02 Jan 2013 
#27 Probably the third best evidence for an earthly & human Jesus

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Ro 1:1-4 Darby "Paul, bondman of Jesus Christ, [a] called apostle, separated to [set apart for] God's glad tidings , (which he had before promised by his prophets in holy writings,) concerning his Son (come of David's seed according to flesh), marked out Son of God in power, according to [the] Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of [the] dead) Jesus Christ our Lord;"

Once again, the meaning is rather obvious: any seed of David would be an earthly human being. And it does not matter from where Paul "learned" that. And if he thought of Jesus as always a heavenly divine entity, he would never have Jesus coming from David's seed. It's just like having archangel Michael originating from a seed of Abraham: simply ludicrous.
But why "according to flesh"?
As I explained earlier:
According to Paul, Christ is also (and more importantly) the heavenly eternal Son of God, therefore the descendance from David is relative to only Jesus' temporary human experience. Without "according to the flesh" in Ro 1:3, Paul would be seemingly denying the pre-existence of Jesus as the firstborn Son of God.

Now, what does Doherty have to say about that in his "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man"?
Note: I already addressed Doherty's comments in the "Jesus Puzzle" here.

Doherty postulated "from the seed of David" is part of "God's gospel" (drawn from the scriptures by Paul, as Earl contends):
"This gospel had been announced in scripture, in the holy writings of the prophets. This is the source of Paul's gospel about the Son. It was all there ahead of time, encoded by God into the writings, awaiting Paul's discovery.
God in scripture had looked ahead— not to Jesus, but to the gospel that told of him." 
(p. 102)

This seems to be largely due to his (inaccurate) translation:
" 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised (or, announced [NEB]) beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 the gospel concerning his Son, who [RSV] arose from the seed of David, according to the flesh," (Ro 1:1-3)
As Earl put it in JNGNM (p. 102): "The above translation of verses 3 and 4 is partly my own, in an attempt to lean toward the literal Greek." But the Greek does NOT have " the gospel " and " who " (& "arose" is Earl's own peculiar translation)!
Note: the Greek word used for "arose" means as well "became", "came" or "made", even, in case of human origin, "born" (as in Gal 4:4, "born of a woman").

The only occurrence of "gospel" ( "glad tidings" Darby) in Ro 1:1-8 is in the first verse, and, two later , does not affect "from ... David", itself part of a digression about "his Son". Furthermore " separated to [set apart for] God's glad tidings" (with verse 2 as its addendum) is a clause on its own, about an action which happened in the (Paul's) past, was completed then, and with continuing results (because of the Greek perfect tense of the verb).
Finally, by skipping over the two extensions (as shown in the Darby translation), the syntax of Ro 1:1-6 may be rendered as such:
bondman of Jesus Christ,
[a] called apostle,
[in the past] to God's glad tidings, (which ...),
concerning his Son (come ...) Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom we have received grace and apostleship in behalf of his name, for obedience of faith among all the nations, among whom are *ye* also [the] called of Jesus Christ:"

a) "concerning ..." looks to be a clause on its own, a part of a flamboyant announcement and not an addendum. And the Greek word for "concerning", 'peri', is often used by Paul in order to introduce a passage not dependant on the preceding one (1 Cor 7:1,25, 8:1,4, 12:1, 16:1,12; 2 Cor 9:1; 1 Th 4:9, 5:1).
b) Furthermore, most of the statements in Ro 1:3-6 were not pre-announced in the scriptures. And the foremost God's glad tidings according to the OT, the advent of the Kingdom of God, is not in Ro 1:3-6. That would prove Ro 1:3-6 is in no way detailing God's good news as known through prophetic scriptures.

To conclude, it is highly improbable Paul meant he just found "come of David's seed" from the scriptures (and had to divulge it!), as Doherty contends. Furthermore, according to the Pauline letters, there were many other apostles/preachers (1 Cor 1:12, 9:2-5; 2 Cor 11:5, 13, 23a, 12:11; Php 1:14-17; Gal 1:6-7), some "in Christ" before Paul (Gal 1:17; Ro 16:7), some preaching different 'Jesus' (2 Cor 11:4), and all of them Jew (2 Cor 11:22-23a): in this context, what are the odds on Paul "discovering" the Christ/Son_of_David relationship from the OT?

About "seed of David", Richard Carrier has a totally different view: see here

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Doherty} {earthly & human Jesus} {mythicism} {Paul} {Romans} {Romans 1:3} {seed of David}
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Comment from: brettongarcia

Exactly right, Bernard, on some recent comments on Vridar. Any Jesus (if any) was "humble," as we both agree. And rather mundane. (Even if imaginary I would add).

By the way? Any apparent endorsement by Mark 14.7 of Jesus fully embracing of the "Christ" status, say, is effectively negated not only by 1) the many contrary "humble" witnesses in Mark, but 2) also by another, parallel gospel account of effectively the same scene - but with a different message. Where Jesus himself does NOT say he is Christ, but only says "you have said it"; and the priest takes HIS OWN SURMISE as a statement from Jesus himself. In Matthew 26.65.

Thus the whole theological decision, as to Jesus was Christ, was never stated by Jesus himself, likely; we are warned in effect in Mat. 26.65 that it was only the surmise of later Christian priests.

Likely I would say, moreover, from this evidence, Mark's account is not the original; there were more humble original accounts of Jesus. But indeed, the decision was LATER made to deify Jesus; though guilty conscience made those who do it, present the Humble Christ ... and the possibility that after all, only later priests put words into Jesus' mouth - and a Christly status - that he himself did not speak.

By the way? This would be clear evidence of at least two sources before "Mark," in point of fact.

And it suggests strongly that Jesus did not think he was "Christ"; much less "God" (or Messiah?). The only place he seems to affirm that is Mark 14; which however is specifically rebuked by Mat. 26.65.
Comment from: mullerb to BrettonGarcia,

I agree Jesus never called himself or saw himself as Christ, Lord and Son of God/Man/David.
Yes there were earlier account(s) about Jesus that Mark knew and used. However, as I have shown in my next post, this earlier account(s) gave many problems to Mark, because he had to enhance the "humble" Jesus known earlier to that godly entity to make him fit that new Christology.
Cordially, Bernard
Comment from: Geoff Barrett

Bernard, Have you ever considered the very cumbersome nature of this phrase:
"concerning his Son (come of David's seed according to flesh)" Typically, humans are not identified as "coming according to the flesh." Usually one would say "born." Even when Paul refers to Jesus being born in Gal 4:4, he uses an atypical verb to describe one being born: genomenon, "to come into being." Paul clearly is referring here to a being that he does not think of as a regular human being. And, of course, not, he thinks of Jesus as the Celestial Son. My feeling is that it is implausible that such language would be used of a human being, whose birth would not be too far removed from the lives of some still living people. Why say he was "born according to the flesh"? Why not just say he was a descendant of David. My point here is that Paul's language, our earliest reference (presumably) to the earthly Jesus is so atypical of language that would be used in reference to a recent human being, that it should cause one to at least wonder about it.
Comment from: Geoff Barrett
You say:
"Without "according to the flesh" in Ro 1:3, Paul would be seemingly denying the pre-existence of Jesus as the firstborn Son of God."
From whence did Paul get the notion that Jesus was the "firstborn Son of God?" According to the historicist view, Jesus was born, lived in obscurity for 30 years, started a brief movement and then was killed. Then after some time of reflection, his followers decided to declare that he had risen from the dead, appeared to them, and was now considered the pre-existent Son of God.

For the record, I just don't think that an actual person is necessary to have existed here. No one who heard this story would have heard of the obscure preacher. They would only have heard the story second hand from followers. At that point, it doesn't matter if "Jesus of Nazareth" really existed. But this is a digression.

I think it is implausible to presume that in a few short years after his very real death at the hands of the Romans, that this christology would have developed. That a real human Jesus, executed by Rome, was a the pre-existent Son of God is just too farfetched. I think it much more probable that the notion of a pre-existent Son of God killed in some dim past (where history and mythology merge) is much more likely. A lot is made of the distinction between the heavens and the earth (even Doherty and Carrier insist that early Christians believed that Jesus was crucifed in the heavens). I think in the mythical past, there is no distinction between heaven and earth (for example, where on earth was the Garden of Eden?). Yes, Jesus came to earth, according to his followers. But where and when is the question. Paul doesn't answer that.
Comment from: mullerb
Hello Geoff,

Paul's language is not straight forward, often ambiguous, ''spiritual'' and convoluted. Agreed.

BTW, Paul also used 'genomenon' in Romans 1:3 as in Gal 4:4. That word is often translated as "born" when into a context of human origin.
According to BDAG, here are some of the definitions:
"to experience a change in nature and so indicate entry into a new condition, become someth." "to come into being through process of birth or natural production, be born, be produced"
"to make a change of location in space, move"
Here are some examples:
- 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)

I explained when and from where that firstborn Son of God come from:
Christology did not develop too much during the first 20 years after Jesus' death, but a lot fairly rapidly 20 to 30 years after, a long distance away from Palestine. Why? Competition, possibility of living without physical work and achieving some dominance on others (all of that kept Paul, otherwise untalented, dealing with a hot potato), plus Gentiles being attracted to that new belief, for a variety of reasons, including & foremost being saved eternally.

Nothing is too far-fetched when you can quote the OT out of context, have the writings of Philo and invoke revelations from above. And you have gullible people at your mercy because they are promised eternal paradise.

I showed in one of my post that Paul placed the crucifixion in "Zion", the heartland of the Jews (the heavenly kind will come much later): see here

Even if Paul's did not answer questions that mythicists now would expect, that's no reason not to look for answer in a text written 15 years later. But Paul had Jesus as the firstfruits and met several times Jesus' brother (I know, mythicists cannot accept that). So we have some indications about where and when from Paul.

Many of the things you asked are already dealt with on my blog and my website: read them if you please!

Cordially, Bernard