A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
davidmartin
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by davidmartin » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:40 am

GDon hahaha and that heckler is perfect, love it.
i still think Peter 'Petey' Popoff takes the crown what a charlatan. Basically anyone with an fake haircut should never be trusted, you can tell by the hair, its as if nature is providing a natural warning

andrewcriddle
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:51 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:54 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:12 am
The movements, developments, and influences of various groups on and into other groups in both cases look similar to me, as well.

In both cases, creative people inside the movement could draw upon inspirations from outside the movment. Early Christians, for example, could draw from pagan myths or from gnostic wisdom or from varieties of Judaism other than the kind(s) which had produced the movement in the first place; charismatics may draw (and have drawn) from the Catholic mystics or from Buddhist meditation. These borrowings do not alter the roots of the movement, but they certainly change the character of the most up to date manifestation of it.
I think another important parallel is that money could be made by people promoting the new spirituality, and this helped to push the message to new audiences, working to change the message to cater to those new audiences. I suspect that a lot of preachers in both early and modern Christianity eventually focused on accumulating wealth, either initially for devout purposes or for more cynical personal-enrichment purposes. The more cynical of them would have had no problems pulling in pagan myths and mystery religion-style activities into their shows. Indeed, according to my 'head canon', early Christians were accused of holding orgies and killing babies during their secret ceremonies because some really DID hold orgies and kill babies during their ceremonies, in an effort to get donations.
The only prima-facie direct evidence of such horrible behaviour, comes from Epiphanius, who is not a reliable source. These claims have parallels to late 20th century fantasies about Satanic Ritual Abuse.

On the other hand, it does seem likely that Markus, the Valentinian opposed by Irenaeus, did seduce wealthy women in order to get donations and there were presumably other examples.

Andrew Criddle

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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:28 pm

Really? Is it really that likely? Reminds me of ethnic teenagers I used to know who were convinced that if any women didn't sleep with them it was because they were 'lesbeens' and if they had sex with them they were 'sluts.' All of these Patristic reports, rabbinic reports (Nero the proselyte) are wretched source material.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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GakuseiDon
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by GakuseiDon » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:16 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:51 am
The only prima-facie direct evidence of such horrible behaviour, comes from Epiphanius, who is not a reliable source. These claims have parallels to late 20th century fantasies about Satanic Ritual Abuse.

On the other hand, it does seem likely that Markus, the Valentinian opposed by Irenaeus, did seduce wealthy women in order to get donations and there were presumably other examples.
Interesting, thanks Andrew. While I can't point to evidence of Christians back then actually doing things like that (though obviously there were accusations from pagans of such), there was a cottage industry of using superstition and magic to create local cults for self-enrichment. Lucian and other authors described such cults. We see this on the fringe of all religions today, so I assume it happened back then. What I was thinking was that people started their own cults -- Christian, mystery religion, druid -- more for the reason of accumulating wealth and power rather than pious conviction. The more sensational the rites, the better. Sex and the shedding of blood during secret nocturnal rites would be a natural part of that.
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

davidmartin
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by davidmartin » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:42 am

GDon, i want to give Markus a break here. what if he wasn't trying to enrich himself per se, the donations were simply to support his living expenses (rent, food, etc) so he could devote more time to seduction? Not having to work would free him up enormously. So this is simply a guy who is passionate about women and his act caught the attention of Irenaeus who then used it to pan his opponents, but really it was because Markus discovered wealthy women were just more predisposed to Valentinian ideas so he aligned himself to them. Markus probably managed to bed countless wives and got them to pay for it. I don't see a cult here just a guy who wanted to fulfil a few fantasies with a cranked up act and probably quite a bad one for personal enrichment. think of all the gifts he'd have to buy? law-suits.. bribes.. possibly supporting children. he probably was hounded out of town by angry husbands and died without a penny on him. maybe he did a few good deeds too in his time, lets give him a break and not assume he was motivated by filthy lucre

robert j
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by robert j » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:10 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:19 am
...historical 12....
I am completely undecided on the historicity of the Twelve.
...a historical institution of Brothers of Lord....
I am not decided on this group, either, but my model can easily accommodate the existence of such a group (not biological brothers, but brethren in a missionary sect).
To expand the question of groups that might or might not be considered historical, how about Paul’s Judean assemblies of God and Jerusalem Pillars?

For Paul, these Judean groups provided very significant benefits for his entrepreneurial work in gathering congregations of Gentile patrons in Greece and Asia Minor that may have been interested in, and attracted to, Paul’s shortcut to full participation with God’s chosen people of Israel.

These Judean groups provided to Paul the significantly beneficial perception of a wider spiritual movement in the far-away Judean homelands.

And Paul used these groups to provide significant support for his arguments against his opponents in the letters Galatians and 1 Corinthians, and Paul threw them under the bus when it served his arguments in Galatians.

However, there is no evidence in Paul’s letters that anyone in his congregations had ever met anyone in these Judean groups, or that they had any independent knowledge of them beyond what Paul had told them.

In addition, if one acknowledges that the author of GMark used Paul’s letters in developing his story, then the use of Paul’s Pillars as a model for the Peter, James and John in GMark is reasonably evident. The characterization of those three figures in GMark appears to have set the stage for the understanding of those figures in subsequent NT Gospel stories, and the common understanding continuing into our current age.

My question --- is there any evidence that is clearly independent of Paul for the Judean assemblies of God, or for Cephas/Peter, James and John?
Last edited by robert j on Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

John2
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:20 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:16 am
andrewcriddle wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:51 am
The only prima-facie direct evidence of such horrible behaviour, comes from Epiphanius, who is not a reliable source. These claims have parallels to late 20th century fantasies about Satanic Ritual Abuse.

On the other hand, it does seem likely that Markus, the Valentinian opposed by Irenaeus, did seduce wealthy women in order to get donations and there were presumably other examples.
Interesting, thanks Andrew. While I can't point to evidence of Christians back then actually doing things like that (though obviously there were accusations from pagans of such), there was a cottage industry of using superstition and magic to create local cults for self-enrichment. Lucian and other authors described such cults. We see this on the fringe of all religions today, so I assume it happened back then. What I was thinking was that people started their own cults -- Christian, mystery religion, druid -- more for the reason of accumulating wealth and power rather than pious conviction. The more sensational the rites, the better. Sex and the shedding of blood during secret nocturnal rites would be a natural part of that.

Pearse lists other sources besides (and in some cases possibly pre-dating) Epiphanius, at least regarding some orgy-type stuff (all of which can be clicked on and viewed if you go to the webpage).

The sources, in chronological order, are:

•The Pistis Sophia 147, 3rd c.?

•The Second book of Jeu 43, 3rd c.?

•Ephraim the Syrian, Hymns against heresies 22, before 373 AD.

•Epiphanius, Panarion 26, 374-7 AD

•Filaster, Diversarum haereseon liber 73, ca. 381 AD.

•Theodoret, Compendium Fabularum Haereticarum 1, 13, 5th c.

•The Theodosian Code, 430’s AD.


https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/201 ... ibionites/
Searchlight casting for faults in the clouds of delusion.

andrewcriddle
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by andrewcriddle » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:21 am

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:20 am


Pearse lists other sources besides (and in some cases possibly pre-dating) Epiphanius, at least regarding some orgy-type stuff (all of which can be clicked on and viewed if you go to the webpage).

The sources, in chronological order, are:

•The Pistis Sophia 147, 3rd c.?

•The Second book of Jeu 43, 3rd c.?

•Ephraim the Syrian, Hymns against heresies 22, before 373 AD.

•Epiphanius, Panarion 26, 374-7 AD

•Filaster, Diversarum haereseon liber 73, ca. 381 AD.

•Theodoret, Compendium Fabularum Haereticarum 1, 13, 5th c.

•The Theodosian Code, 430’s AD.


https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/201 ... ibionites/
Most of this material amoumts to allegations based on hearsay about what heretics got up to in private. It is not good evidence of what really happened, although it is evidence of what people suspected marginal groups of doing.

Andrew Criddle

John2
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by John2 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:02 pm

I'll give you that, Andrew. I hadn't looked into this subject before and was curious what others would make of the sources Pearse discusses. But as I look around a little more, I see that Irenaeus says some things about the Carpocratians in AH 1.25.4 that could include orgies and infanticide or at least have given others that impression (and he refers to their writings):

So unbridled is their madness, that they declare they have in their power all things which are irreligious and impious, and are at liberty to practise them; for they maintain that things are evil or good, simply in virtue of human opinion. They deem it necessary, therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls should have experience of every kind of life as well as every kind of action (unless, indeed, by a single incarnation, one may be able to prevent any need for others, by once for all, and with equal completeness, doing all those things which we dare not either speak or hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts, nor think credible, if any such thing is mooted among those persons who are our fellow citizens), in order that, as their writings express it, their souls, having made trial of every kind of life, may, at their departure, not be wanting in any particular. It is necessary to insist upon this, lest, on account of some one thing being still wanting to their deliverance, they should be compelled once more to become incarnate. They affirm that for this reason Jesus spoke the following parable:— “Whilst you are with your adversary in the way, give all diligence, that you may be delivered from him, lest he give you up to the judge, and the judge surrender you to the officer, and he cast you into prison. Verily, I say unto you, you shall not go out thence until you pay the very last farthing.” They also declare the “adversary” is one of those angels who are in the world, whom they call the Devil, maintaining that he was formed for this purpose, that he might lead those souls which have perished from the world to the Supreme Ruler. They describe him also as being chief among the makers of the world, and maintain that he delivers such souls [as have been mentioned] to another angel, who ministers to him, that he may shut them up in other bodies; for they declare that the body is “the prison.” Again, they interpret these expressions, “You shall not go out thence until you pay the very last farthing,” as meaning that no one can escape from the power of those angels who made the world, but that he must pass from body to body, until he has experience of every kind of action which can be practised in this world, and when nothing is longer wanting to him, then his liberated soul should soar upwards to that God who is above the angels, the makers of the world. In this way also all souls are saved, whether their own which, guarding against all delay, participate in all sorts of actions during one incarnation, or those, again, who, by passing from body to body, are set free, on fulfilling and accomplishing what is requisite in every form of life into which they are sent, so that at length they shall no longer be [shut up] in the body.



And while I figure it is referring to pagan practices, Barnabas 20 is at least addressed to Christians and warns against "murderers of children":

But the way of darkness is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rapine, haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, magic, avarice, want of the fear of God. [In this way, too,] are those who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who love falsehood, those who know not the reward of righteousness, those who cleave not to that which is good, those who attend not with just judgment to the widow and orphan, those who watch not to the fear of God, [but incline] to wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off; persons who love vanity, follow after a reward, pity not the needy, labour not in aid of him who is overcome with toil; who are prone to evil-speaking, who know not Him that made them, who are murderers of children, destroyers of the workmanship of God; who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the afflicted, who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the poor, and who are in every respect transgressors.



These are just some things from the second century CE I've stumbled upon and I'm curious what others here may make of them (and my apologies if anyone has already mentioned them).

I also found something in this book that I figure is referring to pagan critics but perhaps could be relevant:

Noteworthy here is Celsus' silence on such topics as cannibalism, incest, infanticide, and orgies which were popular criticisms of Christianity in the second century (Fox 1987: 427).


https://books.google.com/books?id=E0GNn ... de&f=false

And I think GDon mentioned Clement of Alexandria (who also refers to their writings).


Strom. 3.2.5 and 10:

But the followers of Carpocrates and Epiphanes think that wives should be common property. Through them the worst calumny has become current against the Christian name. This fellow Epiphanes, whose writings I have at hand, was a son of Carpocrates and his mother was named Alexandria ...


These then are the doctrines of the excellent Carpocratians. These, so they say, and certain other enthusiasts for the same wickednesses, gather together for feasts (I would not call their meeting an Agape), men and women together. After they have sated their appetites ("on repletion Cypris, the goddess of love, enters," as it is said), then they overturn the lamps and so extinguish the light that the shame of their adulterous "righteousness" is hidden, and they have intercourse where they will and with whom they will. After they have practiced community of use in this love-feast, they demand by daylight of whatever women they wish that they will be obedient to the law of Carpocrates-it would not be right to say the law of God. Such, I think, is the law that Carpocrates must have given for the copulations of dogs and pigs and goats. He seems to me to have misunderstood the saying of Plato in the Republic that the women of all are to be common. Plato means that the unmarried are common for those who wish to ask them, as also the theatre is open to the public for all who wish to see, but that when each one has chosen his wife, then the married woman is no longer common to all.
Searchlight casting for faults in the clouds of delusion.

andrewcriddle
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Re: A modern analogy to ancient Christian roots.

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:53 am

John2 wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:02 pm


And while I figure it is referring to pagan practices, Barnabas 20 is at least addressed to Christians and warns against "murderers of children":

But the way of darkness is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rapine, haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, magic, avarice, want of the fear of God. [In this way, too,] are those who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who love falsehood, those who know not the reward of righteousness, those who cleave not to that which is good, those who attend not with just judgment to the widow and orphan, those who watch not to the fear of God, [but incline] to wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off; persons who love vanity, follow after a reward, pity not the needy, labour not in aid of him who is overcome with toil; who are prone to evil-speaking, who know not Him that made them, who are murderers of children, destroyers of the workmanship of God; who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the afflicted, who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the poor, and who are in every respect transgressors.


murderers of children probably refers to the pagan practice of infanticide. Leaving an unwanted baby to die on a rubbish heap.

Andrew Criddle

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