A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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billd89
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Re: Seven Veils (Garments of Shame)

Post by billd89 »

rakovsky wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 10:29 amSo portraying a gnostic style of teaching both in the way it paints it, "mystagogues" getting teachings hidden by 7 veils, and by its extreme secretiveness for initiates only, dishonestly denying its existence under oath.
Reading the 1934 German version of Hans Jonas, I came to Prof. Dalgaard on Melchizedek as a Demiurge-Corrector of Man (our Creator). The Five Archons each give smthg of their being, hence five veils here.
The thirteenth and final Melchizedekian tradition in the Pistis Sophia occurs in 3.131. Here Jesus once again describes what transpires when souls descend from the Pleroma; the five archons of the great Heimarmene give the soul a cup of forgetfulness. Drinking this causes the soul to forget all the places it has previously visited. The cup transforms into the body that surrounds the soul as a spirit counterpart. Should the soul be new, it either comes from the sweat, tears, or breath of the archons, in which case the archons knead it together, or else, if it is dregs of what is purified of the light, it is forcefully taken from the archons by Melchizedek. In this convoluted and difficult passage, Jesus discloses to his disciples that new souls are made of the fluids of the archons, by the archons, if the soul is far (or destined to be far) from reaching the Treasury of the Light. Should the soul be close to (or destined to be) the light, it is pulled from the archons by Melchizedek.

Precious fluids!

I know the Pistis Sophia is a compilation from multiple sources and should be dated to c.250 AD; I presume the underlying material is much older. Melchizedek myths are certainly older than Jesus; by c.250 AD, Jewish myths had already transferred the 'Melchizedek' functions to Michael, Yahoel and Metatron. Inconsistencies and self-contradictory descriptions about Melchizedek in varied incongruous ways betray the compilation of older material from different sources and decades/centuries. The Christos addition had likewise begun replacing Logos-Melchizedek (which Philo referenced, c.35 AD) around the time Epistle to the Hebrews was written (c.55 AD). An important role for Melchizedek suggests a date closer to 50-100 AD for that element, but the PS author was assembling many different things hundreds of years later. The Melchizedek mythos, basically divorced from Judaism, survived another 3-4 generations in areas that had had strong Melchizedekian traditions. Faithful Christians shouldnt have worried about the Archons! And the Hermetic references here are brazen: PS is an Egyptian hodge-podge, cobbled together of library materials, with a very thin veneer of Jesus Christianity.

If the Egyptian 'Gospel to the Hebrews' dates 125-150 AD, note that Archangel Michael has already replaced Melchizedek*.

* I have argued elsewhere that the 'Melchizedek' mythos is essentially 'Egyptian Jewish' and of the living culture, 150 BC - 100 AD. The mythos began declining c.50 AD and rapidly disappearing after 75 AD. However, the existence of old papyri floating around insured the literary 'meme' of Melchizedek would pop up repeatedly in later times, fodder for commercial Not Jewish book writers. Contra the heresiologists' paranoia, exploitation of the trope never resurrected the cult of Melchizedekians.

Was the 'Secret Gospel of Mark' (assumed) composed c.125 or as late as 170 AD, w/ Melchizedek purged already?
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rakovsky
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Re: Seven Veils (Garments of Shame)

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billd89 wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 11:54 am Was the 'Secret Gospel of Mark' (assumed) composed c.125 or as late as 170 AD, w/ Melchizedek purged already?
It was certainly written in the 20th century when Morton Smith "discovered" it (wink). The supposed "Letter to Theodore" has Clement of Alexandria saying that you should lie under oath to protect the supposed secrets in it. One critic of "Secret Mark" noted that before its "discovery," Morton Smith had claimed that Clement of Alexandria taught lying for the faith, but that Morton Smith had come down on the wrong side of the debate and that Smith was misinterpreting Clement of A. on the topic. When Clement's "Letter to Theodore" showed up, it took Morton Smith's side of the debate, and instructed "Theodore" to lie even under oath.

A brief search online in Clement of Alexandria showed me that historically, Clement actually wrote the opposite:
The man of proved character in such piety is far from being apt to lie and to swear. For an oath is a decisive affirmation, with the taking of the divine name. For how can he, that is once faithful, show himself unfaithful, so as to require an oath; and so that his life may not be a sure and decisive oath? He lives, and walks, and shows the trustworthiness of his affirmation in an unwavering and sure life and speech. And if the wrong lies in the judgment of one who does and says [something], and not in the suffering of one who has been wronged, he will neither lie nor commit perjury so as to wrong the Deity, knowing that it by nature is incapable of being harmed. Nor yet will he lie or commit any transgression, for the sake of the neighbour whom he has learned to love, though he be not on terms of intimacy. Much more, consequently, will he not lie or perjure himself on his own account, since he never with his will can be found doing wrong to himself.

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02107.htm
A supporter of Secret Mark's authenticity could respond by claiming that Morton Smith's "discovery" proves that Smith was right and that Clement secretly taught that when it comes to Christian "secrets," one must lie even under oath.

OK... Well, an author could secretly teach something in conflict with what he teaches openly.... But the bigger problem is that "Secret Mark" has like 10-20 problems like this one. They pile up and after a while, when you take them into account, it looks like it's a forgery.

Here's another one... Who is "Theodore?" Well there is no known Christian figure of Clement's time.... but in Morton Smith's time there was a novel about a an archaeology dig of a fictional Bishop Theodore whose tomb had a phallus hoax planted there to undermine Christianity... and the supposed "Letter to Theodore" is directed against homosexual sex innuendoes in Christian rituals....

You need a sense of healthy skepticism about "Secret Mark." If you are just going to think automatically that it is real because at one time Academia seemed to accept it, or because it reveals that ancient Christian secret rituals were going on, or because Morton Smith was an establishment Ivy League professor who said it was real, you can be missing the big and little problems in it.
gryan
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Re: Seven Veils (Garments of Shame)

Post by gryan »

rakovsky wrote: Sat May 29, 2021 11:10 am
billd89 wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 11:54 am
...One critic of "Secret Mark" noted that before its "discovery," Morton Smith had claimed that Clement of Alexandria taught lying for the faith, but that Morton Smith had come down on the wrong side of the debate and that Smith was misinterpreting Clement of A. on the topic. When Clement's "Letter to Theodore" showed up, it took Morton Smith's side of the debate, and instructed "Theodore" to lie even under oath.
This is a powerful argument.
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Secret Alias
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Post by Secret Alias »

How can an anonymous statement be a powerful argument? You haven't and can't examine the claim. How about another power argument:
The words " by Morton Smith" appear in the top right hand corner of the manuscript.
There, that settles it!
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Secret Alias
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

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Just an anecdote about things being 'too good to be true.' My son wants to player football in Europe. Well my parents were German and Germany has a policy if you become a citizen of another country - you can't be German. My wife's background in from the Caribbean and South America so - little chance of playing in Europe like Pulisic https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJ ... e&ie=UTF-8. Then I hear about a program in Portugal which allows Sephardic Jews to regain citizenship lost in the fifteenth century. There used to be a program like this in Spain but it is closed. My wife's family name sounds Jewish "Yepes-Gil." I thought maybe so. The Portuguese program for the moment allows descendants of Spanish Jews to apply in Portugal. I decide, what the hell, it might be possible.

My wife's family is pretty famous in Venezuela. One of the first families. There was a book written about them or which references a lot of them https://books.google.com/books?id=aIvyD ... AHoECAgQAg. It's a start. I pay something to ancestry.com. I start noticing all they go back to all these Conquistadors. Lots of Jewish sounding names - de Leyva, Losada etc. But having done research into early Christianity (and the habit of having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt) I am not satisfied. So I go through my wife's family with a fine toothed comb and voila - there's a Maduro in her immediate family. I came across the current President of Venezuela saying that he is of Jewish descent. It turns out you can trace my son all the way back from Venezuela to Curacao to Holland to - you guessed it - Portugal and actual Jews who are said to have burned at the stake in Portugal.

In the end we have like 60 Portuguese Jews. No one had any idea. The point here is just to mention that sometimes everything comes up aces. I am the Jew in the family. But I am the wrong kind of Jew. All my ancestry is stuck in the Saar Valley (which is in itself an interesting Jewish community) but no value for my son. What I am saying is I began with 'maybe ...' and was hoping for a Spanish Jew somewhere I end up with something much much better. I didn't 'forge' my wife's lineage. Something life turns out to be better than expected.
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Post by mlinssen »

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/serv ... keitsrecht

You can always live in Germany for 8 years.
I could sell you my Austrian Staatsbürgerschaft Nachhinweis, perhaps?

Although the 80's were the years for German (and Dutch) football really
gryan
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Post by gryan »

Secret Alias wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:47 pm The point here is just to mention that sometimes everything comes up aces.
Point well taken. That reminds me of a novel I once read. Title forgotten.

I wrote some articles that were published based on finding previously unknown documents about an ancestor, Jonas "White" Stutzman, an eccentric Amish man who was the first European settler in Holmes Co. OH, and who in later life wore all white clothes, some say, including hat and shoes. The document was found by a local historian, much to his surprise (as I recall, perhaps falsely), soon after I had requested it. It was in German. After a friend translated it for me, I was delighted to learn that it was on the topic of my interest--his account of a series of religious raptures (I had had one of those too, which is what led me to my research). His raptures that him to predict the second coming of Christ in 3 1/2 year or in May 1853. My rapture led me to study Paul's third heaven ascent, and then the flesh phrase, "thorn in my flesh", and then the Galatians parallel, "your temptation in my flesh" Gal 4:14 and so on.

Also, Congrts! I hope it works out for you son to play Euro football.
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DCHindley
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Post by DCHindley »

Very interesting. The Amish have had a very significant impact on Ohio, especially Holmes county.

The College of Wooster in the town of same name in Holmes County even used to close all classrooms on Wednesdays as that was the Amish "market day" and folks from across the state would come in by the thousands to attend them. This was in the late 1970s.

I currently live in Trumbull county (2nd largest Amish population behind Holmes county) and know or come into contact with Amish and other Old Order Mennonites all the time. Learned a lot about them, though, including that they read Martin Luther's Old High German translation of the bible, and speak a dialect of Deutsch sometimes called Pennsylvania Dutch.

The Amish are not usually inclined towards mysticism or visionary experiences. We're talking Anabaptists in the midst of the Protestant reformation, merging the theology of Luther and Calvin with a little Zwingli and even Catholicism - The founder of the Amish, a Roman Catholic priest named Amen who went over to the Mennonite causes.

But we were also once the home of the "Shakers," (not same as "Quakers" aka "Society of Friends,") a commune based collective who were really into having visions, and were willing to set up the environment to encourage folks to experience them. They got a lot of criticism about that, folks comparing them to parlor mediums who use tricks to make things appear to float, sounds come from nowhere, etc., to put the witnesses into "trances."

We had quite a few such commune sects out our way in our state's early past. Including Mormons, for whom visions were then acceptable, as they moved little by little across the US from the state of New York and end up in the state of Utah. We experienced them in Kirtland, Ohio, and they settled extensively in Lake, Geauga and Trumbull counties.

I suppose I could see an Amish man speaking German encountering Shakers or Mormons and describing his visions with them. The White garb he later adopted would not be acceptable to Old Order Amish men, although there are occasional exceptions (Beachy Amish).

Stranger things ...

Back to work boss, lunch over!

DCH
gryan wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:50 am
Secret Alias wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 3:47 pm The point here is just to mention that sometimes everything comes up aces.
Point well taken. That reminds me of a novel I once read. Title forgotten.

I wrote some articles that were published based on finding previously unknown documents about an ancestor, Jonas "White" Stutzman, an eccentric Amish man who was the first European settler in Holmes Co. OH, and who in later life wore all white clothes, some say, including hat and shoes. The document was found by a local historian, much to his surprise (as I recall, perhaps falsely), soon after I had requested it. It was in German. After a friend translated it for me, I was delighted to learn that it was on the topic of my interest--his account of a series of religious raptures (I had had one of those too, which is what led me to my research). His raptures that him to predict the second coming of Christ in 3 1/2 year or in May 1853. My rapture led me to study Paul's third heaven ascent, and then the flesh phrase, "thorn in my flesh", and then the Galatians parallel, "your temptation in my flesh" Gal 4:14 and so on.

Also, Congrts! I hope it works out for you son to play Euro football.
Steven Avery
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Post by Steven Avery »

rakovsky wrote: Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:16 pm Further, as I wrote in this thread, "Secret Mark" uses at least one English idiom word choice and word order ("And he remained with him that night" vs. the Biblical Greek manner of speech of "And with him (they) remained that (day)" (John 1:39).
If this word order is unknown in Greek, wouldn't that be enough to end the whole question?
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rakovsky
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Re: A Suggestion for Revising the Early Writings' Entry for Secret Mark

Post by rakovsky »

Steven Avery wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 9:29 pm
rakovsky wrote: Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:16 pm Further, as I wrote in this thread, "Secret Mark" uses at least one English idiom word choice and word order ("And he remained with him that night" vs. the Biblical Greek manner of speech of "And with him (they) remained that (day)" (John 1:39).
If this word order is unknown in Greek, wouldn't that be enough to end the whole question?
According to Ben Smith I recall, this kind of word order could be used in Greek. Rather the issue is that this order is more of an English language style.
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