Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

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Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:16 am

https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/202 ... omanteion/

I wonder what relevance this discovery has on what Irenaeus says:
Learn then, ye foolish men, that Jesus who suffered for us, and who dwelt among us, is Himself the Word of God. For if any other of the AEons had become flesh for our salvation, it would have been probable that the apostle spoke of another. But if the Word of the Father who descended is the same also that ascended, He, namely, the Only-begotten Son of the only God, who, according to the good pleasure of the Father, became flesh for the sake of men, the apostle certainly does not speak regarding any other, or concerning any Ogdoad, but respecting our Lord Jesus Christ. For, according to them, the Word did not originally become flesh. For they maintain that the Saviour assumed an animal body, formed in accordance with a special dispensation by an unspeakable providence, so as to become visible and palpable. But flesh is that which was of old formed for Adam by God out of the dust, and it is this that John has declared the Word of God became. Thus is their primary and first-begotten Ogdoad brought to nought. For, since Logos, and Monogenes, and Zoe, and Phos, and Sorer, and Christus, and the Son of God, and He who became incarnate for us, have been proved to be one and the same, the Ogdoad which they have built up at once falls to pieces. And when this is destroyed, their whole system sinks into ruin,--a system which they falsely dream into existence, and thus inflict injury on the Scriptures, while they build up their own hypothesis.

4. Then, again, collecting a set of expressions and names scattered here and there [in Scripture], they twist them, as we have already said, from a natural to a non-natural sense. In so doing, they act like those who bring forward any kind of hypothesis they fancy, and then endeavour to support(1) them out of the poems of Homer, so that the ignorant imagine that Homer actually composed the verses bearing upon that hypothesis, which has, in fact, been but newly constructed; and many others are led so far by the regularly-formed sequence of the verses, as to doubt whether Homer may not have composed them. Of this kind(2) is the following passage, where one, describing Hercules as having been sent by Eurystheus to the dog in the infernal regions, does so by means of these Homeric verses,-- for there can be no objection to our citing these by way of illustration, since the same sort of attempt appears in both:--

"Thus saying, there sent forth from his house deeply groaning."-- Od., x. 76. "The hero Hercules conversant with mighty deeds."--Od., xxi. 26. Eurystheus, the son of Sthenelus, descended from Perseus."--Il., xix. 123. "That he might bring from Erebus the dog of gloomy Pluto."--Il., viii. 368. "And he advanced like a mountain-bred lion confident of strength."--Od., vi. 130. "Rapidly through the city, while all his friends followed."--Il., xxiv. 327. "Both maidens, and youths, and much-enduring old men."--Od., xi. 38. "Mourning for him bitterly as one going forward to death."--Il., xxiv. 328. "But Mercury and the blue-eyed Minerva conducted him."--Od., xi. 626. "For she knew the mind of her brother, how it laboured with grief."--Il., ii. 409.

Now, what simple-minded man, I ask, would not be led away by such verses as these to think that Homer actually framed them so with reference to the subject indicated? But he who is acquainted with the Homeric writings will recognise the verses indeed, but not the subject to which they are applied, as knowing that some of them were spoken of Ulysses, others of Hercules himself, others still of Priam, and others again of Menelaus and Agamemnon. But if he takes them and restores each of them to its proper position, he at once destroys the narrative in question. In like manner he also who retains unchangeable(3) in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognise the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of the king. But when he has restored every one of the expressions quoted to its proper position, and has fitted it to the body of the truth, he will lay bare, and prove to be without any foundation, the figment of these heretics.
Were Homercentoes understood to be used as magical incantations?

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by andrewcriddle » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:19 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:16 am


Were Homercentoes understood to be used as magical incantations?
Yes
See for example
https://classicsblogging.wordpress.com/ ... and-homer/

Andrew Criddle

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:52 am

You are such a treasure. Truly. So let me unpack this one step at a time if you don't mind.

1. I knew about the Africanus connection to 'expanded' Homeric material. Is this the bit I remember reading that Africanus added to a section from Homer and included in his library which was, I think, in Rome?
2. What are the implications on the story in Against Heresies 1 - in a section of text which wasn't picked up by Tertullian Against the Valentinians? Irenaeus says:
a. the Valentinians use the names that appear in Johannine prologue to connect with the aeons of their system AND THAT is like those who construct cento poems.
b. Tertullian mentions the heretics make cento poems.
c. Africanus a Christian closely aligned with orthodoxy (so much so Origen has to defend himself and his lack of knowledge of Hebrew and his disuse of the 'standardized' Hebrew scriptures) arranged cento poems for their seeming intended purpose of magical incantations.
3. When Irenaeus criticizes the Valentinians for their aeons he brings forward a cento poem that he seems to have made himself (he doesn't say where it comes from).
a. Irenaeus could make cento poems (at least in theory)
b. Africanus made homerocentoes as magical incantations
c. Irenaeus and Africanus were rough contemporaries (Africanus served in the army on the eastern front at the time of Septimius Severus)
d. both had an interest in magic
e. both took in interest in Church chronology
could Irenaeus and Africanus have been the same person?

There seems to be an underlying relevance to the discussion of Irenaeus given that the reference to homerocentoes isn't really a direct criticism of a practice of the heresies. What I mean is it's not as if Irenaeus directly accuses the heresies of making homerocentoes. The contemporary practice is illustrative of how context matters in the scriptures. The puzzling thing of course is that we can take the example as if Irenaeus is demonstrating that he can make homerocentoes or that he makes homerocentoes and that making homerocentoes is like what the Valentinians do with the prologue of John. In other words, what he does with Homer is okay because Homer isn't sacred. The Valentinians do what Irenaeus does with Homer with the scriptures and that's bad.

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:05 am

Here's the statement in Irenaeus:
then, again, [the Valentinians] collecting a set of expressions and names scattered here and there, twist them, as we have already said, from a natural to a non-natural sense. In so doing, they act like those who bring forward any kind of hypothesis they fancy, and then endeavour to support them out of the poems of Homer, so that the ignorant imagine that Homer actually composed the verses bearing upon that hypothesis, which has, in fact, been but newly constructed.
So the understanding is:

a. the orthodox have the correct ordering of the gospel(s)
b. the heretics have resequenced the gospel for their own purposes making a re-sequenced gospel
c. this is 'like' the bad people who resequence Homer and fool 'the ignorant.'

The 'hypothesis' that Irenaeus is specifically referencing is referenced in the preceding line:
Learn then, ye foolish men, that Jesus who suffered for us, and who dwelt among us, is Himself the Word of God. For if any other of the AEons had become flesh for our salvation, it would have been probable that the apostle spoke of another. But if the Word of the Father who descended is the same also that ascended, He, namely, the Only-begotten Son of the only God, who, according to the good pleasure of the Father, became flesh for the sake of men, the apostle certainly does not speak regarding any other, or concerning any Ogdoad, but respecting our Lord Jesus Christ. For, according to them, the Word did not originally become flesh. For they maintain that the Saviour assumed an animal body, formed in accordance with a special dispensation by an unspeakable providence, so as to become visible and palpable. But flesh is that which was of old formed for Adam by God out of the dust, and it is this that John has declared the Word of God became. Thus is their primary and first-begotten Ogdoad brought to nought. For, since Logos, and Monogenes, and Zoe, and Phos, and Soter, and Christus, and the Son of God, and He who became incarnate for us, have been proved to be one and the same, the Ogdoad which they have built up at once falls to pieces. And when this is destroyed, their whole system sinks into ruin,--a system which they falsely dream into existence, and thus inflict injury on the Scriptures, while they build up their own hypothesis.
So again, the Valentinians are said to act like the homerocento makers not that they make homerocentoes themselves.

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:13 am

One more interesting thing (I hope). While the Valentinians claim that all the names that come up in the prologue of John refer to separate entities Irenaeus does not argue that the names are just descriptions of God or empty statements but descriptions of Jesus:
For, since Logos, and Monogenes, and Zoe, and Phos, and Soter, and Christus, and the Son of God, and He who became incarnate for us, have been proved to be one and the same, the Ogdoad which they have built up at once falls to pieces.
The reason I think this is significant is that while most of us will suppose that when John references 'the word' or 'firstborn' or even 'Savior' or 'Christ' he is referring to Jesus, most of us don't think of 'life' and 'life' to be Jesus or that 'Jesus' is understood to be the supernatural Christ created before the the Creation. There are intellectual difficulties to assuming that one 'thing' is understood to be behind all the supernatural things referenced by John in his prologue.

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:14 am

Does Σωτήρ even come up in the prologue? It does in the Diatessaron where the bit from Luke about 'salvation' is folded into the Johannine prologue but just thinking in my head I can't recall it in the first chapter of John there.

Might be the lynchpin that both Irenaeus and his opponents are using a Diatessaron or gospel harmony.
All the valleys shall become filled, And all the mountains and hills shall become low; And the rough shall become plain, And the difficult place, easy; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. This man came to bear witness, that he might bear witness to the light, that every man might believe through his mediation. He was not the light, bat that he might bear witness to the light, which was the light of truth, that giveth light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. And those who received him, to them gave he the power that they might be sons of God,--those which believe in his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and took up his abode among us; and we saw his glory as the glory of the only Son from the Father, which is full of grace and equity. John bare wit- Arabic, ness of him, and cried, and said, This is he that I said cometh after me and was before me, because he was before me. And of his fulness received we all grace for grace. For the law was given through the mediation of Moses, but truth and grace were through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only Son, God, which is in the bosom of his Father, he hath told of him.
The alternative I guess is that the heretics thought that Jesus = Savior.
Last edited by Secret Alias on Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:20 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:14 am
Does Σωτήρ even come up in the prologue?
No, no Savior in the Johannine prologue.

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:20 am

See above. Maybe they took the name Jesus to be = Savior

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:25 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:20 am
See above. Maybe they took the name Jesus to be = Savior
Could definitely be.

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Re: Roger Pearse Finds a Cento Poem Used as a Magical Incantation

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:27 am

And for this reason they affirm it was that the "Saviour"--for they do not please to call Him "Lord"--did no work in public during the space of thirty years,(1) thus setting forth the mystery of these AEons.
a being of most perfect beauty, the very star of the Pleroma, and the perfect fruit [of it], namely Jesus. Him they also speak of under the name of Saviour, and Christ, and patronymically, Logos, and Everything, because He was formed from the contributions of all.
Such also is the account of the generation of the later AEons, namely of the first Christ and of the Holy Spirit, both of whom were produced by the Father after the repentance(3) [of Sophia], and of the second(4) Christ (whom they also style Saviour), who owed his being to the joint contributions [of the AEons]. They tell us, however, that this knowledge has not been openly divulged, because all are not capable of receiving it, but has been mystically revealed by the Saviour through means of parables to those qualified for understanding it. This has been done as follows. The thirty AEons are indicated (as we have already remarked) by the thirty years during which they say the Saviour performed no public act, and by the parable of the labourers in the vineyard
And, in like manner, they assert that the ten AEons are pointed out by the letter Iota, which begins His name; while, for the same reason, they tell us the Saviour said, "One Iota, or one tittle, shall by no means pass away until all be fulfilled."(11)
The same thing is also most clearly indicated by the case of the woman who suffered from an issue of blood. For after she had been thus afflicted during twelve years, she was healed by the advent of the Saviour, when she had touched the border of His garment; and on this account the Saviour said, "Who touched me?"(12)--teaching his disciples the mystery which had occurred among the AEons
They moreover affirm that the Saviour(15) is shown to be derived from all the AEons, and to be in Himself everything by the following passage: "Every male that openeth the womb."
They then represent the Saviour as having indicated this twofold faculty: first, the sustaining power, when He said, "Whosoever doth not bear his cross (Stauros), and follow after me, cannot be my disciple;"(5) and again, "Taking up the cross follow me;"(6) but the separating power when He said, "I came not to send peace, but a word."

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