H. Detering, “The Gnostic Meaning of the Exodus”—A commentary (Pt. 31)

→ Table of Contents The Didache (Pt. 1) Dr. Detering points out that the Didache (“Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”) is a Church manual discovered only in 1873. “Majority opinion holds that it dates to the early second century,” he writes, reflecting the somewhat more progressive European scholarship. (American scholarship largely dates the work to I CE.) Kurt Niederwimmer (Vienna), author of the 1992 Hermeneia commentary The Didache, writes (p. 53): “An origin around 110 to 120 C.E. remains hypothetical, but there are as yet no compelling reasons to dismiss this hypothesis.” Also in agreement with Niederwimmer, Detering considers that the document is based on Jewish Vorlagen and was given only a superficial Christian veneer. Detering (p. 54) cites three passages … Continue reading

The Natsarene and Hidden Gnosis – Pt. 6

Priests vs. Levites   We concluded the last section with an observation of Ellis Rivkin: “We must, therefore, conclude that the Aaronides come to power with the finalized Pentateuch and, as such, are their own creation” (IDB). The priestly Aaronides, centered in Jerusalem, are the post-exilic religious hegemonists who took authority away from the pre- and concurrently-existing (gnostic) Levites. By “their own creation,” Rivkin means that the Aaronides invented their own pedigree, invented their status as Levites (for Aaron was supposedly himself a Levite), and in this way they took over from the ancient and ʻtrueʼ Levites the rights to administer the Temple. Essentially, they arrogated to themselves the religion which became known as “Judaism.” With the rise of the … Continue reading

My trip to the SBL in Chicago—Part 3

At the University of Chicago library   Sometimes I travel just to spend time at a well endowed library. Not too long ago I spent a very productive week in springtime at the Graduate Theological Union library in Berkeley. For me, that’s even a better vacation than lounging on the sands of Hawaii. One of my reasons for accepting the SBL speaking engagement was to be able to spend time at the world class Univ. of Chicago library. With about ten million volumes, it’s more than three times the size of the (entirely respectable) Univ. of Oregon library which I routinely use.   Over the previous year I had prepared in advance a list of (mostly obscure) books and articles … Continue reading

Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland (Ory) Pt. 1

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.” Original page numbers are in brackets. Part One The Simonian origins of Jesus and the woman at the well (Jn 4) Several indications have suggested—as Prosper Alfaric proposed—that the messiah of Samaria had become subordinated to the Judean messiah. It appears to us, also, that the Judean messiah eventually totally replaced the Samaritan while appropriating the latter’s gospel and his various writings. Towards the year 30 of our era, the opposition between Judea and Samaria was at its height. At the same time, Jesus showed an extraordinary goodwill … 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