1 Thessalonians first?

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PhilosopherJay
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by PhilosopherJay » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:31 pm

Hi Bernard,

Greek women were generally not allowed out of their houses except to attend religious festivals.
Why would Phoebe be taking the month long trip to Rome. What could possibly be the reason?
Any woman traveling alone on such a long journey would face incredible dangers of rape and enslavement every single day. While wealthy women could afford body guards, such a trip would be unthinkable for a poor woman. How fortunate that Paul knew a rich woman traveling from Corinth to Rome at just the time he needed one.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin
Bernard Muller wrote:Hi Jay,
I think it is essential to remind ourselves that there was no post office in ancient Rome. This meant that you had to have a friend deliver the letter or a slave.
And Paul had a friend to deliver from Corinth "Romans" in Rome: Phebe, a Christian woman from Cenchrea: Rom 16:1-2
A city such as Thessaloniki had 1/2 million people in the First century. It would be extremely difficult to find some specific person.
But Timothy would know where these Christian congregations were in Thessalonica (1 Th 3:2) and Corinth.
Timothy was used as a messenger between Ephesus and Corinth & Ephesus (1 Cor 4:17, 1 Cor 16:10, Php 2:19)

Also Titus was used as messenger between Macedonia & Ephesus and Corinth (2 Cor 7:6,13,14, 2 Cor 8:23, 2 Cor 12:18).

Also Epaphroditus was used as messenger between Philippi and Ephesus (Php 2:25, Php 4:18).

No need to hire a slave. Fellow Christians were available to carry Paul's epistles and get information about problems, disbeliefs, doubts in Christian communities that Paul founded.

Also, the Pauline epistles are more than just rhetorical. They contain info like Paul's relationship with the addressees, Paul's emotive state, planned collections and future travels, past events in Paul's ministry, etc ...

Cordially, Bernard

Bernard Muller
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:03 am

Hi Jay,
If what you wrote is true (I did not check):
Greek women were generally not allowed out of their houses except to attend religious festivals.
Why would Phoebe be taking the month long trip to Rome. What could possibly be the reason?
Maybe she was without husband! Maybe she would be accompanied by other people she knew! Maybe she had a husband with her (but not Christian, therefore not the carrier of the epistle)! Maybe she wanted to visit family members in Rome!
BTW, a trip to Rome from Corinth could take as little as 9 days (by boat) and costs 480 dinarii (return). http://orbis.stanford.edu/#
Any woman traveling alone on such a long journey would face incredible dangers of rape and enslavement every single day.
Maybe she was older and sexually unattractive!
While wealthy women could afford body guards, such a trip would be unthinkable for a poor woman. How fortunate that Paul knew a rich woman traveling from Corinth to Rome at just the time he needed one.
There were some rich people in the early Christian communities, people who owned their house where Christian congregation would meet, sometimes with the owner offering wine and food for a common meal (1 Corinthians). And I think Mk 10:23-27 was written (invented) to please wealthy Christians despite Mk 10:21.

If travelling Phoebe was invented by someone else, why would the author writing in the name of Paul have a woman doing the trip, if it was known a woman was very unlikely to travel? Why not choose a man (avoiding the "problem")?

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

andrewcriddle
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by andrewcriddle » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:51 pm

PhilosopherJay wrote:Hi Bernard,

Greek women were generally not allowed out of their houses except to attend religious festivals.
Why would Phoebe be taking the month long trip to Rome. What could possibly be the reason?
Any woman traveling alone on such a long journey would face incredible dangers of rape and enslavement every single day. While wealthy women could afford body guards, such a trip would be unthinkable for a poor woman. How fortunate that Paul knew a rich woman traveling from Corinth to Rome at just the time he needed one.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin
Phoebe was a wealthy woman. In verse 2 the word helper in for she herself also has been a helper of many, and of my own self. probably implies that she was a patroness of her local church.

Andrew Criddle

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DCHindley
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by DCHindley » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:45 pm

Tenorikuma wrote:
DCHindley wrote:Since I've come to the oh-must-be-so-wrong conclusion that all the Christology in all the letters represent redactive strata (inserted in letters having nothing to do with Jesus Christ at a time when the largely rural Jesus movement had become a mystery cult and crossed paths with the remnants of Paul's "gentile brother" movement).
Do you have any examples that are easy to show? (I'm just curious, not being adversarial or anything.)
Sorry to take so long. As the author of 2 Peter says of Paul's letters: "3:15 ... So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures." I'm not suggesting that the author or 2 Peter was actually Peter, but am suggesting that even in his day (probably 2nd century CE if the experts are correct) the Pauline corpus was hard to interpret.

By "hard" I mean "choppy" as in "spaghetti code." He'd be happily explaining something nice and simple and then suddenly take you on a tangent that seldom made any sense in relation to what he had been explaining so plainly. Finally, several verses later you might pick up on the original theme, but by then you are struggling to figure out what the digression meant and can no longer connect to the original theme.

So started my experiments (bwoo-ha-ha) to see if I could logically connect those simple lines of reasoning by bypassing the "tangents" in the letters. I thought, oh so naively, that if I could just get the gist of his simple arguments, the tangents would all fall neatly into place. Boy was I wrong!!

What I eventually come to recognize was that "Paul" had a thing for gentile god-fearers. He was Jewish and proud of it, although he may have been the son of a freedman who reconnected with his ancestral roots. Even so, this would mean that Paul was a fully Jewish man with all the rights that came with it. But one day, he says by revelation, he became convinced that it was his mission in life to bring faithful gentiles into full fellowship with natural born Jews.

The basics of his position are in Romans 4:
4:1 What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2a For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, 2b [...].

3 For what does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Gen 15:6)

4 Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. 5 And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the unGodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

6 So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom (the) LORD will not reckon his sin." (Ps 32:1-2)

9 Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. (Gen 15:6) 10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

11 He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, 12 and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants--not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all,

17a as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations" (Gen 17:5) 17b [...]. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told, "So shall your descendants be." (Gen 15:5)

19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was "reckoned to him as righteousness." (Gen 15:6) 23 - 25 [...].
He was here explaining to Roman Jews why he was teaching that faithful gentiles could inherit the promises made by God to Abraham just as much as natural born Jews. While Paul thought this was "good news" (for gentiles) there were many natural born Jews who thought it would be "bad news" for them.

Mainly through the efforts of Herod the Great, Jews had come to enjoy many privileges granted by the Roman emperors, such as right to assemble in their own associations (synagogues), set up law courts to try their own kind, be exempt from military service and from social obligations that would compromise their religious laws and ancestral traditions.

If gentiles could be part of the people of God merely by faith, they felt it cheapened what it meant to be a "Jew". This all had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus or his death on a cross. It was all about faithful gentiles being justified before God on the basis of the same kind of faith that Abraham had.

The passages I have ever so artfully excised are the following:
2b but not before God
17b --in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist
23 But the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone,
24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
25 who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification
So what's with this stuff? How did Jesus horn in on the action? It is not so bad here, but these are examples of the kind of "tangents" that I originally found so annoying.

The other major account of this faith of Abraham occurs in Galatians, but the "tangents" are much more frequent and intense.
3:1a O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, 3:6 Thus Abraham "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." (Gen 15:6) 3:7 So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the good news beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." (Gen 12:3) 3:9 So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had faith.

3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them." (Deu 27:26) 3:11 Now it is evident that no man is justified before God by the law; for "He who through faith is righteous shall live"; (Hab 2:4) 3:12 but the law does not rest on faith, for "He who does them shall live by them." (Lev 18:5) 3:14a that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, 3:14c that the *promise* 3:14e we might receive through faith.

3:15 To give a human example, brethren: no one annuls even a man's will, or adds to it, once it has been ratified. 3:16a Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. 3:17a This is what I mean: Given a covenant previously ratified by *God,* 3:17b then that which came four hundred and thirty years (Exo 12:40) afterward, the Law, does not annul it so as to make the promise void. 3:18 For if the inheritance is by the law, it is no longer by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, 3:19c and it was ordained by angels through an intermediary. 3:20 Now an intermediary implies more than one; but God is one.

3:21 Is the law then against the promises *of God*? 3:21b Certainly not; for if a law had been given which could make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 3:22a But the scripture consigned all things to sin, that the promise 3:22c might be given to those who believe.
I set apart the following:
3:1b before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?
3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?
3:4 Did you experience so many things in vain? -- if it really is in vain.
3:5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?
3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" -- (Deu 21:23)
3:14b in *Christ Jesus*
3:14d of the Spirit
3:16b It does not say, "And to offsprings (pl)," referring to many; but, referring to one, "And to your offspring (sg)," (Gen 12:7; 13:15; 17:7; 24:7) which is Christ.
3:19b till the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made;
3:22b out of faith in Jesus Christ
3:23 Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed.
3:24 So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian;
3:26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
3:28 There is neither Judean nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
It sounds like the "tangents" are setting up a counter theology, in which the simple faith that Abraham had in God's promise to him could also justify gentiles and make them equally sons of Abraham, are replaced by faith in Jesus Christ. The Law, which Paul has been explaining came after the promises to those who believe like Abraham did (i.e., gentiles) and does not invalidate it, is vilified as almost punishment against the Jews! That is not "Paul" talking any more.

It gets worse a little later:
4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law? 4:22a For it is written that Abraham had two sons, 4:22b one by a slave (Gen 16:15) 4:22c and one by a free woman (Gen 21:2) [Isaac].

4:23a But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, 4:23b the son of the free woman through promise. 4:28 *Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.*
Pretty simple, based on uncomplicated interpretation of passages from Jewish scripture. But look at the counter narrative!
4:24a Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. 4:24b One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; 4:24c she is Hagar. 4:25a the 4:25b *but Hagar (represents) Sinai* 4:25c mountain in Arabia; 4:25d she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

4:27 For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married" (Isa 54:1).

4:29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now. 4:30 But what does the scripture say? "Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son (Gen 21:10) of the free woman." 4:31 So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
WTF? This man is raging against the Jews and their Law. He even turns the simple story of Abraham being justified by believing Gods promise that he would be father through his wife, which also justifies those who also believe in the blessed age, into a lesson about the evils of the Jews who are really children of Hagar the slave and not children of Sarah the free wife. Well, if the natural born children of Abraham are not really children of Sarah but Hagar, then who is? Oh yes, those who believe in Jesus.

Right there it tells us that the person(s) who came up with this counter theology had taken on Jewish Law, likely as converts, but had come to feel betrayed by Jews and their Law, and abandoned it. They have rationalized their faith in Jesus' "mission" on the cross by the fact Jerusalem and its people are in "slavery," suggesting a time after the Jewish War of 66-74 CE.

Most of us who have been Christians in the past, and many non-believers whoi have been brought up in the Christian west, have been taught since birth that these two narratives flow together like milk and honey, and it takes a little time to detach oneself from this kind of muddled thinking.

I can go through every book of the Pauline corpus and demonstrate this kind of double message.

Damn, is it time for bed again? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

PS: Revised to correct formatting problems.

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DCHindley
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by DCHindley » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:03 pm

stephan happy huller wrote:
at a time when the largely rural Jesus movement
I assume you posit the existence of simple unsophisticated Jews who would match your ideas about a simplified Christian doctrine. But I've never met these 'simple' Jews. ... The point here is that (what I am assuming are) your assumptions about a 'simple' religion don't work with Jews.
No, I didn't "posit the existence of simple unsophisticated Jews." I posited the source of the transformed Jesus movement as gentile converts to Judaism who came from rural areas of south Syria (in which I include Judaea, Samaria, Galilee, Trachonitis, Idumea, etc). Being rural does not necessarily equate with being simpletons, despite the best efforts of Crossan et al. The Latin word "pagani" when used by Christians often refers to folks who were raised the traditions and myths of the ANE gods, and I have to assume they learned them from village and small town socialization. There were a tremendous number of estates controlled by the elites connected with the Romans, and scores of Greek cities and Latin colonies each with its chora of arable ground leased to tenants, both pagan and Jewish.

Some of these pagans, in my opinion, were impressed by their Jewish neighbor's culture and beliefs. Part of Jewish culture of that time and place was, what Josephus calls "an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, 'about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth'." Perhaps wanting to be a part of that new age, which certainly had to be better than what they were living like at the time, some of these converted, or prepared themselves to convert, to the practice of Jewish customs and Law with gusto. I believe that this was fertile ground for the original Jesus movement to seek followers. They were literate enough in Greek to comprehend the Greek translations of the Jewish scriptures, from whatever sources they came (synagogue, Jewish village scribes, etc), and several of them were probably scribes themselves.

It was the Jewish rebellion that served as the catalyst that caused these men (and women) to completely rethink their relationship to the Jewish God and the Jewish people. That war completely polarized the Jewish and gentile populations such that there could be no middle ground, you were one or the other and expected to separate accordingly, and those who did not comply were suspected by both parties. As in Yugoslavia until the death of Marshal Tito and Rwanda until the Hutu revolution, everyone seemed to be living in relative harmony and there was a lot of cooperation.

As soon as hostilities broke out, though, hard liners from both sides initiated policies of ethnic cleansing, killing not only the other party but even sympathizers with them among their own kind. Just read the accounts of these Jewish and Gentile pogroms in Josephus to see many cases of large numbers being rounded up and confined in the amphitheater or sports arenas, and then subsequently slaughtered without any consideration of their previous associations with the other party. Even Jews who had fought alongside gentiles in defense of their towns and cities when the rebellion broke out, were themselves slaughtered. Family associations, especially if some of the members had associated closely with the other ethnic party, were torn apart.

In the gospels, predictions about what had happened before the author's own time were anachronistically placed in Jesus' mouth: "Matt 10:21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake," = Mar 13:12 And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 13 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake."

I'm sure the survivors felt betrayed by Jews in general and keenly aware of the fact that the Romans had definitively crushed the Jewish attempt to establish the kingdom of God on earth by rebellion, they renounced their conversions. Through a period of rationalization that may have taken a couple of decades, they ended up transforming whatever role Jesus served in their former belief system (maybe the triumphant messiah coming down from heaven with an army of angels to establish a kingdom of God on earth) into that of divine savior of all men by means of a vicarious sacrifice that replaced the need for the Jewish sacrificial system.

It was these folks, holding a form of the transformed Jesus cultus that preceded the writing of the gospels by a decade or two, who in time found themselves in contact with followers of Paul, who himself loved faithful gentiles and probably knew nothing at all of Jesus. They got ahold of one or more collections of genuine letters of the Paul, and I like to say "adopted and adapted" them to inject their own beliefs about Christ. Luckily they did not cut out much, but largely added their commentary and redirected the meaning of some statements by the addition of words or short phrases, and generally did a piss poor job of it.

So I am not sure what you mean by "simplified Christian doctrine," although the interpolator(s) theology was a bit less sophisticated than that of the Gospel writers. I am not trying to assign any particular value judgment to the earliest forms of the cult of Jesus the Jewish messiah. All I am saying is that it was different, and unrelated in any way, to what Paul had taught in his day. Would this be the first time in the history of religions that one movement encountered another and assimilated it to form a synthesis? The process is called Syncretism, and it has been studied for ages.

And not a Marcionite in sight! :scratch:

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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by PhilosopherJay » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:08 pm

Hi Bernard,
Thank you for the link to orbis ( http://orbis.stanford.edu/# ). It is really a quite wonderful site and I had a lot of fun putting in various scenarios.
Under different scenarios, Orbis gives us quite different lengths for the trip.

For example, a civilian, private January trip using road, rivers and open and costal seas on fast ships gives us
12.2 days. The same trip in May takes 10.7 days. But if we get slower ships, the time stays the same in January, but goes up to 12.8 days in May.
Crossing open seas was dangerous, so sticking to coastal routes would have been the preferred option. That would take us 15.8 days in January and 14.6 days in May. Much safer would have been only traveling in ships during daylight. This brings our trip up to 24.5 days in May and 27.4 days in January. Traveling strictly by land and avoiding ships altogether extends our trip to 75.4 days.

The major problem that I see here is that these times are all travel times, but does not include actual layover times that would have been necessary in any actual trip. Travel or flight time between Orlando (where I live now) and New York (my home city) is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. This does not include my time for packing, driving to the airport, checking in, going through security, picking up a rental car and driving to my actual destination. The process actually takes me seven or eight hours. In the same way, the times we are getting from Orbis are not the actual times that actual trips took, but more or less just the "flight" times of the trips.

As http://orbis.stanford.edu/# notes:
In practice, however, many actual voyages would have been slower than predicted by our simulations. For instance, even if they took place between the same start and end points without intermediate stops, they may have been marred by navigational shortcomings or costly constraints imposed by local preference, whereas the model simulations always select the optimal path for a given route, a degree of perfection that cannot readily be ascribed to real-life sailors. Vagaries of local geography, such as problems in entering or leaving ports under certain wind conditions, would have imposed costs that cannot be predicted by the model. More importantly, at least some of the historical sea voyages for which times are recorded may have been discontinuous, extended by undocumented layovers in ports or at anchorages. This makes it likely that simulated outcomes are faster than most recorded individual voyages, a prediction that is likewise consistent with preliminary tests.
It is important to remember that there were no travel agents in ancient times. You self-navigated and arranged each part of your trip as you went. Thus when one arrived in a city, one might find a ship leaving in an hour for the destination city, but also one could find that the best they could do was catch a ship leaving in a week that made half a dozen stops along the way and might turn a 2 day voyage into a 12 day voyage. Weather also played a big factor. Bad weather could delay any portion of a trip for days and/or weeks.

While a person in a great hurry, with a great deal of luck might have traveled from Corinth to Rome, in 10-15 days, I would still maintain that a month would have been a more realistic expectation.

The money for a one-way trip according to Orbis from Corinth to Rome, traveling by sea is from 300-600 dinarii. Dinari are often estimated as a day's pay for an unskilled laborer, somewhere from $20-$60 in current money. This gives us a cost of $6,000-$36,000, perhaps. a year's wages for the average manual worker back then. This would seem to eliminate over 98% of the Roman population who could never have afforded to make such a trip.

Free Women were under the control of their fathers or guardians, unless they married, in which case they were under control of their husbands. In any case it is unlikely that Phoebe's father, guardian or husband would have brought her to Rome and allowed her to deliver a letter for Paul. If they were sympathetic to Christianity, they would have delivered the letters themselves. This means that Phoebe was independent, which means that she was almost certainly a widow. A wealthy widow traveling alone that distance would have faced incredible dangers. She must have had an entourage, for protection and to help her carry her possessions, which again raises the cost of the trip, possibly into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I think your question "If travelling Phoebe was invented by someone else, why would the author writing in the name of Paul have a woman doing the trip, if it was known a woman was very unlikely to travel? Why not choose a man (avoiding the "problem")?" is an excellent one.

The answer that I have is that the original address of the letter has been changed. Since, Paul refers to Phoebe as a slave in the Church of Cenchreae, we should forget about the rich widow idea and suggest that Paul was at the church of Cenchraea and using the slave Phoebe to deliver his letter to another church. Since Cenchraeae was a port of the city of Corinth, about 7 kilometers away, we may assume that Paul was writing to the Church in Corinth. Thus the trip that Phoebe took to deliver Paul's letter was not 10 days or 20 days or 30 days away, but only a one hour journey.

That this letter was originally addressed to the Church in Corinth also explains why Paul first says (16.3), Greet Priscilla[c] and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus.) and Acts 18.1 says, "After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla"
Narcissus was the Corinthian shepherd who found Oedipus and named him. That is also why the letter says "Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord."

Warmly,

Jay Raskin

Bernard Muller wrote:Hi Jay,
If what you wrote is true (I did not check):
Greek women were generally not allowed out of their houses except to attend religious festivals.
Why would Phoebe be taking the month long trip to Rome. What could possibly be the reason?
Maybe she was without husband! Maybe she would be accompanied by other people she knew! Maybe she had a husband with her (but not Christian, therefore not the carrier of the epistle)! Maybe she wanted to visit family members in Rome!
BTW, a trip to Rome from Corinth could take as little as 9 days (by boat) and costs 480 dinarii (return). http://orbis.stanford.edu/#
Any woman traveling alone on such a long journey would face incredible dangers of rape and enslavement every single day.
Maybe she was older and sexually unattractive!
While wealthy women could afford body guards, such a trip would be unthinkable for a poor woman. How fortunate that Paul knew a rich woman traveling from Corinth to Rome at just the time he needed one.
There were some rich people in the early Christian communities, people who owned their house where Christian congregation would meet, sometimes with the owner offering wine and food for a common meal (1 Corinthians). And I think Mk 10:23-27 was written (invented) to please wealthy Christians despite Mk 10:21.

If travelling Phoebe was invented by someone else, why would the author writing in the name of Paul have a woman doing the trip, if it was known a woman was very unlikely to travel? Why not choose a man (avoiding the "problem")?

Cordially, Bernard

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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:37 pm

Hi Jay,
Phoebe a slave? Where did you get that?
"diakonos" is used not only for Phoebe, but also for an official authority in Rom13:4, Jesus Christ in 1Cor 15:8, Paul & Apollos in 1 Cor 3:5, Timothy in 1 Th 3:2. No slave here.
Furthermore, Rom 16:2 says about Phoebe:
"That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also."
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lex ... 4368&t=KJV Vine's Expository Dictionary:
Succorer:
a feminine form of prostates, denotes "a protectress, patroness;" it is used metaphorically of Phoebe in Rom 16:2. It is a word of dignity, evidently chosen instead of others which might have been used (see, e.g., under HELPER), and indicates the high esteem with which she was regarded, as one who had been a protectress of many. Prostates was the title of a citizen in Athens, who had the responsibility of seeing to the welfare of resident aliens who were without civic rights. Among the Jews it signified a wealthy patron of the community.
No slave here either.

I think it is odd that Paul would write a long epistle when he was only 7 kilometers away from the addressees in Corinth and make some fuss about the one who would carry it on such a short distance. And are you sure a woman was safe going on her own from Cenchrea to Corinth?
Aquila and Priscilla were always on the move according to Paul's epistles and Acts: From Pontus to Rome, then to Corinth, then to Ephesus. So it should not be surprising they were back in Rome (with other Jewish exiles after Claudius died in 54) when 'Romans' was written.
Rom 1:7 & 1:15 state the addressees are in Rome.

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by stephan happy huller » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:51 pm

All I am saying is that it was different, and unrelated in any way, to what Paul had taught in his day. Would this be the first time in the history of religions that one movement encountered another and assimilated it to form a synthesis? The process is called Syncretism, and it has been studied for ages.

And not a Marcionite in sight! :scratch:
I think that you can't arrange the evidence to suit your thesis. The facts are that Marcionitism represent the oldest interpretation of the Pauline corpus - a New Testament which consisted of a gospel (attributed to Mark or Paul according to two related sources) and a collection of letters. You can certainly posit the existence of a messianic religion developed around the figure of Jesus. You can say that this was 'Jewish' and note further more that it was different from that associated with the tradition of Paul. But it is foolish to assume that the Pauline tradition was separate from Marcion.

Perhaps the best proof for this is that the rabbinic sources report the existence of heretics - alternatively identified as 'minim,' 'Epicureans,' 'Samaritans,' and 'Sadducees' - who held fast to very similar doctrines to the Marcionites. This isn't just my opinion but that held by Alan Segal among others.

Once you lock in the Pauline community as essentially indistinguishable from Marcionitism we can argue over the exact dating of this phenomenon but there was nothing older than Marcionite 'Paulinism' (we can alternatively re-present this group as 'Pauline' or 'Marcionite' if you prefer). Given the antiquity of the Marcionites you can't go beyond the limits of their canon to understand this Pauline tradition. It doesn't matter what 'our canon' says, or 'our Church Fathers say' about Paul or Marcion, it is impossible to argue for an earlier pre-Marcionite interpretation of the Pauline material save for ignoring the reactionary nature (reactionary against Marcionitism) of the Catholic exegesis of Pauline material.

Yes this leaves a lot of ambiguity in terms of who or what Paul was (because you demolish the reliability of Acts as reactionary too). But this is what you are left with when you follow the path to the truth. I do think it is possible to imagine a form of Christianity that was before Marcion (and thus before Paul). I don't think we can know much about what it looked like other than Marcionitism may have been a reaction against it. But it was certainly not 'our' tradition of Christianity.

Again, I am not saying that this thing existed. I am just trying to be open minded at least acknowledge what is possible given the limits on our knowledge about earliest Christianity.
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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by PhilosopherJay » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:31 am

Hi Bernard,

The word "diakonos" might be translated as "servant," but it was slaves that ran errands in ancient times, such as delivering letters.
The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

Strong's Number: 1249
Original Word Word Origin
diakonoß probably from an obsolete diako (to run on errands, cf (1377))
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Diakonos 2:88,152
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
dee-ak'-on-os Noun
Definition

one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister
the servant of a king
a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use
a waiter, one who serves food and drink
According to NAS Word Usage - Total: 29
deacons 3, minister 7, servant 10, servants 9

Thus in 19 out of 29 usages, the word is translated as "servant," which really should be translated as "slave." Once we see that Phoebe is only going on a one hour trip to deliver Paul's letter, we can eliminate the grand illusions about Phoebe.

Paul vouches for her helpfullness and good character by calling her "prostatis" (a female guardian, protector). This is probably meant by the writer to indicate that she is a good and valuable family slave and the Christians in Corinth should not kidnap, rape or mistreat her, which would have been the typical treatment of a pretty slave girl delivering a message by herself.

From http://www.thehighcalling.org/faith/bec ... uako_so74Y:
Two Greek words in the original language of our New Testaments, doulos and diakonos, are often translated as “servant.” Diakonos literally means someone who waits on tables. Have you ever been to banquet at a ritzy restaurant with servers standing at attention at the edge of the room? As the evening progresses, entrees appear, empty dishes disappear, and glasses are continuously filled. It is usually done without a spoken word. The servers are anticipating what the diners need without direction. So it is with a servant of God – in our work, we are to become so attuned to what God wants that we are able to do what the Master would want us to do. Good servants have the “mind of Christ.”

Doulos has the same connotations. In ancient Roman society, a slave could often have great responsibility. The head of the large Roman household often did not manage the affairs of his own estate. He would be absent for months at a time. He left management in the hands of a “household manager,” or “steward.”

This steward was often a slave, but one who rose to his position, not because he was so great at following instructions, but because he had so thoroughly internalized the mind of his master that he could anticipate what was needed, even in the master’s absence.

These two overlapping metaphors - the servant and the household manager - are common in the teachings of Jesus and Paul about our responsibility toward God. They say that a Christian consciously and deliberately becomes a slave to God.
Bernard Muller wrote:Hi Jay,
Phoebe a slave? Where did you get that?
"diakonos" is used not only for Phoebe, but also for an official authority in Rom13:4, Jesus Christ in 1Cor 15:8, Paul & Apollos in 1 Cor 3:5, Timothy in 1 Th 3:2. No slave here.
Furthermore, Rom 16:2 says about Phoebe:
"That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also."
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lex ... 4368&t=KJV Vine's Expository Dictionary:
Succorer:
a feminine form of prostates, denotes "a protectress, patroness;" it is used metaphorically of Phoebe in Rom 16:2. It is a word of dignity, evidently chosen instead of others which might have been used (see, e.g., under HELPER), and indicates the high esteem with which she was regarded, as one who had been a protectress of many. Prostates was the title of a citizen in Athens, who had the responsibility of seeing to the welfare of resident aliens who were without civic rights. Among the Jews it signified a wealthy patron of the community.
No slave here either.

I think it is odd that Paul would write a long epistle when he was only 7 kilometers away from the addressees in Corinth and make some fuss about the one who would carry it on such a short distance. And are you sure a woman was safe going on her own from Cenchrea to Corinth?
Aquila and Priscilla were always on the move according to Paul's epistles and Acts: From Pontus to Rome, then to Corinth, then to Ephesus. So it should not be surprising they were back in Rome (with other Jewish exiles after Claudius died in 54) when 'Romans' was written.
Rom 1:7 & 1:15 state the addressees are in Rome.

Cordially, Bernard

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Re: 1 Thessalonians first?

Post by arnoldo » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:05 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:
PhilosopherJay wrote:Hi Bernard,

Greek women were generally not allowed out of their houses except to attend religious festivals.
Why would Phoebe be taking the month long trip to Rome. What could possibly be the reason?
Any woman traveling alone on such a long journey would face incredible dangers of rape and enslavement every single day. While wealthy women could afford body guards, such a trip would be unthinkable for a poor woman. How fortunate that Paul knew a rich woman traveling from Corinth to Rome at just the time he needed one.

Warmly,

Jay Raskin
Phoebe was a wealthy woman. In verse 2 the word helper in for she herself also has been a helper of many, and of my own self. probably implies that she was a patroness of her local church.

Andrew Criddle
Origen of Alexandria's commentary on Romans 16:1-2 states the following concering Phoebe.
This text teaches with the authority of the Apostle that even women are instituted deacons in the Church. This is the function which was exercised in the church of Cenchreae by Phoebe, who was the object of high praise and recommendation by Paul. He enumerated her outstanding works; she assisted everyone, he said -- i.e., she helped them in their needs -- she also helped me in my needs and my apostolic work with a perfect devotion. I readily compare her action with the hospitality of Lot, who never failed to welcome guests who presented themselves, and thereby deserved one day to grant his hospitality to angels. In the same manner, likewise, Abraham, who always came forward to greet his guests, deserved to have the Lord with his angels visit him and stay under his tent. Also this pious Phoebe, while giving assistance and rendering service to all, deserved to assist and to serve the Apostle himself. And thus this text teaches at the same time two things: that there are, as we have already said, women deacons in the Church, and that women, who have given assistance to so many people and who by their good works deserve to be praised by the Apostle, ought to be accepted in the diaconate. He also exhorted that those who are active in good works in the Church receive likewise in return from their brethren consideration and be treated with honor, in whatever manner is necessary, even in material services.
http://www.theotrek.org/resources/Plamp ... htm#Origen

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