Question on Acts 15:28,29

by pc 43 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • Leolaia

    metatron.......There is a little misunderstanding. The Noachide laws is the name for Pharisee requirements for Gentiles attending synagogues and wishing to adopt Judaism. It was believed that they were given by God to Noah either before the Flood or after the Flood and are thus binding on all Gentiles. They are not based on anything described in Genesis. The list in Acts is thought to be a variant of the Noachide list of prohibitions but draws directly on Leviticus.

  • Narkissos

    The pharisaic / rabbinic noachide law only makes sense in a context where ritual separation is maintained between Jews and Gentiles. This was clearly James' position, so he could not really approve of the Pauline "mission" (and if he formally did he was fooled as to its true nature).

    The Judeo-Christian, dietary "Torahized" decree seems to be a later (and belated) attempt at controlling the Pauline breach to the ritual border of Judaism.

    Of course for more detailed historical reconstruction much depends on the authenticity of Galatians, which is an open question in my book.

  • Leolaia

    I think the critical issue is that of circumcision, because the ritual separation you speak of is dissolved through submission to circumcision and taking the yoke of the Law. There are a number of rabbinical statements to the effect that a Gentile who submits to the Torah is analogous to a "high priest". I think the Didache fairly represents the Jewish-Christian position by telling Gentiles that "if you are able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect (teleios). But if you are not able, then do what you can" (6:2), which on the surface sounds lenient concerning Torah observance, except that in the eschatological moment "all the time you have believed will be of no use to you if you are not found perfect (teleióthéte) in the last time" (16:2). That is, justification is guaranteed only through full Torah observance, and the Gentile convert is expected to make the effort to "do what they can" to perfect themselves so they could eventually bear the yoke in time before the "final hour". A concession is made to the Gentiles to become part of the community in the present without fully embracing the Law at once, but the separation between the two will still be made if they fail to take up the yoke before Judgment Day comes. It is possible that this concession and the insistence only on the Noachide laws, if made by James and Peter, is exactly the sort of position that could have given Paul his mistaken impression that the Jerusalem leaders were in agreement with his radical position on the Law.

    I think it is also possible that Paul developed his views on the Law gradually, and had a more moderate position at the time of his meeting in Jerusalem. Indeed, if by his own admission he started out as a Pharisee "zealous for the traditions of my ancestors" (Galatians 1:14), he probably did have a more moderate position some 14 years earlier. On the other hand, it is also possible that Paul misunderstood the nuances of the Jewish-Christian position, just as the Jewish-Christian epistle of James misunderstood the nuances of the Pauline stance. I think there was also debate within the Jewish Christian community on the extent to which uncircumcised Gentile converts can be treated as full members of the community than simply God-fearers. James appears to have retained the strict rabbinical position and maintained ritual separation, while Peter/Cephas went much further in dropping the practice of ritual separation (Galatians 2:12). I think the break between Peter and Paul on the one hand and James on the other is on the matter of whether followers of Jesus were to "become Jews" to be saved. The Ebionite Petrine pseudepigrapha clearly represent Peter as Torah-observant and desiring Gentiles to be Torah-observant, but viewed Christians as a "third race" that is neither Gentile or Jew (cf. Kerygma Petrou; compare 1 Peter 2:9, Galatians 3:28). If Paul started out with a position like this, it is easy to see how he could have gone further in dropping the Law entirely.

    Of course, I do accept Galatians as authentic -- not being persuaded of treating it as deutero-Pauline.

  • simwitness


    Maybe it's only obvious to me, but:

    It was believed that they were given by God to Noah either before the Flood or after the Flood and are thus binding on all Gentiles.

    But were'nt the only people alive "after" the flood Jews?? What Gentiles wouldve "needed" these laws?

    I musta missed the part where Noah took 2 Gentiles on the ark!

  • pc

    Just wanted to say the usual "THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my question. I only wish I could just get some of the JW's I know to just read the information you all post here. It doesn't matter what your beliefs are it is amazing what you've all researched. So again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! pc

  • A Paduan
    A Paduan

    • Jws stumble by requiring literal application of scripture with culinary observance, as was the case in Jesus' time their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame because

    Everything is indeed clean.........let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

    • These literal applications of scripture are 'burdens'

    it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these

    • It was to keep peace that it 'seemed good' that certain observances be kept, because

    We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him.

    I'm sure that it doesn't include killing our children so we can 'get along'.

  • Narkissos


    The self(?)-depiction of Paul as a former Pharisee (which is very much in tune with the Gospels' caricature of pharisaism) is the part of the portrait I find most hard to believe (cf. Maccoby, Eisenman).


    In the Jewish stories of Genesis as it stands, the characters appearing before Jacob (= "Israel") are not supposed to be "Israelites". Noah and his sons, like Adam, are presented as the ancestors of all mankind (cf. Genesis 10).

  • LittleToe

    The decendants of Ham and Japheth were decidedly gentile.

    If I understand it right, later descendants of Shem would become Israelites, through Jacob (Israel), and later descendants of Israel would eventually become Jews (of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin).

    Hence most folks were viewed as Gentiles, including the Samaritans (if I have it correct) who were the returnees of the Northern Tribes.

  • heathen

    That's interesting , I never thought of Noah as a Jew . The jews as far as I could think were those that were decendant of Abraham and later entered into the mosaic law covenant .

  • simwitness

    ok, so I stand corrected on the whole "Noah was a Jew" thing, but the "fact" remains that after the flood there was only 8 people left, so any prior law to seperate would have been useless, and it would've taken "some time" before the whole jew/gentile thing to come to fruition...Would Noah have even been alive at that point to create, or see into the future that some of his descendants would need decidedly different dietary laws?

    So, exactly what would the point of "Noachian" law be?

    "That's Ham's kids, they can eat ham but we can't, don't ask why, grandpappy says the lord said so".

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