Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Bernard Muller
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Bernard Muller » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:21 pm

to rgprice,
I think john2 is right:
John2 wrote:
I think the issue in Antioch between Paul and Peter was about keeping table fellowship with Gentiles rather than circumcision.
there was more than that according to:
Gal 2:14 I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"

Compelling the Gentiles to live like Jews does not mean they have to be circumcised, just having them to become God-fearers, that is living like a Jew with all the traditions.

John2 wrote:
However, Paul does go on to say that, "before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself, for fear of those in the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray."

But in his reference to "those in the circumcision group," is Paul saying that they advocated for Gentile circumcision or is he only describing them as being Torah observant Jews? I'm thinking it is the latter.

In the big picture, I think Paul is angry because Peter and the other Jews were modeling a way of life that he considered to be no longer relevant for Jews, for which he was reproved by those sent from James and (in my view) by James in his letter (and which I think could be the reason Paul says he was willing to pretend to be Torah observant around Jews in 1 Cor. 9:20). I think he calls them "those in the circumcision group" because they were Torah observant and not because they advocated for Gentile circumcision.
rgprice wrote:
"they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised"
This is most likely part of an interpolation (2:7-8, except "to the contrary"). See https://depts.drew.edu/jhc/Barnikol.html

My take, and with some evidence: Peter was providing his testimony to Jews about Jesus' public life and the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death (with anecdotes). He was telling about message of Jesus: you have to be poor & righteous (Jew) to get in the kingdom of God when it comes (very soon!).
The church of Jerusalem softened the message a bit: You have to live like a poor. And the best place to do that is to join the church of Jerusalem (after paying a fat entrance fee!).
See http://historical-jesus.info/28.html and http://historical-jesus.info/20.html and http://historical-jesus.info/109.html

Cordially, Bernard

John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:28 pm

I gather that the main argument against the authenticity of 1 Peter is it's polished Greek and the assumption that Peter would thus not have been able to write it. But 5:12 says that it was written with the help of Silvanus, similar to the way that Josephus had assistants help him with Greek.


1 Peter 5:12:
Through Silvanus, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.

Cf. Against Apion 1.9:
Afterward I got leisure at Rome; and when all my materials were prepared for that work, I made use of some persons to assist me in learning the Greek tongue, and by these means I composed the history of those transactions.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:30 pm

John2 wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:28 pm
I gather that the main argument against the authenticity of 1 Peter is it's polished Greek and the assumption that Peter would thus not have been able to write it.
What is your main argument for 1 Peter's authenticity?

rgprice
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by rgprice » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:03 am

See Ehrman on 1 Peter. It's apparently a Pauline letter that got misattributed to Peter. So, maybe not a forgery, just a mistake. Whatever the case, this letter tells us nothing about Peter.

I never buy Ehrman's "polished Greek" arguments, he just has the wrong expectations of who these figures were. But nevertheless, its still a forgery. It calls Rome Babylon, which is something you don't typically see until after the destruction of the Temple.

davidmartin
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by davidmartin » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:31 am

But circumcision is an issue in Galatians. So who is advocating for circumcision? No-one?!

Assuming there was a historical Jesus who had any inkling of his movement spreading outside his native land i can't see how he wouldn't have addressed this issue clearly during his life and if it wasn't addressed then it wasn't that important to him. At no point in Galatians are any words of Jesus mentioned
If Jesus himself had required circumcision then Paul is breaking away from the founders teaching, but he encounters other gentile churches he didn't found and the issue doesn't seem to exist there (he never has to try to convince them otherwise)
If Jesus had not then James and Peter are the ones breaking away, but they are supposed to be his main apostles and leaders of the movement
This is a movement already split into factions with different gospels - each claiming to be led by someone that knew Jesus (a relative, original apostle or by divine revelation). None of them are the original movement but they each claim to be and yet might have left some original parts unchanged?

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by rgprice » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:48 am

Compelling the Gentiles to live like Jews does not mean they have to be circumcised, just having them to become God-fearers, that is living like a Jew with all the traditions.
But then why even bring it up? The whole point of Galatians is talking about circumcision. It's the only relevant thing.
he encounters other gentile churches he didn't found and the issue doesn't seem to exist there (he never has to try to convince them otherwise)
Paul was persecuting churches because they weren't engaging in circumcision, until he "saw the light" and adopted anti-circumcision himself.
If Jesus himself had required circumcision
Jesus the man is a fictional construct invented by Mark. At the time of Paul there had been no real Jesus, it was all just revelation & scriptural interpreation.

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:29 am

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:03 am
See Ehrman on 1 Peter. It's apparently a Pauline letter that got misattributed to Peter. So, maybe not a forgery, just a mistake. Whatever the case, this letter tells us nothing about Peter.

I never buy Ehrman's "polished Greek" arguments, he just has the wrong expectations of who these figures were. But nevertheless, its still a forgery. It calls Rome Babylon, which is something you don't typically see until after the destruction of the Temple.
Even if it was supposed to be by Paul, it would still be pseudoPauline, part of the pastoral stratum with Titus and Timothy. It's post Peter/Paul schism, made up for 2nd century church edification.

John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:42 pm

rgprice wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:03 am
See Ehrman on 1 Peter. It's apparently a Pauline letter that got misattributed to Peter. So, maybe not a forgery, just a mistake. Whatever the case, this letter tells us nothing about Peter.

I never buy Ehrman's "polished Greek" arguments, he just has the wrong expectations of who these figures were. But nevertheless, its still a forgery. It calls Rome Babylon, which is something you don't typically see until after the destruction of the Temple.

But 1 Peter is addressed to Jews (1:1: "To the elect who are exiles of the Dispersion throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia"; 2:12: "Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles"), and Paul says that he preached to Gentiles and Peter preached to Jews (Gal. 2:7: "I had been entrusted to preach the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised").

And it claims to have witnessed Jesus' suffering (5:1: "As a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings"), unlike Paul (Gal. 1:11-12: "For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached was not devised by man. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ").

That Peter (or the author) is claiming to have witnessed the suffering of a human Jesus seems clear to me from 3:18:

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit ...

So for these reasons 1 Peter doesn't seem Pauline to me. Yes, it does promote submitting to authorities like Paul does, but that is something that could have been common among Jewish Christian leaders and it is in keeping with what Josephus says about someone named Simon who I think could be the historical Peter in Ant. 19.7.4, given that he lived at the same time as Peter and has the same name and was from Jerusalem and was "very accurate in the knowledge of the law" and led an assembly (ecclesia, the same word that is translated as "church") and gave a speech (like Peter was known for doing) and had a run in with King Agrippa (like Peter does in Acts) and ultimately caved in to him (as per 1 Peter 2:13-14: "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to the king as the supreme authority, or to governors").

However, there was a certain man of the Jewish nation at Jerusalem, who appeared to be very accurate in the knowledge of the law. His name was Simon. This man got together an assembly, while the king was absent at Cesarea, and had the insolence to accuse him as not living holily, and that he might justly be excluded out of the temple, since it belonged only to native Jews. But the general of Agrippa's army informed him that Simon had made such a speech to the people. So the king sent for him; and as he was sitting in the theater, he bid him sit down by him, and said to him with a low and gentle voice, "What is there done in this place that is contrary to the law?" But he had nothing to say for himself, but begged his pardon. So the king was more easily reconciled to him than one could have imagined, as esteeming mildness a better quality in a king than anger, and knowing that moderation is more becoming in great men than passion. So he made Simon a small present, and dismissed him.

As for the use of the term Babylon, you say that it is not "typically" seen before 70 CE, but even if there are no other examples, perhaps 1 Peter is simply the earliest reference.
Last edited by John2 on Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:50 pm

davidmartin wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:31 am
But circumcision is an issue in Galatians. So who is advocating for circumcision? No-one?!

The ones Paul calls "false brothers" in Gal. 2:4 ("This issue arose because some false brothers had come in under false pretenses to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us") and the Christians in Acts 15:1-6:

Then some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” ... But some believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and declared, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.” So the apostles and elders met to look into this matter.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:51 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:42 pm
As for the use of the term Babylon, you say that it is not "typically" seen before 70 CE, but even if there are no other examples, perhaps 1 Peter is simply the earliest reference.
The logic of calling Rome by the code name Babylon makes more sense to me if Rome has already done what Babylon was famous for doing: destroying Jerusalem and the Temple.

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