Questions & Comments

This page is for questions or comments about ECH articles. Thank you for your interest in Early Church History.Sandy Silver

22 thoughts on “Comments”

  1. The article posits that the church in Rome was founded on the day of Pentecost, this derived from the mention of people who heard the 120 speaking in tongues. Would it follow from that passage that all the hearsing thereafter proceeded to become church founders in each of the mentioned groups? Does any such conclusion account for the baptized that day’s seemingly described as staying in Jerusalem in fellowship with the Apostles or Luke’s statement that they were residents of Jerusalem about whom Peter states had themselves been a party to Christ’s crucifiction several weeks earlier? A closer exegetics may be in order.

    1. Yes, I do believe that many home churches were founded at Pentecost, Dennis.
      There were proselytes to Judaism (from Rome) who went to Jerusalem for Pentecost and went home converted to Christ.
      Thank you for all your information!

  2. A good and simple overview. As the article points out a few traditions became tacitly codified as historical. I’m giving some thought to the time line of the wise men, the slaughter of infants, and of course the presentation in the Temple. As pointed out in the article we can’t conflate the babe in swaddling clothes with the wise men without having Joseph and Mary trekking down to Egypt and then back to Jersusalem within the forty days, not likely. By the way, did you know that Octavian transferred a contingent of Celt body guards of Cleopatra to his good friend Herod the great? Such mercanaries may have had no qualms about killing babies. It is also of interest that if the soldiers are only supposed to kill those boys two or younger that they’d have had to determined by some means the ages of toddlers. That Luke gives us no date for Christ’s birth must be God’s will. There can be no chance at all that Mary would not recall the month, the day and the year.
    Though I’ve never taken a view that Christmas observance is a sin, I do believe it gets in the Lord’s way. I find it sad that two extraordinary prophecies, those of a mother of a son who otherwise would have been a priest like his father and Mary are relegated to snippets on mere Christmas cards.
    That Joseph and Mary brought the doves for the presentation means they were poor, Luke quoting the law, but not the caveat. One can suppose there was perhaps a personal motive when the baby grows old enough to show anger at those that made meeting God’s expectation more difficult than they were meant to be. Bless you sister

    1. But we do know the Magi came to a House Not to a Stable. See the Greek.
      And we do know Herod died in 4 BC and Jesus was born before he died.
      And we do know Mary and Joseph were poor by the doves they brought to the Temple.
      BUT they had the gold, the frankincense and the myrrh–all precious commodities for their time to live in Egypt.

  3. I’d comment that in Valintine’s day even a codex would likely have been thicker than what he paints. A study of the actual mechanics of scroll production and codex production suggests that for Jewish Christians of the first century to have personaly carried around even the Hebrew canon in scroll form would have been difficult. Later century art oft demonstrates an unawareness of earlier period realities. I anticipate putting together a presentation on the literal making of a Bible. At first there would have been Moses, plenty to read, but not yet the writing prophets nor ” writings ” , Job being the only possible early book besides Moses. It’s relevance includes it cites no laws from God but incessantly cites godliness as well understood by the speakers, gathered in Uz, east of Edom but a few generations after Esau. The task of building the canon was centuries long. Then the NT was written in but a few decades by contemporaries of the Messiah, a cardinal difference, except when compared to Moses, composing the necessary documents for the Covenant.
    Besides a stream of exegetics, the physical realities of copying and distribution yield further exegetical relevancies. Jesus could say, ” You have heard ” an eye for an eye, etc. to people that new it was from the written law, which they could literally see in any synagogue even if they had no copy in their own possession. That the hearers would have been literate can be presupposed but only with caveats, that all households had even Moses in hand copied form can be presupposed but only with caveats.
    But that Matthew could have written what he did without the knowledge of Nathaniel or Phillip would seem problematic. Their names are in the text and everyone knew them as well as they knew Matthew. Instead of one Moses with captains of thousands, there were a clutch of common attestors to one common witness.
    For what it’s worth, the paper used in finer bibles is called India Paper in my industry. It is generaly only used in a large tomes because of it’s thinness. It is more expensive than other grades. It is amongst the sturdiest of papers, made of pure cotton, uniquely prepared for durability. ( there are similarly special papers nowadays, a Nestle Åland NT might use such ) Such paper, if kept in a good environment will last more than a thousand years. Though the older inks invited a palimpsest since papyrus and vellum were expensive, modern inks can last as long as modern paper, though the best are special order, more costly and generaly not used.
    As I understand it the first printing of the works of Rashi were done by a Jewish printer in Italy. The Italians, post Renaissance, had the world’s best craftsmen. The Jews that read Rashi had to wait a few hundred years to distribute their most able of Rabbis to Synagogues throughout the world, ” as it is to this day “.

    1. Thank you for all your knowledge about the physical creations of the Scriptures, Dennis.
      Know Julius Caesar did the first codex and have seen codices, vellum and parchment Biblical books.
      To the Jews we owe our knowledge of the Creator God and to them we owe our Savior!

  4. Well done. I’m mindful of the thinking of the reformers and at least some of their adherents to this day that have the view that the various Catholics statuary, though directly knelt to and prayed to does not obtain to idolatry pretty much on the grounds that beings depicted were once real people and are also not thought of as supreme beings. I’ve heard the same in Christian quarters about Buddha on similar grounds. I’d say that this sort of thinking somehow presupposes that all the ancient idolatrous religions adhered to some idea that every idol they worshiped represented a being other than a real one and that each was held to be a supreme being. Both presuppositions are very easily disproven. ( as you indicated simply by mention the proliferation of Hindu gods ). Even a cursory knowledge of either Greek or Roman religions would dispel the idea of idols only representing a sole supreme being. And of course the Egyptians worshiped their Pharoahs and we can find the same sort of thing in Mesopotamia. Paul uses the phrase, ” how ever it is that you were led ” to have been idolaters prior to their having been brought to Christ. The road doesn’t matter, the destination does and all the signs on the wrong road are meant to keep us as far from God as possible. You probably know of the historians that used to pooh pooh the biblical descriptions of Caananite excess in their religion who were proved wrong by digs around Carthage showing pediphilic cult practices and child sacrifice. Hannibal frightened the Romans in Italy for years, the Caanianite fled to Macedonia, presaging the expansion of Rome in pursuit.

    1. An idol is an idol is an idol as a rose is a rose is a rose. We worship the Great I Am, Yahweh, Who is spirit, a living spirit.
      Every time any one in any language says, I am…,” they are forced to acknowledge the Great I AM that I AM—Who HATES IDOLS of any kind.

  5. A well done article. The contemporary theological implications are legion. My maternal grandmother, a devote holiness Methodist cum Pentostal was given a Sophie’s choice in regards to her Arky son. He was by all accounts a feisty child and was taken to a State mental institution, circa the Great Depression. The men in white coats called in my grandmother and placed a pen and a form in front of her. If she didn’t sign it her young son, my father’s younger brother, would live out his life as a mental patient there, never to be released.If she signed the form, authorizing his castration, she could take him home. I knew my uncle, though not cousins born by him. Sadly, though she was an indefatigable church member there was no one in all the world that came to my grandmother’s or her sons aid. At Nuremburg the Cheif Justice of the German court offered in his own defense for having signed off on such castrations of the ” inferiors ” that the policy was typical in the western world. Right he was. My uncle married a woman we loved, our Aunt Betty. Her right eye was deformed, always at a 45 degree angle to the normal, left one. When I was a boy my family visited them on the farm where my uncle worked as a milker,
    the best I was told. My parents had gotten a pet dog and had asked my uncle to ” fix ” him. Though we all vaguely knew our uncle’s sad history, my father must have briefly forgotten. As my uncle took the pet out of sight to do what dairymen might to to a young bull, he joked that he had experience with such things. My father looked aghast. I wondered at the time if my aunt Betty had married my uncle since both had a significant disablement, but, though a feisty child myself, I could not bring myself to ask her. Nowadays we are regularly exposed to euthanasia, gender selection abortion and odorous family planning regimes even in the churches. I envy the Christian that could rise early and search a dung heap for a baby, I wish I could.

  6. I can see where my composition style and spelling habits came from by reading the compact. I was a prolific reader as a child, and perchance the abundance of yon earlier generation British Literature from my father’s English Literature college courses when a journalist major were the old and new kernels from which my thanksgivings sprouted. At seven I was comfortable with both the KJV and Chaucer. I recall Charles Stanely, the well know Southern Baptist preacher remarking that his children couldn’t understand the King James so he got them the Living Bible. Methinks that Southern Baptist pastors and their wives have been interbreeding too long, producing dumber children than their parents have been. Cross breeding with a few of the natives may be in order lest the new world become too new fangled to understand the old. Happie Thanksgiving

    1. I use the NIV for my posts on my blog, but have my Thompson Chain-Reference KJV to check every thing. It’s the closest to the Koine Greek.

  7. I have long been perturbed by a very truncated approach to history as transmitted in American schools and picked up within the churches. All too often the idea has been that the European Dark ages are the template from which all of history needs be viewed. In college text books the pilgrimage maps used in those days are posited as the literal picture of the whole world to all Europeans. Yet there are navigator’s maps from those days without which a Venetian could not safely sail to any serious distance. The jacobin like academia has virtually blotted out real human memory by it’s prideful lense. Cathay knew of Byzantium and Buddist monks had easy access to Nippon. A long hike up the Pacific coast to the Bering Sea, and a kayak ride would have brought any hardy sailor to a cold but navigable coastline that wends it’s way to Labrador. I’ve always been disturbed that once the older churches waxed moribund, the civilizations around them declined with them. Forgetting the old trade routes for the sake of sedentary sacradotalism even such outlier churches as those on the Indian coast and those later built by Nestorians then became the routes for all the cheaper curriences and the tawdriest of goods. It took the Portuguese Phonecians to chart the way back to such distance as the church had already gone. They had to bypass dhows to get there, but they used to race with them.
    ( brother overlong )


  8. On the article about the mummy mask the reference to the Ryland’s fragment brings up an issue. The codex would allow for writing on both sides of the medium, whereas typically, though not universally, scrolls were written only on the interior. Prior to a genuine codex ( at least in pervasive use ) there arose a practice of folding papyrus or vellum into an accordion like product apparently because Romans found it more efficient than scrolls. In so doing, some scribes wrote on both sides of what was actually a folded rather than rolled scroll. The point here is that if the fragment is assumed to have been an entire copy of John ( or any other document ) merely on it having writing on both sides, the conclusion would not be empirical. A minor point, but a potentially relevant one. From what my own research suggests, as the canon of the NT was being written, it would clearly take time for anyone to possess all of it, having perhaps the earlier documents but not yet the later. Though all written in the first century by the classically accepted authors ( I maintain ), the distribution of all of the canon is in itself as much the history of the early church as anything is. That believers networked somewhat is clear in the texts themselves. Oh, to be a Christian scribe in those days! Still, I’ll read up on the well known fragment of John to see if there is reason to believe it is actually from a book form vs something else.

  9. On the article about Paul going to Spain or not, I have read very well done exegetical and historical studies done which convince me decidedly that he did indeed go to Spain. At the moment time prevents me from gathering the resources to offer you for your perusal if you are amenable to looking them over. I have found that throughout Christian history any number of us do the best we can with the sources at hand, in good faith and to God’s glory. But at times our resources are not as helpful as we can ascertain through no fault of our own. Sadly, good archiving has not exactly been a constant in the church through the generations, at least to us history buffs I’d say.

    1. I agree that Paul did go to Spain after he was released from jail the first time, Dennis.

  10. Interesting and very comprehensive website. As I am in a seminary formation process I’m interested in what your theological training has been. Thank you

    1. I have NO technical “theological” training, Linda, but have studied intently the Bible and other EARLY Christian works since I became a Christian under Francis Schaeffer.

  11. Hello,
    What is your argument concerning the “youth” of Mark? Is there any scripture allowing us to conclude that John Mark was a younger cousin of Barnabas?
    The Coptic Church says that Mark was 19 at the death and resurrection of Jesus. With should mean that he was 31 when the incident between Barnabas and Paul occurred…

    1. Yes, Nabil, there is proof because the Bible says Mark was a nephew/cousin? of Barnabas. His mother was probably named Mary who opened her home to the Apostles/Disciples. The Coptic Church, the oldest church in the world, was founded by John aka Mark, so that is a good source of information about Mark.
      Appreciate your knowledge and research, Nabil.
      Blessings, Sandy

Enter Your Question or Comment in the box Below

Questions and comments will be answered by email.