© 2006 Yi•rᵊmᵊyâhꞋu Ben-David
The following is based on an article in Biblical Archeology Review by Prof. Samuele Bacchiocchi, How It Came About: From
Saturday to Sunday (Biblical Archeology Review, 1978.09-10, p. 32ff. with follow-up letters in BAR 1979.01-02). In-depth documentation and support of his article is found in his seminal book: Prof. Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., Andrews University, From Sabbath to Sunday : A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity (Rome: Pontifical Gregorian University Press, 1977). Modifications are incorporated to eliminate the names of pagan idols and maintain consistent Tor•âhꞋ-compatible language in order to eliminate differences attributable solely to language.
Scholars have long debated how the first day of the week – Sun
godday – came to be adopted by a majority of Christians as the day of rest and worship in place of the Biblically-prescribed, seventh-day Sabbath…
The adoption of Sun
godday observance has been traditionally attributed to ecclesiastical authority rather than to Biblical or apostolic precepts This has been the position of most historians who have studied the questions.
Recently, however, some scholars have argued that Sun
godday observance has a Biblical or apostolic origin. According to these scholars, from the inception of the [Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ], the [Shᵊlikh•imꞋ] themselves chose the first day of the week in place of the seventh day in order to commemorate the resurrection… three days after his crucifixion.
This theory fails on at least five points:
Count backwards three days and three nights from dawn of the first day of the week (yields: dawn of preceding Day5) and try to reconcile that with being taken down from the stake in late afternoon of Day6 as Shab•âtꞋ approached. How was he in his tomb at dawn the day before he was even placed on the stake?
Ribi Yᵊhoshua prophesied in his own words that he would be in the earth three days and three nights (The Nᵊtzârim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matitᵊyâhu (NHM, in English) 12.40). Conundrum. Gentiles, not most Jews, understand the Greek; but Jews, not gentiles who are unfamiliar with Judaism, realize that this can only refer to the Hebrew counterpart of μιαν σαββατων (mian Sabbaton; one of the Shab•âtꞋS, plural), and that this phrase can only refer to one of the special Shab•âtꞋs that occur during Khag ha-Matzot. (Suk•otꞋ is ruled out because autumn is ruled out by other factors.)
Computer-generated calendars for the period specify the year in which the Shab•âtꞋ of the Seventh Day of Khag ha-Matzot fell on the necessary—4th – day of the week (see NHM note 28.1.1). Moreover, that is the only year, for several years on either side, in which this occurred, pinpointing the date of death precisely. Further, by Jewish, rather than Roman, reckoning of days, the tomb was found empty at the end of Shab•âtꞋ in the evening "as Shab•âtꞋ approached"—about 12 hours before "dawn" of the first day of the week. Empty at the end of Shab•âtꞋ necessarily means that the resurrection occurred on Shab•âtꞋ, not Sun
god)day! For complete details, see NHM note 28.1.1.
"The plain fact is that an objective study of the first century history of the [Yᵊru•shâ•laꞋyim Beit-ha-Kᵊnësët], makes it abundantly clear that such an hypothesis is altogether untenable" (Bacchiocchi, BAR 1979.01-02, p. 9). The Roman Hellenists and their Sun
godday were prohibitively idolatrous. They worshipped the S*u*n(g*o*d) since 135 C.E. – Gaston H. Halsberghe, The Cult of Sol Invictus (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1972)!
"In early Christian art and literature, the sun is often used as a symbol to represent Christ. The orientation of early Christian Churches [unlike Jewish Batei-ha-Kᵊnësët]… were oriented to the East. The dies natalis
Solis Invicti (the birthday of the Invincible Sun) was chosen as the Christian Christmas." (Bacchiocchi).
Transgressing the mitzwah requiring lᵊ-havdil between Qodesh and khol would have immediately alienated the Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ as apostate Hellenists, causing their immediate ejection from the Pᵊrushim community.
To the contrary, "Both Eusebius and Epiphanius inform us, however, that the [Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ Beit-ha-Kᵊnësët in Yᵊrushalayim] after 70 [C.E.] and until Hadrian's siege of Yᵊrushalayim in 135 [C.E.] was composed of and administered by [Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ] Jews, characterized as 'zealous to insist on the literal observance of the [Tor•âhꞋ]'" (Bacchiocchi). For a survey of the literature demonstrating this point, see Bellarmino Bagatti, The Church from the Circumcision (Yᵊrushalayim: Franciscan Printing Press, 1971).
"The change originated in Rome, not [Yᵊru•shâ•laꞋyim]" (Bacchiocchi)
The earliest explicit references to the observance of Sun
godday as the Christian ["Sabbath"] are by Barnabas ca. 135 [C.E.]) and Justin (ca. 150 [C.E.])" (Bacchiocchi, see The Epistle of Barnabas 15; Justin, I Apology 67).
However, the speculated date of the original writing, no copy of which exists, isn't the critical issue since the 4th-century Hellenizing redactions are known to have introduced many thousands of misojudaic antinomian Hellenized readings, making it impossible to know what the original writings said. All of the NT demonstrates that thousands of redactions were incorporated subsequent to 135 C.E. to rewrite the text into conformance with idolatrous Hellenist-Roman beliefs and practices.
The earliest extant ms. of The Epistle of Barnabas is the 4th-century א, which has been demonstrated to be extensively redacted thousands of times to rewrite texts into conformance to Hellenist-Roman antinomian, as opposed to Judaic Tor•âhꞋ, Christian doctrines. (See, inter alia, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible ("Text, NT" 2nd Edition, Abingdon, 1962 and Who Are The Nᵊtzarim? Live-LinkT (WAN), note to section Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ Pâ•qidꞋ ⇒ Gentile 'Bishop').
Similarly, even the original writings of Justin, no longer extant, post-date 135 C.E. (A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Smith & Wace, III.560-87) by more than two decades. "His apology may be dated internally from the statement in chapter 6 that 'Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius.' Since Quirinius entered office in the year 0006 C.E. according to Josephus, the apology may be dated to the year 156 C.E." (Peter Kirby, earlychristianwritings.com). As a Samaritan from Shᵊkhem, Justin reflects the Samaritan apostasy condemned by Ribi Yᵊhoshua, not the Pharisaic beliefs of Nᵊtzarim, Jews.
No less importantly, the earliest extant copy of Justin, documented in the Catholic Encyclopedia, is from the 14th century C.E., having been subjected to centuries of antinomian Christian redacting: " There are extant but three works of Justin, of which the authenticity is assured: the two "Apologies" and the "Dialogue". They are to be found in two manuscripts: Paris gr. 450, finished on 11 September, 1364; and Claromont. 82, written in 1571, actually at Cheltenham, in the possession of M.T.F. Fenwick. The second is only a copy of the first, which is therefore our sole authority; unfortunately this manuscript is very imperfect (Harnack, "Die Ueberlieferung der griech. Apologeten" in "Texte and Untersuchungen", I, Leipzig, 1883, i, 73-89; Archambault, "Justin, Dialogue a vec Tryphon", Paris, 1909, p. xii-xxxviii). There are many large gaps in this manuscript, thus II Apol., ii, is almost entirely wanting, but it has been found possible to restore the manuscript text from a quotation of Eusebius (Hist. eccl., IV, xvii)."
Certainly thoroughly redacted by the 6th century C.E. to support Christian doctrines, the Sacra Parallela Christian anthology contains only a pseudo-Justin listed by the Catholic Encyclopedia as "others under Justin's name that are doubtful or apocryphal." The earliest extant copy of Justin, therefore, is the 14th century C.E., by which time Hellenizing misojudaic redactions supporting Christian doctrines had long been thoroughly completed. Earliest extant copies are never something Christians like to deal with. Eusebius' description would be less corrupt; and the best ms. for Eusebius is given as Codex Parisinus – in the 15th-century (Introduction, Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Kirsopp Lake, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, p. xxvii-xxviii)!!!.
According to Peter Kirby (earlychristianwritings.com) and others, the earliest extant source for the Διδαχη is the "Jerusalem Codex (1056 C.E.) which includes the Διδαχη." Later corroboration from other manuscripts only demonstrates that the misojudaic Hellenizing redactions had resulted in a fairly consistent text by 1056 C.E. Earliest extant copies are never something Christians like to deal with.
Do the Διδαχη or Ignatius even demonstrate compellingly that, contrary to the known practices of the Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ until that time, the switch from Shab•âtꞋ to Sun
godday occurred before 135 C.E.? The burden of proof, it must be remembered, logically falls on the one who wishes to demonstrate a departure from the known. The Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ were known to emulate a Pᵊrush•imꞋ Ribi, and Qumran scroll 4Q MMT makes it crystal clear that at the beginning of the 1st century C.E., not only that Tor•âhꞋ was the center of the life of every religious Jew but that the Oral Law was the core of Tor•âhꞋ for every religious Jew – including Ribi Yᵊhoshua and the Nᵊtzâr•imꞋ! That's the known norm starting point in 135 C.E. The burden of proof is to document and prove their transition to Roman-Hellenist idolatry.
The literal reading of the [Διδαχη] text… is not to come together "on every Lord's Day" but "according to the Lord's of the Lord – kata kuriaken de kuriou" (Bacchiocchi).
[The example of Ignatius] "reveals the same fallacious methodology." [The argued translation is,] "They (referring to early Christians) ceased to keep the Sabbath and lived by the Lord's Day." Is this what the text actually says? Are the "early Christians" the subject of the sentence? Is the substantive "day" explicitly present in the text? A close look at the text shows that the answer is no… Thus, Ignatius' statement as well as that of Διδαχη hardly prove that "Sun
godday worship was a feature of the Church prior to 135 [C.E.]." The way in which these and similar documents are often accommodated for apologetic purposes… hardly bespeaks of the highest scholarly (let alone Christian) ethics." (Bacchiocchi)
Thus, the change from Shabât to Sun
godday did not take place until after 135 C.E. (Samuele Bacchiocchi, "How It Came About: From Saturday to Sun godday," Biblical Archaeology Review, IV, 3, 78.09-10, p. 32ff). Note that 135 C.E. is when the Hellenist Roman goyim exiled the Nᵊtzârim from Yᵊrushâlayim along with the other Jews, built their idolatrous city—dedicated to Zeus-Jupiter upon the ruins of Yᵊrushâlayim, and replaced the Pâqid ha-Nᵊtzârim with their own—goy—Rome-oriented, idolatrous Hellenist 'bishop.' Thus, they didn't change Shabât to Sun godday until long after they had forcibly ousted the Nᵊtzârim succession of pᵊqid•imꞋ, displacing them with their own, gentile, Hellenist-Roman—idolatrous—leadership. This, in the third century C.E., was the core of today's popes; earlier popes being retroactively fabricated by Hegesippus in the third century.