Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Apocryphote of the Day: 3-3-09

Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Where does this saying of Jesus come from? I've decided to present a paper on it at SBL in New Orleans.


Jared said...

John 8:42-44.

Bob MacDonald said...

So would you class John as apocryphal? I read it expecting a slight twist on the canonical and it never came!

April DeConick said...

Well Bob, who is the ruler of this world according to the Johannine author?

Bob MacDonald said...

Ah the archon - of course - am I reading Madeline L'Engle? :) mentioned 3 times in John as prince of the world and only John. But a normal word for Matthew and Luke too.

Also in the canon - the prince of the kings of the earth - the 'ruler' is the faithful witness (Rev 1:5)

Do you think that the NT writers lost sight of the psalmist's recognition of YHWH as King?

No that must be too strong a thought - they loved the psalms too much. (Even John has 8 allusions and Revelation 12 to the psalms)

How are the psalms used in the non-canonical gospels, I wonder...

pearl said...

I have found Heracleon’s commentary interesting.

Fragments 44-47:

The hylics (by nature) are doomed. The pneumatics (by nature) are elected by God. But the psychics (children of Abraham) have choices. By intent they can either become children of the Devil or else children of God.

Frank McCoy said...

Jn 8:44, "You are of the father, the Devil, and the desires of your
father you want to do. That one was a manslayer from the Beginning and has not stood in the Truth because Truth is not in him. When he speaks the Lie, of his own things he from1QS (Community Rule), "Those born of speaks because he is a liar and the father of it."
The atmosphere is that of Qumran, such as we find in this statement truth spring from a fountain of
light, but those born of injustice spring from a source of darkness."
The "source of darkness", from which the wicked spring, making it their father, is variously called Belial, the Angel of Darkness, the Spirit ofFalsehood, etc. in the DSS. In Jn 8:44, it is called "the Devil".
Particularly helpful for understanding Jn 8:44 is 4Q169 (Commentary on Nahum) and its comments on "the seekers of smooth things"--who appear to be the Pharisees and their followers.
In it, we find, "*Woe to the city of blood; it is full of lies and
rapine.* Interpreted, this is the city of Ephraim, those who seek
smooth things during the last days, who walk in lies and falsehood."
This is a city of blood, so the seekers of smooth things are
characterized as not only being liars, but manslayers as well.
It thusly continues, *The prowler is not wanting...There is no end to
the corpses; they stumble upon their corpses.* Interpreted, this
concerns the dominion of those who seek smooth things, from the midst of whose assembly the sword of the nations shall never be wanting.
Captivity, looting, and burning shall be among them, and exile out of dread for the enemy. A multitude of guilty corpses shall fall in their days, there shall be no end to the sum of their slain." Here, we learn
the horrible extent of their manslaying.
Shortly thereafter, it states, "*I will cast filth upon you and treat
you with contempt and render you despicably, so that all who look upon you shall flee from you.* Interpreted, this concerns those who seek smooth things, whose evil deeds shall be uncovered to all Israel at the end of time. Many shall understand their iniquity and treat them with contempt because of their guilty presumption. When the glory of Judah shall arise, the simple of Ephraim shall flee from their assembly; they shall abandon those who lead them astray and shall join Israel." In Jn 8:44, "the Jews" are the manslayers and liars, i.e., the seekers of
smooth things, while Jesus is "the glory of Judah"--he who will arise to rule Israel and bring into it those had been led astray by the seekers of smooth things, thereby transforming them from "Jews" into
"Israelites". Compare Jn 1:47,49, "Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him and says to him, 'Look, a genuine Israelite in whom is not
guile.'...Nathaniel answered him, 'Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!'"
More specifically, as "the glory of Judah" who will arise, Jesus is, in Jn, the Logos incarnate in the flesh as the the Messiah of Judah, i.e., the Branch of David. See Jn 1:14, "And the Logos became flesh and tented among us." That is to say, the Logos became flesh as the "Tent of David", i.e., the Branch of David, he who will arise to save and rule over Israel--see 4Q174, "He is the Branch of David who shall arise with the Interpreter of the Law [to rule] in Zion an at [at the end]of time.
As it is written, '* I will raise up the tent of David that is fallen.*' That is to say, the fallen *tent of David* is he who shall arise to save Israel."

Frank McCoy said...

The first part of my post got garbled in transmission. Here's the first part (less the text citation): The atmosphere is that of Qumran, such as we find in this statement from 1QS (Community Rule), "Those born of truth spring from a fountain of light, but those born of injustice spring from a source of darkness."
The "source of darkness", from which the wicked spring, making it their father, is variously called Belial, the Angel of Darkness, the Spirit of Falsehood, etc. in the DSS. In Jn 8:44, it is called "the Devil".

N T Wrong said...

And then there's the apocryphal Gospel of Luke, with its angelic messengers, and mention of the missing 13th 'aeon' from Adam ("Cainan").

What do you make of 'The Curse of Cainan (Jub. 8.1-5): Genealogies in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 and a Mathematical Pattern' by Helen R. Jacobus in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 18.3 (2009): 207-232?

Actually, I came back just for a little chat. (And what better to chat about than the number 13?)

Leon said...

People often miss a basic point about Jesus' comments (more likely John's) at John 8:44. They miss the introduction at John 8:31 which describes the people he is talking to. It is not Jews in general. Rather 8:31 says Jesus is talking to "the Jews who had believed in him." In other words, he seems to be addressing Jews who had once believed in his Messiahship and then dropped it. Hence, it probably represents a dispute that John, or his community, was having with Jews who had been part of their fold and then left the fold. It confirms the point that the most heated disputes back them were within the Jesus community and not between the Jesus community and Jews who hever joined it.

Leon Zitzer

Rebecca said...

Of course, it's important to note that whatever the original intent or context of this statement, it was certainly used later on to demonize (literally) all Jews.

Leon said...

I would not deny that John 8:44 was used later on to demonize Jews. I would also point out that other passages in John serve this purpose even more. John in many places in his Gospel gives a highly negative and polemical picture of Jews. But if I were to give an accurate description of how John does this to Jews, I would not include John 8:44 as a direct piece of evidence. His original purpose in verse 44 is different. That has to be made clear or else we are misrepresenting the first historical significance of his text.

It is also necessary to be accurate about this because it is important to learn that conflicts within the Jesus community spilled over into conflicts with Jews in general. In other words, the heat generated by community members fighting each other had an impact into making Jews into the Other. The historical progression is important if we want to be able to undo its effects.

Leon Zitzer

beowulf2k8 said...

Christianity throught Paul and the Old Testament book of Daniel teahes that God controls all nations and who will be the ruler et al, while Ebionism (the most JEWISH of early Christian sects) taught (according to Epiphianus) that the devil rules this world and Jesus will rule the next. And we find this teaching in the wilderness temptation and in John 12:31 and 16:1. What we have is that a long Ebionite gospel was split by the Catholics (Ireneaus) into 4 gospels and interpolated with the misinterpretation of Isaiah's virgin birth prophecy and a fictional story to fulfill it and other Pagan/Gentilic material, in order to create 4 witnesses because there must be 4 like there are 4 winds. (What?) Yes, if you read Isaiah 7 and 8 you will see that Isaiah himself identifies the virgin as the prophetess and the child as Masherwashisface, not Jesus. The gospel originally was one and had no virgin birth narrative nor false application of Isaiah 7:14, Micah 5:2, and worst of all Hosea 1:11! These were added by clueless Gentiles within the Roman government, namely Ireneaus and his thugs. What we are seeing are Ebionite vestiges of the original gospel when we read the judging of the ruler of this world.