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historic Jesus

Aug 07, 1996 02:54 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Abrantes writes:
>We can summarize the question until now, so that others people
>can participate also: HPB wrote that historical Jesus lived 1
>B.C, so one century before that Church states. She refers to a
>ancient text Sepher Toldoth that was cited for the first time
>only in century XIII. I my last reference I cited Marcion, that
>recognices Luke`s gospel, and so also believe that the reference
>cited in Toldoth (if he knowed about it...) was wrong.
>Jerry Ekins contested:
>>I have already shown the flaws in your above argument: Marcion,
>>according to HPB did not recognize the Gospel of Luke, and
>>considers the accusations of Tertullian and Epiphanius against
>>Marcion to be false.
[Abrantes quoting his translation of ISIS]
>In BOOK III, chapter IV, first pages HPB wrote: [Finally, we can
>add that the modern biblical critical, that unfortunatelly
>become active and serious only at the endings of last century,
>WITH - THE GOSPEL OF LUKE - is more superior and reliable than
>the today synoptics. We read at Supernatural Religion, the
>following phrase, that will startle christians: we indebts so,
>to Marcion even the correct version of prayer Our Father].

Your translation of the above passage is essentially correct, but
a bit misleading.  Below is the same passage in the original

       Finally we may add that modern biblical criticism, which
       unfortunately became really active and serious only toward
       the end of the last century, now generally admits that
       Marcion's text of the only gospel he knew anything about--
       that of Luke, is far superior and by far more correct than
       that of our present synoptics.  We find in Supernatural
       Religion the following (for every Christian) startling
       sentence: "We are, therefore, indebted to Marcion for the
       correct version even of `the Lord's prayer."  (ISIS II: 168)

>Probably Supernatural Religion is referring to Lc11:2, more
>correct than Mt6:9 (I dont agree with this point, but I prefer
>to discuss this point latter...). So the author of Supernatural
>religion ALSO believe that Marcion recogniced Gospel of Luke,
>and so believe that Jesus live under Pilate, and so rejects the
>argument that Jesus lived one century before... Remember that
>HPB at book III, chapter III (start 116, end 145) page 143
>says that Marcion refused ALL gospels, what shows a clear

The original English of this passage (in context) reads:

       Marcion, who recognized no other Gospels then a few Epistles
       of Paul, who rejected totally the anthropomorphism of the
Old    Testament, and drew a distinct line of demarcation between
       the old Judaism and Christianity, view Jesus neither as a
       king, Messiah of the Jews, nor the son of David, who was in
       any way connected with the law or prophets, "but a divine
       being sent to reveal to man a spiritual religion, wholly
       new, and a God of goodness and grace hitherto unknown."
       (ISIS II: 162).

I think the contradiction is only apparent, and seems to be real
than it is when the statements are taken out of context.  The
first passage (from pg. 162) is (to the way I read it) shows that
Marcion did not accept the historical Jesus of the Christians.
Therefore, he did not accept their gospels.  The second passage
refers to "Marcion's text" of the Gospel of Luke.  You have
already made the point that Marcion's text is substantially
different from the one used by the Church.  Therefore it is a
different text.  So HPB implying that Marcion accepts his own
text of Luke, but not the Church's.

>I also cited the opinion of Dr Lardner, that also believe that
>Marcion accepted only gospel of Luke.

Yes, and you also showed that Dr. Lardner detailed the
differences between Marcion's Luke and the Church's Luke.
Therefore Dr. Lardner is also saying that Marcion accepted only
his copy of Luke, not the Church's.  But even if there were no
differences between the two books, HPB makes it very clear that
Marcion did not accept the Church's account of Jesus, regardless
of what is in either version.  Please note from the quote below
from the same page, where she is drawing from Tertullian's own

       Marcion maintained with the other Gnostics the
       fallaciousness of the idea of an incarnate God, and
       therefore denied the corporal reality of the living body of
       Christ.  His entity was a mere illusion; it was not made of
       human flesh and blood, neither was it born of a human
       mother, for his divine nature could not be polluted with any
       contact with sinful flesh (Tertullian: "Adv. Marci," iii.
       8ff.).  He accepted Paul as the only apostle preaching the
       pure gospel of truth, and accused the other disciples of
       "depraving the pure form of the gospel doctrines delivered
       to them by Jesus, mixing up matters of the Law with the
words         of the Savior." (Sup. Rel., vol. ii, p. 107; Adv.
Marci,"       iii. 2; cf. iii. 12, 12.).
       (ISIS II: 168).

>You contested the correctness of Tertullian (V Books against
>Marcion) the carthaginian theologian (160-230) and Epiphanius
>(Adv. Haeresis) Bishop of Cyprus (357-403).

I believe you misunderstood me here.  You had pointed out that
HPB cited Tertullian and Epiphanius of accusing Marcion of
adulterating Luke, and concluded that "Marcion recogniced a Luke
edition of gospel..."   In reply, I pointed out that HPB cited
the author of SUPERNATURAL RELIGION who argued that Marcion was
accused "falsely."   I assume that since HPB cited this, she also
believes it to be so.  I have not read Adv. Marcion, nor do I
have the time to plow through such an extensive work at this
time, so I have no opinion of my own, nor did I express one.  But
I did question your conclusion that the above proves that Marcion
recognized the Gospel of Luke, if you mean by this the Gospel
used by the Church.  Even if Marcion's gospel of Luke is an
adulterated version (as argued by Tertullian) of the one used by
the Church, the fact remains that Marcion's understanding of the
historicity of Jesus is vastly different from that held by the

>Tertullian and Epiphanius spends many chapters to explain verse
>by verse the differences between the Marcion`edition of gospel
>of Luke. If all these chapters are based in a misconception, why
>did nobody contest it ?

As I stated above, I did not suggest that they were based upon a
misconception.  Perhaps they are--perhaps they are not.  But I do
not understand how the fact that the Church's version of Luke is
different from Marcion's helps your argument that the historical
Jesus did not live in 100 B.C.

>I already cited a passage from Eusebius at Ecclesiastic History
>BOOK V, CHAP VIII, that reproduces another passage from
>Iraenaeus. There is also an anti-marcionite prologue to the
>gospel of Luke, that dates 180 and was written at church of Rome
>where we can find: <Luke is man from Antioch, Syria, a physician
>for profession. He was disciple of the apostles, and later de
>accompanied Paul until his martyrdom. Having neither wife nor
>child, he served the Lord without distraction> Enc. Brittanica
>Vol 7,p555 <Luke> So Luke is a Paul`s disciple. Observe that
>Luke comes from Syria, where HPB refers to "Syrian heresies"
>where the "Original Christianity is to be found..."(137). Surely
>Luke is an ortodox, so he doen`t express the "Syrian heresies".

I'm having a lot a problems with your logic and the conclusions
you are deriving from the above string of information.  How does
your conclusion that Luke "is an orthodox" address HPB's argument
that the historical Jesus lived in 100 B.C.?   Are you implying
that Luke had some special knowledge of Jesus, or that he
belonged to a Syrian group that had special knowledge of Jesus?
Further, are you implying that the Gospel of Luke was written by
the apostle Luke, and/or represents the apostle Luke's ideas?  I
hope you don't hold this belief.  This idea was long ago dropped
by the theologians and only the most fundamentalist of Christians
still hold to such a belief.  If you believe a-priori that the
Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written by the
Apostles of those names, then you will find little profit in
reading ISIS UNVEILED, and this whole discussion is a waste of

Further, I am beginning to wonder where you are going with this
discussion concerning the Gnostics.  As I pointed out in past
postings, HPB's statement concerning the 100 B.C. date of the
historical Jesus comes from Jewish tradition--not Gnostic.  I
have already pointed out on several occasions that the Gnostics
were for the most part not concerned with a historical Jesus.  So
it seems strange to me that you want to argue against a 100 B.C.
historical Jesus by using Gnostic texts.  What is your
justification for this line of argument?

I think we have already exhausted the Toldoth evidence--unless
you want to do an analysis of the medieval versions that we have.
So where do you want to go from here?  In my last posting to you,
I suggested that our inquiry might be more fruitful if we were to
look at the teachings of the Ophite sect and investigate the
Syrian heresies.  According to my reading of HPB, she is
suggesting that elements of the primitive Church and ties to the
historical Jesus may be found here.


   |Jerry Hejka-Ekins,                      |
      |Member TI, TSA, TSP, ULT                |
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