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(Continued) 3. We owe to Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann the insight that reality is always

Glacier Morteratsch, Pontresina, Upper Engadine 2011
Glacier Morteratsch, Pontresina, Upper Engadine 2011

“socially constructed”, in other words, embedded in society. This also applies to the Bible’s authors, of course. The religious reality they describe follows contemporary social conventions that we are no longer familiar with, so we need to research them.

 

The difference between oral and written tradition must also be taken into account. As long as traditions are passed on orally, the wording can change. As soon as they are written down, a change of meaning can only take place through an interpretation of the tradition.

 

Because the written versions of the Gospels and Acts were preceded by a long period of oral tradition, we must assume that they were adapted to the changing early Christian consciousness before being written down.

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V  15   The canon of the New Testament

5.15.1.
The dominant master narrative about the origins of the New Testament canon states that in the first half of the 2nd century AD,

Istanbul, Hagia Sophia, Christ
Istanbul, Hagia Sophia, Christ

there were so many Gospels and Apostolic letters circulating among the communities that the churches had to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The only texts they adopted into the canon of significant texts for the Christian religion were those that they considered were written by one of the twelve Apostles or the Apostle Paul, or that were authorised by one of the Apostles; e.g. Luke’s Gospel, written by Paul’s companion Luke (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim 4:11; Philemon 24), was authorised by Paul.

5.15.2.
The new theses about the origin of the New Testament canon:

The New Testament canon was formed from writings from the three Palestinian Apostolic churches of James, John and Peter and the Gentile Christian church of Paul.

5.15.3.
The criterion for the acceptance into the canon was the balance between the origins in the individual churches and the extent to which the writings supported the church’s unity.

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V  14   Mark’s Gospel

5.14.1.
The dominant master narrative about Mark’s Gospel states that the Christians passed down their memories of Jesus

Istanbul, Theodosian Walls
Istanbul, Theodosian Walls

orally in the church community. When those who had known Jesus personally grew older, Mark collected their memories, wrote them down and published them as the Gospel.

5.14.2.
The new theses about Mark’s Gospel:
Mark’s Gospel is an epic narrative. The author modelled it on Homer’s Iliad.

5.14.3.
Mark formed the Passion narrative within his Gospel according to the  Praetexta Octavia des Pseudo-Seneca.

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5.13.6.
In the Greek version of the Persian myth, the following thought model emerged:

Greek Middle Ages: Mystras
Greek Middle Ages: Mystras

God sacrifices his son: Mark 12:6-8 par. In (neo)Platonic philosophy one would say emanation rather than son; a piece of God himself.

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5.11.5.
The Marys in the New Testament are prosperous women, in particular merchants, who had the reputation

Ephesus, ancient toilet
Ephesus, ancient toilet

of possessing skills in alchemy and who supported the Christians materially and financially.

5.11.6.
The Messiah’s conception was understood as an (alchemical) act of creation, and only an entirely upright, i.e. pure alchemist could achieve the conception of the Messiah with God’s help (God’s Spirit).

This is why the Messiah’s mother was named after the famous alchemist Mary. She is called a virgin to indicate her purity; therefore in the legend, Jesus must be her first-born son.

5.11.7.
The resurrection was also viewed as an alchemical act of creation. It was prepared by the women called Mary.

When the women arrived at the grave to prepare Jesus’ body for the resurrection, the Creator God, Lord of alchemical powers and mysteries, had already carried out the act of new creation and had raised Jesus from the dead.

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V  11   Mary and Joseph

5.11.1.
The dominant master narrative about Jesus’ parents states

Ephesus, Roman foot soldier
Ephesus, Roman foot soldier

that Mary, a housewife, and Joseph, a building worker, were Jesus’ biological parents.

5.11.2.
The new basic narrative about Jesus’ parents states:
Mary was not the name of Jesus’ mother. His mother’s name, like her virginity, are part of the Christian legend about the Messiah’s origin.

5.11.3.
Mary was not the name of the women called Mary in the New Testament; at most it was their nickname.

5.11.4.
Mary was a well-known Jewish alchemist in classical times.

Literature: Patai, Raphael: The Jewish Alchemists. A History and Source Book, Princeton, New Jersey 1994, p. 60-91; Schütt, Hans-Werner: Auf der Suche nach dem Stein der Weisen. Die Geschichte der Alchemie, Munich 2000, p. 117-126,

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5.9.12.
Cephas, the later leader of Peter’s church, is not identical with Simon Peter. It was Cephas, not Peter,

Ephesus, goddess
Ephesus, goddess

who attended the Apostolic Council. Paul never met Peter personally; he only met Cephas. Paul differentiates in Gal. 1f precisely between the Jewish Apostle Peter and Cephas, one of the three pillars (Gal. 2:9) whom he personally met.