Saturday, September 19, 2009

Responses to Paul in the Early Chuch

In Charles Talbert's excellent Romans commentary, he lists responses to Paul in the early church:

(1) In some circles he was ignored and there was a focus on the twelve (e.g., Rev 12:14, Didache, Ep. Barn 8.3; Justin Apol 1.39, 50).

(2) Paul was appropriated by groups deemed heretical in the early church (e.g., Marcion, Valentinus, Nassenes, Sethians, etc.)

(3) There were hostile responses to Paul esp. by Jewish Christians (e.g., Acts 21.21; Ebionites, Cerinthians, Ps-Clementine Recognitions 4.35).

I should note that myself and Preston Sprinkle are editing a book on Paul in the Second Century for the LNTS series.


smijer said...

Rev 12:14? I'm not finding the relationship to ignoring Paul & focusing on the 12... can you help?

Alex said...

Smijer, I was going to post the exact same comment, because I looked it up and didn't see the connection. Is the reference a typo maybe?

smijer said...

2:14, maybe??

pennoyer said...

I'm a bit confused too. Not having access at the moment to the Talbert commentary, I can't check the details, but shouldn't there be a fourth response?

i.e. (4) Paul was embraced by the majority of orthodox groups, though they varied as to the level of their understanding of his theology.

Of course, for proof of this "fourth" response one needs only look to place of Paul's letters in the NT canon and his domination of much of the book of Acts. - Ray

Eilidh said...

thanks, Mike :)

Michael F. Bird said...

Make that Rev. 21:14.

Also, I agree the proto-orthodox embrace of Paul should be included, not the least Ignatius of Antioch.

Dunc and Als said...

There is also the endorsement of Paul's writings in 2 Peter 3:15-16.

David John Bolton said...

Ignatius was of course the first to coin the term Christianismos and to clearly separate it from Iudaismos. He was one of the ideologues responsible for the parting of the ways. Very proto-Orthodox!

pennoyer said...

David -

You mention the noun "Christianity" which, according to BAGD, is first attested in Ignatius and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. But attestation does not mean "coining", and of course the adjective "Christian" already appears in the NT at Acts 11:26, 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16.

But on to your real point, I don't see how we can correctly "blame" Ignatius (or any of the early Church Fathers for that matter) for the division between Christianity and Judaism. The central "ideology" of the New Testament documents - that of a crucified messiah - is itself incompatible with Judaism traditionally understood. As that message was proclaimed and lived, it caused division as some accepted it, and others rejected it.

(Note that its rejection by established Judaism was historically consequential too, because it meant the exclusion of Christians from the Synagogue and in so doing exposing them to Roman religious persecution.)

In any case, Ignatius is not responsible for the NT message with its radical proclamation of a crucified messiah. Like any [proto-]orthodox minister, he simply attempted to be faithful to that message. - Ray