2 Corinthians 11:32

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In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to take me: (ASV)

Pro

Edit this section if you suspect error.

Error # 1 - Textual Criticism - 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 is Forged/Interpolated

I previously identified the key criterion in Textual Criticism of where the excerpt under examination falls related to the range of the author. ICC (International Critical Commentary) helps me identify the following types:

   1) The offending verses interrupt 11:30 as a direct transition to 12:1
   2) The offending verses would be the only example in the area where Paul escapes persecution
   3) The offending verses would be the only historical time marker in Paul
   4) The offending verses is the only specific example given
   5) The other types of suffering listed in the area are brief, the offending verses are an expansion
   6) The offending verses are separated from the list of suffering by verse 30
   7) The offending verses is the only one in the suffering area that involves others
   8) The historicity of the offending verses has no external support
   9) The offending verses have multiple controversy (King Aretas, Ethnarch in Damascus, Textual variation)
   10) Acts reaction to the offending verses
   11) Incentive to implant "historical" verses due to following revelation verses

The above is very good evidence for forgery/interpolation based on the range criterion.

See [http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=184 Biblical Criticism & History Forum - earlywritings.com [Forgery] 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 [/Forgery]]

Error # 2 - Historical Criticism - No external evidence that Aretas was king of Damascus at this time

JW:

2 Corinthians is commonly dated to c. 55. It is unlikely that Aretas was king of Damascus at this time for the following reasons:

1) Dating. The externally known Aretas IV reigned until 40.

2) Geographical. Aretas IV was king of Nabataea, on the wrong side of Israel from Damascus.

3) Conflict. Aretas IV was in conflict with Rome late in his career.

4) Source. Aretas III did control Damascus in the 1st century BCE establishing a source for error.

5) Significance. It's unlikely that Rome would have granted outside control to a major city like Damascus.

6) Reaction. "Luke", giving the same account, exorcises "Aretas" from the story.

2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to take me:

Verses:

Acts 9:22-25

22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.
23 And when many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel together to kill him:
24 but their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates also day and night that they might kill him:
25 but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket.

Note that "Luke" has exorcised the reference to Aretas. "Luke" likely used Josephus as a source and therefore knew that Aretas was not king over Damascus at this time. This is the type of thing "Luke" refers to in her opening:

Luke 1:1-4

1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us,
2 even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3 it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus;
4 that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed.

Note that "Luke's" preferred source is Josephus. And why shouldn't it be since Josephus was the official Jewish/Roman historian of first century Israel. Ironically here though, "Luke" prefers Josephus over Paul as the best source for what Paul wrote.

--JoeWallack 11:07, 30 May 2009 (EDT)


Error # 3 - Historical Criticism - No external evidence that there was an Ethnarch of King Aretas in Damascus at this time

--JoeWallack 10:32, 26 May 2009 (EDT)

Con

'1) Dating. The externally known Aretas IV reigned until 40.'

A: The incident occurred at latest by 37 AD.

'2) Geographical. Aretas IV was king of Nabataea, on the wrong side of Israel from Damascus.'

A: It's not impossible that the Romans allowed a Nabataean ethnarch to be chief of his community in Damascus, and that he assisted the Jews in their attempt to kill Paul. That Paul would know that this governor/ruler was responsible could be due to personal knowledge, seeing how he lived there for years (Galatians 1.17-18). The lack of Nabatean pottery and coins for this period is not very relevant as there are no Roman coins there from 34-62, yet the mint which closed in 32 reopened in 53 (all coins being imported from Antioch before then).

'3) Conflict. Aretas IV was in conflict with Rome late in his career.'

A: As Josephus notes (Ant.18 chapter 5) this didn't have any consequences since, after Herod asked for help from Rome, the general Vitellius was delayed and in the mean-time Tiberius died (37 AD).

'4) Source. Aretas III did control Damascus in the 1st century BCE establishing a source for error.'

A: Unlikely Paul would confuse Aretas III with a personal event of his life. How would he claim that a governor under Aretas was responsible? After doing research that Aretas III controlled Damascus in the 1st century BC, and yet not knowing who controlled it in his lifetime?

'5) Significance. It's unlikely that Rome would have granted outside control to a major city like Damascus.'

A: True as that is, they may have nevertheless granted a Nabatean ethnarch/governor over the community there.

'6) Reaction. "Luke", giving the same account, exorcises "Aretas" from the story.'

A: Doesn't prove anything and sort of supports the answer to #2.

Arguments for authenticity: 1. Nobody disputes that 2 Corinthians actually came from the Apostle, and it is unlikely he would be wrong about such a personal event.

'Note that "Luke's" preferred source is Josephus. And why shouldn't it be since Josephus was the official Jewish/Roman historian of first century Israel. Ironically here though, "Luke" prefers Josephus over Paul as the best source for what Paul wrote. '

A: Has not been proven to be Josephus, and this has been severely discarded since the last 40 or so years (see Kummel, 'INT' on Luke). Unlikely Luke chose anything over Paul since the evidence suggests he didn't use Paul's epistles.

Neutral

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