Mark, Marcion, Muhammad and the Paraclete

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Mark, Marcion, Muhammad and the Paraclete

Postby Secret Alias » Mon May 02, 2016 8:29 am

In our four gospel set the figure of the 'Paraclete' or Comforter has been relegated to the 'last' gospel - that of John. Nevertheless the Marcionites according to the testimony of Origen (and confirmed by the Acts of Archelaus) acknowledged Paul as this awaited figure. It is not the first time that we see the Marcionites attached to so-called 'Johannine' material. The pattern repeats itself over and over again in De Recta in Deum Fide where the Marcionite cites with approval things written only by John.

The Paraclete interest is one of the reasons for my understanding the Marcionites had in their possession a 'super gospel' (a text that contained material from ALL the canonical gospels) rather than a corrupt version of Luke. Indeed while the Catholics from the beginning identify the Paraclete as a 'spirit' or wind that comes from above, the traditions outside of the Catholic Church see this awaited figure who will remind the world of what Jesus said and did as a human being - viz. Montanists, Marcionites, Manichaeans and of course the first followers of Muhammad.

That 'Muhammad' was not his real name but a title has long been noted. The same thing occurs with respect to Mani. Muhammad we are told means 'paraclete.' Yet there is a difficulty because the Arabic أحمد does not mean 'comfort.' Regarding Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad, the Sirat Asul Allah, Islamic scholar Alfred Guillaume wrote:

"Coming back to the term “Ahmad,” Muslims have suggested that Ahmad is the translation of periklutos, celebrated or the Praised One, which is a corruption of parakletos, the Paraclete of John XIV, XV and XVI."

Indeed by the middle of the 2nd century AH, Muslims already identified Muhammad with the Greek word "Paracletos" (Counsellor / Advocate) or the Aramaic translation "Menahhemana."

But it has long been noted that the Arabic term and the Aramaic one don't line up that well. حمد the root of the Arabic term usually means 'to praise' or 'to thank.' It is in fact identified as being related to the Hebrew חמד (Arabic praise, eulogize, appove of). As such Muhammad is often identified by Islamic apologists as the figure מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים in the Song of Songs:

This is my beloved, this is my darling (מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים)

As this is necessarily the correct etymology of the name Muhammad the question naturally arises - where did the identification of the Paraclete arise? Is the understanding that Muhammad was the figure announced by Jesus wholly invented or a product of an error? I don't think so.

I actually think that 'desired one' or 'darling' may have been the original reading. I haven't yet found any evidence for this assertion. It just fits with the theme of desire in Mark and especially Secret Mark. In chapter 10 of Mark the young ruler - "Jesus looked at him and loved him." As a non-Christian from birth the interest in 'love' in the tradition has always perplexed me. In Secret Mark immediately following these lines it is the youth who is guided by 'love' to be initiated into the mysteries of the kingdom of God "But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him"

The desire for Jesus isn't limited to male initiates. Mary Magdalene is clearly portrayed as 'desiring' Jesus or finding Jesus desirable. Interestingly in the earliest Marcionite center the Song of Songs is incorporated seamlessly into the story of the desire of Mary for Jesus the so-called Canticle of Edessa:

Edessa sent to Christ by an epistle to come to her and enlighten her. On behalf of all the peoples did she make intercession to Him that He would leave Zion, which hated Him, and come to the peoples, who loved Him.

She dispatched a messenger to Him, and begged of Him to enter into friendship with her. By the righteous king she made intercession to Him, that He would depart from the Jewish people, and towards the other peoples direct His burden.

From among all kings one wise king did the daughter of the peoples find. Ambassador she made him. To her Lord she sent by him: Come unto me; I will forget in You all idols and carved images.

The harlot heard the report of Him from afar, as she was standing in the street, going astray with idols, playing the wench with carved images. She loved, she much desired Him, when He was far away, and begged Him to admit her into His chamber.

Let the much-desired Bridegroom kiss me: with the kisses of His mouth let me be blessed. I have heard of Him from afar: may I see Him near; and may I place my lips upon His, and be delighted by seeing Him with my eyes.

Your breasts are better to me than wine: for the fragrance of Your sweetness is life for evermore. With Your milk shall I be nourished; with Your fragrance shall I grow sweet from the smoke of idols, which with its rank odour did make me fetid.

Draw me after You into Your fold: for I am a sheep gone astray in the world. After You do I run, and Your converse do I seek: that in me may be completed that number of a hundred, by means of a lost one which is found.
Let Gabriel rejoice and be exceeding glad, with the company of all the angels, in You, the Good Shepherd, who on Your shoulders carried the maimed sheep, that that number of a hundred might be preserved.

Your love is better than wine; than the face of the upright Your affection. By wine let us be reminded of You, how by the cup of Your blood You granted us to obtain new life, and the upright did celebrate Your love.

A church am I from among the peoples, and I have loved the Only-begotten who was sent by God: whereas His betrothed hated Him, I have loved Him; and by the hands of Abgar the Black do I beseech Him to come to me and visit me.

Black am I, yet comely. You daughters of Zion, blameless is your envy, seeing that the Son of the Glorious One has espoused me, to bring me into His chamber. Even when I was hateful, He loved me, for He is able to make me fairer than water.

Black was I in sins, but I am comely: for I have repented and turned me. I have put away in baptism that hateful hue, for He has washed me in His innocent blood who is the Saviour of all creatures.

Here end the Extracts from the Canticle on Edessa.

I also wonder whether the consistent gospel variant in the eastern Diatessaron 'my son and my beloved' is similarly derived from Songs 5:16 or even the related text of Exodus 15:2
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
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Secret Alias
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Re: Mark, Marcion, Muhammad and the Paraclete

Postby Secret Alias » Mon May 02, 2016 8:51 am

The part that becomes interesting of course is the Transfiguration especially as it is preserved in the Diatessaron. Jesus 'changes himself into another person' and it is declared in the texts of Ephrem, Aphrahat and others:

this is my son, my beloved, (the one whom) I desire

If we imagine that in the original recension the words were

this is my son, my beloved, my darling

We have an almost verbatim citation of the Hebrew text of Song of Songs 5:16. The point would be clearly that Jesus would be announcing the coming of another.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
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Secret Alias
Posts: 7005
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am


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