(First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

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abdias
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(First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by abdias » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:32 pm

Hi-ho the derry-o. This is my first post on the forum, but since you guys seem like a nice place to ask this question I thought I'd ask it. Near the end of the gnostic text 'The (First) Apocalypse of James', Jesus responds to his buddy James' comment by telling him in fully uncertain and fragmented terms to talk to four people (probably women) and encourage them. Their names are Salome, Mariam, Martha, and Arsinoe.

"...For you have begun to understand their roots from beginning to end. Cast away from yourself all lawlessness. And beware lest they envy you. When you speak these words of this perception, encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe..."

Anybody got any idea who she is? A corruption of an Aramaic/Syriac word? Some Sethian sh!t like the word 'Aberamentho' in the Pistis Sophia? A quick Google search yielded nothing but an indication that the name is possibbly Ptolemaic. Any responses or speculations would be great, thanks.

~abdias.

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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by DCHindley » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:17 pm

abdias wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:32 pm
Hi-ho the derry-o. This is my first post on the forum, but since you guys seem like a nice place to ask this question I thought I'd ask it. Near the end of the gnostic text 'The (First) Apocalypse of James', Jesus responds to his buddy James' comment by telling him in fully uncertain and fragmented terms to talk to four people (probably women) and encourage them. Their names are Salome, Mariam, Martha, and Arsinoe.

"...For you have begun to understand their roots from beginning to end. Cast away from yourself all lawlessness. And beware lest they envy you. When you speak these words of this perception, encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe..."

Anybody got any idea who she is? A corruption of an Aramaic/Syriac word? Some Sethian sh!t like the word 'Aberamentho' in the Pistis Sophia? A quick Google search yielded nothing but an indication that the name is possibbly Ptolemaic. Any responses or speculations would be great, thanks.

~abdias.
Well, Arsinoe IV (died 41 BCE) was a key figure in Egyptian politics, leading those interests who rejected Roman intervention into their politics. For a period she changed the power relationships, was granted control of the island of Cyprus, which was heavily populated with Judeans, rebelled against Caesar and was kicking his ass before he was able to return the ass kick. She may have been looked upon favorably by some Judeans for her resistance to Roman intervention into Egyptian politics. "You go girl!!" Favorably enough for a set of Judean parents to name their daughter after her.

Here is the story as found on Wikipedia:
When Ptolemy XII died in 51 BC, he left his eldest son and daughter, Ptolemy and Cleopatra, as joint rulers of Egypt, but Ptolemy soon dethroned Cleopatra and forced her to flee from Alexandria. Julius Caesar arrived in Alexandria in 48 BC pursuing his rival, Pompey, whom he had defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus. When he arrived in Alexandria, he was presented with Pompey's head. The execution of his longtime friend and foe ended the possibility of an alliance between Caesar and Ptolemy, and instead he sided with Cleopatra's faction. He declared that in accordance with Ptolemy XII's will, Cleopatra and Ptolemy would rule Egypt jointly, and in a similar motion restored Cyprus, which had been annexed by Rome in 58 BC, to Egypt's rule and gifted it to Arsinoë and her youngest brother, Ptolemy XIV.[5][6] Caesar had Ptolemy's regent, the eunuch Pothinus, executed while the general Achillas escaped and began besieging Alexandria.

However Arsinoë then escaped from the capital with her mentor, the eunuch Ganymedes, and took command of the Egyptian army, proclaiming herself Queen as Arsinoe IV, executing Achillas, who had assumed the title of pharaoh, and placing Ganymedes second in command of the army immediately below herself.[7][8][9] Under Arsinoe's leadership, the Egyptians enjoyed some success against the Romans. The Egyptians had already trapped Caesar in a section of the city, by the building of walls to close off the streets, and she now directed Ganymedes to order the drawing of water from the sea, which was poured into the canals that supplied Caesar’s cisterns, causing panic among Caesar’s troops.[10] Caesar countered this measure by digging wells into the porous limestone beneath the city that contained fresh water, which only partially alleviated the situation, so he then sent ships out along the coast to search for more fresh water there.[11] Caesar realised he would soon have to break out from the city, and attacked the island of Pharos, upon which stood the great lighthouse, in order to gain control of the harbor. But Arsinoe's forces drove him back, inflicting upon him a humiliating defeat, in which Caesar himself was forced to tear off his armour and his purple cloak, and swim to the safety of a nearby Roman ship in the bay. However the leading Egyptian officers, having become disappointed with Ganymedes, and under a pretext of wanting peace, negotiated with Caesar to exchange Arsinoë for Ptolemy XIII, who was subsequently released.[12][13] But Ptolemy continued the war, until the Romans received reinforcements and inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Egyptians.

Captive, Arsinoë was transported to Rome, where in 46 BC she was forced to appear in Caesar's triumph and was paraded behind a burning effigy of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which had been the scene of her victory over him. [14] Despite the custom of strangling prominent prisoners in triumphs when the festivities concluded, Caesar was pressured to spare Arsinoë and granted her sanctuary at the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Arsinoë lived in the temple for a few years, always keeping a watchful eye on her sister Cleopatra, who perceived Arsinoë as a threat to her power. In 41 BC, at Cleopatra's instigation, Mark Antony ordered Arsinoë's execution on the steps of the temple. Her murder was a gross violation of the temple sanctuary and an act which scandalised Rome.[15] The eunuch priest (Megabyzos) who had welcomed Arsinoë on her arrival at the temple as Queen was only pardoned when an embassy from Ephesus made a petition to Cleopatra.[16]


DCH

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abdias
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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by abdias » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:13 am

So, does this mean that the name Arsinoe is only used here because of the text's possibly Egyptian origins? I was wondering if this name is linked to a distinct resurrection story tradition about the women at the tomb, in which Arsinoe is one of the women. I'll be listing the various 'women at the tomb' verses here, as opposed to the Apocalypse of James:

Mark 16:1 "And when the sabbath-day was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased fragrant spices so that they might go and anoint him."
Matthew 28:1 "Now after the sabbath-, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to view the tomb."
Luke 24:1 "Now on the first day of the week, at very early dawn, they returned to the tomb bringing the fragrant spices which they had prepared."
John 20:2 "So she [Mary Magdalene] ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved..."
Apocalypse of James "...encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe..."


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MrMacSon
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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:01 pm

abdias wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:13 am
So, does this mean that the name Arsinoe is only used here because of the text's possibly Egyptian origins?
Well, the passage you cite says
abdias wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:32 pm

...Near the end of the gnostic text 'The (First) Apocalypse of James', Jesus [tells] his buddy James...in fully uncertain and fragmented terms to talk to four people (probably women) and encourage them. Their names are Salome, Mariam, Martha, and Arsinoe.

"...For you have begun to understand their roots from beginning to end. Cast away from yourself all lawlessness. And beware lest they envy you. When you speak these words of this perception, encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe..."
.
[edited] 'understand their roots' and 'encourage these four' seem to be key: if she is, as DCH suggests,"Arsinoe IV (died 41 BCE) a key figure in Egyptian politics, leading interests who rejected Roman intervention into their politics", then she or her followers might have been key converts, or a story about them might have been pertinent to the writer of the 'The (First) Apocalypse of James'.


This is interesting -
abdias wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:13 am
I was wondering if this name is linked to a distinct resurrection story tradition about the women at the tomb, in which Arsinoe is one of the women. I'll be listing the various 'women at the tomb' verses here, as opposed to the Apocalypse of James:

Mark 16:1 "And when the sabbath-day was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased fragrant spices so that they might go and anoint him."
Apocalypse of James "...encourage these four: Salome and Mariam and Martha and Arsinoe..."

Resurrection = a new beginning?
Last edited by MrMacSon on Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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abdias
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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by abdias » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:56 pm

@MrMacSon - would this be as politically-oriented as it is theological, then? Her refusal to let Romans rule her country was used in a Gnostic sense (she refused the Demiurge in and retained her country's gnosis. I mean, Egypt usually seems to be significant in some form to Gnostic groups.

The ties to the resurrection of Jesus/women at the tomb episode were made by me, since at least Salome is a constant in the synoptic retellings of the story. The idea that this line from the Apocalypse of James somehow preserves a now largely-lost resurrection story is completely my own, and might just be some quibbling.

Also, in case you guys want to peek at the text in context, I got my initial quote from http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/1ja.html

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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:13 am

FWIW Arsinoe is also linked to Mary in Manichaean literature Which Mary

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MrMacSon
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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:14 pm

abdias wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:56 pm
@MrMacSon - would this be as politically-oriented as it is theological, then?
I'm not sure. I wonder if these names sometimes mean more than one person; say, a people. or a group in a place. (See my next post.)
Last edited by MrMacSon on Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:28 pm

Taucheira (Teucheira, Tauchira, Teuchira; Greek: Ταύχειρα,[3] Τεύχειρα; aka Tocra/ Tochira, & Tukra) was and still is a a town on the coast (of the Marj District) in the Cyrenaica region of northeastern Libya, founded by/via Cyrene [ ie. as a satellite colony].

Under the Ptolemies it obtained the name of Arsinoe (Arsinoë) (Greek: Ἀρσινόη), after Arsinoe II of Egypt [316 to 270-260 BC/BCE], named by her brother and husband, Ptolemy Philadelphus.

via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocra#Name


Roman Empire

Arsinoe was to keep its name, although it was briefly to be called Cleopatris during the Roman civil wars, when Marc Antony wanted to honor his wife Cleopatra VII Philopator. During the Roman age, the city received the rank of colonia, but we know not much of its history. Still, several buildings can be identified, like a place where textiles were painted and the gymnasium.

Archaeological finds document the cults of Demeter and Kore. The cult of the Libyan deity Ammon is also attested, and we know that the Apollo, Dionysus, and the Phrygian goddess Cybele were venerated as well.

Byzantine Age

Christianity started early in this town: its bishop was present at the Council of Nicaea in 325. This does not mean that paganism was dead: according to Synesius of Cyrene (c.370-c.413), people went to Arsinoe to venerate Cybele [Epistle 3 of Synesius.]

http://www.livius.org/articles/place/ta ... noe-tocra/

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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by DCHindley » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:23 am

It might be good to note that "Bartholomew" is actually Bar Ptolemy (son of Ptolemy). Arsinoe was named after Queen Arsinoe, and her brother was also named Ptolemy.

I suggest that Arsinoe the follower of Jesus was sister to Bartholomew.

DCH

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abdias
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Re: (First) Apocalypse of James & Arsinoe

Post by abdias » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:10 am

@MrMacSon yours and DCHindley's posts piqued my interest in terms of scholarly opinion; the Manichaean connection was probably my best bet, and as a result of my looking around I found this section of interest:
However, a group of four women disciples are named in the First Apocalypse of James (40:25-26: Salome, Mary, Martha, and Arsinoe), and this distinctive group of four recurs twice in the Manichean Psalms of Heracleides. In each case a list of twelve apostles, each briefly characterized, is followed by a similar list of women disciples: Mary, Martha her sister, Salome, Arsinoe. [...] Though it appears to be largely dependent on the Diatessaron, it refers to women at the empty tomb, first as Mary, Salome, and Mary (cf. Mark 16:1) but then as Mary, Salome, and Arsinoe. Since these four lists of women disciples of Jesus are the only known references to a disciples named Arsinoe, and since all four lists name the same four women [...] it seems certain that they derive from the same distinct gospel tradition.
The author goes on to speculate the origin of this tradition and the likelihood of its authenticity:
[...] [T]his tradition may originally belong to the Jewish Christianity of east Syria, which would explain its availability to the Manicheans. There seems to be no reason why the name Arsinoe should not be regarded as a historical memory of a disciple of Jesus whose name has not survived in other traditions (just as Joanna and Susanna are known only from Luke).

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