Although we refer to the last Hebrew letter of the Sacred Flame Alphabet as Tau, this is the Greek spelling. In general Tau is ת written as Tav and spelled out as ThV or in Hebrew תו meaning Tav or Tau, and includes the letter Vav ו or Vau. This is particularly interesting as according to the RT group that produced The Rabbi’s Tarot, Vau is also the conjunction “and”, meaning that despite being the final letter, Tau is not the end. As the group relates, Saint Theresa taught that there was no limit to the level of human consciousness in its strive for perfection; consequently, even though we have reached the final seventh Temple Transformation in the Know Thyself Initiative, we have only gone through one level of advancement.
Everything starts with Reason. Animals possess Attention and Memory, otherwise they would not survive. When they begin to Reason out problems, such as chimpanzees using a stick to get to ants, they are ready to evolve into human beings. As humans, we cannot develop our Creative Imagination without Reason, which is why these two faculties are represented by cards 3 and 4 The Empress and Emperor, as well as the Hebrew letters Daleth, spelled DLTh ד and Heh ה spelled HH respectively. Interestingly, as The Empress precedes her consort The Emperor, it suggests that the higher mammals may develop imagination at the same time as they acquire Reason. Regardless, Reason is our gateway to all levels of higher consciousness, because without it we cannot develop Intuition, Wisdom, or Understanding, let alone hope to Transform. Reason underpins everything, which is why we saw such chaos in the world in 2020 and 2021. Due to certain energies, which will be discussed later, a substantial number of people lost the ability to use either Inductive or Deductive reason. However, the tide is turning and more and more are reviewing their responsibility to redress the ills of racism, bigotry, and injustice. In this way, the Sacred Flame Alphabet, created thousands of years ago can point the way. Hebrew scholars tell us that the Hebrew word for Truth, Emet, is spelled אמת Aleph, Mem, and Tau, which takes letters from all three rows of the Tarot Tableau, or as the scholars put it the beginning, middle, and end of the alphabet. We take this to mean that we need to include all Seven Temples in this update, consequently, we will review Stage Reason from that perspective. We will also be using our revised GOOD NEWS REVERBERATION, rather than the original The Good News: An Alternate Theory.
One more important point, we consider participants in this next level of the Know Thyself Initiative initiates, as well as members of the 777,000 unique teachers, predestined to assist the Divine Plan. Something we feel critical to engaging a higher form of Reason is reviewing previously considered information, from an open expanded mind. Consequently, we recommend initiates revisit the various Stages as if they are doing so for the first time.
Before moving on to chapter seven The Lesson, we need to refer back to the original version, The Good News: An Alternate Theory, because it dealt with the duality of the universe. As we wrotein Love the Common Denominator LCD, the universe is divided into Fear and Love. Since the New Testament states that “God is Love”, then logically fear is the opposite or “opposition.” The fact is, we cannot both Love and Fear the Supreme Being because the latter is the foundation of every lower emotion. To help combat this insidious emotion, the doctrine of the seven deadly sins was invented. For instance, Greed is driven by the fear of not having enough.
We should view the concept of the universe being divided into Fear and Love in terms of the duality needed for Life, replacing Fear with Water, and Love with Fire. In Section 7D we mentioned that there are two currents of energy within a human being, Fire and Water representing the active/masculine and passive/feminine forces, symbolized by two triangles. Card 12 - The Hanged Man has the Hebrew Mother letter Mem מ assigned to it and as such represents the element Water. As we wrote concerning The Hanged Man in Beyond Divination: Spiritual Transformation through the Major Arcana:
Alchemically, the Water and Fire triangle in The Hanged Man represent the “same” force or energy operating in different ways. We see this in the inverted triangle symbol for Water demonstrating that it flows downwards, while the upright triangle of Fire depicts the energy surging upwards. Replacing these elements with consciousness, the passive Water flowing down represents the subconscious substance, while the active forceful Fire is the indomitable Will. The RT group relates that this concept applies to the Life-force within all Creation, as in order to Create, the neutral Life-force has to divide into active and passive, or Fire and Water, so that the Creator’s Will “acts” on the passive Cosmic Mind-stuff, molding it into various forms.
If we consider that Fire turns Water into steam, which is then dissipated in the Air, we can learn even more from the symbology. This is because Love represents Fire, therefore, it can disperse or dissipate the Water of Fear. In addition, if we view card 12 - The Hanged Man in respect to Jesus’ injunction to “resist not evil”, we see even more because in the card the “hanged man” appears completely at ease. Card 12 represents Self Sacrifice, and as we know there is no greater example than Jesus’ Self Sacrifice on the cross.
Nonetheless, the Archetype of card 12 - The Hanged Man is connected to Venus, because the Planet Neptune is its higher octave. Beneath the Veil, as stated, Sophia was identified with Venus, meaning that by assigning Neptune as the planet’s higher octave, the Mystical Art of Astrology was associating The Hanged Man to both Neptune and Venus. Interestingly, this is confirmed by another Mystical Art, Numerology, since the Number 12 reduces to 3 – 1+2=3, and as we know card 3 - The Empress, represents the Sacred Planet Venus.
The message behind an Archetype for The Christ and Sophia representing the element Water, is relating that we can transform Fear through its opposite, courage. In card 12 - The Hanged Man, we see this characterized as having the courage to sacrifice the Self.
Ascertaining that both Sophia and The Christ are connected to Water, does not explain how “Love/Fire can disperse or dissipate Fear/Water. To understand that we need to recognize that the two streams of Fire and Water in a human being, are part of the natural order. Bringing the balance between the active/masculine and passive/feminine, these two streams are key to Spiritual Evolution. The Ancients hid multiple meanings in their allegories, and this is no exception. For instance, Fire represents Will, Spirit, Ignorance, and Desire, whereas Water represents Substance, Emotion, Fear, and the Subconscious. It is important to remember that although Water is associated to Fear, it represents all emotions.
We interpret another level of the allegory when we remember that Fire or Love also represents Spirit. Therefore, when Fire turns Water or Emotion into steam, the Emotion is dissipated in the Air. Bringing in the Planes or levels on the Tree of Life, we find the deepest message in the allegory. If we look at the diagram (right) we see that Fire represents the Archetypal Plane, which is also the Spiritual level, whereas Water represents the Emotional level, and Air the Mental Plane.
Taking all the information above into consideration, we can view the allegory as relaying that Fire (Spirit) transforms (heats up) the Water (Fear), which is then dissipated in the Air (Mind). To try and put this as plainly as possible, the interpretation of the allegory of Fire transforming Water into steam, which disperses in the Air, is relating that activated Spirit causes buried or hidden Emotions to be brought into the light, for us to logically examine and transmute with our Minds.
As for the connection with The Christ and Sophia to the Emotions, this is relating that the activated individual Christ-consciousness and Holy Spirit can help transform human will into the Divine Will, as well as transform the Heart. This is demonstrated Archetypally in the Tarot, which is explained as taking place at the microcosmic level, i.e., within the individual. The whole process involves the Self-conscious represented by card 1 The Magician, who also represents both the human and Divine Will.
Once the Self-conscious has transformed into the Divine Will, it then transforms the heart, which is symbolized by the sign of infinity appearing in both card 1 and card 8 Strength that represents the Transformed Heart. The woman in Strength is the transformed Empress, and at the macrocosmic level, it is connected to the mysterious non-Sephirot Daath lying between the Spiritual and Mental Planes on the Tree of Life. The deeper message is that Daath represents The Holy Spirit within the heart. Replicating the axiom “As Above, So Below” and vice versa, the symbol of infinity relates that when the human will transforms into the Divine Will, we achieve the complete integration of all parts of the consciousness.
The importance of each individual’s participation was yet again revealed while watching a now-cancelled show called Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. In one particular scene, a character refers to the famous words that were inscribed on the front of the Temple of Apollo. We were aware of “Know Thyself”, but the character relates that the complete inscription was, “Know Thyself and Thou Shall Know All The Mysteries of the Gods and the Universe.” Consequently, the Ancient Wisdom was saying that when the human being becomes aware of how he or she thinks, The Mysteries are revealed, which is why it appears on the last temple Transformation. We see this played out in the first row of the Tarot Tableau.
Magician High Priestess Empress Emperor Hierophant Lovers Chariot
All seven cards of the First Row shows us the process of Spiritual Evolution that leads to integrating the consciousness. It begins with the union of the Self-conscious (1-The Magician), and the Universal Sub-conscious (2-The High Priestess), producing the Individual Sub-conscious and our Creative Imagination (3-The Empress),together with Reason (4-The Emperor). It also means incorporating all three levels of the Higher Self (First-5-The Hierophant), (Second-6-The Lovers & 19-The Sun), and (Third-7-The Chariot).
When we include the Spiritual Soul as card 0 (The Fool), we have eight elements of the human consciousness integrated. At this point, the human will becomes the Divine Will, which is represented by card 1 – The Magician at the higher level. However card 9-The Hermit is assigned to not only the Divine Will, it also represents our Spirit. Even so the most important thing is that the process of transforming the human will into the Divine Will neutralizes the counterfeit-spirit or pain-body, which is key to Spiritual Evolution.
It is the Magician at its highest level as the Divine Will that transforms the heart, which releases the neutral feminine/passive aspect of The Holy Spirit within it. Amazingly, when the heart is transformed it becomes a volitional organ, i.e., masculine and active. What all this is revealing is when the human being fully integrates and transforms the heart, the axiom As above so below becomes the reality. To elucidate further, it concerns The Christ being the neutral masculine/active aspect of Spirit, and The Holy Spirit being the neutral feminine/passive aspect, as both represent the Spirit that is referred to as, “God is Spirit.”This is the “above” or the Macrocosm. We reflect the “below” or Microcosm in the human being, through the activation of The Holy Spirit through the transforming of the heart, represented by card 8 Strength.
Although integrating the eight aspects of the human consciousness neutralizes the counterfeit spirit, it hasn’t completely transmuted it. That occurs through the transformed heart becoming masculine or active. When the heart becomes active, The Holy Spirit rejoins her partner The Christ, as the Christ-consciousness within us as the true ruler of our Spiritual Evolution.
In the original The Good News: An Alternate Theory we discussed the energetic process of Evolution as it had operated for millennia, until it changed in the Fullness of Time. Even though this no longer applies, it is beneficial for us to understand the process, therefore, we are including the key paragraph below, as well as our original comments in our re-examination.
Everything that isn’t of love cannot rise to the higher or inner planes. Kama Loka is where everything is frequency-filtered. Like a sieve allows only the finest particles to pass through it, this location only allows the purest thoughts and emotions of the higher frequencies through to Devachan. Now, because this is the Fullness of Time, as the metaphor of the war in heaven proclaims, the Soul Plane is being restructured. Everything that isn’t of adequate frequency, so to speak, is being expelled to the lower frequency layer, the physical plane in order to be transmuted by the Sacred Union. Every entity or soul in this category has been duped or mislead into choosing physical immortality, and or power over altruistic love and therefore missed the parameters of spiritual evolution.
When we speak of reaching “higher frequencies” we are not speaking metaphorically but literally. In other words, transformation results in the actual raising of our frequency. This concept becomes a little more understandable when considered in terms of the Schumann Resonance of the Earth, which we related in the original Introduction to Our Story 1995-2002: True Philosophers’ Stone. Citing Richard Alan and Iona Miller’s article on the phenomena, we saw how they connected the Schumann Resonance to brainwaves. As we said:
The natural rhythm, designated as the Schumann Resonances, after their discoverer, was a constant 7.8 Hz, or pulses per second until 1987. However, as this phenomenon has only been measurable since the early 1900’s, it is impossible to state with any certainty what the pulse started at. What is interesting is that since 1987, the resonance pulse has been steadily rising and is now over 11 Hz…
Interestingly, according to Richard Alan and Iona Miller, in their article ‘Schumann’s Resonances and Human Psychobiology.’ “Schumann’s resonance forms a natural feedback loop with the human mind/body…’ The authors state that the ‘pulse’ performs as a ‘driver of our brains’ and has the possibility of transmitting data too. It seems that the natural development of the Human Race could be changed and ‘new patterns of behavior facilitated through the brain's web of inhibitory and excitatory feedback networks.’
Similar to ‘sound waves’ the human brain has its ‘own set of vibrations,’ which facilitate connection with the physical body. The brainwaves can be measured by the EEG, which gauges the ‘speed with which neurons fire in cycles per second.’ Additionally, at ‘their boundaries’ the waves can extend beyond themselves to become integrated with each other…
“BETA waves (14 cycles per second and above) dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world…
“ALPHA waves (7-13 cycles per second) are present during dreaming and light meditation…’ As the majority of ‘neurons’ adapt to the Alpha wavelength, alpha waves rotate over the entire brain. The Miller’s believe that it is during the Alpha wavelength that people tap into their ‘creativity,’ which resides immediately beneath the waking consciousness. They state that the alpha wavelength is the ‘gateway’ or ‘entry point’ to ‘deeper states of consciousness.’ The authors also believe that this wavelength is ‘the home of the window frequency known as the Schumann Resonance…
“THETA waves (4-7 cycles per second) occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in the deepest state of meditation (body asleep/mind awake). The optimum level for deep thought is this realm of Theta. In Theta, the senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on the mindscape, internally originating signals. Theta waves are associated with mystery, an elusive and extraordinary realm a person can explore. It is that twilight state which is normally only experienced fleetingly as an individual rises from the depths of delta upon waking, or drifting off to sleep. In theta a person is in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind’s eye and they are receptive to information beyond their normal conscious awareness. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory...and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills.
“DELTA waves range between 0-4 Hz.’ Apparently this wavelength is related to ‘deep sleep’…It seems that ‘certain frequencies’ in this wavelength activate the discharge of the ‘growth hormone’ helpful for curative and restoration purposes. The authors stress that this is the reason ‘why sleep, deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.’
“So with the rise of the Schumann Resonances, this is the reason that humanity has arrived at the Fullness of Time. Nevertheless if the whole human race is subject to the rise and fall of these resonances, why is there concern over this seemingly natural occurrence? An appendix to the Millers article entitled Electrical Technology and Human Evolution, by L. B. Hainsworth, an acknowledged expert on the Schumann Resonances…“…states that ‘Accepting that changed electromagnetic field conditions will result in changed brain-wave patterns, there is still not enough known about their operation to say what effect this may produce in either the mental or physical characteristics of the organism. The possibilities seem to include: A drop in the intelligence of the surviving species. That is, the development of a moronic species, which would almost certainly be disastrous.”
The reason we did not include the above excerpt in the revised Introduction is explained by the words with the rise of the Schumann Resonances… “humanity has arrived at the Fullness of Time, meaning that it is not as important. Nonetheless, before 2010 it was a powerful indicator of our future. As Greg Braden related: “…The target frequency of Earth resonance is …13 cycles per second. It is thirteen cycles per second that will become the new base resonant frequency with all harmonics based upon integer multiples of this fundamental vibration. This is the frequency that will trigger resonance with the new grid/matrix complex, signaling the close of the present cycle of evolution and the beginning of the ‘New Age’…”
Obviously, the question is “Has anyone reached thirteen cycles per second, and entered into the Beta Wave level?” Looking at the world in 2021 it is impossible to say. Even so, this is not why we left this excerpt in this Higher Reason’s review. It is because Deductive Reasoning derives from the Theta Wave level deep within the subconscious. As we wrote, “Remember ‘In theta a person is in a waking dream, vivid imagery flashes before the mind’s eye and they are receptive to information beyond their normal conscious awareness. Theta has also been identified as the gateway to learning and memory...and awakens intuition and other extrasensory perception skills’.” Again we ask, “Does this not describe the operation of Deductive Reasoning?”
In 9B we investigate what happened to the Disciples after Jesus Ascended.
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End of STAGE – REASON Section 10-a
For our hypothesis to work, I need to address an important question, “What happened to the disciples?” Mark 3: 16-18, lists them thus: Simon Peter, James and John Zebedee, the sons of thunder, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus and Simon the Canaanite. Of course, Judas Iscariot was on the list, but as we have already covered his fate, I will not include him.
Since the New Testament ends John the Baptist’s ministry fairly early in the Gospels there are very few references of any interaction between Jesus and his cousin. However as we mentioned there are writings from a Gnostic sect believed to have been founded by John the Baptist, which relate several discourses between Jesus and John. Although we covered this earlier, we will repeat a few excerpts as it will help put the conventional information of the Gospel characters into perspective:
“G. R. S. Mead deals extensively with the baptism in the Gnostic John the Baptizer: An extract from the text on the Baptism of Jesus has John accusing Jesus of lying to the Jews. The text relates; ‘Thou hast lied to the Jews and deceived the priests. Thou hast cut off their seed from the men and from the women bearing and being pregnant…’ Thereon Yeshu Messiah (Jesus) answered Yahyā (John the Baptist) ‘If I have lied to the Jews, may the blazing fire consume me. If I have deceived the priests, a double death will I die. If I have cut off their seed from the men, may I not cross o’er the End-Sea. If I have cut off from the women birth and being pregnant, then is in sooth a judge raised up before me…’
“Evidently, Yahyā wasn’t satisfied and accuses Yeshu Messiah of being a ‘desolate house.’ Mr. Mead explains in a footnote that this is a term ‘generally meaning an unmarried man.’…
“There follows a curious comment about the baptism of Jesus, ‘Then Rūhā made herself like to a dove and threw a cross over the Jordan.’ Mr. Mead says Rūhā is ‘The Lower Spirit, This-World-Mother.’ Granting that this was what the Mandeans meant by the term, the fact that a dove is mentioned leads me to a different interpretation…
“…The New Testament appears to say that there are only six-months between John and Jesus, implying that John was raised with the understanding of Jesus’ role. However, Mr. Mead’s book gave me pause to wonder if that was correct.
“In investigating the apparent absence of any mention of Jesus or the early Christians by Josephus, Mr. Mead found ‘a Slavonic or Old Russian translation of the War. In this version there are no less than eight pieces referring to John the Baptist and a few to Jesus and the first Christians.’ Mr. Mead conjectures over the general dismissal of the writings as ‘Christian forgeries.’ …they would be embarrassing to the Church as they make John a lot older than Jesus. Furthermore it contradicts the New Testaments version of the role of Pilate. The extracts also mention ‘Simon, an Essene by extraction, a scribe...’
“…Even though the text says Jesus healed Pilate’s wife, who was dying, it goes on to say, ‘The teachers of the Law were [therefore] envenomed with envy and gave thirty talents to Pilate, in order that he should put him to death. And he, after he had taken [the money], gave them consent that they should themselves carry out their purpose.’ This is a far cry from Pilate washing his hands of the affair, in reluctant resignation to Jesus’ fate…
“…the mention of John the Baptist conducting his ministry during the reign of Archelaus certainly makes him at least 20 years older than Jesus. In summary then, if Mr. Mead was right about the authenticity of the extracts then everything I’d taken for granted as factual may not have been.”
Curiously, only the fate of nine of the disciples was recorded in The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, considered the authority by the Church. Thaddeus and Simon the Canaanite were not even mentioned.
According to The Golden Legend, initially Andrew joined Matthew in Ethiopia, but later when Matthew left for Antioch, Andrew went to Achaia. There appears to be great confusion over the leader of the Jerusalem Church. Tradition holds Peter as leading the first church in Jerusalem with John and James the brother of Jesus. However, the New Testament appears to say that at first, Jesus’ family did not support his ministry. (Mark 3:31.) Apparently, ignoring the contradictory scripture, The Golden Legend makes the disciple James, the son of Alphaeus, the brother of Jesus.
Josephus, a Jewish historian that wrote in the first century, reports of a James the Just becoming the head of the Jerusalem church, after Jesus departs the scene. Josephus does not mention Peter or John. Acts relating that Peter traveled extensively with John seems to support this. As there were two disciples named James, one was assumed to have been the brother of Jesus. Nonetheless, as neither of the disciples were the son of Joseph, (James and John Zebedee, the sons of thunder and James the son of Alphaeus) this is curious. Even if we accept that Jesus only had half brothers and sisters, his half siblings would have been the sons and daughters of Joseph.
If we consider that even some of the information in Gnostic John the Baptizer: Selections from the Mandean John-Book is correct, then we need to realize that just maybe some of the conventional beliefs about Jesus and his Disciples/Apostles may be incorrect. For instance, very little is known about what happened to the twelve, as we found out when we researched the Disciples fate on the web. Although we found several sites on them, there is very little information on the Apostles after Jesus’ Ascension. Below we relate excerpts on what two of the web sites had to say. Unfortunately, only one is viable but first let us summarize the deaths of the Apostles as related on Wikipedia:
According to Christian tradition:
- Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome circa 64 A.D.
- James, son of Zebedee was beheaded in 44 A.D., first of the twelve to be assassinated
- John, son of Zebedee died of natural causes due to old age, last of the twelve to die…
- Andrew, Peter's brother, was crucified.
- Philip was crucified in 54 A.D.
- Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael) was flayed alive (skinned) and then beheaded…
- Matthew was killed by a halberd in 60 A.D.
- Thomas was killed by a spear in AD 72.
Halberds (CC) Rama
- James, son of Alphaeus, beaten to death by a club after being crucified and stoned.
- Jude was crucified.
- Simon the Zealot was crucified in 74 A.D.
- Judas Iscariot, according to the gospels, hanged himself after betraying Jesus.
- Matthias, Judas' replacement, was stoned and beheaded.
Let us now compare what the other two web sites have to say. Starting with the web site “The Shrines of Saint Francis of Assisi - The Missions and Deaths of the Apostles” , which is no longer available. Still, strangely this site added Saint Paul but omitted Saint Matthew.
- ANDREW was crucified during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, in the year 60.
- BARTHOLOMEW was flayed alive and crucified, head downward, the date is uncertain.
- JAMES Son of Zebedee …was put to death in Jerusalem by the sword at the command of Herod, c.44; (Acts 12:2).
- JAMES the Lesser (son of Alphaeus) was the brother of Jude …was martyred c.62 at Jerusalem by being thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, then stoned and beaten with clubs and fuller’s mallets, while praying for his attackers.
- JOHN the Evangelist was the son of Zebedee and Salome and the brother of James …survived all his fellow apostles, and died c.101 in exile at Ephesus.
- JUDAS (Jude Thaddeus) …was the brother of James the Lesser…According to traditional accounts, Jude was beaten to death with a club, then beheaded, in Persia, sometime before the end of the first century.
- MATTHIAS was stoned to death at Colchis c.80.
- PAUL, As a Roman citizen, he was exempt from crucifixion, so he was beheaded with a sword, in Rome c.64.
- PETER (Simon) was crucified upside down (because he claimed he was not worthy to die in the same manner as Christ) in Rome c.64.
- PHILP… was martyred c.80 at Hierapolis, Phrygia.
- SIMON the Zealot … was martyred, but the location is uncertain; some claim that he was crucified in Samaria; others claim that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia; still others claim that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Iberia.
- THOMAS, also known as Didymus; “Doubting Thomas” …was pierced through with spears by four soldiers, c.72 in India
Finally on the web site “The Amazing Bible World History Timeline”, which does not list Saint Jude, Thaddeus, or Matthias as Apostles.
- Simon surnamed Peter died 33-34 years after the death of Christ… According to the early writers…was crucified…at his own request…with his head downward.
- James the son of Zebedee: was put to death…shortly before the day of the Passover, in the year 44 or about 11 years after the death of Christ.
- John: No death date given by early writers…and is variously assigned as being between 89 AD to 120 AD
- Andrew…is reported to have been crucified at Patrae in Achaia.
- Philip: Again, the Bible does not say when he died nor do we have accurate information.
- According to tradition he …died at Hierapolis.
- Bartholomew: There is no information concerning his death, not even by tradition
- Matthew: …There is a legend that he died a martyr in Ethiopia
- Thomas: …was finally buried at Edessa…His martyrdom whether in Persia or India, is said to have been by a lance, and is commemorated by the Latin Church on December 21 the Greek Church on October 6, and by the Indians on July 1.
- James Alpheus also known as Thaddeus …According to tradition…was thrown down from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees; he was then stoned, and his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.
- Simon the Canaanite – No information either in the Bible or by tradition.
- Judas Iscariot…hanged himself…and in the act he fell down a precipice and was dashed into pieces. (Note this web site does not include Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot.)
As stated, information on the activities of the twelve Apostles after Jesus’ Ascension is pretty scarce. The entry on the Apostles at Wikipedia is the most comprehensive because each entry combines as many references as possible to each Apostle, traditional and unconventional. Consequently, we have chosen to use the entries on Wikipedia as the source of information for the twelve Apostles. Due to the amount of information involved in the investigation of the male Disciples of Jesus, we have created a PDF file to download.
Although there is a consensus in the entries on Wikipedia between the reports for two of the Apostles, Peter, and Thomas, there seems to be several discrepancies over the other ten Apostles. The discrepancies include questions over the Apostle being known by several different names, several different traditions and opinions as to where some of the Apostles visited, feast days, and the manner of their deaths. As these questions involve ten of the main founders of Christianity let us take a moment to consider the discrepancies from a Deductive Reasoning perspective for the Apostles involved. We think it will help to encapsulate the questionable claims and traditions:
- The town where Saint James remains are held, Santiago de Compostela, is considered the third most holy town within Christendom (after Jerusalem and Rome).
- A rival tradition, places the relics of the Apostle in the church of St. Saturnin at Toulouse.
- According to ancient local tradition, on 2 January of the year AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta.
- Following the apparition, St James returned to Judea.
- Saint James preached the gospel in Iberia as well as in the Holy Land
- Saint. James was decapitated in Jerusalem with a sword by Herod Agrippa himself, his body was taken up by angels.
- Saint James miraculously appeared to fight for the Christian army during the battle of Clavijo during the Reconquista, and was henceforth called
- When St James suffered martyrdom in AD 44, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time.
- Saint James was associated with the founding of Christianity in Kongo.
- Portuguese sailors and diplomats brought Saint James to Kongo in 1483.
- Saint John survived all his fellow apostles, and died c.101 in exile at Ephesus.
- No death date given for Saint John by early writers…and is variously assigned as being between 89 AD to 120 AD
- John the Evangelist is associated with Ephesus, where he is said to have lived and been buried.
- Saint John was exiled to Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.
- It is debated whether Saint John the Evangelist is the same as Saint John the Apostle.
- After Christ's Ascension Saint John took a prominent part in the Church.
- Saint John went to Asia Minor and exercised his Apostolic office in various provinces there.
- A Christian community was already in existence at Ephesus before Paul's visit there.
- Saint John returned to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Council (about A.D. 51).
- Saint Paul did not meet Saint John in Jerusalem after his 2nd and 3rd journeys
- Saint John left Palestine between the years 52 and 55.
- Feast day - The 27th December, 29th December, 30th December, 7th May and 26th September.
- Andrew, Peter's brother, was crucified.
- ANDREW was crucified during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, in the year 60.
- Andrew…is reported to have been crucified at Patrae in Achaia.
- Saint Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist.
- Saint Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev.
- Saint Andrew became a patron saint of Romania and Russia.
- According to tradition, Saint Andrew founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) in AD 38.
- Saint Andrew is recognized as the patron saint of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
- The Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe Saint Andrew bound, not nailed, to a …(X-shaped cross) …commonly known as "Saint Andrew's Cross".
- The apocryphal Acts of Andrew, mentioned by Eusebius, Epiphanius and others, is among a disparate group of Acts of the Apostles that was traditionally attributed to Leucius Charinus.
- The Acts, as well as a Gospel of St Andrew, appear among rejected books in the Decretum Gelasianum connected with the name of Pope Gelasius I.
- Saint Philip was crucified in 54 A.D
- Saint Philip was martyred c.80 at Hierapolis, Phrygia.
- The Bible does not say when Saint Philip died nor do we have accurate information.
- Stories about Saint Philip's life and ministry can be found in the extra-canonical writings of later Christians.
- Saint Philip was married, had children, and one of his daughters was also married.
- Many hagiographers conflated Philip the Apostle with Philip the Evangelist.
- Eusebius clearly assumes that both Philips are the same person.
- Jacobus de Voragine noted in his Golden Legend that the account of Philip's life given by Eusebius was not to be trusted.
- Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartholomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria.
- Through a miraculous healing and his preaching Saint Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city of Hierapolis.
- The enraged proconsul had Saint Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne all tortured.
- Saint Philip and Bartholomew were crucified upside down.
- Saint Philip preached from his cross.
- Saint Philip's preaching the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross.
- Saint Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross.
Saint Bartholomew – Saint Nathanael
- Saint Bartholomew was flayed alive and crucified, head downward, the date is uncertain.
- There is no information concerning Saint Bartholomew’s death, not even by tradition.
- Saint Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles in the three Synoptic gospels
- Saint Bartholomew also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension (Acts 1:4, 12, 13), each time named in the company of Philip.
- There are no reports nor any individual action recorded in the New Testament for Saint Bartholomew.
- In the East, Saint Bartholomew's evangelical labours were expended, and he was identified with Saint Nathanael, in works by Ebedjesu, the fourteenth century Nestorian metropolitan of Soba, and Elias, the bishop of Damascus.
- Saint Nathanael is mentioned only in the Gospel according to John.
- In the Synoptic gospels, Saint Philip and Saint Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Saint Nathanael is never mentioned.
- In John's gospel…Saint Philip and Saint Nathanael are similarly mentioned together, but nothing is said of Bartholomew.
- Giuseppe Simone Assemani remarks that “the Chaldeans confound Bartholomew with Nathaniel”.
- In the Gospel of John (John 1:45-51), Nathanael is introduced as a friend of Philip.
- Saint Nathanael is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth, saying: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?", but nonetheless, follows Philip's invitation.
- Jesus immediately characterizes Saint Nathanael as "Here is a man in whom there is no deception." Saint Nathanael reappears at the end of John's gospel (John 21:2) as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Tiberius after the Resurrection.
- Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History) …states that after the Ascension, Saint Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew.
- Other traditions record Saint Bartholomew as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia.
- Along with his fellow Apostle Saint Jude, Saint Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century.
- Both Saint Bartholomew and Saint Jude are the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
- Saint Bartholomew was martyred at the Maiden Tower in present-day Baku, Azerbaijan… by being flayed alive and then crucified head down…
- Emperor Anastasius gave the body of Saint Bartholomew to the city of Dura-Europos, which he had recently founded (actually re-founded).
- Saint Bartholomew became associated with medicine and hospitals.
- Some of Saint Bartholomew's skull was transferred to Frankfurt, while an arm is venerated in Canterbury Cathedral today.
- Saint Matthew was killed by a halberd in 60 A.D.
- There is a legend that Saint Matthew died a martyr in Ethiopia.
- Saint Matthew the Evangelist... is complex for a number of reasons. Saint Matthew's depiction in the New Testament is likewise complex.
- The gospel to bear the name "Matthew" was written anonymously, with tradition ascribing authorship to Saint Matthew at a later date.
- Both the style of Greek used and the means of describing events lead some to conclude that the author of the gospel was not a companion of the historic Jesus.
- In the gospels of Mark and Luke, as well as in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Matthew is mentioned without any title, identifier, descriptions, or actions.
- Virtually nothing besides Saint Matthew’s apostleship can be determined from these accounts, and he is not mentioned at all in the Gospel of John or subsequent epistles.
- The Gospel of Matthew…names Saint Matthew as the publican called by Jesus, whom the other gospels name "Levi".
- Christian tradition holds that Matthew and Levi were, in fact, two names for the same person (similarly, tradition posits a "Jude Thaddeus" to reconcile the Jude of Luke and Acts with the Thaddeus of Matthew and Mark.)
- If one concludes that the Gospel of Matthew's stories of St. Matthew are based on Mark's stories of Levi, a different person, then one can say nothing about Matthew the Apostle besides the fact that he was one of the Twelve.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts that Matthew once could have been called "Levi".
- The Encyclopedia also states that "The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews."
- Levi is called the "Son of Alphaeus", and his calling leads into a scene where Jesus is confronted by Pharisees for eating with tax-collectors and sinners.
- It is possible that James, son of Alphaeus, had been distinguished from James, son of Zebedee by the former's other name "Levi" and that James, son of Alphaeus was called to the Apostolate along with Luke...
- Of Saint Matthew's life after Pentecost the Scriptures tell us nothing.
- Later accounts of Saint Matthew's life vary, some reporting that he was martyred, others that he died a natural death.
- The Christian community since early times has commemorated Saint Matthew as a martyr.
- Whether the Apostle Matthew is also the Evangelist Matthew -- that is, whether the Apostle Matthew wrote the Gospel that bears his name -- is disputed.
- The Gospel itself does not say who wrote it, but the designation "according to Matthew" is very old.
- While Mark and Luke give the fourth pair of Apostles as "Matthew and Thomas," the Gospel of Matthew gives them as "Thomas and Matthew"…
- Luke 5:29 explicitly states, and Mark 2:15 suggests, that Matthew gave a banquet for Jesus, Matthew 9:10 in describing the same banquet does not indicate who the host was.
- Both of these variations would be routine touches of modesty if Saint Matthew was the author.
- the gospel of Saint Matthew (1) does not have the manner of an eyewitness, and (2) is thought by many scholars to contain material borrowed from Mark.
- One would not expect someone who had been an eyewitness to borrow from someone who had not.
- The view that Mark is an older Gospel than Matthew is widespread and not long ago many scholars regarded the matter as settled.
- There is respectable opinion holding that Matthew is the earliest Gospel after all.
- Perhaps the Gospel was written by some early Christian, not an apostle, whose name was Matthew, and about whom nothing else is known.
- Early Christian readers, hearing the Gospel ascribed to "Matthew," would naturally associate it with the Apostle of that name, and so the ascribing of the work to the Apostle Matthew becomes common at an early date, by a perfectly natural misunderstanding.
- Papias of Hierapolis, writing in the late first or early second century, says that Matthew compiled the sayings (Logia) of Jesus in Hebrew.
- The material common to Matthew and Luke, but not to Mark, includes sayings of Jesus but almost no narrative.
- It has therefore been conjectured that there was once a document (usually called Q), now lost, that is basically a collection of speeches by Jesus, and that Matthew (the evangelist) and Luke, had access to it while Mark did not.
- It has been suggested that Matthew (the apostle) is the author of this document Q, which may well have been first written in Hebrew (or Aramaic).
Saint James son of Alphaeus - Thaddeus
- Saint James, son of Alphaeus was beaten to death by a club after being crucified and stoned.
- Saint JAMES the Lesser (son of Alphaeus) was the brother of Jude.
- Saint James the lesser was martyred c.62 at Jerusalem by being thrown from a pinnacle of the Temple, then stoned and beaten with clubs and fuller’s mallets, while praying for his attackers.
- Saint James Alpheus was also known as Thaddeus.
- Saint James, son of Alphaeus is only mentioned three times, each time in connection with his mother Mary.
- Clopas was identified as the husband of Mary, with Alphaeus, the father of the Apostle James.
- The identification of Clopas with Alphaeus, the father of the Apostle James was accepted by early church leaders and, therefore, tradition knows him more commonly as Saint James the Less.
- Modern Biblical scholars are divided on whether this identification is correct.
- Saint James, son of Alphaeus, has also been identified with James, the brother of Jesus.
- This was supported by Jerome and therefore widely accepted in the Roman Catholic Church.
- The Eastern Orthodox and Protestant tend to distinguish between Saint James, son of Alphaeus and James, the brother of Jesus.
- Another Alphaeus is also the name of the father of the publican Levi mentioned in Mark 2:14.
- The publican appears as Matthew in Matthew 9:9, which has led some to conclude that James and Matthew might have been brothers.
- There is no Biblical account of Saint James the lesser and Saint Matthew being called brothers, even when they appear side by side in the synoptic list of the Twelve Apostles, next to the fraternal pairs of Peter and Andrew and the sons of Zebedee.
- A tradition holds that Saint James, though strongly clinging to Jewish law, was sentenced to death for having violated the Torah.
- Jewish authorities did not practice crucifixion.
- Saint James the lesser is reported to have been martyred by crucifixion at (https://www.theholyapostles.com/saint-james-the-less/) Ostrakine in Lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel.
- A carpenter's saw is the symbol associated with Saint James the Lesser in Christian art because it is also noted that his body was later sawed to pieces.
Saint Jude - Thaddeus
- Saint Jude was crucified.
- Saint JUDAS (Jude Thaddeus) …was the brother of James the Lesser.
- According to traditional accounts, Saint Jude was beaten to death with a club and then beheaded, in Persia, sometime before the end of the first century.
- Saint Jude is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude or James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus.
- Saint Jude is sometimes identified with Jude, brother of Jesus.
- Saint Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot.
- Both "Jude" and "Judas" are translations …in the Greek original New Testament, which in turn is a Greek variant of Judah, a name which was common among Jews at the time.
- "Jude of James" is only mentioned twice in the New Testament: in the lists of apostles in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.
- The name by which Luke calls the Apostle, "Jude of James" is ambiguous as to the relationship of Jude to this James.
- Though such a construction commonly connotates a relationship of father and son, it has been traditionally interpreted as "Jude, brother of James".
- Protestants usually identify Saint Jude as "Jude son of James".
- The Gospel of John also once mentions a disciple called "Judas not Iscariot" (John 14:22). This is generally accepted to be the same person as the apostle Jude, though some scholars see the identification as uncertain.
- In some Latin manuscripts of Matthew 10:3, Saint Jude is called Judas the Zealot.
- In the comparable apostle-lists of Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18, Jude is omitted, but there is a Thaddeus (or in some manuscripts of Matthew 10:3, "Lebbaeus who was surnamed Thaddaeus") listed in his place. This has led many Christians since early times to harmonize the lists by positing a "Jude Thaddeus", known by either name.
- Many modern Biblical scholars hold that Jude and Thaddeus did not represent the same person.
- Scholars have proposed alternate theories to explain the discrepancy: an unrecorded replacement of one for the other during the ministry of Jesus to apostasy or death; the possibility that "twelve" was a symbolic number and an estimation; or simply that the names were not recorded perfectly by the early church.
- Many conservative Christian writers argue that, because the name "Judas" was so tarnished by Judas Iscariot, it was natural for Mark and Matthew to refer to him by his alternate name.
- Thaddeus the apostle is generally seen as a different person from Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy Disciples.
- Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-57, and is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude.
- Identifying the apostle Jude with the writer of the epistle is problematic, not least because in verse 17 there is a reference to "the apostles" implying the writer does not include himself.
- Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya.
- Saint Jude is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa, though the emissary of latter mission is also identified as Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy.
- Saint Jude is reported as suffering martyrdom together with Simon the Zealot in Persia.
- The 14th century writer Nicephorus Callistus makes Saint Jude the bridegroom at the wedding at Cana.
- The legend reports that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas; a town in Galilee later rebuilt by the Romans and renamed Caesarea Philippi.
- In all probability Saint Jude spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like almost all of his contemporaries in that area, and was a farmer by trade.
- Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the "Apostle to the Armenians", when he baptised King Tiridates III of Armenia in 301, converting the Armenians.
- The Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia.
- Saint Jude and Saint Bartholomew are venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Linked to this tradition is the Thaddeus Monastery.
- According to the Armenian tradition, Saint Jude suffered martyrdom about AD 65 in Beirut, Lebanon together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected.
- The acts of Saint Jude and Saint Simon and martyrdom were recorded in an Acts of Simon and Jude that was among the collection of passions and legends traditionally associated with the legendary Abdias, bishop of Babylon.
- The Acts of Simon and Jude was said to have been translated into Latin by Abdias’ disciple Tropaeus Africanus, according to the Golden Legend account of the saints…
- Saint Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand or close to his chest, betokening the legend of the Image of Edessa.
- The King Abgar of Edessa (a city located in what is now southeast Turkey) sent a letter to Jesus to cure him of an illness that afflicts him.
- The King Abgar of Edessa sent the envoy Hannan, the keeper of the archives, offering his own home city to Jesus as a safe dwelling place.
- The envoy painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints, or impressed with Abgar's great faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to Hannan to take to Abgar with his answer.
- Upon seeing Jesus' image King Abgar placed it with great honor in one of his palatial houses.
- After Christ had ascended to heaven, Saint Jude was sent to King Abgar by the Apostle Saint Thomas.
- King Abgar was cured and astonished. He converted to Christianity along with most of the people under his rule.
- Saint Jude is often depicted with a flame above his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles.
- Saint Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of desperate cases. (The epithet is also commonly rendered as "patron saint of lost causes".)
- Many Christians have unfortunately reckoned Saint Jude as Judas Iscariot and thus avoided veneration. Therefore he was also called the "Forgotten Saint".
- Because veneration of Saint Jude was avoided, only people in the most desperate circumstances would call upon him.
- The Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) began working in present day Armenia soon after their founding in 1216.
- There was a substantial devotion to Saint Jude in the area of Armenia in 1216, by both Roman and Orthodox Catholics.
- Substantial devotion to Saint Jude in Armenia lasted until persecution drove Christians from the area in the 1700s.
- Devotion to Saint Jude began again in earnest in the 1800s, starting in Italy and Spain, spreading to South America, and finally to the U.S.
- Devotion to Saint Jude started in the area around Chicago, due to the influence of the Claretians and the Dominicans in the 1920s.
- Novena prayers to Saint Jude helped people, especially newly arrived immigrants from Europe, deal with the pressures caused by the Great Depression, World War II, and the changing workplace and family life.
- Saint Simon the Zealot was crucified in 74 A.D.
- Saint SIMON the Zealot … was martyred, but the location is uncertain; some claim that he was crucified in Samaria; others claim that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia; still others claim that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Iberia.
- Saint Simon the Canaanite – No information either in the Bible or by tradition.
- The name of Simon occurs in all the passages of the synoptic gospels and Acts that give a list of apostles, without further details.
- To distinguish Saint Simon from Simon Peter, he is called Kananaios or Kananites in the list of apostles in Matthew, Mark and Luke, and Zelotes, the "Zealot" in Acts.
- Both titles derive from the Hebrew word qana, meaning The Zealous, though Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle Simon was from the town of Cana (in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios") or even from the region of Canaan.
- The translation of the word Kanaios as "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is purely traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel…
- In the canonic New Testament, Simon the Zealot is never identified with Simon the brother of Jesus.
- Saint Simon due to his various travels with Saint Jude Thaddeus who is commonly identified as Judas the brother of Jesus.
- In later tradition, Saint Simon is often associated with Saint Jude as a proselytizing team; they share their feast day on 28 October.
- The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Saint Simon joined Saint Jude in Persia and Armenia, where both were martyred. This version is the one found in the Golden Legend.
- Later traditions expand on an independent personality for Saint Simon and speculate about his fate.
- One tradition states that Saint Simon travelled in the Middle East and Africa.
- Christian Ethiopians claim that Saint Simon was crucified in Samaria.
- Justus Lipsius writes that Saint Simon was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia.
- Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia.
- Tradition also claims Saint Simon died peacefully at Edessa.
- Another tradition says Saint Simon visited Britain -- possibly Glastonbury -- and was martyred in modern-day Lincolnshire.
- Another tradition that is doubtless inspired by Saint Simon’s title "the Zealot", states that he was involved in a Jewish revolt against the Romans, which was brutally suppressed.
- The 2nd century Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum), a polemic against gnostics, lists him among the apostles purported to be writing the letter (who include Thomas) as Judas Zelotes.
- Certain Old Latin translations of the Gospel of Matthew substitute "Judas the Zealot" for Thaddeus/Lebbaeus in Matthew 10:3. To some readers, this suggests that he may be identical with the "Judas not Iscariot" mentioned in John 14:22.
- Saint Jude is identical with the apostle Thomas (see Jude Thomas), an identification of "Simon Zelotes" with Thomas is also possible.
- The New Testament records nothing more of Saint Simon, aside from this multitude of pseudonyms.
- In art, Saint Simon has the identifying attribute of a saw because he was put to death by a saw.
- Matthias, Judas' replacement, was stoned and beheaded.
- MATTHIAS was stoned to death at Colchis c.80.
- There is no mention of a Saint Matthias among the lists of disciples in the 3 synoptic gospels.
- Peter proposed to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the apostolate.
- No further information about Saint Matthias is to be found in the canonical New Testament.
- Even Saint Matthias’ name is variable: the Syriac version of Eusebius calls him throughout not Matthias but "Tolmai".
- Bartholomew (means Son of Tolmai) was originally one of the 12 Apostles.
- Clement of Alexandria says some identified Saint Matthias with Zacchaeus.
- The Clementine Recognitions identify Saint Matthias with Barnabas.
- Hilgenfeld thinks Saint Matthias is the same as Nathanael in the Gospel of John.
- According to Nicephorus (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Saint Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia (made out to be a synonym for the geographically quite separate Colchis, now Caucasian Georgia) and was crucified in Colchis.
- A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara claims that Saint Matthias is buried at that site.
- The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains the "(Saint) Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia, where the sea harbor of Hyssus is, at the mouth of the river Phasis. (Saint) Matthias died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun.”
- An extant Coptic Acts of Andrew and Matthias, places Saint Matthias activity similarly in "the city of the cannibals" in Ethiopia.
- Another tradition maintains that Saint Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded According to Hippolytus of Rome, Saint Matthias died of old age in Jerusalem.
- The lost Gospel of Matthias was attributed to Saint Matthias.
- The feast of Saint Matthias was included in the Roman Calendar in the eleventh century and celebrated on the sixth day to the Calends of March (24 February usually, but 25 February in leap years).
- Since this date frequently falls within Lent, the feast was transferred in 1969 to 14 May, so as to celebrate it in Eastertide close to the Solemnity of the Ascension, the event after which the Acts of the Apostles recounts that Matthias was selected to be ranked with the Twelve Apostles.
- Some Catholics continue to observe the older calendar.
- The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Matthias feast on 9 August.
- The Church of England's Book of Common Prayer liturgy celebrates Saint Matthias on 24 February.
- According to the newer Common Worship liturgy Saint Matthias is celebrated on 14 May with a festival, although he may be celebrated on 24 February, if desired.
- In the Episcopal Church, his feast is on 14 May
- It is claimed that Saint Matthias the Apostle's remains are interred in the oldest German town, Trier, at the abbey of Saint Matthias, and were brought there through Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I (the Great).
As we can see there is clearly room for doubt concerning ten of the twelve Apostles; however, the question is was there only twelve, or were there more? A very telling statement in the section for Saint Matthias raises the question of the number of Disciples, because it reports Peter talking to a great deal more than twelve about replacing Judas Iscariot. As it says, “Peter proposed to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas the apostolate.”
Just a brief glance at the bullets above demonstrates that the twelve Apostles were far from determined in the first few centuries of the Common Era. Jesus is always depicted as surrounded by a crowd of men and women, so why did the New Testament and Church report that there were only twelve?
In the chapter Byzantium, Mariolatry, and the Rise of Islam in LOVE: The Common Denominator LCD we related that the Early Christians associated the Roman cult of Magna Mater (Great Mother) with the mother of Jesus. Assigning Jesus twelve Disciples similarly associated Jesus with traditional pagan beliefs. We observe this with Jesus being often referred to as the Sun-Christ, i.e. that The Christ is hidden beneath the actual Sun. Just consider that the Sun (Jesus Christ) moves through the twelve sun-signs (12 Disciples) of the Zodiac. However, we were surprised to discover that assigning Jesus only twelve Disciples was not meant to only associate Jesus Astrologically to the Zodiac. After a little research on the web we discovered there were multiple Reasons for associating Jesus with only twelve Disciples. Below we have excerpted a few entries from the web, which gives possible reasons for associating Jesus with the highly evocative Number 12.
The first an article entitled “Why Twelve Apostles (What Makes 12 So Special)? was found on the web site Yahoo Answers but is no longer available. Nevertheless, the original article associated the number 12 with a staggering Number of correlations:
- There were: 12: brothers of Joseph.
- 12 Judges
- 12 gates
- 12 pearls
- 12 angels
- 12 anointed
- Jesus was 12 years-old when he first appears in public (Luke 2:42).
- 12 legions of angels mark the perfection of angelic powers (Matthew 26:53).
- The number twelve appears in many ancient Sun-Myths…
- The year has twelve months and that the Zodiac is divided into twelve "houses," representing the twelve divisions of the year?
- There are twelve cycles of the moon in a year.
- The Jewish calendar is actually a Lunar calendar, with twelve months following the twelve cycles of the moon…
Another web site called Astrotribe, again, no longer available, also had impressive correlations.
- There were 12 Greek gods and 12 princes of the Aztec god king Quetzalcoatl.
- 12 sons of Jacob founded the 12 Tribes of Israel.
- There were 12 princes of Ishmael.
- Osiris, the Egyptian King had 12 apostles, as did Jesus with his 12 disciples.
- There were 12 black Knights of the Round Table and 12 apostles of the Patriarch.
- There were 12 divisions of Solomon’s Table, 12 Altars of St. James and 12 Labours of Hercules…
- In Astrology the 12 signs of the zodiac are divided into four triplicities which are Fire, Earth, Air and Water. the Twelve Disciples were chosen, each to represent a different one of the twelve fundamental types and qualities with a ruling Trinity of the central Sun (the Father) whose spiritual and intellectual light (the Holy Spirit) reflected by the Moon (the Son) flowed out through these twelve apostles into all the world-representing humanity divided into its twelve basic types. The disciples considered this order so important that after Judas's betrayal Mathias took his place as one of the twelve…
For us, the most important correlation is with the twelve Greek and Roman gods. On the web we found several references to the Greek and Roman gods numbering 12. Under the sub-heading Roman Gods and Goddesses the web site Crystal Links has some very interesting information.
A groups of twelve Gods called Dii Consentes is especially honored by the Romans: Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Vesta, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercurius, Neptunus, Volcanus, and Apollo. These are the ones listed by the Poet Ennius about the 3rd Century, B.C.E. Their gilt statues stood in the Forum, later apparently in the Porticus Deorum Consentium. As there were six male and six female, they may well have been the twelve worshipped at the lectisternium of 217 BC.
A lectisternium is a banquet of the gods, where the statues of the gods were put upon cushions, and where these statues were offered meals. The number 12 was taken from the Etruscans, which also worshipped a main pantheon of 12 Gods. Nevertheless, the Dii Consentes were not identified with Etruscan deities but rather with the Greek Olympian Gods (though the original character of the Roman Gods was different from the Greek, having no myths traditionally associated). The twelve Dii Consentes are lead by the first three, which form the Capitoline Triad. These are the three cornerstones of Roman religion, whose rites were conducted in the Capitoleum Vetus on the Capitoline Hill.
Some participants may be wondering why we have spent so much time on the twelve Disciples and other followers of Jesus. The answer is that in order to employ Deductive Reasoning, it is necessary to be open to a new way of thinking, and discrepancies over the traditions of the Disciples provides a perfect vehicle. Most of us grew up learning that Jesus had twelve Disciples, who became the Apostles and wrote down Jesus’ teachings. Being able to discern the Truth objectively from elaborations, without discounting the Truth of Jesus and his mission, is a perfect way to change the way we think. As an example, participants may want to try this experiment. Before reading the PDF files on the Disciples, first determine that Jesus was a historical character carrying a Divine consciousness. Then try to discern whether it rings true. Participants will need to relax and forget everything learned. As we read, we need to ask ourselves what makes sense, by imagining ourselves as an observer at the time. Remember the Truth is universal and available to everyone. Good Luck and do not worry if it doesn’t work at first; just remember “if at first we don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.”
In reviewing the male Disciples, we need to acknowledge the female followers/Disciples mentioned in the New Testament. As with the male disciples, we have created a PDF file to download. Nevertheless, apart from Jesus’ mother and Mary Magdalene, the women listed roles are for want of a better word, bit parts. In turning to the most famous and controversial female figure we meet Mary Magdalene. However, in our hypothesis Mary Magdalene’s story is entwined with the Apostle that the Church says is responsible for 13 books of the New Testament. Consequently, it is time to turn our attention to the one other figure fundamental to the development of the early Church, the Apostle Paul.
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End of STAGE – REASON Section 10-b
Earlier we mentioned that the most effective denial of women serving as ministers in the Christian Church comes from the letters of Saint Paul. However, as stated, Saint Paul often greeted and acknowledged women in his letters, so how do we solve this dichotomy? To find the answer we need to examine how the early Church viewed Paul’s ministry and mission, particularly in light of the mysterious figure Simon Magus. Before we examine our hypothesis recorded in The Good News Reverberation: let us review what is known about Saint Paul in his entry on Wikipedia. We will excerpt the most relevant points to our discussion. As we are interested in Saint Paul’s relationship to the early Church, namely the Apostles, we will postpone the discussion of Saint Paul’s letters until later:
Saint Paul (also called Paul the Apostle, The Apostle Paul or Paul of Tarsus)… was, together with Saint Peter and James the Just, the most notable of early Christian missionaries. Unlike the Twelve Apostles, there is no indication that Paul ever met Jesus before the latter’s crucifixion. According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion took place as he was traveling the road to Damascus. He experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus after which he was temporarily blinded. Paul asserts that he received the Gospel not from man, but by “the revelation of Jesus Christ”.
Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, though in some cases the authorship is disputed…As a sign of authenticity, the writers of these epistles sometimes employ a passage presented as being in Paul’s own handwriting. These epistles were circulated within the Christian community…They are believed to be the earliest-written books of the New Testament.
St. Paul’s Conversion on the road to Damascus by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Paul’s influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author…
In trying to reconstruct the events of Paul’s life the main sources are Paul’s own letters and the Acts of the Apostles, traditionally attributed to St. Luke. Different views are held as to the reliability of the latter. Some scholars… dispute the historical accuracy of Acts. Even allowing for omissions in Paul’s own account, which is found particularly in Galatians, there are many differences between his account and that in Acts…The Acts of Paul and the Clementine literature also contain information about Saint Paul.
Broadly speaking, Paul’s mission can be divided based on geography. Paul’s earliest work took place in the mid-30s centered at Damascus. The late 30s to late 40s saw Paul based around Antioch. Next, Paul continued his mission to the Aegean during the late 40s to late 50s. The final portion of Paul’s mission sees his arrest and journey to Rome.
Following his stay in Damascus after his conversion, where he was cured and baptized by Ananias of Damascus, Paul says that he first went to Arabia, and then came back to Damascus (Galatians 1:17). According to Acts, his preaching in the local synagogues got him into trouble there with the Jews, and he was forced to escape, being let down over the wall in a basket (Acts 9:23-25). He describes in Galatians, how three years after his conversion, he went to Jerusalem, where he met James, and stayed with Simon Peter for 15 days (Galatians 1:13–24). According to Acts, he apparently attempted to join the disciples and was accepted only after the intercession of Barnabas — they were all understandably afraid of him as one who had been a persecutor of the Church (Acts 9:26–27). Again, according to Acts, he got into trouble, this time for disputing with “Hellenists” (Koine Greek speaking Jews and Gentile “God-fearers”, see also Hellenistic Judaism) and so he was sent back to Tarsus.
Saint James the Just
Paul's narrative in Galatians states that 14 years after his conversion he went again to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1–10). It is not known exactly what happened during these so-called "unknown years," but both Acts and Galatians provide some details. At the end of this time, Barnabas went to find Paul and brought him back to Antioch (Acts 11:26).
When a famine happened in Judaea, around 45–46, Paul and Barnabas journeyed to Jerusalem to deliver financial support from the Antioch community. According to Acts, Antioch had become an alternative centre for Christians, following the dispersion after the death of Stephen. It was in Antioch, Acts reports, that the followers of Jesus were first called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
Paul’s first missionary journey is claimed to have begun in Acts 13 in Antioch in approximately 47 CE. During this period the Christian church here grew in prominence partially owing to Jewish Christians fleeing from Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit, speaking through one of the prophets listed in Acts 13:1 identifies Barnabas and Saul to be appointed “for the work which I have called them to.” The group then releases the pair from the church to spread the Gospel into the predominantly Gentile mission field. The significance of the Holy Spirit selecting him as an apostle, unlike a disciple, can be seen in Galatians 1:1 when Paul states that he is made an apostle “not through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.”
Traveling via the port of Seleucia Pieria, Barnabas and Saul’s initial destination is the island of Cyprus of which Barnabas had intimate knowledge, as he grew up there Acts 4:36. Preaching throughout the island, it is not until reaching the city of Paphos that they meet the magician and false prophet Bar-Jesus, described by Luke as “full of deceit and all fraud”. The two rebuke the magician, causing him to go blind and, upon seeing this Sergius Paulus, is astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
After describing his departure from Cyprus, Luke mentions that Saul was also known by the Greco-Roman name of Paul, a name Paul uses for ministering to the Gentiles (Paulus was a Roman surname, Paul was the first to use it as a first name; see Acts 13:9). It is also here that their helper John Mark departs from them - an act which later becomes a source of much tension between Paul and Barnabas and ultimately leading to their split in Acts 15:36-41. The two then set about strategically preaching to major cities as they make their way across the provinces of Asia Minor…
Map of region that Saint Paul’s Journeys covered (CC) Alecmconroy
Evidently, Paul attended a meeting of the apostles and elders held in Jerusalem, where they discussed the question of circumcision of Gentile Christians, and whether Christians should follow the Mosaic Law (Acts 15). Yet Paul and the apostles apparently met at Jerusalem several times but it is difficult to nail down exactly when this happened. This is because as the entry relates, “Some Jerusalem meetings are mentioned in Acts, some meetings are mentioned in Paul's letters, and some appear to be mentioned in both…”
According to Acts, Paul and Barnabas were appointed to go to Jerusalem to speak with the apostles and elders and were welcomed by them. The key question raised (in both Acts and Galatians and which is not in dispute) was whether Gentile converts needed to be circumcised (Acts 15:2ff; Galatians 2:1ff). Paul states that he had attended "in response to a revelation and to lay before them the gospel that I preached among the Gentiles" (Galatians 2:2). Peter publicly reaffirmed a decision he had made previously (Acts 10-11), proclaiming: "[God] put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:9), echoing an earlier statement: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34).
James concurred: "We should not trouble those of the Gentiles who are turning to God" (Acts 15:19–21), and a letter (later known as the Apostolic Decree) was sent back with Paul to the Gentiles who Honoured God's name enjoining them from idolatry, from blood, and from sexual immorality (Acts 15:29), which some consider related to Noahide Law while others instead see a connection to Leviticus 17 and 18.
Despite the agreement achieved at the Council of Jerusalem as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter, also called the "Incident at Antioch" over his reluctance to share a meal with Gentile Christians in Antioch.
Writing later of the incident, Paul recounts: "I opposed [Peter] to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong". Paul reports that he told Peter: "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?" Paul also mentions that even Barnabas sided with Peter…
The source for the Incident at Antioch is Paul's letter to the Galatians. Acts does not record this event, saying only that "some time later," Paul decided to leave Antioch (without Barnabas).
And following a dispute between Paul and Barnabas over whether they should take John Mark with them, they go on separate journeys (Acts 15:36–41) — Barnabas with John Mark, and Paul with Silas.
Following Acts 16:1–18:22, Paul and Silas go to Derbe and then Lystra. They are joined by Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man. According to Acts 16:3, Paul circumcises Timothy before leaving.
They continue to Phrygia and northern Galatia to Troas, when, inspired by a vision they set off for Macedonia. At Philippi they meet and bring to faith a wealthy woman named Lydia of Thyatira, they then baptize her and her household; there Paul is also arrested and badly beaten. According to Acts, Paul then sets off for Thessalonica. This accords with Paul's own account (1 Thessalonians 2:2), though, given that he had been in Philippi only "some days," the church must have been founded by someone other than Paul. According to Acts, Paul then comes to Athens where he gives his speech in the Areopagus; in this speech, he tells Athenians that the "Unknown God" to whom they had a shrine is in fact known, as the God who had raised Jesus from the dead. (Acts 17:16–34)
Thereafter Paul travelled to Corinth, where he settled for three years and where he may have written 1 Thessalonians which is estimated to have been written in 50 or 51. At Corinth, (Acts 18:12–17) the "Jews united" and charged Paul with "persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law"; the proconsul Gallio then judged that it was an internal religious dispute and dismissed the charges. "Then all of them (Other ancient authorities read all the Greeks) seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things." From an inscription in Delphi that mentions Gallio held office from 51–52 or 52–53, the year of the hearing must have been in this time period, which is the only fixed date in the chronology of Paul's life.
Following this hearing, Paul continued his preaching, usually called his "third missionary journey" (Acts 18:23–21:26), traveling again through Asia Minor and Macedonia, to Antioch and back. He caused a great uproar in the theatre in Ephesus, where local silversmiths feared loss of income as a result of Paul's activities. Their income relied on the sale of silver statues (idols) of the goddess Artemis, whom they worshipped; the resulting mob almost killed Paul (Acts 19:21–41) and his companions…
According to Acts 21:17–26…the Apostle Paul provided a detailed account to James regarding his ministry among the Gentiles…James and the Elders praised God for the report which they received. Afterward the elders informed him of rumors that had been circulating, which stated that he was teaching Jews to forsake observance of the Mosaic law, and the customs of the Jews; including circumcision. To rebut these rumors, the elders asked Paul to join with four other men in performing the vow of purification according to Mosaic law, in order to disprove the accusations of the Jews. Paul agreed, and proceeded to perform the vow…
Some of the Jews had seen Paul accompanied by a Gentile, and assumed that he had brought the Gentile into the temple, which if he had been found guilty of such, would have carried the death penalty. The Jews were on the verge of killing Paul when Roman soldiers intervened. The Roman commander took Paul into custody to be scourged and questioned, and imprisoned him, first in Jerusalem, and then in Caesarea.
Paul claimed his right as a Roman citizen to be tried in Rome, but owing to the inaction of the governor Antonius Felix, Paul languished in confinement at Caesarea for two years. When a new governor (Porcius Festus) took office, Paul was sent by sea to Rome. During this journey to Rome, Paul was shipwrecked on Malta, where Acts states that he preached the Gospel, and the people converted to Christianity. The Roman Catholic church has named the Apostle Paul as the patron saint of Malta in observance of his work there. It is thought that Paul continued his journey by sea to Syracuse, on the Italian island of Sicily before eventually going to Rome. According to Acts 28:30–31, Paul spent another two years in Rome under house arrest, where he continued to preach the gospel and teach about Jesus being the Christ.
Of his detention in Rome, Philippians provides some additional support. It was clearly written from prison and references to the "praetorian guard" and "Caesar's household," which may suggest that it was written from Rome.
Whether Paul died in Rome, or was able to go to Spain as he had hoped, as noted in his letter to the Romans (Romans 15:22–27), is uncertain…
Eusebius of Caesarea, who wrote in the fourth century, states that Paul was beheaded in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. This event has been dated either to the year 64, when Rome was devastated by a fire, or a few years later, to 67. A Roman Catholic liturgical solemnity of Peter and Paul, celebrated on June 29, may reflect the day of his martyrdom, other sources have articulated the tradition that Peter and Paul died on the same day (and possibly the same year). Some hold the view that he could have revisited Greece and Asia Minor after his trip to Spain, and might then have been arrested in Troas, and taken to Rome and executed (2 Timothy 4:13). A Roman Catholic tradition holds that Paul was interred with Saint Peter ad Catacumbas by the via Appia until moved to what is now the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome (now in the process of being excavated)…
Paul's precise date of death is unknown-- one commonly listed date is circa 60-62.
Of the thirteen letters traditionally attributed to Paul and included in the Western New Testament canon, there is little or no dispute that Paul actually wrote at least seven, those being Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon. Hebrews, which was ascribed to him in antiquity, was questioned even then, never having an ancient attribution, and in modern times is considered by most experts as not by Paul…The authorship of the remaining six Pauline epistles is disputed to varying degrees.
The authenticity of Colossians has been questioned on the grounds that it contains an otherwise unparalleled description (among his writings) of Jesus as 'the image of the invisible God,' a Christology found elsewhere only in St. John's gospel. On the other hand, the personal notes in the letter connect it to Philemon, unquestionably the work of Paul. More problematic is Ephesians, a very similar letter to Colossians, but which reads more like a manifesto than a letter. It is almost entirely lacking in personal reminiscences. Its style is unique; it lacks the emphasis on the cross to be found in other Pauline writings, reference to the Second Coming is missing, and Christian marriage is exalted in a way which contrasts with the grudging reference in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9. Finally it exalts the Church in a way suggestive of a second generation of Christians, 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets' now past. The defenders of its Pauline authorship argue that it was intended to be read by a number of different churches and that it marks the final stage of the development of Paul of Tarsus's thinking…
Clearly there is abundant information on the mission of Saint Paul, and there is no dispute to Paul having written seven letters of the New Testament. Consequently, Paul’s letters became a vital source used in tracing the development of early Christianity. Theologians and historians are united in assessing the Apostle Paul’s letters to be the earliest Christian writings. With that said, the theologians and historians are strongly divided over Saint Paul’s views on women’s roles, because in some letters the Apostle appears to forbid the participation of women in the Church. Yet, often in the same letter, the Apostle extols “certain women”, referring to them in ways that suggests these women were actively involved in the Church. Due to the ambiguity of Paul’s letters in regard to women, there is considerable debate over exactly what views the Apostle Paul held concerning them. Nonetheless, if we include all the writings about Paul, his views on the participation of women in the Church are not so obscure. As we related in our hypothesis in The Good News Reverberation, it concerns Paul’s relationship with Mary Magdalene and the Gnostics, not to mention the mysterious figure of Simon Magus. The passage also demonstrates the confusion over the fate of the disciples and where they went after Pentecost:
The book of Acts reports that in Samaria, Peter, and John dispute with Simon Magus. However, the Gospel of John recounts that Jesus entrusted John with his mother According to the Golden Legend, John is reputed to have journeyed to Asia to teach there. James the brother of John was supposed to have taught in Samaria before traveling to Spain to teach. Even so, Acts holds James, the brother of John as being martyred by Herod Agrippa. Thomas was rumored to have journeyed to India. Like Thomas, Bartholomew was also thought to have gone to India. Interestingly, because vestiges of Jesus’ teachings have been found in India, many formed the supposition that Jesus was there before his baptism. Perhaps the apostle Thomas and Bartholomew traveling to India might be the reason why, Jesus’ teachings were found there. According to The Golden Legend Philip, who was in Samaria, went to Gaza, later settling in Caesarea.
Regarding Mary Magdalene, as I have already stated, the Church obscured her identity and discouraged the thought of her as a separate individual. The Golden Legend also labels her as Mary of Bethany and records her traveling to Gaul/France. Irrespective of the Church’s misdirection, there are other legends that have Mary Magdalene traveling to Ephesus with the mother of Jesus. In conclusion, it seems that there is very little clarity as to exactly who many of the disciples were, let alone where they all ended up.
The mysterious figure of Simon Magus is only mentioned once in Acts in chapter 8 verses 9-24. At first we were surprised to discover that some scholars associate Simon Magus with Saint Paul. We discussed this in the chapter Persecution and The Early Church in LOVE: The Common Denominator LCD. Nonetheless, first let us review some of the Apocryphal traditions concerning Simon Magus on Wikipedia:
The apocryphal Acts of Peter gives a legendary tale of Simon Magus' death. Simon is performing magic in the Forum, and in order to prove himself to be a god, he levitates up into the air above the Forum. The apostle Peter prays to God to stop his flying, and he stops mid-air and falls into a place called the Sacra Via (meaning, Holy Way), breaking his legs "in three parts". The previously non-hostile crowd then stones him. Now gravely injured, he had some people carry him on a bed at night from Rome to Ariccia, and was brought from there to Terracina to a person named Castor, who on accusations of sorcery was banished from Rome. The Acts then continue that he died "while being sorely cut by two physicians".
Another apocryphal document, the Acts of Peter and Paul gives a slightly different version of the above incident, which was shown in the context of a debate in front of the Emperor Nero. In this version, Paul the Apostle is present along with Peter, Simon levitates from a high wooden tower made upon his request, and dies "divided into four parts" due to the fall. Peter and Paul were then put in prison by Nero while ordering Simon's body is kept carefully for three days (thinking he would rise again)…
The Apostles Paul and Peter confront Simon Magus before Nero, Filippino Lippi.
According to radical critic Hermann Detering, Simon Magus may be a cypher for Paul of Tarsus, with Paul originally being detested by the church, and the name changed when Paul was rehabilitated by virtue of forged Epistles correcting the genuine ones. Simon Magus is sometimes described in apocryphal legends in terms that would fit Paul. Furthermore while the Christian Orthodoxy frequently portrayed the major Gnostic leader Marcion as having been a follower of Simon Magus, Marcion nowhere mentions even the existence of Simon, and instead identifies himself as a follower of Paul…
The enmity between Peter and Simon is clearly shown. Simon’s magical powers are juxtaposed with Peter’s powers in order to express Peter’s authority over Simon through the power of prayer; and in the 17th Homily, the identification of Paul with Simon Magus is affected. Simon is there made to maintain that he has a better knowledge of the mind of Jesus than the disciples, who had seen and conversed with Him in person. His reason for this strange assertion is that visions are superior to waking reality, as divine is superior to human. Peter has much to say in reply to this, but the passage which mainly concerns us is as follows:
But can anyone be educated for teaching by vision? And if you shall say, "It is possible," why did the Teacher remain and converse with waking men for a whole year? And how can we believe you even as to the fact that he appeared to you? And how can he have appeared to you seeing that your sentiments are opposed to his teaching? But if you were seen and taught by him for a single hour, and so became an apostle, then preach his words, expound his meaning, love his apostles, fight not with me who had converse with him. For it is against a solid rock, the foundation-stone of the Church, that you have opposed yourself in opposing me. If you were not an adversary, you would not be slandering me…
Our consideration of Saint Paul being associated with Simon Magus derived from a very old and rare book we acquired called, Supernatural Religion: An Inquiry into the reality of Divine Revelation, which was discussed in Persecution and the Early Church in LCD. Even though its author remains anonymous, the argument for Simon Magus being a “cypher” for Saint Paul within its pages was very thought provoking:
“…So who was the first ‘heretic’? Most biblical scholars will answer Simon Magus. He was the ‘heretic’ who, according to the author of Acts, attempted to purchase the Holy Spirit from the Apostles. However, I was astounded to learn, that some scholars think Simon Magus was the Apostle Paul.
“The anonymous book Supernatural Religion: An Inquiry into the reality of Divine Revelation, written in 1874, contains some amazing information concerning the Apostle Paul and Simon Magus. The main purpose of the author is to refute the Church’s claim to apostolic authorship of the canonical Gospels. He or she uses ancient writings of the second century, to show that there was no knowledge of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.
“For instance the Pseudo Clementine Homilies, written purportedly by Clement of Alexandria, are often cited as evidence of the four Gospels, because scholars had said they found the contents of the Gospels within its pages. However, the author of Supernatural Religion demonstrates that there are sufficient differences, to warrant the possibility that the author of The Homilies, used another unknown Gospel. It is in The Homilies where the connection of Paul with Simon Magus, is first made. As the author says: ‘One of the most striking points in this work, — is its determined animosity against the Apostle Paul. We have seen that a strong anti-Pauline tendency was exhibited by many of the fathers, who, like the author of The Homilies, made use of Judeo-Christian Gospels different from ours. In this work, however, the antagonism against the ‘Apostle of the Gentiles’ assumes a tone of peculiar virulence. There cannot be a doubt that the Apostle Paul is attacked in this religious romance, as the great enemy of the true faith, under the hated name of Simon the Magician, whom Peter follows everywhere for the purpose of unmasking and confuting him.’
“In support of this, scholars direct us to the Bible. The first and only time we hear of Simon Magus is in Acts: ‘But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before-time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.’
“The story continues with Simon hearing Philip, a disciple, preaching and being converted to Christianity. Then Simon witnesses Peter and John laying their hands on some newly baptized believers, in order to give them the ‘Holy Ghost.’ Acts 8:19 reports that Simon on seeing this says to Peter and John: ‘Give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost’
“However, the scripture informs us that, because Simon had offered money, Peter soundly refuses him, with a severe reprimand. You may ask what can this possibly have to do with Paul? Scholars point to the fact, that Paul’s letters themselves attest to the antagonism between Peter and Paul, i.e., ‘But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.’ The Homilies furnish more evidence, as evinced in Supernatural Religion.
“The anonymous author continues: ‘In the epistle of Peter to James which is prefixed to The Homilies, Peter says, in allusion to Paul: ‘For some among the Gentiles have rejected my lawful preaching and accepted certain lawless and foolish teaching of the hostile man.’ A note at the bottom of the page has a curious remark by Canon Westcott, a highly respected member of the Orthodox Church, he says; ‘There can be no doubt that St. Paul is referred to as the enemy’.’
“But the most telling evidence for me was another quote from The Homilies, as the author of Supernatural Religion, concurs with Canon Westcott in writing:
"The indications that it is Paul who is really attacked under the name of Simon are much too clear to admit of doubt. In Hom: X1. 35, Peter, warning the Church against false teachers, says: ‘He who hath sent us, our Lord and prophet, declared to us that the evil one …announced that he would send among his followers Apostles to deceive. Therefore above all remember to avoid every apostle, or teacher, or prophet, who first does not accurately compare his teaching with that of James called the brother of the Lord, and to whom was confided the ordering of the Church of the Hebrews in Jerusalem, &c., Lest this evil one should send a false preacher to them, as he sent to us Simon preaching a counterfeit truth in the name of the Lord and disseminating error.’ Further on he speaks more plainly still. Simon maintains that he has a truer appreciation of the doctrines and teaching of Jesus because he has received his inspiration by supernatural vision, and not merely by common experience of the senses, and Peter replies: ‘If, therefore, our Jesus indeed appeared to you in a vision, revealed himself, and spoke to you, it was only as an irritated adversary’.’
We will return to the question of Saint Paul being the alter-ego of Simon Magus later. Now it is time to return to our discussion on Mary Magdalene. The hypothesis in The Good News continues with:
Craig and I think that The Golden Legend is probably the main source for Mary Magdalene’s connection to Southern France or ancient Gaul, as it was called in Roman times. Despite this, we need to remember that Mary Magdalene was not called the “Apostle to the Apostles” for nothing. Regardless of the Church’s making her the repentant sinner, early Christian sects held that she was a teacher in her own right. An interesting comment in Pistis Sophia has Jesus commissioning Thomas, Matthew, Philip, and Mary Magdalene to spread his teachings.
Regarding the Magdalene being labeled the “penitent sinner”, I think the Pistis Sophia can help. This strange Gnostic miscellany has Sophia going through extended “repentances” before being reaccepted into the Pleroma. Recalling the legend of Sophia incarnating as Mary Magdalene, I wondered if this could be why multiple art works portray her as “repenting.” As for the reference to Mary Magdalene going to France, I believe it comes from the deliberate confusion over the identity of Mary of Bethany, Lazarus’ sister. To reiterate, the Gospel of John is the only gospel that says the sister of Martha and Lazarus anointed Jesus. A possible answer to the controversy came when Craig and I learned that Lazarus with his sisters Martha and Mary traveled to Gaul with Joseph of Arimathea.
We have read several books recently that speculate that Mary Magdalene was not only Jesus’ wife but that she was also pregnant with his child. According to several authors, including Dan Brown in his famous best seller, The DaVinci Code, this child’s descendants are the Merovian kings and queens of France. Making Mary Magdalene pregnant with Jesus’ child, greatly diminishes the purpose of his ministry. Jesus’ fundamental message was to teach that everyone is able to connect with the Supreme Being.
The above three paragraphs were addressed earlier but if we dismiss Mary Magdalene’s connection to Mary of Bethany, we are left with the mystery of what happened to the woman who was the first to see the risen Christ? If she didn’t go to France or even Cyprus then where did she go? There are several possibilities, with a Church tradition claiming that she died of natural causes in Ephesus. Before we discuss our hypothesis let us take a quick look at some of the most popular theories. Again Wikipedia has pulled most of them together in its entry for Mary Magdalene. We will forgo repeating the supposition of the Magdalene’s association with Mary of Bethany or her depiction of the penitent sinner/prostitute:
Oil on wood panel of Saint Mary Magdalene
Samuel & Mary R Bancroft Memorial
Delaware Art Museum
Saint Mary Magdalene or Mary Magdalene is described, both in the canonical New Testament and in the New Testament apocrypha, as a devoted disciple of Jesus. She is considered by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. She is also commemorated by the Lutheran Church with a festival on the same day. The Orthodox Church also commemorates her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, which is the second Sunday after Pascha (Easter).
Mary Magdalene's name may identify her as "of Magdala"—the town some believe she came from, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee—and thus distinguishes her from the other Marys referred to throughout the New Testament…
She is probably included in the group of women who joined the Apostles in the Upper Room in Jerusalem after Jesus' ascension (Acts 1:14)…
The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1910 also stated that "there is no suggestion of an identification of the three persons (the 'sinner', Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany)." Eastern Orthodox Christians distinguish them all as three different persons: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany (whom the Orthodox commemorates on 4 June, together with her sister Martha), and the unnamed "woman who was a sinner" of Luke 7:36-50…
The Eastern Orthodox Church maintains that Mary Magdalene, distinguished from Mary of Bethany, and further distinguished from the "sinful woman", had been a virtuous woman all her life…There is a tradition that Mary Magdalene led so chaste a life that the devil thought she might be the one who was to bear Christ into the world, and for that reason he sent the seven demons to trouble her.
Mary Magdalene is honored as one of the first witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, and received a special commission from him to tell the Apostles of his resurrection (John 20:11–18). Mary's role as a witness is interesting due to the fact women at that time could not be witnesses in legal proceedings. Because of this, and because of her subsequent missionary activity in spreading the Gospel, she is known by the title, "Equal of the Apostles". She is often depicted on icons bearing a vessel of ointment, not because of the anointing by the "sinful woman", but because she was among those women who brought ointments to the tomb of Jesus. For this reason, she is called a Myrrhbearer.
According to Eastern traditions, she retired to Ephesus with the Theotokos (Mary, the Mother of God) and there she died. Her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved…
A group of scholars, the most familiar of whom is Elaine Pagels, have suggested that for one early group of Christians Mary Magdalene was a leader of the early Church and maybe even the unidentified Beloved Disciple, to whom the Fourth Gospel commonly called Gospel of John is ascribed…
These scholars also observe that the Mary Magdalene figure is consistently elevated in writings from which formal leadership roles are absent. In certain texts, while either the Peter or the Paul figure is more involved, Mary Magdalene's role is often diminished, while in other texts, the opposite occurs. A tug-of-war is evident between these two opposing systems of church government, revealing debates regarding the importance of the key roles of women in Biblical texts…
Karen King of Harvard Divinity School has observed, "The confrontation of Mary with Peter, a scenario also found in The Gospel of Thomas, Pistis Sophia, and The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians, reflects some of the tensions in second-century Christianity. Peter and Andrew represent orthodox positions that deny the validity of esoteric revelation and reject the authority of women to teach." (introduction, The Nag Hammadi Library)
Sources like the Gospel of Philip depict Mary Magdalene as being closer to Jesus than any other disciple. However, there is no known ancient document that claims she was his wife; rather, the Gospel of Philip depicts Mary as Jesus' koinonos, a Greek term indicating a "close friend." "companion" or, potentially, a lover:
There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
And the companion of the [Savior is] Mary Magdalene. [But Christ] loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often […]. The rest of the disciples [were offended by it and expressed disapproval.] They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her?"
The closeness described in these writings depicts Mary Magdalene, representing the Gnostics, as understanding Jesus and his teaching while the other disciples, representing the Church, did not. Kripal writes that "the historical sources are simply too contradictory and simultaneously too silent" to make absolute declarations regarding Jesus' sexuality. On the other hand, the historian John Dickson argues that it was common in early Christianity to kiss a fellow believer by way of greeting (see 1 Peter 5:14 in the New Testament), and as such kissing would have no romantic connotations. Dickson also argues that if Jesus were indeed in love with Mary, then the disciples' question "Why do you love her more than all of us?" would imply romantic jealousy on their part, a theory which he describes as "utterly implausible for historians."…
As stated, our hypothesis in The Good News Reverberation posits Mary Magdalene growing up in Alexandria, where both she and Jesus are initiated into The Mysteries. In Section 9C we discussed our theory that Mary Magdalene came initially to perform the ritual of Hieros Gamos, which wasn’t a physical sexual act. To recap:
“Accepting the validity of the historicity of “Religious Sex” rituals, we would like to propose that the association of “physical sexual intercourse” with Hieros Gamos or the Sacred Marriage was a misunderstanding of an allegorical teaching. As we have repeatedly said, the Ancient Spiritual teachers taught in allegories and parables, only revealing the meaning to their adepts and initiates. The key to comprehending how such a misunderstanding could have taken place is in the expression that the god, goddess, or priestess took on the “transgressions of Humanity” through the “Sacred marriage” or Hieros Gamos.
“Ultimately, the teaching on the Sacred Marriage or Hieros Gamos essentially concerned Divine intercession on behalf of the Human Race. As stated, the Old Testament prophets knew of the concept of the transfer of responsibility for “transgressions.” They were waiting for the Messiah who would act as a sacrificial lamb, (scapegoat) to renew the Israelites relationship with Yahweh. As the article related, “In Judaism, the sins of the individual are put on some animal which is ritualistically killed by a priest, or sent as a scapegoat into the wilderness…”
“Putting ourself in an Ancient Spiritual teacher’s place, how could we explain a Divine being taking on the “transgressions” of the individual? Ancient Spiritual teachers used the allegory of “physical sex” to relate the Saviour acting as a “scapegoat.’ Over time this became associated with a priestess representing the Goddess taking “…upon herself the sins and transgressions of the man” in a sexual ritual, which manifested in the act of salvation on the Physical Plane.
“If we apply Deductive Reasoning, we will realize that Divine Beings are pure energy, with no form. Moreover, as there is no such thing as Linear Time in the Soul Plane, “physical” relations, sexual or otherwise, could never take place between Divine Beings there. This leads us to our interpretation of the higher or spiritual teaching behind the term Hieros Gamos or Sacred Marriage. It concerns the three Greek terms for Love.
“This hypothesis proposes that whether or not Mary Magdalene knew Jesus, when she learned of his ministry she hurried to his side believing that, as Isis initiates they needed to perform the ritual of hieros gamos. However, when she reached Jesus, he taught her that the goal of the enlightened was to connect to God through the heart, not the physical passions.
“Although Mary Magdalene went to Jesus to anoint him, as with Jesus, she was unaware of the deeper spiritual implications. Instead, she was merely following a blind directive. Mirroring Jesus and John the Baptist’s experience, Mary Magdalene was as equally unaware of the spirit she carried or her divine destiny. Therefore, applying the axiom of “As above, so below, as below so above,” Jesus’ teaching Mary Magdalene was the beginning of the redemption of Sophia.
We said above that the key to comprehending how our ancestors mistakenly connected physical sex to the union of divinities is in the expression that the god, goddess, or priestess took on the “transgressions of Humanity” through the “Sacred marriage” or Hieros Gamos. However, the concept of “the priestess literally…” taking on the “transgressions of man” is also key to understanding why Mary Magdalene came to anoint Jesus.”
With regard to Mary Magdalene being in Alexandria, we hadn’t held out much hope for ever finding evidence to support this hypothesis. However, we were pleasantly surprised to discover in Dan Burstein’s SECRETS OF THE CODE that there may be a connection to Mary Magdalene and Alexandria. Mr. Burnstein relates the author Lynn Picknett’s theory of Mary Magdalene being a priestess of Isis. Connecting Mary’s anointing Jesus with the Sacred marriage, she says, “The sacred marriage was a familiar concept to pagans of Jesus’ day: versions of it were commonly performed by the devotees of various other dying-and-rising god cults…the Egyptian god Osiris, whose consort Isis breathed life into his dead body long enough for her to conceive…Horus…In all versions of the sacred marriage, the representative of the goddess, in the form of her priestess, united sexually with the chosen king…’ Even more surprising was Ms. Picknett discovery that Magdala may be in Egypt: “…although there was no ‘Magdala’ in Judaea in her day, there was a Magdolum in Egypt-just across the border-which was probably the Migdol mentioned in Ezekiel. There was a large and flourishing Jewish community in Egypt at that time, which was particularly centred on the great seaport of Alexandria…”
Due to the supposition that Jesus fathered a child, many people focus on the physical man and his bloodline and in some circles, whether or not Jesus was married has become of more importance than his message. Remember, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Unfortunately, we see this in the early Church reverting to the Jewish custom of circumcision (Galatians 3:2-11) and putting great store in bloodlines. Observe the genealogy recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, of which even the pseudo Pauline gospel of Timothy warns. (Timothy 1:4) Because of this custom, immediately after the resurrection, James the Just, the brother of Jesus, was declared the new leader of the Jerusalem Church. Furthermore, according to Eusebius the Church historian, after James’ death, every male member of Jesus’ family was installed as the leader of the Jerusalem Church.
Another consideration for where Mary Magdalene was before she became a follower of Jesus concerns her identity as the Beloved Disciple. Then there is the mystery of Saint Paul being attacked as Simon Magus, because the latter was said to travel with a female companion called Helen. If Simon was indeed Saint Paul then who was Helen? It is time to investigate Simon’s companion and discuss the Gnostic’s claim that Valentinus was taught by Theudas a disciple of Saint Paul.
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End of STAGE – REASON Section 10-c
In thoroughly researching every conceivable piece of information for the twelve Disciples and female followers of Jesus, both traditional and otherwise, it is time to sift the gold from the dross. As we said, this exercise will greatly assist in accessing Deductive Reasoning, as well as enable us to access the deeper levels of our subconscious. To achieve this, we need to open our minds to the possibility that we already know the Truth, and have simply forgotten the information, while learning to accept other interpretations. Once we allow our minds to open to that possibility, the next step is to read the material with a relaxed and open mind. As we progress, we will present conclusions the information led us to. However, it is not helpful to blindly accept conclusions. It is far better to allow the mind to consider all possibilities, which leads to the deeper levels of the subconscious. We will start this process with a re-examination of the New Testament characters Paul, Mary Magdalene, and Simon Magus, which brings in the Comforter and the Holy Spirit. Before we get to the investigation of Simon/Paul’s companion Helen, we want to inform participants of a change in format. Because the remaining text of this chapter switches back and forth between Mary Magdalene, Simon Magus, and Saint Paul, we will again be dispensing with the sequential order of the paragraphs in The Good News Reverberation.
In LOVE The Common Denominator, I reported that the pseudo Clementine Homilies likened Saul/St Paul to Simon Magus. The Homilies accuse Simon Magus of crimes that the Jerusalem disciples later attribute to Paul. Craig and I were surprised to learn that Helen, the woman travelling with Simon, was likened to Mary Magdalene.
Professor Elaine Pagels, an accredited authority on Gnosticism, who I have already mentioned has said that St Paul used Gnostic terms in his letters, (see 1Corinthinians 3:1). If St Paul did travel with Mary Magdalene, it would explain why the Church attacked them under the names of Simon and Helen. Many Gnostics claim that they take their teachings from Paul. In fact, as stated, Valentinus claimed to have been taught by Theudas a disciple of St Paul and as the Pistis Sophia reports Jesus taught about Sophia after his resurrection, passing the baton, so to speak to Mary Magdalene. Could this be how St. Paul also learned about these controversial teachings? The whole premise of Gnosticism was one of self-responsibility, holding that Jesus showed us the way. Salvation is in our hands. At the time of St Paul, the Jerusalem Church was gaining both converts and wealth. If Gnosticism had prevailed, there would have been no need for a hierarchical Church.
Having covered the association of Saint Paul with Simon Magus earlier, here we want to identify the woman called Helen that supposedly travelled with the latter. Furthermore, in the entry for Simon Magus on Wikipedia a Helen is mentioned as one of the “thirty” individuals with John the Baptist:
The Clementine Recognitions and Homilies give an account of Simon Magus and some of his teachings in regards to the Simonians. They are of uncertain date and authorship, and seem to have been worked over by several hands in the interest of diverse forms of belief…
There was one John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus in accordance with the law of parity; and as Jesus had twelve Apostles, bearing the number of the twelve solar months, so had he thirty leading men, making up the monthly tale of the moon. One of these thirty leading men was a woman called Helen, and the first and most esteemed by John was Simon. But on the death of John he was away in Egypt for the practice of magic, and one Dositheus, by spreading a false report of Simon's death, succeeded in installing himself as head of the sect…
…Simon, having fallen in love with Helen, took her about with him, saying that she had come down into the world from the highest heavens, and was his mistress, inasmuch as she was Sophia, the Mother of All…
Connecting Helen to Sophia reminds us that Mary Magdalene was an incarnation of Sophia, and that Jesus’ redemption of Mary Magdalene was Sophia’s third and final Redemption. Nonetheless, the most controversial supposition on Mary Magdalene is that as the “Beloved Disciple” she travelled with Mary the Mother of Jesus to Ephesus. We touched on this earlier in Section 6D in respect to Ramon K. Jusino, M.A’s thesis on Mary Magdalene being the author of the Fourth Gospel on his web site.
Having read that Mr. Jusino cites the research of the Catholic scholar Raymond E. Brown’s The Community of the Beloved Disciple The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times (1979) in support of his thesis, we decided to get a copy of the book ourselves.
Before we get to the book we want address a little background on the credentials of Raymond E Brown, according to his entry on Wikipedia. For purposes of impartiality and openness in judging Father Brown’s qualifications, we reproduce most of his article; including the criticism:
Raymond Edward Brown (May 22, 1928 - August 8, 1998), was an American Roman Catholic priest and Biblical scholar. He was regarded as a specialist concerning the hypothetical ‘Johannine community’, which he speculated contributed to the authorship of the Gospel of John, and wrote influential studies on the birth and death of Jesus…
Brown remains controversial among traditionalist Catholics because of their claim that he denied the inerrancy of the whole of Scripture and their claim that he cast doubt on the historical accuracy of numerous articles of the Catholic faith. He was regarded as occupying the centre ground in the field of biblical studies, opposing the literalism found among many fundamentalist Christians while not carrying his conclusions as far as many other scholars.
Born in New York, the son of Robert H. Brown and Loretta Brown, Raymond studied at the Catholic University of America where he received a BA in 1948 and MA in 1949. In 1951 he joined the scholarly Society of Saint-Sulpice following his STB from St Mary's Seminary and University. In 1953 he was ordained a priest in the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida. He earned a Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University where one of his advisors was Professor William F. Albright.
Brown was appointed in 1972 to the Pontifical Biblical Commission and again in 1996. He was the Auburn Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Protestant Union Theological Seminary in New York where he taught for 23 years. He served as president of the Catholic Biblical Association, the Society of Biblical Literature (1976-7) and the Society of New Testament Studies (1986-7…Brown was awarded 24 honorary doctoral degrees by universities in the USA and Europe, many from Protestant institutions. He died at St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, California. Cardinal Mahony hailed him as "the most distinguished and renowned Catholic biblical scholar to emerge in this country ever" and his death, the cardinal said, was "a great loss to the Church."
Brown was one of the first Catholic scholars in the United States to use the historical-critical method to study the Bible. He described the 1943 encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, which called for the use of historical-critical methods in establishing the literal sense of scriptural texts as a "Magna Carta for biblical progress".
Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, promulgated in 1965, stated that "the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation." Brown saw this as an affirmation of his approach …the document which established the parameters in which Catholic Biblical exegetes could legitimately apply the use of biblical criticism, quoted and reaffirmed the citation from Providentissimus Deus, adding that divine inspiration “not only is essentially incompatible with error but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and constant faith of the Church.”
Brown rejected the view that this implied the position had not changed: "Essential to a critical interpretation of church documents is the realization that the Roman Catholic Church does not change her official stance in a blunt way. Past statements are not rejected but are requoted with praise and then reinterpreted at the same time. ... What was really going on was an attempt gracefully to retain what was salvageable from the past and to move in a new direction at the same time".
The Second Vatican Council, one scholar observed, “raised biblical exegesis from the status of second-class citizenship to which it had been reduced among Catholics by an overreaction to the Protestant claim for its autonomy”.
New Testament Christology
In a detailed 1965 article in the journal Theological Studies examining whether Jesus was ever called "God" in the New Testament, Brown concluded that "Even the fourth Gospel never portrays Jesus as saying specifically that he is God" and "there is no reason to think that Jesus was called God in the earliest layers of New Testament tradition." He argued that, "Gradually, in the development of Christian thought God was understood to be a broader term. It was seen that God had revealed so much of Himself in Jesus that God had to be able to include both Father and Son."
Thirty years later, Brown revisited the issue in an introductory text for the general public, writing that in "three reasonably clear instances in the NT [Hebrews 1:8-9, John 1:1, 20:28] and in five instances that have probability, Jesus is called God", a usage Brown regarded as a natural development of early references to Jesus as "Lord".
Gospel of John
The Gospel of John is in two sections, which Brown labeled the "Book of Signs" and the "Book of Glory." The Book of Signs recounts Jesus' public miracles, which are called signs. The Book of Glory comprises Jesus' private teaching to his disciples, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. Brown identifies three layers of text in John: 1) an initial version Brown considers based on personal experience of Jesus; 2) a structured literary creation by the evangelist which draws upon additional sources; and 3) the edited version that readers know today (Brown 1979).
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Brown has been described as “the premier Johannine scholar in the English-speaking world”. Terrence T. Prendergast stated that “for nearly 40 years Father Brown caught the entire church up into the excitement and new possibilities of scriptural scholarship…
Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who has written presenting the infancy narratives and John’s Gospel as historically reliable, was personally complimentary of Brown and his scholarship, and has been quoted as saying he "would be very happy if we had many exegetes like Father Brown".
Brown's work was controversial among traditionalists who objected to the elements of his work that they regarded as casting doubt on the historical accuracy of numerous articles of the Catholic faith. His critics included Lawrence Cardinal Shehan and Father Richard Gilsdorf, who described Brown's work as "a major contribution to the befogged wasteland of an 'American Church,' progressively alienated from its divinely constituted center?”
Other writers, on the other hand, have criticized Brown for excessive caution, for what they saw as his unwillingness to acknowledge the radical implications of the critical methods he was using. Frank Kermode, in his review of The Birth of the Messiah, accused Brown of being too eager to secure the imprimatur of the Catholic Church; Geza Vermes has described Brown as "the primary example of the position of having your cake and eating it'."
In reading Father Brown’s book, we found it very informative especially in the subsection “The Role of the Beloved Disciple.” Yet it is important for us to state that despite supporting the Church’s position that Saint John son of Zebedee wrote the Fourth Gospel, he does not think this John is the Beloved Disciple. Nevertheless, we think that much of the contents of Father Brown’s book supports Mr. Jusino’s thesis on Mary Magdalene being both. Still, before we address Father Brown’s commentary on the Beloved Disciple, we were interested in his connecting the Qumran Essenes to the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine Community; so we will start our discussion there.
Father Brown related that “Parallels have been recognized between the Fourth Gospel and the thought of the Essenes.” He did not think this is evidence that the “Johannine writer knew the Qumran literature”, instead he explains the similarity of thought as there being “…a conversion into the Johannine community of Jews who held the kind of ideas known to us from the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Reminding us that the Essenes were consummate dualists, Father Brown thinks that the converts would have viewed Jesus “…as the heavenly light descended from above, his followers as the sons of light, and his Spirit as the Spirit of Truth.” Interestingly, he surmised that there were “…Jews who may have been followers of JBap (John the Baptist), whose ministry brought him into close proximity to the Qumran settlement…” Most telling for us, is that Father Brown believed John the Baptist’s “preaching had important common features with Qumran thought and practice.
As startling as the above information was, it was Father Brown’s connecting the Beloved Disciple to both John the Baptist and the Essenes that revealed the most. The premise in his book is that the Beloved Disciple founded the Christian Johannine Community. Father Brown suggests “…the Johannine picture becomes more understandable if the Beloved Disciple, like some of the named disciples of John, had been a disciple of JBap (John the Baptist)…Thus the Beloved Disciple would have had a background similar to that of the prominent members of the Twelve…” As related at least three of the Apostles were former followers of John the Baptist.
Saint John the Baptist is probably the most historically verifiable Christian character in the New Testament. This is because we find his name in non-Christian sources. The most famous being Josephus, which is related in the entry for John the Baptist on Wikipedia:
An account of John the Baptist is found in all extant manuscripts of the Jewish Antiquities (book 18, chapter 5, 2) by Flavius Josephus (37–100):
Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late.
Saint John the Baptist
Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod and a mark of God's displeasure to him.
In Section 6B we related that there was physical evidence to support John the Baptist being a member of the Qumran Essenes. To recap:
Mr. Feather thinks there is physical evidence to at least support that John the Baptist was a member of the Qumran Essenes. In an interview with Joseph Milik, one of the original excavators of the Qumran site, he told Robert Feather, “I too excavated a corpse, without a head. It was clear from the presence of brown dust that it must have been in a wooden coffin. Yes, there were arms and the skeleton, but no skull…”
In respect to the Beloved Disciple’s connection to the Johannine Community, Father Brown relates, “…the followers of JBap (John the Baptist) and the later community (Johannine Community) may have been centered in the Beloved Disciple…” Although conceding some scholars’ claim that the Beloved Disciple was a “…purely fictional or only an ideal figure…” as “quite implausible…” He counters with “…the fact that he was a historical person and a companion of Jesus becomes all the more obvious in the new approaches to Johannine ecclesiology.” (ecclesiology is the study of the church as a thing in itself) Father Brown sums up his argument for support of the Beloved Disciple as a historical figure with “Later…when the Johannine Christians were clearly distinct from groups of (Orthodox) Christians who associated themselves with…Peter, the claim to possess the witness of the Beloved Disciple enabled the Johannine Christians to defend their peculiar insights in Christology and ecclesiology.”
Father Brown points out that the “one-upmanship” of the Beloved Disciple in relation to Simon Peter in the Fourth Gospel illustrates animosity between them. The mention of the “one-upmanship” between Peter and the Beloved Disciple called to mind the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which we reported in Section 6D. To help illustrate our point we will repeat the relevant passages:
“Excerpts from the Gnostic Gospel of Philip in The Nag Hammadi Library, may give a clearer picture on Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ relationship. It reads; “But Christ loved her (Mary Magdalene) more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it… They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Saviour answered and said to them, ‘Why do I not love you like (I love) her’?”
“To suggest that the disciples “were offended” when Jesus kissed his wife “on the mouth,” did not seem logical to Craig and I. However, The Gospel of Mary (Magdalene) may shed some light on the reason for the disciples’ animosity towards her. “Peter said to Mary, ‘Sister, we know that the saviour loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the saviour which you remember – which you know (but) we do not, nor have we heard them.’ Mary answered and said, ‘What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you’.”
“After Mary Magdalene relates the “hidden” things Jesus taught her, Andrew and Peter verbally attacked her... “Andrew answered and said to the brethren, ‘Say what you (wish to) say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the saviour said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.’ Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the saviour: ‘Did he really speak with a woman without our knowledge (and) not openly? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us’?”
Father Brown’s book caused us to rethink the role of Saint John of Zebedee when he related “…I am inclined to change my mind…from the position that I took in the first volume of my AB commentary identifying the Beloved Disciple as one of the Twelve, viz., John son of Zebedee…” We found it refreshing to see a religious scholar willing to admit that he was wrong, as he said the rivalry between the Beloved Disciple and Saint Peter in the “…Fourth Gospel gives the impression that he (the Beloved Disciple) was an outsider to the group of best-known disciples, a group that would have included John son of Zebedee…”
Considering that we questioned the validity of designating the Number of the Apostles as twelve, it was interesting to read that an eminent Catholic scholar also contests the New Testament’s claim that there were only twelve Apostles. Father Brown informs us that “The external (late second century) evidence identifying the Beloved Disciple as John is a further step in a direction, already visible in the NT (New Testament) itself, toward simplifying Christian origins by reduction to the Twelve Apostles.”
Father Brown encapsulates his position on the Beloved Disciple by citing the Lutheran theologian Oscar Cullman’s assessment of the Beloved Disciple. He confesses that Professor Cullman “…may be right in his long-held theory that we cannot know the name of the Beloved Disciple, even though we can suspect: ‘He is a former disciple of John the Baptist. He began to follow Jesus in Judea when Jesus himself was in close proximity to the Baptist. He shared the life of his master during Jesus’ last stay in Jerusalem. He was known to the high priest. His connection with Jesus was different from that of Peter, the representative of the Twelve.’ ”
We think that if we replace he with she in Father Brown’s commentary on the Beloved Disciple then everything he cites fits with the Beloved Disciple being Mary Magdalene. There is just one more piece of evidence of note in Father Brown’s book that points to Mary Magdalene being the Beloved Disciple, who founded the Johannine Community, and that is the location for the Community and the composition of the Fourth Gospel. Evidently there is “…evidence of Palestinian origins” for the Gospel of John and there is “…the tradition of composition at Ephesus in Asia Minor.
In mentioning “Palestinian origins” Father Brown brings up an obvious discrepancy between the Fourth Gospel and the Gospel of Matthew. He points out that in chapter 4 of the Gospel of John, Jesus visits Samaria converting an entire village; whereas in Matthew 10:5 Jesus explicitly tells the Disciples not to “even enter a Samaritan city.” He adds that moreover, “According to Acts 8:1-25, it was only some years after the resurrection that Christianity was brought to Samaria by the Hellenistic preacher, Philip…” We wondered where Samaria was in respect to Jerusalem. As we can see from the map Samaria lay between Judea (Jerusalem) and Galilee.
Map of Judea province in the First Century (GNU) Lifeam
Something that had puzzled us was if the Johannite Community was founded by the Beloved Disciple, then why was it named after Saint John the son of Zebedee. It wasn’t until reading that the Beloved Disciple had been a follower of John the Baptist that the light went on so to speak. If as Father Brown says the Beloved Disciple was a follower of John the Baptist then it is more likely that the Johannine Community was named in honor of John the Baptist and not John son of Zebedee. Because Father Brown thinks the Beloved Disciple was a man he does not consider Mary Magdalene as a possible candidate. If our hypothesis is right and Mary Magdalene was a follower of John the Baptist, is there any evidence of Mary Magdalene’s association with John the Baptist?
Earlier in Section 6B we quoted from the book Gnostic John the Baptizer: Selections from the Mandean John-Book. Although the book raises questions of whether John was only six months older than Jesus and the role Pilate played in the crucifixion, the main crux of the book is the relationship of John and Jesus. Nonetheless, we are trying to ascertain if there is any evidence of Mary Magdalene with John the Baptist. If we consider that she may have been known by another name then there may well be:
In G.R.S. Mead’s Gnostic John the Baptizer: we came across a reference to a Miryai being “expelled from Jewry…” As the text shows, Miryai is a woman of great renown and has a following among the Jewish people:
“All the Jews gathered together and followed after Miryai. They went and found that a throne was set up for Miryai on the bank of Euphrates. A white standard was for her unfurled and a book stood upright on her lap. She reads in the Books of Truth and rouses all worlds from their sleep. She holds in her hand the staff of Life’s water; the girdle is bound round her loins. Miryai in humbleness prays and proclaims with wondrous voice. The fishes gather out of the sea, the birds from the mouth of Euphrates. They come to hear Miryai’s voice, and no more long to lie down to sleep. They breathe in the sweet scent around her and forget the world.”
Just sitting with this, and ruminating over the information uses our Deductive Reasoning. However, we need to return to the connection of Saint Paul and Simon Magus. As stated, if we considered Saint Paul may have been attacked as Simon Magus, another mystery arises. This is because Simon Magus was said to travel with a female companion called Helen, and if Simon was indeed Saint Paul then who was Helen? Above, the entry for Simon Magus reported that “Helen… was Sophia.” We find a clue to this identification in the Myth of Simon and Helen, which is related in the entry for Simon Magus on Wikipedia:
Justin Martyr (in his Apologies and in a lost work against heresies, which Irenaeus used as his main source) and Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses) are the first to recount the myth of Simon and Helen…
In the beginning God had his first thought, his Ennoia, which was female, and that thought was to create the angels. The First Thought then descended into the lower regions and created the angels. But the angels rebelled against her out of jealousy and created the world as her prison, imprisoning her in a female body. Thereafter, she was reincarnated many times, each time being shamed. Her many reincarnations included Helen of Troy; among others, and she finally was reincarnated as Helen, a slave and prostitute in the Phoenician city of Tyre. God then descended in the form of Simon Magus, to rescue his Ennoia, and to confer salvation upon men through knowledge of himself. "And on her account," he says, "did I come down; for this is that which is written in the Gospel 'the lost sheep'."
For as the angels were mismanaging the world, owing to their individual lust for rule, he had come to set things straight, and had descended under a changed form, likening himself to the Principalities and Powers through whom he passed, so that among men he appeared as a man, though he was not a man, and was thought to have suffered in Judaea, though he had not suffered.
"But in each heaven I changed my form," says he, "in accordance with the form of those who were in each heaven, that I might escape the notice of my angelic powers and come down to the Thought, who is none other than her who is also called Prunikos and Holy Ghost, through whom I created the angels, while the angels created the world and men."
But the prophets had delivered their prophecies under the inspiration of the world-creating angels: wherefore those who had their hope in him and in Helen minded them no more, and, as being free, did what they pleased; for men were saved according to his grace, but not according to just works. For works were not just by nature, but only by convention, in accordance with the enactments of the world-creating angels, who by precepts of this kind sought to bring men into slavery. Wherefore he promised that the world should be dissolved, and that those who were his should be freed from the dominion of the world-creators…
Bearing in mind the tradition that Helen was Sophia, we need to consider the similarity in the myth of Simon and Helen with the Gnostic myth of the fall of Sophia. Following on from our discussion on the wrong assumption of Jesus fathering a child with Mary Magdalene, as it contradicts Jesus’ message that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, The Good News Reverberation continues with the Church’s development after Jesus ascends:
Unfortunately, we see this in the early Church reverting to the Jewish custom of circumcision (Galatians 3:2-11) and putting great store in bloodlines. Observe the genealogy recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, of which even the pseudo Pauline gospel of Timothy warns. (Timothy 1:4) Because of this custom, immediately after the resurrection, James the Just, the brother of Jesus, was declared the new leader of the Jerusalem Church. Furthermore, according to Eusebius the Church historian, after James’ death, every male member of Jesus’ family was installed as the leader of the Jerusalem Church.
Many historians and scholars of Scripture have seen strong evidence for there being a conflict between Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Despite Timothy I and II and Titus seeming to relate that Paul was in agreement with the Orthodox or Catholic Church, these three Letters are referred to as “pseudo-Pauline”, because most Biblical scholars reject them as written by Saint Paul. Some scholars propose that these three Letters if not written by, were heavily interpolated (added to) by Bishop Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna. If this is true, could the reason the Church felt the need to produce evidence for Saint Paul supporting Orthodoxy be because the Gnostics claimed to take their teachings from Saint Paul’s Letters?
Gnostic teachings, or as the Church labelled them, the “heretics” had Peter, Andrew and James taking early Christianity back to its Jewish roots. Alternatively, Mary Magdalene came to represent the Gnostic or non-Jewish side of Christianity. This is interesting, as Saint Paul, the Church’s champion, also seems to be moving Christianity away from Judaism and towards Gnosticism. I guess, the question we need to ask is, “Why did Jesus Christ call Saul/Paul to God’s service?”
On the face of it, taken literally Paul’s letters appear to support the Church’s stance on many things, such as the position of women in the Church. Above we noted that even today the Church often uses Paul’s Letters to refute women’s claims to discipleship in the Gospels. However, as we discussed in Section 7A, Professor Elaine Pagels in her The Gnostic Paul shows that Paul’s Letters can be and often were interpreted from a Gnostic perspective. Because this is vital to understanding how writers of Scripture often hid more than one meaning within their writing, we will repeat the most important excerpts of what we wrote in the sub-section Gnostic Gospels in the chapter, Gnosis versus Orthodoxy in LOVE: The Common Denominator LCD:
“…in The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters that Clement said the Valentinians maintained ‘Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas, and Theudas, in turn, an own disciple of Paul.’ Citing Paul himself, the Valentinians said the apostle discovered ‘secret teachings’ and ‘the deeper mysteries’ or ‘secret wisdom,’ which he explains he shares only with those Christians he considers ‘mature’ but not with everyone…
“… In reading Paul’s letters, I’d found what appeared to be a contradiction. Paul seems to have female followers, in which some are clearly more than just listeners. For instance Romans 16:1 says; ‘I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the Church… So what does he mean when he wrote the strange statement; ‘Let you women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the Law,’ While just three chapters earlier, we find; ‘But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head.’
“Either Paul is constantly changing his mind where women are concerned, or there is a deeper meaning to this scripture…In The Gnostic Paul, Elaine Pagels explains that from verse 1-4 Paul is reminding them of what he has taught them. She writes: ‘Paul urges the elect to imitate him: they are to ‘remember’ what he taught them (11:1-2; apparently the secret, oral teaching) and on that basis to observe ‘the traditions’ transmitted to them. Why, then, does he abruptly break off his discussion in 11:3 and turn to consider such trivial matters as the social relationship between men and women, and the question of proper dress? The initiated reader could perceive that Paul has not changed the subject, but now chooses to continue in symbolic language, so that the elect alone are able to follow his hidden meaning.
“The Gnostics asserted that Paul used symbolic language to teach esoteric spiritual matters. ‘When the apostle speaks of the relationship between man and woman, the Valentinians explain, he is speaking symbolically first of the relationship between Christ and the ecclesia, and secondly of the relationship between the elect and the called. As God is the head of Christ, so Christ is the head of the man (that is, of the pneumatic elect) and man the head of the woman (the psychic ecclesia). Through this metaphor Paul reveals the hierarchy of the divine relationship: God, Christ, the elect, the called (cf. 11:3)…’ ”
If Mary Magdalene as the Beloved Disciple wrote the Fourth Gospel then as a Gnostic teacher the Scripture has more than one meaning. It was Professor Elaine Pagel’s book The Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis: Heracleon’s Commentary on John that provided the insight to the hidden teachings within the Gospel of John. It is important to remember that an eminent and accredited scholar affirms that the Gospel of John or the Fourth Gospel came out of the Johannine Community. Professor Pagels interpretation was again reported in the chapter Gnosis versus Orthodoxy in LCD:
“…Is there a deeper meaning to the scriptures? The Gnostics, particularly the Valentinians thought so. I found clear evidence of this, in Elaine Pagels’, The Johannine Gospel in Gnostic Exegesis: Heracleon’s Commentary on John. Professor Pagels explains that the Valentinians believed that the scriptures contained hidden information underneath the literal story. She also tells us that they saw humankind divided into three distinct groups, which they referred to as “spiritual”, “psychic (not to be confused with today’s “fortune tellers”),” and “hylic.”
“The Gnostics in The Johannine Gospel identified this division as the different characters in the stories. Pagels believes this is evinced by the writings of Heracleon, an adherent of the Valentinian teachings who lived around 160 C.E. Heracleon explained in his exegesis the different types of conversions of humankind are described in the nature of the characters found within the biblical narratives. For example, the centurion’s son would represent the “psychic” conversion and the “spiritual” conversion would be indicated by the story of the Samaritan woman who Jesus converses with at the well…
“Apparently, Heracleon also saw the relevance of the son being in Capernaum, because he saw the city as representative of “the lowest level of existence.” To Heracleon this region was in the “extremities of materiality, bordering on primordial chaos.” It is in this region that the son “immersed in matter,” is dying. According to Pagels, the son represents the Demiurge’s creation, i.e., “man, made in his image.” The story symbolizes the condition of the human race as seen through the Gnostics eyes. To them we are not in our natural state, for we are really spiritual beings immersed in a material body…
Having heard of the psychic conversion, now it was time to compare it to the spiritual or pneumatic conversion. Heracleon believes this is demonstrated in the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Unfortunately, Pagels informs us, we no longer have the beginning of Heracleon’s commentary on the story. Consequently, it opens with the woman asking Jesus from where does he get the ‘living water.’ The Samaritan woman then asks ‘Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well...?’
“…Pagels explains that we always need to remember that Heracleon uses the characters of Abraham, Moses and Jacob, ‘metaphorically.’ Apparently, all three characters were used in reference to the Demiurge, with each personage representative of a different expression exhibited by the Demiurge. Moses portrays the Demiurge in the role as the ‘Lawgiver and judge.’ Abraham portrays him as the Creator of psychic mankind, the ‘father’ and ruler of the universe. The personage of Jacob takes over when the Demiurge takes on the role of the shepherd of mankind. Consequently, when the Samaritan woman asks ‘Art thou greater than our father Jacob?’, Heracleon believed that she was in fact asking whether the Savior was greater than the Demiurge.
What makes the Samaritan woman’s conversion indicative of a spiritual or pneumatic is her ‘spontaneous’ response to Jesus’ statement concerning the ‘living water.’ Heracleon sees this as showing that she recognizes instantly the truth of the Savior’s words. Pagels explains the Gnostic Heracleon’s thought, thus; ‘— the Samaritan responds...as if hearing what she already has known intuitively. — She realizes at once that the psychic worship in which she has been participating is unsatisfying for her. This ‘water’ is only a ‘reflection,’ and hard to swallow and ‘unnourishing.’ She recognizes that she actually ‘hates the other place,’ the well of the ‘so-called living water’ (C.J. 13:10), and she asks the Savior to give her the water of eternal life.’…
If we accept that the Samaritan woman represents the pneumatic or spiritual elect, the question is meant to denote the difference between psychic and spiritual worship. Heracleon taught that this passages’ deeper meaning was to show that there are three types of worship taking place on three definite levels. Mount Gerizim is a metaphor for the lowest level, referred to by Heracleon as ‘the topos of materiality or (hylē).’ …in this domain the lowest passions and senses reign. It was the worship of material or worldly passions, such as greed and hate found in this region that the “nobleman’s (or centurion’s) son” needed rescuing from by the Savior.
“The middle level is represented by Jerusalem and refers to the psychic realm, which is governed by The God of the Jews or the Demiurge. Worship in this realm centers around the worship of the creator, or the Demiurge. Pagels informs us that Heracleon cites Romans 1:25 to demonstrate that the Demiurge is a creation not the true creator, the Christ. Referring to John 1:3, which reads; ‘All things were made by him (Christ); and without him was not any thing made that was made.’ Heracleon, along with other Gnostics, believed that there was no question of the identity of the true creator.
“Finally the top or third level is where the spirituals or pneumatics worship. It is in this region the Demiurge is seen for what he really is, ‘the image of the true father.’ No longer fooled by the lesser levels, the spirituals/pneumatics worship Christ and the true Father without fear or reservation.
Considering the relationship between the Samaritans and the Jews it is surprising to see a Samaritan woman associated with the pneumatic elect. Still if the “Palestinian origins” for the Johannine Community was Samaria, then it opens up a whole new level of inquiry. Recalling that Simon Magus was from Samaria, and there may be a connection between Simon’s companion Helen and Mary Magdalene, if we associate Helen with Mary Magdalene and Simon is associated with Saint Paul, then can we perhaps surmise that Paul and Mary Magdalene knew one another? The entry for Simon Magus above on Wikipedia related that both Simon and Helen were one of “the thirty” followers of John the Baptist. To recap: “…One of these thirty leading men was a woman called Helen, and the first and most esteemed by John was Simon…”
There is another thing to consider when we associate Saint Paul with Simon and John the Baptist; did Simon/Saint Paul know Jesus. Chapter 9 of Acts relates how Saul/Paul was on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians who had escaped there when he received the revelation from Christ. Still, Acts was not written by Paul so we cannot take this as Paul’s testimony. However, Saint Paul himself asserts in I Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles, that I am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” If Saint Paul had been a disciple of John the Baptist or Jesus he would not have served the High Priest of the San Hedrin and persecuted the Christians. Therefore using Deductive Reasoning we conclude that before his conversion Saint Paul did not know Jesus.
As Simon is said to be one of the thirty that followed John the Baptist the above is problematic, because according to the New Testament John the Baptist was beheaded before Jesus’ crucifixion and Paul/Simon did not know Jesus. However, in Section 7A we mention how G. R. S. Mead writing in the Gnostic John the Baptizer reports that he found “a Slavonic or Old Russian translation…” by Flavius Josephus the Jewish historian. To recap: “In this version there are no less than eight pieces referring to John the Baptist and a few to Jesus and the first Christians…” As stated, Mr. Mead related “…John survived the death of Philip, which took place somewhere between 33 and 36 A.D.”
We also found a web page “Did John the Baptist die after Jesus?” that also relates that Josephus placed the Baptist’s death around 36 C.E. The article is insightful and takes all arguments into consideration. We have excerpted the relevant passages below, but we highly recommend visiting this website:
The Gospel according to Luke is unusually specific about the date of John the Baptist's teaching:
"Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins..." [Luke 3:1-3]
Historical records are available for all of the rulers mentioned:
Tiberius Caesar was joint ruler of Rome from 12 CE, and came into power in his own right in 14 CE. Therefore the fifteen year of his reign must have been between 26-29 CE.
Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea between 26-36 CE.
Herod Antipas and his brother Philip ruled until their deaths in 39 CE and 34 CE respectively.
Annas was high-priest between 6-15 CE, and was apparently still influential during the tenure of his son-in-law Caiaphas in 18-37 CE.
According to Luke, therefore, John The Baptist's ministry must have began around 26-29 CE. Further, Luke 3:23 states that Jesus Christ was about thirty years old at this time. It is commonly calculated that Jesus was crucified on 7 April 30 CE or (more likely) 3 April 33 CE. (Sir Isaac Newton preferred a date of 23 April 34 CE).
Dating John the Baptist's death from Josephus
Josephus mentions John The Baptist in his Antiquities at 18.5.2 116-119.
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man... Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him." [18.5.2 116-119]
In his web page John the Baptist and Josephus G. J. Goldberg writes:
"A puzzle for readers is that Josephus' description of John the Baptist occurs several paragraphs after his description of Jesus (18.5.2 116 compared to 18.3.3 63), implying that John came later in time; but it is important in the gospels that John appeared before Jesus so as to announce him..."
"...it does appear that Josephus is giving John's death as occurring in 36 CE, which is at least 6 years later than what is expected from the New Testament, and after the crucifixion of Jesus. This date is seen as follows. Herod's battle with Aretas appears to have broken out soon after Herod's first wife, Aretas's daughter, left him. If so, then John did not have much time between the moment people were aware Herod was remarrying and the start of the battle with Aretas, for John was already dead before the battle. Josephus gives several indications that the battle occurred in 36 CE..."
"According to Josephus, John the Baptist is arrested around this time and killed shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, this is after the traditional dating of Jesus death, but traditional also says that Jesus began his ministry around the time John died."
Goldberg considers explanations for this 36 CE dating by the scholar Christiane Saulnier, but concludes:
"Considering the arguments as a whole, Saulnier does propose a possible way in which Josephus' chronology can be reconciled with the gospels'. For believers in the basic accuracy of the gospels, that is enough. But if one regards the gospels' dating as suspect and solely works from Josephus' text, then Saulnier's discussion pushes the date back some but does not produce any firm evidence identifying the date... before the early 30's CE. The reader can choose between these alternatives according to his or her own predisposition. " …
It seems that either Josephus is wrong, or the Bible (or both!). The very specific dating given in Luke 3:1-3 is not repeated in the other Gospels, and the authorship of Luke is uncertain.
Readers may also be interested to note that the early Christian writer St. Irenaeus (c. 125-191 CE) wrote that apostlistic tradition taught that Jesus was around fifty when he died - and that he preached for many more than the three years commonly attributed. If true, this would imply that Jesus was either born well before 1 BCE, or that he died well after the time of Pilate.
Although we had accepted that because chaos ensued after Jesus’ crucifixion within his followers, which led to uncertainties over the Apostles, we had never considered that there were any discrepancies over the death of John the Baptist. Nonetheless, the above references to Josephus certainly warrants investigation. If John died around 36 C.E., it would certainly explain how Simon/Paul could have been one of his followers.
Regarding John the Baptist’s age when he died, some investigators give John’s age as forty-one or older. Of course this contradicts the accepted dates of Christianity for John the Baptist’s death around 29/30 C.E., at the age of 30. Father Brown thought that both the Beloved Disciple and author of the Fourth Gospel were former followers of John the Baptist; could the Scriptures in the Gospel shed any light on the matter? We always assumed that the Gospel of John agreed with the Synoptic Gospels over the death of John the Baptist, yet in researching it we found that the Gospel does not mention John’s death at all. The only time that the Gospels agree is in Chapter 3:22-36 when in the midst of a discourse about John the Baptist baptizing, and being questioned by his disciples about Jesus’ baptism, the author of John interrupts the flow by adding in verse 24 “For John was not yet cast into prison.” Nonetheless, if we consider that John the Baptist was still baptizing and recognized as a Spiritual leader alongside Jesus for some time after the latter began his ministry, then all the information can fit. We will leave this for now, because we want to discuss the identity of the Comforter. In the meantime, consider verse 26 of chapter 3 of John, “And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.”
If Simon Magus was an alias for Saint Paul is there evidence for Paul following John the Baptist? The first time Paul appears in the New Testament is in Acts 7:58 as the “young man” named Saul who witnessed the stoning of Saint Stephen. Historians date the martyrdom of Stephen to between 34 and 35 C.E. Immediately after the martyrdom Saul is said to persecute Christians but chapter 9 reports Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Considering the close proximity of the conversion to Stephen’s martyrdom, we suspect that Saul’s conversion occurred within a year of the stoning. As the men that stoned Stephen removed “their clothes” before the stoning, Deductive Reasoning would conclude that they didn’t stone Stephen naked so the “clothes” must have been over coats of some kind. Having spent a decade living in the Desert we observed that the climate rarely requires an overcoat. So we wondered if this was the case for Jerusalem. Researching the average temperatures for the Holy City, we learned that the average temperature ranges from 39 to 84, with the coldest months being December, January and February. However, in general the coldest month is January. So taking this into consideration and incorporating the dates for Stephen’s martyrdom, we would like to propose that Saul’s conversion most probably occurred in the Spring or Summer of 35 C.E.
As stated, at Saul’s conversion he is blinded, and the Spirit/Christ instructs him to travel to Damascus to have Ananias heal him. After his conversion Saul now Paul goes to Arabia. However, according to an article written by N.T. Wright: PAUL, ARABIA, AND ELIJAH (GALATIANS 1:17)
We don’t know, say most of the commentators, why Paul went to Arabia or what he did there. We aren’t even sure which bit of “Arabia” he visited.
In what is, for Paul, an unusually long autobiographical section (Gal 1:11-2:21), he describes the events leading up to and following from his dramatic experience on the road to Damascus, including two visits to Jerusalem, his confrontation with Peter at Antioch— and his trip to Arabia.
Whatever precise reasons one gives for this lengthy account, it clearly has something to do with reinforcing the basic point he enunciates in 1:11-12: he received his gospel message not from other human sources (to whom, by implication, his hearers might appeal, over his head, for a more accurate version) but rather by “a revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:12).
Map of Palestine in the time of Christ
What comes next is particularly significant. He first describes his “former life in Judaism,” a life characterized by “extreme zeal for the traditions of my fathers” which zeal led him “to persecute and ravage the church of God” (1:13-14; see also Phil 3:5-6).
He then continues: But when the God who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me through his grace was pleased to reveal his son in me, so that I might be his herald among the nations, at once I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (Gal. 1:15-17) Why Arabia?
Some think it was a time of solitary meditation, in preparation for the Gentile mission; others, that it was Paul’s first attempt at Gentile evangelism.
Where was “Arabia,” anyway, at that time? …Most agree that the main point Paul is making in the passage is that he did not go to Jerusalem. But the question of Arabia is still a puzzle. I wish to propose a solution to it. “The word ‘Arabia’ is very imprecise in Paul’s day, covering the enormous area to the south and east of Palestine…”
Mr. Wright proposes that when Paul refers to going to Arabia he is saying that he went to Mount Sinai. This is of course possible, yet we think that like Jesus went to the desert after John the Baptist baptized him, following his baptism by Ananias in Damascus, Saul went to the desert in Arabia. It was here that he was directed to go to Jesus Christ’s Disciples. We had seen from the entry for Simon Magus that Simon/Paul was with the Beloved Disciple as a follower of John the Baptist, who in this new scenario is still alive. As such, it would seem Reasonable to assume that Paul went to where John was preaching. The Gospel of John records John baptizing in “Aeon near Salim” John 3:23. We were pleasantly surprised to discover an entry for Aenon on Wikipedia:
Ænon is a Greek word coming from a Hebrew term "ay-yin". It means "spring" or "natural fountain", and was a place near Salem where John the Baptist baptized (John 3:23). Its probable location was near the upper source of the Wadi Far'ah, an open valley extending from Mount Ebal to the Jordan River which is full of springs. There is now a place called Ainun four miles north of the springs.
The mention of “Mount Ebal” gives us a geographical starting point. However, the mountain is associated with Mount Gerizim, the “Holy mountain” for the Samaritans. The entry for Mount Ebal on Wikipedia relates:
Mount Ebal …is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank(Biblical Shechem), and forms the northern side of the valley in which Nablus is situated, the southern side being formed by Mount Gerizim…
In the masoretic text of Deuteronomy and the Septuagint version of the same, an instruction is given to build an altar on Mount Ebal, constructed from natural (rather than cut) stones, to place stones there and whiten them with lime, to make peace offerings on the altar, eat there, and write the words of this law on the stone. According to the Samaritan Pentateuch version of Deuteronomy, the instruction actually concerns Mount Gerizim, which the Samaritans view as a holy site; scholars believe that the Samaritan version is probably more accurate in this respect, the compilers of the masoretic text and authors of the Septuagint being likely to be biased against the Samaritans.
We found a map of Samaria on the web site Bible History http://www.bible-history.com/maps/samaria_central_palestine.html The mention of the Samaritan city Shechem being in “the immediate vicinity” narrows the location of Aenon even more. If we examine the blow up of Samaria below with the Map of the Judea Province in the First Century above, we will see that Aenon was very close, if not in the province of Samaria:
Map of Ancient Samaria and Central Israel
Considering that Simon/Paul was in Samaria and John the Baptist baptized and preached there, it is highly likely that the “Arabia” Paul went to after his conversion was Samaria. The question is why would Paul go to the enemy of the Jews?
As stated above, we covered the data and addressed that there are multiple legends, traditions, and theories on the life, service, and death of most of the twelve Apostles. Moreover, we proposed that there may have been more than twelve Disciples/Apostles. Interestingly, not only is there very little information on most of the female Disciples of Jesus but there is also very little disagreement on what data there is. As shown the only female follower’s role that is hotly debated is Mary Magdalene. In addition, because we believe we have shown that Saint Paul may be connected to the Gnostics, and Simon Magus, not to mention John the Baptist, further investigation is needed. All of these questions leaves many wondering if we can trust anything the Bible says, to that we would like to reiterate that very early on in our investigation, having discovered what appeared to be multiple discrepancies in the Scriptures, we prayed for guidance and heard, “Even the errors will lead you to the Truth.” In other words, if we trust our inner guidance, the discrepancies can also help us find the Truth. The key is in opening the mind and spiritually discerning the information.
We will continue the process above as we proceed, examining all the information and investigating how the various theories fit into a sequential timeline. Since The Lesson is the last chapter on the historical events and characters of the New Testament in The Good News Reverberation: we will summarize what we have discovered about not only Jesus and his teachings but also three other New Testament figures.
Throughout this Stage we have endeavored to arouse participants curiosity. As curiosity is one of the Seven Keys to Truth it is an essential attribute to Deductive Reasoning. Before we sum up our hypothesis of the historical events in The Good News Reverberation, we will recap the most relevant points in Stage Reason to uncovering the historical truth concerning some of the figures in the New Testament. As can be observed, sometimes the information overlaps, which indicates to us the strengthening of the information. Although we are including the main points below, as with the previous Sections the full list of bullets for Section 10 are available in a downloadable PDF
JOHN THE BAPTIST
- John the Baptist is associated with the book Gnostic John the Baptizer: Selections from the Mandæn John-Book.
- In the Gnostic John the Baptizer John the Baptist is told to Baptize Jesus by the World Mother.
- Both Jesus and John were members of the Essene sect at Qumran.
- Akhenaten is connected to the Qumran Essenes through the Copper Scroll.
- Dead Sea Scrolls record that if a member of the community broke the rules, that member would be exiled and banished to the desert.
- Mark 1:6 says John the Baptist survived in the desert by eating locusts and wild honey?
- Joseph Milik excavated a corpse, without a head at Qumran.
- After John the Baptist was beheaded, his head was given to Salome.
- Machaerus, Herod Antipas hilltop fortress is only fifteen miles from the Dead Sea.
- There was an Essene community in Egypt known as the Therapeutae.
- The Therapeutae were in ‘Lake Mereotis (Marioot) near Alexandria.
- The New Testament does not report John’s ministry in depth.
- According to the Fourth Gospel John baptized in Aenon, which is in Samaria.
- The Gospel of John says Jesus preached in Samaria.
- A Slavonic or Old Russian translation of the War in Antiquity of the Jews by Josephus contains 8 pieces referring to John the Baptist and a few to Jesus and the first Christians.
- The mention of John the Baptist’s ministry with Archelaus meant that John was preaching as an adult in 6 C.E.
- Simon and the Beloved Disciple were followers of John the Baptist.
- Helen was one of the thirty leaders that included Simon with John the Baptist.
- In the Gnostic John the Baptizer a woman called Miryai was expelled from Jewry.
- Miryai is a woman of great renown and has a following among the Jewish people.
- All the Jews gathered together and followed after Miryai.
- A throne was set up for Miryai on the bank of Euphrates.
- John survived the death of Philip, which took place somewhere between 33 and 36 C.E.
- Josephus scholars date John the Baptist’s death to 36 C.E.
The Gnostic John the Baptizer both supports and challenges the Gospels. It supports the Gospels because John Baptizes Jesus. The interesting aspect of the account as reported in Section 7A is that rather than John eagerly baptizing Jesus as is recounted in the Gospels, in the Gnostic John the Baptizer John reluctantly baptizes Jesus after being told to by the Rūhā – The Lower Spirit -World Mother. The words “Then Rūhā made herself like to a dove and threw a cross over the Jordan”, led us to associate Rūhā to the Holy Spirit.
Challenging the Gospels, the Gnostic John the Baptizer portrays John a lot older than Jesus. If we forget the conventional belief that John was six months older than Jesus and that John was beheaded in the middle of Jesus’ ministry, what does the information tell us? It suggests that John the Baptist was a great deal older than Jesus. Moreover, it also suggests that John and Jesus were members of the Qumran Essenes. As stated, Qumran was associated with Akhenaten, and Qumran was connected to Alexandria through the Essene community called the Therapeutae near Alexandria. The information also implies that John’s ministry continued alongside Jesus both before and for several years after the crucifixion. Finally, the mention of a woman (Miryai) of “great renown” indicates that like the Gnostics, John the Baptist’s sect considered women equal to men.
Before we move on to recapping what we have discovered about Jesus and his teachings we want to assert that discovering a different “story” from the traditional Church’s interpretation in No Way diminishes the value or importance of Jesus’ mission on Earth. It is like when we discovered the similarity between Jesus’ teachings and other Christ-like teachers. We have merely been following the instructions to ask, seek, and knock, which opens the heart and mind to finding the Truth. As always this requires having no agenda and being willing to go wherever the data takes us without fear. With that said, let us encapsulate Jesus and his teachings.
- The two birth accounts in Matthew and Luke are different.
- There are no “secular records” of “the death of the innocents”.
- Josephus makes no mention of, “the slaughter of the innocents.”
- Calling Israel out of Egypt is referring to Yahweh sending Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
- The death of the male infants in Matthew links Jesus to Moses...”
- The mystery of the kingdom of God” was another term for The Mysteries.
- Jesus said his followers would exceed him in miracles
- Jesus related faith as a power that could be used.
- When Jesus healed someone, he always said “Your faith has made you whole.”
- Jesus sent his disciples to heal others.
- Jesus explained the miracles; by saying everything he did, he did because of the Father in him.
- Jesus sometimes referred to the individual Spirit or Divine Spark in each individual as the “Father in him.”
- The Christ was in Jesus.
- Jesus’ listeners were familiar with The Mysteries, which he spoke of often.
- Jesus didn’t openly teach The Mysteries to the populace, but taught them in parables.
- Both Jesus and John were members of the Essene sect at Qumran.
- Akhenaten is connected to the Qumran Essenes through the Copper Scroll.
- The Essenes were known as scribes.
- In multiple scriptures Jesus addresses the “scribes”.
- The books The Essene Gospel of Peace and The Essene Jesus report that Jesus became an Essene master
- There was an Essene community in Egypt known as the Therapeutae.
- The Therapeutae were in ‘Lake Mereotis (Marioot) near Alexandria.
- As a child Jesus was adopted by a Rabbi named Joseph and taken to Egypt.
- Jesus was initiated into the Osiris Mysteries.
- The ‘priests of Osiris’ thought Jesus was the reincarnation of Horus.
- the Essenes at Qumran had split into the Ebionites and the followers of Jesus.
- Josephus identified James the brother of Jesus as the head of the Ebionites.
- The Ebionites mentioned at Qumran were the followers of Jesus.
- The followers of Jesus were “led by Jesus’ family.
- The followers of Jesus are associated with the Gnostics.
- The followers of Jesus adhered to the doctrine of equality between the sexes.
- The “miracle” of changing water into wine involves the knowledge of molecular structure and the use of electromagnetic energy.
- The Beloved Disciple knew Jesus personally and was in the originating group of the Johannine Community (Brown 1979: 31).
- The Fourth Gospel was based on this disciple's own eyewitness account (John 21:24).
- Sophia had to be redeemed three times, the third time by Jesus.
- Jesus exorcising seven demons from Mary Magdalene is a reference to the third and final redemption of Sophia.
- Before Jesus’ sacrifice the Human Race were caught in a vicious cycle of retaliation.
- The relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus was as teacher and pupil.
- Mary Magdalene addressed Jesus in the Fourth Gospel as – Rabonni.
- Mary Magdalene recognized who and what Jesus was and what he was here to do.
- Jesus was teaching the path to Enlightenment and many of his teachings could be applied to the 14 Secrets of Enlightenment.
- Secret Number 4 “Intention has organizing power” equates to “Ask and you shall receive”.
- There are multiple instances where Jesus’ words could be interpreted as representing the same meaning as the Wisdom teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism.
- Jesus hung on the cross for 6 hours, from 9am to-3pm.
- All four Gospels name Mary Magdalene as being present at the foot of the cross.
- Deductive Reasoning suggest that out of compassion, Longinus wanted to release Jesus from a slow and painful death.
- The account of the piercing demonstrates the power of Jesus’ message by reporting a Roman centurion being moved to mercifully kill him?
- Many paintings of the crucifixion show Jesus being pierced by a spear, and blood and water spurting from his side.
- Because corpses do not bleed, when the centurion (Longinus) pierced Jesus’ side he was still alive.
- Jesus’ last words “My God my God why hast thou forsaken me” only appear in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
- The Gospel of John and the Gospel of Luke refer to the soldiers “casting lots” for his garment.
The question of Jesus’ birth for us is answered in the discrepancy between the Gospels and that there is no mention of the “death of the innocents” outside of Matthew. When we realize that the early Church wished to associate Jesus with Moses then the discrepancies are understandable. Many scholars have seen the tendency of embellishing Jesus’ life in order to appeal to a wider audience. For instance, the Immaculate Conception and infancy narratives associated Jesus with many of the god/kings known at the time, such as Mithra, Adonis and Osiris. The information above also indicates the possibility of Jesus being a member of the Essenes, and makes our hypothesis that he was there with his cousin John a strong possibility. From the other sources we would surmise that although Jesus was sent to Qumran from Alexandria to join his older cousin, John had already left the Essenes and formed a sect of his own.
As for Jesus’ teachings; the data above strongly suggests that Jesus was teaching The Mysteries, which he demonstrated by accessing the “father/Spirit” within to perform miracles. His teachings were in line with other Christ-like teachers throughout history, as he taught his followers of Humanity’s Divine origins. To us the most important information this Stage reveals about Jesus is that he demonstrated how our salvation was in our hands, by constantly repeating that “The Kingdom of God is Within Us.” Jesus primarily demonstrated this by teaching a practical process to heal both the world and ourselves.
In conclusion the information on Jesus’ crucifixion reveals a lot. A re-examination of Stage Reason reaffirmed that Jesus’ sacrifice was to free the Human Race from the Wheel of Necessity. Longinus being a follower of Jesus shows the reach that his message had. The information also shows that Mary Magdalene remained faithful by keeping vigil at the foot of the cross, and also connects her to the “Beloved Disciple”, as well as Jesus’ mother, which tradition says went with the “Beloved Disciple to Ephesus.
Moving onto the hotly debated companion of Jesus, the woman known as Mary Magdalene; we will dispense with the worn out debate over Mary being Jesus’ wife or that she was Mary of Bethany. We will also not address the specious argument that she went to France with Jesus’ child. Rather this encapsulation centers on the information concerning Mary Magdalene as a Disciple of Jesus.
- There was an Essene community in Egypt known as the Therapeutae.
- The Therapeutae were in ‘Lake Mereotis (Marioot) near Alexandria.
- Mary Magdalene was a priestess of Isis.
- Mary’s anointing of Jesus is connected to the Sacred Marriage.
- The sacred marriage was a familiar concept to pagans of Jesus’ day: versions of it were commonly performed by the devotees of various other dying-and-rising god cults.
- The Egyptian god Osiris’ consort Isis breathed life into his dead body long enough for her to conceive…Horus
- There was no ‘Magdala’ in Judaea in Mary Magdalene’s day.
- There was a Magdolum in Egypt-just across the border-which was probably the Migdol mentioned in Ezekiel.
- There was a large and flourishing Jewish community in Egypt at that time, which was particularly centred on the great seaport of Alexandria
- Jesus was initiated into the Osiris Mysteries.
- The ‘priests of Osiris’ thought Jesus was the reincarnation of Horus.
- Mark 15:41 Mary Magdalene was among the women with Christ in Galilee, and “followed him and ministered unto him.”
- Jesus exorcized seven demons from Mary Magdalene.
- Jesus redeemed Sophia for the third time as Mary Magdalene.
- To minister is translated from the Greek verb diakoneen, to serve or to minister, the root word for Deacon.
- There is a growing argument for Mary Magdalene not only as the “beloved disciple”, but also as the author of the Gospel of John.
- From the very beginning there was a struggle between the Gnostics, represented by Mary Magdalene and the Orthodox, represented by Peter.
- Mary Magdalene could well be the author of the Gospel of John and the Beloved Disciple.
- The tradition of “John” taking Mary the mother of Jesus to Ephesus could explain the apparent absence of Mary Magdalene from the early Church.
- The most famous of the ancient rituals is the Hieros Gamos, or Sacred marriage ritual.
- In Judaism, the sins of the individual are put on some animal which is ritualistically killed by the a priest, or sent as a scapegoat into the wilderness.
- In the religion of the Goddess, the priestess takes upon herself the sins and transgressions of the man in the ritual of negation.
- The priestess literally takes upon herself the transgressions of the man, she intercedes on man's behalf with the Goddess, so that he can be purified. She is his guide in this life to bring him to the hereafter.
- The association of “physical sexual intercourse” with Hieros Gamos, or the Sacred Marriage was a misunderstanding of an allegorical teaching.
- The key to comprehending how such a misunderstanding could have taken place is in the expression that the god, goddess, or priestess took on the “transgressions of Humanity” through the “Sacred marriage” or Hieros Gamos.
- An Ancient Spiritual teacher would you explain the union between a male and a female deity in terms of the sexual union between a man and woman.
- Divine Beings do not have any form.
- There is no such thing as Linear Time in the Soul Plane.
- No “physical” relations, sexual or otherwise can take place between Divine Beings from the Soul Plane.
- The teaching behind the terms Hieros Gamos or Sacred Marriage concerns the 3 Greek terms for Love.
- Our ancestors mistakenly connected physical sex to the union of divinities.
- The concept of “the priestess literally…” taking on the “transgressions of man” is also key to understanding why Mary Magdalene came to anoint Jesus.
- Mary Magdalene was drawn to Jesus because at the subconscious level she knew as Sophia she needed to be redeemed.
- Sophia was redeemed when Mary Magdalene became “the inheritress of the light” or the successor to Jesus’ ministry.
- Pistis Sophia contains a discourse between Jesus and his disciples after the resurrection, including Mary Magdalene and other women.
- The discourse centers on Jesus asking the disciples questions on the repentance and redemption of Sophia.
- After Mary Magdalene answered Jesus he addressed her in a strange way. ‘Mary, thou blessed one, whom I will perfect in all mysteries of those of the height, discourse in openness, thou, whose heart is raised to the kingdom of heaven more than thy brethren.’
- Before her redemption, Sophia was Achamoth.
- Achamoth as Venus or The Empress would represent the black or hylic tree, and eros.
- The Archetypes of the Tarot are multileveled.
- The Empress also represents the development of the entire conscious human being, or the union of the Self-Conscious (Magician) and the Universal Subconscious (High Priestess).
- The deeper message is as history has shown us, at first the Human Race were driven purely by the physical world i.e., desire and physical gratification. That is why The Empress (Individual Subconscious or Creative Imagination) represents Venus and the element earth.
- Mary Magdalene is associated with Venus and therefore The Empress.
- Mary Magdalene is the founder and leader of what has come to be known as the Johannine Community.
- There is more evidence pointing to her authorship of the Fourth Gospel than there ever was pointing to authorship by John.
- Raymond E. Brown [http://ramon_k_jusino.tripod.com/magdalene.html#brown1#brown1] (1979) is readily acknowledged by most theologians today as America's foremost Catholic Scripture scholar.
- The Fourth Gospel was authored by an anonymous follower of Jesus referred to in the Gospel text as the Beloved Disciple.
- This Beloved Disciple knew Jesus personally and was in the originating group of the Johannine Community (Brown 1979: 31).
- The Fourth Gospel was based on this disciple's own eyewitness account (John 21:24).
- The Gospel of John went through several phases of modification. The end result of these modifications was the eventual suppression of her role as author of this Gospel and leader of their community.
- The Valentinian Gnostics appropriated the Fourth Gospel.
- Irenaeus of Lyons refuted the Valentinian’s exegesis of the Gospel of John.
- There is abundant evidence of familiarity with Johannine ideas in the...gnostic library from Nag Hammadi.
- Sophia had to be redeemed three times, the third time by Jesus.
- Jesus exorcising seven demons from Mary Magdalene is a reference to the third and final redemption of Sophia.
- The relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus was as teacher and pupil.
- Archetypally Isis was represented by card 3 The Empress.
- As Mary Magdalene is associated with Isis she too was represented by The Empress.
- The Gnostics believed the spirit moved women equally as strongly as men.
- Mary Magdalene had her own gospel, and was referred to as the apostle of the apostles, by many early writings.
- Mary Magdalene more than any other disciple understood Jesus’ teachings.
- Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s relationship was strictly spiritual.
- Mary Magdalene addressed Jesus in the Fourth Gospel as – Rabonni.
- Mary Magdalene recognized who and what Jesus was and what he was here to do.
- The author of the gospel of John, and the “beloved disciple” could be Mary Magdalene.
- The Scriptures report that the closest “beloved” disciple to Jesus was present in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- The Gospel of John differs from the other three, in reporting that Jesus was pierced by a spear on the cross.
- Some hypothesize that Mary Magdalene was the author of the Gospel of John.
- All four Gospels name Mary Magdalene as being present at the foot of the cross.
- Father Brown relates the followers of John the Baptist and the later Johannine Community may have been centered in the Beloved Disciple.
- Father Brown reports the “Beloved Disciple” contended with Peter.
- The claim to possess the witness of the Beloved Disciple enabled the Johannine Christians to defend their position on Christianity.
- In the Gospel of Mary Magdalene Peter and Andrew contend with Mary Magdalene.
- The Johannite Community was founded by the Beloved Disciple.
- The Beloved Disciple was a follower of John the Baptist.
- The Johannine Community was named in honor of John the Baptist.
- Father Brown thinks the Beloved Disciple was a man.
- Father Brown does not consider Mary Magdalene as a possible candidate as the “Beloved Disciple”.
- Simon travelled with a female companion called Helen.
- Simon and the Beloved Disciple were followers of John the Baptist.
- Helen and Simon were two of the thirty leaders with John the Baptist.
- In the Gnostic John the Baptizer a woman called Miryai was expelled from Jewry.
- Miryai is a woman of great renown and has a following among the Jewish people.
- All the Jews gathered together and followed after Miryai.
- A throne was set up for Miryai on the bank of Euphrates.
- John survived the death of Philip, which took place somewhere between 33 and 36 C.E.
- Josephus scholars date John the Baptist’s death to 36 C.E.
If we consider Mary Magdalene’s connection to Sophia we can reinterpret the passage of Jesus exorcizing seven demons. In this light, the passage could be a reference to Sophia being redeemed for the third time as Mary Magdalene. The association with Mary Magdalene to Isis links her to Alexandria where there were the Essene Therapeutae nearby and a town called Magdolum.
The information of Mary’s association with Venus, Isis and Sophia connects her as the Archetype for Humanity that needs redeeming. The statement in Pistis Sophia that Mary is the “inheritress of the Light” reveals the eventual Spiritual success. This remarkable information also affirms the title of Apostle to the Apostles; however, the title appears to make Mary Magdalene the successor to Jesus and not Peter or James. Considering the struggle for power between the Apostles we can see why Mary Magdalene was minimized by making her the “penitent sinner” and the sister of Lazarus.
In conclusion, if as we believe Mary Magdalene was not only a follower of John the Baptist, but was also the “Beloved Disciple”, then her status as a leader is affirmed. This is reinforced again if she was also known under the name of Miryai, because there is a strong possibility that Miryai/Mary Magdalene was the Helen Simon/Paul travelled with. Consequently, as the “Beloved Disciple” she would also be the founder of the Johannine Community and connected to the Gnostics.
Having associated Mary Magdalene to Helen and Simon Magus raises the question did Mary know Saint Paul? Before we answer that let us take a look at what we have discovered about Saint Paul in this Stage. Because of the association with Simon Magus we will include the information on him too. Like the Apostles summary we will concentrate on the disputed information concerning Saint Paul. Essentially we focus on the data that supports Paul being associated with Simon and the Gnostics.
- Unlike the Twelve Apostles, there is no indication that Paul ever met Jesus before the latter's crucifixion.
- According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion took place as he was traveling the road to Damascus.
- He experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus after which he was temporarily blinded.
- Paul asserts that he received the Gospel not from man, but by "the revelation of Jesus Christ".
- Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author.
- Following his conversion, where he was cured and baptized by Ananias in Damascus, Paul says that he first went to Arabia.
- Paul's narrative in Galatians states that fourteen years after his conversion he went again to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1–10). It is not known exactly what happened during these so-called "unknown years,"…
- Paul’s first missionary journey is claimed to have begun in Acts 13 in Antioch in approximately 47 CE.
- Unfortunately, there is some difficulty in determining the sequence of the meetings and exact course of events.
- Some Jerusalem meetings are mentioned in Acts, some meetings are mentioned in Paul's letters, and some appear to be mentioned in both.
- It has been suggested that the Jerusalem visit for famine relief implied in Acts 11:27–30 corresponds to the "first visit" (to Cephas and James only) narrated in Galatians 1:18–20.
- Despite the agreement achieved at the Council of Jerusalem as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter, also called the "Incident at Antioch" over his reluctance to share a meal with Gentile Christians in Antioch.
- Writing later of the incident, Paul reports that he told Peter: "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?"
- Paul and Silas go to Derbe and then Lystra and are joined by Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man.
- According to Acts 16:3, Paul circumcises Timothy before leaving.
- Thereafter Paul travelled to Corinth, where he settled for three years and where he may have written 1 Thessalonians which is estimated to have been written in 50 or 51.
- At Corinth, (Acts 18:12–17) the "Jews united" and charged Paul with "persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law"…the proconsul Gallio then judged that it was an internal religious dispute and dismissed the charges.
- From an inscription in Delphi that mentions Gallio held office from 51–52 or 52–53, the year of the hearing must have been in this time period, which is the only fixed date in the chronology of Paul's life.[
- Whether Paul died in Rome, or was able to go to Spain as he had hoped, as noted in his letter to the Romans (Romans 15:22–27), is uncertain.
- Commenting on this passage, Raymond Brown writes that while it "does not explicitly say" that Paul was martyred in Rome, he thinks that "such a martyrdom is the most reasonable interpretation."
- Eusebius of Caesarea, who wrote in the fourth century, states that Paul was beheaded in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. This event has been dated either to the year 64, when Rome was devastated by a fire, or a few years later, to 67.
- A Roman Catholic liturgical solemnity of Peter and Paul, celebrated on June 29, may reflect the day of Paul’s martyrdom.
- Other sources have articulated the tradition that Peter and Paul died on the same day (and possibly the same year).
- Some hold the view that he could have revisited Greece and Asia Minor after his trip to Spain, and might then have been arrested in Troas, and taken to Rome and executed.
- Paul's precise date of death is unknown-- one commonly listed date is circa 60-62.
- Of the thirteen letters traditionally attributed to Paul and included in the Western New Testament canon, there is little or no dispute that Paul actually wrote at least seven, those being Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon. The authenticity of Colossians has been questioned on the grounds that it contains an otherwise unparalleled description (among his writings) of Jesus as 'the image of the invisible God,' a Christology found elsewhere only in St. John's gospel. On the other hand, the personal notes in the letter connect it to Philemon, unquestionably the work of Paul.
- More problematic is Ephesians, a very similar letter to Colossians but which reads more like a manifesto than a letter. Its style is unique; it lacks the emphasis on the cross to be found in other Pauline writings, reference to the Second Coming is missing, and Christian marriage is exalted in a way which contrasts with the grudging reference in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9.
- Finally it exalts the Church in a way suggestive of a second generation of Christians, 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets' now past.
- The defenders of its Pauline authorship argue that it was intended to be read by a number of different churches and that it marks the final stage of the development of Paul of Tarsus's thinking…
- Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, "…Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith" (Romans 3:28-30).
- The mysterious figure of Simon Magus is only mentioned once in Acts in chapter 8 verses 9-24. Some scholars associate Simon Magus with Saint Paul.
- The apocryphal Acts of Peter gives a legendary tale of Simon Magus' death.
- Another apocryphal document, the Acts of Peter and Paul gives a slightly different version of the incident, which was shown in the context of a debate in front of the Emperor Nero. In this version, Paul the Apostle is present along with Peter.
- According to radical critic Hermann Detering, Simon Magus may be a cypher for Paul of Tarsus.
- Paul was originally detested by the church, and the name changed when Paul was rehabilitated by virtue of forged Epistles correcting the genuine ones.
- Simon Magus is sometimes described in apocryphal legends in terms that would fit Paul. Christian Orthodoxy frequently portrayed the major Gnostic leader Marcion as having been a follower of Simon Magus.
- Marcion nowhere mentions even the existence of Simon, and instead identifies himself as a follower of Paul.
- The enmity between Peter and Simon is clearly shown.
- Simon’s magical powers are juxtaposed with Peter’s powers in order to express Peter’s authority over Simon through the power of prayer.
- In the 17th Homily, the identification of Paul with Simon Magus is effected.
- Simon is there made to maintain that he has a better knowledge of the mind of Jesus than the disciples, who had seen and conversed with Him in person.
- Simon’s reason for this strange assertion is that visions are superior to waking reality, as divine is superior to human.
- Peter says to Simon “…can any one be educated for teaching by vision? And if you shall say, "It is possible," why did the Teacher remain and converse with waking men for a whole year? And how can we believe you even as to the fact that he appeared to you? And how can he have appeared to you seeing that your sentiments are opposed to his teaching? But if you were seen and taught by him for a single hour, and so became an apostle, then preach his words…
- Saint Paul Being is associated with Simon Magus in the Supernatural Religion.
- Most biblical scholars will say Simon Magus was the first heretic.
- According to the author of Acts, Simon attempted to purchase the Holy Spirit from the Apostles.
- The anonymous book Supernatural Religion: An Inquiry into the reality of Divine Revelation, written in 1874, uses ancient writings of the second century, to show that there was no knowledge of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.
- The Pseudo Clementine Homilies, written purportedly by Clement of Alexandria, are often cited as evidence of the four Gospels.
- The author of Supernatural Religion demonstrates that there are sufficient differences, to warrant the possibility that the author of The Homilies, used another unknown Gospel.
- It is in The Homilies where the connection of Paul with Simon Magus, is first made.
- One of the most striking points in The Homilies is its determined animosity against the Apostle Paul.
- A strong anti-Pauline tendency was exhibited by many of the fathers, who, like the author of The Homilies, made use of Judeo-Christian Gospels different from ours.
- In The Homilies, however, the antagonism against the ‘Apostle of the Gentiles’ assumes a tone of peculiar virulence.
- There cannot be a doubt that the Apostle Paul is attacked in this religious romance, as the great enemy of the true faith, under the hated name of Simon the Magician, whom Peter follows everywhere for the purpose of unmasking and confuting him.’
- The first and only time we hear of Simon Magus is in Acts: ‘But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before-time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.’
- The story continues with Simon hearing Philip, a disciple, preaching and being converted to Christianity. Then Simon witnesses Peter and John laying their hands on some newly baptized believers, in order to give them the ‘Holy Ghost.’
- Acts 8:19 reports that Simon on seeing this says to Peter and John: ‘Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost’
- The scripture informs us that, because Simon had offered money, Peter soundly refuses him, with a severe reprimand.
- Scholars point to the fact that Paul’s letters themselves attest to the antagonism between Peter and Paul.
- In the epistle of Peter to James, which is prefixed to The Homilies, Peter says, in allusion to Paul: ‘For some among the Gentiles have rejected my lawful preaching and accepted certain lawless and foolish teaching of the hostile man.’
- Canon Westcott, a highly respected member of the Orthodox Church says; ‘There can be no doubt that St. Paul is referred to as the enemy’.
- The indications that it is Paul who is really attacked under the name of Simon are much too clear to admit of doubt.
- In Homily: X1. 35, Peter warns the Church against false teachers.
- Peter says “…our Lord and prophet, declared to us that the evil one …announced that he would send among his followers Apostles to deceive.
- Peter says “…above all remember to avoid every apostle, or teacher, or prophet, who first does not accurately compare his teaching with that of James called the brother of the Lord, and to whom was confided the ordering of the Church of the Hebrews in Jerusalem.
- Peter says “…Lest this evil one should send a false preacher to them, as he sent to us Simon preaching a counterfeit truth in the name of the Lord and disseminating error.’
- Simon maintains that he has a truer appreciation of the doctrines and teaching of Jesus because he has received his inspiration by supernatural vision, and not merely by common experience of the senses, and Peter replies: ‘If, therefore, our Jesus indeed appeared to you in a vision, revealed himself, and spoke to you, it was only as an irritated adversary.’
- The differences between the three Synoptic Gospels concerning Jesus’ prayer, reflects the Tripartition of the Human Race.
- Saint Paul used the concept of three different types of listeners in his letters.
- Saint Paul’s letters were directed at the Pneumatics or Spirituals, and the Psychics.
- Paul says in Romans 8:6 ‘For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- Valentinians maintained ‘Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas.
- Theudas was a disciple of Paul.
- Valentinians said the Apostle Paul discovered ‘secret teachings’ and ‘the deeper mysteries’ or ‘secret wisdom,’ which he shares only with those Christians he considers ‘mature’ but not with everyone.
- The Valentinians claimed that Paul’s letters contain more than one meaning.
- Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of St Paul was known as a healer.
- Apollonius was born in the Hellenistic City of Tyana in Asia Minor, and came from a wealthy family.
- At fourteen Apollonius was taken to Tarsus by his father where he met his teacher, a Phoenician called Euthydemus.
- Apollonius left Tarsus with his teacher and went to Aegae where he learned the doctrines of Pythagoras from a man called Euxenus.
- The Hellenistic world sought out Apollonius for healing and all manner of advice.
- Apollonius traveled extensively throughout Greece, Macedonia and Asia Minor.
- In Corinth he met the philosopher Demetrius.
- At Alexandria the Emperor Vespasian, 69 to 79 C.E., sought an audience with Apollonius.
- Apollonius is said to have had supernatural powers, and he is alleged to have had the gift of foresight, predicting the Emperor Domitian’s death on September 18, 96 C.E.
- Apollonius is said to have delivered Ephesus from a plague.
- After disappearing in front of the emperor, Apollonius is said to have simultaneously reappeared to his friend Demetrius, who was a considerable distance away.
- Tarsus is the birthplace of Saint Paul.
- Ephesus is where Paul spends three years.
- Saint Paul establishes his Church at Corinth.
- The mention in Apollonius’ Gospel of the emperors Nero, Vitellius, Domitian and Nerva, dates Apollonius’ adult life to approximately between 54 and 98 C.E.
- Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, mentions Apollonius.
- Justin Martyr, who was executed between 163 and 167 C.E., warned of the growing influence of Apollonius.
- Justin feared that because of the miracles, potential Christian converts were being lost to Apollonius.
- I Corinthians 1:12 says: ‘Now this I say, that everyone of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.’
- The inference in the scripture is the people of Corinth considered Apollos on par with Paul and Cephas (Peter).
- Clearly, Paul respects Apollos as a teacher.
- Acts describes Apollos as an Alexandrian Jew.
- Acts says that in only receiving the baptism of John, he sought out Paul in order to receive the Holy Ghost.
- Although the Bible in Acts describes Apollos as ‘mighty in scriptures,’ it does not explain the people of Corinth venerating him in equality with Paul.
- Apollos is a shortened version of Apollonius.
- Simon travelled with a female companion called Helen.
- Simon and the Beloved Disciple were followers of John the Baptist.
- Helen and Simon were two of the thirty leaders with John the Baptist.
Identifying Mary Magdalene as Simon Magus’ Helen, as stated, raises the question did Mary and Paul know one another. Even so, we think this is a moot point because there is more than enough evidence for identifying Paul and Simon as one and the same. However, for us the most relevant information is relating that Saint Paul was not initially accepted by the early Church… Nonetheless as the information relates long after Paul was dead, the Church Fathers “rehabilitated” Paul by attributing the three pseudo-Pauline Epistles of Timothy I and II, and Titus, which supported the Church structure of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon; all male of course. Notwithstanding this subterfuge, when we bring in the mysterious Comforter promised by Jesus, it opens up a whole new can of worms, so to speak.
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End of STAGE – REASON Section 10-d
By now, we think that we have shown clear evidence that Paul became associated with both John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. This part of the investigation into the Apostle Paul, involves Jesus’ promise of sending his Disciples a Comforter. So let us apply Deductive Reasoning to discover the connection to Paul and the Comforter. First let us review what we wrote in The Good News Reverberation concerning the Holy Ghost or Spirit:
As stated, Acts records Jesus as ascending after teaching his disciples for forty days and immediately after the Holy Ghost or Spirit is poured out. In Acts, it appears that the Spirit only fills the twelve disciples assembled in the “Upper Room,” and later refers to them as Apostles. They then impart the Holy Spirit/Ghost to others by the laying on of hands. However, St Paul seems to say that all believers receive the Holy Ghost/Spirit.
The description of “the third member of the Trinity” has caused a great deal of confusion. Craig and I have spent many hours attempting to ascertain the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost. Our answer, when it came was so simple; it is all to do with the difference between the words spirit and ghost. Most people understand that the “unseen” spirits of departed loved ones are with them, watching over them. Whereas the haunting of a ghost is described often as a filmy/shadowy specter or ghost that is “seen” by the living. Acts describes Pentecost as flames settling on the disciples’ heads, in other words something visible. Craig and I believe this was the Holy Ghost, namely a tangible force empowering them to heal and speak to the populace of all lands. Alternatively, the Holy Spirit is the Divine energy poured out on all Humanity at Pentecost. We could view the Holy Ghost as the designation for the Holy Spirit in physical form, i.e., when “she”, remember she is the feminine side of Christ, is infused in a person. An example of this occurred with Jesus and Saul/Paul and the disciples at Pentecost. However, we need to remember that after Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit reunited with the Christ, consequently, both Jesus and Saul/Paul became infused with the Divine partnership.
The above paragraphs relate that at his conversion Paul became “infused” with the Divine Partnership of The Christ and The Holy Spirit. Admittedly Paul’s conversion is dramatic, but how did he go from religious zealot bound and determined to destroy Christianity to the embodiment of the Comforter? In The Good News we wrote:
The Gospel of John reports that Jesus promises the disciples to ask the Father to send “another comforter.” Paraklētos is the Greek word for Comforter in the text. Interestingly, Paraklētos literally means, “One called alongside to help.” The Church interprets this passage as the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and they are partly right. Because the divine sparks are hidden within Humanity and the Supreme Being emanated the Holy Spirit, the Comforter is the Holy Spirit residing in each individual’s heart. This connection links us to God and helps each human being make the best decision. It is fully activated by an act of selflessness or compassion. Still, if we read Jesus’ description of the Comforter, it is obvious that he was referring to an actual person: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)
Despite the allusion to Paul being the Comforter, as The Holy Spirit/Ghost and The Christ’s partner, “She” was feminine; consequently before we consider Paul as the Comforter we need to examine the feminine aspect in the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost. A good way to see the difference is from the Archetypal images of the Tarot. It will help to think of both Sophia and the Holy Spirit in a manner of speaking as the daughters of Great Spirit-Mind/God or the First Father. This Archetypally explains how Sophia could be in Mary Magdalene, and descend as the Holy Spirit to reunite with her partner in Jesus.
Magician High Priestess Empress Emperor Hierophant Lovers Chariot
Archetypally, The Holy Spirit becomes The Holy Ghost when we begin to activate the Spark of Great Spirit-Mind/God within us, through the agency of the three levels of the Higher Self. We do this through Divine Wisdom or the purified High Priestess. The Tarot reflects this in its union of card 2 - The High Priestess with card 3 - The Empress. In other words, it is the union of the highest aspect of Sophia, as The High Priestess with The Holy Spirit, Daath or the highest aspect of The Empress that becomes The Holy Ghost.
Another way of looking at it, is by seeing The High Priestess representing an aspect of three beings, Binah or Understanding, Daath, and The Holy Ghost. Initially, we were unclear as to whether The High Priestess or The Empress represented Daath. However, we came to understand that it all depended on which level or plane of reality we are talking about, because Daath represents both aspects of the sub-conscious, Universal, and Individual.
The conclusion we were led to was that on the higher plane Daath represents card 3 - The Empress as the Holy Spirit within each heart waiting to be activated. Conversely, on the physical and ethereal plane, Daath represents card 2 - The High Priestess as the Holy Ghost, which can be experienced in the physical world. Either way, Daath is connected to The Christ, Holy Spirit and Sophia, all of which lay dormant within every human being, with the potential for us to activate.
Regarding the two female cards, 2 - The High Priestess and 3 - The Empress representing Sophia and the Holy Spirit, the latter becomes The Holy Ghost when we begin to activate the Spark of God within through the agency of the three levels of the Higher Self. We do this through Divine Wisdom or the purified High Priestess. The Tarot reflects this in its union and perfection of cards 1,2,3, and 5, which becomes the two aspects of the superconscious in us.
Nonetheless, it was remembering that Achamoth, an aspect of Sophia was taught The Mysteries by Thoth as Isis that led to a much deeper understanding. As stated, Thoth or Enoch was the Word or Logos, and can be seen as being represented by card 1 - The Magician. Following this logic, we wondered if the redeemed but unperfected Achamoth could represent card 3 - The Empress. This would say that it was the redeemed Achamoth or Isis aspect of Sophia, which incarnated in Mary Magdalene. Furthermore, archetypally card 2 - The High Priestess perfected would be Sophia, the Omega of the Holy Spirit that descended into Jesus at his baptism.
There is historical evidence for associating two female figures to the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. As related above the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost was referred to as the Paraclete or Paraklētos and in the 2nd century of the Common Era a sect arose within Christianity called Montanism that associated two women with speaking for the Paraclete. We found this excerpt on the web site http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/montanis.htm
The main associates of Montanus … were the prophetesses Prisca (Priscilla) and Maximilla. What they called "the New Prophecy" was basically a summons to prepare for the return of Christ by heeding the voice of the Paraclete speaking, often in the first person, through his prophetic mouthpieces. They claimed to stand in the line of Christian prophecy well attested in Asia, e.g., by John of Revelation, but their ecstatic manner of utterance was (falsely) alleged to run counter to the tradition of Israelite and Christian prophecy.
D F Wright
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)
Covering Montanism in the chapter Persecution and the Early Church in LOVE: The Common Denominator LCD, we had been especially interested in the sect because of one of the greatest heresiologists. We say this because although this individual left the Church and converted to Montanism, his commentaries are still used today to discredit so-called “heretical” writings. Below is a brief excerpt from the chapter:
“…Tertullian believed that persecution was the result of heresy. He said the Gnostics avoided martyrdom, because they opposed it. Tertullian is named as a heresiologist (an opponent of heresy) of the second century, along with Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Hippolytus. Tertullian and his fellow heresiologists considered martyrdom the duty of every Christian, as Christ had suffered martyrdom; it was a privilege for a Christian to die for their faith. Throughout the Church’s history, the writings of Tertullian have been quoted extensively, to support the Orthodox position on the ‘heretics.’ However, this great theologian later became a ‘heretic’ himself, as he left the Catholic Church to become a Montanist.
"Montanism began in Phrygia (central Asia Minor) in 156 C.E. Montanus, the founder, was a pagan priest who became a Christian. Although converted by the Church, Montanus still kept his old religious beliefs. As a result Montanus held great store in the work of the Holy Spirit.
“This seems fine except, as Mr. Boer in A Short History of the Early Church tells us, Montanus asserted he had brought ‘the age of the Paraclete’ (Holy Spirit or Comforter). What was worse, Montanus maintained that the Paraclete not only spoke through him but also through his two female companions. These were two women who had left their husbands to join him and became linked with him as fellow prophets. Their names were Maximilla and Priscilla, not to be confused with the Priscilla mentioned by the Apostle Paul...”
As for the historical personage of Mary Magdalene, we found some different traditions on the web site WikiAnswers. There were two entries for her but the one that interested us was the legend of Mary Magdalene dying in Ephesus:
The New Testament doesn't say what Mary Magdalene did in the years after Jesus departed. But church tradition did preserve some stories and legends about her. According to one story, she went to live in a city called Ephesus (in modern Turkey) and eventually died there.
Father Brown, who was introduced earlier, relates that although the Johannine sect began in Palestine they moved to Ephesus in Asia Minor. This brings us back to the connection to Paul and the Comforter. First though let us refresh our memories on what we discovered about how Saul came to Christianity. The first time Paul appears in the New Testament is as a “young man” named Saul witnessing the stoning of Saint Stephen, dated to between 34 and 35 C.E.
Immediately after Stephen’s martyrdom Saul is said to persecute Christians, which he was attempting to do in Damascus when on the way he met the Spirit of The Christ. After Paul is blinded, The Spirit/Christ instructs him to go to Ananias in Damascus to heal him. Afterwards Saul, now Paul is converted and goes to Arabia. However, according to an article written by N.T. Wright: “Arabia is very imprecise”, as in Paul’s day it covered the “enormous area to the south and east of Palestine…” Like Jesus went to the desert after his Baptism, Saul after being baptized in Damascus by Ananias went to the desert in Arabia. While there he was directed to go to Jesus Christ’s Disciples.
We had seen from the entry for Simon Magus that Simon/Paul was with the Beloved Disciple as a follower of John the Baptist, if so then it would seem Reasonable to assume that Paul went to where John was preaching. Nevertheless, there is another point to consider here, the fact that Simon/Paul was in Samaria where John the Baptist baptized and preached. Consequently, it is highly likely that the “Arabia” Paul went to after his conversion was Samaria.
To reiterate, we questioned why would Paul go to the enemy of the Jews, and realized that the answer had to be in the Beloved Disciple being Mary Magdalene. If Mary Magdalene was associated with John the Baptist and the Johannine Community, it would make sense that Paul would seek out the followers of Jesus. Still there is an even more logical Reason for Paul going to Samaria. The Pistis Sophia related that Mary Magdalene was the “inheritress of the Light”, doesn’t it make sense then that the Spirit/Christ would send Paul to Mary Magdalene? This theory is strengthened even more if she was the head of the Johannine Community, and involved in the material in the Fourth Gospel. As reported there was a Gnostic Exegesis of Johannine literature, so let us examine Mary Magdalene as the Gnostic teacher that taught Paul. In The Good News Reverberation, we reported:
After St Paul’s’ conversion Acts says that the disciples of Jerusalem were afraid of him. It is only when Barnabas reports Paul’s preaching and takes him to the Apostles that they accept the Pharisee. (Acts 9: 26-27) If we recall, Jesus appeared to his disciples in such a way that they did not recognize him. Saul/St Paul arriving in Jerusalem repeating Jesus’ words must have given them pause for thought. Could the disciples have wondered if Saul was Jesus returned?
Having gathered all the information above through Inductive Reasoning, we would like to employ Deductive Reasoning to combine the information into a Reasonable alternative timeline. We begin with our hypothesis where we still think the supposition that Jesus grew up in Alexandria and was initiated into The Mysteries is valid. However, we want to refine a few points. As stated we now feel that John the Baptist was already well established as a preacher and was therefore not just six months older than Jesus. The headless corpse found at Qumran, plus the mention of “the followers of Jesus” in Essene writings supports the hypothesis of Jesus’ family being Essenes and sending him to Qumran, because his cousin John was a member.
Mary Magdalene’s role also needs a little adjustment in that although she too grew up in Alexandria, when she travelled to the Holy Lands she first joined the sect of John the Baptist. Following the Gospel account after John baptizes Jesus she as the “Beloved Disciple” leaves John to follow Jesus. Jesus recognizes her as Sophia and begins redeeming her by teaching her of her origins. Gradually more and more people join Jesus and he teaches most of them in parables and allegories. Unfortunately, there were some among the Disciples which didn’t understand the deeper message and always tried to revert to the traditional Judaic teachings. As Mary was Sophia, her understanding was a lot deeper and Jesus reflected her progress by treating her with the deepest respect, openly kissing her in front of the Disciples. As an initiate of The Mysteries in Isis, Mary was wrongly under the impression that to facilitate Jesus’ ministry they would have to perform the Hieros Gamos. However, Jesus helped her to understand that rather than a physical act the ritual concerned the Spiritual union of the masculine and feminine within the human being.
After the Crucifixion the Disciples turned to Mary Magdalene to relate Jesus’ teachings. Due to the Disciples still interpreting his words literally instead of Spiritually, following the Resurrection when Jesus appeared and began teaching the deeper Spiritual truths, he singled out Mary Magdalene as his successor. This created jealousy among some of the Disciples and so there developed a rift between those Disciples that clung to the literal interpretation and Judaic Law and those Disciples, such as Thomas and Mary, which understood the teachings from an esoteric perspective. Gradually the esoteric teachings developed in Samaria around Mary Magdalene into the Gnostic teachings, whereas the traditional interpretation which clung to Judaic Law developed in Jerusalem around Peter, James and John. The Jewish population knew that Mary was the Apostle to the Apostles, so initially the Apostles in Jerusalem could not dispute Mary and the Gnostic teachings. However, as the Apostles spread further and further out they run into the challenge from potential converts that questioned why they should worship a man rather than their pantheon of gods. In the First century of the Common Era no Divine Being was born by natural means, hence the beginnings of the doctrine of Immaculate Conception. Of course this made Jesus’ mother Divine and connected her with Magna Mater. James the brother of Jesus was opposed to the doctrine as is recorded in the beliefs of the Ebionites that Josephus said James led.
Meanwhile in Samaria, Mary Magdalene had connected with John the Baptist’s sect after John was imprisoned. She became known as Miryai and the reference to Miryai being “expelled by Jewry” is relating to her ostracizing by the Apostles at Jerusalem. John the Baptist’s sect divided with one half developing into the Johannine Community led by Mary Magdalene as the “Beloved Disciple” and the rest leaving for Iraq as the Mandean Community.
After the martyrdom of Stephen around 34-35 C.E., Saul of Tarsus, a young man in his early twenties embarked on a relentless pursuit to root out the Christians for the Jewish authorities. Sometime in the Spring or Summer of 35 C.E., Saul experiences the vision of The Christ on the road to Damascus and he is instructed to continue onto the city where Ananias would baptize him. After he is baptized Saul becomes infused with The Christ and The Holy Spirit and is driven into the desert to be prepared. While he is in the desert, he is told to travel to Samaria to learn the Spiritual teachings from Mary Magdalene. He meets up with her and begins to learn the Gnostic interpretation of Scripture. In Jerusalem the Apostles learn of Paul and Mary Magdalene travelling together and determine to undermine their teachings. Because people knew Mary Magdalene as the Apostle to the Apostles, they referred to her and Paul as Simon and Helen.
As Father Brown reports the Johannine Community moves from Palestine (Samaria) to Ephesus. After Mary Magdalene dies there Paul decides to carry on her work by teaching Gnosticism openly to his disciples. The consummate diplomat, he reaches out to the Apostles in Jerusalem and suggests that as a Roman citizen he can be the Apostle to the Gentiles. He perfects the art of hiding hidden and Gnostic interpretations under the everyday terms of male and female.
In the Second Century there are several Gnostic sects which were using the letters of Paul and claimed their Gnostic teachings came straight from the disciples of Paul, the first Gnostic. As Paul’s letters were considered valid by the populace, the Church could not just destroy them and so it was determined to take 3 of Paul’s letters and adapt them to support the Church hierarchy of the Bishop, priest and Deacon. By gradually connecting the “Beloved Disciple” to Saint John son of Zebedee, the Church Fathers were able to disconnect Mary Magdalene from the Fourth Gospel and include it in the canon. The final nail in the coffin for recognizing Mary Magdalene as the successor to Jesus was in associating Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany. The association succeeded in completely separating her from the Johannine Community, so much so that descendants of the Gnostics were often unaware of her role in the formation of Gnostic Christianity.
Before we complete this Section we want to share a moment of serendipity, which concerns the Mystical Art of Numerology. Although this part is posted in the month of June, we created the outline for it several months earlier. In fact, Section 10e was completed on the very last day of 2008. This is very serendipitous, because 2008 in Numerology reduces to 1 through 10 – 2+0+0+8 = 10 – 1+0=1. With all the changes in 2008 it is hard to see the year as a beginning but that is exactly what it was. We began the Know Thyself Initiative, which is designed to bring about change. Moreover, America elected a new president who epitomized the change of the status quo, because his election was historical. Although Barack Obama didn’t officially become president until 2009, his election created a shift in the consciousness, even though it has not yet manifested 2008 was still the beginning of a new era. As for the Number 1 being reached through 10, we see this as representing a new cycle/era starting in 2008 but will develop in 2009, which is the Master Number 11 year. Although generally speaking Numerologists interpret Number at the individual level, what they have to say about the Master Number 11 can be applied to Society en masse.
Matthew Oliver Goodwin in Numerology: The Complete Guide says, “The master numbers exist on a higher spiritual plane than the single digits. The first master number, the 11, must work to develop intuition, to tune into psychic forces not available to those with lower numbers. He must stand ready to be a channel with a message from above. In his life, he must inspire by his own example, living in the way revealed to him, spreading his ILLUMINATION for others to absorb and benefit. This number is as difficult as it is rewarding.”
Ultimately it is up to us all, it isn’t going to be easy but then again nothing that is worthwhile ever is, just ask a mother. Nevertheless, if we allow ourselves to consider that we are being helped, then we will make it. We believe that the ultimate goodness of people always overcomes any and all obstacles, to the benefit of us all.
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End of STAGE – REASON Section 10-e
Before we list the final 20 questions for Section 10 in the Eighth Review, let’s review the answers to Section 9’s questions. The encapsulation of the material from Section 10 is available as a bullet-list to download/view in PDF. If anyone does not have “Adobe Reader”, they can use this link to download it. Now for Section 9’s twenty questions for the seventh Review:
1) Where was the first Olympic Games held?
Answer – Athens Greece
2) How long is a Mayan Great Cycle?
Answer – 5,125 years
3) Who was the son of Apollo and Coronis?
Answer – Asclepius
4) Which constellation did Zeus make Asclepius?
Answer – Ophiuchus
5) Who were Romans obligated to sacrifice to?
Answer – The Roman Emperor
6) Who sacked Jerusalem destroying the Jewish 2nd temple?
Answer – Titus
7) Which Roman Emperor in 202 C.E. ordered the death of all Church members?
Answer – Maximus Thrax
8) Which follower of Jesus represented the Gnostics?
Answer – Mary Magdalene
9) What did Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul describe wisdom as?
Answer – Science of the spirit
10) When was Atlantis sunk?
Answer – 10,500 B.C.E.
11) Which constellation does Angkor Wat mirror?
Answer – Draco
12) Who do Egyptologists cite as the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza?
Answer - Khufu
13) In Egyptian mythology, which constellations represent Osiris and Isis?
Answer – Orion and Sirius
14) Which numbers allude to Venus?
Answer – 681
15) What does the Greek term Hieros Gamos translate to in English?
Answer – Holy Wedding
16) Who was the “inheritress of the Light”?
Answer – Mary Magdalene
17) What spiritual force did the White Tree represent?
Answer – The Holy Sephirot
18) Which group in the Tripartition of Humanity did the Greek term philo represent?
Answer – the Psychics
19) What was the Qliphoth?
Answer – A mixture of positive and negative energy
20) What does an unfolded cube represent?
Answer – Crucifixion cross
Now for the last twenty questions in this Stage, concerning Section 10 in the Eighth Review:
What is the “opposition” to Great Spirit-Mind/God?
Which element dissipates Fear?
Which card represents Jesus on the cross?
In which cards do the sign for infinity appear?
What was the complete inscription on the front of the Temple of Apollo?
Which cards represent the three levels of the Higher Self?
What is the name of the electromagnetic oscillator that surrounds the Planet?
In which year did the Human Race experience a “giant leap”?
How many pulses per second were the Schumann Resonances at in 1987?
Which wave-length represents the gateway to “deeper states of consciousness”?
What wave-length does Deductive Reasoning derive from?
What is the Paraclete?
Which Egyptian Pharaoh is mentioned in the Copper Scroll?
Which Major Arcana card represents Thoth?
What is the name of the Roman centurion that pierced Jesus’ side with a spear?
What was the name of the Essene community near Alexandria?
Who did Simon and the Beloved Disciple follow?
What is the name of the contemporary of Paul, who was healer from Tyana?
Who did Saul witness being stoned?
Who did Paul circumcise?
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End of STAGE – REASON – EIGHTH REVIEW – Section 10