Early to mid 2nd c. works on Christianity listed by theme

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
iskander
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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by iskander » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:54 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
iskander wrote:
rakovsky wrote:I see that there are a huge volume of gnostic writings from 100-150 AD.
What do you think the value would be in me studying them?
I can think that they may include some real stories about the apostles that didn't make it into the canonical gospels.
But I am skeptical of how much that would happen. It seems like much of the gnostic writings that differ from the mainstream church of the time are the result of the gnostics' own inventions and aren't something that the apostles taught that was lost by the mainstream church.

And then, supposing that some stories in the gnostic writings did come from the apostles themselves, it seems it would be hard to filter those legitimate stories out.
There is nothing of any value in the ' Gnostic' literature. The Gnostics hated the physical world of the living and preached extreme ascetic practice.
Marcion provides entertainment for imbeciles.
I wonder if you would say the same about the canonical Johanine material.

1st John 2:15-16 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Sounds like he "hated the physical world of the living".....


"For all that is in the world...is not of the Father, but is of the world"--Marcion, is that you?
Yes, I would
Gnostic knowledge is what feeds the imagination of the spiritual people. It is an exuberant manner of thinking and it is also a primitive tool for making religion.
Perhaps you may find this post answers your question:
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge (in the nominative case γνῶσις f.). In Christian, Islamic, or Jewish mysticism, mystery religions and Gnosticism gnosis generally signifies a spiritual knowledge or "religion of knowledge", in the sense of mystical enlightenment or "insight".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosis

Every religion is a Gnostic product. The people writing about the gods, angels, hells, paradise., what souls do after the body dies etc are using a process to acquire knowledge that we now identify with Gnostics. It is an invention applied to religious literature in general.

Harnack equates allegorical interpretation with gnosis , and said that it was applied to the Hebrew Bible by the Jewish philosophical teachers.
Christianity's theologians were Gnostic from the beginning of the that religion, Harnack writes .

The Torah ,the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Thomas are examples of Gnostic literature from different cultures and different times , but all of them sharing in the ability to acquire knowledge of the invisible.



This necessary allegorical interpretation, however, brought into the communities an intellectual philosophic element, γνώσις, In this γνώσις, which attached itself to the Old Testament.,
What a wealth of relations, hints, and intuitions seemed to disclose itself, as soon as the Old Testament was considered allegorically, and to what extent had the way been prepared here by the Jewish philosophic teachers!

“Nothing was what it seemed, but was only the symbol of something invisible.

From this point of view the position to be assigned to the Gnostics in the history of dogma, which has hitherto been always misunderstood, is obvious. They were, in short, the Theologians of the first century.305 They were the first to transform Christianity into a system of doctrines (dogmas).


History of Dogma - Volume I, by Adolf Harnack
Christian Classics Ethereal Library page 190
Gnostic authors as post Nicene dissidents
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/chris ... 09-20.html
Last edited by iskander on Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:21 am

When we can trace a gnostic text to a known writer like Cerinthes or Marcion, we can better give a date.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:19 am

Peter,
I welcome you and anyone else to list the gnostic and non-mainstream works in the OP that they think reasonably could have been written in the 1st century.
Some works like Marcion's are definitely locatable in time because of their author. But other works could have more flexibility. I heard that one of the writings in the OP reflects oral traditions about Paul.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by andrewcriddle » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:57 am

rakovsky wrote:
andrewcriddle wrote:I noted you don't have the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Thomas on your list.

Andrew Criddle
Yes. It's in the 1st century list:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2786
Thanks
Andrew Criddle

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:56 pm

It looks to me questionable that the Ebionites ever had an "Acts of the Apostles" of their own as scholars suggest.

It sounds like this could be a misreading of Epiphanius' Panarion that is common among scholars, taking Epiphanius to be saying that the Ebionites made their own book of the Acts of the Apostles, whereas Epiphanius is just generalizing, saying that the Ebionites have their own Acts of/about the apostles, one being the Ascents of James.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:23 am

Peter,
What do you see as the main advantages of reading the early 2nd c. Gnostic works?

The main advantage I see is if they preserve otherwise lost information from the 1st c. Christians like the gospel of Mary might.

The main difficulty I have is that they were a syncretic group mixing pagan Dualism (eg Manicheanism, Zoroastrianism, Mandaenism) with Christianity, and they were in conflict with the apostles like Apocryphon of James shows, so it's hard to know how much of their stories and ideas reflect Jesus' real story and ideas. It feels like trying to learn about Buddhism and Hinduism by studying Blavatsky and Theosophy.

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:26 am

Might you know of more that could go on the list of 101-150 AD writings above?

How about:
"The Old Roman Symbol"
The Old Roman Symbol (Latin: vetus symbolum romanum), or Old Roman Creed, is an earlier and shorter version of the Apostles’ Creed. It was based on the 2nd-century Rules of Faith and the interrogatory declaration of faith for those receiving Baptism (3rd century or earlier)... According to Bible scholar John Norman Davidson Kelly, 2nd-century church fathers Tertullian and Irenaeus cite it in their works. According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, the first text attesting it is a letter to Pope Julius I in 340 or 341, and it has recently been argued that it developed in the context of the Arian controversy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Roman_Symbol

The Inscription of Abercius is listed in the EW list as 193-216. But it looks like that date is wrong:
the Greek epitaph of Abercius, Bishop of Hieropolis (died ca. 167), in Phrygia. It is an important example of early Christian epigraphy.

About the middle of the 2nd century, Abercius left his episcopal city and visited Rome. On his way home he travelled through Syria and Mesopotamia, and was received with great honours in various places. He died shortly after his return to Hieropolis, but not before he had composed his own epitaph, conveying a most vivid impression of all he had admired during his stay in Rome.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inscription_of_Abercius

Note:
The ECW list has Tatian as writing in 160-170, but the page says "Tatian composed his apology c. 155-165 CE."

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:48 pm

rakovsky wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:26 am
The Inscription of Abercius is listed in the EW list as 193-216. But it looks like that date is wrong:
the Greek epitaph of Abercius, Bishop of Hieropolis (died ca. 167), in Phrygia. It is an important example of early Christian epigraphy.

About the middle of the 2nd century, Abercius left his episcopal city and visited Rome. On his way home he travelled through Syria and Mesopotamia, and was received with great honours in various places. He died shortly after his return to Hieropolis, but not before he had composed his own epitaph, conveying a most vivid impression of all he had admired during his stay in Rome.
The date on the website is solid. The reasoning is given on the page itself.

Usually, discrepancies like this between the Wikipedia and ECW resolve in favor of ECW. (Hey, they even cite me a bunch...)
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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by rakovsky » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:04 am

Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:48 pm
The date on the website is solid. The reasoning is given on the page itself.

Usually, discrepancies like this between the Wikipedia and ECW resolve in favor of ECW. (Hey, they even cite me a bunch...)

Doesn't the ECW website's reasoning suggest it was written before 167 AD, Peter?


It says:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/abercius.html
J. Tixeront writes (A Handbook of Patrology, p. 82):
Abercius is probably the Avircius Marcellus, to whom the anonymous anti-Montanist, mentioned above, had dedicated his work.


J. B. Lightfoot writes (The Apostolic Fathers, pt. II, vol. I, pp. 498-499):

When I still supposed, as was then the universal opinion, that the Abercius of the epitaph was bishop of Hierapolis on the Maeander, I ventured to identify him, as others had done, with the Avircius Marcellus to whom an anonymous writer (Eus. H. E. v. 16) addresses a treatise in an early stage of the Montanist controversy (see Colossians p. 56). This identification becomes still more probable now that he has been shown to belong to Hieropolis of Lesser Phrygia; for this anonymous writer mentions one Zoticus of Otrous as his 'fellow-presbyter' (του συμπρεσβυτερου ημων Zωτικου Οτρηνου), and Otrous was only two miles from this Hierapolis. Starting from this identification, Duchesne (p. 30) places the date of this Montanist treatise at about A.D. 211. .... In this treatise the writer addresses Avircius Marcellus as a person of authority, and states that Avircius had urged him a very long time ago (εκ πλειστου οσου και ικανωτατου ξρονου) to write on the subject. The mode of address is quite consistent with his being a bishop, though he is not so styled. Thus Avircius Marcellus would have flourished during the reign of M. Aurelius, and might well have gone to Rome about the time (A.D. 163) mentioned by the legend.

Because this anonymous anti-Marcionite work was written ca. 193 CE, the inscription of Abercius (made shortly before his death) must be dated between this year and 216 CE, the year of Alexander's epitaph.
If the ECW webpage says:
  • That the anti-Marcionite work was written in 193 AD, and that work says Abercius talked with him "a very long time ago" (hence long before 193 AD)
  • And that the inscription of Abercius was "made shortly before his death" (that Wikipedia says was in 167 AD)
  • And cites Lightfoot as saying that the Abercius in question flourished under M.Aurelius (mid 2nd century) and went to Rome in 163
Doesn't each of these statements suggest a date before 167 CE?

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Re: 101-150 AD works on Christianity listed by theme

Post by Peter Kirby » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:14 am

rakovsky wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:04 am
his death (that Wikipedia says was in 167 AD)
Where does this date come from? What is it based on?

Why do you believe it?
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