Author Topic: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians  (Read 6385 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #180 on: April 01, 2017, 10:26:02 PM »
that's not much help. :)
It is helpful because it means that you are not stuck saying that the 1st c. Christians didn't know about the Assumption if it turned out that we don't have any 1st c. records of it.
It is helpful because it shows that the argument "We don't have it in their writings so they didn't know about it" doesn't work.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 10:26:46 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #181 on: April 01, 2017, 11:29:32 PM »
that's not much help. :)
It is helpful because it means that you are not stuck saying that the 1st c. Christians didn't know about the Assumption if it turned out that we don't have any 1st c. records of it.
It is helpful because it shows that the argument "We don't have it in their writings so they didn't know about it" doesn't work.
a) I could have figured that out by myself.
b) I see what you did there (not really.)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 11:40:05 PM by mcarmichael »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #182 on: April 04, 2017, 04:01:02 PM »
About 4 Baruch:
Quote
Abimelech's sleep of 66 years, instead of the usual 70 years of Babylonian captivity, makes scholars tend toward the year AD 136, that is, 66 years after the fall of the Second Temple in AD 70. This dating is coherent with the message of the text.
...
Some parts of 4 Baruch appear to have been added in the Christian era, such as the last chapter; due to these insertions, some scholars consider 4 Baruch to have Christian origins.[2] Like the greater prophets, it advocates the divorce of foreign wives and exile of those who will not do so.

...
[Baruch wants ] to communicate with Jeremiah, who is still in Babylon, so Baruch prays to the Lord, who sends him an eagle. The eagle takes a letter and some of the figs to Jeremiah. It finds Jeremiah officiating at a funeral and alights on the corpse, bringing it back to life, thus announcing the end of the exile. The Israelites return to Jerusalem, but only those men who have no foreign wives are allowed to pass the Jordan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4_Baruch

The story about the corpse's revival bein associated with the end of exile reminds me of Ezek 37. The emphasis on not marrying gentiles suggests to me that the work was not originally written by Christians.

J. Riaud writes:
Quote
"...what is commonly being used is the title of the Greek version (Paraleipomena Jeremiou, i.e., 'The Things Omitted from Jeremiah'); and with good reason: Jeremiah is of foremost importance in this captivating work. His name is mentioned repeatedly—eighty times in all—and the titles bestowed upon him are among the most prestigious: 'chosen of God' (1:4; 2:4, 5; 7:15), 'servant' (pais) (6:22), 'father' (2:2, 4, 6, 8; 5:5; 9:8), 'priest' (5:18). ... Incontestably, the author of the Paraleipomena made Jeremiah the focal point of his work: in his eyes Jeremiah was 'the prophet', the 'super-Moses', whose coming had been predicted by Deuteronomy (18:15).

...
It is far from easy to determine the date of its composition. The one proposed by Harris, viz. AD 136 (that is to say: the year 70, plus the 66 years of Abimelech's sleep), is, perhaps, too precise.
(Outside the Old Testament, p. 214)

Raymond F. Surburg writes:
Quote
. The last part of the Paralipomena of Jeremiah records that Jeremiah fainted while offering sacrifices in Jerusalem but after three days became alive again, proceeding to praise God for the redemption made possible through Jesus Christ. It was only after Jeremiah had given the Jewish populace permission, that they were able to stone the prophet to death (ch. 9)." (Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, p. 134)


The book Jeremiah’s Scriptures: Production, Reception, Interaction, and Transformation says:
Quote
The actual ending of the book in chp. 9 has been added by Christian circles that were clearly influenced by Johanine traditions. ... Some have proposed the beginning of the Christian ending in 8:9 because of the positive attitude to the Samaritans, yet this idea also fits with a Jewish perspective. Finally, the death of Jeremiah is retold, but in its Christian version as a stoning by the people, which adapts the tradition of the martyrdom of Isaiah. ... it is unclear where Jewish and Christian portions can be demarcated
I am curious - does Jewish tradition lack the idea that Jeremiah was killed?

It also says:
Quote
The author of 4 Baruch may have meant the figs [that stayed fresh for 66 years] to stand as a contrast with the more pessimistic construal of figs on the part of the authors of the Gospels and earlier literature (Jer 24; Joel 2, where the fig stands for Israel...)
A possible distinction I see is that 4 Baruch talks about individual figs (maybe individual righteous Israelites?) whereas the gospels talk critically about "the fig tree" as a whole.

The book asks a question why the writer of 4 Baruch chose to have Abimelech's sleep last 66 years instead of 70 (Jeremiah's predicted time for Jerusalem's desolation), and says that the answer is unclear. One writer theorized that the answer is that the book was written 66 years after the Second Temple's destruction.


SE Robinson writes in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume 2:
Quote
since  the final Jewish redaction of 4 baruch appears to  have been harmonized with 2 Baruch, which was composed shortly before the end of the first century, we may conclude that the Jewish portion of 4 Baruch was finished sometime roughly during the first third of the second century AD and may have contributed to or even been produced by the resugrent hope for a restoration of Jewish institutions that led ultimately to the second revolt.
Robinson considers Chp. 6, v. 25 to be an interpolation.
Quote
the description of the waters of the Jordan as a test for the people (6:25) is an obvious Christian interpolation referring to baptism... The Christian redactor employs some terms and phrases that are similar to but not necessarily influenced by gnostic ideas, especially in chapters 6 and 9. ... 'O great name which no one can know' (6:13), 'let knowledge come into our heart' (6:13), 'the sign of the great seal' (6:25) and 'Jesus Christ the light of all the aeons' (9)

He says of the book's importance:
Quote
The document may, with its shift in emphasis from prophet to scribe, reflect the increasing influence of the Pharisees [in Judaism] after  AD 70... After the disastrous result of the second revole, a disillusioned Judaism abandoned 4 baruch altogether (along with most of its other apocalyptic literature) to be preserved by Christians, who found it (for a while at least and with appropriate revisions) a serviceable vehicle for validating Christian claims It has been preserved to the present in both Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian Christianity.

Some writers debate whether the "beloved one"'s coming in Chapter 3 refers to the Messiah/Christ's arrival or to the Jewish people's return:

And Jeremiah said, Behold, Lord, we know now that you are delivering the city into the hands of its enemies,
Quote
9. and they will carry the people off into Babylon. What do you want me to do
10. with the holy vessels of the (Temple) service? And the Lord said to him, who created you, who formed you in the abundance of the waters, who sealed you with seven seals in seven periods (of time), and after these things you will
11. receive your fruitful season. Guard the vessels of the (Temple) service until the
12. coming of the beloved one.
Elsewhere in the work, the author speaks of the "beloved people" and the "beloved son", Baruch. But the basic Christian and Messianic section is at the very end of the book.

Jens Herzer thinks that the Greek word here is "coming together", not "coming" and so refers to the people, not to an individual. (https://books.google.com/books?id=GbR4RkK5X_QC&pg=PR29&lpg=PR29&dq=%224+baruch%22+christian&source=bl&ots=AY4DDzIhp9&sig=j5n7HBatnaXPo_jfACkfeWCXTZM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1m5ielYTTAhVCDsAKHR4oBbEQ6AEIPjAG#v=onepage&q=christian&f=false)
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 04:01:20 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #183 on: April 05, 2017, 07:41:28 PM »
I am reading 4 Baruch 3 myself and it looks like an allusion to Jesus, even though the scholars seem to tend to say it isn't:
Quote
8. And Jeremiah said, Behold, Lord, we know now that you are delivering the city into the hands of its enemies,

9. and they will carry the people off into Babylon. What do you want me to do

10. with the holy vessels of the (Temple) service? And the Lord said to him, who created you, who formed you in the abundance of the waters, who sealed you with seven seals in seven periods (of time), and after these things you will

11. receive your fruitful season.
Guard the vessels of the (Temple) service until the

12. coming of the beloved one. And Jeremiah spoke, saying, I implore you, Lord, show me what I should do for Abimelech the Ethiopian, for he did many

13. good deeds for your servant Jeremaih. For he pulled me out of the muddy cistern, and I do not want him to see the destruction of this city and (its) desolation, but

14. that you may show him mercy and that he might not be grieved. And the Lord said to Jeremiah, Send him to the vineyard of Agrippa and in the shadow of

15. the mountain I will shelter him until I return the people to the city.
First of all, the underlined sentence does not make sense grammatically. What does it mean:
And the Lord said to him, who created you, who formed you in the abundance of the waters, who sealed you with seven seals in seven periods (of time), and after these things you will receive your fruitful season.
Who is "him" and "you"?
"him" seems to be Jeremiah. The Lord said this "to him". "You" also seems to be Jeremiah.
So who created, formed, and seven times sealed Jeremiah?
In Christianity and Philo's hellenistic Judaism, the idea is that the Logos was the Pantocrator who made the world. Philo wrote that he saw Jeremiah as a figure who taught Philo a mystical aspect of Judaism.
Otherwise, we just take 4 Baruch as referring to God generically "who created you, who formed you", etc. But then, what is the point of inserting that sentence about creating "you" right after the question about the vessels and before talking about guarding the vessels until the time of the Beloved One? It looks totally extra and needless, unless there is some connection. And if we see the Beloved One as the Pantocrator, then the literary connection makes sense.

Second, notice what it says about the vessels- they are buried. Jesus' body was buried and the apostles would have been buried for martyrdom, and in Christianity, vessels are openly considered a reference to Christians' bodies (in the NT). The burial of the vessels before the Temple's destruction in 4 Baruch could mirror the burial of the martyrs. The vessels remain buried until the coming of the Beloved (the second coming that will raise the dead).

Third is the relevance of Abimelech. It says he pulled Jeremiah out of the muddy cistern. That is nowhere narrated in the Tanakh. What it means allegorically to get pulled out of the muddy cistern is resurrected, as it's used in the Psalms. Again, in Christianity, Jesus is the one who performs resurrection.

Fourth, what is the point of Agrippa's vineyard being mentioned, as well as the "shadow of the mountain"? Is it purely geographical? in Christianity, Jesus was born in Bethlehem under Herod Agrippa IIRC and is considered to be "the vine". And his burial was in a cave hewn out of the rock, which is like the shadow of a mountain.

The narrator breaks form by having God talk about the "vineyard of Agrippa", because Agrippa didn't even exist at the time of Jeremiah. 4 Baruch therefore probably has in mind a reference outside of one purely historical.

And it talks about Abimelech gathering a few blessed figs carried by an eagle to Babylon to serve the sick. The Fig Tree is Israel, so the figs are righteous Israelites. In NT Christianity, the righteous Jews are the early Christians. The eagle carrying them is Rome, as Rome's symbol animal was the eagle. Babylon would be the stand-in for Rome. The apostles' job was to serve the "sick", sinners and those with physical ailments.

When we see Abimelech as a stand in for Christ, the 66 years makes sense. In Abimelech's sleep it was 66 years from Jerusalem's desolation until Abimelech went to sleep. Scholars are very puzzled why 4 Baruch talks about these 66 years. Well in Christianity, the answer would be not hard- It would be about 66 years from Jesus' death (falling asleep in the Lord) until the Temple's destruction.

So the end of Chapter 3 appears to be a prophetic allegory about Jesus and the Temple's destruction.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 07:58:30 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #184 on: April 06, 2017, 04:58:12 PM »
I am reading 4 Baruch 3 myself and it looks like an allusion to Jesus, even though the scholars seem to tend to say it isn't:
One may also note how "The Coming of ____" is repeatedly a reference to the Messiah in ancient Jewish and Christian religious works:
Gerbern S. Oegema, The Pseudigrapha and the Narratives in Luke-Acts
https://books.google.com/books?id=1KWoAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA161&lpg=PA161&dq=%22beloved%22+christian+OR+christ+OR+messiah+%224+baruch%22&source=bl&ots=ikWG0UcGhX&sig=KOk14kIltRuJxjFPP_HZ9vwH8oU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_t52V2JDTAhUP1WMKHSwFD3YQ6AEIIDAC#v=onepage&q=%22beloved%22%20christian%20OR%20christ%20OR%20messiah%20%224%20baruch%22&f=false

For example, Acts 7:52 says:
Quote
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

τίνα τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἐδίωξαν οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν; καὶ ἀπέκτειναν τοὺς προκαταγγείλαντας περὶ τῆς ἐλεύσεως τοῦ δικαίου οὗ νῦν ὑμεῖς προδόται καὶ φονεῖς ἐγένεσθε
In 4 Baruch, the people stone Jeremiah, who in 4 Bar 3 predicted "the coming of the Beloved one".
The phrase "Coming of the Beloved One" is also used in the Martyrdom of Isaiah, Chp. 3, which refers to Christ

Herzer emphasizes that the term in 4 Baruch actually means "assembly ("συνέλευσης", suneleusis) of the Beloved".
And so we should consider whether one may speak of the "assembly" belonging to a single person. There is such a term as "Assembly of God", but typically the phrase I think refers to more than one being, like Assembly of Angels or Assembly of the Righteous(plural). At the same time, isn't the Greek word for Beloved in 4 Baruch also in the singular?

Compare however 2 Maccabees 2:
Quote
6. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it.
7. Which when Jeremy perceived, he blamed them, saying,
  • As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy.
    8. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified."
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 05:24:03 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #185 on: April 07, 2017, 03:00:17 PM »
In 4 Baruch 4, Abimelech says:
Quote
I went out and got them, and coming upon a certain tree in the heat (of the day) I sat down to rest a little, and I leaned my head on the basket

24and fell asleep. And when I woke up, I uncovered the basket of figs, thinking I

25was late, and found the figs dripping with milk, just as (when) I picked them.
Resting on the tree sounds like a reference to the crucifixion, the basket for the head sounds like the crown of thorns, and the figs in the basket sound like the righteous Jewish Christian followers, of whom Christ is head.

The milk dripping from the figs is a reference to the Holy Spirit or the Spirit's power. I say this based on how "milk" is used in Odes of Solomon.

The old man replies:
Quote
And so that you may learn, son, that what I am telling you is true, look out into the field and

31see that the growth of the crops is not (yet) apparent. See also the figs, that it is

32not (yet) time for them, and understand.
The harvest of the righteous of the world is too soon, but the righteous Jewish Christians (figs) are still fresh.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #186 on: April 09, 2017, 05:31:13 PM »
About the Apocalypse of Shedrach, Agourides writes in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha:
Quote
one can detect a change not only in content but in style when moving from the first section to the last. The difference between the bombastic rhetoric of the sermon on love and the more subtle tones of the apocalypse is readily apparent... All of these indicate that the author of the second section is not the author of the Christian homily.
Other writers however take the view that the whole work is a Christian one.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 06:07:32 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #188 on: April 12, 2017, 04:16:26 PM »
The fact that the Apocalypse of Sedrach begins with "A sermon by the holy and blessed Sedrach..." as an introduction and then Chapter 2 starts narrating it with "And he heard a hidden voice in his ears" seems like there is not a smooth transition. The author seems to start narrating the story without a transition that would use the word "And". It seems incongruous as would beginning any story with "And" would sound grammatically mistaken, as "And" is a conjunction, yet there is nothing immediately preceding it that would be conjoined as a reasonable literary transition.

The passage runs like this:
Quote
Chapter 1. A sermon by the holy and blessed Sedrach...
[A sermon follows without mentioning Shedrach, ending in:]
... as the Master said, nothing is greater than love for which a man lays down life for his friends. [Immediately followed by:]

Chapter 2. And he heard a hidden voice
See p. 609:
https://books.google.com/books?id=TNdeolWctsQC&pg=PA606&lpg=PA606&dq=%22Apocalypse+of+Sedrach%22+christian&source=bl&ots=swmdVjvGC0&sig=zSuAy9VbByYHl-_eWRmO02awdFY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWm7-aoZjTAhUD64MKHa-7B_0Q6AEIRjAH#v=onepage&q=%22Apocalypse%20of%20Sedrach%22&f=false

My guess though is that "And" is just the way that the author decided to jump into the story and that nothing is missing from the text, even if it's not grammatically or strictly linguistically correct because of the conjunction.

I like this work. It gets into Theodicy and the problem of evil from a Christian perspective. It's 16 chapters. Due to the Christian introduction about "Orthodox Christians" and "Master Give Blessing" I am skeptical that it's an original nonChristian writing even though some scholars think that. It seems more like a sermon, and I know that Christians did create Old-Testament themed literature like Testament of Solomon. It also quotes from parts of the New Testament as Charlesworth's footnotes show (eg. Chapter 6 and Chapter 7)
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 04:20:20 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #189 on: April 13, 2017, 07:39:41 PM »
Chapter 9 has something curious- what appears to be a grammatically or logically incorrect way of referencing the soul.
Quote
The only begotten Son said to Sedrach, 'Give me that which our Father deposited in the womb of your mother in your holy dwelling place since you were born.'
Sedrach said, 'I will not give you my soul.'

I can see that the Lord deposits people's souls in their mothers' wombs or in their bodies, and that human bodies could be called holy dwelling places. But the underlined part is still confusing: It sounds like it is saying that the Lord deposited it there "since", ie. after, Sedrach was born.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #190 on: April 16, 2017, 10:30:36 AM »
In the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra, Ezra
Quote
ascends into the heavens and witnesses more punishments, even in Paradise, where he sees Enoch, Elijah, Moses, Peter, Paul, Luke, and Matthew.
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/apocezra.html
This sounds weird.

In Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1, edited by Richard Bauckham, it is said:
Quote
Of crucial importance is the relationship with the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra. Scholars have long recognized that there is a close relationship between this work and the Latin Vision of Ezra. The major parallels are as follows: Vision of Ezra: 11; Gk. Apoc. Ezra 5:6 (etc.)..... In the Latin Vision they belong to a coherent narrative sequence, but in the Gk Apoc. they are scattered through a much more disjointed and episodic text. It looks as though the Greek Apoc. has borrowed the parallel material from a work very much like the Latin Vision... Thre Greek Apocalypse of Ezra frequently moves back and forth between first and third person narration (unlike the Latin Vision)... This confirms the view that the order of material in the Latin Vision is the original sequence, and shows that the use of first and third person narration in MS B [of the Vision] was the same in the version of the work that was used by the author of the Gk Apoc.
...
Nuovolone has shown both that the Latin text is often more original than the Greek and that there are also passages where the text of the Gk Apoc. of Ezra can be used to restore a more original form of the Latin... He has also argued that Greek Apocalypse of Ezra 1:1-5 is an introduction to the original Greek work that has been omitted in our texts of the Latin Vision.

What is noteworthy about this is that I have repeatedly read elsewhere that the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra dates to the 2nd-9th centuries AD, whereas the Latin Vision dates at its earliest to the 4th c.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #191 on: April 16, 2017, 03:11:03 PM »
It sounds like Greek Apocalypse is talking about Bar Kohba when it says that Ezra went to Tartarus and saw the AntiChrist:
Quote
And they took me away to the north, and I saw there a man bound with iron chains.  And I asked:  Who is this?  And he said to me:  This is he who said, I am the Son of God, that made stones bread, and water wine.  And the prophet said:  My lord, let me know what is his form, and I shall tell the race of men, that they may not believe in him.  And he said to me:  The form of his countenance is like that of a wild beast; his right eye like the star that rises in the morning, and the other without motion; his mouth one cubit; his teeth span long; his fingers like scythes; the track of his feet of two spans; and in his face an inscription, Antichrist.  He has been exalted to heaven; he shall go down to Hades.

Wikipedia explains that Bar Kohba means Son of the Star and was intended as a messianic name:
Quote
The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva indulged the possibility that Simon could be the Jewish messiah, and gave him the surname "Bar Kokhba" meaning "Son of the Star" in Aramaic, from the Star Prophecy verse from Numbers 24:17: "There shall come a star out of Jacob".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_bar_Kokhba

It says that life/soul only comes to a fetus in the sixth month:
Quote
The first month it is all together; the second it increases in size; the third it gets hair; the fourth it gets nails; the fifth it is turned into milk; and the sixth it is made ready, and receives life;25142514    Or, the soul. the seventh it is completely furnished; the ninth the barriers of the gate of the woman are opened; and it is born safe and sound into the earth.

It sounds like the book has a confusion of Tartarus/Hades and Paradise. This could reflect the theory that this Apocalypse is a mixed up version of an earlier similar one:
Quote
  And the prophet said:  Lord, reveal to me the judgments and paradise.  And the angels took me away towards the east, and I saw the tree of life.  And I saw there Enoch, and Elias, and Moses, and Peter, and Paul, and Luke, and Matthias, and all the righteous, and the patriarchs.  And I saw there the keeping of the air within bounds, and the blowing of the winds, and the storehouses of the ice, and the eternal judgments[NOTE: or "tribunals"].  And I saw there a man hanging by the skull.  And they said to me:  This man removed landmarks.  And I saw there great judgments.  And I said to the Lord:  O Lord God, and what man, then, who has been born has not sinned?  And they took me lower down into Tartarus, and I saw all the sinners lamenting and weeping and mourning bitterly.  And I also wept, seeing the race of men thus tormented. 
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #192 on: April 16, 2017, 05:19:32 PM »
You're reading this stuff even on Easter?  Have a kulich or something instead.  :P
I'm making a firm decision to stay with the Orthodox Church.

My point is you should try to fixate on something else. I suggest Christ.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #193 on: April 16, 2017, 08:40:21 PM »
You're reading this stuff even on Easter?  Have a kulich or something instead.  :P
I like kulich.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #194 on: April 17, 2017, 04:04:28 PM »
The Greek Apocalypse of Ezra has Ezra ask God:
Quote
remember my name, and honour my memory, give them a blessing from heaven; and bless him in all things, as Thou didst bless Joseph at last, and remember not his former wickedness in the day of his judgment.  And as many as have not believed this book shall be burnt up like Sodom and Gomorrah. 

And there came to him a voice, saying:  Esdras, my beloved, all things whatever thou hast asked will I give to each one.
That sounds wrong. If someone doesn't believe that this Greek Apocalypse or some of its main claims are legitimate, I don't think that they should be burnt.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #195 on: April 17, 2017, 08:37:01 PM »
When I read the 1st-2nd c. Christian writings and Church fathers, it makes them stand out more strongly to me and makes me feel the value of our Orthodox Church more strongly.
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #196 on: April 18, 2017, 05:25:06 PM »
The Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers are a set of prayers in the Apostolic Constitutions that some scholars theorize to be older Jewish prayers.

The Biblioblog notes that some scholars don't see the prayers in that way though:
Quote
These prayers are taken from Books Seven and Eight of the Apostolic Constitutions and it is often argued that they are Jewish prayers with Christian interpolations.

However, the argument for silence is not convincing as Hebrews 11 quotes a stack of Jewish heroes with no reference to Christ either, Christian authors could replicate or rehearse Old Testament patterns since it was part of their sacred literature, and I would contest whether the obvious Christian elements are interpolations when they seem organic to the whole. I don't see any reason why these prayers could not have been produced by a Christian with a Jewish background or else by a Christian immersed in the Psalms.

Prayer 1 (AposCon 7.26-1-3) reads:

Then after communion, you shall give thanks in this way:
We give thanks to you, O God and Father of Jesus our Savior
on behalf of your holy name which you caused to encamp among us,
and on behalf of the knowledge and faith and love and immortality
which you gave to us through Jesus your Son.

Italicised parts are the elements that Darnell regards as Christian interpolations. Strangely, line verse 2 which states that God's holy name came to "encamp among us" clearly echoes John 1:14 and is not regarded as an interpolation or gloss.
http://euangelizomai.blogspot.com/2009/04/friday-is-for-ad-fontes-hellenistic.html

I agree with the writer's skepticism.

Nicholas Quient has uncertainty:
Quote
There is no structure to these prayers, and there appear to be several Christian interpolations ((Specifically, some of the language echoes the gospel of John, though this type of language may be found in Philo, and this may weaken the interpolation hypothesis of various text stipulated by Darnell and Goodenough
http://www.rethinkinghellconference.com/2015/07/14/sodom-and-gomorrah-in-the-pseudepigrapha-a-survey-and-analysis/#more-7609

Pieter Van Der Horst calls the Apostolic Constitutions where these Prayers are found "a late-fourth-century church order, most probably compiled in Syrian Antioch in the 80s of that century".

He explains how they appear taken from Judaism:
Quote
In AC 7:33-38 we find six prayers in Greek that are now generally regarded as christianized versions of six originally Jewish prayer texts, namely, the first six of the Seven Benedictions for the Sabbath morning service. The existence of these benedictions is attested already in the earliest rabbinic literature (Mishnah, Rosh ha-Shana 4.5; early third century CE) and they consist of the first three and the last three benedictions of the Shemoneh Esreh (the Eighteen [Benedictions]), also called the Tefillah (= the Prayer par excellence), plus a middle benediction for the sanctification of the day.
...
To give just one clear instance: the second prayer, in AC 7:34, ends with a clause in which God is called “the reviver of the dead” (ho zôopoios tôn nekrôn) just as the corresponding Hebrew benediction (also the second one, Gevuroth) ends with praise of God as “the reviver of the dead” (mechayyeh ha-metim). These striking verbal similarities and equivalents, coming as they do in a prayer collection and appearing for the most part in their proper order, constitute a convincing corpus of evidence to suggest that AC 7.33–38 is a Greek version of the Hebrew Seven Benedictions (Fiensy 1985: 134). It is unknown when the Greek translation and Christian revision of these benedictions was undertaken, but according to most scholars that must have taken place between 150 and 350 CE, most probably in the third century CE.
http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/2015/06/van398018.shtml

He also says that the prayers have a mix of Jewish and Greek philosophical ideas:
Quote
...for instance, AC 7.34.6 which says: ‘You [God] presented him [man] as an ornament of the world, you shaped a body for him from the four bodies, you created for him a soul out of nothing, you bestowed upon him fivefold sense perception, but over the senses you placed the charioteer of the soul, the spirit.’

In the phrase ‘a body from the four bodies’ we see the use of the word ‘bodies’ (sômata) in the sense of ‘elements’ which is typically philosophical; ... The theory of the four elements (earth, water, air, and fire) has a Greek philosophical origin as well.
... Note that in both Philo and our prayer the soul is said to have been created out of nothing, stressing its incorporeality or immateriality. ... The image of the charioteer of the soul derives from a famous passage in Plato, Phaedrus 246a-b: ‘Let [the soul] be likened to the union of powers in a team of winged steeds and their winged charioteer. ... Philo, too, refers frequently to this Platonic image

What do you think about the distinction here that van der Horst claims about Biblical Jewish vs. greek and Christian ideas of God's goodness?:
Quote
In §1, it is stated that God ‘is good by nature.’ God’s goodness is mentioned frequently in the Bible and often in Jewish prayers (Daniel 3:89 LXX; Psalms of Solomon 5.2; Prayer of Manasseh 11). But there it is not an inherent or essential quality of God; evil, too, may come from God. That it is God’s very nature (physis) to be good is, however, a typically Greek idea. A belief in the inherent goodness of god or the gods was widely shared by the Greek philosophers; see, e.g., Plato, Republic 379b1, Timaeus 29e1-2. This Greek idea was also adopted by Jewish and Christian philosophers such as Philo, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, but the rabbis and other Jews retained the biblical idea that both good and evil come from God’s hand.
It seems to me that Christian theology would agree that God is ultimately good, and that both good and bad/evil come from God too, as he is the ultimate origin.

Another interesting aspect of these Prayers is that they include the figure of Melchizedek, whom Paul in his Epistles considers to be a reference to Christ.

And Craig A. Evans's book  Of Scribes and Sages, vol 2, says:
Quote
Predictably, God's unexplained rejection of Cain's offering and Cain's sudden and malicious response ahs prompted various post-biblical explanations. Sometimes the root problem in Cain's devilish origins and flawed character (... Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 12.54)
Judith Newman in that book finds the Trisagion in it as sung by angels and humans to be a feature special to early Christianity. She also sees 1 Clement's reference to the whole of creation being full of God's glory and not just the earth, as well as "heaven and earth are full of thy glory" in liturgy prayers as a special Christian feature.

The introduction to the Prayers can be found on p. 671 here in Charlesworth's book, and the Prayers start on p. 677:
https://books.google.com/books?id=RU77ekrD_vIC&pg=PA954&lpg=PA954&dq=%22Hellenistic+Synagogal+Prayers%22&source=bl&ots=TpZJKjN5xK&sig=QJV_aQSvIpwrYzvxmurgzLsDaHA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjml_XB6a7TAhUjw4MKHTB4DBYQ6AEITjAI#v=onepage&q=%22Hellenistic%20Synagogal%20Prayers%22&f=false
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #197 on: April 18, 2017, 08:25:39 PM »
The Apostolic Constitutions Vol 7, Chapter 26 and Chapter 33 are the first two of these Prayers
Here is vol. 7 of the Apostolic Constitutions:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/07157.htm

Quote
The structure of the Apostolic Constitutions can be summarized:[4]

    Books 1 to 6 are a free re-wording of the Didascalia Apostolorum
    Book 7 is partially based on the Didache. Chapters 33-45 of book 7 contain prayers similar to Jewish prayers used in synagogues.
    Book 8 is composed as follows:
        chapters 1-2 contain an extract of a lost treatise on the charismata
        chapters 3-46 are based on the Apostolic Tradition, greatly expanded, along with other material
        chapter 47 is known as the Canons of the Apostles and it had a wider circulation than the rest of the book.

The best manuscript[5] has Arian leanings, which are not found in other manuscripts because this material would have been censured as heretical.[3]

The Apostolic Constitutions is an important source for the history of the liturgy in the Antiochene rite. It contains an outline of an anaphora in book two, a full anaphora in book seven (which is an expansion of the one found in the Didache), and the complete Liturgy of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions, which is the oldest known form that can be described as a complete divine liturgy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_Constitutions
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #198 on: April 20, 2017, 02:02:35 PM »
Apostolic Constitutions vol 8, Chp 5 (The Form of Prayer for the Ordination of a Bishop) talks about the priestly and episcopal duties of Christian clergy as well as the performance of absolution:
Quote
O You, who knows the hearts of all, grant that this Your servant whom You have chosen to the holy office of Your bishop, may discharge the duty of a high priest to You, and minister to You unblameably night and day; that he may appease You unceasingly, and present to You the gifts of Your holy Church, and in the spirit of the high-priesthood have power to remit sins according to Your commandment, to give lots according to Your injunction, to loose every bond according to the power which You have given to the apostles, and be well-pleasing to You

This is preceded by a passage that Charlesworth's book considers "Hellenistic Prayer #9":
Quote
O You the great Being, O Lord God Almighty,...

who hast fore-ordained priests from the beginning for the government of Your people— Abel in the first place, Seth and Enos, and Enoch and Noah, and Melchisedec and Job; who appointed Abraham, and the rest of the patriarchs, with Your faithful servants Moses and Aaron, and Eleazar and Phineas; who chose from among them rulers and priests in the tabernacle of Your testimony; who chose Samuel for a priest and a prophet; who did not leave Your sanctuary without ministers; who delighted in those whom You chose to be glorified in.

Darnell comments about this part of the Hellenistic Prayer:
Quote
This prayer originally could have been used by hellenistic Judaism for the consecration of a priest and later taken over and interpolated by Christians for use in the consecration of presbyters. However, such a prayer could have been framed in its entirety by a Christian author seeking justification from the OT for the priestly prerogatives of a growing clerical caste.
It sounds like it's not very clear how much of the "Hellenistic Prayer" is really a Jewish nonChristian Prayer and how much of it is just a prayer written by Christians.

I do agree that the basic theory about the "Hellenistic Prayers" is correct: that there were ancient Jewish prayers that were modified by Christians in AD 150-400.

What do you think the "giving of the lots" by the bishop refers to?:
Quote
Grant to him, O Lord Almighty, through Your Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, that so he may have power to remit sins according to Your command; to give forth lots according to Your command; to loose every bond, according to the power which You gave the apostles; that he may please You in meekness and a pure heart, with a steadfast, unblameable, and unreprovable mind; to offer to You a pure and unbloody sacrifice, which by Your Christ You have appointed as the mystery of the new covenant...
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #199 on: April 21, 2017, 01:21:06 PM »
From Hellenistic Synagogal Prayer 12 / Apost. Const. 12:
Quote
When this is done, let the deacons bring the gifts to the bishop at the altar; and let the presbyters stand on his right hand, and on his left, as disciples stand before their Master. But let two of the deacons, on each side of the altar, hold a fan, made up of thin membranes, or of the feathers of the peacock, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the small animals that fly about, that they may not come near to the cups.
Perhaps this is where the Orthodox practice comes of having assistants with circular angel fans with long staffs on either side of their bishop or priest?



This chapter also may reveal the meaning of the use of the plural by God when creating the world:
Quote
And You have not only created the world itself, but hast also made man for a citizen of the world, exhibiting him as the ornament of the world; for You said to Your Wisdom: "Let us make man according to our image, and according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the heaven." [Genesis 1:26]
That is, it reflects a conversation between God and His Wisdom. Isn't Wisdom / Sophia considered in Orthodox tradition to be a reference to the Holy Spirit?

Chapter 12 adds:
Quote
And while You accepted of the sacrifice of Abel [Genesis iv] as of an holy person, You rejected the gift of Cain, the murderer of his brother, as of an abhorred wretch.
This part is confusing because IIRC, God accepted Abel's sacrifice and rejected Cain's and it was the result of this difference that made Cain jealous and kill Abel. It was not that Cain killed Abel and then God rejected him as a wretch for killing Abel.
Strictly speaking, the passage above doesn't specify at what point God rejected Cain's sacrifice.

Here is rejects Advaitism and pantheism. Both of them equate God and the universe or reality:
Quote
And when men had corrupted the law of nature, and had sometimes esteemed the creation the effect of chance, and sometimes honoured it more than they ought, and equalled it to the God of the universe, You did not, however, suffer them to go astray, but raised up Your holy servant Moses, and by him gave the written law for the assistance of the law of nature, and showed that the creation was Your work, and banished away the error of polytheism.

What does positive law mean here:
Quote
For You are truly holy, and most holy, the highest and most highly exalted for ever. Holy also is Your only begotten Son our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who in all things ministered to His God and Father, both in Your various creation and Your suitable providence, and has not overlooked lost mankind. But after the law of nature, after the exhortations in the positive law, after the prophetical reproofs and the government of the angels, when men had perverted both the positive law and that of nature, and had cast out of their mind the memory of the flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughters of the inhabitant of Palestine, and being just ready to perish universally after an unparalleled manner, He was pleased by Your good will to become man

The chapter paraphrases the Last Supper:
Quote
In like manner also "He took the cup," and mixed it of wine and water, and sanctified it, and delivered it to them, saying: "Drink all of this; for this is my blood which is shed for many, for the remission of sins: do this in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show forth my death until I come."
Is the part about mixing it with wine and water a later concept, or is it said somewhere in the Bible specifically about an actual meal?
(I know that John's gospel talks about water coming from Jesus at the Passion.)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 01:21:29 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #200 on: April 22, 2017, 04:05:51 PM »
Hellenistic Prayer 16, Apostolic Constitution vol. 8, chp. 41, says that Elijah avoided death. This must refer to the time that God took Elijah up in a chariot:
Quote
And let the bishop say: O You who is by nature immortal, and has no end of Your being, from whom every creature, whether immortal or mortal, is derived; who made man a rational creature, the citizen of this world, in his constitution mortal, and added the promise of a resurrection; who did not suffer Enoch and Elijah to taste of death:
I have however read a claim that Elijah was not brought up into the highest heaven to live with the Lord directly by chariot, but rather that Elijah was only carried into the sky for transportation temporarily, and that later on in the Bible Elijah is narrated as living on earth in another location. What do you think of this issue?

I recognize phrases and parts of the Apostolic Constitutions from the Orthodox Liturgy:
Quote
...of those that therein see, the glory of Your Christ; by whom glory, honour, and worship, thanksgiving, and adoration be to You, in the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Bow down, and receive the blessing.

And let the bishop give thanks for them, saying as follows: "O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance," which You have purchased with the precious blood of Your Christ. Feed them under Your right hand, and cover them under Your wings, and grant that they may "fight the good fight, and finish their course, and keep the faith" [2 Timothy 4:7] immutably, unblameably, and unreprovably, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to You and to the Holy Spirit for ever.

It is nice to hear in the chapter about " the peaceable region of the godly, and the undisturbed land of the upright" as well as the inspiring verse saying: "grant that they may "fight the good fight, and finish their course, and keep the faith" [2 Timothy 4:7 ]".

1 Timothy 6 says:
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses.
Ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως, ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς, εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης, καὶ ὡμολόγησας τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν ἐνώπιον πολλῶν μαρτύρων.

2 Timothy 4 says:
Quote
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing.
τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι, τὸν δρόμον τετέλεκα, τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα·
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 04:12:40 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #201 on: April 22, 2017, 04:16:38 PM »
Here is of the early Christian Old Testament apocryphas I found, and discussed above, listed by chronological theme:
Quote
100-400 Testament of Adam
1st to 2nd c. Testament of Abraham
100-400 Testament of Isaac
2nd-3rd c. Testament of Jacob
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
100-200 Odes of Solomon
Early 1st to late 5th c. Lives of the Prophets
1st to early 3rd c. Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
1st c. - 300 3 Baruch
1st c. -300 4 Baruch
2nd c.-500 Apocalypse of Sedrach
100-900 Greek Apocalypse of Ezra
100-400 Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 04:17:29 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #202 on: Yesterday at 07:50:55 PM »
Some interesting notes on 2 Clement:
Quote
4th-century bishop Eusebius, in his historical work, says that there is one "extant an epistle of this Clement",[2] so doubts about this work belonging to Clement of Rome are not new. Modern scholars believe that Second Clement is actually a sermon written around 95-140 CE by an anonymous author, one who was neither the author of 1 Clement nor Clement of Rome.
...
The earliest external reference to 2 Clement is found in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History...:
  •     But it must be observed also that there is said to be a second epistle of Clement. But we do not know that this is recognized like the former, for we do not find that the ancients have made any use of it. And certain men have lately brought forward other wordy and lengthy writings under his name, containing dialogues of Peter and Apion. But no mention has been made of these by the ancients; for they do not even preserve the pure stamp of apostolic orthodoxy

...the author of 2 Clement appears to have had access to Christian writings or oral tradition aside from those found in the New Testament. Some quotes attributed to Jesus are found only here, e.g. 4:5. In 2 Clement 5:2-4, the author quotes a saying of Jesus which is partially found in the New Testament, but the version quoted in 2 Clement is substantially longer than the version found in the New Testament. In the 20th century, a manuscript fragment was discovered that suggests this saying is a quote from the Gospel of Peter, much of which has been lost. Similarly, in 2 Clement 12, the author quotes from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, which was lost until the mid-20th century; this quotation was also ascribed to Cassianus and to the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians by Clement of Alexandria.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_of_Clement
IIRC, there is a Greek-language Gospel of Thomas and a longer Coptic version of the same. The mention of the Coptic version suggests that the latter was already around in the 1st c. AD.

The reference to Cassianus must be to Julius Cassianus (wrote in 160-180 A.D.), not Saint John Cassian (c. 360 – 435 AD).

Quote
"In 2 Clement a larger number of logia of Synoptic types are found (cf. 2 Clem 2.4; 3.2; 4.2; 6.1, 2; 8.5; 9.11; 13.4), which are in part introduced with quotation formulae. Alsongside these are found quotations of unknown origin; cf. 2 Clem. 4.5; 5.2-4; 12.2; 13.2. These data and the introductory formula in 2 Clem. 8.5 (λεγει γαρ ο κυριος εν τω ευαγγελιω [for the Lord says in the Gospel]) suggest that the author of 2 Clement used, in addition to the Old Testament, an apocryphal gospel that has not come down to us. There is a clearly recognizable tendency in 2 Clement to trace the authority of the Lord back to written documents."

Udo Schnelle, The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings, p. 355
It's curious. 2 Clement was quite a respected work in the early Church, yet it treated as authoritative an apocryphal gospel.

Quote
The theology is not altogether clear, and the author soon turns to the state that he has "given no trivial counsel about self-control," leading into his practical appeal for repentence and going so far as to say that "fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than both" (16:4).

Robert M. Grant  (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, p. 1061):

I am not sure that I agree with the underlined. Prayer seems quite important.

Some other interesting notes:
Quote
The text of 2 Clement... was... evidently highly respected and even canonical for some, it was rejected as not used by the ancients by others.... The existence of the text and its implied association with 1 Clement may be attested earlier [than by Eusebius in the 4th c.] by Irenaeus [in the 2nd c.]
...
(9:5: 'Christ ...who was first spirit, but became flesh') The apparent equation made here between Christ and Spirit is also striking; a similar equation seems to be made between the post Easter (and/or final eschatological) existence of Jesus and Spiritt in 14:4:  those who abuse the church 'will not receive the Spirit, that is Christ'. But however unusual such an equation might be in terms of later Christian trinitarian theology, it is not unparalleled in NT and second c Christian writers

2 Clement: Introduction, Text, and Commentary
By Christopher Tuckett

2 Clement says that after we leave this world, we can't confess or repent, and consequently we should repent now.
Question: If we are still conscious after death, why couldn't we repent or continue our repentance after death?

While the document is called a second epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, scholars note that the contents don't appear as an epistle, but rather to be be a sermon, as the introduction simply begins: "Brethren..."

Peter Preobrazhensky writes that the occasion for the author of 2 Clement to write the work was his conflict against gnosticism, and that to disprove gnosticism to the gnostics, 2 Clement uses citations that were accepted by the gnostics.
Quote
The author brings in significant qutations (eg. ch. 12 wholly widespread among gnostics (st Hyppolytus, Philosophoumena, vol. 7) and uses them, likely, with that aim of exposing the known confusions on the basis of essays, respected by the false teachers. ... with probability one may propose that [the author] was a member of the Roman Church.

http://lib.pravmir.ru/library/readbook/3818

It is used in the Alexandrian Codex of the Bible and is mentioned in the book of Apostolic rules to be used for general reading.
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #203 on: Yesterday at 09:35:59 PM »
Are you saying that there 2 Clement was written in Coptic in the first century?
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #204 on: Yesterday at 10:34:19 PM »
Mina:
Some interesting notes on 2 Clement:
Quote
4th-century bishop Eusebius, in his historical work, says that there is one "extant an epistle of this Clement",[2] so doubts about this work belonging to Clement of Rome are not new. Modern scholars believe that Second Clement is actually a sermon written around 95-140 CE by an anonymous author, one who was neither the author of 1 Clement nor Clement of Rome.
...
The earliest external reference to 2 Clement is found in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History...:
  •     But it must be observed also that there is said to be a second epistle of Clement. But we do not know that this is recognized like the former, for we do not find that the ancients have made any use of it. And certain men have lately brought forward other wordy and lengthy writings under his name, containing dialogues of Peter and Apion. But no mention has been made of these by the ancients; for they do not even preserve the pure stamp of apostolic orthodoxy

...the author of 2 Clement appears to have had access to Christian writings or oral tradition aside from those found in the New Testament. Some quotes attributed to Jesus are found only here, e.g. 4:5. In 2 Clement 5:2-4, the author quotes a saying of Jesus which is partially found in the New Testament, but the version quoted in 2 Clement is substantially longer than the version found in the New Testament. In the 20th century, a manuscript fragment was discovered that suggests this saying is a quote from the Gospel of Peter, much of which has been lost. Similarly, in 2 Clement 12, the author quotes from the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, which was lost until the mid-20th century; this quotation was also ascribed to Cassianus and to the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians by Clement of Alexandria.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_of_Clement
IIRC, there is a Greek-language Gospel of Thomas and a longer Coptic version of the same [Gospel of Thomas]. The mention of the Coptic version [of the GOSPEL OF THOMAS] suggests that the latter was already around in the 1st c. AD.

Sorry that I didn't make this clearer, Mina. I was referring to the longer version of the  Gospel of Thomas being found in Coptic.
There are indeed some 1st c. Christian documents that have parts that are only in Coptic.

However, as I understand it, the early copies of 2 Clement are not in Coptic, but I imagine that at some point in history 2 Clement might have been translated into Coptic. The lack of finding early copies of 2 Clement in Egypt is one of the reasons for skepticism that 2 Clement was originally an Egyptian document, despite 2 Clement (as I meant to say) using words that can be found in the Coptic version of the Gospel of Thomas. A second reason for doubting that 2 Clement is Egyptian is that it's at least attributed to Clement of Rome by its title.

There are an early (maybe original) Greek version of the Gospel of Thomas and a later, Coptic version of the Gospel of Thomas and that Greek version is considered far less gnostic, to the point where it's even questioned if the Greek version is gnostic at all. The later Coptic version of the same is considered gnostic.

Regards.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:35:38 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #205 on: Yesterday at 10:37:37 PM »
For those who are interested, there is a helpful Biblindex that links users to all instances where Church fathers uses Bible verses, which the user can select.

http://www.biblindex.info/citation_biblique/?lang=en

So if you want to know what any church father living before 250 AD said about, say, Romans 6:22, then the Search program will give you a list of all citations, and tell you for instance that Clement of Alexandria wrote about this in his Stromata.
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #206 on: Today at 12:25:37 AM »
Quote
There are indeed some 1st c. Christian documents that have parts that are only in Coptic.

Coptic in a more advanced and Christian context, including heretical components, wasn't used until the third century, if I'm not mistaken.  Before then, an older version of Coptic was only used in Egyptian pagan contexts, and even then, very rarely (at least what we have preserved).  Remenkemi can correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

With that said, I think I get what you're saying, that these were originally in Greek that are possibly first century, but now only preserved in Coptic.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #207 on: Today at 01:13:56 AM »
Quote
There are indeed some 1st c. Christian documents that have parts that are only in Coptic.

Coptic in a more advanced and Christian context, including heretical components, wasn't used until the third century, if I'm not mistaken.
Before then, an older version of Coptic was only used in Egyptian pagan contexts, and even then, very rarely (at least what we have preserved).  Remenkemi can correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

With that said, I think I get what you're saying, that these were originally in Greek that are possibly first century, but now only preserved in Coptic.
You could be right about the underlined part.
I have come across different claims about "Coptic" Christian writings before the 3rd century, but am not particularly advocating a certain POV on what you are asking me about.

So for example, scholars propose these dates for these writings below:
2nd-3rd century AD: Testament of Jacob (Egyptian Jewish or Coptic Christian; once widespread among Christians)
100-400 AD: Testament of Isaac (Egyptian Jewish or Coptic Christian; once widespread among Christians)
^ So none of that necessarily contradicts what you said.

Typically what I find is that certain previously lost documents have been found only in Coptic but considered original in Greek.

Quote
Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 A.D., and a fragment of the Gospel of Saint John, written using the Coptic language, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century.

Encyclopedia Coptica
http://www.coptic.net/EncyclopediaCoptica/
Quote
To insure that the Word of God, written in the Scriptures, be preached the same by the different missionaries, it had to be written in a way that the missionaries can read and the Egyptians can understood when it was read to them. So the missionaries translated the Scriptures into the Egyptian tongue but wrote them using the Greek characters they are familiar with. These attempts differed from those of the pagans in that they did not use any Demotic character in the beginning. The shortcomings of that system were eventually realized and more characters, borrowed from the Demotic, were added to bring them to the current six or seven additional characters that survived in the Sahidic and Bohairic dialects respectively.
...
Coptic was used from its Christian beginnings in the late second century AD. till the time of the Great persecution of Diocletian in the early 4th century AD. predominantly as a translational tool from Greek to Egyptian. After the persecution, the monastic movement picked up tremendous steam. It was for the Copts the only way they can express their great love for God, that they earlier expressed with the willing sacrifice of their most precious possession, their earthly lives. These monastic communities were large and mostly Egyptian. This generated the need for the abbots of these communities to write their rules in their own language, i.e. Coptic. Also the Fathers of the Coptic Church, who usually wrote in Greek, addressed some of their works to the Egyptian monks in Coptic.

So with monastic fathers like St. Antony, St. Pachomius, and St. Macarius and their respective disciples writing to their monks; and Church Fathers like St. Athanasius, St. Theophilius, and St. Cyril writing also to them in Coptic, the Golden Age of Coptic was about to begin.
http://www.coptic.org/language/stshenouda1.htm

"The Bible was being translated into Coptic as early as the second century."
www.hbu.edu/publications/museums/newsletter/vol-07_issue2_03-10bia.pdf
« Last Edit: Today at 01:14:57 AM by rakovsky »
The ocean, impassable by men, and the world beyond it are directed by the same ordinances of the Master. ~ I Clement 20