Monday, December 1, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 12-1-08

Grant (me) what no angel has seen nor archon heard, and what has not entered the human heart. (Grant me) the angelic which came into existence, and what originally was fashioned by the God of the soul, since I have faith and hope...For yours is the power and the glory and the praise and the greatness forever and ever. Amen. In peace. Christ is holy.

Prayer of Paul A.25-B.10 (Valentinian prayer)

Commentary: I post this prayer in celebration of the first week of advent which reminds us that the Christmas story is about "hope."

1 comment:

Jim Deardorff said...

What would you say that this hope consists of? If it’s a general Christian or Advent hope, I’d break it into the following parts:

1) The hope that, as in 1 Cor 15:12-19, Jesus actually died on the cross, or soon thereafter. If he had survived, with the help of medical attention, recovered and showed himself afterwards just to close friends & relatives and disciples, then traveled about covertly, staying first in Damascus a couple of years, and eventually going to northern India as various independent stories indicate, and living a long life there, this would be a theological disaster.

2) The hope that resurrection actually took place. If hope 1) above is not fulfilled, then resurrection turns out to be merely a doctrine of Pharisees adapted by Paul, a doctrine that would not have any evidence to support it. Jesus himself, after eventual death in Srinagar, would probably be subject to further incarnations unless he were an ultimate avatar.

3) The hope that the man whom the disciples viewed after the crucifixion, who was recognized by them as being Jesus, who could eat food, who was spoken of as the living Jesus, who showed them his partially healed crucifixion wounds, was nevertheless in some sort of resurrected state. Along with this is the hope that his reported ability to walk through closed doors, and to suddenly appear and disappear, were not editorial additions to an original true source.

4) The hope that Paul’s conversion experience on the Road to Damascus was a visionary one and did not involve a living voice yelling out to Saul, which voice he recognized as coming from Jesus. But what about the account of Acts 9, in which the men with Saul also heard the voice that Saul communicated with? That account is consistent with hopes 1) and 2) not being fulfilled.

5) The hope that the doctrine of reincarnation is false, and that all the modern evidence indicating the reality of past lives beyond reasonable doubt is false. If not the case, then resurrection cannot be a viable doctrine, and hopes 2) – 4) have no basis.

Since Valentinus believed in reincarnation, it could well be that he did not have to concern himself about the possibility that hopes 1) to 5) were not fulfilled. What would his hope then have consisted of?