Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Paul's missionary journeys and Tertullian on the Acts of Paul.

The text known as the Acts of Paul is said by Tertullian to have been forged close to his time in Asia by a presbyter who did it out of love for Paul's memory. This man was supposedly deposed from his office. Clement of Rome says an interesting thing not confirmed by the Acts of the Apostles. He says, "Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience." (1Clement 5)

Here in this work we have a mention of a letter to Corinth and we have an allusion to the Acts of Paul and Thecla. In the canonical Acts, Paul goes to prison in Philippi, Caesarea, and Rome. In the Acts of Paul he goes to prison in Iconium, Ephesus, Rome, and a unnamed city to be a slave in the mines. That makes for a total of seven imprisonments just as Clement says. This Clement is said to be mentioned in the letter to the Philippians. When combined with the canonical Acts one will get seven imprisonments: Iconium, Ephesus, Rome, and an unnamed location in the mines in the Acts of Paul; Philippi, Caesarea, Rome in the canonical Acts. It appears Clement was using the Acts of Paul and Thecla alongside 3Corinthians and a martyrdom story.

Ignatius says that Paul issued commands, an idea found in the first letter to the Thessalonians: "I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant." (Romans 4). There are also some characters found only in 2Timothy and 1Timothy that are mentioned in the Acts of Paul. Alexander, Hermogenes, Onesiphorus, Titus, Barnabas, Justus, Luke, Demas, Eubulus, and Justus are all mentioned in this writing. Stichometry lists have given this book 8,560-8,600 lines. Which is considerably longer than the 1,800 that survive and much longer than the canonical Acts. The martyrdom story comes from the writing.

Irenaeus' AH 3.3.3 states, "In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things."

Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp all speak of Paul as a martyr.

Polycarp to the Philippians 3 states, "He, when among you, accurately and stedfastly taught the word of truth in the presence of those who were then alive. And when absent from you, he wrote you a letter, which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbour, 'is the mother of us all.'"

Chapter 9 says, "I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our sakes was raised again by God from the dead."

Pseudo Ignatius Long recension of Philadelphians even tries to change Paul into a married man and teaches as the Thessalonian letters do, to imitate Paul and the Apostles. The Trallians long recension 7 says, "And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers,47 fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him, as the holy Stephen did to the blessed James, Timothy and Linus to Paul, Anencletus and Clement to Peter?" Pseudo Magnesians 10 even claims Peter and Paul laid the foundations of the church at Antioch, naming the group as Christians. This is quoting Acts. Pseudo Ephesians 6 even supports the idea that Ephesians was written to Ephesus. Yet, early manuscripts do not contain this phrase. It even calls Paul Christotokos, a term used for Ignatius and Bishops. Chapter 11 states, "May I attain to this, so that I may be found in the lot of the Christians of Ephesus, who have always had intercourse with the apostles by the power of Jesus Christ, with Paul, and John, and Timothy the most faithful."

Ephesians ch. 12 middle recension states, "Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall attain to God; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus." Here we see Paul named as martyr who mentions the Ephesians in every epistle. Pseudo Ephesians 15 says Paul spoke for Christ as if possessed by him.

The epistles to Rome, Galatia, Philippi, Colosse, Thessalonica, and the ones to Titus and Philemon never mention Asia or Ephesus. Asia is named in 1Corinthians, 2Corinthians, and 2Timothy. While Ephesus is named in 1Corinthians, Ephesians, and 1Timothy. It appears Ignatius knows of 1Corinthians, 2Corinthians, 1Timothy, 2Timothy, and Ephesians but nothing of Romans, Galatians, 1Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians, Colossians, Philippians, Titus, or Philemon. Here we have a five book collection. So the statement is rather bizarre which is probably just one of many reasons scholars do not regard the long recension as authentic.

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