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re: Historic Jesus

Jul 25, 1996 06:55 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

>Jerry, referring to epistle of Paul 1Tm6:13 that states that
>Jesus lived under Pilate, you argued two possibilities: 1)
>mention of Pilate may be an allusion to baptism, so without any
>historical value 2) 1Tm was never written by Paul, this letter
>is a forgery. Making so, you argues that Jesus lived one century
>sooner as stated in Sepher Toldoth. 
It appears that my meaning did not come through, so I will try to
clarify here.  My statement was that according to a consensus of
opinion of most theologians: 
1. 1Tm was written after 90 A.D., and most probably in the second
century.  Therefore, with this late date, it can only echo
traditions already established.  It is written too late to be
contemporary with the accepted dates of the Biblical Jesus.   
2. 1Tm is a pastoral epistle--that is, set of instructions on
administrating churches and was most likely written by an early
Church Father and attributed to Paul.  However, that does not
make the letter a "forgery."  In those times it was common to
write important works under the name of a respected "disciple of
Jesus" in order to give the document greater authenticity. 
Therefore, when writer attributes the letter to Paul he (she?) is
saying that it was written under inspiration gained from knowing
Paul; gained from reading his letters; or more likely, gained
from visions believed to have come from Paul. 
Regarding my mention of Pilate and Baptism, I was only mentioning
that this reference appears to be an allusion to an earlier
formula statement concerning Baptism written at a time when
Pilate was seen in a different light and the tradition of Pilate
giving Jesus over to his crucifixion was not yet established.  
Regarding whether or not Jesus lived one century sooner, I never
meant to infer that the passage in 1Tm proves or disproves this
to be so.  My argument is that the passage does not necessarily
put the historical Jesus as a contemporary of Pilate because:
1. of its late date of writing.  Remember, The Jesus/Pilate story
already evolved by 90 A.D.
2. because it was not written by Paul.  Rather, it was written by
someone whose aim was to formulate traditions (not history) into
a pastoral work.  Whether the doctrine is consistent with Paul is
not relevant to the issue of Jesus' historicity, as far as I see. 
Did I miss something?   What I see as relevant to Jesus'
historicity is that Paul's authentic writings do not put Jesus in
an historical period.  
Remember, that in an earlier post I pointed out that it was of
vital importance to understand that HPB writes of an historical
Jesus, a Biblical Jesus, and a theological Jesus.  HPB does not
blend these three together.  The historical Jesus is not the
Jesus of the Bible;  the Jesus of the Bible is not the
theological Jesus; the theological Jesus is not the historical
>In this e-mail I collect some arguments to prove that even if 1
>Tm was not written by Paul, surely this letter reflect his
>doctrine, and this letter is present in primitive canons of the
And so it may reflect Paul's doctrines.  But my argument is that
the letters of Paul that are generally agreed to be authentic do
not place Jesus historically.
Abrantes (quoting Pagels):
>Elaine Pagels in "Adam,Eve and the serpent",1988 chapter I,page
>52 states that scolars recognice that Paul wrote only Romans,I
>and II Corinthians, Galatians,Filipenses,I Tessalonics and
>Filemon. Scholars refused the authenticity of I and II Timoty,
>and Titus, and there is doubts about Efesians, Colossians and II
>Tessalonics. Pagels reject epistle of Hebrew.  (H. Koester,
>History and literature of early christianity,Berlim/New York, 
>1980 vol 2,97-147 and 261-307; M.Dibelius and H.Conzelman, The
>pastoral epistles, Philadelphia,1972; McDonald, The legend and
>the apostle). 
Sounds like Pagels reflects majority opinion here-- i.e. 1Tm was
not written by Paul. 
Abrantes (quoting Rops):
>Daniel Rops a catholic historian, at LEglise des apostres et des
>Martyrs, Paris,1948 chapter II, page 68 refers to E.Osty that
>published the epistles of Paul t 1943 and states: "the most part
>of scholars non-christians refuse to recognice I and II Timoty,
>Titus, Efesians, II Tessalonics, and Hebrews the autorship of
>Saint Paul....[snip] 
Looks like Rops agrees too.  Considering your quotes, I must
conclude that we are either in agreement that Paul did not write
1Tm and that this Epistle is of no value in placing Jesus
historically, or I have completely missed your point. 
Abrantes (from a later post):
>Even some herectics recogniced the authorship of pauline
>epistles. Gibbon I,LIV,329 talk about Paulicians (century VII),
>maybe with some conection with marcionites, received [the
>original texts of pauline epistle] and accepted ALL fourteen
>epistles. Follows the text:  [snip]. 
Yes, and Gibbon will also tell you that the average Roman of the
VII century looked upon the great arches and grand architecture
from the Imperial period (by the VII century these buildings were
already falling into ruin) and believed that they were all built
by giants who had lived there long ago.  What I'm saying is that
by the VII century, the so-called dark ages ware here in earnest. 
Even your own quote from Gibbon suggests this: "The gnostics who
had distracted the infancy, were opressed by the greatness and
authority of the church."

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