Sunday, August 4, 2013

Jesus as Roman Demi-God [Part Five]


As we have already noted, there existed a Jewish Christian understanding that the future resurrection of the dead was contingent upon Christ's Resurrection occurring first. At the heart of this understanding was the idea that Jesus was of the typology of Adam. We should note that standing against this Ebionite conception was the original Pauline understanding that Jesus was not of the typology of Adam. The Pauline tradition did not originally believe in the future resurrection of the dead. The clearest sign of this is the fact that the initiates into Paul’s mystery religion were baptized into Christ’s death.

There are literally dozens of surviving references to this original hostility between the early Jewish Christian and Pauline community. Irenaeus swept this all away by incorporating Paul into the Acts of the Apostles and systematically falsifying his original canon of writings. The purpose of this effort was to blend the ‘useful’ things in each tradition to help further a specific form of Christianity which would ‘win over’ the Imperial court. Commodus’s closest confidant was his Christian concubine Marcia.

The system developed by Irenaeus understood Adam to have been originally established by God as a cosmocrator. It was only his sins and the sins of future generations which stood in the way of the realization of this ‘prophesy.’ Jesus came into the world to help establish the rule of God among the Gentiles through the redeemed Adamic portion of humanity. Even here Irenaeus saw plenty of evidence for an Adamic typology in all aspects of the gospel narrative about Jesus. He writes for instance that “just as at that time God spake to Adam at eventide, searching him out; so in the last times, by means of the same voice, searching out his posterity, He has visited them.” Irenaeus even sees a parallel with the respect to the importance of Friday in each narrative “the Lord suffered death … upon that day on which Adam died while he disobeyed God [by eating the fruit].”

In the end Irenaeus creates a system whereby ‘salvation’ occurs when humanity obeys Jesus in the manner of a cosmocrator – Christ being the living image after which Adam was created. So we are told that “by which things He clearly shows forth God Himself, whom indeed we had offended in the first Adam, when he did not perform His commandment. In the second Adam, however, we are reconciled, being made obedient even unto death. For we were debtors to none other but to Him whose commandment we had transgressed at the beginning.” This ‘second Adam’ is a concept unique to the Pauline scriptures falsified by Irenaeus.

The original Pauline doctrine was based on the saying –“the first man Adam became a living being the last, the Lord, a life-producing spirit.” In other words, Adam was not a typology for Jesus. Instead we should understand Adam as an inferior copy of Jesus, the heavenly man. Whereas the Ebionites understood Jesus to be a man, the tradition established by Irenaeus held that it was God made man in the virgin womb of Mary thus reconciling an original antithesis into a new typology – viz. the well-known ‘Adam-Christ’ typology examined in greater depth in J.T. Nielsen’s recent work.

Again we must emphasize that the original Pauline understanding held that Adam was not a typology of Adam. This is most plainly evident by the fact that Tatian makes clear that Adam – i.e. the material man – was not saved by Jesus’s coming. The same idea is present in reports about the Marcionite and related Pauline traditions in the writings of the early Church Fathers. It was Irenaeus who first introduced this ‘harmony’ into Christianity, by means of his fusion of Jewish and Pauline Christianity and accompanying textual forgery and manipulation.

Indeed it is utterly hilarious to see how many scholars report that Irenaeus was an ‘unoriginal thinker.’ This is of course only another way of saying that his ideas absolutely perfectly match the ideas expressed in the Pauline writings in the very places the heretics pointed to as evidence of systematic textual corruption. So for instance we read in Irenaeus’s Against Heresies again the idea that:

Adam himself was termed by Paul "the figure of Him that was to come," because the Word (= Jesus), the Maker of all things, had formed beforehand for Himself the future dispensation of the human race, connected with the Son of God; God having predestined that the first man should be of an animal nature, with this view, that he might be saved by the spiritual One. For inasmuch as He had a pre-existence as a saving Being, it was necessary that what might be saved should also be called into existence, in order that the Being who saves should not exist in vain.

The underlying logic of Irenaeus’s argument is still Marcionite. The last man is still ‘the spiritual one’ even if Irenaeus added the word ‘Adam’ in place the Marcionite text read ‘the Lord.’

What the reader has to grasp in order to proceed is that the typological interpretation of any text necessarily searches out for a word or a sentence and ignores the greater context. This is plainly evident in the abuse Irenaeus and others heaped upon Isaiah in order to claim a prophetic witness for the Virgin Birth. To this end it doesn’t bother Irenaeus that his Christian scriptures no longer make any sense. The Pauline letters are nothing more than a chaotic patchwork of ideas and references – all a result of Irenaeus successfully adapting or injecting this or that point into his writings to ‘prove’ his agreement with the principles of orthodoxy.

The typological interpreter of the Christian scriptures only has an interest in a line or two or perhaps even a whole paragraph from a given text. From a few of these references across a handful of texts the skillful ‘spiritualist’ can prove just about any point. Consider for a moment Irenaeus’s use of a patchwork or cento reference from the Old Testament in Book Four of Against Heresies:

For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and He shall rebuke many people; and they shall break down their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and they shall no longer learn to fight.

This passage doesn’t even exist in this form. Irenaeus took Isaiah 2:3-4 and Micah 4:2-3 and fused them together just as he did at the beginning of the Gospel of Mark – “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way a voice of one calling in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”  There Irenaeus blended together Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.

In each of these cases ‘Isaiah’ is identified as the author of this hybrid text. Indeed Irenaeus strangely never lets on that anything is wrong with the text but proceeds to develop the strangest of interpretations from the new creation – in this case the idea that Jesus is a second Adam:

If therefore another law and word, going forth from Jerusalem, brought in such a [reign of] peace among the Gentiles which received it (the word), and convinced, through them, many a nation of its folly, then [only] it appears that the prophets spake of some other person. But if the law of liberty, that is, the word of God, preached by the apostles (who went forth from Jerusalem) throughout all the earth, caused such a change in the state of things, that these [nations] did form the swords and war-lances into ploughshares, and changed them into pruning-hooks for reaping the corn, [that is], into instruments used for peaceful purposes, and that they are now unaccustomed to fighting, but when smitten, offer also the other cheek, then the prophets have not spoken these things of any other person, but of Him who effected them. This person is our Lord, and in Him is that declaration borne out; since it is He Himself who has made the plough, and introduced the pruning-hook, that is, the first semination of man, which was the creation exhibited in Adam, and the gathering in of the produce in the last times by the Word; and, for this reason, since He joined the beginning to the end, and is the Lord of both, He has finally displayed the plough, in that the wood has been joined on to the iron, and i has thus cleansed His land because the Word having been firmly united to flesh, and in its mechanism fixed with pins, has reclaimed the savage earth.

The flights of fancy here reach dizzying heights, with Irenaeus riffing off a scripture that doesn’t even exist in any canon at any time, trying to prove that the ‘cross-like’ plough and pruning-hook – which together formed a labarum – ‘proved’ Jesus to be cosmocrator.

Yet this is how Irenaeus’s analysis of the very scriptures he manufactured in almost every instant. He has an underlying ‘direction’ that he wants to take an original section of scripture - in this case Isaiah’s swords into ploughshares, spears into pruning-hooks – and then fuses on to them another scripture entirely in order to ‘strengthen’ and ultimately ‘get him to the place’ he wants to go. The idea of going from ‘ploughshare + pruning hook’ to an X-shaped cross resting on a large stake is one thing. The idea that Isaiah himself attached to this the idea that ‘out of Zion a (new) law would go out’ is developed from forgery. But on top of all of this is the wild abuse of the material to suggest that the Adam-Christ typology was present and suggesting that Jesus was ultimately witnessing himself as cosmocrator by being ‘fixed’ to Irenaeus’s non-existent Cross – i.e. “the Word … is the Lord of both … [and] has reclaimed the savage earth” for Adam.

It’s all sheer and utter madness.  It's amazing that no one has ever called out Irenaeus on his bullshit before.  But then again, the spell of Caesar has only recently faded away from Christianity.  It is only recently that the Church is no longer in bed with the ruling classes of the West …

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