Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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lsayre
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Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by lsayre » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:51 pm

There is much research that links Paul to Simon Magus.

The Proto-Orthodox claimed that Marcion was a follower of Simon Magus. The Marcionites claim he was a follower of "The Apostle" (I.E., Paul).

The Ebionite letters, Clementine Homilies, and Clementine Recognition's, do not mention Paul, but rather speak of Simon Magus in Paul like terms.

Simon Magus was claimed to sometimes refer to himself as Christ. Paul claimed that he bore upon his body the very marks of Jesus.

Irenaeus went so far as to claim that all heresies trace their lineage to Simon Magus. Yet the same so called heretical sects of Christianity seem to proclaim Paul as their inspirational founder.

Paul in Latin means "small", and in several pseudoepigraphic works Simon is named Simon Atomos (which means small in Greek).

Their noted physical attributes are even claimed to be dead ringers of each other.

Per the book of Acts, Felix (the Roman Procurator of Judaea), and his wife Drusilla frequently sent for Paul to talk to them, but is was Simon Magus who convinced Drusilla to marry Felix. Simon Magus and Paul are therefore both linked to Felix and Drusilla.

Is it possible that the Proto-Orthodox sanitized the letters of Simon Magus (by padding them out, and by editing (redacting) them, and by tossing in additional letters)? Is it possible that in the process they changed Simon's name to Paul so any past link to Simon Magus would be lost?

There are many volumes that one can read on this fascinating subject simply by doing a Google search using the terms "Paul Simon Magus".

Plus there is this particularly good read (a book that is still being written by a former Catholic Priest, but much of it is here):

http://vridar.org/other-authors/roger-p ... istianity/

Diogenes the Cynic
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:23 am

Robert M. Price espouses this theory in The Amazing Colossal Apostle.

There are scholars who think that Simon Magus is a parody of Paul, but Price thinks Paul is a literary rehabilitation of Simon Magus.

There are attractive elements to they hypothesis, but I still would like to know how the name "Saul" fits in. Price speculates that it might be a mashup of Simon and Paul, but I do not find that convincing.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:11 am

Diogenes the Cynic wrote: ... I still would like to know how the name "Saul" fits in.
I think it's a tie to Saul of the OT Book/s of Samuel - Saul the first king (who gave the second King David a hard time, as Saul-Paul is said to have done to Christians).

Diogenes the Cynic
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by Diogenes the Cynic » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:23 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Diogenes the Cynic wrote: ... I still would like to know how the name "Saul" fits in.
I think it's a tie to Saul of the OT Book/s of Samuel - Saul the first king (who gave the second King David a hard time, as Saul-Paul is said to have done to Christians).
There's actually a better parallel than that. King Saul specifically persecuted mediums and sorcerers who exhibited very similar behaviors as to what is alleged to have been engaged in by the Apostles in Acts (the only book in the NT to call Paul "Saul." In LXX 1 Sam 28:3 this is rendered as (King) Saul "putting away" ἐγγαστριμύθους καὶ τοὺς γνώστας - eggastrimuthous and gnostas.

Gnostas literally means "knowers," and refers to fortune-tellers, prophets and the like - people who try to access knowledge by supernatural means. That is also a very suggestive word in a Christian context and even though Acts doesn't use it, I think it possibly does allude to it by way of alluding to 1 Samuel 28 as I will continue to argue.

Eggastrimuthos:
a spirit that controlled someone's voice; at ancient oracles, priests or priestesses would be taken over by a divinity who forced him or her to speak; often, it was thought that the god Apollo controlled prophets' voices.
Where else do we see a God controlling men's voices? At the Pentecost in Acts. It is also stated in the letters of Paul as well the Didache that some kind spirit possession was essential to the original movement (this is really well argued by Stevan Davies in Spirit Possession and the Origins of Christianity). There is also an arguable implication that they were practicing, or may have been accused of practicing necromancy by invoking the power of the spirit of a dead man. Morton Smith wrote extensively about this in Jesus the Magician and he points out that spirits of people who had been murdered or were otherwise seen as "innocent" had more power. Trying to appropriate a spirit was also (according to Smith) sometimes referred to as "raising" that person from the dead. This is something that Jesus is possibly being accused of doing in Mark 6:14. If the Apostles were accused of trying to "raise" and channel Jesus, then that would have been seen as illegal and heretical by Temple authorities, and from the Christ cult's perspective, it would have been natural to compare any harassment or persecution for their activities to parallel King Saul. I think "Saul" could be a designator of a persecutor of mediums. In 1 Samuel, Saul summons the witch of Endor. In the LXX the word translated as "witch" is again, eggastrimuthos.
3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. 4 The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.”

8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” 9 The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god [Heb. elohim] coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.”

Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. 21 And the woman came to Saul, and when she saw that he was terrified, she said to him, “Behold, your servant has obeyed you. I have taken my life in my hand and have listened to what you have said to me. 22 Now therefore, you also obey your servant. Let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.” 23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his servants, together with the woman, urged him, and he listened to their words. So he arose from the earth and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly killed it, and she took flour and kneaded it and baked unleavened bread of it, 25 and she put it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.

Saul is killed killed by the Phillistines a couple of chapters later.

Besides the obvious parallels of "Elohim rising" and saying "why are you bugging me?" and both Sauls falling down on the ground, there may also be a parallel in 1 Sam 27:20-25. Saul vows not to eat, but then breaks down and eats anyway, Compare to Acts 9:9, immediately after the first road to Damascus story:
And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Maybe that's something, maybe it's nothing. but in any case, King Saul gets killed and Small Saul is saved.

I think this hypothesis is better than an amalgam of "Simon" and "Paul," anyway.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:40 pm

I wasn't just thinking of an amalgam, but yes -
'King' Saul specifically persecuted mediums and sorcerers who exhibited very similar behaviors as to what is alleged to have been engaged in by the Apostles in Acts (the only book in the NT to call Paul "Saul".)
I think narratives about the Paul character probably reflects narratives about one of a few competing sects or communities in the early AD period: narrated in light of and reflections of OT narratives.

Stuart
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by Stuart » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:30 pm

Ask a larger question. Are all the Simons in the NT really one and the same legend? Just took different paths, morphing into distinct literary characters

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MrMacSon
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:09 pm

Stuart wrote:Ask a larger question. Are all the Simons in the NT really one and the same legend? Just took different paths, morphing into distinct literary characters
variations on a legend?

outhouse
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Re: Was Paul really Simon Magus?

Post by outhouse » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:10 pm

lsayre wrote:There is much research that links Paul to Simon Magus.
But none are followed as credible.


There probably was a Paul who wrote within a community that is a separate character then SM

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