Thursday, August 5, 2010

Understanding the Gospel as a Ritual Castration Narrative

So let's recap where we left off yesterday as I try to piece together this new understanding:

1) the prophet Daniel was understood to be a eunuch of the messianic line of king David by Jews and Christians alike from a period before the advent of Christianity.
2) the book of Daniel has a unique position in the prophetic writings paralleled by the unique status of Daniel as a eunuch prophet.
3) Daniel is understood to have been given a superior understanding of the great mysteries of the religion. Only he explicitly references 'the messiah' and more importantly the specific circumstances of his arrival (an event which now will be accompanied by the end of the Jewish religion and the end of sacrifices).
4) the Hebrew word karath is used in conjunction with the coming of the messiah by the eunuch prophet Daniel. It is translated in the Greek with a word which implies 'the death' of this figure but this use is unnatural or at least not the expected choice. The underlying concept is that of 'separation' and it is often used to mean the separation of a body part from the body - i.e. castration.
5) if karath was interpreted in this way (i.e. that the eunuch prophet Daniel hailed the arrival of a castrated messiah) one can almost imagine a scenario where someone might have argued that this arrival of this messiah might have justified or ushered in a new righteousness - i.e. to be like Jacob, to be like the messiah and undergo castration to be refashioned as a new man made after the likeness of the angels or indeed the androgynous Father/Adam Kadmion rather than after 'the world' (see Philo and the Jewish mystical understanding that the world had an anthropomorphic shape).

I know this is entirely speculative but I do think it fits into the Marcionite understanding of the sacrament of baptism being tied with ritual castration. So Tertullian:

Deny now, Marcion, your utter madness, (if you can)! Behold, you impugn even the law of your god. He unites not in the nuptial bond, nor, when contracted, does he allow it; no one does he baptize but a coelebs or a eunuch [AM 4.11]

As I noted when I joined this site - a strong argument exists to connect the Marcionites with the tradition of Mark (who interestingly is said to have severed his finger i.e. a euphemism for his male member). 'Marcion' a name derived from Mark is also said to be a self-castrating inventor of a false gospel.

If that 'gospel of Mark' associated with the Marcionite sect by the Philosophumena (7:18) justified the ritual castration of its members it certainly must have looked like the first addition to Mark mentioned in Clement's letter to Theodore:

And after six days Jesus told him what to do, and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. [To Theodore III 7 - 10]

To this end when we understand the Marcionite (and Markan) idea of ritual castration PRECEDING ritual water immersion we can begin to understand not only the many references in the Apostolic writings describing baptism as connected with death but more over that the sacrament represented the 'end of the law.'

The introduction of the Gospel MUST NECESSARILY BE the end of the Law as the whole concept of the Evangelium is that of 'the new Torah' (cf Shabbath 116a). The law and the prophets were until John but who was this 'John'? The Marcionites not only knew nothing at all about 'John the Baptist' but there is a strong tradition that 'John' is the other name of Mark.

It is too early to say anything definitive about this original paradigm, but maybe, just maybe John was the castrated messiah who established Christianity as a means of perpetuating his blessed state.

A 'gift' to the rest of humanity and the gospel is his (secret) story. Just a thought ...

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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