“Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:01 pm

Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:46 pm
If we leave this Barabbas/Barrabas controversy alone for a moment (I can see points for both explanations), how does the specific mention of the insurrection in gMark figure into this hypothesis? For me, this would rather point at Barabbas/Barrabas being a stand-in for the Jewish idea of the warrior messiah. This, together with the allusion to Yom Kippur, would rather square with gMark being closer to Marcionite ideas (as commonly suggested) than with anti-Marcionite propaganda.
That is a great point. Furthermore, Giuseppe keeps quoting Couchoud as saying:

One ridiculed this name in the Aramaic form of Bar-Abbas. This son-of-Father who treats the old prophets as robbers and brigands, himself is treated as a brigand. .... As for Jesus Bar-Abbas, the brigand, he was not at all crucified.

The point is to link Barabbas to John 10.8: ""All who came before me are thieves and brigands, but the sheep did not hear them." Yet is Barabbas a brigand? Mark connects him with murderers and insurrectionists:

Mark 15.7: 7 And the man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists [τῶν στασιαστῶν] who had committed murder [φόνον πεποιήκεισαν] in the insurrection [τῇ στάσει].

The men crucified with Jesus he calls "two brigands" (δύο λῃστάς), but not Barabbas.
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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Ulan » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:34 pm

As seen in your quote, the mention of the "insurrection" is even doubled up so you don't miss it, which means the point seems to be important to Mark.

The allusion to Yom Kippur comes with its own pitfalls though. Setting Barabbas free wouldn't be a positive thing here, as this would be specifically done to let him die. On the other hand, this would be the offering for the sins of the people, which I'm not sure how this would fit. This poses all sorts of dating and context questions.

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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm

Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:46 pm
If we leave this Barabbas/Barrabas controversy alone for a moment (I can see points for both explanations), how does the specific mention of the insurrection in gMark figure into this hypothesis?
About the specificity of the insurrection, I have talked here as of a trace of a previous proto-Marcionite Gospel (what Bultmann said that preceded the synoptical tradition: a kind of proto-John) where Jesus is killed during the insurrection happened during the festival (since the people wanted to proclaim him king against the his real desire).

For me, this would rather point at Barabbas/Barrabas being a stand-in for the Jewish idea of the warrior messiah. This, together with the allusion to Yom Kippur...
In the his article, Couchoud gives a good criticism against the hypothesis of a midrash from Leviticus 16.
Ben C. Smith wrote: Furthermore, Giuseppe keeps quoting Couchoud as saying:

One ridiculed this name in the Aramaic form of Bar-Abbas. This son-of-Father who treats the old prophets as robbers and brigands, himself is treated as a brigand. .... As for Jesus Bar-Abbas, the brigand, he was not at all crucified.

The point is to link Barabbas to John 10.8: ""All who came before me are thieves and brigands, but the sheep did not hear them." Yet is Barabbas a brigand? Mark connects him with murderers and insurrectionists:

Mark 15.7: 7 And the man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists [τῶν στασιαστῶν] who had committed murder [φόνον πεποιήκεισαν] in the insurrection [τῇ στάσει].

The men crucified with Jesus he calls "two brigands" (δύο λῃστάς), but not Barabbas.
That is a distinction without a real difference. It is not necessary for Couchoud's case. Apart the fact that Celsus used surely the anti-marcionite defamation of the marcionite Christ (as a ROBBER) by using it as a defamation against the Christ of all the Christians (and not only of a particular sect), we know that Josephus called 'robber' any insurrectionist.

What escapes your attention is the strangest contradiction of all (second only to the matthean reading of 'Jesus Bar-abbas') noted by Couchoud:
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:22 am
Pilate could crucify both, Barabbas and Jesus.

Instead, the precise point of the evangelist is that only one was the crucified.

The reading 'Bar-Abbas ' is able to explain this enigma.

Not 'Bar-Rabbas'.

if Mark's goal was to make Barabbas/Barrabas a stand-in for the Jewish idea of the warrior messiah (as then the marcionites did by reading 'Bar-Rabbas' and not Bar-Abbas' to return the favor) then why couldn't Pilate crucify also this Zealot messianist, and not only Jesus?

By the your Zealot hypothesis, Ulan, you may explain the favor of the people towards the Zealot Barabbas, but not the choice of Pilate of making the freedom of the one the death of the other.


And then,at the top of all, please, recognize the fact that no Christian (marcionite or judaizer or catholic) could give to this Zealot the name of 'JESUS', unless he was doing so against the JESUS of a rival sect.
Last edited by Giuseppe on Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:00 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:50 pm
But what does it take to disprove the theory? I am just curious. If I say 'I expect to uncover a buried treasure in my backyard.' And then I dig up my backyard and there is no treasure. At what point do I have admit I was wrong there is no buried treasure in my backyard? What does it take?
You continue to not see the great explanatory power of Couchoud's thesis.
What you don't see is the fact that just because marcionites and catholics insist on other readings (for example, Bar-Rabbas instead of Bar-Abbas) is just why they are embarrassed by the original reading: JESUS Barabbas, as an attack against Marcionites in a time when there the Gnostic figure of the 'Jesus Son of Father' was only blasphemous for the Judaizers.


About the reading 'Bar-Rabbas', it is surely the solution in extremis by Marcionites to accept the judaizing introduction of Barabbas in their gospel.

Because surely a Judaizer was who gave to Jesus the following words:

Matthew 23:8
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.

There is no doubt that the 'Teacher' in question is just him, the Jewish god, the creator.

So the marcionite point is made, by reading 'Bar-Rabbas', that the Jesus who is Son of Teacher (=Son of YHWH) is a Zealot seditionist. There is also another evidence about this reading.

Secret Alias, see well what I am doing: even if I am able to recognize the marcionite utility of 'Bar-Rabbas' (in well two different contexts of the same Gospel), even so I continue to support the greater antiquity of the Couchoud's reading of 'Jesus Bar-Abbas' as an anti-marcionite attack by the Judaizers.

Because any solution that makes the Jesus Barabbas different from the parody of the marcionite Christ suffers of this problem: it can't explain, in the order:
1) why Pilate can't crucify both.
2) why Pilate insists so obsessively on the fact that the crucified is called 'King of Jews" (both by him and by the people) as the only way to distinguish him from another 'Son of Father'.
3) why the guy is named 'JESUS' and not only 'Bar-Abbas'. And this in the more judaizing gospel of all: Matthew.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:28 pm

@Ben
John 10:8-10
8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Ulan » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:34 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
By the your Zealot hypothesis, Ulan, you may explain the favor of the people towards the Zealot Barabbas, but not the choice of Pilate of making the freedom of the one the death of the other.
Attempts at psychological reasoning like this assume that we are looking at a real scene here. We aren't. Also, you are chaining up assumptions here to make your case. You would first have to accept Couchoud's thesis that Leviticus 16 doesn't play a role here to make this point, of which I don't see why one should do so. If we go with Leviticus 16, the offering to Azazel is the one that gets thrown off the cliff of the temple mount, which also answers the question why Pilate wouldn't be opposed. He'd get his way anyway. Of course, this kind of psychological reasoning is as artificial as yours. I just added it to show that it doesn't disturb the Leviticus scenario.
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
And then,at the top of all, please, recognize the fact that no Christian (marcionite or judaizer or catholic) could give to this Zealot the name of 'JESUS', unless he was doing so against the JESUS of a rival sect.
This is not some awesome revelation, but the starting point of the discussion. It's the same in the case I presented: you are looking at two different kinds of messiah. Regarding the hypotheses, this is a wash.

Anyway, I notice that you see that the mention of the insurrection doesn't gel with your hypothesis.

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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:22 am

Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:34 pm
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
By the your Zealot hypothesis, Ulan, you may explain the favor of the people towards the Zealot Barabbas, but not the choice of Pilate of making the freedom of the one the death of the other.
Attempts at psychological reasoning like this assume that we are looking at a real scene here. We aren't.
How? :?: Even the mythicists assume that the Gospel was designed to be read by the outsiders as a 'real scene'. This is no psychological reasoning: it was under the eyes of all that a ruler as Pilate could kill both.
Also, you are chaining up assumptions here to make your case. You would first have to accept Couchoud's thesis that Leviticus 16 doesn't play a role here to make this point, of which I don't see why one should do so.
So you don't see the strong point of Couchoud against the Leviticus 16 hypothesis: both the two goats stand for (are a type of) Jesus. Not only one. So there is no reason, by reading Leviticus 16, why the reader should sympathize for the killed goat and not for the expelled goat. But in the Barabbas episode it is required reading the moral condemnation of Barabbas even before the comparison with the other Jesus (unless you assume too much esoterical readings, IMO).
it doesn't disturb the Leviticus scenario.
I should do it clear that I disagree on this.
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
And then,at the top of all, please, recognize the fact that no Christian (marcionite or judaizer or catholic) could give to this Zealot the name of 'JESUS', unless he was doing so against the JESUS of a rival sect.
This is not some awesome revelation, but the starting point of the discussion. It's the same in the case I presented: you are looking at two different kinds of messiah. Regarding the hypotheses, this is a wash.
No, Ulan, it is not the same in the case you presented.

This is the difference:

I can give evidence of a rival Christian sect of which the Messiah could be hated by who invented 'Jesus Barabbas' to refer to that Messiah: the Gnostics and the Marcionites.

But the proponents of the Zealot hypothesis are not able to give evidence of a Zealot Christian sect, not even of a some kind of direct relation/clash between Jewish Zealots and Christian believers.

So the my point remains: no Christian could invent 'Jesus Bar-Abbas' unless he was reacting against another Christian rival sect.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Ulan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:27 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:22 am
Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:34 pm
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
By the your Zealot hypothesis, Ulan, you may explain the favor of the people towards the Zealot Barabbas, but not the choice of Pilate of making the freedom of the one the death of the other.
Attempts at psychological reasoning like this assume that we are looking at a real scene here. We aren't.
How? :?: Even the mythicists assume that the Gospel was designed to be read by the outsiders as a 'real scene'. This is no psychological reasoning: it was under the eyes of all that a ruler as Pilate could kill both.
The reason is rather simple: I don't think that the scene was described to give us a psychological profile of Pilate (even if later Christian tradition may make you think that). The main protagonist here is Jesus Christ, and the scene wants to make clear that you don't miss who is to blame for the death of the protagonist: not Pilate, but the sanhedrin and "the people" (another point against your hypothesis btw). Pilate doesn't act in any way realistic here anyway. The real Pilate was known as cruel and ruthless, he would have just killed a perceived insurrectionist without process. His choice here is not important, it's important that you know what the Jewish people chose.
Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:22 am
Also, you are chaining up* assumptions here to make your case. You would first have to accept Couchoud's thesis that Leviticus 16 doesn't play a role here to make this point, of which I don't see why one should do so.
So you don't see the strong point of Couchoud against the Leviticus 16 hypothesis: both the two goats stand for (are a type of) Jesus. Not only one. So there is no reason, by reading Leviticus 16, why the reader should sympathize for the killed goat and not for the expelled goat. But in the Barabbas episode it is required reading the moral condemnation of Barabbas even before the comparison with the other Jesus (unless you assume too much esoterical readings, IMO).
You seem to forget that our Jesus is a "Christ", a messiah. The question what kind of messiah the people want is the core here. You don't even need Leviticus 16 for this point still to be true, even in the scenario I presented. So no, I don't think Couchoud's point is strong. Also, I'm not sure that sympathy for any of the figures was the real motivation for the scene. Jesus Christ went into this willingly and knowingly, and he could have just defended himself during his interrogation to get free. He did not want to and deliberately passed on that chance. It's the choice of "the people" that matters here in this scene.

(Comment: * I meant daisy-chaining here, sorry for that)
Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:22 am
it doesn't disturb the Leviticus scenario.
I should do it clear that I disagree on this.
Yes, and you can disagree all you want. However, you can not use your premises to your case (here that Couchoud's assumption is right that we only see one person, or your premise that the word "insurrection" is meaningless) to judge my follow-up from my premises. That's what I meant by daisy chains of assumptions.
Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:22 am
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
And then,at the top of all, please, recognize the fact that no Christian (marcionite or judaizer or catholic) could give to this Zealot the name of 'JESUS', unless he was doing so against the JESUS of a rival sect.
This is not some awesome revelation, but the starting point of the discussion. It's the same in the case I presented: you are looking at two different kinds of messiah. Regarding the hypotheses, this is a wash.
No, Ulan, it is not the same in the case you presented.

This is the difference:

I can give evidence of a rival Christian sect of which the Messiah could be hated by who invented 'Jesus Barabbas' to refer to that Messiah: the Gnostics and the Marcionites.

But the proponents of the Zealot hypothesis are not able to give evidence of a Zealot Christian sect, not even of a some kind of direct relation/clash between Jewish Zealots and Christian believers.

So the my point remains: no Christian could invent 'Jesus Bar-Abbas' unless he was reacting against another Christian rival sect.
Well, no, because I think your premise is wrong. You seem to forget that "Jesus" was such a common name that, by itself, it's a completely meaningless detail. It's this meaningless detail you base your case on. Nevertheless, the name Jesus in combination with what follows (Barabbas or Christ) serves as parallelism, and we obviously look at two possible ways to become a messiah here, independently of whether you accept my whole scenario or not. This means that we do not need to look at a rival Christian sect here, as Barabbas the insurrectionist of a somewhat equal rang to Jesus Christ matches of what we (later) see in Jewish history (Simon bar Kokhba). This means there is no need to assume a Christian background for the parallel figure.

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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:28 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:44 pm
Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:46 pm
If we leave this Barabbas/Barrabas controversy alone for a moment (I can see points for both explanations), how does the specific mention of the insurrection in gMark figure into this hypothesis?
About the specificity of the insurrection, I have talked here as of a trace of a previous proto-Marcionite Gospel (what Bultmann said that preceded the synoptical tradition: a kind of proto-John) where Jesus is killed during the insurrection happened during the festival (since the people wanted to proclaim him king against the his real desire).
There you write:
Giuseppe wrote:Now, since Barabbas is the Son of Father of the Gnostics, it seems that "Mark" is saying that the revolt of the people, in any previous gospel where Jesus the Son of the Father is captured and crucified as king of Israel by the Jews, was really a revolt of a mere robber and not of the real Jesus called king of the Jews.
You do it yet again: you call Barabbas a robber when the gospel did not.
For me, this would rather point at Barabbas/Barrabas being a stand-in for the Jewish idea of the warrior messiah. This, together with the allusion to Yom Kippur...
In the his article, Couchoud gives a good criticism against the hypothesis of a midrash from Leviticus 16.
Ben C. Smith wrote: Furthermore, Giuseppe keeps quoting Couchoud as saying:

One ridiculed this name in the Aramaic form of Bar-Abbas. This son-of-Father who treats the old prophets as robbers and brigands, himself is treated as a brigand. .... As for Jesus Bar-Abbas, the brigand, he was not at all crucified.

The point is to link Barabbas to John 10.8: ""All who came before me are thieves and brigands, but the sheep did not hear them." Yet is Barabbas a brigand? Mark connects him with murderers and insurrectionists:

Mark 15.7: 7 And the man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists [τῶν στασιαστῶν] who had committed murder [φόνον πεποιήκεισαν] in the insurrection [τῇ στάσει].

The men crucified with Jesus he calls "two brigands" (δύο λῃστάς), but not Barabbas.
That is a distinction without a real difference. It is not necessary for Couchoud's case.
You are correct that it is not necessary for Couchoud's case, because Couchoud's case is pure speculation (as are most/all hypotheses about Barabbas). But you are obviously, intractably incorrect about it being a distinction without a difference. Insurrectionists are not the same as brigands. That is a real difference. In order to make the thesis work, you have to resort to calling Barabbas a brigand where the gospels did not. You are doing more work to make the thesis viable than the evangelists did, and that is not a good sign. That he was called a "brigand" (or some synonym, which "insurrectionist" is not) in an earlier version cannot, of course, be disproven; nor, however, can it be proven.

The entire notion, then, remains at the level of pure speculation. That is not to say that it is necessarily wrong. But it is to say that, as usual, you have overplayed your hand, turning possibilities into probabilities and probabilities into certainties.
What escapes your attention is the strangest contradiction of all (second only to the matthean reading of 'Jesus Bar-abbas') noted by Couchoud:
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:22 am
Pilate could crucify both, Barabbas and Jesus.

Instead, the precise point of the evangelist is that only one was the crucified.

The reading 'Bar-Abbas ' is able to explain this enigma.

Not 'Bar-Rabbas'.
I am not arguing for any particular reading (Barabbas or Barrabbas). Therefore this "strangest contradiction of all" means nothing to me as yet. The name may just be a name and nothing more. Or it may have hidden meaning. I simply do not know yet, and neither do you.
if Mark's goal was to make Barabbas/Barrabas a stand-in for the Jewish idea of the warrior messiah (as then the marcionites did by reading 'Bar-Rabbas' and not Bar-Abbas' to return the favor) then why couldn't Pilate crucify also this Zealot messianist, and not only Jesus?
Because that is what the Jewish people chose, of course! The path of insurrection instead of the path of the spiritual messiah. This may be part of your problem: you do not adequately understand the alternative hypotheses. Never mind asking why Pilate releases one instead of crucifying both: a good part of the messianist interpretation absolutely depends upon the people releasing the one symbolizing the path of insurrection against Rome.
By the your Zealot hypothesis, Ulan, you may explain the favor of the people towards the Zealot Barabbas, but not the choice of Pilate of making the freedom of the one the death of the other.
If Barabbas symbolizes the path of insurrection, then of course Pilate has to release him; to crucify him is to put an end to insurrection, and we know (as did Mark) that this did not happen. But Pilate does not release him willingly: the (probably entirely fictional) custom of releasing a prisoner at Passover forces his hand, and it is the people who choose.

I am not, by the way, defending the messianic interpretation per se. My only point is that it has at least as much explanatory power as Couchoud's idea. Heck, one of my favorite exegetes, Roger David Aus, gives the whole Barabbas thing two separate and very thorough treatments, and I find neither of them much if any more persuasive than the various possibilities we have discussed in this forum.
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Re: “Abba, Father” as two distinct deities, not one

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:35 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:28 pm
@Ben
John 10:8-10
8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Brigands can kill. So can insurrectionists. But brigands and insurrectionists are not the same thing.

Birds can fly. So can butterflies. But birds and butterflies are not the same thing.
Ulan wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:34 pm
As seen in your quote, the mention of the "insurrection" is even doubled up so you don't miss it, which means the point seems to be important to Mark.
Indeed. Giuseppe, why does Mark make sure we know that Barabbas is associated with insurrectionists? He could have easily ensured we viewed him as a brigand, since that is exactly how he describes the men crucified with Jesus, but he did not. Instead, we have him lumped in with insurrectionists. Why?
Ulan wrote:The allusion to Yom Kippur comes with its own pitfalls though. Setting Barabbas free wouldn't be a positive thing here, as this would be specifically done to let him die. On the other hand, this would be the offering for the sins of the people, which I'm not sure how this would fit. This poses all sorts of dating and context questions.
Agreed. The Yom Kippur approach is just as tantalizing as some of the rest, and yet (for me) still not "the answer" to "the question."
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