Marcionite Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36

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Giuseppe
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Marcionite Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:08 am

Luke 9:28-36
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
If I remember well the book of Judith Lieu on Marcion (I will quote it later), she says that the marcionite interpretation was that there is a conflict between Jesus and Moses & Eliah at Oreb.

Note what there is in Mark and Matthew:

Matthew 17:1-9
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Mark 9:2-8
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Both Mark and Matthew omit both the real cause (in Mcn) that triggers the ignorant question of Peter in Mcn: Peter was not so completely stupid. He had asked that question because all he had seen, when he wakes up from the initial stunning, was a fact prima facie negative for him: that Moses and Elijah separate themselves from Jesus.

To hide this fact, Matthew and Mark omit the detail that Peter and the disciples were sleeping (and therefore, as they slept, they had not fully realized that what was really happening was not a peaceful conversation, but a bitter dispute Jesus versus Moses and Eliah) in order to explain the cause of the embarrassed question of Peter not as a (proto-catholic) reaction to the division of Elijah and Moses from Jesus, but as a simple fear (so Mark) or simple stupidity (so Matthew).

So Peter ''did not know what he said'' because he believed that the conversation between the three was friendly, when on the contrary Jesus disagreed with Elijah and Moses. Peter for his ignorance is a hindrance to the divine will, since he wants to unite what Jesus has divided (by building the three shelters).

With his question, without knowing, Peter is really tempting Jesus. So this is really the first and only Jesus' temptation.

At that point, the voice spoke from heaven to correct Peter, ''just listen to him'' (Jesus). Implicit: not Moses, not Elijah.

The fact that Mark omitted those two particular (the sleep of the disciples, and the farewell of Moses and Elijah from Jesus, cfr Luke 9:33: ''As the men were leaving Jesus...'') betrays his desire to correct Marcion. And so Mark is after Mcn and not the contrary.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

John Roth
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Re: Marcionite Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36

Post by John Roth » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:30 pm

What translation are you using? When I check the World English Bible (WEB), I find that both Mark and Matthew say that Peter answered Jesus, suggesting that there's a question missing. Unfortunately, I don't know Greek, so I can't check the Greek text.

Luke appears to have rationalized the situation by suggesting that the disciples were sleeping and were a bit befuddled as they woke up. It seems to me that the original story, whether it was oral or written, was corrupted somehow before any of the evangalists got to writing their versions. Either that, or the missing piece was in "original Mark" and was removed from canonical Mark, which in turn opens that entire can of worms.

I don't believe we actually have Marcion's version of Luke; what we have is Irenaius' (and possibly others) anti-Marcionite writings. I could be wrong about that, though. I find nothing in the canonical gospels to suggest that Jesus, Moses and Elijah were disagreeing about anything, although the missing piece could show that disagreement occurring. In any case, it's fairly clear that God is telling Peter to believe what Jesus told him rather than the two greatest of the Jewish prophets.

andrewcriddle
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Re: Marcionite Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:34 am

Giuseppe wrote:Luke 9:28-36
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
If I remember well the book of Judith Lieu on Marcion (I will quote it later), she says that the marcionite interpretation was that there is a conflict between Jesus and Moses & Eliah at Oreb.
The Marcionite idea of a conflict between Jesus and Moses & Elijah is found in Ephrem Syrus Against Marcion The passage beginning But concerning Moses and Elijah who were found on the mountain in company with Isu, what do they (i.e. the Marcionites) say that they were doing in his presence ?

Andrew Criddle

Giuseppe
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Re: Marcionite Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:31 am

I read in Judith Lieu's book:
According to Tertullian, Marcion
permitted Moses and Elijah only to be ‘standing with’ Jesus on the Mount of
Transfiguration, and not to be ‘speaking with’ him, whereas Epiphanius cites
the verse, albeit in a form not otherwise attested, as ‘And behold two men
were speaking with him, Elijah and Moses in glory’ (Luke 9.30, 32; Tertullian,
AM IV. 22.16; Epiphanius, Pan. 42.11.17, S17)
(Marcion and the Making, p. 199)

It doesn't matter that particular passage, in any case (read the following).
I find that both Mark and Matthew say that Peter answered Jesus, suggesting that there's a question missing.
I don't think that a explicit ''question'' by another person is strictu sensu necessary in Luke, as Peter is simply reacting/''responding'' to what he sees: Moses and Elijah are separating from Jesus. Peter does not accept this fact and thus he ''responds'' to Jesus by asking the (implicit) question/temptation:
“Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
...a question that implies that he wishes that Moses and Elijah did not go, but remain with Jesus. This is a strong indication that the episode fits perfectly the marcionite view: we know that, according to Marcion, Peter's fault was that he had mistaken Jesus as the Jewish messiah prophesied in the scriptures. If this is the case, the choice of the original author (Marcion) of making deliberately ambiguous the nature of the meeting (is it a controversy or a peaceful conversation? ) between Jesus and the two is strengthened by the fact that, because of sleep, the same witnesses at the meeting (i.e., Peter and the Pillars) not fully realize what is happening: they are therefore victims of their intrinsic ignorance.

The voice from heaven acts to correct Peter and simultaneously to dispel the doubts to the reader.
“This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
In any case, it's fairly clear that God is telling Peter to believe what Jesus told him rather than the two greatest of the Jewish prophets.

Therefore I suspect that, by removing the sleep of Peter & co, both Mark and Matthew want to remove any ambiguity about what is happening: Moses and Elijah are confirming all that Jesus is doing and there is perfect continuity between old Torah and new Gospel.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Marcionite Transfiguration in Luke 9:28-36

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:20 pm

I see a curious parallel between the episode of Transfiguration in Mcn and this other episode:


Luke 8
19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.

20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.

21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
The verse 19 is not attested in Mcn. We know, via Tertullian, that the marcionite interpretation of the passage claims that the notice (''Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee'') was a temptation for Jesus to test his presumed humanity.

Note the shared elements with the Transfiguration:

1) the presence of representatives of the tradition (Moses and Eliah in Luke 9:28-36) and of the humanity of Jesus (his presumed mother and brethren in Luke 8:19-21).

2) someone tempts Jesus making a statement (''Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee'' in Luke 8:19-21 and “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” in Luke 9:28-36) with the implicit goal of linking Jesus with the family or the tradition.

3) the claim - and the same possibility of a compromise - is denied in the name of divine authority (''My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.'' in Luke 8:21 and ''A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”'' in Luke 9:28-36).

Is this evidence that the Transfiguration episode fits better the marcionite theology?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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