Friday, January 4, 2013

The Paradox of Secret Mark

If Clement's preferred gospel was 'Secret Mark' and 'Secret Mark' was a Diatessaron - how do we reconcile the description of Jesus 'being angry' (ὀργισθεὶς) with the disciples for rebuking the woman with the commandment not to be angry?  This problem is not isolated to 'Secret Mark.'  Mark 1:41 has the very same words.  How then could Jesus tell his disciples 'not to be angry' - that lust and passion were antithetical to being 'divine' - and yet he himself displayed anger to his disciples?   The only solution to this paradox is by noting Mark 10:18's 'no one is good but God the Father.'  Doesn't that also include Jesus?  Yes certainly.  But didn't the earliest Christians believe Jesus was a god?  Yes again - but he was not perfect, he was not God the Father, and so - it would seem - we arrive at the inescapable conclusion that even the heretics must have believed that Jesus, the Son was the Creator, the Creator of the world.  The crucifixion must have been understood to be an expression of his repentance (a consistent theme in the reports about the heresies).

But how then could the disciple who had undergone being initiated into the mystery of the kingdom of God have been perfect - been understood to have been 'freed' from being angry if Jesus was himself still capable of 'passion' (and thus lacking perfection) himself?  The answer must be found in not only the line in the "secret text" - "the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him" but the line still found in our gospel of Mark just a few lines earlier - "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." In other words, it was love which set both men free from anger.  This is a consistent theme in Jewish mysticism - the fate of God rests in the hands of men.

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