Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:34 am

Friedrich Delitzsch and Hommel associate the seraphim with the Assyrian “sharrapu,” a name which, in Canaan, designated the Babylonian fire-god Nergal. The seraphim, then, would be the flames in which this god manifests himself https://books.google.com/books?id=vzsyA ... 22&f=false
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:16 pm

Peregrinus is always described as 'wandering' the earth by Lucian. It is a prominent part of his description. The verb to wander in Hebrew is רגל. J. Oppert (Gott. Gel. Anz. 1878, 1048) derived the name from the Semitic רגל, and explained it as ' the wandering ' ("der Wandelnde, wegen des Riicklaufs des Planeten"); also see J. HaleVy, ZA. III. 343 https://books.google.com/books?id=gwwnA ... 22&f=false Could the two be connected? The word "peregrinus" is Latin for a wanderer, stranger, pilgrim, traveller. Note Exodus 12:37, Numbers 11:21 "600,000 רַגְלִ֛י footmen. Is there something significant about Jesus sending out his disciples as 'footmen'?
“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. » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:16 pm

Man. That's a lot of information to absorb.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Joseph D. L. » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:00 am

I have for a long time associated Peregrinus's, and Polycarp's, desire to die by fire as a way to embody the Logos.

The question is, was Peregrinus still a Christian when he died? Lucian separates his time with the Christians and his time as a Cynic as two distinct periods. But, I have felt that Lucian saying that he fell in with the Christians is anachronistic, and that Peregrinus actually joined a Jewish sectarian community somewhere in the Syrian/Palestine region.

So, could Peregrinus have been using common Gentile terms and names of gods, as synonymous with Christ?

Hercules then equates to Jesus, and Justin Martyr did make a comparison between Hercules and Jesus:

And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated?

What's more, Hercules was the hero of athletes, and being an ahlete of Christ is encouraged in certain texts.

Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp:

Speak to every man separately, as God enables you. Bear the infirmities of all, as being a perfect athlete [in the Christian life]: where the labour is great, the gain is all the more.

Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before you is immortality and eternal life, of which you are also persuaded. In all things may my soul be for yours, and my bonds also, which you have loved.

It is the part of a noble athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer.

But then, what of Proteus?

Proteus was a god who could change his shape and form at will. This reminds of the notion of transmigration, or the Christ jumping from one host to another. Thus Christ is able to change its own form, so to speak, when he appears in different bodies.

And the Phoenix? That one's easy. The Phoenix was the symbol of resurrection in the ancient world. It would make a nest and die amidst its flames. But out of its ashes, a new Phoenix bird would be born--but really, the old one would be reborn.

Peregrinus, adopting hi new and last name for himself as Phoenix, would also wish for a resurrection.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:56 am

a way to embody the Logos.
Why?\
was Peregrinus still a Christian when he died?
The example of Ammonius Saccas is almost contemporary and raises similar questions. Perhaps it comes down to what exactly was meant by Χριστιανός? Was it necessarily exclusive of other categories, affiliations? For instance look at Clement's love of Plato. He was a Platonist and he was a Christian. Leaving aside the state of the surviving (corrupt) manuscripts of his writings - it would seem that one could be a Christian and a Platonist. So too with Ammonius Saccas. It is said that he (Ammonius) stopped being a Christian or apostatized. But did he really? There are countless examples of people who denied they belonged to an outlawed or stigmatized group. A lot of questions have to be raised - an obvious one, the persecution of Christians. When did that begin? People also overlook the degree to which Christianity was a 'secret association' (cf Clement of Alexandria, Celsus, Prescript Haeres etc). Were Christians affiliated with their religion 'secretly'? This may go back to Paul's distinction between “the Jew on display” and “the Jew in secret” (ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖος). There just too many contemporary prejudices brought into the discussion.

What does appear clear from Lucian's reporting is that Peregrinus (not his real name) 'the wanderer' was centrally fixated on Hercules and was associated with Cynicism. These are the most difficult points to reconcile with Christianity. Yet these are not new difficulties especially in the age before the third century. For instance Marcia the concubine of Commodus is described as a Christian or a Christian sympathizer yet her husband (whatever you want to call Commodus) was similarly fixated on Hercules. How did Marcia reconcile those affiliations? Clearly Hercules is at once 'the Son god' at his most basic level. To this end, she and he could speak of a shared veneration of 'the Son' - a conversation could emerge from that 'common ground.' Similarly when considering Peregrinus's veneration of Hercules he understands his Hercules on some level wants him to die in order to attain or offer union with him. This is also very Christian as 'Christ' would have wanted Peregrinus's contemporaries to martyr, witness themselves. Of course in the third century we don't see this kind of open 'syncretism' any longer. But there does appear to be these sorts of hybrid cultures in the early reporting of heresies in the Church cf. the Naasenes.

All that is clear is that by the turn of the third century we don't see these sorts of hybrid assimilation efforts succeeding with any wide-spread success. Perhaps they existed in isolation but are no longer reported by the Church Fathers. In the late second century we can still hear of Christians who appeal to the Sibylline oracles, who draw from Homer as 'scriptures,' who appealed to the Hermetic writings among other sources of inspiration. As the third century rolls along the sect increasingly limits itself to Jewish writings. Why that is is difficult to ascertain. Even within Marcionism - the supposedly 'anti-Jewish' sect we see no effort to embrace paganism which would be the most natural thing if - as most want to pretend - Marcion 'hated' Judaism. Indeed, if he 'hated' Judaism the clearest way to express this 'hatred' would be to embrace the central thing prohibited by the Torah - the veneration of 'idols.'

I tend to see things in terms of the influence of the bishop here. Even though there is evidence (the Dialogues of Adamantius, the Acts of Pionius) that the Marcionites had 'bishops' it would seem that the establishment of a Church hierarchy helped maintain order and consistency of belief and practice. Yet was this a later innovation? The central documents which reinforce the role of the bishop are forgeries (the Pastoral Epistles, the Greek Ignatian texts). The very idea that Polycarp was a 'bishop' seems improbable given his widespread travels. It would seem then that if Polycarp/Peregrinus was a 'wanderer' who was turned inside out by Irenaeus's portrait of him in the Martyrdom of Polycarp - into a staid 'bishop' - the dividing line of 180 CE was about the time that the bishop was introduced. Again I don't know what to make of the existence of 'Marcionite bishops' but the bishop as such seems to have been introduced as a means of keeping Christian 'on message' or limited to a specific sanctioned message.
“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 Secret Alias » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:18 am

what about Proteus?
To be honest, I still have a great number of questions regarding the name 'Peregrinus.' Let's agree that it was not a name per se but a designation. The idea that a 'wanderer' would be called 'Wanderer' is too much of a coincidence. Why take the Latin word which means Wanderer? Lucian is clearly reporting something that was preserved not in Greek but in Latin. Others report the same name. Curious.
“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 Secret Alias » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:54 am

Another possible connection between Ignatius and Peregrinus might escape the notice of people who have little familiarity with contemporary Roman law. For instance we read in Lucian over and over again. "What he did to his father, however, is very well worth hearing; but you all know it—you have heard how he strangled the aged man" (Morte 10). "Upon returning to his home, he found that the matter of his father’s murder was still at fever heat and that there were many who were for pressing the charge. against him" (ibid 14). "On the contrary, it is in Olympia, at the height of the festival, all but in the theatre, that he plans to roast himself— not undeservedly, by Heracles, if it is right for parricides and for atheists to suffer for their hardinesses" (ibid 20). It is interesting to take note of the proscribed penalty for parricide in Roman law viz. Modestinus, Pandects, Book XII.
The penalty of parricide, as prescribed by our ancestors, is that the culprit shall be beaten with rods stained with his blood, and then shall be sewed up in a sack with a dog, a cock, a viper, and an ape, and the bag cast into the depth of the sea, that is to say, if the sea is near at hand; otherwise, it shall be thrown to wild beasts, according to the Constitution of the Divine Hadrian.
Poena cullei was the traditional form of punishment in Rome. Here in the age of Hadrian an alternative was given - the very punishment 'Ignatius' tells his followers he is facing:
Letter One: "... that I may be devoured by beasts at Rome"
Letter Three "Leave me to become the beasts, that by their means I may be accounted worthy of God. I am the wheat of God, and by the teeth of the beasts I shall be ground, that I may be found the pure bread of God. Provoke ye greatly the wild beasts, that they may be for me a grave, and may leave nothing of my body, in order that, when I have fallen asleep, I may not be a burden upon any one. Then shall I be in truth a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world seeth not even my body. Entreat of our Lord in my behalf, that through these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God ... From Syria, and even unto Rome, I am cast among wild beasts, by sea and by land, by night and by day, being bound between ten leopards, which are the band of soldiers, who, even when I do good to them, all the more do evil unto me. I, however, am the rather instructed by their injurious treatment; but not on this account am I justified to myself. I rejoice in the beasts which are prepared for me, and I pray that they may in haste be found for me; and I will provoke them speedily to devour me, and not be as those which are afraid of some other men, and will not approach them: even should they not be willing to approach me, I will go with violence against them. Know me from myself what is expedient for me. Let no one envy me of those things which are seen and which are not seen, that I should be accounted worthy of Jesus Christ.
It is of course difficult to know the underlying context of this fear of being 'devoured by beasts.' At the very least he seems to have been sentenced - or was expecting to be sentenced - with this punishment in the arena. In the Martyrdom of Polycarp we get the report that Polycarp was supposed to be fed to the beasts but because of a lack of animals he ends up getting burned alive. Is this a remembrance of two separate episodes in the life o the famous martyr? SImilarly Ignatius 'the fiery one' is telling everyone he will be devoured by beasts in the arena - is this a preservation of the same 'earlier period' which Irenaeus has now 'sectioned off' as a separate person 'Ignatius' (remember Irenaeus himself in his Against Heresies never names the martyr who is to be devoured by beasts.

Why do the texts of Ignatius speak of Ignatius imprisoned in Syria, walking around 'in chains,' lamenting his impending 'date in the arena' in Rome? It is interesting to note that the matters associated with the parracide (i.e. the estate of his father) are said to have been appealed to Caesar:
he thought he must sing a palinode and demand his possessions back from his city. Submitting a petition, he expected to recover them by order of the Emperor. Then, as the city sent representatives to oppose the claim, he achieved nothing, but was directed to abide by what he had once for all determined, under no compulsion from anyone.
The laws associated with parricide also make mention of a concession to 'insane' people - that they would have to remain 'in chains' rather than die. All things to consider.
“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 Secret Alias » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:14 am

It is also worth noting that the proscribed punishment for parricide (being sown in a sack with a wild animal) was only given for those who confessed to the crime (at least in good administrations):
In his administration of justice he was both highly conscientious and very lenient; for to save a man clearly guilty of parricide from being sown up in the sack, a punishment which was inflicted only on those who pleaded guilty, he is said to have put the question to him in this form: "You surely did not kill your father, did you?" (Suetonius Augustus)
The thrown to the wild beast option may not have required this confession.
“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 Secret Alias » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:46 am

Another curious parallel which might have served as the role model for Peregrinus is the story of Sardanapalus:
Diodorus says that Sardanapalus, son of Anakyndaraxes, exceeded all previous rulers in sloth and luxury. He spent his whole life in self-indulgence. He dressed in women's clothes and wore make-up. He had many concubines, female and male. He wrote his own epitaph, which stated that physical gratification is the only purpose of life. His lifestyle caused dissatisfaction within the Assyrian empire, allowing a conspiracy against him to develop led by "Arbaces". An alliance of Medes, Persians and Babylonians challenged the Assyrians. Sardanapalus stirred himself to action and routed the rebels several times in battle, but failed to crush them. Believing he had defeated the rebels, Sardanapalus returned to his decadent lifestyle, ordering sacrifices and celebrations. But the rebels were reinforced by new troops from Bactria. Sardanapalus's troops were surprised during their partying, and were routed.

Sardanapalus returned to Nineveh to defend his capital, while his army was placed under the command of his brother-in-law, who was soon defeated and killed. Having sent his family to safety, Sardanapalus prepared to hold Nineveh. He managed to withstand a long siege, but eventually heavy rains caused the Tigris to overflow, leading to the collapse of one of the defensive walls. To avoid falling into the hand of his enemies, Sardanapalus had a huge funeral pyre created for himself on which were piled "all his gold, silver and royal apparel". He had his eunuchs and concubines boxed in inside the pyre, burning himself and them to death
The original story in Diodorus Siculus:
Sardanapallus, realizing that his entire kingdom was in the greatest danger, sent his three sons and two daughters together with much of his treasure to Paphlagonia to the governor Cotta, who was the most loyal of his subjects, while he himself, despatching letter-carriers to all his subjects, summoned forces and made preparations for the siege. 9 Now there was a prophecy which had come down to him from his ancestors: "No enemy will ever take Ninus by storm unless the river shall first become the city's enemy." Assuming, therefore, that this would never be, he held out in hope, his thought being to endure the siege and await the troops which would be sent from his subjects.

27 1 The rebels, elated at their successes, pressed the siege, but because of the strength of the walls they were unable to do any harm to the men in the city; for neither engines for throwing stones, nor shelters for sappers,55 nor battering-rams devised to overthrow walls had as yet been invented at that time. Moreover, p441 the inhabitants of the city had a great abundance of all provisions, since the king had taken thought on that score. Consequently the siege dragged on, and for two years they pressed their attack, making assaults on the walls and preventing inhabitants of the city from going out into the country; but in the third year, after there had been heavy and continuous rains, it came to pass that the Euphrates, running very full, both inundated a portion of the city and broke down the walls for a distance of twenty stades. 2 At this the king, believing that the oracle had been fulfilled and that the river had plainly become the city's enemy, abandoned hope of saving himself. And in order that he might not fall into the hands of the enemy, he built an enormous pyre in his palace, heaped upon it all his gold and silver as well as every article of the royal wardrobe, and then, shutting his concubines and eunuchs in the room which had been built in the middle of the pyre, he consigned both them and himself and his palace to the flames. 3 The rebels, on learning of the death of Sardanapallus, took the city by forcing an entrance where the wall had fallen, and clothing Arbaces in the royal garb saluted him as king and put in his hands the supreme authority.
I find the addition of 'letter dispatching' another curious parallel with Peregrinus/Ignatius.
“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. » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:08 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:56 am
a way to embody the Logos.
Why?\
Perhaps to emulate the theophany of YHWH.

YHWH is usually typified with fire, or blinding light, and the Logos was also typified and associated with fire, the sun, and light.

You can also see this in the name, Ignatius Theophorus, or the fire that bears God.

Lucian states that while Peregrinus was living with the Community, he had been elevated to the positions of teacher, Lawgiver, and even a god. Add to this what Theagenes calls him, holy image, and his self immolation. Peregrinus was trying to embody the principle of Logos as the life-sustaining fire.

Polycarp's death is similar to Christ's death in John. You have with Polycarp, a pseudo-crucifixion (Polycarp is tied to a stauros), a stab wound, and the issue of a liquid substance. The added detail of a dove flying out is, I am almost certain of it, saying that Polycarp was the Paraclete, and for a while I believed that John was actually declaring Polycarp as the Christ. Considering Polycarp's affinity with Johnannine traditions, I wonder if that is the case.

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