Gnostic Markos?

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billd89
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Gnostic Markos?

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In Lajos Blau, Das altjüdische Zauberwesen [1898]p.42
... Both even give the date when it was brought from Egypt. We need only recall that Gnostic Markos was also an Egyptian and Magician.

Please unpack this, thx. The date [1898] means it cannot be the 'Secret Gospel of Mark' ..

I'll translate the following shortly: Adolf Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums... [1884], p.369
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Re: Gnostic Markos?

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Irenaeus AH 1.13 - 21
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Re: Gnostic Markos?

Post by andrewcriddle »

Secret Alias wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:45 am Irenaeus AH 1.13 - 21
Yes see Marcus

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Re: Gnostic Marcus {c.80-150 AD?}

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Actually, Irenaeus doesn't say 'Mark the Magician' is from Egypt; Markos is identified as a) Egyptian and b) a follower of Basilides by St. Jerome.

Adolf Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums... [1884],p.369
2, The Valentinian Marcus.

As the second main representative of Valentinianism of his time, Irenaeus describes Against Heresies 1.13-21 (where the edition of Rev. William Wigan Harvey, with the corrections from Hippolytus 2, is unavoidable) Marcus, a disciple of Kolarbasus (see note 493). He speaks of Marcus as of a contemporary {c.170 AD} 623). He has him working in Asia, where he seduced the wife of a deacon (1.13.5). In Asia also we should probably seek that "Divine Elder and Herald of Truth", whose verses Irenaeus 1.15.6 cites:

Εἰδωλοποιὲ, Μάρκε, καὶ τερατοσκόπε,
Ἀστρολογικῆς ἔμπειρε καὶ μαγικῆς τέχνης
Δἰ ὦκ κρατύνεις τῆς πλάνης τά διδάγματα,
Σημεῖα δεικνὺς τοῖς ὑπό σου πλανωμένοις,
Ἀποστατικῆς δυνάμεως ἐγχειρήματα,
Ἃ σὺ χορηγεῖς ὡς πατὴρ Σατανᾶ, εἰ
Δἰ ἀγγελικῆς δυνάμεως Ἀζαζὴλ ποιεῖν
Ἔχων σε πρόδρομον ἀντιθέοι πανουργίας.
V. 6. secundum vet. intpr.: Quae tibi praestat tuus pater Satanas,

Markus: Idol-Maker and Examiner of monster-births,
Practiced in Astrology, and Magical Arts,
By tricks like these you confirm the Doctrines of Error.
You mark signs to those under you, in deception, works of apostate Power
Which your father Satan orchestrates for you to accomplish, still,
To do through the Angelic Power Azazel,
Making you the precursor of his own impious villainy.

However, Marcus' disciples have worked not only in the East, but even with success at Rhodanus {Marseille}, and this caused an impugnation from Irenaeus, who also brought long-hidden things to light here (1.15.6) and made himself deserving of merit by his first exposition. Again, it is a sign of his reliability that he also mentions deviations among Marcosians (1.18.1-2. 1.21.3). What Hippolytus I (after Pseudo-Tertullianus c.16, Philaster haer. 42) reports about Marcus is so minimal that Epiphanius (Haer. XXXIV) preferred to write out Irenaeus. Because Irenaeus' description of the Marcosians' sacrament of consecration was declared incorrect by some disciples of Marcus, Hippolytus II, as much as he otherwise followed Irenaeus (Phil. VI, 39-55), wanted to do more precise research (Phil. VI, 42 p. 202 sq.).

All the more his essential agreement confirms the reliability of Irenaeus. Only Jerome, otherwise completely dependent on Irenaeus, still brings something new about Marcus, namely not only the well-founded statement (Epi. 75, 3. Opp. I, 454) that Marcus - as a Libertine - was spiritually descended from the Gnostic Basilides, but also the more credible designation of Marcus as an Egyptian (Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 64:4. [Vallarsi 6.761]: Marcum Aegyptium).

St. Jerome's remarks (399 AD) in Epistle 75.3 (CSEL 55:32) records a belief the theosophy of Markos descended from Basilides (117-138 AD):
Irenaeus, a man of Apostolic times (the disciple of Papias, hearer of the Evangelist John) and Bishop of the Lyon Church, reports that Markos, descending from the Gnostic lineage of Basilides, came first to 'Gaul' (i.e. Galatia) and by his teaching had contaminated those regions through which the Rhone and Garonne Rivers flow

By itself, Jerome's opinion is not reliable. Whether or not Markos was Egyptian (plausible, but unproven), Basilides might be one connection to Egypt. From context in Irenaeus, it is also correct to associate 'Markos the Egyptian' with Valentinianism. I don't want to devote enormous time investigating this (2nd C. AD Gnosticism is too late for my interest), but it's worth examining the Elder's 'poetic slander' and so-called Marcosian Prayers for older clues.

As an aside:
Why should the "Divine Elder and Herald of Truth" remain unnamed? I will conjecture the following, supposing the unnamed Church Father ("Elder") was 1-2 generations older than Irenaeus and therefore part of the Apostolic Age. Saint Pothinus (87-177 AD) - as a somewhat younger Christian, c.125 AD (Age 37) - wrote a poem against a somewhat older Gnostic Age 45 (Marcus, born c.80 AD) at a time when the Church was battling competing ideologies (not heresies) in Smyrna. Since Irenaeus lived (c.130–202 AD) and wrote 180 AD, Marcus (deceased by c.150 AD) would have been a Gnostic of the 3rd Generation (c.125 AD); Irenaeus knows M. only by hearsay. Therefore, Irenaeus was writing off memory and Gnostica 60 yrs old (c.130-140 AD), w/ some original (Egyptian?) ideas approximately 100 yrs older still. However, if this "Elder and Herald"/critic of Marcus was Polycarp (69–155 AD), our time-frame for the underlying Gnostica is about the same, contracting 10-20 years earlier at the late-range.

Irenaeus vaguely knew of the Four-fold Gnostic ideology and limited first-hand experience with one or two of Marcus' elder students c.160-170 AD, relic followers a generation after Marcus the Egyptian. (That subsequent Church heresiologists of the 3rd C AD diminished this school's importance suggests his cult was rather small/weak and disappearing by 170 AD.) The Early Church Father's slander the Gnostic was 'Satanic' is insubstantial, with a caveat. Of Markos, Polycarp (?) says that Satan was his Father and Azazel his Master/Lord. Markos is not a Christian; he has a very different rival cult - it appears to be Judeo-Egyptian. His Gnosticism is not 'coming out of' Christianity, it has merely appropriated a few Xian memes. In Apocalypse of Abraham 23:4-11, dated c.80 AD (p.683, no.15), Azazel (=Satan) is represented as a Basilisk (winged serpent) in the Garden of Eden. In the OT, Azazel represents the demon who accepts the community's sins, the offering of the scape-goat; Azazel symbolized evil impulses, lusts, etc.to whom the primitive Jewish nomads periodically sacrificed (abandoned) their instincts to god. If Azazel is linked to (Egyptian) myths of the Garden of Eden and Aaron, then suppose it is a Chaldaeo-Egyptian interpretation of a nomadic Sinaitic deity of the wastelands. However, if Marcus had some connection to Azazel myth (as Polycarp says) AND Azazel comes out of the Sethian (Siriadic) Jewish tradition, the similarity of Marcosian and Hermetic prayers might betray a true Sethian origin for both. This is merely hypothetical, but we can be certain Markos reveals Alexandrian Judeo-Gnosticism in what follows.

Irenaeus (180 AD) is our first and best source for Gnostic Marcus. A dearth of supporting material suggests (contra Irenaeus) the Marcus Cult was neither long-lasting nor influential. Irenaeus' familiarity w/ Marcus is hearsay, but his report draws on written sources presumably 40-60 years older (c.120-140 AD). There may be no proof that Marcus was a student of the Alexandrian Basilides, c.100-115 AD, but I will elaborate Jerome's late claim (c.410 AD) that Marcus was 'Egyptian' from evidence in the Marcosian Prayer.

IF 'Marcus the Egyptian' - assumed at Age 25 (c.105 AD) studying under Basilides, then he was a younger contemporary of Valentinius. Markos is not identified as a Valentinian or with Basilides, rather with Kolarbasus. Most importantly - I think - 'Kolarbasus' is a misunderstanding a teacher's name, for a key ideology, Colarbasus-Gnosis, which is the older tradition we seek; Irenaeus' confusion there is telling, I think. Later, following the 115 AD Alexandrian pogrom, 'Marcus the Egyptian' created school competing with so-called Valentinians: c.125 AD at Age 45 in Smyrna. Again, I see nothing 'Jesus Christ-ian' in Marcus - beyond some mystical interpretation of the name (which may occur later) M. seems to be a Post-Jewish Gnostic c.125-150 AD copying 'Simon of Gitta'/Simon Magus barely two generations later. A generation later, in France c.160-170 AD, Irenaeus knows relic students of 'Marcus', Valentinian Gnostics who may Christianizers of his former but evolving doctrine.

So 'Marcus the Jewish Egyptian Prophet' - empowered by a key Jewish Archangel, why not admit he was Jewish? - had been a great Theurge. Was he a Master of the Chaldaean science(s), against which Johannine Christians battled? Also telling, Marcus the Egyptian is not called a Χαλδαῖος because his opponents knew his Alexandrian ideology was more recent and different. Gnosis c.160 AD was already well-established, several generations earlier.

1. εἰδωλοποιὲ = idolorum fabricator, creator of idols; framer of false gods and idolater generally (i.e. Minim, heretic.)
2. τερατοσκόπος = observer of portents/interpreters of omens.
3. ἀστρολόγος or Kasdim = an astrologer.
4. μάγος = magus, mage, a magician generally.

Irenaeus also says Marcus commends "philters and love-potions"; he is a
5. φαρμακεύς = potioner: Ὅτι δὲ φίλτρα καὶ ἀγώγιμα... And of philtres and love-charms ... ; φαρμακος/ pharmakos is the sacrifice.
Sometimes Kashaph (=sorcerer and conjurer) may be understood in this context.

In fact, Marcus is not highly reputed by this mantic list; he is not described as a Chartumim or lector priest (enchanter), his skills seems rather trivialized. The mocking poet is basically calling Mark a common charlatan. But this skill-set would be consistent with an itinerant magician & later therapeut. Irenaeus has revealed that such a renegade Judaic theosopher was then known, c.130 AD, as a 'Cholarbastic Gnostic'.

The mystical formula caught my eye, in Irenaeus, Against Heresies (Book 1, Chapter 21) {see the Standard Translation, Alexander Roberts [1868]}:
Others still repeat certain Hebrew words, in order the more thoroughly to bewilder those who are being initiated, as follows: Basema, Chamosse, Baœnaora, Mistadia, Ruada, Kousta, Babaphor, Kalachthei. The interpretation of these terms runs thus: I invoke that which is above every Power of the Father, which is called Light, and Good Spirit, and Life, because You have reigned in the body.

This is the Greek translation which Irenaeus offers; obviously, it is quite wrong. But if Irenaeus didn't know Syriac, then the interpretation is merely what he was informed by another source; otherwise, he is disinformative. Breaking the spell by garbling (corruption), Irenaeus has nevertheless preserved the intent and idea this prayer was employed for corporeal release - healing, or divine possession.

I would argue more precise translation from the Syriac (below) actually refers to a Therapeutic/Judeo-Egyptian henosis. But has Irenaeus intimated a more complete Five-Fold modality? The Fifth Element is God's Ousia or Influence, "taking command of the body".
Τούνων δ’ ἑρμηνεία ἐστι τοιαύτη· Ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν δύναμιν τοῦ πατρὸς ἐπικαλοῦμαι φῶς ὀνομαζόμενον, καὶ πνεῦμα ἀγαθὸν, καὶ ζωή· ὅτι ἐν σώματι ἐβασίλευσας.

And the translation of the preceding is this: "Above the All-Power of the Father, I invoke that called Light, and Good-Spirit, and Life; that You have begun to reign in my body."

Conceptually, by its constituent elements, we see Five Stages of Marcosian Divinization (c.125 AD?) in the prayer as Irenaeus conveys it:

[1] Above All-Powers of the Father!
[2] I invoke (Divine) Light!
[3] I invoke Good-Spirit*!
[4] I invoke (Divine) Life!
[5] You Reign in me!

* The Roman Church consciously began obscuring Hermetic references to the ancient Alexandrian Agathodaimon in the 2nd C AD, so the older Judeo-Egyptian "Good-Spirit" became the Christianized "Holy Spirit." For explanation, see this THIS Hermeneutics reply:
"Holy Spirit" in Luke 11:13 is not what appears in all manuscripts; there are some manuscripts which refer to "a good spirit" (πνεῦμα ἀγαθὸν) rather than "the Holy Spirit" (πνεῦμα ἅγιον), including one papyrus1 that dates back to the 3rd century.2 The oldest complete commentary on Luke, undertaken by Cyril of Alexandria in the late 4th/early 5th century, shows "Good Spirit" rather than "Holy Spirit" when it quotes this verse (see below). Metzger's Textual Commentary assigns πνεῦμα ἅγιον ("Holy Spirit") as the reading in Luke 11:13 to category "B", which signifies a high degree of, but not complete certainty. (The text used today by the Greek Orthodox Church contains "good spirit", not "Holy Spirit"). The two words are close in Greek - agatho for good, agio for holy - but they are not the same. It seems relevant to me also that there is no article "the" in the Greek text (as in "the Holy Spirit"), in any variant.

I think these are important points, because an exegesis of these verses that focuses on the Holy Spirit as a "good gift" may be getting away from what is actually in the text. It may be a useful and edifying topic, but it may not be addressing what is actually in these Scriptures.

Cyril explains the verse in Luke as follows:
And the same reasoning holds good of the serpent and fish, and the egg and scorpion. If he ask a fish, you will grant it: but if he see a serpent, and wish to seize it, you will hold back the child's hand. If he want an egg, you will offer it at once, and encourage his desire after things of this sort, that the infant may advance to riper age: but if he see a scorpion creeping about, and run after it, imagining it to be something pretty, and as being ignorant of the harm it can do, you will, I suppose, of course stop him, and not let him be injured by the noxious animal. When therefore He says, "You who are evil;" by which He means, you whose mind is capable of being influenced by evil, and not uniformly inclined to good like the God of all; "you know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give a good spirit to them that ask Him? And by "a good spirit'. He means spiritual grace: for this in every way is good, and if a man receive it, he will become most blessed, and worthy of admiration.3

For an analysis of the Syriac magical Formula/Prayer in Irenaeus, see Jean-Daniel Dubois et Flavia Ruani, "Interpretation d'une formule barbare chez les gnostiques valentiniens d'apres le Contre les hérésies d'Irenee, I, 21,3." in Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature. Ideas and Practices [2012], pp.46-51:
Ἄλλοι δὲ Ἑβραϊκά τινα ὀνόματα ἐπιλέγουσι, πρὸς τὸ μᾶλλον καταπλήξασθαι τοὺς τελειουμένους, οὕτως· Βασεμὰ χαμοσσὴ βααιανορὰ μισταδία ῥουαδὰ κουστὰ βαβοφὸρ καλαχθεῖ.

Basyma cacabasa eanaa irraumista diarbada caeota bafobor camelanthi

It should be noted that the two formulations are not strictly similar. However, the critical apparatus of the Latin translation can help us to better understand this divergence. From the outset, we note the abundance of variants this formula presents in Latin - an indication, moreover, of the difficulty of understanding which this 'barbaric statement' represented for the translators. Let us consider the variants of three words in in particular:
cacabasa (Q) : eacha saba (C A), cachasaba (V) ;
irraumista (edd. a Gra.) : uramista (C A Q), uram ista (V) ;
diarbada (A Q) : diaruada (C), diauarda (V).

... Once this problem of textual transmission is resolved, and if we see that the Greek and Latin formulations are roughly equivalent, the central question of our study arises as follows: would this phrase make sense in a Semitic language like Syriac? As E. Thomassen [2011] had noted, there are already a number of proposals for interpreting the Semitic substratum for certain terms in the formulae, such as the work of Hugo Gressmann [1915] and Karl Müller [1920].13

Here is a table that explains how this first statement can be interpreted in Syriac: in the left-hand column is the Greek formulation (which, as we have just shown, is almost equivalent to that of the Latin); in the center, we have taken up the reconstruction given by François Graffin 30 years ago, and published in the volume of the "Sources Chrétiennes" which serves as a commentary on the first Book of the Against Heresies14 ; his interpretation is interesting, but it deviates readily from the letter of the text to join expressions present in the rest of Irenaeus's paragraph. F. Grafffin gives a transcription of the Syriac in the Latin alphabet and a translation. The right-hand column, finally, houses our own reading, more faithful to the letter of the statement and guided by the desire to give an account of its Valentinian content.15

{The translation, in Four Elements:}
"By the Almighty Name [1], by means of Life [2], Light is projected [3]: the Spirit of Truth to all Archons [4]."

That bit is Judeo-Hermetic: CH 1.32 (Dekadic Sacrifice, basis of the Third Step Prayer): διὸ πιστεύω καὶ μαρτυρῶ· εἰς ζωὴν καὶ φῶς χωρῶ. "For this I believe and I testify; I go to Life and Light." That is one goal of the prayer: a pass-phrase, that the Soul may transit the Archons to reach the Father's Home. Where Chaldaeans conceived of the Milky Way was both as the Passage and the Great Serpent, Agathodaimon in male- and female attributes might be the Serpent-mythos condemned by Early Church Fathers. (The healing function is another purpose, in tandem.)

I don't believe this comes to Greek by Syriac, nor that the Hermetica derives from Valentinianism - rather, the opposite must have occurred. Later Marcosians (c.150 AD) were utilizing an older Judeo-Egyptian Hermetic fragment, probably a Therapeutic (i.e. Judeo-Egyptian) prayer from the First C. AD, translated into Syriac after 40 AD - the prayer formula Philo Judaeus shares (c.15 AD) demonstrates a slightly older form of same.

Colarbasus-Gnosis ~Κολορβάσου γνῶσις, where Chol-arba (כלארבע) means 'All-is-Four'; Κολορβάσου Σιγῆς 'Voice of the Four', etc. is a tetradic or four-fold system, thereby suggesting the true form of the 'prayer' which Irenaeus has preserved 'Christianized' in Against Heresies 1.21:

Εἰς ὄνομα ἀγνώστου Πατρὸς τῶν ὅλων,
εἰς Ἀλήθειαν μητέρα πάντων,
εἰς τὸν κατελθόντα,
εἰς ἕνωσιν καὶ ἀπολύτρωσιν καὶ κοινωνίαν τῶν δυνάμεων.

1) "In the Name of the Unknown All-Father,
2) By Truth - All-Mother,
3) By the One Descended,
4) For Union, Redemption and Communion of The Powers."


Recall again the Four-Fold Prayer of Philo's 'Therapeutae', for comparison:
DVC 2: ἐπαιδεύθησαν θεραπεύειν #1: τὸ ὄν, ὃ καὶ #3: ἀγαθοῦ κρεῖττόν ἐστι καὶ #4 ἑνὸς εἰλικρινέστερον καὶ #2 μονάδος ἀρχεγονώτερον.

DVC 2: they are raised to worship 'Being' {#1: Προαρχή, Μονότης = Foresource, Monotes}, superior to 'The Good' {#3 Noetic Paradigm} and purer than 'The Unity' {#4 Ἑνότης The Henad: The All}, and primordial to 'The Monad' {#2 All-Source, One God}

Whatever their real name was - in other threads, I have hypothesized Philo's Therapeutae/'Sons of God' were actually Judeo-Egyptian Sethians - we are looking at a highly similar religious construct for God in 3 or 4 Persons in both the Judaic Pythagorean (c.15 AD) and the Marcosian Prayers (c.130 AD):

The Four-fold Hypostases of 'God':
1. Primordial Being: Unknown/Unbegotten Absolute Being
2. Monad (Logos): First Son, Creator, Author
3. Divine Reality: Noetic Paradigm of Creation
4. Henad: Cosmic Reality (Creation: 'Heaven and Earth')[/quote]

Although each prayer re-orders the tetradic system somewhat differently, strong similarities are obvious. I propose these are all examples of the same formula, the root being a (Judeo-Egyptian Pythagorean) Cholarbastic Gnosis which emerged before the First C. AD. If Philo's Therapeutae prayer had appeared by 50 BC, these examples span at least 200 years across the Diaspora:

__ Therapeut __________ Hermetic/Gnostic ___ Cholarbastic ___________ Marcosians
1. Primordial Being ....... Almighty Name ........ Omnipotent Father ........ By: Unknown All-Father
2. The Good ............... Truth-Spirit ............ Good-Spirit ................. In: Truth - All-Mother
3. Monad (Logos) ......... (Divine) Light ......... (Divine) Light .............. Thru: The Incarnate One
4. Henad ................... (Divine) Life .......... (Divine) Life ................ For: Unity, Redemption & Communion (w/Powers)

The correlations are not always exact - variant myths must be factored - but I suppose the following hypostases sort logically to reveal: the underlying simplified myth(s) of the Unknown Father, the Mother-Good Whore, the Savior Son, and the Divine Unity. I am not certain how this is Judeo-Egyptian - some heterodox features must predate the Pentateuch as pagan borrowings. Azazel dates pre-300 BC, but Agathodaimon (The Serpent-God) - known as Chnoubis/Ialdabaoth - is certainly older, and emerges later (or elsewhere?) in orthodox Judaism as Satanael (i.e. 3 Baruch 4:8); see Orlov, [2011]. The Proto-Jews of Alexandria c.300 BC (as for the Judeo-Egyptian Snake-Worshippers in Exodus) had a Great Serpent Cult of Kushta/Sophia, for the Serpent and Tree of Knowledge, etc. The Gnostic prayer (after Basilides?) preserves 'The Good' = 'Truth Spirit' and All-Mother: a Serpentine Goddess - otherwise known as Chusarthis/Baalti/Thora or Harmonia, in various times/places? We can only wonder about the specific origins, and speculate about any (Alexandrian) Agathodaimon mythos underlying all this.

The (Markos/Basilides) Hermetic-Gnostic paraphrase "By the Almighty Name, by means of Life, Light is projected: the Spirit of Truth to all Archons" is almost certainly Egyptian - Hermetic & Gnostic core doctrine - , but from whence it first appears (100 BC??) we know not. The Divine Light which comes to save man, the Name of the Light, 'the one who descends' (εἰς τὸν κατελθόντα = an unnamed one who descends, incarnationally, into the earthly Jesus: Irenaeus says) is of course fascinating. The Pauline doctrine of Christ's Descent (Philippians 2:7) - which mirrors a description in the Jewish Hermetica (CH 13.7) as outlined here - is a version of the older Gnostic Creation Myth of Anthropos and Man. The 'Name of the Holy Light' was ... Christos? I suspect this too goes back to Jewish Egypt, but The Saviour element wasn't yet revealed in Philo's Therapeutae c.15 AD. Then again: we are only getting his version of what was going on, without controversy.

There was no shortage of Saviour gods and philosophies in the 1st C AD. If 'Markos the Jewish Egyptian' was actually associated w/ Azazel myth, an Egyptian angle should be sought there too. Ouza (another name for Samyaza-Azazel) was of the rank of Seraphim and the tutelary angel of the Egyptian Jews; ouza was the religious word for wishing 'health'. I wonder if Phoenician-Semitic Protector-god Usôus may be conflated as the origin of the same? By this, a Judaic Therapeut (i.e. Jewish Gnostic) might call upon Azazel-Ouza to incarnate, to heal a patient, or take away Sin: certainly, the Marcosian prayer can be understood that way.

An ancient Judaic folk-culture(s) long existed in Egypt, Sethians came from the Sethrum (i.e. Siriad), and - we may logically identify the Philonic and Sethian 'Sons of God' as "therapeuae" to pursue correspondences. IF 'Markos the Jewish Egyptian' were both a Therapeut and Sethian, so Azazel would confirm a Sethian origin (e.g. Apocalypse of Abraham as a Therapeut text). Presumably, among such heretical Jewish magicians, Seth(-Baal/ Belial = Satan) had Azazel/Ouza as his Ruling Agent. On the more primitive OT form, see Corinna Körting, Der Schall des Schofar: Israels Feste im Herbst, p.174 n.132:

3) Widespread is the idea that "Azazel is a desert demon, an antagonist of Yhwh." The personal interpretation is suggested by the wording in v8b: "A lot for Yhwh and a lot for Azazel." The scapegoat is cast lots for Azazel and then sent into the wilderness.32 The desert is the dwelling place of the demon.33 Azazel's function within the rite, however, remains open even with this interpretation. Rost's thesis that the goat was a 'levy to the Lord of the desert' at the change of pasture cannot be upheld on the basis of the ritual of Lev 16. It is not a matter of protecting the congregation of Israel from the outside influences of demonic powers, but of averting the threat to the people from their own guilt and the taking up of space by destructive powers therein by removal; out of their own sphere of life and into the sphere which stands for life-threat and death - the wilderness. And could a demon actually be appeased by a goat laden with sins and guilt?

n.32 In his view, Azazel is the counterpart of the Egyptian Seth (ibid., 13), who "represents the demonia of the chaotic dwelling in the desert" (ibid., 12). Seth, like Azazel, is Chaos personified. One of the essential points of connection is again the dwelling place of the desert. It is the region to which the advancing chaos is pushed off (ibid., 13). M. Görg connects the Azazel figure and the goat loaded with sins by seeing here proximity to the Egyptian conception of a linkage of Seth and Seth-animal, a donkey (ibid., 15). Problematic about this is that the Seth-animal or the scapegoat is to be eradicated as a "manifestation of the punished and humiliated evil-doer" in order to banish the disaster emanating from him". According to Lev 16, however, the disaster does not emanate from the scapegoat but from the guilt of the people of Israel (cf. B. Janowski, "Azazel und der Sündenbock" [1993], 296ff).


My Thoughts, Summarized:
Marcus the Egyptian is considered a Valentinian Christian heretic. The terminology of the Marcosian Prayer (reported by Irenaeus) implies something quite different, older: 1st C Judeo-Egyptian Hermetic-Gnostic anagogy. Rather than a reclusive Therapeut of past, Marcus became a popular Sophos and teacher in the forward-looking Diaspora. The thin Christian veneer might be his students adaptive work; Markos followed Basilides chronologically, but the tetradic system was older still. It is also not improbable Irenaeus has garbled hearsay about different offshoots. All this presumes our reliable primary source has erred somewhat to unintentionally mislead. 'Marcus' is perhaps a lineage of Jewish Gnostics going back to the time of John the Evangelist (c.80 AD), and Irenaeus has conflated multiple (variant) teachings of a school. It is possible Irenaeus knew a Marcus around Smyrna c.140 AD; relic students of his cult in Southern France c.160 AD suggest a 'first' Marcus had been active c.120-140 AD, but the tetradic prayers all seem to derive from a common Judeo-Egyptian triadic deity set. Other conjectures likewise support the thesis (first declared by St. Jerome) that Gnostic Markos was actually a Judeo-Egyptian theosopher in the tradition of Basilides (c.110 AD).

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