Re: Christian

From: Jack Kilmon (
Date: Mon May 24 1999 - 11:17:03 EDT wrote:
> Ben, Denny Diehl here
> > IMHO the term CRISTIANOI was meant as a derisory term
> Several have said this, but I, for one, don't think that is a
> necessary conclusion from the language. It is stated:
> CRHMATISAI is middle/passive which could give rise to either
> "They were called" or "They called themselves" could it not?
> Also, I don't see anything historically that would give any
> indication that it began as a derisive term. Tacitus tells us:
> "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened
> the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a
> class hated for their abominations, called Christians
> by the populace." -Ann xv.44
> But this is quite late, and I wouldn't think this would give us any
> indication as to the origination of the term "Christian".

Mattingly treats the first use of the term "Christians" very well
in the Journal of Theological Studies 9 (1958) pp 26-37. It was
first applied by Antiochene non-Jews to refer to non-Jewish
sectarians around 60 CE. This would conform to its having been
used, perhaps derisively, during the Neronian Persecution a
few years later. Although Tacitus is writing around the beginning
of the 2nd century, he was using earlier sources. Its use
by Luke in Acts (11:26; 26:28) confirms the Antiochene setting
post 60 CE. Whether it was derisive or not may have depended
on who was using it but it was not fully accepted as a self-
designation by gentiles Christians until the second century.



taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

Jack Kilmon

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