Богомил (bogomilos) wrote,
Богомил
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THE ANCIENT CHRISTIANITY AND THE GNOSTICISM - 2

There is one more argument which Couchoud does not mention, - geographical. Six of the ten epistles were directed to the seaside cities. Being the shipowner, Marcion should visit these cities in for his enterprise activity and could get acquainted there with the members of the Christian communities who stored the epistles. Exceptions make Colossuses and Laodicea, located on distance c. 100 miles from the coast, and Galatia located in the depth of Asia Minor, but the river Galis runs through Galatia into Black Sea in immediate proximity of Sinope. The missionaries of the Galatian community could not reach the Black Sea coast differently as through the valley of this river. The collision between the sights of Marcion and of Roman presbyters has been caused by that fact that in far-off provincial Galatia Paul's tradition was kept in inviolability whereas the Roman community located in the world center of religious syncretism undergone to the courageous theological innovation.

We are to note, that the representations about Marcion of Sinope as certain "heresiarch" and hardly probable not the "anti-Christ" who has deformed the Scripture, are insolvent and lean on non-critical perception of not too legible stories of the heresiologists. Representations about him as about the third, after Jesus the Nazorean and Paul of Tars, "founder of the Christianity", the ingenious theologian and the philologist, who took up the duty to clear the Scripture from the influence of "false apostles" are also insolvent. Both of them obviously exaggerate the meaning of this person.

Actually Marcion, "the sailor of Pontus Euxinus", was the rich and successful businessman, the shipowner. He has arrived to Rome with precious evidences of the apostolic times - copies of the Gospel of Lord and ten Epistles of Apostle Paul. However when these copies dispatch on hands, it was found out, that the Roman community presbyters teach not absolutely to that, and more often - absolutely not to that is written in the Gospel and Epistles. This became the reason for the conflict. There was a split in the community, and for all the Christian world has known already perfectly whom was apostle Paul, but still poorly imagined whom were the Roman presbyters, the object of hatred and attacks became not the "heretic" Paul, but the "heretic" Marcion.

The arisen bewilderment should be resolved, and soon the presbyters have found wonderfully the text "even more original", than that has been published by Marcion. Certainly, for such "wonderful finding" they have not required to leave Rome. The epistles were quickly (so! - inserts and distortions at times are amazing) have been edited in the spirit of "the sensible doctrine". The Gospel of Lord added by pious fictions has turned to the Gospel of Luke, and then there appeared the Acts also which have developed the image of Apostle Paul in "the necessary direction", but without any mention of his "heretical" Epistles.

The result is brought by William Walker in his paper "The Burden of Proof in Identifying Interpolations in the Pauline Writings": "We only know that the surviving text of the Pauline letters is the text promoted by the historical winners in the theological and ecclesiastical struggles of the second and third centuries. Marcion's text disappeared - another example, no doubt, of the well-documented practice of suppressing and even destroying what some Christians regarded as deficient, defective, deviant, or dangerous texts. In short, it appears likely that the emerging Catholic leadership in the churches "standardized" the text of the Pauline corpus in the light of "orthodox" views and practices, suppressing and even destroying all deviant texts and manuscripts. Thus it is that we have no manuscripts dating from earlier than the third century; thus it is that all of the extant manuscripts are remarkably similar in most of their significant features.

Thus even if the "Syrian Gnostic Cerdo" actually existed and was not the invented ad hoc literary character like "Simon the Magus", he could not render and has not rendered any influence on the sights of Marcion and all his community. The evidences of the fathers-heresiologists do not allow us to assume that Marcion based his doctrine on any other sources besides the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Lord. And how Cerdo who lived in Rome could affect the contents of the manuscripts brought from the ancient Christian centers in the East?

The Synoptic Gospels and the canonical Acts. In a biblical science is conventional, that the Gospel of Mark, Matthew and Luke have been created by means of editing of one common protograph and actually it is a matter of three versions of the same text - one brief and two long. The modern decision of the so-called "synoptic problem" assumes that the brief version - the Gospel of Mark was primary, and the Gospels of Matthew and of Luke were created later on the basis of Mark and two editions of the not survived, besides the fragments included into the synoptic Gospels, "sayings source Quelle" (Q). This Q in its genre was very close to the Gospel of Thomas from Nag Hammadi. Thus, the content of synoptic Gospels can be divided on:

1) The text generally conterminous in all three editions. These are the traces of protograph, used by three evangelists at their creation of the Gospels.

2) The text generally conterminous in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but absent in the Gospel of Mark. This is the hypothetical "source of Jesus’ sayings" (Q).

3) The special material" - the fragments which are present only at one of the Gospels. They are either the products of their own literary creativity, or loan from the certain not established sources.

We are to note, that the editors of all the three Gospels possessed unique literary style, concerned to the problem creatively and consequently even the text of the protograph in each of editions possesses the certain specific features.

However, there is a theory putting under doubt such decision of the synoptic problem. The "Marcionite" Gospel of Lord possesses a huge value for it. If it is proved that Marcion did not edit the Pauline epistles, why should we trust the heresiologists and consider that he edited the Gospel, instead of using the original text, as strongly differing from the canonical version in the New Testament, as the Epistles of Paul?

The question of Marcion’s rehabilitation from the slander of heresiologists has been put in 19th century. In 1900 the American researcher Charles B. Waite in his book "History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two-Hundred" has published the list of differences between the "Marcionite" Gospel of Lord and the Gospel of Luke and has convincingly demonstrated, that these differences in overwhelming majority of cases obviously are not withdrawals of Marcion, ostensibly brought the text into accord with his doctrine, but the interpolations of the Catholic editor (Waite, 1900, 272-303). Moreover, comparing the text of the Gospel of Lord with the text of synoptic Gospels, Waite has called into question a priority of the Gospel of Mark. According to the hypothesis stated by him, all the three Gospel are the late editions of the Gospel of Lord, and while "Luke" and "Matthew" supplemented the initial text, "Mark" reduced the Gospel of Luke, using an available to him full copy. This, in turn, allows us to date the synoptic Gospels convincingly enough for Marcion has widely published his version in Rome at the beginning of the fortieth of 2nd century.

In his with anger rejected by the confessional scientists work "Marcion and the New Testament " John Knox approves, that the brief version of the Gospel was original whereas the long version has been made simultaneously with canonical Acts already during anti-Marcionite polemics, that is not earlier the middle of the fortieth of the 2nd century. This theory is especially thorough, for the long version of the Gospel has been created by the same author, as Acts (there is a hypothesis that the same author wrote also "pastoral" epistles to Timothy and Titus), and bears on itself, similarly to the Gospel of John, traces of inept editing. We can specify as an example of senseless damaging of the text to the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, where the inhabitants of Nazareth try to kill Jesus for he has refused to create in their city the same miracles, as in Capernaum (Luk., 4:16-30), and already then he comes to Capernaum and creates a miracle there (Luk., 4:31-37).

On the fact that evangelists frequently used a material, in its ideological content maintenance rather far from their own sights, specify even opposite tendencies of authors Mat., 11:25-27 / Luk., 10:21-22, and also Mat., 27:7-10 - the pseudo-citation from Jeremiah about the potter’s field (αγρός = ground), bought for the price of Jesus’ blood, for burial of strangers (τοις ξενοις). To open the sense of these words we are to recollect, what the symbolism of potter and the term "potter" (יצר/ο κεραμεύς) itself in the Old Testament are connected with the Creator who literally has molded Adam from the red ground, that is from clay (compare also Isa., 29:16, and the judaizing interpolation in Rom., 9:20). We are to mention also the contradiction of the enclosed in Jesus’ lips promises of fast Second Coming to his words in Mat., 28:20: "and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world", and possessing an ontological value parables of Jesus about a kind and bad tree (Mat., 7:17-19; 12:33; Лк., 6:44), about old and new bottles (Mar., 2:22; Mat., 9:17; Luk., 5:37-38) and about service to two masters (δυσι κυριοις; Mat., 6:24; Luk., 16:13) which simply have no satisfactory interpretation within the limits of an orthodox paradigm.

It’s clearly, for what reasons this theory has not suited to taste of the orthodox theologians and scientists, though it perfectly explains the situation in the Christian communities in the 2nd century, objectively reflects Marcion’s role in the formation of the canon and allows to date the canonic scriptures authentically enough. But it destroys the pious mythology, and there is practically nothing to oppose it. The feebleness of Protestant scientist Donald Gatry’s objections is a very characteristic one: "The apologists, undoubtedly, considered, that Marcion used the Gospel which is based on the canonical Gospel of Luke. If the supporters of Marcion knew, that it was wrong they could deny orthodox arguments at once. It is difficult to believe, that defenders of faith based the attacks on so shaky argument, as an antiquity and an apostolic origin of four Gospels... " (Gatry, 1996, 88).

We are to observe an inconsistency of such an argument for from all the Marcionite polemics against orthodoxy we know only the prologues to epistles of Apostle Paul and some aphorisms of Marcion himself in the writings of the fathers-heresiologists. His supporters certainly knew that, unlike of self-appointed "orthodoxes", they possess original texts of the Apostolicon and the Gospel. But practically any position of Christian theology causes in adherents of orthodoxy the passionate desire to win, and they are interested not in truth at all, but only in a victory over dispute, and this is the case when the purpose not only justifies, but also predetermines the means. Keepers of the Gospel could convict the falsifiers and deny orthodox "arguments", but those whom they convicted, did not want and could not hear them (For the reasons exhaustively stated in 2 Cor., 4:3-4 and Joh., 8:44-45).

Our understanding of the synoptic Gospels is based on the fact that they are neither the simple fixation of the oral tradition, nor the evidences of the eyewitnesses. Originally they were the polemic writings put, besides the task of preaching, a number of ideologically caused tasks. Their editors tried to impose to the reader the representations about Jesus Christ as realizations of Old Testament’s prophecies on King-Messiah. For this reason for creation of Jesus’ "biography" that is practically completely absent in survived Gnostic scriptures, have been used the artificially interpreted texts of the Jewish Scripture. We are compelled to ascertain, as a consequence, that we know nothing about the birth of Jesus and his life prior to the beginning of his sermon. Those data, which evangelists based on the so-called "testimonies", the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, are a product of the tendentious mythology. (It is necessary to recognize as attempt of the historisation of these mythological representations and their adaptation to modern mass consciousness the myth about the "pious rabbi Yeshuah from Nazareth". Certainly, this myth is created by means of juggling the historical, first of all the evangelical evidences, and it has no attitude neither to the science, nor to the person of Jesus the Nazorean. The same theological myth are the speculations on the "messianic mystery", so mysterious, that Jesus himself hardly probable guessed it.)

While for the first time the idea of the authoritative canon of Christian Scripture has been put forward by Marcion, the task of "Luke" became the creation of alternative, anti-Marcionite canon, to replace the Apostolicon and the Gospel. The purpose of "Luke" was to impose to the readers the representation about the Jewish origin of Christianity, to state that the pupils of Christ and he himself were the pious Jews, missed with pharisaic Judaism exclusively concerning morals and interpretation of the Torah, that Paul though not in all agreed with the "many thousands of Jews zealous of the law" (Acts, 21:20), nevertheless with readiness took part in Jewish rituals (Acts, 21:23-26) and even has circumcised "because of the Jews" the pupil, Greek Timothy (Acts, 16:3). No doubt, Acts is the tendentious fairy tale composed, not in the last instance, for distortion the sights of apostle Paul and the facts of his biography, stated in the collection of his epistles published by Marcion. The author of Acts ignores the epistles of Paul for to him they were "heretical" writings.

It is impossible to exclude, that "Luke" used the written documents really connected with a life of apostles, - it specify both the passages in which the narration is conducted from the first person, and the speech of Stephen before the Jews, and Paul's speech to the Athenians, not keeping within a box of orthodox dogma. We are to mention also Act., 24:5, where Jews name Paul "the leader of the Nazorean heresy (πρωτοστατής της των Ναζωραίων αιρέσεως)". But these documents were lost irrevocably for "Luke" operated within the limits of the tendency which have deformed up to the unrecognizability the epistles of Paul collected and published by Marcion, and then ascribed to the apostle three false "pastoral" epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews, being, on neat expression of the known St.-Petersburg scientist, the Spiritual Academy professor archimandrite Iannuarius (Ivlev), "not the epistle, not from Paul and not to the Hebrews".
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