Grave Information about St. Luke, St. Paul, and The New Testament (Real Jock Playwright and Essayist Finds This Quite Troubling.)

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    Nov 29, 2013 8:21 PM GMT
    Dr. Ehrman and Blog Posters and Blog Readers

    What do you think of this? Dr. Ehrman, this does not sit well with you speaking more highly of the Letters of Paul over Luke’s Acts of the Apostles.

    Plutarch wrote Pyrrhus, The Fool of Hope after the early churches had begun using Paul’s epistles as their “gospel.” Luke wrote about this Fool of Hope to alert “Theophilus” to the truth about Paul, knowing that some would eventually see the parallel he had drawn between Pyrrhus and Paul.

    Who was Pyrrhus to the Greeks? Pyrrhus, The Fool of Hope, was a story Plutarch wrote and titled at about the same time Luke’s gospel was being penned. It includes the following:

    “Pyrrhus also sent some agents, who pretended to be Macedonians. These spies spread the suggestion that now the time had come to be liberated from the harsh rule of Demetrius by joining Pyrrhus, who was a gracious friend of soldiers.”

    “And so without fighting, Pyrrhus became King of Macedonia…”

    Another piece of information about Pyrrhus is of great importance, and it’s probably the reason his name was expunged from early biblical texts: According to the Legend of Troy as told by Homer, Pyrrhus was one of the soldiers who participated in the Trojan horse saga. And that is the best-known legacy from the legend of Troy

    Paul also refers to himself as “a fool” at 2 Corinthians 11:16-29: “I repeat, let no one think that I am a fool; but if you do, then accept me as a fool…

    Luke has Paul say, Acts 23:6: “. . . I am on trial concerning the HOPE of the resurrection of the dead.”

    Luke put quite a lot of effort into connecting Paul to Pyrrhus, the “fool of hope” who was in fact an infiltrator.

    More than any other of the coded messages, it seems that Luke wanted to convey the message that learning about Pyrrhus will reveal the truth about Paul.

    Luke couldn’t write a story called Paul: The Spy Who Pretended to be Jesus’ Apostle Who Infiltrated the Movement and Destroyed It from Within. That story would have been censored by the Orthodox Church leaders supporting Paul. So he did the next best thing. He associated Paul with Pyrrhus in such a way that the connection could not be missed. No wonder the name Pyrrhus was removed from some of the translations of the Bible. Any fool could pick up on the message because virtually everyone knew that Pyrrhus hid inside the Trojan Horse! It was fortunate that some earlier texts were salvaged, saved, and passed on through time.

    The name Pyrrhus appears in just one place in the Bible: Acts 20:4. However, as already stated, those who trust in the King James Version would not know the name was ever used in scripture:

    King James Version: “And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea…” (The name Pyrrhus was removed.)

    Darby Translation: “And there accompanied him as far as Asia, Sopater [son] of Pyrrhus, a Berean…”

    New Revised Standard Version: “He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea…”

    Latin Vulgate: “comitatus est autem eum Sopater Pyrii Beroensis…” (Filius is the Latin word for son. It is missing from the Latin Vulgate’s version of Acts 20:4; therefore, Jerome’s translation from the original Greek did not identify Sopater as “son of” Pyrii; that designation is an assumption.)

    The original Latin Vulgate was commissioned in 382 by Pope Damasus I. The modern version is not the original version created by Jerome; it is the result of combining a variety of sources that include Jerome. It is, however, one of the earliest sources for the original texts. Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that Luke’s original story included the name, Sopater Pyrrhus Beroea.

    Luke’s use of the key words from Plutarch’s story of Pyrrhus suggests a purpose. Luke’s primary purpose in his work was to use allegory to tell a story that was being suppressed. To place Pyrrhus with Beroea, Macedonia, Troas (aka Troy) and Demetrius leads directly to Plutarch’s Pyrrhus, men from Beroea, Macedonia, and Troy. The key words in Plutarch’s works, however, are omitted from Acts: “Agents,” “pretenders,” “spies,” and “disguise.” Philo’s Rule for Allegory #19 applies: The important allegorical information is to be found in the “noteworthy omissions.”

    What Luke transmitted via allegory was: “And so, without fighting, Paul became the leader of the new religion.”

    (Philo’s Rules can be found at http://www.thenazareneway.com/Philo‘s%20Rules%20for%20Allegory.htm.)

    By infiltrating, claiming conversion, and assigning himself the title, Apostle, Paul (who never revealed his birth name was Saul) changed the doctrine and set out to destroy all evidence of the Nazarene sect that produced Jesus the Nazarene.

    http://www.thenazareneway.com/The%20Gospel%20of%20Paul.htm
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    Nov 29, 2013 10:23 PM GMT
    “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus {Syria], so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”

    Interesting: Jesus’ fame went throughout all Syria and Paul goes to the high priest to bring the fans of Jesus to Jerusalem as prisoners.
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    Nov 30, 2013 7:59 AM GMT
    Okay, first of all, this is a bunch of nonsense that assumes that anyone named Pyrrhus in the ancient world or in literature would be associated with the Pyrrhus of the Trojan horse.

    Secondly, in the Vulgate 'Pyrii' is in genitive form, indicating possession. So it's 'Sopater of Pyrrhus from Berea'. It's a form used generically in names to mean 'son of _____'. That's the way Latin works.

    Thirdly, and I really don't know what you're trying to say with all this anyway, but the Vulgate translation that Jerome created was fairly late, and is not the first Latin translation of the New Testament. That was what's known as the Vetus Latina, which only exists now in fragments.

    So I'm really not sure what's meant to be so shocking about this anyway, but I had to correct you about the Vulgate bit.
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    Dec 02, 2013 3:30 AM GMT
    davey23

    Okay, first of all, this assumes that anyone named Pyrrhus in the ancient world or in literature would be associated with the Pyrrhus of the Trojan horse.


    StephenOABC

    What's first is to understand what Plutarch has written about Pyrrhus.

    Many, many times in the Bible and in the Talmud, writers make references to other works.

    You have not dismissed, not what I have written but what another person has written on their blog. The URL is at the bottom of the Original Post. I quoted some of the points made. The full case is made by the blogger.

    Yes, I am convinced there is animosity between Luke and Paul. Do you disagree?

    At Highland Park United Methodist Church, on the edge of SMU's campus, a minister gave a series of talks on Acts of the Apostles. There is no doubt that there are opposing histories between Luke and the Letters of Paul.

    Paul is a shady character. He's known for lying. He, on more than once occasion, writes in his letters that he is not a liar. Why? Because many accused him or caught him in lies.

    Back to Pyrrhus, look at this from the Wikipedia entry on Hannibal:

    "Often regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history, Hannibal would later be considered one of the greatest generals of antiquity, together with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Scipio, and Pyrrhus of Epirus.

    Plutarch states that, when questioned by Scipio as to who was the greatest general, Hannibal is said to have replied either Alexander or Pyrrhus, then himself,[11] or, according to another version of the event, Pyrrhus, Scipio, then himself."


    Everyone thinks the Trojan Horse was good strategy. So far, I think Plutarch may have been connecting Pyrrhus to Troy--not any Pyrrhus, as your counter-argument states.
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    Dec 02, 2013 8:06 AM GMT
    You didn't address anything I said about the Vulgate. What (whoever wrote the article) was saying is wrong, that the Vulgate doesn't indicate that man as son of Pyrrhus. 'Pyrii' is genitive. The writer's point is undermined by his lack of understanding of basic ancient language and cultural norms for naming ancestry.

    He's also conflating two Pyrrhuses. Pyrrhus the general, about whom Plutarch wrote, lived in the 4th to 3rd centuries before Christ. The Pyrrhus of the Trojan War, also called Neoptolemus, would have lived (if he actually lived and weren't mythical) hundreds and hundreds of years before then.

    So already we have two famous Pyrrhus figures who have very little to do with one another. People were named after each of these figures. There is no reason to believe that someone noted as the son of a man called Pyrrhus is actually an oblique reference to a Plutarch story in the Parallel Lives.

    There is no compelling reason to believe that Luke would have read Plutarch's Lives before the composition of his gospel+Acts, especially since that gospel may have been written as early as the 60s AD, and Plutarch's Lives is dated to the early second century.

    So, putting aside the fact that the book Luke is meant to be citing here was likely not even written yet, the argument that Luke's use of the word Hope is a reference to Plutarch is even more ridiculous. Faith, Hope, and Love, the cardinal virtues, are to be found referenced throughout the Biblical narrative, particularly throughout all of the New Testament literature. The very idea that Luke would be using it simply as a sideways cut at Paul is ridiculous and reduces a work of spiritual instruction and history to a barely-suppressed hissy fit.

    I think there's not much of an argument that Paul comes off terribly badly in Acts. Of course, his time as Saul is portrayed with the starkness appropriate to a man who was persecuting the Church, but his conversion, and indeed the inclusion of the miraculous conversion itself and the multiple miracles following, comes off as positively hagiographic. If Luke had wanted to say that Paul was a wolf in sheep's clothing, he certainly would have written Acts as a very different book. As the author, he had no need to include the huge role of Paul in the spreading of the Church and the gospel. He could've edited history however he wanted, but instead he paints Paul as a worker for Christ who is monumentally important in the foundation of multiple Christian communities and who goes to prison for preaching his faith.

    Sometimes someone named Pyrrhus is just someone named Pyrrhus. These arguments aren't compelling, for the reasons outlined above.
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    Dec 02, 2013 8:10 AM GMT
    And let me state also that the author of that article is making the argument that Luke uses Acts to connect Paul to the 'fool of hope' through language.

    The only reference he makes to 'the fool' is in one of Paul's letters, and is not repeated by Luke.

    Luke NEVER uses the term 'fool of hope'.

    The article is a gigantic jumble of bad scholarship on the level of the 'Bible Code'.
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    Dec 02, 2013 12:37 PM GMT
    The Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies

    The name Pyrrhus appears in just one place in the Bible: Acts 20:4.

    King James Version: "And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea…" (The name Pyrrhus was removed.)

    Darby Translation: "And there accompanied him as far as Asia, Sopater [son] of Pyrrhus, a Berean…"

    New Revised Standard Version: "He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea…"

    Latin Vulgate: "comitatus est autem eum Sopater Pyrii Beroensis…" (Filius is the Latin word for son. It is missing from the Latin Vulgate's version of Acts 20:4; therefore, Jerome's translation from the original Greek did not identify Sopater as "son of" Pyrii; that designation is an assumption.)

    The original Latin Vulgate was commissioned in 382 by Pope Damasus I. The modern version is not the original version created by Jerome; it is the result of combining a variety of sources that include Jerome. It is, however, one of the earliest sources for the original texts. Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that Luke's original story included the name, Sopater Pyrrhus Beroea.

    davey23

    Secondly, in the Vulgate 'Pyrii' is in genitive form, indicating possession. So it's 'Sopater of Pyrrhus from Berea'. It's a form used generically in names to mean 'son of _____'. That's the way Latin works.

    the Vulgate translation that Jerome created was fairly late, and is not the first Latin translation of the New Testament. That was what's known as the Vetus Latina, which only exists now in fragments.

    StephenOABC

    Davey, you're not disagreeing with the Darby or the NRSV.

    Second, Davey, given:

    "Latin Vulgate: "comitatus est autem eum Sopater Pyrii Beroensis…" (Filius is the Latin word for son. It is missing from the Latin Vulgate's version of Acts 20:4;"

    You're saying Filius is not needed? When we look at the coins of Augustus, we get Son of God because of "Divi Filius."

    The blogger is already allowing two sources for Son of. He is saying the Latin Vulgate doesn't use the term "filius" but you're saying even without using the word, it still means "son of." Is that correct? You would have us know the Latin phrase he quotes, still means "son of;" therefore, there are three sources, not two, that say "son of," correct?

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    Dec 03, 2013 12:18 AM GMT
    Correct. The reason the Darby translation puts 'son' in brackets is that it's implied in the original due to the form of the word and antique naming conventions. In Latin, it's implied by the word forms, just like the original Greek, sopatros purrou. In neither language is it necessary to write the word for son.
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    Dec 03, 2013 3:28 AM GMT
    davey23 said

    There is no compelling reason to believe that Luke would have read Plutarch's Lives before the composition of his gospel+Acts, especially since that gospel may have been written as early as the 60s AD, and Plutarch's Lives is dated to the early second century.



    AD 75 to 100

    Most contemporary scholars regard Mark as a source used by Luke. If it is true that Mark was written around the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, around 70, they theorize that Luke would not have been written before 70.

    Those who take this view believe that Luke's prediction of the destruction of the temple could not be a result of Jesus predicting the future but was written with the benefit of hindsight regarding specific details. They believe that the discussion in Luke 21:5–30 is specific enough (more specific than Mark's or Matthew's) that a date after 70 seems likely.
    These scholars have suggested dates for Luke from 75 to 100.

    Support for a later date comes from a number of factors. Differences of chronology, "style", and theology suggest that the author of Luke-Acts was not familiar with Paul's distinctive theology but instead was writing a decade or more after his death, by which point significant harmonization between different traditions within Early Christianity had occurred. Furthermore, Luke-Acts has views on Jesus' divine nature, the end times, and salvation that are similar to those found in Pastoral epistles, which are often seen as pseudonymous and of a later date than the undisputed Pauline Epistles.

    Some scholars from the Jesus Seminar argue that the birth narratives of Luke and Matthew are a late development in gospel writing about Jesus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Luke#Date
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    Dec 03, 2013 3:34 AM GMT
    davey23 said

    So I'm really not sure what's meant to be so shocking about this anyway.



    Eventually, people will come around to know Paul discredits himself and Paul is discredited by others. Journey of the Souls by Michael Newton, Infinite Mind by Valerie V. Hunt, books on reincarnation and the paranormal give no “peer review” nod to Paul’s notions of almost 2,000 years old. Paul got it wrong. So much of what Paul has added to the New Testament needs a long strike through. Paul is not reliable on the afterlife. He may be reliable on his personal hopes about the afterlife. Hopefully waves of Post-Christianity will wash away notions of Paul that have little weight of anchor.

    So, in addition to biblical scholars and writers needing to read Josephus to get a broad view of what really went on in the first century, common era, the contribution of Jesus’ legacy to Jewish Revolt, we should be aware of what does not hold up for Paul and Paul’s teachings.

    Jesus was more masterful than Paul who “popularized” a corrupt version of Jesus’ movement.

    Keeping Paul’s pseudo-spirituality in higher standards of Christianity and Post-Christianity that are constantly being raised is like keeping the worse parts of Biblical Creationism in Human Evolution Studies.

    That Saul-Paul persecuted followers of Jesus, then set up a rival Gospel and a rival movement against Jesus’ movement proves his conversion did not stop him from working against Jesus’ aims.
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    Dec 03, 2013 5:35 AM GMT
    You're clearly arguing from a worldview that's different enough from mine that reasoned argumentation would be useless at this point, if you're citing reincarnationists as a reason to discredit the Pauline epistles as a genuine outflow of Christian teaching in the first century AD.

    I'm aware of the rationale that dates Luke/Acts as that late, and that it's got a large following. But it assumes as a given that prophecy cannot exist or be accurate, which to me casts some doubt on its validity as a standard by which to determine the dating of a collection of texts whose premise is the interaction of the divine with man. Even so, there are still scholars who date it earlier, to the 60s. If it were written later in the development of the Christian movement, it would have been likely to have added to its martyrology the story of Paul's beheading on behalf of Christ.

    There's also no evidence that the gospel Paul presented is in any way counter to the gospel provided by the preserved synoptic gospels, 'Q' (if it existed), and the slightly later-written Gospel of John. You're arguing that Paul presented something alien or 'rival' to the 'mainstream' interpretation of Jesus's teachings, and handing as evidence only your own claims and the nonsensical argument that post-christian sources don't like Paul.

    If you want to put your trust in a Post-Christian belief system, a New Age system, or some syncretistic blending of those, that's your affair; their perceived dislike of the Pauline message does not, however, change the message presented in Luke/Acts. Their perceived dislike of Paul's theology is also not a reasoned argument to demonstrate an animosity between post-conversion Paul and the gospel as presented by the other apostles.
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    Dec 03, 2013 1:15 PM GMT
    davey23

    If [Luke/Acts] were written later in the development of the Christian movement, it would have been likely to have added to its martyrology the story of Paul's beheading on behalf of Christ.

    StephenOABC

    There is more than a shadow of doubt that Paul was beheaded in Rome. (I can explain why later.)

    davey23
    There's also no evidence that the gospel Paul presented is in any way counter to the gospel provided by the preserved synoptic gospels, 'Q' (if it existed), and the slightly later-written Gospel of John.

    StephenOABC

    The Jerusalem Church went to Antioch twice, unhappy with what Paul was preaching. Paul had to demonstrate him self still observant of Judaism while he was preaching no-circumcision and no Law to the Gentiles after Jesus did no watering down of the Law. No evidence? You sadly mislead yourself and others.

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    Dec 05, 2013 9:14 AM GMT
    Citations please? What do you mean by the 'Jerusalem church'? The church as a body went to Antioch? When? And where is it recorded that that was their purpose?

    Paul was thrown in the Tullianum, an ancient prison in Rome. Presumably, he was beheaded, since that was the traditional method of execution for a Roman citizen. It would have been illegal to crucify him because of his status as a citizen, as opposed to St. Peter who, not being a Roman citizen, was crucified. Either way, we know he was thrown in the Tullianum and killed.
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    Dec 13, 2013 11:37 PM GMT
    davey23 saidCitations please? What do you mean by the 'Jerusalem church'? The church as a body went to Antioch? When? And where is it recorded that that was their purpose?


    That's what I got out of attending this sermon series:

    http://www.hpumc.org/sermon-library/kerygma-sermons/

    See Acts, Christian Beginnings.
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    Dec 13, 2013 11:50 PM GMT
    davey23 said[a] perceived dislike of Paul's theology is also not a reasoned argument to demonstrate an animosity between post-conversion Paul and the gospel as presented by the other apostles.



    Post-Conversion quote unquote Gospel of Paul/Gospel of God
    0-5% eye-witness biographic episodes of Jesus' ministry


    Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John
    significant percentage of biograhpic episodes of Jesus' ministry



    Paul received, what(?), one lesson from Jesus: stop persecuting my followers. Eye-witness followers, 12 disciples or even the 70 Jesus sent out received far more important instruction than that.
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    Dec 14, 2013 10:55 AM GMT
    "Of this there can be no doubt: the central theme and unifying message of Jesus's brief three-year ministry was the promise of the Kingdom of God. Practically everything Jesus said or did in the gospels served the function of publicly proclaiming the Kingdom's coming. ... It was what Jesus's followers were told to strive for above all else--"Seek first the King of God, and God's justice, then all these things shall be added unto you ... for only by forsaking everything and everyone for the Kingdom of God would they have any hope of entering it."

    Reza Aslan
    Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
    Chapter 10: May Your Kingdom Come, page 116

    Here he quotes Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

    Davey, you know this is not the message of Paul. Besides, after the death of Jesus and Stephen, the message of the Son of Man and the Kingdom of God/Heaven overtaking the Roman Empire is quite quiet. Supposedly, Paul's "gospel is developed before the failed Jewish Revolt which really squashed Son of Man - Kingdom of God/Heaven talk.