Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

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Giuseppe
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Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 am

In a recent discussion in the blogosphera between historicists and mythicists, the historicist O'Neill does this criticism against Richard Carrier:

There are way more linguistic problems with Carrier's silly "cosmic sperm bank" argument than that. It is without doubt one of the most contrived, ad hoc arguments I have ever seen in print in a supposedly "peer reviewed" book.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionp ... 4585568934

A guy named Gary, probably a Jesus Agnostic, replied:
Gary • 3 days ago
Instead of answering a comment directly, I’ll place this as a new comment, since multiple people questioned my “Cosmic Sperm Bank” comment, and Paul versus Gnostics.
I wasted my time doing this, so I hope people will check my facts, and verify them, so at least it was worth the effort of providing these references:
1st, apparently you are not very familiar with Nag Hammadi documents.
2nd, in no way am I supporting Raphael Lataster or Carrier’s statements, in any way, shape, or form. I disagree with them completely.
However, my comment has only to do with Cosmic Sperm Bank and Nag Hammadi. And related, the thought that Paul COULD be interpreted as Gnostic. Not that he actually was Gnostic. See “The Gnostic Paul”, Elaine Pagels. Let me also say, she does not see Paul as Gnostic. However, her book supports how OTHER people could see Paul as Gnostic. Valentinus and his followers, for instance.
“The Nag Hammadi Scriptures”, edited by Marvin Meyer, 2007:
Background - pg 191, “The Nature of the Rulers”, also translated, “The Hypostatis of the Archons”, Note 2, “Apparently the authorities are the same as the rulers or archons.”
On pg 193, same document,
“The authorities approached their Adam. When they saw his female partner speaking with him, they became aroused and lusted after her. They said to each other, “Come, let’s ejaculate our semen in her,” and they chased her.”

“On the Origin of the World”, pg 213,
“Then the chief creator voiced his opinion about humankind to those that were with him. Then each of them ejaculated his semen into the middle of the navel of the earth. Since then the seven archons have formed humanity with a body resembling their own body...”

“The Revelation of Adam”, pg 354,
“The tenth kingdom says of him, His god loved a cloud of desire. He produced him by his hand and ejaculated some of the droplet upon the cloud near him, and he was born.”

“The Testimony if Truth”, supposedly written by Valentinus, pg 617,
“The Son of Humanity came forth from an imperishable realm as one who was a stranger to defilement...The water of the Jordan is the desire for sexual intercourse.”

“The Gospel of Judas”, pg 766,
“Now, the multitude of those immortal beings is called ‘cosmos’, that is, corruption, through the Father and the seventy-two luminaries with the Self-Generated and his seventy-two eternal beings. There, the first human appeared, with his incorruptible powers. The eternal being that appeared with his generation, the one in whom are the cloud of knowledge and the angel...”


https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionp ... 4587794522

Again, against the reiterated criticisms by O'Neill and McGrath, the same "Gary" replies by this comment (he quotes from Elaine Pagels's book):


Gary • 2 days ago
Just hypothetically, considering:
pg 191, “The Nature of the Rulers”, also translated, “The Hypostatis of the Archons”, Note 2, “Apparently the authorities are the same as the rulers or archons.”
Is not David, a dead person, at Jesus’ birth, also a “ruler”? And didn’t Valentinus followers believe Paul was a Gnostic? So, laugh, but a community around 200AD called Valentinian, woudn’t find it funny. David represents a archon, and archons maintained “Cosmic Sperm Banks”.
Elaine Pagels, “The Gnostic Paul”,
Page 14,
“The initiated reader learns from secret tradition that here again Paul is speaking symbolically. “David” signifies the demiurge himself - an appropriate metaphor, first in that he dominates his creatures like any petty king, and second, in that as demiurge, he has formed and “fathered” mankind “according to the flesh”. Paul characterizes in 1:3, then, the psychic preaching of the savior “according to the flesh,” as son of the demiurge (“David”); But in 1:4 the pneumatic proclamation of Christ “according to the spirit” as “one designated son of God” - of the Father.
The initiate, trained to read the deeper structure of the text, then, could see from 1:1 how Paul identifies himself both as a psychic and as a member of the pneumatic elect, and from 1:3-4 how he demonstrates two different modes of his preaching.”


https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionp ... 4588534283

It is in this point that I am surprised by the colossal ignorance of James McGrath:

James F. McGrath Mod Gary • 2 days ago • edited
Thanks - now that is indeed interesting! The obvious question, of course, is whether one thinks the Valentinian reading of Romans is what Paul intended. If not, then this doesn't really provide anything that would support mythicism. Indeed, even if one thinks that Valentinus preserved precisely what Paul meant and taught, that still wouldn't help mythicism, since Valentinus thought Jesus had appeared in history. But I clearly have things to learn about Valentinianism, and am really grateful you shared this!
(To answer your question, no, dead people were not thought to become celestial rulers in ancient Gnosticism or other religions in this region that I am aware of.)

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionp ... 4589248475 (my bold)

I have not followed the rest of the discussion, but note the way of James McGrath:

1) McGrath denies that Paul reads himself as Valentinus reads him.

2) but McGrath concedes the possibility that, at least about a particular point (Rom 1:3: davidic sperm) Paul could read himself as Valentinus reads him.

3) even so, McGrath denies that Paul is mythicist since Valentinus was not mythicist.

Now, I have found evidence that the Valentinians placed the Death of Jesus in outer space:
Giuseppe wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:51 am

The animal and carnal Christ, however, does suffer after the fashion of the superior Christ, who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos, in a substantial though not a cognizable form. In this manner do they reduce all things to mere images — Christians themselves being indeed nothing but imaginary beings!

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0314.htm

Where is this cross (called Horos) placed, according this Valentian myth?

It is the celestial wall between the upper spheres and the lower heavens.

In order, then, that the shapelessness of the abortion might not at all manifest itself to the perfect Aeons, the Father also again projects additionally one Aeon, viz., Staurus. And he being begotten great, as from a mighty and perfect father, and being projected for the guardianship and defense of the Aeons, becomes a limit of the Pleroma, having within itself all the thirty Aeons together, for these are they that had been projected. Now this (Aeon) is styled Horos, because he separates from the Pleroma the Hysterema that is outside. And (he is called) Metocheus, because he shares also in the Hysterema. And (he is denominated) Staurus, because he is fixed inflexibly and inexorably, so that nothing of the Hysterema can come near the Aeons who are within the Pleroma.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050106.htm

In short: the cosmic cross.


That the my interpretation of that evidence as evidence of a Valentinian Mythicism is not fruit only of the my own speculations, is proved by the fact that the scholar Jean Magne argued the same thing, when he wrote:


Adam et Eve viennent d'obtenir la connaissance tandis que le dieu de ce monde, envieux précisément de cette partie spirituelle qu'il ne possède pas, restera toujours dans son ignorance. Par contre, le serpent, qui les détrompe et leur permet de déjourer la ruse du créateur, apparait comme un envoyé de ce monde d'en haut qu'il elur donne le moyen de connaitre: il sera, de fait, honoré comme tel par les Nassènes (de nahash, «serpent», en hébreu), les Ophites (ophis, «serpent», en grec), les Pérates, etc., sous le nom de Jésus, et, de simple «instructeur» ou «illuminateur», il deviendra «sauveur» par sa crucifixion céleste sur la Limite, le stauros, par les archontes du créateur (les planètes), détruisant leur pouvoir (la Destinée, l'Heimarmené) au moment où ils pensaient détruire le sien, et triomphant d'eux par où ils croyaient triompher de lui.

(Sacrifice et Sacerdoce, 1975, p. 131)

Translation:
Adam and Eve have just obtained the knowledge while the god of this world, envious precisely of this spiritual part which he does not possess, will always remain in his ignorance. On the other hand, the serpent, which unthers them and allows them to let go of the creator's trick, appears as an envoy from this world from above insofar he gives them the means to know: he will, in fact, be honored as such by the Nassenes (from nahash, "serpent", in Hebrew), the Ophites (ophis, "serpent", in Greek), the Perates, etc., under the name of Jesus, and, of simple "instructor" or "illuminator", he will become "savior" by the his celestial crucifixion on the Limit, the stauros, by the archons of the creator (the planets), destroying their power (Destiny, Heimarmené) at the moment when they thought they were destroying the his power, and triumphing over them when they thought they could triumph over him.

(my bold)

Hence note the great contradiction by McGrath:

he would like to show himself as one who is open to follow the interlocutor by conceding a possibility (in the specific case: the possibility that Paul could have the same view of the davidic sperm held by the Valentinians later)...


...but then he finds himself de facto obliged to deny that the Valentinians, even only some of them, had a Mythicist view of the same crucifixion of Jesus. Against the evidence. Against even a such possibility raised by an evidence as that shown by myself above.

I call this hypocrisy.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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GakuseiDon
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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by GakuseiDon » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:22 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 am
Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?
Were the Valentinians in fact mythicists? Did they believe that Jesus never came to earth?

According to Wiki, they used the Gospels and believed that Jesus lived on earth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentinianism

Aside from the Church fathers, however, “the majority of Christians did not recognize the followers of Valentinus as heretics. Most could not tell the difference between Valentinian and orthodox teaching.”[47] This was partially because Valentinus used many books that now belong to the Old and New Testaments as a basis for interpretation in his own writing. He based his work on proto-orthodox Christian canon instead of on Gnostic scripture, and his style was similar to that of early Christian works.

Given that they believed that Jesus came to earth and was born through Mary and that some kind of an earthly crucifixion occurred (even if they had a cosmic view of the crucifixion), it wouldn't make much sense to call them "mythicists".
Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 am
That the my interpretation of that evidence as evidence of a Valentinian Mythicism is not fruit only of the my own speculations, is proved by the fact that the scholar Jean Magne argued the same thing, when he wrote:
Which text was Jean Magne using there?
Last edited by GakuseiDon on Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:39 am

Please, GDon, assume that a historical Jesus existed. Assume also that the Valentinians were historicists.

Even so, I have quoted above the direct evidence of the fact that the Valentinians believed that a "superior" Christ was crucified on a celestial Stauros put between the heaven and the earth.
Hence they were mythicists insofar they believed that in the outer space a divine being
was crucified.


See what I have written on Vridar:

Are you so sure?

The animal and carnal Christ, however, does suffer after the fashion of the superior Christ, who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos, in a substantial though not a cognizable form. In this manner do they reduce all things to mere images — Christians themselves being indeed nothing but imaginary beings!

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0314.htm

If the Valentinians are reduced to be “imaginary beings” by Tertullian in virtue of their “superior” Christ crucified in heaven on a cosmic stauros (not on earth), then even so their Christ is an imaginary being. These are words of Tertullian.

https://vridar.org/2019/08/25/the-tone- ... ment-94631

And then:

Gary, even if the Valentinians believed in a Jesus crucified in Judea, you should recognize that they believed ALSO in a Christ crucified in outer space. See my post above (that was addressed to you).

I would like to receive from yourself an answer, GDon, about how you interpret that evidence. Note that I have also posted above other evidence about the Valentinians.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:49 am

GDon, I am curious to know what is your view about the evidence pointed out by myself above. Sincerely, the last thing I would expect from you is a negation of the claim that the Valentinians believed that a "superior" Christ was crucified in the outer space. Totally *beyond* the fact that they believed that a "carnal" Jesus was crucified on the earth, too.

If you really arrive to deny that, I can only conclude that you and McGrath share the same lack of intellectual honesty.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by GakuseiDon » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:58 am

Sorry, I'd edited my post while you posted your second one. Apologies for any confusion.
Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 am
GDon, I am curious to know what is your view about the evidence pointed out by myself above. Sincerely, the last thing I would expect from you is a negation of the claim that the Valentinians believed that a "superior" Christ was crucified in the outer space. Totally *beyond* the fact that they believed that a "carnal" Jesus was crucified on the earth, too.
It's because, directly before the passage you quote, it states that Christ appeared before Pilate. This after earlier Tertullian describing how the Valentinians believed that Christ was born (though not a natural birth) through Mary.

As for Soter (Jesus), he remained in Christ to the last, impassible, incapable of injury, incapable of apprehension. By and by, when it came to a question of capture, he departed from him during the examination before Pilate. In like manner, his mother's seed did not admit of being injured, being equally exempt from all manner of outrage, and being undiscovered even by the Demiurge himself. The animal and carnal Christ, however, does suffer after the fashion of the superior Christ, who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos, in a substantial though not a cognizable form.

There is no way that the Valentinians could be described as "mythicists".

Why didn't you quote that part about being before Pilate?
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by GakuseiDon » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:24 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:49 am
And then:

Gary, even if the Valentinians believed in a Jesus crucified in Judea, you should recognize that they believed ALSO in a Christ crucified in outer space. See my post above (that was addressed to you).

I would like to receive from yourself an answer, GDon, about how you interpret that evidence. Note that I have also posted above other evidence about the Valentinians.
Stating that they believed that the "superior" Christ was crucified in outer space is not correct. They believed that the "carnal" Christ suffered on the cross on earth, and this is matched by the sufferings of the "superior" Christ "who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos". 'Horos' is a setter of boundaries who forms a boundary that Christ is stretched across to produce Achamoth. There is no actual cross nor an actual crucifixion; it is symbolism used to match an actual crucifixion on earth.

If that symbolism helps your case, then fine. But please describe it as it is, not reframing it using words that might deceive.

As an added request: Would you mind not using the phrase 'outer space', please? It seems out-of-place when discussing ancient beliefs.
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:44 am

No, GDon. The cross called Horos is not symbolism. It is "historical", "physical", "real", "a concrete thing" for the Valentinians. It has even a geographical location. Something that also you could easily realize, if only you had read all the evidence.

I have written above also the following thing (by you clearly ignored):

Where is this cross (called Horos) placed, according this Valentian myth?

It is the celestial wall between the upper spheres and the lower heavens.
In order, then, that the shapelessness of the abortion might not at all manifest itself to the perfect Aeons, the Father also again projects additionally one Aeon, viz., Staurus. And he being begotten great, as from a mighty and perfect father, and being projected for the guardianship and defense of the Aeons, becomes a limit of the Pleroma, having within itself all the thirty Aeons together, for these are they that had been projected. Now this (Aeon) is styled Horos, because he separates from the Pleroma the Hysterema that is outside. And (he is called) Metocheus, because he shares also in the Hysterema. And (he is denominated) Staurus, because he is fixed inflexibly and inexorably, so that nothing of the Hysterema can come near the Aeons who are within the Pleroma.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050106.htm


I can stop myself here, but as second objection to your presumed view of the cross Horos as mere "symbolism", note what Tertullian writes (the part in bold):
The animal and carnal Christ, however, does suffer after the fashion of the superior Christ, who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos, in a substantial though not a cognizable form. In this manner do they reduce all things to mere images — Christians themselves being indeed nothing but imaginary beings!

The earthly Christ, the historical Christ is "after the fashion" of the celestial Christ. This sounds clearly as: the original thing is the celestial Christ (hence not a mere symbol), while the earthly Christ is simply the his clone, the his image, possibly even a mere symbol (and here we can be even in the full distinction of a Gospel Jesus as mere allegory of a celestial Jesus, and, as such, distinct from it).

That is required by what Tertullian derides shortly after: the Valentinians (the physical bodies of the Christians called Valentinians) are reduced so to mere "images", mere clones, in Tertullian's words, to mere "imaginary beings", of what were real bodies (for the Valentinians): concrete beings found in heaven.


Hence, according to these two objections, unless you retreat from your words above, I should reiterate the my conclusions:

McGrath denies the existence of mythicist Valentinians, i.e. Christians who placed the crucifixion in outer space, beyond if they had also a Jesus placed on earth.


McGrath does so against the evidence of the contrary.

Therefore I accuse McGrath of hypocrisy. Or of ignorance.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:52 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:24 am
As an added request: Would you mind not using the phrase 'outer space', please? It seems out-of-place when discussing ancient beliefs.
if you want, I can replace "outer space" (that is a modern definition) with the Valentinian definition of the same place:

«Horos», i.e. the geographical point in form of a cross called «Stauros», «that separates from the Pleroma the Hysterema that is outside».

The Pleroma is the gnostic Paradise: a geographical place (for them, not for myself).

The Hysterema is the gnostic lower heavens: a geographical place (for them, not for myself).

What is in middle between the Pleroma and the Hysterema - the Horos called Stauros - is therefore itself a geographical place. (for them, not for myself).


As you see, the Pleroma is the upper heavens, the Hysterema is in the lower heavens. In their middle, "out of gate" as Hebrews would say, there is Horos.

A collateral question for GDon:

do you want that I use the Valentinian definition given above (that is rather long), or the more simple "outer space"?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:03 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:58 am
Why didn't you quote that part about being before Pilate?
Because what I want to prove - what I have already proved - is that totally beyond their apparent belief in a historical Jesus (apparence that is a fact), it is a pure and simple fact that the Valentinians believed also that a "superior" Christ was crucified in outer space.

Now it touches to you to take positions. Do you agree with the my interpretation of the evidence* or not?

*: in my eyes, that is not the my "interpretation", that is the evidence itself.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Do O'Neill and McGrath ignore or deny Valentinian Mythicists?

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:50 am

GDon is not answering from a lot of time. The Argument from Silence is strong here.

I should conclude that the only his "answer" is to insist irrationally again and again that Horos is mere symbolism for the Valentinians when really it is was a concrete geographical place, for them. Just as the Pleroma. Just as the lower spheres (including this earth).

I can only conclude, definitely, that GakuseiDon shares with McGrath the same lack of intellectual honesty.

And not only him. But all the people who, reading the evidence above, deny that the Valentinians, even if still believers in an earthly Jesus, believed that a "superior" Christ was crucified in outer space.


The challenge is thrown.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

ADDENDA:

This question by GDon has escaped the my attention:
GakuseiDon wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:22 am
Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 am
That the my interpretation of that evidence as evidence of a Valentinian Mythicism is not fruit only of the my own speculations, is proved by the fact that the scholar Jean Magne argued the same thing, when he wrote:
Which text was Jean Magne using there?
what a shame also only to raise a such question! It is too much evident that Magne is basing on the evidence above about the celestial Horos/Stauros. I hate fool apologists when they pretend to ignore brazenly what is pure and simple evidence.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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