Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 13:06:38 -0500
To: "Mahlon H. Smith" 
Subject: Re: Numerology in Mark

Hello again, Mahlon,

Richard already mentioned Heitmueller and his analysis of the Hellenistic
Christianity in Antioch, and in Syria more generally.

OF PAUL, W. A. Meeks, ed, Norton, 1972. 

This article of his first came out in German in 1912. I suppose he was the
first to propose all these theories. In any case, Loisy is certainly
basing his own analyses on this material. I don't know what is it about
the scholars of that time, but they did seem to figure out all these
things quite well. I suppose they are not quite as widely known
nowadays... Progress in NT scholarship doesn't always seem to move in the
linear and predictable mode. 

Here're some quotes from the article. This answers some of your questions.

"Hellenists first consciously undertook a mission among Gentiles, probably
initially among proselytes (Acts 8 and 11). Presumably a serious
missionary endeavour beyond Judea began first in consequence of the
Stephen uproar. Probably one may further assume that the persecution
affected only the Hellenistic believers who deprecated the temple cult or
the law, who then, having been driven out of Jerusalem, extended their
mission also to the non-Jews. This mission movement borne by diaspora
Jewish Christians will have spread as far as Damascus; by that means Paul
became acquainted with Christianity, persecuted it, and received the
unconscious impetus to his conversion."  (p. 313)

"The picture that apparently emerges from the Pauline letters, as if the
missionary Paul had carried on his work free-lance, entirely by his own
power, is very likely false. The book of Acts at this point provides a
good and necessary corrective." (p. 313)

"... some indirect and weak sources can be pointed out: ... first, the
book of Acts, in the recognized good Hellenistic sources, chaps. 6, 7, 8,
and 11. Here we obtain a few important hints about the Hellenistic
diaspora Jewish Christianity that formed the bridge to the Gentile
mission." (p. 314)

Best regards,


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