How to Date Documents, including Barnabas

QUESTION:

In a comment on my recent post on the letter of Barnabas, where I indicated that “it is almost certainly to be dated to the 130s CE (for reasons I could explain if anyone really wants to know….)” – one reader asked:

I, for one, would be quite interested in the how these various works are dated. Seems like it would be of utmost importance seeing as the date of composition all but decides the question of authorship. Even if it ...

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Why Was Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas: Part 2

In my last post but one, in starting to talk about why the anonymous Letter to Barnabas was attributed by early Christians to Barnabas, best known as a one of the closest companions of Paul, I talked mainly about the mid-second century philosopher/theologian-eventually-branded-arch-heretic Marcion. You may have wondered why. In this post I’ll tell you why.

VERY brief review. Recall, the letter of Barnabas is stridently anti-Jewish, claiming that the Jews never were the people of God because they had ...

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Why Was The Letter of Barnabas Attributed to Barnabas?

QUESTION:

So why was the Letter of Barnabas thought to have been written by Barnabas?

 

BACKGROUND:

This question was asked in reference to my discussion of “Gematria” in the Letter of Barnabas. For fuller background, if you’re interested, you should refer to this post: “Another Instance of Gematria (For Members)” (the search function on the blog is very good, btw; it is in the upper right hand corner of your screen).

In that post I note that the “Letter of Barnabas” was not actually ...

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Luke’s First Edition

In my previous post, ostensibly on the genealogy of Luke, I pointed out that there are good reasons for thinking that the Gospel originally was published – in a kind of “first edition” – without what are now the first two chapters, so that the very beginning was what is now 3:1 (this is many centuries, of course, before anyone started using chapters and verses.) If that’s the case, Luke was originally a Gospel like Mark’s that did not have ...

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Another Instance of Gematria

From my last post on the gematria at work (possibly) in Matthew’s genealogy, I can’t resist adding a note about the Jewish use of gematria – or its Greek equivalent – in another early Christian writing, the epistle of Barnabas.

First: two bits of background.

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. If you don’t belong yet, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE!!!

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The Christmas Story: Some Basic Background

Now that I have posted a couple of my earlier published reflections on Christmas, I can make some comments in a series of posts, going into a bit more detail. This first post more or less states some of the basic information that most readers know, but that it’s worth while stressing as a kind of ground clearing exercise.

To begin with, we are extremely limited in our sources when it comes to knowing anything at all about the ...

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Melito and arly Christian Anti-Judaism

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE PENULTIMATE EDITS ON MY MY BIBLE INTRODUCTION.  TODAY I HAD TO REVIEW AN EXCURSUS ON EARLY JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS IN WHICH I DISCUSS THE RISE OF ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE EARLY CHURCH, IN CLUDING THIS BIT ON MELITO OF SARDIS.  I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE WORTH POSTING HERE.

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Melito was a bishop of the city of Sardis in Asia Mino in the mid to late second century.  Today he is best known for a sermon ...

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Modern Interest in the Apostolic Fathers

An interest in the “church Fathers” emerged in Western Europe among humanists of the Renaissance, many of whom saw in the golden age of patristics their own forebears — cultured scholars imbued with the classics of Western Civilization, concerned with deep religious and philosophical problems. No wonder, then, that the humanists focused their attention on the writings of the “great” Fathers of the church such as Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, the Cappadocians, and the like, while showing virtually no interest ...

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The Collection: Apostolic Fathers

About a week or so ago I talked about translating the Apostolic Fathers for the Loeb Classical Library. Some people have asked me to say more about the Apostolic Fathers. It may be useful to devote a couple of posts to this collection: when were these authors first gathered together? Who decides which books should be included in the corpus? On what grounds? Etc. For much of this I draw from the Introduction in my edition.

The term “apostolic father” first ...

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Thomas and the Other Gospels

One of the benefits of teaching at a research university with a graduate program is that – at least where I am – there are periodic reading groups with other faculty members and graduate students. I go to a couple of these a month, including one that I organize. As it turns out, last week I went to two. The first was mine, the (other ) CIA, in which we typically read someone’s work-in-progress. That week’s presentation was a paper ...

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