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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:35 am 
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Hercules

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:11 pm
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Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I will give my idea about the creation of the first gospel.

In the first century some opposition developed to the orthodox Jewish religious establishment and their stringent Torah laws. An opposition began in Samaria, possibly by Simon Magus of Gitta, and those opponents were called the Gnostics. They taught that the Jewish god of the old testament was an evil demiurge, and there was a more superior, unknown god who was a god of the "good". The superior god of the good sent his saviour son Chrestos (the good) to save the Jewish people from worshiping the old testament demiurge, and give the Jews the knowledge (gnosis) of the superior, unknown god. These beliefs were taught by Simon Magus (the "good" Samaritan) in Samaria and also in Rome when he went there.

The teachings were continued by Menander the Samaritan in Antioch and his student Saturninus, who then taught Gnostic beliefs to Basilides of Alexandria, who taught his student Velentinus, who later traveled to Rome at a time when Cerdo the Syrian and Marcion of Sinope were in Rome.

In the first century the Gnostic teachings started becoming popular in Antioch and also back in Palestine. After 70 CE with the fall of the temple and the loss of power by the Sanhedrin there were some Jews who tried to counter the Gnostic stories and defend the Jewish traditions, but also criticize the Sadducees and Pharisees for being too authoritarian and dogmatic.

Finally the oral stories were written down in a gospel, but which gospel and by whom? Since some of the stories in the gospel came from the works of Josephus, the gospel would have to have been written AFTER the works of Josephus were reproduced, UNLESS, UNLESS it was Josephus who wrote the gospel story that included events from his experiences in Galilee and throughout Palestine.

Which gospel would have been written by Josephus? Since Josephus did not believe in the messianic Jewish beliefs he would not have written a gospel about a Jewish messiah. Josephus never wrote about the biblical Jesus (despite the redactions added in the 4th century), but he did write about a Simon the magician who lived in the time of Felix the governor in the 50s, so he could have been familiar with the teachings of that Simon. But would he have written about a god of the "good" who was different from the old testament, Jewish warrior god?

When Jerusalem was surrounded and besieged by the Roman army in 70 CE, Josephus went around pleading with the Jewish people to surrender or else there was going to be a mass slaughter of the people in Jerusalem, but the Jews in Jerusalem did not listen to Josephus, and they suffered at the hands of the Romans. By this, Josephus demonstrated that he did not support the Jewish god of war of the old testament, which would indicate that he would have been open to an alternative god of good.

Writing a Gnostic gospel about a "good" god who sent his son as a saviour to try to get the Jewish people to turn away from their warlike ways and "turn the other cheek" would have been consistent with someone who saw repeated Jewish rebellions only leading to the slow elimination of the Jews. In opposition to the Gnostic pacifist message, some men created a story about a son of the Jewish god who was a Jewish saviour claiming he "came not to bring peace but instead a sword".

In the Gnostic gospel story there is a sacrificial execution demanded by the Jewish Sanhedrin in which the Jews are shown to be powerless in trying to kill an immortal son of the Gnostic good god, whereas in the Jewish version the Romans temporarily kill a messianic Jew, thus creating more enmity against the gentile Romans.

It seems to me the Gnostic gospel story existed many years before Marcion used it in his New Testament, along with ten letters of Paul. The Jewish biblical, gospel story was created as a Jewish version of the Gnostic saviour story, and it also used parts written by Josephus about his experiences in Palestine. Finally a merging of both the Gnostic and Jewish gospel stories created the biblical gospels used in the 4th century bibles, thus explaining why the gospel stories contain several contradictory messages.

OK, now you can start tearing my ideas apart. :-)

Rik


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:29 pm 
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I don't know, but it's questions like this that make me wonder if there aren't any proto-Gospels buried around somewhere waiting to be discovered some day. That would really blow NT scholarship right out of the water.

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:43 am 
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Hercules

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:11 pm
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Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I hope that some day an original copy of Marcion's New Testament might be found. I am somewhat surprised that a copy of it was not found in the Nag Hammadi library. There might have been a copy there, but Mohammad Ali's mother may have burned it in the stove when she needed fuel for making tea. If I were a conspiracy theorist I might suspect there was a copy of Marcion's work in the Nag Hammadi library, but Christian authorities have suppressed making it available to the public.

Finding a copy of the True Word by Celsus would also be nice. I suspect though that the Christians were quite thorough in destroying any such heretical works in the 4th century.

One other work that I would like to see found would be Manetho's history that Josephus used when he wrote Against Apion.

What lost ancient works would you like to see discovered?

Rik


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:20 pm 
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I'd like to see the same documents discovered.

In edition I'd like to see what exactly the short allegorical works of Philo's Therapeuts had to say. We're getting into early first century works there that probably fueled the later Gnostic works.

In Murdock's CiE (LINK), she outlines a timeline from the Therapeuts and the "collegia" brotherhood network spread around the Mediterranean before and into the common era, through Philo's Alexandrian Platonic logos, to Paul's syro-gnostic savior, and beyond to how they may have been merged in Antioch and spread throughout the "collegia" which was a pre-existing network of mystics and tradesmen. What were these short allegorical works that Philo was referring to? And apparently they had a church-like hierarchical structure equipped with decans and what not before Christianity as we know it should have existed.

And so I wonder how Philo's Therapeuts and their short allegorical works would tie in to Gnosticism, Simon Magus, Josephus, the Pauline epistles, and Marcion as you see it.

Apparently Simon Magus acquired knowledge in Egypt, for starters. Could the Therapeuts have started the break away from the tribal god YHWH to a more eastern transcendent God concept, which was viewed as "good?" There's Buddhist influence through the Alexandrian connection to consider. The idea in the east is of course that if your god(s) is not transparent to the transcendent then it works to block you off, and that's what YHWH does. He could be viewed as "bad" in that respect considering the enlightenment doctrines. And with Gnosticism we find the idea of the god (transcendent mystery) above the god (tribal YHWH). It's pretty Buddhist-like in that way. That's essentially reason enough for a group of break away Jews living near Alexandria to try and modify their ancestors tribal religion and create allegorical works aimed at higher enlightenment, which possibly passed on to Simon Magus and carried over to Syria. Then went down the line from there. Who knows? If these allegorical works were ever recovered it would help in trying to figure this out and possibly find some type of pre-Pauline sources for Marcion's gospel efforts.

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:45 am
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I for one would like to see all those thousands of books of Hermes/Thoth that the Hermetic literature claims to be derived from. Maybe if one day archaeologists manage to find Alexander's tomb, we can get a hold of some, since allegedly several were buried with him.

Also, all the writings of the pre-christian Syballine oracles would be a nice find as well.


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