The Acts of Mark: Translation, Chps. 1–5

Note: The only known Greek text of the Acts of Mark is in the library of the Stavronikita monastery in Thrace, northern Greece. As mentioned in the introductory post on this important and still virtually unknown work, the Greek text was published by François Halkin in the journal Analecta Bollandiana 87 [1969]: 346–371. In 1969, Halkin wrote in a footnote: “Once again I am obliged to Mr. M. Richard for a photocopy of this inaccessible text.” Thanks to the offer of Dr. M. A. House, I am able to present here his translation, specifically for this website, of the first five chapters of the Acta Marci. It is my hope that in future a scholar will step forward to complete the … Continue reading

John was Jesus (Ory) Pt. 1

Hypothesis regarding John the Baptist by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 10 (1956) Translated by R. Salm (Note: Editorial additions are in brackets and/or are signed “RS”) Part One The birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus The Gospel according to Luke is the only one to give an account of the birth of John the Baptist. Though it precedes the account of Jesus’ birth, this introduction to the gospel1 is not primitive. It certainly betrays the effort which was attempted—and which met with success—to make of John a Jewish prophet. In the time of Herod the Great, we are told, the angel Gabriel appeared to the priest Zachariah. He and his wife are very old. … Continue reading

Mythicists, docetists, Nazoreans (Salm)

The present confrontation between Jesus mythicists and the tradition may seem new to some. Others may suppose that it dates as far back as the eighteenth century, when scholars began to question the historicity of Jesus. However, I suggest in this statement that mythicism is a modern name for ancient docetism—Christianity’s “twin” born along with the religion itself. In his Panarion (29.6.1) Epiphanius writes of a sect of “Nasarenes” whom he denominates as heretics. He writes that “the Nasarene sect was before Christ and did not know Christ.” The Church Father carefully distinguishes these Nasarenes (with sigma) from later “Nazoreans” (with zeta) whom he accepts as “Christians.” Other indications also exist of a pre-Christian movement somehow attached to the Greek … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) Pt. 6

by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11 (1956) Edited and translated from the French by R. Salm (April, 2012) Note: Bracketed editorial additions are in green and signed “R.S.” Followed by a concluding note A little further on in the same book, Josephus recounts the victory of Aretas (Ant. XVIII.5.1). After giving certain details, he writes (§2): “Some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment for what he did against John…” Now, until this passage John had not yet been mentioned by Josephus who, we recall, had also not named the Samaritain messiah (for whom he certainly had no admiration). Immediate thereafter, §2 continues … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) Pt. 5

by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11 (1956) Edited and translated from the French by R. Salm (April, 2012) Note: Bracketed editorial additions are in green and signed “R.S.” Part Five Further evidence identifying Theudas with John the Baptist Are we able to find other allusions to the messianic role of our John-Dositheus-Theudas in the texts? Flavius Josephus (Ant 20.5.1) writes of a Theudas whom he characterizes as a charlatan and for whom he offers details which arouse curiosity on several counts. This Theudas led the crowd to the Jordan. Its waters were supposed to part and let him pass through the river—proof of his stature as a baptist and a prophet analogous to Joshua. But Fadus … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) Pt. 4

by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11 (1956) Edited and translated from the French by R. Salm (April, 2012) Note: Editorial additions are in green. Part Four (I have taken the liberty of placing seminal theses of Ory in bold—R.S.) John = Dositheus Most of the Church Fathers reported that Simon the Magician was a disciple of John the Baptist and of Dositheus. He was the favorite disciple of John, and at the latter’s death Simon returned from Egypt where he had gone to learn. After having been accepted into the group of Thirty by Dositheus, Simon eventually took the latter’s place, succeeding both John and Dositheus after a short period. The history of Simon’s beginning must … Continue reading

John was Jesus (Ory) Pt. 3

Hypothesis regarding John the Baptist by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 10 (1956) Translated by R. Salm (Note: Editorial additions are in brackets and/or are signed “RS”) Part Three The Word, the light of life The prologue of the Gospel of John mixes two distinct notions: the Word and Light. Pursuant to the demonstration of Delafosse,30 one cannot convincingly claim that the prologue was not retouched to the advantage of the Word. Originally, the Light alone was causative, but an interpolator wished to subordinate it to the Word. At the same time, he made the latter the creator of the world and the divine element desirous of incarnating in the flesh. The Word is of Catholic origin, … Continue reading

John was Jesus (Ory) Pt. 2

Hypothesis regarding John the Baptist by Georges Ory Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 10 (1956) Translated by R. Salm (Note: Editorial additions are in brackets and/or are signed “RS”) Part Two Apollos and the baptism of John The accounts of the famous baptism are contradictory and incoherent. Moreover, that found in the Fourth Gospel is an interpolation from 1:29 (“Here is the lamb of God…”) to 1:36 (“here is the lamb of God”), the lamb having replaced God or the Son of God. According to Acts 18:24ff a certain Jew named Apollos arrived in Ephesus, a man well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed into the Way of the Lord and taught with precision concerning Jesus, though … Continue reading