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Old October 13th, 2014, 10:21 AM   #41

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
I am interested in the author as well. The author identifies himself as an "adept of the Word". He may or may not be a philosopher, but he was educated and highly literate in Greek and Coptic.
And you completely fail to explain how the word 'Gentile' could be written by a Greek philosopher without it having a Christian or Jewish context.
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Old October 13th, 2014, 05:41 PM   #42

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And you completely fail to explain how the word 'Gentile' could be written by a Greek philosopher without it having a Christian or Jewish context.
The Greek philosopher found the word 'Gentile' in the Greek New Testament (which he was reacting to) and used it, along with a great many other concepts, in his literary work. The author claims that he is more than just a 'Gentile', he is an 'adept of the Word'.

The explanation that I have already provided, that the NHL and all the gnostic literature is a literary reaction to the Greek NT, should suffice. It is accepted that in general the canonical books were already authored when the first of the gnostic books were authored, and that these gnostic authors had before them the Greek canonical books.

These gnostic authors were attempting to react and inter-relate to the existence of the Greek NT. Whether they did this during the 2nd and 3rd and 4th century (as is the mainstream hypothesis) or whether they did this only after the Greek Bible was widely published in the empire - in the 4th century (as is my alterative hypothesis in the OP), is itself immaterial for the purpose of understanding that gnostic material is a literary reaction to a literary publication.

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Old October 13th, 2014, 06:12 PM   #43

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To what extent (if any) might the genre of the "Gnostic Gospels and Acts" be compared to the genre of fan fiction?


[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_fiction"]Fan fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
Fan fiction, or fanfiction (often abbreviated as fan fic, fanfic, or simply fic), is a broadly defined fan labor term for stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator. Works of fan fiction are rarely commissioned or authorized by the original work's owner, creator, or publisher; also, they are almost never professionally published. Due to these works' not being published, stories often contain a disclaimer stating that the creator of the work owns none of the original characters. Fan fiction is defined by being both related to its subject's canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside the canon of that universe.[1] Most fan fiction writers assume that their work is read primarily by other fans, and therefore tend to presume that their readers have knowledge of the canon universe (created by a professional writer) in which their works are based.
Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couch-bound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.

—Lev Grossman, TIME, July 07, 2011
Media scholar Henry Jenkins explains the correlation between transmedia storytelling and fan fiction:[2]
The encyclopedic ambitions of transmedia texts often results in what might be seen as gaps or excesses in the unfolding of the story: that is, they introduce potential plots which can not be fully told or extra details which hint at more than can be revealed. Readers, thus, have a strong incentive to continue to elaborate on these story elements, working them over through their speculations, until they take on a life of their own. Fan fiction can be seen as an unauthorized expansion of these media franchises into new directions which reflect the reader's desire to "fill in the gaps" they have discovered in the commercially produced material."



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Old October 14th, 2014, 10:36 AM   #44

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
The Greek philosopher found the word 'Gentile' in the Greek New Testament (which he was reacting to) and used it, along with a great many other concepts, in his literary work. The author claims that he is more than just a 'Gentile', he is an 'adept of the Word'.
If you are going to accept that the author used the word 'Gentile' and other concepts straight out of the Greek NT, then there is every reason to accept that 'adept of the Word' is also from the same source - meaning that the author is skilled in the teachings of Jesus. This is the obvious hypothesis. The author's phrases in the work show that he believed in Jesus, in his crucifixion, in his resurrection and in his teachings. He wasn't a 'Greek philosophy' trying to make sense of some previously unencountered belief system.
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Old October 15th, 2014, 06:17 AM   #45

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If you are going to accept that the author used the word 'Gentile' and other concepts straight out of the Greek NT, then there is every reason to accept that 'adept of the Word' is also from the same source - meaning that the author is skilled in the teachings of Jesus. This is the obvious hypothesis.
But which "teaching" of Jesus? You have already acknowledged that according to Tite's analysis the author writes about two groups. This is important to understand. The author is a gnostic and his alignment is not necessarily to the canonical teachings of the Jesus story. The set of codices in which his story was bound were most likely deemed heretical and blasphemous by the mid 4th century Christian regime, and were hidden in an earthen jar away from the monastery which may have produced them.

BTW do you happen to know the evidence adduced by the scholars who have dated the text of NHC 11.1 "The Interpretation of Knowledge" prior to the massive Christian revolution of the 4th century? There's a lot of hand waving going on in order to push the dates of authorship for Christian related texts in the NHL to the 3rd and 2nd and in some cases 1st century, but on what basis? I have looked at this evidence, and some of it is summarised in the first few posts.

In the absence of any strong evidence to the contrary, it is also reasonable to investigate the possibility that this text was originally authored after 325 CE when Constantine brought in the Christian Revolution of the Eastern Roman Empire, and c.340 CE (upper bound via Tite).


Quote:
The author's phrases in the work show that he believed in Jesus, in his crucifixion, in his resurrection and in his teachings.
The author's phrases in the work show that he also believed in a "church of mortals", characterised by "a small gathering" with an “arrogant teacher”, associated with death (arrogance or ignorance); and which are said to have crucified Jesus in order “to keep him in the church” . He believes that such a group “teach us about dead writings”.

When a date between 325 and 340 CE is examined as a date of authorship for NHC 11.1, then this group of people written about by the author do have a political and historical reality. This group is the Nicaean Church Christians. They are heavily armed with the Greek New Testament Bible published by Constantine. I think the author is referring to the NT Bible as "dead writings".


Quote:
He wasn't a 'Greek philosophy' trying to make sense of some previously unencountered belief system.
I wonder what Sopater thought of the Christian State Constantine was trying to establish.

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism_and_Gnosticism"]Neoplatonism and Gnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism_and_Christianity"]Neoplatonism and Christianity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]




Constantine used his army to destroy a number of ancient and highly revered temples, and in some instances had the head priests publically executed. Where did all the pagan temple people go after the prohibitions were established? These actions assisted the establishment of the Christian State. I think the army arrived first and dished out the humiliations, and then the Bible arrived later after the people had fled ...

Quote:
(13 lines missing)

... they came to believe by means of signs and wonders and fabrications. The likeness that came to be through them followed him, but through reproaches and humiliations before they received the apprehension of a vision they fled without having heard that the Christ had been crucified. But our generation is fleeing since it does not yet even believe that the Christ is alive.

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Old October 15th, 2014, 05:11 PM   #46

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
But which "teaching" of Jesus? You have already acknowledged that according to Tite's analysis the author writes about two groups. This is important to understand. The author is a gnostic and his alignment is not necessarily to the canonical teachings of the Jesus story. The set of codices in which his story was bound were most likely deemed heretical and blasphemous by the mid 4th century Christian regime, and were hidden in an earthen jar away from the monastery which may have produced them.

....


The author's phrases in the work show that he also believed in a "church of mortals", characterised by "a small gathering" with an “arrogant teacher”, associated with death (arrogance or ignorance); and which are said to have crucified Jesus in order “to keep him in the church” . He believes that such a group “teach us about dead writings”.

When a date between 325 and 340 CE is examined as a date of authorship for NHC 11.1, then this group of people written about by the author do have a political and historical reality. This group is the Nicaean Church Christians. They are heavily armed with the Greek New Testament Bible published by Constantine. I think the author is referring to the NT Bible as "dead writings".
Originally the two factions were pagan vs Christian. Now they are Gnostic Christians vs Nicaean Christians?
This author, who you originally identified as a Greek pagan philosopher but now claim to be a gnostic Christian, doesn't (according to your interpretation) believe the canonical Bible and calls it (again according to your interpretation) 'dead writings'. Yet the author repeatedly uses phrases and concepts taken out of that same canonical Bible (in particular, the letters of Paul). Why would he do this if they were 'dead writings'?

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Old October 15th, 2014, 06:00 PM   #47

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Originally the two factions were pagan vs Christian. Now they are Gnostic Christians vs Nicaean Christians?
Black & white do not serve in dealing with the NHL. The grey scale requires exploration. The Nag Hammadi Codices are the classical example of pagan-gnostic-Christian-neoplatonist grey scale.

Quote:
This author, who you originally identified as a Greek pagan philosopher but now claim to be a gnostic Christian, doesn't (according to your interpretation) believe the canonical Bible and calls it (again according to your interpretation) 'dead writings'. Yet the author repeatedly uses phrases and concepts taken out of that same canonical Bible (in particular, the letters of Paul). Why would he do this if they were 'dead writings'?
He has IMO accepted the Bible on sufferance. The pontifices of the pagan priesthoods, and their 90-95% pagan demographic were still legally and morally obliged to respect the authority of their rightful and lawful Pontifex Maximus Constantine. The claim is that a great deal of lip service was given to Constantine at Nicaea over his initiatives with the Bible. Constantine seems to have promoted as healthy, if not demanded, a conversion to the Christian religion.

As a result my claim is that the author is a [recently] "Christianized" highly literate pagan who has studied the NT Bible (as was required) and is nevertheless cheerfully suffering being a Christian under the imperial Christian State. He uses the imperial nomina sacra in the Bible of the Pontifex Maximus in his own gnostic literature, because the Pontifex Maximus - in one sense - has the right to define the name of the god of his favour. However he looks back to the days of the "Great [pagan] Church of Life" (e.g. under Diocletian who sponsored among others Hercules and Asclepius; earlier Galenius and the school of Platonists). And all the while the author's generation is fleeing [persecution and intolerance].

It may be that the reference to "dead writings" is a reference to the LXX only, and not the NT + LXX. IDK. How would an average literate pagan who had no prior knowledge of the LXX, receive these writings in the 4th century? Their conception of Hebrew / Judean history may have been that such history had been dead for centuries. Nevertheless the imperial demand was to "Adapt!"

At the risk of repeating a story from Momigliano, I offer the following in substantiation of the notion of this "Christianized" generation following Nicaea ....
We all know the story of the man who went into a London bookshop and asked for a New Testament in Greek. The assistant retired to a back room and after ten minutes came back with a grave look: ‘Strange, sir, but Greek seems to be the only language into which the New Testament has not yet been translated.’ The story may remind us of two facts. The first is that there was a time in which the New Testament was only available in Greek. The second and more important is that at that time it was as difficult as it is now to find a bookshop with a New, or for that matter an Old, Testament in Greek. About A.D. 180 a man like Galen could walk into a bookshop only to discover that they were selling an unauthorized edition of his own lectures. But though he was interested in the Christians, Galen would hardly have found a Bible. The Bible was no literature for the pagan. Its Greek was not elegant enough. Lactantius noted: ‘apud sapientes et doctos et principes huius saeculi scriptura sancta fide care(a)t (Inst.v.1.15). If we find a pagan who had a slight acquaintance with the Bible, such as the anonymous author of On the Sublime, we suspect direct Jewish influence: justifiedly so, because the author of the Sublime was a student of Caecilius of Calacte, who, to all appearances was a Jew (11). Normally the educated pagans of the Roman empire knew nothing about either Jewish or Christian history. If they wanted some information about the Jews, they picked up second-hand distortions such as we read in Tacitus.


The consequence was that a direct acquaintance with Jewish or Christian history normally came together with conversion to Judaism or to Christianity. People learnt a new history because they acquired a new religion.

Conversion meant literally the discovery of a new history from Adam and Eve to contemporary events.

Pagan and Christian Historiography
in the Fourth Century A.D.


* This essay first appeared in A. Momigliano, ed.,
The Conflict Between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century,
The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1963, pp. 79—99 (1)

(My formatting and underscore)


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Old October 17th, 2014, 07:14 PM   #48

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You agree that 'centuries' was an exaggeration, but using 'many generations' is a misleading portrayal of the time factor. Biologically, a century can include five or more generations, but it would only take two generations to pass on an oral or written tradition through that time period.
That might be possible for 2nd century gnostic authorship, but according to the mainstream theory gnostic authorship continued in the 3rd century and was particularly virile in the 4th century, based upon an analysis of the dates of authorship currently ascribed by scholarship to the hundred or so texts which constitute the set of the non canonical texts.

For example the Clementine literature is currently thought to have been authored by an Arian c.330 CE.


Quote:
Gnostic literature was not a reaction to the Jesus Story, but was co-existent with it.
Is this claim valid? Do you want to qualify this claim otherwise can you provide some reference to the literature?

Aside from a very few palaeographically attested dates for a very few of the hundred odd texts under discussion, the so-called "evidence" is represented by a raft of "pre 4th century mentions" by Eusebius et al (some of which have already been exposed as 4th century interpolations).


Click the image to open in full size.



Just checking Moros, but do you generally agree that more or less half of the entire known collection of these non canonical books - aka "Gnostic Gospels and Acts" - are already viewed as being authored after 325 CE.



Quote:
The pre 4th Century date for Gnostic material does have evidence to support dating it to that time. Such evidence also supports an early date for what became known as the canonical scriptures. Later works developed out of earlier works, so the 4th Century literature rests upon an earlier tradition (for both 'Gnostic' and 'Christian').

A different and much larger set of evidence supports these. Different texts require their own independent attestations. The evidence supporting the dates of authorship for each of the books of the canonical bible is one thing, and I haven't really been discussing this. I kind of lost interest many years ago when I started looking at the non canonical books, each of which have independent threads of attestation and evidence.
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Old March 13th, 2015, 08:38 PM   #49

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I don't subscribe to Kookaburra Jacks idea that Christianity is a fourth century construct. I do however acknowledge that the Christian Church (sometimes innocently, sometimes in a breathtaking Orwellian fashion) has modified our view of history.
Hi Jax,

I hope you don't mind me taking your comment from another thread but I'd just like to point out a few things to you, and perhaps to some others.

(1) I have ceased for some years actively investigating the hypothesis that Christianity is a 4th century construct.

(2) I have been instead investigating the hypothesis that the Roman State church (of the 4th and 5th, etc centuries) have modified our view of the reception of the NT Bible in the Roman Empire c.325 CE onwards.

(3) We may assume that the NT Bible was authored as you please in the 1st or 2nd century and transmitted to Eusebius and Constantine.

(4) But when it was published politically c.325 CE, a massive literary controversy arose which included the authorship of texts which are now categorised as the "non canonical texts". In an Orwellian fashion this controversy was airbrushed out of history by (a) burning the books of the heretics, (b) executing the heretics and (c) modifying the historical record to suggest that some of these books were in circulation prior to the arrival of Constantine and the widespread publication of the NT Bible.


Just to clarify what I am currently focussed upon.




KJ

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Old March 13th, 2015, 08:45 PM   #50

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C14 dating the Gospel of Judas - updates


There have been some discussions here about the C14 dating of Codex Tchacos containing the gnostic "Gospel of Judas". I just thought I would make it known that there have been some problems surrounding the actual C14 result, originally published by National Geographic, and other authors of books published by National Geographic.

The following blog post summarises these problems:
Gospel of Judas: Radiocarbon Age Results Peter Kirby


The C14 date that is popularly provided most places is 280 CE plus or minus 60 years. (i.e. somewhere between 220 and 340 CE)

I am expecting that this date will be clarified in the near future, and may be revised to be more in the 4th century. Time will tell.




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