Evolution and the Gospels

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12533
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:51 pm

I'm not interested in the question what has the fourfold gospel's preservation to do with Irenaeus
Ok. What am I supposed to say. There is no viagra for curiosity. Not much to say really.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5415
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Peter Kirby » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:54 pm

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 pm
What do you guys make of the Valentinians supposedly possessing John AND Pauline epistles? Does that strike either of you as rather odd?
Not really. Here's the old Encyclopedia Britannica on Valentinus:

"Valentinus, the most prominent leader of the Gnostic movement, was born, according to Epiphanius (Haer. 31, 2), near the coast in Lower Egypt, and was brought up and educated in Alexandria. He then went to Rome, as we learn from Irenaeus, Adv. haer. iii. 4, 3; Valentinus came to Rome during the episcopate of Hyginus, flourished under Pius and stayed till the time of Anicetus. The duration of the episcopates of the Roman bishops at this period is not absolutely established, but we can hardly go altogether wrong if, with Harnack (Chronologie der altchrisllichen Literatur, i. 291), we fix the period 135-60 for Valentinus's residence in Rome. This is confirmed by the fact that Justin Martyr in his Apology, 1. 26, begun about 150, mentions that in his earlier work against heresy, the Syntagma, he attacked, among others, Valentinus; so that his heresy must have begun to appear at least as early as 140. According to Irenaeus iii. 3, 4, Polycarp, during his sojourn in Rome under the episcopate of Anicetus, converted a few adherents of the Valentinian sect. Tertullian (Adv . Valentin. cap. 4) declares that Valentinus came to Rome as an adherent of the orthodox Church, and was a candidate for the bishopric of Rome, but he abandoned the Church because a confessor was preferred to him for this office. The credibility of this statement may be questioned. There is nothing impossible in it, but it has rather the appearance of a piece of the usual church gossip. Great uncertainty attaches to the residence of Valentinus in Cyprus, recorded by Epiphanius (loc. cit.), who places it after his stay in Rome, adding that it was here that he definitely accomplished his secession from the Church. Scholars are divided as to whether this stay in Cyprus was before or after that in Rome . But on the whole it seems to be clear from the various notices that Valentinus did not, e.g. like Marcion, break with the Church from the very beginning, but endeavoured as long as possible to maintain his standing within it."

Polycarp is a name associated with the Gospel of John, suggesting that GJohn was used in Asia Minor and Rome in the first half of the second century. Paul is studiously avoided by Justin Martyr but is a friend to Valentinus, who even claims a pedigree to the apostle via Theudas in the tradition recorded by Clement of Alexandria. Valentinus may never have had a "seccession from the Church," this being a common revisionist tendency to suggest against everyone that disagreed doctrinally with the later, post-Irenaeus orthodoxy. Based on the sophistication of the Valentinians and the abundance of their literature, even hermeneutics (including a commentary on John), they were clearly capable of interpreting a text like John and bringing it in support of their theology. The general tendency of the later orthodoxy was also to accept all the ancient apostolic texts that didn't contradict their ideas flatly, and Valentinus as a Christian seems to be an early example of the same tendency.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
Joseph D. L.
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:10 am

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Joseph D. L. » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:58 am

Thanks Peter.

I just find it suspicious that Irenaeus was the follower of a man who was, at least, somewhat renown by Valentinians, even using his own text (allegedly), only to write refutations of them later.

The obvious conclusion for me to draw from this is that Polycarp was more aligned with the heretics than Irenaeus would have us believe.

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1387
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:24 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:09 am
What I call a logical error is the stance that this position ought to be the default. Many on this forum treat it as such, either not realizing that they are doing it or not recognizing that it is a logical error to do so.
That's just a misunderstanding on your part. I have no problem with your position and I appreciate that you raise questions that are worth thinking about. On the contrary, I find that it is often more difficult for you to see my points than vice versa.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12533
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:15 am

So now that KK has made it clear that she has no curiosity for how things were established with our gospel, only that they were established as such and we should move on an accept it as the only productive way to spend time in this field (I hope I am summarizing her POV correctly), let's recap what I said as the epitome of unproductivity.
1. there was an original gospel. One gospel, somewhere somehow was the ur-text of all gospels. One gospel was the first.
2. the Marcionite gospel begins and Tatian's Diatessaron has a scene not found in canonical Mark which was critical to traditions associated with Marcion and Justin Martyr (as Tatian was a student of the latter). Jesus comes down from heaven enters a synagogue in Judea utters his 'antitheses' is confronted by a man with a demon, the demon recognizes him - presumably as a heavenly being - he expels the demon from the man, the crowd forces him out of the Jewish house of worship, he ends up with his back to a precipice, the crowd lunges forward, he either passes through the crowd or they pass through him, plunging to their death. Mark is not the source of the Marcionite gospel.
3. Celsus spends a lot of time attacking the Marcionites and is favorably disposed toward the 'great Church' - i.e. the Catholic tradition. Despite KK's pathetic argument that Origen is responsible for the statement regarding the fourfold gospel being created from the one gospel 'to deny refutations' put forward by philosophers like him, the fourfold gospel did indeed replace 'a gospel.' There is no other way of looking at it. Irenaeus does not say 'here are four versions of the gospel.' No he argues that the four together are 'the one gospel' because of arguments which develop ultimately from Pythagorean mysticism familiar from Valentinianism.
4. Valentinianism was at home in Rome where Irenaeus lived and his chief opponent the Roman priest Florinus was a Valentinian. Tatian is described as 'something like' a Valentinian or Marcionite. Given that Justin lived before Irenaeus and Tatian was Justin's student and Justin used a 'gospel harmony' Tatian's 'diatessaron gospel' - whatever it was likely preceded Irenaeus's fourfold gospel.
5. Irenaeus uses Papias to argue that Matthew was the first gospel. He takes Papias's statement regarding the 'oracles of the Lord' to identify Matthew as that gospel even though that is highly unlikely. He then moves on to speak of those who add material to 'the oracles of the Lord' - i.e. Matthew - in order to change the meaning of the gospel from a portrait of a 'king' evidenced in Matthew to make Jesus appear like a sneaky hidden fox. Irenaeus could be talking about a heretical 'gospel in four' which preceded his fourfold gospel - i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
6. Irenaeus, despite claiming to be a member of the tradition of Justin never mentions Tatian as the author of the Diatessaron.
7. the fourfold gospel is announced in Book Three after a brief summary of how Matthew's portrait of God as a king is sustained through Mark, Luke and John. Jesus sitting on a throne surrounded by four living creatures is proven to be 'true' because the universe itself is fourfold. Each gospel is associated by a heretical predecessor - Matthew/Ebionites, Mark/unnamed group, Luke/Marcion, John/Valentinus but strangely Tatian is not himself mentioned at all in this section despite being famous for founding a fourfold gospel. Could the fourfold gospel itself have had a heretical antecedent like the individual gospel texts? Could Irenaeus's idea of a fourfold gospel have been a copy of Tatian's concept?
The important thing to realize is that Irenaeus clearly says that the heretics 'corrupted' each text individually or possibly collectively to make a gospel which mirrored Irenaeus's own beliefs accord with their beliefs (as heretics individually and collectively). Yet this reminds me of Donald Trump. Trump accuses everyone else of bad behavior to exonerate his own moral short comings. But again, if 'everyone' in antiquity is supposed to have corrupted the gospel to make it accord with their own POV why should our canon - the fourfold of Irenaeus - be any different? The fact that it shows Jesus as a 'king' - i.e. 'Christ' the anointed king - is best explained by alterations made by Irenaeus to a lost gospel exemplar both in the texts individually and collectively as a set.

I want to anticipate KK's response that it doesn't matter whether or not Irenaeus altered the four gospels to accord with his portrait of Jesus the anointed king/Christ. We just have to deal with it. As long as you don't mistake this Christianity of Irenaeus's for Christianity as such, I too am fine with her approach. You've distilled a particularly influential late second century religion's intertextual relationships. Congratulations!

And we should all be thankful for the election of Donald Trump because it provides an example of the eternal shitiness of humankind. Before, let's say from 1945 - to the election of Donald Trump it was possible to speak of human beings being as a rule good beings. That evil, dishonesty, mendaciousness as an aberration from the norm. Now it is plain that almost half the country of the United States are amoral. The truth is that at least a quarter of his opponents likely would exhibit the same kind of tolerance if the candidate was reflective of their beliefs, systems etc. So what we now have before us is an unsightly example that human beings are to a large part horrible. The idea that Irenaeus would have accused heretics of doing exactly what he did is not a 'far-fetched' example but one which is always possible within the realm of human possibilities.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8075
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:18 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:24 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:09 am
What I call a logical error is the stance that this position ought to be the default. Many on this forum treat it as such, either not realizing that they are doing it or not recognizing that it is a logical error to do so.
That's just a misunderstanding on your part.
I am not sure I have ever seen you yourself actually default to the position. I have definitely seen others do so, however, and I linked to one such instance earlier in this thread.
I have no problem with your position and I appreciate that you raise questions that are worth thinking about. On the contrary, I find that it is often more difficult for you to see my points than vice versa.
I have had difficulty understanding certain points you have tried to make before, yes; I readily admit that. I have always appreciated, however, the connections you make across the text of Mark and/or between Mark and the Hebrew scriptures and Paul.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

g_n_o_s_i_s
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:39 pm

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by g_n_o_s_i_s » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:32 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:46 am
But I strongly suspect the Marcionite tradition WAS the original Roman tradition.
The Marcionite prologue to Romans indicate it wasn't originally Marcionite but founded by "false apostles", could you reconcile this for me?
Romans are in the parts of Italy. These were reached beforehand by false apostles, and under the name of our Lord Jesus Christ had been brought in to the law and the prophets. These the apostle recalls to the true evangelical faith, writing to them from Corinth.
Thanks

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1387
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:13 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:15 am
So now that KK has made it clear that she has no curiosity for how things were established with our gospel, only that they were established as such and we should move on an accept it as the only productive way to spend time in this field (I hope I am summarizing her POV correctly),

Oh Stephan, I just do other things that I imagine (maybe I'm totally wrong) have more to say about "Evolution and the Gospels" than Irenaeus. I find it more interesting, for me. I think that sometimes the development can be seen like in the following example
.
Gospel the problem of resurrection flee in shock or run with joy the race back the probable meaning
Mark 9:9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant. 16:7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. X the historical Cephas and/or the Petrine camp of Mark's time did not believe in resurrection or it played no role
Matthew X 28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. X a new theological mainstream accepted both: the belief in resurrection and the Petrine tradition; Matthew restored Peter in this regard
John X 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 20:3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb firstthe Johannine group only partially accepted the new agreement and reminded all that the Petrine camp did not initially share the belief in resurrection


User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12533
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:46 am

Why is Mark necessarily more important than this:
And after six days Jesus took Simon Cephas, and James, and John his brother, 3 and brought them up into a high mountain, the three of them only. And while they 4 were praying, Jesus changed, and became after the fashion of another person; and his face shone like the sun, and his raiment was very white like the snow, and as 5 the light of lightning, so that nothing on earth can whiten like it. And there ap- 6 peared unto him Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. And they thought that the time 7 of his decease which was to be accomplished at Jerusalem was come. And Simon and those that were with him were heavy in the drowsiness of steep; and with effort they roused themselves, and saw his glory, and those two men that were standing with him. 8 Arabic. And when they began to depart from him, Simon said unto Jesus, My 9 Master, it is good for us to be here: and if thou wilt, we will make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah; not know- ing what he said, because of the fear which took possession of them. And while he was yet saying that, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And when they saw Moses and Elijah that they had entered into that cloud, they feared again. And a voice was heard out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, whom I have chosen; hear ye therefore him. And when this voice was heard, Jesus was found alone. And the disciples, when they heard the voice, fell on their faces from the fear which took hold of them. And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, be not afraid. And they lifted up their eyes, and saw Jesus as he was.
FWIW I am mentioned in Baarda's article on this passage - https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals ... 5BE1E3650A
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1387
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:44 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:46 am
Why is Mark necessarily more important than this:
I have no idea what this question is supposed to mean. It seems to me that "our" question is rather the following. Why are the claims of Irenaeus necessarily more important for an understanding of developments in the textual history of the gospels than research studies of the gospels themselves that can show such developments?

Post Reply