The Gospel of the Egyptians

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

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

Quoting, without implicating Ben. Stating my view succinctly, without lecturing.
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

14 He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach
15 ..19 <further duties and their names>
Then he came into a house.
20 The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
21 When they heard it, those close to him went out to take hold of him; for (gar) they said, “He is [see discussion].”
22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul,” and, “By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons.”


"The attempt by Jesus' family to bring Jesus home as having lost his senses," is primarily a matter of interpretation, not clear assertion by Mark. That "those close to Jesus" (TC2J) are his family is a reasonable inference (they show up outside the house shortly thereafter), and it's the interpretation I personally favor, but it is not obligatory. (And therefore not necessarily Matthew's or Luke's interpretation.)

TC2J could be the just-before-appointed apostles, or the just-after-identified villains from Jerusalem. The latter possibility might even be clouded by a versification artifact:

When they heard it, those close to him went out to take hold of him.
Indeed (gar) they said, "He is [see discussion]," the scribes who came down from Jerusalem. They said, "He has Beelzebul, etc.


Regardless of the identity of TC2J, the mental state verb ( crazy?) is the same as for Mark's crowds witnessing Jesus's feats and hearing his teachings (astounded?). Nowhere does Mark use it as a pejorative. Paul does contrast it with sobriety, but whatever it is, in Mark or in Paul, it appears to be a transient mental state, not a chronic condition. I favor overwhelmed.

The form and purpose of the hold-taking depends on the condition to be remedied.

There is nothing in Mark about where, if anywhere, Jesus would have been taken once he and his rescuers-or-captors were outside. Although Jesus's family shows up outside the house, still presumably too crowded for them to enter easily, there is nothing in Mark about their doing anything except asking that Jesus be made aware of their presence. If it's their "taking hold plan" (as I believe it is), then it involves and requires Jesus's cooperation.

More detail on the discussion summarized above can be found here:

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/202 ... was-crazy/

and for a still different perspective, at James McGrath's blog here:

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionp ... h-him.html
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Ben C. Smith »

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, about Jesus going into a home and eating, which has been replaced by a negation (similar to the way Clement's "Jesus did not receive them" may have obscured a passage which said something quite different).
The pericope immediately preceding this one is host to one of the most egregious examples of anacoluthon in the entire gospel, one which makes me strongly suspect that the list of apostles is an addition to the text at this point. It would make a sort of logic that the official list of twelve male followers of Christ might be replacing something a bit iffy about some of his female followers.
davidmartin
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by davidmartin »

is is necessary to have something iffy about female followers though, simply based on gender?

the idea there was a 'church' active during his ministry is a problem if it begin on pentecost
did the church fathers insist it began on pentecost? would be interesting to know if this was an issue to them
because the portrayal of Jesus saying his followers are his family looks like an assembly

it's possible what's going on in Mark is between some that claim lineage to a pre-pentecostal church and those that see apostle's witnessing first (although they never understood during his ministry!) and trace the church beginnings to later on
In this hypothesis the direct effect would be to dismiss those claiming any earlier lineage since in Mark the apostles, the female followers and his own family seem to not understand him and also Jesus doesn't baptise anyone which is underlined (in John only?) - a church with no baptism can't exist this is saying. The gospels all seem to firmly deny any pre-pentecostal church existed. I think that's what's driving it

So where the female followers may come into it is simply they were among those claiming an earlier lineage compared to the history being insisted on by the gentile led churches, maybe dozens of different folks were around claiming to have 'been there' causing problems and saying 'hey I'm Jewish', Mark is saying if you are Jewish, male, female or from his family or from the pharisees they know nothing!
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Ben C. Smith »

davidmartin wrote: Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:00 am is is necessary to have something iffy about female followers though, simply based on gender?
No. It would just make thematic sense in terms of the proposal being floated in the OP.
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Secret Alias
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Secret Alias »

The Gospel of the Egyptians is the clearest example of the strange pathology of hoax arguments regarding Secret Mark. It's not that 'the experts' agree that there MIGHT HAVE BEEN a secret gospel of Mark and Morton Smith forged the discovery to imitate the hints found in the Gospel of the Egyptians. The curious thing is that they deny that the Secret Gospel of Alexandria, the text Clement says shouldn't have its attribution to Mark uttered, EVER EXISTED and - separately - Morton Smith forged a text that just so happened to resemble the one Clement mentions throughout the Stromata. This is what is so desperate about the arguments for forgery. The facts are that they are not JUST arguments for forgery. They are above all else non-existence arguments for a secret gospel of Alexandria which is plainly hinted at throughout the Stromata.

As such, as amateur psychologists, the underlying pathology has to be explained. My amateur explanation is as follows - there is a certain arbitrariness a certain subjectivity at the heart of the study of early Christianity. No one wants to admit it but we know very little about how Christianity developed. But, and here is the catch, instead of saying 'we don't really know very much' the experts need to cling to their expertise. They need a system - i.e. the four gospels - to develop a 'right and wrong' a canon if you will to establish a field, a study, a rule from which order is established. That is why the homosexual red herring is so attractive. Smith speculated, made an off the cuff remark in one of his books, and it took over everything. The homosexual fantasy became the warning for the complete loss of rule, order, canon if 'we gave in' on the existence of a secret Mark.

The whole idea that a brilliant mind such as Smith's would invent a document such as this and fool all his friends and then persist in a field compromised by his discovery is so ludicrous that it doesn't even deserve mention. Nevertheless the reason it has such resonance is that it reinforces the underlying fear of many that if we give in on 'this point' - the idea that the canon was somehow 'correct,' the proper rule book for the religion of Christianity (rather than a massive hoax) 'order' as such could crumble not merely as a rule for the faith but also for the study of the Bible - the warning, unconscious as it was, is clearly that dogs will be mating with cats, men with men, the very order of the universe will completely crumble and most egoistically, all experts will lose any expertise beyond a random assembly of 'bare facts.'

Really it comes down to one of two possibilities - a hoax at the beginning of organized Christianity (Irenaeus, Tatian, the fourfold gospel) or a hoax with the discovery of the Secret Mark. We already know what most of the established experts choose, but, I must add, they make their choice after already investing bad money in a false system. Sort of like the way investors throw 'good money after bad.' Con artists know if that if you make a person compromise themselves just once, he or she is liable to keep making the same mistake because they simply can't admit they're wrong. Get a woman to cheat on her husband and have a good time, it's never a one time affair. There has to be a 'reason' why she was unfaithful. She searches for justifications for her past actions. It's all rather comical.
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Secret Alias
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Secret Alias »

Just as a follow up. I keep saying it over and over at this forum, a forum filled with smart people (and not so smart people). Think about the four gospels bundled together. Think about the way Irenaeus uses John as a proof for a multi-year ministry. Think about the way people were supposed to use these four texts ... and you know it's all a hoax. Never makes a dent on anyone. Never. Why? Am I such a poor thinker, am I so ineffectual at explaining the implausibility of the canon? No. Everyone has already invested 20 years+ of their lives in this hoax. The stain is on their clothes, the smell in their skin. Over and over again they go back to the well. Good money after bad. Over and over again.
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Secret Alias
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Secret Alias »

Just to avoid sounding pompous, let me provide an example of how even I - one who rails against systems - was fooled by systems. I am the son of a German father and a German Jewish mother. My mother hated football and sports. My father was a very good footballer but lived in a time when there was no Bundesliga. He came to Canada and still followed football through German publications like Kicker, World Cup broadcasts etc. When my son fell in love with Lionel Messi I started playing him in what they call 'recreational soccer' here. Eventually through learning he was drawn into the 'pay for play' system they have here (a kind of professional league where parents foot the bill). It was all very stupid. I knew it was stupid. But because of the 'everyone says' philosophy I kept paying $3500 a year to keep him playing.

Of course there was a part of me that knew that all the best American players (Clint Dempsey whos kids used to go to my son's private school) simply played with Mexican kids. What do Americans know about 'soccer'? They play what my father would call 'chasing the ball' in German. But because everyone does it, everyone does it. Keep forking out $3500 a year. Thousands of families in this state, millions across the country. There is absolutely no value in any of it. Very few end up on a professional team in the US (there are 350 US born players in the MLS). There is a semi-pro league where players make $2000 a month. Most of the college spots are taken up by foreigners too. And even so to spend $3500 x 10 years for a 'free college spot' is ridiculous.

My point is that it is 'just natural' that you follow the herd. There is safety in numbers. There is surety in just following everyone else. Even though you know deep down that it is all a big lie. As an aside, this year I found an amazing club filled with poor mostly Mexican-American kids (hard to find actual poor people on the Eastside of Seattle; you need over 100,000 just to get by). It is run by legitimate people connected with the Seattle Sounders. It's all free. But you wouldn't believe the difficulty - psychologically speaking - of not paying $3500 to keep him on an A team playing in the best division etc. It's bizarre. But you look over at all the other parents you just think, 'I must be demented.' I often feel the same way at this forum. Clint Dempsey speaks fluent Spanish. I figure my kid will too.
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Secret Alias
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Secret Alias »

And then you go back to the original problem. We don't know shit. I don't know how the canon formed. I don't know what the Egyptian gospel is. I don't know for sure that the Letter to Theodore isn't a forgery. I know Matthew and Luke are forgeries. I suspect John is too. But what can one say when we have so many gaps in our knowledge? And then the ultimate question - are we better off with a rule, a system, with accepting the four gospels and "moving on" for the sake of preserving "expertise"? For the sake of having rules of some kind? For the sake of order? I think when 50 percent of Americans were Christian and baptized into this inherited rule of faith this sort of order was deemed to be necessary. Not sure that expertise for expertise's sake is necessary any more.

Subscribing to this system was aesthetic choice not a scientific one.
davidmartin
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by davidmartin »

haha SA yeah but isn't it 'the search for truth'. you can find it in football or maths or whatever, you can find pointers and follow them wherever you want? if people abandon that search then we're just animals
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Secret Alias
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Re: The Gospel of the Egyptians

Post by Secret Alias »

I think I found the perfect analogy for the reconstruction of Christian history based on the Church Fathers endorsement of the canon. It's like if all movies disappeared and we only had official trailers from the studios to reconstruct what a good movie was.




People say the Fathers wouldn't have said they have the best New Testament if it wasn't true. Tell thar to the studio that produced and promoted Heavenly Bodies (even though Dodgeball seemed to have borrowed its plot)
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