Curious about the mysterious 'Menander' supposed chief disciple of Simon M, I decided to do a little basic research
The one surprising thing was the etymology of the name. Supposedly it means 'strong-man'
But this is a Greek name and Menander was Samaritan, it calls for some kind of Semitic equivalent
One day, while reading Josephus I read about a Manachem. The key to Josephus is whenever he talks about robbers and bandits, I think he's broadly using the term to mean any kind of rebel and goes on to describe a rather Jesus-like entrance into Jerusalem and crowning as a messiah. I don't suppose to link him as Jesus, a literal reading of Josephus seems futile. But the name means 'one who gives comfort'
Now this seems more like it. This would make a link to the Gospel of John and the comforter to be sent after Jesus departs
It's always struck me as odd that Jesus's key attribute should be to baptise with the Holy Spirit, yet the claim is the Holy Spirit didn't come till after he left. I put this down to a later formulaic pattern, when originally the Holy Spirit was something Jesus had and gave out and was received as part of his ministry
This would make the 'comforter' a possible new leader to take over. Of course there are other candidates from James, to Simon, and Mary. I don't think sorting out the sequence is feasible, but maybe the branch from whom this gospel came were associated with Menander and would for sure want to put him in it. Almost certain we probably would know him by a more familiar name as a well known apostle too. But no connections there it seems
No mention of James in gospel of John either.. another curiosity
One reference may be found in Paul's quote of the namesake Menander the ancient playright in Corinthians 15. He brings this up in connection with avoiding certain characters he finds dubious. Maybe a link to a potential guy with a similar name who presumably was teaching a resurrection during this life, not a general one in future as Paul was.
If so then you have a potential leader of the early church clashing with Paul in the 50's, whose group later gave us the gospel of John. The association with Simon Magus is kind of a stumbling block. Its kind of likely he was simply a part of the early church too and only later got his name dragged through the mud after various factional infighting. I mean a quick reading of the church fathers might make you think Simon invented Gnostic dualism, but in places they admit this was a further development by successors, or strongly hint at this. Far more likely that is the case
I never agreed with some who say Simon Magus was Paul. I think its far more likely he was Simon the apostle, who like Menander was said to be, was one with Christ
Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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