Sunday, May 30, 2010

Marcionite Kabbalah

I know it must sound strange when I argue that the so-called 'Marcionites' stand closer to Judaism than the Catholics - but then again WTF do most New Testament scholars know about varieties within the various traditions associated with Moses.  In any event, here's a sample of something I noticed in Eznik of Kolb which I KNOW escaped everyone else's notice.  Here is the original French translation of Eznik's De Deo (Maries and Merciers in Patrologia Orientalis Tome XXVIII Fascicule 3 p. 669):

Mais cette autre chose encore qu'ils disent est plus impie que tout, savoir "Quand vit le Bon, qui au troisième ciel siegéait, telle quantité d'âmes - les âmes de vingt-neuf générations! - en proie aux supplices dans la géhenne, ému de pitié pour elles, il envoya Jésus, son fils, pour aller prendre ressemblance d'esclave, et, sous forme humaine, se produire.[IV vii 375]

and my rough Canadian-who-took-French-until-university-but-never-managed-to-speak-the-language translation would be:

But this other thing they say is even more wicked than all the rest, ie "When the Good God, who sat in the third heaven, saw so many souls - the souls of twenty nine generations - saw them suffering torments in hell, he was moved with pity for them, it happened that he sent Jesus his son to go to resemblance of a slave, in human form.

The part that interests me of course is the identification on the part of the 'Marcionite' that Jesus died just before the year 6000 (29 x 20 = 5880). This is very much in keeping with traditional Jewish mystical speculation and seems to echo Clement of Alexandria's understanding of the age he was living in (and that of a certain Jew named Judah referenced by Severus of al'Ashmunien who lived in Alexandria at the time of Clement).

All I have to say is - notice the number six. More to follow ...

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