Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

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Chris Hansen
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:42 am

The "uselessness" is irrelevant. Tertullian still attests in the previous sentence that their dualism always implies the "animal and carnal Christ". This is made more clear when they have a clear separationist Christology. If you look in 27 Tertullian states of this:

"Upon this same Christ, therefore (so they say), Jesus descended in the sacrament of baptism, in the likeness of a dove"

Thus, it is the same problem that Carrier makes, which you are making here. You are ignoring that their dualism always implies a carnal and physical Jesus as well, in this case a Jesus who is descended upon by the spiritual Christ. During the time of inhabitance by the Christ of the Heavens, Jesus could not be harmed, until the last moment when the spiritual Christ departed the physical one, for the physical one to suffer.

"As for Soter (Jesus), he remained in Christ to the last, impassible, incapable of injury, incapable of apprehension. By and by, when it came to a question of capture, he departed from him during the examination before Pilate."

This always implies and, in fact, seems to necessitate a physical person.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:49 am

Ok, but Tertullian is going to apply a reductio ad absurdum, in the form of a challenge of this kind:

if you Valentinians really believe in two Christs (and relative 2 Passions), then accordingly you have to make the earthly Jesus vanishing until to point of not-existence, and adore only the celestial Christ suffering in heaven.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:56 am

Yes, but Tertullian's reductio ad absurdum is largely irrelevant (and probably can't even be trusted anyways, give Tertullian's propensity toward inaccurate polemic, cf. Marcion). It isn't showing facts to the contrary, but trying to make the facts of what they believe look absurd.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:22 pm

At any case, you would agree that Carrier is correct to use the Valentinian belief "as proofs of concept, i.e. that some groups could imagine such things", i.e. a celestial crucifixion in heaven, beyond if accompanied or less by an earthly avatar doing the same things on earth.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:38 pm

I do not think it is a proof of concept. It is not that they imagined a "celestial crucifixion in heaven" but that they imagined a dualistic suffering on earth and in heaven.

I think it is always important to have these distinctions present. It does not help Carrier, because this "proof of concept" only makes sense in a dualistic fashion. Carrier needs it to be *only* in the heavens, which makes no sense under the dualism of the Valentinians. It is only analogous if we disregard what actually defines this myth of these gnostics, which at best I think would make one disingenuous personally. As Russell McCutcheon and others notes, nuance is always important and differences are often times just as if not more important than similarities. And in this case, the "analogy" is only surface level and only achievable by eliminating the differences.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:26 pm

You may be right about the dualistic view as being necessary for the concept, but note that there is parallelism more than dualism: the celestial avatar of Christ suffers in heaven on a cosmic cross while at the same time the earthly avatar suffers under Pilate on earth.

Strictly speaking, dualism or separationism denies the suffering of the celestial avatar, but we are dealing with explicit claims about the suffering in heaven of the celestial avatar, too.

The entire Valentinian idea includes what Carrier connects with the early Christians, i.e. it doesn't exclude it.
  • Early Christians (in Carrier's view) : Christ suffers only in heaven
  • Valentinian belief about Horos/Stauros: a Christ suffers in heaven, another Christ suffers on earth.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:27 am

The parallelism is dependent on this dualistic system. The dualism does not deny suffering necessarily, it denies the earthly suffering of the celestial avatar, not a heavenly suffering.

And because the Valentinian view includes suffering on earth, it automatically contradicts Carrier's view. Both are essential for the parallelism. Carrier trying to use them as a proof of concept would actually insinuate that his own mythicists thought there was an earthly Jesus, because this idea necessitates both celestial and earthly figures.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:53 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:27 am
The parallelism is dependent on this dualistic system.
The text known as Ascension of Isaiah shows a similar parallelism in action. If I remember well, there is a specific claim in such sense, in 7:10:

And as above so on the earth also; for the likeness of that which is in the firmament is here ont he earth.

...but we don't call that text as dualistic only because it does a similar claim.

(note that the author of Asc. of Isaiah adored YHWH as supreme god).

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:14 am

The problem with the Ascension of Isaiah is more that all of our extant evidence suggests that the heavenly Christ actually does descend, the "docetic" and separationist concept has since been dismissed by most academics. All of our extant versions suggest that Christ really does incarnate, both in the smaller L2 and S manuscripts and also in the E and later Greek paraconsistent version, furthermore most scholars of the Asc. of Isa. now think the long version of chapter 11 (i.e. what Carrier dismisses as interpolation based on his outdated understanding of it, along with Doherty) is authentic, especially since Enrico Norelli's commentary with Brepols was released in the 90's.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Nov 13, 2020 9:34 am

Even more so with the assumptions described by you about AoI, the parallelism is not implied by dualism, since dualism is absent in the Ascension of Isaiah.

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