Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marcion, Origen, the Resurrection of Paul and Secret Mark

An ignored reference to the reading of the opening words of the Epistle to the Galatians in the Marcionite Apostolikon:

The faith of the church, then, is trapped among formidable shipwrecks of false teaching. If it confesses that Christ is man, then Ebion and Photinus gain ground. If it contends that he is God, then Mani, Marcion, and the author of the new teaching all bubble up to the surface. Let each and every one of them hear that Christ is both God and man — not that one is God and the other man, but rather that he who is God from all eternity deigned to become man in order to save us.

We should be aware that the phrase “and through God the Father” is not found in Marcion's version of the Apostle. Marcion wished to present Christ as having been resurrected not by God the Father but through his own power, just as Christ says, “Tear down this temple and I shall raise it up on the third day,” and elsewhere, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it up again." [Jerome Commentary on Galatians 1:1 (undoubtedly from Origen's treatise of the same name)]

Interesting that Jerome connects Marcion's theology again to what is written in the Gospel of John. More on the Marcionite interpretation of the first words:

As for what the Apostle said, "Paul, an apostle not sent by men nor through human agency, but through Jesus Christ." For if he was a man, Paul would not have said, 'Paul, an apostle sent not by men nor through human agency.' For if Jesus was a man and Paul was chosen by him to be an apostle, he became an apostle through human agency. But if he was an apostle through human agency, he would never have said 'nor through human agency.' It is clear that with these words Paul separates Jesus from human nature. For he was not content to say simply 'nor through human agency.' It is clear that with these words Paul separates Jesus from human nature. For he was not content to say simply 'nor through human agency' but he added 'but through Jesus Christ.' Thus, he said that he had not been chosen an apostle through human agency because he knew that Christ is of a more lofty nature” (translated from Rufinus's Latin [SC 464:174–76] Origen, Comm. Gal. 1.1, preserved by Pamphilus in Apol. pro Orig.)

Yet if there is something more interesting than the consistent agreement of Origenists with the Marcionite interpretation. One can see at once that the very words can imply that Jesus resurrected the Marcionite apostle:

παυλος αποστολος ουκ απ ανθρωπων ουδε δι ανθρωπου αλλα δια ιησου χριστου του εγειραντος αυτον εκ νεκρων

Paul, an apostle, not from men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, who raised him from the dead

Forget my theory that Paul was a Catholic invention to shield the identity of the man who wrote the Marcionite epistle to the Alexandrians for a minute. The idea that the apostle was raised from the dead is only one of many connections with Secret Mark. The consistent interest of a baptism on behalf of the dead, the death of 'Christ' being connected with baptism all fit the same idea that Secret Mark was the original Pauline gospel. We have also demonstrated that Clement intimates that Paul knew the Alexandrian apocryphal gospel cited throughout the Stromata. I say it again, most scholars have very little imagination.

And one more thing - the Samaritans understand 'the apostle' to be a title of Moses. As such it would also be the title of the messiah if used in the singular (i.e. the Marcionite sense where there are no other 'apostles') ...

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