29 Aug 2014 
#105 Carrier's comments in OHJ on Romans 15:8 where Jesus is said to have been a servant/minister to the Jews

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First, this is the verse in question:
Romans 15:8 "Now I say that Jesus Christ has become [perfect Greek tense: action completed in the past but continuing in the present (when the epistle was written)] servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,"

Now let's examine Carrier's comments (with my notes) from pages 571-572 of OHJ:

"Sometimes it's claimed Paul referred to Jesus having had a ministry among the Jews when he said, 'Christ has been made a deacon of circumcision for the sake of God's honesty, in order to confirm [his] promises to the patriarchs' (Rom. 15.8). But all Paul is saying here is that Jesus had to be given a Jewish body (formed from the sperm of David: see §9) and appear first to Jews (Element 20) to fulfill scripture. That does not entail an earthly ministry. 

[Note: And how would Carrier know what Paul meant? Certainly Romans 15:8 does not say the following: "Jesus had to be given a Jewish body (formed from the sperm of David: see §9)" (from a heavenly sperm bankwithout insemination of a real woman and in the sky!)] 

The word 'deacon' (diakonos), which is sometimes translated 'minister', as in preacher, actually means 'servant, attendant', someone who does another's will. As such it can mean someone's messenger or a temple attendant. 

[Note: But 'diakonos' can also mean "minister" in the Pauline epistles:
1 Corinthians 3:5 "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers ['diakonos'] through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?" 
2 Corinthians 3:6 "who also made us sufficient as ministers ['diakonos'] of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 11:23 "Are they ministers ['diakonos'] of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often."

But it does not refer to 'having a ministry' in the sense historicists require. It means (in this context) doing God's will. It can mean doing God's will by relaying God's will, and as such it can refer to 'having a ministry' in an indirect sense, but as such it would equally apply to revealing God's will from heaven. 

[Note: Again, how can Carrier know Paul did not refer to Jesus "having a ministry" on earth? And Carrier's alternative explanations are rather tenuous and convoluted. So now, Jesus revealed in the past God's will to Jews from heaven!] 

This passage is therefore, once again, ambiguous. It cannot be confidently anchored to an earthly event. To the contrary, as we saw in Rom. 10.14-17, Paul appears to say Jesus had no historical ministry of the kind historicists want. 

[Note: Carrier certainly makes the verse look ambiguous because of his ill-evidenced mythicist assumptions. What about Romans 10:14-17?
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heardAnd how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?”
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Paul is complaining that nobody preached his gospel to the multitude of Jews. But yes, there is no indication Jesus preached Paul's gospel: that should not be surprising if Jesus was not a Pauline Christian!] 

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Carrier} {Carrier's OHJ} {mythicism} {Romans} {Romans 15:8}
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