Resurrection & Incarnation in the second century

A New Account of Christian Origins / pt. 23 Evangelical Christians view the bodily resurrection of Jesus as “the most important event in the history of the world.” For them, Jesus’ resurrection from the grave is proof positive that He was the Son of God, that He was God in the flesh, and that He was the Lynchpin of history. Of course, the bodily resurrection means that Jesus overcame death (point #2 in the above link). That’s a very powerful message, for the fear of death is a basic instinct in both man and animal. The Christian promise is that since Jesus overcame death, we can too, for “we have died with Him and will also live with Him” (point #3 above … Continue reading

“Marcion”

In solidarity with our brave brothers and sisters fighting for freedom in Ukraine. A New Account of Christian Origins / pt. 15 On this website six years ago I wrote a series of posts “Questioning the gospel of Marcion.” The thrust of those posts was my novel thesis (not taken up anywhere else, to my knowledge) that there was no “gospel of Marcion”—not as a text, at any rate. My argument still stands, but here I expand it and reject the existence of Marcion himself. “Marcion” was, as I shall describe below, a convenient tool of the Catholics, an invented figure used to establish the (false) priority of their new gospels and epistles and to anathematize all those who believed in the … Continue reading

The early (nonexistent) Church Fathers

A New Account of Christian Origins / pt. 13 For hundreds of years scholars have been largely relying on the Church Fathers to reconstruct the history of Christianity. The Fathers tell us when something happened, who did it, what the circumstances were, and also the consequences. Regarding the archheretic Marcion, for example, we learn that he was either a nauclerus (Lat. “ship-owner” or “ship-builder”) or the excommunicated son of a bishop (there are two traditions), that he tried to buy his way into the Church, that he was a disciple of a certain Cerdo, that he had a distinguished disciple named Apelles, that he came to Rome in 144 CE and/or 155 CE (again, there are two traditions), etc. And now let … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy—1

As of this writing, Dr. Detering’s German website is online here. It includes a page that Detering thoughtfully provided for English readers. We shall begin there. Detering’s ‘English page’ contains twenty-two entries. However, only seven were authored by Detering himself. Those are the ones that I will include in this and subsequent posts, to be followed by other writings by Detering available in English. Detering’s inclusion on his website of writings by other authors reveals their importance in his eyes. Those ancillary writings include books by Edwin Johnson (Antiqua Mater), P.-L. Couchoud, and G. Bolland, as well as much material supplied by Klaus Schilling. Perhaps some of this interesting ancillary material will also be uploaded to this website in due … Continue reading

How late was the name “Paul”?

A recent post on this site concluded: “I find it curious that both Marcion and Paul bear names that are diminutives. ‘Marcion’ means Little Mark. ‘Paul’ means little. Is this purely a coincidence?” Here I attempt an answer to this question… Diminutives are generally disparaging. There are sarcastic exceptions (“Little John”, “Tiny Tim”) but—unless the names Marcion and Paul are original—the possibility exists that these were nicknames coined with hostile intent. As regards “Paul,” we are told in the New Testament that it was not his only name—the Apostle also went by “Saul” (Acts 13:9). As was common in antiquity, he had a Roman and a Jewish name, and neither one was demonstrably a nickname or disparaging. But, then, we … Continue reading

How late was the name “Mark”?

Note: Since originally writing this post I have concluded that “Marcion” did not exist as a historical figure. He was invented by the fledgling Church and used as a proxy for all the pre-Catholic Jesus followers who clung to the ‘Jesus as spirit’ theology. See here.—RS No doubt readers will be astonished to learn that the name “Mark” is not attested in the Christian tradition before the latter half of the second century CE. While this is explained below, I begin with another name: that of the arch-heretic Marcion. I do this because (perhaps even more astonishing) a survey of Christian writings shows that the invented figure “Marcion” appears (cf. Justin Martyr) before the host of other invented figures that … Continue reading

Followup on Marcion

Those who have read my recent posts, Questioning the “Gospel of Marcion,” are now aware of my considered view that Marcion never actually had a textual “gospel.” As I have freely admitted, this view is “contra the totality of scholarship in the field”—today and for the last hundred years. If true, however, this breathtaking assessment must give us pause. After all, what does it say about modern theological research? How can ostensibly serious professors, highly educated, paid by prestigious institutions of higher learning, authoring scores (actually: hundreds) of books—how can all these ‘scholars’ get their specialty so wrong as to reconstruct, critique, and argue ad infinitum about a “Gospel of Marcion” that never even existed? In fact, the boondoggle cannot … Continue reading

Couchoud’s The Creation of Christ uploaded

I am pleased to notify readers that I have uploaded to this website the English translation of Paul-Louis Couchoud’s seminal work The Creation of Christ: An Outline of the Beginnings of Christianity (1939; original French edition: Jésus, Le Dieu fait Homme, 1937). The expert translation was executed by C. Bradlaugh Bonner and is in two volumes (229 and 241 pages), each in a separate PDF. I would like to thank Frank Zindler for making the digital translation on two CDs available to me, and also for graciously allowing me to put this important work of Jesus mythicism before the general public. The two PDF’s can be downloaded at the links below and also from the onsite introductory page on P. … Continue reading

The Hebrew Gospel/UrMark: working criteria

The comprehensive UrMark, cumulatively updated after each installment, is found here. The canonical (color coded) Gospel of Mark, also updated after each installment, is found here. As noted in the Introduction, in this series of posts I attempt a reconstruction of the earliest Gospel of Mark—a text that I identify with the “Hebrew Gospel” (a view, incidentally, not found anywhere else). Each post deals with a separate chapter, and two versions are offered: (1) a short, hypothetical “core”—the first draft of a Hebrew Gospel/UrMark reconstructed according to several criteria (see next paragraph); followed by (2) the entire chapter in the English translation (RSV). Both the short and the received versions are color coded. In my view, the best way to … Continue reading

An experiment: The original Gospel of Mark?—Chp. 1

[Note: This post is substantially updated here.] As noted in the Introduction, in this series of posts I will be attempting a reconstruction of the earliest Gospel of Mark—a text that I identify with the “Hebrew Gospel” (a view, incidentally, not found anywhere else). Each post will deal with a separate chapter, and two versions will be offered: (1) a short, hypothetical “core”—the first draft of a Hebrew Gospel/UrMark reconstructed according to several criteria (see next paragraph); and (2) the entire chapter in the English translation (RSV). Both the short and the received versions will be color coded. In order to separate out later Catholic accretions from the earlier pauline-marcionite “core,” I use six basic criteria:      (a) Jesus is a … Continue reading