How hypocrisy viewed during the Apostles’ era and when The Incident at Antioch occured?

Ἰουδαῖοι (you-DIE-oi) was used throughout both the Roman and Hellenized world to refer to not just residents of Judea but to all who followed the religion of the Old Testament regardless of where they lived; by the time of Christ there were more Ἰουδαῖοι living outside Judea than in what the Romans would later call Palestine. It was commonly used of all those whose lives revolved around synagogue, refusal to have anything to do with images, especially religious ones, and believed there was only one true deity. If a man decided to get circumcised and follow Torah, regardless of his ethnicity he was then regarded as one of the Ἰουδαῖοι.

The Greek term ἔθνος (ETH-nos) is used in the Septuagint to translate Hebrew גוים‎ (or גויים‎) (goy-ym), which is used throughout the Old Testament writings and other Jewish writings to mean “all those peoples who aren’t Israel”; by the time of Christ it was no longer neutral, though, but had taken on negative connotations and could be used as a slur. “Gentile” comes from Latin gentilis, and is closely equivalent to ἔθνος; it was the standard rendition of גויים into Latin.

So translators use “Jew” because to our ears “Judean” indicates identity based on geography, whereas “Jew” refers to religion, and it is the latter meaning that referred to all adherents of Yahweh regardless of location including (in Babylon and other parts east) descendants of other tribes whose ancestors never lived in Judah; in the New Testament it isn’t always easy to discern whether it is being used in geographical or religious terms, though when used of those adherents of Yahweh living outside Judea-Samaria it’s safe to assume the religious aspect is intended.

And they use “Gentile” because it accurately conveys the meaning of “not a Jew”.

It’s both an ethnographic and religious description, like in Acts 2:5. But the Hasmonean leader John Hyrcanus had forcefully converted the Canaanite-Edomites to the Israelite religion over a 100 years before Christ, which turned Judea and the surrounding region into more turmoil.

The Herodians were a branch of these converts and one of them obviously wanted to murder the Christ child and also beheaded John the Baptist. They evidently had infiltrated the priesthood too.

Jesus criticized the religious leaders for this practice in Matthew 23:15

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves”

It’s used in Genesis 12:2 to refer to Abraham’s future, physical, descendants

“And I will make thee a great nation (H1484, ethnos) and I will bless thee and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed”

Abraham most probably wasn’t told that his future descendants would become a great company of “non-Jews”.

And Rebekah in Genesis 25:23 was told that “two nations are in thy womb”

“And the Lord said to her, There are two nations (H1484) in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy belly, and one people shall excel the other, and the elder shall serve the younger.”

This verse does not mean that two “non-Jews” were in her womb.

And the big problem woth translating “Judean” as “Jew” is that most people associate that word with modern Judaism and its religion, which has very little to do with the OT Israelite religion.

It’s like calling Plato or Aristotle “Christians” just because some Church Fathers were influenced by them.

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No, His criticism was how they went about it. The option to join Israel via circumcision was always part of the covenant.

That doesn’t negate the fact that it was used throughout the Old Testament and in other writings to refer to “not-Israel”. In the singular it is used generically; in the plural only rarely.

But we lack any other word; either of those brings false connotations. That the intent has to be distinguished in first-century writings by context doesn’t help the matter, but the reality is that we lack a word for making the distinction. I can see where it would be useful in a translation to footnote every occurrence, though that wouldn’t entirely clear up the problem – inclusion in a “foreword” to the entire New Testament would work better; that would allow explaining that what “Jew/Judean” meant back then is very different from what the refer tio today.

Is there any evidence for this? Later in the same same chapter Jesus blames them for “the blood of all the prophets” all the way back to Abel and called them “offspring of vipers”. It seems like many of those religious leaders were not of Levi/Judah, so in a sense they were maybe proselytes themselves.

In Susanna, the addition to the Book of Daniel, we see how the “seed/offspring of Caanan” had infiltrated the priesthood way before the time of Jesus

“And he said to him, “You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust has perverted your heart” (Sus 1:56)

One of the verses I could find where anyone could join via circumcision is in Gen 17:12, but all of Abraham’s servants were probably either Hebrews from Haran or of the other nearby Gen 10 nations (like Hagar). And just because they were circumcised did not seem to make them Abraham’s seed, since God refused to accept a “spiritual” replacement in the form Eliezer in Gen 15.

Abraham didn’t even want his son Isaac to marry one of the servant girls in his household, and told his trusted male servant to never take a wife for him from among the Canaanites either

“And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac” (Gen 24:3-4)

Well, you also have it in plural in Gen 25:23, 10:5, and referring to Sarah’s descendants in Gen 17:16, 48:19, and so forth.

I personally don’t think those verses refer to non-Jews.

Yeah, I’m just saying that modern Judaism and its rituals have very little to do with the religion of the OT. When you say “Jew” to an average person they might associate that word with kapparot, bar mitzvahs, kosher food, schechita, black hats with side twirls, or even the Talmud.

These rituals or cultural practices are not found in the Old Testament, so people might get confused when they’re reading about “Jews” from 2000 years ago.

If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land.
– Exodus 12:48

There are examples of it happening; the first that comes to mind is in Esther after the Jews were authorized by the king to defend themselves and strike at their enemies.
This was essentially abandoned after the return from the Exile due to how exclusivist Ezra and Nehemiah were. Then after Alexander spread Greek culture the “progressive” Pharisees emerged; they caught the Greek passion for disputation and reasoning and sought to use those to convince others of Yahweh’s greatness via reason, whereas earlier Israel wasn’t sent to preach but to be an example that would draw others to join them (cf. Deuteronomy 4).

The priesthood isn’t involved here at all. Elders and priests are not the same in the Old Testament.

Maybe, but there’s no support of that from the text.

Eliezer was a Syrian, or at least what would later be called a Syrian.

“Spiritual”? It was legal: by the standards of the day, if a man had no son then his chief servant or steward was heir. That Eliezar was not to be heir was not because he was unacceptable or did not count as Abraham’s seed, it was because God had other plans. And “reward” here is a reference to Abraham lacking offspring since sons were counted as “rewards” from God.

Reminds me of a video I watched some time back in which a rabbi commented that today’s Jews are barely Jews according to the Tanakh. I’d never thought about it before.
“Kosher” is found in the Old Covenant, just in verb form – כָּשֵׁר, “to be fit, proper, suitable”. The concept is a summary term for what the Law allowed to be eaten, originally, and extended on the negative side to things that are not to be touched, i.e. what can make a person “unclean”. IIRC it first shows up as an adjective in late or possibly middle Aramaic describing the dietary laws of the Pentateuch.
The bar mitzvah grew from practices that go back possibly to the Exile as ways to affirm being a Jew; by the time of Christ it still wasn’t called that but was marked by a Jewish boy reading from the Torah in synagogue (frequently a matter of learning by rote since few could actually read), though it wasn’t universal. I don’t think the first actual reference is before the fifteenth century, though, and by then it had accumulated a lot of additional ritual on top of just reading from Torah, but still wasn’t universal. In fact it didn’t come close to being universal until the twentieth century!

I think the word in Exodus (H1616, ger) is referring to sojourners, i.e. closely related peoples visiting that had an expectation of inclusion. Moses called himself a “ger” in Exodus 2:22 when he lived among the Midianites (who were descendants of Abraham).

What’s your interpretation?

I personally wouldn’t put much stock into Esther myself, to be honest. Esther was not found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, never mentions God and was never even alluded to by the apostles and writers of the Gospels. Esther also indirectly contradict both Herodotus and the Book of Daniel, which both claim that the Persian rulers could not change their laws after they had made them.

For example, In Herodotus Book 3 and chapter 31, Herodotus describes how Cambyses asked the judges if there was a law prohibiting him from marrying his own sister

“This, they say, was the first Cambyses’ evil acts; next, he made away with his full sister, who had come with him to Egypt, and whom he had taken to wife. He married her on this wise (for before this, it had by no means been customary for Persians to marry their sisters): Cambyses was enamoured of one of his sisters and presently desired to take her to wife; but his intention being contrary to usage, he summoned the royal judges​ and inquired whether there were any law suffering one, that so desired, to marry his sister. These royal judges are men chosen out from the Persians to be so till they die or are detected in some injustice; it is they who decide suits in Persia and interpret the laws of the land; all matters are referred to them. These then replied to Cambyses with an answer which was both just and safe, namely, that they could find no law giving a brother power to marry his sister; but that they had also found a law whereby the King of Persia might do whatever he wished. Thus they broke not the law for fear of Cambyses, and, to save themselves from death from maintaining it, they found another law to justify one that desired wedlock with sisters. So for the nonce Cambyses married her of whom he was enamoured; yet presently he took another sister to wife. It was the younger of these who had come with him to Egypt, and whom he now killed.”

This brings to mind Daniel 6:8 and 6:12.

Yet in Esther 3:9-11 the Persian King issues a decree which he then just totally reverses in chapter 8:8-14.

And these are just a few objections I would have against Esther.

Would you agree with this, or do you trust Esther as a verifiable source?

Do you mean Deuteronomy 4:6-7?

I looked up the word for “nations” in 4:6 and it’s a word for “tribes/people” (H5971, am) and that could just refer to the Israelites themselves. And then further the Israelites are called a great “goy” (H1471).

Yeah, I meant among the judges (although in Ezekiel 44:24 God wants the Levites to serve as judges). It’s in Malachi 2 and Ezekiel 44:7-9 where God is angry with the Israelites for bringing in “foreigners” into the priesthood.

They were most probably Hebrews or closely related peoples from the nations mentioned in Gen 10 (like Eliezer and Hagar), imo.

The proper title should probably be “Aramean” from the closely related Shemite “Aram”, brother of Arphaxad. Just like it’s maybe more accurate to call the Biblical Ethiopians “Cushites”. It could have been just a geographical label for him (or both). For example, Laban is called a “Syrian” in Genesis 31:24 because he lived in “Padan-Aram”, and Jacob is also called that in Deuteronomy 26:5-6.

God evidently would not accept Eliezer’s offspring as the seed of the covenant, even though legally his offspring would’ve belonged to Abraham

"And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” (Gen 15:4-5)

“And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Gen 17:15-16)

So most likely only Abraham’s descendants through Sarah were to be counted as the “seed of the covenant”, even though Ishmael’s seedline received a temporary blessing too.

Most of the modern Jewish rituals and laws seem to have their roots in the Talmud rather than the OT. The reason why Islam is so similar to modern Judaism is because most of the “Biblical” stories in the Quran have a lot in common with later Talmudic rewrites, interpretations and rules on the Patriarchs, Prophets and even Jesus (or just rules in general).

So Islam and modern Judaism seem to be more related to each other than Christianity is to either of them.

That’s what Esther says as well, so what’s the problem?

But he doesn’t reverse it, he just issues a decree that allows the Jews to defend themselves against the results of his previous decree. We looked at some similar examples in one ancient near eastern history courses and decided those kings could be crafty ‘lawyers’ when it suited them.

As I said, that Eliezar was not to be heir was not because he was unacceptable or did not count as Abraham’s seed, it was because God had other plans.

That contradicts the description of that covenant as the covenant of circumcision and the instruction that all those people’s descendants were to be included.

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I sometimes wonder, what is actually the difference between “love God” --VS-- “love neighbor”. Why it’s a separate law if someone “love God” then automatically he will “love neighbor”.

If I involve the atheist, IMO there are some atheists who sincerely “love neighbor”, which to me it doesn’t make sense if it is said that “it is because the atheist love God”. But of course, someone else’s opinion can be [there won’t be any atheist who is sincere in “love neighbor”].

No. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is: if in the real event Paul jump to a conclusion when seeing Peter separate himself, “it is because Peter is afraid of the James group that’s why Peter put a mask”, I don’t think that everybody else in the same room will jump to a conclusion the same with Paul.

Someone else who is there too in the real event can also jump to any kind of conclusion about Peter separate himself; other than Paul’s jumped conclusion. For example, “it is because Peter is a hypocrite, beautiful outside ugly inside”, etc. And another someone else who is there in the real event, seeing Peter separate himself, the thing which may across his mind maybe is just a question “why Peter separate himself?”.

I think I need to know first what do you mean by “the James group already won for the Gospel”.

Because from your quote above, my view about “the James group already won for the Gospel” = the James group have the same believe with the Barnabas group (the circumcision group of Barnabas) = “Jews are not superior than the Gentiles and Barnabas group, no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, Gentiles are not to be circumcised, eat together with Gentiles is OK”

I mean, if the text made the readers to assume that the James group do mind eating together with Gentiles, etc and they think themselves that they are superior than everybody else in that room, (to me) doesn’t that mean that the James group have not already won for the Gospel ?

Please cmiiw.

But one of the Jewish customs that I know is to observe Jewish dietary laws as in Mark Allan Powel, Introducing the New Testament, 331.

So then the James group is just keep following their one of the Jewish custom/culture, which is

separate themselves from the gentile Christians when the community shared meals together.
(Mark Allan Powel, Introducing the New Testament, 331).

Please cmiiw.


I paraphrase your quote:
This is all actually simple:
A. behave in a way contrary to the Gospel
B. out of worry what others will think
C. and you’ve put on a mask.

I don’t understand why it is like above A/B/C. Because to me, it is like below:
A. behave in a way contrary to what you preach/believe
C. and you’ve put on a mask.

Please cmiiw.

I paraphrase your quote:
Everyone can keep following their own customs so long as those don’t conflict with his/her believe.

So, if the James group believe that their culture about “Jewish dietary law” is to be observed, then in the eye of someone who believe that any Jewish culture/custom must be observed, the James group is not conflicting their believe (don’t eat together with the Gentile in the same table), but if in the eye of Mr.X who hold that “not all Jewish culture must be observed” (so, eat together with Gentiles in the same table is OK), then the James group is conflicting Mr.X believe.

To my own undertanding, the lesson is :
during the Apostle’s era, “don’t behave contrary to what you preach/believe, not even once”. Because the effect is: “everybody will say that you put a mask”.

That’s why I think that “the details” (afraid & other Jews follow Peter’s action) Paul mentioned is pointless, it’s not necessary, since everybody will say that Peter is putting a mask when they see Peter separate himself.

I mean, from your quote “there was no aspect of Jewish culture involved”, I thought that in the real event, Peter and the James group don’t have things about their own Jewish culture in their mind.

But from your previous quote, you mentioned that in Peter’s mind like this:

Peter was certainly more concerned with his reputation, with not wanting to be looked down on by people from his culture and religion

To me, the quote above means that in Peter’s mind, the James group do have things about their Jewish culture in James group’s mind.

When the James group arrive, Peter’s mind : “oopss… here comes a group who still hold Jewish culture/custom which is [not to eat together with the Gentiles on the same table]”

So i confuse…, because

  • if based on your quote "not wanting to be looked down on by people from his culture and religion", then I think my illustration is correct. This is the same case as in (Mark Allan Powel, Introducing the New Testament, 331). There was aspect of Jewish culture involved in that event.

  • But if based on your quote "there was no aspect of Jewish culture involved", then I think my illustration is not correct.


Being won for the Gospel doesn’t make people perfect.

We’ve gone around and around on this and it seems to me at this point that you’re just trying to find things to argue about. I don’t know of any way to make things clearer than has already been done.

Just two observations" first, it seems you expect humans to be like robots with computer programs that always make sense; second, it seems you want things to be binary, either one way or another, so a statement that is correct in one situation is correct in all situations. Neither of these fits the real world.


Think of it like this: two separate instructions to automobile drivers might be “drive safely”, and “obey the speed limit.”

The first (“Drive safely”), like “Love God”, covers everything! So why should any extra details be needed? Well, those details, like “obey speed limits”, are needed to help inform and reinforce what safe driving is supposed to include! Think of the loving neighbors command like that. It’s telling you how you love God, and showing you what it looks like to love God. If a person isn’t loving their neighbor, then they aren’t loving God. Scriptures are very clear about that.


I’m sorry if you think that I have made you to think about me like that.

As in my previous post, in my opinion, Peter’s “real face” is: Peter believe that there’s no distinction between Jews and Gentiles sincerely. So, to me, Peter separating himself looks like that Peter do not believe that there’s no distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

To me, the “putting a mask” here is when the James group arrive,

  • Peter pretends as if he does not believe that there’s no distinction between Jews and Gentiles = Peter pretends as if he believe that there’s a distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

So, the “putting a mask” happen only when Peter is in front of the James group. When eating together with the Gentiles before the James group arrive, that “eating together” is not pretending. There’s no pretending whenever Peter is together with the Gentiles. Hence, my next conclusion: before Peter visit Antioch, whenever Peter is together with the James group, Peter pretends as if he believe/agree that there’s a distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

Why Peter is like that when he is in front of the James group, I don’t know for sure. The thing which I can guess is the same thing like in Jerome’s letter : “becoming a Jew to the Jews so that he might win some”

And that is my own opinion based on ivar’s response.


Now, if based on your response:

In this case I don’t need to ask “Why Peter behave like that when in front of the James group”, because based on the quote above, it already answer “why” —> It is because for Peter’s own benefit.


So, no… I’m not trying to argue with you and I’m sorry if my post made you think like that. I’m just trying to make my own conclusion on each different response.

Thanks for the nice analogy, Mervin.

Again, because in my opinion there are some atheists who “love neighbor” sincerely, that’s why I feel strange if it is said: it’s because that atheists “love God”.

The proposition “if not A then not B” does not imply “if A then B”.

It would be a cold heart that insisted that love (or “true love”) is accessible/givable by only those who are recognized Christians. Such would mean that most of the world through all of history and even a majority of the world today does not have a capacity for love. I hope most of us could agree that creation includes the common grace of people participating in and doing what we Christians would/should insist are Christ-like things, even in the absence of or before any recognized claim of Christian tribal identity on their part. Romans 1 - for all of its judgment - also then becomes an acknowledgment that not only is good (loving) behavior accessible to all - but it isn’t unreasonable to expect it of others in general.

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