Monday, March 28, 2016

Messages for Larry Hurtado

On June 25th Larry Posted “The Saints” in the NT

Larry wrote:

In the NT believers are referred to as “the saints/holy ones” over 60 times, particularly in Paul’s letters, with another concentration in Revelation, and a scattering of uses in some other NT writings (Acts, Hebrews, Jude). It’s an interesting instance of a group self-designation in earliest Christian circles. The Greek word used in these NT writings is αγιοι (hagioi), the plural substantive form of the adjective hagios (“holy”). In the Greek OT (LXX, Septuagint), however, hagioi is used as a term for a group of people only a few times, e.g., Psalm 16:3 (LXX 15:3), Psalm 34:9 (LXX 33:9),


I commented:

Larry, in Psalm 16:3 I think that the saints/holy ones were the prophets. “As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.” They are picked out as a distinct special group, perfectly acceptable to God, being filled with his Spirit, and hence glorious
.

After a few days he deleted my comment. Larry, a Christian NT scholar, just cannot bring himself to accepting that the OT had more to do with the NT than he is prepared to admit. He quoted Psalm 16:3 without any explanation of the passage concerned. It was, as he says, only one of a few such references in the OT to the term "saints or holy ones". He thus writes off these few OT references as insignificant, and argues that the more frequent use of the term (saints or holy ones) in the NT justifies his claim that this was a unique self-designation for Christians. He obviously didn't like my suggestion that I thought that "the group" he referred to in the OT was the prophets. He does not say who he thought "the group" were.

In Psalm 16:3, the writer contrasts the saints/holy ones "in the land", with those whose "sorrows will increase who run after other gods". (Psalm 16:4). Clearly the ones running after other gods" were Israelites themselves. The Psalm was written by king David who was supported by the prophets.


Psalms refers to priests on only four occasions.  Psalm 132 contains two of the references. Verse 9 has: "May your priests be clothed with righteousness; may your saints (holy ones) sing for joy."  Verse 10 has: ""I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy."  So who do you think the "saints or holy ones" were?  The prophets led the worship in song. They were the singers in the temple.  

The Saints/Holy Ones of Daniel 7

In Daniel 7, the prophet was writing about his own kind, the saints/holy ones/ prophets. This book was anticipating what would happen in the time of Judas Maccabeus. The Seleucids would be defeated, the priests thrown out of the temple, and the prophets (holy ones) would reign supreme (Dan.7:27) with rulers (the kings) following in their footsteps. The signs had been there for some time. Some of the Psalms and a number of the books of the prophets contain stirrings that disillusion with animal sacrifices had set-in (Psa.40:6).  Eventually, the priests felt so threatened that they walked all over the prophets.  They in effect rewrote many of prophet's books on their scrolls with their own interpretations or peshers which were all perjorative.  They also had a new label for the prophets - seekers of smooth things.          
 The words ‘daily sacrifice’ appear five times in the book of Daniel and nowhere else in the OT. This would have been the daily sacrifice by the prophets of incense in the sanctuary. ‘Daily sacrifice’ is unique to Daniel and is singular.  One of the references is Daniel 8:13: 

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the LORD’s people?”

The ‘holy ones’ speaking to each other were prophets, not angels. They were asking how long would it be before the daily sacrifice would be restored. The desolation of the sanctuary (when God would no longer be present) was caused by Antiochus who was against sacrifices that did not involve the shedding of blood. Thus Antiochus took away the altar of incense and the other items in the sanctuary. Antiochus wasn’t interested in stealing the treasure out of the temple, but in unifying his dominions under his rule. It wasn’t all Jews who were trampled underfoot by Antiochus, only the holy ones, the prophets, and their followers. The priests were supported by Antiochus. So in Daniel, the ‘Lords people’ were followers of the prophets. The restoration of the daily sacrifice appears to be after 1290 days. (Daniel 12:11). This would he been when Judas purged the temple.


The Terminology 'Saints' was Adopted in the NT 

In the NT, Paul, whoever he was, developed the idea of "saints" applied to Christians from its use in relation to the prophets of the OT.  












Larry
The coins of revolt (66-70) show no signs of antagonism to Rome, but rather declared a freedom. In the Autumn of 66, Nero declared a freedom for Greece as on the inscription. According to Goodman, in Rome and Jerusalem, there is documentary evidence that at the time of the revolt, marriages were made and land was bought and sold. Finally,according to Kokkinos, in Judea and Rome in Coins, the coins produced at the time of revolt were the best quality ever produced, with 98% silver. All together these are strange goings-on for a time of war.


Larry
For Kokkinos I should have written Hendin (page 140).

The “Conversion” of Paul (January 25, 2017) (https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/the-conversion-of-paul/#comment-14200)


Larry, I don’t expect you to post this, but it is what I think.

Prophets have no confidence in sacrifice

The text has been switched from animal sacrifice (Philippians 3.2) to circumcision (3.3). In 3.3, the editor borrows the idea of worship by the Spirit. This is close to the prophetic idea of worship in the Spirit. Also, he has glory in Christ Jesus, whereas the prophets glory in the Spirit. He knows that the text was originally about sacrifice, and that prophets put no confidence in sacrifice. 3.4 to 3.21 is fiction. But the life of Paul bears a resemblance to that of Josephus, a priest, in that the latter was a persecutor of prophets. 3.1 to 3.3 had a history before it was adapted by its editor.

3.1.Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the [Lord] {Spirit}! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.

3.2.Watch out for [those dogs, those men who do evil] {Ananus and his brothers}, those [mutilators] {sacrificers} of [the flesh] {animals}.

3.3.For it is we who [are the circumcision, we who] worship [by] {in} the Spirit of God, who glory in [Christ Jesus,] {the Spirit} and who put no confidence in [the flesh] {sacrifice}.
Jesus, the Cross, the women, and Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark (December 20, 2016)
(https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/jesus-the-cross-the-women-and-discipleship-in-the-gospel-of-mark/)

Larry wrote in reply to Jason:
"I proposed, Jason, that 1 Cor 15:1-7 indicates that Jesus’ bodily burial was a key feature of early proclamation, and that there would be little point in mentioning Jesus’ burial so prominently for the purpose of encouraging people to visit the grave and view the body. From NT texts such as Paul, it’s clear that the form of resurrection belief affirmed was one that involved a transformation of the mortal body into an eschatological body empowered by divine Spirit. Such a transformation was typically believed to involve the resulting absence of the mortal body."
I wrote: Larry, I think that 1 Cor. 15: 2-7 was a later interpolation to a prophetic text which was originally about the spirit. The writer was giving assurance that God had sent his Spirit from heaven and that the spirits of people who have obeyed God's Spirit will rise to heaven. It seems that there was difficulty accepting this in a Roman world. The later writer introduced the idea of a bodily saviour who rose from the dead and of a physical resurrection of believers.
Larry cannot get away from using the imprecise term "early".  This means late relative to the time of the prophets (see 1 Cor.14.29, "Two or three prophets should speak", showing that this text was originally written to prophets, more than likely by a prophet James, of 1 Cor. 15.7).


1 Cor. 15
[ ] = read out; { } = read in

JAMES REMINDS THEM OF THE SPIRIT HE PROCLAIMED
 15.1.Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the [gospel] {Spirit} I [preached] {proclaimed} to you, which you RECEIVED and [on which you have taken your stand] {OBEYED}.

15.2.[By this gospel you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain
15.3.For what I received, I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
15.4.that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
15.5.and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
15.6.After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
15.7.then he appeared to James (a reference to the possible writer).  This is what we preach, and this is what you believed].

THE RISING OF SPIRITS 
15.12.But if it is [preached] {proclaimed} that [Christ] {the Spirit} has been [raised] {sent} from [the dead] {heaven}, how can some of you say that there is no [resurrection] {rising} of [the dead] {spirits}?   

15.13.If there is no [resurrection] {rising} of [the dead] {spirits}, then not even [Christ] {the Spirit} has been [raised] {sent}. 

15.14.And if [Christ] {the Spirit} has not been [raised] {sent}, our [preaching] {proclamation} is [useless] {in vain} and so is your [faith] {obedience}. 

15.15.[More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.  But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 
15.16.For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 
15.18.Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 
15.19.If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 
15.20.But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
15.21.For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.
15.22.For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
15.23.But each in his own turn:
Christ the firstfruits; then when he comes, those who belong to him.
15.24.Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
15.25.For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet
15.26.The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
15.27.For he “has put everything under his feet”.
Now when it says that everything has been put under his feet, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
15.28.When he had done this, then the son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.]

PRAYING FOR THE SPIRITS OF THE LIVING (NOT THE DEAD)
15.29.Now if there is no [resurrection] {rising} of [the dead] {spirits}, what will those do who are [baptised] {praying} for [the dead] {spirits}? 
If [the dead] {spirits} are not raised at all, why are people [baptised] {praying} for them? 

15.30.And as for us, why do we [endanger ourselves] {pray for you} every hour? 

15.31.I [die] {pray for you} every day -- I mean that, brothers.

[-- just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord]. 

15.32.If I [fought wild beasts] {pray} in [Ephesus] {the Spirit} [for merely human reasons,] what have I gained[?]  if [the dead] {spirits} are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." 

15.33.Do not be misled: "[Bad] {Impure} [company] {priests} corrupt[s] [good] {pure} [character] {spirits}." 

15.34.Come back to [your senses] {the Spirit} as you ought, and stop [sinning] {disobeying}, for there are some who are ignorant of [God] {the Spirit} -- I say this to your shame.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF SPIRIT, THE TWO SPIRITS OF MAN, AND THE RAISED SPIRIT
15.35.But someone may ask, "How are [the dead] {spirits} raised? 

With what kind of [body] {spirit} will they [come] {rise}?" 

15.36.How foolish! [What] {the spirit} [you] {God} sow{s} does not [come to life] {become pure} until it [dies] {rises}.  

15.37.When [you] {God} sow{s}, [you do] {he does} not plant the [seed] {spirit} that will be, but [just] a [seed] {spirit} [perhaps] of [wheat] {truth} or [of something else] {deceit}. 

15.38.[But] God gives [it] {the body} a [body] {spirit} as he has determined, and to each kind of [seed] {body} he gives its own [body] {spirit}. 

15.39.All {flesh] {spirits} are not the same:
Men have one kind of [flesh] {spirit}, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 

15.40.[There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies;
but the splendour of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendour of the earthly bodies is another.]

15.41.The sun has one kind of [splendour] {spirit},the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in [splendour] {spirit}.

15.42.So will it be with the [resurrection] {rising} of [the dead] {spirits}.

The [body] {spirit} that is sown (that is in a body), is [perishable] {one kind}; it is raised [imperishable] {another}.

15.43.it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory;
it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

15.44.it is sown [a natural] {in an impure} body, it is raised a [spiritual] {pure} [body] {spirit}.

[If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body].

the spirit is explicit IN 15.45
15,45.So it is written: "The first man {Adam} became a living being"; the second {Adam}, a [life-giving] {pure} spirit.

15.46.The [spiritual] {pure spirit} did not come first, but the [natural] {impure spirit}, and after that the [spiritual] {pure spirit}. 

15.47.The first [man] {spirit} was of the earth.  The second [man] {Spirit} [was] {is} from heaven . 

15.48.As was the {spirit of the} earthly man, so are {the spirits of} those who are of the earth; and as is the [man] {Spirit} from heaven, so also are {the spirits of} those who are of heaven. 

15.49.And just as we have [borne the likeness] {the spirit} of the earthly man, so shall we bear [the likeness of the man] {the Spirit} from heaven.

15.50.I declare to you, brothers, that [flesh and blood] {impure spirits} cannot [inherit] {enter} the [kingdom] {heaven} of God,
[nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable]. 

IN 15.51, 52 THE WRITER IS SAYING SPIRITS WILL BE RAISED AS SOON AS THE BODY DIES– AT THE TRUMPET CALL OF THE SPIRIT TO HEAVEN. 

15.51.Listen, I tell you a mystery:  [We will not all sleep but we] {You} will all be [changed] {raised}

15.52. in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the [last] trumpet {call}.  For the trumpet will sound, and the [dead] {spirits} will be raised [imperishable].

15.54.[When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable,  and the mortal with immortality, 
then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
15.55."Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?" 
15.56.The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
15.57.But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ]. 

THE SPIRIT MOVES PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS THE ANIMATOR
15.58.Therefore, my dear brothers, [stand firm] let [nothing] {the Spirit} move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the [Lord] {Spirit}, because you know that your labour in the [Lord] {Spirit} is not in vain.
  
When Christians were Atheists (Dec 13 2016)
(https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/when-christians-were-atheists/)

Larry writes: "Early Christians were atheists!" He says that they refused to worship traditional gods and that they had no images (presumably to worship).

I wrote (to his blog) that the term atheist was applied to the first Christians in the sense that they did not worship a god that was visible like an idol. They worshipped god as a spirit, as in Acts.

I also wrote that the catacombs contained an image of Jesus as a baby with his mother. This image is depicted in a position of adoration.

There was obviously a change of ideas in Rome with the development of the birth stories of Jesus.



"Law" Statistics (Oct 30 2016) (https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/law-statistics/#comments)

Larry claims that "law" occurs 56 times in Romans.  I say that originally it probably didn't occur once.
I wrote to Larry's blog, "Larry, original Romans was not written to Romans but to the prophets of Jerusalem, writing from Rome. It was not about law versus faith in Christ, but sacrifice versus obedience of the Spirit. Romans 4 is divided into two clear sections. 4.1 to 4.11 is basically original. Here cleansing is (originally) credited to God when you obey his Spirit. Moses received the seal of God’s Spirit (the I Am) before he sacrificed (Ex.3.19). In the second section, 4.12 to 4.24, Paul develops his ideas of God crediting righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Paul edits and expands an original prophetic document" - which said nothing about Jewish Law.

This is certainly something that demands a response from Larry.

Chapter 4

MOSES NOT CLEANSED BY SACRIFICE BUT BY THE SPIRIT

4.1.What then shall we say that [Abraham] {Moses} [, our forefather,] discovered in this matter?

4.2. If, in fact, [Abraham] {Moses} was [justified] {cleansed} by [works] {sacrifice}, he had something to boast about — but not before God.

4.3.[What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”]

4.4. Now when a [man] {priest} [works] {sacrifices}, his [wages] {cleansing} [are] {is} not credited to [him] {God} as a gift, but as an obligation.

4.5.However, to the [man] {prophet} who does not [work] {sacrifice}, but [trusts] {obeys} [God] {the Spirit} who [justifies] {cleanses} the [wicked} {impure}, his [faith] {cleansing} is credited {to God} [as righteousness].

4.6.[David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
4.7.”Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
4.8.Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
4.9.Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?
We have been saying that Abraham’s]

{Moses’} [faith] {cleansing} was credited to [him as righteousness] {God}.

4.10.Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he [was circumcised] {sacrificed}, or before? It was not after, but before!

4.11.And he received

the [sign of the circumcision,

a] seal of the [righteousness] {Spirit}

[that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised]

{before he sacrificed}.

So then, he is the father of all who [believe] {obey the Spirit} but have not [been circumcised] {sacrificed}, in order that [righteousness] {cleansing} might be credited to [them] {God}.

4.12.[And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
4.13.It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be the heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
4.14.For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless,
4.15.because law brings wrath, and where there is no law there is no transgression.
4.16.Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.
4.17.As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed – the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
4:18.Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed, and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
4.19. Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
4.20.Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
4.21.being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
4.22.This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4.23.The words “it was credited to him” were spoken not for him alone,
4.24.but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.]



About Marcus Aurelius and 'Christians' 

Larry, you wrote on Oct 13 2016 (https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/marcus-aurelius-and-christians/)
 “The official Roman view wasn’t a “persecution” of Christians, but instead judicial action against people who offended society and whose “atheism” could also imperil the Empire, through bringing the wrath of the gods.”

But that couldn’t have always been the ‘official Roman view’. Earlier, during the time of the Flavians, ‘Christianity’ must have been positively promoted. These rulers must have thought it was a good thing to have, a ‘Christian religion', otherwise, it would not have arisen. You have not considered how opinions changed with time.

The Destroyer of the Gods

About his book, The destroyer of the Gods, Larry wrote: 

"Unquestionably, to the Roman world, Christianity was both new and different, and, to a good many, it threatened social and religious conventions of the day. In the rejection of the gods and in the centrality of texts, early Christianity obviously reflected commitments inherited from its Jewish origins. But these particular features were no longer identified with Jewish ethnicity and early Christianity quickly became aggressively trans-ethnic--a novel kind of religious movement. Its ethical teaching, too, bore some resemblance to the philosophers of the day,"


This blog takes a different view.  

Christianity was NOT knew and different, nor was it novel. Jewish religion of the day had changed. From the time of Judas Maccabeus to the annihilation of the prophets in the first century by the Flavians, it had developed into a trans-ethnic religion in which the Spirit of God was the fundamental source of purification if you obeyed him. Purification was not a matter of keeping whole the Jewish Law. And some philosophers of the day, such as Seneca, agreed with that principle. This form of Jewish religion had embedded itself in the Roman society (they were called CHRISTIANOS in latin, or annointed ones), and its adherents included Nero who shortly after his death (probably a murder) was eventually succeeded by the liar and despot Vespasian.

The original movement was the prophetic and Jewish belief in the Spirit, more or less as recorded in Acts. This was not acceptable to Romans, except a few philosophers. The belief was changed by the Flavians to a forced belief in a sacrificed Jesus, accommodating Roman tradition of sacrifice to the gods, of which the ‘Christian’ God was one.  The ‘Christians’ did believe in sacrifice, the sacrifice of Jesus, which they repeatedly celebrated.

The Retreating Claim of an Early NT Textual Recension (2016/04/07) https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/the-retreating-claim-of-an-early-nt-textual-recension/

Larry you wrote: “We know that Roman-era writers typically drew upon other writings loosely, and often deliberately did so. That was a feature of rhetorical and writing practices of that time. But it is not indicative of how copyists treated the task of transmitting texts in manuscripts.”


But Larry you are assuming that the earliest writers were copyists as you defined them, and not editors rewriting the text. There was a stage or stages when the text was being created. Gregory Sterling the Dean of Yale Divinity School wrote (see page 104 of Understanding Josephus edited by Steve Mason) some comments on how ancient historians went about their business. Sterling (taking aim at his foot) says:

1. The practice of rewriting texts and offering the retelling as an authorial composition was common in antiquity. Historians of events situated in the distant past often made a virtue out of necessity by rewriting existing literary sources. (Were the historians fabricating or were they telling downright lies? Did they quote supposed authors who had no sources?)

2. Imitations of a past author’s style or spirit was acceptable: slavish reproductions were open to the charge of plagiarism. (So imitating a past author’s style or spirit was acceptable; really!! And if you could get away with it so were slavish reproductions or plagiarism)

3. Eastern peoples also rewrote texts although not always for the same reasons as their counterparts in the West. (And even westerners were not innocent! Well!! Well!!)

4. These traditions converge in the Jewish Antiquities of Josephus. (This is academic speak for its all there in Josephus. Apparently, Josephus calls his retellings a “translation from the Hebrew”, would you believe).

Such was the approach taken by writers during the first century. Did those very same traditions apply when the New Testament writings were first produced? I happen to think those writings were not produced through “tradition” (an academic get out of jail free term) but were calculated and deliberate.


The normality of 'Christianity' in the Roman world (2016/03/31)



Larry is promoting his books again. He must suffer from a need to write. He writes: " I’ve just had word that my forthcoming book, Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor University Press, Sept 2016) is available for pre-order." (See https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/forthcoming-book/)


But, Larry I've got news you. Your early Christianity was NOT distinctive in a Roman world. It was created like any other religion accepted by Rome with a god Jesus and a sacrifice which was repeated in the communion of Rome - this is my body and my blood. The original sacrifice-rejecting religion came from the prophets of Judea who had their 'own sacrifices', at the altar of incense where they worshipped God in Spirit. These were the CHRISTIANOS (anointed ones) of the Pompeii grafitii and Acts. They had given up on sacrifice from the time of Judas Maccabeus.

Caiaphus and Eleazar (2016/03/21)

Sounding the praises of his former PhD student, Larry writes: " I’m pleased to note a newly published book by a former PhD student: Derek R. Brown, The God of This Age: Satan in the Churches and Letters of the Apostle Paul (WUNT 2.409; Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015). This is a lightly revised form of Brown’s PhD thesis submitted here in 2011." (See
https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/the-apostle-paul-on-satan-new-book/)

Is it just another book where the mistakes of past scholars are repeated, as they have been down the years? I guess it will gather dust and be read by few.

Larry, just as Jesus (and John the baptist) were substitutes for Caiaphus, so Paul (and Barabbas) were substitutes for Caiaphus’s son Eleazar. Caiaphus and Eleazar, rebel priests, made an agreement with the king Aristobulus not to cause trouble in Judea – Caiaphus and Eleazar had persecuted the prophets. History was rewritten to have Paul persecuting the Christians. Then Paul was supposedly converted and forgiven by Ananias, but the ‘disciples’ were still afraid of Paul. The reality was that Caiaphus and Eleazar were forgiven by Aristobulus and released from prison (as Barabbas was), but Aristobulus remained afraid of them. The pair travelled around the diaspora synagogues (as supposedly Paul and Luke did) preaching a messianic message to initiate an uprising. They kept away from Jerusalem and Rome (just as Paul and presumably Luke did).  Caiaphus and his son Eleazar belonged to the priests who wrote the Scrolls found in the Judean desert.

Failing to convince the Jews they visited (just as Paul failed to convince the Jews of his supposed message), the two came back to Judea and gathered an army, largely of priests, that attacked the fortress of Machaerus. This while Aristobulus had gone to Rome to report the increasing trouble. The attack was not a surprise to Aristobulus’s general in Machaerus. The rebels were beaten back and Caiaphus and Eleazar were imprisoned. Caiaphus was beheaded.

Larry thinks I am off the wall. He wrote in an email:

Geoff, 

Really, with great reluctance, I have to say that your latest comment (and pretty much all preceding ones too) is sooo off the wall, and so entirely off the subject, that it's breathtaking. So, as so often, I won't bother posting it. I guess you must enjoy your own private world, but it's not the universe that scholars in the realia of ancient history, early Christianity, Roman history, etc., live in.

No need to try to "reason" with me, Geoff. I'm beyond hope I guess from your standpoint (wherever you derive it from).

LWH

L. W. Hurtado (Emeritus Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology)
School of Divinity (New College)
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, EH1 2LX
Office Phone: (0044) (0)131 650 8920