Evolution and the Gospels

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:53 am

Here is why I don't believe the orthodox gospels are the original gospels.

1. in the Judeo-Christian tradition god says something and it lasts. God said 'let there be X' and X is still alive today. The world is God's world. The things in it are made by God. The reality is that things are constantly evolving. The orthodox opposed 'the sects' because they saw diversity as being an affront against God.

2. Given that things are always changing, the gospel was always changing. Given that an organized ORTHODOX ecclesiastical structure doesn't seem to be much earlier than the middle of the second century (and probably no earlier than Irenaeus) there were a diversity of gospels.

3. The idea that Matthew, Mark and Luke were produced naturally (i.e. verbatim or near verbatim passages without copying) is impossible. It is possible the Marcionites had a more corrupt gospel and didn't know it was corrupted, but it is impossible that Matthew, Mark and Luke were falsified accidentally. They were forgeries of one another and so a different kind of corruption - i.e. lies - is at work. The orthodox tradition is by nature more false than the Marcionite tradition and built upon more blatant falsities.

4. staying loyal to a single gospel is necessarily more indicative of originality than loyalty to four gospels where two or three are forgeries.

5. orthodoxy won out over Marcionism. Emerging in the late second century as a victor implies overcoming a new obstacle (i.e. the outlawing of unauthorized forms of Christian assemblies c. 180 CE). Given that the Imperial government made its decision to ban certain forms of Christianity on criteria that were unrelated to determining which was the oldest, truest form of Christianity, the permitted form of Christianity was not chosen because of considerations of authenticity, authoritativeness, originality. If anything the Imperial government was likely reacting to reports about what was essential to Christianity - i.e. what was authentic, authoritative, original - and seeking to make changes to the religion. The reports about the unwanted characteristics of Christianity that needed changing necessarily preceded the outlawing of unauthorized associations. The effort was made to prefer certain sects at the expense of well established but mistrusted varieties. As such orthodoxy was necessarily more novel than Marcionism.

All of this depends on the dating of Celsus to around 180 CE.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Irish1975
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Irish1975 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:52 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:53 am


3. The idea that Matthew, Mark and Luke were produced naturally (i.e. verbatim or near verbatim passages without copying) is impossible. It is possible the Marcionites had a more corrupt gospel and didn't know it was corrupted, but it is impossible that Matthew, Mark and Luke were falsified accidentally. They were forgeries of one another and so a different kind of corruption - i.e. lies - is at work. The orthodox tradition is by nature more false than the Marcionite tradition and built upon more blatant falsities.
I think plagiarism is the right term here. "Luke" and "Matthew" are both pretending to be the author's of a narrative originally composed by "Mark." (It's more complicated with the Q material but the same case could be made.)

The Hebrew Bible often tells the same story twice, in different ways. Eg, 1 & 2 Chronicles as a rehash of 1 & 2 Samuel, ! & 2 Kings. Apart from the verbatim cut-and-paste operation by Matthew and Luke, is the NT really all that different?
4. staying loyal to a single gospel is necessarily more indicative of originality than loyalty to four gospels where two or three are forgeries.

5. orthodoxy won out over Marcionism.
The decision to publish a NT based on a 4-fold gospel narrative had pros and cons vis-a-vis the "testament" of Marcion. Yes, it's sloppier, and there is evident plagiarism--although it wasn't actually evident to anyone for some 18 centuries. The formulation "the gospel according to ___" explicitly injects fallible human recipients of the revelation into the presentation of the text. The result is that the text does not need to be, because it does not purport to be, "perfect" and divine as the Word of God in the way that, eg, the Koran does, and perhaps in the way that Marcion's "gospel" was understood. Four human perspectives on a single divine drama are permitted. Furthermore, the idea of an original college of apostles, not including Paul, is established both within the Gospel narratives and through the Gospel titles. Matthew and John are apostles, Mark and Luke are disciples of apostles who also have Pauline cred. Hence the churches that claim apostolic succession for their bishops have this "New Testament" framework to stand on.

These considerations don't really bear on your question whether the orthodox gospels were "the original gospels." But I do think they bear on why the NT triumphed historically over Marcionite Christianity.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:27 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:52 pm
Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:53 am

3. The idea that Matthew, Mark and Luke were produced naturally (i.e. verbatim or near verbatim passages without copying) is impossible. It is possible the Marcionites had a more corrupt gospel and didn't know it was corrupted, but it is impossible that Matthew, Mark and Luke were falsified accidentally. They were forgeries of one another and so a different kind of corruption - i.e. lies - is at work. The orthodox tradition is by nature more false than the Marcionite tradition and built upon more blatant falsities.
I think plagiarism is the right term here. "Luke" and "Matthew" are both pretending to be the author's of a narrative originally composed by "Mark."
I was thinking (before I saw Irish1975's comment) that embellishment might be a better term, but plagarised implies embellishment ...

In seeking clarification, I presume Secret-Alias means "it is impossible that Matthew, Mark and Luke were falsified [by Marcion] accidentally" ...

I agree with what you both say, eg., -
Irish1975 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:52 pm
The Hebrew Bible often tells the same story twice, in different ways. eg, 1 & 2 Chronicles as a rehash of 1 & 2 Samuel, ! & 2 Kings. Apart from the verbatim cut-and-paste operation by Matthew and Luke, is the NT really all that different?
(though I would downplay the role of 'the Imperial government' or clarify it to a time period. I think Stephan is right when he says "The reports about the unwanted characteristics of Christianity that needed changing necessarily preceded the outlawing of unauthorized associations. The effort was made to prefer certain sects at the expense of well established but mistrusted varieties", but the role of the govt might not have been significant until the late 4th century or later: the role of Constantine was not that great in the overall scheme of things (and Constantine's roles are likely overstated or fabricated myths or legends).

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Secret Alias
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:47 pm

No what I meant is that Matthew and Luke's plagiarism of Mark was deliberate with the deliberate attempt to find variation in terminology so as to disguise the act of copying a text sitting before the author. The variation is made to appear natural, minor, incidental. But it was quite deliberate, calculated, artificial. Like the Hitler diaries or the proposed forgery of Secret Mark. What some modern scholars accuse Morton Smith of - i.e. painstakingly crafting a forgery - is what was accomplished in antiquity with the fabrication of Matthew, Luke and possibly canonical Mark.

By contrast there is no evidence of similar evil, parallel malice on the part of any variation that might have existed in Marcion's gospel or canon - whatever they looked like. Irenaeus was evil. His intentions were to make the religion of Christianity something it never was for purely political considerations.
Last edited by Secret Alias on Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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MrMacSon
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:53 pm

:thumbup:

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Irish1975
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Irish1975 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:56 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:52 pm
Furthermore, the idea of an original college of apostles, not including Paul, is established both within the Gospel narratives and through the Gospel titles.
Went to check my copy of Marcion and--contrary to what I expected--he does appear to have Luke's notion of "the 12 apostles." The other 3 evangelists refrain from calling The Twelve "apostles."

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Secret Alias
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:01 pm

Don't give me that shit. That's not Marcion's gospel. That's Irenaeus and Tertullian arguing against Marcion by using their copy of their Luke. These Church Fathers were so evil, dishonest and deceptive. Read 4.2 - 6. They're arguing Marcion stole Luke and corrupted it so they will argue from the parts of Luke they share in common. These boys were wickedly demented. Complete bullshit argument. We don't know much about Marcion's gospel. Sorry but true.
“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: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by GakuseiDon » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:01 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:47 pm
No what I meant is that Matthew and Luke's plagiarism of Mark was deliberate with the deliberate attempt to find variation in terminology so as to disguise the act of copying a text sitting before the author. The variation is made to appear natural, minor, incidental. But it was quite deliberate, calculated, artificial.
For what purpose, in your opinion?
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Joseph D. L.
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Joseph D. L. » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:04 am

So we "know" Luke and Matthew plagiarized Mark, yet we don't "know" who Luke, Matthew, and Mark were...

Or the simpler solution... nobody plagiarized anyone and Mark priority is bs?
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Joseph D. L.
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Joseph D. L. » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:11 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:56 pm
Went to check my copy of Marcion...
That is an unintentionally hilarious statement! As if this text lost to history was just laying on your nightstand. Must be next to your first edition of the Illiad!

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