The Gospel of the Egyptians

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

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.
If only he had published this as a separate monograph, without the 'unedifying' interpretation, we might have been spared the torrent of tedious forgery theories
Who says style doesn't matter. Guilty by reason of lacking an editor. Too bad he didn't delegate editorial responsibilities for Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark to one of his academic collaborators maybe even Koester.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Peter Kirby wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:13 pmAnother aporia, not called out in Clement's letter, is found in the third chapter of Mark:
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
Why did his family hear? That he went home? That a crowd gathered? That they could not eat? Perhaps a more difficult passage originally stood there....
I truly love this overall idea. The aporia looks real to me, and the suppression of a difficult passage (or one susceptible to certain interpretations) would explain it. And I think you are very much onto something with the ascetically oriented observations about males and females, both in Mark and in other Christian literature.

I wonder about this bit:
But why did Mark 3:20 say that they could not eat? By the logic of negating the original text, the original story had Jesus eating.
How does this idea work with the other summary instance of Jesus not being able to eat in Mark?

Mark 6.31: 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

Taken together, both Mark 3.20 and Mark 6.31 seem merely to express something about the size and persistence of the crowd. If the latter must still rest content with that explanation, does the former require any other? Or does the latter, too, succumb to an alternate interpretation?
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:33 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:13 pmAnother aporia, not called out in Clement's letter, is found in the third chapter of Mark:
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
Why did his family hear? That he went home? That a crowd gathered? That they could not eat? Perhaps a more difficult passage originally stood there....
I truly love this overall idea. The aporia looks real to me, and the suppression of a difficult passage (or one susceptible to certain interpretations) would explain it. And I think you are very much onto something with the ascetically oriented observations about males and females, both in Mark and in other Christian literature.

I wonder about this bit:
But why did Mark 3:20 say that they could not eat? By the logic of negating the original text, the original story had Jesus eating.
How does this idea work with the other summary instance of Jesus not being able to eat in Mark?

Mark 6.31: 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

Taken together, both Mark 3.20 and Mark 6.31 seem merely to express something about the size and persistence of the crowd. If the latter must still rest content with that explanation, does the former require any other? Or does the latter, too, succumb to an alternate interpretation?
Good point here. There's also another passage that I was already thinking about, which takes place earlier:

2:1 A few days later Jesus went back to Capernaum. And when the people heard that He was home, 2:2 they gathered in such large numbers that there was no more room, not even outside the door, as Jesus spoke the word to them. ...

Here's another story about Jesus coming into a house and about a crowd pressing in. I looked for a good way to make it work as a rewrite of a previous story, but I didn't find one. The crowd here is closely connected to the following story, where they lower a man through the roof. In the absence of any aporia, there is no inherent "logic of negating the original text."

And this was my procedure: first find the aporia, then think about how it could have rewritten an original, then think about the original.

Like Mark 2:1, I am also open to finding an aporia in Mark 6:31, which would strongly suggest an amendation, but I haven't found it yet.
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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"Destroying the works of the female".
There's a curve ball in this area

In the Dialog of the Saviour it has:
Judas said, "You have told us this out of the mind of truth. When we pray, how should we pray?"
The Lord said, "Pray in the place where there is no woman."
Matthew said, "'Pray in the place where there is no woman,' he tells us, meaning 'Destroy the works of womanhood,' not because there is any other manner of birth, but because they will cease giving birth."
Here the dialog itself shows difficulty over the interpretation!
I would venture to suggest a link to the Shakina, being the woman, thus when one is with her there is no need to pray or fast as being in a state of grace, but one should pray if one is without it (the Shakina). That would explain the saying in Thomas "When the bride groom leaves the bridal chamber, then fast and pray". The bridal chamber being the term for being in Shekinah presence. So these two sayings then agree and "Pray in the place there is no woman" has nothing to do with "destroy the works of womanhood"

What "destroy the works of the female" could be interpreted as meaning beyond the obvious i don't know
It could actually mean almost anything. For example, if the Shekinah was the female, her works are what? It's not hard to imagine 'works' are works done using her power that are not good works, as well as what Clement thought it was, supposed negative traits like lust, or again physical birth. Who knows!
What I mean is if Jesus's sayings could have all these unexpected meanings a wide range of alternatives ought to be considered beyond obvious ones as well as obvious ones?
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Peter Kirby wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:13 pmIn addition to the fact that Salome is eliminated from the other gospels, the reference to the women "who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him" suggest that there could have been earlier stories about the women who followed and ministered to Jesus.
The backtracking notice about the women having followed Jesus in Galilee in Mark 15.41 is one of those possible indications of the empty tomb narrative being an addition to a text which originally ended with Jesus on the cross. In conjunction with your hypothesis on this thread, perhaps it was added to the tail of the text at the same time that the/a story about the women was removed from the body, and even by the same editor; if one wished to portray these women in a certain light without retaining the controversial stories in which they appear, one would have to (re)introduce them in some way, and perhaps Mark 15.41 is the placeholding introduction: a summary (too brief and general to be controversial) of what was removed from earlier in the text.
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:07 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:13 pmIn addition to the fact that Salome is eliminated from the other gospels, the reference to the women "who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him" suggest that there could have been earlier stories about the women who followed and ministered to Jesus.
The backtracking notice about the women having followed Jesus in Galilee in Mark 15.41 is one of those possible indications of the empty tomb narrative being an addition to a text which originally ended with Jesus on the cross. In conjunction with your hypothesis on this thread, perhaps it was added to the tail of the text at the same time that the/a story about the women was removed from the body, and even by the same editor; if one wished to portray these women in a certain light without retaining the controversial stories in which they appear, one would have to (re)introduce them in some way, and perhaps Mark 15.41 is the placeholding introduction: a summary (too brief and general to be controversial) of what was removed from earlier in the text.
It's possible.

I've also been playing with the idea that Mark 1:1-13 wasn't original, mostly due to the notices about Marcion omitting the same. However, I've been finding reasons to retain the text when I try to remove it. For example, this John the Baptist gets an introduction here, when otherwise not mentioned earlier (suddenly, John!). There's a later statement about "why did you not believe John" that suggests that John spoke about Jesus. The claim that Jesus rose / "resurrected" from the river in Mark 1:10 helps to flesh out the idea that Mark 16:1-8 intends the reader to refer back to the beginning of the gospel, with Jesus coming to Galilee (Mark 1:14) to call the disciples after being resurrected. The idea of there being an Elijah-like forerunner is abundantly prophecied. And it's very easy to see other baptism stories as an evolution of the Markan one, making it seem likely that the Markan one came first.

I find similar reasons for retaining the text up to Mark 16:1-8, although not ruling out an earlier passion narrative that could possibly have ended with the centurion's confession. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus predicts that he will "after three days rise again" three different times, in a way that is thoroughly integrated into the Markan narrative.

https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-globa ... art-41-02/
Announcement of Jesus’ Death
Jesus will suffer, be rejected, killed, and will rise after three days (8:31)
Jesus will be delivered, killed, and will rise after three days (9:30–31)
Jesus will be delivered, condemned, mocked, flogged, killed, and will rise after three days (10:33–34)

Failure on the Part of the Disciples
Peter rebukes Jesus (8:32–33)
The disciples do not understand the saying and are afraid to ask him about it (9:32)
James and John ask that they may sit next to Jesus in his glory (10:35–37)

Jesus Teaches on Discipleship
Jesus commands them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him (8:33–9:1)
Jesus teaches that the first must be last and that those who receive children in his name receive him (9:33–50)
Jesus teaches that, to be great, they must become servants; to be first, they must become slaves; and that he came to serve by giving his life as a ransom for many (10:38–45)
I'm also not sure that the gospel of Mark would "have to (re)introduce them in some way" in order to be able to reduce greatly the previous influence of their stories. In the same way that Pilate is elided out of the death of Jesus in many cases, or how characters like Judas don't appear in the Gospel of Peter, or indeed how Salome disappears from Matthew, Luke, and John, omission has a value all its own. For example, the Gospel of Mark could have chosen to have Joseph of Arimathea encounter the young man in the tomb.

I will admit that I am not completely unbiased here. I've spent a lot more time thinking about an ending at 16:8, a little time thinking about an original lost ending, and not very much thinking about an earlier ending. Maybe there's more to it.
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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At some point, whenever the Beezebul controversy rears its head, it becomes necessary to dive into the synoptic problem. Neither Matthew nor Luke contains the attempt by Jesus' family to bring Jesus home as having lost his senses, though they do both retain their standing outside and Jesus identification of his followers as his true family. Both Matthew and Luke contain an exorcism at this point in the narrative, to which Jesus' opponents are reacting with their accusations. However (and this has always been a conundrum), Matthew contains two such exorcisms, as well as two such accusations, but the exorcism and accusation to which Luke is most similar in wording is not the exorcism and accusation to which Luke is parallel in narrative flow and content!

Matthew
Matthew
Mark
Luke
9.32-33: 32 And as they were going out, behold, a demon possessed man who was unable to speak was brought to Him. 33 And after the demon was cast out, the man who was unable to speak talked; and the crowds were amazed, saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”12.22-23: 22 Then a demon possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to Jesus, and He healed him so that the man who was unable to speak talked and could see. 23 And all the crowds were amazed and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?”11.14: 14 And He was casting out a mute demon; when the demon had gone out, the man who was unable to speak talked, and the crowds were amazed.
3.20-21: 20 And He comes home, and the crowd gathers again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 And when His own people heard about this, they came out to take custody of Him, for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”
9.34: 34 But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” [Bezae omits this verse.]12.24: 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”3.22: 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”11.15: 15 But some of them said, “He casts out the demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”
12.25-26: 25 And knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan is casting out Satan, he has become divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?3.23-26: 23 And so He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!11.16-18: 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 And if Satan also has been divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you claim that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul.
12.27-28: 27 And if by Beelzebul I cast out the demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 28 But if I cast out the demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.11.19-20: 19 Yet if by Beelzebul I cast out the demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out the demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
12.29: 29 Or, how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.3.27: 27 But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.11.21-22: 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are secure. 22 But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, that man takes away his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.
12.30: 30 The one who is not with Me is against Me; and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.11.23: 23 The one who is not with Me is against Me; and the one who does not gather with Me scatters.
12.31-32: 31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”3.28-30: 28 Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons and daughters of men, and whatever blasphemies they commit; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”12.10: 10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”
Gospel of the Ebionites 5: 5 [And it was announced to him,] "Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside." [But he answered and said toward them,] "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And he stretched out his hand to the disciples and said, "These are my brothers and mother and sisters, those who do the will of my Father." ....12.46-50: 46 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. [47 Someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to You.”] 48 But Jesus replied to the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” 49 And extending His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold: My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.”3.31-35: 31 Then His mother and His brothers come, and while standing outside they sent word to Him, calling for Him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they say to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33 Answering them, He says, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 And looking around at those who were sitting around Him, He says, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, this is My brother, and sister, and mother.”8.19-21: 19 Now His mother and brothers came to Him, and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was reported to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.” 21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:55 pmI've also been playing with the idea that Mark 1:1-13 wasn't original, mostly due to the notices about Marcion omitting the same. However, I've been finding reasons to retain the text when I try to remove it. For example, this John the Baptist gets an introduction here, when otherwise not mentioned earlier (suddenly, John!). There's a later statement about "why did you not believe John" that suggests that John spoke about Jesus. The claim that Jesus rose / "resurrected" from the river in Mark 1:10 helps to flesh out the idea that Mark 16:1-8 intends the reader to refer back to the beginning of the gospel, with Jesus coming to Galilee (Mark 1:14) to call the disciples after being resurrected. The idea of there being an Elijah-like forerunner is abundantly prophecied. And it's very easy to see other baptism stories as an evolution of the Markan one, making it seem likely that the Markan one came first.
I agree with all of this, though I am partial to the idea that either Mark 1.1 or Mark 1.1-3 is a textual patch over a lost or suppressed beginning.
I find similar reasons for retaining the text up to Mark 16:1-8, although not ruling out an earlier passion narrative that could possibly have ended with the centurion's confession. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus predicts that he will "after three days rise again" three different times, in a way that is thoroughly integrated into the Markan narrative.
You give some good reasons there. I am not entirely without a response to at least some of them, but am still working on the matter, which would take us away from the topic anyway (and yes, I am aware that I am the one who brought it up in the first place).
I'm also not sure that the gospel of Mark would "have to (re)introduce them in some way" in order to be able to reduce greatly the previous influence of their stories.
I guess I was not clear. I was not suggesting that omitting them was not an option. I was suggesting that, if for the reasons you listed (named males and females failing Jesus in some way) the editor wished to cast these women as failures at the end, then, having eliminated their stories from the body of the text, he ought to give them at least some kind of introduction. (When an editor fails to do so, we notice: suddenly, John!) I was just saying, maybe his (noncontroversial) summary of their activities in Galilee was both his introduction for them (so that we know who these women are) and simultaneously his replacement for the (controversial) stories which had been removed. Kind of like when a character in a sitcom admits, "I was there too," when actually he/she was actually no less than the very instigator of the mischief, the editor would be saying that, yes, the women were in Galilee, but we need not concern ourselves with what they were doing there.
I will admit that I am not completely unbiased here. I've spent a lot more time thinking about an ending at 16:8, a little time thinking about an original lost ending, and not very much thinking about an earlier ending. Maybe there's more to it.
My forays into an ending at the cross have tended in an Enochic direction: Jesus being assumed/translated/taken up.
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:25 pm
Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:55 pmI'm also not sure that the gospel of Mark would "have to (re)introduce them in some way" in order to be able to reduce greatly the previous influence of their stories.
I guess I was not clear. I was not suggesting that omitting them was not an option. I was suggesting that, if for the reasons you listed (named males and females failing Jesus in some way) the editor wished to cast these women as failures at the end, then, having eliminated their stories from the body of the text, he ought to give them at least some kind of introduction. (When an editor fails to do so, we notice: suddenly, John!) I was just saying, maybe his (noncontroversial) summary of their activities in Galilee was both his introduction for them (so that we know who these women are) and simultaneously his replacement for the (controversial) stories which had been removed. Kind of like when a character in a sitcom admits, "I was there too," when actually he/she was actually no less than the very instigator of the mischief, the editor would be saying that, yes, the women were in Galilee, but we need not concern ourselves with what they were doing there.
I would change the statement "have to" to "could have," mostly because the final form of Mark has completely eliminated the named women apart from Mark 15-16. This makes the analogy with John the Baptist ("When an editor fails to do so, we notice") imperfect -- we would not notice (based on the text itself anyway) because these new additions now are the only place where these named women appear.
Ben C. Smith wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:25 pm
I will admit that I am not completely unbiased here. I've spent a lot more time thinking about an ending at 16:8, a little time thinking about an original lost ending, and not very much thinking about an earlier ending. Maybe there's more to it.
My forays into an ending at the cross have tended in an Enochic direction: Jesus being assumed/translated/taken up.
Interesting.
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

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Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:55 pm For example, this John the Baptist gets an introduction here, when otherwise not mentioned earlier (suddenly, John!). There's a later statement about "why did you not believe John" that suggests that John spoke about Jesus.
By this same logic applied on Mark, you see that Mark doesn't explain why John is put in prison in the incipit of Mark. Even Mark is assuming too much (implicit) background-knowledge by his readers, about John. He is not exhaustive about him. He has not satisfied entirely the readers' curiosity about John. Despite the fact that he is clearly devoted to fill all the holes left hang by Mcn about John.
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