguous, as I have argued more fully elsewhere. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the Biblical and extra-Biblical books with which Eusebius claims Papias was familiar are ones that we might traditionally ascribe to Christian Judaism -1John; 1Peter; Matthew's gospel; the Gospel to the Hebrews (H.E. 3.39.16-17). Missing from that list are any texts from the Pauline corpus.

https://books.google.com/books?id=7pboB ... an&f=false
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John2
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 »

Since I'm now thinking 1 Peter is genuine (and have for some time as well the letters of James and Jude), I thought I'd take a closer look at 1 John and see what, if anything, stands out as being (in my view) similarly "Jewish Christian," and a number of things do. And after thinking about the similarities between Nazirites and priests, I think I now understand the talk about "John" (whom I'm now thinking wrote 1 John and could be the "pillar" John of Gal. 2:9) being a priest and wearing a priestly crown.

Here are some things that seem "Jewish Christian" (in a Torah-keeping, "Jamesian" sense) to me in 1 John.

2:3-6:
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Cf. Mt. 5 17-19:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


2:15-17:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Cf. James 4:4:
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
2:1-2:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
The last citaiton uses the same term for Jesus that Jewish Christians used for James, and offhand I can't think of any other early Christians who were called "the Righteous One," and the term is also used in James 5:6, so to me it has a "Jewish Christian" ring to it. And I'm getting the impression the author could be Jewish from the part that says "not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." So 1 John seems very compatible with other "Jewish Christian" writings, and now I'm willing to take what it says in 1:1-3 seriously:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
And regarding his priestly crown that Polycrates mentions, I'm thinking that these Nazirite types, like James and John ("those esteemed to be something" in Gal. 2:6), may have thought of themselves as being "priests" in the Nazirite sense and that their hair, or nezer, was in a similar sense their "crown" and that this may have been misunderstood by Christians like Polycrates and Epiphanius.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Secret Alias »

Since I'm now thinking 1 Peter is genuine (and have for some time as well the letters of James and Jude)
Are you stark raving mad? The Epistle of Jude is 'genuine.' Genuine? In what sense?
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John2
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 »

Are you stark raving mad? The Epistle of Jude is 'genuine.' Genuine? In what sense?
In the sense that it was written by Jude, the brother of James.
The epistle title is written as follows: "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James" (NRSV). "James" is generally taken to mean James the Just, a prominent leader in the early church.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_Jude
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John2
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 »

1 John 2:6 is really standing out to me: "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did" and keep God's commands, which is what Hippolytus says about Jewish Christians in Ref. 7:22:
They live conformably to the customs of the Jews, alleging that they are justified. according to the law, and saying that Jesus was justified by fulfilling the law. And therefore it was, (according to the Ebionaeans,) that (the Saviour) was named (the) Christ of God and Jesus, since not one of the rest (of mankind) had observed completely the law. For if even any other had fulfilled the commandments (contained) in the law, he would have been that Christ. And the (Ebionaeans allege) that they themselves also, when in like manner they fulfil (the law), are able to become Christs; for they assert that our Lord Himself was a man in a like sense with all (the rest of the human family).
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Secret Alias
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

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In the sense that it was written by Jude, the brother of James
Ummm. You are stark raving mad. How did we get so many loony tunes at one forum? Really. I would love to hear why this mid-second century letter which bears a striking resemblance to Irenaeus's attacks against the Marcosians is 'genuinely' the product of a historical Judas from the first century let alone the alleged brother of James. That's nuts.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
John2
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 »

Ummm. You are stark raving mad. How did we get so many loony tunes at one forum? Really. I would love to hear why this mid-second century letter which bears a striking resemblance to Irenaeus's attacks against the Marcosians is 'genuinely' the product of a historical Judas from the first century let alone the alleged brother of James. That's nuts.
I'll get back to you on this (I wasn't expecting it to be a big issue). In the meantime, I would like to see what you think is Jude's "striking resemblance to Irenaeus' attacks against the Marcosians" (sincerely, not to dismiss it; I'm just curious).
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John2
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 »

Bauckham writes in Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church (pg. 162-164):
Throughout the history of scholarship the opponents in Jude have normally been regarded as in some sense Gnostics, and as either identical with or very similar to the opponents in 2 Peter ... Clement of Alexandria thought that Jude wrote prophetically of the Carpocratians, but modern writers who have accepted this identification have used it as evidence of a second-century date for Jude. Other specific Gnostic groups which have been suggested are the Docetists and the Marcosians. However, in this century the attempt to identify a particular second-century Gnostic sect has been largely abandoned, and many scholars are content to classify Jude's opponents as Gnostics or as antinomian Gnostics without further specification. As in the case of 2 Peter, many scholars refer in this connection to the beginnings of Gnosticism, 'incipient Gnosticism', 'embryonic Gnosticism', the 'germs' of Gnosticism, or Gnostic 'tendencies', and it is not always clear whether these scholars differ in more than terminology from others who deny that Jude's opponents should properly be called Gnostics at all. Those who argue that Jude's opponents can easily be dated within the first century often adduce Paul's opponents in 1 Corinthians and the Nicolaitans in Revelation as groups with similar characteristics to those which Jude attacks in his opponents. In general it may be said that whether the opponents are regarded as Gnostics or only as some kind of precursors of the real Gnostics, there is nowadays little support for the view that they display clearly second-century Gnostic features, such as to require a late date.

https://books.google.com/books?id=oCOdB ... ns&f=false
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Secret Alias »

Your argument would require:

1. that Judas was a real historical person
2. that the epistle in his name was not pseudepigraphal (as are most of the epistles in the canon) so an exception

Forget about the brother of James or Jesus. Even this much is a big unlikelihood. It's not the fact that there were or weren't gnostic sects in the first century that's the issue, but rather than a form of Christianity which distinguished itself from 'gnosticism' as such which is so late second century. The tone of the epistle is right in Irenaeus's wheelhouse.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by DCHindley »

John(2),

There are a couple interesting studies out there of the legends surrounding the Rechabites, a non-Levitical clan that managed to get themselves attached to the priesthood (maybe as "associate" priests who could perform some priestly duties, more probably just those normally associated with Levites who were not priests = singers, porters, etc.)

There is, of course, a Nazirite connection. Something like Rechabite lore could explain how James, a non-Levite person of Judean descent, who practiced a lifelong Nazirite vow, could be considered a "legitimate" priest. Remember who Hegesippus claims called out in alarm when James was being stoned? A Rechabite. I understand there is a connection between Rechabites and clothes cleaners (and the fuller's club). This is sometimes connected to the fact that, in the temple, if a priest, even the HP, should intentionally enter their holy place of duty in a defiled state, "their head is bashed in by clubs." Who yields them? Likely the Temple police. Were they Priests, Levites, or Rechabites? Now there is some light on the way James was "dispatched," by means of a fuller's club.

The original Rechabites may not even have been a Judean clan, and certainly not Levites. I forget what they did for the priesthood, but whatever it was it so benefited them that the temple authorities made them honorary priests. I have heard it speculated (Schonfield? Eisler?) that Rechabites were not defined so much by family as because of their severe ascetic lifestyle, meaning "anyone" could become one by adopting their ways and in time be accepted as honorary priests.

There is a brief mention of them on page 347 of G R S Mead's Did Jesus Live 100 BC? (1901? 1903?). This is available online and circulating copies are available in most public libraries.

Robert Eisler goes into some detail describing where he thinks "Rekhabites" originated from and about what they are said to have done, in Messiah Jesus & John the Baptist (1931), pages 234 sq., 238, 245, 276, 305, 322 sq., 328, 334, 343, 357, 360, 362, 366, 377, 416, 422, 430, 482, 497 sq., 519, 538, 541, 566, 573 sq. (so in other words "a lot"). This is available online (see the recommended reading section of this forum), but forget about finding a circulating copy at your local library, no matter how big. I managed (made them Cleveland Public Library dig it out of non-circulating storage), but just barely.

* There is a relatively recent (1985) translation of the Syriac version of "The History of the Rechabites," by J H Charlesworth, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol 2, pp. 443-461, which he also edits.
* An English translation of the Ethiopic version was published in 1896 by E A W Budge, in The Life & Exploits of Alexander the Great.
* An 1896 English translation of the Greek version, by W. A. Craigie, "The Narrative of Zosimus," is in the Ante Nicene Fathers vol. 10 (in print, vol. 9 if you go online for it, 1896).
This account is legendary (its origins are Medieval), and bears little relation to the kind of traditions that Eisler and Mead dealt with.

Ahh, here is what I was thinking of:

Arthur Cushman McGiffert's 1890 translation of Eusebius' "Church History," in Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers (NPNF) series 2 vol 1, footnote 509:
῾Ραχαβείμ, which is simply the reproduction in Greek letters of the Hebrew plural, and is equivalent to “the Rechabites.” But Hegesippus uses it without any article as if it were the name of an individual, just as he uses the name ῾Ρηχαβ which immediately precedes. The Rechabites were a tribe who took their origin from Jehonadab, the son of Rechab, who appears from 1 Chron. ii. 55 to have belonged to a branch of the Kenites, the Arabian tribe which came into Palestine with the Israelites. Jehonadab enjoined upon his descendants a nomadic and ascetic mode of life, which they observed with great strictness for centuries, and received a blessing from God on account of their steadfastness (Jer. xxxv. 19). That a Rechabite, who did not belong to the tribe of Judah, nor even to the genuine people of Israel, should have been a priest seems at first sight inexplicable. Different solutions have been offered. Some think that Hegesippus was mistaken, — the source from which he took his account having confounded this ascetic Rechabite with a priest,—but this is hardly probable. Plumptre, in Smith’s Bib. Dict. art. Rechabites (which see for a full account of the tribe), thinks that the blessing pronounced upon them by God (Jer. xxxv. 19) included their solemn adoption among the people of Israel, and their incorporation into the tribe of Levi, and therefore into the number of the priests. Others (e.g. Tillemont, H. E. I. p. 633) have supposed that many Jews, including also priests, embraced the practices and the institutions of the Rechabites and were therefore identified with them. The language here, however, seems to imply a native Rechabite, and it is probable that Hegesippus at least believed this person to be such, whether his belief was correct or not.
DCH
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