Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Sorry my mind is just not going to be able to do any deep analysis of Clement, Ephrem and Marcion this week.  But I have a couple of random observations that I've been saving up:

  1. the flying Simon Magus in the Acts of Peter tradition is a parody of the flying Jesus tradition from the Diatessaron.  For some reason my son wanted a bed time story so I didn't feel like reading yet another banal Star Wars book for kids.  So I read him a chapter from the Acts of Peter where Simon is flying over Rome until Peter brings him down by prayer.  The flying Simon tradition probably goes back to the second century - in other words, around the time 'heretical' influence was waning.  The Jesus of the Marcionites, Valentinians and various other sects certainly flew.  Simon however becomes the new conduit for the 'flying' tradition.  It is strange the way the pseudo-Clementine literature identifies him as Paul but the earliest tradition makes him the embodiment of the heretical Jesus.  
  2. castrated priests from Christian antiquity certainly must have claimed to embody an 'alien race.'  There certainly were castrated priests in Christianity in the second century.  Julius Cassian was certainly one such figure.  Clement and Origen were others.  I happened to have been attending a baptism when I thought about the Catholic priest standing up on the altar.  Even in their modern state, they act as a separate race of being.  They don't get married, have cut themselves off from normal familial bonds.  Imagine for a moment if this was taken one step further.  Then you have man-made angels living among us.  
  3. the early Acts of Peter tradition obsessed about the fact that he had a daughter who paralyzed to prevent her being raped by rich man.  The references are found in the Epistle of Pseudo-Titus, a Coptic fragment, allusions in Augustine.  The story goes something like this - "an exceeding rich man, by name Ptolemaeus, when he had seen the maiden with her mother bathing, sent unto her to take her to wife; but her mother consented not. And he sent oft-times to her, and could not wait."  Here a leaf is lost in the Coptic but we can put together the rest from Augustine's reference to the Acts where he says the daughter of Peter was struck with palsy at the prayer of her father as she was being pulled away by Ptolemaeus.  "unable to win the maiden by fair means, Ptolemaeus comes and carries her off. Peter hears of it and prays God to protect her. His prayer is heard. She is struck with palsy on one side of her body."  When he finds her paralyzed he gives up trying to rape her.  But she is paralyzed for the rest of her life.  Strange story!  You'd think Peter could have prayed to paralyze the man.  Curious.  

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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