William, do you actually dispute anything regarding DBH's characterization of the early Christian community? I thought the broad outline he provided is pretty generally accepted...
Is it, though?
I read the article in the OP and it doesn't seem to address
I did not find your argument convincing and perhaps you can expand your rebuttal accordingly:
My post wasn't an argument per se, more like a criticism of Hart's argument. But what the heck, let's try this.
a) the existence of references to Jesus' wealthy followers who remain wealthy, such as the women in Lk 8.1-3 who seem to be giving a bit more than two mites here and there if they're providing the means for thirteen men to travel all over Palestine, or more certainly Joseph of Arimathea (whom Matthew describes as a rich man) and Nicodemus (who, according to John's description, was able to buy an insane and probably unnecessary amount of burial supplies on short notice);
This is an interpretation and a highly speculative one.
No more speculative than Hart.
The only possible rich person in the first phrase above is Saint Joanna and it is not clear to me that she, in particular, had access to a lot of money. Her husband Chuza possibly, but not necessarily in liquid assets.
So what? The passage says the women provided for Jesus (and the disciples) out of their means (RSV). Other translations will substitute "possessions", "resources", "property", or "substance" for "means". Whether or not they "had access to a lot of money", they had access to financial resources which they could use as they pleased.
Contrast that to Hart's unambiguous statement:
To be a follower of the Way was to renounce every claim to private property and to consent to communal ownership of everything (Acts 4:32). Barnabas, on becoming a Christian, sold his field and handed over all the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:35)—though Ananias and Sapphira did not, with somewhat unfortunate consequences.
Is Chuza the "insider" in regard to the trial and crucifixion of Christ? There must have been one. The criticism in any case is that she committed all of her resources to Christ early on and was a safe haven for preserving those resources for contingencies.
Where are you getting this?
The same would apply to Arimathea and Nicodemus. Wells Fargo was not providing unasked for bank accounts back then.
I'm not sure what Wells Fargo has to do with anything. Matthew 27.57 specifically refers to Joseph of Arimathea as a rich man. I'm not sure the NT describes Nicodemus in similar terms, but, like Joseph, he was an elder of Israel (not sure how many of those were broke) and was able to buy a huge and probably unnecessary amount of burial supplies on short notice on one of the busiest days of the year in a crowded city. It's not unreasonable to suppose he was also wealthy.
Again, contrast that with Hart's focus on Acts 4-5 as "the Christian way".
b) the existence of house churches, which implies (to me, anyway) Christians who own property that is their own and open it up to the use of the community without necessarily turning it into a commune (e.g., Philemon, who apparently has a guest room ready for Paul's use);
I do not get this comment at all. I do not think that Christ was demanding people to be homeless and without shelter in order to become sick sleeping in the rain.
That's cute, but beside the point. It's still a matter of someone possessing private property which he uses as he pleases vs Hart's idea that this is not "the Christian way".
I can't recall whether Christ ever demanded people be homeless. But he did tell his apostles not to take money with them on their journeys and to stay with the first people who receive them into their homes in any given place, eating and drinking what they offer. This implies that some disciples are expected to have property, if not as a divine command, then certainly as a fact of life. How they use that property becomes something about which they can be judged, but "sell it all or die" is not the only option.
If you have a room to spare you give it up. Philemon may have at that time had space or moved someone out to another house to make room for St. Paul.
Again, "if you have a room to spare" shouldn't be an option under Hart's understanding of Christianity. You shouldn't have a room to spare. You probably shouldn't have a room at all, except perhaps in some sort of commune.
Regarding what Philemon may have done for St Paul, we have two options based on your idea:
a) Philemon had extra space, which means he had property which he wasn't putting at the disposal of the Church except on occasion as he deemed appropriate; or
b) Philemon didn't have extra space, and so he decided to kick someone out to make room for St Paul, and St Paul was OK with that.
Neither is satisfying.
c) Paul's collection for the Christians of Jerusalem, for which he instructs each of his Corinthian converts to give "as he may prosper" (which is not exactly "sell everything like Barnabas or die like Ananias and Sapphira");
I did not understand this statement.
What exactly don't you understand? Paul's instructions to the Corinthians imply "giving what one can", while Hart's understanding of Acts 4-5 is a total renunciation of private property. "Giving what one can" is less than that.
d) Paul's own ownership of property (e.g., cloaks, books, parchments) which he asks others to bring to him rather than, say, living strictly according to the Lord's teaching recorded in places like Mt 10.9; and possibly other counterexamples.
Are you saying that St. Paul refused to share his cloaks, books, parchments? I am not sure I understand this.
I'm saying Paul owned stuff, whereas Jesus tells the apostles not to acquire money or to have extra clothes on their missionary journeys. This contradiction shouldn't be the case if Hart is right.
I don't know much about Hart, but I do think he overstated his argument, which, oddly enough, was supposedly based on a close reading of Scripture.
My do not understand replies reflects the fact that I did not have the time to look up what you are writing about, at least in part.
By all means, please read Holy Scripture when you can.