Thursday, December 4, 2014

Did Jesus Trick the Synagogue Leaders in the Gospel By Infuriating Them, Refusing to Answer Their Questions About What Authority He Represented and Goaded Them to Attempt to Push Him Over a Precipice Only to Have Them Pass Through His Phantasmic Body

The proper starting point for this discussion is Baarda's grounding breaking article the Flying Jesus - mostly ignored.  The question of course is what was the Marcionite understanding?  If we accept that the original anti-Marcionite treatise now preserved in Latin by Tertullian and re-arranged to accord with the canonical Luke (whereas the original text was conceived from a Diatessaronic text) we end up with perhaps two pieces of the puzzle:
Christ knew "the baptism of John, whence it was." Then why did He ask them, as if He knew not? He knew that the Pharisees would not give Him an answer; then why did He ask in vain? Was it that He might judge them out of their own mouth, or their own heart? Suppose you refer these points to an excuse of the Creator, or to His comparison with Christ; then consider what would have happened if the Pharisees had replied to His question. Suppose their answer to have been, that John's baptism was "of men," they would have been immediately stoned to death. Some Marcion, in rivalry to Marcion, would have stood up and said: O most excellent God; how different are his ways from the Creator's! Knowing that men would rush down headlong over it, He placed them actually on the very precipice. 

Sciebat Christus baptisma Ioannis unde esset. Et cur quasi nesciens interrogabat? Sciebat non responsuros sibi pharisaeos. Et cur frustra interrogabat? An ut ex ore ipsorum iudicaret illos, vel ex corde? Refer ergo et haec ad excusationem creatoris et ad comparationem Christi, et considera iam quid secuturum esset si quid pharisaei ad interrogationem renuntiassent. Puta illos renuntiasse humanum Ioannis baptisma, statim lapidibus elisi fuissent. Existeret aliqui Marcion adversus Marcionem, qui diceret, O deum optimum, o deum diversum a creatoris exemplis! sciens praeceps ituros homines ipse illos in praerupium imposuit [Adv Marc 4.38]

And yet even at Nazareth He is not remarked as having preached anything new, whilst in another verse He is said to have been rejected by reason of a simple proverb. Here at once, when I observe that they laid their hands on Him, I cannot help drawing a conclusion respecting His bodily substance, which cannot be believed to have been a phantom, since it was capable of being touched and even violently handled, when He was seized and taken and led to the very brink of a precipice. For although He escaped through the midst of them, He had already experienced their rough treatment, and afterwards went His way, no doubt because the crowd (as usually happens) gave way, or was even broken through; but not because it was eluded as by an impalpable disguise, which, if there had been such, would not at all have submitted to any touch.

Et tamen apud Nazareth. quoque nihil novi notatur praedicasse, dum alio, merito unius proverbii, eiectus refertur. Hic primum manus ei iniectas animadvertens necesse habeo iam de substantia eius corporali praefinire, quod non possit phantasma credi qui contactum et quidem violentia plenum detentus et captus et ad praecipitium usque protractus admiserit. Nam etsi per medios evasit, sed ante iam vim expertus, et postea dimissus; scilicet soluto, uti assolet, tumultu, vel etiam irrupto, non tamen per caliginem eluso, quae nulli omnino tactui succidisset, si fuisset. [Adv Marc 4.8]

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