Nazarene Space

Is 2 Thessalonians really to Thessaloniki? (Speculative hypothesis)

This is a speculation on my part, as well as supported by a few scholars & textual critics.

The hypothesis is as follows:
The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, was NOT sent to the Thessalonians.

But rather, was sent to Philippi or Beroea Both of which are in Macedonia. And both of which Paul went and preached.

NAB commentary:

Traditional opinion holds that this letter was written shortly after 1 Thessalonians. Occasionally it has been argued that 2 Thessalonians was
written first or that the two letters are addressed to different
segments within the church at Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians being
directed to the Jewish Christians there) or
even that 2 Thessalonians
was originally written to some other nearby place where Paul carried out
mission work, such as Philippi or Beroea.


Polycarp, in his Epistle to the Philippians, explicitly states that Paul sent many letters to the Assembly/Church of God at Philippi.

Polycarp 11:3
But I have not found any such thing in you, neither have heard
thereof, among whom the blessed Paul labored, who were his
letters in the beginning. For he boasteth of you in all those
churches which alone at that time knew God; for we knew Him not as
yet.



Further evidence of this is Ignatius' knowledge of the Epistle, while not knowing the first.
Ignatius' Roman 10:3 (the last verse):
Fare well to the end, in the patience of Jesus Christ. Amen.

parallels:
And the Lord direct your hearts, in the charity of God and the patience of Christ. - 2 Thes 3:5

No mention or quotation of 1 Thessalonians exists in Ignatius' extant writings. Strange for one who had a copy of "2 Thes" but not the first? Wouldn't they have gone together?

Last but not least, the greeting of 1 Thes & 2 Thes are incredibly similar, nearly word-for-word, the Law of accretion dictates this was added by a later scribe/copyist.

This would not be unusual, since we know that Ephesians with absolute certainty, was not written to Ephesus. But was either a Catholic (universal) Epistle. or sent to the church at Laodicea [this is indicated by the fact Marcion's copy of Ephesians, is called, 'Laodiceans'. Also keep in mind the close relation of Colossians and Ephesians.

My conclusion:
2 Thess is either, the Epistle to the Beroeans, or the Second/Third Epistle to the Philippians.

Thank you for reading. Hopefully it has been a stimulating hypothesis.

Sources: (some of them)
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14629d.htm
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/bible/2thessalonians/intro.htm
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/polycarp-lightfoot.html

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Replies to This Discussion

"This would not be unusual, since we know that Ephesians with absolute certainty, was not written to Ephesus. But was either a Catholic (universal) Epistle"

So you're saying it was a "chain-letter", or to clarify, a letter whose exact text was sent around to various congregations ( and was sent to Ephesus first).
Smart,

yours is a case that has been propounded by past scholars, or at least portion of it. nevertheless, whether or not the case made to the fact or not, the same is moot since the substance of Pauline doctrine is all over these epistles and as such, the substance of all these epistles are confirmed by way of ancient (T)radition of the church. there is no way to invalidate his doctrines simply on the ground that there was a mis-delivery by the postman or interpolation of address was made over it later to show ownership.

actually the real issue for today is: whether Paul is relevant to the nazarenes or not? i for one, personally, as i have always held, Paul is not that canonical to nazarenes. he was sent to the uncircumcision not to the circumcision and as such we must respect his freedom and dignity of his apostolic portfolio.
This theory you present is based on dual covenant theology, or at least based on rejecting the Two House doctrine as referring to scattered tribesmen becoming Christians/Messianics/reclaiming their Israelite heritage, which is fundamental to THIS Nazarene ministry -- therefore Paul and his doctrines are indeed very relevant for Nazarenes today.

beryl etanah said:
Smart,

yours is a case that has been propounded by past scholars, or at least portion of it. nevertheless, whether or not the case made to the fact or not, the same is moot since the substance of Pauline doctrine is all over these epistles and as such, the substance of all these epistles are confirmed by way of ancient (T)radition of the church. there is no way to invalidate his doctrines simply on the ground that there was a mis-delivery by the postman or interpolation of address was made over it later to show ownership.

actually the real issue for today is: whether Paul is relevant to the nazarenes or not? i for one, personally, as i have always held, Paul is not that canonical to nazarenes. he was sent to the uncircumcision not to the circumcision and as such we must respect his freedom and dignity of his apostolic portfolio.
i don't completely understand what you are saying. i'm sorry. i don't understand what a two-house doctrine is.

Christian said:
This theory you present is based on dual covenant theology, or at least based on rejecting the Two House doctrine as referring to scattered tribesmen becoming Christians/Messianics/reclaiming their Israelite heritage, which is fundamental to THIS Nazarene ministry -- therefore Paul and his doctrines are indeed very relevant for Nazarenes today.

beryl etanah said:
Smart,

yours is a case that has been propounded by past scholars, or at least portion of it. nevertheless, whether or not the case made to the fact or not, the same is moot since the substance of Pauline doctrine is all over these epistles and as such, the substance of all these epistles are confirmed by way of ancient (T)radition of the church. there is no way to invalidate his doctrines simply on the ground that there was a mis-delivery by the postman or interpolation of address was made over it later to show ownership.

actually the real issue for today is: whether Paul is relevant to the nazarenes or not? i for one, personally, as i have always held, Paul is not that canonical to nazarenes. he was sent to the uncircumcision not to the circumcision and as such we must respect his freedom and dignity of his apostolic portfolio.
Well. You could propose a chain letter around Asia Minor, but as for it going to Ephesus first, that can't be documented. Just because it ends up "to Ephesus" does not necessarily make it the first stop on its journey.

But yes, the text was definitely sent around in complete form. I've not heard any scholarship trying to prove it was in multiple letter form. (as is the case with 1-2 Corinthians, Philippians, etc)

Christian said:
"This would not be unusual, since we know that Ephesians with absolute certainty, was not written to Ephesus. But was either a Catholic (universal) Epistle"

So you're saying it was a "chain-letter", or to clarify, a letter whose exact text was sent around to various congregations ( and was sent to Ephesus first).
Historically, the Nazarenes accepted Paul.

beryl etanah said:
Smart,

yours is a case that has been propounded by past scholars, or at least portion of it. nevertheless, whether or not the case made to the fact or not, the same is moot since the substance of Pauline doctrine is all over these epistles and as such, the substance of all these epistles are confirmed by way of ancient (T)radition of the church. there is no way to invalidate his doctrines simply on the ground that there was a mis-delivery by the postman or interpolation of address was made over it later to show ownership.

actually the real issue for today is: whether Paul is relevant to the nazarenes or not? i for one, personally, as i have always held, Paul is not that canonical to nazarenes. he was sent to the uncircumcision not to the circumcision and as such we must respect his freedom and dignity of his apostolic portfolio.
PROOF THAT THE ANCIENT JEWISH SECT OF THE NAZARENES
TAUGHT PAUL WAS AN EMISSARY TO THE EPHRAIMITES

Let me begin by examining the Nazarene Commentary on Isaiah 8:14 as cited
by Jerome:


The Nazarenes, who accept Messiah in such a way
that they do not cease to observe the old law
explain the two houses as the two families, viz.
of Shammai and Hillel, from whom originated the Scribes
and the Pharisees. Akiba, who took over their school,
is called the master of Aquila the proselyte, and
after him came Meir who has been succeeded by Joannes
the son of Zakkai and after him Eliezer and further
Telphon, and next Joseph Galilaeus and Joshua up to
the capture of Jerusalem. Shammai then and Hillel
were born not long before the Lord; they originated
in Judea. The name of the first means "scatterer"
and of the second "unholy", because he scattered and
defiled the precepts of the Torah by his traditions
and deutroseis. And these are the two houses who did
not accept the Savior who has become to them ruin and
scandal.


Now I want to clarify two things here. First of all the Nazarene
commentary here is not giving the Pashat (literal meaning) of the passage
but a MIDRASH (an allagoical meaning) for the passage. This Midrash draws
an allagorical relationship between the two houses of Israel (the House of
Israel and the House of Judah) and the House of Shammai and the House of
Hillel. The basis for this Midrash is a wordplay on the names Shammai and
Hillel which sound in Hebrew like the words for "scatterer" and "unholy".
"Scatterer" ties the House of Shammai allegorically to
the "scattered" House of Israel. "Unholy" ties the House of Hillel to the
House of Judah.

Two things are important to note:

1. The Midrash is not identifying an allegory to the two houses
themselves, but to the STUMBLING (see Is. 8:14) of the two houses.

2. The Midrash is not attacking Hillel and Shammai themselves but the
Houses or schools of Rabbinic thought that arose after them in their names
(as is clear from the linage of Rabbis that came after them), The purpose
of this portion of the Midrash is to link Rabbinic Judaism to the
"stumbling" of the House of Judah discussed in this section of Isaiah.

This section of the commentary is purely midrashic (allagorical) and
tells us little about the Nazarene understanding of the Pashat (literal
meaning) of this passage.

But now lets look at the Nazarene commentary on Is. 9:1-4 (8:23-93 in
Jewish versions) as cited by Jerome:

The Nazarenes, whose opinion I have set forth above,
try to explain this passage in the following way:
When Messiah came and his proclaiming shone out,
the land of Zebulon and Naphtali first of all were
freed from the errors of the Scribes and Pharisees
and he shook off their shoulders the very heavy yoke
of the Jewish traditions. Later, however, the proclaiming
became more dominant, that means the proclaiming was
multiplied, through the Goodnews of the emissary Paul
who was the least of all the emissaries. And the goodnews
of Messiah shone to the most distant tribes and the way of
the whole sea. Finally the whole world, which earlier walked
or sat in darkness and was imprisoned in the bonds of idolatry
and death, has seen the clear light of the goodnews.

(Note: The "Jewish traditions" in the context of this commentary refer to
Rabbinic Halachah of the fourth century CE with which the Nazarenes took
issue.)


Now Isaiah 9:1-4 refers to "Galilee of the GOYIM (nations/Gentiles)" but
identifies these "Gentiles" as the inhabitants of "the land of Zebulon and
Naphtali". Here the House of Israel is being identified as "Gentiles".
There are at least two other places in Scripture where the word "Gentile"
is used to describe Ephraim (the House of Israel). One of these is Gen.
48:19 where (in the Hebrew) Ephraim is told his descendent's will become "a
multitude of nations (GOYIM; Gentiles)" (compare Rom. 11:25 where the same
phrase is translated in the KJV as "fullness of the gentiles"). The other
case is in Rom. 9:24 which refers to "Jews" and "Gentiles" but then goes
on (in Rom. 9:25-26) to quote Hosea (Hos. 2:23; 1:10) to identify them
which the "Children of Judah" and "the Children of Israel" (Hosea 1:10-11;
2:23).

The Nazarene Commentary on Isaiah understands "you have multiplied the
nation" (Is. 9:3) to refer to Paul "the proclaiming was multiplied,
through the Goodnews of the emissary Paul... to the most distant tribes".
Therefore the ancient Nazarenes understood the "Gentiles" to whom Paul
primarily directed his message with the Ephraimite "Gentiles" of Isaiah
9:1-4 and with "the most distant tribes".

This comment in the Nazarene Commentary on Isaiah makes it clear that the
Ancient Sect of Nazarene Judaism held that Paul was an emissary to the
Ephraimites.

Smart said:
Historically, the Nazarenes accepted Paul.

beryl etanah said:
Smart,

yours is a case that has been propounded by past scholars, or at least portion of it. nevertheless, whether or not the case made to the fact or not, the same is moot since the substance of Pauline doctrine is all over these epistles and as such, the substance of all these epistles are confirmed by way of ancient (T)radition of the church. there is no way to invalidate his doctrines simply on the ground that there was a mis-delivery by the postman or interpolation of address was made over it later to show ownership.

actually the real issue for today is: whether Paul is relevant to the nazarenes or not? i for one, personally, as i have always held, Paul is not that canonical to nazarenes. he was sent to the uncircumcision not to the circumcision and as such we must respect his freedom and dignity of his apostolic portfolio.
I would rather be on the side of Truth, than be a blind follower of scribal edits to the Scriptures.

Why would you believe in additions/revisions/interpolations, when you can examine the text, and remove these? (either mentally or physically).

Why would you believe in something that was given to you? edited, mangled, butchered and translated into a language that only came into existence 1000 years ago !

Original: ABC
Edit 1: ABED
Edit 2: ABCED
Edit 3: CEABD
Present: AEBCDF


Anaiah Priel (Andrew P) Carlson said:
Chad, you give way too much trust and blind acceptance of scholars. Why not just believe what the book says instead of accepting the random theories that have no basis except weak scholarship?
Strawman.

Anaiah Priel (Andrew P) Carlson said:
"I would rather be on the side of Truth, than be a blind follower of scribal edits to the Scriptures."

me too, but your trust of scholars is to a ridiculous level. you almost always don't question the scholars.
I never appealed to any authority. So again, Strawman.

Anaiah Priel (Andrew P) Carlson said:
my point is, you commit the fallacy of appealing to authority without any basis.

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