Bolt's argument is that the Gospel of Mark - with its empty tomb and many other elements - is a further development of the Imperial apotheosis tradition.Apotheosis was reserved for the virtuous of soul, the great ones of the land. In the first century, this no doubt explains why the apotheosis of the Roman emperors was gradually gathering steam. Mark's Gospel was launched upon the Roman world when the apotheosis of its rulers was still a matter of some debate. This practice began as a sign of great honour, but eventually became simply a matter of custom.
Romulus In the background of this practice lay the deification of Romulus, the founder of Rome (Pease 1942: 15). The story of his deification appeared as early as Ennius' Annals (65–66,111 - 113" in the second century BCE. Naturally enough, the events surrounding the moment when Romulus 'vanished from among men' (ex anthro ̄po ̄n e ̄phanisthe ̄, Plutarch, Camillus 32.5), so that he 'was no more on earth' (Livy 1.15.6), were debated. Some political realists suspected a senatorial conspiracy (Plutarch, Numa 2–3), whereas others were convinced he had been 'caught up to the gods' (Plutarch, Romulus 27–28), one person even swearing an oath that he had seen him go (28.1).
As the imperial power took a new turn with Julius Caesar and then with Augustus, the mythology surrounding Romulus began to be reapplied to Rome's chief man. The prevailing psychology at this time, however, meant that the assumption to heaven was no longer bodily. During the imperial apotheoses, probably from as early as the time of Augustus,42 the funeral ritual symbolized the heavenly ascent of the soul by releasing an eagle from a cage on top of the pyre.43 But down below, the body (or an effigy of it) was still burning. The devaluation of the currency In time, the apotheosis of the emperor would become so customary that it would lose its significance. But it is important to realize that, at the time of Mark's Gospel, apotheosis was still a valued commodity.
Bolt strangely assumes that the Gospel of Mark 'went into circulation around the time of Claudius's apotheosis. A better match is probably the apotheosis of Vespasian or Titus. The elements he identifies in Mark are - the Transfiguration narrative:
The Empty Tomb:When the story of Jesus' transfiguration is read from this perspective, it seems like a missed opportunity for a story about a translation, or, as it would be read in Mark's day, about an apotheosis.60 The transfiguration scene contains some parallels to stories8 in which a person either disappeared and/or was translated to heaven. In particular, it has several close parallels to Josephus' account of the disappearance of Moses
I guess I am wondering to what degree we can speculate that late Christian orthodoxy - with an 'already divine Jesus' entering the womb of Mary to be a living god Man whose death doesn't have any effect on his status at least according to said orthodoxy - influenced the reshaping of Mark. To me it is apparent that Mark was originally an adoptionist gospel. But that assumption leaves open the possibility that the crucifixion was the last stage of his apotheosis. What do you think?Mark's narrative presented Jesus' death as a divine necessity. He had to die before the resurrection and the kingdom of God could arrive. Refusing to avoid death through apotheosis, Jesus willingly embraced this difficult necessity. When he died, he was recognized as Son of God – a title used for the divine Caesar Augustus. Even then he did not undergo an apotheosis of soul, even then he did not undergo an apotheosis of soul as the great Caesars had done. Instead, Mark's final chapter shows that he was raised bodily from the dead.
What raises my suspicions is what Irenaeus says about (the gospel) of Cerinthus:
This could be an 'apotheosis gospel':He represented Jesus as having not been born of a virgin, but as being the son of Joseph and Mary according to the ordinary course of human generation, while he nevertheless was more righteous, prudent, and wise than other men. Moreover, after his baptism, Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove from the Supreme Ruler, and that then he proclaimed the unknown Father, and performed miracles. But at last Christ departed from Jesus, and that then Jesus suffered and rose again, while Christ remained impassible, inasmuch as he was a spiritual being.
The Christology of Cerinthus seems to have been essentially a form of Adoptionism, securing the apotheosis of the human body, and is closely akin to the doctrine found in Hermas.https://books.google.com/books?id=0ddKA ... 22&f=false