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7 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2007 - 10:47AM #1
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,964
[COLOR="DarkGreen"]Let me start by addressing this to Dennis,

In numerous threads in the past, you've talked about and argued for a possible/likely second century dating for most or all of the NT. And, as I recall, your arguments have been very credible. However, I don't think there has been a full discussion of this possibility and, being the least scholarly among this group, I'd love to see a fuller discussion of the logic of such an idea.

Thanks.[/COLOR]
Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2007 - 11:51AM #2
chuckj
Posts: 443
Bob,

Let's start with these two facts and their implications:

1.  Internal evidence:  The letters of Paul and Peter are set in the first century.  Whether factually or fictionally, they present themselves as letters written during the first century by Xn leaders to Xn churches.

2.  External evidence:  The second century ANFS considered the literature of the NT to have been written in the first century.  In fact, this level of antiquity was a main criterion for the inclusion of a document in the NT.

Implications:

1.  We need, I think, reasons for concluding the first century settings of Paul's and Peter's letters are fictional.  Those reasons certainly can and do exist.  They have already been applied to half of Paul's letters and both of Peter's.  A logical, thorough discussion will begin with the criteria that have been used to date to make these distinctions, and why scholars continue to conclude some of Paul's letters are from the first century.

2.  Externally, we need to be able to explain why the second century ANFs thought the NT works were from the first century.

3.  And at a broader historical level, we would have to explain how there were ANFs in the first place, if some sort of Xn teaching did not exist in the first century.  If not our NT, parts of our NT, or something an awful lot like our NT, how did such a mature proto-orthodoxy exist by the 150s?

Do these seem to be the salient issues?  Are there others to add?

Chuck
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2007 - 3:55PM #3
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
[QUOTE=RJMcElwain;176165][COLOR="DarkGreen"]Let me start by addressing this to Dennis,

In numerous threads in the past, you've talked about and argued for a possible/likely second century dating for most or all of the NT. And, as I recall, your arguments have been very credible. However, I don't think there has been a full discussion of this possibility and, being the least scholarly among this group, I'd love to see a fuller discussion of the logic of such an idea.

Thanks.[/COLOR]
[/QUOTE]


Heck, Bob, I'm not sure one could positively identify any of the Christian Testament as "for sure," "red," first century. Even Mark could have been written in the 135-140 time frame! Let me get back to you.

Dennis
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 11:27AM #4
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
Preliminaries

Bob, I think a lot of the “first century” placement of the Bible has to do with Eusebius and even with the Revised Standard Version I have. First, we have (according to Eusebius) Matthew, written by an apostle in Aramaic. We have Mark, a companion of Peter who wrote down his memoirs, Luke, a companion of Paul who wrote down his version to clear up others, and John, written by an apostle, recording “what Christ did when the Baptist had not yet been thrown into gaol…” (p. 87, History of the Church). That is how Eusebius cleared up discrepancies in John and the other three gospels… John wrote about the early days. Acts has been traditionally dated at 64ce because it didn’t tell of Paul’s death, thus idiots thought it was written before he died. According to Eusebius, Acts preceded the Paulines, all considered authentic, along with 1 John and 1 Peter. At this late date, James, Jude, 2 Peter and 2 and 3 John. The gospel of Hebrews was chosen by some, rejected by others, as was John’s Revelation. (Eusebius puts both in the “spurious” pile, along with the Shepherd, Revelation of Peter, Barnabus, Didache and Acts of Paul.

So, in those days Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, the Paulines, 1 John and 1 Peter were considered “first century,” written either by apostles or their buddies. The order came into disarray with the notion that Mark was written prior to the other gospels, that they used Mark, and that Mark was written after the fall of Jerusalem. This places the very beginning of the gospels (the first gospel written) in the last quarter of the first century, at the earliest. In a time when a majority of the population relied on orality, if Mark was placed at 70-80 ce, how long would it have taken it to have a circulation that reached a place where it needed to be “improved?” Back to that in a minute.

Matt, considered by Eusebius to have been written in Aramaic, has been shown to have originated in Greek, as have many of the sayings common to it and the second century Luke, found in the writings of Cynics. Likewise, it has some very vitriolic anti-Judean language in it, in effect blaming “Jews” for all time on the death of “the Christ.” In this way, it is reminiscent of the ANF’s. There is absolutely no reason to think that this gospel was composed before the dawn of the second century. If Mark used portions of Josephus, the earliest

John seems to be second century. Even Eusebius considers the gospel of John the latest: “…John was urged to record in his gospel the period which the earlier evangelists had passed over in silence…” Most scholars I have read see this gospel as the “high Christology” gospel, written in a time after the synoptics, generally from 95 -120 ce. We can call it second century easily.

For other reasons, Luke and Acts have been placed in the second century. Much of this has to do with the arrival of Marcion to the scene, toting his own canon of the Paulines and a book resembling Luke. This places the first century authorship of the Paulines into question, as has been questioned since the Tubingen scholars of the late 18th and 19th century, the Dutch Radicals of the nineteenth century, and such as Doughty, Detering, and others currently. At this point, I’ll copy a piece from my book “Odd Ends Converging,” with a few questions about the time of the Pauline authorship:
Where does “Paul” come into the religion? As convinced as I had been that he could have developed or spread the kerygma and soteriology in the mid-first century along the lines of a pre-existent Christ cult, certainly not continuing any thoughts of so-called “disciples,’ I am entertaining the plausibility that these letters were a later development, indeed that Christianity was a later development. Rarely can we read one letter through and say that it was one letter, one letter unaltered, or even necessarily written to one congregation. First Corinthians is, for instance, four or more parts from letters. Romans seems to have been spliced from several pieces, not including the contrived beginning and even shallower ending. It is naïve, first, to look at these “letters” as whole self-contained units. They were glued together later.

Theologically, we probably should “date” these letters after the synoptics and as more akin to John than the synoptics, if we want to discount the hand of Marcion in the writing of them, a hypothesis some have made. Many of the church fathers did not mention Paul, the first being early to middle second century (Polycarp, died 155), and even the arguments of “Paul,” as both the Dutch Radicals and Hyam Maccoby showed, were not Jewish arguments, but belong to Greek thought.

Other reasons:
1.    Systemic persecution of Christians, as Paul seems to imply, is a late first century phenomenon (Domitan, 81-96), and not of Christians, but of Jews.
2.    Does anyone really think that baptism of the dead was a theological concern in the fifties? (I Cor. 15:29)
3.    The “Christ” of Paul was a Marcion Christ, only in “the likeness of man,” (Rom 8:3, Phil. 2:7) not as a human.
4.    In Gnostic fashion, 2 Cor. 4:4 has two gods, the god of this world (who has blinded unbelievers) and the Christ image of God.
5.    Romans and 2 Corinthians are not letters. They are treatises presenting the Catholic view. 
6.    In Romans, Paul has his brand of Christianity known by Romans. And, it is an incredibly advanced form of Christianity, unrealistically developed by the middle of the first century. It has a theology, a soteriology and a Christology. It IS the Catholic religion. It is inconceivable and out of place, especially judging that the gospels were written later. It also shows a high amount of structure for the Church, with prophets, ministers, teachers, exhorters, givers, and leaders. (12:4-8) It is actually a pieced together (four pieces) homily of how to be Christians.
7.    Romans and Corinthians far surpass the size of letters in their length. They are huge. Why, then, did Eusebius write (The History of the Church, 3.24) “We may instance Paul, who, though he surpsassed all others in the marshalling of his arguments and in the abundance of his ideas, committed to writing nothing but his very short epistles…”

There are many, many other reasons, especially if one wants to go to the exact epistle and take apart. Therefore, Bob, I have a difficult time placing any of the Christian writings in the first century, unless at the very, very end of it. The only thing people will quibble about is the placement of the Paulines, and that has more to do with tradition than any rational logic.
Dennis
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 11:30AM #5
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
I didn't finish a thought... I stated, "If Mark used portions of Josephus, the earliest "

If Mark used portions of Josephus, the earliest date for Mark would have been the early 80's, certainly pushing Matt even later than convention has his gospel.
Dennis
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 12:31PM #6
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
Bob,

I'm not sure how detailed you want the discussion to get.  For every point made there are almost always several counter-points to be made, no matter which side of the issue one may be on.  So in my opinion, folks choose one conclusion or another for reasons that are unrelated to the certainty of the evidence.  You have already seen that Chuck and Dennis disagree on how to interpret the anti-Nicene fathers. 

That doesn't mean that at any given time and place in history, the evidence doesn't appear to be overwhelming in supporting a given conclusion.  Dennis mentioned the only conclusion for which I think that there is overwhelming evidence, and that is that Mark preceded Matthew and Luke and was one of their sources.  Less certain is that Mark used Josephus, but Crossan and Weeden both believe that Mark's passion story is in part a mimesis of Jesus ben Ananias, and that would put Mark most likely in the 80-90 CE decade.   Detering has an article in which he presents evidence for elements of the Little Apocalypse (Mark 13 and parallels) that seem more likely to come out of the Bar Kochba revolt - 130's CE.  So the gospel literature gets pushed more and more into the second century. 

You've read what Dennis and Chuck have initially to say about dating the Pauline literature.  Just on one matter, I am personally convinced that 1 Cor 9 refers to a Jewish Temple that is still functioning and that the 1 Corinthians letter can relatively easily be shown to be an integrated document with "spirit behavior" as the integrating theme, and I in fact have posted explanatians of that material many times, but I'll never convince Dennis.  Dennis has always made a big deal of Eusebius' quotes that Paul wrote short letters, and that his letters are actual treatises, but it could easily be said that Paul's letters are very short in length when compared to say 1 Clement and the writings of the ANF which preceded Eusebius.  As I said, for every point there is a counter point.

Anyway, if you wish a lengthy discussion of each issue, I'm more than willing to contribute my 2 cents on each one, but I'm sure with the point/counter point pattern, the thread will run on for hundreds of posts.  Shall we do it, and present the result to your library?

By the way, just got the latest 4th-R and there are many interesting JS votes in it covering the work of the Acts and Christian Origins Seminars.  Would it be helpful to address any of those questions?

Gene
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 3:24PM #7
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
In a post cloaked as a "how to proceed" post, but in actuality proceding, Gene states,

"I am personally convinced that 1 Cor 9 refers to a Jewish Temple that is still functioning and that the 1 Corinthians letter can relatively easily be shown to be an integrated document with "spirit behavior" as the integrating theme, and I in fact have posted explanatians of that material many times, but I'll never convince Dennis. "

Just to be consistent, Gene S, I suppose you see Hebrews as pre-destruction, since it also refers to the Temple and high priests, how they *are* appointed.

Certainly, too, just to be consistent Gene, when you read about the Jerusalem temple in, say Arakhin of The Mishnah and read, "And on twelve days in the year the flute is played before the altar... They do not count less than six inspected lambs in the chamber of the lambs... they do not count less than two trumpets..." and so forth, you probably believe that this was written before the destruction of the temple.

Maybe we could just move up the date of the destruction of the temple to, say, 300 ce? That would solve the angst of the "present tense" parsing!

Dennis
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 3:51PM #8
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
[QUOTE=MisterC;179327]In a post cloaked as a "how to proceed" post, but in actuality proceding, Gene states,

"I am personally convinced that 1 Cor 9 refers to a Jewish Temple that is still functioning........



Just to be consistent, Gene S, I suppose you see Hebrews as pre-destruction, since it also refers to the Temple and high priests, how they *are* appointed.

Certainly, too, just to be consistent Gene, when you read about the Jerusalem temple in, say Arakhin of The Mishnah and read, "And on twelve days in the year the flute is played before the altar... They do not count less than six inspected lambs in the chamber of the lambs... they do not count less than two trumpets..." and so forth, you probably believe that this was written before the destruction of the temple.

Maybe we could just move up the date of the destruction of the temple to, say, 300 ce? That would solve the angst of the "present tense" parsing!

Dennis[/QUOTE]

As you can see, Bob, I've proved prophetic, point and counterpoints.  I'll let you decide if I "cloak," or if I'm just about as straight forward a guy as you'll meet.  Please advise if you wish to see more detailed point/counterpoint discussion.

Gene
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 4:09PM #9
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
Oh, incidentally, Gene, there is really no purpose in calling "1 Clement" a letter. It's not. It is a homily cloaked in the pretense of wanting to solve a problem, only not really attempting to solve the problem until what... around the fortieth or fiftieth chapter? Something like that. It's not even worth it. I'll just paste Detering's summary of Loman's critique below.

Dennis

Summarizing LOMAN’s doubts about the genuineness of 1 Clement, which he expressed with reference to VOLKMAR, and adding some more arguments that were put forward later by VAN MANEN and VAN DEN BERGH VAN EYSINGA [vi] , we get the following rather impressive list:

1° Its size alone already contradicts the supposition of a real letter: „Rather it is a book, in form of a Pauline epistle...“ [vii].
2° The fact, that the author does not tackle the actual reason for the letter before chapter 44, is unrealistic and shows the letter form to be nothing but clothing for a pious tract on the subject „Peace and Unity in Communities”. (The author himself names it „an appeal for Peace and Harmony” 63,2, or a „script” 62,2; and see Eusebius  Hist. Ecc. III 38,5 „an admonition”  and Hist. Eccl. II 25,8 where Dionysus of Corinth  tells us the letter was designated to be read out to the Community). [viii]
3° The depicted conflict is bare of any inner probability. How could the ancient, firmly settled community oppose its Presbyters just because of a few ringleaders? Besides, the details of the situation remain quite obscure. See VAN MANEN, „All that is here said about contentions at Corinth belongs to the literary clothing of the document. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians may have suggested it (cp chap.47). Perhaps too, though this is very far from certain, it is connected with disputes that had recently arisen as to the continuance in office, dismissal, and election of persons for a government of the church. It was the author's main purpose to remove difficulties of this kind wherever they might have arisen. He spoke under the mask of the Church at Rome, as a high authority, with growing emphasis, and finally as if he were one with the Holy Spirit himself (63,2; cp Acts 15,22-29)“ [ix].
4° The „attempt at mediation”, which the author starts (from Rome!), is unrealistic, and it reveals the fiction character of the whole thing. The motive of the contentious Corinthian community was well known to the author and it probably was the model for the exposition of his exhortative text. Yet he is not always very persistent in using this motive, since (2, 6) he designates contention and revolt as things that had always been an abomination to the Corinthians. Besides, this passage shows that „consequently he … had not in earnest considered Paul’s letter to be a letter” [x].
5° 1,1 , too, is part of fictitious letter-form: „The conventional excuse of  every letter writer” [xi]. Thusly this sentence does not, as often presumed, indicate a particular (Nero, Domitianus) persecution of the Christians. Because of the then prevalent Roman laws persecutions used to come not unexpectedly [xii].
6° Peter’s and Paul’s peaceful side by side indicates later times.
7° So does 44, 1f.
8° So do the passages in the letter that show liturgical use, as in 20, 1-12; 38, 1-4 and the prayer at the end. „Who then expects in a letter, and especially in a letter supposedly written in the name of the Roman to the Corinthian Community, to read the words, ‘So let us, in harmony and as best we know, meet in the same place and with one voice emphatically praise the Lord, since we are blessed with his great and magnificent promises.’ Wouldn’t the Corinthians hardly have been able to visit a sanctuary together with the Romans? Here the author, sliding into homiletics, forgets that he is writing a letter, though generally he keeps pretending to be doing so quite well [xiii].
9° A later period is indicated as well by all text parts that presuppose an antagonism between priests and laymen (cf. 40, 5:  other laws apply to laymen than those for religious office-holders;  see 41,1) and in which Roman clericalism announces itself.  Roman is the military imagery  (21,4;  28,2) as well as the fraternal harmony of Pauline doctrine of justification on the one and justification by works of the law on the other hand (cf. 32,4 compared with 35,5).  „Authenticity of the letters assumed, it will appear highly improbable that Rome’s pure Paulinism had been diluted to such a degree in so short a time, like this seems to be the case in our letter.” [xiv]
10° Indication of a later period also in 55, 4.5, where he Book of Judith is mentioned, which according to VOLKMAR was not written before the year 138. [xv]  (Gustav VOLKMAR, Ueber Clemens von Rom und die nächste Folgezeit, mit besonderer Beziehung auf den Philipper- und Barnabas-Brief, so wie auf das Buch Judith. In: ThJb(T) 15,1856, S. 287-369. )
11° A bishop cannot be the author, since before Anicetus (156-166) the Church in Rome did not have uniform leadership (s. Herm.).  „The disciple of Peter (and Paul) finds no support either in our present epistle or in Phil 4,3.  He disappears into the diverging version of the tradition“ [xvi].  The other possibility, „still firmly maintained by such scholars as HARNACK and LIGHTFOOT, that the writing may have been the work of a certain Clement concerning whom nothing is known except what can be gathered from 'his' epistle, has no real value; and to connect it with the further supposition that this Clement was an influential member of the governing body of the Roman church — the martyr-bishop of legend — is not to be recommended. The epistle provides no support for it, but rather the reverse. The oldest tradition as to its origin knows nothing of any such view... From the work itself, all we can gather is that the author probably belonged to the Church of Rome. He was an educated man, well acquainted with the OT and the Pauline and other NT epistles; a friend of peace and order; a warm advocate of the occasionally, perhaps often, disputed rights of the presbyters and deacons once chosen, who had adequately discharged the duties of their office“ [xvii].
12° VAN DEN BERGH VAN EYSINGA pointed out that the letter (against VOLKMAR’s opinion) clearly shows traces of anti-gnosticism. In 20,11;  33,2;  59,2 the Creator God (Demiurg) is – against  dualism – declared to be identical with the „Lord of the universe“, respectively in one passage with the Father of  Jesus Christ (59,2).  The passage about the Resurrection (24,1-28,4), too, seems to be induced by gnostic denying of the Resurrection [xviii].  Even if otherwise there are relatively few references to gnostic teachings, this is no indication of an argumentum e silentio for an early dating of the letter, since this topic was of no current interest for the author.  He was primarily interested in the question of the relationship between the leaders in office and the lay folk. [xix]
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 01, 2008 - 6:18PM #10
GeneStecher
Posts: 556
[QUOTE=MisterC;179429]Oh, incidentally, Gene, there is really no purpose in calling "1 Clement" a letter. It's not. It is a homily cloaked in the pretense of wanting to solve a problem, only not really attempting to solve the problem until what... around the fortieth or fiftieth chapter? Something like that. It's not even worth it. I'll just paste Detering's summary of Loman's critique below.

Dennis

Summarizing LOMAN’s doubts about the genuineness (as a letter) of 1 Clement, which he expressed with reference to VOLKMAR, and adding some more arguments that were put forward later by VAN MANEN and VAN DEN BERGH VAN EYSINGA [vi] , we get the following rather impressive list..............



[/QUOTE]

Well, you can see what happens, Bob.  I'm willing to put up with it if you are, but the road will seem endless.

Dennis' post is a very long argument about why I Clement is not a letter.  But it's irrelevant to the subject being discussed which is the length of ancient Christian documents.  I didn't even refer to I Clement as a letter; so basically Dennis sets up something I didn't say and then argues against it; how ridiculous is that.  I was simply using I Clement as an example of a long ancient document, as compared to the shorter productions of Paul.  Now if Dennis wants to debate that Paul's "letters" should only be compared to other ancient "letters" then that's what he should argue and provide examples.  But then that would really be convoluted since he claims that Romans and Corinthians are teaching Treatises that were generally distributed.

Gene
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