Monday, September 5, 2011

Marcus the Heretic and St Mark the Mystagogue

Here then we should note that Irenaeus is not describing the founding teacher of a philosophical school (διαδοξή) but a figure comparable with Alexander the hierophant and prophet described by Lucian ... Marcus is the ἕξαρχος of a mystery cult involving an initiation rite (μυσταγωγία). The cult involves the images he makes, and his missionary activity involves magic tricks, as when Marcus gives his consecrated wine a reddish color, and claims esoteric knowledge. We have, furthermore, already seen how Irenaeus attributed to Marcus a variety of followers, when in fact he was describing a variety of cults, practicing different forms of initiation such as baptism or the sacrament of the Bridalchamber, but devoted to the same quest for ἕνωσις with the spiritual and eternal order in order to obtain ἀφθαρσια. [Allen Brent, Ignatius of Antioch and the Second Sophistic p. 108]

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