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On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Stephan Huller » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:27 pm

I notice no reaction to the existence of a pagan witness to the Gnostics dated to the third century. Mon Dieu, que la vie est bête ...
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Leucius Charinus » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:30 pm

Stephan Huller wrote:Evidence? .... there is this - Plotinus's Against the Gnostics:

http://thriceholy.net/Texts/Plotinus5.html

Plotinus clearly lived in the third century. His manuscripts testify to his knowledge of gnostic sects. There is no way to make this go away.



Did Plotinus write "Against the Gnostics"?

The Ninth Tractate of the Second Ennead by Plotinus is often generally quoted and cited with the description "Against the Gnostics"

The actual title of this tractate is: AGAINST THOSE THAT AFFIRM THE CREATOR OF THE KOSMOS AND THE KOSMOS ITSELF TO BE EVIL.

Nice try - thanks - but no cigar.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby theomise » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:36 pm

Have any unquestionably Christian artifacts (papyri, whatever) actually been carbon-dated to a date range such that at least half the estimated temporal interval antecedes 325AD?

If so, I'd love to see a list.
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Leucius Charinus » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:51 pm

theomise wrote:Have any unquestionably Christian artifacts (papyri, whatever) actually been carbon-dated to a date range such that at least half the estimated temporal interval antecedes 325AD?

If so, I'd love to see a list.


There are only 2 C14 dating tests that I know of in this category - ie: Christian manuscripts.

C14 tests have been conducted on Islamic, Buddhist, Manichaean and Hebrew manuscripts but Christian manuscripts have so far largely escaped this scientific approach.





(1) GOSPEL OF JUDAS


Codex Tchacos, containing the "Gospel of Judas", is one of the Four Qarara Codices. This Tchacos Codex is an ancient Egyptian Coptic papyrus containing four Gnostic texts, and in 2005 samples from it were subjected to radiocarbon dating analysis tests at the University of Arizona, with the result as published in consultation with National Geographic, as 280 CE plus or minus 60 years.

However there are certain "problems" ....

1) the final report for the UA C14 test has not yet been published.
2) one loose fragment tested with the result of 333 CE was discarded.
3) See the preliminary report of Peter Head (below)



(2) AN ETHIOPIAN BIBLE

Recently C14 dated to the late 4th or 5th century?

ADDENDUM

THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS AND THE QARARA CODICES SOME PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS
Peter M. Head, Tyndale Bulletin 58.1 (2007) 1-23.

Dating via C14 The reported results of a carbon 14 analysis of five samples taken from the manuscript and its binding, both the leather and the papyrus used interior to the binding (although the details of this analysis have not yet been published and the report, as we shall see, contains some problems Krosney, 2006: 269-74):[44]

◾Papyrus from interior of leather cover: AD 209 +/- 58 years;
◾Loose papyrus from fragments associated with codex: AD 333 +/- 48 years;
◾Leather with attached papyrus from binding: AD 223 +/- 51 years;
◾Papyrus from page 9: AD 279 +/- 50 years;
◾ Papyrus from page 33: AD 279 +/- 47 years.


Krosney reports that the anomalous loose fragment, which registered a much later date than the others, was therefore discounted since it ‘was apparently not part of the manuscript’.[45] Combining the four other samples suggested a 95% statistical probability that the codex was created between 220 and 340 AD, with a statistical mean of 280 AD. This, Krosney clearly implies, is more authoritative than the previous estimates based on paleographical analysis.
[44] Krosney, The Lost Gospel: 269-74. The analysis is attributed to Tim Jull, director of the NSF-Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Facility in the University of Arizona, Tucson.
[45] Krosney, The Lost Gospel: 274.
Last edited by Leucius Charinus on Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Stephan Huller » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:57 pm

Of course when all else fails just post complete nonsense and things quoted out of context. You said 'Nice try' when I referred to Plotinus. But no one - I mean no one - doubts that Plotinus wrote the Enneads.

The Six Enneads, sometimes abbreviated to The Enneads or Enneads (Greek: Ἐννεάδες), is the collection of writings of Plotinus, edited and compiled by his student Porphyry (c. 270 AD).


Here is what Wikipedia lists as the division of the various books:

The First Ennead[edit]
I.1 [53] - "What is the Living Being and What is Man?"
I.2 [19] - "On Virtue"
I.3 [20] - "On Dialectic [The Upward Way]."
I.4 [46] - "On True Happiness (Well Being)"
I.5 [36] - "On Whether Happiness (Well Being) Increases with Time."
I.6 [1] - "On Beauty"
I.7 [54] - "On the Primal Good and Secondary Forms of Good [Otherwise, 'On Happiness']"
I.8 [51] - "On the Nature and Source of Evil"
I.9 [16] - "On Dismissal"

The Second Ennead[edit]
II.1 [40] - "On Heaven"
II.2 [14] - "On the Movement of Heaven"
II.3 [52] - "Whether the Stars are Causes"
II.4 [12] - "On Matter"
II.5 [25] - "On Potentiality and Actuality."
II.6 [17] - "On Quality or on Substance"
II.7 [37] - "On Complete Transfusion"
II.8 [35] - "On Sight or on how Distant Objects Appear Small."
II.9 [33] - "Against Those That Affirm The Creator of the Kosmos and The Kosmos Itself to be Evil: [Generally Quoted as "Against the Gnostics"].

The Third Ennead[edit]
III.1 [3] - "On Fate"
III.2 [47] - "On Providence (1)."
III.3 [48] - "On Providence (2)."
III.4 [15] - "On our Allotted Guardian Spirit"
III.5 [50] - "On Love"
III.6 [26] - "On the Impassivity of the Unembodied"
III.7 [45] - "On Eternity and Time"
III.8 [30] - "On Nature, Contemplation and the One"
III.9 [13] - "Detached Considerations"

The Fourth Ennead[edit]
IV.1 [21] - "On the Essence of the Soul (2)"
IV.2 [4] - "On the Essence of the Soul (1)"
IV.3 [27] - "On Problems of the Soul (1)"
IV.4 [28] - "On Problems of the Soul (2)"
IV.5 [29] - "On Problems of the Soul (3)” [Also known as, "On Sight"].
IV.6 [41] - "On Sense-Perception and Memory"
IV.7 [2] - "On the Immortality of the Soul"
IV.8 [6] - "On the Soul's Descent into Body"
IV.9 [8] - "Are All Souls One"

The Fifth Ennead[edit]
V.1 [10] - "On the Three Primary Hypostases"
V.2 [11] - "On the Origin and Order of the Beings following after the First"
V.3 [49] - "On the Knowing Hypostases and That Which is Beyond"
V.4 [7] - "How That Which is After the First comes from the First, and on the One."
V.5 [32] - "That the Intellectual Beings are not Outside the Intellect, and on the Good"
V.6 [24] - "On the Fact that That Which is Beyond Being Does not Think, and on What is the Primary and the Secondary Thinking Principle"
V.7 [18] - "On whether There are Ideas of Particular Beings"
V.8 [31] - "On the Intelligible Beauty."
V.9 [5] - "On Intellect, the Forms, and Being"

The Sixth Ennead[edit]
VI.1 [42] - "On the Kinds of Being (1)"
VI.2 [43] - "On the Kinds of Being (2)"
VI.3 [44] - "On the Kinds of Being (3)"
VI.4 [22] - "On the Presence of Being, One and the Same, Everywhere as a Whole (1)"
VI.5 [23] - "On the Presence of Being, One and the Same, Everywhere as a Whole (2)"
VI.6 [34] - "On Numbers"
VI.7 [38] - "How the Multiplicity of Forms Came Into Being: and on the Good"
VI.8 [39] - "On Free Will and the Will of the One"
VI.9 [9] - "On the Good, or the One"



So when faced with clear evidence that a pagan witnessed the existence of gnostics in the third century is to claim some conspiracy 'invented' the piece of evidence which contradicts your stupid theory. Do you realize how childish this is? Even my son admits he makes mistakes. You can't or won't. But here is why your attempt is so pathetic. Haven't you ever wondered why Porphyry named the edited manuscript 'the Enneads' when an ennead was an Egyptian term which denoted 'a group of nine'? At first glance it seems strange that he would call a six volume work an 'ennead.' But then look at the content of each book. Plotinus' works systematically, combining the individual treatise to form the Enneads, a collection of six groups of nine treatises each. Don't you see? Someone couldn't have just 'added' an extra treatise that wasn't from Plotinus (another idiotic and ultimately desperate argument on your part) because there had to have been nine treatise in each book. You're so fucking stupid.
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Stephan Huller » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:02 am

And look what appears in the same Wikipedia article. Discussing the aforementioned list just cited of the various treatises we read:

The numbers in square brackets before the individual works refer to the chronological order they were written according to Porphyry's Life of Plotinus.


In other words, it isn't that we happen to have a manuscript which could have been compiled at any time. We know the Enneads was established in its current form by Plotinus. So we have (a) an original manuscript which had one ordering and then we have (b) Porphyry's explicit testimony that "Against Those That Affirm The Creator of the Kosmos and The Kosmos Itself to be Evil" existed in one place in Plotinus's original manuscript and then he put it ninth in the second book of the six volume Enneads. The point is clearly that we have in fact two attestations to Plotinus's original testimony - Plotinus's and Porphyry's. Now I don't know (nor do I care) how you deal with Porphyry's anti-Christian testimony. But it certainly testifies to the existence of Christians before Nicaea. I am equally certain that you will go to great lengths to disprove this universally acknowledged testimony but no one will be convinced by it except for your lap dog Tanya or whatever name he/she/it goes by now.
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Leucius Charinus » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:10 am

The original term gnostic is often derived from Plato and we can expect Plotinus to follow Plato.

One question is whether the chapter heading is referring to the "supposed Christian Gnostic authors" or to what the Platonists refer to as "gnostics".

You'd have to be a devout blinkered Christian to think the former.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby theomise » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:29 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:
theomise wrote:Have any unquestionably Christian artifacts (papyri, whatever) actually been carbon-dated to a date range such that at least half the estimated temporal interval antecedes 325AD?

If so, I'd love to see a list.


There are only 2 C14 dating tests that I know of in this category - ie: Christian manuscripts.

C14 tests have been conducted on Islamic, Buddhist, Manichaean and Hebrew manuscripts but Christian manuscripts have so far largely escaped this scientific approach.





(1) GOSPEL OF JUDAS


Codex Tchacos, containing the "Gospel of Judas", is one of the Four Qarara Codices. This Tchacos Codex is an ancient Egyptian Coptic papyrus containing four Gnostic texts, and in 2005 samples from it were subjected to radiocarbon dating analysis tests at the University of Arizona, with the result as published in consultation with National Geographic, as 280 CE plus or minus 60 years.

However there are certain "problems" ....

1) the final report for the UA C14 test has not yet been published.
2) one loose fragment tested with the result of 333 CE was discarded.
3) See the preliminary report of Peter Head (below)



(2) AN ETHIOPIAN BIBLE

Recently C14 dated to the late 4th or 5th century?

ADDENDUM

THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS AND THE QARARA CODICES SOME PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS
Peter M. Head, Tyndale Bulletin 58.1 (2007) 1-23.

Dating via C14 The reported results of a carbon 14 analysis of five samples taken from the manuscript and its binding, both the leather and the papyrus used interior to the binding (although the details of this analysis have not yet been published and the report, as we shall see, contains some problems Krosney, 2006: 269-74):[44]

◾Papyrus from interior of leather cover: AD 209 +/- 58 years;
◾Loose papyrus from fragments associated with codex: AD 333 +/- 48 years;
◾Leather with attached papyrus from binding: AD 223 +/- 51 years;
◾Papyrus from page 9: AD 279 +/- 50 years;
◾ Papyrus from page 33: AD 279 +/- 47 years.


Krosney reports that the anomalous loose fragment, which registered a much later date than the others, was therefore discounted since it ‘was apparently not part of the manuscript’.[45] Combining the four other samples suggested a 95% statistical probability that the codex was created between 220 and 340 AD, with a statistical mean of 280 AD. This, Krosney clearly implies, is more authoritative than the previous estimates based on paleographical analysis.
[44] Krosney, The Lost Gospel: 269-74. The analysis is attributed to Tim Jull, director of the NSF-Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Facility in the University of Arizona, Tucson.
[45] Krosney, The Lost Gospel: 274.

Interesting, thanks for that.... :scratch:

But how, precisely, do we know any of that empirically?

From: http://www.livescience.com/28506-gospel ... icity.html :

What's more, the Louvre study found that the metal-based inks from this time period contained little sulfur, just like the ink on the Gospel of Judas. The discovery gave the researchers the confidence to declare the document consistent with a date of approximately A.D. 280. (Barabe and his colleagues caution that this finding doesn't prove beyond doubt that the document is authentic, but rather that there are no red flags proving it's a forgery.)


Sure, but is there any actual physical evidence of a circa A.D. 280 origin to this GoJ manuscript, or are we still operating in the realm of speculative sci-fi palaeography?
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby Leucius Charinus » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:29 am

theomise wrote:
Interesting, thanks for that.... :scratch:

But how, precisely, do we know any of that empirically?


what, precisely, do you mean by this question? C14 dating dates the carbon isotope ratios in the papyrus when it was harvested (excluding contaminants).
C14 dating as another dating methodology and gauge for chronology IMO should be seen as an advance of knowledge.
Otherwise I don't precisely understand your question.


From: http://www.livescience.com/28506-gospel ... icity.html :

What's more, the Louvre study found that the metal-based inks from this time period contained little sulfur, just like the ink on the Gospel of Judas. The discovery gave the researchers the confidence to declare the document consistent with a date of approximately A.D. 280. (Barabe and his colleagues caution that this finding doesn't prove beyond doubt that the document is authentic, but rather that there are no red flags proving it's a forgery.)


Sure, but is there any actual physical evidence of a circa A.D. 280 origin to this GoJ manuscript, or are we still operating in the realm of speculative sci-fi palaeography?



The evidence consists of a part of a physical ancient codex.

Image

The image is of the Nag Hammadi codices dated mid 4th century, extremely similar to the Codex Tchacos containing the wonderful Gospel of Judas.

So unlike the palaeography, the C14 test IMO provides scientific evidence that the Gospel of Judas was written in Coptic on codex papyrus harvested between 220 and 340 CE.

The original GJudas would have been earlier and written in Greek. The hypothesis is that the widespread publication of the Greek and then-canonical bible under Constantine (along with its status as a holy writ for the New Roman State Religion), precipitated a mass of Greek literature especially from the Alexandrians. It is being conjectured that this literature is today in front of us as the "Gnostic Gospels and Acts".

Because it was the death penalty to preserve such Greek works, attempts at preservation were made with Coptic and Syriac manuscripts.


I may not have understood your question.
Last edited by Leucius Charinus on Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:48 am, edited 5 times in total.
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]
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Re: On dating the Gnostic literature after 325 CE

Postby bcedaifu » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:31 am

The Berlin Codex 8502, representing the Apocryphon of John, widely cited as the single most significant bit of Gnostic literature, was written, in Coptic, in the 4th Century, or later. It is, along with the other three copies of the same text, unearthed in the Nag Hammadi excavation, (also from the 4th century or later), our most complete ancient text representing Gnostic influence on Christianity.
Peter Kirby wrote:It might even be an interesting exercise to start from this time period and work backwards on a more sure footing, discarding what doesn't come up with actual evidence.


I repeat Pete's question.

Who can offer a link to any document, older than these ancient texts?
bcedaifu, describing the “discovery” of a fragment of ancient Greek text at Dura Europos in 1936, wrote:This papyrus scrap had been "found", conveniently, by a workman, in a bucket of dirt ...


Stephan Huller wrote: We've gone over and over and over this over. No one but the terminally demented sees this discovery as anything other than the final proof (as if it was needed) that Pete's theory is unworkable. If you won't accept the irrefutability of the testimony there's nothing more to say.


I deny that anyone has commented on the points offered by me, in exposing the absurd fraud that the “oldest house church” had been discovered at Dura Europos.

The lead excavator, at the site on the bluff above the Western bank of the Euphrates river, Clark Hopkins, stated in black and white:

a. the scrap had appeared on the surface of a bucket of dirt taken from a location exterior to the excavation of the buried Roman fort proper, i.e. not in the immediate vicinity of the building, called, “house-church”;

b. that particular fragment of parchment miraculously survived, whereas thousands of other documents, exposed by Clark Hopkins, disintegrated before his eyes;

c. only that one bucket of dirt was examined, no other, and no explanation offered as to why no other bucket had been searched for other scraps of papyrus.

d. possession of that scrap of papyrus had been viewed by him and others, as essential to drawing a conclusion regarding the dwelling as a Christian edifice, with the “Baptistery” in particular, being discounted as a Jewish mikveh, notwithstanding the proximity of the dwelling to the Synagogue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikveh#Req ... f_a_mikveh

e. the initial interpretation of the Greek text, as representing a partial extract taken from Tatian's Diatessaron, has been discarded. At present, the original source of the text is unknown.

In my opinion, focus on controversy relating to this topic is not evidence of “terminal dementia”.

I propose, in harmony with Pete, and in part due to his expose, and skill, in offering challenging alternative explanations for the origin of Christianity:

1. Dura Europos had been excavated, as a former Roman Fortress, by several groups, especially the Roman legion of Emperor Julian, 363 CE, en route to Ctesiphon, one of the capital cities of the Sassanian empire, whose troops had leveled Dura Europos, one century earlier. Those troops of Julian would have felt obliged to pay hommage to their fallen comrades, during the five day interregnum while the Emperor paid tribute to the former Roman Emperor, Gordian III, who had died at the hands of the Sassanids, just two decades before Julian had assumed power. Other groups and individuals also passed by the ruins, including silk route merchants, Tamerlane's lieutenants en route to the rout of the Syrians in Aleppo and Damascus, and, earlier, crusaders from a dozen different European expeditions, who had included, among their other atrocities, the sack of Constantinople.

2. Following the destruction of the Roman outpost, the Sassanid troops excavated the entire site, looking for treasure, gold, and silver.

3. Desert winds, not humans, filled the “house-church” with soil, dirt that was then excavated by the French and USA team of archaeologists, a thousand years later. The amateurish wall paintings on the “house-church” walls, dated from well after the debut of the fourth century CE, not the middle of the third century, as has been so often argued by apologists.
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