References to the Jewish Belief in Agrippa as the Messiah Prior to the Twentieth Century

  • The Jews who came after him [Josephus], were willing to supply this defect. They have forged to us an Agrippa descended of Herod, whom the Romans, fay they, put to death a little before the destruction of Jerusalem; and they will have it, that this Agrippa, Christ by his title of king, is the Christ spoken of in Daniel . a fresh proof of their blindness! For besides that this Agrippa can neither be the righteous, nor the holy One, nor the end of the prophecies such as the Christ, whom Daniel pointed out in that place, must have been; besides that the murder of that Agrippa , in which the Jews had no hand, could not be the cause of their desolation, as the death of Daniel's Christ was to be; what the Jews say on this head is all a fable That Agrippa descended of Herod was ever on the side of the Romans: he was always well treated by their emperors, and reigned in a canton of Judea a long time after the taking of Jerusalem as Josephus and other contemporaries attest.

  • Thus all that the Jews devise to elude the prophecies, serves but to confute them. They themselves do not rely upon so gross fictions, and their best defence consists in that law, which they enacted, to compute no more the days of the Messiah.[Bousset An Universal History p. 261]

  • [R. Joseph Crooll, a Jewish teacher of Hebrew at Cambridge] first objects to the common rendering of the text 'the Messiah shall be cut off yet not for himself' [Dan 9:26] The Hebrew for the last section is ve-en lo and this our opponent, for very obvious purposes translates 'and not to him' instead of 'yet not for himself' that is, continues he, 'he shall have no successor.' He then proceeds to tell us who this Messiah is of whom it is thus pretended to be asserted that he shall have no successor; and our English readers will be somewhat surprised at finding, that, on the interpretation of the present writer, 'the messiah here alluded to, instead of being our Savior is Agrippa.'

  • For though Jews, in opposition to Christians, say that the Messiah mentioned in the 25th verse is Cyrus, and that the Messiah mentioned in the 26th verse means King Agrippa, it is clear that the Messiah spoken of in the 25th verse, is the same Messiah mentioned in the 26th Verse ; the connexion is not in the least broken, nor is there a second person mentioned before the latter part of the 26th verse, when the Roman Emperor is introduced, who is only called prince, and not MESSIAH or ANOINTED. Surely if the petty King Agrippa was worthy of the title anointed, because he was a king, the Emperor of Rome had as great a right to such an appellation. But they say, 'the king was the Lord's anointed,' as David says with regard to Saul, Sam i, 26, 29 for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed. The kings of the Jews were not more the anointed of the Lord after the Babylonish captivity, than the idolatrous kings were the anointed of the Lord, neither can the Messiah of the 25th verse be applied to Cyrus ... nor can the Jews to this day make the Messiah of the 26th verse — shall Messiah be cut off- — apply to King Agrippa, who is said to have been put to death by Vespasian, about four years before the destruction of the temple; for it is evident from the account given by their own historian, Josephus, that he lived many years after the destruction of Jerusalem [Classical Journal, 1822, On the True Age of Christ at the Crucifixion, and the Fulfillment of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel p. 170]
  • As for the marked expression 'and not for himself' [Daniel 9:26 KJV] Mr. [David] Levi gives a very singular interpretation of it indeed. "Agrippa," fays he, " was put to death by Vespasian about four year* before the destruction of the temple: as was also his son: which is shewn by the words and not to him, ie there shall be no more of him: for since his death, there has been no more kingly power in the Jewish nation to this day' [Letters to the Jews by Joseph Priestly 1787 p. 66]
  • Your celebrated Rabbi [Abraham ben] Isaac [a sixteenth century Karaite] in his celebrated treatise entitled the Bulwark of the Faith, says, that the seventy weeks of Daniel are a period of four hundred and ninety years, to be reckoned from the worrd of God to Jeremiah concerning the return from the Babylonish Captivity, or from the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar to its destruction by Titus. He also says, that Messiah, the prince, in the former part of the prophecy means Cyrus, who is called the Messiah, or the anointed, by Isaiah; and that by the Messiah who is to " be cut off," in the latter part of the prophecy is meant the last king of the jews, or Agrippa the younger, who is said by a spurious Josephus (never quoted by any writer before the twelfth century) to have been killed by Vespasian before the taking of the city.[The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestly Vol 20 1780 p. 242]
The fact that Karaites also shared this interpretation of Agrippa as the messiah of Daniel is quite significant as the official break between Rabbanites and Karaites occurred in the eighth century. Many scholars, including myself, date the origins of the Karaites back much further perhaps as far as the Sadducees. The fact that the Karaites maintained the same understanding of Agrippa as the messiah of Daniel makes absolutely certain that the tradition is very, very old undoubtedly dating back to the first century as I have suggested all along.

Irenaeus and the Antichrist 'Mark'

Harvey makes an interesting point in his critical edition of Irenaeus that never getsmuch attention in Patristic scholarship.  Irenaeus says that 'Mark' (Μάρκος) not only claimed to be the Christ but  Irenaeus thought that the 'little apocalypse' foretold his Satanic advent.

You know how scholars work.  They like to 'help' the Fathers along, sounding as reasonable as possible but we always have to remember - Photius of Constantinople says there were a lot of unsound ideas in Irenaeus's writings.

Imagine that.  A ninth century Byzantine scholar showing more objectivity in his reporting than his modern equivalents.

In any event, let's get to back to the 'little apocalypse.'  Harvey seems to think that Irenaeus is citing Matthew chapter 26.  But let's start by citing how canonical Mark presents Jesus's foretelling the events of the coming events in Jerusalem:

But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time [Matt 13:20 - 23]

Matthew's text by contrast reads:

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. [Matt 24:22 - 25]

The idea that the advent of the heretic Mark is 'foretold' by the gospel has an interesting parallel in the Alexandrian tradition. Mark's 'little apocalypse' has what can only be described as a 'deeper layer' where it is actually ANNOUNCES what is called the 'second advent' of messiah at the same time as it now warns about the coming of the aforementioned 'Antichrist.'

This is a particularly strange way of arranging a narrative. It would be like warning about the dangers of cholesterol while praising Southern cooking. In each case it can be demonstrated that the 'warning' is actually inserted into Jesus's original announcement of the coming of the messiah (and thus clearly manifesting that Jesus WASN'T the Christ as the Muslims, Manichaeans, Marcionites and other traditions outside the Catholic tradition always held).

Let me show you what I mean.

If we look at Matthew's schizophrenic account of Jesus warning of the coming age we read:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.

"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

"Immediately after the distress of those days
'the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 

Now let's keep some perspective on these matters.  There is a clear and consistent understanding in Judaism that dread will accompany the appearance of the messiah.  This is not the 'problem' as I see it.  What seems so strange is the obvious insertion of  a 'false' revelation into the main body of what must have been Jesus's original announcement of the impending advent of the 'true' messiah.

Irenaeus here makes clear that there was a contemporary tradition identifying Mark as the 'false' messiah.  According to Irenaeus's interpretation again the 'true' messiah has also not arrived yet.  As such Jesus's proclamation is understood to unfold 'chronologically' - i.e. where the appearance of the 'false' messiah necessarily HAS TO PRECEDE Jesus's second coming.  Everyone accepts Irenaeus's understanding because we are all in a sense Irenaeus's spiritual descendants.  However it is not hard to see that THIS CANNOT BE what the gospel of the followers of Mark (i.e. the Alexandrian tradition) laid out.

All we have to do is look at an important section which now appears in Book Two of the Five Books Against All Heresies and see that the Marcosians - like Clement of Alexandria clearly understood the 'year of favor' [Isa 61.2] announced by Jesus [cf. Luke 4:19] to have already taken place.  The year of favor according to Clement and the other members of the Markan tradition was a year of 360 (plus 5) days, foretold since the time of Moses which followed the pattern of jubilees - i.e. periods of redemption represented by the year immediately followed a cycle of seven sabbatical years since the beginning of Creation.

Jesus came into the synagogue, according to the Marcosian understanding, to announce that his crucifixion would usher in this long awaited 'year of favor.'  It is for this reason that the text which describes Jesus's activity is called the gospel.  As I have noted before, Professor Ruairidh is the first person in history to provide an explanation grounded in the culture of the Jews and Samaritans which preceded Jesus's advent.  He notes that the Samaritan Arabic commentary on the Torah, on Leviticus XXV:9 explains the concept of the gospel in terms of the Jubilee with a slightly condensed translation:

The High Priest and the King acting together are to send heralds out on the Day of Atonement to go into all countries over the next six months blowing the shofar in every land and region [not just Canaan] with the announcement [bashâ’ir, plural of bashîrah] of the information of the approach of the Jubilee Year and the release of captives”. The Arabic bashîrah = the Hebrew bassorah. The person doing it is the mubashshir = Hebrew mevasser, or the bashîr. Notice carefully that the bashîrah is not the information, but the announcement of it. This is the connotation of the Greek euangelion.

This perfectly fits Irenaeus's fragmentary information about the sect of Mark that he demonizes in his work.  Irenaeus DELIBERATELY presents the Marcosian interest in kabbalah and their interest in the Jubilee as two separate concepts but they are clearly related.  Clement over and over again stresses that the Jubilee is represented by the eight (i.e. seven + one).  Eight is one better than the seven in the same way as the revelation of the gospel is superior to the revelation of the Torah which is based on the number seven.

The point then is that Irenaeus not only ATTACKS this Marcosian interpretation (which must be considered to be the original given its grounding in traditional Israelite concepts of the Jubilee and the manifestation of the messiah cf.11Q Melchizedek) but he goes on to present an absurdly loose interpretation of Isaiah and the second advent.  According to Irenaeus when Jesus went into that synagogue he WASN'T thinking about the Jubilee or any messianic concept that had been established since the time of Moses.  Instead he put forward that the 'year of favor' wasn't a year at all but the period of time between his crucifixion and establishment of the Imperially sanctioned Roman Catholic Church in the time of Irenaeus (one hundred and fifty years later!).

I don't want to get too distracted by this nonsense but the reader should start to see is that there is an uncanny parallel between Irenaeus's STUPID interpretation of Isa 61.2 and Jesus citation of the text in the synagogue AND the 'little apocalypse' which appears in the copies of the gospel he and his tradition sanctified as 'holy writ.'

The followers of Mark are already established to have argued that the 'year of favor' was a Jubilee which already took place.  Given their roots in tradition Judaism IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE to argue that the messiah DIDN'T appear in this 'year of favor' it is impossible to believe that their gospel presented the scenario that ONLY the false advent of the Antichrist had been fulfilled.  Indeed I can't help but see that if WE REMOVE all the business about the 'Antichrist' from the little apocalypse we end up with a scenario that actually 'fits' the original Marcosian gnosis.

For example if we repeat our methodology only now with the description in the existing canonical Mark we read after the announcement that "the gospel must first be preached to all nations" that:

When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

But in those days, following that distress,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. 

The point is that ONCE WE REMOVE THE WARNING OF THE COMING OF THE ANTICHRIST - injected into the original text undoubtedly by zealous 'heresiologists' in the Catholic Church - does a gospel narrative which COULD HAVE BEEN used by the heresies associated with Mark manifest itself.

Let me express that another way.  The Catholic tradition only emerged AFTER the heresy of Mark had established itself as a dominant form of Christianity.  We have pointed out that Philo of Alexandria already witnesses the central mystic understanding of the tradition.  Irenaeus's chief task was nothing short of re-engineering Christianity AWAY from the doctrine that Jesus came to herald someone else as the messiah.  That 'someone else' clearly made himself known in the period which led up to the destruction of the Jewish temple EXACTLY AS THE ANTICHRIST WARNING now inserted into the text testifies albeit wholly negatively.

How do we know this?

It is as obvious and impossible to miss because BOTH THE CHRIST of the Alexandrian tradition AND THE ANTICHRIST of the Roman tradition are both named Mark.

For we cannot forget that the Alexandrian tradition as well as the rabbinic tradition all identify Marcus (i.e. 'Mark') Agrippa, the Jewish king who ultimately destroyed the Jewish temple as the messiah of Daniel.  I have pointed this out many times in my book and at this blog.  The amazing thing again is that Clement and Origen and the rest of the Alexandrian tradition - a tradition associated with a messiah named Mark [cf. Severus of Al'Ashmunein Homily on St. Mark] - understands that the messiah of Daniel was also named 'Mark' (i.e. Agrippa) and this revelation FITS PERFECTLY within the restored Marcosian gospel of Mark.

Again, it should be noted that THE EXACT SECTION which is used by Clement and Origen to prove that the messiah is Mark Agrippa is employed by Mark the evangelist to herald the coming of the messiah predicted by Jesus according to the Marcosians:

When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' [Dan. 9:26] standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand ... at that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory [Dan. 7:13]  And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. 

This isn't the place to develop an understanding of what kind of messiah Daniel was predicting but the answer is very simple - ALL EARLY CHRISTIAN COMMENTATORS AGREE THAT THIS ANOINTED IN DANIEL IS ONLY A TEMPORAL KING. (All early Christian commentators agree with the mainstream Jewish interpretation, that it is meant to refer to Marcus Agrippa). In the contemporary Jewish context, Anointed = Mashiach = Christos meant a new secular king descended from David.

Jesus is always made to reject the term Mashiach (Hebrew) or Meshicha (Aramaic) or “Christos” (Greek). All these words mean exactly the same thing, someone or something anointed. He rejected the term was because the PRIMARY CONNOTATION is “legitimate TEMPORAL or SECULAR king”. This is its meaning in Daniel IX: 25 and 26.

The point is that we have reached the core understanding of Mark's gospel. We will never know what Jesus ever really said or did. What we have instead is Mark's reconstruction of events and this in turn was borrowed (or stolen) by other redactors of the narrative.

Since Irenaeus already tells us that the followers of Mark the heretic understood Mark to be the messiah and it is inferred that Mark received a revelation like the one described in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 - how can we understand Irenaeus's 'Antichrist' reference as anything other than a Catholic attempt to distort the early Markan understanding that Jesus using Daniel to herald the coming of someone named Mark as the messiah?

Before we get too entangled in this question we should state that we ALREADY HAVE a firm identification of contemporary Jews and Christians explicitly identifying WHO DANIEL prophesied as his messiah:

(a) first, all the early Christian commentators agree that the figure in Daniel is Marcus Agrippa.

(b) The figure in Daniel is specifically a משיח נגיד so he is a King but not High Priest.

(c) At some stage a false line of interpretation of the original Gospel has focussed on making Jesus a Davidic King.

These days (c) seems to be the prevalent view. Notice the annoyance of Calvin and Luther over the traditional Jewish identification of the figure in Daniel. They were too preoccupied with blustering to see that the original unanimous Christian position is the same as the Jewish one.

The historical reality is then that someone named 'Mark' - Marcus Agrippa was considered the anointed one mentioned in Daniel. This understanding is especially pronounced in Alexandria where as Bill Adler:

Origen acknowledges that some interpreters of Daniel 9:26 identified the coming prince with 'Christ' (i.e. Jesus) ... [he says that] the figure instead should be identified either as Herod or as Agrippa (the latter he says on the authority of a 'Jewish history'). In either case it was with one of these foreign rulers that the oracle of Jacob was fulfilled. (p. 235)

What Adler fails to mention to his readers (the point is never lost in good critical commentaries on Daniel) is that elsewhere in his writings Origen makes it absolutely explicit that not only does he accept Agrippa as the messiah of Daniel but that Jesus was only the first meek manifestation of the Christ power - there would be a second advent where Christ would appear as an anointed king.

The point again is that WE HAVE TO BEGIN TO SEE THAT Irenaeus ISN'T JUST combating some 'stupid little heresy' associated with an imaginary boogeyman named 'Mark' - he is trying to destroy the original interpretation of the Mark's gospel by his authentic tradition in Alexandria. The addition of a supposed 'prophesy' about the coming of the Antichrist in the same era as Jews and Christians from Alexandria were identifying Mark as their predicted messiah CAN'T be accidental.

It is nothing short of DELIBERATE DISINFORMATION on the part of the Catholic tradition.

Was the Gospel of Mark Altered to Disassociate it from the 'Heresy' of the Marcosian?

I have been writing for some time now that THERE IS A REASON why the earliest history of the Alexandrian Church is unknown to us. 'St. Mark' also called 'John' was the father of all heresies. I happen to think that he embodied the original Platonic understanding of the term gnostikos which as Morton Smith notes means:

the ideal king, the only man capable of knowing God, who would therefore act as the mediator between God and man; he would be, in effect, the Nous [the divine intellect] of his subjects, in whom he would restore their lost contact with the heavenly world from which he came.[M. Smith Studies in the Cult of Yahweh p. 186]

Why do I think that Mark was the first gnostikos? Well, it is because I think that he was the historical figure Marcus Julius Agrippa, last king of Israel who, interestingly enough is described by 'Josephus' as a person "who deserved the greatest praise" for his "knowledge of Greek philosophy." [Against Apion I.9] When you read the rabbinic account of his interest in Plato it is readily apparent that he is being likened to Marcion.

In any event, the real point of all my efforts is to demonstrate that Alexandrian Christianity developed naturally from Alexandrian Judaism. I think that the first Christians worshiped Iesous as the living embodiment of the Ogdoad (Iesous = 888) in the Jewish 'holy house' on the eastern shores of Alexandria just outside of the eastern walls of the city. In a later period, when the originally massive Jewish dyplastoon building was destroyed, the Martyrium of St. Mark was build closer inland, just behind the old structure now already sinking into the sea.

I think that the original tradition of St. Mark should be identified with the Marcosian sect of Irenaeus with 'Mark' as the messiah of the community (Irenaeus says 'Antichrist' but as we say, one man's Christ is another man's Antichrist).

I also think that Clement's Letter to Theodore is one fleeting glimpse as that original Jewish messianic tradition was being forced to accommodate itself to the new 'officially purged' Imperially sanctioned Roman Church of Jesus Christ. I think various other references (such as the account of Victor in the Liber Pontificalis) give other 'glimpses' into this transformational period.

That Clement was connected with the Marcosians has been well established by many other much better scholars than myself including:

"Irenaeus gives an account of Marcus and the Marcosians in 1.13 - 21 ... Hippolytus and Epiphanius (Haer 34) copy their accounts from Irenaeus, and probably had no direct knowledge of the works of Marcus or of his sect. Clement of Alexandria, however, knew and used his writings." [Philip Schaff note on Eusebius Church History iv.11.4]

" ... for on comparison of the sections just cited from Clement and from Irenaeus [regarding the Marcosians] the coincidences are found to be such as to put it beyond doubt that Clement in his account of the number six makes an unacknowledged use of the same [Marcosian] writing as were employed by Irenaeus." [William Smith A Dictionary of Christian Biography p. 161]

"Clement of Alexandria, himself infected with Gnosticism, actually uses Marcus number system though without acknowledgement (Strom, VI, xvi)." [Arendzen JP. Marcus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX]

Yet what even these people haven't recognized is that the 'Marcosian heresy' was already present at the time Philo was writing. As we noted in our last post, all we need to do is work backwards from Irenaeus's original statement about 'those of Mark' who

express themselves in this manner: that the letter Eta along with the remarkable one constitutes all ogdoad, as it is situated in the eighth place from Alpha. Then, again, computing the number of these elements without the remarkable (letter), and adding them together up to Eta, they exhibit the number thirty. For any one beginning from the Alpha to the Eta will, after subtracting the remarkable (letter i.e. episemon) ... they subtract twelve, and reckon it at eleven. And in like manner, (they subtract) ten and make it nine. [Hippolytus AH 6:42]

We should then note that Clement of Alexandria makes the same argument as in the name of the Alexandrian tradition of St. Mark:

six is reckoned in the order of numbers, but the succession of the letters acknowledges the character which is not written. In this case, in the numbers themselves, each unit is preserved in its order up to seven and eight. But in the number of the characters, Zeta becomes six and Eta seven. And the character having somehow slipped into writing, should we follow it out thus, the seven became six, and the eight seven.[Stromata 6:16]

Yet this understanding can be traced all the way back to Philo, a member of a leading priestly family in the Jewish community of Alexandria who notes that there is a closely related Jewish sect which promotes a highly contagious kabbalistic apocalyptic doctrine. It is important to note that Philo's description EXACTLY matches the things said by second century 'Marcosians' like Clement of Alexandria namely that:

some of those persons who have (in the past) fancied that the world is everlasting, inventing a variety of new arguments, employ also such a system of reasoning as this to establish their point: they affirm that there are four principal manners in which corruption is brought about, addition, taking away, transposition, and alteration; accordingly, the number two is by the addition of the unit corrupted so as to become the number three, and no longer remains the number two; and the number four by the taking away of the unit is corrupted so as to become the number three; again, by transposition the letter Zeta becomes the letter Eta when the parallel lines which were previously horizontal (3/43/4) are placed perpendicularly (1/2 1/2), and when the line which did before pass upwards, so as to connect the two is now made horizontal, and still extended between them so as to join them. And by alteration the word oinos, wine, becomes oxos, vinegar.

But of the manner of corruption thus mentioned there is not one which is in the least degree whatever applicable to the world, since otherwise what could we say? Could we affirm that anything is added to the world so as to cause its destruction? But there is nothing whatever outside of the world which is not a portion of it as the whole, for everything is surrounded, and contained, and mastered by it. Again, can we say that anything is taken from the world so as to have that effect? In the first place that which would be taken away would again be a world of smaller dimensions than the existing one, and in the second place it is impossible that any body could be separated from the composite fabric of the whole world so as to be completely dispersed. Again, are we to say that the constituent parts of the world are transposed? But at all events they remain in their original positions without any change of place, for never at any time shall the whole earth be raised up above the water, nor the water above the air, nor the air above the fire. But those things which are by nature heavy, namely the earth and the water, will have the middle place, the earth supporting everything like a solid foundation, and the water being above it; and the air and the fire, which are by nature light, will have the higher position, but not equally, for the air is the vehicle of the fire; and that which is carried by anything is of necessity above that which carries it. Once more: we must not imagine that the world is destroyed by alteration, for the change of any elements is equipollent, and that which is equipollent is the cause of unvarying steadiness, and of untroubled durability, inasmuch as it neither seeks any advantage itself, and is not subject to the inroads of other things which seek advantages at its expense; so that this retribution and compensation of these powers is equalized by the rules of proportion, being the produce of health and endless preservation, by all which considerations the world is demonstrated to be eternal. [On the Eternity of the World XXII]

Philo able to demonstrate that the kabbalah of 'those of Mark' was INTRODUCED IN THE FIRST CENTURY but that Philo's comments necessarily mean that the tradition of Mark was initially opposed by the Jewish priesthood in Alexandria.

One of these days I will provide a detailed examination of the first principles of this original Markan kabbalah. For the moment it is enough to say that it is based on the idea - shared by modern Jewish and Samaritan mystical traditions - that the number six represents the generative power of the world. The followers of Mark promoted the idea that owing to the crucifixion of this letter vav, it was imperative that the population of the world undergo the apolutrosis baptism which effectively 'redeemed' them to the power of the Ogdoad.

I think that the baptism referenced in Secret Mark is the basis to this Marcosian ritual. It is no coincidence then that it is said that the neaniskos waited 'six days' to undergo the sacrament. Irenaeus notes that it was according to this principle of the 'sixth' that baptism was established "and for this reason did Moses declare that man was formed on the sixth day; and then, again, according to arrangement, it was on the sixth day, which is the preparation, that the last man appeared, for the regeneration of the first [i.e. in baptism], and of this arrangement, both the beginning and the end were formed at that sixth hour, at which He was nailed to the tree. [AH i.14.6]

Yet as we all know the passage which referenced the secret baptism which occurred after 'six days' was removed from the copies of the Gospel of Mark which circulated outside of Alexandria. But this isn't the only anomaly. The surviving copies of the Gospel of Mark no longer say that the crucifixion occurred in the 'sixth hour.' We read instead that "and it was the third hour, and they crucified him." [Mark 15:25]

I have repeatedly pointed out that there are countless examples which demonstrate WITHOUT ANY DOUBT that the canonical gospel of Mark was developed in Rome with a specific anti-Alexandrian agenda. Yet the clearest of all requires that we accept the link between the heretical boogeyman Mark the gnostic and St. Mark.

For Severus of Antioch, in the context of discussing editorial changes to the gospel produces Eusebius's Letter to Marinum which now - if read with a critical eye - confirms our theory about changes to the original Gospel of Mark. For Severus writes:

But Eusebius of Caesarea, who is called 'Pamphili', whom we mentioned a little above, when writing to a man called Marinus about questions concerning the passions of our Saviour and about his Resurrection, showed us nothing whatever about the said addition, as being unknown and having no place in the books of the gospel. But in the same letters to Marinus, who had asked him for an interpretation on the subject of our Saviour's passions and his Resurrection, he inserted the following exposition also in his letters, that the divine Mark the Evangelist said that it was the 3rd hour at the time when Christ who is God and our Saviour was crucified, but the divine John (he said) wrote that it was at the 6th hour that Pilate sat upon his judgment-seat at the place called 'the pavement', and judged Christ. And therefore Eusebius said that this is an error of a scribe, who was inattentive when writing the Gospel. For it is the letter gamal that denotes 3 hours, while the letter which is called in Greek episemon denotes the number of 6 hours, and these letters are like one another in Greek, and, the scribe wishing to write '3' quickly, and having turned the letter a little backwards, it was thereby found to be '6', because, since the letter had been turned backwards, it was supposed to be the letter that denotes '6'. Since therefore the three other evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke stated alike as with one mouth that from the 6th hour to the 9th there was darkness over all the land, it is plain that our Lord and God Jesus Christ was crucified before the 6th hour, at which the darkness took place, that is from the 3rd hour, as 1142 the blessed John himself wrote. Similarly we say that it is the 3rd hour, because those who wrote before, as we have said, changed the letter. We must insert also in this our letter upon this matter a part of what Eusebius himself stated at length; and his words are as follows: «We agree not with any chance man, but with the evangelist who gave this testimony, Mark. For it happened that there was an error on the part of the scribe so that he changed the letter by adding length to it, and it was thought that the letter which represents '3' was '6', on account of the likeness of the two letters [of that which denotes '3' and that which denotes '6'. If the refore it is stated by John that it was the preparation of the day of unlevened bread, and it was about the 6th hour, and Pilate said to the Jews «Behold! your king» 1143, and so on, let there be read instead of '6th' '3rd', since the beginning of his trial took place at that time, and in the middle of the hour or after it had been completed they crucified him, so that the result is that they judged and crucified him at the same hour»; If you look for and find the volume addressed to Marinus about the interpretation of these things, you will find the accuracy of the writer as regards these matters. For our part we do not wish to write much on these subjects in this our letter. May the industry of your holiness be preserved for us meditating on these things and occupied with these things in priestly fashion, and rousing up the gloom of our silence and urging it to speak [Severus of Antioch Letter CVIII]

The fact that Eusebius says that the correct reading is 'the third hour' is not our concern. Clearly we have in the Marcosians a group connected with Mark which would have argued that in fact the corruption developed in the other direction - viz. that the episemon was exchanged for a gamma. Indeed their 'gospel of Mark' (i.e. I would argue that it is clear that whoever 'Mark' was he as "one who is possessed of the greatest knowledge and perfection, and who has received the highest power from the invisible and ineffable regions above" [AH i.13.1] would have written a gospel even if his association with 'the Evangelist' is denied) has the 'sixth hour' reading.

I would argue that they had a much more authentic gospel of Mark - undoubtedly identical with the Alexandrian 'secret' Gospel referenced by Clement [cf. AH i.19.1 with regards to 'secret' scriptures]. Moreover I am certain that it was OUR gospels which were changed to disassociate them with the 'heresy' of the aforementioned Marcosians and indeed assist in Irenaeus's characterization of their arguments as 'laughable' [AH i.16.1] and the adherents themselves 'mad.' [ibis i.13.1]

For those who want more information on the kabbalistic interpretation of the Marcosians here's the link to my post from two days ago.

How Alexandrian Judaism Developed into Christianity [Part Three]

We are making headway towards our goal of understanding the unique theological climate of ancient Jewish Alexandria.  It all comes down to this.  Judaism presupposes a redemption from Egypt.  But what do you do when Jews find themselves back in Egypt still awaiting redemption?  I have reason to believe that the Alexandrian Jews of Philo's age WEREN'T waiting for their redemption into the Promised Land in the Roman province of Judea.

I will bring forward the basis for my assumptions in an upcoming post in this series.  For the moment it is enough to say that I have never been able to dismiss Eusebius's claims that Christianity in Egypt developed from Philo's description of the ascetic sect called the Therapeutae.  I have never been able to square the writings of Paul for instance with any tradition in Palestinian Judaism, let alone the opening words of the gospel with its reference to the Logos.

I see connections between Philo's Therapeutae and the rituals of the early Alexandrian Christianity.  There i good reason to believe that Christians in Egypt baptized their catechumen on the evening of the 21st of Nisan (the 'going out' into the eighth day of Passover).  As we demonstrated in our last post, the Therapeutae also seem to have 'reenacted' the mystery associated with the 'crossing of the sea' which occurred on the same day.

Those experts who have written on the subject tend to acknowledged that the Alexandrian practice is 'one step' away from the variant tradition in the Church.  Nevertheless there simply is not enough evidence to prove that one developed from the other.  Some examples are here.

It's as if we are almost there.  We have 'almost found' the link between the ritual prayers in the semneia of the Therapeutae as the forty ninth day went out into the fiftieth called 'the apolutrosis' and the ritual practice of baptism as the seventh day of Passover went out into the eighth in other ancient literary sources.

Alexandrian Judaism must have been the ground out of which the Christian mystery of baptism developed.  The connection is the common association with the 'crossing of the sea.'  The specific point of contact in my mind is the common association between the practice of Philo's Therapeutae and the Marcosians of Alexandria to call the commemoration of the crossing, the apolutrosis.

In my opinion, it isn't necessary to argue that the Therapeutae were ALREADY baptizing as part of their apolutrosis service.  I would make the case that 'heretical' Christianity is structured around the idea that Christ came to introduce a 'mystery' to the existing worship.  I think Clement of Alexandria, a man who had a much better idea of the original relationship between Jewish and Christian traditions in his city writes makes clear that ritual water immersion was the thing that Mark introduced to the apolutrosis of the Therapeutae.

Of course, as I noted in a previous blog last week, scholars are going to pretend that because Clement never EXPLICITLY identifies baptism as the mysterion tes basileias tou theou that the idea was unknown to him. This is simply idiotic given the nature of mystery religions in the ancient world.  One wouldn't expect that Clement or anyone else from the Alexandrian tradition would just announce the connection to those who hadn't been initiated into the tradition.

Instead when we examine the writings of Clement are a series of cryptic statements - like the one which concludes the Exhortation to the Heathens - where he speaks in such a way that 'the initiated' realize at once that he is referencing baptism as the central mysterion of the tradition.  So we read:

The Word of truth, the Word of incorruption, that regenerates man by bringing him back to the truth — the goad that urges to salvation — He who expels destruction and pursues death — He who builds up the temple of God in men, that He may cause God to take up His abode in men. Cleanse the temple; and pleasures and amusements abandon to the winds and the fire, as a fading flower; but wisely cultivate the fruits of self-command, and present thyself to God as an offering of first-fruits, that there may be not the work alone, but also the grace of God; and both are requisite, that the friend of Christ may be rendered worthy of the kingdom, and be counted worthy of the kingdom ... Then shalt thou see my God, and be initiated into the sacred mysteries, and come to the fruition of those things which are laid up in heaven reserved for me, which "ear hath not heard, nor have they entered into the heart of any." [Exhort 11.12]

There is no more common metaphor in the writing of contemporary Church Fathers to describe baptism than as a 'regeneration' to God, the truth or the like. Yet it appears with especial frequency in Irenaeus's description of the apolutrosis baptism of 'those of Mark.'

In his most explicit statement about the heretical baptism being connected with the material in Mark chapter 10, Irenaeus says that the followers of Mark:

have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole faith. They maintain that those who have attained to perfect knowledge must of necessity be regenerated into that power which is above all. For it is otherwise impossible to find admittance within the Pleroma ... For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins, but the redemption brought in by that Christ who descended upon Him, was for perfection; and they allege that the former is animal, but the latter spiritual. [AH i.21.1,2]

The point is that Irenaeus, Clement and 'those of Mark' have inherited an understanding that baptism is both a 'regeneration' and the great mystery of the Church. The sticking point is clearly (a) identifying the mystery of baptism as 'redemption' and (b) connecting that 'other baptism' to a section of the gospel of Mark just before the request of Salome for her sons to sit beside Jesus [ibid].

Let's take each of these points in order.

Pagels wrote a very interesting article in 2002 arguing that "Irenaeus set out to make a difference between Christians in order to demonstrate that [the heretics] while commonly accepted as fellow believers, were in fact, apostates and heretics ... what concerned Irenaeus was not so much that they held beliefs and ideas different than his own, but that they engaged in practices intended to affect apolutrosis ('redemption' sometimes called 'second baptism')." I will come back to this article but I think Pagels is on the right track but misses the mark ultimately.

Irenaeus simply stripped Christian baptism away from its roots in the Jewish mystical interest in the crossing of the Sea by the ancient Israelites as the seventh day went out into the eighth.

Indeed if we scrutinize Irenaeus's description of the Marcosians I think we can find a confirmation of the basic idea that Mark introduced the concept of the 'mystery of the kingdom of God' AS BAPTISM into the Alexandrian community. It all goes back to their parallel interest in numerology that we also find in the writings of Philo and in particular the idea that mystical interest in the numbers six, seven and eight WERE ALREADY PRESENT IN THE GOSPEL.

Irenaeus writes that Mark:

asserts that the fruit of this arrangement and analogy [i.e. the conjunction of letters and numbers in heaven] has been manifested in the likeness of an image, namely, Him who, after six days, ascended into the mountain along with three others, and then became one of six (the sixth), in which character He descended and was contained in the Hebdomad, since He was the illustrious Ogdoad, and contained in Himself the entire number of the elements ... And for this reason did Moses declare that man was formed on the sixth day; and then, again, according to arrangement, it was on the sixth day, which is the preparation, that the last man appeared, for the regeneration of the first, Of this arrangement, both the beginning and the end were formed at that sixth hour, at which He was nailed to the tree. For that perfect being Nous, knowing that the number six had the power both of formation and regeneration, declared to the children of light, that regeneration which has been wrought out by Him who appeared as the Episemon in regard to that number.[AH i.14.6]

For those who have read my arguments on behalf of the idea that 'Secret Mark' was the 'apocryphal' gospel [AH i.20.1] of the Marcosians, I am very drawn to the idea that the reference:

And after six days Jesus told him what to do, and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God.[To Theodore III.7 - 10]

is yet another example of a reference to the mystery of the six ('after six days'), seven (it's the seventh day of the initiation) and eight (when the evening becomes night it's 'the eight').

Indeed notice that the words Irenaeus uses would perfectly fit the context of Secret Mark representing 'the redemption baptism' - viz. "it was on the sixth day, which is the preparation, that the last man appeared, for the regeneration of the first .. [because] the number six had the power both of formation and regeneration."

For those who would like argue that Irenaeus never says that the Marcosians used a gospel which had 'extra material' than our canonical text(s), this is plainly refuted in the section which deals with the Marcosian gospel. Irenaeus identifies material which did not appear in his gospel (such as Jesus instructing his teacher on the mystical significance of the alphabet) and then seeming to accept or acknowledge sayings that are unknown to our canon such as the one where Jesus:

when He said, "I have often desired to hear one of these words, and I had no one who could utter it," they maintain, that by this expression "one" He set forth the one true God whom they knew not.

Irenaeus not only seems to treat this saying as if it were already known to his audience but elsewhere in the five books he seems to think Matthew 11:27 was also found in Mark.

The reason I bring this up is that we have already established that the scriptural basis for the Marcosian apolutrosis baptism is identified by Irenaeus as appearing just before Mark 10:35 - the exact place that we find the first 'addition' to the Alexandrian Gospel of Mark in to Theodore.

Now to those who say that there is no direct reference to the followers of Mark ADDING new material to the gospel in the writings of Irenaeus, I say that they should read the five books again with a critical eye.

About a week ago I tirelessly demonstrated that there are in fact THREE surviving reworked versions of Irenaeus's original 'lecture' on the Valentinians. Most people over look Tertullian's preservation of the same material. I noted that the most puzzling feature of that work is that chapters eight, nine and ten of what is now called Irenaeus's Five Books Against All Heresies is not found in Tertullian. Tertullian's work 'jumps' from chapter seven to chapter eleven, clearly demonstrating that chapters eight, nine and ten were unknown to his original source.

Why does this matter? Because this section of text has a reference to the apolutrosis which Harvey and others changed to apulosis because they couldn't understand the actual reading in its original context. As Hippolytus notes, only the Marcosians employed a baptism called 'apolutrosis.' The Valentinians were rightly excluded from this heretical ritual.

I would argue that like most of Against All Heresies (especially Book 2), this represents an original 'lecture' against the Marcosians which a later editor placed in the middle of a continuous section of Valentinian material. The section begins with a clear statement that the heretics employed a gospel with 'additional' material to support their ideas about apolutrosis:

Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions.[AH i.8.1]

Irenaeus immediately goes on to explain the manner in which they 'transform scripture' with the example of 'rearranging gems':

Their manner of acting is just as if one, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skilful artist out of precious jewels, should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skilful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception what a king's form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives' fables, and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions.[ibid]

After going through a number of examples Irenaeus concludes the section with a clear understanding that it is the variant form of baptism - apolutrosis - which is at the heart of the issue. We read:

he who retains unchangeable [ακλινη] in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognise the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of the king. But when he has restored every one of the expressions quoted to its proper position, and has fitted it to the body of the truth, he will lay bare, and prove to be without any foundation, the figment of these heretics.

But since what may prove an apolutrosis to this scene [skene] is wanting, so that any one, on following out their imitation [μῖμος] to the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it, we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms an a priori proof that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.
[AH i.9.4,5]

It is my guess that the section which has been placed in chapters eight, nine and ten in Book One originally appeared immediately following chapter twenty and just before chapter twenty one (if the reader looks he will see how abrupt the change of subjects is and how perfectly the new material fits the gap).

To this end I propose that immediately following the words just cited the following words from chapter twenty one appeared:

And on this account, since it is fluctuating, it is impossible simply and all at once to make known its nature, for every one of them hands it down just as his own inclination prompts. Thus there are as many schemes of "redemption" as there are teachers of these mystical opinions. And when we come to refute them, we shall show in its fitting-place, that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole faith.[AH i.21.1]

In other words, the material which Tertullian cites as being in Irenaeus's original account written against the Valentinians is older and more correct than the existing manuscripts of Irenaeus. The reader should read the work I have already laid down on this subject in previous posts.

The bottom line here is that when restored to its proper context, Irenaeus's argument originally was that the apolutrosis baptism was based on a 'rearrangement' of gospel material with 'false narratives' added to support the claims for its existence. There is so much more work for us to do here. But at this moment I think that there is a growing case to be made that Irenaeus did indeed know of something like 'Secret Mark' and its alternative baptism narrative with later editors of Irenaeus's material effectively wiping the slate clean of the original reference(s).

More to follow.  I wrote this while watching Yentl ...

How Alexandrian Judaism Developed into Christianity [Part Two]

Imagine how silly a study of the origins of Islam would be if it were conducted by devout Muslims or perhaps, if the question of whether or not mount Gerizim might have been the original holy mountain of Israel were settled by people who already thought that Jerusalem was the proper home of the Mosaic religion. In the same way, it is just as implausible to think that anyone has seriously investigated the possibility that Christianity might have started in Alexandria. The facts are that everyone already 'knows' the 'right answer.' It's the understanding we inherited from our enlightened European ancestors.

As I already noted in the first post in this series the existing model for Christianity is a joke. Yes there is a 'document' which support the idea that the 'primitive Church' moved to Antioch in the period leading up to the Jewish War in 66 CE. But this text - the Acts of the Apostles - only makes its appearance in the mid to late second century and is rejected as totally spurious by Christian groups outside of the Catholic tradition.

The manner in which Alexandria is completely 'shut out' of Christian history is also very suspicious. All of our earliest witnesses to Christianity see it develop as an organized religion in Alexandria (cf. Athengoras, Hadrian to Servianus, Celsus etc.). So how has it that Alexandria 'got the shaft' as it were?

I think it has something to do with the basic idea that a Greek speaking form of Judaism which actively proselytized was a danger to the Empire. The worry is as old as the Acts of Isidore (c. 45 CE). You know the drill - 'the Jews are trying to take over the world.'

The truth is that EVERY PEOPLE has tried or is trying to take over the world. The fear which grew out of the Bar Kochba revolt was that the Jews might actually end up pulling it off.

So it is that I believe that in the late second century a new form of Christianity was developed which had very little in the way of 'roots' in Jewish tradition. Yes, the Catholic tradition 'confesses' no God greater than the Creator. But so what? As if the Jews ever identified the power which made the world with En Sof ...

It is my supposition that there was indeed an original form of Christianity which developed from Alexandrian Judaism that happened to embody all that was DANGEROUS about messianism as such. It is my belief that this tradition was founded by Mark pretty much in the way that Clement and a handful of cryptic fragmentary references in the later Alexandrian tradition describe it.

The core concept however is the idea that the central mystery in the tradition - baptism - was identified as apolytrosis. Irenaeus reports on this phenomenon in his Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called. We have to begin piecing together the original liturgical context of this identification and this starts with recognizing that the Hebrew verb ga 'al gets translated into the Septuagint by Greek verbs generated from the substantive lutron, meaning the ransom paid to buy freedom. Lutron, in turn is the root of the term apolytrosis.

Two critical passages which illustrate the use of lutron in the LXX translation of Exodus. The first:

I am the Lord, and I will lead you forth from the tyranny of the Egyptians and I will deliver you from bondage, and I will ransom you [lutrosomai] with a high arm and great judgement. [Ex. vi.7 LXX]

and then from the Song of the Sea:

Who is like to thee among the gods, O Lord? Who is like to thee? Glorified in holiness, marvelous in glories, doing wonders. Thou stretchest forth thy right hand, the earth swallowed them up. Thou hast guided in thy righteousness this thy people whom thou hast redeemed [elutroso] by thy strength, thou hast called them into thy holy resting place [Ex. xv.11 - 13]

The point of course is that we have the very foundation of the idea here that the ritual prayer form called ge'ullah in Aramaic was rendered apolytrosis in Greek. Philo, however helps demonstrate for us that in Alexandria the apolytrosis took on quite a different form that the Jewish prayers which are said morning and night.

We just saw in the first post in this series that Philo makes clear that the Jews of Alexandria gathered together each forty ninth day (i.e. each seventh Sabbath) and engaged in a nocturnal reenactment of the Israelites crossing of the sea which which took place as the seventh Sabbath 'went over' to the fiftieth day or 'eighth' (i.e. 7 x 7 + 1).

Philo clearly connects this number fifty with apolutrosis in his Preliminary Studies. While the section I am about to cite seems ON THE SURFACE to deal with the number ten, a careful examination of the material will make clear that what Philo IS REALLY SAYING is that the number ten is the simplest expression of the holy power embodied in the fifty WHICH IS THE APOLYTROSIS.

Philo begins by noting that:

the most sacred Moses has composed a hymn, with no slight degree of skill, attributing the most excellent things to this number of the decade, such as prayers, first-fruits, the continual and unceasing offerings of the priests, the observance of the passover, the atonement, (Lev 23:27} the remission of debts, and the return to the ancient allotments of property at the end of every fifty years; {Lev 25:9} the preparation and furnishing of the indissoluble tabernacle, {Ex 26:1} and ten thousand other things which it would take a long time to enumerate [Prelim. 89]

From this original identification that the number ten has within it the potential to express the power of the fifty - i.e. the Jubilee - he goes through all the places where the number ten has mystical significance in the Torah and ending with the example of the Passover lamb being consecrated on the tenth day.

So it is that Philo will use this allusion to the number ten to go back to the number fifty saying that:

This is, to speak properly, the spiritual passover of the soul, the passing over of all the passions and of every object of the outward senses to the tenth, which is the proper object of the intellect, and which is divine. For it is said in the scripture: "On the tenth day of this month let each of them take a sheep according to his house; {Ex 12:3} in order that from the tenth, there may be consecrated to the tenth, that is to God, the sacrifices which have been preserved in the soul, which is illuminated in two portions out of the three, until it is entirely changed in every part, and becomes a heavenly brilliancy like a full moon, at the height of its increase at the end of the second week, and so is able not only to guard, but even to sacrifice uninjured and faultless improvements, that is to say, propitiations. For this propitiation also is established in the tenth day of the month, when the soul addresses its supplications to the tenth portion, namely to God, and has learnt, by its own sagacity and acuteness, the insignificance and nothingness of the creature, and also the excessive perfection and pre-eminent excellence in all good things of the uncreated God. Therefore God becomes at once propitious, and propitious too, even without any supplications being addressed to him, to those who abase and humble themselves, and who are not puffed up with vain arrogance and self-opinion. This is remission and deliverance, this is complete freedom of the soul, shaking off the wanderings in which it wandered, and fleeing for a secure anchorage to the one nature which cannot wander, and which rises up to return to the lot which it formerly received when it had brilliant aspirations, and when it vigorously toiled in labours which had virtuous ends for their object. For then admiring it for its exertions, the holy scripture honoured it, giving it a most especial honour, and immortal inheritance, a place namely in the imperishable race. This is what the wise Abraham supplicates for, when that which in word indeed is the land of Sodom, but in real fact is the soul made barren of all good things and blinded as to its reason, is about to be burnt up, in order that if the memorial of justice, namely the Tenth (Gen 18:32} part be found in it, it may obtain a short of amnesty. Therefore he begins his supplication with a prayer for pardon, connected with the number fifty, and terminates with the number ten, the lowest number for whose redemption (apolutrosis) he can dare to entreat.

From which consideration it appears to me to have been, that Moses, after the appointment of chiliarchs, or commanders of thousands, and of centurians, and of captains of fifties, {Ex 18:25} thought proper to appoint captains of ten over all, in order than if the mind was not able to be improved by means of the elder orders, it might at least be purified by these last in order
.[Prelim. 106 - 110]

In my opinion it is only when you start to THINK about Philo's kabbalah that you can start to see why 'those of Mark' - i.e. the Marcosians - were so sure that the gospel was written by someone using this Alexandrian system.

Jesus has the disciples sit in groups of fifties (Luke 9:14). Jesus is understood to have come to Jerusalem on the tenth day (John 12:12). I invite the reader to look at Irenaeus's description of the Marcosians and the way they developed arguments about numbers in the Bible. I trust that they will understand how I view the followers of Mark developed out of Alexandrian Jewry.

It is more important now that we focus on Philo's words that there was "a prayer for pardon, connected with the number fifty ... [for] redemption (apolutrosis)." It is indeed important to remember that Philo also writes:

In the first place, these men assemble at the end of seven weeks, venerating not only the simple week of seven days, but also its multiplied power, for they know it to be pure and always virgin; and it is a prelude and a kind of forefeast of the greatest feast, which is assigned to the number fifty, the most holy and natural of numbers [Vita 65]

And after the feast they celebrate the sacred festival during the whole night ... they join together, and the two become one chorus, an imitation of that one which, in old time, was established by the Red Sea, on account of the wondrous works which were displayed there; for, by the commandment of God, the sea became to one party the cause of safety, and to the other that of utter destruction; for it being burst asunder, and dragged back by a violent reflux, and being built up on each side as if there were a solid wall, the space in the midst was widened, and cut into a level and dry road, along which the people passed over to the opposite land, being conducted onwards to higher ground; then, when the sea returned and ran back to its former channel, and was poured out from both sides, on what had just before been dry ground, those of the enemy who pursued were overwhelmed and perished. When the Israelites saw and experienced this great miracle, which was an event beyond all description, beyond all imagination, and beyond all hope, both men and women together, under the influence of divine inspiration, becoming all one chorus, sang hymns of thanksgiving to God the Saviour, Moses the prophet leading the men, and Miriam the prophetess leading the women [ibid 83 - 89]

Given that Philo connects the fifty with a prayer for apultrosis in one text, that lutron appears throughout the relevant sections of Exodus and the Jews call their prayers adapted from this same material 'the redemption' can there be any doubt that the Alexandrian community identified these practices described by Philo as 'the apolutrosis'?

The one thing that is missing from the description in Philo is any reference to baptism. Yet it has to be acknowledged that Philo is certainly not revealing everything about the sect - let alone his relationship with the community.

I have already noted that the Samaritan Dositheans must be regarded as being very closely related to the Therapeutae. The major difference is that we have references to them standing in the water saying prayers which - we must assume - were related to Crossing of the Sea by the Israelites. Of course, it is worth noting that these reports only come down to us because of their opponents.

Jan Van Goudoever refers to the Therapeutae venerating the 21 of Nissan as the date of the crossing - which he argues - SHOULD have been taken over by the Christians. I think we can now begin to make the case that IT WAS using the evidence from Irenaeus's portrait of the Marcosians and Clement's Letter to Theodore /...

How Alexandrian Judaism Developed into Christianity [Part One]

So let me begin by saying that this is my second attempt at developing this observation.  One wrong typing stroke caused the original long, long article (many of you know how long my articles can get!) caused the first draft to disappear.  Given that I naively believe that everything happens for a reason, I will try and use this 'opportunity' to boil down that original - and now lost - article down to its essential points.

Let me start by saying that I know I go against the grain when I suggest that Christianity developed from Alexandrian Judaism. While it is relatively well known that there are legendary stories that Philo was the first 'bishop' of Alexandria, they are rightly regarded with some suspicion.  Nevertheless one should still be open to the idea that a kernel of truth might still be in these fabulous stories.  Let's look at Photius's version of the tradition which reads in full:

Read, also, his two tractates, Censure of Gaius and Censure of Flaccus in which, more than in his other writings, he shows vigour of expression and beauty of language. But he frequently errs by changing his ideas and in describing other things in a manner at variance with Jewish philosophy. He flourished in the times of the emperor Gaius, to whom he states that he sent a deputation on behalf of his own people, while Agrippa was king of Judaea. He was the author of numerous treatises on various subjects, ethical discussions, and commentaries on the Old Testament, mostly consisting of forced allegorical explanations. I believe that it was from him that all the allegorical interpretation of Scripture originated in the Church. It is said that he was converted to Christianity, but afterwards abandoned it in a fit of anger and indignation. Before this, during the reign of the emperor Claudius, he had visited Rome, where he met St. Peter, chief of the apostles, and became intimate with him, which explains why he thought the disciples of St. Mark the evangelist, who was a disciple of St. Peter, worthy of praise, of whom he says that they led a contemplative life amongst the Jews. He calls their dwellings monasteries, and declares that they always led an ascetic life, practising fasting, prayer, and poverty.

Philo came of an Alexandrian priestly family. He was so admired amongst the Greeks for his power of eloquence that it was a common saying amongst them : "Either Plato philonizes or Philo platonizes." [Bibl. 105]

To be certain the whole business of Philo meeting St. Peter in Rome is legendary but the idea that Philo came from an Alexandrian priestly family (and thus was connected with the Alexandrian temple) and that persistent idea that the Therapeutae were disciples of St. Mark might not all be complete nonsense.

Indeed it should be emphasized that Photius is not getting ALL his ideas about a connection between St. Mark and the Therapeutae from Eusebius.  This because we see in the previous entry in the Bibliotheca that Photius was reading Philo's original report on the Therapeutae.  It reads:

Read, also, his description of the lives of those amongst the Jews who led a life of contemplative or active philosophy, the Essenes and Therapeutae. The latter not only built monasteries and holy places (semneia, to use their own word), but also laid down the rules of monasticism followed by the monks of the present day. [ibid 104]

I find the reference to the existence of semneia of the Therapeutae very interesting given the consistent use of this word to mean 'temple' - i.e. a building or site 'in the possession' of a god.  Liddell Scott has the following entry for the related term σεμνός ,, ή, όν, (σέβομαι):

A. revered, august, holy:

I. prop. of gods, e.g. Demeter, h.Cer.1,486; Hecate, Pi.P.3.79; Thetis, Id.N.5.25; Apollo, A.Th.800; Poseidon, S.OC55; Pallas Athena, ib.1090 (lyr.); at Athens the Erinyes were specially the σεμναὶ θεαί, Id.Aj.837, OC 90,458, Ar.Eq.1312, Th.224, Th.1.126, Autocl. ap. Arist.Rh.1398b26; or simply Σεμναί, A.Eu.383 (lyr.), 1041 (lyr.), E.Or.410; τὸ ς. ὄνομα their name, S.OC41; ς. βάθρον the threshold of their temple, ib.100; ς. τέλη their rites, ib. 1050 (lyr.).

2. of things divine, ὄργια ς. h.Cer.478, S.Tr.765; “θέμεθλα δίκης” Sol.4.14; “ὑγίεια” Simon.70; “θυσία” Pi.O.7.42; ς. ἄντρον the cave of Cheiron, Id.P.9.30, cf. O.5.18; ς. δόμος the temple of Apollo, Id.N.1.72; “παιάν” A.Pers.393; σέλμα ς. ἡμένων, of the Olympian gods, Id.Ag.183 (lyr.); ς. ἔργα, of the gods, Id.Supp.1037 (lyr.); “μυστήρια” S.Fr.804, E.Hipp.25; τέρμων οὐρανοῦ ib.746; ς. βίος devoted to the gods, Id.Ion 56; σεμνὰ φθέγγεσθαι, = εὔφημα, A.Ch.109 (v.l.), cf. Ar.Nu.315,364; ἦ πού τι ς. ἔστιν ὃ ξυναμπέχεις; A.Pr.521; τὸ ς. holiness, D.21.126.

Photius is clearly getting his ideas for a Therapeutaean semneia from the text of Philo that he has read with his own eyes.  This is not something that he has simply appropriated from Eusebius.

Some examples of the use of semneion in Philo's Contemplative Life include:

And in every house there is a sacred shrine which is called the semneion, and the monastery in which they retire by themselves and perform all the mysteries of a holy life, bringing in nothing, neither meat, nor drink, nor anything else which is indispensable towards supplying the necessities of the body, but studying in that place the laws and the sacred oracles of God enunciated by the holy prophets, and hymns, and psalms, and all kinds of other things by reason of which knowledge and piety are increased and brought to perfection. [Vita 25]

And this common semneion to which they all come together on the seventh day is a twofold circuit, being separated partly into the apartment of the men, and partly into a chamber for the women, for women also, in accordance with the usual fashion there, form a part of the audience, having the same feelings of admiration as the men, and having adopted the same sect with equal deliberation and decision; and the wall which is between the houses rises from the ground three or four cubits upwards, like a battlement, and the upper portion rises upwards to the roof without any opening, on two accounts; first of all, in order that the modesty which is so becoming to the female sex may be preserved, and secondly, that the women may be easily able to comprehend what is said being seated within earshot, since there is then nothing which can possibly intercept the voice of him who is speaking. [ibid 32, 33]

It is more important that we see remind ourselves that the Therapeutae employed a 364 day 'Jubilee calendar' where the day after the forty ninth day (i.e. the seventh sabbath) - i.e. the fiftieth day - was especially holy.  As Clement learned from Philo, fifty is the embodiment of the ogdoad - i.e. 7 (x 7) + 1 - or as Philo explains:

In the first place, these men assemble at the end of seven weeks, venerating not only the simple week of seven days, but also its multiplied power, for they know it to be pure and always virgin; and it is a prelude and a kind of forefeast of the greatest feast, which is assigned to the number fifty, the most holy and natural of numbers, being compounded of the power of the right-angled triangle, which is the principle of the origination and condition of the whole.  Therefore when they come together clothed in white garments, and joyful with the most exceeding gravity, when some one of the ephemereutae (for that is the appellation which they are accustomed to give to those who are employed in such ministrations), before they sit down to meat standing in order in a row, and raising their eyes and their hands to heaven, the one because they have learnt to fix their attention on what is worthy looking at, and the other because they are free from the reproach of all impure gain, being never polluted under any pretence whatever by any description of criminality which can arise from any means taken to procure advantage, they pray to God that the entertainment may be acceptable, and welcome, and pleasing; and after having offered up these prayers the elders sit down to meat, still observing the order in which they were previously arranged, for they do not look on those as elders who are advanced in years and very ancient, but in some cases they esteem those as very young men, if they have attached themselves to this sect only lately, but those whom they call elders are those who from their earliest infancy have grown up and arrived at maturity in the speculative portion of philosophy, which is the most beautiful and most divine part of it. [ibid 65 - 67]

Now I know that it will be difficult for Christians to give up their essentially childish assumptions about the development of their tradition from the pseudo-historical narrative in the Acts of the Apostles.  Nevertheless what Philo is describing here is clearly the TRUE GROUND out of which Christianity ACTUALLY developed.  

Acts, it should be seen, is complete nonsense developed for political purposes alone (i.e. to develop an alternative theory to the reality of the Alexandrian origins of Christianity).  

This becomes especially clear when we see that THE CONTEXT of the expectation associated with the veneration of the Ogdoad (i.e. the fifty) is the Crossing of the Sea.  As Marqe notes, the fact that the word AZ (i.e. Heb. 'then') begins the Song of the Sea is deliberate.  It draws our attention to the power of the Ogdoad - i.e. A (1) + Z (7) = 8.  As the Samaritans continue to acknowledge to this day the Israelites came to the water as the seventh day of Unleavened Bread ended and wonder of the crossing of the sea occurred just as the seventh 'went out' into the eighth.  

So it is that Philo says that the Therapeutae gathered on the forty ninth day and sang special hymns devoted to the crossing as the day went out into the fiftieth day.  As we read:

And after the feast they celebrate the sacred festival during the whole night; and this nocturnal festival is celebrated in the following manner: they all stand up together, and in the middle of the entertainment two choruses are formed at first, the one of men and the other of women, and for each chorus there is a leader and chief selected, who is the most honourable and most excellent of the band.  Then they sing hymns which have been composed in honour of God in many metres and tunes, at one time all singing together, and at another moving their hands and dancing in corresponding harmony, and uttering in an inspired manner songs of thanksgiving, and at another time regular odes, and performing all necessary strophes and antistrophes.  Then, when each chorus of the men and each chorus of the women has feasted separately by itself, like persons in the bacchanalian revels, drinking the pure wine of the love of God, they join together, and the two become one chorus, an imitation of that one which, in old time, was established by the Red Sea, on account of the wondrous works which were displayed there;  for, by the commandment of God, the sea became to one party the cause of safety, and to the other that of utter destruction; for it being burst asunder, and dragged back by a violent reflux, and being built up on each side as if there were a solid wall, the space in the midst was widened, and cut into a level and dry road, along which the people passed over to the opposite land, being conducted onwards to higher ground; then, when the sea returned and ran back to its former channel, and was poured out from both sides, on what had just before been dry ground, those of the enemy who pursued were overwhelmed and perished. When the Israelites saw and experienced this great miracle, which was an event beyond all description, beyond all imagination, and beyond all hope, both men and women together, under the influence of divine inspiration, becoming all one chorus, sang hymns of thanksgiving to God the Saviour, Moses the prophet leading the men, and Miriam the prophetess leading the women.  Now the chorus of male and female worshippers being formed, as far as possible on this model, makes a most humorous concert, and a truly musical symphony, the shrill voices of the women mingling with the deep-toned voices of the men. The ideas were beautiful, the expressions beautiful, and the chorus-singers were beautiful; and the end of ideas, and expressions, and chorussingers, was piety; therefore, being intoxicated all night till the morning with this beautiful intoxication, without feeling their heads heavy or closing their eyes for sleep, but being even more awake than when they came to the feast, as to their eyes and their whole bodies, and standing there till morning, when they saw the sun rising they raised their hands to heaven, imploring tranquillity and truth, and acuteness of understanding. And after their prayers they each retired to their own separate semneion, with the intention of again practising the usual philosophy to which they had been wont to devote themselves. This then is what I have to say of those who are called therapeutae, who have devoted themselves to the contemplation of nature, and who have lived in it and in the soul alone, being citizens of heaven and of the world, and very acceptable to the Father and Creator of the universe because of their virtue, which has procured them his love as their most appropriate reward, which far surpasses all the gifts of fortune, and conducts them to the very summit and perfection of happiness. [ibid 81 - 90]

Philo's use of terminology to describe the buildings of the Therapeutae is very confusing of course as many have noted.  There seems to been a koinon semneion for seventh day worship as well as individual semneion but that isn't our immediate concern here.

Our interest is to understand the context for LGM 1 (i.e. the first 'addition' to the Gospel of Mark in its original Alexandrian form).  I think everyone reading this post can see the connection now.  If not, here is some additional assistance for those people.

The Liber Pontificalis makes absolutely clear that up until the end of the second century the Alexandrians DID NOT venerate Easter on the Sunday immediately following Passover.  This was the 'innovation' that Victor of Rome established, thus changing the original Alexandrian practice.  While that original Alexandrian practice isn't explicitly identified the context of the reference makes it clear it had something to do with the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

I have already referenced the fact that a number of scholars have noted that Origen references a contemporary Alexandrian Christian celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread venerated with 'appropriate' gloom (i.e. 'bitter herbs).  Origen was not alone.  This development of Chag HaMatzot as part of a variant Easter liturgy was quite early and widespread.  It seems be rooted in the conclusion of the narrative of the Gospel of Peter.

Yet I am also very convinced that it was already anticipated in the section of text which appeared in the Alexandrian Gospel of Mark just before Mark 10:35 - 45 (i.e. the so-called LGM 1).  The section of text which reads:

And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.' But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near, Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightaway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb, they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do, and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the Kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan

As I have often noted the ogdoad is implicit in the narrative.  The evening when Jesus comes to the neaniskos is the first day and counting after the Jewish manner we add the 'after six days' to arrive at 'the evening the youth comes to him wearing a linen cloth over his naked body.'  The 'mystery of the Kingdom of God' which takes place 'that night' is actually the eighth day in the sequence.

One would clearly expect that any baptism would occur as the seventh day literally 'went out' into the eighth.  The context is clearly the 'crossing of the Sea' as the Apostle already references this event as the basis for Christian baptism (1 Cor chapter 10).  I have also already demonstrated that among the followers of Mark (Aram. Marqione = 'Marcionites') the Letter to the Corinthians was known as 'to the Alexandrians.'

For those who ask why Jesus could be imagined by Mark to have established a ritual connected with the Israelite 'crossing of the sea' in a period of the year outside of the feast commemorating that event (i.e. the Passover) there are two easy answers for that.  The first is that Clement already tells us that LGM 1 appears immediately following Jesus' 'prediction' of the Passion - i.e.

after "And they were in the road going up to Jerusalem" and what follows, until "After three days he shall arise", the secret Gospel brings the following material word for word ...

In other words, Jesus stands up and says something is going to happen during the feast which commemorates the redemption of Israel and then IMMEDIATELY goes on to describe a baptism which occurs as the seventh day 'goes out' into the eighth (as I said many times before if Jews and Samaritans were involved in the 'deciphering' of To Theodore the text would have been understood the day after Smith found it).

The second explanation is that Philo already tells us that Alexandrian Jews - the Therapeutae - were ritually 'reenacting' or remembering the crossing every seventh Sabbath.  As such, for contemporary Alexandrian audiences at least, it wouldn't have seemed at all strange that Jesus or anyone else for that matter was thinking about the seven day Chag HaMatzot on a particular 'seventh day' in the year.

Indeed I have already informed my readers that the contemporary Samaritans still reference the 'crossing of the Sea' at the end of every Sabbath (undoubtedly a survival of Dosithean practice).

They start the second part of Saturday evening prayer with the citation from Ex. 14:10, 13 (SP) by the next words:

וישאו בני ישראל את עיניהם ויראו והנה מצרים נסעים אחריהם וייראו מאד.
ויאמר משה אל העם אל תיראו, התיצבו וראו את ישועת ה'.
ה' ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון:

And the son of Israel raised their eyes and they saw, and behold the Egyptians were driving after them, and they became very frightened
And Moses said to the people, do not fear, stand by and see the salvation of Shehmaa.
Shehmaa will fight for you while you keep silent.

Indeed if we take matters one step further it is worth noting that the Samaritan chronicler Abu'l Fath makes explicit that the Dositheans said prayers while standing in the water. This can only be a reference to the recitation of the Song of the Sea or indeed this practice associated with commemorating the crossing as the seventh sabbath went out into the fiftieth day (they are also called Sebueans = 'seveners'). The Dositheans were especially numerous in Alexandria even down to the sixth century when Eulogius composed a special treatise against them (Photius Bibl. Cod 230).

The point is then that when we take all the evidence together it is not all surprising that something like LGM 1 appeared in the original Alexandrian Gospel written 'according to Mark.' It is even clearer why it was taken out by later Roman editors. It was clearly connected with the heretical hope for the community in a 'redemption' from the ruler of this world, who was interpreted to be Caesar.

The connection between LGM 1 and the liturgy of the Alexandrian Church is already established in Clement's description. As he introduces the idea of 'extra material' found in the Alexandrian copies as a means of justifying the presence of LGM 1 (which was apparently disputed, altered or ridiculed by at least some Christian sects) Clement notes that these additions formed the basis to the Alexandrian liturgy:

Thus he composed a more spiritual Gospel for the use of those who were being perfected. Nevertheless, he yet did not divulge the things not to be uttered, nor did he write down the hierophantic teaching of the Lord, but to the stories already written he added yet others and, moreover, brought in certain sayings of which he knew the interpretation would, as a mystagogue, lead the hearers into the innermost sanctuary of that truth hidden by seven veils. Thus, in sum, he prepared matters, neither grudgingly nor incautiously, in my opinion, and, dying, he left his composition to the church in Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries (megala mysteria).

Now I have already noted in my last post that Clement's division of a 'lesser' and 'greater mystery' is paralleled by the Marcosian understanding that there was a lesser and greater baptism in Christianity. The fact that Clement was a crypto-Marcosian has already been demonstrated by a number of scholars before me. I have just strengthened those proofs by uncovering over fifty parallels between the beliefs of Clement and those of the sect.

The 'great mystery' has everything to do with the eighth day (or more precisely the seventh day 'going out' into the eighth) and its relationship with the crossing of the Sea. Scott Brown's objections are not even worth considering because they are based on a set of assumptions which weren't shared by the Alexandrian tradition.

I don't want too involved in his analysis in his Mark's Other Gospel but it is worth saying two things rather briefly. The first is that the Alexandrian's always emphasized Jesus' divine nature with good reason. He was not the messiah but rather the divine hypostasis called 'Chrestos' (in the LXX a translation of yashar, consistently understood to be the root to the name 'Israel') and a name which the Marcosians emphasized had the numerical value 888. Marqe (Mark) also notes in his Samaritan writings that where the Hebrew text begins the Song of the Sea with the word AZ which, as we noted has a numerical value of eight the LXX has 'then sang' which has a value in Greek of 888. In other words, to follow the Apostle's train of thought in 1 Corinthians, Chrestos or Jesus was the hypostasis into which the ancient Israelites were baptized in the sea. As such what is being described in LGM 1 is clearly Jesus preparing the neaniskos for a similar 'baptism into his cloud' as it were only now the Christian initiates are being baptized directly into the Father rather than a divine hypostasis.

The second point is that when Jesus is properly established as the hypostasis of the Father - or even the Father himself according to some early Alexandrian 'heresies' - we realize at once that there are two different figures in the gospel narrative - i.e. 'Jesus' and 'Christ.'

To this end, when Irenaeus speaks of "those, again, who separate Jesus from Christ, alleging that Christ remained impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered, preferring the Gospel by Mark" [AH iii.11.7] I think it is one part of that original Alexandrian paradigm. So too his ridicule of various heretical groups for arguing that Jesus descended onto Christ and the like.

With regards to the prediction that Christ would be 'raised on the third day' [Mark 10:34] there is no contradiction in associating baptism with the eighth day given that the Gospel of Peter (a text I have always identified with the 'account of the Lord's doings' that Mark wrote for Peter in To Theodore) has BOTH Mary and the women discovering the empty tomb on the Lord's day [Gos. Pet. 50] AND additional significance to the eighth day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread as the disciples are depicted as being 'on the sea' on that day [ibid 58 - 60] just before the text becomes fragmentary.

The point is that we have yet to discuss why the Marcosians identified as the 'redemption' apolytrosis] but we have already made great progress in that regard. The writings of Philo make clear that the crossing of the sea is the ultimate context for Alexandrian Christian baptism. In our next post we will take that understanding one step further ...