jeudi 24 novembre 2016

Responding to Criticism

1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

= somewhere else : Anonymous author for Saint Peter?

= On Creationism : More on Petrine Authorship

= my added comments this post.

The question is not why an anonymous Christian would want to pass himself off as the Apostle Peter - two works prove fairly well some did or were thought to have done so.

Well it is an important question, but as you seem to concede it is established that it is not an obstacle at all.

Not quite. I concede it is possible it is not an obstacle, but (as seen further on) I am not sure.

The question is how an anonymous author would succeed in passing himself (as author ego) off as the Apostle Peter.

That is a different question, but yes, it is important too. However, as you say, two works prove fairly well that anonymous authors did believe they would successfully pass their works off as that of the apostles.

I didn't quite say that. They could also be by St Peter and not divinely and infallibly inspired even so. And he could have said so and that admission could be why they are not in canon.

Also, if they were or one of them was by a forger, this would illustrate we have checks working normally, even if not always at first occasion infallibly (and since Church is only infallible universally or when bound universally by St Peter, a purely local acceptance is not enough to bind the faithful conscience).

But one or two forgers is not necessarily a proven fact. Will have to look closer.

"The terminus post quem—the point after which we know the Apocalypse of Peter must have been written—is revealed by its use (in Chapter 3) of 4 Esdras, which was written about 100 AD."

Two problems again:

  • 1) is Apocalypse of St Peter using 4 Esdras, or is 4 Esdras using Apocalypse of St Peter, if 4 Esdras is a forgery (Esdra or Ezra living c. 500 or 550 years earlier than 100 AD)?
  • 2) Do we know 4 Esdras is a forgery, that is written 100 AD? Do we even know it is written 100 AD if it is a forgery?

Anyway, the contents seem fairly orthodox, and were used by Dante, at least if one can take Apocalypse of St Peter as incomplete and omitting Purgatory (which Dante supplies by fantasy.

It could also be that St Peter - like later Dante - made a fantasy Apocalypse and interrupted when told St John would have a real one.

So, doctrinally speaking, I don't have a total confidence it must be forgery.

It seems to have been widely read in Ethiopia. Probably eliminated when Ethiopian Copts were told the rest of the Church didn't use it.

Sorry, a moment:

There is also a section which explains that in the end God will save all sinners from their plight in Hell:

"My Father will give unto them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passeth not away, ... It is because of them that have believed in me that I am come. It is also because of them that have believed in me, that, at their word, I shall have pity on men... "

Thus, sinners will finally be saved by the prayers of those in heaven. Peter then orders his son Clement not to speak of this revelation since God had told Peter to keep it secret:

[and God said]"... thou must not tell that which thou hearest unto the sinners lest they transgress the more, and sin."

That might seem to rule it out, someone might have been engaged in wishful thinking.

At least if Hell is to be taken as Hell and not as Purgatory.

The rejection of the Gospel and Apocalypse which both bear that name, show that early Christians did have some checks.

F2Andy A
Fair point, but these were not rejected out of hand as soon as they appeared. They were accepted by some Christians and were sufficiently well regarded that we still have both w orks.

I suppose they were rejected out of hand by most Christians. Ethiopians seem to have been an exception.

F2Andy B
If we look at the epistles traditionally attributed to Paul, most modern scholars now consider the Pastoral epistles to be written by another author. Yes, the early church did have some checks, but the evidence is that those checks were not perfect, and some works got through that were attributed to an apostle but written by someone else.

The modern scholars considering Pastoral Epistles as not by St Paul are influenced by a Protestant realisation that they portray a Catholic type of Church Hierarchy - along with a Protestant unwillingness to admit this Hierarchy existed from the start.

Now, saying that the Apocalypse of St Peter originally was canon is most probably not true. There were some rival canons before all the 27 books were complete in one collection, and that one accepted by all the Church.

That depends on what you mean by canon. If you consider canon to be only those works accepted by the church since ca. 400, then no. However, there is evidence it was considered canon prior to that, i.e., its mention in the Muratorian fragment.

I was not considering "works of canon" as being rival, but "canons" (not yet the final collection) as being rival ones. The Muratorian canon therefore as rival with another which was not including Apocalypse of St Peter. You seem to take it Muratorian canon was also a universal canon, but on an earlier stage, but in reality, on that earlier stage you did not yet have a single canon.

The Muratorian canon was never binding on the Church, like, say, fasting till 18:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays was in AD 100 before it was relaxed to fasting till 15:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays until that went laxer so being fisheater -vegan on Fridays is now enough, most Fridays around the year for a normal layman. Or in Latin rite, even fisheating lacto-vegetarian on Fridays.

The Muratorian canon was rather one of several canons that ran parallel, but contemporary. If even as much as that. We do not know of its "context in real life" (Sitz im Leben as the German scholars say) and we cannot conclude anything from its not having been adopted universally than that it was not a universal Church canon.

The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in a 7th or 8th century codex from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains features suggesting it is a translation from a Greek original written about 170 or as late as the 4th century. Both the degraded condition of the manuscript and the poor Latin in which it was written have made it difficult to translate. The beginning of the fragment is missing, and it ends abruptly. The fragment consists of all that remains of a section of a list of all the works that were accepted as canonical by the churches known to its original compiler. It was discovered in the Ambrosian Library in Milan by Father Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1 750), the most famous Italian historian of his generation, and published in 1740.[1] The text of the list itself is traditionally dated to about 170 because its author refers to Pius I, bishop of Rome (142—157), as recent:

Wiki quoting Muratorian
But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the chair of the church of the city of Rome. And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after their time.

A few scholars[2] have also dated it as late as the 4th century, but their arguments have not won widespread acceptance in the scholarly community. For more detail, see the article in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Bruce Metzger has advocated the traditional dating.[3]

Wiki's notes
  • 1) Muratori, Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevii (Milan 1740), vol. III, pp 809–80. Located within Dissertatio XLIII (cols. 807-80), entitled 'De Literarum Statu., neglectu, & cultura in Italia post Barbaros in eam invectos usque ad Anum Christii Millesimum Centesimum', at cols. 851-56.
  • 2) Hahneman, Geoffrey Mark. The Muratorian Fragment and the Development of the Canon. (Oxford: Clarendon) 1992. Sundberg, Albert C., Jr. "Canon Muratori: A Fourth Century List" in Harvard Theological Review 66 (1973): 1–41. [Link provided :]
  • 3) Metzger, Bruce M., 1987. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. (Clarendon Press. Oxford) ISBN 0-19-826954-4

So we have no clear indication whatsoever that Muratorian canon was ever a universal one, or a precursor of the universal 27 books canon, which is from late 4th Century.

Therefore, certainly, the watchdogs did their job pretty well fro m the start, except in Ethiopia. From where we have most copies or fragments of Apocalypse of St Peter.

Here is some speculation on where the forgery originated, if such:

Wiki's note 5, Apoc. Pet. again
Oscar Skarsaune (2012). Jewish Believers in Jesus. Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 386–388. ISBN 978-1-56563-763-4. Skarsaune argues for a composition by a Jewish-Christian author in Israel during the Bar Kochba revolt. The text speaks of a single false messiah who has not yet been exposed as false. The reference to the false messiah as a "liar" may be a Hebrew pun turning Bar Kochba's original name, Bar Kosiba, into Bar Koziba, "son of the lie".

So, presumably, if I might do guesswork presuming that it is a forgery, the following scenario is possible:

  • During Bar Kochba revolt, a Christian of Jewish origin is torn between love of the Faith and love of Jewish relatives, perhaps apostasising, perhaps never having been Christians, and he hopes they will be released from Hell.
  • In that extremely chaotic situation, he manages to pull off a forgery. It's clue being the sentiment that Hell is just Purgatory.
  • It is everywhere or nearly so rejected.
  • It finds its way to Ethiopia, where it is copied and survives, and where Christianity having much Jewish connexions faced similar anguish as he.
  • Somewhere either in Bar Kochba's or post Bar Kochba's Palestine or in Ethiopia, the Muratorian text is written, and most of that text is rejected, and only the exotic canon survives.

Unlike Council of Carthage, where all of the context around canon is also surviving, one knows the canon is a Conciliar decree. One can guess it was not disputed elsewhere. But by then, the debates on this or that or sundry book of the Bible, as to NT, was over, same as with smaller debates on OT (is there a "First Esdra" before the Esdra which nowadays Vulgate cites as First? Are there a III and IV Maccabees after the II Maccabees where Vulgate ends OT?) which mean that the Latin translation, later replaced by Vulgate is somewhat different from Greek, possibly, and Slavonic versions of LXX canon, sth which Council of Carthage does not fix.

From your link
Some artless iambic lines of uncertain date are appended here, which show what was thought of the doctrine:

' Plainly false: for the fire will never cease to torment the damned. I indeed could pray that it might be so, who am branded with the deepest scars of transgressions which stand in need of utmost mercy. But let Origen be ashamed of his lying words, who saith that there is a term set to the torments.'

One could speculate that St Peter had one revelation, wrote it down, but knew it was not definite, perhaps the last words were his own wishful thinking, it was confided to his disciple St Mark who took it to Alexandria, where it came into somewhat wrong hands when Origen blew up the final words into the doctrine of Apokastasis ton panton.

But apart from that, that doctrine is so attractive to some, that giving it apostolic certificate would have been attractive to very many - and in that case St Peter's apocalypse was the one which was most discreet and managed to make it basically half way.

Meanwhile, the Public Revelation was not finished when St Peter died and the error which might have been innocent in him was corrected a few decades later by Apocalypse of St John. And it may have gained ground as canonic slower, precisely where that "of St Peter" had a good reputation.

In other words, the manuscript, with this rejecting addition, eventually came into hands of people clearly feeling, as most Christians since, that the doctrine of redemption from Hell is false.

From your link
There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) along with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday.

This was written 1924.

It is not certain that the version in Palestine includeded the disputed doctrine.

Also, Palestine concurs with an origin from Bar Kochba revolt.

It is certain that the author of those lines for some reason thought Muratorian fragment connected to canon of Rome, but that begs the question how he knows Pastor Herma s and Pope St Pius I were only known in Rome and surroundings. The history of the text does not guarantee it is an earlier Roman canon, as far as I can see.

It seems Clement of Alexandria considered it to be scripture, by the way.

He is between Palestine and Ethiopia.

See also my speculation on its origins.

So, this books never made it beyond one or two local Churches, either because another one knew it to be spurious, or because one had not sufficient proofs for considering it genuine.

This is just conjecture. We really do not know how many early churches accepted it, or what their reasons for rejecting it might be (it could have been that its theology was not aligned with that church). However, from the above link:

"There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) alo ng with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday."

This suggests it was considerably more popular than it "never made it beyond one or two local Churches" as you would have us think.

Make it three and regional rather than local : parts of Palestine, Alexandria at times, parts of Ethiopia.

That is the known carreer of Apocalypse of St Peter.

Note that Alexandria is both where St Peter sent St Mark and where Origen and Clement the Stromatist (neither of which is now considered a Saint by Roman Catholics) were later based.

And that latter is, considering God has promised to preserve his word and no Church considers Apocalypse as St Peter canon, one sign it is probably not genuine either.

This presupposes God works to preserve his word. Given the amount of evidence of copying errors in the Bible, this seems unlikely to say the least.

It would be unlikely if we had only o n e single version of the Bible and it could be shown to have copy errors. But if we have many and one of extant and used versions has original reading or its translation, this is not so.

F2Andy's link
For example, 2 Kings 24:8 says that Jehoiachin succeeded his father as the nineteenth king of Judah at the age of eighteen, whereas 2 Chronicles 36:9 informs us that he was "eight years old when he became king." The honest person must admit that these two passages are in disagreement.

Not really, Jehoiachin may have become king, as in coregent of his father, at age 8, and later have succeeded his father who died when he was 18.

I will look at Haydock comment.

II Paralipomenon 36:
9 Joachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Ver. 9. Eight years old. He was associated by his father to the kingdom, when he was but eight years old; but after his father's death, when he reigned alone, he was eighteen years old, 4 Kings xxiv. 8. (Challoner)

He only enjoyed the throne three months and ten days. (Tirinus)

We must however observe, (Haydock) that the Alexandrian Septuagint, the Syriac, and Arabic read here, eighteen. (Calmet)

"It is, in my opinion, a pity that the translators have not mended such apparent errata of the scribe of the present Hebrew out of 2 Kings xxiv. 8., or out of Septuagint, or out of common sense." (Wall) (Kennicott)

These eight years may be dated from the captivity, and not from the king's birth. (Usher) (Du Hamel)

[Kennicott, marked in list of commenters as heretic : † Kennicott (1783)]

IV Kings 24:
8 Joachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, *and he reigned three months in Jerusalem: the name of his mother was Nohesta, the daughter of Elnathan, of Jerusalem.

Ver. 8. Eighteen. One Hebrew manuscript reads "thirteen," (Haydock) or 3 instead of 8. (Kennicott)

The number seems also (Haydock) to be incorrect in Paralipomenon, where we find that Joachin was only eight years old, as the Syriac and Arabic have 18 in both places, and it could not well be said, that he did evil, &c., (ver. 9.) at the age of 8, much less that he had wives so soon, ver. 15. (Calmet)

Some attempt to reconcile both places, by saying that the eight years refer to the commencement of his father's reign; (Junius) which is very unusual: (Calmet) or to the servitude of Babylon, when Jerusalem was taken under Joakim. (Hardouin.)

Sanctius conjectures that Joachin was associated with his father when he was 10 years old, and after 8 years became sole king. (Kimchi, &c.) (Du Hamel)

[It is the heretic † Kennicott (1783) who appeals to one manuscript]

Now, either we have some kind of historical mystery to solve, or Syriac and Arabic texts are the correct ones.

Either way, since the mystery can be resolved and the Syriac and Arabic texts are extant, saying "God has preserved His word" has not been falsified.

The site with pageThe Reality of Copyists' Errors (B. Thompson and E. Lyons) seems, thus, to be caught up in being too tied to Masoretic Versions and also incapable of thinking outside the box, when it comes to reconciling the texts.

Or, as their criticism involves "The honest person must admit", they might have rejected attempts of thinking outside the box as dishonest.

Supposing without proof that Sts Paul and Peter had very diverse theologies.

I thought this was well-established. Acts describes the arguing between Paul and the Christia ns in Jerusalem. Here are some web pages by, I think, Christians, acknowledging those differences.

Now, I am assuming Peter followed Jesus theology here, rather than Paul's, but given Peter was with Jesus for three years, this seems a valid assumption.

" the arguing between Paul and the Christians in Jerusalem" - where so? I guess you got content of one of the pages wrong.

There was one argument between Sts Peter and Paul which is mentioned in Galatians, but the difference is not St Peter having another theology than St Paul, it is rather that St Peter momentarily was adapting to people having another one, even if St Peter's own theology since the vision in Acts 10, where St Peter starts out different from St Paul and finishes acc epting it, and the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 which involve Jerusalem bringing the theology of St Paul to triumph.

So, by the time St Peter wrote epistles, his prejudices were no longer interfering with the Christian theology which we know.

A letter of exhortation is not a personal narrative.

A valid point... but it hardly proves that Peter was the author.

It is valid for removing one potential disproof of Peter being the author.

Tradition saying so is the positive proof for it.

As for any other authorship questions. If you want to know if that man with the pipe and the long face whom they call John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was the real author of Lord of the Rings, what method do you use? I go by the tradition which goes back to his publishers.

That is, he was the author.

St Peter can have had ample opportunity to explain the Gospel in terms of his personal memories and corroborated by Gospels like Matthew and Luke - Mark being their conflation, under his dictation - to the adressees on another occasion.

I stand with modern scholarship on this, and belief Mark was the original, and Matthew and Luke are derived from it.

Even though you should have read up by now on Markan priority being a hunch, invented for a commodity in Bismarck's Germany, spread by a Soft Totalitarian state control over Universities in the German Reich of the Hohenzollerns?

Or didn't you read that link? I admit, I didn't read the triple link contesting on possibility of Sts Peter and Paul having different theologies.

But that is a more well known story. As to the background for Markan priority in the scholarship after Franco-Prussian war, it was news to me, unknown to myself a few weeks ago.

And before looking at the three links (you'll excuse me for being somewhat rationalising, and Apocalypse of St Peter was more important to come to terms with), I have already a hunch of what they are about.

Some Jews are converting today. Just as apocastasis ton panton is attractive to Christians of Jewish origin, so is continuing to keep the law as per OT ritual (as if the Jews were actually doing that, without the temple and all), it is also attractive to Jews wanting to disprove CHristianity without attacking Jesus, perhaps by ruse, because they have historically been attacking Jesus and know that won't work with Christian populations, and perhaps also in some cases because they are impressed (after very lately actually reading NT) with Jesus as an OT scholar, as a rabbi.

So, St Peter remaining ritually an Ebionite (the kind of Christians or half-Christians from 1st C AD who opposed St Paul, and required continuing the law) is of course attractive to them from this perspective, as confirming Jesus was that too and therefore discrediting historical Christianity.

But the reason why he can't have been in such a position is, if he had been, the guys who got this letter from an unknown person would hardly have taken him for Peter the Apostle, just because he said so.

So how do you think these guys did check the authorship? Letters were frequency written by scribes and carried by couriers. If the courier said the letter came from Peter, exactly how would that be confirmed?

If you were a Roman Emperor, like Trajan or Hadrian, and sent a letter to Pliny the Younger when he was a magistrate on how he was to conduct the persecution of Christians (no ratting out of hidden ones, except by denunciation, but no tolerance of those admitting to be so), how did Pliny the Younger know the letter was from Trajan?

It was also delivered by courier.

The point is, post office with services for everyone was not invented.

And couriers implied a routine of verifying how genuine the correspondence was.

In one case, a letter from St Paul includes the words of his writing this or that with his own hand. One theory could be that he was giving a sample of his handwriting, so one could identify his signature next time. This is a less likely theory, since majuscules were very stereotype, not easy to pick one handwriting from another - it also presupposes that on this occasion the courier was known so one could know t h a t letter was no fake. More probably, though, St Paul was giving a second grade relic of himself, precisely as handkerchiefs which had touched his clothes served as second grade relics and were instrumental in God's miracles.

Miracles being performed is of course one recourse which is very likely with the autographs of God's own words.

If that manuscript from St Peter hadn't been from St Peter, it could not have given a blindborn man back his eyesight or raised that dead. Speculating, since I have not heard of any actual such story about this case, though the parallel is true when picking out the True Cross of Christ from the crosses of the two robbers, when St Helen found them.

Other - non-miraculous - means would be:

  • couriers known to both parties;

  • "the fisher ring", a k a being a ring with a seal on it and belonging to Popes:

    Popes have traditionally each of them a ring, with allusion to St Peter being a fisherman, where the artwork on the sealing wax identifies the seal and the letter as being from that particular seal, that particular ring (and when a Pope dies, his fisher ring is broken) : St Peter could be the origin of this custom;

  • "ad limina visits" : every diocesan bishop in Western Rite, and every major Patriarch (bishop over other bishops) in Eastern Rites has to visit the Pope in order to show his submission (Orthodox would argue back then rather just communion) under (with) the Pope.

    If St Peter had sent his epistle to such and such a bishop, that bishop could later ask on his ad limina, "did you send this letter"?

  • couriers being Church officials + safe guards against false such:

    If your President sends you a letter, unless it is just a polite answer to fan mail ... wait, (I saw you are accessing your own blog in UK), if Elizabeth sends you a letter and it is not just a polite answer to fan mail, for instance if you are a leaseholder on her freehold or sth, and she wants the ground back for a natural park or sth, you don't expect her to send by ordinary mail. Even more so if you are an officer in her service, and get a letter in war time.

    You expect her to give extra assurances the letter is from her, by going through some official, you expect these to be recognisable both by some kind of uniform and also by knowing things about public service or military routine that a common Englishman who would impersonate wouldn't know.

    The same would have been true of a deacon being sent from St Peter to anywhere he was adressing his both epistles. He would have to be good at Christian theology (which was being less openly preached to everyone, and which was only partly expressed in writing) and to know things a deacon would know but ordinary Catholics wouldn't.

    Of course, back in these days, he might even be required to perform a miracle as part of authentifying his being from a hagiographer.

The idea of someone succeeding to forge a writing by an apostle and get it accepted by the Church, well, why don't you try to forge an order by President Obama (who is still such) or by subsequent President Trump, just to know how easy it is to do so?

And yet modern scholarship seems reasonably sure the Pastoral epistles atre example of just that!

That modern scholarship is of Protestant inspiration.

Catholics have so often last two centuries in English and German speaking countries had occasion to prove the Catholic concept of hierarchy from the Pastoral letters, that Protestants more willing to part with Scripture than to become Catholics have come up with that idea.

Such semi-apostates from Protestantism to Atheism are very much in control of modern Academia.

And apostasising to the full to Atheism has basically founded Atheism as a non-Christian branch of Protestantism.

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