Carpocratians and Freemasons

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andrewcriddle
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Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by andrewcriddle »

David Litwa in Carpocrates, Marcellina, and Epiphanes quotes from a popular modern encyclopedia of Ocuultism a passage about the Carpocratians as an example of academic fake news.
The Carpocratians were a sect of Gnostics who clained Christ derived the mysteries of his religion from the Temple of Isis in Egypt, where he was said to have studied for six years, and that he taught them to his apostles, who transmitted them to Carpocrates. Members used theurgic incantations and had their own peculiar greetings, signs and words, and symbols and degrees of rank...The sect endured until the sixth century
Litwa is right to regard this as nonsense but it is based on an older source Arcane Schools by the Freemason John Yarker.
Carpocratians. The founder of this Sect was Carpocrates of Alexandria. He would seem to have been a Disciple of Jehoshua ben Panther, previously mentioned, rather than the Gospel Jesus. It is not improbable that the older portions of the Jewish Sepher Toldoth Jeshu was a Gospel of Cabalistic Sects, and that Jesus ben Panther was an Essenian leader. The system of Carpocrates taught that Jesus derived the Mysteries of his religion from the temple of Isis in Egypt, where he had studied for six years, and that he taught them to his Apostles, who transmitted them to Carpocrates. The sect used Theurgic incantations, and had grips, signs, and words; symbols and degrees. His son Epiphanes wrote {167} a work on his father's system, but died young. The sect is believed to have endured for some centuries.
There is a fascinating history of the role of the Carpocratians in 19th and 20th century esotericism, as the supposed transmitters of a secret doctrine from Jesus to modern occultist groups via the Knights Templar.
Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry ...
It was conceded, that the Freemasonry of our days (St. John's Freemasonry) sprang from the Building Fraternities of the Middle Ages, but at the same time asserted that in the early ages there existed a secret society which strove to compass the perfecting of the human race, precisely in the same manner, and employing similar means, as did the Swedish system, which in fact only followed in the wake of its predecessor, being concealed in the Building Fraternities, so that our society did not rise from them, but made itself a way through them. The secret science, the mystery, was very ancient indeed. This mystery formed the secret of the Higher Degrees of the Rite, which were not merely kept hidden from the rest of the confederation, but also from the members of the inferior degrees of the system itself. This mystery was fully confirmed by documents, which the Grand Lodge of Germany had in its keeping…. This secret legend is the same as that of the Carpocratians, which is that Jesus chose some of the Apostles and confided to them a secret science, which was transmitted afterwards to the priests of the Order of the Knights-Templars, and through them to the Building Fraternities, down to the present Freemasons of the Swedish Rite….
Andrew Criddle
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DCHindley
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by DCHindley »

Hi Andrew,

Are you actually making a connection here between a mysterious Carpocratian movement and Freemasonry?

Or are you making a comparison between similar movements in different eras?

Can't put too much stock in the validity of claims by late medieval to modern theosophical and magick movements to the effect that their rites are based on mystical secrets hoary with age (originating in Egypt). Rosicrucian and Templar themed movements also make similar claims, and there are sociological similarities between the movements.

What do you think?

DCH
andrewcriddle
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by andrewcriddle »

DCHindley wrote: Thu Jan 05, 2023 2:49 pm Hi Andrew,

Are you actually making a connection here between a mysterious Carpocratian movement and Freemasonry?

Or are you making a comparison between similar movements in different eras?

Can't put too much stock in the validity of claims by late medieval to modern theosophical and magick movements to the effect that their rites are based on mystical secrets hoary with age (originating in Egypt). Rosicrucian and Templar themed movements also make similar claims, and there are sociological similarities between the movements.

What do you think?

DCH
Sorry, I thought I was clear. As genuine history the claims are nonsense. However, the early 20th century importance of the Carpocratians as supposed bearers of a secret teaching originating from Jesus and repudiated by mainstream Christianity is of interest. It may possibly be part of the background to the Mar Saba letter.

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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by DCHindley »

As genuine history the claims are nonsense. However, the early 20th century importance of the Carpocratians as supposed bearers of a secret teaching originating from Jesus and repudiated by mainstream Christianity is of interest. It may possibly be part of the background to the Mar Saba letter.
Ahh, I see.

IIRC, Smith only referred to the Carpocratians as described by Irenaeus and other Christian heresy hunters.

Did he reference modern Carpocratians? I do not recall this specifically.

Are you looking for a late medieval or early modern mystical movement that might have made it up (with Smith stumbling upon it)? This I can see as possible.

I honestly can't believe Smith was able to expertly mimic a 17th century hand. Nowadays, we don't even teach handwriting in most US primary school systems. My 24 yr old son cannot write in cursive and reads it with a bit of difficulty. My 30 yr old daughter can. You may remember the endless practice it took to master in grade school. I grant he was in a few monasteries in the 1940s etc., but I have never seen any evidence folks saw him practicing his Greek hand.

DCH
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by andrewcriddle »

DCHindley wrote: Sat Jan 07, 2023 10:36 am
As genuine history the claims are nonsense. However, the early 20th century importance of the Carpocratians as supposed bearers of a secret teaching originating from Jesus and repudiated by mainstream Christianity is of interest. It may possibly be part of the background to the Mar Saba letter.
Ahh, I see.

IIRC, Smith only referred to the Carpocratians as described by Irenaeus and other Christian heresy hunters.

Did he reference modern Carpocratians? I do not recall this specifically.

Are you looking for a late medieval or early modern mystical movement that might have made it up (with Smith stumbling upon it)? This I can see as possible.
Although Morton Smith was interested in modern esoteric and occult figures e.g. Aleister Crowley, I know of no evidence that he was aware of the way some claimed links to the Carpocratians.

I still find it interesting that interest in the Carpocratians seems to largely fade away after about 400 CE and revive in modern times. (19th and early 20th century books making claims about the alleged origins of 18th century esoteric groups. )

On the point about cursive Greek script. Cursive is meant to be a means of rapid handwriting. I doubt if Morton Smith could write cursive rapidly in the way that a proper scribe could. He was certainly able to fluently read it. Whether this is enough for a deliberate imitation of cursive script, slowly and carefully executed, is unclear.

Andrew Criddle
StephenGoranson
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by StephenGoranson »

If you wish to say, Andrew Criddle, did Geoffrey Smith and/or Brent Landau contact you for your current opinions while writing their book?
andrewcriddle
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by andrewcriddle »

StephenGoranson wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 1:56 pm If you wish to say, Andrew Criddle, did Geoffrey Smith and/or Brent Landau contact you for your current opinions while writing their book?
Fraid not.

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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by Secret Alias »

It is interesting. But has little relevance to the question of the letter to Theodore. I remind everyone that Celsus was interested in the letter as well. People are interested in the Carpocratians because ... they are interesting. People were interested in Jesus and Christianity for the same reason. Interesting things attract ... interest.
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by StephenGoranson »

Celsus, as reported by Origen, Contra Celsum V: 62 did mention Harpocratians, perhaps meaning Carpocratians.
That text, though, does not mention "the letter."
andrewcriddle
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Re: Carpocratians and Freemasons

Post by andrewcriddle »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Jan 12, 2023 10:15 am Celsus, as reported by Origen, Contra Celsum V: 62 did mention Harpocratians, perhaps meaning Carpocratians.
That text, though, does not mention "the letter."
The passage in Contra Celsum reads
Celsus knows, moreover, certain Marcellians, so called from Marcellina, and Harpocratians from Salome, and others who derive their name from Mariamme, and others again from Martha.
the proximity of Harpocratians and followers of Marcellina, the woman Carpocratian leader mentioned by Irenaeus, makes it clear that Carpocratians are meant.

Andrew Criddle
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