Prosper Alfaric: «Origines sociales du christianisme»

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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Prosper Alfaric: «Origines sociales du christianisme»

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:05 am

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Prosper Alfaric
is the mythicist of the past who seems, in my view, the more persuasive and the more wise in the his reconstruction of the origins. "Wise" insofar he, if if on one side he is firmly persuaded that the Christianity was born in Judea (what I call "reductio ad Judaeum"), on the other he recognizes the Gnostic influence, in the form of late interpolations, on the pauline epistles — the historical Paul having the same views of the Pillars —, an example among all, even 1 Corinthians 2:6-11, the archontic passage. Where the author of the epistles sounds more genuine is whereas he talks about Christ "our Passover", or about Jesus being came "from the tribe of Judah".

The crucifixion was a later insertion in the epistles, being it a "scandal for the Jews" (for the pseudo-Paul). It was introduced by Syrian Christians to replace the sacrifice of the Lamb, to de-judaize at least partially the Christ. The Epistle to Hebrews shares the same view of Paul, of the Pillars, and of the Book of Revelation. Jesus is immolated, he is not crucified. The death of Jesus had to assume a great effusion of blood, able to purify the sins of the Christians. The crucifixion assumes only minimally an effusion of blood, so it couldn't be the original belief, unless it was read from the Psalm (the reader knows it).

Just as the crucifixion, also the Galilee was introduced to de-judaize partially the Christ and make him closer to Syria.

This view of the epistles was shared also by Joseph Turmel, by Georges Ory and now also by Roger Parvus. It may seem abstract and speculative, but frankly, when I read passages as 1 Corinthians 2:6-11, I can only read it with Gnostic lens despite the awareness that Paul was a Jew. The terminology about archons and kenosis is too much gnostic to accept it as really early.

The Jesus Christ of the Pillars is just the Jewish Messiah predicted by the Scriptures. The Ideal Just who observed the entire Law. He is the same Christ adored by the ebionites as a mere man, later.


According to Alfaric, it was the strong apocalypticism before-70 CE who started the Christianity. It alone explains the need of "seeing" the death of the Messiah as already happened, in the present time (the time of the Pillars themselves), even if the Pillars didn't see the event physically.

Having talked about the various Messianic prophecies, so Alfaric:

Dans ces conditions, pour expliquer la Genèse de la Communauté chrétienne, il n'est aucunement nécessaire d'admettre a priori, malgré la carence des textes, laction réelle d'un Jésus historique, qui se serait imposé à l'attention puis à la vénération de son entourage en jouant le role de Christ. Du moment où l'on était convaincu, par la méditation des oracles divin, que les temps étaient révolus où le Sauveur annoncé devait venir, cette seule conviction, en un cercle ardemment messianiste, suffisait amplement à faire croire qu'il était venu, alors meme que nul ne se souvenait de l'avoir vu. En un tel milieu la parole de Dieu comptait plus, en effet, que toute attestation humaine. La foi portait avec elle sa justification.
Cette foi, d'ailleurs ne devait pas tarder à se créer les garanties d'un autre ordre. Autant les mystiques se désintéressent de tout ce qui se dit ou se fait au dehors, autant ils excellent à se donner un spectacle intérieur. Ils voient très vite en eux tout ce qu'ils croient. Les premiers qui se persuadèrent que le Christ avait déja paru, sans connaitre pour cela quelqu'un avec qui ils puissent l'identifier, en arrivèrent bientot en l'absence de tout portrait réel, à se faire de lui une image idéale. Ils le contemplèrent en songe ou en extase. Puis ils se communiquèrent les uns aux autres le prodige et en hatèrent ainsi le renouvellement. Leurs visions achevèrement le travail intérieur de la méditation. Elles fournirent à la foi nouvelle la vérification dont elle avait besoin pour durer et prendre corps.
A cet égard, l'apotre Paul fournit en sa personne un exemple typique...

(p. 363-364)


translation:

In these conditions, to explain the genesis of the Christian Community, it is in no way necessary to admit a priori, in spite of the lack of texts, the real action of a historical Jesus, who would have imposed on himself the attention and then the veneration of his disciples by playing the role of Christ. From the moment when they were convinced, by the meditation of the divine oracles, that the times were fulfilled when the announced Savior was to come, this only conviction, in a ardently messianistic circle, amply sufficed to make them believe that he had come, even when no one remembered having seen it. In such an environment the word of God was more important than any human attestation. The faith carried with it the its justification.This faith, moreover, didn't delay to create evidences of another order. As much as the mystics are indifferent to all that is said or done outside, so they excel at giving themselves an inner spectacle. They see very quickly in them all that they believe. The first who persuaded themselves that Christ had already appeared, without knowing anyone with whom they could identify him, soon arrived, in the absence of any real portrait, to make of him an ideal image. They contemplated him in dreams or in ecstasy. Then they communicated to one another the prodigy, and thus renewed their renewal. Their visions complete the inner work of meditation. They provided the new faith with the verification it needed to last and take shape.In this respect, the Apostle Paul provides in his person a typical example …

(p. 363-364, my bold)


The earliest lost Gospel (that euhemerized Jesus) was the Gospel of Nazarenes. Peter was called Simon Peter to co-opt the rival sect of Simon Magus and make the Magus a mere subordinate. Idem the woman of the Magus, Helen/Sophia, introduced in the Gospel as Mary Magdalene.

The earliest known Gospel is Mark.

The Testimonium Taciteum is probably a forgery by Poggio Bracciolini. Nero was cruel with the Romans themselves, not with foreigners. The Papacy in XV century CE had interest to fix the Vatican as the first place of martyrs. The idea of a "ingens multitudo" is derived by Poggio from Revelation 7:9, 14. The tortures were derived from a passage of Seneca.

Marcion corrupted a proto-Luke.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Prosper Alfaric: «Origines sociales du christianisme»

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:02 pm

Interesting when Alfaric writes:
The original watchword of the Christianity was not: "The Christ is coming", but: "The Christ is came".

(p. 160)

They could claim (and did) so without evidence of a historical Jesus, since their only evidence was their own strong apocalypticism.

It was after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE that the apocalypticism was focused on the immediate future. Later, on the indefinite future.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Prosper Alfaric: «Origines sociales du christianisme»

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:14 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:02 pm

Interesting when Alfaric writes:

The original watchword of the Christianity was not: "The Christ is coming", but: "The Christ is came".1

They could claim (and did so) without evidence of a historical Jesus, since their only evidence was their own strong apocalypticism.

It was after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE that the apocalypticism was focused on the immediate future. Later, on the indefinite future.
1 I presume that would be better as, "The Christ had come", or "The Christ has been", or "The Christ came".

Nonetheless, it's a good account. Thank you.



Giuseppe wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:05 am

translation:

.
... to explain the genesis of the Christian Community, it is in no way necessary to admit a priori...the real action of a historical Jesus ... // ... they were convinced by the meditation of the divine oracles ..//.. conviction, in a ardently messianistic circle, amply sufficed to make them believe that he had come ..//.. persuaded themselves that Christ had already appeared, without knowing anyone whom could identify with him...in the absence of any real portrait, to make of him an ideal image. They contemplated him in dreams or in ecstasy. Then they communicated to one another the prodigy, and thus renewed their renewal. Their visions complete the inner work of meditation …
.

again, "that the times were fulfilled when the announced Savior was to come" might be
  • that the times were would be fulfilled when the announced Savior was to come [or came], or, -
  • that the times were fulfilled [because] the announced Savior [had] come

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