Carrier's proof that 1 John 4 is NOT against Marcionites

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Giuseppe
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Carrier's proof that 1 John 4 is NOT against Marcionites

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:51 pm

Someone has asked to dr. Carrier:

So do 1 john 4 etc serve more as polemic against proto dokētaí rather than mythicists?

Carrier's answer:

Only if we take that verse out of context can we think it might only mean Marcionites (illusionists, who held that Jesus had a fake body, not that he didn’t have one). Its rhetoric then sounds like Tertullian. But in the context of all the other verses, particularly the opening verse of this very same letter, it can’t.

Polemicists often mischaracterize what their enemies teach. That’s the whole point of polemics (e.g. the Christians they are attacking wouldn’t say “cleverly devised myths” but “sacred allegories,” for example). So when “came in the flesh” is here used as a shibboleth to exclude the rival faction, they might just as well mean by this, Jesus visited the apostles in the flesh, which does not happen in mythicism. And this is clear in 1 John 1: they mean when Jesus visited the apostles, to be “seen and handled.” That’s not mythicism.

Apart from possibly Marcionite illusionism this cannot mean what anyone today means by Docetism, as all other Docetist texts agree Jesus came in the flesh in some sense (e.g. inhabitists, who taught God entered into Jesus, still have it enter into a body of flesh; substitutionists, who taught someone was swapped out for Jesus on the cross, still have Jesus getting away in the flesh or escaping it).

But it doesn’t work for illusionism either, as 1 John 1 clarifies they don’t mean that, since their contrived rebuttal is to claim to have seen and touched Jesus—which would not rebut illusionism (and thus Marcionism), which held Jesus’s body could be seen and touched (that’s the whole point of it only seeming to be flesh). Thus, this letter is clearly written against Christians denying even that apostles had witnessed and handled Jesus in any body at all (as opposed to mystical visions).

Note that this confutes the Wells's mythicism, also, since a Jesus never came in the flesh is also a denial of a mythical Jesus considered as came in the flesh (on the earth).

Hence I have any right to accuse Ben of "intellectual dishonesty" about this precise point.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Carrier's proof that 1 John 4 is NOT against Marcionites

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:57 am

CVD

So G. A. Wells is obliged -obliged, I say! - to assume that Docetists were the enemies of 1 John 4:


The opponents of the epistle writer eere clearly not prepared to accept the Pauline view (2 Cor. 5:21) that the heavenly Jesus had assumed a body of flesh ... They were Docetists

(The historical evidence for Jesus, p. 100)

This confirms independently the Carrier's theory that the real enemies of 1 John 4 were not Docetists, but mythicist Christians!
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Carrier's proof that 1 John 4 is NOT against Marcionites

Post by Giuseppe » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:22 am

The Carrier's point above has been made also by W. B. Smith, the genial author of Ecce Deus, but in the following terms:


Exactly such denunciation we find in the admittedly late First and Second Epistles of John. In i John iv, 2, the test is stated : " Hereby know ye the Spirit of God : Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God : and every spirit which confesseth not (or annulleth) Jesus is not of God : and this is the (spirit) of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh ; and now it is in the world already." Similarly 2 John 7 : "For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, (even) they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." Here, then, at that comparatively early date, in the bosom of the Church we find these antichrists, whose offence was not that they denied the Christ, but that they rejected the coming in the flesh as an historical fact.

Of course, we are told universally that this rejection was a new error just introduced into the Church. Certainly, in all such cases, each side must represent its view as the good old truth, the other as a novelty and false. The "antichrists" whom John denounces would almost surely have replied that theirs was the old truth and his the new error. Which was right? We must weigh the probabilities in the case. Observe that John represents a rather lower view of the Jesus Christ than is familiar to us from the early scriptures. The Jesus is presented almost exclusively as the Son, in contradistinction from the Father. Such a Son is, of course, divine, but the naive, unquestioning identification of the Jesus with God is not found. These Johannine epistles nowhere use the term Lord.

It seems impossible to read these epistles without feeling that the position assigned to the Son is distinctly subordinate to that of the Father. Very different is the earlier language of Acts, of the Paulines, of the Apocalypse, of the Synoptics, where the Son-Father relation is indeed expressed, but not so emphasised, and where the Jesus is continually called by the highest designation of Lord.

(p. 137-138, original emphasis)

It seems then that part and parcel of the euhemerization of Jesus are the apparition on the scene of a Jesus described as "Son of Father" ("Bar-Abbas") and totally removed from the Lord, by not being called more as the Lord Jesus.

What is in evidence in the expression 'Son of Father', is the implicit abandonment of the epitet Lord even in anti-marcionite circles (as the Johannine epistles are, at least partially), and, to judge from the Gospel episode about Barabbas, the explicit abandonment of any relation with that Lord, the god of the Jews. Really, contra W. B. Smith, Jesus the Son of Father is not "a rather lower view of the Jesus Christ than is familiar to us from the early scriptures", since he is the same Jesus who said: "I and the Father are one". But it has implied yet the abandonment of the equation with YHWH.

Someway, Jesus the Son of Father is a total late intruder, while the Lord Jesus is the original Jesus.

The synthesis of the two Jesuses, we know what it is:

Jesus called Christ.

Hence, more than a euhemerizing reduction to a "lower view", the expression Son of Father is evidence of a natural opposition against the Lord (YHWH) in the expression "Lord Jesus", before, and then against the Jesus called Christ.

In Hegelian terms:
  • Thesis: the Lord Jesus
  • Antithesis: Jesus the Son of Father ("Bar-Abbas")
  • Synthesis: Jesus called Christ.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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