Author Topic: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians  (Read 5287 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #135 on: February 11, 2017, 04:39:17 PM »
Testament of Asher is confusing in two places:
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4. For good men, even they that are single of face, though they be thought by them that are double-faced to err, are just before God. For many in killing the wicked do two works, an evil by a good; but the whole is good, because he has uprooted and destroyed that which is evil. One man hates him that shows mercy, and does wrong to the adulterer and the thief: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole work is good, because he follows the Lord's example, in that he receives not that which seems good with that which is really bad.

Another desires not to see good days with them that riot, lest he defile his mouth and pollute his soul: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole is good, for such men are like to stags and to hinds, because in a wild condition they seem to be unclean, but they are altogether clean; because they walk in a zeal for God, and abstain from what God also hates and forbids by His commandments, and they ward off the evil from the good.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2017, 04:39:45 PM by rakovsky »

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #136 on: February 12, 2017, 06:26:09 PM »
The opening of Joseph's Testament sounds Christian:
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I was sick, and the Most High visited me: I was in prison, and the Saviour showed favour unto me; in bonds, and He released me; amid slanders, and He pleaded my cause; amid bitter words of the Egyptians, and He rescued me; amid envy and guile, and He exalted me.
It reminds me of the teaching Jesus made about the Last Judgment and people visiting the sick and imprisoned.

Nice saying:
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in all places is He at hand, and in various ways does He comfort, departing for a little to try the purpose of the soul. In ten temptations He showed me approved, and in all of them I endured; for endurance is a mighty charm, and patience gives many good things.

Joseph doesn't eat the food Potiphar's wife gives him to seduce him, until she shows up and he eats it to show her that her gifts have no power over him:
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6. And she sends to me food sprinkled with enchantments. And when the eunuch who brought it came, I looked up and beheld a terrible man giving me with the dish a sword, and I perceived that her scheme was for the deception of my soul. And when he had gone out I wept, nor did I taste that or any other of her food. So then after one day she came to me and observed the food, and said unto me, What is this, that you have not eaten of the food? And I said unto her, It is because you filled it with death; and how did you say, I come not near to idols but to the Lord alone? Now therefore know that the God of my father has revealed unto me by an angel your wickedness, and I have kept it to convict you, if haply you may see it and repent. But that you may learn that the wickedness of the ungodly has no power over them that reverence God in chastity, I took it and ate it before her, saying, The God of my fathers and the Angel of Abraham shall be with me. And she fell upon her face at my feet, and wept; and I raised her up and admonished her, and she promised to do this iniquity no more.

What does Indocolpitæ mean?:
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11. Do ye also, therefore, have the fear of God in your works, and honour your brethren. For every one who works the law of the Lord shall be loved by Him. And when I came to the Indocolpitæ with the Ishmaelites, they asked me, and I said that I was a slave from their house, that I might not put my brethren to shame. And the eldest of them said unto me, You are not a slave, for even your appearance does make it manifest concerning you. And he threatened me even unto death. But I said that I was their slave. Now when we came into Egypt, they strove concerning me, which of them should buy me and take me.

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And when I was brought in, I did obeisance to the chief of the eunuchs— for he was third in rank with Pharaoh, being chief of all the eunuchs, and having wives and children and concubines.
Can Eunuchs have wives and concubines?

The Testament of Joseph deals with an interesting part of the story of Joseph in the Bible. If Joseph was sold by his brothers illegally into slavery, but eventually pharaoh freed him, why didn't Joseph ever tell pharaoh, or for that matter Potiphar, the merchant and others, that he was legally a free man held captive illegally, rather than a slave?
In the Testament, Pharaoh's Eunuch believes that Joseph is lying when Joseph tells him he is a slave, so the Eunuch has him beaten, and Potiphar's wife understands that he is only a slave illegally and that he is keeping silent about the illegality:
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14. Now the Memphian woman was looking through a window while I was being beaten, and she sent unto her husband, saying, Your judgment is unjust; for you even punish a free man who has been stolen, as though he were a transgresso
And so this raises the question: Why didn't Joseph ever complain to his owners (not the Ishmaelites) that he was not a legal slave?

The answer given in the Testament is that it's because Joseph did not want to shame his brothers by revealing that they had illegally enslaved him.

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17. You see, my children, what great things I endured that I should not put my brethren to shame. Do ye also love one another, and with long-suffering hide ye one another's faults.
What do you think about this teaching?

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19. Hear ye also, my children, the visions which I saw. There were twelve deer feeding, and the nine were divided and scattered in the land, likewise also the three. And I saw that from Judah was born a virgin wearing a linen garment, and from her went forth a Lamb, without spot, and on His left hand there was as it were a lion; and all the beasts rushed against Him, and the lamb overcame them, and destroyed them, and trod them under foot. And because of Him the angels rejoiced, and men, and all the earth. And these things shall take place in their season, in the last days. Do ye therefore, my children, observe the commandments of the Lord, and honour Judah and Levi; for from them shall arise unto you the Lamb of God, by grace saving all the Gentiles and Israel. For His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, which shall not be shaken; but my kingdom among you shall come to an end as a watcher's hammock, which after the summer will not appear.
What is this a reference to, foreign gentile nations attacking the "lion of Judah", or maybe since it says all the gentiles were saved, the lion is the Church, the New Israel, with the beasts being its enemies, who are not the saved gentiles?

Also, since Joseph seems to be the moral hero of the story, with his brothers betraying him, why is it not Joseph who becomes the forefather of Messiah, and instead Messiah is born from Judah and Levi?

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #137 on: February 13, 2017, 07:21:42 PM »
Testament of Benjamin helps clear up what the gospels meant about keeping the eye "single":

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The good mind has not two tongues, of blessing and of cursing, of insult and of honour, of sorrow and of joy, of quietness and of trouble, of hypocrisy and of truth, of poverty and of wealth; but it has one disposition, pure and uncorrupt, concerning all men. It has no double sight, nor double hearing; for in everything which he does, or speaks, or sees, he knows that the Lord watches his soul, and he cleanses his mind that he be not condemned by God and men. But of Beliar every work is twofold, and has no singleness.

Compare with Matthew 6:22 "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."

This is an example of why I think it's helpful to read 1st-2nd c. Christian writings, as they can especially help to clear up what was meant by Christians in the era the Bible was written.

I never heard of Cain undergoing seven vengeances:
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7. Flee ye therefore, my children, the evil-doing of Beliar; for it gives a sword to them that obeys, and the sword is the mother of seven evils. First the mind conceives through Beliar, and first there is envy; secondly, desperation; thirdly, tribulation; fourthly, captivity; fifthly, neediness; sixthly, trouble; seventhly, desolation. Therefore also Cain is delivered over to seven vengeances by God, for in every hundred years the Lord brought one plague upon him. Two hundred years he suffered, and in the nine hundredth year he was brought to desolation at the flood, for Abel his righteous brother's sake. In seven hundred years was Cain judged, and Lamech in seventy times seven; because for ever those who are likened unto Cain in envy unto hatred of brethren shall be judged with the same punishment.

Pretty intense analogy:
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8. Do ye also therefore, my children, flee ill-doing, envy, and hatred of brethren, and cleave to goodness and love. He that has a pure mind in love, looks not after a woman unto fornication; for he has no defilement in his heart, because the Spirit of God rests in him. For as the sun is not defiled by shining over dung and mire, but rather dries up both and drives away the ill smell: so also the pure mind, constrained among the defilements of the earth, rather edifies, and itself suffers no defilement.
The turth is, this can be very difficult I think, although I know it's ideal, to look at defilement constantly and not be affected.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #138 on: February 14, 2017, 07:40:00 PM »
The Odes of Solomon are discussed regarding their date in Wikipedia:
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Although earlier scholars thought the Odes were originally written in Greek[1] or Hebrew,[2] there is now a consensus that Syriac/Aramaic was the original language.[3] Their place of origin seems likely to have been the region of Syria. Estimates of the date of composition range from the 1st[4] to the 3rd[5] century, with many settling for on the 2nd century. Some have claimed that Ode 4 discusses the closing of the temple at Leontopolis in Egypt which would date this writing about 73 CE.[6] One of the strong arguments for an early date is the discovery of references and perhaps even quotations from the Odes in the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch,[7][8] who was writing around 100 CE.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odes_of_Solomon
I think it's interesting as it shows they could be first century writings.


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Technically the Odes are anonymous, but in many ancient manuscripts, the Odes of Solomon are found together with the similar Psalms of Solomon, and Odes began to be ascribed to the same author. Unlike the Psalms of Solomon, however, Odes is much less clearly Jewish, and much more Christian in appearance. Odes explicitly refers not only to Jesus, but also to the ideas of virgin birth, harrowing of hell, and the Trinity. Adolf Harnack suggested the work of a Christian interpolator, adjusting an originally Jewish text.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odes_of_Solomon
I wonder what the relationship between the Psalms of Solomon and Odes of Solomon is?
Maybe they could be written by the same author or community? Simply a lack of open Christian references would not make a text necessarily not written by Christians.


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However, many have doubted the 'orthodoxy' of the Odes, suggesting that they perhaps originated from a heretical or gnostic group. This can be seen in the extensive use of the word 'knowledge' (Syr. ܝܕܥܬܐ īḏa‘tâ; Gk. γνωσις gnōsis), the slight suggestion that the Saviour needed saving in Ode 8:21c (ܘܦ̈ܖܝܩܐ ܒܗܘ ܕܐܬܦܪܩ wafrîqê ḇ-haw d'eṯpreq — 'and the saved (are) in him who was saved') and the image of the Father having breasts that are milked by the Holy Spirit to bring about the incarnation of Christ. In the case of 'knowledge', it is always a reference to God's gift of his self-revelation, and, as the Odes are replete with enjoyment in God's good creation, they seem at odds with the gnostic concept of knowledge providing the means of release from the imperfect world. The other images are sometimes considered marks of heresy in the odist, but do have some parallel in early patristic literature.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odes_of_Solomon
Out of those, I think only the idea of the Father having breasts seems clearly heretical. If Psalm 22 is applied to Christ, for example, I don't see a theologic al problem talking about Jesus Himself being saved.



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Parallels with Johannine Theology:

The two most convincing parallels are their references to the "Word" and "Living Water". Third, the salvation as knowing and loving God. Fourth, 'knowing God' without developing that knowledge ethically. Fifth, they seem to emphasise the docetic nature of the redeemer rather than his humanity.
https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/otp/abstracts/odessol/
I think "seem to emphasize" is not enough to show a text is docetic.

One website proposes:
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These lovely hymns of praise were composed by an anonymous Christian poet near the close of the first century. Their attribution to Solomon was not an attempt to deceive people (as is the case with some pseudepigrapha) but was the consequence of the Church's recognition that these edifying songs were written by an inspired musician much like the noted Solomon.
http://www.scriptoriumnovum.com/o.html
I don't know if I buy that explanation.

J. Montgomery thinks the Odes were written before the Temple's destruction by the Romans, since one line says "No man, O my God, changeth thy holy place."

Harnack proposes that the Christian, particularly Johanine, qualities in the Odes (aside from obvious references to Christianity) could be reflecting Jewish beliefs even before Jesus' appearance.

The CARM website has commentaries briefly inserted at the top of each Ode in the CARM text of the Odes:
https://carm.org/odes-of-solomon

L. MacDonald considers them to be songs used in the early Christian communities, noting:
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A second Syriac manuscript was discovered by F. C. Burkitt in the British Museum in 1912 (Add. 14583 = Odes17.7 to the end).  The 11thOde was discoveredin the Bodmer Papyrus XI (= P72) and is in Greek. It contains, along with 1-2 Peter and Jude, several non-canonical writings, namely the Nativity of Mary, apocryphal correspondence to Paul, and the apocryphal 3 Corinthians, the 11th Ode of Odes of Solomon, Melito’s Homily on the Passover, a fragment of a hymn, the Apology of Phileas, Psalms 33 and 34, plus Jude and 1 &2 Peter.
... the author of these hymns was likely an Essene convert to the Christian faith

[it was written]more likely in the early part of the second century, namely before the Bar Kochba rebellion in 132-135, after which Christians were excluded from the synagogues. 
http://www.haventoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/odes.pdf
Melito of Sardis was a mainstream canonical Christian leader, so this finding suggests that the manuscripts found in those collections were mainstream ones accepted by the mainstream church (even if the texts were not all considered part of the Bible).

The pre-Bar Kokhba dating makes sense to me.

The writer continues:
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It is also possible, as noted above , that the author was a converted Essene  since there are parallels in thought and word with the  Hodayoth  at Qumran.  This is  not certain, but the similar language in the  Hodayoth  suggests that possibility.
...
While some of the Odes reflect a gnostic perspective (Odes19 and 35), they cannot be characterized as a gnostic hymnbook and the Gnostic dualism is minimized or contradicted inmany of the odes (7.20 f., 16.10 f.).
...
 In the 10th century, a scribe copied the Odesin Syriac, but only Odes of Sol 17:7-42:20 are preserved (see British Museum ms. Add. 14538). In the 15thcenturyanother scribe copied them in Syriac andhere again the beginning is lost (see JohnRylands Library, Cod. Syr. 9 that contains Odes 3.1b-42.20).
It's curious that such a part of the opening is lost. I wonder what they said.

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There is a possibility that the Odes were preserved also in the twelfth century minuscule manuscript 1505 that is housed at Laura Monastery on Mt. Athos in Greece.  The full details of the contents of that manuscript are not currently available, however, but the known list of books in this New Testament collection of books includes Psalms and Odes. The list of NT writings does not include the Book of Revelation. 
http://www.haventoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/odes.pdf

Chalesworth writes:
"The odes and psalms in Manuscript Gregory 1505 are not the same as the Odes of Solomon."
(Charlesworth, Sacra Scriptura: How "Non-Canonical" Texts Functioned, p. 110)

Interesting observation by the writer:
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Compare, ...Psalm 1:2 with Ode 41:6 and compare Psalm 84:10 with Ode 4:5.  Like the most of the Psalter, the Odes reflect joy and rejoicing especially in the appearance and triumphal life of the 'long awaited Messiah.'

The odes reflect early Jewish Christian perspectives and theology most clearly in ... Ode 19 that exalts the conception by theVirgin (compare with the Ascension of Isaiah11.14) and claims that the birth waspainless to Mary in contrast to Eve’s child-bearing.

One of the parts of the Odes says:
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I am putting on the love of the Lord…
I have been united to Him, because the lover has found the Beloved.
Because I love Him that is the Son, I shall become a son.
Indeed, whoever is joined to Him who is immortal, shall truly be immortal.
This concept can be found in the concept of communion in patristic Christianity, but the expression is interesting particularly as it's in a pre-Bar-Kohba document.

I sympathize with this theory on the Making History Now website:
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there is nothing to link them to Solomon except by analogy of phrasing with the Song of Solomon in the Bible. For these Odes are clearly Christian (at one time scholars thought Gnostic, but the consensus today is that they are orthodox) and praise the person and attributes of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the titular use of Solomon’s name was a way of safeguarding the documents in a volatile political time when radical Jews were highly suspicious of Jewish followers of Christ.

What makes the Odes particularly exciting is that they clearly emanate from a community of Jewish disciples of Jesus, almost certainly from Syria. Church history from earliest times has majored on Gentile Christianity to the extent that the average reader can forget that Jewish believers continued at all beyond the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
https://makinghistorynow.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/ancient-odes-to-jesus-part-1/
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 09:58:33 PM by rakovsky »

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #139 on: February 21, 2017, 09:47:38 PM »
Where have you heard before of the spreading of the Holy Ghost around the world as a flood, like it is in Ode 6?:
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1 As the hand moves over the harp, and the strings speak, 2 So speaks in my members the Spirit of the Lord, and I speak by His love. 3 For it destroys what is foreign and everything that is bitter: 4 For thus it was from the beginning and will be to the end, that nothing should be His adversary, and nothing should stand up against Him. 5 The Lord has multiplied the knowledge of Himself, and is zealous that these things should be known, which by His grace have been given to us. 6 And the praise of His name He gave us: our spirits praise His holy Spirit. 7 For there went forth a stream and became a river great and broad; 8 For it flooded and broke up everything and it brought (water) to the Temple; 9 And the restrainers of the children of men were not able to restrain it, nor the arts of those whose business it is to restrain waters;

10 For it spread over the face of the whole earth, and filled everything: and all the thirsty upon earth were given to drink of it;
11 And thirst was relieved and quenched: for from the Most High the draught was given.
12 Blessed then are the ministers of that draught who are entrusted with that water
13 They have assuaged the dry lips, and the will that had fainted they have raised up;


14 And souls that were near departing they have caught back from death: 15 And limbs that had fallen they straightened and set up: 16 They gave strength for their feebleness and light to their eyes: 17 For everyone knew them in the Lord, and they lived by the water of life forever. Hallelujah.
There was a Great Flood that destroyed mankind in Genesis, so maybe that foreshadows a saving great "flood" of Christian Spirit?

Do the underlined parts imply Universal Salvation?


Ode 7 talks about Jesus being seen by "seers". Is this a reference to some apostles' visions of Jesus, like the 500 brethren whom Paul mentioned in his letter to the Corinthians, or like Stephen and Paul himself?
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14 He hath given Him to be seen of them that are His, in order that they may recognize Him that made them: and that they might not suppose that they came of themselves:
15 For knowledge He hath appointed as its way, hath widened it and extended it; and brought to all perfection; 16 And set over it the traces of His light, and I walked therein from the beginning even to the end. 17 For by Him it was wrought, and He was resting in the Son, and for its salvation He will take hold of everything. 18 And the Most High shall be known in His Saints, to announce to those that have songs of the coming of the Lord: 19 That they may go forth to meet Him, and may sing to Him with joy and with the harp of many tones:
20 The seers shall come before Him and they shall be seen before Him, 21 And they shall praise the Lord for His love: because He is near and beholdeth.

Here is where Ode 8 talks about the Lord's "breasts":
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15 For I do not turn away my face from them that are mine;
16 For I know them and before they came into being I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set my seal:
17 I fashioned their members: my own breasts I prepared for them, that they might drink my holy milk and live thereby

Is Ode 9 personifying Victory in the same way that Proverbs makes a personification of Wisdom?:
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13 For their book is victory which is yours. And she (Victory) sees you before her and wills that you shall be saved. Hallelujah.

I suppose the "worlds" in Ode 12 refer to heaven and earth?:
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5 For the swiftness of the Word is inexpressible, and like its expression is its swiftness and force; 6 And its course knows no limit. Never doth it fail, but it stands sure, and it knows not descent nor the way of it. 7 For as its work is, so is its end: for it is light and the dawning of thought;
8 And by it the worlds talk one to the other; and in the Word there were those that were silent;
9 And from it came love and concord; and they spake one to the other whatever was theirs; and they were penetrated by the Word

I agree with CARM that #13 is "A strange little Ode":
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1 Behold! the Lord is our mirror: open the eyes and see them in Him: and learn the manner of your face:
2 And tell forth praise to His spirit: and wipe off the filth from your face: and love His holiness, and clothe yourselves therewith:

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #140 on: February 22, 2017, 02:56:48 PM »
I had never read about these Odes, the relation to canonical texts is very impressive.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #141 on: February 22, 2017, 04:18:57 PM »
I had never read about these Odes, the relation to canonical texts is very impressive.
+1

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #142 on: February 23, 2017, 07:51:34 PM »
I wonder if "her" in Ode 17 is a mistranslation, and if not, then what does it refer to?:
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1 I was crowned by my God: my crown is living: 2 And I was justified in my Lord: my incorruptible salvation is He. 3 I was loosed from vanity, and I was not condemned: 4 The choking bonds were cut off by her hands: I received the face and the fashion of a new person: and I walked in it and was saved; 5 And the thought of truth led me on. And I walked after it and did not wander:

Ode 19 feels odd when it talks about milking the father:
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1 A cup of milk was offered to me: and I drank it in the sweetness of the delight of the Lord. 2 The Son is the cup and He who was milked is the Father: 3 And the Holy Spirit milked Him: because His breasts were full, and it was necessary for Him that His milk should be sufficiently released; 4 And the Holy Spirit opened His bosom and mingled the milk from the two breasts of the Father and gave the mixture to the world without their knowing: 5 And they who receive in its fulness are the ones on the right hand.

6 The Spirit opened the womb of the Virgin and she received conception and brought forth; and the Virgin became a Mother with many mercies; 7 And she travailed and brought forth a Son, without incurring pain; 8 And because she was not sufficiently prepared, and she had not sought a midwife (for He brought her to bear) she brought forth, as if she were a man, of her own will; 9 And she brought Him forth openly, and acquired Him with great dignity, 10 And loved Him in His swaddling clothes and guarded Him kindly, and showed Him in Majesty. Hallelujah.
The Milk appears to refer to the Holy Spirit or else to something like Grace.


CARM says that Ode 21 gives an interpretation of the coat of skins in Gen. 3. Genesis says what happened after God found that Adam ate Eve's apple:
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20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
I don't see how this ode refers to Genesis 3. Here is what the ode says:
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2 And I put off darkness and clothed myself with light, 3 And my soul acquired a body free from sorrow or affliction or pains

The Odes sometimes switch between persons (eg. 2nd to 3rd person) in disregard of normal literary convention, like in Ode 22, where Jesus is apparently the speaker, talking about and then addressing God the Father:
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5. He that overthrew by my hands the dragon with seven heads: and thou hast set me over his roots that I might destroy his seed.
6. Thou wast there and didst help me, and in every place thy name was a rampart to me.

CARM says about Ode 23: "The reference to the sealed document sent by God is one of the great mysteries of the collection." I think that the sealed document could be the Bible, the Gospel, or else a metaphor for God's "Word". Most directly it says that the "letter" is God's "thought", and then in the rest of the Ode it describes what God's "thought" will do:
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1 Joy is of the saints! and who shall put it on, but they alone? 2 Grace is of the elect! and who shall receive it except those who trust in it from the beginning? 3 Love is of the elect? And who shall put it on except those who have possessed it from the beginning? 4 Walk ye in the knowledge of the Most High without grudging: to His exultation and to the perfection of His knowledge. 5 And His thought was like a letter; His will descended from on high, and it was sent like an arrow which is violently from the bow: 6 And many hands rushed to the letter to seize it and to take and read it: 7 And it escaped their fingers and they were affrighted at it and at the seal that was upon it. 8 Because it was not permitted to them to loose its seal: for the power that was over the seal was greater than they. 9 But those who saw it went after the letter that they might know where it would alight, and who should read it and who should hear it. 10 But a wheel received it and came over it: 11 And there was with it a sign of the Kingdom and of the Government: 12 And everything which tried to move the wheel it mowed and cut down: 13 And it gathered the multitude of adversaries, and bridged the rivers and crossed over and rooted up many forests and made a broad path. 14 The head went down to the feet for down to the feet ran the wheel, and that which was a sign upon it. 15 The letter was one of command, for there were included in it all districts; 16 And there was seen at its head, the head which was revealed even the Son of Truth from the Most High Father, 17 And He inherited and took possession of everything. And the thought of many was brought to nought. 18 And all the apostates hasted and fled away. And those who persecuted and were enraged became extinct, 19 And the letter was a great volume, which was wholly written by the finger of God: 20 And the name of the Father was on it and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to rule for ever and ever.

Ode 24's references to the corrupt getting life and those who were lifted up in their hearts being rejected is confusing:
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And they perished, in the thought those that had existed from ancient times; 6 For they were corrupt from the beginning; and the end of their corruption was life: 7 And every one of them that was imperfect perished: for it was not possible to give them a word that they might remain: 8 And the Lord destroyed the imaginations of all them that had not the truth with them. 9 For they who in their hearts were lifted up were deficient in wisdom and so they were rejected, because the truth was not with them.

Ode 25 is also confusing about removing the skin. Maybe it refers to the soul leaving the body after death:
Quote
7 Thou didst set me a lamp at my right hand and at my left: and in me there shall be nothing that is not bright: 8 And I was clothed with the covering of thy Spirit, and thou didst remove from me my raiment of skin;

Interesting observation in Ode 27 about praying with outstretched arms:
1 I stretched out my hands and sanctified my Lord:
2 For the extension of my hands is His sign:
3 And my expansion is the upright tree [or cross].


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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #143 on: February 23, 2017, 08:08:12 PM »
CARM says that Ode 21 gives an interpretation of the coat of skins in Gen. 3. Genesis says what happened after God found that Adam ate Eve's apple:
Quote
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
I don't see how this ode refers to Genesis 3. Here is what the ode says:
Quote
2 And I put off darkness and clothed myself with light, 3 And my soul acquired a body free from sorrow or affliction or pains

Perhaps they mean the bit that results because of the passage in Genesis? The "coats" or "garments" of skin in Genesis are, in the eyes of many Fathers, symbolic of the taking on by humanity of hardships, sicknesses, bodily deterioration and grosser processes, etc. after the fall. Our reception of new garments and transformation of our earthly bodies in the afterlife is a reversal of the process humans underwent at the time of the fall, the glorification God had planned for people.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #144 on: February 23, 2017, 09:31:47 PM »
Perhaps they mean the bit that results because of the passage in Genesis? The "coats" or "garments" of skin in Genesis are, in the eyes of many Fathers, symbolic of the taking on by humanity of hardships, sicknesses, bodily deterioration and grosser processes, etc. after the fall. Our reception of new garments and transformation of our earthly bodies in the afterlife is a reversal of the process humans underwent at the time of the fall, the glorification God had planned for people.
Good explanation.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #145 on: February 24, 2017, 05:05:32 PM »
I think Ode 31 has references to Isaiah 53, based on different keywords:
Quote
1 The abysses were dissolved before the Lord: and darkness was destroyed by His appearance: 2 Error went astray and perished at His hand: and folly found no path to walk in, and was submerged by the truth of the Lord. 3 He opened His mouth and spake grace and joy: and He spake a new song of praise to His name: 4 And He lifted up His voice to the Most High and offered the sons that were with Him. 5 And His face was justified, for thus His holy Father had given to Him. 6 Come forth, ye that have been afflicted and receive joy, and possess your souls by His grace; and take to you immortal life. 7 And they made me a debtor when I rose up, me who had been a debtor: and they divided my spoil, though nothing was due to them. 8 But I endured and held my peace and was silent as if not moved by them. 9 But I stood unshaken like a firm rock which is beaten by the waves and endures. 10 An I bore their bitterness for humility's sake: 11 In order, that I might redeem my people, and inherit it and that I might not make void my promises to the fathers to whom I promised the salvation of their seed. Hallelujah
It suggests that in Isaiah 53-54 when it talks about dividing the plunder, "seeing seed", and in Isaiah 54:3:
Quote
For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,

Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
Quote
5 The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #146 on: February 24, 2017, 05:54:05 PM »
Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
Quote
5 The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.

If I had to guess... they might be talking about the concept that evil has no substance in itself, and is merely the absence or distortion of good, and so for those with "a simple heart," whose "thoughts are upright," and who is "surrounded on every singe by beauty," the good things they experience on earth are through grace, and thus the good below is the same as the the good above, and evil things are just the "imagination of those without knowledge." The word "imagination" seems to not quite fit right, but that's my best guess anyway.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 05:54:26 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #147 on: February 24, 2017, 06:28:12 PM »
Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
Quote
5 The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.

If I had to guess... they might be talking about the concept that evil has no substance in itself, and is merely the absence or distortion of good, and so for those with "a simple heart," whose "thoughts are upright," and who is "surrounded on every singe by beauty," the good things they experience on earth are through grace, and thus the good below is the same as the the good above, and evil things are just the "imagination of those without knowledge." The word "imagination" seems to not quite fit right, but that's my best guess anyway.
Yes, this is what it seems on context. Harris translates it as "below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by the ignorant" (Lit. "those in whom there is no knowledge"). He doesn't give the original wording, and I can't find the original Syriac anywhere. He interprets the Ode's message as being "that it is possible to rise out of the apparent world into the real world, and that all hard things become easy when the soul itself is right".
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 06:32:36 PM by RaphaCam »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #148 on: February 24, 2017, 06:55:33 PM »
Thanks for trying to answer it.

"What is above" would be the "heavenly" because it's above, ie. spiritual, holy, divine.
What is "below would mean either what's on earth below heaven or else whats in hell, below.

When it says "everything is above" it sounds like it means everything that exists is in the heavenly sphere.

"The imagination of those that are without knowledge" would be the imagining or illusion of those who lack the Christian "gnosis".

It reminds me of the idea in Advaita Hinduism that the "absolute reality" is Brahman, the creative "Nature", whereas the world is Maya, illusion. In Hinduism, a key goal is to escape the material "illusory" world.

Quote
Advaita:
Reality - Any entity which is finite, temporal or can be defined using attributes is treated as unreal and the spirit (aatman) is supposed to be the only real entity. The spirit is attribute-less and infinite by definition. Any entity outside the realm of the spirit is Maya (unreal, finite, temporal and illusory).
------------------------------------------
In Adwaita, emphasis is laid on transcendental God as pure consciousness. It has more to do with the subjective nature of God. All that is objective i.e the creation is discarded as Maya or as an illusion, in spite of the fact that Maya also owes its existence to brahman.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-Dvaita-Advaita-and-Visishtadvaita

Quote
God is,…..we must remember…. the creator and is’ the TOTAL universe i.e. all the good and even the bad have to depend on him for its existence.. Only he can let bad be created and only he can dissolve it. …….So, Bad and Sin, is just an illusion in our minds and god is beyond it (nirgun)…….. He perhaps lets bad exist in the gross world of maya (Hindu\Buddhist word for illusion that this entire universe is), for us to be punished by the bad, we create by our own wrong choices and actions
http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Reinterpreting-Dwaita-versus-Adwaita-1.aspx

Advaita Hinduism can be either pantheistic or AFAIK atheistic. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand is definitely not pantheistic - God and His Creation are both real and separate.

The opposite of Advaita philosophy is Dvaita philosophy in Hinduism, which is non-pantheistic theism.

According to the ESamskriti page, the famous Dvaita Hindu teacher, Madhva, rejected Advaitism and its theory of Maya, and instead proposed that God and the Creation were two separate real entities:
Quote
The scheme of five-fold difference spelled out by Madhva implies that this diversity of the world, perceived by our senses, is not an illusion or magic or Maya. Madhva is never tired of quoting numerous statements from scriptures, confirming the creation, preservation, regulation and control of the world of matter and souls by a Supreme Divinity. 
http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Reinterpreting-Dwaita-versus-Adwaita-1.aspx

Quote
The theory of māyā was developed by the ninth-century Advaita Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara. However, competing theistic Dvaita scholars contested Shankara's theory,[73] and stated that Shankara did not offer a theory of the relationship between Brahman and Māyā.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(illusion)

Another writer says:
Quote
According to Dvaita philosophy souls are eternal and are not created by God, yet, like maya or other fundamental realities they are not independent but are dependent on the Supreme God for their existence. Souls are many and uncountable. How come the individual souls which are mingled with Maya (māyān + veshtita = mayanveshtita, meaning, enveloped or completely covered with maya) can be of the same level of the Supreme God which is ever transcendental to maya and also to whom maya even cannot touch. Maya, though revocably but strongly, binds the souls but cannot bind God, it cannot even touch God.
http://www.justforkidsonly.com/truth/?cat=813

See also the relationship between avidya (ignorance) and maya (illusion) in Hinduism:
Quote
In Hinduism, Avidya includes confusing the mundane reality to be the only reality, and it as a permanent though it is ever changing.[3] Its doctrines assert that there is a spiritual reality consisting of Atman-Brahman, one that is the true, eternal, imperishable reality beyond time.
...
The effect of avidya is to suppress the real nature of things and present something else in its place. In effect it is not different from Maya (pronounced Māyā) or illusion. Avidya relates to the individual Self (Ātman), while Maya is an adjunct of the cosmic Self (Brahman).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avidya_(Hinduism)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 07:02:32 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #149 on: March 08, 2017, 02:07:17 AM »
Ode 36 might have the composer of the songs refer to himself as "named" the Son of God, which could refer to his union with Christ:
Quote
1 I rested in the Spirit of the Lord: and the Spirit raised me on high:
2 And made me stand on my feet in the height of the Lord, before His perfection and His glory, while I was praising Him by the composition of His songs.
3 The Spirit brought me forth before the face of the Lord: and, although a son of man, I was named the Illuminate, the Son of God:
Another possibility I suppose is that the "composer" is Christ himself and through inspiration transmits his songs to his followers who sing them.

Ode 42 says:
Quote
1 I stretched out my hands and approached my Lord:
2 For the stretching of my hands is His sign:
3 My expansion is the outspread tree which was set up on the way of the Righteous One.
4 And I became of no account to those who did not take hold of me and I shall be with those who love me.
5 All my persecutors are dead; and they sought after me who hoped in me, because I was alive:
6 And I rose up and am with them; and I will speak by their mouths.
7 For they have despised those who persecuted them
Ode 42 has a few confusing aspects.
1. The identity of the singer
Perhaps the singer is a Christian who is so spiritually united to Christ that he takes on many identical qualities. This could be the case if in Ode 36, the composer is called "Son of God". Another reason the singer might not be exactly the same person as Christ is because he writes: "My expansion is the outspread tree which was set up on the way of the Righteous One".
This could imply that the singer is not the same person as "the Righteous One". After all, ouldn't the "tree which was set up on the way of the Righteous One" be the Cross set up on the way of Christ?
Alternately, maybe the singer is Christ himself because of other things in the Ode, as it says many things attributable to Christ, like:
Quote
21 And those who had died ran towards me: and they cried and said, Son of God, have pity on us, and do with us according to thy kindness.
Or maybe the singer's identity switches back and forth?

2. When it says "all my persecutors are dead", does this mean that the Ode was composed sometime after 70-100 AD, by which time the Sanhedrin leaders would have died?

3. How can it say of Christians: "I will speak by their mouths. For they have despised those who persecuted them"? Can despising your persecutors be a Christian teaching?

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #150 on: March 08, 2017, 04:13:27 PM »
Lives of the Prophets
Quote
The work may have been known by the author of some of the Pauline Epistles, as there are similarities in the descriptions of the fates of the prophets, although without naming the individuals concerned.

There is not consensus among scholars about the original language.[4] Torrey[5] proposed Hebrew, other authors proposed Aramaic.[6] The preferred use of quotations from the Septuagint suggests a Greek original with semitic coloring.
Authenticating the dating is highly problematic due to the Christian transmission and presumed expansions. Most scholars consider this work to be of Jewish origin dating the 1st century CE. Torrey[5] suggests a date before 106 CE.

Jeremias[6] in his [1958] study examines both the archaeological and the literary evidence, in particular the Herod architectural activity and the attestations of Matthew 23:29 and Luke 11:47, and considers the Lives as a witness of popular devotion in the 1st century. The theme of prophets as intercessors for people long after the prophet's death is also present. A major theme is martyrdom of the prophets: six prophets are said to have been martyred.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lives_of_the_Prophets

Quote
The author, who was apparently more a compiler of legends—some of which he missed (cf. L. Ginzberg, Legende, ad. loc. cit.)—probably lived in Jerusalem, since there is convincing evidence that he was intimately familiar with Jerusalem, Judaean, and Palestinian topography and geography. The Jeremiah legends, however, betray an Egyptian provenance. Christian additions abound in the various recensions, but the only ancient ones are in the life of Jeremiah, verses 7-8 and 10 (cf. only vaguely possible Christian interpolations in Hosea, vs. 2, and in Habakkuk, vss. 11-14)."
(The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 178-177)

Flores Florentino notes in his book "Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish Studies" that it has many translations, so it was once likely widespread (eg. Latin, Syriac, Ethiopian).

Quote
Each section uses legendary and biblical sources to summarize the life of a particular prophet. The Lives of the Prophets includes such typical Hellenistic religious motifs as miracles and divine epiphanies. Many of the stories are related to, if not dependent upon, other apocryphal works—e.g., the life of Isaiah resembles the Martyrdom of Isaiah, the life of Jeremiah recalls the account of the Ark of the Covenant in the Second Book of the Maccabees, and the life of Habakkuk is related to Bel and the Dragon in Additions to Daniel.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Lives-of-the-Prophets

Torrey's translation with footnotes:
http://www.summascriptura.com/html/lives_of_the_prophets_torrey.html

Quote
The Stoning of Jeremiah by "Jews" in Egypt is a well known extrabiblical tradition, an example of a tradition more likely Christian in origin.
...
Satran's primary conclusion... is that only two of the death accounts, isaiah and Zechariah ben Jehoiada are demonstrably connected to pre-Christian traditions.

Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament As Part of Christian Literature:
By Marinus De Jonge

Satran considers the story of Daniel telling the Babylonian king to take a diet of soaked pulse to be a sign that Christian elements are deeply embedded in the text, since such a diet, he writes, reflects Lenten Byzantine practices. He concludes that the work is therefore an early Byzantine one that incorporates earlier Jewish stories.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #151 on: March 10, 2017, 08:17:42 AM »
Torrey's translation of Lives of the Prophets says in the chapter about Jeremiah:
Quote
7. Jeremiah also gave a sign to the priests of Egypt,[11] that their idols would be shaken and their gods made with hands would all collapse, when there should arrive in Egypt a virgin bearing a child of divine appearance.
8. Wherefore even to the present time they honor a virgin mother, and placing a babe in a manger they bow down to it.

FOOTNOTE
[11] The following tradition was probably narrated by native Egyptians resident in Jerusalem, see the Introduction.
I wonder what Torrey wrote about this in his introduction. I wonder what the  collapsing of the idols upon the virgin's arrival refers to. I wonder what the honoring of the virgin in a manger refers to, Isis and Horus?

It also has a neat story of Jeremiah hiding the Ark of the Covenant:
Quote
9This prophet, before the destruction of the temple, took possession of the ark of the law and the things within it, and caused them to be swallowed up in a rocky cliff, and he said to those who were present:
10"The Lord departed from Sinai into heaven, and he will again come with might; and this shall be for you the sign of his appearance, when all the Gentiles worship a piece of wood."
...
12. And in the resurrection the ark will rise first, and come forth from the rock, and will be placed on Mount Sinai; and all the saints will be assembled to it there, awaiting the Lord and fleeing from the enemy wishing to destroy them.

13. He sealed in the rock with his finger the name of God, and the writing was as though carved with iron. A cloud then covered the name; and no one knows the place, nor can the writing be read, to the present day and even to the end.

Kind of interesting story about Daniel and the Babylonian king turning into a beast:
Quote
4. He made great supplication in behalf of Nebuchadnezzar, whose son Belshazzar besought him for aid at the time when the king became a beast of the field, lest he should perish. 5. For his head and foreparts were those of an ox, his legs and hinder parts those of a lion.
6. The meaning of this marvel was revealed to the prophet: the king became a beast because of his self-indulgence and his stubbornness.
7. It is the manner of tyrants, that in their youth they come under the yoke of Satan;28 in their latter years they become wild beasts, snatching, destroying, smiting, and slaying.
...
12. There were many who went out from the city to see him; Daniel alone had no wish to see him, but during all the time of his transformation he was in prayer for him.
13. He declared that the king would be restored to human form, but they did not believe him.

Daniel's hagiography ends with a future prophecy:
Quote
21. He appointed a sign in the mountains which are above Babylon: When the mountain on the north shall smoke, the end of Babylon will come; when it shall burn as with fire, the end of all the earth will be at hand. If the mountain on the south shall flow with water, Israel will return to its land; if it shall run blood, it portends a slaughter brought by Satan on all the earth.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #152 on: March 10, 2017, 05:14:38 PM »
The story of Jonah in Lives of the Prophets says that Jonah was the young man whom Elijah raised. The reason it gives is that Elijah ended up staying with Jonah in gentile Tyre because they were fellow Israelites:
Quote
2After he had been cast on shore by the whale and had made his journey to Nineveh, on his return he did not stay in his own land, but took his mother and settled in Tyre, a country of foreign peoples.
3For he said, "In this way I will take away my reproach, that I prophesied falsely against the great city Nineveh."

4. Elijah was at that time rebuking the house of Ahab, and having called a famine upon the land he fled. Coming to the region of Tyre he found the widow and her son, for he himself could not lodge with the uncircumcised.
5. He brought her a blessing; and when her child died, God raised him from the dead through Elijah, for he wished to show him46 that it is not possible to flee from God.
I'm not sure what to make of that. IIRC, the Bible never specified whom the risen youth was.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #153 on: March 11, 2017, 11:25:55 AM »
The story of Nathan in Lives of the Prophets mentions a case of synchronicity by which Nathan understood what had happened:
Quote
1. He, David's prophet, was from Gibeon, of a Hivite clan,66 and it was he who taught the king the law of the Lord.
2. He foresaw David's sin with Bathsheba, and set out in haste to warn him, but Satan ("Beliar") thwarted his attempt. He found lying by the road the naked body of a man who had been slain;
3. and while he was detained by this duty, he knew that in that night the king had committed the sin;
4. so he turned back to Gibeon in sorrow. Then when David caused the death of Bathsheba's husband, the Lord sent Nathan to convict him.
Synchronicity in Carl Jung's theory is when two events occur which do not appear casually related but nonetheless directly related in meaning, like if a person talks about their dream of a green beetle, and at that moment a green beetle shows up. Jung gave something like that as an example.

Lives of the Prophets gives a story about the golden calf bellowing extremely loudly at Elisha's birth:

Quote
1. He was from Abel-meholah, of the territory of Reuben.
2. When he was born, in Gilgal,[87] a marvelous thing happened: the golden calf bellowed so loudly that the shrill sound was heard in Jerusalem;
3. and the priest announced by Urim and Thummim[88] that a prophet had been born to Israel who should destroy their graven and molten idols.

Footnote
87
Gilgal a seat of idol worship, Hosea 4:15; 9:15; 12:ll, Amos 4:5; 5:5.
This passage in the Lives is the oldest witness to the belief, found in the writings of certain Church fathers, that one of Jeroboam's two golden calves was set up in Gilgal instead of Dan.
1 Kings 12 notes: "One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other."

For more on the story of the golden calves, see
Jeroboam's golden calves at Bethel and Dan, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_calf#Jeroboam.27s_golden_calves_at_Bethel_and_Dan

How could Lives of the Prophets have made such a Biblically-glaring mistake on this? The only way I can think to explain this is that the calf was moved at some point from Dan to Gilgal.


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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #154 on: March 12, 2017, 10:29:51 AM »
Regarding the Apocalypse of Elijah, my first main question is whether it was a 1st-2nd c. Christian work, or if it was purely a nonChristian writing that in the 3rd c. received interpolations and revisions by Christians (as in the 3rd century AD Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah).

Quote
The Apocalypse of Elijah is an anonymous apocryphal work presenting itself as a revelation given by an angel. Two versions are known today, a Coptic Christian fragmentary version and a Hebrew Jewish version.

Origen, Ambrosiaster, and Euthalius
ascribe I Cor. 2:9 to it. If they are right, the apocalypse is pre-Pauline. Epiphanius[1] ascribes to this work Eph. 5:14.

The two extant versions are thought to be derived from the same original, which would be the one quoted by Paul. The Coptic version has been Christianized and the Hebrew version abridged.

The Christian version is essentially a redaction of five originally separate works [including:
Quote
    An account of the future arrival of a "son of lawlessness", later re-edited by a Christian to refer to the Antichrist. It describes the Antichrist/son-of-lawlessness in detail, including mentioning that his eyebrows will reach to his ears, he is skinny legged, young but bald bar a tuft of grey hair at the front, and that he has a bare spot on the front of his hands.
...
    An account of the destruction of the "son of lawlessness" after the last judgement, later re-edited by a Christian to refer to the Antichrist.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_of_Elijah

 I Cor. 2:9 says: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

Eph. 5:14: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."


Quote
Two works bear this name and should be distinguished as 1 Elijah and 2 Elijah. The first is extant in Coptic fragments. In its present form the pseudepigraphon is Christian and dates from the third century. Most scholars concur that it derives from an earlier Jewish work, and J.-M. Rosenstiehl (no. 706, pp. 9, 75f.) concludes that the Grundschrift was composed in Egypt during the first century B.C.
The second, 2 Elijah, is extant in rabbinic Hebrew; ... Scholars have generally rejected Buttenwieser's claim that this work is as early as A.D. 260, although there are earlier Jewish traditions preserved in it.

Clement of Rome and Clement of Alexandria may have quoted from the early Jewish composition

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/apocelijah.html

Quote
Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah
Estimated Range of Dating: 250-350 A.D.
The Coptic (Sahidic and Achmimic) versions go back to a Greek original text, of which we possess a papyrus fragment with six lines; but with this nothing much can be done.

An apocryphon of Elijah is frequently mentioned in early Church literature, mostly in connection with the saying in 1 Cor. 2:9, of which Origen already affirms that it comes from an apocryphon of Elijah (cf. Schrage, op. cit. 195). Now on the one hand this saying is evidently a logion which frequently crops up (cf. Gos. Thom. log. 17; on this see H.-Ch. Puech in NTApo I, 217). On the other hand this logion does not occur in the extant Elijah apocrypha."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/copticelijah.html

This is quite curious. On one hand, the church fathers are saying that Paul in 1 Cor 2 quoted from the apocryphal book of Elijah, yet the work we have here does not contain the quote Paul used.

This writer, O. Jackson, seems to suggest that these therefore are two different documents about Elijah: the one seen by Paul and the available Coptic one:
Quote
Of the history of the book we know very little concrete external evidence, indeed much of the external evidence regarding an Apocalypse of Elijah seems to be in relation to a completely different document.
https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/otp/abstracts/apocelijah/

Another option is that Paul was paraphrasing a passage in Isaiah 64 when Paul wrote: "However, as it is written:   "No eye has seen,      no ear has heard, [etc]"",

This writer claims that Apocalypse of Elijah reveals a belief in the rapture among early Christians?
Quote
The Rapture In The Apocalypse Of Elijah
Francis X. Gumerlock

Many evangelicals argue that the pretribulation rapture is a theological construction of J. N. Darby (d. 1882) or his nineteenth-century contemporary Margaret Macdonald and that prior to the last two hundred years it was unheard of in Christian history.1 However, within the last few decades several discoveries have surfaced beliefs similar to pretribulationism... The Apocalypse of Elijah is a third-century treatise about the events of the end times, reconstructed in its entirety from fragments in Greek and several Coptic dialects.... Moreover, the text is not a writing of a Gnostic group, but arose among a community of chiliast (millenarian) Christians living in upper Egypt.
http://www.galaxie.com/article/bsac170-680-03
 :-\ ??? :o

I can't find any writers saying that this work Apocalypse of Elijah was a 1st-2nd c. AD Christian work or that there was a Christian version from that time.

Christianized, Coptic Version can be found here online:
http://www.3-in-1.net/Pseudepigrapha/Apocalypse%20of%20Elijah/The%20Apocalypse%20of%20Elijah.htm
And here: https://alinsuciu.com/2013/01/20/guest-post-anthony-alcock-the-apocalypse-of-elijah-english-translation-made-from-the-text-in-georg-steindorff-die-apokalypse-des-elias-1899/

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #155 on: March 13, 2017, 12:28:03 PM »
About the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah:
Quote
The earliest section, regarding chapters 3:13-4:22, was composed at about the end of the first century A.D. or perhaps early second century and is believed to be a text of Jewish origins which was later on redacted by Christian scribes.[3] The date of the Vision of Isaiah is rather more difficult to determine, but it is no more recent than the third century, since Saint Jerome (c. 347-420 AD) cites a fragment of the work in some of his writings, but from internal evidence it seems that the text is to be placed before the end of the second century AD.
...
The extant complete manuscripts of the Ascension of Isaiah include a brief account of Jesus' nativity, birth, and crucifixion (11:2-22). However, according to Jonathan Knight, "the problem with chapter 11 is that these traditions are found in only one branch of the textual tradition, that represented by the Ethiopic translation (E). The Slavonic and one of the two Latin translations (S and L2) replace them with a short summary of the earthly appearance so that their authenticity—including the Marian material—is disputed." ... The method of Isaiah's death (sawn in half by Manasseh) is agreed upon by both the Babylonian Talmud and Jerusalem Talmud, and is probably alluded to by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:37).
...
[Isaiah]ascended to the firmament and notes, "there I saw Sammael [the Devil] and his hosts, and there was great fighting therein. ...as above so on the earth [below] also; for the likeness of that which is in the firmament is here on the earth."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Isaiah

The idea that the likeness in the firmament has the likeness of what's on earth seems a bit curious.

I'm not sure what to make of this claim about Docetism:
Quote
E. Norelli suggests on the contrary that the whole text, even if written in different times, is the expression of a docetic Christian prophetic group related with the group attacked by Ignatius of Antioch in his letters to the Smyrnaeans and to the Trallians.[12] According with this scholar chapters 6-11 (the Vision) are older than chapters 1-5 (which represent a later pessimistic introduction to the original Vision), the date of composition is the end of the 1st century AD, and the narrative of Mary's pregnancy (AI 11:2-5) is independent from the Gospel of Matthew.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Isaiah

The Early Writings website notes:
Quote
James Charlesworth writes:  it is conceivable that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews knew the Martyrdom of Isaiah (see Heb 11:37), but it should not be forgotten that Isaiah's martyrdom is also recorded in the Lives of the Prophets
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html
Heb 11:37 says about the prophets: "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented".

Quote
Emil Schürer writes: the circumstances that the vision and the vision alone is all that has come down to us in the Latin version, goes to confirm the assumption that this vision of itself originally formed an independent whole."
"An apocryphal work containing an account of the martyrdom of Isaiah is repeatedly mentioned by Origen. He simply calls it an αποκρυφον, tells us nothing of its contents beyond the statement that Isaiah had been sawn asunder, and plainly describes it as a Jewish production. Again in the Constitutiones apostol. reference is made merely in a general way to an Apocryphum Ησαιου. On the other hand, in the list of the canon edited by Montfaucon, Pitra, and others there is a more precise mention of a Ησαιου ορασις. Epiphanius knows of an αναβατικον Ησαιου, which was in use among the Archnotics and the Hieracites. Jerome speaks of an Ascensio Isaiae. It is extremely probable that these references are not all to one and the same work, that, on the contrary, Origen had in view a purely Jewish production, while the others referred to a Christian version of it, or to some Christian work quite independent of it. For there exists a Christian Apocryphum on Isaiah which, at all events, is made up of a variety of elements, though the oldest of them may be pretty clearly seen to be a Jewish history of the martyrdom of Isaiah.
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html

Quote
The Archontics, or Archontici, were a Gnostic sect that existed in Palestine and Armenia, who arose towards the close of the 2nd century CE. They were thus called from the Greek word ἄρχοντες, "principalities", or "rulers", by reason that they held the world to have been created and ruled by malevolent Archons.
...
The Archontics held that there were Seven Heavens, ruled by the Demiurge surrounded by Archons begotten by him, who are the jailers of the souls. In the eighth heaven dwells the supreme Mother of light. The king or tyrant of the seventh heaven is Sabaoth, the god of the Jews, who is the father of the Devil.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archontics
Ascension of Isaiah though is not really an Archontic work because the Archontics saw the Jewish God as a tyrant, whereas the Ascension of Isaiah sees him as good.

Quote
HIERACITES, a denomination in the third century; so called from their leader Hierax, a philosopher and magician of Egypt, who maintained that the principal object of Christ's ministry, was the promulgation of a new law, more severe and perfect than that of Moses. Hence he concluded that the use of flesh, wine, wedlock, and of other things agreeable to the outward senses, which had been permitted under the Mosaic dispensation, was absolutely prohibited by Christ....  He also denied the doctrine of the resurrection.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_Dictionary_of_All_Religions_and_Religious_Denominations/Hieracites

Due to the last part, the versions of Ascension of Isaiah containing the resurrection can't be Hieracitic. Plus, the original versions of Ascension of Isaiah were written before the 3rd century and preceded Hierax.

Quote
Jonathan Knight comments on the date of the Ascension of Isaiah: "It is difficult to date the Ascension of Isaiah with precision but helpful to specify some parameters which can determine any decision. It is argued here that the correspondence between Pliny and Trajan in c. 112 CE explains many of the allusions in the First Vision. This means that the apocalypse was probably not written before the second decade of the second century CE, but it is difficult to say how much later than this it appeared. Perhaps a few years must be allowed for Pliny's procedure to have been adopted by governors in other parts of the Roman empire. Given that the First Vision alludes to the myth of Nero's return (4.4), as does Book 5 of the Sibylline Oracles (see below), the material may have been written as late as the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132-135 CE)
www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html


Quote
M. A. Knibb writes:

    There are a number of indications which point to the view that 3:13-4:22 was composed at about the end of the first century A.D. This section of the Ascension is clearly later than the death of Nero in A.D. 68 because it refers to the expectation that Nero would come again as the "Antichrist" (see 4:2b-4a); presumably a little time would have been needed for this belief to develop, and this suggests a date at the earliest toward the end of the first century. On the other hand, the picture of the corruption of the Church which is given in 3:21-23 invites comparison with the descriptions of the Church given in 1 and 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, and 1 Clement 3; the similarities with these writings likewise suggest that 3:13-4:22 dates from about the end of the first century. Two other pieces of evidence also point towards this date. First, the author of 4 Baruch 9:18, 20, a work attributed to the early second century, betrays a knowledge of chapters 1-5 of the Ascension in their Christian form and may even have known the complete book; he gives in 9:18 what appears to be a loose quotation of 3:17 of the Ascension. Second, this same passage of the Ascension (3:17) provides a description of the emergence of the Beloved (Jesus) from the tomb which is similar to the description given in the Gospel of Peter 39f., a work which dates from the middle of the second century.  ...

The date of the Vision of Isaiah is rather more difficult to determine. The fact that Jerome refers to 11:34, and that Epiphanius gives a quotation of 9:35f., suggests that this part of the Ascension was in existence, at the latest, by the end of the third century A.D. But it is probably much older than the third century. The Acts of Peter 24, which dates from the second half of the second century, appears to quote 11:14, while the narrative of the miraculous birth of the Lord in 11:2-16 shows some similarities with the Protevangelium of James, a work attributed to about A.D. 150.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ascension.html
The bold part is interesting because it helps explain to me how in Revelation Nero could be associated with a predicted future beast, even though Nero had died by the time of John's writing.

The resemblance between the Ascension of Isaiah and G.Peter helps explain the claim of Docetism. John Knight believes the Ascension of Isaiah isn't Docetic, but rather Polymorphic in that Jesus takes on different forms.
https://books.google.com/books?id=Dw90BgAAQBAJ&pg=PA147&dq=ascension+of+isaiah+docetism+john+knight&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5rOrn8dPSAhVI5WMKHeqfAZcQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=ascension%20of%20isaiah%20docetism%20john%20knight&f=false

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #156 on: March 14, 2017, 09:10:26 AM »
Summary of part of the Ascension of Isaiah:
Quote
*Beliar [Satan] will assume the form of a man, a lawless king, who will kill one of the 12 Apostles, will perform miracles, proclaim himself a god and will reign for 3½ years.
*After this period, Jesus will come to smite Beliar, honour those who resisted him and punish those who worshiped him.
*Then the events of the Vision of Babylon will transpire, as described by Isaiah in the Bible (Isaiah ch.13; which prophecies the destruction of Babylon).
...

Charles believes that the king Beliar transforms into (the lawless king who murders an Apostle, has killed his mother and proclaims himself as god) is none other than Nero. Nero was so infamous that after his death some rumours appeared which claimed that he was still alive and would return to reclaim his throne. Combined with his persecutions, it is hardly surprising that Christians had started regarding him as a demon.
https://onthewaytoithaca.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/biblical-apocrypha-the-ascension-of-isaiah/
I agree that it's pointing to Nero, under whose persecution Peter was killed.

Evan T writes:
Quote
The Holy Spirit... appear ... as an angel that brings divine wisdom to people. The text makes mention to the “angel of the Spirit” and the “angel of the Holy Spirit” which is identical to Gabriel (this is apparent in 11;4 and crystal clear in 3;16). Origen had a similar opinion on the matter and believed that the two seraphim that appeared to Isaiah in the Bible (Isaiah ch.6) were the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I understand that in Genesis when God appears to Abraham he does so in the form of three divine beings and the story also calls them angels, so I think the label as angels is not Biblically wrong. However, hearing the Spirit equated with Gabriel sounds odd.

Quote
Mary gets pregnant without being asked, as in the classic narration. The pregnancy proves to be a surprise both to Mary and Joseph... Mary remains a virgin even after she has given birth (her hymen remains intact, per the catholic view). When they see the infact they are both awestruck, since they realize that the child is divine... The couple also appears to be residents of Bethlehem, mainly because the other citizens know that Mary is a virgin and that she and Joseph are newly-weds. Because rumours start circulating about Mary’s odd pregnancy, the couple moves to Nazareth. ... Finally, the author minces no words when he tells us that Jesus’ birth went completely unnoticed by all men and princes and celestial beings. This version of the nativity has no room for Wise Men bearing gifts, nor for Herod’s rampage.
https://onthewaytoithaca.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/biblical-apocrypha-the-ascension-of-isaiah

It's hard for me to tell what to make of the differences with the canonical story. Ascension of Isaiah went through different redactions and there are different versions of it with different information (eg. the Ethiopic vs. Latin and Slavic ones). For example, Evan writes: "Compared to Charles’ reconstructed text, the best-preserved greek text is a good deal shorter, spanning only 3 chapters and 76 verses... Reading this text makes the fact that the “Ascension” is a composite text even more apparent. This text is obviously more well-written and has the events in chronological order". Evan has a green diagram showing which chapters come from which sources (eg. the Greek manuscript has only the beginning chapters, whereas the Ethiopic text has all sections).

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #157 on: March 14, 2017, 02:30:01 PM »
Robert G. Hall sees Ascension of Isaiah as a work that suggests opposing views among early Christians:
Quote
Asc. Is. 3:13-20 summarizes the doctrine of the descent and ascent [of the Beloved, Jesus] and establishes it as the doctrine of the apostles. Asc Is 3:21-31 attacks those who reject this doctrine of the apostles... Those who reject the vision reject the heavenly robes promised in the vision...

The author idealizes apostolic Christianity to mirror ...his own prophetic school. The twelve apostles are prophets, they prophesy (Asc 3:21) the descent and ascent of the Beloved. Many of those who attain salvation by heeding the twelve also become prophets
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3267019?seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents

Hall sees the vision of Isaiah as being an allegory for the kinds of visions that the author's Christian group experienced. Isaiah, in the work, went into the desert with other prophets and experienced visions like the ascent to heaven, and Hall proposes that the author belonged to a community doing the same kind of thing.

Hall notes that in the Ascension of Isaiah, Satan complains that Isaiah says he saw God (as noted in Isaiah 6), despite Moses' claim that No man can see God and live. Hall proposes that the author of the Ascension is using this debate as a way to defend claims of divine visions by the author's group.
It's a good question what the author's relationship is to the official mainstream Church of his time. Hall writes:
Quote
The author has little use for those who claim official status in communities (chp 3), but the proliferation of false prophet imagery cautions against assuming that the rivalry pits the prophetic school against officials as such.
...
The Vision of the Descent and Ascent of the Beloved falls at the end, out of all chronological sequence, because of its importance: the author's goal from the beginning is to win a hearing for this Vision from a reluctant audience. ... That the Ascension of Isaiah survived testifies that the author met the rhetorical problem [of how one could have divine visions of God] and in a large measure solved it.
...
The author writes the Ascension of isaiah as a member of this early Christian prophetic school seeking to persuade a recalcitrant church to accept the all important doctrine of the descent and ascent of the Beloved.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3267019?seq=9#page_scan_tab_contents

Hall makes I think a great point in the underlined statement above as to why the Ascension would be narrated out of order as many scholars have noted.

Hall thinks that the Ascension is related to a community of prophets like the author of John's Revelation. He notes another scholar who think that when John in Revelation talks about letters to angels in seven churches, it refers to prophets in those churches. But Hall sees the Ascension as in conflict with Johanine Christianity, as John's Gospel says: "Not that anyone has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father" (John 6:46).
I'm not sure what to make of "No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man" (John 3:13) though, since Eljiah's journey, the Book of Revelation as well as a mention by Paul of someone who went to the Third Heaven, seem to talk about such ascents by believers.
He also sees resemblances to St. Ignatius' ideas about community as well as to the Odes of Solomon. It's interesting:
Quote
Ignatius claims prophetic inspiration for himself concerning issues important to the Ascension of Isaiah: he promises to reveal anything further about Christ as God reveals it to him (Ign Eph 20). He claims the ability to describe heavenly realities like one who has taken a heavenly trip (Ign Trall 5)... Confronted by the anomaly of bishops without the prophetic gift, Ignatius does not abandon the prophetic ideal, but interprets them as silent prophets.
It's quite interesting to see St Ignatius' emphasis on prophecy as continuing in the church, perhaps even in the early 2nc c. after the apostles had passed away.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #158 on: March 14, 2017, 03:03:37 PM »
Take a read, specially on the quotes of Ss. Athanasius and Gregory: http://www.oodegr.com/english/dogma/diafora/Hlias1.htm

A bishop lectured me on this on Facebook recently and now I see he probably took the quotes he sent to me from this text.
"Behold, the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. In fervent faith let us draw near, that we may become sharers in everlasting life. Alleluia."

Please pray for myself, my family and my friends.

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #159 on: March 14, 2017, 05:08:12 PM »
Take a read, specially on the quotes of Ss. Athanasius and Gregory: http://www.oodegr.com/english/dogma/diafora/Hlias1.htm

A bishop lectured me on this on Facebook recently and now I see he probably took the quotes he sent to me from this text.
Interesting issue. The Russian Synodal has:
Quote
4-я Царств 2
2 В то время, как Господь восхотел вознести Илию в вихре на небо
...
11 Когда они шли и дорогою разговаривали, вдруг явилась колесница огненная и кони огненные, и разлучили их обоих, и понесся Илия в вихре на небо.
2. At that time when the Lord wanted to carry up Elijah on a wind to heaven...
11. ...suddenly a chariot fiery and horses fiery appeared and seprated them and carries Elijah on a wind onto heaven.

Now a relevant issue is that here in Russian it doesn't say heaven(nebesa) in the sense of God's heaven (nebesa) like in "Our Father Who art in heaven (nebeseh)", but rather in the sense of sky (nebo).

Here is the Vulgate:
Quote
2 dixitque Helias ad Heliseum sede hic quia Dominus misit me usque Bethel cui ait Heliseus vivit Dominus et vivit anima tua quia non derelinquam te cumque descendissent Bethel

11 cumque pergerent et incedentes sermocinarentur ecce currus igneus et equi ignei diviserunt utrumque et ascendit Helias per turbinem in caelum

The relevance is that the Synodal, Vulgate, and Septuagint are all translations accepted by the Church and work directly from the Hebrew.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #160 on: March 14, 2017, 06:34:43 PM »
The Synodal OT is based on the Masoretic Text, which is a different recension from the ones that generated most of the Septuagint. The Vulgate harmonises different versions, but it's mostly Masoretic. If you look at the Church Slavonic, though, it says "И взят бысть Илиа вихром яко на небо", which is the same as the Septuagint.

The Orthodox Church always held the Septuagint in greater esteem than the Masoretic Text, we can look at both once in a while. Fr. John Whiteford has a very nice text about this issue: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/81224.htm
"Behold, the mystical sacrifice, fully accomplished, is ushered in. In fervent faith let us draw near, that we may become sharers in everlasting life. Alleluia."

Please pray for myself, my family and my friends.

Check my blog "Em Espírito e em Verdade" (in Portuguese). Last article: Fontes de fé da Igreja Ortodoxa

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #161 on: March 14, 2017, 07:05:47 PM »
The Synodal OT is based on the Masoretic Text, which is a different recension from the ones that generated most of the Septuagint. The Vulgate harmonises different versions, but it's mostly Masoretic. If you look at the Church Slavonic, though, it says "И взят бысть Илиа вихром яко на небо", which is the same as the Septuagint.

The Orthodox Church always held the Septuagint in greater esteem than the Masoretic Text, we can look at both once in a while. Fr. John Whiteford has a very nice text about this issue: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/81224.htm
NT sometimes quotes the LXX and other times the Masoretic type verses. It's confusing how if Elijah was taken up in a chariot it could only be "like" up to the sky.(nebo). If you are saying though that he visited someplace definitely after the Ascent, then it would of course suggest that Elijah didn't finish his days up in the sky.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #162 on: March 15, 2017, 11:09:39 AM »
In The Mystery of God: Early Jewish Mysticism and the New Testament, C. C. Rowland and Christopher R. A. Morray-Jones see a link between NT beliefs and the Ascension of Isaiah on one hand, and the Ascension of Isaiah and gnosticism on the other. For example, the authors see a kind of major dualism expressed in alienation of the highest heavens from lower ones in Ascension of Isaiah, where God says about them in Chp. 10:
Quote
13. For they have denied Me and said: "We alone are and there is none beside us."
Rowland writes:
Quote
A dualistic outlook becomes most explicit in 10:13 where the lower powers in heaven utter the cry so typical of the Demiurge in any Gnostic texts: 'we alone are and there is none beside us' (eg. Hypostasis of the Archons 141:22; Apoc. John 59:20, cf. Isa 45:22). Here within the framework of an apocalypse we have every indication of the rudiments of that dualistic theology which was to become so characteristic of the fully fledged Gnostic systems of the second and third centuries.

The writers point to Isaiah 45 as a comparison, which says: "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other."
They also say that they don't see this kind of thing as gnosticism infiltrating Jewish apocalyptic thought like what is in Asc. Isaiah.
They see the work as docetic:
Quote
"there is every indication that this event[the nativity] is interpreted in a docetic mannter. In 9:13 the angel ...speaks thus of the descent of the Beloved: ...'...he had descended and become like you in appearance and they[the lower heavenly beings] will think that he is flesh and a man.' ... Mary was pregnant for only two months before the birth takes place. There are no labour pains... Thus he sucked the breast merely so that 'he would not be recognized' (11:17)... By disguising himself as a human being the Beloved thereby escaped the attention of the heavenly powers (11:16)
Do you agree that this implies Docetism?

The writers say that apocalyptic writings are different from gnosticism because "they usually keep a firm grasp on the concept of divine sovereignty" like in Asc. Isaiah "where the soteriology functions on the basis of the ultimate recognition by the lower powers of the sovereignty of the Beloved.

In The Ascension of Isaiah and Docetic Christology, Darrell D. Hannah proposes that Asc. Isaiah is not Docetic.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1584546?seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents

Quote
If parallels are sought for this ['he sucked the breast like an infant .... that he might not be recognized' ~ Asc. Isaiah] there are much closer ones than .... angelic docetism.
He points to Clement Alexandrine saying that Christ ate food to keep people away from the false teaching of Docetism:

Quote
in the case of the saviour it were ludicrous .... that the body as a body demanded the necessary aids in order to its duration. For He ate, not for the sake of the body, which was kept together by a holy enegery, but in order that it might not enter into the minds of those who were with Him to entertain a different opinion of Him; in like manner as certainly some afterwards supposed that He appeared in a phantasmal shape
Clement Alexandrine, Stromata
That's curious. Jesus didn't need food because of his divinity, but just did it to show his humanity?

Hannah adds: "Current scholarhip is agreed that Clement was no docetist", noting how in the passage above Clement A. opposes Docetism directly.

Hannah notes how in each of the lower heavens, Christ appears only as an angel and the demons don't recognize him, and so in that sense at times Christ was able to assume an appearance different from his divine reality. Hannah sees a relationship to the 2nd c. AD "Epistula Apostolorum", an anti-docetic work where Jesus says: "as I was about to come down from the Father of all.... I was in the heavens, and I passed by the angels and archangels in their form, as if I were one of them among the dominions and powers".

Hannah translates the blue words, which Rowland finds Docetic, as: "he has descended and become like you in form, and they will think he is flesh and a man". Hannah comments:
Quote
In 3:13 we find reference to the Beloved's transformation as well as the statement "and the form into which he must be transformed, the form of a man.
He notes that taking on something's form could mean linguistically that it really is such a being. Further, Hannah argues that since the suffering and death of Jesus was seen as real by the author of the Ascension of Isaiah, then the birth was seen as real too.

Hannah says that since Beliar/Satan is said in Asc. Isaiah to take on the Antichrist Nero's form, it suggests that in such a case, Satan became the person of a man by possession, rather than by mere appearance. Since Beliar was an anti-Christ and became a real person, then the Christ for whom he is a foil would be a real person too.

I suppose that if one denies that Asc. Isaiah is docetic, one would think that the phrase he uses is still easily misleading - "become like you in form, and they will think he is flesh and a man" - as if they are only thinking that he is flesh. My guess is that Hannah is right though. After all, my initial sense was that the Epistle to the Laodiceans denied His humanity when it said: "Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ".

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #163 on: March 15, 2017, 11:27:57 AM »
After all, my initial sense was that the Epistle to the Laodiceans denied His humanity when it said: "Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ".

This again?
Just grab them by prayer.


Mor has spoken through George... this is the faith of the fathers!

The Church's bridegroom was never the Byzantine Empire.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #164 on: March 15, 2017, 11:32:47 AM »
After all, my initial sense was that the Epistle to the Laodiceans denied His humanity when it said: "Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ".

This again?
I found what you said persuasive when you showed how it is not docetic.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #165 on: March 15, 2017, 11:35:19 AM »
After all, my initial sense was that the Epistle to the Laodiceans denied His humanity when it said: "Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ".

This again?
I found what you said persuasive when you showed how it is not docetic.

Not persuasive enough, apparently.
Just grab them by prayer.


Mor has spoken through George... this is the faith of the fathers!

The Church's bridegroom was never the Byzantine Empire.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #166 on: March 15, 2017, 12:44:43 PM »
After all, my initial sense was that the Epistle to the Laodiceans denied His humanity when it said: "Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ".

This again?
I found what you said persuasive when you showed how it is not docetic.

Not persuasive enough, apparently.
When I said my initial sense was, it entails that you were persuasive enough.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 12:45:04 PM by rakovsky »

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #167 on: March 16, 2017, 12:23:16 PM »
Justin Martyr's and Origen's respect for Ascension of Isaiah is interesting, as they seem to think it reflected either an account censured from the Tanakh or else a writing the Jews were embarrassed about (because it narrates iIaiah's killing) and secretly preserved. William Deane writes:
Quote
there are early references to the book itself under different names. Justin Martyr, indeed, who, in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (chap. cxx.)...  refers unmistakably to the tradition therein embodied. He is showing from the Old Testament the mission and character of Christ, and he tells his antagonist that, had the Jews understood the full import of such passages, they would have removed them from the text, as they have removed "those relating to the death of Isaiah, whom," he says, "ye sawed in pieces with a wooden saw." It is not clear what part of Scripture Justin supposes to have been thus violently handled, but his reference to the mode of the prophet's death recalls the wording of the "Ascensio."
...
In [Origen's] Epistle to Africanus (chap. ix.), after remarking that the Jews were accustomed to remove from popular cognisance all things supposed to be derogatory to elders and judges, while preserving many of such facts in secret books, he instances the story of Isaiah, which, he says, is confirmed by the testimony of the Epistle to the Hebrews, thus making the document that contains the legend of more ancient date than the Epistle. And he continues: "It is clear that tradition reports that Isaiah was sawn asunder; and so it is stated in a certain apocryphal writing (en tini apokrupho), which was perhaps purposely corrupted by the Jews who introduced incongruous readings in order to throw discredit on the whole narrative." ... His acquaintance with our book is still further expressed in one of his Homilies on Isaiah (tom. iii. p.108), where the resemblance to a passage quoted below is perfectly obvious. "They say that Isaiah was cut asunder by the people, as one who depraved the law and spoke beyond what Scripture authorised. For Scripture says, No one shall see my face and live; but he says, I saw the Lord of Hosts. Moses, they say, saw Him not, and thou didst see Him! And for this cause they cut him asunder and condemned him as impious."
http://biblehub.com/library/deane/pseudepigrapha/the_ascension_of_isaiah.htm

Origen's words retelling the martyrdom are quite close to what is found in Ascension of Isaiah. Deane explains that Jerome also noted a Biblical saying in the Book of Isaiah that was similar to one in Ascension of Isaiah, but Deane notes that the Ascension of Isaiah was also used by heretics and that the later Apostolic Constitutions ban the Apocryphon of Isaiah (Deane thinks it's the same work) as having false teaching.

Deane mentions the interesting issue of the 18 months Jesus was on earth after the resurrection according to Irenaeus and the Apocryphon of James:
Quote
The assertion that Christ remained on the earth between His resurrection and ascension for one and a half years, or 545 days (ix.16), was a very early error, known... to Irenæus, and therefore extant in the second century. Indeed, in the earliest times the tradition of the Great Forty Days which afterwards obtained seems not to have been universally held. St. Luke, in his Gospel, apparently joins the Ascension on to the resurrection, though in the Acts he speaks of Christ being seen at intervals during forty days; none of the other evangelists mentions the length of His earthly sojourn in this interval.

Deane also notes that the idea that Isaiah "Ascended" is similar to the idea that John ascended in Revelation or that the person Paul mentions (maybe referring to himself) was caught up to the third heaven.
Quote
the prophet is raised to an ecstatic state; his soul is separated from its earthly tenement, and is exalted to the highest heaven. Accordingly, the work which records this rapture is properly named Anabatikon, Ascensio, as well as horasis, visio. We find a similar double appellation applied to the Revelation of St. John, which in the early Christian centuries was also known as Anabatikon. [316] There is no similar trance recorded in the Old Testament; for an analogous transaction we must refer to the scene where the beloved apostle "became in the spirit on the Lord's day," or where St. Paul was caught up even to the third heaven, and carried into Paradise on another occasion, whether in the body or out of the body he knew not, and heard unspeakable words.
The word "Anabatikon" means "assumption".

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #168 on: March 17, 2017, 09:41:45 AM »
Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah can be found here:
https://onthewaytoithaca.wordpress.com/apocrypha-collection/ascension-of-isaiah-en/

Chapters 6-11 with Footnotes are here:
http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/ascentisaiah.pdf

I do think Asc. of Isaiah is raising an interesting debate:
Quote
8.    And Isaiah himself has said: ‘I see more than Moses the prophet’.
9.    But Moses said: ‘No man can see God and live’; and Isaiah has said: ‘I have seen God and behold I live’.
10.    Know therefore, king, that he is lying.

Lopuhin comments on the verse in Exodus:
Quote
As one not having the ability to see the Lord, Moses sees only the shining of the divine glory: "you see Me from behind".

John 1 has a related verse:
Quote
18. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.

If one checks the verse in Exodus, it actually says that Moses, being a man, could not see God's "face". It doesn't specify that Moses couldn't see God at all. In fact, Exodus 24:10 talks about the elders visiting and seeing God: "and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself."

In Isaiah's case, maybe the same distinction worked? Isaiah was only seeing God like the elders did, but not His face in particular? Or does this suggest that Ascension of Isaiah was heretical?

It seems rhetoric about no one seeing God needs to have exceptions, since John 1 said no one but Jesus saw God, but then says later in 1 John 4:12: "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us." It seems when one says no one saw God, maybe there needs to be exceptions.

Maybe Ascension of Isaiah is not really alluding to the Christian bishops rejecting the author's visions like one scholar proposed above, but rather to Jewish officials rejecting Christian claims about Jesus seeing God?

Ascension of Isaiah Chp. 3 says says makes predictions about the resurrection and Second Coming, including:

Quote
15    And the descent of the angel of the Christian Church, which is in the heavens, whom He will summon in the last days.
16    And that (Gabriel) the angel of the Holy Spirit, and Michael, the chief of the holy angels, on the third day will open the sepulchre:
17    And the Beloved sitting on their shoulders will come forth and send out His twelve disciples:
...
21    And afterwards, on the eve of His approach, His disciples will forsake the teaching of the Twelve Apostles, and their faith, and their love and their purity.
22    And there will be much contention on the eve of [His advent and] His approach.
...
29    And there will be great hatred in the shepherds and elders towards each other.
30    For there will be great jealousy in the last days;; for every one will say what is pleasing in his own eyes.
31    And they will make of none effect the prophecy of the prophets which were before me, and these my visions also will they make of none effect, in order to speak after the impulse of their own heart.
The part about sitting on the angels' shoulders when Jesus sends forth the apostles doesn't appear in the Bible.
I wonder if the part about the disciples forsaking the 12 apostles' teaching and people making of no effect the vision of Isaiah is a reference to Christian post-apostolic bishops rejecting the Ascension of Isaiah?

Since Gabriel and Michael are described as proclaiming the virgin birth to Mary and depicted as carrying a sword in iconography, respectively, I can see how they would be the ones in the canonical gospel resurrection story, as one of the angels carries a sword then. I think that this is the kind of reason why reading about these 1st century works is nice, as it helps fill in information.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 09:45:44 AM by rakovsky »

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #169 on: March 21, 2017, 12:30:34 PM »
Ascension of Isaiah , chapter 4, has a teaching that after the Lord conquers Satan, the heavenly saints come back to the world and then rise back to heaven with the earthly saints, who leave behind their bodies:
Quote
16.   He will strengthen those, who have been found in the body, together with the saints, in the garments of the saints, and the Lord will minister to those who have kept watch in this world.
17.    And afterwards they will turn themselves upward in their garments, and their body will be left in the world.
It's the italicized part that sounds strange to me.

Isaiah says
Quote
to the prophets who were with him he said before he had been sawn in sunder: “Go ye to the region of Tyre and Sidon; because only for me has God mingled the cup.
This phrase reminds me of how in the gospel Jesus' body poured blood and water. Also in the Eucharist, we mix water and wine. Does this idea of mingling the cup as a reference for dying have any other association to you?

Chapter 7 says that the angels in the first heaven were worshiping the one in the seventh heaven, who I think is God. This goes against the suggestion of the scholar I quoted earlier who said that they only worship a being on a throne on their own heavenly level, as opposed to God above.
It's kind of confusing because the angels are also worshiping the throne on their own level.

Then in the second heaven the angels are praising a being sitting on a throne and the angel leading Isaiah says not to worship it but to wait until getting higher to do praises.

In Chp 9, it says Isaiah saw Enoch stripped of his flesh. That sounds wrong though, doesnt it? Enoch was taken away by God (to heaven?), not killed AFAIK.

A footnote says that the Latin2 source and Slavic source omit the mention of the 545 days of Jesus on earth after the resurrection that Chapter 9 talks about. The footnote says that Irenaeus teaches that the Valentinians teach this. I found it in the Apocrphon of James, which seems a Cerinthian book.

Here are Irenaeus' words from Against Heresies his book:
Quote
2. The production, again, of the Duodecad of the Æons, is indicated by the fact that the Lord was twelve Luke 2:42 years of age when He disputed with the teachers of the law, and by the election of the apostles, for of these there were twelve. Luke 6:13 The other eighteen Æons are made manifest in this way: that the Lord, [according to them,] conversed with His disciples for eighteen months after His resurrection from the dead. They also affirm that these eighteen Æons are strikingly indicated by the first two letters of His name [᾿Ιησοῦς], namely Iota and Eta.
"According to Them" is an editor's insertion.
Did Irenaeus believe in the 18 months of teaching by Jesus after the resurrection?

Chapter 10 says that the Lord descended through the heavens, on each layer looking in form like the angels at each layer so that they didn't recognize him. Then in the firmament below the heavens there is the prince of the world, the air and the firmament below the heavens (that prince being Satan?) and the angels who fight each other (I think based on an earlier chapter those angels are subordinate to Satan the prince of the air), and Christ made himself to have the same look and form as them and gave them a password so that he could go through unrecognized. So it sounds like Christ made himself to look like a demon to pass through their ranks unrecognized. I don't find that idea very appealing.

Chapter 11 says that the angel of the Spirit (I think it means the Holy Spirit) appeared to Joseph and then Joseph didn't divorce Mary as a result. Chapter 11 has Joseph and Mary living in the same house separately for two months and then the baby miraculously appears next to Mary to her surprise.

This part is confusing:

Quote
And when her husband Joseph said to her, What has made you astounded? His eyes were opened and he saw the infant and praised the Lord because the Lord has come in his lot. And a voice came to them, Do not tell this vision to anyone.
It's like seeing Jesus was only something that was done in a vision, and required one to have one's eyes opened. It's strange. It reminds me of the time that Jesus had to "open the eyes" of the apostles walking to Emmaus in order for them to recognize him after the resurrection (Luke 24).

Doesn't this go back to the whole Docetism debate about Ascension of Isaiah and whether Jesus only "seemed" to have a real human, material existence?
By the logic of Docetism, the Romans killed him, but it was only the human "appearance" or visual "form" that they killed?

Maybe the two months in the womb "after" which Jesus is born is related to Jesus being two days in the tomb (24 hour periods - Friday afternoon + Friday night + Saturday morning; Saturday afternoon + Saturday night + Sunday pre-dawn), after which Jesus is resurrected (Sunday). However, it does say in Chapter 11 later that Jesus rose after the third day.

Next in Chapter 11 it says that when Jesus ascended to heaven, Satan and the angels worshiped him because they recognized him. What do you make of that?

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #170 on: March 22, 2017, 05:06:55 PM »
Quote
3 Baruch or the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch is a visionary, Jewish pseudepigraphic text thought to have been written in the first to third centuries AD, probably after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 AD... It is one of the Pseudepigrapha, attributed to the 6th-century BC scribe of Jeremiah, Baruch ben Neriah, and does not form part of the biblical canon of either Jews or Christians. It survives in certain Greek manuscripts, and also in a few Old Church Slavonic ones.

...Baruch also witnesses a phoenix, which the text portrays as a massive singular bird that protects the earth from the rays of the sun.

It is significant that the Old Church Slavonic versions do not contain the Christian overtones of the Greek text, which suggests that the Greek text represents a rewriting in the Christian age.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_Baruch

The reference to the Phoenix reminds me of 1 Clement's discussion about the supernatural/paranormal bird.

Leonhard Rost writes:
Quote
"We can hardly be dealing with the work in its original form. In the first place, 4:9-15 is undoubtedly a Christian interpolation intended to annul the curse on the grape as a plant secretly planted by Satan in Paradise by referring to the significance of wine as an element of the Eucharist. In the second place, the original conclusion is missing. If the passage from Origen cited above does indeed refer to this Apocaylpse [De principiis ii. 3. 6], it spoke originally of seven heavens; whereas now it mentions only five. Elaboration of the passage about Michael as the mediator of the good deeds performed by the devout probably accounts for the change in ending.
 (Judaism Outside the Hebrew Canon, p. 117)
Let's say that it's a Jewish work with Christian interpolations. In that case, at what point in time were the interpolations added?

David Alun Arnold's essay proposes:
Quote
Kraft's hypothesis [is] that we need to assume that it is a Christian work unless proven otherwise.
...
Only two Greek manuscripts are available to us - both dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, but there are some extant Slavonic manuscripts which fall into two categories: those of Russian origin; and those of Southern origin. A comparison of these manuscripts with those in Greek leads to a conclusion that the text of 3 Baruch was originally Jewish, but has since fallen into Christian hands to be interpolated. This is derived from the fact that Christian interpolations are DIFFERENT in the Greek and Slavonic, and the fact that the prologue is of distinctly Jewish origin: why would Christian transmitters keep Jewish material in the prologue, but remove it from other places?

There is disagreement between scholars on the originality of the number of heavens, and on the integrity of the rather abrupt ending. The text itself, unlike other comparable apocalyptic literature, only has five heavens to which Baruch travels. Some argue that this is due to some of the original ending having been lost since the original writing; but others argue that the ending is perfectly coherent,
https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/otp/abstracts/3baruch/

It sounds to me like the ending is original. In the ending, Michael the angel blocks Baruch from going further than the fifth heaven. Such an ending does not suppose that no other heavens exist, whereas those scholars expect that if 3 Baruch teaches only 5 heavens, 3 baruch must be incomplete.

In 3 Baruch, the grape vine is considered the kind of fruit forbidden in Eden, but that God restored it via the Eucharist as a decent fruit. What do you think of this theory about the grape fruit- is it part of Christian tradition?

In Studia in Veteris Testamenti pseudepigrapha, Daniel C. Harlow mentions Harry Gaylord's criticism about the claims it was originally nonChristian Jewish literature. He says that the seeming Christian "interpolations" help to explain the supposed "original" Jewish parts, and so the document really did likely contain Christian passages.

Harlow points out that the phrase blood of God in 3 Baruch also shows up in Ignatius' letter to Ephesians. He also sees the term "spiritual fathers" as a Christian term. He says that a blessing in 3 Baruch lines up with one in Matthew 25. Harlow lists other possible Christian expressions.

He sees 3 Baruch as having only "minor" Christian "glosses and interpolations".

You can find the text here:
http://ocp.stfx.ca/documents/Pages/3Bar.html

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #171 on: March 23, 2017, 03:06:12 PM »
Jewish Encyclopedia comments about 3 Baruch:
Quote
it may be assumed as certain that the author of the Apocalypse was not a Pharisee, since the Pharisees opposed decidedly such doubtful angel-lore. He must have been one of the Gnostics, who revered equally the Haggadah, Greek mythology, and Oriental wisdom. To consider the Apocalypse a Jewish Gnostic work would also be in accordance with the date arrived at for its origin; namely, the beginning of the second century, when gnosis was at its height among both Jews and Christians.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2563-baruch-apocalypse-of-greek

3 Baruch: Greek-Slavonic Apocalypse of Baruch By Alexander Kulik is a commentary on the book 3 Baruch.
https://books.google.com/books?id=mylue_t2uToC&pg=PA14&lpg=PA14&dq=%223+baruch%22+christian&source=bl&ots=RPOEJWQlnU&sig=4tOzO2p0qjzsxC7unGt-JAm5FAs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXp5yCoe3SAhWIKGMKHTWEA4MQ6AEINDAE#v=onepage&q=%223%20baruch%22%20christian&f=false

Supposedly the translation differences between the Slavonic and Greek versions are big enough that some people like to look at the two versions separately.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #172 on: Yesterday at 03:51:39 PM »
This is neat, it has the Greek and Slavonic texts' versions:
http://www.ma.huji.ac.il/~kazhdan/Shneider/apocr2010/3%20Baruch%20OTP.pdf