Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:01 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
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.

Good point, but there is also the argument that it does not refer to any specific place but to the Diaspora in general.

If so, in 1 Pet. 5:13 Peter is simply sending greetings from the Christian community from wherever he writes ...


https://www.google.com/books/edition/1_ ... frontcover

perseusomega9
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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:36 pm

Hope the author didn't pull a muscle with that stretch. C'mon John, you love talking about your imagined consistencies in the text. In the NT Babylon is Babylon except when it's Rome.

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

Post by John2 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:54 pm

perseusomega9 wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:36 pm
Hope the author didn't pull a muscle with that stretch. C'mon John, you love talking about your imagined consistencies in the text. In the NT Babylon is Babylon except when it's Rome.

That's the author's summary of other scholars (Michaels, Davids, Kelly, Thiede). Regarding Kelly, Jobes writes:

He cites the "waters of Babylon" in Ps. 137.1 as a similar reference that Jews of the Diaspora could identify as whatever place in the world they happened to live.The reference to Babylon here might function similarly. In that case, "there would thus be no reference to Rome or any other place in this verse ..."

Regarding Thiede, Jobes writes:

Thiede ... argues similarly that Babylon here and the expression in Acts 12:17 that Peter left Jerusalem "for another place" ... are both allusions to being in a state of exile and neither is intended to specify a location. The latter phrase, Thiede argues, is an echo of Exek. 12:3 LXX, the only other place in the biblical corpus where the phrase ... is used in reference to going into the Babylonian exile. It may be that Rome as the location of the composition of 1 Peter leans more heavily on tradition than exegesis.

And Jobes notes that:

The reference to Babylon is sometimes offered as evidence for dating 1 Peter to after AD 70, for it was after the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem that apocalyptic writings, such as John's Revelation in the NT, adopted "Babylon" as a code word for Rome. However, this sense cannot be assumed for its occurrence here because the genre of 1 Peter is not apocalyptic and the letter contains nothing overtly subversive about the Roman state (in fact, quite the contrary) ... Nothing is said of Babylon's evil in 1 Peter, leading Michaels ... to observe that the only thing wrong with Babylon is that it is not home.

However, Jobes doesn't rule out the possibility that it refers to Rome, and neither do I. But it's hard for me to apply it to a post-70 CE setting given that 1 Peter 2:13-14 says:

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to the king as the supreme authority, or to governors as those sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.

If 1 Peter was written after 70 CE and Babylon relates to Rome's destruction of Jerusalem, do you think the author is implying that the destruction was a good thing then, as per the above?

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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 9:10 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:54 pm
However, Jobes doesn't rule out the possibility that it refers to Rome, and neither do I. But it's hard for me to apply it to a post-70 CE setting given that 1 Peter 2:13-14 says:
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to the king as the supreme authority, or to governors as those sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.
If 1 Peter was written after 70 CE and Babylon relates to Rome's destruction of Jerusalem, do you think the author is implying that the destruction was a good thing then, as per the above?
The interpretation that still attracts me is the one I laid out a while back: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5259. I think that these impossibly naïve statements make little sense on their own without a context, and I think the context is the War. It is not that the destruction is a good thing, but rather that the destruction proved a certain viewpoint incorrect, and now those who were more pacifistic, or those who chose flight over fight (Mark 13.14-19), get to rub it in the collective noses of anyone who sympathized with or even aided the rebels in the Jewish War. The period after such a conflict, far from being the least likely context for such a text, looks like the most likely context in such a light.

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

Post by John2 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:43 pm

Is it possible to have our cake and eat it too, as per Jobes' citation of Davids, i.e., that it could refer to Rome and be pre-70 CE?

"So Rome equals Babylon becomes a ... symbol for the capital of the place of exile away from the true inheritance in heaven."

Jews were already living in the Diaspora (i.e, exile) before 70 CE, of course. So could Rome not serve as "the capital of the place of exile" before 70 CE?

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:09 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:43 pm
Is it possible to have our cake and eat it too, as per Jobes' citation of Davids, i.e., that it could refer to Rome and be pre-70 CE?
"So Rome equals Babylon becomes a ... symbol for the capital of the place of exile away from the true inheritance in heaven."
Jews were already living in the Diaspora (i.e, exile) before 70 CE, of course. So could Rome not serve as "the capital of the place of exile" before 70 CE?
It just seems too convenient to me. Babylon already serves as a symbol of Rome before 70, and then Rome goes and does the single most distinctive thing associated with Babylon? Making the symbolism even truer than before in the most dramatic way imaginable? (The Temple was destroyed only twice, after all.) Anything is possible, but I am not sure I would want to bet on this option if I knew you had a time machine and could either confirm or disconfirm it for certain.

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

Post by John2 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:04 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:09 pm
John2 wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:43 pm
Is it possible to have our cake and eat it too, as per Jobes' citation of Davids, i.e., that it could refer to Rome and be pre-70 CE?
"So Rome equals Babylon becomes a ... symbol for the capital of the place of exile away from the true inheritance in heaven."
Jews were already living in the Diaspora (i.e, exile) before 70 CE, of course. So could Rome not serve as "the capital of the place of exile" before 70 CE?
It just seems too convenient to me. Babylon already serves as a symbol of Rome before 70, and then Rome goes and does the single most distinctive thing associated with Babylon? Making the symbolism even truer than before in the most dramatic way imaginable? (The Temple was destroyed only twice, after all.) Anything is possible, but I am not sure I would want to bet on this option if I knew you had a time machine and could either confirm or disconfirm it for certain.

But consider the context. It is a letter purporting to be from the apostle Peter (whether from Rome or wherever, and I have no problem with it being Rome) and is addressed to Jews in the Diaspora. Are you suggesting that the author of the letter is "really" addressing post 70 CE Jews? Sure, we know that Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome and of course that has resonance with the Babylonian destruction, but it can also have meaning in the sense that Jobes outlines before 70 CE, and that would make more sense to me given the ostensible pre-70 CE context of 1 Peter.

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:27 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:04 pm
Are you suggesting that the author of the letter is "really" addressing post 70 CE Jews?
What prevents this? Alternatively, what prevents it from being addressed to post 70 gentiles who are being allowed to "overhear" the Petrine half of a conversation between Peter and pre 70 Jews, just as readers of the Pauline correspondence with Seneca are being allowed to "overhear" a conversation between Paul and Seneca?

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

Post by John2 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:50 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:27 pm
John2 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:04 pm
Are you suggesting that the author of the letter is "really" addressing post 70 CE Jews?
What prevents this? Alternatively, what prevents it from being addressed to post 70 gentiles who are being allowed to "overhear" the Petrine half of a conversation between Peter and pre 70 Jews, just as readers of the Pauline correspondence with Seneca are being allowed to "overhear" a conversation between Paul and Seneca?

Nothing prevents it, it's just a judgement call. And the interpretation of one word (Babylon) isn't enough for me to view 1 Peter out of its ostensible pre-70 CE context. And we know from Gal. 2:8 that Peter preached to Jews (like 1 Peter does), and we know that 1 Peter pre-dates Papias (who I date c. 100 CE), and he claims to have known people who knew people who knew Peter ("what Peter said"), and I think he is a great source in general.

And there are correspondences between 1 Peter and pre-70 CE Dead Sea Scrolls, like the idea of being a spiritual priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices in 2:5 (like in 1QS) and the use of the word episkipos in 2:25 (as Chilton notes):

That term [mebaqqer] in fact means "overseer," just as episkopos does, and the mebaqqer was charged to do many of the same things that an episkopos was to do...

As Jermemias points out, comparisons are made between the mebaqqer and a father and shepherd (Damascus Document 13:9); he does not mention, but the point is worth making, that Christ himself is said to be an episkopos, to care as a shepherd does in bringing us to God ... Divine care and the institution of the overseer appear to have been linked in both Essene theology and primitive Christianity.


https://books.google.com/books?id=YS_d3 ... op&f=false


And on the whole, 1 Peter just strikes me as being a genuine writing that fits into its purported context very well, is all.

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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 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:17 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:50 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:27 pm
John2 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:04 pm
Are you suggesting that the author of the letter is "really" addressing post 70 CE Jews?
What prevents this? Alternatively, what prevents it from being addressed to post 70 gentiles who are being allowed to "overhear" the Petrine half of a conversation between Peter and pre 70 Jews, just as readers of the Pauline correspondence with Seneca are being allowed to "overhear" a conversation between Paul and Seneca?
Nothing prevents it, it's just a judgement call. And the interpretation of one word (Babylon) isn't enough for me to view 1 Peter out of its ostensible pre-70 CE context.
For me the indicators go in the opposite direction:
  1. Signifying Rome by the name of Babylon makes some sense before 70, but it makes the most sense after 70, when now both Rome and Babylon share the exclusive distinction of being the powers which destroyed the Temple.
  2. Implying that the powers that be always reward the good and punish the bad makes little absolute sense in any time period, but it makes the most relative sense after 70 in the context of discouraging the revolutionary spirit.
  3. Forging texts in the names of apostles was a cottage industry in early Christianity, and we ought to be on the lookout for it at all times. A text forged in the name of the Prince of Apostles ought to be very high on our list of forgeries to look out for. A text forged in the name of the Prince of Apostles which at the same time seems to harmonize Pauline and Petrine theology ought to pique our suspicions to the breaking point; such a text needs to prove itself to us in a special way, especially given the plethora of other forgeries in Peter's name: the Apocalypse of Peter, the Gospel of Peter, the Second Epistle of Peter, the Epistle of Peter to James, the Preaching of Peter, and so on.
And we know from Gal. 2:8 that Peter preached to Jews....
Yes, and the value of this observation for the genuineness of 1 Peter is precisely zero. Galatians 2.8 is a good reason for a forger to make Peter address Jews.
...and we know that 1 Peter pre-dates Papias (who I date c. 100 CE), and he claims to have known people who knew people who knew Peter ("what Peter said")....
I agree, and such a chain of testimony does little or nothing to validate 1 Peter. Forgeries are designed to fool people sympathetic to the figure in whose name the forger wrote.
And there are correspondences between 1 Peter and the pre-70 CE Dead Sea Scrolls....
I agree. Those correspondences do not stop with 1 Peter, however. They extend to the Gospels, too, which postdate 70. Those correspondences owe themselves to the movement having begun in the right time period, not to each and every text bearing them having been written in the right time period.

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