22 Dec 2012 
#18 Probably the best evidence for an earthly & human Jesus

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By examining the whole of Galatians 3:1-4:7 (translation at botttom of this page), can we figure out what kind of woman Paul was thinking for Gal 4:4?

Paul started by making a claim: "But to Abraham were the promises addressed, and to his seed: he does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed; which is Christ."(3:16 Darby). That seems to refer to Genesis 17-22 but it is never specified here according to Paul's words.

Anyway, the promise is about inheritance (3:18) for all (Gentiles and Jews --3:8, 14, 28-29) but that is put on hold by the Law "until the seed [Christ] should come ['erchomai', clear expression of a coming to occur] to whom the promise was made" (3:16, 19). Then everyone would be liberated from the Law by Christ (3:13 "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree""), 22-25) & his crucifixion (3:13) and "the promise, on the principle of faith of Jesus Christ, should be given to those that believe." (3:22), allowing Paul's Galatians to be God's sons & heirs and (by "adoption"?) seed of Abraham (3:7, 29).

What remains is for the Son/Christ to come as the seed of Abraham, that is as a Jew and earthly human (as other seeds of Abraham, like Paul (Ro 11:1), Jews of Israelite descent (Ro 9:7), other apostles (2 Cor 11:20)), in order to enable the promise. So we have:
Gal 4:4-7 Darby "but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, come of woman [as an earthly human], come under law [as a Jew would be], that he might redeem those under law, that we might receive sonship. But because you are [Greek present tense] sons ... So you are [present again] no longer bondman, but son ..."

So Paul was thinking about an earthly "flesh & blood" mother! And Christ had already come and gone (1:1)!

1) Paul used the common knowledge Jesus had been an earthly man (from a woman) and a Jew (as descendant of Abraham) in order to clinch a long & complicated argument. If the existence of Jesus on earth was not accepted or even doubted, then the argument would simply not work.

2) Carrier and Doherty think Paul should have named that woman (Mary), if Jesus was born from her, as told in the gospels. But, in that instance, naming her would have been an unnecessary confusing distraction, weakening the point Paul was making.

3) "born of (a) woman" expression is used three times in the OT book of Job (14:1, 15:14 & 25:4) in order to indicate earthly human being.

4) Why would Paul use 'ginomai' (become, be made, come; as also in Ro 1:3) instead of 'gennao' (born)?
Probably to take into account an incarnation from a pre-existent heavenly being: if 'gennao' had been employed by Paul, that would imply Jesus started his life as a baby, rather than as a divine entity a very long time before.
Furthermore, 'ginomai' has been translated as "born" in cases involving human origin, as in:
- Plato's Republic, 8.553 "... When a son born ['genomenos' (root 'ginomai')] to the timocratic man at first emulates his father ..." (Paul Shorey's translation)
- Josephus' Ant., I, XIX, 8 "... and when she [Lea] had born ['genomenou' (root 'ginomai')] a son, and her husband ... reconciled to her, she named her son Reubel ..." (Wm. Whiston's translation)
- Josephus' Ant., VII, VII, 4 "... the child that was born ['genomenw' (root 'ginomai')] to David of the wife of Uriah ..." (Wm. Whiston's translation)
- Pausanias' Description of Greece, 1.5.2 "... Antiochus, one of the children of Heracles born ['genomenos' (root 'ginomai')] to him by Meda daughter of Phylas ..." (W.H.S. Jones & H.A. Ormerod's translation)

5) The Greek word 'ek' (usually translated by "of" in Gal 4:4) means "out of", "from" or "by". And with the mood of 'ginomai' being participle, a more correct translation (albeit not elegant) would be: "being made/coming/becoming from/out of/by a woman, being made/coming/becoming under the Law".

On the same verse, see also post #95.

As promised, this a translation of Galatians 3:1-4.7:
"3-1 O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified? 3:2 This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh? 3:4 Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain. 3:5 He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 3:7 Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. 3:9 So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them. 3:11 Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith; 3:12 and the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them. 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 3:14 that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: Though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed, no one maketh it void, or addeth thereto. 3:16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 3:17 Now this I say: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect. 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise: but God hath granted it to Abraham by promise. 3:19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one. 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law. 3:22 But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 3:24 So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 3:25 But now faith that is come, we are no longer under a tutor. 3:26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. 3:28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise.
4:1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bondservant though he is lord of all; 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed of the father. 4:3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world: 4:4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 4:6 And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 4:7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {earthly & human Jesus} {Galatians} {Galatians 4:4} {mythicism} {Paul} {woman/women}
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Comment from: gakuseidon

Actually, if I recall correctly from one of his podcasts, Carrier will be arguing that "born of a woman" in Gal 4:4 is allegory, part of Paul's allegory in Gal 4:24. I'll be interested to see how he argues for this, which I assume he will do in his new book.

Previously Doherty argued in "The Jesus Puzzle" that "born of a woman" was consistent with (IIRC) "the language of myth". However, around 2006, Doherty stated that, after reading Ehrman's "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture", he leaned towards it was an interpolation to show that Jesus was a fully human man from a human mother:

>>"Born of woman" would be a natural insertion in Galatians (perhaps around the middle of the century, to counter the claims of docetists like Marcion and others and their appropriation of Paul) in order to make the point that Jesus was in fact a fully human man from a human mother.<<

Comment from: Mike Gantt website

Paul's "born of a woman" was an allusion to the messianic promise of Gen 3:15, echoed and amplified in Isaiah 7:14 and elsewhere.

Messianic prophecies were delivered by the prophets in many varied portions, seemingly contradictory at times (e.g. the messiah would be humiliated, the messiah would be exalted) such that they constituted a complex mystery, assembled into a meaningful mosaic only once Jesus of Nazareth came and lived them out before the eyes of the world.