Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

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rgprice
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Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

Post by rgprice »

There are many accounts of various heretical teachings and other sources that lead me to believe that there was some sort of narrative about Christ the Savior prior to the first Gospel that we recognize today. This figure may or may not have been called Jesus.

Here is what I think this first narrative likely looked like:

1) The Savior originates in the Highest level of heaven. He plans to defeat Satan.
2) The Savior descends through the heavens, being transfigured as he enters each level of heaven in order to ensure that his mission to earth is secret, unknown to all of the heavenly powers, including Belial/Satan.
3) The Savior is transfigured as he enters the realm of earth, but minions of Satan witness his entry into earth and recognize that he is the Son of the Most High God.
4) The Savior binds or somehow incapacitates the demons so that they cannot warn Satan.
5) The Savior proceeds directly to Jerusalem, where he sees a crucifixion taking place.
6) The Savior sees this as an opportunity to implement his plan, so he switches places with a figure named Jesus who was to be executed.
7) The Savior is executed, whereupon his soul is granted passage to the dominion of Satan, where he defeats Satan and saves the souls of the righteous that Satan had been able to capture.
8) The Savior returns either to his false body or to the body of Jesus after 3 days, whereupon he then engages in a ministry, healing the sick, raising the dead, and saving souls for a year (or a year and a half) before his spirit returns to heaven to rule on his throne.

Basically, based on my reading of Ascension of Isaiah, the Gospels, and comments by Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian and others about various things said by so-called heretics, it seems that some such story existed. This story has a coherent theological logic to it. Furthermore, many elements of the Gospel may be viewed as building upon or re-framing these narrative elements.

What further support might there be for the existence of such a pre-Gospel narrative, or is such a proposition unsupportable?
Last edited by rgprice on Mon May 02, 2022 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

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rgprice wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 9:05 amor is such a proposition unsupportable?
the point 6 (basically: adoptionism/separationism in his primitive form) is what I find "unsupportable" insofar it betrayes/supposes:
  • 1) a previous pure spiritual essence of Jesus, without no need of a body but only, at most, of a docetic appearance.
  • 2) the growing desire, someway, to anchor Jesus with the earthly world, by giving him a carnal body, even if only for a while.
Here we are remembered that Marcion's docetism was opposed also by Basilides and Cerinthus, not only by mere catholics and/or Judaizers.
rgprice
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Re: Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

Post by rgprice »

Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 9:21 am
rgprice wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 9:05 amor is such a proposition unsupportable?
the point 6 (basically: adoptionism/separationism in his primitive form) is what I find "unsupportable" insofar it betrayes/supposes:
  • 1) a previous pure spiritual essence of Jesus, without no need of a body but only, at most, of a docetic appearance.
  • 2) the growing desire, someway, to anchor Jesus with the earthly world, by giving him a carnal body, even if only for a while.
Here we are remembered that Marcion's docetism was opposed also by Basilides and Cerinthus, not only by mere catholics and/or Judaizers.
Yes, but I see what I've proposed as an explanation for why these arguments got so confused.

I think that the original story, like we find in Vision of Isaiah, is simply of a Savior, the Lord let's say, coming to earth. The Lord was not Jesus. The Lord then enters the body of Jesus or takes the place of Jesus (not sure which). At that point, the Lord and Jesus get confused. Really, Jesus was a nobody, his only role in the story was to be the figure that the Lord took the place of. Jesus had no backstory and no real significance. The story was really about the Lord (or the Savior).

But Paul is where things get tricky. Paul equates Jesus with the Lord. The story that Paul knows is something like the story I described, though maybe without the earthly ministry.

Someone then seeks to revise the story along Pauline lines, and they move the ministry of the Savior on earth from after the execution to before the execution. But in the original story the Savior was of course purely spiritual. And Marcion knows something of this tradition, however Marcion is using a story in which the ministry of the Savior has been moved prior to the execution, implying that Jesus is in fact the Savior and implying that the figure engaging in this ministry was a human being. So Marcion was trying to reconcile the original story with the later version of it.

The transfiguration scene in the Gospels never really made sense. I think its a hold-over from the original story, in which the transfiguration was really the beginning of the Savior's activity on earth. Why do the demons know who Jesus is, and why does he silence them? Why the Messianic secret? I think this was all part of dealing with the original story, in which the Savior's mission was a secret that he had to keep hidden from Satan.

Mark's opening baptism basically has the Savior enter Jesus much earlier, whereas in the original Jesus was unimportant.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

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rgprice wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 10:06 am Someone then seeks to revise the story along Pauline lines, and they move the ministry of the Savior on earth from after the execution to before the execution.
your point 8 is very persuasive, indeed. That "someone" had evidently the same need of Papias.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

Post by Giuseppe »

lsayre wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 10:54 am viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8778&p=130811#p130811
thank you! :thumbup:
rgprice
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Re: Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

Post by rgprice »

Note, I also think that some of the problem of trying to figure out the priority of Mark vs Marcion is due to the fact that neither of those Gospels was the first story. Both Mark and Marcion appear to be reacting to something, reinterpreting something. Thus, advocates of the priority of Marcion see Mark's apparent use of a source or reaction to a theology as necessarily implying that Mark is reacting to Marcion. The same is also true of how we interpret Marcion's Gospel. But, either or both of them may be reacting to a prior story, and so not necessarily interacting directly with one another. Obviously one had to have copied from the other in some way, but whichever was first was also providing an alternative reading to some other existing narrative, whether it was written or oral. The other, in copying from the first, may be intentionally revising statements in the first to contradict that source, OR they may also be making further points in contradiction to the original story, or in support of it.

For example, it may be that in the original story the Savior is not Jesus, but both Mark and Marcion agree that the Savior is Jesus and go about showing how Jesus is the Savior. They both agree that Jesus is the Savior because the Pauline letters say so.
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billd89
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Re: Dating Your Dates

Post by billd89 »

Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 9:21 amHere we are remembered that Marcion's docetism was opposed also by Basilides and Cerinthus, not only by mere catholics and/or Judaizers.
Impossible.

Basilides {c.135 AD: c.Age 70 or Dead} and Cerinthus: Dead at the time Marcion became controversial (c.135 AD) could not and certainly did not oppose him or his theology.

This is why it's important to set up coherent time-lines. It's mindless to 'just throw everything in the blender'.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Dating Your Dates

Post by Giuseppe »

billd89 wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 4:00 pm
Giuseppe wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 9:21 amHere we are remembered that Marcion's docetism was opposed also by Basilides and Cerinthus, not only by mere catholics and/or Judaizers.
Impossible.

Basilides {c.135 AD: c.Age 70 or Dead} and Cerinthus: Dead at the time Marcion became controversial (c.135 AD) could not and certainly did not oppose him or his theology.

This is why it's important to set up coherent time-lines. It's mindless to 'just throw everything in the blender'.
docetism is attested as being older than adoptionism, sorry. See Hymn to Philippians for evidence.

So the docetist icon, Marcion, precedes the adotionist icon, Cerinthus.
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior

Post by Leucius Charinus »

rgprice wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 9:05 am There are many accounts of various heretical teachings and other sources that lead me to believe that there was some sort of narrative about Christ the Savior prior to the first Gospel that we recognize today. This figure may or may not have been called Jesus.

///

Basically, based on my reading of Ascension of Isaiah, the Gospels, and comments by Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian and others about various things said by so-called heretics, it seems that some such story existed. This story has a coherent theological logic to it.
IMO your challenge is that there are at least three (probably distinct) groups of authors here - the apocryphal Jesus Stories, the proto-orthodox (canonical) Jesus Stories and the Ante Nicene Fathers Stories. That's all of early Christian literature. Multi-layered and often highly entangled. And your asking whether there is some primal hypothetical narrative story at the beginning of this saga?
Furthermore, many elements of the Gospel may be viewed as building upon or re-framing these narrative elements.
Are you excluding the stories and themes copy/pasted from the Greek LXX?
What further support might there be for the existence of such a pre-Gospel narrative, or is such a proposition unsupportable?
Dura Parchment 24 may arguably be the oldest Christian literary artefact. It is dated by archaeological context and not by paleography-in-isolation. Brent Nongbri writes:

"Although a few Christian books may be as old as the 2nd century,
none of them must be that old ... The drive to have older and
older Christian manuscripts, however, shows no signs of abating".

Epilogue p.269, God's Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts – August 21, 2018

DP24 is a "Harmony Gospel". What if the Hypothetic first narrative about Christ the savior was just one longer account, and the canonical accounts split up the source? How would we be able to tell?
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