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  #31  
Old 04-07-2019, 07:33 PM
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Re: 1st century Jewish sects and Christianity

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Originally Posted by coksiw View Post
Brother the word "heaven" is use abstractly in greek to mean anything above the earth, as “cielo” in Spanish.

It can refer to the place where God is as in several verses you described, but also, the place were the stars are as in:
"[1Co 15:40 NASB] 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the [glory] of the earthly is another."
Eph 6:12 is referring to the place where the clouds are (the atmosphere), as we know in what level the devil moves: “in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
EPHESIANS‬ 2:2‬ NASB‬‬

This can be described as the three heavens as suggested in "[2Co 12:2 NASB] 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a man was caught up to the third heaven." If the third is the one where God is, then the first is where the clouds are (or atmosphere) and the second where the heavenly bodies are (stars, sun, moon).
All of what you describe is the cosmos, of which heaven and earth are the main features, but also includes outer-space, the celestial bodies, etc. Having a correct Biblical cosmology is essential to the discussion. The sky realm and above were seen as one continuous whole, levels to be sure but all part of the whole.

For example, prophets in the OT are said to stand in the council of the Almighty. Adam and Eve walked with God in paradise. The High Priest could transcend earth at the foot of the Ark. Jacob saw a stairway that went from earth to heaven, with YHVH at top, angels ascending and descending. We sit with Christ in heavenly places. It's not talking about the final frontier, but a different reality or way of existing and perceiving the world.

I recommend Dr. Heiser on this:

http://drmsh.com/

The Bible Project has some really good videos, too, that explain this:

https://thebibleproject.com/
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  #32  
Old 06-16-2019, 06:15 PM
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Re: 1st century Jewish sects and Christianity

Cross posting this from the Eschatology Debate section:

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Originally Posted by Esaias View Post
It was long assumed by commentators that stoicheion referred to several things, as demonstrated by the research of Bandstra in his The Law and the Elements of the World:

1. Basic elements (air, earth, water, fire) out of which all matter is composed (somewhat in contrast to the atomic theory floating around at the same time).

2. Elemental spirits or beings which governed destiny connected with astrological/astronomical functions.

3. Principles of religious or philosophical teachings.

Bandstra notes that #2 is the most common understanding among 20th century commentators, but he opts for #3 and applies it to "the law and the flesh". He correctly points out that #2 (the "personalised cosmological" interpretation of elemental spirit beings) is not attested to in 1st century writings and even among the patristic authors it was first used to refer to a "heavenly body" without reference to any idea of any kind of "astral spirit".

Others likewise have recognised the incorrectness of #2 as being anachronistic (see for example Binzler, Schweizer, etc).

The discussion devolves to whether the stoicheion in question are principles of religious teachings (3) or cosmological elements (1).

Against the idea of stoicheion being religious principles is the fact that everytime stoicheion occurs with kosmos in extant literature the term stoicheion always refers to the physical elements. The context of Colossians, with its emphasis on philosophy, indicates the term there means physical elements. 2 Peter seems likewise focused on the cosmological rather than the "principles of religion" aspect, especially in light of its contrast and comparison with the Deluge.

Only in Galatians does the principles of religion interpretation hold any ground because of the contextual emphasis on law, worship, circumcision, religious calendars, etc. But even in Galatians, the cosmological aspect is there, thus there is diversity of opinion on the meaning of stoicheion in Galatians. but in Colossians and 2 Peter, it seems there is overwhelming evidence the term is referring to the corporeal elements of the cosmos.
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  #33  
Old 06-16-2019, 06:16 PM
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Re: 1st century Jewish sects and Christianity

And this:

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Originally Posted by Esaias View Post
"Against the idea of stoicheion being religious principles is the fact that everytime stoicheion occurs with kosmos in extant literature the term stoicheion always refers to the physical elements. The context of Colossians, with its emphasis on philosophy, indicates the term there means physical elements"


In Colossians, the issue involves a non Christian philosophical-religious system that is derived from the stoicheion of the kosmos. The grammar is pretty direct that it is not stoicheion of a philosophy that is being opposed, but rather a philosophy based upon and derived from the stoicheion of the kosmos, meaning a philosophy based on a particular physic, or understanding of the natural elements of the universe.

The phrase kata ta stoicheia tou kosmou indicates the ground or basis of the Colossian opposition's philosophy. It is literally a philosophy "about the elements of the world". The elements of the world are the ground or basis for the opposing philosophy, and stands in opposition (and apposition) to Christ. The philosophy Paul is arguing against is a philosophy based on a particular view of the constructive elements of the cosmos, and he argues in favour of a view based on Christ being the incarnate deity.

The opposition view is also said to be derived "according to the traditions of men", indicating the Colossian opposition was an already pre-existing philosophical system rather than a new-fangled invention. The Colossian Christians were interacting with and being critiqued ("judged") by a somewhat popular Greek philosophical movement that was making inroads in Asia Minor in the first century. That philosophical movement (essentially what we today would call a religious movement) critiqued and opposed apostolic Christianity as being incompatible with reality and the basic structure of the cosmos. This, the opponents claimed, led to vain worship and vain living, as compared to their own claimed humility, frugality, and disregard for higher spiritual beings.

In other words, the apostle was combating the Cynic movement, which at the time was a formidable antiChristian pagan movement whose primary critique of Christianity was based upon Cynicism's view of the natural elements which formed the basis for a philosophy of living and ethics and religious duty.
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  #34  
Old 06-18-2019, 10:57 PM
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Re: 1st century Jewish sects and Christianity

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Originally Posted by Esaias View Post
Currently studying the religious history of Galatia and Colossae, as it relates to the first century. We often assume that Paul's polemics repeatedly involve Jewish opponents, whether Pharisees, Hellenists, Gnostics, or (as I indicated in several other threads) Enochite-Essene Jewish cults. One thing I've noticed is a general lack of attention to the wider philosophical milieu of the world in which Paul evangelised and ministered.

My studies are now exploring that angle more specifically. I believe it will shed some light on some issues that have been a bit contentious around here lately.
As noted in the post immediately above this reponse, the church at Colossae was not dealing with judaizing heretics, gnostic heretics, nor in fact does it appear they were dealing with any Christian heresy at all.

The lack of discussion by Paul concerning the role of the law and the dichotomy between works and faith indicates he was not addressing a Jewish-Christian heretical group and teaching or even a Jewish non-Christian subversive or opposition movement. I had long thought the Colossian error was a proto-gnostic Judaizing influence (like what was afflicting the Galatian churches) but closer examination of the epistles forces me to abandon that assumption. Whenever Paul has to deal with Judaizers, whether mainstream Pharisees or Gnostic syncretists, he always frames the discussion around several key themes: the two covenants, law vs grace, works vs faith, etc. Here, in Colossians, those themes are absent. Instead he focuses on themes more relevant to a Greek audience and situation: philosophy, cosmology, and liturgy, and resurrection.

Many have assumed the Colossian issue involved Judaizing elements, either mainstream or gnostic-speculative, due to the references in ch 2 to a liturgical calendar. But this not only a mere assumption, but an unfounded one, which will be seen here shortly when I break down the actual grammar of ch 2's key sections.

The truth is, I now realise, Paul was dealing with a genuinely pagan philosophical movement, most likely the Cynic movement. All the points he makes are handily exactly what points Cynicism was known for. The Cynic movement was in fact spreading through Asia Minor at the time Paul wrote. Cynics and Christians often interacted because they appealed to the same classes of society for the most part: slaves, the poor, rural peoples. Both groups were visible in Greek society and noticed for their rejection of mainstream social values as well as their strict ethics and lifestyles.

Yet, Cynics were noted opposers of Christianity, and the points they objected to are exactly the points Paul makes in his epistle to the Colossians.
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