Friday, December 30, 2011

The Lost Jewish Roots of Marcion

There is so little imagination in religious scholarship.  Imagination even becomes a dirty word.  Yet we should see ourselves as attempting to decode religion rather than accept what it wants us to believe is its origin.  So it is that we who study the Marcionite phenomenon have to learn to think out of the box, to resist allowing the enemies of the tradition to dictate to us what it is.  

You know when I was growing up I was a complete loser.  This isn't to say that I am still not a loser. Perhaps now my failure is less complete.  I think I have looked death in the eye - the futility of existence - and managed to 'do something' with my life with the gaping existential void present in my mind.

In any event, I was such a loser because I allowed everyone else around me define who I was to myself.  I know that sounds like something you'd see on Oprah but it's the honest truth.  I think to some degree anyone with an impulse for scholarship has to care what other people think.  It is utterly essential.  Yet at the same time the slavish devotion to words on a written page leads to a lot of mediocrity in the humanities.  As the saying goes, you can't always believe what you read.  

In terms of the Marcionite tradition we have to stop thinking in terms of a man named 'Marcion' appearing in the second century after having a revelation about Paul.  This is so obviously propagandist we shouldn't pay it much mind.  The question we should be asking is how do we connect Marcion to something Jewish?  How do we disarm the apologists for orthodoxy of the one thing they can't do with their reactionary tradition?

For, as I have said many times here before, there is absolutely nothing Jewish about the Catholic tradition.  They rape the concept of the messiah for self-serving aims (i.e. to make Jesus the Christ of the Jews).  They make 'faith in God' the center of religion when the real purpose has always been trust and obedience to his commands.

Everything with this silly religion operates in an ephemeral nowhere land.  It's all so womanly - 'feelings,' 'intentions,' 'faith' - all subjective nonsense which has no place in any discussion of truth.  

You know, when I was having my ten minute phone discussion with Father Aristarchos about the Mar Saba document and he starts telling me that I should adhere to the truth of the Gospel of Mark in the canon and the two thousand year old tradition of the Church, I just told him straight up - 'God knows the truth.'  My point was to say that all this garbage about a letter destroying the faith of ages should have no place in a discussion between men who trust truth.  

Whether or not God somehow managed to allow a manuscript from Clement of Alexandria to survive in the blank pages of some seventeenth century book is not for us to decide.  We shouldn't be standing in the way of divine will because we think we know better than him.  Father Aristarchos knows exactly what happened to that manuscript.  All he will tell me is that Kallistos Dourvas ripped the text from the book.  He made a point of saying 'this much I can tell you.'  Yet the whereabouts of where the text is known to him.  He just thinks he can reinterpret God's will.  

We know can at least know this much of the truth - that is, that these people are so scared by what was preserved from Clement of Alexandria's letter that they were willing to rip the pages out of that book that would let us know something more than was revealed to us by the Church Fathers.  The same thing holds true about Marcion.  The Church Fathers tell us that Marcion came to the world to corrupt the orthodox New Testament scriptures and they will only let us see this deeply into the truth because it keeps us from knowing something essential about the Christian faith.  

Indeed you'd figure if the Marcionite writings were stupid and utterly worthless works the Fathers would have kept them for us to see to know what a bunch of morons the heretics really were.  

The answer to everything then is to stop swimming around in the artificial fish bowl created by Irenaeus, Tertullian and the rest in order that we don't get to the essential truths about Marcion.  And what truths am I talking about?  Well, I've already given you the first clue - the Marcionite tradition was closer to Judaism than anything represented in the writings of the Church Fathers.  'Faith' in the Creator is meaningless.  Indeed one could argue that it only developed as an attempt to escape from the essential truth of Marcionitism.  

The answer my friends is to connect Marcion to the only form of Judaism that resembles Christianity in any way - i.e. the yesharim who produced the Qumran literature and whom the Church Fathers already tell us over and over again were proto-Christians.  

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