Was Josephus an Ebionite?

26 Feb

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I was reading The Life of Flavius Josephus recently, and I came across the statement: “…it is prohibited by our laws even to spoil our enemies;” [The Life of Flavius Josephus; sect. 26]. At this point it was noted by the editor: “I take it that Josephus, having been now for many years an Ebionite Christian, had learned this interpretation of the law of Moses from Christ, whom he owned for the true Messiah…”

I thought about this and wondered, if true, how differently Josephus’ works might be understood, especially concerning the “Testimonium Flavium” that has more recently been criticized. Would any serious scholar reject even the whole of it, if it were known of certainty that Josephus was an Ebionite?

Ebionites had worshiped as one body with early believers before breaking off from them, presumably over the idea that Jesus was God in the flesh. Of course, if true, Josephus could no longer be strictly understood as a 1st century non-Christian witness to Jesus, even though Ebionites held strong doctrinal differences to traditional Christians, just as 1st century unbelieving Jews had. Indeed, there are other matters within Josephus’ works that could point more to a Christian perspective rather than a 1st century unbelieving Jewish understanding. For example, consider the excerpt above: “…it is prohibited by our laws even to spoil our enemies.” Where is this stated in the Law of Moses? During the wars in which the Jews undertook, if they were victorious, they nearly always spoiled their enemies, Jericho being the single example where they did not (if memory serves). However, if we turn to Jesus’ teaching, we can appreciate Josephus’ understanding:

Matthew 5:43-44 (NET) 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you,

Reading the The Life of Flavius Josephus, we find on a number of occasions Josephus kept on forgiving his enemies who had sought over and over to kill him, but Josephus kept putting his care into the hands of God by releasing those who wanted to take his life, examples of which can be found in sections 51 and 64 of his Life.

Matthew 18:21-22 (NET) 18:21 Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 18:22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times!

While there are examples of David and others forgiving their enemies, it is difficult to find a command in the Law to do so. However, such  things can clearly be understood in the light of Jesus’ own teaching, but the 1st century teaching of the rabbis was to love one’s neighbor but hate one’s enemy (Matthew 5:43).

In a previous post I had argued that Josephus descended from the priestly line of Annas, the High Priest who, with Caiaphas, had been instrumental in crucifying Jesus. In that post I argued that Josephus seemed to want to hide his identity with him, but I thought it was because the High Priests might have been generally blamed for the Jewish War that ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. However, if Josephus was an Ebionite, he may not have wanted to be associated with the works of the Annas priesthood by reason of their hatred for Jesus, whom Ebionites received as their Messiah, albeit, not God in the flesh.

In addition, Josephus mentions in section 38 of his Life that two High Priests had tried to do him harm—Jesus son of Gamala (Gamaliel) and one Ananus. The names of these two priests are put together again in Wars of the Jews on two occasions, showing they were considered the leaders of the Jewish High Priesthood—or powers behind the throne, so to speak in the same manner that Annas had been when he was alive. Notice:

“The best esteemed also of the high priests, Jesus the son of Gamala, and Ananus the son of Ananus, when they were at their assemblies, bitterly reproached the people for their sloth, and excited them against the zealots;” [Josephus: Wars of the Jews; iv, 3, 9]

“Accordingly, Jesus, the eldest of the high priests next to Ananus, stood upon the tower that was over against them and said thus…” [Josephus: Wars of the Jews; iv, 4, 3]

I make this point to show, that although these two High Priests spoke against Josephus even permitting his enemies to kill him if necessary, Josephus was kind to them in his writing about their deaths showing how honorable they were and highly esteemed among the people. He even claimed Ananus’ death marked the beginning of the destruction of Jerusalem:

“I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the procurer of their preservation slain in the midst of the city. He was on other accounts a venerable, and very just man; and besides the grandeur of that nobility, and dignity, and honor, of which he was possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity, even with regard to the meanest of the people; he was a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer of democracy in government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his own advantage, and preferred peace above all things; for he was thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be conquered.” [Josephus: Wars of the Jews; iv, 5, 2]

Yet, elsewhere Josephus describes this very same person as:

“…a bold man in his temper, and very insolent… he was a great hoarder up of money: he therefore cultivated the friendship of Albinus and the high priest [Jesus] by making them presents; he also had servants who were very wicked, who joined themselves to the boldest sort of the people, and went to the thrashing floors, and took away the tithes that belonged to the priests by violence and did not refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. So the other high priests acted in the like manner, as did those his servants, without anyone being able to prohibit them; so that [some of the] priests, that of old were wont to be supported with those tithes, died for want of food.” [Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; xx, 9, 1-2]

Was Josephus lying in Wars or in Antiquities in his account of Ananus? Neither! For look at what he says in his Life concerning matters such as the above:

“for although it be necessary for a historian to write the truth, yet is such a one not bound severely to animadvert on the wickedness of certain men,—not out of any favor to them, but out of an author’s own moderation.” [The Life of Flavius Josephus; sect. 65]

Now, having related the above, was Josephus and Ebionite? He may have been when we consider some of the things he said and did. How he treated his open enemies and his continually placing his own life in the hands of God testifies to his being a very religious man. Certainly, if he was a descendent of Annas the High Priest, he never acted like him, nor any of his sons. But, before I close this lengthy post I would like to show one more detail that may concern the Annas family and Theophilus in particular, for it is he to whom both the books of Luke and Acts were written.

Just before the war began, Josephus went to Rome when he was 26 years old (cir. 63 CE). He mentions certain priests of his acquaintance that were sent in chains to Rome to plead their case before Caesar, and the matter of concern occurred under Felix’s governorship [Life of Flavius Josephus; sect.3]. Josephus says he had gone there to plead for them. He gained an audience with Caesar’s wife and thereby obtained not only their release but “many presents” besides. Could any of these “presents” that Josephus obtained be the release of Paul? Certainly, if Paul’s case had ever been heard before Nero, certain priests and Felix, himself, could have been held in contempt by Nero and punished. The book of Acts ends with Paul waiting for two years for his hearing before Nero. According to Richard Anderson’s blog (found HERE), a law had recently been passed about the time of Paul’s imprisonment at Rome that his accusers could be criminally prosecuted, if the Paul could show he was placed in bonds fraudulently. Hence, Josephus’ possible mission to Rome was to obtain Paul’s release and thereby secure the freedom of all the High Priesthood who might have been held responsible for his imprisonment, if the hearing had not gone according to their liking.


Posted by on February 26, 2010 in New Testament History, Religion


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40 responses to “Was Josephus an Ebionite?

  1. josie anthony

    March 20, 2017 at 02:33

    In trying to answer some questions that arose in my mind about Paul and his teachings and his claims to apostleship I came across this site. How could he claim to be an apostle when comparing his qualifications with those of the others, he comes up a minus 3? Can a will or a testament be changed after the death of a testator? Didn’t Jesus warn his disciples about those who say he was in the inner chamber or out in the wilderness, and tell them NOT to go after them? Doesn’t any matter require the witness of 2 or 3? Paul had absolutely none, nada, zero and Luke gives conflicting accounts of his encounter with the Lord out in the wilderness. Doesn’t the bible give us solid grounds for identifying a false prophet? If what they prophesy does not come true then they are false. There is no record of anyone sitting in the temple claiming to be god.

    • Eddie

      March 20, 2017 at 08:08

      Greetings Josie, and welcome to my blog. Thank you for your comment. I enjoy reading what others think about the things I write, whether or not they agree with me. Such discussions either correct me or sharpen my point of view. It is a win/win event. Nevertheless, your questions deal with my recent comments to another reader about Paul. That is interesting that you found those comments in your search. Lord bless you in your studies of his word.

      Concerning Paul, both Peter and Luke point to him as a believer and Luke calls him an apostle and records his meeting with the Lord. Moreover, Peter defended him in Acts 15. Whatever I might believe about Paul, I would hesitate to contradict those who knew him face to face, especially since they are the ones we believe wrote our New Testament.

      Concerning what the Lord told the Apostles, you are correct, but how does this apply to Paul? But, in the event that I’ve merely misjudged your accusation of him, why does the New Testament record Peter, Luke and James receiving him as a brother, if he is a false teacher and / or false apostle?

      Concerning witnesses to his seeing the Lord, we have Paul’s witness (1), and we have that of Ananias to whom the Lord appeared in a vision and told him about the his appearing to Paul (2). Moreover, we have Luke’s testimony of the Lord working with Paul, which is another witness (3), because why would the Lord work with a man who is a liar?

      Concerning Luke’s conflicting accounts, are you saying Scripture contradicts itself (cf. John 10:35)? Whenever I read something in Scripture that **seems** to contradict, I look into it as though I am not reading the Scripture correctly, until I find a logical answer for the inconsistency I thought I found. You may find the results of my own search about this question HERE.

      Indeed, the Bible does give us very solid grounds for identifying a false prophet, and (just as you say above) if they prophesy and the thing does not occur, they are false. Concerning the Man of Sin, I have written a three part study HERE, HERE, and HERE. However. if you think reading through three more studies would be too tedious, read only the last one, where I name him. If that is too tedious, it is Annas, the high priest. The New Testament has much to say about this man. I have several more studies concerning him, if your interest is peaked.

      Again, Lord bless you, Josie, in all you do for Him.

  2. Seth Zaddik

    March 18, 2017 at 10:10

    The whole second Epistle of Peter is anti Pauline, not because he calls him brother but because he DOESN’T call him Apostle and calls his writings in the Greek language, “Nonsensical” it is translated as hard to understand for obvious reasons but anyone who is astute enough and willing to question their own beliefs rather than blindly believe in tradition can see he is not complimenting Paul.

    If faith is dead without works, and faith also saves, it is only logical that you can not be saved by faith alone.

    Because it is dead alone.

    With works it lives.

    Yes, James IS saying that works are required, is there something wrong with doing good works or it being a requirement to be a disciple?

    Naturally any scumbag can believe. But if they live as sinners they have weak faith. If they rely upon faith alone they don’t have any reason not to sin and there are sins that bring Judgement.

    Faith alone will not save anyone. James is very clear about this. I am starting to wonder if you have read the whole Bible even or just hate the idea of God’s Law but James didn’t and his followers were equally zealous for the Law.

    That Paul constantly ridiculed, if he says otherwise it’s called a contradiction and makes him untrustworthy.

    Which is it Paul?

    And obviously Paul didn’t read the Tanakh as he thinks for no known reason that angels ordained it, contradicting Moses and the Torah.

    Such a trustworthy fellow!

    • Seth Zaddik

      March 18, 2017 at 10:11

      Ordained the Law the is.

      • Eddie

        March 18, 2017 at 10:48

        Are you making an argument here or is this a correction?

    • Eddie

      March 18, 2017 at 10:46

      2Peter is an anti-Pauline polemic because Peter **doesn’t** refer to him as an apostle? This is that imaginary fence you erect and then claim it is Peter’s argument. Unless you called it an “anti-Pauline” polemic, I would never have even imagined it to be so. But, having looked at it, I find your argument baseless.

      I am perfectly willing to question my own beliefs. I’ve changed them to fit the Biblical text more than a few times, and I still do it when I find I’ve been wrong. However, your translation of Peter’s “hard to understand” as “Nonsensical” is pleading to say the least, and outright wrong to say the truth. I have over 60 translations of the New Testament and NONE of them translate 2Peter 3:16 this way or anything similar. Moreover, you haven’t tried to defend what Peter says later in the verse. Namely, that the unlearned “twist” his writings like they do the **other** Scriptures. In other words Paul’s epistles stand alongside the **other** Scriptures, meaning they are Scripture.

  3. Seth Zaddik

    March 18, 2017 at 09:13

    “If my lie abounds to God’s glory why am I being judged a sinner?”

    Because, Paul, lying IS a sin and never glorifies God or abounds to His glory.

    I say this because you admit Paul was not of the 12, and since there are 3 places in the NT, Gospels, Acts and Revelation, that make it beyond dispute that 12 is the maximum number of Apostles of the Lamb. See Vision of New Jerusalem.

    Which makes Paul a liar and by his own words admitted liar, though he constantly swears by God he is not in other circumstances.

    “Yes be yes and no be no, anything else is of THE EVIL ONE.”

    Jesus was clear never to swear on anything in Heaven or earth and that those who did were evil.

    Do you doubt the Messiah and exempt Paul? For what possible reason could you have to doubt the Messiah?

    Or do you doubt Paul staked his claims on the name of God and Christ rather than say yes, yes?

    That’d be a lie if you did, he does.

    • Eddie

      March 18, 2017 at 10:29

      It is difficult to follow some of your argument here. Are you claiming that, because Jesus said swear not at all, but let your yes be yes’ that Paul shouldn’t swear?

      Concerning Paul’s claim in Romans 3:7, actually this is only part of Paul’s argument. He is speaking of unfaithful Jews and God’s right to judge them. Their faithlessness has caused Jesus to come and be crucified, thereby God’s Light is seen never brighter. If this unrighteousness caused folks to see the Light of God shine brighter than ever, how could God judge unrighteousness. This is a humanist polemic, which Paul repudiates in his argument. See the whole study HERE.

  4. Seth Zaddik

    March 18, 2017 at 06:06

    In your article you claim that “presumably over the notion that Jesus is God in the flesh” was the reason the Ebionites split from the main body of the Church.

    While this is partially true, they didn’t believe Jesus was God, they were the main body of the Jerusalem Church with the Nazarenes, both are even mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nosrei ha Brit and Ebionim, the Way, are how they referred to themselves and they were Jews so obviously first, the Jews didn’t copy Christianity from the Nazarenes and Ebionites, other way around. It started Jewish ended up Roman and the Romans accepted Paul, they did not.

    That was the source of contention, Paul and his anti Semitic epistles one only needs read in context to realize the split was between Paul and Jerusalem, not the Ebionites and Jerusalem.

    • Eddie

      March 18, 2017 at 07:30

      What evidence do you have that the Ebionites were the main body of believers? And, what evidence do you have that Paul was an anti-Semetic?

      • Seth Zaddik

        March 18, 2017 at 07:43

        “Poor Saints of Jerusalem”

        Means “Ebionim/Ebionites of Jerusalem.

        “Remember the Ebionim (Poor).

        That’s what Ebionite means, they come from James and the DSS community, are mentionied in the Scrolls.

        The answer is plenty of evidence.

        • Seth Zaddik

          March 18, 2017 at 07:46

          Which I actually mentionied already. It can’t be a coincidence that Ebionites and Nazarenes and the Way are all terms these people used that later are associated with Jesus’ movement but not Paul’s splinter sect.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 08:41

          I have no idea what you are referring to here. What did you actually mention already?

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 08:38

          You mention the name (Ebionite) as though it’s meaning were written is stone. It is not. Everything that is **known** about the Ebionites is conjecture at best. You are **guessing** what is true!

          Since historical records by the Ebionites are scarce, fragmentary, and disputed, much of what is known or conjectured about the Ebionites derives from the Church Fathers, who wrote polemics against the Ebionites, whom they deemed heretical Judaizers.Consequently, very little about the Ebionite sect or sects is known with certainty, and most, if not all, statements about them are conjectural. [See HERE]

          Understanding that the first believers in Jesus understood he was God come in the flesh, would label, as **poor**, believers who received Jesus as the Messiah but not as God in the flesh. That is, Ebionites are named so for their **poor** understanding of Jesus.

        • Seth Zaddik

          March 18, 2017 at 09:58

          If faith without works is dead then yes, James is unequivocally stating that without it faith is dead, doesn’t even exist in the world.

          Works are essential to faith, “By their fruit ye will know them.”

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 10:31

          We have no argument here. According to what you’ve stated above, we both believe alike on this point.

        • Seth Zaddik

          March 18, 2017 at 08:55

          Ebionites being named that for the reason you suggest is just Catholic propaganda due to bias, not the real reason they were called that.

          They are older than Catholicism and Catholicism was not a friend and is not a reliable source of information regarding the reason they are named that.

          It was because they took a vow of poverty. Not poor understanding, the words are not even synonymous in Hebrew, Ebionim refers to wealth not understanding.

          That is funny, you actually believe the Church Fathers who are known liars!

          That said it can be believed they repudiated Paul because that is not something they would lie about.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 10:01

          As I said earlier, **everything** that is **known** about the Ebionites is suspect. Nothing can be fixed as absolutely true. You repudiate my claim because it has been argued that way by Catholicism, yet you have no foundation whatsoever for the claims you make? What am I missing?

      • Seth Zaddik

        March 18, 2017 at 08:10

        What evidence do I have that Paul was anti Semitic?

        The Pauline Epistles provide more than evidence, proof, that he was.

        Would you like an example?

        The Law of Moses is curse, dead and the outright lie it was ordained by angels attacked by Jude for starters. His hatred is evident. It is in every Epistle and I would be glad to provide quotes if you are not going to just have a fit because you are being challenged. I know the Bible extraordinarily well so it is not a problem, you need only request and I will provide more and better evidence if that is possible of one who calls the Law of God given to Moses by God in the Bible, a curse and dead, ordained by angels.

        Why lie Paul? The Tanakh is clear you are wrong.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 09:02

          Paul claimed the Law was just, holy and good. He said that he would have not known sin except through the Law. Nevertheless, the Law is able to only curse the believer, because once he understands the Law, the Law requires his life. It is like shutting the barn door once the horse has escaped. If the Law testifies that I am a sinner, how can the Law save me? It already judges me as a sinner worthy of death (death is the curse of the Law). Therefore, if I am worthy of death, and the Law cannot save me, the Law cannot be enough. I cry out for a Savior and have found him, not the Law, but Jesus.

      • Seth Zaddik

        March 18, 2017 at 08:44

        Ebionim is set in paper in the New Testament and Dead Sea Scrolls as I keep mentioning and your using sophistry to try and deny a connection not a few scholars have already done between the two sects that shared the names Ebionim and the Way as well as a form of Nazarene.

        Or whatever material the Scrolls were written on, but “Poor Saints of Jerusalem” is absolutely referring to the community of James the Zaddik(Just).

        Zaddikim was the other names the Qumran sectarians were called.

        The connection is beyond obvious.

        • Seth Zaddik

          March 18, 2017 at 08:49

          This is what I keep mentioning. That the Ebionites and Nazarenes and the Way and now Zaddikim all are mentionied in the Scrolls and make the connection solid and a part of history.

          Check out the work of genius super scholar Robert Eisenman.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 09:57

          It is not for me to search out the writings of one scholar or another to see if your claims are founded upon good evidence. Rather, it is for **you** to quote that scholar and reference his works, so I and others you may read your comment can easily see the evidence that supports your claims. Thus far, we have nothing to look at for your support.

        • Simon Migiani

          March 18, 2017 at 10:16

          Your arguments are getting absurd, I have proven my point and bet my last dollar you don’t allow my pending comments to be posted.

          Which I will take as a sign of victory for myself and your admission of defeat. You asked all these questions that I have answered and none of your responses are the least bit detrimental to my point.

          And if you do allow them, even better. But I am finished, you are going into spam

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 10:51

          You may have any **victory** there is to be had in this discussion. I discuss to learn, not to repudiate or demoralize those who comment to my studies. That said, and seeing that I’ve posted everything you wrote, who gets your last dollar?

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 09:55

          Obvious to whom? You haven’t offered one iota of proof for any of your claims. You mention you are supported by scholars, but you don’t mention them or the source that they’ve written that supports your claim. All I have to go on is what you **say** is true.

    • Seth Zaddik

      March 18, 2017 at 07:52

      I meant to say the Jews didn’t copy Christianity from the Romans, which is obvious and evidence that the Ebionites and Nazarenes were first, Romans later took over and changed their religion but claimed the reverse was true, which does not pass the test of logic and common sense.

      Unless the Romans made up the whole thing whole cloth and Jews that were pro Roman adopted their beliefs, which is absurd to suggest as the hatred was fierce between the two cultures.

      • Eddie

        March 18, 2017 at 08:47

        There were Roman believers before Paul went to Rome. He wrote to them. How do you think they became believers, if no one went to Rome to preach? The obvious answer is they were nearly all Jewish believers who learned about Jesus through Peter’s preaching at Jerusalem, when they made a pilgrimage there. They returned to their synagogues and preached Jesus.

        They created such a ruckus that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome–both Jewish believers and Jews of Judaism. This is years before Paul went there or even wrote to them. Unless you want to say that an Ebionite movement went to Rome before Paul, the Jewish believers there believed exactly as Peter believed, because they believed his preaching when they journeyed to Jerusalem.

        • Seth Zaddik

          March 18, 2017 at 09:01

          Christian is a Greek word used by Greeks, the Apostles were Nazarenes and Zealous Jews, like James says himself, for the Law of Moses.

          They would not have used the name Christian, they hated Rome and were not Christians, they were Nazarenes, like the Bible says.

          I see no reason to believe that in Antioch they were first called Christians, the only evidence is the New Testament and it is four centuries removed from the events it describes in the oldest MS.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 10:12

          Besides the fact that Luke mentions the name in Acts, the name **Christian** is a Latinized Greek word. That is, although its meaning is derived from the Greek, it was first used by Latins — Romans, at Antioch. Rome was nearly at war with the Jews, during the time of Gaius Caesar. The Romans were investigating the Jewish believer in Jesus, whom they had earlier labeled as pacifists. Would they join the Judean Jews in a war, if it should break out? The term “Christian” was originally a slur used mostly by the upper class. The **ian** ending is Roman or Latin — like Herodian.

          Concerning how the Apostles identified themselves, we have 1Peter 4:16, which you have not offered good evidence that it should be rejected. All evidence I have is to the contrary.

  5. Seth Zaddik

    March 17, 2017 at 15:12

    One thing wrong with this theory regarding Paul being sought released by Josephus who if an Ebionite would have, like all Ebionites and very likely Nazarenes as well, repudiated Paul as an apostate and said, like Josephus says about one Poleme, he was a convert who concerted and was circumcised to get a girl and it didn’t work out making him hate Judaism and circumcision,like Paul does on both counts, in his writings which could definitely be likened to the epistles of one Pallas who had a brother named Paul, all according to Antiquity book XX, with Paul being the exception mentionied elsewhere I believe. These epistles were written to incite the Jews of Syria, which sounds like Paul’s epistles to me, whichever ones are written to Syrian cities or not.

    So maybe Josephus was an Ebionite, that is intriguing and what I said now supports it more than anything. He wrote a coded message against Paul ending the chapter about Saul the Pharisee to add the final connection. It could explain why the Ebionites told that story.

    Good theory if you combine what I have added and ditch the errant notion of Josephus rescuing the arch nemesis of the Ebionites according to even Iranaeus and later fathers.

    • Eddie

      March 18, 2017 at 07:22

      Greetings Seth and thank you for reading my blog and for your comment.

      Whether Josephus was an Ebionite or not, I don’t know. The best argument against the idea is that he never mentions that he is, nor does he mention the plight of believing Jews between the times of Jesus and the Jewish War. It was an idea I threw up for discussion, but in 7 years, you are the only person to grab onto it, and you don’t offer anything pro or con. You merely say it is a “good theory”.

      Concerning Paul, he is a legitimate Christian and nothing you say above can be used to disprove that. You deny it, of course, but you offer no proof to support your contention.

      Lord bless you.

      • Seth Zaddik

        March 18, 2017 at 07:40

        Certainly Paul was a legitimate Christian, he invented the religion. But he was not an Apostle of Christ and never knew him. He has no witnesses to verify his wild claims. No Apostle is on record calling him Apostle and since there are only 12 according to Revelation and he doesn’t meet the qualifications for being one according to Acts, written by Luke who would not write that then contradicte himself later unless he had a reason or was not very bright, Luke was definitely intelligent so I would say he was probably told to write Paul in but left subtle clues (in spades) that Paul was not right.

        I can go on for days, you may be right about him being a Christian but not a Nazarene or Apostle legitimately speaking.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 08:27

          What proof do you have that Paul **invented** Christianity? Peter, himself, uses the word when writing to the believers in Asia Minor (1Peter 4:16), and by his own admission, he wrote to Jewish believers — “strangers” scattered throughout Asia Minor (1Peter 1:1). How is Paul the author of Christianity, when Peter wrote to Jews, whom he said suffered as Christian?

          Concerning apostleship, I never said Paul was one of the 12. They, according to Jesus, will rule over the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). They are the original 12 who walked with Jesus from the beginning. Paul could not testify about Jesus’ public ministry. Rather, he testified to Jesus’ resurrection. We can probably assume that Paul saw Jesus crucified, unless you want to argue that Paul was new to Jerusalem. Paul’s writings testify to the death and resurrection of Jesus, and he interprets the Old Testament prophecies in that light. He is not an apostle to the Jews specifically, but, rather to gentiles. He was to bring Christ to them, to interpret the Jewish Messiah to the nations. His vision of Christ in Acts 9 permits him to testify of his experience with Christ. It was to this event, and not the public ministry of Jesus, that Paul testified. He is an apostle of Jesus Christ, because he was sent by Jesus, according to Luke’s record.

          Unless you wish to deny the inspiration of Scripture, Paul is a legitimate apostle of Jesus.

      • Seth Zaddik

        March 18, 2017 at 08:01

        I think I said a bit more than good theory as my comment has good information that supports, ie, is pro, your theory.

        I also provided the con, that Paul was repudiated by the Ebionites.

        That is a rather dishonest claim sir, I may have been the only to comment but it is because I have been working on a similar theory, nevertheless I absolutely provided pros and cons, that is a fact I don’t see how you could deny and consider yourself honest at the same time. I would hope a disciple would value honesty even if it doesn’t agree with their personal views. To say I provided merely the statement “good theory” and ignore the facts that are pro and con I provided is nothing short of falsehood.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 08:55

          Whether or not Josephus was an Ebionite would have nothing to do with their repudiating Paul. Lots of people repudiated Paul. They didn’t have to be an Ebionite. Moreover, if an Ebionite truly followed the teaching of Jesus — loving one’s enemies etc. — I see no reason why that one wouldn’t try to save his enemy. Certainly Jesus treated Judas as his friend despite the fact he knew from the beginning that he would betray him.

      • Seth Zaddik

        March 18, 2017 at 08:39

        It is called exegesis and it involves reading the New Testament and comparing the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles vs that of Paul.

        They are nothing alike, James repudiates Paul’s theological crux using the same passage about Abraham that Paul used to claim faith alone justifies us.

        “Senseless man, do you need to be told Faith without works is dead?”

        It’s called a polemical response and the general Epistles contain some subtle and not so subtle polemics against Paul.

        Regarding the use of the word Christian, Peter could easily have said Nazarene and it could have been “translated” by a later scribe. The oldest NT is from the fourth century and that Peter was a Nazarene is beyond dispute. It is doubtful that he knew the word Christian which doesn’t show up in valid historical records until the second century. If Peter wrote in the first century he would have not written in Greek and Christian could easily have been used instead as outside the NT Nazarene doesn’t appear until Epiphanius, as if they didn’t want to acknowledge their existence even though the NT does. Quite odd.

        2 Peter is also a subtle anti Pauline polemic and calls him brother not Apostle, calls his writings (not scripture, writings, that is a bad translation and not the meaning of scripture in the first century) hard to understand which is used by Lucian later and is translated as “nonsensical” so hard to understand is a softened translation.

        • Eddie

          March 18, 2017 at 09:50

          Actually, it is called opinion–your opinion about what James wrote. Nowhere does James say that he or anyone else is saved by works. Rather, one is saved by his faith, which is evidenced in good works done. This is what James claimed, and it is also what Paul claimed. Nowhere does Paul say one is justified by faith without any works to evidence it. He pointed to folks like Abraham who showed the evidence of their faith through the works they did.

          Again, it is your **opinion** about what Paul says that is the thrust of your argument. You are building a fence where none has been erected, and then claiming the fence is evidence of a split between Paul and the Jews of Jerusalem.

          Concerning the name “Christian”, is that all you’ve got? Peter COULD easily have said Nazarene? I have several commentaries and modern translations and none of them claim a scribe changed the word or even place doubt upon the word “Christian” in Peter’s epistle. If you know otherwise, quote your source.

          How is calling Paul a “brother” an anti-Pauline polemic? Then without quoting a legitimate translation you claim Peter’s reference to Paul’s epistles as Scripture is erroneous or a poor translation. Am I supposed to believe you, simply because you state something is fact?

    • Seth Zaddik

      March 18, 2017 at 07:54

      Pallas brother was Felix of the NT, not someone named Paul. I made an error.

      • Eddie

        March 18, 2017 at 08:50

        To what does this comment refer? You will have to be clearer, if you expect me to respond.


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