Forget the Myth of Jesus

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Secret Alias
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Re: Forget the Myth of Jesus

Post by Secret Alias »

This is important for my long standing argument that Irenaeus and later Tertullian ARE NOT CITING FROM THE MARCIONITE CANON but developing their arguments from Luke and the Catholic canon under the pretext that the Marcionite canon is a corrupt version of the Catholic text.
Subsequently, once Megethius has introduced his three principles (see below), he identifies them as ‘of the Christians, of the Jews, and of the Gentiles (ἐθνικοί)’; the model of ‘three races’ is one that does have roots in the second century, although the adoption of ἐθνικοί for non-Christian Gentiles reflects latter usage.95 More remarkably, the initial implicit assumption held by Megethius that he, as well, presumably, as Adamantius, are of necessity ‘Christians’ goes unchallenged (4.26–7 [1.3]). It is only considerably later that Adamantius denies him that label and says that he is instead ‘a Marcionite’, the first time that this has been made explicit within the narrative of the Dialogue (16.9–15 [1.8]). At this point Megethius rejects the opposition ‘Marcionite versus Christian’ that is implied, and offers instead ‘catholic (καθολική) versus Christian’: ‘you say you belong to the catholic [fem. ¼ church]; so you yourselves are not Christians’. This altercation leaves the readers with the opposition between ‘Marcionite’ and ‘Catholic’, each vying over the coveted label ‘Christian’. As the scene develops, Adamantius continues to force upon Megethius the label ‘Marcionite’, while the latter consistently resists this, refusing, when invited, to rank Marcion higher than Paul, and conceding only that ‘Marcion was my bishop’. This for Adamantius is admission enough, introducing a succession (διαδοχή) not of bishops but of ‘false bishops’, going back to the ‘artificer of schism (ὁ σχισματοποιός), Marcion’ (16.16–18.2 [1.8]). Self-evidently it would be mistaken to draw a historical conclusion from this, namely that Marcion himself instituted a parallel church order; rather, the polemical strategy that originates with Irenaeus of asserting unbroken tradition has been clothed in the institutional form of contemporary politics in a new context.96 In this way the opposition between the two sides develops before the reader’s eyes, becoming increasingly non-negotiable; although it is not impossible that this stems from a source reflecting a situation where differentiation was still in process, its rhetorical effectiveness is what dominates. Within the logic of the Dialogue this increasingly sharp differentiation is specifically provoked by an extended debate concerning the scriptural authorities to which appeal may be made (8.23–16.5 [1.5–8]). This then becomes one of the key defining marks of each side and of what separates them; the dialogue thereafter is conducted through an extensive use of the Scriptures, regularly identified as ‘ours’ or as ‘yours’: ‘that is not written in our Gospel; you know that you promised to give proof from our Gospel’ (36.17–18 [1.17]).97 Although such appeals have often been used to identify Marcion’s own text, what is at stake is presented in terms that are clearly long subsequent to Irenaeus and Tertullian. On the one side stand the Church’s Gospels, which Megethius abruptly claims are demonstrably false (φάλσα) (8.23 [1.5]);98 he denies that Mark and Luke were disciples of Jesus, claims that Paul speaks of one Gospel and not four, and protests that the Gospels disagree amongst each other. In reply Adamantius contends that Mark and Luke were among the seventy-two ‘apostles’ as well as co-evangelists with Paul; that Paul did indeed acknowledge a plural proclamation of the Gospel (Gal. 1.8); and that the four Gospels, which speak of one Christ, ‘are no longer four but one’, while the supposed differences are not contradictory, especially if it is recognised – as Megethius does not – that they are to be interpreted spiritually (noetically). On the other side stands the ‘one’ Gospel that Megethius claims to have been written by Christ, although, when he is challenged that this would entail Christ recording his own death and resurrection, he concedes that this Gospel was supplemented by Paul (Adam. 16.1–5 [1.8]). This theme is taken up and developed by Marcus in the second section of the Dialogue (82.1–86.8 [2.12–14]):99 he insists that Matthew and John, although sent out by Christ to proclaim the good news, did so orally, ‘without writing’ or ‘unrecorded’, while Paul by implication did so ‘in writing’. Nowhere in this confrontation is there any suggestion that the Gospel was one that both parties to some extent shared even if claiming that the other had corrupted it. By contrast, there is only a passing reference to Paul’s letters in the first section when Adamantius agrees to use Megethius’ ‘Apostolikon’ rather than his own, which the latter similarly dubs ‘false’ (10.17–33 [1.5]). In the second section, however, Adamantius introduces an extended debate about Paul’s teaching by charging Marcion with perverting it: ‘The wicked Marcion treated the apostle’s writing casually, and did not abandon it entirely, and these people even now take away whatever does not accord with their own opinion’ (96.6–9 [2.18]).100 Despite this, the structure of the argument allows Adamantius both to introduce passages his Marcionite opponents will veto, and then to agree supposedly to resort to their texts, repeatedly trumping them from the latter, their ‘home territory’. It is difficult to be confident how far all this reflects the attitudes to their Scriptures by each party in the time of the Dialogue or even of its purported sources.
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Re: Forget the Myth of Jesus

Post by rgprice »

Secret Alias wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:21 pm This is why this stuff is so tricky. A normative scholar is going to look at this word and that phrase and make "rules" up where the Dialogue is something like a "photograph" of an actual event. The text is tricky. On the surface the story goes like this. One side says one thing. Another side says no way. Then the orthodox say "bring me the Marcionite apostolikon" and voila the Marcionite apostolikon agrees with the orthodox text.

If this is actual history the Marcionites suffered from mental retardation. Paul's references to "Mark" and "Luke" are in their collection of letters. So why are they arguing that their apostolikon doesn't say that? They'd have brain damage not to know what's actually in the letters of Paul. On the surface then the original point of the Marcionites was - Acts portrait of Mark and Luke as disciples of Paul is spurious and "apostolikon" is the world they used in place of "New Testament." "Apostolic" = of or pertaining to the Apostle where the gospel and the letters are his handiwork.

No matter how you slice it on some level Acts has to be original reference. They had to have known that Mark and Luke appear in their canon of letters. We can't assume that our enemies are mentally retarded. There are limits for how much we can believe in what the ancient (biased) reports tell us. The judge in the Dialogue is like Aileen Canon. Now the Marcionites had a lobotomy. It''s perilously close to being worthless.
But the writer is framing everything and is just trying to fabricate a situation where his opponent looks foolish, so it's difficult to really say, since this isn't a real dialogue between two real people, but rather just a straw man in a puppet show.
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