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 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:56 pm

The difficulty in reconciling Lucian's testimony with anything Christian - forgetting for a moment Polycarp, Ignatius etc - is the explicit reference to 'Hercules' which overrides the whole account. Lucian is quite clear that Peregrinus thinks he will united with 'Hercules.' His self-immolation is connected with Hercules. I don't think this has anything to do with the Logos unless Hercules can be demonstrated to be the Logos.
“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 9:01 pm

Maybe this is better. In fact, I think everyone will agree this is the plainest, truest explanation:

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The demigod Hercules was one of many children of Jupiter or Zeus, but unlike most of them, he was immortal. That did not make him completely a god -- at least until his apotheosis. Historian Diodorus Siculus (fl. mid 1st century B.C.) says Hercules sent Iolaus to the Delphic Oracle to find out what he should do. The answer was to build a pyre on Mt. Oeta and look to the decision of the gods about his fate. Hercules ordered a pyre to be built on Mt. Oeta. No problem there, but he did have trouble finding someone willing to light the pyre. When, at last, Philoctetes agreed to do so, Hercules rewarded him with the gift of his poison-tipped arrows. More than a decade later, the presence of an arrow-bearing Philoctetes, whom the Greeks had abandoned for 10 years on Lemnos, was required, by oracular mandate, in order for the Greeks to win the Trojan War. Diodorus Siculus Book [4.38.3]
As Heracles continued to suffer more and more from his malady he dispatched Licymnius and Iolaüs to Delphi to inquire of Apollo what he must do to heal the malady, but Deïaneira was so stricken by the magnitude of Heracles’ misfortune that, being conscious of her error, she ended her life by hanging herself. The god gave the reply that Heracles should be taken, and with him his armour and weapons of war, unto Oetê and that they should build a huge pyre near him; what remained to be done, he said, would rest with Zeus.

[4.38.4] Now when Iolaüs had carried out these orders and had withdrawn to a distance to see what would take place, Heracles, having abandoned hope for himself, ascended the pyre and asked each one who came up to him too put torch to the pyre. And when no one had courage to obey him Philoctetes alone was prevailed upon; and he, having received in return for his compliance the gift of the blow and arrows of Heracles, lighted the pyre. And immediately lightning also fell from the heavens and the pyre was wholly consumed.

[4.38.5] After this, when the companions of Iolaüs came to gather up the bones of Heracles and found not a single bone anywhere, they assumed that, in accordance with the words of the oracle, he had passed from among men into the company of the gods.

[4.39.1] These men, therefore, performed the offerings to the dead as to a hero, and after throwing up a great mound of earth returned to Trachis. Following their example Menoetius, the son of Actor and a friend of Heracles, sacrificed a boar and a bull and a ram to him as to a hero and commanded that each year in Opus Heracles should receive the sacrifices and honours of a hero. Much the same thing was likewise done by the Thebans, but the Athenians were the first of all other men to honour Heracles with sacrifices like as to a god, and by holding up as an example for all other men to follow their own reverence for the god they induced the Greeks first of all, and after them all men throughout the inhabited world, to honour Heracles as a god.
Ovid describes the apotheosis of Hercules in the Metamorphoses (9.134–272).
But now the hero of immortal birth
Fells Oete's forests on the groaning Earth;
A pile he builds; to Philoctetes' care
He leaves his deathful instruments of war;
To him commits those arrows, which again
Shall see the bulwarks of the Trojan reign.
The son of Paean lights the lofty pyre,
High round the structure climbs the greedy fire;
Plac'd on the top, thy nervous shoulders spread
With the Nemaean spoils, thy careless head
Rais'd on a knotty club, with look divine,
Here thou, dread hero, of celestial line,
Wert stretch'd at ease; as when a chearful guest,
Wine crown'd thy bowls, and flow'rs thy temples drest.

Now on all sides the potent flames aspire,
And crackle round those limbs that mock the fire
A sudden terror seiz'd th' immortal host,
Who thought the world's profess'd defender lost.
This when the Thund'rer saw, with smiles he cries,
'Tis from your fears, ye Gods, my pleasures rise;
Joy swells my breast, that my all-ruling hand
O'er such a grateful people boasts command,
That you my suff'ring progeny would aid;
Tho' to his deeds this just respect be paid,
Me you've oblig'd. Be all your fears forborn,
Th' Oetean fires do thou, great hero, scorn.
Who vanquish'd all things, shall subdue the flame.
That part alone of gross maternal frame
Fire shall devour; while what from me he drew
Shall live immortal, and its force subdue;
That, when he's dead, I'll raise to realms above;
May all the Pow'rs the righteous act approve.
If any God dissent, and judge too great
The sacred honours of the heav'nly seat,
Ev'n he shall own his deeds deserve the sky,
Ev'n he reluctant, shall at length comply.
Th' assembled Pow'rs assent. No frown 'till now
Had mark'd with passion vengeful Juno's brow,
Mean-while whate'er was in the pow'r of flame
Was all consum'd; his body's nervous frame
No more was known, of human form bereft,
Th' eternal part of Jove alone was left.
As an old serpent casts his scaly vest,
Wreathes in the sun, in youthful glory drest;
So when Alcides mortal mold resign'd,
His better part enlarg'd, and grew refin'd;
August his visage shone; almighty Jove
In his swift carr his honour'd offspring drove;
High o'er the hollow clouds the coursers fly,
And lodge the hero in the starry sky.
“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 9:26 pm

The Trachiniae by Sophocles:

As mentioned above, the play itself does not include any direct mention of the apotheosis that
takes place after Heracles‟ death. The events of the play come to an end with Hyllos taking his
comatose father to be placed on a funeral pyre where he will be given the release of death. As
Stafford (2013: 80) points out, this is strikingly at odds with most of the other literary and
material interpretations of the myth of Heracles‟ death. Stafford (2013: 80) argues that the
majority of the other adaptations of this myth seem designed specifically to emphasise how
Heracles achieves godhood, whereas The Trachiniae places the focus on the family drama before
the apotheosis.

The remainder of the play primarily portrays interactions between Heracles, in deep anger and
anguish, and Hyllos, his loving son. Hyllos explains that Deianeira was innocent, and Heracles
realises the prophecy has been fulfilled and that his own death is imminent (Theodoridis 2007:
lines 1147-1151). Heracles speaks on a variety of topics. He bemoans being undone by a woman,
and mourns his own loss of masculinity and strength. He feels cheated by the gods after his many
years of service. He is angry at the world, and feels that now he is reduced to nothing. During
this, he lists at great length many of his most prominent achievements (Theodoridis 2007: lines
1051-1112). Eventually, something of the old Heracles asserts itself, and he orders his son to
swear an oath to him, without knowing what it is (Theodoridis 2007: lines 1179-1190). Heracles
persuades Hyllos to do this both on the grounds of being his son, and also because it is his dying
wish. When Hyllos eventually agrees, Heracles makes his request: Hyllos is to burn him on a
funeral pyre, and once that is done, he is to take Iole as a bride (Theodoridis 2007: lines 1206-
1249). Hyllos does not want to be involved in the deaths of both his parents in one day, and
Heracles spends some time convincing him before Hyllos finally agrees (Theodoridis 2007: lines
1249-1251). The play ends with Hyllos ordering the sacrificial pyre to be built, before they all
proceed up to the top of the mountain for the final rites (Theodoridis 2007: lines 1260-1266).37
“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 9:32 pm

“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 10:08 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:56 pm
The difficulty in reconciling Lucian's testimony with anything Christian - forgetting for a moment Polycarp, Ignatius etc - is the explicit reference to 'Hercules' which overrides the whole account. Lucian is quite clear that Peregrinus thinks he will united with 'Hercules.' His self-immolation is connected with Hercules. I don't think this has anything to do with the Logos unless Hercules can be demonstrated to be the Logos.
Lucian does provide another witness to this in his more obscure work, Prolalia-Heraklès, where describes what a Celt thinks of the Grecian Hermes:

Stranger, I will tell you the secret of the painting, for you seem very much troubled about it. We Celts do not consider the power of speech [λόγος]to be Hermes, as you Greeks do, but we represent it by means of Heracles, because he is much stronger than Hermes. So if this old man Heracles, the power of speech [λόγος], draws men after him, tied to his tongue by their ears you have no reason to wonder, as you must be aware of the close connection between the ears and the tongue. ...In a word, we Celts are of opinion that Heracles himself performed everything by the power of words, as he was a wise fellow, and that most of his compulsion was effected by persuasion. His weapons ... are his utterances which are sharp and well aimed, swift to pierce the mind: and you too say that words have wings.

The stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Cornutus, in the first century, also compared Hercules to logos:

Herakles is the universal logos in its aspect of making Nature strong, in control and indomitable.

Remember, this is at a time of heavy syncretism between different cultures. Apollo, Helios, Hermes, Osiris... all were considered to be logos; and all had some connection to fire, light, and the sun. Hercules, being himself a solar figure, would easily fit that type.

Hermes is also said to be both a traveler and an athlete, and so there might be some cross pollination occurring. And I remember Paul being called Hermes for his gift of gab.

So Hercules would be logos, and Peregrinus's desire to emulate his fiery death, would be to embody this principle, as the logos was of a fiery nature.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Joseph D. L. » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:19 pm

This could also be why Ignatius, Polycarp, and in an obscure tradition, Marcion, were connected to John. Because their theology was strictly adherent to Christ as logos, which could not be contained in flesh, but could become represented by a Platonic shadow. Thus Jonathan the Weaver, Lukuas-Andreas (Man of Light), Peregrinus, Ignatius, and Polycarp, become the agents of this idea with their careers/deaths.

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Re: Early Christian Terminology in the Death of Peregrinus

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:01 am

I strongly feel that I can revise my original explanation for the 'Herakles strand' in the Peregrinus narrative. Clearly Lucian as a pagan was very familiar with the apotheosis of Herakles tradition (which I wasn't). In that story Hercules is half mortal half god and is told he has to die in a pyre in order to become fully divine. This is clearly what Lucian is bringing forward in his Death of Peregrinus. He goes out of his way to make the imitation of the apotheosis of Herakles as Peregrinus motivation at Olympia. I don't think this can be doubted. It isn't a matter of debate any more for me once I uncovered it. So the question moves on to another stage - was Peregrinus trying to imitate Herakles or was this only part of Lucian's 'interpretation' or contextualization of the events at Olympia for his pagan audience.

This is what writers do after all. We bridge the gap between events (real or imagined) and try to attach meaning to them. The question becomes -0 was Lucian imposing the apotheosis of Herakles on to Peregrinus's death by fire either because

1. it was a funny story for his readers
2. it helped make sense of Peregrinus's bizarre actions
3. it was Peregrinus's actual motivation

It is worth noting that when Herakles is consumed in the pyre he ascends to Olympia where the gods are supposed to live. It seems incredible that Peregrinus's immolation would be located at the found of Mount Olympia if it had nothing to do with Herakles. Indeed Lucian makes this explicit in section 21 where he says "such as Theagenes here for his Philoctetes" - Philoctetes is the one who established the pyre for Herakles.

The fact that everything fits so perfectly together - i.e. the location of Olympia, the comparison with and the referencing of the apotheosis of Herakles - even the jibe that Peregrinus makes against the 'effeminacy' of the attendees of the Olympic games who need to have water brought down via Herodes 'aqueduct.' In Seneca's Hercules Octaeus one of the longest tragedies to survive from antiquity "ends with a choral ode. The Chorus calls on the audience to live with “manly virtue” (virtus) and to be brave (fortes), so that their final day will not be their last. Rather, “glory will open a path to the gods above” (iter ad superos gloria pandet).

The question is whether Peregrinus is adapting an imitatio Christi for pagan audiences. Did he take what already existed in Christianity - the story of the apotheosis of Jesus or the promised apotheosis of Christian martyrs in terms that pagans could readily understand? It doesn't make sense to me that Lucian would add a 'Herculean layer' to a common history shared with Polycarp. The parallels between the two stories are quite astounding, yet making sense of the 'Herculean layer' is the ultimate difficulty. Perhaps Herodes seized upon the setting (i.e. a Christian preacher attacking the games and Herodes philanthropic efforts at Olympia) and simply seized the annoying Christian and burned him at the stake. Lucian's story is essentially a covering up of the essential details shared with the martyrdom of Polycarp.
“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 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:37 pm

From Shapiro "Hȇrȏs Theos": The Death and Apotheosis of Herakles:
There was probably also a notion of fire as a purifying agent, i.e., that the flames consumed the mortal part of Herakles' nature, leaving his pure and immortal essence to ascend to heaven, like the savour of roasted sacrificial meat. The analogy is apt, because Herakles' suicide is very much like a sacrifice, performed, as Sophocles tells us, at (or near) an altar of Zeus on the peak of Mount Oeta, one of his many mountain- top sanctuaries.36 The motif of suicide as well becomes more intelligible and appropriate when understood as a self-sacrifice within this context. Normally suicide is foreign to the ethos of a Greek hero or is associated, as in Ajax's situation, with shameful behavior. But for Herakles it has a different meaning. The poisoned shirt causes a pain that is unendurable, yet by itself does not kill him, because Herakles is no ordinary hero. And he seems to be aware that he will only achieve a release from mortal life and suffering and win his immortality through a self-inflicted death.
This is an interesting wrinkle to 'map over' to the Christian notion of the 'death' of Jesus on the Cross. It also I think has an influence - perhaps - on the persistent Christian notion of a 'baptism by fire.' Things to think about ...
“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 arnoldo » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:16 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
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.
The writer of the Shepherd of Hermas uses the term "wander" in the following passage.

Now the other stones which you saw cast far away from the tower, and falling upon the public road and rolling from it into pathless places, are those who have indeed believed, but through doubt have abandoned the true road. Thinking, then, that they could find a better, they wander and become wretched, and enter upon pathless places. But those which fell into the fire and were burned ? are those who have departed for ever from the living God; nor does the thought of repentance ever come into their hearts, on account of their devotion to their lusts and to the crimes which they committed.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/shepherd.html

Jude also uses the term "wander" in the following passage.

Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
http://biblehub.com/jude/1-13.htm

Not sure about the original Greek/Latin term which was translated to wander was.

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