Monday, May 2, 2011

Hubner's garbage on the PA (Part 6)

Hubner continues with more fluffery:
4.   "The argument regarding Eusebius is poor and carries no weight. It is based on conjecture (e.g. “Eusebius may have been hostile to the story of the woman taken in adultery not only because of moralistic objections but also because it was related by Papias.”) and straw men (“Instead of stressing Eusebius’ silence it is more reasonable to lay the emphasis upon his positive testimony, which is that the story of the woman taken in adultery is a very ancient one, reaching back to the days of the Apostles.” – who is suggesting that the story of the woman in adultery is not ancient? No one. Most scholars agree that the story probably happened, which means it goes back to the life of Jesus Himself)."
Actually, no.

In fact, the evidence regarding Eusebius is relatively  very important, because it can be firmly dated around 300-320 A.D., making it  some of the earliest testimony we have.   Since we all apparently agree that the PA story is 'ancient', i.e., coming from the late 1st to early 2nd century (e.g. Papias, Didaskalia, Apost.Const.  etc.), we are glad Hubner concedes that issue is established.
But it is even more important, because it shows that in certain cases, Eusebius is willing to fudge the facts himself.  He cannot be seriously or credibly claiming that the PA was unknown to him other than from a citing of Papias.  Something is horribly wrong here, and its pretty obvious what it is:

(1) We know that the PA was left out of copies in the 3rd century in Egypt (P66, P75), and there are obvious factors here:
(a) Certain scriptures could not be read publicly, even in secret meetings, when the Church was underground and illegal, persecuted by Romans and Jews, and infiltrated, spied on, and betrayed by both enemy camps.   Thus for instance, no one dared read from Revelation, especially after the Roman/Jewish Wars (cf. Josephus), and key passages from all books were avoided.   Special manuscripts prepared for 'public services' were prepared from the earliest times, modeled after Jewish synagogue practices (P66 and P75 are of this type).
(b)  There was a large Jewish population in Alexandria and Egypt (cf. Jeremiah, Josephus etc.) being actively proselytized by early Christian Jews.  They had their own Greek OT translation (the LXX), and were extremely volatile, sensitive and hostile to stories that made the Jewish authorities and the Jews look bad.   They even later removed the Story of Susanna from the Greek Daniel, because it slagged the Babylonian Jewish Authorities (cf. Origen ,  Theodoton etc.).   Its obvious that the Alexandrian Jews were willing to alter texts in their own interest. 
(c)  The PA was offensive to Jews, and dangerous.  Unlike other recorded conflicts between Jesus and the Jerusalem authorities, this story made it appear that the Jewish parties were willing to stone a woman to death, just to entrap Jesus.  This was not a mere disagreement over Torah interpretation.  It painted the Jews as murderous, lecherous monsters.

(2)  We know that the PA was left out of later copies in the 4th century,  from the Constantine Period (e.g., Aleph, B).
Boiled his Queen Alive for Adultery

(a)  The PA was offensive to Emperor Constantine.  Although the omission of the PA was not originated by Constantine or Eusebius, its omission clearly served Constantine's interests and safeguarded Eusebius' Christianity, only recently made legal and winning official support.  Constantine had executed his own son from an earlier marriage based on testimony of his new queen, re: alleged adultery.  Later Constantine found out she had apparently lied, being an adulteress herself, and having caused Constantine to wrongly kill his own son.  Emperor Constantine had his Queen boiled alive for this.   It is clear from this horrific record that Constantine was not inclined to forgive adultery in any form.  At the same time, Constantine apparently bribed the bishops with extraordinary promises of immunity and protection and he actually quoted the PA during the discussion!
(b)  Constantine and Eusebius actually edited the Bible.  Eusebius was in the unfortunate position of trying to keep the decision by Constantine to embrace Christianity, while providing a text for public worship services acceptable to Constantine.   This often involved severe abridgments and deletions of Holy Scripture.  For instance, when approving of a translation into the Gothic language for his Goth troops, Ulfulas, following the policy set by Constantine and Eusebius earlier, omitted the entire Books of Kings, because in their view, the Goths were "already too warlike", and these books would only encourage them.   
The foregoing facts make the testimony of Eusebius and other historians regarding the events in the 4th century very important to establishing why the PA was missing from key manuscripts of this period.

E. F. Hills' opinion is not based on mere conjectures, but rather a careful evaluation of a combination of important historical evidences.

No comments: