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13 hours ago, thormas said:

I think you judge Paul too harshly as his reasons were in line with the Jewish expectation that all nations would turn to the true God. Also, there were other 'missionaries' also preaching to the Gentiles: Paul addresses Gentiles in a Roman community which he did not establish.  As for the Synoptics, even Ehrman, on his blog, writes, "The vast majority of the New Testament books – including that “most Jewish” of our Gospels, Matthew – appear to be directed largely if not exclusively to gentile audiences, and most may well have been written by gentile authors." Ehrman writes that the Jewish 'Christians' were always at the margins of the movement.

So the Synoptics were not written for Jews nor is there message only for Jews.........if at all. 

I think the difference between Jesus & Jewish expectations versus Paul's 'good news' for the gentiles, is that the former expected God to come in his glory to overthrow the powerbase - these people weren't being 'invited' so to speak.  Sure they may end up in the Kingdom once defeated & they've capitulated, but I don't think it was an invitation to them as Paul made the message to be.

So I see it more as a post-Jesus development rather than in sync with Jesus, as demonstrated by Jesus' actions, or lack of, when it came to ministering to gentiles.

I didn't say the synoptics were written for the Jews, or that there message is only for Jews (I actually think they have gentile influences), but rather they largely represent a Jesus was focused on a message for the Jews and was not anywhere near as inclusionary as Paul.  They can't do otherwise because that's who Jesus was and what he did.  They added a few little bits to soften it for the non-Jews in their audience and probably because that was the direction Christianity was taking thanks largely to Paul.  I just don't think it was what Jesus had in mind, as seems to be demonstrated in the synoptics, if you ask me.

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Time to throw AJ into all this.  

Forgiveness is the only way to rid yourself of resentment.  It does nothing for the other, but everything for the self.

I agree.

13 hours ago, thormas said:

I get that all are entitled to their opinion but I would be curious where and why you find Hurtado as not solid. Fifty years after Jesus would bring us to 80 CE and we already have Paul's letters beginning 18 years after Jesus and his encounter with the early Christians dating to within the first 1- 2 years after the execution of Jesus. It certainly seems that the scholars have something to go on and Hurtado is not alone in this. In addition, the chronology for Paul seems to be accepted among scholars. Anyway......that could demand a lot of time, so we will leave it here..

I should add that if I used the word 'know' that was not intended as that word is too definitive and belongs to science rather than biblical scholarship.

 

What we have 18 and 50 years after Jesus, is exactly that - 18 & 50 years AFTER Jesus.  Even Paul in the Galatians acknowledges that some of that church had abandoned those beliefs for others.  That's just one example of there being 'other' beliefs about Jesus.  We know that various other beliefs developed in early Christianity with their being several different 'groups' among the meager number of Christians in the earliest of days.  That Paul's beliefs are the dominant ones laid out in the NT just means that they are the dominant views that won the day.  So for Hurtado or any other scholar to be certain, or even reasonably certain, that these views accurately capture those of Jesus, is simply something they cannot demonstrate.  I think Erhman has the integrity (or non-bias) and understanding to say that, I don't know enough about Hurtado.

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16 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think the difference between Jesus & Jewish expectations versus Paul's 'good news' for the gentiles, is that the former expected God to come in his glory to overthrow the powerbase - these people weren't being 'invited' so to speak.  Sure they may end up in the Kingdom once defeated & they've capitulated, but I don't think it was an invitation to them as Paul made the message to be.

So I see it more as a post-Jesus development rather than in sync with Jesus, as demonstrated by Jesus' actions, or lack of, when it came to ministering to gentiles.

I didn't say the synoptics were written for the Jews, or that there message is only for Jews (I actually think they have gentile influences), but rather they largely represent a Jesus was focused on a message for the Jews and was not anywhere near as inclusionary as Paul.  They can't do otherwise because that's who Jesus was and what he did.  They added a few little bits to soften it for the non-Jews in their audience and probably because that was the direction Christianity was taking thanks largely to Paul.  I just don't think it was what Jesus had in mind, as seems to be demonstrated in the synoptics, if you ask me.

It seems that they were two 'moments' in the same reality that was God's establishment of his Kingdom. Jesus and Paul were apocalyptic Jews from the same period in Jewish history and their beliefs in God's Kingdom according to Jewish expectations seems to be the same: God establishes the Kingdom, the old 'power base' is no more.........and all nations would come to worship the God of the Jews. It seems 'evident' that Jesus started with, focused on the Jews while Paul's Gentile mission (along with others) fulfilled what was part of the apocalyptic Jewish expectation. 

In acknowledging the priority of Jesus' mission or ministry to the Jews, it doesn't follow that Jesus did not understand or agree with his tradition about the full reach and intention of that Kingdom for all (Isiah). It seems Paul is completely in sync with Jewish expectations and the ministry of Jesus and it appears this is established by the early communities outreach to the Gentiles. Any disagreement int the communities was not whether or not to include the Gentiles but how to include them (conversion to Judaism or, for Paul, simply faith in Christ) - and it was decided in Paul's favor at the Council of Jerusalem. 

Apologies if I misunderstood your take on the synoptics: it simply seems there was more than Gentile influences - they were written for the Gentiles. If you're saying they were written to present the Gentiles with an understanding of Jesus' message to the Jews (and of course to flesh out who this Jesus was), I get that. However the idea of 'adding a few of little bits to soften it for non-Jews' seems to be all you as opposed to the gospels. If Ehrman or other scholars agree with this view, I would be interested (I would have to check also).

If Paul's writings are dated 50-60 CE and Matthew was circa 80-85 CE (close to a quarter century after Paul's death), the Jesus communities were by then mostly Gentile - so why the need to soften? Ehrman writes on his blog that. " ..............by the second half of the first century the church was probably made up predominantly of pagan converts."

Did Paul ever offer soft bits to the Gentiles to 'persuade' them?

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33 minutes ago, thormas said:

In acknowledging the priority of Jesus' mission or ministry to the Jews, it doesn't follow that Jesus did not understand or agree with his tradition about the full reach and intention of that Kingdom for all (Isiah). It seems Paul is completely in sync with Jewish expectations and the ministry of Jesus and it appears this is established by the early communities outreach to the Gentiles. Any disagreement int the communities was not whether or not to include the Gentiles but how to include them (conversion to Judaism or, for Paul, simply faith in Christ) - and it was decided in Paul's favor at the Council of Jerusalem. 

 

I think what you are saying is pretty much hitting the nail on the head. The big thing about Paul and his mission to the Gentiles was not about whether Gentiles  should be included or not, but whether they should have to become Jewish and follow all of the Jewish law fist. The debate between Paul and Peter and James was not about the inclusion of Gentiles, that was already understood and acknowledged. It was about whether they would also have to become Jewish and follow certain parts, if not all of the Jewish law.

33 minutes ago, thormas said:

If Paul's writings are dated 50-60 CE and Matthew was circa 80-85 CE (close to a quarter century after Paul's death), the Jesus communities were by then mostly Gentile - so why the need to soften? Ehrman writes on his blog that. " ..............by the second half of the first century the church was probably made up predominantly of pagan converts."

 

Spong in writing about the gospels, says that they were written as liturgy, in and for the Greek speaking Jewish synagogues living outside of Judea. They may well have been calling their buildings and gatherings churches instead of synagogues, (considering Rome was pos. out to get the Jews after 70)  but according to Spong they were mostly if not all Jewish converts to Christ.   

Maybe the truth is somewhere in between, I don't know. There were certainly Gentile converts by the time the gospels were written. Did they gather in the same places that the Jewish converts did or mix with them regularly and freely? Perhaps the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on where they lived and on the leaning and temperament of the different communities .

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16 hours ago, PaulS said:

What we have 18 and 50 years after Jesus, is exactly that - 18 & 50 years AFTER Jesus.  Even Paul in the Galatians acknowledges that some of that church had abandoned those beliefs for others.  That's just one example of there being 'other' beliefs about Jesus.  We know that various other beliefs developed in early Christianity with their being several different 'groups' among the meager number of Christians in the earliest of days.  That Paul's beliefs are the dominant ones laid out in the NT just means that they are the dominant views that won the day.  So for Hurtado or any other scholar to be certain, or even reasonably certain, that these views accurately capture those of Jesus, is simply something they cannot demonstrate.  I think Erhman has the integrity (or non-bias) and understanding to say that, I don't know enough about Hurtado.

The point was that Paul is not writing 50 years after the execution of Jesus but 18 years and Hurtado is showing that even then, there is, in the letters, an understanding that Paul is not offering something new but takes it for granted that these communities already know what he is talking about - thus going back earlier than 18 years. Hurtado, Ehrman and others date the execution to circa 30 CE and show Saul persecuting the Jesus followers with 1-2 years after that with his conversion circa 33 CE. Paul knew why he was persecuting them (and it pre-dates him) and it is this very 'faith' that he accepts and begins to preach. What the Christians believed about Jesus, what they were saying about Jesus, how they included him in their worship to God was known already in the first couple of years after the death of Jesus and is found in Paul.

If I remember correctly the issue in Galatians was once again the question of the Gentiles and 'becoming Jews.' Does this mean there were other beliefs, sure but Peter and James also had issue with this until it was resolved in Paul's favor. I'm not saying that there were not other beliefs just that the one in Galatians was held also by the community headed by his disciples.

Ehrman writes on his blog "That would mean that he (Paul) must have been persecuting the Christians by around 32 CE, just two years after Jesus died.   And that means that he knew about Christians, and their claims about Jesus, already at that extremely early point.  We don’t have to wait for Mark in 70 CE for evidence that Christians were talking about Jesus.  We have clear and certain evidence they were doing so in the early 30s.  What they were saying about Jesus was highly offensive to Paul.  And so he persecuted them." This 'non-bias' view is repeated in Hurtado.

Paul accepted in conversion the very thing he found so offensive about Jesus. i.e. he already knew what the 'Christians' were saying/believing about Jesus. 

 

I don't believe I said that Hurtado (Ehrman or other scholars) saiid he was certain - just that he was making an argument based on Paul and his study of early Christian Christology and devotional practices. It is a bit detailed to go into it more but much is there on his blog. Hurtado is specifically discussing what pre-dated Paul, what he 'learned and received' rather than invented. 

 

I see Ehrman saying much the same thing as Hurtado regarding Paul. As always I will explore it more and if you see something specific that counters what I'm saying about Hurtado, let me know.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I think what you are saying is pretty much hitting the nail on the head. The big thing about Paul and his mission to the Gentiles was not about whether Gentiles  should be included or not, but whether they should have to become Jewish and follow all of the Jewish law fist. The debate between Paul and Peter and James was not about the inclusion of Gentiles, that was already understood and acknowledged. It was about whether they would also have to become Jewish and follow certain parts, if not all of the Jewish law.

 

Agreed!

39 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Spong in writing about the gospels, says that they were written as liturgy, in and for the Greek speaking Jewish synagogues living outside of Judea. They may well have been calling their buildings and gatherings churches instead of synagogues, (considering Rome was pos. out to get the Jews after 70)  but according to Spong they were mostly if not all Jewish converts to Christ.   

Maybe the truth is somewhere in between, I don't know. There were certainly Gentile converts by the time the gospels were written. Did they gather in the same places that the Jewish converts did or mix with them regularly and freely? Perhaps the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on where they lived and on the leaning and temperament of the different communities .

Spong's theory, based if I remember correctly on Michael Goulder, is not widely accepted (again if I remember correctly). And Spong seems to be in disagreement with Ehrman: "by the second half of the first century (the time all gospels were written) the church was probably made up predominantly of pagan converts." 

An interesting question for me is did some of what we find in the gospels date from an earlier oral or written traditions that were for Jewish converts and written as liturgy?

According to a NT and early Christian historian (Ehrman), the Gentiles dominated while the Jewish Christians were on the margins. Some of the answers to your questions might be found in further exploration of some of the experts. If I find anything I'll let you know.

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29 minutes ago, thormas said:

Agreed!

 

Hallelujah! Let's send up some balloons !

36 minutes ago, thormas said:

Spong's theory, based if I remember correctly on Michael Goulder, is not widely accepted (again if I remember correctly). And Spong seems to be in disagreement with Ehrman: "by the second half of the first century (the time all gospels were written) the church was probably made up predominantly of pagan converts." 

 

Spong outlines how the Gospel of Mark is set up to mark out and walk through the Jewish liturgical year. (I believe this is in his book, 'Jesus for the Non-Religious'). In Jewish synagogues, they read certain scenarios from the Torah to round out the entire year. This is repeated within Jewish Christianity. I think that there might be some echoing of a similar Jewish story into the new Christian one, such as the exodus from Egypt being replaced by the Christ child being brought back from Egypt, or 40 years in the wilderness being replaced by 40 days of Jesus fasting, etc.

I have a feeling that Jewish Christians might have been trying to hide their original Jewish identities, considering what happened with Rome in 70. This might be why their identities and presence isn't seen or felt too much after that time.

36 minutes ago, thormas said:

An interesting question for me is did some of what we find in the gospels date from an earlier oral or written traditions that were for Jewish converts and written as liturgy?

 

That is also what Spong has said. That it started as oral traditions, spoken and done in Americ. How much of this original oral tradition got into the 1st Greek written Gospels and how much these oral traditions were added to is another question. 

36 minutes ago, thormas said:

According to a NT and early Christian historian (Ehrman), the Gentiles dominated while the Jewish Christians were on the margins. Some of the answers to your questions might be found in further exploration of some of the experts. If I find anything I'll let you know.

How much the Jewish Christians were trying to hide themselves and their original Jewish identities is another question also. They might have been there, but known only to themselves.

I don't know much about Catholic masses, but do they follow a yearly liturgy similar to the way the Jews do? The pope certainly wears a little hat similar to the hat Jewish men do. I wonder how much has been passed down that reflects and parallels the original Jewish services.

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

It seems that they were two 'moments' in the same reality that was God's establishment of his Kingdom. Jesus and Paul were apocalyptic Jews from the same period in Jewish history and their beliefs in God's Kingdom according to Jewish expectations seems to be the same: God establishes the Kingdom, the old 'power base' is no more.........and all nations would come to worship the God of the Jews. It seems 'evident' that Jesus started with, focused on the Jews while Paul's Gentile mission (along with others) fulfilled what was part of the apocalyptic Jewish expectation. 

I disagree.  I think Jesus' expectation was more in line with Jewish expectations - a dominance by the God of Israel that would submit their enemies when the Kingdom of God arrived, whereas Paul was changing it to an invitation to Gentiles (not in line with Jewish expectations) and further that the way to enter the Kingdom was to believe in Jesus and his Resurrection (again, definitely not Jewish expectations).  No 'belief' in a Messiah was required for entry into the Kingdom in Jewish expectations.  Jesus believed you entered the Kingdom by being a good Jew and following Jewish law (as Jesus interpreted such law and not the pedantic practices it had become).  Following Jewish law was not something gentiles were expected to do, unless it was via submission and dominance by Israel.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

In acknowledging the priority of Jesus' mission or ministry to the Jews, it doesn't follow that Jesus did not understand or agree with his tradition about the full reach and intention of that Kingdom for all (Isiah). It seems Paul is completely in sync with Jewish expectations and the ministry of Jesus and it appears this is established by the early communities outreach to the Gentiles. Any disagreement int the communities was not whether or not to include the Gentiles but how to include them (conversion to Judaism or, for Paul, simply faith in Christ) - and it was decided in Paul's favor at the Council of Jerusalem. 

I think you misunderstand Jewish expectations through your interpretation of Isaiah.  Later Christian communities did indeed begin to include gentiles, but I don't think this was Jesus' intention.  He didn't care about them.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

Apologies if I misunderstood your take on the synoptics: it simply seems there was more than Gentile influences - they were written for the Gentiles. If you're saying they were written to present the Gentiles with an understanding of Jesus' message to the Jews (and of course to flesh out who this Jesus was), I get that. However the idea of 'adding a few of little bits to soften it for non-Jews' seems to be all you as opposed to the gospels. If Ehrman or other scholars agree with this view, I would be interested (I would have to check also).

I don't think the synoptics were written for gentiles or for Jews specifically.  By that stage gentiles were a part of the story, but I think their involvement still needed legitimizing to the Jewish part of the audience, hence the few drops added to the Jesus story.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

If Paul's writings are dated 50-60 CE and Matthew was circa 80-85 CE (close to a quarter century after Paul's death), the Jesus communities were by then mostly Gentile - so why the need to soften? Ehrman writes on his blog that. " ..............by the second half of the first century the church was probably made up predominantly of pagan converts."

The Matthean community is understood to have evolved within Judaism so has strong Jewish roots.  E.g. "Saldarini (1994:21) has remarked: 'The author of Matthew … is most probably a Jew who, though expelled from the assembly in his city, still identifies himself as a member of the Jewish community'.  So whilst Matthew's message is softened to include gentiles but it is primarily written with Jews in mind.  Luke less so - again, still strong connection to Judaism but he lives in southrn greece and has a more gentile audience than Matthew.

4 hours ago, thormas said:

Did Paul ever offer soft bits to the Gentiles to 'persuade' them?

I think he changed Jesus' message to include gentiles.  I don;'t think that was ever Jesus' intention, as previously mentioned.

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6 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I think what you are saying is pretty much hitting the nail on the head. The big thing about Paul and his mission to the Gentiles was not about whether Gentiles  should be included or not, but whether they should have to become Jewish and follow all of the Jewish law fist. The debate between Paul and Peter and James was not about the inclusion of Gentiles, that was already understood and acknowledged. It was about whether they would also have to become Jewish and follow certain parts, if not all of the Jewish law.

I hesitate to be so precise about what Paul & James argued about as we have no independent account apart from Paul's opinion, but my interpretation would be that the debate was more about whether Gentiles should be included or not.  I suspect James who was more true to Jesus as his brother, was saying no, as was in line with Jewish expectations.  Paul has tried (successfully?) to convince him otherwise.  Irrespective of any result, Paul proceeded his way.  I don't think this demonstrates that it was already understood & acknowledged that gentiles should be included.

Paul points out in Galatians 2 that he regards himself entrusted with the Gospel for the uncircumcised whilst Peter is entrusted with the Gospel for the circumcised.  I think this may be Paul's way of dancing around the fact that he, James & Peter disagree on who the Gospel is for, otherwise one doesn't need to say there are two different gospels.  I think he is playing down the disagreement and portraying it as though the only disagreement between he and they was the need to be circumcised or follow Jewish law, when in fact it was a deeper rift and they didn't want him to preach a gospel at all to the gentiles, hence why they weren't doing it themselves, as closer contacts to Jesus than Paul.

Unfortunately, we never hear the argument from James or Peter themselves.

Quote

Spong in writing about the gospels, says that they were written as liturgy, in and for the Greek speaking Jewish synagogues living outside of Judea. They may well have been calling their buildings and gatherings churches instead of synagogues, (considering Rome was pos. out to get the Jews after 70)  but according to Spong they were mostly if not all Jewish converts to Christ.   

Yes, but this conversion put them at odds with much of Judaism.  These groups were largely kicked out of Judaism for their lack of alignment with Jewish beliefs.

Quote

Maybe the truth is somewhere in between, I don't know. There were certainly Gentile converts by the time the gospels were written. Did they gather in the same places that the Jewish converts did or mix with them regularly and freely? Perhaps the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on where they lived and on the leaning and temperament of the different communities .

Maybe it is, but I think what is getting conflated here is what Christianity turned into (i.e. a lot of gentiles joined the party without becoming Jews), but that was not what Jesus intended.

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12 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

Spong outlines how the Gospel of Mark is set up to mark out and walk through the Jewish liturgical year. (I believe this is in his book, 'Jesus for the Non-Religious'). In Jewish synagogues, they read certain scenarios from the Torah to round out the entire year. This is repeated within Jewish Christianity. I think that there might be some echoing of a similar Jewish story into the new Christian one, such as the exodus from Egypt being replaced by the Christ child being brought back from Egypt, or 40 years in the wilderness being replaced by 40 days of Jesus fasting, etc.

I have a feeling that Jewish Christians might have been trying to hide their original Jewish identities, considering what happened with Rome in 70. This might be why their identities and presence isn't seen or felt too much after that time.

I know Spong's theory, I just question whether he is correct on it and I haven't come to a conclusion.

I do agree on what you said about the Exodus and Jesus' return from Egypt - I think Matthew's gospel is brilliant in showing that Jesus is like Moses, Jesus is grater than Moses.

 

I don't know of any support or agreement with your theory of hidden Jewish identities after 70 CE.

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There were many early forms of Christianity.  The Ebionites were probably the most ‘Jewish’. 

Ehrman is the best introduction to early Christianities imo.

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

I disagree.  I think Jesus' expectation was more in line with Jewish expectations - a dominance by the God of Israel that would submit their enemies when the Kingdom of God arrived, whereas Paul was changing it to an invitation to Gentiles (not in line with Jewish expectations) and further that the way to enter the Kingdom was to believe in Jesus and his Resurrection (again, definitely not Jewish expectations).  No 'belief' in a Messiah was required for entry into the Kingdom in Jewish expectations.  Jesus believed you entered the Kingdom by being a good Jew and following Jewish law (as Jesus interpreted such law and not the pedantic practices it had become).  Following Jewish law was not something gentiles were expected to do, unless it was via submission and dominance by Israel.

"Paul was changing it to an invitation to Gentiles (not in line with Jewish expectations)"  ........where are you getting this or is your opinion and if so what is it based on?

I just took the time to reread Ehrman's book on Paul (and others) and he writes:

  • "even as a Pharisee, before his conversion, Paul held to apocalyptic views of the world" 
  • "once he came to believe that Christ was raised from the dead, Paul did not jettison his apocalyptic expectations..................radically confirmed what Paul had already thought that the end was imminent." 
  • "for Paul the resurrection of the dead was about to occur and people needed to be ready."  
  • "for Paul the conversion of the Gentiles was the final major event in the history of the world before the end came."
  • "Paul took seriously the words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people.
  • "And the news of this salvation was to be delivered  by.........Paul........."the apostle to the Gentiles."

 

It is obvious that, as you agree, Jesus delivered the word of salvation, of God's kingdom about to be established, to Israel. And, given Ehrman and others, it is just as obvious that Paul's mission was the 'final major event' before the coming of God's Kingdom - as told by the prophets of Israel. Two moments or events in the same reality of salvation to ALL. Paul was in line with Jewish expectations!

Nobody is debating the change in Paul's emphasis on faith in the messenger, Jesus Christ. We were discussing, however, Paul and the Jewish expectation extending to the Gentiles and Ehrman has confirmed that: Paul did not change it to an invitation to the Gentiles as that was in line with the Jewish expectation of God's Kingdom.

 

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think you misunderstand Jewish expectations through your interpretation of Isaiah.  Later Christian communities did indeed begin to include gentiles, but I don't think this was Jesus' intention.  He didn't care about them.

I don't misunderstand at all. Apparently, the Gentiles were not the focus for Jesus which makes perfect sense because he came to announce the news to Israel - the first major event. That he didn't care is your opinion - on what is it based?

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't think the synoptics were written for gentiles or for Jews specifically.  By that stage gentiles were a part of the story, but I think their involvement still needed legitimizing to the Jewish part of the audience, hence the few drops added to the Jesus story.

I found this to be a surprise myself as I thought Matthew was a Jew who wrote for a Jewish audience but this (see above) appears to be what Ehrman is saying.  Ehrman said by this time (later part of the 1st C) that Jewish Christianity was on the margins. However the 'few drops' scenario seems to be opinion.  I am continuing to explore these points.

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

The Matthean community is understood to have evolved within Judaism so has strong Jewish roots.  E.g. "Saldarini (1994:21) has remarked: 'The author of Matthew … is most probably a Jew who, though expelled from the assembly in his city, still identifies himself as a member of the Jewish community'.  So whilst Matthew's message is softened to include gentiles but it is primarily written with Jews in mind.  Luke less so - again, still strong connection to Judaism but he lives in southrn greece and has a more gentile audience than Matthew.

Here we have a seeming difference with Ehrman. Does Saldarini (?) indicate precisely what in Matthew was softened? I am interested.

12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think he changed Jesus' message to include gentiles.  I don;'t think that was ever Jesus' intention, as previously mentioned.

I agree that Paul changed from the message to the messenger and I don't (didn't) think that Jesus thought of himself as the instrument of salvation of the Kingdom but Allison seems to indicate that it appears that Jesus had a high self-conception and might have thought of himself this way, as "the locus of the end-time scenario."  

Thanks

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

There were many early forms of Christianity.  The Ebionites were probably the most ‘Jewish’. 

Ehrman is the best introduction to early Christianities imo.

Agreed

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16 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think Jesus' expectation was more in line with Jewish expectations - a dominance by the God of Israel that would submit their enemies when the Kingdom of God arrived, whereas Paul was changing it to an invitation to Gentiles (not in line with Jewish expectations)

As a further note, Paul Fredriksen in her book "Paul, The Pagan Apostle' writes that "the anticipated destruction of their (pagan) idols did not imply, at the End, that scripture's eschatological pagans 'converted' to Judaism, thereby becoming Jews." She adds "....at the End, say these visionary (Jewish) texts, eschatological pagans join with Israel; but they do not join Israel..........the nations, even at the eschatological End-time,  remain distinct from israel."

Given this it appears that Paul was well in agreement with Jewish expectations by not only reaching out to the Gentiles but rightly recognizing that pagans did not have to convert, become Jews and join Israel.......only join with Israel.

 

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9 hours ago, thormas said:

"Paul was changing it to an invitation to Gentiles (not in line with Jewish expectations)"  ........where are you getting this or is your opinion and if so what is it based on?

I don't have a specific resource to quote, but I know what I read and have read and some is my opinion.

9 hours ago, thormas said:

I just took the time to reread Ehrman's book on Paul (and others) and he writes:

  • "even as a Pharisee, before his conversion, Paul held to apocalyptic views of the world" 
  • "once he came to believe that Christ was raised from the dead, Paul did not jettison his apocalyptic expectations..................radically confirmed what Paul had already thought that the end was imminent." 
  • "for Paul the resurrection of the dead was about to occur and people needed to be ready."  
  • "for Paul the conversion of the Gentiles was the final major event in the history of the world before the end came."
  • "Paul took seriously the words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people.
  • "And the news of this salvation was to be delivered  by.........Paul........."the apostle to the Gentiles."

It is obvious that, as you agree, Jesus delivered the word of salvation, of God's kingdom about to be established, to Israel. And, given Ehrman and others, it is just as obvious that Paul's mission was the 'final major event' before the coming of God's Kingdom - as told by the prophets of Israel. Two moments or events in the same reality of salvation to ALL. Paul was in line with Jewish expectations!

You are reading too much into Erhman I think.

"for Paul the conversion of the Gentiles was the final major event in the history of the world before the end came."  For Paul!  I don't think anybody else saw it that way - Jesus and James included.

"Paul took seriously the words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people.".  At the end of time, not before it.  And at the end, they will be saved if they capitulated to the God of Israel.  They were not being 'invited' into the Kingdom.  The prophets (Isaiah) were prophesying the end results after God had intervened.  There was no talk in Isaiah or other Jewish expectations about gentiles 'preparing' for the end times.  I think you misread 'Jewish expectations' in this regard.

There's a reason Jesus didn't preach to the gentiles, didn't go on a mission to gentile nations during his 3 years, and reasons James as the head of the christian church wasn't pro-preaching to the Gentiles.  Paul was the creator of this new view.

9 hours ago, thormas said:

Nobody is debating the change in Paul's emphasis on faith in the messenger, Jesus Christ. We were discussing, however, Paul and the Jewish expectation extending to the Gentiles and Ehrman has confirmed that: Paul did not change it to an invitation to the Gentiles as that was in line with the Jewish expectation of God's Kingdom.

No, it wasn't in line with Jewish expectations.  Just show me one instance of where Jewish expectations included Gentiles preparing for God's kingdom?

9 hours ago, thormas said:

I don't misunderstand at all. Apparently, the Gentiles were not the focus for Jesus which makes perfect sense because he came to announce the news to Israel - the first major event. That he didn't care is your opinion - on what is it based?

New testament.

9 hours ago, thormas said:

I found this to be a surprise myself as I thought Matthew was a Jew who wrote for a Jewish audience but this (see above) appears to be what Ehrman is saying.  Ehrman said by this time (later part of the 1st C) that Jewish Christianity was on the margins. However the 'few drops' scenario seems to be opinion.  I am continuing to explore these points.

Here we have a seeming difference with Ehrman. Does Saldarini (?) indicate precisely what in Matthew was softened? I am interested.

I'm really not as interested to have to trawl through so much info to find what you might find suitable, but it goes without saying, feel free yourself.  And I don't mean that rudely, I just don't have the time or inclination.

9 hours ago, thormas said:

I agree that Paul changed from the message to the messenger and I don't (didn't) think that Jesus thought of himself as the instrument of salvation of the Kingdom but Allison seems to indicate that it appears that Jesus had a high self-conception and might have thought of himself this way, as "the locus of the end-time scenario."  

Agreed.

 

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10 hours ago, Burl said:

There were many early forms of Christianity.  The Ebionites were probably the most ‘Jewish’. 

Ehrman is the best introduction to early Christianities imo.

 

9 hours ago, thormas said:

Agreed

Precisely Burl,

The early Christian Ebionites revered James the Just, brother of Jesus; and rejected Paul as a false apostle.  

Interestingly, Wikipedia (I know how you love that source :) ) says that "while the Church Fathers consider the Ebionites identical with other Jewish Christian sects, such as the Nazarenes; some modern scholars argue that not only were the Ebionites a distinct sect, but they have may been the most faithful inheritors of the authentic teachings of the historical Jesus.

So for me, not unusual that they reject Paul who was preaching to the Gentiles.  It wasn't true to Jesus' teaching.

 

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6 hours ago, thormas said:

As a further note, Paul Fredriksen in her book "Paul, The Pagan Apostle' writes that "the anticipated destruction of their (pagan) idols did not imply, at the End, that scripture's eschatological pagans 'converted' to Judaism, thereby becoming Jews." She adds "....at the End, say these visionary (Jewish) texts, eschatological pagans join with Israel; but they do not join Israel..........the nations, even at the eschatological End-time,  remain distinct from israel."

Given this it appears that Paul was well in agreement with Jewish expectations by not only reaching out to the Gentiles but rightly recognizing that pagans did not have to convert, become Jews and join Israel.......only join with Israel.

And this from a Google search of 'her' (Paula's) book "Paul, The Pagan's Apostle" (she wasn't saying Paul was a pagan):

One of Fredriksen’s innovations in this book is her historical reconstruction of the early Jesus movement. The book argues that the apocalyptic message of the historical Jesus did not include gentiles, and thus early followers of Jesus were initially surprised at gentiles’ acceptance of their message. The gentiles who heard the message hospitably in Fredriksen’s reconstruction were participants in diaspora Jewish synagogues who worshipped God but also continued to worship other gods; in other words, “god-fearers” rather than proselytes. Fredriksen asserts that apostles had to develop policies for gentile inclusion in the early Jesus movement, and Paul’s writings to gentiles (“ex-pagan pagans”) in his communities participate in these larger efforts of gentile inclusion, entering into a conversation that pre-dated him.

So again, we see evidence that Jesus' message was not for Gentiles, but that it became part of a later drive post-Jesus and his preaching.

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

And this from a Google search of 'her' (Paula's) book "Paul, The Pagan's Apostle" (she wasn't saying Paul was a pagan):

One of Fredriksen’s innovations in this book is her historical reconstruction of the early Jesus movement. The book argues that the apocalyptic message of the historical Jesus did not include gentiles, and thus early followers of Jesus were initially surprised at gentiles’ acceptance of their message. The gentiles who heard the message hospitably in Fredriksen’s reconstruction were participants in diaspora Jewish synagogues who worshipped God but also continued to worship other gods; in other words, “god-fearers” rather than proselytes. Fredriksen asserts that apostles had to develop policies for gentile inclusion in the early Jesus movement, and Paul’s writings to gentiles (“ex-pagan pagans”) in his communities participate in these larger efforts of gentile inclusion, entering into a conversation that pre-dated him.

So again, we see evidence that Jesus' message was not for Gentiles, but that it became part of a later drive post-Jesus and his preaching.

Exactly.

Jesus' focus was the Jews - there is no argument with that at all (and this holds whether or not he reached out to non-Jews during his ministry). The Jews were his focus and that had to happen first (they were the people of God and God was fulfilling his promise to them). It doesn't mean that Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet, did not know or understand that the Gentiles of all nations were to be included in the Kingdom as told by the prophets before him and the scriptures of his people.

We both accept from Ehrman and others that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who accepted that the end-time was upon the world. It would be absurd to say that such a prophet would not understand the prophecies of his own people or his own scriptures. 

We both agree with Fredriksen that Jesus did not include the Gentiles. She argues that except for Roman soldiers (whom they would typically have nothing to do with) and some others there were not many Gentiles in Galilee or Judea (including Jerusalem) and the Jewish Christians encountered a 'world of Gentiles' in the Diaspora. I bet it was a surprise........but the surprise, as indicated in your post, was not the outreach to the Gentiles but the ".....gentiles’ acceptance of their message." The Christians had to be preaching to the Gentiles first (i.e.  including the Gentiles at the direction of the Jewish scriptures and the prophets) for them to then react to the Gentiles and be surprised at their acceptance of the good news.  

I accept that Jesus did not preach to Gentiles and they became part of the later drive or the 'final event of the End-Time.' And that was the work, the mission of the disciples - and Paul.

Note: wasn't the main policy for 'inclusion' having to become a Jew or not? Were there other policies or is that one pretty much the crux of the Gentile issue?

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

The early Christian Ebionites revered James the Just, brother of Jesus; and rejected Paul as a false apostle.  

Interestingly, Wikipedia (I know how you love that source :) ) says that "while the Church Fathers consider the Ebionites identical with other Jewish Christian sects, such as the Nazarenes; some modern scholars argue that not only were the Ebionites a distinct sect, but they have may been the most faithful inheritors of the authentic teachings of the historical Jesus.

So for me, not unusual that they reject Paul who was preaching to the Gentiles.  It wasn't true to Jesus' teaching.

Of course they did because Paul did not require the Gentiles to become Jews.........and the Ebionites were Jews. 

However if the prophets preached a Kingdom to include the Jews and all nations (which they did) and the Ebionites rejected the Gentiles becoming followers of Jesus without becoming Jews, it is evident that the Ebionites were at odds with their own scriptures for they rejected 'all nations' while the prophets preached their acceptance.

It would be interesting to delve into this more.

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On 8/11/2020 at 10:47 AM, thormas said:

Exactly.

Jesus' focus was the Jews - there is no argument with that at all (and this holds whether or not he reached out to non-Jews during his ministry). The Jews were his focus and that had to happen first (they were the people of God and God was fulfilling his promise to them). It doesn't mean that Jesus, an apocalyptic prophet, did not know or understand that the Gentiles of all nations were to be included in the Kingdom as told by the prophets before him and the scriptures of his people.

You are missing my point.  It is not that Jesus didn't think gentiles would eventually be in the coming Kingdom, but HOW that looked to Jesus was different to Paul.  Jesus expected gentiles to be dominated by God at world's end and to THEN  join the kingdom, but in no way equal to God's chosen people who would be the rulers.  Jesus wasn't interested in telling the 'good news' of the Kingdom to the Gentiles because they were not Jews, God would sort them out, and then those that capitulated would live under the God of Israel's rule.  It is a completely different understanding than that of Paul's.

Quote

We both accept from Ehrman and others that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who accepted that the end-time was upon the world. It would be absurd to say that such a prophet would not understand the prophecies of his own people or his own scriptures. 

It's what you are reading into the prophecies that I say are missing Jesus' point.  He wasn't interested in the Gentiles because he wasn't inviting them to prepare.  They would be dealt with by God when God overthrew their evil - they would either be annihilated or they would capitulate and join the Kingdom under the God of Israel's rule.

Quote

We both agree with Fredriksen that Jesus did not include the Gentiles. She argues that except for Roman soldiers (whom they would typically have nothing to do with) and some others there were not many Gentiles in Galilee or Judea (including Jerusalem) and the Jewish Christians encountered a 'world of Gentiles' in the Diaspora. I bet it was a surprise........but the surprise, as indicated in your post, was not the outreach to the Gentiles but the ".....gentiles’ acceptance of their message." The Christians had to be preaching to the Gentiles first (i.e.  including the Gentiles at the direction of the Jewish scriptures and the prophets) for them to then react to the Gentiles and be surprised at their acceptance of the good news.  

Because the message of Jesus wasn't for them - that's why it was a surprise that they took to it!  Rather than being offended that Jesus didn't care that they were to be overthrown by the God of Israel, the Gentiles accepted the modified message and ran with it.

I haven't read Fredriksen's book (have you?) but it seems clear to me when Lester in her review of Fredriksen's book (as quoted above) says "The book argues that the apocalyptic message of the historical Jesus did not include gentiles" she isn't saying who he delivered it to didn't include gentles, but rather 'the message' didn't include gentiles.

Quote

I accept that Jesus did not preach to Gentiles and they became part of the later drive or the 'final event of the End-Time.' And that was the work, the mission of the disciples - and Paul.

Absolutely - outside of the teachings and intentions of Jesus.

Quote

Note: wasn't the main policy for 'inclusion' having to become a Jew or not? Were there other policies or is that one pretty much the crux of the Gentile issue?

Depends which Jew you ask I guess.  The largest Jewish opinion was that even if one converted to Judaism, they weren't a true Jew, a true member of the chosen people of the God of Israel.  But they were accepted to a lesser degree.  This later became irrelevant as Jewish Christianity took hold.

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

Of course they did because Paul did not require the Gentiles to become Jews.........and the Ebionites were Jews. 

Yes, they were Jews who believed Jesus' message was for Jews, not gentiles.

Quote

However if the prophets preached a Kingdom to include the Jews and all nations (which they did) and the Ebionites rejected the Gentiles becoming followers of Jesus without becoming Jews, it is evident that the Ebionites were at odds with their own scriptures for they rejected 'all nations' while the prophets preached their acceptance.

No, the Jews only believed all nations would be included in the context that entering the kingdom wasn't something gentiles would need to be prepared for - they would either capitulate and join the new kingdom or they would be annihilated.  There was no invitation being extended to them either according to Jewish expectations or Jesus.  Paul changed this picture.  I'm pointing to things like the disagreement and fallout with James, the lack of any other side of the story in the NT (which by the time it was being written had a large gentile influence) and early Christian groups like the Ebionites that were anti-Paul.  I don't think they were anti-Paul just because he said gentiles didn't need to follow Jewish law, but rather it was because he was working with gentiles and inviting them into the Jewish kingdom.

It is not evident at all that the Ebionites were at odds with their own scriptures, but it is clear that you think they are.  I think you misinterpret and misunderstand Jewish expectations of the kingdom.  I think Jesus is more aligned to those, but Paul much less so.

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7 hours ago, PaulS said:

Yes, they were Jews who believed Jesus' message was for Jews, not gentiles.

 

I assume that is accurate yet Paul, other missionaries to the Gentiles, the Jerusalem Council and the Jewish scriptures and the prophets have a different understanding about this. Seems Paul was right on this and if he wasn't then we, Gentiles, wouldn't be having this discussion 😜 

I believe that Jesus' message was for Jews but it doesn't follow that the message of the Kingdom, the End-Time, was not for 'all nations.' 

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

No, the Jews only believed all nations would be included in the context that entering the kingdom wasn't something gentiles would need to be prepared for - they would either capitulate and join the new kingdom or they would be annihilated.  There was no invitation being extended to them either according to Jewish expectations or Jesus.  Paul changed this picture.  I'm pointing to things like the disagreement and fallout with James, the lack of any other side of the story in the NT (which by the time it was being written had a large gentile influence) and early Christian groups like the Ebionites that were anti-Paul.  I don't think they were anti-Paul just because he said gentiles didn't need to follow Jewish law, but rather it was because he was working with gentiles and inviting them into the Jewish kingdom.

It is not evident at all that the Ebionites were at odds with their own scriptures, but it is clear that you think they are.  I think you misinterpret and misunderstand Jewish expectations of the kingdom.  I think Jesus is more aligned to those, but Paul much less so.

Paul, I have no problem exploring this however everything I'm reading points to the Kingdom being announced to the Gentiles: to join the Kingdom or not requires a choice and, like the Jews, they had to be told what was happening and be encouraged to make that decision for the Kingdom (that those deciding against the Kingdom would be annihilated, I get). Even your sentence (above) assumes a choice: capitulation or annihilation - and a choice requires some understanding. Where, exactly, are you getting this other than it being your opinion?  Have you read Ehrman or someone else with similar expertise - I would like to know so I can check it out.  

I agree that it is apparent that there was a disagreement - however the Council of Jerusalem settled the matter in Paul's favor around 50 CE. And it does appear (unless you have further information) that this finding was in line with the Jewish prophets about the end-time. I get that we don't have writings of Peter and James - but we do have the Council and its finding. As for the Ebonities, given their position, they were not on the side that 'won' at the Council.

Paul was preaching to the Gentiles about the Kingdom - and Paul was not alone: there were other missionaries to the Gentiles as evidenced in his letters to the Romans and Galatians.

 

I do think, based on the scholars that I'm reading, that the Ebonities were on the wrong side of this and at odds with the their prophets/scriptures.

Where exactly have I misunderstood the Jewish expectation and on what - other than your opinion - are you basing that. I have been careful to not simply give my opinion but to present the findings of biblical experts on this issue. 

 

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

You are missing my point.  It is not that Jesus didn't think gentiles would eventually be in the coming Kingdom, but HOW that looked to Jesus was different to Paul.  Jesus expected gentiles to be dominated by God at world's end and to THEN  join the kingdom, but in no way equal to God's chosen people who would be the rulers.  Jesus wasn't interested in telling the 'good news' of the Kingdom to the Gentiles because they were not Jews, God would sort them out, and then those that capitulated would live under the God of Israel's rule.  It is a completely different understanding than that of Paul's.

Ok, so you agree that Jesus understood his own scriptures and he understood that the Kingdom would include the Gentiles. You just believe his understanding was different than Paul's. But where exactly are you getting Jesus' expectation about Gentile domination by God? Sure other kingdoms and kings would cease to exist but are you saying that Jesus expected that the Gentiles who accepted the Kingdom of God would continue to be dominated 'in the Kingdom' or be considered 2nd class or unequal in the eyes of God or the Jews? Did Paul say that other kingdoms would not be defeated - is that why he was different? Did Paul say the Gentile (kingdoms) would not be dominated and destroyed at the end? If not, the only difference is Jesus preached to the Jews and Paul extended that to the Gentiles. 

And we have already established that the Jews, of necessity, were the focus of Jesus and the ones to whom the announcement of the fulfillment of the promise of the Kingdom must first be announced. 

10 hours ago, PaulS said:

You are missing my point.  It is not that Jesus didn't think gentiles would eventually be in the coming Kingdom, but HOW that looked to Jesus was different to Paul.  Jesus expected gentiles to be dominated by God at world's end and to THEN  join the kingdom, but in no way equal to God's chosen people who would be the rulers.  Jesus wasn't interested in telling the 'good news' of the Kingdom to the Gentiles because they were not Jews, God would sort them out, and then those that capitulated would live under the God of Israel's rule.  It is a completely different understanding than that of Paul's.

 I'm not reading into or missing Jesus' point and I have repeatedly acknowledged his focus and the reason for it. The issue now is your interpretation of 'dealing with the Gentiles.' I get what you're saying but where does Jesus say that capitulation is the only way for a Gentile to 'join the Kingdom?' Again, where does he explicitly rule out letting them know about the Kingdom and making a decision for it? 

10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Because the message of Jesus wasn't for them - that's why it was a surprise that they took to it!  Rather than being offended that Jesus didn't care that they were to be overthrown by the God of Israel, the Gentiles accepted the modified message and ran with it.

No, the 'initial' surprise, as she stated, was the number of Gentiles, pagans, in the first place - when they came to preach in the Diaspora. As she indicated, there were really very few (any?) Gentiles in the rural areas of Galilee and Judea where Jesus taught and traveled with his disciples and few even in Jerusalem. It was a new world, a new experience for them.

The Gentiles, not being Jews, would not know that they were to be overthrown by God so how could they be offended (or not be offended) that Jesus didn't care about this - they had no idea what 'this' was?

What modified message? 

Isaiah speaks of all people assembling on the mountain (Jerusalem): both Israel and the nations will feast together on a meal made by God himself...and God will wipe away every tear.  And, unless Jesus was not so great at being an apocalyptic prophet, he understood and accepted this. 

10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Absolutely - outside of the teachings and intentions of Jesus.

Outside his preaching to the Jews - yes. Outside his intentions is reading into Jesus.

10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Depends which Jew you ask I guess.  The largest Jewish opinion was that even if one converted to Judaism, they weren't a true Jew, a true member of the chosen people of the God of Israel.  But they were accepted to a lesser degree.  This later became irrelevant as Jewish Christianity took hold.

But Fredriksen's point, the teaching of the prophets, was that Gentiles or the nations were not meant to 'join the Jews' (i.e. convert or become Jews) but to 'join with' the Jews (they would still be Gentiles in the Kingdom) all worshipping the true God. Again, unless Jesus was really bad at what he did, he knew and understood his own scriptures - although his focus was the Jews.

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14 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't have a specific resource to quote, but I know what I read and have read and some is my opinion.

 

Paul I get that but we both know and have used scholars like Ehrman to make sense of this stuff - so opinion is one thing (and all are entitled to it) but it would seem that we are trying to determine what is accurate here (regarding the OT and the NT) and that requires reference to the Ehrman's of the world. And it is always nice to know what something is based on because I for one like to follow up and determine if I understand correctly or have missed something.

14 hours ago, PaulS said:

You are reading too much into Erhman I think.

"for Paul the conversion of the Gentiles was the final major event in the history of the world before the end came."  For Paul!  I don't think anybody else saw it that way - Jesus and James included.

"Paul took seriously the words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people.".  At the end of time, not before it.  And at the end, they will be saved if they capitulated to the God of Israel.  They were not being 'invited' into the Kingdom.  The prophets (Isaiah) were prophesying the end results after God had intervened.  There was no talk in Isaiah or other Jewish expectations about gentiles 'preparing' for the end times.  I think you misread 'Jewish expectations' in this regard.

There's a reason Jesus didn't preach to the gentiles, didn't go on a mission to gentile nations during his 3 years, and reasons James as the head of the christian church wasn't pro-preaching to the Gentiles.  Paul was the creator of this new view.

Actually I'm reading and quoting Ehrman and others.

For the first quote, Ehrman is making a statement on Paul so I have not read into it, it is there for the reading. Whether or not James and Jesus agreed is another issue: James' issue seems to be 'conversion' (Council of Jerusalem resolved that) and we simply don't know if Jesus had any issues with the outreach to Gentiles.

Second quote is also simply quoted from Ehrman.  If we don't want to call it an invitation, fine - because it's not like if one said no, life would remain the same. However, an announcement so Gentiles would know what was coming, what apostles were talking about and some explanation (as Jesus did for the Jews) seems necessary since we're dealing with human beings. Isaiah was about all nations feasting at the table of God - it was to be inclusive. And, again, people, the Gentiles had to be given some clue about what was happening. The Kingdom didn't come right away, why? Fredriksen writes that it dawned on the disciples that they had to continue the announcement of Jesus to the Jews in order to prepare 'all' of Israel - thus the missionary activity to the Diaspora. I have not misread and I am not simply relying on opinion.

Of course there is a reason for Jesus not preaching to the Gentiles and we have been all over that: his focus was on the people of God as God was fulfilling his promise to them. Jesus did not come to announce to the Gentiles but it does not follow that Jesus wasn't aware that they too would be included. As to how he thought they would be included we have no real idea but he was dead, the Kingdom was not established and it was left to his followers. And it wasn't just Paul who reached out to the Gentiles: the Roman community predated him and there were other missionaries in Galatia and of course we have Peter in Rome and dying there in the mid 60s CE. 

I would have to check but I assume that as head of the Jerusalem community, James was involved with or at the Council when the decision was made in 50 CE. Did he abide by the council or go off on his own? 

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