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 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:52 pm

Those are fine objections and I will bear them in mind. Regarding your number two above, do you think the same is true for Paul re: Rom. 13?

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.


For me the need to discourage "the revolutionary spirit" makes more sense in a pre-70 CE context (like in Rom. 13), given that that was when revolutionaries were the most active.

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.

I would need to see some specific examples, but though I do think Mark is a post-70 CE writing, according to Papias it is based on the preaching of Peter, so for me any such correspondences between the DSS and Mark would similarly be relevant to a pre-70 CE context.

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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 6:11 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:52 pm
Those are fine objections and I will bear them in mind. Regarding your number two above, do you think the same is true for Paul re: Rom. 13?
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.
Yes, absolutely. My current view is that Romans 13.1-7 is a post 70 interpolation. The argument has been made a number of times before, the most accessible treatment probably being that by William O. Walker on pages 221-231 Interpolations in the Pauline Letters.
For me the need to discourage "the revolutionary spirit" makes more sense in a pre-70 CE context (like in Rom. 13), given that that was when revolutionaries were the most active.
The extreme nature of the two passages, Romans 13.1-7 and 1 Peter 2.13-17, with not even a hint of a notion that the authorities can make mistakes and commit injustices, seems to me to be far more likely if a particular event is in mind, an event so notable that it overrides the normal impulse (found virtually everywhere else in Christian discussions of this same topic) to make allowances for the authorities being the enemy sometimes. It makes more sense to me as an "I told you so" moment (in which the lesson learned was severe enough not to coddle much possibility of retort), not as a warning in advance (in which the arguments for revolution are still strong enough to attract many to the cause, thus necessitating a more evenhanded rebuttal).

But I did not come to this understanding overnight. It took time for it to click into place, so I can certainly understand not being swayed by it, at least not immediately.
I would need to see some specific examples, but though I do think Mark is a post-70 CE writing, according to Papias it is based on the preaching of Peter, so for me any such correspondences between the DSS and Mark would similarly be relevant to a pre-70 CE context.
Well, the point is that Christianity did not need to be in direct contact with the Qumran scrolls themselves; rather, Christianity was rooted in those same ideas, and lots of early texts, both those predating and those postdating 70, bear correspondences to the Qumran materials. The office of overseer, for example, makes less sense as an innovation fresh from the pages of 1 Peter than as an established convention in the movement, one with early roots and whose description will naturally resemble the similar office at Qumran because the origins of the two offices are similar.

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

Post by John2 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 6:19 pm

I will check out Walker. I can't see the pages you refer to on Google books though. Can you cite them?

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

Post by John2 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:25 pm

Thank you for the private link, Ben. And something I found before reading it addresses things that Walker discusses and I thought I'd cite some parts from it that stand out to me.

Borg’s understanding of the social context behind Romans 13 is most compelling. Paul expressed his understanding of the problem of the Jews’ rejection of the gospel (chaps. 9-11), and in chapter 13 turns to a problem that could potentially divide Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome: their attitude towards the Empire. If the Jewish Christians in Rome were to agitate for the cleansing of the Holy Land from Roman/Gentile rule, a true spirit of unity in the church at Rome would be impossible. Paul, aware of this possibility, argued that as an extension of the love they have for one another, the Jewish Christians in Rome must accept the rule of the empire and not rebel or provoke another expulsion from the capital city.

Paul was not attempting in Romans 13:1-7 to write out a manifesto for Church-State relations for the next two or three millennia; his concern was pastoral and local. Pastorally concerned, Paul was advising against anti-Roman and Palestinian nationalist sentiments among the Jewish Christians in Rome. They were to submit to the governing authority (the Roman Empire) because its authority was derived from God.

Paul’s argument may have been difficult for a Jewish Christian in Rome, or elsewhere for that matter, to accept. How could one mentally connect the regime that was brutally oppressing and dominating Palestine, the promised land, with a good and just God? It may be that Paul’s Roman citizenship made him look more favorably at the Empire than would some of his Jewish kinsfolk, especially those from Palestine. The relative safety Rome’s rule afforded travellers might also have been a factor in Paul’s positive assessment of the Empire’s authority. It is a moot point whether Paul would have written about the need to submit to governing authorities, had he sent his epistle to the capital during Nero’s persecution of the {96} Church during the 60s CE. Nonetheless, a Jewish Christian living in Rome, should he or she heed Paul’s advice, would mean to put the unity of the Church, love for others, and obedience to God’s instituted authorities ahead of love for race and homeland. In short, love and obedience to God was to take precedence over national sentiments.

Another idea to keep in mind is to note that in 13:11-12, Paul’s end-time consciousness is apparent. This suggests that part of his argument for acquiescence to the governing authorities was based on his consciousness of the parousia’s (the end of the age) nearness. The hope that the world and the Empire itself was passing away (being rendered inoperative) might have given a Jewish Christian in Rome a sign of humanity’s ultimate liberation from all authorities, oppressive or otherwise. The very rulers that had been instituted by God, including even the Empire itself, were to be brought under the final rule of Christ on the near Day (13:12).


https://directionjournal.org/23/2/submi ... ities.html



Regarding Walker, I can dismiss his point about the earliest references to Rom. 13 being in the second century CE, since the same could be said for more or less every Christian writing. The big stand out for me was what he says about 1 Cor. 6 appearing to conflict with Rom. 13, and I want to ponder that more.

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:45 pm

Ben,

I'm thinking that the key to the meaning of Babylon in 1 Peter could boil down to Acts 12:17:

Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this," he said, and then he left for another place.



As Jobes put it above regarding Thiede:

Thiede ... argues similarly that Babylon here [in 1 Peter] 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.

Do you think the author of Acts knew 1 Peter? But in any event, why do you suppose Acts says that Peter left "for another place" instead of specifying Rome? Do you think it could be an echo of LXX Ezek. 12:3 (as per Thiede)? And if so, what bearing would it have for you on the meaning of Babylon in 1 Peter if you think Acts knew 1 Peter?

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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 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:09 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:45 pm
Ben,

I'm thinking that the key to the meaning of Babylon in 1 Peter could boil down to Acts 12:17:
Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this," he said, and then he left for another place.


As Jobes put it above regarding Thiede:
Thiede ... argues similarly that Babylon here [in 1 Peter] 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.
Do you think the author of Acts knew 1 Peter?
Yes, I do.
But in any event, why do you suppose Acts says that Peter left "for another place" instead of specifying Rome? Do you think it could be an echo of LXX Ezek. 12:3 (as per Thiede)? And if so, what bearing would it have for you on the meaning of Babylon in 1 Peter if you think Acts knew 1 Peter?
As for Acts saying that Peter left "for another place," I have given that matter a lot of thought over the years without a lot of firm conclusions. I will have to give the Ezekiel 12.3 thing a bit more thought, though it does sound attractive on its face. I do think that Acts is using sources (probably at least Papias, but also others), and perhaps from those sources it was not clear exactly what Peter was doing in between the events of Acts 12 and Acts 15, so the author was deliberately vague. But that is just a guess, and maybe the connection with Ezekiel 12.3 is a better option.

But I am not sure any of that would change my perception that Babylon means Rome in 1 Peter 5.13.

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

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:21 pm

The introduction to the book 1 Peter (Forbes, Yarbrough, Kostenberger) notes:

... certain affinities between ideas and terminology in 1 Peter and those attributed to Peter in Acts. Among these are the cross described as ... "wood" (2:24; cf. Acts 5:30; 10:39) and the use of the stone text from Ps. 118:22 in 2:7-8 (cf. Acts 4:10-11). Finally, the cryptic reference to Rome in 5:13 is consistent with tradition of Peter's later life in that city.


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

I would only take issue with the "cryptic reference" being to Rome rather than to the Diaspora in general (which of course could include Rome). But if Babylon means Rome in 1 Peter and Acts knew 1 Peter, why would Acts be so vague about Peter's whereabouts when it has no issue with putting Paul in Rome?

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

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:42 pm

I do think that Acts is using sources (probably at least Papias, but also others), and perhaps from those sources it was not clear exactly what Peter was doing in between the events of Acts 12 and Acts 15, so the author was deliberately vague.

Is it not weird that something purported to be the "acts of the apostles" doesn't know or have access to sources that know about Peter's whereabouts (all the more so if it was using Papias --which I think is possible-- given his contact with people who knew people who knew Peter)? And if Babylon means Rome in 1 Peter, were Acts and Papias (who knew 1 Peter) and his sources then simply oblivious to that meaning?

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Re: Did the Jerusalem church even preach Jesus Christ?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:39 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:42 pm
I do think that Acts is using sources (probably at least Papias, but also others), and perhaps from those sources it was not clear exactly what Peter was doing in between the events of Acts 12 and Acts 15, so the author was deliberately vague.
Is it not weird that something purported to be the "acts of the apostles" doesn't know or have access to sources that know about Peter's whereabouts (all the more so if it was using Papias --which I think is possible-- given his contact with people who knew people who knew Peter)? And if Babylon means Rome in 1 Peter, were Acts and Papias (who knew 1 Peter) and his sources then simply oblivious to that meaning?
Acts may not have envisioned Peter going to Rome as early as Acts 12. The earlier legend, I think, has Peter in Rome under Nero. Only later in the legend does Peter go to Rome earlier than that. I would have to check up on this to make sure, but that is what I am remembering.

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

Post by John2 » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:07 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 4:39 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:42 pm
I do think that Acts is using sources (probably at least Papias, but also others), and perhaps from those sources it was not clear exactly what Peter was doing in between the events of Acts 12 and Acts 15, so the author was deliberately vague.
Is it not weird that something purported to be the "acts of the apostles" doesn't know or have access to sources that know about Peter's whereabouts (all the more so if it was using Papias --which I think is possible-- given his contact with people who knew people who knew Peter)? And if Babylon means Rome in 1 Peter, were Acts and Papias (who knew 1 Peter) and his sources then simply oblivious to that meaning?
Acts may not have envisioned Peter going to Rome as early as Acts 12. The earlier legend, I think, has Peter in Rome under Nero. Only later in the legend does Peter go to Rome earlier than that. I would have to check up on this to make sure, but that is what I am remembering.

Alright, but if Acts knew 1 Peter and Babylon means Rome, then why doesn't Acts tell us that Peter ever went to Rome, given that 1 Peter doesn't specify when Peter was in "Babylon"? It just seems like a curious omission to me.

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