Friday, September 15, 2017

"the scribes questioning with them" - Laughing Christ in Gnosticism

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Laughing Christ in Gnosticism

Gnosticism texts show various responses to the emergence of Christianity among knowledgeable people around the second century, while Christianity was mainly preached to poor people without knowledge in Palestine and the Roman Empire since the first century.
Gnosticism ("having knowledge") is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems, originating in Jewish milieus in the first and second century AD. Based on their readings of the Torah and other Biblical writings,[specify] these systems induced that the material world is created by an emanation of the highest God, trapping the Divine spark within the human body. This Divine spark could be liberated by gnosis of this Divine spark.
No Gospels describe Christ Jesus laughing, but some Gnosticism texts present laughing Jesus:
The Sophia (Wisdom) of Jesus Christ 
After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women continued to be his followers, and went to Galilee onto the mountain called "Divination and Joy". When they gathered together and were perplexed about the underlying reality of the universe and the plan, and the holy providence, and the power of the authorities, and about everything the Savior is doing with them in the secret of the holy plan, the Savior appeared - not in his previous form, but in the invisible spirit. And his likeness resembles a great angel of light. But his resemblance I must not describe. No mortal flesh could endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught us about on the mountain called "Of the Olives" in Galilee. 
And he said: "Peace be to you, My peace I give you!" And they all marveled and were afraid. The Savior laughed and said to them: "What are you thinking about? Are you perplexed? What are you searching for?" 
Philip said: "For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan." 
The Savior said to them: "I want you to know that all men are born on earth from the foundation of the world until now, being dust, while they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, have not found him. Now the wisest among them have speculated from the ordering of the world and (its) movement. But their speculation has not reached the truth. For it is said that the ordering is directed in three ways, by all the philosophers, (and) hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it is directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of the three voices I have just mentioned, none is close to the truth, and (they are) from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here - for I know him (Light) - that I might speak to you about the precise nature of the truth. For whatever is from itself is a polluted life; it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom in it. And fate does not discern. But to you it is given to know; and whoever is worthy of knowledge will receive (it), whoever has not been begotten by the sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, for he is an immortal in the midst of mortal men."
It was not only poor and illiterate people to whom Christianity was presented around the first and second centuries.  But there were many Roman citizens who had learnt Greek philosophy and other academic matters.  Poor people without education might simply accept the preaching by the Apostles and other early priests, but knowledgeable must have various intellectual resources to judge and assess the teaching of Christ Jesus.

Some of them must have tried to analyze, criticize, or even mock at early Christianity based on their intellectual ability.  Some of them must have even challenged leaders and priests of early Christianity by presenting their versions of Gospels.  And some Jewish scholars or priests might have worked out Gnostic texts to confuse early Christians with malicious intent.

However, Christianity cannot be an easy object of intellectual criticism and interpretation, and should not be subject to intellectual analysis and judgment.  Accordingly, Gnosticism could not became one of major streams of Christianity.

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Mar 9:14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
Mar 9:15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.