The reading of this article of Couchoud is fantastic, extraordinary, sublime
I strongly recommend that you read it in full at least the following words:
The idea of Jesus Son of the Father and that of Jesus Messiah of Israel are so well amalgamated, synthesized today, that it is difficult for us to see that they do not have the same origin and that they could conflict before joining.
Jesus the Son of the Father, it is a design characteristic of the Fourth Gospel. According to John, Jesus is not Son of God in the same way where the scriptures says it of Israel or the Christ of Israel, but in a new direction, blasphemous to Jewish eyes, since he implies identity with God. Jesus is the ONLY son, monogenes, the unique Son, the Son whom we should distinguish nothing from the Father. “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (14:11). “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). It is necessary to return to the Son the same worship that to the Father (v. 23). This design is completely foreign with Judaism. One finds to him parallels only in paganism, where Zeus, according to Chrysippe, is at the same time the Father and Son 1. The origin had to be odious not only to the Jews themselves, but with the orthodox Christians, i.e. at those which wanted to preserve the religion of the Old Testament.
Mr. Delafosse, with insight, pointed out that, in its earliest core, the Fourth Gospel is violently hostile with the Judaism and the Old Testament. Far from merging with the Christ of Israel, the Son formally states not to have anything in common with him: “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world,” what was the function of the Christ (3:17). He denies the famous Last Jugement expected by the apocalypses: “Whoever believes in him is not judged, but whoever does not believe is condemned already” (3.18). If the Son does not have anything in common with the Christ of Israel, the Father does not have anything common with God of Israel. The Son made known clearly with the Jews: “He who sent me, you do not know him” (7:29) “You never heard his voice, you did not see his face” (v. 27).
It is a very new, amazing, foreign God in the world, that the Son reveals: “No one has ever seen God: the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father has made him known” (1:18). This is a denial of all the theophanies mentioned in the Old Testament. Denied, the ascent into heaven of the Elijah prophet and all the others: “No one has ascended into heaven” (John 3:13). Denied, the mission of all the prophets of Israel: “All those which came before me are robbers and brigands” (10:8). The violently antijudaic character of the Fourth Gospel is dissimulated today because, by way of interpolations and glosses, the ideas most opposed to the primitive spirit of the book were added in the last redaction.
The duality of redactions is loud and clear. It was denounced, before Delafosse, by Schwartz, Wellhausen and Loisy. What Delafosse detected, it is the relationship of the fundamental doctrines of the Fourth Gospel with that of a sect which, by the action which it exerted and the reaction that it caused, took a dominating role in the evolution of primitive Christianity. It is about the Marcionite sect.
Marcion proposes to the Christians to reject all that is Jewish: the Christ of Israel, God of Israel, the Old Testament, and to adore a God foreign to the world, revealed for the first time by Jesus. Its doctrines were spread in Asia and penetrated in Rome. Condemned on his extreme theses in 144 CE, Marcion exerted nevertheless a decisive influence on Christian theology. Thanks to skilful preparings, many writings of Marcionite tendency, to start with the Fourth Gospel, contributed to form the New Testament. It is in a Marcionite medium, or premarcionite, that is best understood the development of a Jesus Son of the Father, opposed to the Jesus Messiah of Israel.
Contrary to Basilides, Marcion professed that his Jesus had been crucified. It was the base of the mystery. By his death the Son had ransomed men from the Creator god and had given them to the Father. Although not having a body himself, but only an etheral envelope, Jesus had certainly undergone on the cross an apparent death. Tertullien, by which we know the doctrines of the Marcionites, is very affirmative on this point It is easy to understand with what indignation, what anger, the Christians attached to Messianic waiting and Jewish prophecies, the Christians who’s Apocalypse reveals us their state of mind, had to initially consider these people, enemies of the Christ of Israel and God of Israel, who forged a crucified Jesus, to which they allotted the strange name, of Son of the Father. 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. The polemic against Jesus Bar-Abbas took the most popular and most effective form, that of the account. It was a question of showing that only crucified, the only redeemer of the men, was as well the Christ of Israel, that even as announced the prophets. The Synoptic gospels, mainly Luke and Matthew, stuck to this demonstration. As of the birth of Jesus, an inspired prophet, Simeon, took Jesus in his arms and recognized in him the Christ, the salvation of God [Luke 2:20), light of the nations, glory of the people of Israel.
Matthew underlines of a feature supported twenty achievements of prophecies. In front of Pilate Jesus is formally accused of saying is Christ, a King (Luke 23:2), and when Pilate asks to him whether he is it, he does not contradict. Thus there is no doubt. The one crucified in truth is well Jesus the Christ. As for Jesus Bar-Abbas, the brigand, he was not at all crucified. He was released. Here are where it is necessary to answer those which tell another thing of him. As for the circumstances of the release, they were invented and skilfully arranged in the account so as to still prove another useful thing: the lack of responsibility by Pilate. Thus the episodes of Barabbas and Simon of Cyrene are of the same own way.
They are polemical accounts. The first is directed against the Gospel of John, the second against the Gospel of Basilides.
If our interpretation is valid, it should be proven, contrary to the current opinion, that the core of the Gospel of John is earlier than the Synoptic gospels. And to corroborate it, it would be necessary to show other cases of Synoptic polemic against John. We will make short remarks on these two points.
The explanation is perfect.
Note that the great expert of Gnosticism, April De Conick
would agree entirely with Couchoud about the anti-Jewish and dualistic nature of the Fourth Gospel, pace
It is not necessary to assume proto-John as the Earliest Gospel. Given the fact that the Barabbas episode was invented to attack directly marcionites, then the our entire Gospel tradition is later than Marcionism.