Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

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andrewcriddle
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Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:40 am

In the hostile account of Peregrinus Proteus by Lucian, Peregrinus early in his carrer becomes a Christian leader in Palestine is arrested by the governor finally released leaves Christianity and continues on a controversial career before his spectacular suicide in 165 CE.

Although the account is obviously biased against both Christianity and Peregrinus most scholars accept that Peregrinus did at one time profess Christianity and some forum members have suggested that Peregrinus (maybe under another name) may have been a significant figure in the 2nd century church.

Recently I was reading Suffering self : pain the and narrative representation in early Christian era by Judith Perkins. In the chapter on Peregrinus she interprets Lucian as trying to depict Peregrinus as driven throughout his life by a death wish. Insulting the Emperor, seeking to stir up a rebellion in Greece etc. until he finally realises that if he wants to be killed he must do it himself. Lucian sees Christian committal to martyrdom as a collective death wish. Peregrinus becomes a Christian as one of his unsuccessful attempts to get killed. When the governor refuses to assist in his suicide attempt Peregrinus leaves the church.

Given that Lucian's agenda, (satirizing Peregrinus career as a search through all the different ways of the pursuit of death), almost requires Peregrinus to have been for a time a Christian the claim that he was one should be regarded with suspicion. Lucian sees Christianity and Peregrinus as a weird cult and a weird guru made for each other. The claim that Peregrinus actually was for a time a Christian may be too good to be true. Too appropriate to be historically probable.

Andrew Criddle

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stephan happy huller
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by stephan happy huller » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:56 am

Interesting theory but the parallels with Polycarp are just too strong to doubt the identification. Interestingly I have often wondered because of this text and Diognetus and others:

http://earlychristianwritings.com/text/ ... tfoot.html

whether or not the dividing line between Christians and philosophers wasn't as clear cut as we'd like to imagine. Even in Clement of Alexandria, Plato is held in almost as much esteem as Paul.
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by arnoldo » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:32 pm

stephan happy huller wrote:Interesting theory but the parallels with Polycarp are just too strong to doubt the identification. .
Are the parallels based on Pionius, Life of Polycarp by any chance? If so, it may be worthwhile to read the following preface. .

The text is entirely fictional and tells us nothing about Polycarp. Rather it is useful as an indication of what stories might be written and believed in the late 4th century. The account of how a bishop was chosen and consecrated is thus of interest as indicating what practises were in force at that date.

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/pioni ... _intro.htm

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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by Leucius Charinus » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:55 pm

andrewcriddle wrote:In the hostile account of Peregrinus Proteus by Lucian, Peregrinus early in his carrer becomes a Christian leader in Palestine is arrested by the governor finally released leaves Christianity and continues on a controversial career before his spectacular suicide in 165 CE.

Although the account is obviously biased against both Christianity and Peregrinus most scholars accept that Peregrinus did at one time profess Christianity and some forum members have suggested that Peregrinus (maybe under another name) may have been a significant figure in the 2nd century church.
The acceptance of such an hypothesis must be qualified by at least some statements concerning the quality of the manuscript tradition for the genuine books of Lucian and IMHO must include the acknowledgement that a large number of books were being falsely passed off in the 4th century under the name of Lucian. For example see A.M Harmon's Introduction to Lucian of Samosata [Loeb 1913]
A.M. Harmon wrote:
Among the eighty-two pieces that have come down to us under the name of Lucian, there are not a few of which his authorship has been disputed. Certainly spurious are Halcyon, Nero, Philopatris, and Astrology; and to these, it seems to me, the Consonants at Law should be added. Furthermore. Deinostitenes, Gharidemus, Cynic, Love, Octogenarians, Hippias, Ungrammatical Man, Swiftfoot, amid the epigrams are generally considered spurious, and there are several others (Disowned and My Country in particular) which, to say the least, are of doubtful authenticity. There are a hundred and fifty manuscripts of Lucian, more or less, which give us a tradition that is none too good.
It may well be that the attribution to Lucian of the authorship of Peregrinus Proteus has not been disputed (I don't know if this is the case), nevertheless I think that some qualifications should be made in view of the above statement by Harmon.
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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stephan happy huller
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by stephan happy huller » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:12 pm

Are the parallels based on Pionius, Life of Polycarp by any chance? If so, it may be worthwhile to read the following preface.
No. The core ones are the desire to die in fire, a bird coming out of the fire, the association with the posthumous production of letters of Ignatius
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by spin » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:29 am

The Passing of Peregrinus is well established in the canon of Lucian. The intro to it in volume 5 of Harmon's translation makes that eminently clear.
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by Leucius Charinus » Mon Oct 14, 2013 5:40 am

spin wrote:The Passing of Peregrinus is well established in the canon of Lucian. The intro to it in volume 5 of Harmon's translation makes that eminently clear.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=SbV ... AJ&q=canon

Culture and society in Lucian, C. P. Jones, Christopher Prestige Jones
Harvard University Press, 1986 - Literary Criticism - 195 pages
PAGE 170 wrote:
"There will never be agreement on a canon of Lucian's works".
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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arnoldo
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by arnoldo » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:01 am

stephan happy huller wrote:
Are the parallels based on Pionius, Life of Polycarp by any chance? If so, it may be worthwhile to read the following preface.
No. The core ones are the desire to die in fire, a bird coming out of the fire, the association with the posthumous production of letters of Ignatius
So according to the “Polycarp Fiction Postulate”, Polycarp is not against Marcion/Docetism he is one of them!? Thus, allegedly this Marcionite perspective was extant in the original writings concerning Polycarp, however a latter “unseen scribal hand” tried to distance Polycarp from his Marcionite roots. However, this “unseen scribal hand” was unable to edit Lucian of Samosata : The Passing of Peregrinus. Thus, by comparing Lucian's work and the extant writings concerning Polycarp we find the Peregrinus, a.k.a. “The Stranger” and Polycarp (Hebrews 11:13) are one and the same. The parallels are striking, for example, they both wore stinky clothes, both had someone named Herod involved in their death near the times of games (Olympic or otherwise), both died by fire and both had some kind of bird appear upon their death.

The above is a highly condensed non-academic synopsis of the argument which can be viewed in full in the link below;

http://www.radikalkritik.de/Huller_Peregrin.htm

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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by stephan happy huller » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:38 pm

Peregrinus was the term used during the early Roman empire, from 30 BC to 212 AD, to denote a free provincial subject of the Empire who was not a Roman citizen. Peregrini constituted the vast majority of the Empire's inhabitants in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In 212 AD, all free inhabitants of the Empire were granted citizenship by the constitutio Antoniniana, abolishing the status of peregrinus
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Re: Was Peregrinus really a Christian ?

Post by Peter Kirby » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:54 pm

Very good to know. To be a bit pedantic, though, do you have a citation?
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