Re: Did Jesus Exist?
Aug 07, 1996 04:05 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain
In message <9608061716.AA25456@toto.csustan.edu>, Jerry Hejka-Ekins
>Alan Bain wrote:
>>[Aside to Jerry - have you read "The Teaching of Addai" - ?
>Eusebius' translation? Well, I find the story hard to accept,
>and considering the late date of the text, I would be inclined to
>believe that it is a fabrication.
I was thinking of a more recent translation by (I think) George Howard
which was a Scholars Press dissertation series publication, and a new
translation from the Aramaic text, but I went straight to the place on
the shelf where it wasn't, as we often do :-)
My own view is that it is a fabrication built upon a genuine oral (and
very much shorter) tradition belonging the the church in Edessa.
> But it does give some insight
>and raises questions. First; the early Syrians' stress upon
>Jesus as a healer. I think the emphasis on this aspect has been
>lost in modern society. Second; though the document is certainly
>more of a devotional piece than real history, it raises the
>question of the existence of early Christian activity in Syria.
>HPB seems to suggest that a lot was indeed going on there in the
>first century and that it was closer to the teachings of the
>historical Jesus. But where are the texts? Certainly the church
>never preserved them, and James Hastings shows only later date
>material. More likely the documents will be among material that
>have been labeled "Jewish Gnosticism." Any ideas?
Bearing in mind my view that the earliest church was still part of the
general "Judaic" or Israelite religion, it seems to me (and others, of
late, so I have heard) that we may need to look not for avowedly
"Christian" texts, but among "Jewish" material of the period either side
of the supposed Jesus date.
In particular, I am drawn to some of the "seven heavens" material,
Syriac "Psalms of Solomon" - that sort of thing. Much of the former is
to be found in ~The Apocryphal Old Testament~ [Oxford, ed. Sparks]. Cf.
Paul on the "Third heaven" in 2 Corinthians ...
There are a couple of ideas. Any thoughts?
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