The Apostle Paul Does Not Tell His Followers Everything (Bart D. Ehrman on the Authenticity of 2 Thessalonians)

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    Dec 22, 2014 5:17 AM GMT
    Bart D. Ehrman

    Paul himself thought the end was coming in his lifetime. Nowhere is this more clear than in one of the letters we are sure he wrote, 1 Thessalonians. Paul wrote the Christians in Thessalonica because some of them had become disturbed over the death of a number of their fellow believers. When he converted these people, Paul had taught them that the end of the age was imminent, that they were soon to enter the Kingdom when Jesus returned. But members of the congregation had died before it happened. Had they lost out on their heavenly reward? Paul writes to assure the survivors that no, even those who have died will be brought into the kingdom. In fact when Jesus returns in glory on the clouds of heaven, “the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air” (4:17). Read the verse carefully: Paul expects to be one of the ones who will still be alive when it happens.

    He goes on to say that it will be a sudden, unexpected event. That day will come “like a thief in the night” and when people think that all is well, “sudden destruction will come upon them” (5:2-3). The Thessalonians should be alert and prepared, because like the labor pains of a pregnant woman, it is possible to know that it will come very soon, but you can’t predict the exact moment.

    It is precisely this emphasis on the suddenness of the re-appearance of Jesus, which will catch people by surprise, that makes the second letter that Paul allegedly wrote to the Thessalonians so interesting. This too is a book written about the second coming of Jesus, but now there is a completely different problem being addressed. The readers have been “led astray” by a letter that has apparently been forged in Paul’s name (2:2), to the effect that “the day of the Lord is at hand.” The author of 2 Thessalonians, claiming to be Paul, argues that the end is not, in fact, coming right away. There are things that have to happen first. There will be some kind of political or religious uprising and rebellion, and an anti-Christ like figure will appear, who will take his seat in the Temple of Jerusalem and declare himself to be God. Only then will the “Lord Jesus” come to “destroy him with the breath of his mouth” (2: 3 - 8 ).

    In other words, the Thessalonians can rest assured, they are not yet at the final moment of history when Jesus re-appears. They will know when it is almost here by the events that transpire in fulfillment of Scripture.

    But can this be by the same author who wrote the other letter, 1 Thessalonians? How is the scenario of Jesus’ appearance in 2 Thessalonians (it will be a while, and preceded by recognizeable events) the same as that of 1 Thessalonians, when the end will come like a “thief in the night” who appears when people least expect it? There seems to be a fundamental disparity between the teachings of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, which is why so many scholars think that 2 Thessalonians is not by Paul.

    It is particularly interesting that the author of 2 Thessalonians indicates that he taught his converts all these things already, when he was with them (2:5). If that’s the case, then how can one explain 1 Thessalonians? The problem there is that people think the end is supposed to come any day now, based on what Paul told them. But according to 2 Thessalonians Paul never taught any such thing. He taught that a whole sequence of events had to transpire before the end came. Moreover, if that is what he taught them, as 2 Thessalonians insists, then it is passing strange that he never reminds them of this teaching in 1 Thessalonians, where they obviously think that they were taught something else. ...


    Steefen, author of the Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy, 2nd Edition
    Stephenoabc


    "Paul (in First Thessalonians) goes on to say that it [the coming of the Kingdom and entrance into it] will be a sudden, unexpected event."

    Wait a second. In the gospels, Jesus mentions the Great Tribulation occurring before the Son of Man sits on his throne.

    First Thessalonians may be an authentic letter of Paul but it shows Paul needed more correction by the Jerusalem Church; and, that is a bigger problem than 2nd Thessalonians not being authentic but in line with Jesus' teaching on the Tribulation preceding the Son of Man sitting on his throne--the coming kingdom of God.
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    Dec 22, 2014 5:20 AM GMT
    Dr. Ehrman, do you agree 1st Thessalonians is not recognizing Jesus' teachings on the question, How will we know the end is near--the apocalypse before the kingdom? - Steefen
  • AMoonHawk

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    Dec 22, 2014 5:49 AM GMT
    While Paul, undoubtedly, was very fervent in his teachings, I find it quite annoying that he is constantly quoted. He WAS NOT Jesus. He WAS NOT an original disciple of Jesus. What Paul is, is a good example of mankind. If you study/read the Bible, what you find is that all mankind before Jesus preached a Gospel of a punishing God. Funny how all those punishments were used to control people. Then Jesus (SON OF GOD) came along and preached a loving, understanding, and forgiving God and it was man that did evil to man. Then comes Paul and we see that man just throws out the teachings of Jesus about love and God's love and returns back to preaching about a punishing and condemning God. He starts out innocent enough, but as his preachings move forward in time, he becomes more condemning and less forgiving and moves back toward a strict belief system that preached that everyone who did not follow every word Paul said they should follow, would be condemned.
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    Dec 22, 2014 2:16 PM GMT
    Bart D. Ehrman
    My view is that the historical Jesus taught that the kingdom would arrive with the appearance of the Son of Man in judgment, and that Paul agreed with that (only, unlike Jesus, he thought that Jesus himself was the son of man).

    Steefen
    The biblical Jesus definitely mentions the Great Tribulation before the Son of Man comes in glory through the clouds and sits on his throne. You're saying the historical Jesus does not recognize a period of transition Tribulation? There was transition tribulation when Moses changed the status quo with the Egyptians: surely there would be transition tribulation when the Son of Man changed the status quo of Roman authority over Israel. Please explain why you remove the Great Tribulation as precedent to the arrival of the kingdom. Please let us know if you are putting forth the suggestion that not only was the destruction of the Temple not foreseen but added after 70 CE but the Great Tribulation was also added after 70 CE.

    Bart Ehrman: unlike Jesus, Paul thought that Jesus himself was the son of man

    Steefen: I have to somewhat disagree. While Jesus does speak sometimes of the Son of Man in third person, in John and in Luke, Jesus identifies himself as the Son of Man. See the two verses below. (“A friend of tax collectors” is a reference to himself, Jesus.)

    “… Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
    He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
    Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.”
    The Gospel According to John, 9: 35-37
    … “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”
    …“Go and tell John … the blind regain their sight, the lame walk …
    “For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But Wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
    The Gospel According to Luke 7: 20, 22, 34

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    Dec 22, 2014 2:42 PM GMT
    St. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?
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    Dec 22, 2014 7:32 PM GMT
    Bart D. Ehrman

    In 1862 Hilgenfeld made the argument still favored by many scholars today, that 2 Thessalonians was forged precisely in order to replace its predecessor as Paul’s (only) letter to the Thessalonians.

    Thirty years later it had become yet more widely suspected that 2 Thessalonians could not be Pauline, as summed up in the arguments of Holtzmann:

    1) unlike the authentic Pauline letters, there was no anti-Jewish polemic in the book;

    2) in places it uses non-Pauline language;

    3) it contains a number of expansions of parallels from the first letter; and

    4) it contains no citations of the Hebrew Bible.

    There continue to be hold-outs for Pauline authorship... simply because a sizeable plurality of biblical scholars hold theological views that make the presence of literary forgeries in the canon of scripture untenable on principle. Among scholars with no such scruples, the balance swings in the other direction, and for compelling reasons.

    Stephen

    I'm finding:

    The epistle 2 Thess. was included in Marcion's canon and the Muratorian fragment; it was mentioned by name by Irenaeus, and quoted by Ignatius, Justin, and Polycarp. (Guthrie, Donald (1990). New Testament Introduction. Hazell Books. p. 593) Its authenticity escaped them?

    Second, the Jerusalem Church could have faulted Paul for the heresy of leaving out: "the Great Tribulation occurs before the coming of the kingdom." Paul spent time with Peter, one of the original 12 disciples who participated in Jesus' conversation about the coming of the kingdom.

    To say the first letter is authentic is to say Paul left out the Tribulation 1) to play to people's fantasies that the kingdom would come without tribulation, 2) to keep the kingdom-as-carrot urgent, 3) to keep the kingdom simple without having to explain the abomination of desolation (how can we have a desolate Temple and Jerusalem surrounded by armies) and still have a kingdom of God.

    Dr. Ehrman, if 2 Thess. is not where Paul changed his mind about the immediacy of the end of the world, where does it happened? I thought you said he did change his mind about the timing of the end.
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    Dec 22, 2014 7:37 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidSt. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?


    I don't understand the question as you're in Ft. Lauderdale.

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    Dec 22, 2014 7:44 PM GMT
    StephenOABC said
    Art_Deco saidSt. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?

    I don't understand the question as you're in Ft. Lauderdale.

    And you're in Plano, Texas. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Dec 22, 2014 7:46 PM GMT
    StephenOABC said
    Art_Deco saidSt. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?


    I don't understand the question as you're in Ft. Lauderdale.



    Hysterical!
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    Dec 22, 2014 7:49 PM GMT
    Okay, you address the first point when you replied: the 13 Pauline letters were not widely doubted among the proto-orthodox, if at all.

    That leaves 1) could have Paul, as a leader of Gentiles who weren't all that obligated to the Temple anyway leave out Jerusalem's tribulation (surrounded by armies, destruction of the Temple, and more) and 2) where does Paul change his mind that the end did not come in the late 30s, it didn't come in the 40s, it didn't come in the early 50s, maybe Jesus is not coming any day now? Luke had angels tell the disciples, stop looking in the clouds. I don't see how Paul, friend of Luke, pumped up Jesus' imminent return.
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    Dec 22, 2014 7:56 PM GMT
    onejock said
    StephenOABC said
    Art_Deco saidSt. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?

    I don't understand the question as you're in Ft. Lauderdale.

    Hysterical!

    Isn't it, though?
  • ASHDOD

    Posts: 1057

    Dec 22, 2014 9:48 PM GMT
    why why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4862

    Dec 22, 2014 10:03 PM GMT
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    Probably most people on this site are not interested, but so what? If they aren't interested, they don't have to read it. A better question to ask is why people who aren't interested are so exercised about it. Methinks they doth protest too much.

    People have widely divergent interests. Obviously some people are interested in this. Should they be denied their rights just because they are in a minority? What other rights should people be denied because they are in a minority?

    There are also threads about animals, economics, etc. Has anyone objected that they should not be on a gay site? Why should religion be considered taboo on this site when other subjects not directly related to being gay are acceptable? I see that as a form of discrimination which is out of place anywhere.
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    Dec 23, 2014 12:15 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    onejock said
    StephenOABC said
    Art_Deco saidSt. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?

    I don't understand the question as you're in Ft. Lauderdale.

    Hysterical!

    Isn't it, though?


    Oh, ha, ha. I get it now.

    Sorry, trying to get a video lecture together and a second edition of a book together to bring my career to the next level requires a lot of concentration.

    I'm also considering making the lecture available for the kindle--which is more work.
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    Dec 23, 2014 12:19 AM GMT
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    Hi Ashdod,

    Look at the forum topics available to members.

    Gays are concerned about spirituality and religion.

    If you have your own thoughts about religion, you can start a thread. Destructive criticism doesn't make you friendly to those gays and bisexuals who are Christian and hold themselves responsible for the accuracy of their religion and what is being evangelized and likely has low historical standards. I'm from the mindset that Christianity should not have low scientific standards AND it should not have low historical standards.

    Thank you,

    Stephen
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    Dec 23, 2014 12:20 AM GMT
    FRE0 said
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    Probably most people on this site are not interested, but so what? If they aren't interested, they don't have to read it. A better question to ask is why people who aren't interested are so exercised about it. Methinks they doth protest too much.

    People have widely divergent interests. Obviously some people are interested in this. Should they be denied their rights just because they are in a minority? What other rights should people be denied because they are in a minority?

    There are also threads about animals, economics, etc. Has anyone objected that they should not be on a gay site? Why should religion be considered taboo on this site when other subjects not directly related to being gay are acceptable? I see that as a form of discrimination which is out of place anywhere.


    AND, he's from Israel.
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    Dec 23, 2014 1:06 AM GMT
    StephenOABC said
    Art_Deco said
    onejock said
    StephenOABC said
    Art_Deco saidSt. Paul DOES NOT LISTEN TO JESUS.

    But how well does Minneapolis listen?

    I don't understand the question as you're in Ft. Lauderdale.

    Hysterical!

    Isn't it, though?


    Oh, ha, ha. I get it now.

    Sorry, trying to get a video lecture together and a second edition of a book together to bring my career to the next level requires a lot of concentration.

    I'm also considering making the lecture available for the kindle--which is more work.


    I happened to stumble onto something when searching male nudes:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3975577

    I have uploaded videos to YouTube but haven't used my vimeo account to upload videos about my books. I wonder if I can finally get the monetizing happening at both sites.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 23, 2014 3:06 AM GMT
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    If people would just IGNORE him he will go away. Please people resist the urge to acknowledge his posts.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 23, 2014 3:12 AM GMT
    FRE0 said
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    Probably most people on this site are not interested, but so what? If they aren't interested, they don't have to read it. A better question to ask is why people who aren't interested are so exercised about it. Methinks they doth protest too much.

    People have widely divergent interests. Obviously some people are interested in this. Should they be denied their rights just because they are in a minority? What other rights should people be denied because they are in a minority?

    There are also threads about animals, economics, etc. Has anyone objected that they should not be on a gay site? Why should religion be considered taboo on this site when other subjects not directly related to being gay are acceptable? I see that as a form of discrimination which is out of place anywhere.


    There is no right to be on this site. Religious topics of interest to gay people and their lives are fine but the OP just preaches. Hardly anyone on this site cares for his topics. Witness that most of the replies and postings are from himself.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4862

    Dec 23, 2014 7:38 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan said
    FRE0 said
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    Probably most people on this site are not interested, but so what? If they aren't interested, they don't have to read it. A better question to ask is why people who aren't interested are so exercised about it. Methinks they doth protest too much.

    People have widely divergent interests. Obviously some people are interested in this. Should they be denied their rights just because they are in a minority? What other rights should people be denied because they are in a minority?

    There are also threads about animals, economics, etc. Has anyone objected that they should not be on a gay site? Why should religion be considered taboo on this site when other subjects not directly related to being gay are acceptable? I see that as a form of discrimination which is out of place anywhere.


    There is no right to be on this site. Religious topics of interest to gay people and their lives are fine but the OP just preaches. Hardly anyone on this site cares for his topics. Witness that most of the replies and postings are from himself.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


    Considering that you are not interested, it seems strange that you keep posting.
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    Dec 23, 2014 9:03 AM GMT
    Well there's a middle school girl retort if I ever heard one. icon_lol.gif

    I don't read his inane postings. I stopped a long time ago. But I tune in from time to time for a good laugh. Thanks for your contribution to the inaneness and laughter.
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    Dec 23, 2014 12:00 PM GMT
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.

    Because gay people are religious, too. This is a forum for spirituality topics. Get of the OP's back.
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    Dec 23, 2014 3:26 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan said
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    If people would just IGNORE him he will go away. Please people resist the urge to acknowledge his posts.


    Well, thank you, my online acquaintance. The time has come for me to block your profile and ignore your posts.
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    Dec 23, 2014 4:36 PM GMT
    Dear Dr. Ehrman, the New Testament is in a way spiritual software. If the software is faulty, garbage in, garbage out. One important reason for textual criticism is to brush off "archaeological pieces" so they can be presented in the museum of the mind--the Ancient Israel wing of our mind.

    Jesus said we don't know when things will happen; the time is appointed by the Father. The angels told the disciples, stop looking in the clouds for Jesus. In 30 CE or 33 CE, people wouldn't know how, when, or if the Great Revolt would start and end. Technically, Paul had no reason to suspect Rome would go after Gentiles; but, Gentiles that were in Jerusalem, Perea, Galilee, etc. when Rome took action were in danger.

    It is irresponsible for Paul to have taught people there would be no tribulation before the kingdom. Jesus' idealism had already matured and that maturity was communicated in the gospels: the Son of Man is going to have suffer and even die for "kingdom come." Even without prophecy of destruction of Temple and People, Paul from firsthand experience knew Temple authorities were not supporting "kingdom come." Later in life, after the Thess. letter, Paul appealed to Caesar, not Son of Man.

    Although scholars may not want to go on record with the opinion that the Destruction of the Temple and the Great Tribulation are post-Revolt additions to the gospels, you and other scholars have that train of thought. You have already dated books of scripture with that criterion (Jesus did not prophecy, history happened then the gospel writers placed Jesus in the past and had him voice history as if it were the future.)

    1 Thess. has no defense for not including tribulation before kingdom. That Jews in authority had Jesus killed before the Jewish Revolt is evidence that the kingdom ran the chance of being a failed proposition.

    The question of the value of 1 Thess. against 2 Thess. is raised at the point of: one does not have preceding events before "kingdom come" and the other does. 1 Thess. is naive or manipulating. 2 Thess. reflects the maturity and wisdom of a Jesus chastised by scribes, pharisees, and Pontius Pilate--the maturity that the fervor and fantasy of a kingdom of purists and zealots will run into conflict with scribes, pharisees, and Rome.

    Will you be able to confirm that the logical conclusion to no prophecy of the Temple Destruction is also no prophecy of the Great Tribulation with the level of detail provided in the gospels?
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    Dec 23, 2014 4:51 PM GMT
    StephenOABC said
    UndercoverMan said
    Ashdod saidwhy why why is this religious blabber in a gay site? can anybody answer that for me?
    cos the op is oblivious to where he is.


    If people would just IGNORE him he will go away. Please people resist the urge to acknowledge his posts.


    Well, thank you, my online acquaintance. The time has come for me to block your profile and ignore your posts.


    Boo Hoo