Anagogy: a 1st C. Jewish account of what that would involve?

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billd89
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Anagogy: a 1st C. Jewish account of what that would involve?

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Topic: Jewish Anagoge (Anagogy), c.25 AD and before 100 AD.

Origenes, Commentarium In Evangelium Matthaei (Lib. 12-17), Klostermann, Hinrich, 1935-1937
If, therefore, someone left everything behind and followed Jesus, he will be furnished with those things said to Peter ... and will inherit eternal life. One must understand from this, 'And each one who left behind brothers or sisters,' etc., that certain things have been said specifically not comprehensively. ... But if indeed this admits of anagogy, someone may hesitate, but also give an account of what that would involve. {εἰ δὲ καὶ τοῦτο ἐκιδέχεται ἀναγωγήν, ὁ μέν τις διστάσει ὁ δὲ καὶ ἀποφανεῖται ὅ τι ἔχει.} Indeed it is clear according to the letter that many of those who believed in our Savior were hated by relatives and they chose to forsake them and each possession for the sake of inheriting eternal life, having been persuaded that each one who leaves behind brothers according to the flesh, ... and leaves behind [these things] for no other reason but for the sake of the name of Jesus...

ἀναγωγή = Anagogy, Anagoge. The Alexandrian Hellenistic Jewish doctrine? (c.75 AD) of the ascent, not 'the Xtian anagogical method of interpretation' of later centuries. To set that aside: firstly, egoist/materialist concerns remained for some converts. Even Tacitus (c.95 AD) said of Jewish converts, they were taught 'to despise the {ancestral} gods, disown their nation, hold cheap parents, children and brothers' (Hist. Vol.5). And Origen on Matthew (a text dated c.90 AD) confirms this happened for "many" who were so "persuaded". But the socio-cultural negation of family & property isn't what's alluded to as Anagogy. 'Leaving the trammels of the flesh to follow Jesus to Heaven' means the ascent, and that must be explained. That abandonment of earthly cares for Jesus &Heaven admits questions of what that means, by process. Reading this literally: the uplift - leaving the earth - not the mystical or figurative interpretation of what is said or what might be meant about property, etc.

The Uplifting, described c.425 AD (but a much earlier, older concept - perhaps 1st C. AD):
S.J. Beggiani, “Theology at the Service of Mysticism: Method in Pseudo-Dionysius,” [1996], pp.209-10
The dynamic in creation that brings about a return to God is experienced by humans as an uplifting or anagogy. This concept expresses both God's benevolence and love seeking to draw creatures to him, and the utter reliance of lowly creatures on divine power to raise them beyond their own capacities. As already noted, God's power is ever-present and ever-drawing. The divine light which is at the heart of all things provides the power for uplifting. All creatures are called to turn to God. In proportion to their love, light, and level of knowledge they are able to be uplifted toward the source of their being. For humans, this anagogical process begins with purification and continues through the various stages of knowledge and contemplation. Sacred Scripture and the holy mysteries enable and further the process of uplifting.

'Raising' thru Re-Making, a Conscious Process:
On "the arising" (a variation of the 'leaving behind' through Spiritual Rebirth), see Philo's discussion in De Confusione Linguarum, 62-3:
I have heard also an oracle from the lips of one of the Mosaic disciples {i.e. a Jewish esoteric cult prophet}, which runs thus: "Behold a man is Arising {ἀνατολή: Anatole, The Ascendent}" (Zechariah 6:12). A very novel name, if you would think to call someone compounded of body and soul. But if you would call him who is Incorporeal {i.e. Monad = The One = Inutterable God}, a Divine Image, then agree that is a most excellent name given to this man. For the Father has raised {ἀνατολῆς} the All-Ambassador, whom He called the First-Born {i.e. Logos}. And you shall be born-again, by 1) imitating the ways of his (i.e. the Logos’) Father, and 2) in the likeness of the Archetypes of he (debatedly: Father or Logos) beholding the different kinds. {or "... the Son thus begotten followed the ways of his Father, and shaped the different kinds, looking to the archetypal patterns which the Father supplied."}

On the taking of a special mystical-metaphysical name (by pre-eminent suggestion), a custom of this Jewish cult, see De Somniis 128:
Of these (incorporeal logoi), he takes one, choosing as best the topmost one, occupying the place which the head does in the whole body and sets it up close to his understanding.

The Mosaic cult was re-making men in imitation of the Archetypes, seeing God in the Forms. Philo weighs in on an apparently fresh controversy, the name for a New Man, because 'The Arising/Ascendent/etc.' copies the First Power in a designation archetypal (ideating a Form and imitating the highest level of divine activity). Philo thinks it appropriate - allegorically clever - that a man who would be "re-born" should imitate the ways of First God (=Invisible, Transcendent Father-God; First Principle): 'Be Pure Mind'. Here the Second God (=Demiurge, First Son, Maker, Watcher) may be superfluous: let the New Man be First God's Son (i.e. His Divine Image, like unto the Logos-Creator) himself. The novel controversy suggests something new was developing in the Mosaic cult - the hypostasis of a Divinized Man as God's Begotten Son - but nothing suggests the three-fold system itself (First Principle-Forms-First Son) was new or radical.

'The Man Arising' replicates God's way and pattern, but it was an audacious, brazen claim, testing hubris. The divinized man is enjoined to play Demiurge-Creator himself, to claim God's Sonship directly, etc. But something else is even stranger here, also problematic. Because other period documents record Jewish myths of celestial battles of conspiring angels, and Gnosticism seethes with conflicting Powers, the absence of (YHWH) God's jealousy or any hierarchical tension looks odd. In this debate involving subordinate Powers or Archetypes, was something omitted, incomplete or false? And how did any of this - Philo takes for granted binitarian cooperating deities! - reconcile with the dominant cults of normative Judaism from Palestine? It's impossible to imagine these unorthodox religious entrepreneurs living in perfect harmony with each other or the (mainstream?) Yahwehists of the day. In fact, this is Alexandrian Judaism on the brink of disaster (38-118 AD), on the eve of a Gnostic explosion.

Elsewhere in Philo - in a less radical cult? - a holy man is simply mantled 'like unto' the Second Son (one particular Divine Archetype, possibly the Son of the Son), Aletheian Anthropos = Adam Kadmon/Heavenly Man. The First Son/Second God should still be Logos-Demiurge, but merely "Creator-Craftsman" after First Principle-Father God conceived the Forms. This three-fold system (Father-Son-Archetype) looks to be another older variant, but veering towards trinitarianism. The prophet or divine A.A. should contemplate in (First) God's Cosmic Temple, as described, repository of His Archetypes: astrological/Chaldean overtones?

Compare De Somniis, 1.215 (henosis, effected through coordinate co participation in Cosmic sacramental offerings), with the later and somewhat more complex but precise definition by Pseudo-Dionysius (c.425 AD, citing 1st C. AD material?) in The Celestial Hierarchy 161D 1-5:
no man has ever seen, nor shall see, the hidden Being of God; but God has shown Himself, according to revelations which are fitting to God, to His faithful servants in holy visions adapted to the nature of the seer. The divine theology, in the fullness of its wisdom, very rightly applies the name 'theophany' to that God-beholding which shows the Divine Likeness, figured in Itself as a likeness in form of That which is formless, through the uplifting of those who contemplate to the Divine; inasmuch as a Divine Light is shed upon the seers through it {i.e. revelation of the Divine Image} and they are initiated into some participation of divine things. By such divine visions our venerable forefathers were instructed through the mediation of the Celestial Powers. ... For not solely in the case of higher and lower natures, but also for co-ordinate natures, this Law has been established by its superessential original Author: that within each Hierarchy there are first, middle and last ranks and powers, and that the higher are initiators and guides of the lower to the divine approach and illumination and union.

Jewish henosis requires Peace & Quiet:
Pseudo-Dionysius (De myst. theol. 1.3, 1000C–1001A) says that to experience God, Moses abandons visible things, silences every predication, ends all intellectual operations; recall C.H. 13.7: "draw Him unto thee and he will come; be willing, and it shall be done; quiet the bodily senses, purge the mind of unreasonable torments."

Philo's contradictory interpretations make sense if he is actually addressing different systems (however competently he understands them) - not necessarily both held by the same 'Mosaic cult'. This would also help explain the multiplicity of gnostic variations appearing 50-75 years later, splintering off already competing 'Jewish' lineage patterns for the Godhead. It is perhaps also noteworthy neither of these systems betray any hint of Christology or angelomorphic pneumatology (although a nascent or quasi-trinitarian monotheism may be suspected); Philo's understanding of henosis is earlier, older - or from a very different zone of the Diaspora.

Compare "Excerpts of Theodotus and the So-Called Eastern School at the Time of Valentinus" §19(adapting the trans. of G.S. Smith Valentinian Christianity, pp.71-2) emphasizing the Archetypal character of the Pauline passage, and the 'passionless begetting' ('way of the father'):
"[Paul, Colossians 1:15] speaks even more openly and distinctly: 'Who is an Image of Invisible God.' Then he adds, 'First-Born of all Creation.' For <he calls> the Logos of the Identical Word 'an Image of Invisible God' and 'First-Born of all Creation.' Since he was begotten without passion, he became Founder and Creator of all Creation and Matter, for 'by him' the Father made all things.

Algis Uždavinys, "Ascent to Heaven in Islamic and Jewish Mysticism"[2011], p.x offers this intriguing comment in passing:

the motif of the spiritual flight is common in Neoplatonic literature (which faithfully follows Plato’s Phaedrus in this respect) and the related hieratic arts (hierourgia, theourgia, hieratike techne) of late antiquity. Sarah Iles Johnston describes the theurgist’s goal (similar to that of Plotinus and other Platonists, including Philo of Alexandria, the Jewish hermeneus*) as follows: “he sought to experience anagoge — to cause his soul to ascend out of the material world and into the noetic realm where it could enjoy henosis with the Nous Patrikos (theurgy’s transcendent, Supreme God).”

In the context of Hellenic Platonism and the sacramental rites of theurgy, the term anagoge indicates elevation to the level of archetypes and principles, an ascent in the sense of an inner journey back to the ‘paternal harbour’; henosis means unification, union (sometimes understood in the sense of unio mystica); and Nous Patrikos is the paternal Intellect {=Divine Mind} whose luminous epiphany is tantamount to the irradiation (ellampsis) and creation of the psychosomatic Cosmos.

The pattern of ascent to the divine Throne in both the Jewish and Islamic traditions is less philosophical and more ceremonial, scriptural and liturgical, in accordance with the main paradigms and dogmas of monotheistic mythologies, systematically and uncompromisingly presented as ‘objective histories’.

{* Philo as 'interpreter of the hieratic rites and liturgies' is never mentioned in S. Johnston, "Riders in the Sky: Cavalier Gods and Theurgic Salvation in the Second Century A.D." in Classical Philology, Vol. 87, No. 4 [1992] on on jstor. Nevertheless, there's lots of evidence for that claim in his own writings!}

An outstanding essay is Algis Uždavinys,"Voices of the Fire: Understanding theurgy"[2008],pp.105-118.
Last edited by billd89 on Fri May 06, 2022 7:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
andrewcriddle
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Re: Anagogy: a 1st C. Jewish account of what that would involve?

Post by andrewcriddle »

pseudo-Dionysius c 500 CE is a Christian Neoplatonist and cannot be used as evidence for 1st century ideas.

Andrew Criddle
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billd89
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Topic: Jewish Anagoge ; Anatole/Zemach - The Redeemer, Savior

Post by billd89 »

Anagogy, c.25 AD and before 100 AD.

'Raising' thru Re-Making, a Conscious Process:
On "the arising" (a variation of the 'leaving behind' through Spiritual Rebirth), see Philo's discussion in De Confusione Linguarum, 62-3:
I have heard also an oracle from the lips of one of the Mosaic disciples {i.e. a Jewish esoteric cult prophet}, which runs thus: "Behold a man is Arising {ἀνατολή: Anatole, The Ascendent}" (Zechariah 6:12). A very novel name, if you would think to call someone compounded of body and soul. But if you would call him who is Incorporeal {i.e. Monad = The One = Inutterable God}, a Divine Image, then agree that is a most excellent name given to this man. For the Father has raised {ἀνατολῆς} the All-Ambassador, whom He called the First-Born {i.e. Logos}. And you shall be born-again, by 1) imitating the ways of his (i.e. the Logos’) Father, and 2) in the likeness of the Archetypes of he (debatedly: Father or Logos) beholding the different kinds. {or "... the Son thus begotten followed the ways of his Father, and shaped the different kinds, looking to the archetypal patterns which the Father supplied."}
On the taking of a special mystical-metaphysical name (by pre-eminent suggestion), a custom of this Jewish cult, see De Somniis 128:
Of these (incorporeal logoi), he takes one, choosing as best the topmost one, occupying the place which the head does in the whole body and sets it up close to his understanding.

Rev. J.J. Stewart Perowne's The Book of Psalms, Vol.2 [1879],p.289:
Ver. 2. According to Bereshith Rabba (sect. 85, fol. 83, 4), on Genesis 38:18, the sceptre of the kingdom which the Lord sends out of Zion is the king Messiah, of whom Isaiah (11:1) speaks: “There shall go forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse.” So according to Bammidbar Rabba (sect. 18, near the end), “The rod of Aaron is preserved, that it may be in the hand of king Messiah, which is the meaning of the rod of thy strength.” And according to Tanchuma (Yalkut Shimeoni, 2. fol. 124,3), the Messiah will smite the nations with the same rod or sceptre.

Ver. 3. The words “From the womb of the morning,” etc., are applied in Bereshith Rabba to the Messiah, as follows: “R. Barachias says, God spake to the Israelites: “Ye say unto me, We are orphans and have no father (Lamentations 5:3). The Redeemer (Goel) likewise, whom I shall raise up for you, hath no father, and it is said in Zechariah 6:12, “Behold a man whose name is 'the Branch' (Zemach), and he shall branch out of his place. And so saith Isaiah (53:2): “He groweth up before him as a shoot.' It is of the same also that David speaks in Psalm 150:3, 'From the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth'; and in Psalm 2:7, “The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son.””

Ver. 4. In Bereshith Rabba, on Genesis 14:18, it is remarked of Melchizedek, king of Salem, “This is what the Scripture says, Psalm 150:4, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, 'Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.' And who is this? It is the King Messiah, as in Zechariah 9:9, “Behold thy King cometh to thee: He is righteous, and bringing salvation. But what did he? He brought forth bread and wine, as in Psalm 72:16, “There shall be abundance of corn in the land'; and this it is which is written, He was a priest of the Most High God.' The Targum on this verse runs: “For thou hast been appointed Prince of the age to come, and that for thy merit's sake, because thou art a righteous King.”

So Aaron's rod was a staff of authority and magic, but also (phallically) the promise of a future-born Messiah for the Jews in Egypt. A redeemer and savior (as was Serapis, and other Egyptian savior-gods), but more importantly a 'Son of God' in the lineage, a priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek. The rod is also the sword, Matthew 10:34–36, as Melchizedek (the Commander and Righteous Judge) who divides Good and Evil.

Returning to the incident Philo mentions, c.25 AD, the Initiate's name would be Zemach, 'Branch' or 'Rising' (Anatole, in Greek). Therefore, it was very controversial that one of the (presumably Alexandria-based?) 'Sons of God' cult - Melchizedekians? Sethians? a merging of the two? - should boldly declare such a name, as if he were the Messiah.
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