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Old 07-23-2001, 10:29 AM   #11
big d
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For those who believe Paul was teaching the correct "gospel", you need to read this: http://paulproblem.faithweb.com/
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Old 07-23-2001, 11:52 AM   #12
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BILL: In his reply to the above assertions of mine, Nomad made the following totally-ludicrous assertion, which forms the basis for my beginning the thread herein:

"Finally, since James and the Paulines are not in conflict, then what is your point here?"

EARL: For anyone interested, I debated Nomad on just this matter way, way back. The debate can be found in the "Existence of God - 4Q 2000" forum, thread: "Theoretical Foundations of Christianity," Page 5. See, for example, my three part post, posted on December 06, 2000 11:07 PM. Here's a link to the debate:
http://www.infidels.org/electronic/forum/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=2 8&t=000336&p=5

A couple of issues that came up in showing the difference between Paul and James was Paul's relationship to Gnosticism and the extent of the abuse Paul received from James and the "Judaizers." Eisenman, if I'm not mistaken, says that James' Church was indirectly responsible for Paul's execution. In the debate I referred to Ludemann's book "Heresy" in which Ludemann discusses the Pseudo-Clementines, which are also discussed in Eisenman. The Pseudo-Clementines are very interesting in this context, since they're pro-Jewish and anti-Paul. The question is from whom did the tradition behind these letters originate, from James, Peter, their followers, Judaizers, Ebionites? Did James' Church get more and more anti-Pauline or were they always more or less such?

Here's a sample anti-Paul diatribe from the Pseudo-Clementines, put in the mouth of Peter: "If our Jesus really appeared to you in a vision and made himself known to you, then he has become angry with you as with an adversary; that is why he spoke through visions or dreams or even through revelations which are from outside. Can anyone be made skillful in teaching on the basis of an appearance? And if you say, 'It is possible,' why then did the teacher remain and spend a whole year with those who were awake? But how can we believe you, even if you say that he has appeared to you? How can he also have appeared to you if what you think is contradictory to his teachings? But if you have been visited by him for an hour and instructed and thereupon become an apostle, then proclaim his words, expound his teaching, love his apostles. Do not fight with me, his disciple, for you are hostile to me, firm rock that I am, the foundation stone of the church. If you were not an adversary, you would not shame me by calumniating my preaching, so that people do not believe me when I say what I heard personally from the Lord, as if I had been condemned without dispute and you had a good reputation. But if you say that I am 'condemned', you are accusing God, who revealed Christ to me, and disparaging the one who called me blessed on the basis of revelation. Now if you truly want to further the truth, then learn first from us what we learned from him, and if you are a disciple of the truth, then come and work with us" (Hom.XVII 19, 1-7).

Ludemann summarizes what we can learn from the Pseudo-Clementines ("Heresy," 59): "On the other hand, despite the seeming authenticity of the style of Peter's speech, this or the tradition which is handed down in it comes from the second century at the latest, and cannot be attributed directly to Paul's adversaries. That is also impossible because the historical Peter was relatively close to Paul and the real opposition goes back to the circles around James or to James himself. Nevertheless, we might be justified in assuming that in the Pseudo-Clementines the 'old arguments of the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem against Paul…have been utilized and preserved' [Shoeps, "Paul" n.133, 82]."

The conflict, of course, centered around the importance of the Jewish law to Christianity. Would Jesus or his immediate followers have been in favour of abrogating the law in Paul's manner? Would they have been interested in securing conversion among the gentiles at the price of watering down Judaism?

[ July 23, 2001: Message edited by: Earl ]
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Old 07-23-2001, 12:33 PM   #13
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Ish: James, most of this seems to be speculation not based on the actual Biblical text.
And I believe that you accept the events within Luke-Acts uncritically. The author of Luke-Acts, writing decades after Paul, was concerned with presenting the movement as a unified front. Naturally, he smoothed over the theological disputes and attributed to James and Peter positions that were not necessarily their own. Even if we disagree on this point it is not correct to say with Jim Mitchell that the entire text enjoys a shared consistency throughout; the text betrays differences of opinion and the winners clearly wrote the history of the early church. We can qualify what it means to say that the text is consistent even though there were disputes but it looked to me as if you and Jim were eager to paper over these core disputes. In the end of course the Jewish Christians were relegated to the heap of the extracanonical but I have yet to hear a good argument for why their theological interpretation of Jesus' ministry should not be considered authentic. To say that Jesus was making a radical break from Judaism is to beg the very question under consideration.
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Old 07-23-2001, 01:11 PM   #14
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Now this is an interesting thread. Bill made an assertion, namely, that Paul and James are in conflict theologically. I then asked him to produce evidence of what their conflict was, and especially, what primary sources he was using to justify this belief. Now, he may think that Eisenman is a primary source, but he is not. I would like to see how James contradicts Paul's theology.

So, when I say that they are not in conflict, I am merely stating the obvious. For those that wish to disagree, they must offer some actual proof.

Finally, to Earl, my question remains the same as it was in our original debate. Outside of your faith in Luddemann, what evidence do you have that the psuedo0-Clementines actually represent James' thoughts and theology?

For myself, and for Lutherans (I believe it is the same for Catholics, but I will not speak for them), faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26), and I do not see Paul disputing this simple fact. After all, this is what Paul is talking about:

1 Thessalonians 1:3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A faith that cannot produce works, or fruit is quite dead. At the same time, works apart from faith are equally meaningless. James teaches us this, as does Paul, and I believe the Roman Catholic Church does as well. If necessary, when I have more time I will dig up some Catholic quotes. As I said, this is my own belief, and I do not see how anyone could dispute it as being the truth.

And as for what Jesus taught:

Luke 6:45-47 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. "Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.

Matthew 25:34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'


See also all of the passages in which Christ teachs us that we must bear good fruit.

As we can see, if we confess God, but refuse to do His Will, then we will not be saved. That is the message of Jesus, Paul and James, and this is why I made the obvious statement that there is no conflict between them.

So once again I will ask Bill or someone else to offer their evidence that James and Paul disagreed on fundamental theology.

Nomad

P.S. To Bill, assuming that he is reading this thread, but why did you think that I would deny the book of James or his theology? Did you have any evidence for your beliefs? Further, why do you think that Lutherans reject James, since we do not? Martin Luther was entitled to his opinions, but he did not determine Lutheran theology or doctrines on his own.
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Old 07-23-2001, 09:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
James Still:
<STRONG>And I believe that you accept the events within Luke-Acts uncritically.</STRONG>
If you mean by "uncritical acceptance" not attempting to read between the lines, then you are correct. What I see in your posts seems to be a sort of reading between the lines and a drumming-up of a picture of what might have happened sans rhetoric.

What this seems to say is that you believe they lied, or at least stretched the truth. I don't believe that, and I state things exactly as I see them in the texts. To state anything else is simply to make up what I see as a sort of fictional account of things (e.g. - the mission to the Gentiles being a horrible thing to which Paul was banished...).

Quote:
James Still:
<STRONG>The author of Luke-Acts, writing decades after Paul, was concerned with presenting the movement as a unified front. Naturally, he smoothed over the theological disputes and attributed to James and Peter positions that were not necessarily their own.</STRONG>
Their views seem quite similar to me and not in need of any real "smoothing over".

It is obvious from the book of James, that James believes in the power of faith, but a faith with works. Paul also obviously believes in the power of faith, but I cannot find any place where he says that works shouldn't follow that faith. The many dangers Paul faced in spreading the Good News, and the good things that he did for others show his faith, exactly as James said a true believer's works should.

If James had a dispute specifically with Paul, then why did James not mention Paul specifically as the source of trouble? If Paul had a dispute specifically with James, then why did Paul not mention James specifically as the source of trouble?

Not reading between the lines in Acts, I see Peter and James joining in beliefs with Paul.

However, if you don't believe the words of Luke, will you believe the words of Peter?

2 Peter 15b-16 (NRSV):
"15b. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16. speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures."

If you deny Peter's account as well as Luke's, then it seems that you can provide only speculation in their place based on your presuppositions and not on the texts.

Quote:
James Still:
<STRONG>Even if we disagree on this point it is not correct to say with Jim Mitchell that the entire text enjoys a shared consistency throughout; the text betrays differences of opinion and the winners clearly wrote the history of the early church.</STRONG>
I don't see the inconsistency that you see, perhaps because I am reading exactly what the texts say. You say that "the winners clearly wrote the history of the church", and I couldn't agree more. Therefore, the canonical bible contains what I believe to be correct and consistent views of Christianity in the letters (among others) of Peter, Paul, and Mary...no, no, sorry, James...

Quote:
James Still:
<STRONG>In the end of course the Jewish Christians were relegated to the heap of the extracanonical...</STRONG>
I just don't agree with this. The Jewish "Christians" that were relegated to the heap of extracanonical believed in salvation through keeping the letter of The Law, among other things such as Jesus becoming Christ only when the dove descended into him at the Baptism by John. These were heretical works such as the Gospel of the Ebionites.

The Jewish Christians such as Peter, Paul, and James seemed to understand that Jesus had taught a certain freedom from The Law (i.e. the original purpose of the law - Love God; Love your neighbor like yourself, and not mindless adherence to a set of condemning rules).

So, in conclusion, I fail to see how the faith and works of James and Peter were much different, if at all, from the faith and works of Paul.

Ish

[ July 23, 2001: Message edited by: Ish ]
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Old 07-23-2001, 09:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Earl:
<STRONG>The conflict, of course, centered around the importance of the Jewish law to Christianity. Would Jesus or his immediate followers have been in favour of abrogating the law in Paul's manner? Would they have been interested in securing conversion among the gentiles at the price of watering down Judaism? </STRONG>
Thank you for that EXCELLENT post, Earl!

By the way, Eisenman discusses this same business in his several discussions of Peter's tablecloth vision of Chapter 10 of Acts, including this observation, which is appropriate to the particular point at issue herein:
Quote:
But, in any event, this episode in Acts is really included only to explain and, ultimately, counteract the episode pictured by Paul in Galatians, where Peter is pictured as withdrawing from 'table fellowship' with Gentiles when the 'some from James' come down to Antioch. It Paulinizes Peter, putting the basic elements of the Pauline approach - 'food is for the belly and the belly for food' and 'circumcision is nothing and uncircimcision is nothing' (I Cor. 6:13 and 7:19), including 'Holy Spirit' baptism, into his mouth. It also proves, and this definitively - that Jesus never taught any such things in his lifetime, because, if he did, why would Peter, his reputed closest associate, need a Pauline vision to confirm them?
Thus, Eisenman proves, at least to the fairminded, that Paul's theology and the theology taught by Jesus were SUBSTANTIALLY AT ODDS!

== Bill
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Old 07-23-2001, 09:37 PM   #17
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Nomad:

Ignoring Chapter 2 of Galatians won't make it go away. Even in your totally-biased mind, it must constitute EVIDENCE! It is obvious that Paul and James were totally at odds over the applicability of Jewish LAW to the Gentile converts to Christianity. Paul's followers wrote the eventual rule book (which we now call the New Testament), so their view prevailed. But it still leaks through that there was this great rift between James and Paul, and that Peter was on the side of James in all this. The attempts to Paulinize Peter only end up making Peter look wishy-washy, able to be pulled to one side or the other according to whichever he had last spoken to.

But all this ignores the fact that Peter was the BROTHER of James (and Jesus), and Paul was an OUTSIDER who would never have received the loyalty of Peter against Peter's own brother, James!

So, it's obvious that Eisenman's interpretation of this whole matter is the correct one: the tablecloth vision is a late addition to the story, for the sole purpose of giving legitimaticy to the eventual winners, Paul's own followers.

== Bill
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Old 07-23-2001, 10:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill:

Ignoring Chapter 2 of Galatians won't make it go away.
How I do love irony. What part of Galatians 2 are you reading Bill? I'm going to quote from it shortly, and this time it is my hope that you will actually respond to my post rather than just bad mouthing me.

Quote:
Even in your totally-biased mind, it must constitute EVIDENCE! It is obvious that Paul and James were totally at odds over the applicability of Jewish LAW to the Gentile converts to Christianity.
Since you are, no doubt aware that James and Peter admitted that they had erred on the question of circumcision of Gentile converts, what is the problem? Is there some other part of Jewish Law you think was important to James and Peter, and with which Paul disagreed?

People can be wrong, I hope even you would admit this much. On the other hand, if you have something from James or Peter that shows that they actually disagreed with Paul's views after their Jerusalem Council (see Acts 15), then I am open to listening to it. I just hope that you can actually demonstrate that it IS connected to James and Peter's thoughts and theology.

I am still waiting for Earl to offer this connection. Perhaps you can help him find it.

Quote:
Paul's followers wrote the eventual rule book (which we now call the New Testament), so their view prevailed. But it still leaks through that there was this great rift between James and Paul, and that Peter was on the side of James in all this. The attempts to Paulinize Peter only end up making Peter look wishy-washy, able to be pulled to one side or the other according to whichever he had last spoken to.
Again, what are you talking about here exactly Bill? Without references, you simply sound hysterical. The passage in question, I believe, is:

Galatians 2:9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.

You know that Peter, James and John were still alive when Paul wrote this, right? And there is no evidence at all that they disagreed with Paul's understanding of these events? Again, if you have such evidence, please offer it.

At the same time, if you think that Paul did not believe that faith would produce works, and could be an empty thing, then please offer that evidence as well.

Quote:
But all this ignores the fact that Peter was the BROTHER of James (and Jesus), and Paul was an OUTSIDER who would never have received the loyalty of Peter against Peter's own brother, James!
Could you please tell me where you came up with the idea that Peter was the brother of Jesus or James?

Quote:
So, it's obvious that Eisenman's interpretation of this whole matter is the correct one: the tablecloth vision is a late addition to the story, for the sole purpose of giving legitimaticy to the eventual winners, Paul's own followers.
I must admit Bill, you do have one of the most curious readings and understandings of Scripture I have yet encountered. You have somewhere found Peter declared to be the brother of Jesus and James. Where was this exactly? You have found James and Paul to be in "obvious" theological conflict, yet have failed to understand that Paul was talking about the Jewish laws, and especially the law of circumcision when he railed against justification by "works".

Galatians 5:4-6, 13-15 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."


Clearly Paul is telling us that we must obey God's law, and "love our neighbor as ourselves". This is EXACTLY what Jesus told us to do Himself (Matt. 19:19, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27) and is stated again by Paul with great emphasis in Romans:

Romans 13:9-10 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Quite simply, for Paul, faith and love could not be separated, and love meant actions, deeds and works according to God's will.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


If we do works without faith or love, then they will mean nothing. And here, if you can find James disagreeing with Paul, please show me where. James tells us just as plainly as does Paul, that it is our works that testify to our faith:

James 2:14-17, 26 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


Can anyone find a passage from Paul's letters that disagrees with what James is saying here?

John 15:9-10, 12-14, 17 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
This is my command: Love each other.


Love is actions, it is being willing to obey God's will and to do as He commands. In this way we show our faith, and testify that it is true. This is the Gospel as preached by Jesus, by Paul, and by James, the Brother of the Lord.

Nomad

P.S. to Bill. You never did answer my questions put directly to you in my last post (the ones about my presumed rejection of James and such). Could you answer them please? It would help me understand how you have come to form your views about me and my beliefs. Thank you.

[ July 24, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
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Old 07-23-2001, 10:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Bill:
<STRONG>Ignoring Chapter 2 of Galatians won't make it go away. Even in your totally-biased mind, it must constitute EVIDENCE! It is obvious that Paul and James were totally at odds over the applicability of Jewish LAW to the Gentile converts to Christianity.</STRONG>
Whoever started it, I don't think the "totally-biased mind" comment toward Nomad is appropriate. It smacks of the sort of escalation which got Metacrock banned, IMHO.

Aside from that, what evidence is so strong to you that it calls for the "totally-biased mind" comment?

Here is what I see in Galation 2:

Gal 2:9 - 10 (NRSV):
"9. ...and when James, and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me [i.e. Paul], they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do."

Quote:
Bill:
<STRONG>Paul's followers wrote the eventual rule book (which we now call the New Testament), so their view prevailed.</STRONG>
Then you deny, for instance, the books of James and 1 & 2 Peter?

Quote:
Bill:
<STRONG>But it still leaks through that there was this great rift between James and Paul, and that Peter was on the side of James in all this.</STRONG>
The texts seem to say that they were all in agreement. Also, in my post to James above, there is a quote from 2 Peter showing that Peter approved of Paul's teachings...

Quote:
Bill:
<STRONG>The attempts to Paulinize Peter only end up making Peter look wishy-washy, able to be pulled to one side or the other according to whichever he had last spoken to.</STRONG>
I, personally, would like to see more than speculation about this "Paulinized Peter". Peter's character all throughout the Gospels was sort of wishy-washy. Just look at the account of his denial of Christ! I think it is entirely in keeping consistency with his character.

Quote:
Bill:
<STRONG>But all this ignores the fact that Peter was the BROTHER of James (and Jesus), and Paul was an OUTSIDER who would never have received the loyalty of Peter against Peter's own brother, James!</STRONG>
Yet the NT texts seem to state their agreement...

Quote:
Bill:
<STRONG>So, it's obvious that Eisenman's interpretation of this whole matter is the correct one: the tablecloth vision is a late addition to the story, for the sole purpose of giving legitimaticy to the eventual winners, Paul's own followers.</STRONG>
I do not put much stock in Eisenman's theories and neither do all that many of his peers (various scholarly quotes upon request...). His theories of the DSS seem untenable in the face of hard evidence, so why do you hold so fast to them?

Ish

Edited for apology--
Sorry, Nomad. I didn't mean to step on your toes in replying to Bill's post. Maybe double information will have double convincing power.

[ July 24, 2001: Message edited by: Ish ]
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Old 07-24-2001, 11:33 AM   #20
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Ish: If you mean by "uncritical acceptance" not attempting to read between the lines, then you are correct. What I see in your posts seems to be a sort of reading between the lines and a drumming-up of a picture of what might have happened sans rhetoric.
Ok, I understand. You read the texts literally rather than with an eye toward criticism and history. I don't want to say that's wrong, I just assumed that since you were in the BC&A forum you understood the assumptions of discussion here. But since we're not doing Sunday School here, we read against the grain in order to understand the motivations of the writers and the purposes of the text.

Quote:
Ish: What this seems to say is that you believe they lied, or at least stretched the truth. I don't believe that, and I state things exactly as I see them in the texts. To state anything else is simply to make up what I see as a sort of fictional account of things (e.g. - the mission to the Gentiles being a horrible thing to which Paul was banished...).
I think that to read things straight from the text without incorporating the historical and theological contexts in which those events took place is to risk misunderstanding the text. I am not so bored that I sit around making things up that suit me. From the larger context it is obvious that Jesus' mission was to the children of Israel. A close examination of his teachings reveals the urgency with which God's rule was about to break into the present situation. His brother James and Peter stayed in Jerusalem after Jesus' death, awaiting the imminent establishment of God's rule. So now you know why I said that sending Paul out to the Greek world was something of a banishment.

As for the historical Peter being the author of 2 Peter, well, if you believe that then I've got a bridge to sell you. With the exception of very conservative evangelicals no one believes that Peter wrote 2 Peter.
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