The self-evident emergence of Christianity

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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mlinssen
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Re: The self-evident emergence of Christianity

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Justin Martyr (100-165 C.E.) is an especially interesting case because his apologetic writings are fairly early, from the middle of the 2nd century, long before the existence of any canon. Justin's writings frequently contain passages reminiscent of passages from the canonical gospels but his quo-tations deviate signif i cantly from them and he does not mention them by name. He calls his source or sources "Memoirs of the Apostles" and not Gospels, a word he uses only three times. As Koester says, "considering the large amount of quotations and references to gospel materials, this is surpris-ing" (Ancient 40).
In his study on Justin, Bellinzoni concludes that Justin does not actually quote the separate canonical gospels. Instead he quotes harmonized parallel materials from Matthew, Mark and Luke but not John, with the say-ings of Jesus always occurring in a few groups rather than singly, and "the harmonistic texts used by Justin as his source for the sayings of Jesus are part of a tradition that had great inf l uence on the later manuscript tradition of Matthew, Mark and Luke". In addition, there is evidence in Justin's writ-ings for the use of catechisms and manuals for instruction against heresies (Bellinzoni 140-141). Clearly there was no authoritative text of the gospels in Justin's time and one can justly conclude that no Christian author of the fi rst half of the second century or before quotes the Gospels or their reputed authors.
As with Justin, 2nd century non-canonical Christian writings do not appear to be quoting the four gospels directly either. Johnson says:
"An examination of the way in which these writings treat our four Gospels shows that gospel materials are still in the making in the second century...
Conf l ation of the gospels is the rule...There are occasional `corrections' and contradictions...New stories are occasionally composed or, at least, come to light... Teaching materials are created in rich profusion...When stories are not created de novo, legendary details are frequently added to older narratives to heighten the human interest...The teaching of Jesus from the older gospels is sometimes `spiritualized' or allegorized...The new gospel material ref l ects an active, rather than a contemplative, church life...Obviously, the churches exercise little hierarchical control over the writing of books" (Sherman John-son Stray 45-48). The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, written in Greek, are an example of how such writings, like Justin, cite sayings of Jesus not from any recognizable gospel passages but "often with conf l ated or harmonized features...The fact that all are short sayings of Jesus suggest that the source was a `Logiensammlung'...rather than a more complete harmony of the four gospels such as Tatian later composed" (Kline 239-240).
When we come to Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE), we do see ci-tations from the Gospels, but with very different wordings

And so forth. Detlev Koepke, the Jesus of the gospel of Thomas - page 434-5.
Currently a Discussion going on there with a few already in it - you know the drill
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mlinssen
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Re: The self-evident emergence of Christianity

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Leucius Charinus wrote: Mon Jul 18, 2022 7:26 pm
mlinssen wrote: Sun Jul 17, 2022 8:59 pmAnd yes, it's all in the Commentary already. Everything is in it, really - save for the theory on Chrestianity becoming Christianity
You have already demonstrated the previously unpublished claim that the NHL Gospel of Philip explicitly mixes the two terms. So you just have to be able to unpack this Gospel of Philip.
as well as the link between Thomas and Marcion
Good luck with that.

Why is it that when it comes to real proofs of the existence of a canon of four gospels before the 4th century, all the original documents have mys-teriously disappeared and all scholars are left with are blank assertions with no proof? Could it perhaps be that no canon of four gospels even existed before the fourth century and any such mention was fabricated later

Koepke - you'll love him
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Re: The self-evident emergence of Christianity

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But as far as I know P.Oxy.654, P.Oxy.655 and P.Oxy.1 are not necessarily from 50-150 CE.

P.Oxy.654 is traditionally to the middle or late of the 3rd century.
P.Oxy.655 is traditionally dated to the 3rd century.
P.Oxy.1 originally dated by Grenfell and Hunt between 150 and 300

Dating method = paleography in isolation. The upper bounds for these dates may well be in the 4th century.

Also when does the Coptic language first appear anyway? AFAIK it was historically spoken by the Copts of Egypt, starting from the third-century CE in Roman Egypt.
The nomen sacrum patridi is very late according to Traube:
Screenshot_20220805-223915_ReadEra Premium.jpg
Screenshot_20220805-223915_ReadEra Premium.jpg (925.63 KiB) Viewed 107 times
So let's assume that the Greek copies date to 300+ and the Coptic is only slightly earlier, 250 something?
That would fit with the emphatic stress (by the Laytons of this world, mind you) on Coptic being 3rd CE at the earliest, yet it would place all of Chrestianity in between 250-350 CE and the hostile takeover to 350 CE.
I don't care about the dates really, none of that changes the undeniable direction of dependence where Coptic Thomas is the source to Greek Thomas and the NT fully dependent on *Ev and Thomas

But perhaps it would suit others - I really don't have a horse in that race. Not because it would hurt my case in any way, but precisely because it never could: dating texts is irrelevant to any case - because even a guaranteed date with a margin of error of 0 years would only isolate the particular print / publish date of an MS, and say absolutely nothing about any possible earlier versions.
At the very best it would only attest to the success rate of Christian persecution of Chrestians

Oral memory and the entire dating game are Churchian inventions aimed at prolonging the (really non existing) stalemate in Christian origins because none of it can be debunked - or proven.
They're mere cunning follow ups of the Christian tricks and treacheries that lie at the base of its very creation
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Re: The self-evident emergence of Christianity

Post by Leucius Charinus »

mlinssen wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:00 pm
Oral memory and the entire dating game are Churchian inventions aimed at prolonging the (really non existing) stalemate in Christian origins because none of it can be debunked - or proven.
The Christian origins game is pretty simple to analyse.

A description of the full game involves weaving a fabric from the first stitch to the last. To some people the the history of Christian origins is as factual as either the Ante Nicene Fathers or Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. To others - like me - it is a mystery. Historical analysis of the full game yields three distinct epochs (often blurred) that we may as well call the opening gambit, the middle game and the end game.


The Opening Gambit (1st/2nd century)

The historical reconstructions of Bibical scholars often focus on the opening gambit. Invariably this involves the authorship of the "Genuine Epistles" Paul and/or the 4 Gospels in the all-important 1st century. There are 1001 variations upon this theme from Pauline priority to Markan priority to Marcionite priority to your own Thomasine priority. The opening gambit of the game explores a hypothetical chess clock running in the 1st and 2nd century. Often the NT Apocryphal literature is not part of the opening game. However in some reconstructions texts such as "The Gospel of Thomas" or "The Ascension of Isiaiah" are introduced into play. In these cases the history of the canonical stuff becomes clouded and mixed with the history of the non canonical stuff in the opening gambit.


The Middle Game (2nd/3rd century)

Historical reconstructions of origins then consider the middle game as it gets thrashed out in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The voluminous writings of the heresiologists - such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian - pontificate loudly on matters of doctrine, the fathers, apostolic succession and the pernicious heretics who authored and preserved non canonical books. In the middle game many solutions postulate the historical existence of a multitude of Christian sects and scismatics. Sethians, Valentinians, Simonians, Marcionites. A list that can be effortlessly expanded. The middle game therefore covers the authorship of other "Gospels" such as those of Marcion, Thomas, Philip, Nicodemus et al. And that's generally where the coverage of the Origins game ends for the mainstream players. Coverage ends with the middle game - because the end game was inevitable.


The End Game (4th century and Beyond)

The end game involves what happened during the 4th century and beyond. In the pivotal Christian Revolution of the 4th century we have a number of the main characters on stage. The historical researcher and conniving official (Eusebius), the megalomaniacal Emperor (Constantine) and the full-on totalitarian "Christian" and despotic theocrat Theodosius I. The 4th century end game covers the closing of the NT canon, the invention of "Ecclesiastical History" (including heresiology), the invention of Christian Hagiography, the invention of Christian martyrologies, the invention of the cult of Saints and Martyrs, and the invention of the obscenely lucrative Holy Relic Trade. The 4th century end game looks like a top-down conversion by the sword. And the victors removed the bloodstains. By fraud and forgery which persisted well beyond the 4th century.

They're mere cunning follow ups of the Christian tricks and treacheries that lie at the base of its very creation

Once the entire Christian origins dating game is analysed (for example as above) then stuff becomes somewhat clearer and all this Churchian invention can be divided up into its various constituent parts and debunked one by one. Classical historians are almost generally certain and agreed that many of the inventions listed above are already capable of being categorised as entirely pseudo-historical. eg: Fake relics. Biblical historians playing the role of defense attorneys equivocate on the details of which elements on behalf of the prestige of the church industry.
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