Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chapter Twenty In My New Book

As we come to the conclusion of this fascinating journey into the ancient past the reader might be left with the gnawing sense that we are now as close as we will ever get to the truth.  In other words, that while we can feeling fairly confident that there was an ancient Christian 'same sex union rite' that nothing has survived from antiquity to help us put it all together.  Yet the truth is all we have been working to establish over these last chapters really amounts to only 'elementary instruction' - preparation if you will - for the revelation of what actually happened within the Alexandrian mystery rite.

It is fair to question how it is that we should have access to the truth that escaped previous investigations.  After all, the question of the authenticity of the discovery at Mar Saba is still deemed by some to be 'an open question.'  Nevertheless what we have accomplished over the course of a hundred pages or so is nothing short of revolutionary.  Not only have we systematically exposed a pattern of same sex pairing within the Alexandrian tradition, we have also laid the groundwork for a historical context to help explain the heretical reports of the Roman Church Fathers.

Indeed over the course of our detailed examination of these surviving testimonies we came to the conclusion that the so-called Carpocratian sect - mentioned by Clement as well as other Church Fathers - ultimately derived its origins from the writings of a pagan writer named Celsus.  Celsus wrote an extremely hostile work against the Christian religion and probably the Alexandrian faith in particular dating to the middle of the second century.  Not only did the Carpocratians originate from a perhaps deliberate garbling of Celsus's original report but so too with respect to the so-called 'Marcionites.'  In many ways the anti-heretical writings of the Patristic sources can be argued to be a mere addendum to what was established in the pagan writer's famous work.

It is worth noting however that Celsus does make one explicit reference to the gospel which is universally acknowledged by scholars.  In the material from his lost work which now appears in the sixth book of Origen's apologetic Against Celsus, the pagan author cites material from the Question of the Rich Man narrative in the gospel.  This narrative is identified as immediately preceding the material added to the 'secret gospel' of Mark cited by Clement in his Letter to Theodore.  The reason this is so significant is that if we look carefully we will see that Celsus argues that there is a mystical rite associated with this passage which can only be the contemporary Alexandrian liturgy mentioned in the Mar Saba letter.

To this end, it shall be presented here that what survives of the original writings of Celsus can finally help us solve the mystery of 'secret Mark' and the same sex rite associated with this text.  In order to help put all the pieces together for the reader we will begin by noting what has already been acknowledged in scholarly literature - namely that the Question of the Rich Man (Mark 10:17 – 31) and the so-called Addition from Secret Mark which is said by Clement to immediately follow in the Alexandrian recension of the text are clearly related to one another.  In the traditional terminology of the time the discussion between Jesus and the rich man represent ‘elementary instruction’ and what follows in the 'secret' version of the gospel embodies the 'secret wisdom' which was deliberately kept hidden from outsiders by Jesus and the evangelist.

For the moment we will concentrate on the 'elementary discussion' which was clearly known to Celsus the pagan.  The story goes something like this.  A rich man comes up to Jesus and asks him how he can attain eternal life.  Jesus answer is intended to reinforce the value of elementary instruction while hinting at the existence of something greater for those seeking perfection.  Indeed according to Clement's interpretation of the passage there can be no doubt that despite this division the Law and the gospel were ultimately complementary teachings.  The former ends where the latter begins.

Clement's version of the Gospel of Mark - which he explicitly says he is citing word for word in his treatise Can the Rich Man be Saved reads:

"And going forth into the way, one approached and kneeled, saying, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit everlasting life?" And Jesus says, "Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and thy mother.” And (the rich man) answering says to Him, “All these have I observed.”

And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and said, “One thing thou lackest. If thou wouldest be perfect, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me.”

And he answering (Jesus) says to Him, All these have I observed. And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and said, One thing thou lackest. If thou wouldest be perfect, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me.

And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he was rich, having great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith to His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! More easily shall a camel enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the kingdom of God.

And they were astonished out of measure, and said, Who then can be saved? bend He, looking upon them, said, What is impossible with men is possible with God. For with God all things are possible. Peter began to say to Him, Lo, we have left all and followed Thee.

And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall leave what is his own, parents, and brethren, and possessions, for My sake and the Gospel's, shall receive an hundred-fold now in this world, lands, and possessions, and house, and brethren, with persecutions; and in the world to come is life everlasting. But many that are first shall be last, and the last first."

It is critical that we cite the entire section as it appeared in Clement's text owing to a number of subtle differences that emerge between this second century text and our inherited material.  Most significant of all is the fact that all parties in the contemporary dispute over the proper interpretation of the material - Celsus, the Carpocratians and Clement - will agree that the material agrees or was derived from Greek philosophy and the writings of Plato in particular.

We should note that in the case of case of Celsus and the Carpocratians the connection between this material and the writings of Plato is explicit.  Celsus must have learned from Marcia and the 'Harpocratians of Salome' that the mystical doctrines contained in the gospel according to Mark was compatible with Platonic philosophy.  Clement for his part acknowledges and embraces the teachings of Plato but will not go so far as to confirm that Mark incorporated Greek philosophical teachings into his narrative.  Irenaeus by contrast seems to identify Mark as the Platonic gospel.  Hippolytus makes reference to a heretical effort to add Empedoclean doctrines to Mark while Origen makes the 'clever' argument that Plato learned his super celestial doctrines from his acquaintance with Jewish prophetic literature.

The bottom line of course is that everyone in the period acknowledged some kind of relationship between the gospel of Mark in some form and the writings of Plato.  This is now especially difficult to see given the state of the existing manuscript.  In other words, the canonical gospel of Mark does not seem especially Platonic much less 'philosophical.'  The obvious answer from what we have already seen is that Celsus, the Carpocratians and Clement are really talking about 'Secret Mark' which is clearly 'mystical' in nature as Clement notes many times in his Letter to Theodore.

The reason Celsus's testimony is so significant is the fact that it is the usually source of all the confused and ultimately silly things that appear in the later Church Fathers.  When for instance Hegesippus wrote that the Carpocratians crowned images "of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest" of the Greek philosophers alongside images of Christ allegedly made by Pontius Pilate we are clearly seeing a garbled reflection of something originally contained in Celsus's original treatise.[1]  Moreover when the Carpocratians are described as the original 'gnostics' it should be noted that gnostikos - a term also commonly found in the writings of Clement - is ultimately a technical terminology from the philosophical writings of Plato.[2]

Celsus must have come across an early - and indeed 'pure' - Alexandrian sect associated with this Marcia and determined that the Platonic borrowing was essential to the tradition.  Nevertheless instead of being happy about the appropriation Origen tells us that the pagan specifically accused the author of the gospel of "misunderstanding the language of Plato in his Epistles."[3]  Indeed few scholars have taken the time to notice that this charge is actually far more specifically related to the material from the Question of the Rich Man than has previously been recognized.

Celsus is clearly making this statement in relation to Mark 10:17 - 31 and surrounding material.  When he make reference to specific appropriation from 'the Epistles of Plato' there are only thirteen epistles of Plato many of which are unlikely to have been cited owing to their specific contents.  Yet in another statement that immediately follows we can even narrow our focus even further by noting that Celsus specifically accused Mark of stealing the idea of 'the kingdom of God' from certain Platonic treatises or as Origen puts it:

since Celsus, moreover, from a desire to depreciate the accounts which our Scriptures give of the kingdom of God, has quoted none of them, as if they were unworthy of being recorded by him ... while, on the other hand, he quotes the sayings of Plato, both from his Epistles and the Phaedrus [emphasis mine], as if these were divinely inspired, but our Scriptures were not.[4]

As we will see this material is clearly referenced in Origen's response so we can indeed get an idea of what Celsus was originally saying about the contemporary gospel of Mark.

At the very beginning of his account, Origen tells us that Celsus claimed that Mark "had read Plato, and being pleased with the opinion he expressed regarding rich men, to the effect that 'it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness and riches at the same time,' had perverted this, and changed it into, 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God!'"[5]  This however is not the important discussion of mystical doctrine as the reference here is from Plato's Laws and not 'his Epistles and the Phaedrus."

If we want to find the passages from these works which Celsus originally connected to the material around Mark 10:17 - 31 we have to go a little further where Origen writes:

Now the declaration of Plato, quoted by Celsus, runs as follows: "All things are around the King of all, and all things exist for his sake, and he is the cause of all good things. With things of the second rank he is second, and with those of the third rank he is third. The human soul, accordingly, is eager to learn what these things are, looking to such things as are kindred to itself, none of which is perfect. But as regards the King and those things which I mentioned, there is nothing which resembles them."[6]

At first glance the reader will ultimately find it difficult to see what this can possibly have to do with the Question of the Rich Man.  Nevertheless its application is immediately recognizable to anyone that has ever read Clement of Alexandria.  The quotation from Plato's Second Epistle is used by Clement to defend the Alexandrian notion of the Trinity which we have already found resurfaces in the surviving writings of Theodore of Pontus.

As noted above, it seems to be an incredible stretch to fit the doctrine of the Trinity into either the Question of the Rich Man or the Addition to Secret Mark.  After all there are only two people in the narrative cited in the Letter to Theodore.  Nevertheless it should become immediately obvious that the Father is always included by Jesus as completing the triad.  Not only does Jesus cite the Father as a witness in the material that has made its way to the Gospel of John, as we have already noted in our discussion of Theodore of Pontus the mystery rite in Secret Mark assumes the Father is the beginning of a Trinitarian formula with him as 'the First,' Jesus as the 'Second' and the initiate or Paraclete as the 'Third' in the sequence.[7]  It should also be noted that the Question of the Rich Man also begins with Jesus referencing the Father as the only Good Being - something that always seems to have drawn the attention of the heretics.[8]

We shall leave the specific application of the Trinity to the baptism rite of Secret Mark for the moment and turn our attention to the second Platonic mentioned in Celsus's treatise.  Origen makes reference to the material appropriated from the Phoedrus in what immediately follows this section with the Church Father telling us that "Celsus in the next place alleges, that 'certain Christians, having misunderstood the words of Plato, loudly boast of a 'super-celestial' God thus ascending beyond the heaven of the Jews."[9]  Clearly Celsus is thinking of the Marcionites who "acknowledge another god than the one worshipped by the Jews."  Yet the application of Plato that is specifically being envisioned by the pagan author also seems applicable to a Trinitarian formula.

Origen begins by rejecting Celsus claims that the Mark stole from the Second Epistle of Plato.  He does this with some degree of cleverness as he diverts attention from the original claim and makes the counter-argument that Plato in reality stole the understanding from the Jewish prophets including Moses.  He writes:

it was impossible for the prophets of the Jews, whose writings are reckoned among ours, to have borrowed anything from Plato, because they were older than he. They did not then borrow from him the declaration, that 'all things are around the King of all, and that all exist on account of him;' for we have learned that nobler thoughts than these have been uttered by the prophets, by Jesus Himself and His disciples [emphasis mine] who have clearly indicated the meaning of the spirit that was in them, which was none other than the spirit of Christ."[10]  

In other words, rather than reading Plato a 'Holy Spirit' was passed from God to the Jewish prophets and from Jesus to the evangelists which properly explains this appropriation.

It is at this point that Origen tells us what lines Celsus said Mark borrowed from Plato's Phaedrus to establish his mystical doctrines:

I do not indeed, deny that Plato learned from certain Hebrews the words quoted from the Phaedrus, or even, as some have recorded, that he quoted them from a perusal of our prophetic writings, when he said: " "No poet here below has ever sung of the super-celestial place, or ever will sing in a becoming manner," and so on. And in the same passage is the following: "For the essence, which is both colourless and formless, and which cannot be touched, which really exists, is the pilot of the soul, and is beheld by the understanding alone; and around it the genus of true knowledge holds this place."

It is actually the second reference which is particularly significant for our purposes as it goes to the heart of the initiation ritual of Alexandria and the very identification of Mark as a Platonic gospel.

For as we have already noted Irenaeus says that the very opening words of Mark "point to the winged aspect of the Gospel ... [for Jesus] afterwards being made man for us, sent the gift of the celestial Spirit over all the earth, protecting us with His wings."  The Gospel of Mark being the last gospel according to Irenaeus, the one "which renovates man, and sums up all things in itself by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon its wings into the heavenly kingdom."  This reference from the Phaedrus similarly derives from a lengthy section on same sex attraction where the individual, like a winged charioteer should aim to behold "being" (to on) or "truly existing existence" (ousia ontos ousa) (lit. "beingly existing essence"), "with which true knowledge is concerned, the colorless, formless, intangible essence, visible only to mind" (247c).

The description of the Gospel of Mark in Irenaeus is clearly derived from Plato and this is same tradition that Celsus is drawing upon for his attack.  The "kingdom of God" is clearly understood in Platonic terms as that ultimate reality beyond all essential distinctions, what Plato calls the Idea of the Good in Republic. As the sphere rotates, the soul sees also "justice, and temperance, and knowledge absolute, not in the form of generation or of relation, which men call existence, but knowledge absolute in existence absolute" (247d - 247e).  Of course it was common knowledge that this discussion in the Phaedrus occurred in the middle of the most famous celebrations of same sex attraction.  This point would not have escaped either Celsus or Origen (although the latter would have done his best to distract his readers from that realization).

There can be no doubt that Celsus however did understand the so-called Platonic doctrine of the Trinity from the Second Epistle and the Phaedrus's witness of the Being (Gk = to on) to be intimately related.  We still find Jesus confessing that he is the Being in John chapter 8.  This is clearly the heart of Celsus's charge that the material surrounding the Question of the Rich Man was stolen from Plato.  The understanding must have been that Jesus reveals himself to his disciple as the Being (to on) which in Platonic philosophy is the very object of 'heavenly' same sex attraction.  The reason that Origen responds that Plato learned these doctrines from the Jews is because the God of Israel is described as the Being (to on) in the Greek translation of the Book of Exodus where Moses first meets him in the burning bush.

As we will eventually see at the conclusion of this work, Origen is not completely making stuff up when he directs his readers attention to this material. The fact that Aaron comes to Moses and the two become brothers immediately following the revelation of the Being (to on) was certainly taken to be the basis of the ritual described in Secret Mark.  Nevertheless for the moment at least it is better that we continue through to Celsus's description of the same sex ritual which was related to the same section in Mark chapter 10.  For immediately following the last words Origen tells us that the pagan:

brings forward certain monstrous statements, in the form of question and answer, regarding what is called by ecclesiastical writers the "seal" (sphragidos) statements which did not arise from imperfect information; such as that "he who impresses the seal (sphragida) is called father, and he who is sealed (sphragizomenou) is called youth (neou) and son;" and who answers, "I have been anointed with white ointment (chrismati leukw) from the tree of life" ... [and] in the next place, he determines even the number mentioned by those who deliver over the seal (sphragida), as that "of seven angels, who attach themselves to both sides of the soul of the dying body; the one party being named angels of light, the others 'archontics;' " and he asserts that the "ruler of those named 'archontics' is termed the 'accursed' god."[10]

All of this material which appears in Celsus's True Word is of course related.  The citations follow each other one after the other and specifically within the context of Mark's appropriation of material 'from Plato's Epistles and the Phaedrus.'

In this case Celsus is clearly identifying that the Question of the Rich Man was connected to a mystery rite by means of the material which Celsus cites as existing in a separate version of the Gospel of Mark.  For Celsus the 'additional material' was essential to the meaning of the original narrative.  Just as Plato taught that "'it was impossible to be distinguished for goodness and riches at the same time" and this was incorporated by Mark in the first part of the narrative, it is unquestionable that material from "the Epistles and the Phaedrus" also shows up in the mystery rite associated with the conclusion of the section.  It isn't hard to see that the "father" impressing the seal on the "youth" in some form corresponds to the original description of Jesus and the disciple who loved him.  Yet the overarching identification of section being related to the vision of same sex attraction from the Phaedrus also helps finally nail down the homosexual interpretation of the material from Secret Mark.

The super-celestial Father is the 'one,' Jesus the Being (to one) is the 'two' and the initiate who is the 'youth' embodies the 'three' of the Platonic Trinity.  Just as Jesus manifests the unseen Father to his initiated disciples, the father in the initiation ritual embodies Jesus and the youth in turn - thanks to 'being sealed' - is on the way to becoming like Jesus or in Christian terms, becoming his brother and the brother of those that are already like him.  This understanding can be clearly upheld by a close examination of the sections where Clement uses the same term 'seal.'

There are many references to "baptism and the blessed seal" (makaria sphragida) in Clement's writings, most make reference to the contemporary sealing rite which invoke "the Son and the Father."[11]  Origen is particularly clear that Celsus is basically right about his assertion that one individual plays the role of Father and the other his Son.  It is clear from the Stromata the sealing takes place after a ritualized death.[12]  This agrees with Celsus's description no less than the material discovered at Mar Saba.  Moreover Jesus is understood to have affixed this "seal" on his disciples in several references in Clement's writings.  Sometimes Clement cites specific gospel passages where this action is attributed to the Savior.[13] Other times Clement makes reference to the act in the most generic terms.

A particularly significant example of the latter is found again in the latter section of the Stromata where Clement writes of Jesus that:

He is the true Only-begotten, the express image of the glory of the universal King and Almighty Father, who seals (enaposphragizomenos) the Gnostic with the perfect theoria, according to His own image; so that there is now a third divine image, made as far as possible like the Second Cause (= Jesus), the Essential Life, through which we live the true life; the Gnostic, as we regard him, being described as moving amid things sure and wholly immutable."[14]

As the reader can clearly see the same Platonic Trinity is reflected in this discussion of some event in Clement's gospel which has long been removed from our text.  Jesus is 'the second' and the initiate 'the third' according to the Platonic appropriation recognized by Celsus.  This is undoubtedly also why Clement also makes continuous reference to the sacredness of the number three in relation to this mystery.

We are only steps away from coming to terms with the sacred heart of the Alexandrian tradition which in no unmistakable terms is linked to the doctrine of the Trinity.  As we have repeatedly noted the 'third' in the Platonic tradition is 'soul.'  The original exegesis of the secret gospel of Mark understood that Jesus 'the second' united himself with 'the third' or soul.  This becomes clear from yet another reference to 'sealing' in the Stromata, this time with respect to the description of the theophany at Sinai which has already been identified by many scholars as the basis to the passage from Secret Mark referenced in the Letter to Theodore (= six day preparation).

Clement makes clear that just as Moses was 'stamped' with the image of God so too was the gnostic (= the disciple in secret Mark) was sealed by Jesus in his mystery rite:

And as in the case of Moses, from his righteous conduct, and from his uninterrupted intercourse with God, who spoke to him, a kind of glorified hue settled on his face; so also a divine power of goodness clinging to the righteous soul in contemplation and in prophecy, and in the exercise of the function of governing, seals (sphragida) on it something, as it were, of intellectual radiance, like the solar ray, as a visible sign of righteousness, uniting the soul with light (phws henomenon psyche), through unbroken love, which is God-bearing and God-borne. Thence assimilation to God the Saviour arises to the Gnostic, as far as permitted to human nature, he being made perfect "as the Father who is in heaven."[15]

The reference to soul being united with light cannot be accidental.  It is a reinforcing once again of the second impressing its seal on the third which as Celsus notes over and over again is an explicit borrowing or even stealing from Platonic philosophy.

Everything we have been talking about thus far is present in this passage.  The mystery is understood both as soul, the third of the Platonic 'trinity' being united with life as well as the initiate being sealed with the image of Jesus, the visible sign of the invisible Father.  Of course all of this sounds like airy fairy nonsense until we come up on the reference that actually sheds some light on the situation.  The heresy make it absolutely plain that the Father in heaven was a hermaphrodite.  As such, given the oft repeated reference to Jesus being a eunuch and those sealed by the same image castrating themselves it should hardly come as a surprise that at the climax of these mysteries we find a similar reference.  So it is that we find Clement speak of the same rite at another point in his Stromata as the "affixing of the seal of continence and asceticism (egkrateian)" on the body in order to combat "the passions of the soul, which we master by virtue, the Word is the ordering power."[16]

As already noted, it is difficult not to see this as a description of the ritual act of castration which we know was employed by Clement's student Origen.  Yet the specific terminology used throughout – spragides – is ultimately derived from the application of Platonism established in the writings of Philo the Jew.  Philo applies the language of Platonic cosmology directly to the realm of moral transformation.  As the demiurge was imprinted with the pattern of the divine Logos, and thus imitated those patterns in the creation of the world, so also human souls can be imprinted (ensphragizw) with patterns that shape their actions.

The metaphorical image comes from the practice of impressing a seal in wax, which Philo describes (Agr. 1.166-167).  The seal, when pressed into wax, leaves its image, and the impression remains unless it is effaced by melting the wax.  The human mind is like wax, according to Philo, that can receive impressions through the senses.  For this reason, humans must beware the snares of pleasure because “when she [pleasure] has ensnared these [the senses] she easily brings the Mind under her control.”  The senses convey to the internal mind the external things that are seen, “impressing" (ensphragizomenai) on it the forms of the several objects, and producing the corresponding affection (pathos).  For [the Mind] resembles wax, and receives the images that reach it through the senses” (Opif. 1.166).

Even though humans cannot see the Creator, Philo says that he breathed his divine nature into them, and “his divine nature stamped her own impression (enesphragizeto) in an invisible manner on the invisible soul, in order that the earth might not be destitute of the image of God” (Det. 1.86). Philo explicitly links “seeing” and “imprinting" and regularly uses the metaphor to describe how souls are shaped.  Like waxen tablets, souls are imprinted with patterns that they encounter.  They can encounter various patterns in various ways: through associations with other humans or habitual action or concentrated memory.  Commonly, the tablets of the soul receive impressions through the senses (sight, most importantly).  Thus, “seeing” a pattern in the divine nature, a group of people, or an individual exemplar imprints that pattern on the soul of the spectator.  The spectator then desires and acts according to the inclinations of his newly shaped soul.

Yet what Mark was suggesting in his mystical gospel went far beyond merely seeing and imitating virtuous examples.  The act of sealing or stamping now is taken literally with the model now being the theophany of Moses.  When Moses came into the presence of God his body was transformed.  The Israelites saw horns of light radiating from his person.  Nevertheless we should not over look the fact that Moses had to prepare for that experience - he abstained from sexual relationship with his wife until, according to the oral tradition of the Jews, she began to complain about his devotion to God.

The Christian paradigm only takes things one step further.  What was formerly only given to Moses because of his unique status among men is now opened to everyone who partake in the divine mysteries.   The narrative in Secret Mark hints at the experience in the following terms.  Immediately after being raised from the tomb:

the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb, they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. 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. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.[17]

The theophany of Moses is again made manifest by the 'after six days.'  The difference now of course is that the unmentioned 'thing' Jesus told him to do is self-castration.  It is only then that the offensive "root of passion" has been removed from the body.  This is the beginning of the process of refashioning or impressing the image of the hermaphrodite Father on the youth.

If the reader looks back at the material in Clement's Question of the Rich Man he will see that this is exactly how the Church Father interprets Mark 10:17 - 31.  For Clement 'sell your possessions and give to the poor' should not be understood to advise people to literally give all their material possessions to those who are destitute.  Clement argues instead that "something else is indicated by it, (something) greater, more godlike, more perfect - the stripping off of the passions from the soul itself and from the disposition, and the cutting up by the roots and casting out of what is alien to the mind. For this is the lesson peculiar to the believer, and the instruction worthy of the Saviour."[18]  In other words, stamping the image of the Father on the body stripped of its offending member.

Of course the end purpose of this recreation ritual is of course to establish the initiate as a 'son of the Father.'  Celsus tells us as much when he references the understanding that "he who impresses the seal is called father, and he who is sealed is called youth and son."  In this scenario then the newly baptized youth is at once not only the son of the Father but also the brother of Christ.  This is certainly why one of Clement's favorite sayings from the gospel is "see your brother, see your God" but also it explains why it is that Clement so often understanding Mark 10:17 - 31 as alluding to a brother-making rite which clearly must be taken to be the additional material from Secret Mark cited in the Letter to Theodore.

The thing to take note of is the subtle difference between our received text of Mark 10:29 and that which found in Clement's Alexandrian version.  Ours reads:

There is no man that hath left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake and the gospel's.  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions and in the world to come eternal life

There is no discernible brother-making doctrine being referenced in this material.  However Clement's text is another story where we read:

Whosoever shall leave what is his own, parents, and brethren, and possessions, for My sake and the Gospel's, shall receive an hundred-fold now in this world, lands, and possessions, and house, and brothers, with persecutions; and in the world to come is life everlasting.

There can be no mistaking that this points to a brother-making doctrine because Clement himself makes reference to this in his discussion of the passage - "but Christ is the fulfilment 'of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth;' and not as a slave making slaves, but (a son making) sons, and (a brother making) brethren, and (an heir making) fellow-heirs, who perform the Father's will.[19]

Once we see that the clues to properly understanding the material from Secret Mark are found in the section of text which precedes it we can feel confident at last that we have come to terms with its meaning.  So we read again the emphasis in Clement's statement later in the same treatise where he writes that "it is neither penniless, nor homeless, nor brotherless people that the Lord calls to life, since He has also called rich people; but, as we have said above, also brothers, as Peter with Andrew, and James with John the sons of Zebedee, but of one mind with each other and Christ.[20]  As we have already noted many times here the list of brothers in early Christianity is simply staggering.  We could easily add to this a number of other names including Peter and Paul, Paul and Timothy and many others.

Yet the clearest sign that the material in the Question of the Rich Man was used for some sort of brother-making rite is found in an ignored reference in a fourth century Alexandrian text.  As many people know, there was a power struggle in Alexandria between those who favored Constantine's compromise for Church unity and those who defended the traditional ways of St Mark.  The adherents of Nicaea referenced the those who adhered to tradition in Egypt as Arians, named after the presbyter of the Church of St Mark at the time of Constantine, Arius.

After the death of Constantine, his second son Constantius took over the Empire and again favored Arianism.  It is very interesting that the first two bishops he installed in the city were both from Cappadocia - Gregory of Cappadocia (339 - 346 CE) was supposedly a friend of the Emperor Constantius and one of his first acts was to bring another native of Cappadocia, Auxenius of Milan, to succeed him.  The Catholic bishop Athanasius no longer having the cover that the inner circle of Constantine provided him was chased out of town.  He had to hide in the wilderness among his supporters where he continued to develop 'attack literature' against George and the Cappadocian 'Arianists.'

It is very puzzling that at least part of this propaganda assumed that George presided over some corrupt initiation ritual which made reference to the terminology from Mark chapter 10 and had homosexual overtones.  So Athanasius writes that:

one George, a Cappadocian, who was contractor of stores at Constantinople, and having embezzled all monies that he received, was obliged to fly, he commanded to enter Alexandria with military pomp, and supported by the authority of the General. Next, finding one Epictetus a novice, a bold youth, he loved him perceiving that he was ready for wickedness; and by his means he carries on his designs against those of the Bishops whom he desires to ruin. For he is prepared to do everything that the Emperor wishes; who accordingly availing himself of his assistance, has committed at Rome a strange act, but one truly resembling the malice of Antichrist.[21]

It has always been puzzling to scholars why the language here so closely resembles Mark 10:21. Gregory 'loved' the 'youth' Epictetus.  At last we now know why.  The pairing of same couples in the Alexandrian tradition did not end with Nicaea.  If anything it grew stronger and stronger for ages to come ...

[21]History of the Arians Part 8)

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