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Did Origen Castrate Himself?

The story that Origen, in a fit of piety, castrated himself, was well known during the Middle Ages. Carl Pyrdum on his (now defunct?) blog, Got Medieval, has a brief discussion of this which includes an image of Origen and his severed genitalia(I decided not to include an image here).

This account comes to us from Eusebius. In his Ecclesiastical History, VI.8 he relates how Origen decided to, er, separate himself from his sexual bits because he either misread scripture or because he was teaching female catechumens and wanted to either be free from temptation or let everyone know that it was impossible for any hanky-panky to be going on, or maybe a combination of the two. 1

So as sort of a warmup to discussing Origen’s theology I thought it would be interesting to explore this question; Did Origen castrate himself?

A fair amount of this will involve a discussion of Origen’s life so I guess I might as well include relevant parts of his biography. Origen was the son of a prominent Christian who was martyred around the start of the third century. His career began in Alexandria where he quickly became a favorite of the Bishop, Demetrius. As an educated layperson, Origen was qualified to give instruction to catechumens which he did, as well as write. At some point Origen’s teaching turned into actual preaching (I’m a bit fuzzy on the distinction myself) which Demetrius opposed.

As a result, around 230 Origen was driven out of Alexandria and moved to Caesarea. There he was ordained as a priest, which Demetrius opposed and wrote against, and stayed there for the rest of his life, preaching and writing.

In looking at Origen’s self-distesticulation, which was certainly a no-no for Christians, especially for priests who were expected to be free of blemishes, the discussion has to center upon the possibility that this was an invention of his critics, particularly Demetrius. Eusebius specifically attributes the story getting out to the Alexandrian Bishop who, as he was nearing death, seems to have developed a hatred of Origen.

So was this story invented? It’s a plausible theory. Religious conflict could be messy and Alexandria would later develop a reputation as a place where things could get particularly dirty. Someone could have spread this story around, once Origen was in Caesarea and not on hand to be examined, or engage in public flashing, to dispute it. The story would have had an added benefit of keeping Origen away because even if the story wasn’t true, it would be a pretty good indication of what he’d face if he returned.

To me the above is a wash. Demetrius could have made this up but we have no evidence of this other than the fact that Origen had enemies(this could have been invented by someone else and then used by Demetrius). So how do we resolve this?

Well, first of all, we don’t. There’s no “the answer” unless someone finds where Origen was buried, can definitively prove it was him, and finds testicles(and I suppose to really remove doubt DNA would have to show that the testicles belonged to the rest of the body). However I want to explain why I consider Origen’s self-castration to be unlikely. I’m going to do this by examining two areas; his role within the Church and his writings.

OK, Origen was a teacher in the Church, educating catechumens at the Catechetical School of Alexandria, which he revived while a young man. This school was operated as a philosophical branch. One of the traditions of philosophy was that teachers should inspire students to want to emulate them. Would castrating oneself be something students would find desirable? Would this help attract students?

At that time a catechumen was a person who was interested in Christianity and was engaged in learning enough about it to make an informed decision before being baptized which would (at least in theory) result in a radical change in the catechumen’s lifestyle. Again, would the fact that one of the teachers and the head of the school had castrated himself out of religious piety encourage people to convert? I know I recently cautioned everyone not to make assumptions about folks from historical periods thinking like us but I’m going to take a leap here and say that having a teacher who cut his own junk off for religious reasons would not be a strong selling point when trying to attract new Christians.

So this is the first reason I consider this unlikely. A prominent teacher at a school designed to educate people about Christianity and convince them to convert would likely not have been someone who had engaged in self-mutilation. I don’t care if he was educating girls, boys, or snow leopards. I think it unlikely, though we have to give at least some credibility to the idea that he had done so, regretted it, and managed to conceal it.

However the real reason why I have serious questions about this is because of Origen’s writings. Eusebius relates that in addition to avoiding suspicion while teaching girls, Origen castrated himself because he misunderstood Matthew 19:12 where Jesus advocates people becoming Eunuchs for the Church.

The problem is, Origen constantly cautions people not to read scriptures literally. He states, many times, that the Bible (he’s also the first person I recall to say the Bible should be considered a single book, not a collection) includes figurative and spiritual, as well as literal, meanings. Now Eusebius says Origen did this while very young, however he also says one reason was to help him teach girls. Clearly we’re not talking about Origen the teenager. We’re likely discussing him while in his 20’s. Unless his thinking was very different from when he wrote On First Principles beginning from when he was about 30, he would have known not to take scripture literally. 2

Of course a counter to this is that cutting one’s own testicles off, then finding out this isn’t what the Bible meant, might cause someone to radically alter his opinion of how scripture should be read. I’d say that would rank pretty high on any list of OSM’s. 3

So I want to offer a specific quote which I consider the key piece of evidence, for my opinion anyway. In On Prayer, XX.1, Origen writes:

Let us suppose there is a difference between church and synagogue. In its proper sense the church has no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but is holy and blameless. Into it enters no bastard or eunuch or one castrated …

On prayer was written after Origen had moved to Caesarea. Unlike much of his material, the entire work survives in Greek, meaning it was not changed by Rufinus. Would Origen, by this time certainly aware of Demetrius’ accusation, have written about this and drawn attention to it if he himself had violated this prohibition on castrated people entering the Church?

Ultimately, there’s no way to know for sure if Origen castrated himself. However the above passage is the deal breaker for me. I think it unlikely.

In the end, is this important? Not terribly but a little. When folks talk about historical religious fanaticism, Origen’s self-mutilation comes up and makes a rather impressive factoid. The Church had its fanatics (or folks we’d consider fanatics today, back then those people were often considered to be doing their job). People left behind everything they had to live their life on top of a pole or in a cave. They engaged in self-flagellation and deliberately inflicted pain upon themselves in the name of religion. However after thinking this over, considering what he wrote, specifically the passage from On Prayer, I think Origen’s castration should not be included in this list of fanatical acts.

1 When you read Eusebius’ account, it comes across as contradictory. Eusebius says he did it partly to be free from slander and then says he couldn’t hide it, however hard he tried. If the reason for becoming a Eunuch was to avoid slander, wouldn’t you have to let folks know about it?

2 On First Principles(de principiis) IV.9. I’ll be talking about this in more detail when I discuss Origen’s theology. As evidence that this was Origen’s thought, not something added by Rufinus, this passage is one of those which Jerome did his own translation of. The idea is also included in the Philocalia, provided by Gregory Nazianzus and Basil of Caesarea, in Greek. This, along with considering how many times he returns to this theme, is very strong evidence that the concept is Origen’s own.

3 OSM stands for “Oh Shit Moment.” I try to avoid profanity here but occasionally its use does legitimately advance an argument.

Eusebius of Caesarea, C.F. Cruze, trans., Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History. Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishers (1998). ISBN: 978-1-56563-371-7.

Origen, George Lewis, trans., The Philocalia of Origen: A Compilation of Selected Passages from Origen’s Works Made by St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Basil of Caesarea. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark (1911).

Origen, Rowan A. Greer, trans., Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, Prayer, First Principles: Book IV, Prologue to the Commentary on the Song of Songs, Homily XXVII on Numbers. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press (1979). ISBN: 978-0-809102198-4.

Roberts, Alexander & Donaldson, James, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 4: Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian, Part Fourth: Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second. Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishers (2004), ISBN: 1-56563-086-6.

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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Religion

 

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What do I do With Origen?

This is not the first time this question has been asked. Heck, the Church asked it for a couple of centuries before Justinian had him condemned in 553 at the Council of Constantinople. My perspective’s a bit different.

If you’ve been following my reading/blogging on Early Christianity posts you know that at the moment I’m reading forward from first century Christian origins (though many will say the date of the true origin is the same as for Judaism). I’m planning to do this fairly intensely until I get to Nicaea. My post-Nicaean level of knowledge is quite a bit higher so from that point I’ll be in more of a gap filling mode rather than this wholesale gobbling up of everything.

So here we have Origen. He’s prominent. He wrote from the early to the mid-3rd Century. He started his career in Alexandria and ended it in Caesarea. I should be able to go through his stuff and use him as another example of what Christians were thinking during that period, right?

Not so fast. Most of Origen’s writings come to us through early 5th century Latin translations by Rufinus of Aquileia. Rufinus has been roundly criticized by various folks, as early as his contemporary, Jerome, for mistranslation to the point of making wholesale changes to Origen’s text and completely altering his meaning.

To provide a little background, Rufinus’ Orthodoxy came into question in the late 4th century. One of the criticisms leveled against him was that he had not been a strong enough critic of Origen. There was this whole conflict between Jerome and Rufinus which I’ll need to read more on to fully discuss. I have read Claudian and he hates Rufinus passionately, though this has much more to do with Claudian being Stilicho’s panegyrist and the conflict between East and West/Arcadian and Honorius than religious reasons. 1 In any case, with his Orthodoxy still an open question, Rufinus was accused of amending Origen’s text. Jerome had access to the Greek and provided some translations of his own demonstrating these changes(these amounted to a small fraction of Rufinus’ translations).

There’s a LOT more to this but the essence is I don’t know what to do with Origen. I don’t think I can use him as an example of 3rd century Christian thought, not reliably, as what we have from him isn’t (probably) completely his own words and ideas. At the same time, Rufinus didn’t totally rewrite him so we can’t use him as an example of early 5th-century thought either.

What can be done, since Rufinus’ translation is what was handed down to posterity, is talk about Origen’s influence on Early Christianity or, more correctly, the influence of Origen-Rufinus. I can touch on this a little but as I haven’t completely gone through Jerome and Augustine (and other writings of Rufinus) I can’t assess this all that well either. In the end, I’ll probably limit myself to a single topical post on Origen’s writings, then hope to link back to them once I begin reading up on the late 4th/early 5th centuries. I’ll mention prominent concepts and areas were he got himself into trouble but the caution has to be made that it may not be that he got himself into trouble but that Rufinus got him in trouble (150 years after he died).

One area this highlights is the importance of critically analyzing sources. I think, though I have questions about my qualifications to do so, that I’ll probably put together a post on the use of sources. And for Origen, I’m going to focus less on specific ideas, as I did with Tertullian, and spend more time talking about broader concepts. I’m not terribly happy about this but I’m less happy about picking something specific which Origen talks about and say, “This is what 3rd century Christians thought.”

1 See Claudian, Against Rufinus(In Rufinum). He sprinkles criticism in elsewhere too.

Claudian, Maurice Platnauer, trans., Claudian (2 Volumes). Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library (1922).

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Historiography, Religion

 

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Tales From Apocrypha 3: The Gospel of Thomas

I started this post about six months ago and part of the reason was to use the Gospel of Thomas as an illustration of various early Christian groups originating independent of one another. Unfortunately, I don’t recall exactly where I was going with that so instead I’m going to talk about what I find most fascinating about the Gospel of Thomas; simply that it may provide a window into very early Christianity.

Before I get started on that a quick review of what seems to be the most prevalent scholarly thinking on the development of the Canonical Gospels is in order. New Testament scholars generally believe that the Synoptic Gospels; Mark, Luke and Matthew, originated from two main sources. One of these consisted of oral stories circulating about Jesus’ life, accounts of what he did. The second is some source, commonly identified as the Q or Quelle source, which contained a list of Jesus’ sayings. These stories and sayings were then combined to form the Synoptic Gospels. 1

The Gospel of Thomas has been among the most analyzed, critiqued and written about of all Apocryphal works. It is unlike any of the Canonical Gospels as it provides no details of Jesus’ life. It is a sayings gospel. The Gospel of Thomas includes 114 quotations from Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less. 2 The Gospel was only recently discovered among the Nag Hammadi texts in 1945 however once it was analyzed historians realized that they already possessed fragments of it in Coptic from Oxyrhynchus, dated from before 200 CE. 3 The version found at Nag Hammadi dates from the early fourth century.

Nag_Hammadi_Codex_IIfolio 32 of Nag Hammadi Codex II, with the ending of the Apocryphon of John, and the
beginning of the Gospel of Thomas. Source: Wikimedia Commons

There is some debate about the date the Gospel of Thomas was written and this is pretty important. The Nag Hammadi version is believed to have consisted of an early version which had been added to over the years, resulting in a final version which became more widely disseminated from around 140-200. The interesting point for me within this context is the earlier material which some historians believe originated in the early second century while others believe it may have been written earlier, perhaps as early as about 40. I find the argument for an early date persuasive (to be fair, at this time I have not read a detailed explanation of why it may be later).

One argument for the possibility of an early date for GT is when we compare phrases from Thomas to those in another Gospel. Helmut Koester writes, “If one considers the form and wording of the individual sayings in comparison with the form in which they are preserved in the New Testament, The Gospel of Thomas appears to have preserved a more original form of the traditional saying(in a few instances, where this is not the case, the Coptic translation seems to have been influenced by the translator’s knowledge of the New Testament gospels), or presents versions which are independently based on more original forms.” 4 Bart Ehrman writes, “Many of these sayings are pithier and more succinct than their canonical counterparts. Is it possible that Thomas presents a more accurate version of the sayings than, say, Matthew, Mark, and Luke (there are fewer parallels to John)- that is, a closer approximation to the way Jesus actually said them?” 5

Here are some examples from Wikipedia where Thomas includes the same general message as one of the canonical Gospels but in a shorter form: 6

Thomas 8: And Jesus said, “The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”

and Matthew 13:47-50: “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

or Thomas 107: Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, I love you more than the ninety-nine.”

with Luke 15:3–7: Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” 7

Following the same reasoning as the historians I’ve quoted above, to me it’s logical that the shorter, less detailed saying would usually be the earlier one. There’s no law which says this must be the case but it’s much easier to argue that someone took a short saying, the meaning of which confused some folks, and expanded it to make its message clearer than for someone to have taken a detailed, fairly clear message and made it shorter and less clear. Now not every saying in Thomas is paralleled in the New Testament and obviously the proposed earliest date of 140 for the text found in the Nag Hammadi manuscript postdates the writings of the Gospels by half a century or more. However it is reasonable to think that at least some of the sayings included in it were not edited and are very early.

Where the Gospel of Thomas is fascinating is this window it provides (or may provide) into very early Christianity, well before it would have been considered anything more than a Jewish sect, possibly even before Paul’s letters. Where the canonical Gospels are a merging of oral stories told of the life of Jesus combined with his sayings, teachings and parables into a narrative, Thomas is more of a raw form; a component, possibly, of what came to be the Gospels of the New Testament. 8

NOTE: This is a link to an online version of the Gospel of Thomas.

1 Hopefully folks realize this is woefully oversimplified. For example, most of Mark is included in Matthew and Luke, but the latter two incorporate considerable additional material, resulting in some historians’ belief that they must have had an additional source or two. BTW, these three are called Synoptic because they share so much material. John is significantly different.

2 As far as I know Thomas has never been identified as the Q document mentioned above however it has often been described in terms such as, “similar to what the Q document may have been.”

3 For me the most useful introduction is by Helmut Koester in Robinson (1990), pp 124-6. If your preference is for a more detailed analysis, see Hennecke, et al. (1973) pp 278-307.

4 Helmut Koester, “The Gospel of Thomas,” p 125 in Robinson (1990).

5 Ehrman, Lost Christianities (2003) pp 55-6.

6 OK, here I have to admit something. Not sure if I should be embarrassed by this or not. When I began writing this post back whenever, I recalled someone having done a very nice job comparing sayings in Thomas with those in the canonical Gospels demonstrating that while they are similar, in many cases those in Thomas were shorter and simpler. I was sure this was in one of the books I’d read on it – my “Apocrypha Collection” includes 13 books and I have more on the Gnostics and other heresies. One of the reasons I’ve taken so long publishing this post is I couldn’t find this comparison. Until today when I Googled the term, “Gospel of Thomas Comparison Matthew” which took me to Wikipedia. I’ve not used it as a source before but we use the tools we are given (I’m still convinced this is in a book I have here, someplace). Anyway, take that for what it’s worth. I categorize Wikipedia as useful for quick reference but not dependable (IOW I like to double check what it says – then again, I’d give someone the same advice if we were talking about me). But since Wikipedia uses me as a source, I suppose it’s time I return the favor.

7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas (2013)

8 I think it’s important to note that the Gospel of Thomas was found among Gnostic documents and there are hints of a Gnostic emphasis on secret knowledge in it, enough that early Christian writers such as Hippolytus, Origen and Eusebius consider it heretical. However these hints are subtle compared with texts such as The Apocryphon of John. To me Thomas fits in the category of, “not Gnostic but something which contains material which is appealing to Gnostics.” Of course then there’s the discussion of what exactly we mean by the terms “Gnostic” and “Gnosticism,” is this another “ism” which has become so generalized as to be virtually useless, etc. I’m not going there, not today anyway but if you want to, Meyer(2005) discusses this scholarly debate in his introduction, pp x-xiii.

Ehrman, Bart, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2003). ISBN: 978-0195-14183-2

Ehrman, Bart, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2003). ISBN:978-0195-14182-5.

Ehrman, Bart and Plese, Zlatko, The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2011). ISBN:978-0-19-973210-4.

Hennecke, E., Schneemelcher, Wilhelm and Wilson, R. McL., eds., New Testament Apocrypha: Gospels and Related Writings, Volume 1. Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Redwood Press (1973). ISBN:978-0-334-01111-8.

Meyer, Marvin, trans. & ed., The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth. New York: HarperCollins (2005). ISBN: 978-0-060-76208-7.

Pagels, Elaine, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. New York: Random House (2005). ISBN:978-0-375-50156-2.

Robinson, James M., ed., The Nag Hammadi Library: The Definitive Translation of the Gnostic Scriptures Complete in One Volume. New York: HarperCollins (1990). ISBN:978-0-06-066934-8.

Wikipedia, Gospel of Thomas, page last modified August 19, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas (last accessed August 26, 2013).

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Literature, Religion

 

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Clement of Alexandria – Gesundheit

As I continue on my Early Christianity Reading Journey, I’m currently in the middle of reading Clement of Alexandria, who lived from about 150-215. A portion of his Paedagogus or Instructor is concerned with providing guidance on how Christians should live their lives and conduct their affairs. While there are one or two items of note, for the most part this resembles other similar sources. Christians should live modestly, not get drunk, not be gluttons and I’m sure parts I haven’t read yet will include advice on not becoming angry, lustful, etc. This is all pretty standard. I’ve read quite a few of these but I’ve never come across a passage such as this one which I enjoyed so much I thought I’d share it with you.

If any one is attacked with sneezing, just as in the case of the hiccup, he must not startle those near him with the explosion, and so give proof of his bad breeding; but the hiccup is to be quietly transmitted with the expiration of the breath, the mouth being composed becomingly, and not gaping and yawning like the tragic masks. So the disturbance of the hiccup may be avoided by making the respirations gently; for thus the threatening symptoms of the ball of wind will be dissipated in the most seemly way, by managing its egress so as also to conceal anything which the air forcible expelled may bring up with it. To wish to add to the noises, instead of diminishing them, is the sign of arrogance and disorderliness. Those, too, who scrape their teeth, bleeding the wounds, are disagreeable to themselves and detestable to their neighbors. Scratching the ears and the irritation of sneezing are swinish itchings and attend unbridled fornication. Both shameful sights and shameful conversation about them are to be shunned. Let the look be steady and the turning and movement of the neck, and the motions of the hands in conversation, be decorous. In a word, the Christian is characterized by composure, tranquility, calmness, and peace. 1

Sneeze

Going through this kind of stuff in sources can be sort of tedious. I’ve read quite a few similar “life guidance” documents and sometimes I have a hard time keeping my focus so I can detect some interesting differences. For example, in Instructor I.6 there’s a passage that at least hints of Adoptionism. 2 I can’t just skim Clement’s material(over 400 pages of text) and expect to find things like this. So the above passage, seemingly coming from out of nowhere (this particular chapter is mainly concerned with Christians living as a community and how they should behave towards one another) was a much appreciated break from the usual narrative, though I’m sure Clement didn’t intend it to be read for this reason. And I have no idea what the whole scraping teeth/bleeding wounds thing is. Sounds a bit gross. And then there’s finding out that scratching your ears and sneezing used to be part of the horizontal hokey-pokey. 3 But I appreciated being hauled out of a late 2nd century Christian Living Handbook and straight into a Miss Manners column. I don’t know if Clement has any more little tidbits like this in store but looking for them will help the next 300 pages pass by a little more quickly.

1 Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor II.7

2 Clement discusses Christ becoming perfected at his baptism, at the same time as God spoke to those gathered there, in terms that sure seem Adoptionist to me. Adoptionism is the Christian belief, considered heretical, that Jesus was a man who became a vessel for the Word of God or the Holy Spirit, being adopted by God as the place to send his son.

3 Before anyone jumps in to comment (though I enjoy comments); yes, I know Clement’s just saying if you can’t resist the urge to scratch it indicates you’ll likely have trouble avoiding other urges.

Roberts, Alexander & Donaldson, James, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2: Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (entire), Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishers (2004). ISBN: 1-56563-084-X.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Religion

 

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The Second Century Apologists

My Early Christianity Reading has finally brought me out of the first century and into the second. I’ve found a secondary source which looks like it may be quite useful as I go along; The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, edited by Frances Young, Lewis Ayres and Andrew Louth (2004). Chapters in this book cover various categories of Christian literature including sources which the respective authors consider important. I’ve begun going through a chapter or two in this, jotting down the sources I want to look at, reading these, then going on to the next category. I usually don’t worry that much about my use of time with history. It’s my hobby and if I’m inefficient, does it really matter so long as I get to an acceptable place at the end? But I started reading on this a year and a half ago and I sort of want to get back to the 4th and 5th centuries someday. It looks like this book may help me do this.

The first barrier to understanding these second century authors are the terms Apologist and Apology. If you know little or nothing about the period and what was going on, which describes myself not so long ago, you’d likely see these as someone writing about something he or his social group had done wrong. It doesn’t take too much thought to figure out that this couldn’t have been exactly what was happening but these terms really are misnomers. These authors aren’t apologizing for anything. They’re engaged in earnest arguments in favor of their belief system as being the correct way of viewing the world. Centuries of usage have left us stuck with the term but calling these “Justifications” or something would have been more accurate. 1

Justin Martyr is generally considered the first Christian Apologist. There are a couple of problems with this categorization. First, as I mention above, Justin wasn’t apologizing for anything. His Apology was a petition to Antoninus Caesar requesting that Christians be treated more fairly, in particular that they not be punished simply for being named Christian, but because of crimes they had committed. His ultimate hope was that the Emperor would answer and post his answer to this request so that it would become the law of the Empire. It is almost certain that Justin would have titled this something along the lines of, “Address and Petition to Antoninus.” 2

The second problem is that when we view this as ancient literature intended to justify the existence of Christianity and the exemplary lifestyle of Christians, Justin is not the first. There aren’t a lot of survivals but at the very least The Epistle of Barnabus predates him and possibly The Epistle to Diognetus. Justin is notable as his lengthy, detailed argument became a model which later authors patterned their writings on.

Justin_Martyr
Justin Martyr, photo from Wikimedia Commons, originally; Saint Justin dans André Thevet,
Les Vrais Pourtraits et Vies Hommes Illustres, 1584.

Rather than go into details about what Justin and the other Apologists wrote, because there just isn’t space in a blog post for this, I’m going to briefly mention general themes which were common to this form of literature. I’m listing the authors and sources I’m discussing, along with the volume of the Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF) series I read them from.

  • Justin Martyr, First and Second Apologies and Dialogue with Trypho, ANF 1.
  • Tatian the Assyrian, Address to the Greeks, ANF 2.
  • Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, ANF 2.
  • Athenagoras of Athens, A Plea for the Christians and The Resurrection of the Dead, ANF 2.
  • Aristides, Apology or To Emperor Hadrian Caesar from the Athenian Philosopher Aristides, ANF 9.
  • Melito of Sardis, Apology, ANF 8. 3

There are some common themes used by the Apologists which I’ll briefly mention. All of these are not mentioned by every author and there are some differences in details, a couple of which I’ll talk about. One of the most interesting items is that many of these involve detailed interpretations of Christian texts, particularly the Old Testament. You can see here the beginnings of the discussions which by the Fourth Century would result in the development of relatively well-defined Christian doctrines. Another commonality is that most of these authors appear to have been highly educated philosophers who converted to Christianity later in life. The way I’ve listed these are not in the order the Apologists bring them up as this changes with different authors.

Christians should not be punished merely for being called Christian.
The basic argument here is that Christians should not be persecuted, lose property or even their lives simply due to the fact that they bear the name of Christian. If they have committed a crime, let them be tried and condemned, but not merely based on a name. All of the writers fail to mention that not reverencing Roman Gods could be considered a crime. Even Hadrian’s rescript which has often been appended to Justin’s First Apology, when strictly interpreted, allows Christians to be prosecuted for this. There really isn’t a lot of difference between this rescript and the exchange between Trajan and Pliny the Younger where the Emperor instructs Pliny that Christians are not to be sought out but should be prosecuted when brought before him. 4

Exemplary lifestyle of Christians.
The Apologists discuss in considerable detail how Christians live their lives. They are non-violent, to the point of not defending themselves when attacked. They do not engage in the licentious behavior they are accused of but in fact take only one husband or wife in a lifetime and only have sex for the purposes of procreation. They are so opposed to death that not only do they not engage in cannibalism, of which they are accused, but are forbidden even from viewing games where men may die. They live such serious, contemplative lives that they may not attend the circus or the theater. They obey the Emperor strictly as an honored ruler but will not worship him. They do not believe in abortion or the exposure of children. Some of the authors state that if people are found who call themselves Christians but commit crimes, they cannot be Christians and must be punished.

Roman Gods are not Gods at all.
There are three main themes here, used by different authors. One is that the Roman Gods are demons, as is proven by their demonic behavior – rape, incest, murder, etc. Another is that the Roman Gods were famous men who after their deaths were reverenced by people to such an extent that they came to be worshiped; Athenagoras refines this further by arguing that the Roman Gods were men and it is due to the urging of fallen angels – demons – that men came to worship them. The final argument is that the Roman Gods simply aren’t. They are inanimate pieces of wood, stone or metal and have no power.

Christian writings predate those of the Greeks and Romans.
This is one of the most interesting arguments, and among the most convoluted. Basically, according to the Apologists, Moses and other Old Testament authors and prophets predate the ancient Greek authors and they set out to “prove” that the ideas developed by Greek philosophers came from them. Among other things, the level of detail used in these arguments shows how familiar these authors were with classical literature as well as scripture. I don’t know how to begin to discuss these arguments without taking a thousand words on it alone. Justin Martyr, for example, goes into detail to prove that Plato’s concepts regarding a single deity came directly from Moses. 5

The World was created by a single Deity.
There are a bunch of arguments offered here. Much comes from Old Testament interpretation, particularly Genesis. A couple of authors go beyond this. Theophilus quotes extensively from the Sibylline Books in support of a single deity. And he uses what I think is my favorite philosophical argument; that the only reasonable explanation for the well-ordered universe they live in is that it was created by one God and that there is a single guiding hand on the tiller. 6 There are some interesting sub-topics here which later became points of contention, in particular that Justin Martyr believes that God created the world out of unformed matter while most of the others such as Tatian, Theophilus and Athenagoras believe that God first created matter, then formed the world from it. 7

The Resurrection.
It’s not surprising that this is a major theme for all of the authors. At this point all of them argue for a resurrection of the body, not just of the soul and they go to some lengths to argue for its validity. Justin Martyr specifically states that those who argue for a resurrection of the soul alone, not the body, are not Christians. 8 The arguments used are more varied than for the other themes. All of them use interpretation of scriptures. In addition, Theophilus discusses how you can see a form of resurrection on Earth in the change of the seasons and if God could do this, why couldn’t men be bodily resurrected? Athenagoras spends a great deal of time debunking an argument he must have found threatening. When others ask how could God raise people up using the same matter when in some cases people had to resort to cannibalism to survive and so their matter now consists of matter from another body, Athenagoras goes into great detail describing how men’s bodies can only consist of matter nutritionally appropriate for it and the flesh of other men cannot be appropriate for this purpose and must have just passed through. I was surprised he didn’t argue, “Anyone who would eat the flesh of another is not Christian and won’t have to worry about being resurrected” but he chose not to go there. 9

I’m over 2,000 words so I think that’s enough for one post even though I could add a lot more. There are later Apologists who were not covered by Norris (2004) and were not given a separate, later chapter in Young, Ayres and Louth (2004) so I’ll be interested in how they discuss the third-century authors and why they are not included with this group (I could offer a few thoughts I have on this but I’ll leave the topic alone until I read further). I’m not typically very interested in the development of Christian doctrine but it’s pretty hard to completely separate doctrinal disputes with later socio-political conflicts and developments. What’s probably most notable about the second-century apologists is that because they had to write so extensively in support of their new faith, these authors set the table for Christianity to develop a relatively rigid, uniform belief system. One of the interesting characteristics of Christianity is this rigidity, to the best of my knowledge something not previously found in a major religion. Even Judaism had room for the Pharisees, Sadducees and, if you believe Josephus, the Essenes having substantial differences in their belief systems while remaining part of the Jewish religion. The detailed arguments early Christians used to support their new religion seems likely to have contributed to this rigidity.

1 The term apologist appears to have originated when Tertullian wrote a treatise titled, Apologeticus pro Christianis in the very late 2nd century and was then used to describe similar, earlier material. I haven’t gotten to Tertullian yet and I’m curious about why he decided on that term.

2 Parvis, Paul (2007), p 31. Parvis discusses whether Justin’s First and Second Apologies were originally a single apology, a single apology with an appendix, or two apologies. Interesting but not something I’m going to discuss here. I should also note I’m in the middle of reading this book and this post would likely be better if I’d finished it before posting but the way things have gone lately, I need to post when I have time to post even if I haven’t read everything I’d like on a topic.

3 I found it interesting that Norris (2004) grouped Melitus with these others as in reading it, to me he comes across as using much more of a theological than a philosophical argument. Possibly this is as his surviving writings were preserved by Eusebius they were somewhat altered in tone. Norris describes his On Pascha as, “This remarkable document – written in Greek in the elaborate, rhythmical ‘Asiatic’ style of the Second Sophistic – attests the writer’s studied ingenuity as a rhetor.” pp 41-2. Then again, I’m not reading the original Greek either.

4 Pliny the Younger, Letters, X.96-97.

5 See Justin Martyr’s First Apology, 59-60. I’m using the ANF numbering system for these as this is where I’ve read them.

6 Respectively, Theophilus, To Autolycus, II.36 and I.5-6.

7 Respectively; Justin Martyr, First Apology, 10; Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 5 and 12; Theophilus, To Autolycus, II.4 and II.10 and; Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians, 4.

8 Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 80. In this chapter, alone of all of these authors, he argues for a thousand-year Kingdom of God on Earth based in Jerusalem.

9 Respectively, Theophilus, To Autolycus, I.13 and Athenagoras, The Resurrection of the Dead, 4-8.

Kleist, James A., trans., Ancient Christian Writers 6: The Didache, the Epistle of Barnabus, the Epistles and the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, the Fragments of Papias, the Epistle to Diognetus. Mahwah, New Jersey: The Paulist Press (1948). ISBN: 978-0-8091-0247-1.

Norris, Richard A., “The Apologists.” In The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, eds., Young, Ayres and Louth, 36-44. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2004). ISBN: 978-0-521-69750-7.

Parvis and Foster, eds., Justin Martyr and His Worlds. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (2007). ISBN: 978-0-8006-6212-7.

Parvis, Paul, “Justin, Philosopher and Martyr: The Posthumous Creation of the Second Apology.” In, Justin Martyr and His Worlds, eds. Parvis and Foster, 22-37. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (2007). ISBN: 978-0-8006-6212-7.

Pliny the Younger, P.G. Walsh, trans., Complete Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2006). ISBN: 978-0-19-953894-2.

Roberts and Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 Volume Set). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers (1994). Series ISBN: 978-1-5656-3082-6

Young, Ayres, and Louth, eds., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2004). ISBN: 978-0-521-69750-7.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Religion

 

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Book Review: The Historical Jesus in Context

The Review

Before I get to the review for this book I want to throw in a few quick comments (click on the above link if you want to skip this). First, it has been over a year since I posted a review. The reason for this is fairly simple. Ever since I began a concerted effort to read about Early Christianity I have largely encountered books I feel unqualified to write a review of. I’ve offered comments as something has caught my attention but for the most part I haven’t felt myself able to give an opinion on the quality of a book.1

Second, more related to the review which will follow is that I have never doubted the existence of a historical Jesus. My reasons, not being a Biblical scholar or even highly familiar with first century AD religion or source material discussions, have centered around one basic fact. He is too frequently mentioned in sources dating from a period too close to his death for him to not have existed. I have read/heard arguments such as, “We have nothing he wrote himself,” or, “There are no monuments or inscriptions dating from when he was alive with his name on them,” or even, “Nothing was written about him by someone who knew him personally.” This last is more debatable but it’s generally believed that the Gospel and other source authors were not among Jesus’ disciples.2

These are unrealistic standards. If we were to judge the existence of all people mentioned in source material similarly, history would be an empty thing. Non-elites didn’t write, or have monuments built to them. If we need to strike Jesus from history as someone who actually lived, then history will need to be rewritten in terms that will eliminate the existence of most non-elite individuals, and many elites. By the standards used to judge the probability of someone’s existence, there is plenty of evidence that a man named Jesus, a traveling teacher/preacher/rabbi in Judea, existed near the beginning of the first century. Within 10-15 years of his death, accounts of Jesus were told to large numbers of people who would have had every reason to be skeptical of this individual’s existence if they had not been pretty certain that he had lived. From a historical perspective, there are literally buckets of references to Jesus, chronologically close enough to when he lived to make his existence highly probable.

This does not mean that he is identical to the person we meet through the Gospels. As with any other source of that period, particularly written several decades after the subject lived, we have almost certainly been presented with an idealized Jesus(though I don’t buy arguments that he didn’t at all resemble this portrayal). The Gospel authors had their biases and must be evaluated with this in mind. Much of what is included in them is likely based on oral traditions which are generally less reliable (though numerous oral traditions that generally agree with one another should be viewed as another factor in favor of his having lived). Individuals in the 2nd or 3rd centuries may have redacted the Gospels to add additional details. And I have never had any urge to publicly debate the miracle stories. If you were to ask me if it is possible for a person to walk on water, feed thousands of people from a few loaves of bread and a couple of little fish, heal people without ever meeting them, or rise from the dead I would say no. I would also say I have no problem with anyone who wants to believe these things(and for all you know I may believe these things). Those are matters of faith and I try very hard never to argue with someone over faith, except very close friends.

When it comes to Jesus, I find myself more interested in questions such as whether he actually ran the moneylenders and shopkeepers out of the Temple (let’s face it – he did something to piss the establishment off, to the extent that they executed him). How radical was he, with his devaluation of some matters of Jewish Law? And I enjoy discussions of how apocalyptic Jesus was or whether much of this was entered into his life by the authors of the Gospels, writing as they did (likely) shortly following the destruction of the Temple by Roman authorities.

So with all that out of the way, let’s get to the review.

The Review

His_Jesus

Levine, Amy-Jill, Allison, Dale C. Jr. and Crossan, John Dominic, eds., The Historical Jesus in Context, Princeton, Princeton University Press (2006). ISBN: 978-0-69100-992-9.

This is a collection of 28 essays designed to, as the title says, provide a context for Jesus’ life. As Levine says in her introduction, this book, “… provides information on cultural contexts within which Jesus was understood and perhaps even understood himself.” (1) How does Jesus, the man, teacher, rabbi and messiah fit into first-century Jewish and Roman society? Is he a radical outlier or can parallels be drawn between him and others of his time? How do the concepts, themes and ideas found in the Gospels compare with prominent themes from Jesus’ period? Where might some of these concepts, themes and ideas have originated from?

The essays in this volume are as follows:

  • Introduction by Amy-Jill Levine
  • 1. “Archaeological Contributions to the Study of Jesus and the Gospels,” Jonathan L. Reed
  • 2. “Josephus on John the Baptist and Other Jewish Prophets of Deliverance,” Craig A. Evans
  • 3. “Abba and Father: Imperial Theology in the Contexts of Jesus and the Gospels,” Mary Rose D’Angelo
  • 4. “Miraculous Conceptions and Births in Mediterranean Antiquity,” Charles H. Talbert
  • 5. “First and Second Enoch: A Cry Against Oppression and the Promise of Deliverance,” George W. E. Nickelsburg
  • 6. “Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” Peter Flint
  • 7. “The Chreia,” David B. Gowler
  • 8. “The Galilean Charismatic and Rabbinic Piety: The Holy Man in the Talmudic Literature,” Alan J. Avery-Peck
  • 9. “Miracle Stories: The God Asclepius, the Pythagorean Philosophers, and the Roman Rulers,” Wendy Cotter, C.S.J.
  • 10. “The Mithras Liturgy,” Marvin Meyer
  • 11. “Apuleius of Madauros,” Ian H. Henderson
  • 12. “The Parable in the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic Literature,” Gary G. Porton
  • 13. “The Aesop Tradition,” Lawrence M. Wills
  • 14. “Targum, Jesus, and the Gospels,” Bruce Chilton
  • 15. “The Psalms of Solomon,” Joseph L. Trafton
  • 16. “Moral and Ritual Piety,” Jonathan Klawans
  • 17. “Gospel and Talmud,” Herbert W. Basser
  • 18. “Philo of Alexandria,” Gregory E. Sterling
  • 19. “The Law of Roman Divorce in the Time of Christ,” Thomas A. J. McGinn
  • 20. “Associations in the Ancient World,” John S. Kloppenborg
  • 21. “Anointing Traditions,” Teresa J. Hornsby
  • 22. “The Passover Haggadah,” Calum Carmichael
  • 23. “Joseph and Aseneth: Food as an Identity Marker,” Randall D. Chesnutt
  • 24. “The Pliny and Trajan Correspondence,” Bradley M. Peper and Mark DelCogliano
  • 25. “Imitations of Greek Epic in the Gospels,” Dennis R. MacDonald
  • 26. “Narratives of Noble Death,” Robert Doran
  • 27. “Isiah 53:1-12 (Septuagint),” Ben Witherington III
  • 28. “Thallus on the Crucifixion,” Dale C. Allison Jr.

Each chapter follows a similar pattern. It discusses a particular facet of ancient Jewish or Roman life, talks about source material related to that facet, and then provides translated sources demonstrating what was discussed. Occasionally these may be full sources but more often they are a selection. These materials are then compared and contrasted with how Jesus was portrayed, primarily in the Gospels.

The book is not what I’d call a popular history but it is written at a fairly basic level. I don’t know for sure but it looks like something designed for use in an introductory undergraduate course on source and textual analysis in Early Christianity. A negative of this book is it’s not footnoted though most sources are referenced in the text. As I do not intend to deeply explore issues related to this topic, this was less of a negative for me than it would be for some books.

As can be seen from the Table of Contents, the breadth of topics is considerable. The portrayal of Christ as a messianic figure, his use of parables as teaching tools, comparing his miracle stories with others of the period, exploring Jesus’ knowledge of Jewish scriptures and how he uses them, and discussions of his lack of concern with Jewish ritual impurity (compared with moral impurity) are covered, as well as other topics. I will briefly touch on some of the topics and essays which were of most interest to me.

Craig Evans analyzed the writings of Josephus to determine how prominently messianic figures appear in first-century Jewish culture. Josephus is negatively disposed to these individuals however he mentions several of them and, in contrast, he discusses John the Baptist in favorable terms. In essence, Jesus as a messiah is not out of place during this time and place.

Charles Talbert’s chapter was one of my favorites. He discusses multiple cases of miraculous conception in ancient literature, some of them fairly prominent such as Achilles as the son of the God Thetis and Hercules as the son of Zeus. Of more interest, and possibly more applicable to the portrayal of Jesus, are figures such as Pythagorus, Alexander the Great, and Plato. Talbert spends some time discussing how divine begetting was often attributed to an individual who had lived a particularly notable life. Arrian, in Anabasis 7.30 says of Alexander, “And so not even I can suppose that a man quite beyond all other men was born without some divine influence.” (84) In discussing a passage from Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 3.45 Talbert says, “One could not do what Plato did had he not been the offspring of a God! One reason the ancients used stories of miraculous conceptions and births was as an explanation of the superiority of the individual.” (85) For me, while I was certainly aware of miraculous conceptions in ancient literature, I had never grouped the birth of Christ with these.

Peter Flint compares how Jesus is portrayed in the Gospels with passages found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Essenes had several messianic figures and in many ways their lives parallel the account of Jesus. However they differ in a couple of key points and Flint disagrees with prior analyses which describe an Essene precedent for either a killed Messiah or a sacrificial crucifixion to redeem man from sins.

Gary Porton, Bruce Chilton and Herbert Basser discuss prominent Jewish literature elements and their use by Jesus in the Gospels. Porton discusses parables found in rabbinic literature and believes that, “… one would expect the ‘historical’ Jesus to have taught throughout his life by parables.” (209). Chilton talks about a type of literature known as Targum. These are scriptural paraphrases where the general meaning of Hebrew scripture is rendered into the Aramaic most commonly in use in first-century scripture. He demonstrates that Jesus was well aware of and extensively used this literary form, indicating an extensive knowledge of Hebrew scripture. He also discusses one particular instance where the Greek translation provided by Luke misrepresents the Aramaic original. In Luke 4:16-30 Jesus is nearly stoned after speaking in a synagogue. Based on Luke, Jesus appears to provide a fairly traditional interpretation of Isiah however based on pronoun confusion, he is actually proclaiming himself not just as a divinely inspired preacher but as a full-on messiah who will personally see to the redemption of the souls of men from captivity. (252-4) Interestingly, Chilton describes a Jesus who knew and used Targum however he almost never used identical language and how he used scripture, “… shows that an innovative tendency is characteristic of his style of teaching.” (252) Basser describes how Jesus followed talmudic and rabbinic forms of teaching and argument, however his message in the Gospels is different from Judaic teachings.

A very useful chapter for me was authored by Jonathan Klawans. He discusses the difference between ritual purity and moral purity and how Jesus emphasized the importance of the latter but was not as concerned with the former. Ritual impurities are those which do not represent sin. For example, a woman is ritually impure during menstruation, however this does not demonstrate sin, just that she should avoid the temple during these times (interestingly, male genital emissions are also considered ritually impure). An individual who helped bury someone is ritually impure but not sinful – the dead must be cared for and buried – he or she must ritually cleanse him- or herself before entering the temple. In contrast, moral impurity such as sexual transgressions, bloodshed, and idolatry are sinful and result in long-lasting defilement which may not be removed simply by a ritual cleansing. Throughout the Gospels, Christ expresses little concern for ritual impurity. He and his disciples eat without first washing their hands, heal on the Sabbath and gather grain to eat on the Sabbath, all items prohibited under Jewish Law. Yet he is very concerned with greed, murder, adultery, etc. Klawans provides a useful analysis of Mark 7:1-23 in discussing this.

There were a few essays I considered less useful. I found Dennis MacDonald’s argument that the Gospels made extensive use of Greek epics unconvincing. The fact that Hector and Christ both died is certainly true however I do not see where the denial by Achilles to grant Priam his body resembles the account of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, similarly the death of Turnus in the Aenid. Marvin Meyer’s discussion and translation of the Mithras Liturgy was interesting, however he failed to adequately connect it to first-century Judaism which left me wondering what the point of the chapter was.

This is a good book. For me, it did what it was intended to do – provide me a contextual basis from which I could draw more insight into Jesus’ life, or at least his life as it is portrayed in the Gospels. Jesus comes across as a man of his times, a preacher/teacher who uses traditional Jewish literature, teaching methods, and whose messages are, in many cases, traditional. However he also comes across as a remarkable individual, even accounting for possible later redactions of the Gospels. While he uses traditional methods, much of his message is innovative. While bathing to remove ritual impurity is an every day aspect of Jewish life, the Gospel accounts provide a new, one-time-only, “baptism for life” for the remission of sins. Jesus breaks with Jewish authorities on what constitutes impurity. Once one recalls that in Rome, Emperors were commonly worshiped as deities, Jesus’ famous “Render unto God what is God and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” becomes a subversive denial of the Emperor’s divinity. Christ, depending on your viewpoint, was either an innovator or a radical, perhaps both. He was enough of each to earn the enmity of the Jewish establishment to the point of being executed.

There are areas left unexamined. In particular, I would have appreciated an account of Roman judicial practice in Judea during the period and an examination of how Christ’s trial, sentence and execution compared with normal judicial procedures. I have read where the trial and sentence is considered to have taken place very quickly and would have enjoyed a discussion of this. I would have also enjoyed more discussions such as Bruce Chilton’s discussing Aramaic/Greek translations and how this impacts determining the origin of Gospel accounts.3

This book will be valuable for a person who is just beginning his or her examination of first-century Christianity. My one recommendation is that you first read the canonical Gospels. These are frequently referred to and the Gospel accounts are compared and contrasted with other examples of ancient literature throughout.

1 It’s sheer coincidence that I’m posting something about Jesus on Christmas Day. I happened to finish this book over the weekend. Funny how that works out.

2 This is the biggest change in my preconceptions; that the Gospel authors were not Jesus’ companions. In essence, while some believe that Mark (considered the earliest Gospel) may have been written around 50 AD, most place it closer to about 70. The real disqualifier is that the Gospels were written in fairly high quality Greek. Jesus’ companions are unlikely to have known Greek and even more unlikely to have been able to write it.

3 One of the ways historians try to figure out when something in a Gospel account originated is by trying to reverse translate it from Greek into Aramaic. There are passages in the Greek which make no sense in Aramaic demonstrating, probably, something which was added a bit later, up to when the Gospel was written (later redactions are an entirely different matter). And there are stories which appear to make much more sense in Aramaic, indicating a fairly early origin. Of course most make sense both ways. And quite often the Gospels and Paul retain an original Aramaic word or phrase.

 
 

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Great Resource at Historian on the Edge

This’ll be short and sweet. If you haven’t taken a look at it, make sure you head over to Guy Halsall’s blog for his recent post of his list of Late Antique Sources in Translation. Nobody who’s been reading this blog for very long will be surprised at how much I appreciate this.

It also provided me with a bit of an impetus to get back to work cataloging all of my sources, something which I’d planned to have finished months ago. Not sure if I’ll post it like I did with my hagiography sources but I’ll give it a shot. It will make a nice test on whether I can post tables in WP.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Books, Resources

 

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