Johnny Mercury: John the Baptist in Egypt

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7 Responses

  1. Tim C says:

    “Acts 8 also seems to be an early polemic/parody against this Simonian/Johannite practice, with Peter appropriating it, while Simon is seeking to “purchase” the powers of the Holy Spirit.”
    This is an incredibly interesting detail, and I think the Syrians and the Ebionites are the missing factor here – clearly the Gospel of John depicts a cooling of tensions between their sect and the Samarians; yet, at (perhaps) the same time, The Syrian Gospel of Thomas points to the Ebionite figurehead James as the one to follow after Jesus leaves.

    The way I see it, Acts 8 captures this fight between the Johannines, Marcionites, Syrians, and Ebionites, and I think it’s again captured in Galatians 1 and 2, along with the Secret Book of James.

    The interesting outcome was that the orthodoxy ended up rejecting the Mariconites and the Ebionites, but kept (without any apologies) the Johannines and the Syrians.

    • Alex Rivera says:

      Hey, Tim.

      I think you’re onto something. Some scholars seem to think that the Gospel of John is actually a reaction to the Mandean cult because of their esteem of John. But, others think their appropriation of John the Baptist is a late phenomenon around when Islam was just starting. There’s a lot of Alexandrian Hellenized Judaism in John, Platonism, and Egyptian/Hermetic influence going on in that text. It’s pretty obvious why it became so popular amongst Gnostic and and late derivative circles like the Cathars who rejected the other three gospels in favor for John. Saturninus was a Syrian Gnostic and a Simonian, btw.

      Marcion was also said to have been involved in the publication of the Gospel of John, too. Who knows how Marcion would have retrofitted the Gospel of John if he had taken the task upon himself, since he was said to have cut parts of Luke and was a radical Paulinist, of course. In the end, Orthodoxy did end up appropriating the Simonian/Johannite practice of “chirothesy” of bishop ordination, among other practices, despite its demonization of Simon.

      • Tim C says:

        John the Baptist is indeed a complex character…I honestly don’t know what to make of him, but I think there *must* be some relationship between he and the Sethians, because of the robust baptismal ritual.

        My assumption is that Marcion was a student of Cerinthus, who brought the Gospel of John and Revelations to the Johannines; we get a depiction of that fight in Irenaeus’ “Against Heresies”, where he describes a story where the apostle John encounters Cerinthus in a bathhouse…it was rumored that Cerinthus wrote a good chunk of the Johannine texts, and I it was that northward movement from Alexandria to Western and Northern Turkey that brought the Demiurge, along with various other Gnostic themes.

        I also think that Marcion used Revelation, and directly refers to it in 2 Corinthians 12 (this also presupposes Marcion wrote a big chunk of the Pauline text). That puts me in the stark minority, as it implies that Marcion had multiple tiers in his theology (and it also puts Paul’s existence in question), but the way I see it, Marcion crafted the original synoptic narrative, and his student Lucan, after various interactions with a competing Jewish theology that linked Jesus to David (in the gospel of Matthew), wrote the Gospel of Luke, correcting errors he thought the Jerusalem theology made to his teacher’s story…

        It’s all very speculative, of course 🙂

        • Alex says:

          Yes, I think John the Baptist, or at least the Johannite tradition is connected with Christianized Sethianism. After all, the Apocryphon of John is named after John, of course (although John the apostle or the Evangelist and not “the Baptist.”) Since you brought up Cerinthus, I personally suspect him to be connected to the Ebionites; he even may be the identity behind Ebion, since their beliefs are so similar. He’s also rumored to be connected to Revelation of St. John as well. I’m not sure about the connection between Marcion and Revelation, but it seems to me Revelation is very condemning of Paul and is more Jewish-Christian in nature (with tons of allusions to Greek and Roman myths).

          Oh and I agree that 2 Corinthians is Marcionite. I think Paul existed but the Dutch radicals present a convincing case that he didn’t and Paul was simply a penname for Marcion. And you are probably right about Luke being Marcionite in origin as well. Then there’s the whole Simon-Paul theory. But my views have evolved and changed somewhat on this subject…

  2. Susanne says:

    “Acharya S, who draws extensively on nineteenth century researchers”

    For those of us who’ve actually read her book “Christ in Egypt” we know that repeated claim of her relying of 18th-19th century works is utterly false. She provides primary sources and old and modern scholar commentary on them to compare them. She deserves a lot more respect than she gets. Really tired of these lies.

    Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection

    • Alex says:

      Hi, Susanne,

      If you noticed, my assessment of Murdock’s work in the article wasn’t at all negative. I think she has some valuable insights. I’ve also been reading up on Gerald Massey and he has a lot of good stuff as well. You focus on one little sentence and immediately assume I am out to defame her. But it’s her work that I am quoting from, if you actually read the entirety of the article. Nice try.

    • Alex says:

      Oh, you were reacting to the “tenuous” comment. Well, I did follow up on that with my own research by saying that John the Baptist is closer to the “wisdom god” archetype of Anubis, Hermes/Thoth, Enki, Oannes, etc, than he is an actual person. I also think there’s reasons to believe that John the Baptist in Josephus’ “Jewish Antiquities” is a Christian interpolation and Murdock is right about that.

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