Thursday, September 14, 2006

Split between Paul and Barnabas II

I posted some thoughts the other day on the Split between Paul and Barnabas, wondering whether it might help us with some of those vexing issues of Pauline chronology. There were lots of useful comments, for which thanks to all concerned. A couple of things in particular arise from these: (1) The brief reference to Barnabas in 1 Cor. 9.6 need not imply friendship (e.g. Jim West). (2) The relevance of the data on Barnabas is adjusted if Galatians 2.1-10 = Acts 11.27-30; 12.25 rather than Galatians 2.1-10 = Acts 15. On the second point, I am not at all persuaded by the case that Acts 11.27-30 represents the visit to Jerusalem Paul is talking about in Galatians 2. The case that Acts 15 and Gal. 2 are talking about the same Jerusalem council seems to be to be very strong indeed. I'll blog on why I think so in due course, and also on what I think is going in in Acts 11.27-30. But (1) is, I think, an important objection to making anything of the 1 Cor. 9.6 reference to Barnabas, particularly given that:
  • There is no hint in the Corinthian correspondence that Barnabas played any role in the mission to Corinth. This is a significant silence (i.e. an argument about silence and not an argument from silence) given that others involved in Christian mission in Corinth are mentioned so often, Timothy, Titus, Apollo, Sosthenes.

  • The primary evidence from Paul lines up with the secondary evidence of Acts here, that the split with Barnabas had in fact already happened before the mission to Corinth, let alone 1 Corinthians.

  • If 1 Cor. 9.6 comes from a time before Paul's split with Barnabas, the window for the writing of 1 Corinthians that would be implied by this is simply too small. I can't believe that 1 Corinthians was written in between Jerusalem (Gal. 2.1-10) and Antioch (Gal. 2.11-20).
In short, then, and against my earlier speculation, I doubt that we can make much of 1 Cor. 9.6 as helping us out with Pauline chronology. The split between Paul and Barnabas had already happened by this point, but Barnabas is mentioned in the same way that Paul mentions others who are not actually his best mates, e.g. in the same context the brothers of the Lord and Cephas.

In an unexpected way, though, this has thrown up something relevant for reflecting on Pauline chronology. Given that 1 Corinthians and, indeed, the earlier mission to Corinth, appear to be post the Paul-and-Barnabas partnership, this is an important piece of evidence against Lüdemann's theory of an early mission to Corinth (early 40s). I need to go back to Lüdemann to see if he deals with this, and how.


Peter M. Head said...

Fair enough, 1 Cor 9.6 does not demand 'friendship' between Paul and Barnabas; but it does presume an association between Paul and Barnabas that Paul must think is known in Corinth (else it makes no point). The passage also presumes Paul's positive opinion of Barnabas' serving, planting and tending (v7).
Perhaps the 'we' of v4&5 could even suggest that Paul and Barnabas are currently associating in mission.
So I don't see 1 Cor 9.6 as very easily compatible with an ongoing rupture between Paul and Barnabas. Hence perhaps there may be a case for re-opening your window OR for the idea that the split in Galatians was not permanent.

simon said...

I agree with Peter. The context in 1 Corinthians 9 suggests that Paul and Barnabas were at least co-operating in mission in much the same way as Paul and Silas were in 1 Cor 3. Indeed there Paul seems to be saying that though the Corinthians are divided over teachers, Paul is not divided from the people he mentions - especially Silas. Isn't the same implied in 1 Cor 9?
It must be possible for Paul, Peter, James, Baranbas, Silas - and lost of others - to be aware of each other, generally favourably disposed to one another, but not working side-by-side or living out of each other's pockets. There's a danger in this whole discussion of assuming a specific disagreement is a permanent rift.
It's also interesting that we take the alleged rift between Paul and Barnabas as reported by Acts at face value and yet do not take the agreement between Paul, Barnabas and James as reported in Acts 15 at face value. Why is this?