Paul

Linguistic support for a 'Jesus' interpolation in 1 Thessalonians 1:10

Linguistic support for a

Linguistic support for a Jesus interpolation in 1 Thessalonians 1:10

One of the elements of my theory is that Paul was an Essene messianic activist in the eastern part of the Roman empire in the decades leading up to the birth of Christianity in 70 CE. My findings lead to new avenues of research on the Pauline letters. Below I discuss how eliminating an interpolated ‘Jesus’ phrase in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 yields a linguistically sound sentence with a clear message.

The Nestle-Aland translation of 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 reads as follows: (9) For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, (10) and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Examining the different tenses of this fragment shows the following sequence (emphasis mine):

Phrase

Content

Time perspective

1

what a welcome we had among you

Past

2

how you turned to God from idols

Past

3

to serve a living and true God

Present

4

to wait for his Son from heaven

Future

5

whom he raised from the dead, Jesus

Past

6

who delivers us from the wrath to come

Future

The phrase ‘whom he raised from the dead, Jesus’ is at odds with both the preceding phrase and the subsequent phrase.
Why would you be waiting for God’s Son from heaven – the Christ – if, as the next phrase claims, Jesus had already been raised from the dead? The final phrase ‘who delivers us from the wrath to come’ only adds to the confusion. How are we to interpret the relationship between Christ and/or Jesus on the one hand and the execution of the future wrath on the other? If Jesus had already been raised from the dead this would have constituted God’s act of salvation, and it is this act of salvation that would have protected the Thessalonian Christians against the wrath referred to. If this is so, why then speak of a wrath to come?
As it stands, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 seems to offer a distorted representation of events. It is these kinds of aberrant sentences that underlie the widespread ‘second coming’ theory, even though there is nothing written in Paul’s letters to support this.

If one were to look at it from a different angle, a logical solution may present itself. The present text has an
a – a – b – c – a – c structure (with a = past, b = present and c = future). The third a-phrase does not fit the stylistically elegant a – a – b – c – c structure of the original sentence. Eliminating phrase 5 restores the clear message as well as the elegant style of the original.

The original message, which I paraphrase and to which I add some extra information, reads as follows:
First, Paul mentions how the Thessalonians welcomed him at the start of his successful mission in the city. This mission consists of two interwoven elements: to convert the Thessalonians from polytheism to the worship of the one Jewish God, and at the same time hold out the promise of the impending arrival of God’s messiah. At his future coming the Christ will judge the whole world. Then the present world rulers, the Romans, will be dealt with ruthlessly. It is by converting to God and his messiah that the Thessalonians will not only escape this cruel fate but also take part in the messianic golden age that awaits at that moment.

The core of my theory on the origins of Christianity purports that Christianity originated in 70 CE at the end of the war against the Romans. There are numerous indications that Paul was a trailblazer of the future Christ, and that all references to Jesus (which are superficial and/or stereotypical) in his letters are post-70 interpolations intended to harmonize Paul’s writings with the antedated chronology of Jesus’ activities invented by Mark, the writer of the first gospel. The sentence under discussion supports this thesis with respect to both content and style.