Friends, here is an interesting puzzle. Onesimus is typically named both one of the seventy and a slave who was illumined by the apostle Paul, who eventually became bishop of Ephesus, and who is also mentioned by St. Ignatius. How is it possible for him to be both the Onesimus associated with St. Paul and Philemon, and also one of the seventy whom Jesus sent on mission in Luke' gospel. The only way that this is possible, it seems to me, is to read Luke's account of the 70 in ahistorical terms, as something that indicates the larger body of apostles, but not something that happened in the Lord's life in the flesh. Or, perhaps, the 70 that he sent out are considered to be a larger group to whom the Church added afterwards, but that would be odd. It is not as though they are replacing one of the 12, as in the case of Judas, but actually adding names to those who were already numbered in the gospel at 70. Any light on this?
Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:05 PM
Edited by Lakis Papas, 22 March 2013 - 08:06 PM.
Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:26 PM
Perhaps there was more than one Onesimus? There are several instances of confusion where there are more than one person with the same name in Scripture!
You are surely right, there was more than one. and thanks, Lakis, because some make no distinction on the net between the one who is celebrated in NOv and the one in February. Here is the URL from Orthodowiki itself that puts the two together--he is "of the 70' but was bishop of Ephesus (and Byzantium, too) http://orthodoxwiki....postle_Onesimus
Even if this identification of two is wrong, there is still a problem: our feast on Feb. 15 includes a troparion that styles Saint Onesimus of the Seventy as "illumined by St. Paul." So, there is still a problem. My best guess is that the early Church added to the number of the 70, but still called them the 70, and that Onesimus was not actually there iin the mission sent out by Jesus. Unless LUke is doing a number on us like the icon of Pentecost, which is transhistorical and includes St. Paul as well as the deacon Philip (neither of whom were gathered at Pentecost). Some insist, Lakis, that Onesimus the slave became bishop of Ephesus (mentioned by Ignatius) and then of Byzantiium. But I don't think that our liturgics require this identification.
Still, the problem of the hymn on Feb. 15 remains.
Edited by Edith M. Humphrey, 22 March 2013 - 08:39 PM.
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