Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:41 pm

Heracleon did write a Commentary on John. Yes. But was the fact that Origen disputed his exegesis proof that it was authoritative?

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:00 pm

Another difficulty.

1. The Paraclete as a concept only appears in the Gospel of John.
2. Already by 160 CE the terminology was associated with Montanism.
3. Irenaeus does not dispute the Montanist use of Paraclete = a figure heralded by the gospel.
4. Even Marcionism seems to use the terminology.

Therefore - It would seem as if there was no authoritative reading of John EVER. Irenaeus disputes the Valentinian reading of the Prologue. Others dispute the Montanist reading of sections dealing with the Paraclete. Irenaeus is 'the exegete' of the four gospels. But only Mark had an authoritative exegetical tradition at the time Irenaeus was writing.

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:06 pm

Attaching Matthew to a bunch of simpletons (the Ebionites using admittedly Origen's definition of the terminology) effectively reinforces there was no authoritative exegetical tradition. Even Papias is identified as an idiot by Eusebius! So let's think about the Antitheses. It exists in Marcion's gospel and in the alleged 'Jewish gospel' of Matthew. It's mere presence in Matthew refutes (allegedly) the Marcionite understanding of two gods - one for the Law and the other for the gospel. But there is no exegesis mentioned anywhere other than the Marcionites are wrong.

Basically the orthodox position against the Marcionites was very subtle:

1. Matthew was first. Remember the original reading of Galatians 2 is that Paul writes another gospel brings it to the Jerusalem pillars AND THEY ALREADY HAVE A GOSPEL and they compare Paul's to theirs and give the thumbs up.
2. Matthew was written by and for simpletons. Peter is simple-minded in the gospel and simple-minded in Galatians. The Ebionites are poor of understanding.
3. the Marcionites weren't simpletons. They develop arguments and exegesis. There is no parallel exegetical tradition with respect to Matthew. No tradition. Nothing.
4. because the Marcionites stole the gospel from simpletons whatever arguments they come up with to contextualize the Antitheses within two powers theology is wrong because simpletons wouldn't have argued that. Remember Galatians is read as a parallel to the development of the Marcionite gospel which Irenaeus says was fraudulent. In other words, Galatians 2 says X. X has nothing to do with the Marcionite gospel. That's the position of Irenaeus/Tertullian. Marcion allegedly 'read' Galatians and 'got the idea' for a gospel. Yes Paul wrote a gospel but this isn't the gospel of Marcion. Marcion got a hold of the four gospels and falsified Luke more. But there is no actual relation according to Irenaeus/Tertullian between Paul's written gospel and Marcion's.
5. the Antitheses were established only to further a simple(tons) understanding of Christianity

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Achamoth » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:38 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:00 pm
Another difficulty.

1. The Paraclete as a concept only appears in the Gospel of John.
2. Already by 160 CE the terminology was associated with Montanism.
3. Irenaeus does not dispute the Montanist use of Paraclete = a figure heralded by the gospel.
4. Even Marcionism seems to use the terminology.

Therefore - It would seem as if there was no authoritative reading of John EVER. Irenaeus disputes the Valentinian reading of the Prologue. Others dispute the Montanist reading of sections dealing with the Paraclete. Irenaeus is 'the exegete' of the four gospels. But only Mark had an authoritative exegetical tradition at the time Irenaeus was writing.
When does Marcion refer to the Paraclete?

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:54 pm

Origen Homilies on Luke 25 I think.

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:55 pm

I'm good at something - remembering obscure Patristic passages at least https://books.google.com/books?id=GcXa_ ... on&f=false

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:58 pm

Discussions of the passage https://books.google.com/books?id=JSEqA ... AHoECAAQAg von Harnack acknowledging that John was used by some Marcionites https://books.google.com/books?id=gAZLA ... te&f=false Burgess https://books.google.com/books?id=s8bYA ... AXoECAAQAg Swete https://books.google.com/books?id=E4MxA ... te&f=false not Marcionites but another sect https://books.google.com/books?id=_Vh14 ... te&f=false

Ignored passage in Tertullian "What a turncoat is [Marcion's] Christ! Now the destroyer, now the advocate of the prophets He destroyed them as their rival, by converting their disciples; he took up their cause as their friend, by stigmatizing their persecutors." Both Mani and Muhammad identify themselves as 'the Paraclete of the prophets.' We don't know about Montanus but it follows also as his movement was the New Prophesy. Some of Tertullian's other arguments against Marcion don't make sense otherwise.
So neither need marriage and its obligations be held in contempt just because, when unrestrained and uninhibited, it blazes out into wantonness. There is a wide difference between purpose and misuse, between moderation and excess. And so here, it is not God's ordinance which calls for disapproval, but man's deviation from it. For so the rule was laid down by him who established the ordinance, who said not only, Increase and multiply, but also, Thou shall not commit adultery, and, Thou shah not desire thy neighbour's wife, while he punishes with death both sacrilegious incest and the portentous madness of lust against male persons and cattle. And if now there is a limitation imposed upon intercourse—a limitation which, on the authority of the Paraclete, is justified among us by that spiritual reckoning which permits only one marriage while in the faith—the setting of a limit will be within the competence of the same God who had of old time dispensed with limits. The same will gather who has scattered abroad, the same will cut down the undergrowth who has planted it, the same will reap the harvest who has sown it: the same can say, It remaineth that those also who have wives should be as though they had not, who formerly said, Increase and multiply: his the end, whose also was the beginning. Yet the undergrowth is not cleared because of any complaint against it, nor is the harvest reaped for condemnation, but because it serves its time. (1.29)
Tertullian reveals that the Paraclete has the authority to write new rules. This justification must also have been understood by the Marcionites to pertain to their advocate Apostle. Lieu:
Similarly, when he himself defends the ‘control of sexual intercourse’ imposed by the restriction to a single marriage – namely, the denial of remarriage after the death of one partner – which on the surface no less appeared a contradiction of the Creator’s summons to ‘increase and multiply’ (Gen. 1.28), he has to appeal to a higher authority, ‘the spiritual reasoning on the authority of the Paraclete’ (AM I. 29.4). The irony is that there were others who levelled against the ‘new’ manifestations of the Paraclete precisely the same objections against their novelty and lack of ecclesial heritage that Tertullian lays against Marcion (Eusebius, HE V. 16–19). p 84
The answer is clearly that the Montanists and the Marcionites took advantage of a parallel mechanism within Christian messianism. Lieu notes:
Defending the insights of the ‘New Prophecy’, perhaps contemporaneously with his polemic against Marcion, he [Tertullian] even traced a progression in justice, from the nursery stage of nature, to the Law and prophets in infancy, to the Gospel in youth, and finally to the Paraclete in maturity (De Virg.Vel. 1.10). p. 404
And again:
Earlier, in polemic against Hermogenes, he described 'the Gospel’ as the supplement to the ‘old instrumentum’ or even to Scripture (De Orat. 1.1; Adv.Herm. 20.4; 22.3). He also contrasts the newness of the Gospel with what is old (De Corona 11.1; De Pudic. 12.1). Tertullian’s scheme of a progression in justice, from the nursery stage of nature, to the law and prophets in infancy, to the Gospel in youth, and finally to the Paraclete in maturity, evidently reflects the convictions of what is often called his Montanist stage (De Virg. Vel. 1.10); but the underlying principle that the Law represents one element or stage in a structure whose consistent focus is ‘discipline’ is basic to his own thought.
There are signs that the Marcionites had a similar conception especially when it is argued that Marcion restored - apparently 'through the spirit' - the gospel corrupted by the orthodox. Ezra accomplishes the same feat with respect to the Torah:
Tertullian’s counter-argument is that, by claiming to restore that which had supposedly been ‘falsified’, Marcion in effect admits the priority of the latter. Both sides are playing the same game in which the original is by definition superior. Other models of negotiating authenticity and the
possibility of innovation would have been available: In a different context Tertullian himself allows that the Paraclete provides a progression beyond the Gospel and Christ when he acknowledges that there are ambiguities in Scripture; he even describes the activity of the new outpouring of the Paraclete as ‘purging’ the darkness of these (Tertullian, De Res. 63).
The language Tertullian uses to describe Marcion appearing 'many years' after Jesus to restore the gospel but 'heralded by Jesus' in the gospel as appearing in a future age, is rooted in the Johannine Paraclete tradition:
As corrector (Emendator) apparently of a gospel which from the times of Tiberius to those of Antoninus had suffered subversion, Marcion comes to light, first and alone, after Christ had waited for him all that time, repenting of having been in a hurry to send forth apostles without Marcion to protect them (sine praesidio Marcionis). And yet heresy, which is always in this manner correcting the gospels, and so corrupting them, is the effect of human temerity, not of divine authority: for even if Marcion were a disciple, he is not above his master: and if Marcion were an apostle, Whether it were I, says Paul, or they, so we preach:a and if Marcion were a prophet, even the spirits of the prophets have to be subject to the prophets (et spiritus prophetarum prophetis erunt subditi) for they are not <prophets> of subversion but of peace: even if Marcion were an angel, he is more likely to be called anathema than gospel-maker, seeing he has preached a different gospel. (4.4)
The idea of Marcion appearing in the second century filled with the 'spirit of the prophets' correcting texts and doctrine of previous Christianity sounds remarkably similar to the figure of Montanus. A point not lost on Lieu.

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:42 pm

The situation is like this. In Genesis God blesses the union of man and woman. Jews and Samaritans got married and cited this verse. The Marcionites came along and said 'no more marriage for ecclesiastical figures.' Tertullian disagrees with the Marcionites exegesis of Genesis (whatever it was). But in so doing acknowledges that the Paraclete has the authority to transform the original understanding of divinely sanctioned marriage. The Marcionites understood - apparently - that the Paraclete (= Paul) determined that sexual intercourse is sin. Tertullian for his part portrays marriage as tolerable adultery. But the Montanist and the Marcionite are very close to one another, closer than usually acknowledged. On the 'Paraclete Paul' look throughout Hegemonius https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0616.htm written in the Marcionite stronghold of Harran, Osroene and surrounding area.

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Re: Top Ten Early Christian Questions

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:02 pm

Various notes on the subject:
The apostle Paul warns against inordinate and irrational love when he says of himself, "I fear that someone might have an opinion of me above what he sees or hears from me, and that the greatness of the revelations might exalt me," and so on. (2 Cor 12:6-7) Paul feared that even he might fall into this error. So he was unwilling to state everything about himself that he knew. He wanted no one to think more of him than he saw or, going beyond the limits of honor, to say what had been said about john, that "he was the Christ." Some people said this even about Dositheus, the heresiarch of the Samaritans; others said it also about judas the Galilean. Finally, some people burst forth into such great audacity of love that they invented new and unheard of exaggerations about Paul. For, some say this, that the passage in Scripture that speaks of "sitting at the Savior's right and left" (Mk 10:38) applies to Paul and Marcion: Paul sits at his right hand and Marcion at his left. Others read the passage, "I shall send you an advocate, the Spirit of Truth," (Jn 14:16) and are unwilling to understand a third person besides the Father and the Son, a divine and exalted nature. They take it to mean the apostle Paul. Do not all of these seem to you to have loved more than is fitting and, while they admired the virtue of each, to have lost moderation in love?" [Origen, Homilies on Luke 23]
The 'others' are IMHO clearly 'other Marcionites,' i.e. other than the 'official' claim that they only used Luke which is confirmed by the Acts of Archelaus where the bishop of Harran, Archelaus (the man who serves 'Marcion' viz Marcellus) repeatedly declares:
for our Lord Jesus Christ says of this Paraclete, He shall receive of mine. Him therefore He selected as an acceptable vessel; and He sent this Paul to us [AA 34]

the Paraclete, could not come into any other, but could only come upon ... the sainted Paul. For he is a chosen vessel, He says, unto me, to bear my name before kings and the Gentiles. The apostle himself, too, states the same thing in his first epistle, where he says: According to the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. And again: For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not wrought by me by word and deed. I am the last of all the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle. But by the grace of God I am what I am. And it, is his wish to have to deal with those who sought the proof of that Christ who spoke in him, for this reason, that the Paraclete was in him: and as having obtained His gift of grace, and as being enriched with magnificent, honour, he says: For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you; for strength is made perfect in weakness. Again, that it was the Paraclete Himself who was in Paul, is indicated by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel, when He says: If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray my Father, and He shall give you another Comforter. In these words He points to the Paraclete Himself, for He speaks of another Comforter. And hence we have given credit to Paul, and have hearkened to him when he says, Or do you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me? and when he expresses himself in similar terms, of which we have already spoken above. [AA 35]
So then Christ, our most patient Lord, has through all these years borne with a perversion of the preaching about himself, until, if you please, Marcion should come to his rescue. [Tertullian Adv Marc 1.20]

As corrector apparently of a gospel which from the times of Tiberius to those of Antoninus had suffered subversion, Marcion comes to light, first and alone, after Christ had waited for him all that time, repenting of having been in a hurry to send forth apostles without Marcion to protect them. [Adv Marc 4.4]
"the type of the Paraclete, Paul became the Apostle of the Resurrection" (ho Paulos anastaseōs Apostolos gegonen) [Theodotos 23]
Mani clearly grew out of the Marcionite interpretation (for he claims he is the Paraclete in the text. So too Muhammad for they all used the same 'Diatessaronic' gospel text which identified the Paraclete as a person rather than the Holy Spirit. One must also suspect that pre-canonical Montanists similarly used a Diatessaronic gospel with this understanding.

"Certain followers of Marcion identified the 'other Paraclete' of Jo. 14,16 with St. Paul; cf. H.B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church (London, 1912), 65-66 Certain followers of Marcion identified the 'other Paraclete' of Jo. 14,16 with St. Paul; cf. H.B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church (London, 1912), 65-66 In his Homilies on Luke 25,5, after discussing the Marcionite exaltation of Paul, Origen says that "Others read the passage, 'I shall send you an advocate, the Spirit of Truth' [Jn 14,16-17] and... they take it to mean the apostle Paul" (trans. J. Lienhard, Origen) [Rosenstiel the Apocalypse of Paul p. 151]

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