04 Dec 2012 
#4 Is 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 an interpolation? I have 6 pieces of evidence for saying YES

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Not too long ago, most critical scholars (including liberal Christians) thought (for good reasons!) that 1 Th 2:14-16 was an obvious interpolation. Personally, I wish it would be authentic (because its authenticity would prove Jesus was killed on earth). But I still think it is an interpolation. Here is the quote first, then my comments:

"For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea; for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all men by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God's wrath has come upon them at last!"

1 Th 2:14-16 
is an obvious post-70 C.E., post-gospel and anti-Jewish addition, which Paul could not have written:
"... the Jews [of Jerusalem?], who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets
and also drove us out ... They ... are hostile to all men. ... In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them to the uttermost.
[most likely reference to the events of 70C.E. (as in Mt 21:40-41a) which occurred twenty years after the letter was written!]"

Arguments against authenticity:

a) Nowhere else did Paul write Jesus was "killed", but in all the gospels, the word 'kill(ed)' (Greek root 'apokteino'), concerning Jesus, is used many times, as in gMark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, 12:7,8(+12) & 14:1. Paul never wrote the Jews of Jerusalem killed prophets, but that appears in gMatthew 23:34, 37 & gLuke 11:47, 48, 49, 13:34.
Note: Mk 10:34, 12:7, 8 & 14:1 involve the Jews (of Jerusalem) in killing Jesus.

b) The words 'countrymen' (Greek root 'sumphuletes'), 'drove out' (Greek root 'ekdioko') and 'hostile' (Greek root 'enantios') are never in evidence elsewhere in Paul's (authentic) letters.
Note: however both 'apokteino' and 'ekdioko' show in Lk 11:49, relative to prophets and apostles: "... I will send to them prophets and apostles, and of these shall they [teachers of the Law] kill and drive out by persecution" (Darby)

c) In 1 Cor 2:8, Paul mentioned "the rulers of this age" crucified Jesus (and NOT the Jews killed him).

d) "Paul never talks about God's wrath as having come, but as coming only at the future judgment (see: Romans 2:5, 3:5-6, 4:15)." Richard Carrier's Pauline interpolations

e) "Paul teaches the Jews will be saved, not destroyed (see: Romans 11:25-28)." Richard Carrier's Pauline interpolations

f) "Paul was dead by the time the "wrath had come upon them to the uttermost" (the destruction of the Jewish nation and temple in 70 A.D.)." Richard Carrier's Pauline interpolations

I am afraid that the trend to reinstate 1 Th 2:14-16 as authentic is motivated by proving the mythicists wrong, as scholar Mark Goodacre pointed out:
"I think it's worth underlining that the idea that 1 Thess. 2.14-17 is an interpolation is made without any manuscript / textual evidence. Conjectural emendations are always possible, especially in weakly attested works, but should be avoided in cases like this where the impetus appears to be to eliminate a key piece of evidence, the apparent location of Jesus' death in Judea."

What do you think?

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {1 Thessalonians} {1 Thessalonians 2:14-16}
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