Evolution and the Gospels

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Charles Wilson
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:12 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:59 pm
Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:51 am
someone 'counterfeited' the gospel into a fourfold form in order to change Christianity to avoid continuing the criticism. Either way, the gospel was falsified for a specific purpose. It wasn't 'accidental' according to Celsus. And remember Celsus makes a good point. One would expect there to be one gospel just as there is only one MS of Plato's Republic for instance.
I wish I could follow this argument.

1) How does one "counterfeit" something by giving it a 4-fold form?
Suppose that the Construction of the NT found an "Empty Tomb" story, perhaps written by a Pliny the Younger or Tacitus. If read as a Unified Piece, it might be laughable or easily traced to its Satirical Origins.

If the piece were to be divided into 4 parts, each appearing contradictory to the other in describing the same Tableau, the reader - and believer - would rationalize the story in her own mind.

The purpose is to show that the "Jesus" character rose from the dead, thereby conquering death, thereby providing a way for the believer to obtain Eternal Life. With this idea, the 4-Fold Division is a stroke of Genius. You don't have to explain. Faced with everlasting Death in the Flames, the believer will supply the necessary conditions for accepting the stories. Differences in "Oral Tradition" would provide the best way out. Explicit Contradictions are stumbling blocks placed by the Evil One. God will provide the True Way-Out.

"Please ignore the man behind the curtain...":

The body is missing. It is necessary for the body to be missing, the better to Crush the Heretics. The bandages are there and in John the head bandages (Latin: "Soudarian") are separated from the body bandages. The body bandages should be there, separated as they are, symbolic of the death of Galba. The Original John is very antagonistic to the Synoptics here.

But..."Jesus":

"What must I do to obtain Eternal Life?" In these stories there is usually a Tell-Tail and here that is that there is no one good save God. The story is about Archelaus falling down at Caesar's feet. It was chosen for rewrite but since it was originally about Caesar, he must be given a deflection: "No one is good but..."

Dividing the Construction into 4 parts had to be done and I do believe that the major impetus behind this was the necessity of having "Jesus" rise from the dead. Mark and John: Mark gets rewritten twice in the Synoptics and John gets the remains of the Original Document. Someone was not happy with the leaving out of the end of the Julio-Claudians not being completely illuminated. There was a certain abhorrence to having the Crucifixion being on the "wrong day" in Mark. So, Mark and John.

Then Mark, Matthew and Luke. BTW, the "Empty Tomb" in Mark exhibits, for the most part, Markan Chiastic Structure. So Mark was written AFTER the Introduction of the Empty Tomb Motif.

The 4-Fold Division thus came with the Empty Tomb segments given to Mark, et.al. already divided.

CW
Last edited by Charles Wilson on Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:39 pm

There's a stupid explanation of what I was NOT trying to say. I am going to try again:
1. Celsus reports that the one gospel (presumably the Marcionite gospel because he seems to be aware of Marcionite propaganda) was 'reformed' (μεταπλάσσω) into the fourfold gospel.
2. Irenaeus assumes (because of Papias) that Matthew (or the 'logia' of the Lord) was 'reformed' (μεταπλάσσω) by the heretics in a manifold manner to make the 'oracles of the Lord' (again Matthew) accord with their pre-existent doctrines.
3. Irenaeus identifies each gospel with a particular living creature where 'Matthew' is the man (ish) who is kingly and royal. Matthew is the first gospel who reveals Jesus as king. The 'reforming' (μεταπλάσσω) of the gospel takes Matthew's 'king' and makes him a 'fox.' Clearly there is a sense that the addition of new gospels here takes away from the authenticity of Matthew, presumed by Papias to be the 'correct' gospel.
4. Tatian the student of Justin (who used a gospel harmony) is said to have developed a diatessaron gospel by Epiphanius and many ancient sources but not Irenaeus. Irenaeus knows of Tatian, identifies him as a heretic but doesn't mention his manufacture of the diatessaron gospel. https://books.google.com/books?id=wI-fD ... on&f=false
5. Ammonius of Alexandria is known to have developed a four columned 'diatessaron' gospel with 1st column 'Matthew' 2nd column 'Mark' third column 'Luke' fourth column 'John.' https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals ... 28682953EF
6. Irenaeus advocates that a gospel of four is the correct form of the gospel because of the fourfold nature of the universe - seeming to embrace Valentinian (and especially Marcosian) ideas about a primal Tetrad.
7. Marcion says that there was one original gospel written by the apostle - the canonical gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - were pseudepigraphons that is fake texts falsely written in the name of followers of Jesus
That's where the evidence leads us when trying to piece together where our four-gospel 'Gospel' originated. We can with KK completely ignore this shared understanding of an expansion of a primal gospel to a specifically four-fold gospel - both among the heretics and the orthodox. I suspect that when Irenaeus criticizes the making of many-gospels among the heretics he has in mind Tatian's gospel which Baarda has pieced together understands Jesus in a very Marcionite manner (i.e. supernatural Jesus). When Irenaeus lauds the 'appropriateness' of the fourfold gospel he has in mind an orthodox version of Tatian's heretical composition. It distinguishes itself from the 'fourfold' heretical gospel because the collection mirrors 'orthodox' presuppositions about Jesus (or at least denies or rejects heretical ones).

The appeal to a fourfold gospel smacks of Valentinianism and heresy. Irenaeus's appeal to the four winds, four living creatures etc not withstanding it would stand to reason that Irenaeus's efforts were to mirror - or 'improve' - upon a pre-existent Tatianic text. Tatian is described as having Valentinian-like doctrines. Tatian likely saw the mystical significance of the number four established a fourfold - i.e. Diatessaronic - gospel which was criticized by Irenaeus for weakening Matthew's portrait of Jesus as King and presenting him instead as a 'fox.' Irenaeus countered by establishing a specifically 'orthodox' diatessaron or four-fold gospel. But Irenaeus's composition is clearly motivated by dogmatic considerations. Not clear the same is true with respect to Tatian's lost text.

KK seems to think we don't need to know about the situation regarding 1 - 7 or that it should have no bearing on our studies of the synoptics and their interrelationship. We just need to believe that they were picked like berries in a wild meadow - free from the situation described by every ancient witness. My point was to ask - is KK's assumption a reasonable assumption given the state of the evidence (i.e. 1 - 7) or is she just embracing the canonical texts because it gives us a sense of practical purpose. Do we ignore the fact that fourfold gospels were being established in antiquity to mirror pre-existent dogmas of the editors simply because by doing so we have texts to work with? Do you pretend that eating Chinese bat soup is nourishing merely because there is no other food available?
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Peter Kirby » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:48 pm

Adv. Haer, 3.11

For, [as the Scripture] says, The first living creature was like a lion, Revelation 4:7 symbolizing His effectual working, His leadership, and royal power;

the second [living creature] was like a calf, signifying [His] sacrificial and sacerdotal order;

but the third had, as it were, the face as of a man,— an evident description of His advent as a human being;

the fourth was like a flying eagle, pointing out the gift of the Spirit hovering with His wings over the Church.

And therefore the Gospels are in accord with these things, among which Christ Jesus is seated. For that according to John relates His original, effectual, and glorious generation from the Father, thus declaring, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 Also, all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made. For this reason, too, is that Gospel full of all confidence, for such is His person.

But that according to Luke, taking up [His] priestly character, commenced with Zacharias the priest offering sacrifice to God. For now was made ready the fatted calf, about to be immolated for the finding again of the younger son.

Matthew, again, relates His generation as a man, saying, The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham; and also, The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise. This, then, is the Gospel of His humanity; for which reason it is, too, that [the character of] a humble and meek man is kept up through the whole Gospel.

Mark, on the other hand, commences with [a reference to] the prophetical spirit coming down from on high to men, saying, The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Esaias the prophet,— pointing to the winged aspect of the Gospel; and on this account he made a compendious and cursory narrative, for such is the prophetical character.

Re:
Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:39 pm
3. Irenaeus identifies each gospel with a particular living creature where 'Matthew' is the man (ish) who is kingly and royal. Matthew is the first gospel who reveals Jesus as king.
The part struck out above is not found in that passage from Irenaeus. The royal one is John there.
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Peter Kirby » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:05 pm

Secret Alias wrote:Irenaeus advocates that a gospel of four is the correct form of the gospel because of the fourfold nature of the universe - seeming to embrace Valentinian (and especially Marcosian) ideas about a primal Tetrad.
Irenaeus makes several analogies, none of which refer to "the fourfold nature of the universe" or "a primal Tetrad":

Adv. Haer., 3.11
It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are.

(1) For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world

(2) and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh.

(3) From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sits upon the cherubim, and contains all things, He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit. As also David says, when entreating His manifestation, You that sits between the cherubim, shine forth. For the cherubim, too, were four-faced, and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God.

... Such, then, as was the course followed by the Son of God, so was also the form of the living creatures; and such as was the form of the living creatures, so was also the character of the Gospel. For the living creatures are quadriform, and the Gospel is quadriform, as is also the course followed by the Lord.

(4) For this reason were four principal covenants given to the human race: one, prior to the deluge, under Adam; the second, that after the deluge, under Noah; the third, the giving of the law, under Moses; the fourth, that which renovates man, and sums up all things in itself by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon its wings into the heavenly kingdom.

Regarding Valentinians - he claims that they recognize gospels that aren't one of the four he prefers:

But those who are from Valentinus, being, on the other hand, altogether reckless, while they put forth their own compositions, boast that they possess more Gospels than there really are. Indeed, they have arrived at such a pitch of audacity, as to entitle their comparatively recent writing the Gospel of Truth, though it agrees in nothing with the Gospels of the Apostles, so that they have really no Gospel which is not full of blasphemy. For if what they have published is the Gospel of truth, and yet is totally unlike those which have been handed down to us from the apostles, any who please may learn, as is shown from the Scriptures themselves, that that which has been handed down from the apostles can no longer be reckoned the Gospel of truth.

To be fair, it's possible (for example) that Valentinians didn't accord their more recent text the same status as (say) the Gospel of John, and that Irenaeus is just having a go at them anyway.

But I've not yet found any particular indication here in the text of Irenaeus that a fourfold gospel is Valentinian.
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:34 pm

I was quoting 3.9
CHAP. IX. -- ONE AND THE SAME GOD, THE CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, IS HE WHOM THE PROPHETS FORETOLD, AND WHO WAS DECLARED BY THE GOSPEL. PROOF OF THIS, AT THE OUTSET, FROM ST. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL.

1. This, therefore, having been clearly demonstrated here (and it shall yet be so still more clearly), that neither the prophets, nor the apostles, nor the Lord Christ in His own person, did acknowledge any other Lord or God, but the God and Lord supreme: the prophets and the apostles confessing the Father and the Son; but naming no other as God, and confessing no other as Lord: and the Lord Himself handing down to His disciples, that He, the Father, is the only God and Lord, who alone is God and ruler of all; -- it is incumbent on us to follow, if we are their disciples indeed, their testimonies to this effect. For Matthew the apostle -- knowing, as one and the same God, Him who had given promise to Abraham, that He would make his seed as the stars of heaven,(2) and Him who, by His Son Christ Jesus, has called us to the knowledge of Himself, from the worship of stones, so that those who were not a people were made a people, and she beloved who was not beloved(3) -- declares that John, when preparing the way for Christ, said to those who were boasting of their relationship [to Abraham] according to the flesh, but who had their mind tinged and stuffed with all manner of evil, preaching that repentance which should call them back from their evil doings, said, "O generation of vipers, who hath shown you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham [to our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."(4) He preached to them, therefore, the repentance from wickedness, but he did not declare to them another God, besides Him who made the promise to Abraham; he, the forerunner of Christ, of whom Matthew again says, and Luke likewise, "For this is he that was spoken of from the Lord by the prophet, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough into smooth ways; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."(5) There is therefore one and the same God, the Father of our Lord, who also promised, through the prophets, that He would send His forerunner; and His salvation -- that is, His Word -- He caused to be made visible to all flesh, [the Word] Himself being made incarnate, that in all things their King might become manifest. For it is necessary that those [beings] which are judged do see the judge, and know Him from whom they receive judgment; and it is also proper, that those which follow on to glory should know Him who bestows upon them the gift of glory.

2. Then again Matthew, when speaking of the angel, says, "The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep."(6) Of what Lord he does himself interpret: "That it may be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called my son."(7) "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us."(8) David likewise speaks of Him who, from the virgin, is Emmanuel: "Turn not away the face of Thine anointed. The LORD hath sworn a truth to David, and will not turn from him. Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy seat."(9) And again: "In Judea is God known; His place has been made in peace, and His dwelling in Zion."(10) Therefore there is one and the same God, who was proclaimed by the prophets and announced by the Gospel; and His Son, who was of the fruit of David's body, that is, of the virgin of [the house of] David, and Emmanuel; whose star also Balaam thus prophesied: "There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a leader shall rise in Israel."(1) But Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed "For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him;"(2) and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was that was worshipped; myrrh, because it was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human met; gold, because He was a King, "of whose kingdom is no end;"(3) and frankincense, because He was God, who also "was made known in Judea,"(4) and was "declared to those who sought Him not."(5)

3. And then, [speaking of His] baptism, Matthew says, "The heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God, as a dove, coming upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."(6) For Christ did not at that time descend upon Jesus, neither was Christ one and Jesus another: but the Word of God--who is the Saviour of all, and the ruler of heaven and earth, who is Jesus, as I have already pointed out, who did also take upon Him flesh, and was anointed by the Spirit from the Father--was made Jesus Christ, as Esaias also says, "There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise from his root; and the Spirit of God shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, and the spirit of the fear of God, shall fill Him. He shall not judge according to glory,(7) nor reprove after the manner of speech; but He shall dispense judgment to the humble man, and reprove the haughty ones of the earth."(8) And again Esaias, pointing out beforehand His unction, and the reason why he was anointed, does himself say, "The Spirit of God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me: He hath sent Me to preach the Gospel to the lowly, to heal the broken up in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and sight to the blind; to announce the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance; to comfort all that mourn."(9) For inasmuch as the Word of God was man from the root of Jesse, and son of Abraham, in this respect did the Spirit of God rest upon Him, and anoint Him to preach the Gospel to the lowly. But inasmuch as He was God, He did not judge according to glory, nor reprove after the manner of speech. For "He needed not that any should testify to Him of man,(10) for He Himself knew what was in man."(11) For He called all men that mourn; and granting forgiveness to those who had been led into captivity by their sins, He loosed them from their chains, of whom Solomon says, "Every one shall be holden with the cords of his own sins."(12) Therefore did the Spirit of God descend upon Him, [the Spirit] of Him who had promised by the prophets that He would anoint Him, so that we, receiving from the abundance of His unction, might be saved. Such, then, [is the witness] of Matthew.

CHAP. X.--PROOFS OF THE FOREGOING, DRAWN FROM THE GOSPELS OF MARK AND LUKE.
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:43 pm

Irenaeus advocates that a gospel of four is the correct form of the gospel because of the fourfold nature of the universe:
It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds,(4) while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the "pillar and ground"(5) of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sitteth upon the cherubim, and contains all things
seeming to embrace Valentinian (and especially Marcosian) ideas about a primal Tetrad:
This Nous they call also Monogenes, and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also produced Aletheia; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root of all things. [1.1]
cf. 1.8.5, 1.9.1 and:
There is another,(4) who is a renowned teacher among them, and who, struggling to reach something more sublime, and to attain to a kind of higher knowledge, has explained the primary Tetrad as follows [1.11.3]
For if it is fitting that that language which is used respecting the universe be transformed to the primary Tetrad, and if any one may assign names at his pleasure, who shall prevent us from adopting these names, as being much more credible [than the others], as well as in general use, and understood by all [1.11.5]
I could go on and on through Book 1 but what's the point. Watson sees it:
Mark's opening Isaiah citation suggests to Irenaeus the image of the prophetic Spirit descending from on high — like the fourth living creature, which resembled a flying eagle.211 Formally, these correspondences between earthly and heavenly entities bear some resemblance to the Valentinian hermeneutics that Irenaeus opposes. Yet the relation of symbol to reality is reversed here. For the Valentinian, the fourfold gospel might be seen as an image of the primary Tetrad, in which the supreme heights of the divine world are occupied by the aeons Depth and Silence, Only-begotten and Truth. In Irenaeus, it is the heavenly creatures who symbolize both the earthly mission of the Son of God, seen from various perspectives, and the humanly authored gospels that bear witness to it. https://books.google.com/books?id=23NyC ... AHoECAAQAg
But that's a debatable distinction. Eusebius says that the four Gospels were the only ones received by every church under heaven, calling them 'the holy tetrad of the Gospels' (EH 3.25.1)
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:54 pm

It would be difficult to argue that the idea that the gospel was in four because the universe was governed by a Tetrad had nothing to do with another group of Christians who came before Irenaeus who said that the universe was governed by a Tetrad. It goes back to the Pythagoreans who recited a prayer - "Bless us, divine number, thou who generated gods and men! O holy, holy Tetrad, thou that containest the root and source of the eternally flowing creation!"
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:03 pm

The order in 3.9 - 11:
3.9 Matthew the first gospel first knew "the God and Lord supreme ... and the Lord Himself handing down to His disciples, that He, the Father, is the only God and Lord, who alone is God and ruler of all; -- it is incumbent on us to follow, if we are their disciples indeed, their testimonies to this effect. For Matthew the apostle -- knowing, as one and the same God ... the Father of our Lord, who also promised, through the prophets, that He would send His forerunner; and His salvation -- that is, His Word -- He caused to be made visible to all flesh, [the Word] Himself being made incarnate, that in all things their King might become manifest. For it is necessary that those [beings] which are judged do see the judge, and know Him from whom they receive judgment; and it is also proper, that those which follow on to glory should know Him who bestows upon them the gift of glory.

3.10 Mark, Luke reinforce that Jesus was a king (like Matthew)

3.11 John reinforce that Jesus was a king (like Matthew)

Recapitulation 3.11.8 It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds,(4) while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the "pillar and ground"(5) of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sitteth upon the cherubim, and contains all things, He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit.
This is another royal image. It is worth noting that in 1.8 Irenaeus implies that the heretics have 'reformed' a manifold gospel which add to the 'oracles of the Lord' thereby transforming 'the King' to a 'fox' by means of false information.

The point for Irenaeus is that we know that the orthodox diatessaron is divine because the universe develops from the Tetrad which surrounds the King.
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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Joseph D. L. » 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?

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Re: Evolution and the Gospels

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:30 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:42 am
Kk

So the fourfold gospel's preservation has nothing to do with Irenaeus?
Why is it so hard to understand? My pov has nothing to do with Irenaeus and I'm not interested in the question what has the fourfold gospel's preservation to do with Irenaeus. This does not mean that I deny the relevance of this question to others, just that I am not interested in it.

Look.
Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:58 pm
4) Ammonius of Alexandria https://www.academia.edu/6816607/Ammoni ... cholarship a pagan who does not seem to have ever held strong Christian beliefs is said to have been intimately associated with the explicit 'side by side' arrangement of the four gospels. I do not know what relationship existed between Irenaeus's citation of the fourfold gospel and Ammonius's arrangement of the fourfold gospel but clearly there is some relationship. They were near contemporaries. Celsus seems to allude to the establishment of the fourfold gospel:
After this he [Celsus] says, that certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the original text of the Gospel (τῆς πρώτης γραφῆς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον), to a threefold (τριχῇ), and fourfold (τετραχῇ), and many-fold degree (πολλαχῇ), and have remodeled it (μεταπλάττειν), so that they might be able to answer objections (ἵν' ἔχοιεν πρὸς τοὺς ἐλέγχους ἀρνεῖσθαι)." [Origen, Contra Celsum 2:27]

My prob starts with the assumption that Celsus used the words "τῆς πρώτης γραφῆς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον". I think this is an innocent paraphrase by Origen. That's when I stop thinking about that all.

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