The New Testament in Plain English and John 1:1

by Wonderment 39 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • ProdigalSon

    If you are insinuating the Paul was a Gnostic, you don't have much tpo support that.

    Other than Paul saying "I'm a Gnostic", we don't have "proof". But there is certainly plenty of evidence to support a hypothesis that he was.

    It has been hypothesized by scholars such as Hyam Maccoby and Elaine Pagels - as well as the mystic Timothy Freke, that Paul of Tarsus was a Gnostic who developed the early Christian church as a mystery religion with a Jewish flavour, and that elements of this church forgot or misunderstood the mystery elements, largely abandoned its Jewish foundation, and took up literal interpretation of the text. [citation needed]

    Their argument for Paul being a gnostic is based on arguments about the authorship of the Pauline Epistles. The pastoral epistles (those to Timothy and Titus), are generally acknowledged as being clearly anti-gnostic, and the second Epistle to the Thessalonians clearly refutes certain gnostic interpretations of the first Epistle to the Thessalonians.

  • PSacramento

    I think that is a case of looking at Paul with "gnostic tinted glasses", sorry.

    Hey, they may even be right, but it just doesn't mesh that way to me.

    But hey, you may be right and I may be wrong, or vice-versa ;)

    I think that if you look at the Gospels and Paul with a gnostic preconception you will find what you are looking for, just as if you look at the gnostci writings with an "orthodox" perception you will see all he issues that are there.

    What we do know is that the gnostic writings came after and that we must look at Paul and the NT writings within the context of when they were wrtten ( 1st century Palestine) and by whom ( 1st century Jews as writers or at least dictators).

  • badseed

    godrulz would love to hijack this thread..

  • J. Hofer
    J. Hofer

    psac... even paul adresses gnostics as having "the so-called gnosis"

  • ProdigalSon
  • PSacramento
    THE first groups of Christians, whom Renan shows numbering but from seven to twelve men in each church, belonged unquestionably to the poorest and most ignorant classes. They had and could have no idea of the highly philosophical doctrines of the Platonists and Gnostics, and evidently knew as little about their own newly-made-up religion.

    From that website linked by PS.

    To start off, there is NO reason to believe that at all.

    Luke was and is considered by many historians as a top notch historical writer and Paul is still considered an excellent philosopher, as a matter of fact the former atheist Anthony Flew considered him excellent.

    I think that by started a premiss with that much mis-information pretty much starts you off on the wrong foot but hey, he is only expressing his opinion so to each their own of course.

    AS for the rest, specualtion with no evidence.


  • ProdigalSon

    I think that by started a premiss with that much mis-information pretty much starts you off on the wrong foot

    So, because the opening statement doesn't fit your personal paradigm, the entire article is bogus?

    Is this all "speculation"?

    ".....To these, who if Jews, had been crushed under the tyrannical dominion of the "law," as enforced by the elders of the synagogues, and if Pagans had been always excluded, as the lower castes are until now in India, from the religious mysteries, the God of the Jews and the "Father" preached by Jesus were all one. The contention which reigned from the first years following the death of Jesus, between the two parties, the Pauline and the Petrine -- were deplorable. What one did, the other deemed a sacred duty to undo. If the Homilies are considered apocryphal, and cannot very well be accepted as an infallible standard by which to measure the animosity which raged between the two apostles, we have the Bible, and the proofs afforded therein are plentiful........

    .....How daring and desperate were many such deliberate falsifications was shown in the first attempts to compare the original manuscripts with later ones. In Bishop Horseley's edition of Sir Isaac Newton's works, several manuscripts on theological subjects were cautiously withheld from publication. The article known as Christ's Descent into Hell, which is found in the later Apostles' Creed, is not to be found in the manuscripts of either the fourth or sixth centuries. It was an evident interpolation copied from the fables of Bacchus and Hercules and enforced upon Christendom as an article of faith. Concerning it the author of the preface to the Catalogue of the Manuscripts of the King's Library (preface, p. xxi.) remarks: "I wish that the insertion of the article of Christ's Descent into Hell into the Apostles' Creed could be as well accounted for as the insertion of the said verse" (First Epistle of John, v. 7).


    And now we ask again the question: Who were the first Christians? Those who were readily converted by the eloquent simplicity of Paul, who promised them, with the name of Jesus, freedom from the narrow bonds of ecclesiasticism. They understood but one thing; they were the "children of promise" (Gal. 4:28). The "allegory" of the Mosaic Bible was unveiled to them; the covenant "from the Mount Sinai which gendereth to bondage" was Agar (Ibid., 24), the old Jewish synagogue, and she was "in bondage with her children" to Jerusalem, the new and the free, "the mother of us all." On the one hand the synagogue and the law which persecuted every one who dared to step across the narrow path of bigotry and dogmatism; on the other, Paganism(1) with its grand philosophical truths concealed from sight; unveiling itself but to the few, and leaving the masses hopelessly seeking to discover who was the god, among this overcrowded pantheon of deities and sub-deities. To others, the apostle of circumcision, supported by all his followers, was promising, if they obeyed the "law," a life hereafter, and a resurrection of which they had no previous idea. At the same time he never lost an occasion to contradict Paul without naming him, but indicating him so clearly that it is next to impossible to doubt whom Peter meant. While he may have converted some men, who whether they had believed in the Mosaic resurrection promised by the Pharisees, or had fallen into the nihilistic doctrines of the Sadducees, or had belonged to the polytheistic heathenism of the Pagan rabble, had no future after death, nothing but a mournful blank, we do not think that the work of contradiction, carried on so systematically by the two apostles, had helped much their work of proselytism. With the educated thinking classes they succeeded very little, as ecclesiastical history clearly shows. Where was the truth; where the inspired word of God? On the one hand, as we have seen, they heard the apostle Paul explaining that of the two covenants, "which things are an allegory," the old one from Mount Sinai, "which gendereth unto bondage," was Agar the bondwoman; and Mount Sinai itself answered to "Jerusalem," which now is "in bondage" with her circumcised children; and the new covenant meant Jesus Christ -- the "Jerusalem which is above and free"; and on the other Peter, whowas contradicting and even abusing him. Paul vehemently exclaims, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son" (the old law and the synagogue). "The son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free; be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.... Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing!" (Gal. 5:2). What do we find Peter writing? Whom does he mean by saying, "These who speak great swelling words of vanity.... While they promise them liberty, they themselves are servants of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.... For if they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour, they are again entangled therein, and overcome ... it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (Second Epistle).

    Peter certainly cannot have meant the Gnostics, for they had never seen "the holy commandment delivered unto them"; Paul had. They never promised any one "liberty" from bondage, but Paul haddone so repeatedly. Moreover the latter rejects the "old covenant," Agar the bondwoman; and Peter holds fast to it. Paul warns the people against the powers and dignities (the lower angels of the kabalists); and Peter, as will be shown further, respects them and denounces those who do not. Peter preaches circumcision and Paul forbids it.

    Later, when all these extraordinary blunders, contradictions, dissensions and inventions were forcibly crammed into a frame elaborately executed by the episcopal caste of the new religion, and called Christianity; and the chaotic picture itself cunningly preserved from too close scrutiny by a whole array of formidable Church penances and anathemas, which kept the curious back under the false pretense of sacrilege and profanation of divine mysteries; and millions of people had been butchered in the name of the God of mercy -- then came the Reformation. It certainly deserves its name in its fullest paradoxical sense. It abandoned Peter and alleges to have chosen Paul for its only leader. And the apostle who thundered against the old law of bondage; who left full liberty to Christians to either observe the Sabbath or set it aside; who rejects everything anterior to John the Baptist, is now the professed standard-bearer of Protestantism, which holds to the old law more than the Jews, imprisons those who view the Sabbath as Jesus and Paul did, and outvies the synagogue of the first century in dogmatic intolerance!

  • J. Hofer
    J. Hofer

    paul was such a great philosopher, he didn't even understand the "epimenides paradox".

  • PSacramento

    Who were the first Christians? Those who were readily converted by the eloquent simplicity of Paul, who promised them, with the name of Jesus, freedom from the narrow bonds of ecclesiasticism.

    The first Christians were Jews from which Paul LEARNED from.

    Quite possibly the oldest of the Christian creeds:

    1 Corinthians 15:3-8:

    “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

    as Paul declared later in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:14-17):

    “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

  • Wonderment

    The New Testament in Plain English (published, 2003) translates John 1:1c as: "the Word was God." However, a footnote on this verse says: "or, Deity, Divine (which is actually a better translation, because the Greek definite article is not present before this Greek word)."

    Thank you for all your comments on this post!

    I would like to add a thought that came up to mind as I read their footnote on John 1:1c.

    If as they say, "Deity, Divine, which is actally a better translation," why not use the "better" translation in the main text, and then choose to use a rendering which admittedly is not as good as the suggested one in the footnote? What? Is it more important to follow tradition than it is to convey the most appropiate reading? Is is more important to be "popular" and perhaps, sell more bibles when the translator prefers traditional renderings which admittedly are not as good as other alternative readings?

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