G.J.P.J. Bolland: Philosophy of Religion
This is Klaus Schilling's summary and translation of selected parts of "Wijsbegeerte van de Godsdienst", a book edited by G. Wolthuis after the death of Gerardus J.P.J. Bolland, consisting essentially of notes taken during the Philosophy of Religion seminars given by Bolland at Dutch universities during the first two decades of the 20th century.
This summary focuses on passages relevant to discovering the true origins of Christianity. Gerardus Bolland's work is based generally on the philosophy of religion and history introduced first by G.W. Hegel. Philosophical considerations are here kept to a minimum and as a tool for the understanding of history.
Art and religions, the classical quietists[?], are superseded and rendered obsolete by pure reason. Bolland reacts here to a statement of a certain F. Bacon in "The Advancement of Learning" which states that man is forced to be an actor in his own life and is unable to be a pure spectator, but that inspired and sacred theology offers a safe haven and Sabbath rest from all human efforts. Bolland asserts that pure reason may not exactly provide what religion, according to Bacon, pretends to provide, but provides something similar: ataraxy (cessation of anxiety). Religion is seen as dead in modern times, but the causes of religion are still valid and need to be examined throughout the book.
The roots of religion are seen in both cosmic fear of death, and cosmic nostalgia or yearning for the mysterious. Religion is not moral teaching nor superstition of illiterate peoples. Religious expectations in the extreme tend to apocalyptics. Those have been around at least since Babylonian times, as an old papyrus shows, and still abound in modern days, as seen for example in the case of the Theosophic Society.
The New Testament is full of salvific expectations, see for example Gal. 1:3-4, where Jesus is expected to come and save you from this evil age. The summit of these expectations are the Revelations or prophetic teachings of John, directed against the Caesar cult. These Revelations draw on a plethora of ancient symbolism, like Babylonian astral mythology (the serpent vs. the sun god/celestial mother).
The historical background hints strongly to late first century, under the rule of Emperor Domitianus. This emperor has been seen by for example Iuvenal as the return of former Emperor Nero, as seen from the mentioning of 666 as its cabbalist sum. The disastrous fire of Rome is 'predicted', but of course rather it is a retrospective statement as this infernal accident happened already under Nero.
The language is typical for greek-writing Jews of Ephesus back those days, and in many passages, we recognise the spirit of Judaism.
But in Rev. 14:4 we see an expression of the un-Jewish chastity ideal, which was only held high by earliest Christianity of Alexandria, and expressed in the mostly lost Gospel According to the Egyptians. So we have an early Christian of possibly Jewish origin speaking here, but with un-Jewish ideals. Nevertheless he speaks of a celestial Jerusalem and proper Jews as opposed to fake ones.
Jesus is expected and invoked "Come, Lords Jesus!" It formally reminds us of the talmudic figure of the Metatron, a kind of subdeity. It is usually ignored by Jewish scholars, but there is a traditional Jewish New Year's liturgy that invokes Jesus (the Old Testament figure) as the Metatron, the prince of the face.
The central question about Jesus of the New Testament for later is to decide whether a terrestrial being has been deified [otherwise called Euhemerism] or a celestial being has been humanified.
But for now the subject of concern is the salvific expectations expressed in these revelations: God is the great consoler, and death is to be overcome, along with all other evils. (Rev. 21:4, Rev. 7:17) God is the powerful universal purifying light that will render the sun and moon obsolete (Rev. 21:23 ff). The events are expected ahead. Alas, it never happened in reality, but is only possible in the Unio Mystica.
Thus Bolland sees the Apocalypse as the first rather than the last document of the New Testament. [This view is shared by many other Radical scholars, though not by G.A. van den Bergh van Eysinga. -ks]
The concepts of religion and state are mutually supporting. Religion is here essentially involved on its lower level, which is piety, the higher level of religion being wisdom. "Fear God and honour the king" expresses the close relation of politics and piety.
While piety is desirable and achievable for the masses (for the sake of a stable organised society), wisdom is not achievable for the masses. Thus religious writings often distinguish between two levels of followers, an inner and an outer circle. This problem is traced in the New Testament and patristic literature. Thus the first letter to the Corinthians, in its early chapters, addresses the general problem of teaching wisdom. Only the elite is deemed valid for the proper doctrines of wisdom. If wisdom became a subject of daily life, the world would go to rot, as wagered in the Gospel according to John.
Clemens Alexandrinus figured in Stromata V:4:21 that both Greeks and barbarians had to express and convey truth using pictures and symbols. Hebrews 6:1 distinguishes the doctrine for beginners from the advanced doctrine for the perfected ones. Like Clemens, Origen is aware that this distinction of levels is not a uniquely Christian one, but is also found in classical philosophy.
Matt. 7:6 tells you not to throw jewels in front of the dogs, as the latter aren't able to treat them respectfully. Symbolically, Jesus is crucified by those whom he tried to enlighten, a typical destiny for teachers of wisdom.
Matt. 13:10-13 addresses the question why Jesus teaches in parable stories. The answer is that, unlike his disciples, the masses would not be able to understand the naked truth.
The parallel in Mark 4:12 is reactionary and Judaising, claiming that Jesus would teach in parables properly to prevent them from being understood by those who are the outsiders.
The dark, deficient nature of mankind (human life being subject to worries, egoism, and so on) is the root of religiosity, while the noble goals of self-denial, unselfish agape, etc. are the blossom. Religiosity is thus a permanent yearning for self-denial, due to insight into the deficient nature of mankind. Without religion, mankind would be nothing more than beasts.
God is an image for spiritual infinity. Mankind in general is too stupid to dealing reasonably with the infinite. Pure reason is only for the elite, not the broad masses, for whom it is folly. Thus intermediate symbols are necessary for the broad masses.
'Holiness' properly means segregation, setting apart. The Old Testament does not yet know holiness, but segregation is mentioned. The segregated man distinguishes himself from his environment by distinctive inner purity.
Four dogmatic dichotomies are identified, and the subsequent chapters show how these dichotomies were decided upon in early Christianity, and in which line of tradition:
· Is the Father of Jesus the same as the God of the Tanakh?
· Is Jesus a man not solely in appearance?
· Does the saved soul directly after death return to the heavens, or is it put into a state of rest until a latter-day judgement?
· Is encratism required for those who succeed Jesus? ('Encratism' is the domination of the flesh by the spirit and a corresponding abstinence from the pleasures of the flesh.)
One of the schizophrenias of the Catholic religion is the redundancy of afterlife views. The souls of the deceased are judged immediately upon death and are sent immediately, according to the sentence, to heaven, hell, or purgatory. Nonetheless, there will also be a resurrection of all the deceased, in the flesh, at the apocalyptic end of times. This mishmash is a suspect combination.
The ascension of the soul to heavens is properly a gnostic-theosophic concept, and it has its origins in the mystery religions. And it is firmly present in classical Greek philosophy. The roots of the latter are to be found in mystery religiosity, too, and the impact was strong enough to bring the downfall of said philosophy.
Even Aristotle, the least superstitious of all classical philosophers, espoused the concept of ascension. He sees the pneuma of the soul as made from astral substance. Stars are seen as divine. The pneuma comes from the stars, and after death is bound back up there. It is seen as the quintessence, the ethereal. An epitaph of that era says that the bodies return to the earth, the souls to the ethereal. The most important mystery religion in this context is the Orphic cult, and the Pythagoreans followed on the same lines.
This ascension was also essentially the original view of Alexandrian Christianity, until the first half of the second century. But the church fathers from around 150 and afterwards disposed with this view and replaced it with the apocalyptic resurrection view. This is seen from the writings of Justin Martyr, Ireneus, and Tertullian. Heaven is closed for all men as long as the world exists.
The rest of the souls until the latter day or apocalyptic judgement is Judaist, albeit not based on the Torah. Not all Jews stuck to it, only the sect of the Pharisees. Saducees continued the older view.
The original Judaistic view was that of a continued existence in the underworld, without emotion or thought. The proper soul, located in the blood, was lost at death. Chaldeans and Babylonians thought in a similar manner. Along with the Greek Pausanias, they all thought of the underworld or world of the dead as a land of no return. In Jewish literature this is most evident in the work of Ben Sirah. Flavius Josephus selectively restricted the resurrection to righteous Jews.
Unlike this archaic Jewish view, that of the Pharisees is of Zoroastrian origin, as witnessed by Theopomp, Diogenes Laertius, and Aeneas of Gaza.
The belief in the human flesh as the prison of the soul waiting for its liberation is also the faith of the Essenes, who are related to the Alexandrian Therapeutae. This faith is distinctly the original Christian view on afterlife. In non-orthodox writings, that idea is also found on some epitaphs: "The flesh rests here." The soul was renewed by the spirit of the Christ and dressed in an angelic body. The astral body is then assumed into the celestial empire of the Christ, along with the soul.
Calvin, after being initially undecided, confirmed the view of Justin Martyr etc. in the resting of the dead until the latter day.
The originally non-Judaistic Gospel was Judaised at Rome by the Catholics. Christianity was not originally based on Judaism or produced from within Judaism, but, just like philosophy, on Hellenic mystery religion or theosophy. The original gospel was the work of thoroughly Hellenised diaspora Jews at Alexandria who built up their own mystery cult. The Old Testament merely supplied them with some mythic themes, but did not have any significant influence on the original doctrine. That gospel did not know of the resurrection, and did not advocate self-mortification.
Obviously such a doctrine was sociophobic and misanthropic, and not suited for a religion for a stable society. Bolland justifies the intent of the Catholic church, to provide a religion suited for the practical needs of society, but not the means, fraudulent mutilation of texts. The Synoptics are the work of the Roman church, while John's gospel is from Ephesus.
The background of the Gospel is that of a mystery religion. A mystery religion is a metaphoric representation of decay and revival, of descent to hell and ascension to heavens of some mystery deity, as the warrantee for the salvific expectations, the eternal life, of the believers. The most famous mystery cult of Egypt was that of Osiris, the Lord of immortality according to the Book of the Dead. Attic mysteries dance to a similar tune.
Galatians 3:1 stands in the same tradition. "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified." [Frans-Joris Fabri's translation -ks] -- 'portrayed before your eyes' in the sense of a mystery revelation. It is a drama in 5 acts, as figured by Robertson: the last supper, the arrest and deportation from the garden, the trial by Pontius Pilatus, the crucifixion, and finally the resurrection.
Eph. 4:9-10 relates the ascension to a descent. The body goes to hell, the soul to the heavens. Christ goes above the stars, as the ruler of the whole universe. According to First Peter 3:19 Jesus went down to hell and preached to the spirits in there. The Gospel According to the Egyptians presents the same theme.
According to Rom. 6:8f, which is an old mystery formula, the believers have died with the Christ, and will also live with the Christ. Death holds no more power over the Christ, and in consequence also no more power over the believers. The baptism warranties thusly eternal life. Originally only flowing water was ritually acceptable, which is still the case in the Mandean religion, who lived [until Desert Storm? -ks] in Lower Babylon [now called southern Iraq]. The Mandean religion is a tribal, Sunday-worshipping baptismal religion of non-evangelical Gnostic origin, claiming to be the very Nazoreans. They still believe in the gnostic ascension of the soul.
In the second century this original escapist thought is replaced increasingly with the pragmatic Catholic doctrine with its center at Rome. This was obviously necessary for a social religion. The Gnostics of around 200 no longer taught the doctrines of those around 100, but still the original Christian, that is, mystery-oriented dogmatics, shines through.
Disapproving of carnal resurrection, Gnosticism was still able to understand resurrection metaphorically as the reanimation of the divine consciousness which is thought as dead in the men of the world. In addition, concepts of metempsychosis lurked around. According to Maleachi in the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah is expected to return, and Matt. 11:13-14 sees John the Baptist as Elijah redivivus. Justin Martyr's Tryphus 51 alludes to something on these lines. The Nero-Domitian connection reported by Juvenal is something similar.
When Jesus says unto the repenting brigand on the cross that they will enter paradise together, that very day -- not after several days in a tomb. The literal resurrection is again visibly a secondary addendum.
The Gospel according to John apparently was reworked around 150 by a presbyter who had at least two Synoptics at his disposal. It mentions the story of a blind man to be healed by Jesus. Jesus denies that the blindness is due to bad karma, but the very fact that the disciples mention this proves that karmic thought was present in Christianity of the old times.
Christianity is thus really a product of the Hellenic mystery world, and not of native Judaism, for otherwise the resurrection in the flesh would be taught more consistently in the gospels. The Hellenistic mystery teachings have been dressed on the surface with thematic symbols and myths borrowed afterwards from the Tanakh by mystery-oriented Jews in the (Alexandrian) diaspora. Ascension was already taught according to the Orphic scheme of descent to hell and ascension to heavens. Hell was understood in the sense of the underworld of beings without thought and emotions. We can't expect these ancient people to be logically coherent in combining all these various themes.
Baptising corresponds to this picture of descent and ascension. Men are dunked into the water, which represents the descent to hell/underworld, and reappear from there, representing the ascension to heavens, having thusly overcome death. Baptising is the beginning of a new, eternal life. This is a spiritual understanding of the resurrection. This is underlined by Colossians 2:12-13. The carnal resurrection is explicitly ridiculed as absurd in First Cor. 15:50. Thus Ireneus' complaint that this passage is the source of all the stupidities of the heretical sects.
The Orphic and Mithraic ascension of the soul, rather than the Pharisean concept of carnal resurrection after a long period of time, is thus the proper, original evangelical doctrine.
According to St. Augustine, Christianity existed prior to Jesus, and the fleshy presence of Jesus merely gave Christianity its name.
The great classical scholar Diels noted that the Orphic cult, coming from Asia Minor to Athens around 600 BCE and fixed there poetically by Onomacritus, strongly resembles the tenor of the gospels. The Jewish scholar Solomon Reinach proved that the church fathers believed that Orpheus was a student of Moses. [As another example, according to Dom Oto Casels, a type of Benedictine monk, the Orphic and similar cults thus prepared the way for Christianity into the pagan world. -ks] The Orphic and Mithraic mysteries had followers in Alexandria, from where the gospels originally derive.
What did it originally mean to 'follow the Christ'? This question arises in the context of, for example, Matt. 10:38, where only those are deemed worthy of the Christ who bear their cross and follow him. This alludes to the elitist character of original Christianity, not a religion for the masses who have been seen misanthropically as beyond saveability.
According to Matt. 16:24, self-denial is required. Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23 orders the believers to pick up their cross day by day, not just once per week. The cross is a strong symbol here. And it is to be asked not what happened, but what is meant by the cross as a symbol. Luke 14:27 is more verbose and shows that a rigorous contempt for family and even one's own life is required, and Galat. 5:24 asserts the necessity of crucifying the flesh and its passions.
First Cor. 9:27 orders the subjugation of the flesh for higher purposes. Paulinism is downgraded Alexandrianism, adapted for Roman laxity. The pastoral letters have been assigned falsely to Paul, and are really products of Roman clerics around 150. These clerics make Paul as an authorial figure talk against Paulinism and justify laxity. For the sake of society, this is justified, but the means are fraudulent. In any case, the pastoral epistles are not authentically Paulinic.
'Bearing the cross' is thus originally understood in the sense of encratism. Alas, this rigorism is of course unsuited for the broad masses.
According to Matt. 5:27ff, lustful thoughts are already shunned as adultery and fornication. Matt. 19:10-12 distinguishes 3 types of Eunuchs: those by nature, those by destiny, and those by religious zeal. The latter sort is blessed. But not many are supposed to be able to follow this ideal.
Similar requirements are made in a fragment of the Gospel According to the Egyptians refuted in the Stromata of Clemens Alexandrinus. There Jesus answers to a certain Salome that death will remain powerful as long as women continue to bear children. Jesus is coming in order to annihilate the work of womankind. The kingdom is expected to come when the dress of shame is torn into pieces, and sexual polarity is erased.
Origen practiced castration and is seen nowadays as an example for extreme religious fanaticism, but this was not all that rare in ancient Alexandria. The Emperors sometimes felt forced to order decrees against castration.
This celibate attitude is diametrically incompatible with Judaism, as shown by examples in Torah and Talmud.
The New Testament often downgrades the original attitude. The whole of First Cor. 7:1 affirms the necessity of celibacy, verse 9 recommends marriage for those who would otherwise indulge in promiscuity. This is realistic, but secondary, a Judaising and Roman downgrade of original Christianity. Thus two currents run through the New Testament: the original rigorism and the Roman laxity. The contrast is particularly strong in Matt. 19:5 vs. Matt. 19:12:
 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?
 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.  For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
The former violates the spirit of the gospels, while the latter expresses it.
In the Synoptics, Jesus participated in the Jewish Passover meal, which involves consuming flesh and wine. "Paul" does not yet know them [consuming flesh and wine] when dealing with the question of aquariacy and vegetariacy in "his" epistles. This is understandable because the original gospel did not make that statement -- John's gospel doesn't either, and is more original than the synoptics in this respect. In the original sense, Jesus himself is understood as the sacrificial lamb, as expressed in First Cor. 5:7.
According to John's gospel, Jesus had the last supper on the eve of Paschah. In John 19:14, Jesus appeared in front of Pilatus at the sixth hour and during the preparations for the feast. Matt. 26:17 states that the disciples prepared for the feast, ordered by Jesus. This contradicts John's gospel.
In Mark 14:12 it is the first day of the Azyma, when the Paschal lamb was slaughtered, that the disciples asked him where to perform the preparations for the feast. But the Day of the Azyma is not one and the same day as the day of the slaughter. The Paschah is the 14th of Nissan, whereas the Azyma started the 15th of Nissan. Obviously the Roman author long after the fall of Jerusalem was not that familiar with Jewish customs. Luke 22:7 is equally absurd. Torah and Flavius Josephus express that the lamb had already been slaughtered in the temple before the Azyma started.
The most stringent consequence of this absurdity is that there is no day left for the crucifixion to have happened, when following the Synoptics. More absurdities surrounding the trial and execution are listed, for example the night trial during a high feast, the capital sentence in a single session, and so on. The Jewish scholar Chwolson noted that Pharisees did not consider Blasphemy as proven before the accused person explicitly pronounced the holy name. In addition, Pharisees did not really support capital punishment, only formally.
Talmudic scholars thus try to push the guilt towards the Saducees, but that is incompatible with what the gospels say. Death by crucifixion is not tolerated by the Torah, it would even pollute the holy ground. Thus it is absurd to make the Jewish masses request the crucifixion of Jesus. The legal penalty for blasphemy was stoning.
The retouched gospels make Jesus eat meat and drink wine, and this even with his 'astral' body, as seen from Luke 24:42-43. This fraud was in the same spirit as First Tim. 4:3 and 5:23. The pastorals, all fakes, have been falsified further by the Catholic clerics with pragmatic goals. Bolland sees three documents in the gospels as essentially Alexandrian: the Epistle to the Hebrews and both epistles of Peter. [Whether they are Alexandrian is not to be confused with whether they are authentic. -ks] Those three documents present almost pure pre-Roman doctrine, based on self-mortification in the vein of Alexandrian mystery cult and theosophy. This falsification happened for the sake of the greater masses, as around 5% of the Romans were Christians. This obscures the origins.
Jesus as the sacrificial lamb is also central for First Peter 1:18f. John 1:29 paints in the same shade. Jesus did not eat lamb, he was the lamb. The last dinner cannot possibly have been a Paschah meal, because Jesus was crucified at the same time the Paschah lamb was sacrificed.
Peter is said to have denied Jesus several times before the cock had crowed that three times. Cocks were not considered impure animals, there was a cock sacrifice at Kapparath. But they were not allowed in Jerusalem, anyway. The rationalising Talmud explains this with the impurity that poultry might stir up from the dust and might pollute sacrificial good this way. But it is more likely that it is a remainder of the superstitious belief of Assyrians and Chaldeans who represented the god of pestilence in cock shape. The last crow of the cock symbolised the end of pestilence and death.
The original gospel was not Galilean, but was a teaching in the form of a complex set of parables, Jesus himself being a parable figure. The falsifications in the Synoptics let Jesus violate vegetariacy and aquariacy restrictions, and they make death by crucifixion in the reputed scenario impossible.
The subsequent chapters cover the relation of Jesus and the Tanakh God, and the latter's general role in early Christianity.
This chapter and the next address both of the questions in Matth. 22:42: While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied. He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, " 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." ' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?"
In Justin's Dialogue, Trypho says that the Jews expect the Messiah as the man of men, but Christians follow a vain rumour and construct their own Christ.
Liberal theology and secular Life-of-Jesus research tried to get to the underlying real Jesus by subtracting everything that can't be believed anymore, but the gospel matter is a coreless onion in this respect.
Mere unbelief is immature, as shown by Hegel, and must be replaced with a synthesis. It is to be asked what the gospels do have to say, and what is their goal. What is the historical framework of the gospels? The answer is that Christianity is understandable only from the background of mystery cults. Liberal theologians try to make you believe that Jesus has been euhemeristically defied after the facts of Jerusalem. But such process would of course take much more time than the single generation between Jesus' death and the letters of Paul, in which Jesus is barely portrayed as a man anymore.
But now it has been shown that the passion, death, and rising of this deified being are analogous to those of many mystery cults, created from a mystery cult of Alexandrian Jews.
A popular passage for mystery theorists is Phil. 2:5-11. Jesus is there a divine being that took the form of a slave, obedient until death, and was afterwards exalted above all the angels and powers.
This obedience is with respect to the supreme God, not the Lord of the Old Testament, the creator of the material world, who was nothing but a ruler angel. Angels were inferior deities, or planetary spirits. The Lord of the Jews is properly to be understood as Saturn/Chronos. The world was created poorly, and to correct this failure, the Supreme One had to send his firstborn son.
Forgery led to the identification of the Father with the Lord of the Tanakh. The New Testament is ambiguous. It is obvious that there is a background in the Old Testament, in the sense that it is Judaically dressed on the surface. But in the New Testament, God is the Father, and Jesus Christ is the Lord. Orthodox preachers who pray "Lord, Lord", thinking of the Lord of the Tanakh, are thus not to be considered properly as Christian preachers.
The second century saw the start of the great Catholic war against docetism. Second John 7 exemplifies this.
Early Christians could not think logically, and thus invented a second god above that of the Tanakh when they saw that the Tanakh god was unsuited for Hellenic mystery thought. The gods and demons had to be believed in. Demons were not medieval devils, but spirits of nature, like the elementals of modern Theosophy.
Thus those who did not feel comfortable anymore with the God of Moses, instead of turning to rational atheism, simply said that this God may not be the proper one, and came up with another one. Philo Alexandrinus, although sticking with Moses and Yahveh, was in a similar vein by distinguishing a lower literal exegesis from a higher and allegorical one.
Docetists did not teach that nothing happened, but just that Jesus had come as a phantasm. The letter of John called the docetes seductors, which shows that this doctrine must have appeared quite attractive.
The patristic literature thoroughly disproves of docetism, but does not quite understand the reasons. A flesh-and-blood human cannot possibly have been conceived without the disgusting parts of human existence, which were seen as incompatible with the glory and purity of the Lord. Common believers don't bother themselves with such questions. Many other passages are absurd for a flesh-and-blood Jesus, such as Luke 4:30, but seeing Jesus as a phantasm does painlessly allow for all of this.
In John 5:46 Jesus says that by believing in Moses, one should also believe in him, as Moses wrote about Jesus. This directly alludes to Joshua, the successor of Moses. Joshua is the same name as Jesus, but indifferent rendering. The copyists and translators fraudulently obfuscated this.
Philo Alexandrinus saw something special in the name of Joshua, meaning the Lord's help.
Moses was not able to guide Israel into the holy land; only Joshua did. The Jewish empire of the Old Testament was only ephemeral, like everything on earth, and the goal was a perennial empire from above. This difference is especially expressed in the Letter to the Hebrews, for example Heb. 4:8. This empire to come is in the spirit, not the flesh. Jesus is the one to bring it. Jesus and the gospel are expected to achieve what Moses and the law failed to do. Moses had to die, for the holy people to reach its true destination. Jesus is the true guide.
The Talmud mentions a certain Metatron, a kind of angel and a placeholder for 'the Lord'. Abraham is seen as the image of the master, while his slave is the image of the Metatron. Until modern times, amulets have been made in honour of the Metatron, the prince of the face. And the liturgy of the New Year contains a formula mentioning the Metatron. A magical papyrus mentions Joshua even as the Lord of the Jews. Jesus also plays a role in a prayer by Rebbes Nathan. In Mark 9:38 we read that exorcists use the name of Jesus without belonging to his circle. This shows that the Jesus-mystery even is latently present in orthodox Judaism.
According to Schopenhauer, the Gospel is thoroughly under Indian impact. Thus also the former was convinced that an essentially Jewish origin is absurd. The Indian influence is quite reasonable, because in Alexandria, the melting pot of cultures, Hinduism and/or Buddhism were also represented. Clemens Alexandrinus was somehow familiar with Buddhism.
In Matt 1:21, Joseph and Mary are told to name the child Jesus, because he would save the people from its sins. This can be explained with the Greek terms 'iasis' and 'soter'.
Matt.18:11 says the son of man has come in order to save the lost. The son of man is not a young man, but the son of God. This is learned from Luke 22:69f. In Matt. 20:28, the son of man has come not in order to be served, but as a servant who sacrifices his soul as a ransom for the lot. This is exactly in the sense of mystery religions.
The destruction of Jerusalem meant the end of the old covenant for the sake of a new one. Jesus serves as the sacrifice for the new covenant. This lute is also strummed by the Kerygmata Petrou. Both Judaism and Hellenism are obsoleted by Jesus.
According to Bolland, a sect of so-called Naassene or Ophitic Jews (ophis, serpent -- no 'r') was formed at Alexandria, after the example of the Orphic (with 'r') mystery cult. This sect is assumed to be the origin of the original Christian gospel. This sect was produced after the fall of Jerusalem, and told a historised allegorical story about a Godman/Saviour, based on the myths of the Tanakh, but denied the supremacy of the Jewish deity, who was seen as wrathful, bloodthirsty, and jealous. This has been written down in detail in Bolland's book on the origins of Greek philosophy. The story of Osiris, Orpheus, Hermes, Mithras, and so on belong to the same category.
The question about the origins of evil is at the root of Christianity. The world, created supposedly by the Jewish Lord, appears as quite imperfect, making Hellenised Jews of the diaspora upset, leading them to construct their own Supergod.
According to John 4:24, God is spirit. According to James 1:17, he is beyond mutability. According to First Tim. 6:16, he alone is immortal.
Immortality was not supposed to be an a priori property of the soul in early Christianity, but seen as a result of virtue or mercy, as expressed, for example, in First Cor. 15:53. The antignostic pastorals expose the original Catholic doctrine. Modern Protestants use the pastorals to polemicise against Catholicism, but Rome of 200 was not Rome of 2000. Although being antignostic, First Tim. 6:16 denies that any man has seen God, which is against Jewish Scripture where some of the patriarchs and prophets confronted God face to face, esp. Moses. John 1:18 and 5:37 confirm that invisibility axiom.
Matt. 5:38f preaches masochism in opposition to the Judaist lex talionis.
In John 12:44f Jesus sees himself just as a representative of the Father. Though God is invisible, it is possible to achieve community with the same through Jesus. Thus it was Loisy who declared Jesus as the side of God observable by mankind.
John's gospel is not an original source, and it even enlarges the discrepancy between Judaism and Christianity. Also in Alexandria we see these polemics against Judaism, for example in Hebrews 1:1, where the Tanakh is seen as superceded by the Gospel.
Matt. 11:27 is awfully forged. The surviving manuscripts, the earliest being the Codex Vaticanus, are not from before mid 4th century. The original version could be given like this: No one has known the Father besides the son, and neither the son, besides the Father, and he unto whom the son revealed it. But our Gospel according to Matthew was written in the Judaising spirit of the Roman Catholic scribes who turned Jesus into a Messianic hero, while original Christianity taught that God the Father invited his first-born into this world in order to ransom the world from the Lord of the Jews and his law.
This properly Christian doctrine has been declared as errant by the church forming during second century. The second letter of Clement around 165 expresses that the Jews only falsely thought to know God. John 7:28 chimes in. John 8:44 is the top of antijudaist polemics, equating the Judaist God with Satan. More properly, the Greek text says that you (the Jews opposing Jesus) are from the devil's father.
Some sectarians of second century [for example, Satornil] saw the devil as the son of the demiurge. All this shows that it is a maniac folly to see the theology of the New Testament as monotheistic. John 10:8 calls all those that came before him criminals; for example, the Prophets of the Tanakh. In First Cor. 8:6 one God (the Father), and one Lord (Jesus) is placed over all the other deities. Thus the Christian orthodox preachers who think of the Tanakh God as Lord sound like hypocrites.
While Matthew's gospel does not appear to make this distinction, this is due to textual manipulation. For 19:17 is one more forgery, as seen by comparing with Justin Martyr and Hippolytos' Naassene.
Many try to portray Mark as the oldest gospel, but it dates to just before 150. The Gospel According to the Egyptians should be seen as the Proto-Mark. The canonical version of Mark's gospel is a Roman polemical writing. The intent behind it is the obfuscation and denial of the difference between the Old Testament and New Testament deity, completely in the service of the Roman Catholic Movement. Mark's gospel depends on Egyptians, as well as on Matthew's gospel and maybe even on Luke's gospel.
Mark 1:1 is essentially a protest. Mark 1:22 shows, when compared to Matt. 7:28, that the sermon on the mount has been deliberately omitted in Mark's gospel. Mark 4:2 insinuates the knowledge of many more parables than given. 12:38-40 suggests strongly knowledge of the woes against the Pharisees in Matt. 23. Our Father in heavens is only named once in Mark. Mark 14:25 fails to mention 'Father', unlike Matt. 26:29.
The biggest fraud in Mark is that Jesus is made to recite the classical Jewish monotheist prayer "Listen, Israel!". Mark denies thus First Cor. 8:6. That is not just falsification of writings, but of doctrine. Nor is it, as credulous scholars think, the oldest of all gospels, but written in rebuttal of original Christian doctrine of, for example, Rom. 15:6. [John M.?] Robertson noted that, if Mark's were an early gospel, and the names of Simon's sons (14:21) were in it all along, then they would have been reproduced in the parallels in the other Synoptics as well.
Bolland adds that the priority of Matthew, which is already fairly unoriginal and heterogeneous, over Mark is best seen when comparing Matt. 4:17 with Mark 1:15. The priority of even Luke over Mark is seen from Mark 5:15 versus Luke 8:27ff. Andrzej Niemojewski showed that Mark is an eclectic. Mark 10:18 says that God alone is good. No Father, nor Lord. This is easily seen as a suspicious compromise.
Paulinism is Romanised Alexadrinism. Thus Jesus is already halfway made into the Messiah of the Tanakh, yet traces of obsoleting the Old Testament remain. Second Cor. 4:4 says that the god of this age (aion) made the Jews insensitive to truth. This god is easily seen as the Demiurge. According to Eph. 2:2, he is the first of the powers (archons) of the air, strong in the children of disobedience. An 'Aion' may denote both the world as such and the spirit behind it.
Archons have been widely conceived of as planetary spirits. Jews identified their God with Kronos/Saturn, for example, in the book of Amos. The true wisdom has been hidden from the children of this Aion according to First Cor. 2:8. The planetary spirits appear again, as cosmocrators, in Eph. 6:12. Jesus has been executed not on earth, but in the air. The cross in the air is that of solstices and equinoxes. Eph. 6:12 backs this up by emphasising the struggle of the believers as being not against the flesh, but against the archons and evil spirits of the ethereal regions.
The gospel thus converted people from a background of planetary spirit worship, the highest of the latter being the Lord of the Jews. The God of the Tanakh as the symbol of the lower world is also seen from First Cor. 15:24, when the reign of the heavens is expected once the world is in the hands of Jesus, after he has annihilated all the planetary powers and principalities.
John 12:31 pronounces the judgement over the world and its prince. This prince is of course once more 'the Lord' of the Tanakh, also known as Kronos, Saturn, Phaenon, and so on. Some sects called this Ialdabaoth, possibly meaning child of Chaos [the etymology is nowhere near secured even today -ks]. Classical astrology sees Saturn as the overarching malefactor. [Jung-inspired astrology has recently abandoned the traditional benefactor-malefactor classification, a trend reflected in the works of Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas, and Stephen Arroyo. -ks]
Many of the forgeries are hidden even further in all the modern translations and only become evident from the Koine version. Boland emphasises that neglecting the teaching of the Greek language in most modern school systems is going to bring the downfall of European culture and science.
While 'the end of the world' in orthodox understanding will bring a sort of pantheism, according to First Cor. 15:28, that of gnostic teacher Basilides will bring the great mental annihilation. Basilides thus in some way anticipated the philosophy of E. von Hartmann.
The Dutch term rendered up to now as 'religion' is 'godsdienst'. But literally, it would avail to 'serving God'. This implies a discrepancy between master and slave. Christianity is not serving God. For the underlying gospel message, in opposition to the Tanakh, does not promote fear or awe, but exalts the believer into commensurateness with the divine. In classical Judaism, God is seen as the Lord or Master (Adonai), barring a few exceptions like Maleachi, where the Christian understanding of God as Father is anticipated.
Rom. 16:25 expresses that the mystery is revealed, and the believer may cease to fear. God is the agape-ful Father. Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6f, John 15:15, John 8:32 blow the same trumpet.
Rom. 16:25 -- Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, ... Rom. 8:15 -- For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Gal. 4:6 -- Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." John 15:15 -- I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 8:32 -- Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
This works well for the understanding elite, but for the broad masses, this is dangerous. By taking away the awe, society will inevitably sink into moral corruption and decadence. Truth makes the believer free, but this freedom may be abused, the social consequences being disastrous.
This underlines the major motivations for the social visionaries at Rome since the mid-second century who manipulated the gospel. This is explicitly visible in New Testament passages that admonish not to abuse the freedom in Christ, e.g James 2:12, Gal. 5:13. Christianity is flexible enough to distinguish between several levels of maturity, for example around Hebrews 6:1.
James 2:12 -- Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, ... Gal. 5:13 -- You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Hebrews 6:1 -- Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, ...
Christian churches did not rush for the abolition of slavery until recently.
The particular type of Christianity must be adapted to the mentality of the people. Roman Catholicism works fine from Italy to Latin America, but miserable in Scandinavia, Netherlands, Germany etc. For Protestantism, the reverse is true: the Catholic confession is tailored for emotional-minded peoples, the Protestant for rationally-minded. "True Christianity" comes closest to pure reason, and is thus not suited for all people.
Thus the church fathers didn't necessarily write what they believed, but wrote what they deemed necessary for a stable society of people with the mentality they were familiar with. A good preacher does not necessarily need to believe in what he preaches, but what he deems suited for the audience on the behalf of the higher goal.
Acts 24:5 call Paul a seditionist among diaspora Jews, the spear tip of the sect of the Nazarenes. This leads to one more fraud in transmission. In Matt. 26:71, Jesus is the Nazarene, but the Greek texts says Nazorean, though Mark 1:24 says Nazarene. Jesus thus had two similar epithets, Nazarene and Nazorean, conflated in transmission. The passage in the Apostolic Acts thus does not refer to people from Nazareth. The Mandeans in Southern Iraq [if still alive] call their priests Nasoraje. It is a non-Christian sect with Iranian [Persian] and gnostic background. They are not quite aware anymore themselves of the origins of their beliefs. Their belief in the ascension of the soul past the planetary spirits who bar their way is Gnostic.
This sect of course equally has nothing to do with Nazareth. The historical existence of Nazareth is still doubtful [discussed in Lowell's posts in the Jesus Mysteries discussion group -ks]: Nazareth is unknown in the Tanakh, the Talmud, or Flavius Josephus. The village now called Nazareth was built on the site of ancient Hinnathon. Both 'Hinnathon' and 'Nazareth' mean something like the availability of guarding or protection. But even if there was such a Nazareth, it does not justify in the slightest way turning a Nazorean into a Nazarene.
Nazoreans named themselves protected, because they felt protected and guarded in the afterlife through their mystery cult. They distinguished themselves from their environment by ascetic ideals and practice, making them sacred, as explained previously. This misunderstood Nazorean was thus turned falsely into a Nazarene.
According to Eusebius, the Syrian Bishop Serapion discovered a Gospel of Peter used by the sect of the Docetists. Docetism was a general trait of second century Gnostics. The original belief in the cross is not to be understood as a secular execution, but a celestial event, as we saw from First Cor. 2:8, Eph. 6:12, etc, with the cosmocrators, archons, .... being terms for planetary spirits. The highest of those spirits was Saturn, who was identifiable with 'the Lord' of the Tanakh. The others are angels, corresponding to other Roman gods. Augustinus thus noted correctly that Christians just replaced 'gods' with 'angels'.
The astrotheosophical roots of the New Testament are thus abundantly evident. The cross is the cardinal cross (X) of the ecliptic. It was seen as St. Andrew's cross, the Egyptian symol for the life to come. Eze. 9:6 uses the tau-cross as a symbol of protection. [Perhaps tattoos are derived from this. -ks]. According to Irenaeus, Jesus preached for 12 months, that is, the solar cycle, being crucified at the end of it. Like Mithra, Jesus is thus a solar deity.
But this may be too one-sided; one could also argue for Jesus being a Saturnal deity. The original deity of Judah was a serpentine copper idol of Chaldean origin. Jesus is both a solar deity and the true Joshua.
"Paul" of the epistles appears only rudimentarily familiar with the pseudo-history present in the later gospels, with Galilea, Pilatus, Gethsemane, etc. An underlying picture of a historical Jesus is never to be recoverable.
The background of both the epistles and the gospels is thus ultimately not Messianism, but Alexandrian mystery and theosophy.
This original Gospel of the Egyptians, if we had it, would appear to us even more terse and cryptic than the canonical writings. It may have been fixed in the times of Traianus. It predates all of the canonical gospels.
The working hypothesis is that this gospel pretends to be the story by a migrant from Galilee, named Peter, and his interpreter Mark. Later the Roman church-mongers imitated that gospel in the sense of their dogmatics. The original doctrine was obfuscated, and the Tanakh was shackled to the Christian dogmatics like a heavy iron ball at the legs of a galley slave. The Pater Noster was omitted from Mark in order to identify the Old Testament deity with the New Testament deity.
The Gospel of the Egyptians was used by various Gnostic sects, according to various patristic testimonies. The letter of Peter, an instruction for neophytes, may be seen as originating from the same tradition. It is of course not a gospel story, but it contains traces of the original gospel.
Another important text of the Alexandrian Peter tradition could be the Memories of Peter noted by Clemens Alexandrinus, and a dialogue with Salome, which shows that the Alexandrian gospel was not at all messianic. There the kingdom is not portrayed as arriving at some eschatological point in the future, but at every time and place in the true community of believers. In the second letter of Clement 5:2ff, the Lord sends the apostles into the world as lambs into a pack of wolves. The apostles are told not to fear the wolves, but the one who may send them into hell-fire after death, that is, the Lord of the Jews. The story is downgraded and reflected in Matt. 10:16, 10:28, Luke 10:3, 12:4f.
Harnack must have felt that there was something Alexandrian-heretical behind the scenes here, but silenced himself, in order to not have to admit that the canonical material is a Roman fabrication of the second century. Bolland may not have been all that literate in early Christian writings compared to Harnack, but Bolland was an expert in the entire Hellenic philosophical literature, and was therefore able to draw accurate conclusions from there whenever the same patterns appeared in Christian writings.
An important picture is that of the seeds of the Logos, already known by Anaxagoras. Plato cultivated the dogma of the divine seed especially in Timaios. He divided mankind into three types, according to the effect the divine seed has in them. One type was spiritual, the second psychical, and the third materialist. Stoics continued this doctrine. Kleanthes said that the ignorant men are equal to beasts. Epictetus called Zeus a distributor of seeds. Philo played the same instrument.
This makes a joke out of the liberal view of a Jewish backwoods barbarian carpenter's son having come up with this doctrine and having taught it among his equally barbaric friends. Matt. 13:3-9 and its parallels exactly reproduce this masterpiece of Hellenic philosophy. The versions in the Synoptics slightly differ from each other. All of them tell that the seeds produce different results, depending on the type of ground they fall onto. Hippolytus mentions that the Naassenes had a similar parable. [Bolland sees this in the Egyptian Gospel, but it should be noted that Hippolytos used the Gospel of Thomas together with that of the Egyptians, and the Nag Hammadi Library text of Thomas also contains a version of the parable. -ks]
The Naassene version only distinguishes three destinies for the seeds: 1. Fall on the road and get squashed by passers-by; 2. Fall on rocky ground and sprout, but die before carrying fruit; 3. Bringing forth varying amounts of fruit . This shows that the Naassene text, which corresponds straightforwardly with Platonic tripartition, is the most original. [The Nag Hammadi Library text must thus be corrupted as well. -ks]
The canonical versions are thus nothing but obfuscations of a classical parable that was present in Stoic and Platonic philosophy.
Chapters X-XIII contain little about the true historical origins of Christianity. Summary of these chapters:
Unlike arts, which is universal shallowness, religion is a deepening unilaterally for the sake of the 'higher'. Unfortunately this is not expressed in the churches of today, where the ideals of early Christianity have been lost, misunderstood, and degenerated to stiff and pointless traditions. Loose morals also invaded certain churches. The goal of these chapters is to clarify the bridge between religion and pure reason. The vulgar theistic notion of a powerful personal deity is seen useless for this purpose. Philosophers thus always resort to abstractions like 'infinite unity' or 'nothingness'. These attempts date back to classical Greece. The suggested concept is some sort of panentheism.
The mystery yearning for Hellenised diaspora Jews is at the historical root of Christianity. The most important mystery sources treated here are the Orphic and the Mithraic. The common meal is essentially Mithraic. Justin Martyr accused Satan to have invented the Mithraic eucharist as a cheap imitation of the Christian eucharist of water and bread. The wine is a later Roman addendum.
But the Orphic cult provided Christianity with something essential and wanting in Mithraic mysteries, i.e. passion, death, and revival of the central cult deity, Bacchus. The latter was seen as the spirit of nature, who, despite being originally a unity, is torn apart and distributed throughout nature. This is told in the story of Bacchus being butchered by the Titans. Later Bacchus rises from destruction. Orphics celebrate orgies in which a bull is torn into pieces and fed to the believers. [But there are also reports about sober and vegetarian Orphics; this may be like in the case of left- and right-handed Tantra in the Indian religion -ks] . These orgies illustrate the Bacchus myth.
Both Orphic and Mithraic cults can be traced back into Babylon.
Christ is often thought as the translation of Messiah, but this is secondary and Roman. Originally, Christians were rather 'Chrestians' (with eta instead of iota), i.e. idealists that believed in a Soter, the ideal healer, just like Thoth/Hermes. Only at Rome did the virtuous saint turned into the anointed king, in line with Jewish apocalyptics. Tertullianus was terribly confused by this.
We've already seen that the Gospel according to the Egyptians rejected messianic apocalyptics by postulating a kingdom that is not expected in future history, but in heart and mind. In the Apostolic Acts, the Alexandrine Apollos had to be instructed by the Roman Aquila, and only then he was able to teach the message of Jesus the Messiah according to Scripture.
The Egyptian gospel was used for generations by the sect of the Naassenes, or serpent-men. They honoured the paradise serpent who taught man the difference between good and evil. Philo stated that those are still caught in infancy who not yed hat experienced the differentiation between good and evil. This makes the wise serpent appear above the Demiurge, or God of the Tanakh.
Naassenes interpreted Law and Prophets metaphorically. The Naassenes were no Jewish nationalists, but theosophers. The gospel is hardly imaginable before the destruction of Jerusalem around 70, at which point the formerly unlocatable mystery god Jesus was cast into a (pseudo-)historical frame. Already this alludes to a distance of one or two generations. Philo Alexandrinus' impact is still alive in that Gospel. In any case the canonical gospels are still younger.
The language of the NT is very sentimental, diametrically opposed to Jewish mentality, and rare with pagans as well. Bolland sees Plotinus as the first truly sentimental great man. But among the mystery followers, such an emotionality may have been a given.
The Alexandrine epistle to the Hebrews uses the typical mystery cult term photisthentes -- that is, illuminati. Another important mystery cult back then was that of the Eleusines, described by Paul Foucart, whose initiation rite involved exposure to darkness first, then immense light. Justinus Martyr called the baptism photismos: Those who become Christians see the true light. The physical light is used to represent the infinite spirit.
The root of the gospel should thus be thought in a mystery community. Those communities locked themselves from the outer world ['myst' means closed], thus it's unlikely to get reliable statements from the communities themselves.
Up to now it has been clarified that theosophic Jews of the first century tried to consider the infinite, eternal being as a secret and un known Father, and as its firstborn son some supreme angel, higher than the bloodthirsty Demiurge that the Tanakh falsely calls God, being truly only the highest planetary spirit. Those theosophic Jews stood clearly outside Jewish nationalist (messianic) expectations. After the fall of Jerusalem this abstract metaphysical concept got dressed in historical pictures, leading to the Original Gospel. The destruction of Zion became sybolic for the end of the era of the Demiurge.
The Acta Apostolorum 7:47f show that Solomon built a house for God, but the supreme One does not live in a man-made construct. This thought already leads out of and above Judaism. In 6:13f Stephan is falsely accused of supporting the teachings of Jesus saying that the latter would destroy the temple and the law. Stephan represents original Christianity which was not Messianism, but cult of the Chrestos, the Agape deity. Matth 26:61 and Mark 14:58 whistle a similar tune. The Roman church, which enforces the continuity of OT and NT, calls these accusations false. Paul replaces the material temple with a spiritual one, following the lines of Jewish theosophy. This new temple is the Christian community sense.
Christianity leads above both Judaism and paganism, thus being truly cosmopolitan.
It does not comply with pure reason , though, and appears infantile when compared to classical Greek philosophy. Mass religion is bound to die, and its literal representation becomes deprecated. But the symbolic wealth of Christian spirit persists anyways.
First Cor. 1:11 orders to follow Paul, as Paul follows the Christ. This sounds arrogantly, but isn't. Paul subdues the flesh to the spirit by self mortification, i.e. ascetically. This seems one-sided, but expresses the sense of the higher. Of course everyone has to know for himself how much to value the higher, and to what degree of (ascetical) consequence one is ready to. Paul expresses this consequence by saying that man dies according to nature, in order to be reborn according to spirit.
Jesus imprisoned himself, or died, in his epiphany. Already the Pythagoreans considered the flesh as a gaol and a tomb of the spirit. The divine is buried and imprisoned in this world. God is dead in nature, and even torn into pieces. But the dead and disintegrated is going to be restored.
Plato's Politeia considers wise man as helpers for the former comrades still imprisoned in hell. Orphics believed in a liberation from gaol. The parousia of Christ, his passion, descent to hell, and revival may be easily understood in this mystery context.
The Gospel Jesus is the representation of the Christ of the Idea, the eternal Christ, the Son of the Father incessantly dying and rising. The Christ of the trinity is pure mankind.
[This chapter is skipped in this summary.]
According to Augustinus of Hippo, afterlife expectations are the central motivation for Christianity.
Kant falsely tried to reduce religion to morality.
Jesus tells to one criminal on the cross that he would enter paradise along with him.
Paul says that he only continues to live for the believers' sake. [sounds like bodisatva of Mahayana Buddhist doctrine].
We've seen in previous chapters that Judaism originally accepted the Babylonian doctrine of an underworld of no return, and a continued existence in there without thought and emotion. The Tora does not support anything else. People dream of deceased friends and family members. This gives rasise to this primitive afterlife expectation. Pharisees believe in a resurrection of the flesh, but is this not supportable with Scripture, and result of Iranian impact.
An important point is that Christian resurrection is correlated with virtue. For not was the human soul thought as blessed with immortality by nature. Philo and the churchfathers denied an a priori immortal soul. Immortality is rather the rewartd for a virtuous life. Tatian expressed this in his address to the Greeks.
The Genesis materialistically expresses that man is of dirt and shall turn into dirt. This is not suitable for idealist thinkers both in religion (Augustinus) and philosophy (Hegel, Plato, Schopenhauer, Aristotle) for whom the very essence of man is not depending on fleshly existence [that's roughly spoken and skipping the philosophical details] . It has been taken over from the Orphic mystery cults.
Some poets like Wordsworth blow the same trumpet:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh forth from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God who is our home.
The Apostolic Creed, or confession of faith, consists of 12 articles of faith. The only significant Catholic usage is now at the baptismal rite, i.e. for the admission of new members. They have undergone some changes in time, the most important around 800, when "delt down to hell" was added. This is not to say that the excursion to hell was a new belief around then, but, quite the contrary, it was beyond any doubt in earlier Christianity, thus not characteristic for orthodoxy, and no need for making an article of faith of it. Semi-liberals are upset by the hell thing, as they refuse to believe in hell. [it has been euphemistically changed to reign of the dead, or something like that, in some modern translations]. But it expresses nonetheless proper Christian belief from the beginning.
The 12 apostolic articles are not used as a Creed in the Eastern Orthodox church, but this does not imply that they believe something completely different. The articles well predate the gatherings of Nicea etc.
The articles are also called symbolum apostolorum. Symbolum is not to be understood as representative icon, but a characterising feature. It characterises correct church believers. They worked like passwords for admission to the church rites. This is also on a line with mystery clubs, from Alexandria until modern Freemasons. Matth 28:19 may be the origin of the Creed. Many suppose that baptising on the behalf of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were a later interpolation. But the trinity as such is not a late addendum, it is earliest Christianity, and even older than Christianity itself. For they are part of the mystery heritage of Christianity.
Orphic mysteries teach about light being Phanes. It is somehow related to the ether of modern science [now moved by Einstein into the realms of superstition, but relativistic theory was not yet well-known to the public back then]. The Brahmanics toucht a fifth element, quintessence in western talk, in addition to fire, water, earth, and wind, as reported by Megasthenes. Blavatskij used the term Akasha in a similar manner. The quintessential theory has also been taught by Philolaos of the Pythagorean school around 440 BCE. Euripides, Cicero, Chrysippos, and Vergilius think of the ether as a high deity.
The Pythagoreans believed the ether to be the underlying origin of nature. Orphics believed in the autogenetic Phanes who formed the world. Philo Alexandrinus equated truth and light. Truth and ether have the same pythagorean value, 52.
The ether, or Phanes, corresponds to the Holy Spirit of Christianity. Seen from below, ether is the fith, but from above, the first substance, prima materia. Aristotle also conjectured a Primum Movens, the unmovable and all-moving God. The Holy Spirit is a translation of pneuma to hagion. Pneuma is just ether in motion. The Ephesian writings of the NT equate pneuma and truth. Celsus confirms this, according to Origenes. Herodot and Euripides declare the pneuma to be the breath of the wind spirit anemos. The Holy Spirit is thus also to be understood as divine breath. It has been imagined in mystery cults as coming forth from the astral sphere. [many philosophical details skipped]
The origin of trinity has thus come down from mystery religions to original Christianity. But the vulgarising Catholic church failed to understand its deeper meaning and watered trinity as well. Original Christianity was a mystery club of Diaspora Jews who rejected the supremacy of the Mosaic Lord for the sake of the unknown Father. Only Catholics identified both deities. The gospel is hellenic mystery mentality expressed in OT phraseology. The hellenic world provides for the cake, the OT just for the icing of the original gospel.
The original crucifixion was a celestial event, and the parousia was docetic. This is not suitable for the broad masses, thus Roman clerics had to reject this idealist view and replace it with a realist one.
The 12 articles of faith do not comprise the confession of Christian liturgy. For solemn events, that of Constantinople is used. Only at the baptise, the typical Roman is in usage. The faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spoirit was too unspecific, and further qualifications had to be added in order to characterise orthodox attitude. This led to a thoroughly interpolated formula of faith which was impossibly shared with Gnostic [and other] heresies, abusing apostolic authority in order to enforce orthodoxy.
Now the articles are looked on step by step.
The first states belief in God the Father, omnopotent, creator of heaven and earth. Gnostics of course rigorously divide creator and Father. They may confess belief in the Father, but would not identify him with the God of the Tanakh.
The second article states faith in Jesus Christ, his monogenetic Son and Lord. The first problem is the writing of Christ with iota, because original Christianity was not Messianic, and only the Roman priest-mongers changed an eta into an iota. And impossibly may it be identified with the son of the God of the OT. Rather, the Chrestos is the personification of the supreme Platonic idea. For Ophites (without 'r') especially saw in the OT God the spirit of planet Saturn. Basilides used the term 'Abraxas' for the same. The gematric sum of the latter is 365, which reveils same god as solar/annual deity. The planetary spirits were equally celestial sons of the Father, the Lord being the first among them. Jews and Muslim see the trinity as a violation of Monotheism. The identification of OT-Lord and NT-Father is thus such an absurdity, that it could be supported only by ruthless interpolations into the gospel, such as mentioned prayer "Listen, Israel!" in Mark 12:29.
The third article declares the reception from the Holy Spirit. This has often upset people due to its ridicule. It is to be understood as the wish to explain the divine in man. Supranaturality is essential for that. [In another text, Bolland gives the better explanation as the Holy Spirit -- meaning the inspiration of the prophets of the Tanakh. Jesus is thus explained as the fulfiller of the Tanakh, the Messiah. This of course is much more understandable as anti-gnostic propaganda, for Gnostics do not see Jesus as the Messiah and in the spirit of the Old Testament. -ks]
The third article also claims virgin birth. The mother is called Mary. This is the same as the sister of Moses, but fraudulently distorted by translation. An Arabic source identifies Jesus ben Nauw as the son of Miriam, the sister of Moses. In Second Kings 19:21, there's a virgin daughter of Zion. Female figures, often maidens, have been used as symbols for whole nations or tribes. Moses' sister was chosen as the mother of Jesus, for Moses himself could not qualify. The article thus states that Jesus comes forth from the Jewish folk and tradition. This Catholic view is of course once more directed against Gnostics who do not see Jesus as the continuation of Mosaic tradition.
The forth article states Jesus as having suffered under Pontius Pilatus. The necessity of stating an explicit time frame proves that this was no longer a given in Christianity of that time. of course for docetists who saw the crucifixion as a celestial event, there was no such necessity. Only the Catholics did, and thus enforced a time point in order to reject docetism.
It also states crucifixion, death, funeral, and ride to hell, the latter being only inserted in middle ages. Liberal Protestants rejoice when hearing about the original absence of the ride to hell, but forget that the credo only states disputed options. The sense of the ride to hell is of course retrieved from mystery heritage, as shown in former chapters.
The fifth article states resurrection on the third day, ascension to heavens, and position to the right hand side of the omnipotent Father.
The sixth article states Jesus' apocalyptic return for judgement of dead and living. This states the end time resurrection of late Jewish origin. It is also somehow combined with the Gnostic picture of the soul ascension to heavens, but the latter view is subordinate. The original Christian view is immediate ascension, and has been watered by the Roman church fathers into a mishmash with the Pharisee's view.
The seventh article expresses the most ancient belief in the holy spirit.
The eighth article states faith in one holy, general Christian church. The Roman church adds a 'Catholic' in there, other confessions deviate slightly.
The ninth article expresses faith in the community of all saints. While here the Roman church thinks about the deceased saints and martyrs, originally all belivers, including living ones, were aimed at.
The tenth article believes in sins being forgiven. This made sense when in extremis baptise was usual. Sins after the baptise were not thought to be forgiven, only those up to baptise. Thus this article has nothing at all to do with divine agape.
The eleventh article states the resurrection of the flesh, which is of course typically Roman, and in no way acceptable for original, thus mystery-oriented Christianity. It is also tied directly to the apocalyptic expectation.
The last one commits to eternal life.
Overview of theories of early Jewish and Christian mysticism: http://www.iwu.edu/~religion/ejcm/EJCM_Definition.PDF
Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes: The Initiatory Teachings of the Last Supper