I’ve just finished a very slow read through James Dunn’s mammoth Neither Jew nor Greek, and he asks a fascinating question early on:
I want to ask the unrealistic, but nevertheless fascinating question: would Peter, James and Paul have been as satisfied with what happened in the second century, and thereafter, as Eusebius was? Would they have affirmed that the emergence of the great church, the antithesis with Judaism, the disowning of Jewish-Christianity and the denunciation of the Gnostic variations, was the best or most desirable outcome of the influences they experienced the later convictions they held dear … As embryonic Christianity comes to birth, are we actually confronted with a single child or twins or triplets, or …?
As co-chair of the SBL Texts and Traditions in the Second Century Consultation, I am certainly intrigued by the topic! What would Peter say to Ignatius of Antioch, Paul to Melito, John to Justin, and James to Marcion?