Gnostic Markos?

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billd89
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Gnostic Markos?

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In Lajos Blau, Das altjüdische Zauberwesen [1898]p.42
... Both even give the date when it was brought from Egypt. We need only recall that Gnostic Markos was also an Egyptian and Magician.

Please unpack this, thx. The date [1898] means it cannot be the 'Secret Gospel of Mark' ..

I'll translate the following shortly: Adolf Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums... [1884], p.369
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Re: Gnostic Markos?

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Irenaeus AH 1.13 - 21
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Re: Gnostic Markos?

Post by andrewcriddle »

Secret Alias wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 7:45 am Irenaeus AH 1.13 - 21
Yes see Marcus

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Re: Gnostic Marcus {c.80-150 AD?}

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Adolf Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums... [1884],p.369
2, The Valentinian Marcus.

As the second main representative of Valentinianism of his time, Irenaeus describes Against Heresies 1.13-21 (where the edition of Rev. William Wigan Harvey, with the corrections from Hippolytus 2, is unavoidable) Marcus, a disciple of Kolarbasus (see note 493). He speaks of Marcus as of a contemporary {c.170 AD} 623). He has him working in Asia, where he seduced the wife of a deacon (1.13.5). In Asia also we should probably seek that "Divine Elder and Herald of Truth", whose verses Irenaeus 1.15.6 cites:

Εἰδωλοποιὲ, Μάρκε, καὶ τερατοσκόπε,
Ἀστρολογικῆς ἔμπειρε καὶ μαγικῆς τέχνης
Δἰ ὦκ κρατύνεις τῆς πλάνης τά διδάγματα,
Σημεῖα δεικνὺς τοῖς ὑπό σου πλανωμένοις,
Ἀποστατικῆς δυνάμεως ἐγχειρήματα,
Ἃ σὺ χορηγεῖς ὡς πατὴρ Σατανᾶ, εἰ
Δἰ ἀγγελικῆς δυνάμεως Ἀζαζὴλ ποιεῖν
Ἔχων σε πρόδρομον ἀντιθέοι πανουργίας.
V. 6. secundum vet. intpr.: Quae tibi praestat tuus pater Satanas,

Markus: Idol-Maker and Examiner of monster-births,
Practiced in Astrology, and Magical Arts,
By tricks like these you confirm the Doctrines of Error.
You mark signs to those under you, in deception, works of apostate Power
Which your father Satan orchestrates for you to accomplish, still,
To do through the Angelic Power Azazel,
Making you the precursor of his own impious villainy.

However, Marcus' disciples have worked not only in the East, but even with success at Rhodanus {Marseille}, and this caused an impugnation from Irenaeus, who also brought long-hidden things to light here (1.15.6) and made himself deserving of merit by his first exposition. Again, it is a sign of his reliability that he also mentions deviations among Marcosians (1.18.1-2. 1.21.3). What Hippolytus I (after Pseudo-Tertullianus c.16, Philaster haer. 42) reports about Marcus is so minimal that Epiphanius (Haer. XXXIV) preferred to write out Irenaeus. Because Irenaeus' description of the Marcosians' sacrament of consecration was declared incorrect by some disciples of Marcus, Hippolytus II, as much as he otherwise followed Irenaeus (Phil. VI, 39-55), wanted to do more precise research (Phil. VI, 42 p. 202 sq.).

All the more his essential agreement confirms the reliability of Irenaeus. Only Jerome, otherwise completely dependent on Irenaeus, still brings something new about Marcus, namely not only the well-founded statement (Epi. 75, 3. Opp. I, 454) that Marcus - as a Libertine - was spiritually descended from the Gnostic Basilides, but also the more credible designation of Marcus as an Egyptian (Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 64:4. [Vallarsi 6.761]: Marcum Aegyptium).

Irenaeus (180 AD) is our first and best source for Gnostic Marcus. A dearth of supporting material suggests (contra Irenaeus) the Marcus Cult was neither long-lasting nor very influential. Irenaeus' familiarity w/ Marcus is hearsay, but his report draws on written sources we can presume 40-60 years older (c.120-140 AD). Marcus was a presumed student of the Alexandrian Basilides, c.100-115 AD, but I want to elaborate the much later claim of St. Jerome (c.410 AD) that Marcus was 'Egyptian' from evidence in the Marcosian Prayer.

If 'Marcus the Egyptian' - assumed at Age 25 (c.105 AD) studying under Basilides, then he was a younger contemporary of Valentinius. 'Kolarbasus' is a misunderstanding of a key ideology for a teacher's name, Colarbasus-Gnosis, which is the older tradition we seek; Irenaeus' confusion there is telling, I think. Later - following the 115 AD Alexandrian pogrom - 'Marcus the Egyptian' created a competing school against ('other') Valentinians: c.125 AD at Age 45 in Smyrna. I see nothing 'Jesus Christ-ian' in Marcus - beyond some mystical interpretation of the name, which may occur later - but M. himself seems to be a Post-Jewish Gnostic, c.125-150 AD. A generation later, in France c.170 AD, Irenaeus knows some students of 'Marcus the Egyptian', Gnostics who may Christianizers of his older doctrine.

As an aside:
Why should the "Divine Elder and Herald of Truth" remain unnamed? I will conjecture the following, supposing the unnamed Church Father ("Elder") was 1-2 generations older than Irenaeus. Saint Pothinus (87-177 AD) - as a somewhat younger Christian c.125 AD (Age 37) - wrote a poem against a somewhat older Gnostic Age 45 (Marcus, born c.80 AD) when the Church was battling heresies in Smyrna. Where Irenaeus lived (c.130–202 AD) and wrote 180 AD, Marcus (deceased by c.150 AD) would have been a Gnostic of the 3rd Generation (c.125 AD). Irenaeus knows M. only by hearsay. Therefore, Irenaeus was writing off memory and Gnostica 60 yrs old (c.130-140 AD), w/ some original (Egyptian) ideas approximately 100 yrs older still. However, if this "Elder and Herald"/critic of Marcus was Polycarp (d.155 AD), our time-frame for the underlying Gnostica is about the same, perhaps 10-20 years earlier at the latest range. Irenaeus vaguely knew of the Four-fold Gnostic ideology and limited first-hand experience with one or two of Marcus' elder students c.160-170 AD, relic followers a generation after Marcus the Egyptian. (That subsequent Church heresiologists of the 3rd C AD diminished this school's importance suggests his cult was rather small/weak and disappearing by 170 AD.)

'Marcus the Jewish Egyptian' - empowered by a key Jewish Archangel, why not admit he was Jewish? - had been a great Theurge, indeed a Master of the Chaldaean science(s), correct? It is telling Mark is not called a Χαλδαῖος.

1. εἰδωλοποιὲ = idolorum fabricator, creator of idols; framer of false gods and idolater generally (i.e. Minim, heretic.)
2. τερατοσκόπος = observer of portents/interpreters of omens.
3. ἀστρολόγος or Kasdim = an astrologer.
4. μάγους = magus, mage, a magician generally.

In fact, Marcus is not highly reputed by this mantic list; he is not described as a chartumim or lector priest (enchanter), his skills seems rather trivialized. The mocking poet is basically calling Mark a common charlatan. But this skill-set would be consistent with an itinerant magician & therapeut, or 'Cholarbastic Gnostic' as this type of renegade Judaic theosopher was then called.

The mystical formula caught my eye, in Irenaeus, Against Heresies (Book 1, Chapter 21) {see the Standard Translation, Alexander Roberts [1868]}:
Others still repeat certain Hebrew words, in order the more thoroughly to bewilder those who are being initiated, as follows: Basema, Chamosse, Baœnaora, Mistadia, Ruada, Kousta, Babaphor, Kalachthei. The interpretation of these terms runs thus: I invoke that which is above every Power of the Father, which is called Light, and Good Spirit, and Life, because You have reigned in the body.

This is the Greek translation which Irenaeus offers; obviously, it is quite wrong. But if Irenaeus didn't know Syriac, then the interpretation is merely what he was informed by another source; otherwise, he is disinformative. Breaking the spell by garbling (corruption), Irenaeus has nevertheless preserved the intent and idea this prayer was employed for corporeal release - healing, or divine possession.

I would argue more precise translation from the Syriac (below) actually refers to a Therapeutic/Judeo-Egyptian henosis. But has Irenaeus intimated a more complete Five-Fold modality? The Fifth Element is God's Ousia or Influence, "taking command of the body".
Τούνων δ’ ἑρμηνεία ἐστι τοιαύτη· Ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν δύναμιν τοῦ πατρὸς ἐπικαλοῦμαι φῶς ὀνομαζόμενον, καὶ πνεῦμα ἀγαθὸν, καὶ ζωή· ὅτι ἐν σώματι ἐβασίλευσας.

And the translation of the preceding is this: "Above the All-Power of the Father, I invoke that called Light, and Good-Spirit, and Life; that You have begun to reign in my body."

Conceptually, by its constituent elements, we see Five Stages of Marcosian Divinization (c.125 AD?) in the prayer as Irenaeus conveys it:

[1] Above All-Powers of the Father!
[2] I invoke (Divine) Light!
[3] I invoke Good-Spirit*!
[4] I invoke (Divine) Life!
[5] You Reign in me!

* The Roman Church consciously began obscuring Hermetic references to the ancient Alexandrian Agathodaimon in the 2nd C AD, so the older Judeo-Egyptian "Good-Spirit" became the Christianized "Holy Spirit." For explanation, see this THIS Hermeneutics reply:
"Holy Spirit" in Luke 11:13 is not what appears in all manuscripts; there are some manuscripts which refer to "a good spirit" (πνεῦμα ἀγαθὸν) rather than "the Holy Spirit" (πνεῦμα ἅγιον), including one papyrus1 that dates back to the 3rd century.2 The oldest complete commentary on Luke, undertaken by Cyril of Alexandria in the late 4th/early 5th century, shows "Good Spirit" rather than "Holy Spirit" when it quotes this verse (see below). Metzger's Textual Commentary assigns πνεῦμα ἅγιον ("Holy Spirit") as the reading in Luke 11:13 to category "B", which signifies a high degree of, but not complete certainty. (The text used today by the Greek Orthodox Church contains "good spirit", not "Holy Spirit"). The two words are close in Greek - agatho for good, agio for holy - but they are not the same. It seems relevant to me also that there is no article "the" in the Greek text (as in "the Holy Spirit"), in any variant.

I think these are important points, because an exegesis of these verses that focuses on the Holy Spirit as a "good gift" may be getting away from what is actually in the text. It may be a useful and edifying topic, but it may not be addressing what is actually in these Scriptures.

Cyril explains the verse in Luke as follows:
And the same reasoning holds good of the serpent and fish, and the egg and scorpion. If he ask a fish, you will grant it: but if he see a serpent, and wish to seize it, you will hold back the child's hand. If he want an egg, you will offer it at once, and encourage his desire after things of this sort, that the infant may advance to riper age: but if he see a scorpion creeping about, and run after it, imagining it to be something pretty, and as being ignorant of the harm it can do, you will, I suppose, of course stop him, and not let him be injured by the noxious animal. When therefore He says, "You who are evil;" by which He means, you whose mind is capable of being influenced by evil, and not uniformly inclined to good like the God of all; "you know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give a good spirit to them that ask Him? And by "a good spirit'. He means spiritual grace: for this in every way is good, and if a man receive it, he will become most blessed, and worthy of admiration.3

For an analysis of the Syriac magical Formula/Prayer in Irenaeus, see Jean-Daniel Dubois et Flavia Ruani, "Interpretation d'une formule barbare chez les gnostiques valentiniens d'apres le Contre les hérésies d'Irenee, I, 21,3." in Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature. Ideas and Practices [2012], pp.46-51:
Ἄλλοι δὲ Ἑβραϊκά τινα ὀνόματα ἐπιλέγουσι, πρὸς τὸ μᾶλλον καταπλήξασθαι τοὺς τελειουμένους, οὕτως· Βασεμὰ χαμοσσὴ βααιανορὰ μισταδία ῥουαδὰ κουστὰ βαβοφὸρ καλαχθεῖ.

Basyma cacabasa eanaa irraumista diarbada caeota bafobor camelanthi

It should be noted that the two formulations are not strictly similar. However, the critical apparatus of the Latin translation can help us to better understand this divergence. From the outset, we note the abundance of variants this formula presents in Latin - an indication, moreover, of the difficulty of understanding which this 'barbaric statement' represented for the translators. Let us consider the variants of three words in in particular:
cacabasa (Q) : eacha saba (C A), cachasaba (V) ;
irraumista (edd. a Gra.) : uramista (C A Q), uram ista (V) ;
diarbada (A Q) : diaruada (C), diauarda (V).

... Once this problem of textual transmission is resolved, and if we see that the Greek and Latin formulations are roughly equivalent, the central question of our study arises as follows: would this phrase make sense in a Semitic language like Syriac? As E. Thomassen [2011] had noted, there are already a number of proposals for interpreting the Semitic substratum for certain terms in the formulae, such as the work of Hugo Gressmann [1915] and Karl Müller [1920].13

Here is a table that explains how this first statement can be interpreted in Syriac: in the left-hand column is the Greek formulation (which, as we have just shown, is almost equivalent to that of the Latin); in the center, we have taken up the reconstruction given by François Graffin 30 years ago, and published in the volume of the "Sources Chrétiennes" which serves as a commentary on the first Book of the Against Heresies14 ; his interpretation is interesting, but it deviates readily from the letter of the text to join expressions present in the rest of Irenaeus's paragraph. F. Grafffin gives a transcription of the Syriac in the Latin alphabet and a translation. The right-hand column, finally, houses our own reading, more faithful to the letter of the statement and guided by the desire to give an account of its Valentinian content.15

{The translation, in Four Elements:}
"By the Almighty Name [1], by means of Life [2], Light is projected [3]: the Spirit of Truth to all Archons [4]."

That bit is Judeo-Hermetic: CH 1.32 (Dekadic Sacrifice, basis of the Third Step Prayer): διὸ πιστεύω καὶ μαρτυρῶ· εἰς ζωὴν καὶ φῶς χωρῶ. "For this I believe and I testify; I go to Life and Light." I don't believe this comes to Greek by Syriac, nor that the Hermetica derives from Valentinianism - rather, the opposite must have occurred. Later Marcosians (c.150 AD) utilized an older Judeo-Egyptian Hermetic fragment, probably a Therapeutic (i.e. Judeo-Egyptian) prayer from the First C. AD, translated into Syriac after 40 AD.

Colarbasus-Gnosis ~Κολορβάσου γνῶσις, where Chol-arba (כלארבע) means 'All-is-Four'; Κολορβάσου Σιγῆς 'Voice of the Four', etc. is a tetradic or four-fold system, thereby suggesting the true form of the 'prayer' which Irenaeus has preserved 'Christianized' in Against Heresies 1.21:

Εἰς ὄνομα ἀγνώστου Πατρὸς τῶν ὅλων,
εἰς Ἀλήθειαν μητέρα πάντων,
εἰς τὸν κατελθόντα,
εἰς ἕνωσιν καὶ ἀπολύτρωσιν καὶ κοινωνίαν τῶν δυνάμεων.

1) "In the Name of the Unknown All-Father,
2) By Truth - All-Mother,
3) By the One Descended,
4) For Union, Redemption and Communion of The Powers."


Recall again the Four-Fold Prayer of Philo's 'Therapeutae', for comparison:
DVC 2: ἐπαιδεύθησαν θεραπεύειν #1: τὸ ὄν, ὃ καὶ #3: ἀγαθοῦ κρεῖττόν ἐστι καὶ #4 ἑνὸς εἰλικρινέστερον καὶ #2 μονάδος ἀρχεγονώτερον.

DVC 2: they are raised to worship 'Being' {#1: Προαρχή, Μονότης = Foresource, Monotes}, superior to 'The Good' {#3 Noetic Paradigm} and purer than 'The Unity' {#4 Ἑνότης The Henad: The All}, and primordial to 'The Monad' {#2 All-Source, One God}

Whatever their real name was - in other threads, I have hypothesized Philo's Therapeutae/'Sons of God' were actually Judeo-Egyptian Sethians - we are looking at a highly similar religious construct for God in 3 or 4 Persons in both the Judaic Pythagorean (c.15 AD) and the Marcosian Prayers (c.130 AD):

The Four-fold Hypostases of 'God':
1. Primordial Being: Unknown/Unbegotten Absolute Being
2. Monad (Logos): First Son, Creator, Author
3. Divine Reality: Noetic Paradigm of Creation
4. Henad: Cosmic Reality (Creation: 'Heaven and Earth')[/quote]

Although each prayer re-orders the tetradic system somewhat differently, the strong similarities are evident:

__ Therapeut __________ Hermetic/Gnostic __ Cholarbastic ___________ Marcosians
1. Primordial Being ....... Almighty Name ...... Omnipotent Father ........ By: Unknown All-Father
2. The Good ............... Truth-Spirit ........... Good-Spirit ................. In: Truth - All-Mother
3. Monad (Logos) ......... (Divine) Light ......... (Divine) Light .............. Thru: The Incarnate One
4. Henad ................... (Divine) Life .......... (Divine) Life ................ For: Unity, Redemption & Communion (w/Powers)

The correlations are not always exact - we have variant myths here - but I think the following hypostases approximately sort logically to reveal: the underlying simplified myth(s) of the Unknown Father, the Mother-Whore, the Savior Son, the Divine Unity. I am not certain how this is Judeo-Egyptian - some heterodox features must predate the Pentateuch as pagan borrowings. Azazel dates pre-300 BC, but Agathodaimon (The Serpent-God) - known as Chnoubis/Ialdabaoth - is certainly older, and emerges later (or elsewhere?) in orthodox Judaism as Satanael (i.e. 3 Baruch 4:8); see Orlov, [2011]. The Proto-Jews of Alexandria c.300 BC (as for the Judeo-Egyptian Snake-Worshippers in Exodus) had a Great Serpent Cult of Kushta/Sophia, for the Serpent and Tree of Knowledge, etc. The Gnostic prayer (after Basilides?) preserves 'The Good' = 'Truth Spirit' and All-Mother: a Serpentine Goddess - otherwise known as Chusarthis/Baalti/Thora or Harmonia, in various times/places? We can only wonder about the specific origins.

The (Markos/Basilides) Hermetic-Gnostic paraphrase "By the Almighty Name, by means of Life, Light is projected: the Spirit of Truth to all Archons" is almost certainly Egyptian but from whence it first appears (100 BC??) we know not. The Divine Light which comes to save man, the Name of the Light, 'the one who descends' (εἰς τὸν κατελθόντα = an unnamed one who descends, incarnationally, into the earthly Jesus: Irenaeus says) is of course fascinating. The Pauline doctrine of Christ's Descent (Philippians 2:7) - which mirrors a description in the Jewish Hermetica (CH 13.7) as outlined here - is a version of the older Gnostic Creation Myth of Man. The 'Name of the Holy Light' was ... Christos? I suspect this goes back to Jewish Egypt, but The Savior wasn't yet obvious (or revealed) in Philo's Therapeutae c.15 AD.

Ouza (another name for Samyaza-Azazel) was of the rank of Seraphim and the tutelary angel of the Egyptian Jews. I wonder if Phoenician-Semitic god Usôus may be conflated as the origin of the same?

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