Author Topic: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians  (Read 64540 times)

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #90 on: January 16, 2017, 11:12:15 PM »
I thought these quotes were interesting from the Gospel of the Nazarenes, quoted by these writers:
Quote
Haimo of Auxerre.
From Haimo, commentary II, On Isaiah 53.12, writing of the words of Jesus on the cross: Father, forgive them (de Santos 40):
    As it has it in the gospel of the Nazarenes, at this voice of the Lord many thousands of Jews standing around the cross came to faith.

Petrus de Riga.
In a copy of the Bible known as the Aurora of Petrus de Riga, century XIII, one of the marginal notes says regarding the temple incident:
    In the books of the gospels that the Nazarenes use it is read that rays issued from his eyes, by which terrified they were put to flight.

Confer Jerome, commentary on Matthew 21.15:
    For a certain fiery and starry [light] radiated from his eyes, and the majesty of divinity shone in his face.

The History of the Passion of the Lord.

Extant in a codex of the fourteenth century.
From the History of the Passion of the Lord, folio 25 verso, concerning the footwashing for the disciples:
    And, just as it is said in the gospel of the Nazaraeans, he had kissed the feet of each.

From the History of the Passion of the Lord, folio 35 recto, concerning the Peter and John in the court of the high priest:
    In the gospel of the Nazaraeans the reason is given for John having been known to the priest. It was because when he was the son of the poor fisherman Zebedee he often ported fishes to the curias of the priests.

From the History of the Passion of the Lord, folio 55 recto, concerning the words of forgiveness from the cross:
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. And note that in the gospel of the Nazaraeans it is read that at this virtuous prayer of Christ eight thousand were afterward converted to the faith. There were to be sure three thousand on the day of Pentecost.

http://www.textexcavation.com/nazoraeangospel.html
Is this saying that later on by being told about these words of Jesus an accumulated 8000 Jews converted to Christianity?
Quote
From the History of the Passion of the Lord, folio 65 recto, concerning the signs at the death of the Lord:
    Likewise in the gospel of the Nazaraeans it is read that a lintel of the temple of infinite magnitude was broken at the death of Christ. Josephus says the same thing and adds that horrible voices were heard in the air saying: Let us leave these regions.

This last reference comes up in another source:
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Peter Comestor (century XII) has: "for in the gospel of the Nazarenes it is read that a lintel of the temple of infinite magnitude was broken and voices were heard in the air: Let us go out from these places".

Josephus has a similar story, but he relates it to a later moment:
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Moreover, at that [Jewish] feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence" (Jewish Wars, VI-V-3).
Didn't one scholar say that these portents and the voices were said by Josephus to have occurred decades after Jesus' death? I don't remember who.

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Tacitus, a Roman historian, also says, "There were many prodigies presignifying their ruin which was not averted by all the sacrifices and vows of that people. Armies were seen fighting in the air with brandished weapons. A fire fell upon the Temple from the clouds. The doors of the Temple were suddenly opened. At the same time there was a loud voice saying that the gods were removing, which was accompanied with a sound as of a multitude going out. All which things were supposed, by some to portend great calamities."
http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/c/chariots-in-clouds.html

Interesting claim by one writer that via Jerome, fragments from the Gospel of the Nazarenes are part of the KJV:
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Jerome translated it into the Latin and incorporated it (in his own words, even changing some of them) into the Latin Vulgate from which the English versions (including KJV) are now derived.
...
(in Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 12:13)--"In the Gospel which the Nazarenes and the Ebionites use, which we have recently translated from Hebrew to Greek,..."

...He... tells us here that he translated it from Hebrew to Greek (thus the additions, deletions, etc. that we now have in our New Covenant).

http://earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelnazoreans.html
Do you agree? That writer puts a lot of other strange claims on his page though. And the seeming existence of additions and deletions could just be because Jerome was translating from the Greek G.Matthew into Latin, and the Greek version already had changes. The writer seems to think mistakenly that the Vulgate Matthew was Jerome's translation from Hebrew, doesn't he?

Here is a difference in texts from G.Matthew:
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Matthew 7:5: Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

To Matt. 7:5 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans: The Jewish Gospel reads here: "If you be in my bosom and do not the will of my Father who is in heaven, I will cast you away from my bosom."
It sounds to me like a later interpolation. Matthew 7 doesn't have Jesus mentioning himself in his discourse directly until 15 verses later. Instead, v. 5 seems to be part of a long list of sayings about what to do or not to do, not a reference to what He will do based on those actions.

Interesting mention by Jerome:
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To Matt. 12:10 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans (in Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 12:13)--In the Gospel which the Nazarenes and the Ebionites use, which we have recently translated from Hebrew to Greek, and which most people call the authentic [Gospel] of Matthew, the man who had the withered hand is described as a mason

Quote
To Matt. 18:21-22 (Luke 17:3-4) cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans (in Jerome, Against Pelagius, III.2)--He says, "If your brother has sinned by a word, and repented, receive him seven times a day." Simon, his disciple, said to him, "Seven times a day?" The Lord answered, "Yes, I tell you, as much as seventy times seven times! For in the prophets also, after they were anointed by the Holy Spirit, a word of sin was found."
This is an interesting issue. I highly doubt Jesus was implying that some of the prophets' words in the Bible were sinful though. I assume he means they sinned sometimes in their personal lives.

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Matthew 27:65: "Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can."

To Matt. 27:65 cf. Gospel of the Nazaraeans, as recorded in a marginal note of some mss: The Jewish Gospel has: And he delivered armed men to them, that they might sit opposite the cave and guard it day and night.
If Pilate says "You have a watch" like in Jerome's version, I can see how this might mean either "You already have a guard patrol, your temple soldiers", or else "Here, you have this Roman guard patrol that I am giving you". It seems to create some ambiguity about who owned the guards.
But if Pilate "delivered armed men to the high priests" like in the "Jewish gospel", doesn't that mean the armed men were Pilate's own soldiers?
In the Gospel of Peter, a different gospel, it seems that there were both Roman guards and Temple staff at the tomb.

Eusebius writes:
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He (Christ) himself taught the reason for the separations of souls that take place in houses, as we have found somewhere in the Gospel that is spread abroad among the Jews in the Hebrew tongue, in which it is said: "I choose for myself the most worthy: the most worthy are those whom my Father in heaven has given me."
(Eusebius, Theophania 4.12 [on Matthew 10:34-36])
Eusebius was writing in the context of a commentary on Matthew 10:34-36, which says:
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34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #91 on: January 17, 2017, 02:20:48 AM »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #92 on: January 17, 2017, 02:38:11 PM »
The Gospel of Matthias may also be known as the Traditions of Matthias. Here is a good attempt at a text excavation of its fragments:
http://www.textexcavation.com/traditionsmatthias.html

According to the Nicolaiatans, a sect mentioned as heretical in the Book of Revelation, this work was ascribed to Matthias the apostle.
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Though the work is lost, Clement of Alexandria[2] records a sentence urging asceticism that the Nicolaitanes ascribe to Matthias: "we must combat our flesh, set no value upon it, and concede to it nothing that can flatter it, but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthias

It's interesting that Codex Baroccianus lists it as canonical but that Eusebius attributed it to heretics.
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Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 3.25.6) mentions it together with gospels of Thomas and Peter. He describes them as works which were composed by heretics, but which nonethless were known to most writers in the early Church. The Gospel of Matthias is also named in lists of heretical works: the Decretum Gelasianum, the Catalogue of the Sixty Canonical Books, and a list in the Samaritan Chronicle No. II of false books allegedly used by Nazarene Christians.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/traditionsmatthias.html

There is a confusing issue about the Nicolaiatans:
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The Nicolas of Acts 6:5 was a native of Antioch and a proselyte (convert to Judaism) and then a follower of the way of Christ. When the Church was still confined to Jerusalem, he was chosen by the whole multitude of the disciples to be one of the first seven deacons, and he was ordained by the apostles, c. AD 33. It has been questioned whether this Nicolas was connected with the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation, and if so, how closely.

  •     The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, [when they are represented] as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
        — Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, i. 26, §3[16]

In other writings of the early Church this connection is disputed and the Nicolaitans are said to be "falsely so called" (ψευδώνυμοι).[17] Clement of Alexandria put forward a defense of Nicolas (in Stromata ii. 20, iii. 4) which Eusebius accepts and repeats (in Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 29).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaism

Actually, Revelation doesn't specify that the Nicolaiatans are indulgers like Bp. Irenaeus thought:
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Revelation 2
6 But this thou [the church of Ephesus] hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I [Jesus Christ] also hate.
...
14 But I have a few things against thee [the church in Pergamos], because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
In other words, the Church at Pergamos has both groups, the indulgers and the Nicolaiatans.

One lead is brought up in that elsewhere Bp. Irenaeus associated them with Cerinthus, a heretical gnostic of c. 100 AD.
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Augustine of Hippo ascribed to them Cerinthian doctrines concerning the creation of the world (in his De haeresibus ad Quodvultdeum, v).
Epiphanius relates some details of the life of Nicolas the deacon, and describes him as gradually sinking into the grossest impurity, and becoming the originator of the Nicolaitans and other libertine Gnostic sects:

    [Nicolas] had an attractive wife, and had refrained from intercourse as though in imitation of those whom he saw to be devoted to God. He endured this for a while but in the end could not bear to control his incontinence.... But because he was ashamed of his defeat and suspected that he had been found out, he ventured to say, "Unless one copulates every day, he cannot have eternal life."[18]
    — Epiphanius, Panarion, xxv. 1

Hippolytus agreed with Epiphanius in his unfavourable view of Nicolas...
What's confusing about the claim that they were gnostic indulgers of the flesh is that in the quote from the gospel of Matthias, the passage does talk about "knowledge" (gnosis), but it also talks about asceticism.
Clement of Alexandria had a positive view of Nicolas and Theodoret thought the sect was wrongly ascribed to him:
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Clement of Alexandria...  states that Nicolas led a chaste life and brought up his children in purity. He describes a certain occasion when Nicolas had been sharply reproved by the apostles as a jealous husband, and he repelled the charge by offering to allow his wife to become the wife of any other person. Clement also writes that Nicolas was in the habit of repeating a saying which is ascribed to the apostle Matthias, that it is our duty to fight against the flesh and to abuse (παραχρῆσθαι) it. His words were perversely interpreted by the Nicolaitans as authority for their immoral practices.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaism

Clement Alexandrine relates an odd story of Nicholas presenting his wife to the apostles in case they wanted to have sex with her, which Clement A. defends as suppression of his own passions. It's kind of an odd issue. He brings up the quote from the Traditions of Matthias:
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Nicolaus, they say, had a lovely wife. When after the Saviour's ascension he was accused before the apostles of jealousy, he brought his wife into the concourse and allowed anyone who so desired to marry her. For, they say, this action was appropriate to the saying: 'One must abuse the flesh.' ...

I am informed, however, that Nicolaus never had relations with any woman other than the wife he married, and that of his children his daughters remained virgins to their old age, and his son remained uncorrupted. In view of this it was an act of suppression of passion when he brought before the apostles the wife on whose account he was jealous. He taught what it meant to 'abuse the flesh' by restraining the distracting passions. For, as the Lord commanded, he did not wish to serve two masters, pleasure and God. It is said that Matthias also taught that one should fight the flesh and abuse it, never allowing it to give way to licentious pleasure, so that the soul might grow by faith and knowledge” (Stromata, iii. 4, §§25-26)

Jon B. Daniels writes (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 4, p. 644) about the Gospel of Matthias:
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    Clement's citations from it are brief hortatory sentences (Strom. 2.9.45; 3.4.26; 7.13.82). But if Strom. 4.6.35 is derived from the same source, then the work may also have contained some narrative material about Jesus. The quotations are not overtly gnostic, but according to Clement (Strom. 7.17.108) teachings of Matthias were used by Basilideans and perhaps other gnostic groups. According to Hippolytus (Haer. 7.20.1) Basilides and his son Isidore claimed to have learned from Matthias 'secret words,' which he had received in private teaching from the Savior.

With the references to gnosts using Matthias' supposed secret words of Jesus, it reminds me a bit of the Nag Hammadi "Book of Thomas the Contender", since one of the sayings in that book is:
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"The secret words that the savior spoke to Judas Thomas which I, even I, Mathaias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Thomas_the_Contender
What do you think of this possibility?
An interesting thing there is that Matthias was chosen to replace Judas (although there is no mention of Judas being called Judas Thomas), and that there are gnostic gospels of Judas and of Thomas.

About the Book of Thomas the Contender, Wikipedia says:
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An additional consideration is that, since the scribe writing the text is named as Matthias, this work may actually be the lost Gospel of Matthias. The dialogue can also be read as an internal conversation between Jesus and his lower self, Judas Thomas, the twin (contender for supremacy of the soul). The New Testament's "doubting" Thomas and Judas "the betrayer" could also be symbolic and descriptive of this internal battle between the Christ Self and ego identity.
...
"The Book of Thomas the Contender" and its guidance in overcoming ego "lusts/attachments" differs markedly with Jesus' gentler, more practical psychological approach in the Four Canonical Gospels and The Gospel of Thomas.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Thomas_the_Contender
The last part about overcoming lusts also reminds me of the Gospel of Matthias.
A big problem with equating them is that even though Clement A. doesn't cite much at all of g.Matthias, his quotes aren't found in the Book of Thomas the Contender.

It's noteworthy that in g.Hebrews, Matthias is considered to be Levi the tax collector, and that Clement Alexandrine associates Zaccheaus the tax collector with Matthias. In the
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STROMATA written by St Clement of Alexandria, ... after the interface between Jesus and Zacchaeus, and Jesus dined with him at his house, Zacchaeus got transformed totally and followed Jesus in his ministry and that this publican Zacchaeus was surnamed ‘Matthias’ thereafter. The one chosen in place of Judas Iscariot is the same Matthias alias Zacchaeus.
...
Subsequent Apostolic constitutions identify Zacchaeus alias Matthias as the first Bishop of Caesarea.

...
The fact that this is found to have been compiled only in the second century proves that the Apostle Matthias is not the true author.
http://marthoman.tv/georgejosephenchakkattil/mathias.htm
How do we know this was only compiled in the 2nd century?

The Orthodox Apologetics site uses Clement A.'s view of Gospel of Matthias to undermine Protestant ideas of solo scriptura. The Protestants cite to Clement A.'s statement
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    "But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves." - St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, 7, 16
The Orthodox Apologetics site notes how different Clement A's idea of holy writings was:
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[Clement A.] quotes many that neither you nor I would consider Scriptural as such; and 2. even though Clement's definition of "Scripture" was a little wider than that used by your or I, he does seem to have attributed more authority to the writings of Apostles than to other writings. Even here, however, his list of books differed significantly from our current 27-book New Testament (the New Testament being, as it is, an attempt at a complete library of Apostolic writings).

St. Clement believed all of the following books were Apostolic writings, in addition to what we have in our New Testament today:

    Gospel of the Egyptians
    Gospel of the Hebrews
    Traditions of Matthias
    Preaching of Peter
    1 Clement
    Epistle of Barnabas
    Didache
    Shepherd of Hermas
    Apocalypse of Peter

The problem all of this presents for the Protestant apologist is obvious. Even if Clement was a Sola Scripturist (we've already seen that he was not), his Scriptura was very different from that of a Protestant. Hence, he couldn't have been Sola Scripturist in the way a Protestant is; from a Protestant perspective, he's including a whole lot of extra-biblical stuff in his theology...

http://orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com/2010/03/st-clement-of-alexandria-sola-scriptura.html

Some scholars claim that Innocent I listed another book by Matthias besides the Gospel of Matthias and Traditions of Matthias, but if you check Innocent I's letter ( of 405 AD), he doesn't distinguish this book from them. He writes that besides the canonical NT books:
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the rest of the books, which appear under the name of Matthias or of James the Less, or under the name of Peter and John (which were written by a certain Leucius), or under the name of Andrew (which were written by the philosophers Xenocharides and Leonidas), or under the name of Thomas, and whatever others there may be, you should know they are not only to be rejected but also condemned.
http://www.bible-researcher.com/innocent.html
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 02:39:28 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #93 on: January 18, 2017, 03:49:49 PM »
One writer says that one of the sayings Clement Alexandrine mentions from Gospel of Matthias is gnostic. Which saying do you think that might be?
Here are two lists (a bit different from each other):
http://earlychristianwritings.com/text/traditionsmatthias.html
http://www.textexcavation.com/traditionsmatthias.html

Clement A. lived in the 2nd c. and noted:
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Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 3.4.26.3

They say that Matthias also taught this: "To fight with the flesh and misuse it, without yielding to it through undisciplined pleasure, so to increase the soul through faith and knowledge."
Could the reference to knowledge here be gnostic, and doesn't abusing the flesh sound strange?
Clement is writing this passage in the context of talking about the gnosts. I don't know if a single saying is enough to conclude that the lost gospel/traditions is gnostic.

Paul was saying something similar to abusing the flesh.
( "I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps when I have preached to others I myself should be castaway" (1 Cor 9:27))

Quote
From Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 4.6:
    So Zaccheus, but they say that it was Matthias, the chief tax-collector, having heard that the Lord had deemed him worthy to be with him, says: Behold, half of my present possessions I give as a mercy-gift, Lord, and if I ever extorted anything from anyone, I give it back fourfold. At which also the savior said: When the son of man came today, he found that which was lost.
I think based on the gospels and early Christian writings, there is a bit of confusion between Matthew, Matthias, Levi, and Zaccheus, who were all tax collectors. One reason is that Matthew and Matthias are the same name in Hebrew. Another is that Christians were given a Christian name in addition to their original one.
Also, note in the story above that Zaccheus became a disciple, as I underlined.


Quote
Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7.13.82.1

They say that Matthias the apostle in the Traditions says at every opportunity, "If the neighbor of an elect person sins, the elect person sins. For if he had led himself as the word dictates, the neighbor would have been in awe of his life so that he did not sin."
Are you aware of anything like that in the Bible?
I think there is an Orthodox tradition that priests bear personal responsibility for their flock, and there seem to be things like that in the gospels, but nothing about being responsible for neighbors' sins through negligence.

Clement A. notes that Basilides was using this Gospel/Traditions of Matthias. WIkipedia notes that he was gnostic:
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Basilides (Greek: Βασιλείδης) was an early Gnostic religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt[1] who taught from 117 to 138 AD,[* 1] and claimed to have inherited his teachings from Matthew.[2] He was a pupil of either Menander,[3] or an interpreter of Peter named Glaucias.[4] The Acts of the Disputation with Manes state that for a time he taught among the Persians.[5] He is believed to have written over two dozen books of commentary on the Christian Gospel (now all lost) entitled Exegetica,[3] making him one of the earliest Gospel commentators. Only fragments of his works are preserved that supplement the knowledge furnished by his opponents.

The followers of Basilides, the Basilidians, formed a movement that persisted for at least two centuries after him[6] – Epiphanius of Salamis, at the end of the 4th century, recognized a persistent Basilidian Gnosis in Egypt. It is probable, however, that the school melded into the mainstream of Gnosticism by the latter half of the 2nd century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilides
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #94 on: January 21, 2017, 06:42:11 PM »
Scholars dispute whether there was such a thing as an "Epistle to the Laodiceans", which Paul may be referring to at the end of his letter to Colossians:
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"After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea."
(Col. 4:16)

Here is the Greek:
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καὶ ὅταν ἀναγνωσθῇ παρ’ ὑμῖν ἡ ἐπιστολή, ποιήσατε ἵνα καὶ ἐν τῇ Λαοδικέων ἐκκλησίᾳ ἀναγνωσθῇ, καὶ τὴν ἐκ Λαοδικείας ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀναγνῶτε.
Some possibilities:
  • A) It's a letter from Paul to Laodicea that he wants the Laodiceans to forward on to the Colossians. In that case, the letter could have been lost, and the one(s) existing in the 2nd century like the Marcionite and/or Vulgate epistle could be forgeries.

    B) It's an encyclical that is already in the New Testament, and is one that he sent to others (eg. his letter to the Ephesians).

    C) It's a letter by Laodiceans to Colossians.

Wikipedia's page on this Epistle talks about the possibility that the Church passed down a copy that made its way into Latin Bibles:
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The Marcionist Epistle to the Laodiceans
According to the Muratorian fragment, Marcion's canon contained an epistle called the Epistle to the Laodiceans which is commonly thought to be a forgery written to conform to his own point of view. This is not at all clear, however, since none of the text survives.[11] It is not known what this letter might have contained. Some scholars suggest it may have been the Vulgate epistle described below...

The Latin Vulgate Epistle to the Laodiceans
For centuries some Western Latin Bibles used to contain a small Epistle from Paul to the Laodiceans.[14] The oldest known Bible copy of this epistle is in a Fulda manuscript written for Victor of Capua in 546. It is mentioned by various writers from the fourth century onwards, notably by Pope Gregory the Great, to whose influence may ultimately be due the frequent occurrence of it in Bibles written in England; for it is commoner in English Bibles than in others. John Wycliffe included Paul's letter to the Laodiceans in his Bible translation from the Latin to English. However this epistle is not without controversy because there is no evidence of a Greek text.[15] It contains almost no doctrine, teachings, or narrative not found elsewhere, and its exclusion from the Biblical canon has little effect.

The text was almost unanimously considered pseudepigraphal when the Christian Biblical canon was decided upon, and does not appear in any Greek copies of the Bible at all, nor is it known in Syriac or other versions.[16] Jerome, who wrote the Latin Vulgate translation, wrote in the 4th century, "it is rejected by everyone".[17] However, it evidently gained a certain degree of respect. It appeared in over 100 surviving early Latin copies of the Bible. ... The apocryphal epistle is generally considered a transparent attempt to supply this supposed lost sacred document. Some scholars suggest that it was created to offset the popularity of the Marcionite epistle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Laodiceans

Marcion had his own heretical version of the Bible that he changed. He could have either made up a copy of the Epistle to the Laodiceans or have altered it. The Latin Vulgate one is at least 4th c. since Jerome knew of it.

The Early Writings site dates the Vulgate one as:
150-350    Epistle to the Laodiceans

Quote
in the Muratori Canon (cf. vol. I, p. 36) two Marcionite forgeries, an epistle to the Laodiceans and one to the Alexandrians, are mentioned and rejected. Apart from the suggestion that these books were 'forged in Paul's name for the sect of Marcion' (lines 64f.), the passage provides no sort of clue to any closer identification of this epistle. Tertullian reports (adv. Marc. V 11 and 17) that the heretics, i.e. the Marcionites, regarded Ephesians as the Epistle to the Laodiceans and that Marcionite himself had made this change in the title. This note is confirmed to some extent by Epiphanius of Salamis (Haer. 42.9.4 and 42.12.3), who, it is true, gives no clear information as to whether the source which he copies here (Hippolytus) recognised Ephesians as the Epistle to the Laodiceans or whether in addition to Ephesians an Epistle to the Laodiceans also stood in the Marcionite canon.
...
Schneemelcher writes concerning the date of the text, "The dating of the Epistle to the Laodiceans is difficult for the reason that it depends on the question of the identity of this apocryphon with the one mentioned in the Muratori Canon, and this again is closely connected with the problem of its Marcionite derivation. Either the Muratori Canon means the Epistle to the Ephesians, the name of which was changed by Marcion into the Epistle to the Laodiceans (so Tertullian) - that, however, is unlikely, since Ephesians is mentioned in the Muratori Canon - or it had actually in view a separate Epistle to the Laodiceans, and then it must be the Latin Epistle to the Laodiceans that has come down to us, if we are not to assume several pseudo-Pauline letters to Laodicea. Certainly the Latin Epistle to the Laodiceans shows no sort of Marcionite character such as ought to be expected according to the statement of the Muratori Canon." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2, p. 43)

Schneemelcher reviews some arguments made by Harnack and Quispel to attempt to show the Marcionite character of the text known to us from Latin copies as the Epistle to the Laodiceans, "it may be said that the Marcionite origin of the Latin Epistle to the Laodiceans is an hypothesis that can neither be proved nor sustained. It is rather a clumsy forgery, the purpose of which is to have in the Pauline corpus the Epistle to the Laodiceans mentioned in Col. 4:16. Whether the Epistle to the Laodiceans mentioned in the Muratori Canon is identical with this apocryphon remains unsettled. With that possibility of an accurate dating also falls out. As the time of composition there comes into question the period between the 2nd century and the 4th." (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2, p. 44)
http://earlychristianwritings.com/laodiceans.html

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One curious feature of many manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate is the inclusion of the apocryphal Epistola ad Laodicenses. There is no extant Greek text for this epistle. It is not listed as a canonical book or cited as Scripture by the Church Fathers, and it was explicitly rejected by Jerome and others in ancient times. 1 Most scholars today think it was first composed in Latin, during the fourth century, although J.B. Lightfoot gives some reasons to suspect that it was translated from a Greek original. It appears to be a patchwork of phrases drawn from Paul’s authentic epistles, put together by someone who wished to provide a plausible text for the Laodicean epistle mentioned in Colossians 4:16.
...
We can only guess at the reason for this fraud. There is nothing of a controversial or polemical nature in it, nor even anything very interesting.
https://web.archive.org/web/20140701154417/http://bible-researcher.com/laodiceans.html

I am open to thinking that the copy we have is actually by Paul or else a forgery by Marcion. Paul does mention a letter to Laodicea and the Muratorion canon and Jerome mention a Marcionite one and rejected one, respectively. Naturally, a Marcionite one would be rejected, so Jerome could be talking about a Marcionite one there. There is no need for Marcion to have forged it so badly that it taught Marcionism, he could have just forged it in the course of making his own Bible.

To posit a third Epistle to the Laodiceans seems to go against Occam's razor, since at most only two are ever clearly mentioned (Paul's and Marcion's), except that the Marcionite one is sometimes called a retitled one to the Ephesians, which the extent Vulgate copy is not. But then again, Marcion's books of the Bible were the same as the original, but mutilated by Marcion. If the Vulgate Epistle to the Laodiceans is really a Marcionite Epistle to the Ephesians, it's no surprise then if Marcion reworked it into its current form that we have. Further, Jerome is known to have translated or used apocryphal, or often-doubted writings like Gospel of Hebrews, Shepherd of Hermas, and 4 Esdras. He could realistically have translated Marcion's one into his own Vulgate, which is where we find the only one we have remaining to us today.
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According to M.R. James, "It exists only in Latin [i.e., not in Greek]: the oldest copy is in the Fulda MS. written for Victor of Capua in 546. It is mentioned by various writers from the fourth century onwards, notably by Gregory the Great, to whose influence may ultimately be due the frequent occurrence of it in Bibles written in England
http://www.strecorsoc.org/docs/laodiceans.html

My guess then is that the Marcionite one and the one Jerome says is rejected are all the same copy. And the only question for me that remains is whether the one we have today was actually the one referred to by Paul or a Marcionite version of Epistle to the Ephesians.

To do this, you might want to see how much E.Laodiceans lines up with E.Ephesians.

It looks like the 6th c. Roman Pope St. Gregory the Great accepted it, it's noncanonical, and Jerome said everyone rejected it, but translated it into the Vulgate anyway.

Lopuhin's comment is that what happened is that people in Pontus got the letter to the Ephesians sent to them from Laodicea, and since Marcion was from Pontus, Marcion considered the letter to the Ephesians to the one from Laodicea. So Lopuhin is going with the first option at the beginning of this message.
https://azbyka.ru/otechnik/Lopuhin/tolkovaja_biblija_69/4

The Letter to the Ephesians begins:
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Greeting.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are [in Ephesus]* faithful in Christ Jesus

grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,c who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,

Footnote:

* [In Ephesus]: the phrase is lacking in important early witnesses such as P46 (3rd cent.), and Sinaiticus and Vaticanus (4th cent.), appearing in the latter two as a fifth-century addition. Basil and Origen mention its absence from manuscripts. See Introduction. Without the phrase, the Greek can be rendered, as in Col 1:2, “to the holy ones and faithful brothers in Christ.”
It then talks about The Father’s Plan of Salvation.

This lack of In Ephesus can explain possible confusion that arose. If it lacked that title, it could really have been an encyclical as Lopuhin suggests that then was received in Laodicea too, and forwarded from Laodicea to Pontus from where Marcion came, thus creating confusing in the mind of Marcion.

Here is the opening of the Vulgate Ep. Laodiceans:
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1. Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are at Laodicea.
2. Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. I thank Christ in every prayer of mine, that you may continue and persevere in good works, looking for that which is promised in the day of judgment.
Looking briefly over the rest of it, it looks very different from E. Ephesians, even though the first two verses are similar.

This Orthodox site instead matches its verses up with E.Philippians throughout:
http://www.orthodox.cn/patristics/apostolicfathers/laodicea.htm

I also notice there is not much reference to the Old Testament, and the silence there seems Marcionite. Its talk about "good works" twice and lack of mention of "faith" seems un-Pauline. It's also quite short for a Pauline epistle.

The Holy Trinity Mission takes an opposite view from Lopuhin on whether the E.Laodiceans was the same as E.Ephesians:
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One thing, however, is certain, once the authenticity of the Epistles to the Colossians and to the Ephesians is admitted, and that is that they were written at the same time. They both show fundamentally and formally a very close connection of which we shall speak later on. Tychicus was appointed to convey both Epistles to those to whom they were respectively addressed and to fulfil the same mission in behalf of them (Col. 4:7 sq; Eph. 6:21 sq.). Verse 16 of chapter 4 of Colossians does not seem to allude to the letter to the Ephisians, which would need to have been written first; besides, the Epistle here mentioned is scarcely an encyclical, the context leading us to look upon it as a special letter of the same nature as that sent to the Colossians. If, moreover, Paul knew that, before reaching Colossae, Tychicus would deliver the Epistle to the Ephesians to the Christians at Laodicea, there was no reason why he should insert greetings for the Laodiceans in his Epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:15). It is more probable that the Epistle to the Ephesians was written in the second place. It would be less easy to understand why, in repeating to the Colossians the same exhortations that he had made to the Ephesians, for instance, on remarriage (Eph. 5:22 sqq.), the author should have completely suppressed the sublime dogmatic considerations upon which these exhortations had been based. Moreover we believe with Godet that: It is more natural to think that, of these two mutually complemental letters, the one provoked by a positive request and a definite need [Col.] came first, and that the other [Eph.] was due to the greater solicitude evoked by the composition of the former."

Pseudo-epistle to the Laodiceans

In the genuine Epistle to the Colossians, Paul, after instructing them to send their Epistle to Laodicea, adds: "read that which is from the Laodiceans." This most probably regards a circular letter, the canonical "Ephesians"; but it has been held to be a lost letter to the Laodicean Christians. The apocryphal epistle is a transparent attempt to supply this supposed lost sacred document. It consists of twenty short lines and is mainly made of matter taken from Philippians and other Epistles, and pieced together without sequence or logical aim. Our apocryphon exists only in Latin and translations from the Latin, though it gives signs of a Greek original. It can hardly be the pseudo-Laodicean letter said by the Muratorian Fragment to have been invented by the heresiarch Marcion. Despite its insipid and suspicious character, this compilation was frequently copied in the Middle Ages, and enjoyed a certain degree of respect, although St. Jerome had written of it: ab omnibus exploditur.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/bible_books_new_1.htm

I have no idea why it says the part I put in bold.


Quaker translation:
http://www.strecorsoc.org/docs/laodiceans.html
Orthodox.cn translation with commentary:
http://www.orthodox.cn/patristics/apostolicfathers/laodicea.htm
Bible Researcher Translation:
https://web.archive.org/web/20140701154417/http://bible-researcher.com/laodiceans.html
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #95 on: January 22, 2017, 01:40:54 PM »
The Epistle to the Laodiceans starts out this way:
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1. Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are at Laodicea.
Did Paul ever write this way, saying "not by man but by Jesus Christ", as if the latter wasn't a man?

Another verse says:
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5. And now may God grant that my converts may attain to a perfect knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, be beneficent, and doing good works which accompany salvation.
Is this gnostic or unusual for the NT?
The only place in the NT the phrase appears is:
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Acts 24:22
And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #96 on: January 22, 2017, 07:47:13 PM »
The Epistle to the Laodiceans starts out this way:
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1. Paul an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are at Laodicea.
Did Paul ever write this way, saying "not by man but by Jesus Christ", as if the latter wasn't a man?

That's not what that sort of expression would mean. 
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #97 on: January 22, 2017, 08:25:45 PM »
Galatians starts the same way.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #98 on: January 22, 2017, 10:55:35 PM »
Galatians starts the same way.
Good catch.

Not sure why there are just parentheses here, but I agree with you:
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Gal. 1

1. Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),

2. and all the brethren who are with me,

Lopuhin writes He was chosen not by men, ie by other apostles or faithful gathering, like the churches of Titus. He wasn't called through a man, ie Christ not through some means put him in apostolic service, but directly called him. The first responsible one for his calling Paul calls God the Father, who raised Christ from the dead. Paul says to show that God the Father and Christ are on his side. ... But the apostle nonetheless was at the same time fully convinced that Christ, as God, raised Himself. (Rom. 4:25, 8:34)
Lopuhin here in Russian:
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Он, во-первых, избран на свое служение «не человеками», т. е. или другими Апостолами, или собранием верующих, как избраны были напр. церквами Тит и Епафродит (2Кор.8:23; Фил.2:25). Во-вторых, он призван и «не через человека», т. е. Христос не через чье-нибудь посредство поставил его на апостольское служение, а Сам непосредственно призвал его. Впрочем, первым виновником своего призвания Павел называет «Бога Отца, Который воскресил Христа из мертвых».  О последнем факте Ап. упоминает в тех видах, чтобы показать, что на его стороне стоит и Христос, и Бог Отец... Но Ап., тем не менее, был в тоже время вполне убежден, что Христос, как Бог, воскрес Сам (Рим.4:25, 8:34).
SOURCE: NT Commentary

That raises the possibility for me Epistle of Barnabas wasn't implying any docetism when it talks about Christ not being man, as I highlighted earlier in the thread. It seems like sometimes these early writers could use phrases in some ways that might seem to some to be contradictory.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 10:57:31 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #99 on: January 23, 2017, 04:22:44 PM »
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The Gospel of Bartholomew is a missing text amongst the New Testament apocrypha, mentioned in several early sources. It may be identical to either the Questions of Bartholomew, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (by Bartholomew), or neither.

The author of the Decretum Gelasianum includes "the Gospels in the name of Bartholomew" in a list of condemned or unacceptable scriptures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Bartholomew

Questions of Bartholomew
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appears to have been quite popular, judging by how well it survived, perhaps due to lavish and carnal depictions of the supernatural. For example, the text implies that The Fall of Man was caused by Eve having sex with Satan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Questions_of_Bartholomew
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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ (by Bartholomew) is not to be confused with the Questions of Bartholomew, although either text may be the missing Gospel of Bartholomew (or neither may be), a lost work from the New Testament apocrypha.

The text is known from three partial manuscripts, and additional fragments, all of which are in Coptic. The text contains visions by Bartholomew, and acts of Thomas, but is predominantly about The Passion, and the Eucharist. The text seems to have no semblance of gnostic interpretations, and instead appears to be a text aiming to fill in the supernatural details of the Passion, and to emphasise the value and meaning of church liturgy.
...
Thomas is busy resurrecting Siophanes (possibly a transcription error and meant to read Theophanes), his son. On returning to life, Siophanes describes what the afterlife was like, while Thomas proceeds to baptise all of the amazed townsfolk, who number some 12,000. Finally, in order to witness the ascension of Jesus, Thomas is brought to the others via a cloud. At this point Thomas is surprised to see Jesus resurrected (despite having just brought his own son back to life),

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection_of_Jesus_Christ_(by_Bartholomew)

OK, I see how the Questions of Bartholomew is definitely not Resurrection of J.C. by Bartholomew and that either one can be G. Bartholomew.

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The Coptic Book of the resurrection of Jesus Christ took on its present basic form in the fifth or sixth c. It is difficult to date the Questions of Bartholomew; dates from the second to the 6th c. have been proposed.  At any rate, the version of the harrowing of hell in this text is probably older than in Ev Nic, indicating that it was composed in the 2nd c, on the other hand this text borrows from Protev 8:1 at 2:15, and from IGTh 2 at 2:11 and this suggests a third c date.  The mariology in the QUestions reflects a phase of dogmatic development anterior to the Council of EPhesus, but it is improbable that it should be dated earlier than parallel statements in Ephiphanius (4th c.)

Bartholomew's][ role is the result of his identification with the Nathanael ... whom Jesus [tells] he will see greater things than these. (Jn 1:50)
...
Chapter 5 is a brief discussion of detailed questions about various categories of sin; it is obviously a subsequent addition.

The Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction, By Hans-Josef Klauck

The entry in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on Bartholomew says:
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One of the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:3 Mark 3:18 Luke 6:14 Acts 1:13). There is no further reference to him in the New Testament. According to the "Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles" (Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 50) "Bartholomew was of the house of Naphtali. Now his name was formerly John, but our Lord changed it because of John the son of Zebedee, His beloved." A "Gospel of Bartholomew" is mentioned by Hieronymus (Comm. Proem ad Matth.), and Gelasius gives the tradition that Bartholomew brought the Hebrew gospel of Matthew to India. In the "Preaching of Bartholomew in the Oasis" (compare Budge, II, 90) he is referred to as preaching probably in the oasis of Al Bahnasa, and according to the "Preaching of Andrew and Bartholomew" he labored among the Parthians (Budge, II, 183). ... From the 9th century onward, Bartholomew has generally been identified with Nathanael, but this view has not been conclusively established.
http://biblehub.com/topical/b/bartholomew.htm

I like how the Early Writings site has a brief write-up for different early Christian writings. Some other websites do too, like Text Excavations, Orthodox Wiki, NT Canon. It is hard to find them for G.Bartholomew, Questions of Bartholomew, and Resurrection of J.C. by Bartholomew.

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The apostle was also valued in Egypt, the place of composition of two works bearing his name: the Questions of Bartholomew and the Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Bartholomew. ....Questions of Bartholomew (composed ca second to fifth c. CE) ...Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (composed ca fifth to seixth c.) also contains traditions about the descent to hell, perhaps predating those in the Acta Pilati

Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, edited by Eric Orlin
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Other references [in Church literature] were made to Acts of Bartholomew and Apocalypse of Bartholomew, both otherwise unknown.

Tyndale Bible Dictionary
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The QUestions were originally composed in Greek, possibly in Egypt, but the date of the work is not certain, being estimated between the second and sixth c.

The Apocryphal New Testament:

edited by J. K. Elliott

Lost Books of the Bible For Dummies by Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, Stephen J. Spignesi looks good:
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"Whosoever shall decree against any man who has served my holy Father has blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. Every man who serves God with reverence is worthy of the Holy Ghost and he who speaks anything evil against him shall not be forgiven!"[~Questions of Bartholomew]
It seems that persecution of Christians is what's [meant] here: Because every Christian is worthy of the Holy Spirit, attacking Christians is also attacking the Spirit within them.

It sounds like Resurrection of J.C. by Bartholomew is a Coptic writing of the 5th to 6th c. that may have earlier traditions in it.

Looks like there is a pretty long list of apocryphal literature about Bartholomew:
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387. The Arabic Acts of Andrew and Bartholomew

388. The Ethiopic Acts of Saints Andrew and Bartholomew Among the Parthians

415. The Gospel of Bartholomew

416. The Questions of Bartholomew

417. The Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Bartholomew the Apostle

418. The Life of Saint Bartholomew, after the Ethiopian Synaxarion

419. The Greek Martyrdom of Bartholomew

420. The Latin Martyrdom of Bartholomew

421. The Coptic Preaching of Bartholomew

422. The Armenian Martyrdom of Bartholomew

423. The Arabic Preaching of Bartholomew

424. The Arabic Martyrdom of Bartholomew

425. The Ethiopic Preaching of Saint Bartholomew in the Oasis

426. The Ethiopic Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew in Naidas
http://rejectedscriptures.weebly.com/

Of course, a lot of that is going to be post-second c.

One modern Russian writing proposes that the Coptic "Resurrection of J.C." is a reworked Questions of Bartholomew. That makes sense, considering how Apocalypse of Peter in its Coptic form is a reworked version of the Greek one, and there are basic similarities between these two extant Bartholomew writings.
(http://откровенные.рф/dialogi-iisusa-hrista-nekanonicheskie)
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #100 on: January 23, 2017, 05:09:35 PM »
Fr. K. Parhomenko looks at Questions of Bartholomew and suggests it as a source for where the Orthodox Church entered into its hymnography discussions between people in Hades in connection with Christ's descent there. He also sees it as a source for the idea of Jesus' omnipresence in the theologians and hymnography. Great Saturday's hymn he quotes: "In the grave the fleshly, in hades with soul like God, and in paradise with the thief, and on the throne is Christ..."
https://azbyka.ru/forum/xfa-blog-entry/tajna-pasxi-4.1545/

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Among the later (3 c. and later) nongnostic essays of this kind [apocalypses] QUestions of Bartholomew, Syrian Testament of our Lord and the Ethiopian Testament of Our Lord in Galilee
http://krotov.info/spravki/4_faith_bible/varia/apokri.htm
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Book of the Resurrection of J.C. of the apostle Bartholomew in Coptic is a homiletic reworking of Questions of Bartholomew. Preserved lists, the oldest dated to the 5th to 7th c. reflect various editions
https://www.sedmitza.ru/text/717232.html

Bartholomew just means Son of Tolmai (a "name by father"), opening up the possibility he is called another name elsewhere (Nathanael, a "first name").
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Bartholomew and Nathanael are identified with eachother based on how the name Bartholomew is used in lists of apostles in the synotpic gospels while John the evangelist Associates Nathanael with the apostles, which the synoptics don't mention. ... In the gospels the apostles' names are coupled, allowing one to propose a relationship between [Philip and Bartholomew] In John's gospel, Philip tells Nathanael about Jesus.
...
Byzantine hagiographic tradition considered Nathanel as separate or else associated him with Simon the Zealot, reflected in the Greek Church service books. In the latestworks of greek hagiopgraphy, Bartholomew is identified with Nathanael or all versions are used - ie Nathanael both with Simon the Zealot and with Batholomew.
http://www.pritiska.org/load/zhitija_svjatikh/den_pamjati_svjatogo_apostola_varfolomeja/4-1-0-370
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In the pseudo-Dionysian writings two sentences are quoted from 'the divine Bartholomew,' and a third has just been brought to light from the kindred 'book of Hierotheus'. But one cannot be sure that these writers are quoting real books.
http://gnosis.org/library/gosbart.htm
Question: What did pseudo-Dionysian writings say about the Gospel of Bartholomew?

The book of Hierotheus' quote is found here:
http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/content/os-XXIII/92/400.extract

The Book of Hieratheus is often attributed to Stephen Bar Sudhaile, a 5th c. Syrian monastic:
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His two main theses which they attacked were (1) the limited duration of the future punishment of sinners, (2) the pantheistic doctrine that all nature is consubstantial with the Divine essence that the whole universe has emanated from God, and will in the end return to and be absorbed in him.
...
The fame of Stephen as a writer rests on his identification with the author of a treatise which survives in a single Syriac manuscript (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 7189, written mainly in the 13th century), The book of Hierotheus on the hidden mysteries of the house of God. The work claims to have been composed in the 1st century AD, by a certain Hierotheus who was the disciple of Saint Paul and the teacher of Dionysius the Areopagite. But, like the works which pass under the name of Dionysius, it is undoubtedly pseudonymous, and most Syriac writers who mention it attribute it to Stephen.
So: Stephen S who taught that all nature is consubstantial with the Divine essence probably wrote the Book of Hierotheus, which in turn briefly quotes Bartholomew as saying:
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As for me I glorify the Cross of mysteries (or of sufferings) and I know that it is the first gate of the house of God.

I see an interesting connection to the Questions of Bartholomew, in that Fr. Parhomenko ascribed that to ideas of panentheism, that Jesus is everywhere. But pantheism and panentheism are not quite the same.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 05:42:22 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #101 on: January 23, 2017, 05:52:48 PM »
This is the quote by Pseudo-Dionysius about Bartholomew:
Quote
Thus the blessed Bartholomew asserts that the divine science is both vast and minute, and that the Gospel is great and broad, yet concise and short;

signifying by this, that the beneficent Cause of all is most eloquent, yet utters few words, or rather is altogether silent, as having neither (human) speech nor (human) understanding, because He is super-essentially exalted above created things, and reveals Himself in His naked Truth to those alone who pass beyond all that is pure or impure, and ascend above the topmost altitudes of holy things, and who, leaving behind them all divine light and sound and heavenly utterances, plunge into the Darkness where truly dwells, as the Oracles declare, that ONE who is beyond all.
http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/dionys1.htm

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was a "Christian Neoplatonist who wrote in the late fifth or early sixth century CE", according to Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-Dionysius_the_Areopagite
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #102 on: January 23, 2017, 05:56:04 PM »
I quoted this above, but didn't leave the source:
The Book of Hieratheus is often attributed to Stephen Bar Sudhaile, a 5th c. Syrian monastic:
Quote
His two main theses which they attacked were (1) the limited duration of the future punishment of sinners, (2) the pantheistic doctrine that all nature is consubstantial with the Divine essence that the whole universe has emanated from God, and will in the end return to and be absorbed in him.
...
The fame of Stephen as a writer rests on his identification with the author of a treatise which survives in a single Syriac manuscript (Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 7189, written mainly in the 13th century), The book of Hierotheus on the hidden mysteries of the house of God. The work claims to have been composed in the 1st century AD, by a certain Hierotheus who was the disciple of Saint Paul and the teacher of Dionysius the Areopagite. But, like the works which pass under the name of Dionysius, it is undoubtedly pseudonymous, and most Syriac writers who mention it attribute it to Stephen.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Bar_Sudhaile
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 05:57:24 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #103 on: January 23, 2017, 07:48:59 PM »
The Questions of Bartholomew's text:
http://www.gnosis.org/library/gosbart.htm
http://www.ricter.com/wordline/barth.htm
(about 15 web browser pages, listed as 6 chapters long above, but that must be a misprint because I see no chapter 5 and I heard it was 5 chapters long, and the 5th chapter is a sermon on sin, which this one's chapter 6 is.)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 07:56:54 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #104 on: January 23, 2017, 10:22:08 PM »
It seems like sometimes these early writers could use phrases in some ways that might seem to some to be contradictory.

Or the phrases might just mean something different than what you assume. A handy thing to keep in mind when discussing differing Christological terminology.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #105 on: January 23, 2017, 11:01:43 PM »
Or the phrases might just mean something different than what you assume.
Yes.
It's why I like it when you write in here.
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #106 on: January 24, 2017, 04:35:20 PM »
From Questions of Bartholomew:
Quote
6. And Bartholomew said: Lord, when thou wentest to be hanged upon the cross, I followed thee afar off and saw thee hung upon the cross, and the angels coming down from heaven and worshipping thee. And when there came darkness,
7. I beheld, and I saw thee that thou wast vanished away from the cross and I heard only a voice in the parts under the earth, and great wailing and gnashing of teeth on a sudden. Tell me, Lord, whither wentest thou from the cross?
8. And Jesus answered and said: Blessed art thou, Bartholomew, my beloved, because thou sawest this mystery,
Compared to the Canonical Gospels:
Here Bartholomew is watching as Jesus gets killed, and has a vision of things like angels coming down and Jesus vanishing and hearing teeth gnashing.

This part appears to go along with the idea that John was a young man or youth during Jesus' ministry:
Quote
3. Bartholomew therefore said unto Peter: Thou that art the chief, and my teacher, draw near and ask her [the Virgin Mary about bearing Jesus]. But Peter said to John: Thou art a virgin and undefiled (and beloved) and thou must ask her.
...
she began to say unto them: Let us sit down upon the ground; and come thou, Peter the chief, and sit on my right hand and put thy left hand beneath mine armpit; and thou, Andrew, do so on my left hand; and thou, John, the virgin, hold together my bosom; and thou, Bartholomew, set thy knees against my back and hold my shoulders, lest when I begin to speak my bones be loosed one from another.

It also has Mary talking in Aramaic or Hebrew and the modern translator says he doesn't understand it:
Quote
Then Mary stood up before them and spread out her hands toward the heaven and began to speak thus:
Elphue Zarethra Charboum Nemioth Melitho Thraboutha Mephnounos Chemiath Aroura Maridon Elison Marmiadon Seption Hesaboutha Ennouna Saktinos Athoor Belelam Opheoth Abo Chrasar
(this is the reading of one Greek copy: the others and the Slavonic have many differences as in all such cases: but as the original words-assuming them to have once had a meaning-are hopelessly corrupted, the matter is not of importance), which is in the Greek tongue(Hebrew, Slav.):
O God the exceeding great and all-wise and king of the worlds (ages), that art not to be described, the ineffable, that didst establish the greatness of the heavens and all things by a word, that out of darkness (or the unknown) didst constitute and fasten together the poles of heaven in harmony, didst bring into shape the matter that was in confusion, didst bring into order the things that were without order, didst part the misty darkness from the light, didst establish in one place the foundations of the waters, thou that makest the beings of the air to tremble, and art the fear of them that are on (or under) the earth, that didst settle the earth and not suffer it to perish, and filledst it, which is the nourisher of all things, with showers of blessing: (Son of) the Father, thou whom the seven heavens hardly contained, but who wast well-pleased to be contained without pain in me, thou that art thyself the full word of the Father in whom all things came to be: give glory to thine exceeding great name, and bid me to speak before thy holy
Do you recognize any of the Aramaic or Hebrew words?

After the resurrection, the apostles find out from Mary about her conception of Jesus, and she says she first found out when she was in the temple by the altar:
Quote
15. And when they had so done she began to say: When I abode in the temple of God and received my food from an angel, on a certain day there appeared unto me one in the likeness of an angel, but his face was incomprehensible, and he had not in his hand bread or a cup, as did the angel which came to me aforetime.

16. And straightway the robe (veil) of the temple was rent and there was a very great earthquake, and I fell upon the earth, for I was not able to endure the sight of him.

17. But he put his hand beneath me and raised me up, and I looked up into heaven and there came a cloud of dew and sprinkled me from the head to the feet, and he wiped me with his robe.

18. And said unto me: Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the chosen vessel, grace inexhaustible. And he smote his garment upon the right hand and there came a very great loaf, and he set it upon the altar of the temple and did eat of it first himself, and gave unto me also.

19. And again he smote his garment upon the left hand and there came a very great cup full of wine: and he set it upon the altar of the temple and did drink of it first himself, and gave also unto me. And I beheld and saw the bread and the cup whole as they were.

20. And he said unto me: Yet three years, and I will send my word unto thee and then shalt conceive my (or a) son, and through him shall the whole creation be saved. Peace be unto

21. And when he had so said he vanished away from mine eyes, and the temple was restored as it had been before.

22. And as she was saying this, fire issued out of her mouth; and the world was at the point to come to an end: but Jesus appeared quickly (lat. 2, and laid his hand upon her mouth) and said unto Mary: Utter not this mystery, or this day my whole creation will come to an end (Lat. 2, and the flame from her mouth ceased). And the apostles were taken with fear lest haply the Lord should be wroth with them.
This story goes along with the tradition about Mary being in the Temple as a virgin. I have heard uncertainty about this tradition based on whether the Jews kept virgins in their Temple. What do you think?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 04:35:46 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #107 on: January 25, 2017, 01:55:09 PM »
In chp. 4 of Q. Bartholomew, Bartholomew and the apostles ask Jesus to see what the devil looks like, and this happens:
Quote
And Michael sounded, and the earth shook, and Beliar came up, being held by 660 (560 Gr., 6,064 Lat. 1, 6,060 Lat. 2) angels and bound with fiery chains. 12 And the length of him was 1,600 cubits and his breadth 40 (Lat. 1, 300, Slav. 17) cubits (Lat. 2, his length 1,900 cubits, his breadth 700, one wing of him 80), and his face was like a lightning of fire and his eyes full of darkness (like sparks, Slav.). And out of his nostrils came a stinking smoke; and his mouth was as the gulf of a precipice, and the one of his wings was four-score cubits.

14 And straightway when the apostles saw him, they fell to the earth on their faces and became as dead.

15 But Jesus came near and raised the apostles and gave them a spirit of power, and he saith unto Bartholomew: Come near, Bartholomew, and trample with thy feet on his neck, and he will tell thee his work, what it is, and how he deceiveth men.
...
 Jesus permitted him, saying: Go and tread upon the neck of Beliar: and Bartholomew ran quickly upon him and trode upon his neck: and Beliar trembled.
...
25 And Beliar answered and said: If thou wilt know my name, at the first I was called Satanael, which is interpreted a messenger of God, but when I rejected the image of God my name was called Satanas, that is, an angel that keepeth hell (Tartarus).
...
28 For, indeed, I was formed (al. called) the first angel: for when God made the heavens, he took a handful of fire and formed me first, Michael second
Satan then teaches Bartholomew some demonology. I think this would be the kind of thing by which Church fathers would not find this work canonical.

But in some other ways the language in chp. 4 of Q.Bartholomew reminds me of Byzantine style of speech, particularly the multiphrase praises given to the Theotokos, Jesus, and Peter. An example:
Quote
And Bartholomew fell upon his face and cast earth upon his head and began to say: O Lord Jesu Christ, the great and glorious name. All the choirs of the angels praise thee, O Master, and I that am unworthy with my lips . . . do praise thee, O Master. Hearken unto me thy servant, and as thou didst choose me from the receipt of custom and didst not suffer me to have my conversation unto the end in my former deeds, O Lord Jesu Christ, hearken unto me and have mercy upon the sinners.

...
63 Thou that gavest names unto the four rivers: to the first Phison, because of the faith (pistis) which thou didst appear in the world to preach; to the second Geon, for that man was made of earth (ge); to the third Tigris, because by thee was revealed unto us the consubstantial Trinity in the heavens (to make anything of this we must read Trigis); to the fourth Euphrates, because by thy presence in the world thou madest every soul to rejoice (euphranai) through the word of immortality.

64 My God, and Father, the greatest, my King: save, Lord, the sinners.

Satan tells Bartholomew that the reason he fell from grace was because he (Satan) refused to worship man who was the image of God:
Quote
3 I was going to and fro in the world, and God said unto Michael: Bring me a clod from the four corners of the earth, and water out of the four rivers of paradise. And when Michael brought them God formed Adam in the regions of the east, and shaped the clod which was shapeless, and stretched sinews and veins upon it and established it with Joints; and he worshipped him, himself for his own sake first, because he was the image of God, therefore he worshipped him.

54 And when I came from the ends of the earth Michael said: Worship thou the image of God, which he hath made according to his likeness. But I said: I am fire of fire, I was the first angel formed, and shall worship clay and matter?

55 And Michael saith to me: Worship, lest God be wroth with thee. But I said to him: God will not be wroth with me; but I will set my throne over against his throne, and I will be as he is. Then was God wroth with me and cast me down, having commanded the windows of heaven to be opened.
Have you heard about the angels "worshiping" Adam or man before?

Here is where it describes the most severe sins:
Quote

2 Jesus saith unto him: Verily I say unto thee that hypocrisy and backbiting is heavier than all sins: for because of them, the prophet said in the psalm, that 'the ungodly shall not rise in the judgement, neither sinners in the council of the righteous', neither the ungodly in the judgement of my Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that every sin shall be forgiven unto every man, but the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven.

3 And Bartholomew saith unto him: What is the sin against the Holy Ghost?

4 Jesus saith unto him: Whosoever shall decree against any man that hath served my holy Father hath blasphemed against the Holy Ghost: For every man that serveth God worshipfully is worthy of the Holy Ghost, and he that speaketh anything evil against him shall not be forgiven.

5 Woe unto him that sweareth by the head of God, yea woe (?) to him that sweareth falsely by him truly. For there are twelve heads of God the most high: for he is the truth, and in him is no lie, neither forswearing.
The 12 heads of God?

Something about marriage:
Quote
8 And Jesus said: It is good if he that is baptized present his baptism blameless: but the pleasure of the flesh will become a lover. For a single marriage belongeth to sobriety: for verily I say unto thee, he that sinneth after the third marriage (wife) is unworthy of God. (8 Lat. 2 is to this effect: . . . But if the lust of the flesh come upon him, he ought to be the husband of one wife. The married, if they are good and pay tithes, will receive a hundredfold. A second marriage is lawful, on condition of the diligent performance of good works, and due payment of tithes: but a third marriage is reprobated: and virginity is best.)

9 But ye, preach ye unto every man that they keep themselves from such things: for I depart not from you and I do supply you with the Holy Ghost. (lat. 2, At the end of 9, Jesus ascends in the clouds, and two angels appear and say: 'Ye men of Galilee', and the rest )
OK, so the Q. Bartholomew takes place after the resurrection and before the Ascension and describes what Jesus told the apostles in that time. And it ends with the words in the beginning of Acts about the Ascension.

I can see how this work could be interpreted as a "gospel", but more specifically it would fit in as a portion of a gospel (the part dealing with the post-resurrection teachings).

If this is a rejected work per Gelasian Decree and per Jerome, then what sect or heresy would it fit into? What teaching does it contain that is heterorthodox?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 01:56:35 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #108 on: January 25, 2017, 03:08:10 PM »
Have you heard about the angels "worshiping" Adam or man before?

As I recall, this refusal to bow to Adam is the same occasion for the fall of Iblis in Islamic theology.

Quote
The 12 heads of God?

12-headed gods? Perhaps this text was authored by a member of the Malankara church.
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #109 on: January 25, 2017, 03:24:14 PM »
The 12 heads of God?

12-headed gods? Perhaps this text was authored by a member of the Malankara church.

Here we go! 
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Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #110 on: January 25, 2017, 04:50:42 PM »
The 12 heads of God?

12-headed gods? Perhaps this text was authored by a member of the Malankara church.

Here we go!
:'(
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #111 on: January 26, 2017, 09:07:20 PM »
Quote
Testament of Adam
Second to Fifth Century A.D.

James Charlesworth writes (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 91-92) :
 
  •    Worthy of special note is a text often appended to the Cave of Treasures (contrast Gibson's text), the Testament of Adam, which was edited from the Syriac by M. Kmosko ('Testamentum Patris Nostri Adam,' Patrologia Syriaca, ed. R. Graffin. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1907. Vol. 2, pp. 1306-60), and from a different recension in Arabic by Gibson (pp. 12-17 [in Arabic numbering]). An English translation is found in Budge's The Book of the Cave of Treasures (cf. the different recension translated by Gibson, pp. 13-17). This pseudepigraphon evidences many features that suggest a date of composition in the late second century A.D. The rewriting of tradition in the second half in which Cain slays his brother because of jealousy over Lud, their sister (cf. Budge, Cave of Treasures, p. 70; Gibson, p. 17) may reflect early Syrian asceticism, perhaps that of the Encratites. Even earlier is the first half, because of the conspicuous absence of Christian elements and the general early Jewish tone (cf. the ending with 4Q Morgen- und Abendgebete). Significantly, the Greek portions preserve only this first section (see the editions mentioned by A.-M. Denis, no. 24, p. 11, n. 37).
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/testadam.html
Quote
The Encratites ("self-controlled") were an ascetic 2nd century sect of Christians who forbade marriage and counselled abstinence from meat. Eusebius says that Tatian was the author of this heresy.[1] It has been supposed that it was these Gnostic encratites who were chastised in the epistle of 1 Timothy (4:1-4)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encratites

Charlesworth's dating is a bit confusing because it looks like he is saying that the Cave of the treasures dates to the 4th c., but then further down he says the Testament of Adam is 2nd c. and that it contains a Greek part even earlier. But it looks like Wikipedia ends up using the 4th c. date as the one for Testament of Adam.
Quote
S. E. Robinson writes: "The three sections of the Testament of Adam were not written at the same time, but the final Christian redaction, in which the testament took on its present form, probably occurred in the middle or late third century A.D. This tentative date for the final redaction of the Testament of Adam is supported by several bits of evidence. First, the testament is familiar with the Christian traditions found in the New Testament and must therefore be dated after, say, A.D. 100. Second, part of the Prophecy section is quoted in the Syriac Transitus Mariae, which is dated in the late fourth century. Third, the Testament of Adam demonstrates a literary relationship at one point with the Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah, which is dated in the third century A.D. Ordinarily this might be due to copying at some later date, but here the Testament of Adam seems to preserve the passage (a description of the signs of the Messiah) in a more original form than does the Apocalypse of Elijah and should probably not be dated after that document." (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, p. 990)
In other words, the claim that Testament of Adam is later than 100 AD rests on the claim that the NT was written in 100 AD. But this whole theory is weak, because maybe Testament Adam just uses NT parts that were themselves written before 100 AD.
Quote
THE TESTAMENT OF ADAM AND THE ANGELIC LITURGY
Stephen E. Robinson
Revue de Qumrân
Vol. 12, No. 1 (45) (JUIN 1985), pp. 105-110
Renan believed the Testament to be the product of Christian gnosticism and in this he was followed by several other nineteenth century critics.

Michael Gagarin in his book Ancient Greece and Rome lists:
Quote
"Testament of Adam " Christian in current form from c. late third century CE, but used Jewish sources from c.150-200 CE
Quote
The Testament of Adam
 ABSTRACT
...
 The literary unity of the various texts is then considered, including the parallel, possibly introduced by a later Christian redactor,between the Horarium and angelology.
https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/otp/abstracts/tadam/

Here is a copy of the text online:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bct/bct10.htm

So a major question is whether this is a A) Christian-redacted document (as reflected in 4th c. literary Christian Syriac style) that was originally Jewish, or if it was B) originally written by Christians.
I am not sure there is an easy way to resolve that, but the scholars appear to be going with A.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 09:13:32 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #112 on: January 26, 2017, 10:28:11 PM »
From the Testament of Adam:
Quote
THE HOURS OF THE DAY.
...
And at the tenth hour the Holy Spirit overshadoweth the waters, and the devils flee away and remove themselves from the waters. And if the Holy Spirit did not overshadow the waters at this hour every day, no one could drink of the waters, [for if he did] his flesh (i.e. body) would be destroyed by the evil devils. And if the priest taketh water at this hour and mixeth with it holy oil, and anointeth the sick and those who are possessed of foul spirits with the mixture, they shall be healed of their sickness.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bct/bct10.htm

Two kind of odd things:
Quote
THE HOURS OF THE NIGHT.

   And at the first hour of the night the devils render thanks and praise to God Most High, and there is in them no evil and no harm for anyone until they have finished their service of homage.
...

ADAM FORETELLS THE COMING OF CHRIST [and the flood of Noah's time]
...
   Furthermore, thou must know, O my son, Seth, behold a Flood shall come and shall wash the whole earth because of the children of Kâyal (Cain), the murderer, who slew his brother through jealousy, because of his sister Lûd.
The devils daily praising God is kind of weird, but I guess this is turning out to be an odd, maybe gnostic text anyway.

Quote
And at the fifth hour the waters which are above the heavens praise Him.
This is the water canopy theory reflected in Genesis 1.

This is nice:
Quote
And at the sound of the wings of the Seraphim at that time the cocks crow and praise God. And at the eleventh hour there is joy and gladness on all the earth, for the sun entereth into the Garden (i.e. Paradise), and his light riseth in all the ends of the world, and illumineth every created thing.

God to Adam:
Quote
after five days and half a day1 I will have compassion upon thee, and shew thee mercy in the abundance of my compassion and my mercy. And I will come down into thy house, and I will dwell in thy flesh, and for thy sake I will be pleased to be born like an [ordinary] child.
FOOTNOTE: I.e. five thousand five hundred years.

Ok, so in 5500 in the Hebrew calendar, Jesus is to be born? That's 1740 AD in the Gregorian calendar. (http://www.hebcal.com/converter/?hd=28&hm=Tevet&hy=5500&h2g=1)

This part is about the apocalypse:
Quote
And after the Flood and many weeks the latter days shall come, and everything shall be completed, and his time shall come and fire shall consume everything which is found before God, and the earth shall be sanctified, and the Lord of Lords shall walk about on it."
I heard that a pretext Nero used to blame Christians was that Christians predicted the end of the world or of Rome to be in fire. Maybe that is in Revelation.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 10:29:38 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #113 on: January 27, 2017, 02:01:46 PM »
Quote
The Testament of Abraham is a pseudepigraphic text of the Old Testament. Probably composed in the 1st or 2nd century CE, it is of Jewish origin and is usually considered to be part of the apocalyptic literature.
...
 Kohler[14] on the other hand has given adequate grounds for regarding this apocryph as in the main an independent work of Jewish origin subsequently enlarged by a few Christian additions, and it is Kohler's stance that most scholars follow today.
Humor
While this text does have its theological significance, it can also be simply viewed as a story meant to entertain.  Throughout the entire text we find the ever pious Abraham trying to dodge and avoid God’s will. But this does not mean that Abraham is being portrayed in a non-pious light, in fact the opposite, he recognizes how good and devout he has been throughout his entire life, and uses that to his advantage. He is so good at avoiding God’s decree that the only way he finally has his soul taken away is when Death tricks him.[22] Another humorous character that we encounter is the Archangel Michael. God’s “Commander-In-Chief” is an angel who would seem to be able to make decisions on his own and handle the refusals of Abraham, but he cannot. Every time that Abraham does something that Michael does not expect, he comes up with some reason to excuse himself then rushes up to heaven to consult God and find out what he is to do with stubborn Abraham.[23] With the humanizing of heavenly figures, and the trickery of Abraham, this is certainly a text meant to induce laughter and one that, despite its clear theological messages, was also meant to just be read and enjoyed.

SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA, "TESTAMENT OF ABRAHAM" ENTRY

Quote

It is unlikely that this composition is either a second-century Jewish-Christian work (James) or a pre-Christian Essene work (K. Kohler, 'The Pre-Talmudic Haggada II: The Apocalypse of Abraham and its Kindred,' JQR 7 [1895] 581-606).
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/testabraham.html

Quote
Origen... knew the work and an original Heb. form belonging to the early 1st cent. seems probable. There are some Christian interpolations but the work as a whole is thoroughly Jewish. The hypothesis that the work was originally Jewish and was tr. into Gr. by a Christian hand seems to fit the facts best,
https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/testament-abraham

Charlesworth writes in "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha":
Quote
"It is certain.... that eventually all three [Testament of Jacob, Abraham, Isaac] were Christianizes and became the exclusive property of the Church. They were for some centuries immensely popular in Christianity...
In the shorter version of Testament of Abraham, Testament version B,
Quote
There are also fewer late words and fewer places where Christian influence is probable...

B lacks most of the late words of A in its present form, some of which are not evidenced before the fifth century AD and B lacks most of A's evidence of Christian influence. The story itself is not substantially Christianized. .... The present form of A however does show some instances of Christian editing, such as a a few berbal dependences on the New Testament, and these are almost entirely absent from B.
....
THe later copyists were presumably Christians, with the result that some Christian phraseology crept into A and a Christian doxology was added to both recensions. Different manuscripts and versions were Christianized to different degrees... The language of A cannot always be considered later than that of B and room for conjecture as to the original wording will remain.
...
[The modern scholar] James, who regarded the work as Christian, thought that it must have been later than the APocalypse of Peter and earlier than Origen

SOURCE: Charlesworth, Id.
In Testament of Abraham, "God is the final judge, although recension A differs from most Jewish and Christian literaure in interposing two prior levels of judgment."

Quote
Testament of Abraham (Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature)
by Dale C. Allison Jr.
This first verse-by-verse commentary on the Greek text of the Testament of Abraham places the work within the history of both Jewish and Christian literature. ...although the Testament goes back to a Jewish tale of the first or second century CE, the Christian elements are much more extensive than has previously been realized.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9926614-testament-of-abraham


Quote
It is perhaps that cited as "Abraham" in early lists of Apocryphal works, and some passages in early Christian writers may indicate their knowledge of such a work.
...
The tone of the work is perhaps rather Jewish than Christian, but as phrases and conceptions of a New Testament character appear in it, especially in the judgment scene, it is most probably to be assigned to a Jewish Christian, who for the substance of it drew partly on older legends, and partly on his own imagination. Some of its features are very striking, and a few of them do not seem to occur elsewhere in literature of this class; it is possible that some of these do not go further back than the medieval editors of the text.
http://biblehub.com/library/unknown/the_testament_of_abraham/the_testament_of_abraham_introduction.htm

M.R. James describes Origen's summary of the Testament of Abraham, and contrasts it with the gnostic "Apocalypse of Abraham":
Quote
The Apostolic Constitutions mention apocryphal writings under the names of the three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob); Epiphanius says that the Sethians used an Apocalypse of Abraham which was "full of all manner of wickedness," and Origen gives something like a quotation from an Abrahamic book, in these terms (on Luke, Hom. 35): "We read—at least if any one likes to accept a writing of the kind—of the angels of righteousness and of iniquity disputing over the salvation or perdition of Abraham, each band wishing to claim him for its own company." He then refers to a passage in the Shepherd of Hermas. We have these Homilies on Luke only in a Latin version, and I have little doubt that the original of this passage was fuller—apocryphal quotations being apt to be slurred over, if not wholly expunged, by orthodox fourth-century translators. I also suspect that the point of the quotation has been spoilt, and that it was not Abraham's soul, but another, about whom the angels disputed.

Passing from these three references to extant literature, we find two Abraham books, one called an Apocalypse, the other a Testament, of Abraham....[The latter] does contain an episode which might be identified with that of Origen's quotation. The Apocalypse does not.
So Origen is not saying it is canonical or Christian, but just leaving it up in the air what its value is.

Jewish Encyclopedia tries to make the argument it is not Christian:
Quote
apart from some late Christological additions made in a few manuscripts by copyists, there is not a single Christian interpolation found in the whole book. In claiming a Christian origin for the Testament of Abraham, James erroneously points (p. 50) to Luke, i. 19, where the position of chief angel that stands "in the presence of God" is intentionally assigned to Gabriel; while ancient Jewish angelology ascribes it to Michael, the heavenly chieftain of Israel. Neither is the idea of the "two ways" and the "two gates" taken from Matt. vii. 13. Aside from the fact that the "Two Ways" is originally a Jewish work (see Didache), the conception is known to Johanan b. Zakkai (Ber. 28b), and is found also in the Greek allegorical work, "Tabula Cebetis," by the Theban philosopher Cebes, a pupil of Socrates. Dr. James has failed to observe that Luke, xxii. 30, presents the Christianized view of the Jewish doctrine concerning "the future judgment of the world by the twelve tribes of Israel," referred to in chap. xiii. of the Testament of Abraham, and also expressed in Yalḳ., Dan. § 1065, thus: "In the time to come the Lord will sit in judgment, and the great of Israel will sit on thrones prepared by the angels and judge the heathen nations alongside of the Lord." Luke, as a Pauline writer transformed the twelve tribal representative judges of Israel into the twelve tribes of Israel being judged. The very spirit of this passage is decidedly non-Christian. ... All these facts, together with the view of the world's creation by one word instead of ten words (see Ginzberg, "Die Haggada bei den Kirchenvätern" in "Monatsschrift," 1899, p. 410),point to a very early date for the Testament of Abraham.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/364-abraham-testament-of
It's hard for me to judge though based on that information if it was Christian or not. The Two Ways being found in both Jewish and early Christian literature (eg. Didache and Epistle of Barnabas) leaves it up to question. The judgment of the world by the twelve tribes being found in both Christian and rabbinical writings (Yalḳ., Dan. § 1065) also leaves things up to question. The world's Creation by one word could be a reference to the Logos, an idea in Christian theology and some Jewish theology both.

The same ambivalence goes for the phrase "thrice holy". That could be a reference to Trinitarianism, but Jewish Encyclopedia notes:
Quote
The expression "thrice holy" (chap. xx.) has nothing to do with the Christian Trinity, as Dr. James thinks(p. 50), but is the translation of the rabbinical term, shillush ḳedushah, for the angelic song (Isa. vi. 3, Tanna debe Eliyahu R. vi.).


Both recensions are readable here online:

http://biblehub.com/library/unknown/the_testament_of_abraham/the_testament_of_abraham_version.htm

And:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1007.htm
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 02:05:27 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline mcarmichael

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #114 on: January 27, 2017, 11:46:41 PM »
omg, so boring! jk.
Rubber ducky, you're the one.

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #115 on: January 28, 2017, 05:29:04 PM »
In Testament of Abraham (Rescension A), Michael " the chief-captain said, Nay, my Lord, Abraham, let them not bring horses, for I abstain from ever sitting upon any four-footed beast. Is not my king rich in much merchandise, having power both over men and all kinds of cattle? But I abstain from ever sitting upon any four-footed beast."

I don't recall any ikons of Michael riding a horse.

The story reminds me of Bergman's The Seventh Seal, where the hero plays tricks to avoid Death taking him.


Quote
I am the chief-captain Michael, that stands before the Lord, and I was sent to you to remind you of your death, and then I shall depart to him as I was commanded. Abraham said, Now I know that you are an angel of the Lord, and wast sent to take my soul, but I will not go with you; but do whatever you are commanded.

Michael comes back later and Abraham tells him he wants to see the whole world before dying, so Michael takes him on a chariot, and Abraham sees wicked people and asks for miracles to destroy them.
Quote
And straightway there came a voice from heaven to the chief-captain, saying thus, O chief-captain Michael, command the chariot to stop, and turn Abraham away that he may not see all the earth, for if he behold all that live in wickedness, he will destroy all creation. For behold, Abraham has not sinned, and has no pity on sinners, but I have made the world, and desire not to destroy any one of them, but wait for the death of the sinner, till he be converted and live. But take Abraham up to the first gate of heaven, that he may see there the judgments and recompenses, and repent of the souls of the sinners that he has destroyed.
This part about the mercy on the sinners sounds a bit Christian to me. But anyway, Rescension A is commonly considered Christian or Christian-interpolated.

About halfway into the story, the narrative voice changes from talking about Abraham in the 3rd person to Abraham talking in the 1st person without a literary transition. That is pretty rare in Biblical or other Christian literature, and makes it look like an interpolation:
Quote
And Abraham asked the chief-captain, My Lord chief-captain, who is this most marvelous man, adorned with such glory, and sometimes he weeps and laments, and sometimes he rejoices and exults? The incorporeal one said: This is the first-created Adam who is in such glory, ....

12. While he was yet saying these things to me, behold two angels, fiery in aspect, and pitiless in mind, and severe in look, and they drove on thousands of souls, pitilessly lashing them with fiery thongs. The angel laid hold of one soul, and they drove all the souls in at the broad gate to destruction. So we also went along with the angels, and came within that broad gate, and between the two gates stood a throne terrible of aspect, of terrible crystal, gleaming as fire, and upon it sat a wondrous man bright as the sun, like to the Son of God. Before him stood a table like crystal, all of gold and fine linen, and upon the table there was lying a book, the thickness of it six cubits, and the breadth of it ten cubits, and on the right and left of it stood two angels holding paper and ink and pen. 
A 6 cubit thick book would be 90 feet thick.



« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 05:29:41 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #116 on: January 28, 2017, 06:27:13 PM »
In Testament of Abraham (Rescension A), Michael " the chief-captain said, Nay, my Lord, Abraham, let them not bring horses, for I abstain from ever sitting upon any four-footed beast. Is not my king rich in much merchandise, having power both over men and all kinds of cattle? But I abstain from ever sitting upon any four-footed beast."

I don't recall any ikons of Michael riding a horse.

"Take heed, you who listen to me: Our misfortune is inevitable, we cannot escape it. If God allows scandals, it is that the elect shall be revealed. Let them be burned, let them be purified, let them who have been tried be made manifest among you."   - The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum by Himself

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #118 on: January 30, 2017, 03:53:18 PM »
For Rescension B, AKA Version 2, the New Advent posting of Abraham's Testament is defective. The chapter list goes 8, 12, 8, 9 out of order:
And:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1007.htm

You can find a proper chapter order and full text in Charlesworth's book:
https://books.google.com/books?id=TNdeolWctsQC&pg=PA869&lpg=PA869&dq=%22testament+of+abraham%22+christian&source=bl&ots=swlhTfBDC3&sig=5FpuCm8OhbaWdRo0zJ8FGJTWopU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjroP7R6OLRAhVKz2MKHTxpBgIQ6AEIfjAT#v=onepage&q=%22testament%20of%20abraham%22%20christian&f=false

The story is saying that if a person lives righteously, then death does not come to them in a scary form.
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #119 on: January 30, 2017, 06:51:08 PM »
About the dating of the synoptics:

I think it's reasonable that the apostles were using some gospel writing during their preaching as a reference on their travels. It's reasonable that some version of this, if not the current version, was that of the synoptics. That being the case, Matthew's or Mark's gospel would be from their lifetimes, ie. 33-63 AD.

I. The issue of Nicodemus
The Galilean patron of Jerusalem's water supply, Nicodemus, is only alluded to in the synoptic gospels as the master of the water-carrying servant who supplies Jesus and his disciples with a room. But he is never mentioned there.

He is considered a secret Christian in John's gospel, which nonetheless reveals he met with Jesus, talked about water, and buried Jesus with rich spices.

In the Talmud there is a story about Nicodemus' daughter mourning and in poverty, and it sounds like the Talmud casts aspersion on her, but it never explains how her Dad died or how she became poor.

In Christian tradition, members of the Jewish community killed Nicodemus as a Christian.

Now why would the synoptics leave both Nicodemus and the supplier of the guest room unnamed? I think the most reasonable conclusion is that he was still alive and a secret Christian at the time of the synoptic gospels' writing.

Based on Christian tradition and on Josephus, my understanding is that Nicodemus and James the Just got killed in c. 63 or 70 AD. This would suggest to me that the synoptics - at least one of them were written before then. Based on references by the fathers, it looks like Matthew or Mark were first. Based on Luke's reference to other writings, it looks like his was not the first.

II. Paul's citation of the scriptures as scripture:

Quote
    For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads the grain,' and, 'the laborer is worthy of his wages' (1 Timothy 5:18).

The first verse quoted is from Deuteronomy 25:4. However the second is a quotation of one of our Lord's statements recorded by Luke: "The laborer is worthy of his wages" (Luke 10:7). This saying is not found in the Old Testament.
https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1210.cfm
The 1st Letter to Timothy by Paul must have been written therefore after Luke.

Scholars are divided on whether 1 Tim. was written by Paul or sometime in the late 1st to early 2nd c.
Quote
The text seems to be contending against nascent Gnosticism (1 Tim 1:4, 1 Tim 4:3)[14] (see Encratism), which would suggest a later date due to Gnosticism developing primarily in the latter 1st century. The term Gnosis ("knowledge") itself occurs in 1 Timothy 6:20.
... If the parallels between 1 Timothy and Polycarp's epistle are understood as a literary dependence by the latter on the former, as is generally accepted,[6] this would constitute a terminus ante quem of 130–155 CE. However, Irenaeus (writing c. 180 CE) is the earliest author to clearly and unequivocally describe the Pastorals
SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA on 1 Timothy

1 Timothy complains about "fables", 1 Tim 4:3 complains about mandatory total celibacy, and 1 Tim 6:20-21 says:
Quote
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid irreverent chatter and the opposing arguments of so-called “knowledge, 21which some have professed and thus swerved away from the faith
A problem there is I don't know what the earliest date would have been for this kind of movement or sectarianism dedicated to secret "knowledge" and using that term.

Quote
Although some scholars hypothesize that gnosticism developed before or contemporaneously with Christianity, no gnostic texts have been discovered that pre-date Christianity.[55] James M. Robinson, a noted proponent of pre-Christian Gnosticism, has admitted "pre-Christian Gnosticism as such is hardly attested in a way to settle the debate once and for all."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism#Origin_of_the_term

III. The Temple's destruction.
I think that scholars commonly date the synoptics to after 70 AD (when the Temple was destroyed), because Jesus said the Temple would get destroyed.

In Matthew 24,:
Quote
Jesus said to them [about the Temple], “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
This happened in 70 AD. The logic seems to be in denying a date earlier than 70 AD that Jesus would not have been written as predicting this if the writer didn't know about it actually happening.

However, it's reasonable to think Jesus was making a real prediction. Putting aside for the moment the issue of miraculous prophecy, he could have known the Romans' intention, he could have made a conclusion about the Second Temple's fate by the OT reference to a third temple.
In case those skeptical scholars think Jesus was making a failed prophecy of his return before the last of his disciples died (some skeptics claim that), that opens the possibility that the gospel writers could have put in a prophecy before its fulfillment (ie in that case the Second Coming's deadline), and so they could have done the same thing with the Temple destruction prophecy (ie. recorded the prophecy before the fulfillment was known).
So I see how the Temple's 70 AD destruction can suggest a post 70 AD writing date, but I don't see it as dispositive.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #120 on: January 31, 2017, 04:19:21 PM »
Regardless of your opinion of Ehrman's ideas, this book of texts looks good if you want a hard copy of Christian texts from the 1st c.:

Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It Into the New Testament, By Bart D. Ehrman
It provides numerous texts and fragments, including both mainstream church writings like 1 Clement, and rejected books like Gospel of the Egyptians.

It doesn't include Christian apocryphal Old Testament themed pseudographia like Testament of Abraham. Nor does it include 2nd c. church father writings like St. Ignatius'.
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #121 on: January 31, 2017, 08:42:07 PM »
The Early Writings site says about Testament of Isaac:
Quote
W. F. Stinespring writes: "There are pronounced Christian elements in the Testament of Isaac as it now stands, and in its present form it has the function of emphasizing the state of the deaths of Abraham and Isaac as commemorated in the Coptic Church. Thus it would be possible to see the work as springing from the Coptic Christian Church. The Christianizing is not thoroughgoing, however, and it seems more likely that the original composition was a product of Egyptian Judaism." (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1, p. 904)
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/testisaac.html

How does the Coptic Church's commemoration of them differ from what we read in the Bible?
Quote
The story of the tormented man in Testament of Isaac 5 reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving man in Matthew 18. In both stories, a man is punished because he did not forgive somebody else. Matthew 18:34 states that this man was punished until he would pay what he owes, and that could imply a temporary hell (though believers in conscious eternal torment would say that the man could never pay what he owed, since it is an incredibly large amount). But there is a difference between the stories. The man in Testament of Isaac 5 is punished specifically for the sin of not making peace with his neighbor, whereas the man in Matthew 18, because he did not forgive his neighbor, is punished for his sins against the king that the king had previously forgiven. The reason this issue could be important is that it could help establish which voice said what in these Testaments. That is relevant to the question of whether the temporary hell in Testament of Isaac 5 should be understood as qualifying the pictures of hell in the other Testaments, or is simply another viewpoint inserted into the text. And that is relevant to the question of whether ancient Jews and Christians, and even the New Testament, could simultaneously call hell everlasting or eternal, while still regarding it as temporary, in some sense.
https://jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/hell-in-testament-of-isaac-5-and-the-testaments-of-abraham-and-jacob/

Quote
M. R. James mentions also an  Arabic  and  an  Ethiopic  version  of  this  work  (James,  1892).  The Sahidic  is,  no  doubt,  the  earlier  of  the  exant  versions;  the  Bohairic was translated from  Sahidic, although it does not always agree with it.   This   relationship   is   suggested   not   only   by   a   number   of Sahidicisms   in   the  Bohairic   version   but   also   by   the   general development  of  Coptic  literature
http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cce/id/528

John Fadden writes:
Quote
After the destruction of the Jewish community in Alexandria and Egypt in the  second century  C . E ., the material evidence for Jews in the region bec omes non-existent. 70 The disappearance of evidence leads many to conclud e that there was no distinct Jewish  community left in Egypt.
http://digitalcommons.du.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1970&context=etd
If the Jewish community got wiped out there, it would suggest that T.Isaac is not a 2nd c. nonChristian Jewish work.

He explains that it could be dated to at least the 3rd c.:
Quote
In Apostolic Constitutions vi. 16, the author identifies a list of apocryphal books of Moses, Enoch, Adam, Isaiah, David, Elijah, and of the three patriarchs. The reference to the three patriarchs may refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.73 Scholars who treat thisas a reference note that in the non-Sahidic versions of T. Isaac, scribes often placed it in a collection with T. Ab.and Testament of Jacob (T. Jac.) called the Testaments of the Three Patriarchs(T. 3 Patr.). T. 3 Patr. is the only collection of books of Abraham,Isaac, and Jacob that is known from antiquity. ... it is possible that T. Isaac may be a fourth century work, since it would need to have gained enough notoriety to be mentioned on a list of apocryphal works in the early fifth century. 

T. Isaac  has a clear notion of monk ( MONAXOC ) as an identity. Monasticism  emerges in the third and fourth century  C . E .

...  In the epilogue, the narrator makes  reference to the day of the patriarchs’ commemorati on ( T. Isaac  8.6). These brief  mentions reflect an awareness of a day of commemora tion for Isaac that people are  observing. The Coptic Church has a long history of  celebrating the three patriarchs –  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – as a group on the 28 th  of Mesore (August 21).
digitalcommons.du.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1970&context=etd

The author's essay connects T.Isaac to different aspects of Egyptian Coptic Christian tradition.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #122 on: February 01, 2017, 09:29:29 PM »
Testament of Isaac is found online here:
https://ia902701.us.archive.org/16/items/TheTestamentOfIsaac/TheTestamentOfIsaac.pdf

It teaches the objective presence of Christ on the table of the Last Supper, suggesting that this belief already existed when the book was written, sometime in the 2nd-4th c.:
Quote
At the end of all this, he  will  choose  twelve  men  and  reveal  to 
them his mysteries and teach them about the archetype  of  his  body  and  his  true  blood  by  means of bread and wine: and the bread will
become  the  body  of  God  and  the  wine  will 
become  the  blood  of  God.  And  then  he  will 
ascend  the  tree  of  the  cross  and  die  for  the 
whole creation, and rise on the third day and
despoil  hell,  and  deliver  all  mankind  from the enemy.

In a part about Abraham meeting Isaac in heaven, it does the same kind of narrative voice switching [3rd and 1st person] that T.Abraham does so you can't tell immediately if the speaker is Abraham or Isaac:
Quote
the  people  and  the  priest  were  silent,  so  that  he[Isaac]  could 
rest  himself  a  little.  But  the  angel  of  his 
father  . Abraham  came  to  him  and  took  him 
up  into  the  heavens.  He  saw terrors  and 
tumults  spread  abroad  on  this  side  and  on 
that; and it was a terror and a tumult fearful
to  behold.  Some  had  the  face  of  a  camel, 
others  had  the  face  of  a  lion:  some  had  the 
face  of  a  dog,  others  had  but  one  eye  and 
had  tongs  in  their  hands,  three  ells  long,  all 
of  iron.  I  looked, and  behold,  a  man  was 
brought,

Maybe suffering is not eternal in heaven:
Quote
The  angel  said  to  me.  Look 
with    your    eyes    and    contemplate    the   
Punishments.  I  said  to  the  angel,  .My  eyes 
could  not  endure  it; 
for  how  long  must 
These punishmenls go on?
He  said  to  me.  Until  the  merciful  God  has pity. 
I have seen this hypothesis before in the 1st c. documents I reviewed in this thread.

Here it's clearly Coptic:
Quote
This is the going forth from the body of  our  father  Isaac,  the  patriarch,  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  the  month  Mesore. And  the 
day  on  which  his  father  Abraham  offered 
him   as   a   sacrifice   is   the   eighteenth   of   
Mechir.(12  February)
Mechir is not simply a translation from the Greek or Hebrew, but a usage of a Coptic calendar. If the original of this was in Greek or Hebrew, one would normally expect the month to be translated (like it has been by the modern translator from Coptic into English), rather than the whole date to be converted in a different calendar.

This part is a bit confusing, because Abraham did not complete his attempted sacrifice of Isaac:
Quote
This is the going forth from the body of  our  father  Isaac,  the  patriarch,  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  the  month  Mesore.

And  the day  on  which  his  father  Abraham  offered  him   as   a   sacrifice   is   the   eighteenth   of   Mechir.(12  February)  The  heavens  and  the earth  were  full  of  the  soothing  odour  of  our father  Isaac,  like  choice  silver:  this  is  the 
sacrifice  of  our  father  Isaac  the  patriarch. 
When Abraham offered him as a sacrifice to God,  the  soothing  odour  of  Isaac's  sacrifice  went  up  into  the  heavens.
If I have to make this sensible, I would say that Abraham "offered" Isaac in the sense that he presented, submitted, and tendered Isaac to God as a sacrifice, and that the smell of Isaac went up to God.

I wouldn't take this in the sense of actually achieving the performance the sacrifice itself. Interesting issue though in that wind/breeze in Hebrew and Greek also means spirit (pneuma), and that in Russian perfume and spirit are overlapping words (dukh = spirit & wind, perfume = dukhi). The rising of isaac's smell resembles the concept of Isaac's spirit rising to God.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 10:05:36 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #123 on: February 01, 2017, 09:38:11 PM »
Quote
100-400 Testament of Adam http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/testadam.html
1st to 2nd c. Testament of Abraham
100-400 Testament of Isaac
2nd-3rd c. Testament of Jacob http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/testjacob.html
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
At this point, it seems to me these Testaments could all be related in their composition. They could all be written and shared in the same broad Egyptian Jewish and/or Coptic Christian community in the same era.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 09:39:08 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #124 on: February 02, 2017, 01:28:53 PM »
H. Sparks writes about the Testament of Jacob:
Quote
The distinguishing marks of the Testament of Jacob, i.e. its essentially derivative character and the impression that the Christian elements in it are less easily detachable than in the Testament of Isaac, coupled with the fact that no Sahidic text of it has been preserved (as is the case with the Testament of Isaac), might suggest an origin independent of both the Testaments of Abraham and of Isaac. It might be argued, for example, that the Testament of Abraham was written first, in Greek: that the Testament of Isaac came later as an independent work (though whether written in Greek, or Sahidic, or anything else, it is impossible to say); and that later still the Bohairic translator of these two Testaments put them together and himself composed (in Bohairic) a Testament of Jacob to make a trilogy.

At the other extreme, though perhaps with less cogency, it might be argued that the three Testaments were designed as a trilogy from the start, and that all three, therefore, were originally written in Greek. In this case, it will be pure accident that only the Testament of Abraham has survived in Greek, that there are no surviving Sahidic texts of either it or the Testament of Jacob, and that the Bohairic is the first extant text to group all three together.
http://oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/print/book/obso-9780198261773/obso-9780198261773-chapterFrontMatter-7


M. Simkovich writes:
Quote
a close reading reveals that the Testament of Isaac is dependent on
the Testament of Abraham, and that the Testament of Jacob is dependent on the two
earlier texts.

Moreover, the Testament of Abraham and the Testament of Isaac share
similarities that distinguish them from the Testament of Jacob: unlike the Testament
of Jacob, the Testament of Abraham and the Testament of Isaac reflect a universalist
worldview that depicts a God concerned for all humankind,
http://search.proquest.com/openview/3305d596f46655730adc90810646ae36/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=31843

EP Sanders writes in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic literature and testaments (edited by James H. Charlesworth):
Quote
the latter two testaments [of Isaac and Jacob] contain more Christian elements than the Testament of Abraham.... but it cannot be said with certainty whether they were originally composed by Jews or Christians. ... THey[All three] were for some centuries immensely popular in Christianity , as may be seen from their wide distribution

« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 01:29:13 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #125 on: February 03, 2017, 08:20:58 PM »
Charlesworth says Testament of Jacob
Quote
appears  to  be  a  midrashic  expansion  of  Genesis  47:29-50:26.

Here is are other obvious Coptic references:
Quote
This again is the going forth from the body of our father Jacob the patriarch,
who is called Israel, on the twenty-eighth of the month Mesore ( 21 August )
...
We   commemorate   the   
saints,  our  fathers  the  patriarchs,  at  this  very 
time   every   year;   our   father   Abraham   the   
patriarch on the twenty-eighth of Mesore, also
our  father  Isaac  the  patriarch  on  the  twenty-
eighth  of  Mesore,  and  again  our  father  Jacob 
on   the   twenty-eighth   of   this   same   month   
Mesore,  as  we  have  found  it  written  in  the 
ancient  books  of  our  holy  fathers  who  were 
pleasing unto God. 

Interesting note that sounds like a tradition about Joseph's burial place in Palestine that lasted up to the time of the 1st-3rd c. when this Testament was written::
Quote
And  they  stopped  at  the  threshing 
floor  of  Gadad.  wich  is  on  the  bank  on  the 
other  side  of  Jordan.  They  mourned  for  him 
there  with  a  great  and  bitter  mourning;  and  they  mourned  for  him  for  seven  days.  Those  in  the  lowland  heard  the  mourning  at  the  threshing-floor of Gadad, and they said: ‘This great    mourning    is    a    mourning    of    the   
Egyptians,  so  that  that  place  is  called  The 
Mourning  of  Egypt  to  this  day’.   
Nonetheless, wouldn't the phrase Mourning of Egypt normally refer to the mourning over the pharaoh's son and the other Egyptians' children in the story of the Exodus?

It looks like an Egyptian Christian , Athanasius, was at least a partial author or portrayed as one:
Quote
Behold  now,  we  have  told  you  these things as best we could in order to instruct you about  the  going  forth  from  the  body  of  our 
father  the  patriarch  Jacob  Israel.  'It  is  written 
in  the  divinely  inspired  scriptures  and  the 
ancient   books   of   our   fathers   the   apostles,     
even  I,  Athanasius  your  father.

Interesting saying:
Quote
For pity triumphs over judgement and love covers
a  multitude  of  sins;  and  again.  He  who  has  pity on a poor man lends on usury to God.
...
 My sons, love the poor, that as you do to the poor
man  here,  so  God  may  give  you  the  bread  of 
eternal  life  in  the  heavens  unto  the  end.  He 
who  feeds  a  poor  man  with  bread  here,  God 
will feed him from the tree of life. Clothe the
poor  man  who  is  naked  here  on  earth,  that 
God  may  put  on  you  a  robe  of  glory  in  the 
heavens, and so you may become a true son of
our  holy  fathers  the  patriarchs. 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 08:22:16 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Reply #126 on: February 04, 2017, 06:56:12 PM »
    Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    Quote
    is part of the Oskan Armenian Orthodox Bible of 1666. ... The Testaments were written in Hebrew or Greek, and reached their final form in the 2nd century CE. ... Presently, scholarly opinions are still divided as to whether it is an originally Jewish document that has been retouched by Christians, or a Christian document written originally in Greek but based on some earlier Semitic-language material.

    Another theme that has been extensively discussed by Hollander[3] is the role that Joseph plays in the ethics. He is often the example of an ethical man, and the deeds of the patriarchs are often weighed against those of Joseph.

    [Reuben's] Testament portrays women as the cause of the downfall of the Watcher
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testaments_of_the_Twelve_Patriarchs
    The "watchers" were angels who were considered in Jewish Tradition to be watching over the earth. (see eg. Daniel 4 and the Book of Enoch.

    Wikipedia notes about Levi's Testament:
    Quote
    Taking the theme of the Levite priesthood, the Testament explains how Levi's descendants corrupted the office by their arrogant disregard for the proper regulations.

    Aramaic Levi Document

    One way in which this testament is distinguished from the others is by additional footnotes in a Greek version of the manuscript from Mount Athos. These footnotes were found to be translated from a non-apocalyptic precursor of the text in Aramaic, partially preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls.... dated by the Oriental Institute [13] to between 100-200 BC using Radiocarbon dating. ...Aramaic Levi is a composite of two documents. One source was "a wisdom apocalypse derived from the exegetical elaboration of Malachi 2:4-7". The other, based on the same exegesis, "described Levi's actual initiation into the priesthood by angels".[14] ... Aramaic Levi ...  is a Hasmonean compilation, 133-100 BCE.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testaments_of_the_Twelve_Patriarchs

    It sounds like this part about the Levitic priesthood being corrupted could be Christian. And if the book antedates Aramaic Levi, then it sounds like it's written after 133-100 BC.

    Wikipedia says about Testament of Judah:
    Quote
    it goes on to present a xenophobic focus, criticising his marriage to a non-Israelite, as well as his sexual activity with Tamar, his daughter-in-law who at that time was pretending to be a prostitute.
    :o ???

    Dan's Testament
    Quote
    talks of a saviour arising from Levi and Judah that will set the souls free from Beliar. Again, Dan reminds his sons to stay near to God, and also to his interceding angel, and the saviour of the Gentiles. If they listen to Dan's warning, then his children will be received by the saviour of the Gentiles and be saved. The testament ends with an apparent gloss... , which points out that the prophecies of Dan did indeed happen.

    ...

    ...in modern scholarship... passages that clearly refer to Jesus are either considered Christian interpolations... or Christian writings (by those who consider the author to be Christian). For example, compare the following passages from the Testament of Levi:
    •     The heavens shall be opened, and from the temple of glory shall come upon him sanctification, with the Father's voice as from Abraham to Isaac. And the glory of the Most High shall be uttered over him, and the spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him in the water. (Levi 5:21-22)

    with ... Matthew 3:16-17

    RH Charles called attention to the frequent use of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs by Paul and other writers of the New Testament. In particular:

        I Thess. ii. 16 is a quotation of Test. Patr., Levi, 6:10;
        Rom. 12:19 is taken from Gad, 6:10;
        Rom. 12:21 is taken from Benjamin, 6:3;
        II Cor. 12:10 is a quote from Gad, 5:7;
        Ephes. 5:6 appeared first in Naphtali, 3:1.

    Later scholarship has highly debated this issue.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testaments_of_the_Twelve_Patriarchs

    1 Thess 2:16 says:
    Quote
    Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

    I don't see how this matches up as a quote from Test.Levi 6:10, which says:
    Quote
    And behold I am clear from your ungodliness and transgression, which ye shall commit in the end of the ages [against the Saviour of the world, Christ, acting godlessly], deceiving Israel, and stirring up against it great evils from the 3 Lord. And ye shall deal lawlessly together with Israel, so He shall not bear with Jerusalem because of your wickedness; but the veil of the temple shall be rent, so as not to cover your 4 shame. And ye shall be scattered as captives among the Gentiles, and shall be for a reproach 5 and for a curse there.

    II Cor. 12:10 says:
    Quote
    That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    I did see anything like that in Charlesworth's translation of Gad 5:7.
    His translation is here:
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/patriarchs-charles.html

    Maybe there is some problem with the numbering of these verses that they don't match up?



    Ephesians 5:6:
    Quote
    Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
    This at least matches up with Naphtali 3.1.:
    Quote
    Be ye, therefore, not eager to corrupt your doings through covetousness or with vain words to beguile your souls


    This theory seems speculative:
    Quote
    Marinus de Jonge comments on the attempts to determine the development of the document (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 5, p. 183):

    • At the beginning of the 20th century, R. H. Charles distinguished between a 2d-century B.C. pro-Hasmonean original to which extensive anti-Hasmonean passages (advocating a Messiah from Judah) were added in the 1st century B.C. In 1970 J. Becker assumed a Hellenistic-Jewish "Grundschrift," stemming from Wisdom circles dated around 200-175 B.C. This formed the nucleus of the present writing that took shape in the subsequent centuries by the addition of Hellenistic-Jewish homilies, apocalyptic visions, midrashic expositions, etc. In 1977 A. Hultgard, in an analysis of the apocalyptic passages, found first an anti-Hasmonean stage with the expectation of an ideal Levi and an ideal Judah; later, in the beginning of the 1st century B.C., the emphasis was on intervention by God himself, on the expectation of a Davidic messiah and on the hope of the resurrection and last judgment. In the 1st century A.D. there was a new redaction, introducing a central eschatological figure called the 'priest-savior,' the result of the merger of different traditions.

    There is no doubt that T. 12 P. are Christian in their present form and must have received that form sometime in the second half of the 2d century A.D. One first has to establish the meaning of the present T. 12 P. ... for a Christian audience around A.D. 200. Because the Christian passages cannot be removed without damaging the fabric of large sections of the work, we must assume at least a thoroughgoing Christian redaction.
    [/list]
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/patriarchs.html

    I don't know why he writes the part underlined above.

    Quote
    We know that the Greek T12P had been composed by about 200 CE, since the church father Origen refers to TReub 2-3, but the text of our Byzantine MSS could be quite far from what was available to Origen.

    1) The T12P are based at least in part on older purely Jewish (Hebrew and Aramaic) material. A number of specific texts have a clear literary connection with the T12P.

    (i) The Aramaic Testament of Levi.
    (ii) The Hebrew Testament of Naphtali.
    (iii) Midrash Wayissa'u.
    ...
    (4) Finally, there are striking thematic and terminological parallels between the T12P and the sectarian works from Qumran, particularly the Damascus Rule, the Community Rule, and the War Rule. The T12P use the term Beliar for the devil, which is a Greek slurring of the Hebrew word Belial, the term for the most powerful evil spirit in the sectarian texts. Both the T12P and the sectarian texts use light and darkness as symbols for good and evil, make use of the dualistic doctrine of the two spirits and the two ways, and refer to the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. In the T12P there is a focus on the priesthood of Levi and the kingship of Judah, and also on the supremacy of the former over the latter. ... The simplistic conclusion that the T12P were written by the Qumran sectaries is hardly likely to be right, especially given that the sectarian texts also have interesting parallels to the Johannine and Pauline literature in the NT.

    https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinity/rt/otp/abstracts/testoftwelve/

    I agree that Test.12 Patriarchs and these Qumran documents seem to have major overlap in themes.

    E.Bickerman writes:
    Quote
    Since some features of the work seem to rule out a date around 300 B.C. or the period after the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, the probable date of the Testaments would be the first quarter of the second century.
    http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004152946.i-1242.92

    J. Marcus sees T of 12 Patriarchs and the Christian "Didascalia" as both written in Syria around 200 AD, but thinks the former was pro-Torah-observant Jewish Christian while the latter was reacting against that viewpoint.
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/43665335?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
    If it's essentially a Jewish writing with Christian interpolations and editing, he could be confusing the Jewish writing's respect for Torah with the document's later Christian redactions.

    D.Desilva writes:
    Quote
         Given  the  pervasive  emphasis  on  Jesus  and  the  wisdom  and  Spirit poured  out  upon  the  church  through  the  ‘Son’  throughout  early Christian  literature,  and  the  limitations  placed  on  the  role  of  Torah particularly  in  Pauline  Christianity,  these  absolute  claims  regarding Torah’s  value  seem  to  reflect  Jewish  rather  than  Christian  ideology. Indeed, it is truly surprising not to find Christian scribes adding qualifications  at  this  point,  which  con¿rms  the  view  that  Christian  scribalglosses were largely limited to the eschatological/prophetic sections oftheTestaments.
    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0951820713502411

    Concerning the date of the Christian redactions, one couldagree with W.Deane, except that he seems to be approaching it as a work composed at one time:
    Quote
    In it reference is made to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, [216] it was therefore written after A.D.70. Also, according to the words of Benjamin (chap. xi.), the writings of the New Testament, especially the Acts and the Epistles of St. Paul, had been collected into a volume.
    http://biblehub.com/library/deane/pseudepigrapha/the_testaments_of_the_twelve.htm
    Deane says that in
    Quote
    among the writings of Athanasius it is mentioned as one of the Apocrypha in conjunction with the Book of Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, and some others

    Here is a quote of what Origen says:
    Quote
    Origen cites the book by name. [210] "Nay," he says, "but in a certain little book, which is called the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, although it is not contained in the canon, we find the thought that by individual sinners we ought to understand individual Satans." This idea occurs in the Testament of Reuben (chaps. ii. and iii.), who warns his sons that all sins are the embodiment of the seven spirits of evil which he specifies.

    http://biblehub.com/library/deane/pseudepigrapha/the_testaments_of_the_twelve.htm#1
    « Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 07:06:05 PM by rakovsky »
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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #127 on: February 05, 2017, 04:37:42 PM »
    Testament of Reuben says:
    Quote
    seven spirits are given to him at his creation, that in them should be done every work of man.  ... there is an eighth (8) spirit of sleep, with which is created entrancement of man's nature, and the image of death. With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error.
    ...
    Besides all these, the spirit of sleep, the eighth (8) spirit, is conjoined with error and fantasy.
    ...

    For moreover the angel of God... taught me that women are overcome by the spirit of fornication more than men, and they devise in their heart against men; and by means of their adornment they deceive first their minds, and instil the poison by the glance of their eye,
    ...
    Therefore flee fornication, my children, and command your wives and your daughters that they adorn not their heads and their faces; because every woman who acts deceitfully in these things has been reserved to everlasting punishment. For thus they allured the Watchers before the flood; and as these continually beheld them, they fell into desire each of the other, and they conceived the act in their mind, and changed themselves into the shape of men, and appeared to them in their congress with their husbands; and the women, having in their minds desire toward their apparitions, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven.

    This reminds me of how the Gospel of Peter says that the beings who brought Jesus from the tomb had their heads reaching to heaven.

    More on women:
    Quote
    command them likewise not to company with men, that they also be pure in their mind. For constant meetings, even though the ungodly deed be not wrought, are to them an irremediable disease, and to us an everlasting reproach of Beliar

    The Testament of Simeon ends by saying:

    Quote
    8. And Simeon made an end of commanding his sons, and slept with his fathers, being an hundred and twenty years old. And they laid him in a coffin of incorruptible wood, to take up his bones to Hebron. And they carried them up in a war of the Egyptians secretly: for the bones of Joseph the Egyptians guarded in the treasure-house of the palace; for the sorcerers told them that at the departure of the bones of Joseph there should be throughout the whole of Egypt darkness and gloom, and an exceeding great plague to the Egyptians, so that even with a lamp a man should not recognise his brother.

    What does it mean that "they carried them up in a war of the Egyptians secretly"?

    « Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 04:38:06 PM by rakovsky »
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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #128 on: February 05, 2017, 05:32:13 PM »
    CORRECTION:
    Testament of Reuben says:
    Quote
    seven spirits are given to him at his creation, that in them should be done every work of man.  ... there is an eighth (8) spirit of sleep, with which is created entrancement of man's nature, and the image of death. With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error.
    ...
    Besides all these, the spirit of sleep, the eighth (8) spirit, is conjoined with error and fantasy.

    The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

    Offline rakovsky

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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #129 on: February 05, 2017, 07:41:15 PM »
    In Testament of Levi, an angel says to attack Shechem, so Levi has Shechem get circumcised and then kills him, so Jacob is sad:
    Quote
    Then the angel brought me to the earth, and gave me a shield and a sword, and said, Work vengeance on Shechem because of Dinah, and I will be with you, because the Lord has sent me. And I destroyed at that time the sons of Hamor, as it is written in the heavenly tablets. And I said to Him, I pray You, O Lord, tell me Your name, that I may call upon You in a day of tribulation. And He said, I am the angel who intercedes for the race of Israel, that He smite them not utterly, because every evil spirit attacks it. And after these things I was as it were awaked, and blessed the Most High, and the angel that intercedes for the race of Israel, and for all the righteous.

    6. And when I came to my father I found a brazen shield; wherefore also the name of the mountain is Aspis, which is near Gebal, on the right side of Abila; and I kept these words in my heart. I took counsel with my father, and with Reuben my brother, that he should bid the sons of Hamor that they should be circumcised; for I was jealous because of the abomination which they had wrought in Israel. And I slew Shechem at the first, and Simeon slew Hamor. And after this our brethren came and smote the city with the edge of the sword; and our father heard it and was angry, and he was grieved in that they had received the circumcision, and after that had been put to death, and in his blessings he dealt otherwise with us. For we sinned because we had done this thing against his will, and he was sick upon that day. But I knew that the sentence of God was for evil upon Shechem; for they sought to do to Sarah as they did to Dinah our sister, and the Lord hindered them.
    Does that make sense?

    Are these the 70 weeks of Daniel 9, perhaps?:
    Quote
    And now I have learned in the book of Enoch that for seventy weeks will you go astray, and will profane the priesthood, and pollute the sacrifices, and corrupt the law, and set at nought the words of the prophets. In perverseness you will persecute righteous men, and hate the godly; the words of the faithful will you abhor, and the man who renews the law in the power of the Most High will you call a deceiver; and at last, as you suppose, you will slay Him, not understanding His resurrection, wickedly taking upon your own heads the innocent blood. Because of Him shall your holy places be desolate, polluted even to the ground, and you shall have no place that is clean; but you shall be among the Gentiles a curse and a dispersion, until He shall again look upon you, and in pity shall take you to Himself through faith and water.
    The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

    Offline rakovsky

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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #130 on: February 07, 2017, 02:01:45 AM »
    The Testament of Judah says:
    Quote
    15. He that commits fornication, and uncovers his nakedness, has become the servant of fornication, and escapes not from the power thereof, even as I also was uncovered. For I gave my staff, that is, the stay of my tribe; and my girdle, that is, my power; and my diadem, that is, the glory of my kingdom. Then I repented for these things, and took no wine or flesh until my old age, nor did I behold any joy. And the angel of God showed me that for ever do women bear rule over king and beggar alike; and from the king they take away his glory, and from the valiant man his strength, and from the beggar even that little which is the stay of his poverty.


    Does this part sound right:
    Quote
    22. And the Lord shall bring upon them divisions one against another, and there shall be continual wars in Israel; and among men of other race shall my kingdom be brought to an end, until the salvation of Israel shall come, until the appearing of the God of righteousness, that Jacob and all the Gentiles may rest in peace. And he shall guard the might of my kingdom for ever: for the Lord swore to me with an oath that the kingdom should never fail from me, and from my seed for all days, even for ever.

    Genesis 49 says:
    10. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

    Shiloh is considered to be Messiah. If the Kingdom is the Qahal of Israel, and the Church is considered to be Israel and Judah's "kingdom", then the declaration in Testament of Judah could make sense.

    Testament of Issachar
    's
    opening is a bit confusing, at least at first:
    Quote
    I was the fifth son born to Jacob, even the hire of the mandrakes. For Reuben brought in mandrakes from the field, and Rachel met him and took them. And Reuben wept, and at his voice Leah my mother came forth. Now these mandrakes were sweet-smelling apples which the land of Aram produced on high ground below a ravine of water.

    And Rachel said, "I will not give them to you, for they shall be to me instead of children."

    Now there were two apples; and Leah said, "Let it suffice you that you have taken the husband of my virginity: will you also take these?" And she said, Behold, let Jacob be to you this night instead of the mandrakes of your son. And Leah said to her, "Boast not, and vaunt not yourself; for Jacob is mine, and I am the wife of his youth."

    But Rachel said, "How so? For to me was he first espoused, and for my sake he served our father fourteen years. What shall I do to you, because the craft and the subtlety of men are increased, and craft prospers upon the earth? And were it not so, you would not now see the face of Jacob. For you are not his wife, but in craft were taken to him in my stead. And my father deceived me, and removed me on that night, and suffered me not to see him; for had I been there, it had not happened thus."

    And Rachel said, Take one mandrake, and for the other you shall hire him from me for one night. And Jacob knew Leah, and she conceived and bare me, and on account of the hire I was called Issachar.

    2. Then appeared to Jacob an angel of the Lord, saying, Two children shall Rachel bear; for she has refused company with her husband, and has chosen continency. And had not Leah my mother given up the two apples for the sake of his company, she would have borne eight sons; and for this thing she bare six, and Rachel two: because on account of the mandrakes the Lord visited her. For He knew that for the sake of children she wished to company with Jacob, and not for lust of pleasure. For she went further, and on the morrow too gave up Jacob that she might receive also the other mandrake. Therefore the Lord hearkened to Rachel because of the mandrakes: for though she desired them, she ate them not, but brought them to the priest of the Most High who was at that time, and offered them up in the house of the Lord.
    « Last Edit: February 07, 2017, 01:50:45 PM by rakovsky »
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    Offline rakovsky

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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #131 on: February 08, 2017, 01:15:36 PM »
    Testament of Dan says:
    Quote
    "If you suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raises up wrath with lying."
    I am "vexed" by what this means!
    ???  ???

    Naphtali's Testament says:
    Quote
    Nations went astray, and forsook the Lord, and changed their order, and followed stones and stocks, following after spirits of error. But you shall not be so, my children, recognising in the firmament, in the earth, and in the sea, and in all created things, the Lord who made them all, that you become not as Sodom, which changed the order of its nature, in like manner also the Watchers changed the order of their nature, whom also the Lord cursed at the flood, and for their sakes made desolate the earth, that it should be uninhabited and fruitless.
    Wasn't it just some of the watcher angels who went bad?

    Testament of Naphtali says:
    Quote
    6. And again, after seven months, I saw our father Jacob standing by the sea of Jamnia, and we his sons were with him. And, behold, there came a ship sailing by, full of dried flesh, without sailors or pilot: and there was written upon the ship, Jacob. And our father says to us, Let us embark on our ship. And when we had gone on board, there arose a vehement storm, and a tempest of mighty wind; and our father, who was holding the helm, flew away from us. And we, being tost with the tempest, were borne along over the sea; and the ship was filled with water and beaten about with a mighty wave, so that it was nearly broken in pieces. And Joseph fled away upon a little boat, and we all were divided upon twelve boards, and Levi and Judah were together. We therefore all were scattered even unto afar off. Then Levi, girt about with sackcloth, prayed for us all unto the Lord. And when the storm ceased, immediately the ship reached the land, as though in peace. And, lo, Jacob our father came, and we rejoiced with one accord.
    Creepy story with the "dried flesh". Is this a cryptic reference to the Council of Jamnia at 70 AD, wherein the rabbis (the boat named Jacob) rejected Christianity?
    If so, it's quite interesting as a reference from that period to the Council, whose nature has been disputed by historians.
    « Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 01:36:53 PM by rakovsky »
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    Offline RaphaCam

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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #132 on: February 08, 2017, 03:59:27 PM »
    Testament of Dan says:
    Quote
    "If you suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raises up wrath with lying."
    I am "vexed" by what this means!
     ??? ???
    Who is "he"?
    "May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

    May the Blessed Light shine Forth

    Offline rakovsky

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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #133 on: February 08, 2017, 04:09:22 PM »
    Testament of Dan says:
    Quote
    "If you suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raises up wrath with lying."
    I am "vexed" by what this means!
     ??? ???
    Who is "he"?

    Good question.

    Here is the full passage:

    Quote
    4. Understand ye therefore the might of wrath, that it is vain. For it first of all stings him in word: then by deeds it strengthens him who is angry, and with bitter punishments disturbs his mind, and so stirs up with great wrath his soul. Therefore, when any one speaks against you, be not ye moved unto anger. And if any man praises you as good, be not lifted up nor elated, either to the feeling or showing of pleasure. For first it pleases the hearing, and so stirs up the understanding to understand the grounds for anger; and then, being wrathful, he thinks that he is justly angry. If you fall into any loss or ruin, my children, be not troubled; for this very spirit makes men desire that which has perished, in order that they may be inflamed by the desire. If you suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raises up wrath with lying. And wrath with lying is a twofold mischief; and they speak one with another that they may disturb the mind; and when the soul is continually disturbed, the Lord departs from it, and Beliar rules over it.
    « Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 04:09:42 PM by rakovsky »
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    Offline rakovsky

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    Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
    « Reply #134 on: February 10, 2017, 11:54:33 AM »
    Testament of Gad is dedicated to dealing with hate, and it has an interesting piece of advice:

    Quote
    Love ye therefore one another from your hearts; and if a man sin against you, tell him of it gently, and drive out the poison of hatred, and foster not guile in your soul. And if he confess and repent, forgive him; and if he deny it, strive not with him, lest he swear, and you sin doubly. Let not a stranger hear your secrets amid your striving, lest he hate and become your enemy, and work great sin against you; for ofttimes he will talk guilefully with you, or evilly overreach you, taking his poison from himself. Therefore, if he deny it, and is convicted and put to shame, and is silenced, do not tempt him on. For he who denies repents, so that he no more does wrong against you; yea also, he will honour you, and fear you, and be at peace with you. But if he be shameless, and abides in his wrongdoing, even then forgive him from the heart, and give the vengeance to God.
    I am not sure what the underlined part means fully.

    This passage about forgiving those who abuse you sounds Christian. I think Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs does not just have Christian interpolations. I think it's probably a Christian document that uses Jewish documents.

    It is saying that if someone acts evilly to you and then denies it and is convicted and put to shame and then silenced, it suggests that he repented of it and then doesn't do more wrong to you. I am not sure if that is true, because some people who are ashamed could secretly want to hurt you more and look for a way to do it. Gad probably harbored his hatred for Joseph secretly and didn't let Jacob know about it. It sounds from his Testament that Gad was ashamed by Joseph reporting to Jacob about Gad, for example.

    Another piece of advice:
    Quote
    7. If a man prospers more than you, be not grieved, but pray also for him, that he may have perfect prosperity. For perchance it is expedient for you thus; and if he be further exalted, be not envious, remembering that all flesh shall die: and offer praise to God, who gives things good and profitable to all men. Seek out the judgments of the Lord, and so shall your mind rest and be at peace. And though a man become rich by evil means, even as Esau the brother of my father, be not jealous; but wait for the end of the Lord. For either He takes His benefits away from the wicked, or leaves them still to the repentant, or to the unrepentant reserves punishment for ever. For the poor man who is free from envy, giving thanks to the Lord in all things, is rich among all men, because he has not evil jealousy of men. Put away, therefore, hatred from your souls, and love one another with uprightness of heart.
    The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20