Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

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Secret Alias
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Re: Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Fri May 08, 2020 2:37 pm

Here's the evidence as I see it:

1. Irenaeus/Tertullian certainly wants to make John a witness against Marcion (cf. Praescr 33). But John himself is a blur with Polycarp. Polycarp and John have virtually the same enemies and objectives. The author of Against Heresies and its core text Against the Valentinians lays out the whole spectrum of John's alleged adversaries which by his own time includes Gaius of Rome, the bishop of the gentiles and likely too the bishop of the bishops.
2. Gaius's opposition to the kataphrygian heresy seems to pit him against the Johannine tradition just as Victor originally opposed the Quartodeciman tradition. It would seem implicit that Gaius and Victor represented what we might call Roman tradition. Irenaeus's appeal to Anicetus and Polycarp 'agreeing to disagree' seems to support this hypothesis.
3. I would venture to guess that whoever took over from Victor established ecumenism in the community - viz. accepting the Johannine community and its literature. The story in Against Heresies about John opposing Cerinthus seems to be rooted in the identification of John's Apocalypse with Cerinthus.
4. The tradition that Cerinthus wrote the Apocalypse seems to hint at the non-existence of John. His Apocalypse was likely not written by John. It was as much John's creation as the Apocryphon found at Nag Hammadi. The gospel too is problematic. It was the prologue which was of special interest to the Valentinians. Why would the heretics who date from a very early age have developed an understanding of the various aeons if it wasn't true. The gospel was virtually unknown outside the heretical community?
5. The idea then that John gathered gospel material and divided it among the three synoptic gospels only to add a fourth gospel also has great significance. It again casts a later Church Father as 'John.' John has no real existence. The idea that John the apostle survived into the second century must have been developed to anchor the Catholic Church to an 'apostolic tradition.' The Roman Church had Peter. 'John' seems to have been originally a later figure - the elder - who became deliberately confused with the apostle of the same name to distinguish the tradition as apostolic.
6. If 'John' or the Church Father pretending to be John formed the three synoptics it would stand to reason that Peter's negative portrait might have been cultivated to raise the standing of John. 'Peter' is likely a later name. His original name was 'Simon' and it is possible to imagine a gospel without the negative references to the core eyewitness of Christianity. Clearly John's having John sit on Jesus's breast is the inverse of that rewriting - i.e. making John assume Peter's chair albeit in Asia Minor.
“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

Stuart
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Re: Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

Post by Stuart » Fri May 08, 2020 5:51 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 2:37 pm
6. If 'John' or the Church Father pretending to be John formed the three synoptics it would stand to reason that Peter's negative portrait might have been cultivated to raise the standing of John. 'Peter' is likely a later name. His original name was 'Simon' and it is possible to imagine a gospel without the negative references to the core eyewitness of Christianity. Clearly John's having John sit on Jesus's breast is the inverse of that rewriting - i.e. making John assume Peter's chair albeit in Asia Minor.
Agree on Peter being the later name, or rather appellation to Simon.

My own take is that the provinces of Asian Minor (Asia, Lycia, Bythenia, Galatia) where a three way fight, although initially a two way fight between the Marcionite (Paul) and the Johannine (Apollos = Apelles?) sects; the proto-othodox (Cephas) enter later. We have traces of this fight in the addresses of the Pauline letters and 1 Peter, as well as the cities of Asia in the Apocalypse. It also shows up in the patron saints of towns in what today is Turkey, being basically credited to John, but Paul gets the generic region, with a Philip legend (associated with John and against Peter) thrown in as well.

This conflict actually explains why we have four gospels. The Marcionite, it's opposition in Matthew and John appearing in opposition to Matthew, likely as resistance to the alliance of the Johannine and proto-orthodox sects (Apelles supposed switch). What is striking in John is the the author approves of the Marcionite gospel in general, but diverges on several points, but goes after Matthew systemically. The decision to align with the proto-orthodox must have been political, as their messiah ben Joseph is seemingly incompatible with messiah ben David.

This alliance that brought the Johannine sect (Appellean?) into the proto-Orthodox camp, would have meant accepting their patron saint John in Asia by the proto-orthodox, as you note. This gives you two of the three pillars then in Cephas and John. Jacob/James tradition is something different. Also the alliance meant you added John (adjust significantly) with Matthew. The beloved disciple and Peter seem to be the same layer, so it would be the Catholics that placed "John" close to Jesus, a way of explaining the changes to the gospel the Johannine Christians knew.

Luke is a rewrite of the Marcionite, and Mark something else. The Marcionites questioned these authors, as you found in DA -- that objection almost certainly led to their being added to the closing in Colossians.

Anyway, as you say looking at the NT as pseudepigrapha, the characters then are literary fictions, legends. Any real person may have little or no relationship to these patron saints.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Re: Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

Post by Giuseppe » Fri May 08, 2020 9:30 pm

Stuart wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 11:26 am
(Note to self, Matthew, John and the Marcionite/Luke gospels all fit, but Mark still doesn't fit -- a great mystery to me.)
Stuart, I would like you will clear your view about how Mark would fit in your scenario.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

Post by Stuart » Sat May 09, 2020 12:38 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 9:30 pm
Stuart wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 11:26 am
(Note to self, Matthew, John and the Marcionite/Luke gospels all fit, but Mark still doesn't fit -- a great mystery to me.)
Stuart, I would like you will clear your view about how Mark would fit in your scenario.
Stephen Huller and Marcus Vinzent give higher prominence to Marcion than I do. While I give his sect (not necessarily him, but disciples who followed) credit for forming the New Testament. And the church fathers were correct on one thing, other sects existed at the same time. These sects did not agree on doctrine, theology or even which messiah Christ was (son of Joseph, i.e., Israel, or son of David, i.e., Judah). They were not unfriendly, but had a small competition for converts. This is the era of the house churches. Each preacher passing through comes from a different camp than the one who visited a few weeks prior. At that time the stakes were low, so differences do not matter much

Where my view separates is that I do not believe these itinerant preachers came out of thin air. They were well trained in scripture, exegesis, whatever other skills, such as divination and astrology, that priests of any religion would know. And they were literate. These skills are not random but require a school. These sects didn't spring out of nowhere, they had leaders, teachers and disciples. We know they were encratic, they traveled light, they were mostly young. In short these apostles or missionaries were sent out by their camps. I think they were monastic communities, likely similar to those Philo described. The Q scholars speak of Jesus communities, which gives one the impression of isolated villages. But I think these were not villages of ordinary people but more like religious schools. It is in these places that Judaism transformed into Christianity.

The Marcionite or Pauline was but one of these communities. The Johannine (Apollos) and Petrine (Cephas) were also camps. These leaders are in the distant past, as much legend and myth as people. But it works for labels. Now we can Associate the Marcionite gospel with the Pauline camp, Matthew with the Petrine/Cephas camp, and the first version of John with the Johannine camp. But what group that joined the the orthodoxy is associated with Mark?

That is the mystery. I do not know how to fit Mark in the competitive landscape of itinerant preachers competing. Mark didn't help, as it's a relatively bare bones gospel, it lacks the unique theological stories the Marcionite, Matthew, John and then Luke added which give great insight into the sect. I cannot place Mark, I cannot figure out the theology for certain.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Re: Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

Post by Giuseppe » Sat May 09, 2020 11:05 am

Stuart wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 12:38 am
I cannot place Mark, I cannot figure out the theology for certain.
but if you were obliged (with the classical example of the gun on the head :scratch: ) to take position about Mark's theology, what would be your point?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Where Marcion and the Orthodox Tradition Agree: John Wrote the Canonical Gospels

Post by davidmartin » Sat May 09, 2020 2:48 pm

That's why i think Mark is a 'response gospel' to emerging orthodoxy from another camp that doesn't like what else is appearing
The male disciples and Jesus family are undermined in Mark. That is one clue
Is it because preachers from the disciples/family are active that the 'other camp' disagrees with
Or is it because preachers claiming to come in the name of the disciples/family falsely are active and the 'other camp' still undermines them
I think all the gospels can be seen as 'responses' in some way

PS The short ending of Mark is a problem, it can't be original. In the original did the women disciples have a greater role?
So it might have ended more like this alternative version in some manuscripts
"But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation"
which got changed to
"And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid"

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