Jesus is not the Christ: A Reading of Mark

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Peter Kirby
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Re: Jesus is not the Christ: A Reading of Mark

Post by Peter Kirby »

Peter Kirby wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2024 11:38 am
GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2024 2:55 am https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ ... ology.html

There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto... And a man, Meander, also a Samaritan, of the town Capparetaea, a disciple of Simon... And there is Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive, and teaching his disciples to believe in some other god greater than the Creator. And he, by the aid of the devils, has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies, and to deny that God is the maker of this universe, and to assert that some other being, greater than He, has done greater works. All who take their opinions from these men, are, as we before said, called Christians; just as also those who do not agree with the philosophers in their doctrines, have yet in common with them the name of philosophers given to them. And whether they perpetrate those fabulous and shameful deeds--the upsetting of the lamp, and promiscuous intercourse, and eating human flesh--we know not; but we do know that they are neither persecuted nor put to death by you, at least on account of their opinions.

In broad outline, one of these two explanations suggest themselves, if Justin is correct here:

(1) What you hypothesize: they were "able to include the Roman pantheon" and live as polytheistic pagans among pagans

(2) They were considered to be Jews by the Romans

Assuming that we reject the first option, this could be evidence for Stephan Huller's opinion that the Marcionites weren't ultra-gentilic, as it is commonly assumed. This could be evidence that the Marcionites were "more Jewish" in some sense than other Christians, which allowed them to be convincingly considered Jews by the Romans.
Secret Alias wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2024 11:58 am Remember there were three classes of people in the Jewish world at the time

1. Jews
2. Hebrews (proselytes)
3. Gentiles

Somewhere in Book Three of Adversus Marcionem Tertullian says that the Marcionites appealed their message to the proselytes. What a strange place to develop an anti-Jewish doctrine. Like standing outside steak houses selling memberships for a vegetarian delivery service. The Marcionites used texts which used terminology related to Israelite religion. They thought of themselves as the "new Israel," they employed most of Paul's allegories that were derived from the Pentateuch, they even had interpretations of passages of the Old Testament (cf. Dialogues of Adamantius).

The Marcionites clearly sought the prosleytes to tell them that Jesus had come for them. We learn from Eznik that they had a whole story that Jesus came for those in the underworld who hadn't yet received the law of Moses. So this idea is related to the appeal to the proselytes. They said that Jesus's coming wasn't as the messiah of the Old Testament. That doesn't mean that they didn't use prophesy to justify Jesus's appearance necessarily.
Also recall that the early fourth century inscription (Inscriptions Grecques et Latines de la Syrie, No. 2558) refers to:

Συναγωγή Μαρκιωνιστων

The "synagogue" of the Marcionites.
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DCHindley
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Re: Jesus is not the Christ: A Reading of Mark

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When reading up on "Private Associations" about 24 years ago I primarily read two books, Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World (ed. John Kloppenborg, 1996), and Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations (Philip Harland, 2003). Both contained a variety of articles by qualified critics. Since then I may have encountered newer books or articles about or focusing on voluntary associations and their networks of patrons and clients, but have not secured any copies.

One of the things discussed in Kloppenborg's volume was the fact that "synagogue" was not an exclusively Judean word. In fact, it was one of many "association" words used for political institutions in the Greek period, which held sway in Roman times as well. The other words varied a great deal: boule, ekklesia, gerousia, etc. The ones above were legal entities that ran towns, regions, temples, cities and sometimes even nations. I may have to check the FRDB & IIDB archives as I am sure I summarized this at some time. If it was on Crosstalk2 or one of the other defunct Yahoo Groups, it has vaporized.

Aside from formally appointed priests and priestesses and governing boards of same, all others, with a few exceptions, were banned since the times of the Roman civil war, from a desire to prevent such meetings becoming excuses to rant against, or aggressively curry favor with, various contending factions. The other common exceptions were funerary associations, and household based associations (sort of a family cult, the ranks filled with the slaves, and retainers of the slaves' masters, which cults were not illegal, but expected).

The only ethnic group that was allowed to congregate for religious reasons were the Judeans, seen as a commonly connected people initially from Judea spread across the empire. One of the things Herod the Great did for Judeans (in the extended sense) was get hos patrons to grant Judean the privileges of not being forced to do certain things, or be allowed to do things denied to most (assemble in large numbers, not in connection with a festival).

"Synagogue" (congregation of people for any purpose) was chosen and seems to have been almost universally adopted. Perhaps this was the technical term used in whatever emperor's decree it was that established this or that rights for members of the Judean "people."

This was a Diaspora thing mostly, or at least outside of the Judean heartland but apparently there were a few even in Judea. Maybe expatriates who were returning to the place of their ancestors to retire, who didn't speak Aramaic much less Hebrew, found occasion to hang out with fellow Greek speakers in local synagogues.

There were also various titles used for the chairpersons or key appointees of those political and voluntary institutions that sometimes included episkopos (overseer/bishop), presbyter (elder), etc. The private associations (the social clubs) tended to imitate civic organizations in their organization for the names they gave to key persons, but the variety of titles was just as wide, and weird. Think of Fred Flintstone's "Grand Pubah" (yes, I know that was a parody of Shriners, etc., but ancients had their own weird groups).

DCH

I believe this (use of synagogue for non Judean congregations of people) may also be born out in inscriptions.
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Re: Jesus is not the Christ: A Reading of Mark

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some posts split off here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11726
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