Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

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Secret Alias
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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:25 pm

Clearly the obvious parallels between Peregrinus and Polycarp as we know him from Irenaeus:

1. both men were leaders of the Christian community
2. both men enjoyed widespread fame and popularity
3. both men died by fire
4. both men died by fire with audience members claiming a bird flew out of the fire as they expired.
5. both men predicted or knew they would die by fire (Martyr Polycarp - [Polycarp] turned and said prophetically to those who were with him, I must be burned alive" Lucian, Peregrinus "... [Peregrinus] has resolved to depart from life by way of fire")
6. both men's death by fire was immediately preceded by a conflict with a man named Herodes
7. both men were seen as apparitions after their death
8. both men were described as old men when they died
9. both men visited Rome around 140 CE
10. both men attacked 'effeminacy'
11. Eusebius identifies both men as dying at almost the same time - 165 for one, 166 for the other.

The death by fire is pretty much the limit about what we know about Polycarp. The death by fire is pretty much the limit about what we know about Peregrinus. The parallels between Peregrinus and Polycarp dovetail well with uncanny parallels with Ignatius whose name interestingly means 'fiery one' in Latin. I strongly suspect Ignatius was not a historical person at all but only 'gutted' bits of information pertaining originally to Polycarp/Peregrinus which were deliberately separated from the portrait of Polycarp developed by Irenaeus. I think Irenaeus's rival Florinus would know 'Polycarp' as Peregrinus.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Joseph D. L.
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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:18 pm

The objection comes from Polycarp being in Lower Asia when Irenaeus was a boy. Lucian is at least systematic in categorizing Peregrinus's travels:

Parium -> Syria-> Palestine -> Syria -> Parium -> Asia Minor/Syria -> Parium -> Egypt -> Rome -> Athens -> Olympia

Of course Peregrinus could have maneuvers outside of Lucian's account--he lived a long life, and the world isn't that big. There would be a window of opportunity in which Irenaeus could have encountered Peregrinus in Lower Asia in between the period after his release from a Syrian prison, and before his excommunication from the Community. So a possible timeframe of about ten years, because, as per Lucian, Peregrinus then went away to Egypt, then sailed to Rome, never returning to the eastern part of the empire.

So when did this ten year period take place? Irenaeus is generally thought to have been born in the thirties, so that would align with the consensus dating of Peregrinus. However, I think this is too early, because Irenaeus is just a misappropriation of Zephyrinus/Callixtus, who was a child in the sixties, when Peregrinus would be in Greece.

Yet Gellius's account offers our hint, because he was a youth, studying in Athens. I don't know what the course of education was back then, but I'm assuming that nineteen or twenty would be the appropriate age, after which he returned home to Rome. And if the rough estimation of 125 ad means anything (give or take a few years), that places Peregrinus in Athens at 142-148. But Gellius had some interest in Peregrinus, and even witnessed what transpired between him and Herodes (something Lucian did not). Meaning that Peregrinus had to have been there long enough to become somewhat renowned, or infamous.

And then, Agathobulus was only active in Egypt from ca. 118-140, pushing Peregrinus's stay there back significantly, so it's an impossibility for Irenaeus to have meet Peregrinus, and for Polycarp to be Peregrinus.

Peregrinus -In Egypt ca 125-140, then straight to Rome
Irenaeus - In Lower Asia ca 140/170

And if my thinking that Florinus is Tertullian has any reality, that makes it all the more improbable for Irenaeus to have meet Peregrinus, and why I think Peregrinus is Marcion and not Polycarp.

And no, I don't trust Eusebius at all. Not because it's inconvenient to me, but because I don't accept the church's dating of early Popes, most of whom never existed to begin with. Victor I was probably the first actual Pope. Before him there were only local bishops throughout the empire.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:21 pm

I concede that Peregrinus did influence the Martyrdom of Polycarp. The similarities between the two are too numerous to brush away. But I also see similarities between Lucian's De Morte Peregrini and what information exists about Marcion.

I also can't concede the consensus time for Peregrinus. Once it's acknowledged that Peregrinus could only have been imprisoned in Syria during the Kitos revolt, then that opens up Pandora's box. Everything then must be pushed back.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:26 pm

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:21 pm

.. Everything then must be pushed back.
.
Later?

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:37 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:26 pm
Joseph D. L. wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:21 pm

.. Everything then must be pushed back.
.
Later?
Earlier.

That confuses me too.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:00 pm

Ummm. With regards to the alleged 'sighting' or placement of Polycarp in Smyrna what is the actual evidence for it? You realize that there is a scholarly debate for sometime about the relationship of the Acts of Pionius which definitely take place in Smyrna and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Some scholars suggest that the Martyrdom has been influenced by the Acts. I think Socrates or his successor places Polycarp in the third century because of the Acts. But let's examine the claim that Polycarp was 'of Smyrna.' The only reference I can find is what appears in Book 3 of Irenaeus:
But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time,--a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics.
Leaving aside the strange 'But Polycarp ...' statement which has nothing to do with the Roman succession list that immediately precedes it, there are clear untruths in the statement. Polycarp was not 'appointed by Apostles' in the second century. Why does Irenaeus lie? Because Polycarp was not a bishop at all but the head of a sect, a heresy.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Joseph D. L. » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:11 am

The only other place that I can imagine is in Leter to Florinus, where Irenaeus writes that he saw both Polycarp and Florinus in "Lower Asia", which could be Asia Minor, Anatolia, not necessarily Smyrna.

But the overall issue is with Irenaeus and Peregrinus being in the same region, Asia Minor, at the same time. If Peregrinus is in Rome at any point in the early forties, then there is zero chance of Irenaeus being able to meet him. Peregrinus went from Anatolia, to Egypt, and then to Rome. He never went back after that point. He then went to Greece, started a riot in Achaea, then to Athens, and finally to Olympia. (And then to his death). The only solution here is...

Irenaeus lived much earlier than I can believe,
or the Polycarp in Letter to Florinus cannot be Peregrinus.

I'm very mistrustful of Against Herecies, and judging from Letter to Florinus, we're dealing with two different authors. ("Irenaeus" might as well be an umbrella title for four different people and texts). But whatever the case may be, if Peregrinus was in Rome in the early forties, than a 165 ad date for his death is out of the question. Lucian is pretty clear about his timetable after Peregrinus left Rome, and he was only there maybe a couple years. Anything before 147 ad is a problem. Peregrinus, for a 165 ad date to work, would have to be in Athens by, at the latest, 152 ad. (Next Olympia rolls around, he causes all sorts of trouble, and kills himself twelve years later). If Gellius was there to witness what transpired between the two, however, is another strike against it. Gellius was not in Athens nor Greece any later than 147 ad.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by MrMacSon » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:26 am

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:11 am
The only other place that I can imagine is in Leter to Florinus, where Irenaeus writes that he saw both Polycarp and Florinus in "Lower Asia", which could be Asia Minor, Anatolia, not necessarily Smyrna.
I wonder if Irenaeus [or his agents or redactors] had been based in Galatia rather then Gaul [in what is now France].

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:11 am

...The only solution here is...

Irenaeus lived much earlier than I can believe,
or the Polycarp in Letter to Florinus cannot be Peregrinus.
or the time periods are distorted due to various literary effects.

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:11 am
"Irenaeus" might as well be an umbrella title for four different people and texts. ...
Definitely possible.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by lsayre » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:20 am

Secret Alias, does Roger Parvus somewhat capture a reflection of your thinking here?

https://vridar.org/other-authors/roger- ... -ignatius/ (online synopsis)

https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Ignatius ... ger+parvus (detailed book)

I truly enjoyed reading his book.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:22 am

I have engaged with Parvus in these forums and we differ in our conclusions. Everyone who has ever written on this subject uses the same evidence but reaches slightly different conclusions. The main point is clearly that you have three principal 'figures' - Peregrinus, Polycarp, Ignatius where only one is 'real' - Peregrinus. Only one has a locale for his death which we can feel confident about - Peregrinus at Olympia. So I think we have to be careful to use Patristic source material as 'history.' At best they are reflections of history. In Ignatius's case, the name is curious. It is never explained but the parallels with the shared fate of other two is noteworthy. Ignatius is imprisoned in Antioch. Peregrinus is imprisoned in Antioch presumably. Both send correspondences from their imprisonment. Both have contact with their Christian followers as a result of their letter writing. Both are associated with letter writing after they die (in Ignatius's case because the letters were systematically expanded - three times that we know of) and new letters were subsequently produced (i.e. to various locales outside of the 'accepted corpus').

When I wrote my first book (a book I never published because I was so stupid back then that I didn't realize that you published monographs first and then books from monographs) I paid particular attention to the fact that there is a parallel in the manner in which Peregrinus is 'divided' into multiple personalities (Ignatius, Polycarp) and the manner in which ur-gospel (the Marcionite or so I presumed) was divided into Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are parallels between the manner in which the letters of Paul were expanded (i.e. individual letters made longer), the way material from individual letters in the Syriac recension were 'split' into two Greek letters (the third Syriac letter becomes the basis for the Greek Roman letter and to the Tarsians or Trallians I forget) and the manner in which new Ignatian letters (fake letters) were produced subsequently (i.e. the Pastorals). You just have to see things from another perspective - in this case the Marcionite perspective.

I wouldn't be surprised if eventually McQueen's observation about Justin's Apology and Peregrinus ultimately become developed into an argument that Justin was originally developed from Peregrinus's writings. There really is very little reality to the early Church beyond the end of the second century. And where it has 'reality' it shows instability - i.e. constant rewriting, redrafting, recontextualizing who, what, where things are going on. So, for instance Theophilus's Against Hermogenes is now translated into Latin and 're-set' in Carthage. The author makes a single reference to another Hermogenes, another Against Hermogenes in Antioch but that reality is quickly brushed aside. The intro to Against Marcion acknowledges multiple previous recensions of the work which follows but then moves forward confident that the reader will ignore and report anyone pushing previous versions of Against Marcion.

Many people use this situation to argue for the non-existence of Christianity in the early second century but this is stupid. Just look at Judaism or Samaritanism. In this crazy world of ours Israelis argue for the non-legitimacy of Jewish and Samaritan converts to Islam saying that we should take the connection between Judaism and 'the land' as having precedent over normal accepted ways of treating property ownership - i.e. people who have settled the land have ownership of the land. Why should we say that 'the Jewish religion' has possession of the land (they say 'the Jews' but really mean 'Judaism' because once people of Jewish or Samaritan ancestry convert to another religion they are considered to be illegitimate). So now 'Israel' the state is the legitimate owner of the land and we are supposed to see that the 'Israel' that lost the land after the first revolt and again at the time of Hadrian is continued in the half-European settlers with an entirely different religion.

I am not taking sides here. These change of hands and land resettlements have happened throughout history. But as an intellectual position or argument it is entirely fallacious. The 'Judaism' at the turn of the Common Era had little to do with the concerns, beliefs or practices of modern Judaism. The religion of ancient Jewry was totally different - absolutely, completely distinct - from this neo-rabbinic faith. Forget the sacrificial nature of the old religion. That's too obvious but even the ridiculous way Herod's temple has itself now become a holy place! The complexity of attitudes toward this building is always underestimated by modern evaluations. Yet people generally act as if or suppose that 'Judaism' is a continuous religion. I remember reading Max Durant's History of the Jewish People as inspiration when I was 16. Now I think it is completely laughable.

But a similar thing occurs with the Stranger (Peregrinus) who is remembered later as Polycarp, Ignatius or whomever. The fact that Irenaeus says that his master was named Polycarp, that he was bishop of Smyrna, that he was appointed by apostles really means very little. For instance since Irenaeus is always stressing the role of the bishop (something that shows up not surprisingly in the fake Pastoral Epistles of Paul which form the basis for the title of his tome Against the False Gnostics, the expanded epistles of Ignatius etc) it is not surprising that Polycarp would have to appear (a) sanctioned by the apostles i.e. apostolic (b) a bishop with a fixed see and (c) associated with a specific see in Asia Minor. That is all hardly surprising. The parallels between Peregrinus and Polycarp suggest a wandering beggar prophet figure who was the head of a sect rather than a 'cog within an established tradition.'

Ok so Irenaeus says this. Yet when you scratch beneath the surface you start to see problems with this hypothesis. The problem is quite clearly that Polycarp wasn't really that different from Marcion or any of the other sect leaders. For instance there is a line within the Dialogue of Adamantius where the orthodox Adamantius complains about Megethius belonging to a sect and Megethius retorts back 'but couldn't I call you a Socratian.' This reference always puzzled me until I remembered that Lucian says twice that Peregrinus was hailed as the 'new Socrates.' As there are no other references to a Christian sect leader named Socrates the Marcionite slight against the orthodox representative goes back to them having a founder much like Marcion i.e. they are followers of a sect leader called 'the new Socrates.'

So once you see that Polycarp was probably not a bishop we go back to the fact that the Syrian orthodox church which claims to go back to Nurono (Gk Ignatius) used to use 'Polycarp' (in Syriac Maphran) as a title of their top official. So 'Polycarp' was a Greek translation of an honorific title. As such 'Polycarp' could have been the title of a guy named John, Jimmy, Paul whatever. He wasn't a bishop of a particular see but - note - Irenaeus basically says I saw him in Smyrna (presumably Asia Minor = Smyrna). He admits he didn't know Polycarp as well as Florinus. He just saw him acting regally ('royal court') in Smyrna and presumably developed that into his being a 'overseer/shepherd of Smyrna.' But that's how people think. And what contradictory evidence would there be to that claim? He wasn't a bishop of any locale. He was just a wandering prophet leader.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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