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Re: Peter and Jesus

Sep 07, 1996 07:05 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Hi Abrantes,

     Regarding the discussion you are having with Alan concerning
the historicity of Peter, I mentioned in my last message that I
would rather leave you two to work it out without me.  Though the
subject is interesting, I just can't spare the many hours that it
would take me to dig out and review the relevant information.
Alan, on the other hand, seems to have the material close at
hand, and is better informed than I on this subject anyway.
     In response to your last post regarding Jesus:

>HPB says that basilides preached the correct doctrine, the same
>taught by Jesus and in greek mysteries. HPB seems to say that
>Basilides preaches the same doctrines of Peter because she
>mentions Basilides as a follower of apostle Matthew and Peter.
>At the same time she refers as Jesus and Peter in two opposite
>sides. HPB seems to prove that Peter did not follow the
>teachings of Jesus, and can not be considered the successor of
>Jesus, as told by ortodoxy, that believe that Jesus gave him the
><keys> to construct his church MT 16:17-19. There is a
>contradiction here, do you agree?

     No.  HPB's idea of the "correct doctrine" is that the
Christos is a philosophical and metaphysical abstraction and
represents the Higher Self.  Therefore the historicity or non-
historicity of a Jesus who lived under Pilate is of no
     Whether or not Basilides was a "follower" or Matthew and
Peter does not attest to their historicity, unless it can be
shown that Basilides actually met these people in the flesh.  In
those days there were "followers" of Zeus, Isis, Serapas, Mithra
ect.  A person or god does not have to have an historical reality
to have "followers."
     Regarding HPB's arguments regarding Peter and Jesus, I will
need some quotes, chapter number and approximate page to see what
you are talking about here.  HPB may be just doing Biblical
criticism again, as she often does.  I believe HPB's position is
that Peter, though historical, never knew the Jesus under Pilate,
because that Jesus never existed.

>Jerry wrote:
>>Are you trying to make a case that Basilides believed in the
>>Biblical Jesus?  OK, for the sake of argument, what if he did?
>>How does that make the Biblical Jesus any more authentic?
>My intention is discuss this question in a more broader view.
>When discussing about the historicity of Jesus, it is also my
>intention to understand the role of Jesus, Peter, nazarenes, and
>syrian heresies at early times. The subject <historicity>
>sometimes functions like a background to such discussion.
     Fair enough.  We do need to know as much as possible about
background.  What we need is source background material between
10 BCE and 30 CE to compare to the Gospels.  We also need
background material between 125 BCE and about 70 BCE to compare
to the Talmudic material.  But second century background, as
interesting as it might be, is after the fact, and does not seem
to help the case one way or the other.

>Basilides referred to Simon, aiding Jesus to bore the cross in
>his martiry. And Simeon is not mentioned in Toldoth, but in
>gospels. This is not enough to make biblical Jesus any more
>authentical, sure. But this description of Basilides did not
>oppposes to the historicity as told by gospels about crucifixion
>of Jesus. If Basilides was conscious about the story told by
>Toldoth, he would not mention such passage.

     Simon is discussed in the Talmud.  He was a mystic of great
fame and note.  That Basilides knew of the Pilate/Jesus stories
does not surprise me.  These stories seem to have been more or
less distributed among the different Christian (Gnostic)
communities of the second century.  I don't see the distribution
of these stories as evidence for or against the historicity of a
Jesus under Pilate.  The feats of Heracles were also widely
distributed and recounted, but that does not give historicity to
Heracles either.
     Why would you expect an Alexandrian Greek Gnostic like
Basilides to know anything of the Toldoth story?  If he were a
Jewish Gnostic who hung around the Rabbis this might make sense.
But he was not.  Even if he did know of the Toldoth story, why
would he have cared about it one way or the other?

><he (Jesus) did not himself suffer death, but SIMON, a certain
>man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the CROSS in his stead; so
>that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be
>thought to be Jesus, was CRUCIFIED>

     Yes, a very popular Gnostic story to characterize Jesus as a
magician figure.  But I don't believe that this was taken to be
any more historical to the educated than the story of the battle
between Perseus and the Medusa was taken as history by the
educated Greeks.


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