An ecumenical movement: between 62 and 64 AD the Apostolic Council took place in Jerusalem, where Paul and Barnabas,
the Apostles to the Gentiles, met the heads of the Palestinian Jesus Groups of Peter, James and John.
Reports about the Apostolic Council show that the Jesus Groups in Palestine still existed as separate organisations but that they worked together, and that Paul and Barnabas were recognised as representing the Gentile Christian church, but their work was also viewed with distrust.
Original movements and Jesus Groups: the Samaritans, the baptism sect and the Gnostics around Simon Magus
had few solid structures and little in the way of binding dogmas. They were groups with many different views, and Messianic ideas were widespread at the time, so Jesus’ followers within these movements could form groups without leaving the movement.
What we seen in the Gospels are a range of interpretations of Jesus that can be attributed to the movements named and to which we can allocate disciples’ names. These names are James (Israelites), John (Baptists) and Simon Peter (Gnostics).
These men clearly led Jesus Groups that remained within their movements. We can see the conflicts among the Christian Jews that they were confronted with. The disputes always focused on the issue of how far a Jesus Group could or should distinguish itself within the parent movement.
The dominant master narrative of the Apostolic Age states the following: the Gallio episode in Acts 18:12ff fixes
the date for Paul’s visit to Corinth at 51/52 AD. Paul’s missionary journeys can be reconstructed on the basis of the information in the Acts of the Apostles and in Paul’s letters, and the date of the Apostolic Council set at 48/49 AD. The other events can also be dated from this basis.
These are my theses on this subject:
The Gallio episode in Acts 18:12ff is a literary construction by Luke; it is not based on any historical event and does not offer a reference point for the chronology of early Christianity.
The Apostolic Age begins with Jesus’ death in 36 AD: Ant. 18.4.1.
John the Baptist, the founder of the church of John (see below), died in 37 AD: Ant 18.5.2.
The dominant master narrative concerning Jesus’ message states that Jesus was impressed by John the Baptist’s preaching
about repentance. In his own pronouncements, however, he proclaimed a loving God full of grace whose kingdom would soon be realised, bringing equal rights for all people; it could already be experienced in the community of the disciples.
These are my theses about Jesus’ message:
Jesus was a Jewish statesman; he was Prince Antipas’ governor and shaped Galilean politics. He viewed religion simply as a supplementary measure to safeguard economic and political developments.
Jesus imitated Emperor Augustus’ form of rule in his political work (imitation Augusti) and aimed to organise society around a monarchy.
Jesus aimed for a monarchy in Galilee headed by a Jewish monarch, a Messiah. This monarch, this Messiah, could only be the ruling Jewish prince; for Jesus, therefore, this was Antipas.
After Jesus’ election as Philip’s successor, John the Baptist proclaimed that he was the Jewish Messiah: 1 Kings 13:23. The people of Galilee
hailed him as the King of Israel and Antipas was forced to flee from the furious population that associated themselves with Jesus: 2 Sam. 15:14. Jesus journeyed in triumph through Galilee to Samaria, the location of the old holy places of the northern Israelite kingdom.