Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Stupid Were the Heretics Really?

I am sure few people have thought about this but there are so many puzzles in the Patristic reports about the heretics. All of what the Church Fathers write about rival Christian traditions is hostile. So how much of it is true? Would I trust a racist to tell me about the details of the details of a black man's arrest for robbery? How then can we come to terms with what the Church Fathers say about the heretical tradition and the 'spiritual flesh' which Jesus passed on to his apostle (= 'Paul') and the apostolic transference of this gift to the rest of the Church? The details of this miraculous transfer are found in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15. Few people however ever recognize that the point of the material is to argue for the change which came over Moses's flesh (cf. Mimar Marqe Book 5) as now having come over the whole of the new Israel:
He [Moses] was vested with the Form which Adam cast off in the Garden of Eden; and his face shone up to the day of his death [Mimar Marqe 5.4]
It is very difficult to sort out what the original argument was because of interpolations but the basic idea is clear - humanity was refashioned after Christ rather than Adam. Instead of merely having flesh, Christians now resemble Moses in the Samaritan tradition - i.e. they are God-men with 'spiritual flesh.' I can't prove how 'the baptism for the dead' fit into everything unless it meant that 'dead flesh' became alive through baptism (although there is also a persistent argument in favor of this meaning some sort of vicarious baptism as in the Mormon faith). Nevertheless one thing is clear - those who had undergone the Pauline 'death baptism' of the so-called heretical tradition claimed to have received spiritual flesh and walked around as 'perfect' God-men in the here and now (i.e. not 'in the here after' as in the Catholic tradition). My question is could this tradition have been taken seriously if the 'perfect' looked pretty much the same as every other idiot walking around on the earth? Could Christian presbyters have succeeded in winning over thousands of converts to the idea that they were God-men no visible physical transformation had come over their person? In other words, were ancient people that stupid that they accepted the grandiose claims associated with Moses in the Samaritan tradition without any visible proofs of a metamorphosis? In the Pentateuch let's not forget - Moses's skin is transformed. He has light shining from his flesh. He has to wear a dress over his whole body like the cliche ghost costume from Halloween. How could Christianity have succeeded in convincing people that their God-men were God-men without any proof that they were divine?

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