Was Saul/Paul an Herodian Edomite?


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Has anybody read "James, Brother of Jesus" by Richard Eisenman? He also has a great article called "Paul as Herodian".
Wolfgang von USA

Here is an excerpt:

(Implications from the Qumran or Dead Sea Scrolls)

Blue font within (parentheses) indicate comments from Wolfgang


Paul as Herodian

Robert Eisenman

Institute for Jewish-ChristianOrigins
CaliforniaStateUniversity at Long Beach

JHC 3/1 (Spring, 1996), 110-122.

THERE are materials in the New Testament, early Church literature, Rabbinic literature, and Josephus which point to some connection between Paul and so-called "Herodians." These materials provide valuable insight into problems related to Paul's origins, his Roman citizenship, the power he conspicuously wields in Jerusalem when still a young man, and the "Herodian" thrust of his doctrines (and as a consequence those of the New Testament) envisioning a community in which both Greeks and Jews would enjoy equal promises and privileges.

By "Herodian" we mean a religio-political orientation not inimical to the aims of the Herodian family, not only in Palestine, but also in Asia Minor and even Rome, and possibly implying a genealogical connection as well. Examples of the effect of such an orientation expressed with retrospective historical effect in the Gospels would be the curious thematic repetitions portraying a Jewish (Judahite) Messiah desiring fellowship with "Sinners" (for Paul in Gal 2:l, "Gentiles"), "publicans" (presumably Jewish dietary regulations were of little consequence to such persons), "prostitutes" (in our view a euphemism for "fornicators" as per Jamesian/Qumran definition, i.e., those who defined technical rules of sexual purity differently or less strictly), and "tax-collectors" (persons fitting comfortably into the political philosophy enunciated by Paul in Rom 13), and a whole genre of other allusions such as "the first shall be last," "these little ones"/"simple ones," the Messiah as "wine-bibber" (presumably therefore distinguished from such well-known life-long Nazirite types as his brother James, John the Baptist, the mysterious "Banus," and probably the Qumran Righteous Teacher).

In recent work, I not only argued for the precedence that must be given to literary and historical evidence over archaeological and palaeographic evidence of the kind which exists for Qumran, but also attempted to concretize the basic political (and by consequence religious) orientation of Qumran as anti-Herodian. The last allows us to arrive at a proper textual and historical dating of Qumran documents and has important ramifications for Gospel research. Underestimating it, I believe, is one of the most serious defects of Qumran research. I have also redefined "Pharisees" generically in terms of "seeking accommodation with foreigners" for two reasons: first, to take into account important self-professed "Pharisees" like Paul and Josephus, and second, to relate such persons and others to Qumran circumlocutions like "Seekers after Smooth Things." By this I mean that we should not simply call Pharisees those whom the Talmud or Josephus might so identify, but those so identifiable because of an accommodating attitude towards foreign rule and some of its important ramifications, e.g., acceptance of gifts or sacrifices on behalf of foreigners in the Temple, Herodian or foreign appointment of high priests, etc. (Note from Wolfgang - This accommodating attitude towards foreigners and foreign rulers would refer not only to Romans but to the newly assimilated Idumeans or Edomites, including King Herod.)

In several documents and contexts, Qumran presents a basic alliance or modus vivendi between groups it variously refers to as "the Traitors"/"Congregation of Traitors" (bogdim), "the Seekers after Smooth Things," "the Man of Lying"/"Pourer out of Lying," "Comedian," "Windbag," "Dauber upon the Wall," "the Violent Ones"/"Violent Ones of the Gentiles," "Men of War," "the Simple Ones of Ephraim"/"House of Ephraim," etc. This last allusion, which is found in the Nahum Pesher in the context of various problems relating to the period in which the Seekers after Smooth Things were in control in Jerusalem, is also linked to a "Lying Tongue" who leads many astray, problems with overseas messengers, allusion to "the city of blood" (which in the Habakkuk Pesher also relates to ideological problems with "the Liar"), and through the use of the expression nilvu (i.e., "joining"), to Gentiles. It also parallels another expression, "the Simple Ones of Judah"/"Torah-Doers in the House of Judah"/"the Poor"/"the Many" on behalf of whom the Teacher of Righteousness carries out proper justifying activities.

In Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians and Qumran (Brill, 1983), I identified at least those indicated under the circumlocution "Violent Ones of the Gentiles" with renegade Herodian Men-of-War (also probably partially identifiable with those Josephus calls "Idumeans") who first support the uprising and then desert it. Along with John the Essene, they are in the early days among the revolution's bravest military commanders and would appear to take their "war" policy even further than so-called "Zealots." Among these I would include Queen Helen's son Monobazus, who was killed in the attack on Cestius, Niger of Perea, a leader of Josephus' "Idumeans," Silas (also close to the Herodian family — possibly brought up with Agrippa I and in the final analysis a deserter from Agrippa II's army), and perhaps even Philip (the head of Agrippa's bodyguard in Caesarea). At the same time, they were probably on intimate terms with a person Josephus calls "Saulus," a "kinsman of Agrippa," the probable descendant of the Idumean convert Costobarus (the real "Idumaean" in Herodian genealogies), though he was a principal member of the opposing pro-Roman "peace" coalition and the go-between for Agrippa II and "all those desirous for peace" who actually invited the Romans to send their soldiers into the city to suppress the revolt.

For the rest go to http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/eisenman.html
Just to clarify it is ROBERT Eisenman. Oh, I see it correctly lower down.
I guess not...as nobody has responded....are you the original wolfgang? or just noticed the article?

Have you anything to add? I am wondering what changes you would have seen in Christianity or how this knowledge would affect Christians or our world today?
Has anybody read "James, Brother of Jesus" by Richard Eisenman? He also has a great article called "Paul as Herodian".
Haven't read it.

Looking at peer reviews, seems like another 'sensational re-evaluation' so beloved of the conspiracy theorist that finds such a ready market in the US.

From what I have read from the link, there's a lot of 'reading into' texts (eisegesis) that 'uncovers' a huge conspiracy – or does it see conspiracy where none in fact exists? :rolleyes: He's created an entire narrative out of hints and suggestions, but no factual material.

Eisenman's assumptions, such as orthodoxy cannot be trusted because it is orthodox, or that to objectively critique a religion one must have been a member of that religion and then left it, are patently nonsense. No suggestion of axe-to-grind here!

And let's not even start on his dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Carbon dating is wrong. Why? Because it doesn't fit with his thesis.

Scholars are wrong. Why? Because ditto.

Any actual explicit evidence supporting his thesis? None.

The absence of evidence on the one hand, and the dismissal of any evidence contrary to his thesis on the other ... we've been here before ... his methodology suggests that Eisenman has come up with a thesis that is attractive, a narrative spun out of hints and interpretation, but probably wrong, as too much evidence has to be dismissed to make the thesis viable ...

In short, apply half of his own critique of orthodoxy to his unorthodox view, and the theory would be shredded.