Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by neilgodfrey »

maryhelena wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:00 pm
The argument against interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 is from Richard Carrier - not from Russell Dowsett. All Russell Dowsett has done is post a link to your blog argicle - and Carrier is giving his appraisal of that blog article. Saying, in regard to that blog article: ''These appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of imagination.''
Then change the name in what I wrote. Everything applies to RC instead.

RICHARD CARRIER AUGUST 23, 2021, 3:46 PM
. . . .

Note you cannot understand this passage if you do not recognize how Paul is associating himself with other Biblical heroes (a context that illuminates a lot of what Paul means the Corinthians to understand here), and relying on his readers already knowing what he is talking about. . . .

This is pretty bad. The passage re the basket escape stands out like a sort thumb because it is the ONLY indicator of Paul comparing himself to a Biblical Hero in that section of text.
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:16 pm
maryhelena wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:00 pm
The argument against interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 is from Richard Carrier - not from Russell Dowsett. All Russell Dowsett has done is post a link to your blog argicle - and Carrier is giving his appraisal of that blog article. Saying, in regard to that blog article: ''These appear all to be fallacies of Argument from Lack of imagination.''
Then change the name in what I wrote. Everything applies to RC instead.

RICHARD CARRIER AUGUST 23, 2021, 3:46 PM
. . . .

Note you cannot understand this passage if you do not recognize how Paul is associating himself with other Biblical heroes (a context that illuminates a lot of what Paul means the Corinthians to understand here), and relying on his readers already knowing what he is talking about. . . .

u
This is pretty bad. The passage re the basket escape stands out like a sort thumb because it is the ONLY indicator of Paul comparing himself to a Biblical Hero in that section of text.
So - how many instances would you prefer that the Pauline writer made comparing Paul to a Biblical hero in that section of the text - 3 - 6 - a dozen.....The Pauline writer made the point with one allusion to a Biblical hero - enough in that to question the plausibility of interpolation. What is gained by an interpolator with this allusion to the OT Biblical hero ?

As it stands the allusion to the OT Biblical hero - Joshua - is that, like Joshua, the NT figure of Paul is to lead the way to the promised 'spiritual' land rather than the physical Promised Land of the OT. The contrast is between Joshua and the physical land and Paul and the spiritual 'land'. Caught away to the third heaven, to Paradise - Paul is the new Joshua leading the way to a new world view, a new philosophical world view. 2 Cor. 11.32 makes the contrast - stands out like a 'sore thumb'. Indeed.

Why Aretas and Damascus ? It's the dating that is relevant. What fell in 63 b.c. was Hasmonean sovereignty in Judaea. Pompey entered the Jerusalem temple. After the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, like the fall of Jericho to Joshua, the road to the Pauline spiritual/philosophical land was opened up.

Yes, one can attempt to move the Paul, Aretas and Damascus story to 70 c.e. (with the speculation regarding an unknown Aretas V .) Moving the Paul, Aretas and Damascus story to the late 30 c.e. has no historical evidence re control of Damascus by Aretas IV. The only date that has a historical foundation is 63 b.c. and the fall of Jerusalem and Damascus to the Romans - as Jericho fell to Joshua. From that historical event - Pauline philosophy was born. Yep, Paul says he is as one born prematurely or untimely born - but the time would come when Pauline philosophy would leave the confines of it's links to the land and escape over the wall of Judaism. Whether that time came in 70 c.e. or 132 -136 c.e. - the foundation stone was laid in 63 b.c. A linkage to which 2 Cor.11.32 is demonstrating with it's allusion to Joshua and the fall of Jericho.

Interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 - way too much to loose by that approach...
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

For anyone following this thread - the following was posted on the other Aretas thread.

We are left with arguments over Aretas III and Aretas IV - and the dates history assigns to these Nabataean rulers. Aretas IV dating has no relevance for Jerusalem or Damascus. Dating for Aretas III does have relevance for Damascus and Jerusalem.



Was 70 CE a Watershed in
Jewish History?


On Jews and Judaism before and after the
Destruction of the Second Temple

Edited by
Daniel R. Schwartz and Zeev Weiss
in collaboration with Ruth A. Clements


SETTING THE STAGE: THE EFFECTS OF THE ROMAN
CONQUEST AND THE LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY

Nadav Sharon


Our Scholion group’s work has centered on the common scholarly
convention that ancient Judaism revolved around the Temple in Jerusalem until it
was destroyed in 70 ce, and thereafter became a religion with no geographical focus,
or, perhaps, with several. One way or
another, this thesis assumes that much of what we know about ancient
Judaism can meaningfully be organized around the destruction of the
Second Temple and understood as reflecting its existence or destruction.

2 A different scholarly view sees the evolution of rabbinic Judaism
not so much, or not only, as a result of the Temple’s destruction, but
rather as a response to the rise of Christianity.
One might ask, however, how it was that this religion and its people,
if in fact they were focused on the Temple to such an extent, were
able to overcome the incredible catastrophe of its destruction so as to
develop the concepts, attitudes, and institutions which enabled their
survival in the new and completely changed reality. It is my aim in
this paper not to argue with those views noted above, but rather to
draw scholarly attention to a somewhat neglected series of events that
I believe set the stage for that survival and for some of those post-70
developments. I am referring now to the events of 67–37 bce and their
aftermath.

A Neglected Era

Despite the enormous amount of scholarly work on the Second Temple
Period it seems to me that the period of 67–37 bce, and the dramatic
change it brought upon Judea, have been somewhat neglected in modern historical study.
The events of this period brought about the end
of the eighty-year-old independent and sovereign Judean state, established
by the Hasmoneans in the aftermath of Antiochus Epiphanes’
religious decrees and the ensuing revolt. In fact, these events resulted
in the almost complete annihilation of that prestigious priestly house.
In 63 bce the independent Hasmonean state, with its large territorial
gains, found itself suddenly under the domination of the expanding
world empire, Rome, and downgraded to a small semiautonomous
vassal state.

https://www.academia.edu/2501352/Settin ... overeignty

The watershed in Jewish history was the loss of sovereignty to Rome - an event of 63 b.c. The problem this history presents for 2 Cor. 11.32 is that this date does not fit the standard NT timeline. We can't change history - what is done is done. What we can do is let that history have a place in our approach to understanding the NT story about it's Paul figure. My suggestion is that we move from attempting to place a flesh and blood Paul figure in that historical, watershed, time frame - and work instead with Pauline philosophy. Attempting to trace the roots of that philosophy back to the historic event of 63 b.c.

Attempts to have Aretas IV having some control of Damascus within the NT timeline fail as history. Attempts to get a NT figure of a historical Paul to Damascus under Aretas IV - are an unnecessary waste of time - time that could more productively be spend on understanding Pauline philosophy in the light of the history of 63 b.c.

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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

IN CONCLUSION

2 Corinthians 11:32-33

New International Version

32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.


Various suggestions have been made in this thread regarding 2 Cor.11.32.33.

Aretas V

Whether or not there was an Aretas V in Petra - another matter altogether to have an Aretas V controlling Damascus.

Trying to salvage 2 Cor. 11.32.33 as applying to an Aretas V prior to 70 c.e. - and controlling Damascus - is to avoid the elephant in the room. We already have an Aretas III controlling Damascus....that is recorded history i.e. Aretas III issued coins in Damascus.

Aretas IV.

Various speculative scenarios have been suggested.

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. 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.

Dating for Aretas III in Damascus is 85 to 72 b.c. and 69 to 64/63 b.c.

These dates are relevant dates for Hasmonean history. Taking in the rule of Alexander Jannaeus and the loss of Hasmonean sovereignty to Rome in 63 b.c. (Aretas III losing control of Damascus around 64/63 b.c.) The rule of Alexander Jannaeus being mentioned in the Toledot Yeshu story.

The dates for Aretas III do not fit with the NT timeline for the apostle Paul. (Hence the speculation regarding Aretas IV referenced in this thread.)

Interpolation of the Aretas and Paul story into 2 Cor. 11.32.33.


Interpolation removes the only dating in the Pauline epistles for a historical Paul. However, it also removes the history indicated by this verse as being relevant to the NT Pauline story.

Corinth.


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.

viewtopic.php?p=126295#p126295

Corinth was reestablished in 44 b.c. Add a generation if you want - usually given as an average of 25 years. So, lets say the reestablished Corinth was a going concern around 20 b.c. Give a historical Paul an age of 20 when escaping from Aretas III in 85 b.c. - and we have a historical Paul aged around 85 years in 20 b.c. (Yep that's old for those times - but Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus, lived to 85/86 years.)

Livia

Born 30 January 59/58 BC
Died 28 September AD 29 (aged 85/86)

The above scenario runs from 85 b.c. - Maybe Paul was older when he escaped from Aretas III - but then again maybe it did not take 25 years before Damascus was a functioning city.

The date of 69 b.c. when Aretas III retook control of Damascus, takes in a younger Paul in 20 b.c. - and a still younger Paul working from 64 b.c.

Bottom line with Paul and Corinth - Corinth is no problem for a historical Paul escaping from Damascus and Aretas III.

What can be learned from 2 Cor.11.32.33 ?


1. Dating which references historical events.

2. An illusion to the OT story about the escape of spies from Jericho. An escape that leads to the fall of Jericho and hence the road ahead to the Promised Land.

3. This allusion to the OT story indicates that the Aretas dating of relevance to the Paul and Aretas story is primarily the dates for the fall of Damascus and Jerusalem to the Romans i.e. the date 64/63 b.c.

4. The Pauline allusion to the OT spies and Joshua and Jericho story indicates that the NT figure of Paul is a modern day Joshua, a figure that leads, after the 63 b.c. fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, a way forward to a spiritual kingdom, a philosophical kingdom of neither Jew nor Greek.

5. While it is possible, using the Aretas III dating, to propose a historical Paul in the first century b.c. this scenario would necessitate linking in the Toledot Yeshu story. i.e. a Pauline philosophy requires a linkage to terra firma - otherwise one is on a Pauline magic carpet ride.

6. However, as evidenced with the gospel story, the Jesus birth narratives move the story from the time of Herod to the time of Quirinius. Hence, a moving Jesus story requires a moving Paul story.

7. In other words: both the NT figures of Jesus and Paul are literary, movable, figures.

8. The Jesus story is focused on terra firma - on physical reality.

9. The Paul story is focused on spirituality - on philosophy.

10. 2 Cor.11.32 .33. is not tracing, or situating, a historical Paul to the time of Aretas III. It is tracing Pauline philosophy back to its roots in Hasmonean history. A historical time period in which Hasmonean sovereignty was lost to the Romans around the time that Aretas III lost Damascus to the Romans. 64/63 b.c.

Thomas Brodie: Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus.

PAUL: THE PENNY FINALLY DROPS

Historicized fiction.

A mass of data had suddenly fallen into place.
What hit me was that the entire narrative regarding Paul, everything the
thirteen epistles say about him or imply-about his life, his work and travels,
his character, his sending and receiving of letters, his readers and his
relationship to them-all of that was historicized fiction. It was fiction,
meaning that the figure of Paul was a work of imagination, but this figure had
been historicized-presented in a way that made it look like history, history like,
'fiction made to resemble the uncertainties of life in history'
......

So- and this reality took time to sink in-the figure of Paul joined the
ranks of so many other figures from the older part of the Bible, figures who,
despite the historical details surrounding them, were literary, figures of the
imagination.
<snip>
The idea that Paul was a literary figure did not remove the possibility that behind the epistles lay one outstanding historical figure who was central to the inspiring of the epistles, but that is not the figure whom the epistles portray. Under that person's inspiration - or the inspiration of that person plus co-workers - the epistles portray a single individual. Paul, who incorporates in himself and in his teaching a distillation of the age-long drama of God's work on earth.

Thomas Brodie: Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus.


viewtopic.php?p=126398#p126398

Somebody, or some people, wrote the material that is now in the Pauline epistles. Whether there was someone called 'Paul' involved in that writing is really neither here nor there. The story the NT relates about it's Paul figure, re Brodie, is a literary construct. So, we don't know who wrote the epistles, we don't know when they were written. What we do have are the words that were written. Words that relate ideas, that relate a philosophy. That philosophy relates to neither Jew nor Greek. (a philosophy, unfortunately, that has been taken by the Christian West as a model for a social political system - with all the negative consequences apparent today.)

What 2 Cor.11.32.33 is indicating with it's mention of Aretas - and only Aretas III controlled Damascus - is that the roots of that Pauline philosophy grew from the time Rome took control of Damascus - and Jerusalem - around the years 64/63 b.c. The neither Jew nor Greek philosophy stems from a historical context in which Jewish/Hasmonean sovereignty was lost. In other words; a physical, land based, kingdom was lost. Paul, in 2 Cor. 11.32.33 is contrasting the loss of the earthy kingdom to the birth of the spiritual kingdom - the new Pauline philosophy.

Consequently, from this perspective of tracing a philosophy back to it's roots, back to a time in history when loss of an earthly kingdom opened, as it were, the door to something different. A kingdom without end. Was this an immediate turn around - probably not as history relates the Hasmoneans kept trying to unseat Rome - having a partial success with Antigonus for a few short years. However, someone did grasp the significance and built a road to a spiritual, an intellectual or philosophical kingdom.

Aretas, Paul, over wall - Jericho, spies, over wall. The fall of Jericho and the road ahead to the Promised Land. That is the essence of 2 Cor. 11.32.33. The fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 63 b.c. led, in time, to ideas that developed into what we know today as Pauline philosophy.

Who were the historical figures involved with the ideas inherent in Pauline philosophy - well now - that is the question that raises its head when we put aside Aretas IV - and the unknown supposed Aretas V - and deal with the history as referenced in 2 Cor.11.32.33.


Yes, one can attempt to move the Paul, Aretas and Damascus story to 70 c.e. (with the speculation regarding an unknown Aretas V .) Moving the Paul, Aretas and Damascus story to the late 30 c.e. has no historical evidence re control of Damascus by Aretas IV. The only date that has a historical foundation is 63 b.c. and the fall of Jerusalem and Damascus to the Romans - as Jericho fell to Joshua. From that historical event - Pauline philosophy was born. Yep, Paul says he is as one born prematurely or untimely born - but the time would come when Pauline philosophy would leave the confines of it's links to the land and escape over the wall of Judaism. Whether that time came in 70 c.e. or 132 -136 c.e. - the foundation stone was laid in 63 b.c. A linkage to which 2 Cor.11.32.33 is demonstrating with it's allusion to Joshua and the fall of Jericho.

Bottom line - Whether or not the NT figure of Paul is a historical figure the NT story about this figure is a literary construct. i.e. the life of a flesh and blood Paul figure is not the story the NT relates. Thus, a flesh and blood Paul figure - or another Jewish philosopher by whatever name - did not need to have lived under any Aretas - whether III, IV or V. (that's the NT story) All Aretas in 2 Cor.11.32.33 is doing is providing a date - 64/63 bc. A date in which both Damascus and Jerusalem fell to the Romans. A date, a historical context to which a flesh and blood Paul or another Jewish philosopher - traced back the moment in time from which change became a necessity: The fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, the loss of sovereignty - opened the road forward towards the spiritual, the philosophical kingdom without end. The NT Paul the later day Joshua setting out to conquer the world - well at least the Western part of it...... but now of course it's hit a brick wall.....

Bottom line in all of this ?

Upholding a historical NT Paul is a fundamentalist position on the NT. Pauline philosophy is not a philosophy for a social/political system. It is fundamentally flawed as a political theory - as is easily observable from the present political chaos in the Christian West. Reading Paul literally is to doom the West to disintegration. While the French revolution desecrated the churches - Christian, Pauline, theology simply used the backdoor into the political arena. Thus, if the West wants to save itself from irrelevance - then it’s Pauline theology, along with a historical Paul, that has to be ditched. And to do that - then 2 Cor. 11.32.33 needs to be addressed by facing the history of Aretas III, facing the history of the Hasmoneans with the Romans - hence facing what will be traumatic for many Christians - the apostle Paul is a paper apostle. A paper apostle preaching not a political theory but a spiritual theory - a theory of the life death and rebirth of the spirit - of intellectual evolution. A philosophy of intellectual evolution, of how the mind works.

2 Cor. 11.32.33 - Paul, the paper apostle, preaching a philosophy of neither Jew nor Greek - a philosophy of mind, of intellectual evolution, a philosophy set to conquer, to save the world, compared to the OT figure of Joshua undertaking a military conquest of the Promised Land.

The literal reading of the NT, of the gospel story and the Pauline epistles, has survived for nearly 2000 years. Intellectual evolution, philosophical ideas, might get stuck now and again - but eventually the old order gives way. Viewing the gospel Jesus as an ahistorical figure, a literary figure, has opened up a road forward in understanding Christian origins - but an obstacle remains - the NT figure of Paul. 2 Cor. 11.32.33 offers an opportunity to demolish that obstacle and gain further mileage along that road.
davidmartin
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by davidmartin »

MH,
I don't see how beliefs can be centrally planned in this way. How is that supposed to work?
We just learn to live with people we disagree with and if it's politicians we can vote for someone else
You can vote for a Christian guy or some other guy, but centrally plan beliefs? Wouldn't that be a dictatorship?
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

davidmartin wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 7:55 am MH,
I don't see how beliefs can be centrally planned in this way. How is that supposed to work?
We just learn to live with people we disagree with and if it's politicians we can vote for someone else
You can vote for a Christian guy or some other guy, but centrally plan beliefs? Wouldn't that be a dictatorship?
Centrally plan beliefs - don't think I've suggested anything like that. After all, ideas only fall to better ideas not the barrel of a gun,. One can't force a mind.
davidmartin
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by davidmartin »

I agree, and freedom of religion should mean freedom from religion!
StephenGoranson
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by StephenGoranson »

The posibility was raised whether 2 Cor. 11: 32-33 was an interpolation.
maryhelena responded in part (Tue Aug 24, 2021 1:05 am): “Interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 - way too much to loose by that approach...” [presumably, for “loose” read “lose”]

Question 1. Why dismiss that possibility? I am not arguing at the moment either side of that question, but asking why declare it, in effect, out of bounds, not subject to free inquiry? Isn’t it leaning on one interpretation of a selected small text rather heavily to base so much on so little? (What about comparing that to multiple attestation, when, say, Josephus War and Antiquities agrees with Qumran mss and, possibly also Babylonian Talmud?)

Question 2. For someone who apparently mistrusts much written history as speculation and such, why such proposed rock solid (fundamental) dating of Paul to one preferred Aretas? Does any Aretas need to have had “complete” control of a city? (Aside: how many big cities, today, are under the “complete” control of one person? And how many 2000 or so years ago?)

Question 3. If Paul were a “paper apostle,” why discuss how his human age span might be, in some interpretation, plausible?

Question 4. If NT, in a given interpretation, is mostly about Hasmonean times, did anything relevant happen in the following, say, 100 years?
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maryhelena
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:40 am The posibility was raised whether 2 Cor. 11: 32-33 was an interpolation.
maryhelena responded in part (Tue Aug 24, 2021 1:05 am): “Interpolation in 2 Cor.11.32 - way too much to loose by that approach...” [presumably, for “loose” read “lose”]

Stephen - this thread is not a grammar or spelling test - all your continued attempts to set yourself up as a master of such is pathetic.


Question 1. Why dismiss that possibility? I am not arguing at the moment either side of that question, but asking why declare it, in effect, out of bounds, not subject to free inquiry? Isn’t it leaning on one interpretation of a selected small text rather heavily to base so much on so little? (What about comparing that to multiple attestation, when, say, Josephus War and Antiquities agrees with Qumran mss and, possibly also Babylonian Talmud?)
Interpolation: As above : ... it also removes the history indicated by this verse as being relevant to the NT Pauline story.'

Question 2. For someone who apparently mistrusts much written history as speculation and such, why such proposed rock solid (fundamental) dating of Paul to one preferred Aretas? Does any Aretas need to have had “complete” control of a city? (Aside: how many big cities, today, are under the “complete” control of one person? And how many 2000 or so years ago?)


As already pointed out in this thread: Only one Aretas had control of Damascus - and that was Aretas III.

Question 3. If Paul were a “paper apostle,” why discuss how his human age span might be, in some interpretation, plausible?


I provided an option for those who uphold a historical Paul.

Question 4. If NT, in a given interpretation, is mostly about Hasmonean times, did anything relevant happen in the following, say, 100 years?


This thread has focused on 2 Cor.11.32.33 - focusing on the only Aretas that had control of Damascus. Aretas III. For other history - read a history book.
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Re: Carrier, Aretas and Damascus

Post by StephenGoranson »

About 2 Corinthians 11:32-33.
If a reader interprets this passage as referring to a “paper apostle” Paul, a “Paul” who supposedly did not actually exist, what then would prevent such an interpreter from interpreting a “paper Aretas” and a “paper Damascus” and a “paper basket”?
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