Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:01 pm

It seems that the answer is: yes.

For as the angels were mismanaging the world, owing to love of power, he (Simon) had come to set things straight, and had descended under a changed form, likening himself to the Principalities and Powers through whom he passed, so that among men he appeared as a man, though he was not a man, and was thought to have suffered in Judaea, though he had not suffered. –

(Refutation of All Heresies, 6, 19).

I mean: when the Magus did that claim (identity with Jesus), he was assuming implicitly a distinction between how Jesus was conceived by others - viz. as a historical man - and how he had to be conceived by a Simonian: as Simon himself, really.

So if Roger Parvus is right to consider the Ascension of Isaiah and a lot of pauline portions as later Gnostic fabrications designed to make a already existing image of Jesus as the distorted and judaized image of the real "Jesus" (Simon Magus) , then these Gnostic efforts (of co-optation) prove logically that that "already existing image of Jesus" placed him in a precise point of the History in Judea.

They weren't inventing that previous Jesus, they were co-opting him. So he had to exist in first place, to be co-opted.

How may the mythicists reply against this serious argument? I don't think that the negation of the historicity of Simon Magus may resolve the problem. They may reply by pointing out the fact that Jesus was already euhemerized by "Mark" well before Simon Magus was co-opting and usurping his human legacy.

So the mythicists are moved to consider Simon Magus or the his similar "co-opters" as the figure of the "false Christs" meant in Mark 13. But then Jesus was already euhemerized before Mark 13 was written. Then Mark 13 was probably a later addition to proto-Mark.

So, while it seems to me that Jesus never existed, I think that this evidence about Simon Magus is the best evidence, until now, of the historicity of the man Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:27 pm

Or, Mark 13 was not distinct from proto-Mark: in that case the "false Christs" à la Simon Magus were already posing as the "real" Jesus in Judea. To do so, they were already assuming that Jesus existed as a Jew, to work as the distorted judaizing image of the Magus (according the latter's gospel). So Jesus was euhemerized before both Simon Magus and Mark. Could that be really the case?

Insofar only proto-Mark has to be the earliest gospel, then the mythicist has to assume that Mark 13 was distinct from it. I can't see a valid alternative


What does dr. Detering say about Mark 13 in relation to proto-Mark?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:52 pm

I confess to be a bit disappointed by both Detering and Theißen when they take a possible reference to the Magus in Mark 13 as a possible dating of Mark in 40 CE (!!), in virtue of the presumed Simon's life in apostolic age (sic).

Basically, the question remains open as to whether Mark 13:6 is referring at all to (Christian) pseudo-prophets, who appear in the fashion of Simon Magus (as Theißen thinks), or whether real messianic pretenders are not in view. For, to begin with, both Mark and Matthew clearly distinguish the false messiahs from the false prophets, separating the one from the other (24:11.24; Mark 13: 22). And, in addition, the “seducers” (in the older, Matthean version) do not say of themselves, “I am He” (evgw, eivmi), but rather, “I am Christ” = “I am the Messiah.” The pseudo-prophets of Celsus cited by Theißen,32 by contrast, proclaim themselves to be “God” or the “Son of God,” but not the Messiah. That is a decisive difference not considered by Theißen, which also speaks against his thesis that the Apocalypse should be dated to 40 CE. For men who appeared in public with messianic claims were still unknown during the years 36 to 41; they seem to have first shown up with the beginning of the First Jewish War (see below). For these reasons, in my opinion, Theißen cannot even refer to Simon Magus to account for Mark 13:5.

( https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... -JHC-1.pdf , p. 19, my bold)

It is clear in my view that Simon didn't live in apostolic age. Afterall, are we not said again and again ad nauseam and ad infinitum that the Gnostics came later?

So I think that Detering is partly biased when he excludes just the Magus and only him between the usurpers mentioned in Mark 13.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Bernard Muller
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Re: Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:20 pm

So, while it seems to me that Jesus never existed, I think that this evidence about Simon Magus is the best evidence, until now, of the historicity of the man Jesus.
Certainly, it is not the best evidence, even probably no evidence at all. It seems legends about Simon Magus were added on progressively by his later followers (some of them in order to compete against Christian beliefs) or enemies of these followers. For example, resurrection on the third day is not in gMark, but appears later in gLuke & gMatthew.
Also, the story about Magus in Irenaeus' AH 1.13.1 is totally dependent on the Ascension of Isaiah with its Christian Gnostic additions (normally dated 2nd century CE).
It seems to me that Mk 13 was inserted after the fall of Jerusalem when (likely vengeful) Christs and prophets started to attract Christian converts to them, at the detriment of the Christian community to whom gMark was addressed. So the details of the destruction of Jerusalem and the assurance that the advent of the Kingdom will come very soon afterwards. In other words, "stay where you are in order to benefit from the salvation". Another later insertion in my books (but probably from a different author) is the whole empty tomb passage http://historical-jesus.info/79.html. Of course, everything after 16:8 is later interpolations.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

Giuseppe
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Re: Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:40 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:20 pm
So, while it seems to me that Jesus never existed, I think that this evidence about Simon Magus is the best evidence, until now, of the historicity of the man Jesus.
Certainly, it is not the best evidence, even probably no evidence at all. It seems legends about Simon Magus were added on progressively by his later followers (some of them in order to compete against Christian beliefs) or enemies of these followers. For example, resurrection on the third day is not in gMark, but appears later in gLuke & gMatthew.
Note that it is not necessary the historical existence of Simon Magus. It is necessary simply to assume the his legend in Gnostic circles.

Now, Robert Price seems aware of the problem raised by Simon Magus for the Christ Myth theory. He recognizes the fact that, just as the Christians coopted successfully the legend of John the Baptist (by making him the mere precursor of Jesus), so Simon failed to co-opt the title of ''Jesus Christ'' and ''Son of God'' for himself.

Price thinks that the co-optation by the Magus worked successfully at least in the eyes of Marcion. I.e. according to him, Marcion adored really the Magus behind Jesus Christ. But Marcion knew about the Magus only that he appeared (in a docetic way, etc...) in Judea in a distant past. Not in a precise point of history.


So I also are arrived to the same conclusion: when the Magus said that "he appeared as a man, though he was not a man, and was thought to have suffered in Judaea, though he had not suffered", he said these things in the same time described by Mark 13 (about the ''seducers''), i.e. in the Bar-Kokhba's times.
So who was talking was the Simon redivivus (working in the interval 70-135 CE about) , while the his apparition (of which he was talking about) as ''Jesus'' in Judea happened in a distant past.

This explains why ''Mark'' was euhemerizing Jesus in the times of Pilate and in the same time he knew what the Magus would have preached as false Christ:

1) by placing Jesus under Pilate, ''Mark'' was separating the his euhemerized Jesus from the Jesus euhemerized (before ''Mark'') in the distant past by the Magus,

2) by placing the false Christ Simon Magus in the last times before the end, i.e. when ''Mark'' was writing, in Bar-Kokhba's era.


My difference from Price is that I have no need to assume a Marcion adoring the Magus as his Christ. Marcion could be based on the Jesus euhemerized by ''Mark'', not on the Jesus euhemerized by the Magus.

So the chronology of the events would be PROBABLY the following:

1) before the 70: Jesus adored as a celestial being dying in the lower heavens.
2) after the 70: Simon Magus (or the Simonians in the his place) euhemerized Jesus the first time by placing him in Judea in a distant past.

3) around 135 CE: ''Mark'' euhemerized Jesus by placing him under Pilate, and by cursing the Jesus/Simon Magus.

4) after 135 CE: Marcion confused the Jesus/Simon Magus with the Jesus of Mark and with the Jesus of Paul, when really these three Jesuses suffered in three different places (respectively, in Judea in a distant past, under Pilate and in the lower heavens).

5) the Talmudic tradition knew only the Jesus/''seducer'' euhemerized by the Magus and lived in a distant past (under Alexander Ianneus?).
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:47 am

Note a common reason behind the double euhemerization of Jesus,

1) now in a distant past, in Judea, by Simon (or Simonians)

2) then under Pilate, by "Mark".

That reason could only be the persecutions of State suffered by both Simonians (generally Gnostics) and Judaizers.


The Simonians insisted on the not-reality of the sufferings of the Magus, as reflection of the not-reality of the sufferings of the Simonians themselves. The emphasis is to comfort the same believers.


"Mark" insisted on the reality of the sufferings of the Jesus (but not of the Christ possessing him), as reflection of the reality of the sufferings of the Judaizers themselves. The emphasis is to move the same persecutors to feel piety towards the persecuted Christians.

For if He had not come in the flesh, how could men have been saved by beholding Him?

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0124.htm

It is obvious why the Mark's strategy was winning. The Romans were more adulated insofar they were described as not deceived about at least the identity of their victim on the cross.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Charles Wilson
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Re: Is Simon Magus the best evidence of the historicity of Jesus?

Post by Charles Wilson » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:11 am

"Simon Magus" is a coded name for "Vitellius".
See: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... html#9.1.4

"And after he was everywhere either worsted or betrayed, he made a bargain with Flavius Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian, that he should have his own life and a hundred million sesterces..."

You can play Match-'em-Up with this material all night if you wish
Giuseppe wrote: ...under Iannaeus?
Now you're getting somewhere!!!

CW

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