Monday, February 10, 2014

The Myth of Jesus

Chapter 6
When Men Were Gods


A curious fact that has been oft noted about the Pentateuch.  Genesis and Exodus begin in a very similar manner.  While Genesis tells the story of the creation of the world, Exodus makes reference to creation of the perfect man Moses.  There isn't a lot new in recognizing this.  All that we have added to the mix is the idea that the first two books of the Pentateuch are actually centrally fixed on the concept of the איש.  This makes those familiar parallels even stronger.  If we add to the mix the idea that Genesis used to be about the creation of the איש - the Man - by God before the beginning we have at last come to understand what the literary context of the gospel was. 

It is interesting that one of the oldest Jewish traditions - the Karaites - a group which has ties to the Samaritans and the Sadducees, much speculation was originally developed about the original 'Man' created by God.  It's true, we have no evidence the Karaites knew anything about Genesis 1:26 - 27 reading איש in place of our current 'Adam.'  Nevertheless there is evidence to suggest that the Karaites interpreted the material at the beginning of Genesis dealing with the first man in a way which compliments our research. 

It all goes back to the schools of Karaism in and around Bagdad in the tenth and eleventh centuries.  There seems to be an anonymous author known to the Karaites and more mainstream Jewish exegete  Ibn Ezra whose interpretation of Genesis 1:26 - 27 seems to be sympathetic to Philo's 'two men scheme.'  The important difference seems to be that his understanding developed from the Hebrew text of Genesis.  In this particular case we hear that certain Karaites took the word naasah in Genesis 1:26 which is usually translated 'let us make' in the passive voice - i.e. 'was made.'  This little difference, as the later Karaites recognized suggested that this man was made 'ex nihilo' - i.e. not out of the earth as the second man but somewhere in a region in heaven. 

The Karaites had an interesting tradition of distinguishing between things recorded as being said by God by the author of the Pentateuch and things this narrator said in his own voice.  So in the particular case of Genesis 1:26 - 27 they read:

And God said "Man is made"

and then the narrator in his voice added as way of explanation:

in our image and in our likeness ...

The point is clear that we see that the idea that there was a separate 'Man' established before the beginning was not the exclusive product of a specific 'Hellenized' school in Alexandria.  The idea could well have developed from the inherent ambiguity of the Hebrew text. 

To this end the parallels between the beginning of Genesis and Exodus are even stronger than previously recognized.  Just as Moses is the 'the man (איש) of God' (Deut 33.1) and in the Samaritan culture more frequently identified simply as 'the Man (איש)' Genesis originally described the creation of a heavenly איש which we may assume was intended or interpreted as a 'second kind' of man distinct from the sons of Adam. Indeed at first glance we get the sense of this idea - without specific mention of the term איש - in the early Christian or perhaps even pre-Christian tradition of 'Sethian' gnosis.  Here there is an understanding that the portion of Adam's third son Seth preserved his pure soul as opposed to the wicked portion of humanity who are descendants of Cain.  However a careful scrutiny of the Marcionite tradition reveals the exact opposite scenario. 

The reality is that it is only Cain who is described as an ish - "I have gotten a man (איש) with the help of the LORD." (Genesis 4:1)  The Marcionites are said to have believed Christ brought salvation to Cain in hell.  Why so?  Could it be that as an  he is recognized to be a unique being?   When for instance Lamech is said to kill an איש it is said that "for I have slain a man (איש) for wounding me, and a young man for bruising me; if Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold."  Why is this exactly?  Could it be owing to the fact that he is described as killing an איש?  The rabbinic tradition goes even a step further saying that Lamech was specifically condemned for killing Cain in the seventh generation - thus even strengthening the identification of this son of Adam with איש.

It is worth noting that only immediately following these words that Adam is said to have had another son with Eve - i.e. Seth.  Yet it is important to note that he is not described as an איש.  The idea however that a specific portion of humanity was identified as אנשים - i.e. the plural of איש - is confirmed in chapter 6.  In Genesis 6:4 it is said that the sons of God came down and had children with mortal woman and these descendants "were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown." (אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם)  Similarly in that very same section Noah, the new Adam essentially, is described as a 'righteous איש'  (Genesis 6:9) and later quite specifically as 'an איש of the earth' (Genesis 9:20) or a 'husbandman.'  Through him humanity is spared from the destructive power of the flood. 

Philo in commenting on chapter 6 of Genesis makes clear that the אנשים are supposed to be understood as 'heavenly men' that is sons of the original man  in an important section of his writings.  He notes that Moses:

utters no fable whatever respecting the giants; but he wishes to set this fact before your eyes, that some men are born of the earth, and some are born of heaven, and some are born of God: those are born of the earth, who are hunters after the pleasures of the body, devoting themselves to the enjoyment and fruition of them, and being eager to provide themselves with all things that tend to each of them. Those again are born of heaven who are men of skill and science and devoted to learning; for the heavenly portion of us is our mind, and the mind of every one of those persons who are born of heaven studies the encyclical branches of education and every other art of every description, sharpening, and exercising, and practising itself, and rendering itself acute in all those matters which are the objects of intellect.  Lastly, those who are born of God are priests and prophets, who have not thought fit to mix themselves up in the constitutions of this world, and to become cosmopolites, but who having raised themselves above all the objects of the mere outward senses, have departed and fixed their views on that world which is perceptible only by the intellect, and have settled there, being inscribed in the state of incorruptible incorporeal ideas.

Accordingly, Abraham, as long as he was abiding in the land of the Chaldaeans, that is to say, in opinion, before he received his new name, and while he was still called Abram, was a man born of heaven, investigating the sublime nature of things on high, and all that took place in these regions, and the causes of them, and studying everything of that kind in the true spirit of philosophy; on which account he received an appellation corresponding to the pursuits to which he devoted himself: for the name Abram, being interpreted, signifies the sublime father, and is a name very fitting for the paternal mind, which in every direction contemplates sublime and heavenly things: for the mind is the father of our composite being, reaching as high as the sky and even farther.  But when he became improved, and was about to have his name changed, he then became a man born of God, according to the oracle which was delivered to him, "I am thy God, take care that thou art approved before me, and be thou Blameless." (Gen 17:1).

But if the God of the world, being the only God, is also by especial favour the peculiar God of this individual man, then of necessity the man must also be a man of God; for the name Abraham, being interpreted, signifies, "the elect father of sound," the reason of the good man: for he is chosen out of all, and purified, and the father of the voice by which we speak; and being such a character as this, he is assigned to the one only God, whose minister he becomes, and so makes the path of his whole life straight, using in real truth the royal road, the road of the only king who governs all things, turning aside and deviating neither to the left hand nor to the right.

But the sons of earth removing their minds from contemplation, and becoming deserters so as to fly to the lifeless and immovable nature of the flesh, "for they two became one Flesh," (Gen 2:24) as the lawgiver says, adulterated the excellent coinage, and abandoned the better rank which had been allotted to them as their own, and deserted to the worse rank, which was contrary to their original nature..

It would seem that this narrative understands the floods to have attempted to destroy the wicked portion of humanity with one special איש suriving in order to propagate the species again.  Noteworthy again is it that by chapter 18 the heavenly 'men' (אנשים) descend again, this time to spend time with a particularly righteous man, Abraham.  The passage as we will see was very important to early Christians including the Marcionites apparently. The three אנשים represent a clear visitation by Jesus to a virtuous forerunner of Israel.  Yet even before this Christians were eager to identify Jesus as already present with Abraham as the leader of the 'men (אנשים) of his house.' 

These אנשים are first mentioned in the section where the Pharaoh desires to have Abraham's wife Sarah.  After Abraham tells Pharaoh she is his sister and he takes her into his house.  The narrator of the Pentateuch tells us that "the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife." (Genesis 12:17)  Interestingly Pharaoh figures out what has happened giving Abraham his wife back as well as this enigmatic line - "And Pharaoh gave men (אנשים) charge concerning him; and they brought him on the way, and his wife, and all that he had." (Genesis 12:20). 

At the beginning of the chapter it is only said that Abraham brought 'souls' with him as he left Haran.  Jewish tradition says that Pharaoh actually gave people to Abraham.  Is there special significance to these lines?  In the next chapter God's visits Abraham and says if a man (איש) can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. (Gen 13:16).  Abraham and Lot leave Haran and arrive in the Promised Land.  They divide their 'men' (אנשים Genesis 13:8) - the presumably given to Abraham by Pharaoh. 

The two groups of אנשים presumably embody the different fates associated with the 'souled' portion of humanity.  It says

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar.  So Lot chose him all the plain of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the Plain, and moved his tent as far as Sodom.

Clearly then we have a scenario where the fall of man is being retold, only now with respect to two paradises established in two different places. 

The wickedness of Lot's portion of men is specifically acknowledged.  We are told "the men (אנשים) of Sodom were wicked and sinners against the Lord exceedingly." (Genesis 13:13)  They are in a garden resembling Eden before the Lord destroys it.  Abraham by contrast goes to the holy mountain of Gerizim, the place Samaritans consistently identify with the actual location of Eden.  After Abraham circumcises his אנשים (Genesis 17:23) as per the command of God, it is immediately followed by a visitation of what are clearly three heavenly אנשים.  As mentioned, the visit of these 'men' are connected with Jesus by early Christians. 

The אנשים are specifically said to be on their way to Sodom to destroy the wicked אנשים of the earth there.  Abraham tries to spare the community on behalf of the righteous living there, and he seems to secure for his brother a divine rescue.  When two divine angels are said to go into Lot's house the of Sodom take notice and go to visit him:

But before they lay down, the men (אנשים) of the city, even the men (אנשים) of Sodom, compassed the house round, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him: 'Where are the men (אנשים) that came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.' (Genesis 19:5)

The account gets even more sordid as it progresses.  However the important thing to remember is the interaction between the two groups of אנשים - one 'earthly,' the other heavenly.  When the replica garden of Eden is destroyed, it is a second conflagration but the first by fire. 

When the Lord sends his angel to warn Lot of the impending destruction of the city it is interesting that it is again the heavenly 'men' (אנשים) who

But he lingered; and the אנשים laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him. And they brought him forth, and set him without the city. (Genesis 19:16)

In due course after being rescued however, it is clear that the author of the Pentateuch knows of the continued veneration of the  among the descendants of Lot - those from the region to the east of the Jordan - and is specifically condemning them their understanding of the god. 

As the wicked men of Sodom were threatening the heavenly  , Lot puts forward a remarkable statement:

Behold now, I have two daughters that have not known man (איש); let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes; only unto these men do nothing; forasmuch as they are come under the shadow of my roof.'

The response of the wicked men make clear that Lot is the  in question. 

And they said: 'Stand back.' And they said: 'This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs play the judge; now will we deal worse with thee, than with them.' And they pressed sore upon the man (איש) Lot, and drew near to break the door.

So it is that after his rescue the daughters who 'have not known  ' finally

And they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose, and lay with him; and he knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

Yet another example of the consistent theme in the text of women and  mating and breeding children. 
Philo however goes one step further and argues that the narrator is making reference to the peculiarities of the Moabite religion. 


It is deeply significant that Lot is explicitly identified as an איש long before Abraham is in the Genesis narrative.  It goes to the heart of the problem of why there are so many bad earthly אנשים in the narrative, assuming of course that this specific term for 'man' had deeper significance.  In Questions and Answers on Genesis, Philo identifies Lot as a type of a person on a spiritual ascent and Lot’s flight from Sodom is a type of progress of the soul.  Nevertheless elsewhere in his writings there is a clear sense that Philo represents the spiritual person who gives into sensuality.  His daughters are the symbol of the temptation of sensation and intelligence to impose their authority fraudulently, at the expense of the recognition of God’s omnipotence.

Indeed Philo argues elsewhere from Deut 23:3 that Ammonites and Moabites - the posterity of Lot’s daughters - embody the same weakness of this family.  This eastern Hebrew culture is said by Philo to "represent an everlasting tendency of the human mind to ignore that God is the author of everything that concerns the life of man."  This is particularly interesting given the fact that Philo takes note of the fact that Lot is only visited by two אנשים while Abraham sees three.  As we are about to demonstrate, the Alexandrian Jewish tradition understood ignorance of the heavenly איש as the real crime of the family Lot and the Sodomites. 

This is how Michael Carden honorary research advisor in the School of History, Philosophy Religion and Classics at University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia summarizes Philo's argument in Question and Answers in Genesis:

this triadic manifestation demonstrates Abraham’s worthiness as a model and brings him into contrast with Lot who is only visited by two. Thus, Abraham is the perfect man, who ‘perceives the Father between His ministers, the two chief powers’, while Lot is a progressive man who can only perceive ‘the servant-powers without the Father, for he is unequal to seeing and understanding Him’

How does Abraham 'perceive' the Father?  He is comes face to face with the divine Word who is - as we have already noted - the איש.  The Lot family and the Sodomites are aware of the lower powers but not the 'alien' Man.  They are above all else understood to be trapped in throws of sensuality. 

To this end, although Philo never states it, the men of Sodom were demanding sexual access to hypostases of the deity.  The plea of repentance by Lot's wife was rejected by God because of her 'love for Sodom' - that is her sensuality.  She also does not know 'the power of God' - to use Christian terminology - that is the איש, the Logos of God.  The men of Sodom and the daughters of Lot interestingly both take Lot to be the איש in the Genesis narrative.  Philo goes so far as to understand their plan to get their father drunk and have sexual intercourse with him as resulting from their failure to recognize God - that is the איש.

In one discussion Philo understands world history as being divided into periods - Noah is the completion of the promise of Seth, Moses the fulfillment of Abraham.  It is deeply significant that in the same section the desire of Lot's daughters for Lot is described in terms of their desire to create this glorious 'Man' figure. For he begins by describing Lot as

the man who was subdued and overthrown by the weakness of the soul, namely, intention and agreement, desire to become pregnant by the mind, that is to say, by their father, acting in opposition to him who said, "God has raised up for me [another child in Abel’s place]" (Genesis 4:25) For that which the living God did for him, this they affirm that the mind is able to do for them, introducing the doctrine of an intoxicated and frenzied soul. It is indeed the act of sober reason, both to confess that God is the Creator and the Father of the universe; and the conduct of one utterly fallen in intoxication and drunkenness, to fancy that he himself is the bringer about of each of human affairs ... On which account Moses has separated his impious and obscure progeny from the whole of the divine company; for he says, "The Ammonites and the Moabites shall not come into the assembly of the Lord:" (Deut 23:3) and these are the descendants of the daughters of Lot, supposing that everything is generated of the outward sense and of mind, being male and female like a father and mother, and looking upon this as in real truth the cause of all generation

At once we begin to see that this story about Lot and his daughters is repeated over and over again in Philo as the manifestation of a particular Semitic culture - a neighbor of the Israelite people - the easier it will be for us to recognize this story as pointing to a distinguishing feature of the Pentateuch when compared to the religion of its neighbor, viz. the recognition of the איש. 

Above all else Israelite is the culture of man seeing God.  The man sees God as the image by which he was made.  God is known as an איש and the community of Israel then recognizes itself as אנשים, albeit now purified of sensuality by means of the various restrictions placed on the community by Moses.  According to Philo's understanding though the mind or 'nous' is from heaven, and, though it is currently constrained in the body, it is possible for it to raise upward through education, and make its way upward again to the high realms of bodiless contemplation.  What allows the mind to free itself is 'reason' or the Word - a power which identifies elsewhere as anthropos or 'man' (i.e. איש). 

So it is whenever he retells the Lot and his daughters story Philo makes clear that it is the ignorance of the one man who is the 'image' by which Adam was made (i.e. the Word) which caused the אנשים of previous generations to stumble.  Their sensuality makes it impossible for them to come to know the Word.  This is why again Abraham has three visitors and Lot two.  It is also why Philo repeatedly identifies 'learning' and 'reason' (in Greek logos means can be translated as both 'reason' and 'word') as the tonic which cures men of sensuality. 

When the Lord comes down and smites the Sodomites the assumption seems to be that only surviving portion of the אנשים stand with Abraham.  While focus initially is placed on his '318' men - a long recognized cryptic cipher for the chief of his 'men' Eliezar - the birth of his son Isaac, coupled with the destruction of Sodom sees a complete transformation of the entire narrative.  As noted earlier, the focus is no longer as much on large bodies of אנשים being shepherded to and fro (although they do reappear) as much as it is about the one original template for Adam - the איש of God - making himself known and helping the most notable descendant of Abraham in each generation to become a 'man (איש) of God.' 


It should be apparent that a palpable mystical significance was attached to the term איש in early Hebrew thought.  Unlike parallel terms for 'man' איש is a specifically Hebrew concept.  It is meaningless in Syriac and the Semitic culture outside of Israel.  Thus it makes sense to suppose that its use in the Bible denotes a special kind of man, one which we have already seen blurs the distinction between 'mortals' and 'angels' and for which early Israelites linked their hopes to be transformed into heavenly beings. 

Esther J Hamori of Union Theological Seminary studied the significance of this term in her recent book “When Gods Were Men."  She is unaware it seems of the Samaritan tradition regarding איש as a being distinct from Yahweh and thus wrongly argues that the enigmatic figure in each narrative is Yahweh.  This entirely misses the point and does not fully take into account the parallel Christian identification of Jesus - the oldest Greek manuscript read ΙΣ (= איש) - as this same being.  Moreover the lack of sophistication is compounded by the recognition that the Marcionites, Justin Martyr and other Samaritan inspired heresies saw this איש as a distinct being from Yahweh. 

In fact the simple-minded identification of איש with Yahweh fails to take into account the entire 'two powers in heaven' tradition first identified by the late, great Alan Segal.  As we have noted earlier the wholly idealized notion of the Israelite religion as strictly monotheistic ignores the reality of the ancient landscape entirely.  This 'Is theophany' as Hamori refers to the presence of איש in the Pentateuch was clearly originally conceived as a revelation of 'another god' besides Yahweh, thus explaining the vitriol of monarchianists like Irenaeus. 

To this end, in an anti-monarchian text like Tertullian's Against Praxeas - and furthermore one which specifically has Irenaeus within its sights according to George Stuart Hall - it is not surprising that Jesus is explicitly identified as the man created in the beginning:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him." Why say "image of God? "Why not "His own image" merely, if He was only one who was the Maker, and if there was not also One in whose image He made man? But there was One in whose image God was making man, that is to say, Christ's image, who, being one day about to become Man (more surely and more truly so), had already caused the man to be called His image, who was then going to be formed of clay-the image and similitude of the true and perfect Man

Every step along the way in earliest Christianity we see the איש figure of the Pentateuch explicit identified as the ΙΣ figure of the earliest manuscripts - i.e. our 'Jesus.'  No where is this more explicit than in the writings of Justin Martyr. 

Justin was a Samaritan and his writings are not surprisingly filled with Samaritan-like interpretations of scripture.  In one critical passage of his Dialogue with (the Jew) Trypho Justin not only identifies the Christian ΙΣ with the 'man' created before Adam, but repeatedly with the איש figure who pops up in various places in the Hebrew Bible.  So we read the Samaritan declare to his Jewish audience:

And the same sentiment was expressed, my friends, by the word of God [written] by Moses, when it indicated to us, with regard to Him whom it has pointed out, that God speaks in the creation of man with the very same design, in the following words:'Let Us make man after our image and likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creeping things that creep on the earth. And God created man: after the image of God did He create him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and said, Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and have power over it. And that you may not change the[force of the] words just quoted, and repeat what your teachers assert,--either that God said to Himself, 'Let Us make,' just as we, when about to do something, often times say to ourselves,'Let us make;'or that God spoke to the elements, to wit, the earth and other similar substances of which we believe man was formed,'Let Us make,'--I shall quote again the words narrated by Moses himself, from which we can indisputably learn that [God] conversed with some one who was numerically distinct from Himself, and also a rational Being. These are the words:'And God said, Behold, Adam has become as one of us, to know good and evil.' In saying, therefore,'as one of us,' [Moses] has declared that[there is a certain] number of persons associated with one another, and that they are at least two. For I would not say that the dogma of that heresy which is said to be among you is true, or that the teachers of it can prove that [God] spoke to angels, or that the human frame was the workmanship of angels. But this Offspring, which was truly brought forth from the Father, was with the Father before all the creatures, and the Father communed with Him; even as the Scripture by Solomon has made clear, that He whom Solomon calls Wisdom, was begotten as a Beginning before all His creatures and as Offspring by God, who has also declared this same thing in the revelation made by Joshua the son of Nave (Nun). Listen, therefore, to the following from the book of Joshua, that what I say may become manifest to you; it is this: 'And it came to pass, when Joshua was near Jericho, he lifted up his eyes, and sees a man (איש) standing over against him. And Joshua approached to Him, and said, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said to him, I am Captain of the Lord's host: now have I come. And Joshua fell on his face on the ground, and said to Him, Lord, what commandest Thou Thy servant? And the Lord's Captain says to Joshua, Loose the shoes off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. And Jericho was shut up and fortified, and no one went out of it. And the Lord said to Joshua, Behold, I give into thine hand Jericho, and its king,[and] its mighty men.'"

The transition from the 'man' created before the beginning to the angelic איש in the Book of Joshua is deeply significant for it not only identifies ΙΣ with איש but furthermore calls into question Hamori's identification of Yahweh with איש.

Indeed this very Dialogue begins with a critical question which divides the Samaritan who sees the איש as a separate being from the God of Israel and whose purpose into bring men into acquaintance with the divinity and the Jew.  The Jew asks Justin:

"Will the mind of man see God at any time, if it is uninstructed by the Holy Spirit?"

"'Plato indeed says,' replied I (Justin), 'that the mind's eye is of such a nature, and has been given for this end, that we may see that very Being when the mind is pure itself, who is the cause of all discerned by the mind, having no colour, no form, no greatness--nothing, indeed, which the bodily eye looks upon; but It is something of this sort, he goes on to say, that is beyond all essence, unutterable and inexplicable, but alone honourable and good, coming suddenly into souls well-dispositioned, on account of their affinity to and desire of seeing Him.'  "

'What affinity, then,' replied he, 'is there between us and God? Is the soul also divine and immortal, and a part of that very regal mind? And even as that sees God, so also is it attainable by us to conceive of the Deity in our mind, and thence to become happy?

Justin's answer to this line of reasoning is quite significant for he declares "So long as it (the soul) is in the form of a man, it is possible for it, to attain to this by means of the mind; but especially when it has been set free from the body, and being apart by itself, it gets possession of that which it was wont continually and wholly to love.'"

Clearly Justin is following the etymology of the term 'Israel' echoed by Philo's Alexandrian tradition - i.e. 'a man (איש) seeing God.'  This איש is supposed to be referenced in the first two letters of the Greek spelling Ἰσραήλ - i.e. ΙΣ. So who is the man (ΙΣ) who sees God for Justin?  Not surprisingly we discover later in the treatise that it is ΙΣ (= Jesus).  Not only Justin but Clement of Alexandria and many other of the earliest Church Fathers who follow Philo's etymology explicitly say that the man who Joshua wrestled with was not only Jesus but the angel who 'sees God' in the heavenly assembly.  In no uncertain terms then this essentially proves our theory with respect to the identification of the ΙΣ that appears in the earliest manuscripts with  in the Hebrew manuscripts, the Samaritan angelic figure who instructed and assisted the Patriarchs upwards toward perfection. 

It is impossible of course to deny that there was a historical 'Jesus' somewhere but the gospel was written with the Marcionite assumptions in mind - i.e. the angel from the Pentateuch coming back to the earth as a sojourner.  Indeed if we go back to Philo's identification of the 'man who is called the Branch' with the Logos we find the Samaritan reading of איש in the Pentateuch strongly reflected.  The individuals who follow this heavenly 'man' are left to wander the earth like him as a 'stranger' - 'the Stranger' being the preferred Marcionite epithet for ΙΣ:

For this reason all the wise men mentioned in the books of Moses are represented as sojourners, for their souls are sent down from heaven upon earth as to a colony; and on account of their fondness for contemplation, and their love of learning, they are accustomed to migrate to the terrestrial nature.  Since therefore having taken up their abode among bodies, they behold all the mortal objects of the outward senses by their means, they then subsequently return back from thence to the place from which they set out at first, looking upon the heavenly country in which they have the rights of citizens as their native land, and as the earthly abode in which they dwell for a while as in a foreign land. For to those who are sent to be the inhabitants of a colony, the country which has received them is in place of their original mother country; but still the land which has sent them forth remains to them as the house to which they desire to return.  Therefore, very naturally, Abraham says to the guardians of the dead and to the arrangers of mortal affairs, after he has forsaken that life which is only dead and the tomb, "I am a stranger and a sojourner among You, (Gen 23:4) but ye are natives of the country, honouring the dust and earth more than the soul, thinking the name Ephron worthy of precedence, for Ephron, being interpreted, means "a mound" and naturally, Jacob, the practiser of virtue, bewails his being a sojourner in the body, saying, "The days of the years of my life which I spend here as a sojourner have been few and evil; they have not come up to the days of my fathers which they spent as Sojourners." (Gen 47:9) But to him who was self-taught the following injunction of scripture was given, "Do not go down," says the scripture, "to Egypt," that is to say to passion; "but dwell in this land, land which I will tell thee Of," (Gen 26:9). namely, in the incorporeal wisdom which cannot be pointed out to the eye; and be a sojourner in this land, the substance which can be pointed out and appreciated by the external sense. And this is said with a view to show, that the wise man is a sojourner in a foreign land, that is to say in the body perceptible by the outward senses, who dwells among the virtues appreciable by the intellect as in his native land, which virtues God utters as in no way differing from the divine word.  But Moses says, "I am a sojourner in a foreign land;" speaking with peculiar fitness, looking upon his abode in the body not only as foreign land, as sojourners do, but also as a land from which one ought to feel alienated, and never look upon it as one's home.
At long last then we can begin to make careful scrutiny of the passages that immediately follow the destruction of Sodom and the last outpost of sensual 'earthly' אנשים. 

Once Abraham becomes the last 'man of God' the Genesis narrative becomes almost totally fixated on the one true heavenly איש coming to assist his descendants establish the land around Gerizim as the new Eden.  As we shall see Christians identified these critical איש passages as theophanies of their god ΙΣ.  The Marcionite undoubtedly did the same, the criticism that is directed against them by the Church Fathers and Irenaeus in particular has been completely misunderstood by the contemporary generation of scholars.  It was not that the Marcionites denied the authority of Yahweh but rather posited their ΙΣ as separate from and indeed superior to the Lord of the Jews.  How this developed directly from the Biblical passages which mentioned איש will be demonstrated in our next chapter. 

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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