Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Ken Olson
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Ken Olson » Tue May 19, 2020 6:06 pm

*Sigh*

Did you read the OP?

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Secret Alias
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 19, 2020 6:10 pm

Ok I get that you are fixated on one possibility. But I am not as narrow-minded as you. There is nothing gay in the description in the gospel. It could be describing a number of scenarios. Even the Carpocratians reference to 'naked with naked' might have been to a number of scenarios including the judgement of the naked by the naked. That a Church Father discredits the account of a 'heretical' group and makes what they do sound dirty is nothing new. Epiphanius is a well attested example. I simply don't get the hard on you get for only one possibility here. The only scenario you accept is Morton Smith as master forger. That's the least likely possibility IMHO.

When you layer narrow minded modern interprets on top of typically narrow minded and dishonest ancient interpreters you end up ignoring the innocent original explanation. The Carpocratians could have been saying 'naked with naked' in reference to the Platonic myth in the Gorgias and Clement - like Epiphanius after him - denies what they say out of some duty to secrecy. There are other possibilities. The smugness that accompanies this notion that 'it has to be Morton Smith' is very disappointing.
“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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Secret Alias
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 19, 2020 6:15 pm

And I am not the first to connect Gorgias 523d with the Gospel of Mark and Clement - https://books.google.com/books?id=8JkFq ... 22&f=false
According to Empedocles, the primordial soul became clothed "in the unfamiliar tunic of flesh" ( Empedocles frag. 126). At death, said Plato, souls leave their bodies and ascend to judgment naked so that nothing will be hidden from the judges (Gorgias 523). According to Plotinus, the mystical experience of the philosopher is the "stripping off of the garments with which we were clothed when we descended from mind and reascending in our naked selves" (Ennead 1.6.7.5-7). The Jewish philosopher Philo interpreted the "coat of skins" given Adam and Eve after their fall to be the body (Questions and Answers on Genesis 1:53 and 4:78). (The "coat of skins" in Genesis 3 was taken to be the body also by Julius Cassianus [apud Clement of Alexandria Stromateis 3.14.95; cf. 3.14.92]; Ptolemy [apud Irenaeus Ad- versus haereses 1.1.10 and Tertullian Adversus Valentinianos 24.3!; and Theodotus [apud Clement of Alexandria Excerpta ex Theodoto 55]. See also Tertullian De resurrectione carnis 7 and De cultu feminarum 1 . 1 ., and Origen Contra Celsum 4.40.) According to Philo, the soul that pursues God already has "disrobed itself of the body . . . , [and has] fled far away" (Allegorical Interpretation 2.55; cf. 56). see also Maximus of Tyre 2.10b and 11e
I don't get how NONE OF THIS IS DEEMED RELEVANT BY YOU. You act with the certainty of a fanatic. There is no evidence Morton Smith was a forger. Surely that allows for other possibilities to at least be considered.
“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

Ken Olson
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Ken Olson » Tue May 19, 2020 7:05 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
And agape was taken to mean an orgiastic love feast outside of to Theodore. And Clement himself defends the Agape from these charges elsewhere in his writings.
Seriously, could you cite the best examples of Clement defending the Agape against these charges elsewhere? I'd like to see how similar they are to To Theodore.

Best,

Ken

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Secret Alias
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 19, 2020 7:11 pm

It's in the Instructor 2.1:
A man like this seems to me to be all jaw, and nothing else. Desire not, says the Scripture, rich men's dainties; Proverbs 23:3 for they belong to a false and base life. They partake of luxurious dishes, which a little after go to the dunghill. But we who seek the heavenly bread must rule the belly, which is beneath heaven, and much more the things which are agreeable to it, which God shall destroy, 1 Corinthians 6:13 says the apostle, justly execrating gluttonous desires. For meats are for the belly, 1 Corinthians 6:13 for on them depends this truly carnal and destructive life; whence some, speaking with unbridled tongue, dare to apply the name agape, to pitiful suppers, redolent of savour and sauces. Dishonouring the good and saving work of the Word, the consecrated agape, with pots and pouring of sauce; and by drink and delicacies and smoke desecrating that name, they are deceived in their idea, having expected that the promise of God might be bought with suppers. Gatherings for the sake of mirth, and such entertainments as are called by ourselves, we name rightly suppers, dinners, and banquets, after the example of the Lord. But such entertainments the Lord has not called agapæ.
Also Epiphanius as Lawlor notes isn't always using Irenaeus but often times cites directly from Hegesippus where among other things the Carpocratians are understood to engage in homosexual orgies:
The plain fact is that these people perform every unspeakable, unlawful thing, which is not right even to say, and every kind of homosexual union and carnal intercourse with women, with every member of the body (7) and that they perform magic, sorcery and idolatry and say that this is the discharge of their obligations in the body, so that they will not be charged any more or required to do anything else, and for this reason the soul will not be turned back after its departure and go on to another incarnation and transmigration (27.4.6)
So the idea that the users of Secret Mark were homosexuals and engaged in homosexual orgies might be as old as Hegesippus.
“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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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Tue May 19, 2020 7:27 pm

Moon writes of the link between the passage in the Gorgias and Mark 14:52:
Meanwhile, taking off an article of clothing symbolized the body and the soul’s separation in the ancient Greek world. This is an ancient cliché.88 Garments usually symbolize a human being’s body. In this sense, the garment the young man left behind may symbolize the flight of the naked soul from the body.89 Many ancient authors explain this symbolism. Plato said, “Next they must be stripped bare of all those things before they are tried; for they must stand their trial dead. Their judge also must be naked, dead, beholding with very soul the very soul of each immediately upon his death, bereft of all his kin and having left [them] behind on earth” (Gorgias 523e).90 According to Plotinus, “So we must ascend again to the good, which every soul desires . . . and the attainment of it is for those who go up to the higher world and are converted and strip off what we put on in our descent . . . and stripping off of the clothes they wore before, and going up naked” (Ennead I. 6. 7).91 In addition, Jewish theologian Philo said, “The soul that loves God, having disrobed itself of the body and the objects dear to the body and fled abroad far away from these, gains a fixed and assured settlement in the perfect ordinances of virtue” (Allegorical Interpretation 2.55).92
Which brings up the question - is Secret Mark "gayer" than Mark 14:51 - 2? How much gayer? Is it gay like preferring to wear thong underwear or gay like walking around in lingerie and high heels? How does a homosexual "feel" to a passage get measured and quantified? Do we just defer to the hunches of people we like and agree with to decide which of the two passages is gayer? Arguably Mark 14:51 - 2 has actual nudity? Why did Mark have to add a running naked youth? Did it turn him on? Also tradition says he never married. Maybe Mark was fascinated with young naked studs ... or maybe it goes back to Plato's Gorgias.
“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

Ken Olson
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Ken Olson » Wed May 20, 2020 2:56 am

Secret Alias wrote:
That a Church Father discredits the account of a 'heretical' group and makes what they do sound dirty is nothing new.
When you layer narrow minded modern interprets on top of typically narrow minded and dishonest ancient interpreters you end up ignoring the innocent original explanation.
Stephan,

I am sill not understanding clearly how you are reading the author of To Theodore's claims about the Carpocratians. Is he saying the Carpocratians' reading of Secret Mark suggests that the young man and Jesus had a homosexual encounter or not? I get that you think there may be another explanation of what the Carpocratians, or whoever originated the "naked man with naked man" bit, were actually saying. But are you accepting that Clement is suggesting that the Carpocratians read the Secret Gospel (with whatever additions) as a homosexual encounter and then moving on to what the text might actually have meant, or are you denying that Clement accused the Carpocratians of reading the text that way?

Best,

Ken

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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Wed May 20, 2020 7:38 am

Let's start at the beginning. It is a sign of a low intellect to demand certainty about things that can't be fully ascertained by our limited understanding. In the case of To Theodore I begin with the acknowledgement that there is going to be more that we don't know than we will ever know. This is compounded by the loss of the MS. If we had the MS this could be put to bed in an instant. But given the homophobic sensationalism initiated no doubt by QQ when he was at the monastery the MS is gone. Tselikas has told me, it's not there - anywhere. Probably destroyed because the implications of it being a homosexual forgery made to discredit the Church. So bye bye MS at least for now.

Without the MS we are left with competing explanations of the text. None of these explanations can in themselves be ever proved to be true without corroborating evidence. In the case of Morton Smith, a written confession, papers which show him working out the handwriting or the content of the letter, eyewitness testimony etc. With regards to the case for authenticity the bar is even higher. For even if there was a source somewhere which made mention of a secret gospel of Mark (which there isn't) the forgery proponents argue and will always argue that Morton Smith knew that piece of evidence and it shaped his fabrication of the letter. So in the case of a collection of letters of Clement at Mar Saba, so with regards to a 'secret gospel' used by the heretics in Prescription against Heresies, so with regards to anything that gets in the way of the evidence-less case for Morton Smith's alleged forgery of the MS.

That's where we start. So we start with TWO references to a 'youth' 'naked' with a 'linen cloth' in gospels attributed (somewhat reluctantly) to Mark. Why 'reluctantly'? Well the earliest gospels of Mark have or had to superscription. The first line of the gospel must have been its title. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus." This is explains no doubt why Clement COULD deny the authorship of the gospel in the same way that the Marcionites apparently denied that the Letter to the Ephesians was addressed to the Ephesians (they said it was 'to the Laodiceans'). The Marcionites also apparently called their gospel 'the gospel of Jesus' owing - I believe - to a similar lack of superscription on their gospel. They similarly argued that NONE of the canonical gospels were actually written by the people ascribed in their respective superscriptions. To that end I conclude that they saw a lack of superscription as a sign of antiquity and the addition of such identifying markers as later developments.

Given then that we have two naked youth linen references in 'Mark gospels' IT COULD BE argued that Mark 14:51 - 2 STRENGTHENS the case for the authenticity of the Secret Mark passage. Mark liked naked youths with linen cloths. It was an 'interest' of his. In the same way the case against Michael Jackson was based around the singer possessing certain 'art books' with naked men.

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If Mark 14:51 - 2 sounds 'gay' to you then it seems reasonable that the Secret Mark passage should also sound gay and vice versa. But arguing that one is gay but the other is not gay requires some justification. As such I make the case that the Secret Mark passage COULD represent a homosexual or homoerotic interest on the part of Mark. The Secret Mark passage could also be the product of someone attempting to manufacture a 'Markan passage' using Mark 14:51 - 2 as a kind of template - at least in theory. That person could be ancient or modern again in theory.

But with regards to what the Carpocratians say about Secret Mark this is even more ambiguous. This is because the Church Fathers are above all else polemicists. As Celsus demonstrates it is easy to put a spin on anyone's beliefs. Celsus says that those who stress a bodily resurrection are carnal. We don't get much in the way of heretical polemic against the orthodox but is certainly the example of the survival of such a 'zinger.' Similarly I feel that Clement's statement about a 'carnal and destructive' agape rituals is similarly rooted. Look at the citation from Instructor 2.1:
They partake of luxurious dishes, which a little after go to the dunghill. But we who seek the heavenly bread must role the belly, which is beneath heaven, and much more the things which are agreeable to it, which "God shall destroy," says the apostle, justly execrating gluttonous desires. For "meats are for the belly," for on them depends this truly carnal and destructive life.

The citation is from 1 Corinthians chapter 6 which, after discussing the example of 'sexual impropriety' in the previous chapter the apostle writes:
You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
A few things can be extracted from Paul's original statement and Clement's 'spin' pertaining to the modern 'agape' in Alexandria:

1. the apostle addresses a sexual deviant or group of sexual deviants who like their sexual impropriety to the 'dietary freedom' that Christianity introduced to Judaism. They say 'we can consume any flesh' we want. The apostle says no, you will eventually be destroyed by God.
2. Clement similarly identifies the ritual or sacrament here as the 'agape' which is connected with the raising of the dead. Like Paul, Clement says there are those who would corrupt the 'love feast' with carnality and by inference sexuality.

The fact that the Carpocratians are specifically mentioned elsewhere in association with this carnal agape has great import on the discussion of Secret Mark.

For we see in Stromata 3 the following reference:
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.

The obvious takeaways are:

1. the Carpocratians are likely also to be the sexual deviants who celebrate a carnal agape in Instructor 2.1
2. the Carpocratians are Platonists and apply Platonic myths and allegories to their celebration of Christian rituals.

This will be very significant when we consider what Clement says about the Carpocratians in To Theodore.

So once again I stress that unless it is conceded that Mark 14:51 - 52 is homosexual there is no overt homosexuality in the passage cited from Secret Mark. Clement does make reference to the Carpocratians being carnal and what not and adds that they make mention of "naked with naked" and it can be argued that he insinuates that this has a carnal origin or dirty implications but Clement's interpretation is subjective and consistent with his other statements about the group - save for the fact that in to Theodore he makes reference to homosexual carnality. If the statement he makes in Instructor 2 and Stromata 3 about Carpocratian 'carnality' are accurate then it might make sense to see the homosexual reference in To Theodore as not quite the same as what appears in the other books. But if we assume that Clement is exaggerating the libertine tendencies in the Instructor 2 and Stromata 3 then the reference in to Theodore is absolutely consistent with the other two.

So this is what it comes down to. We have one of two options. Either Clement is reporting the facts in all cases namely:

1. the Instructor 2 represents an attempt at factual reporting regarding a gourmands fantasy agape - with the ancient equivalent of smoked salmon, caviar and creme brule - or as I would hold Clement exaggerating the Carpocratian 'carnality' based on 1 Corinthians chapters 5 and 6.
2. the Stromata 3 represents an attempt at factual reporting where Carpocratian devotees ACTUALLY got men and women together and fucked each other in a massive orgy every Sunday or Clement is exaggerating the groups interest in Plato's Republic and the dictum that 'women should be shared in common.'
3. the to Theodore reference represents an attempt at factual reporting where Carpocratians say that Jesus and the youth fucked each others brains out or as I would hold it the Carpocratians betraying their Platonic roots interpreted not only the passage in Secret Mark but the mystery rite given to the catechumens when they completed their initiation as 'naked with naked' - i.e. the myth of the naked judged by the naked in the Gorgias.

I think that even in Celsus the 'Harpocratians of Salome' represent a Markan mystery cultus. Salome only appears in Mark. Marcellina is the original 'Carpocratian' in orthodox texts of Hegesippus. Epiphanius had access to Hegesippus and reports orgies in which men and women were fucking each other and men with men (orgies are necessarily bisexual affairs). I think the original anti-Carpocratian text was Hegesippus's Outlines and it started the nonsense that they were sexual libertines. I don't think it was factual and I think Clement was pinning any strange sounding statement that Theodore might have heard about the secret gospel on this Alexandrian heresy. Not sure if he actually believed it. Origen says he never saw a Carpocratian in his entire life.
“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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Secret Alias
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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Wed May 20, 2020 8:36 am

As a footnote actual 'experts' in homosexuality argue for Mark 14:51 - 52 as a homosexual literary reference https://www.google.com/books/edition/En ... frontcover George Haggerty https://english.ucr.edu/people/faculty/george-haggerty/

https://www.google.com/books/edition/En ... frontcover Wayne Dynes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_R._Dynes

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ho ... frontcover
Several writers — Christopher Marlowe, James I, Denis Diderot, and Jeremy Bentham among them — have seen Jesus and John as lovers. Bentham, moreover, thought the naked youth in a “linen cloth” who alone stood by Jesus when he was seized at Gethsemene (Mark 14:51) was a boy prostitute and that his devotion was a consequence of Jesus’ sympathy for his outcast status.

Also:

Ramelli and parallels between the gospel of Mark and the Satyricon https://www.google.com/books/edition/Sp ... frontcover

The bad thing about these searches is that I start getting ads for gay dating services ...
“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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Re: Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger

Post by Secret Alias » Wed May 20, 2020 9:41 am

I just noticed that a book published in 2020 makes the same argument I am making here:
Likewise, there is no evidence that Smith was a homosexual or that he tried to promote homosexual views. He was a lifelong bachelor but no evidence has come to the fore concerning his sexual orientation. Those who see a homosexual message in the Secret Gospel passage concerning the young man raised from the dead overlook a number of obvious points. Canonical Mark also describes a “young man . . . with nothing but a linen cloth about his body." When Jesus was arrested at Gethsemane, this young man “left the linen cloth and ran away naked” (Mark 14:52–53). The same reasoning that led them to posit that Smith was homosexual should have led them to conclude that the author of the canonical Gospel of Mark was homosexual, but it does not seem to have done so. Elsewhere in the letter, Clement declares that the Carpocratians are wrong when they say that the Secret Gospel says “naked man with naked man” and refers to “the unspeakable teachings of the Carpocratians,” who were associated with sexual libertinism. Someone who was trying to proffer a pro-homosexual message, it seems, would be more likely to write a forgery that embraced the Carpocratian teachings than rejected them. Likewise, just because someone has the skill and the opportunity to forge a work does not mean that the work is forged. If that were the case, then one would have to conclude that any discovery by any competent scholar of a previously unknown work means the work was forged, whereas the discovery of the same work by someone who did not have the skill means that it was not forged. In both cases, the argument is a non sequitur—one part of it does not follow from the other. Whether a work is forged is not dependent on the expertise of the person who claims to have discovered it, since someone else could have faked the work. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Wh ... frontcover
Needless to say that the author is a reasonable open-minded person and he concludes that the most reasonable explanation is that the same Mark wrote both the canonical gospel and the passage mentioned from Secret Mark in Clement's letter.
“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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