Daily Archives: 2007-04-14 15:26:16 UTC

A gnostic mind game with Paul and Mark

Elaine Pagel’s The Gnostic Paul cites the many gnostic interpretations of Paul’s letters. The point is well made that our interpretation of Paul is inherited from the founders of the orthodox church today. Yet this interpretation was not so universal in the second century. Irenaeus took issue with the gnostics for claiming to have secret traditions that they claimed had been handed down from Paul in order to explain the spiritual (“pneumatic”) understanding of his letters. read more »

Gospel of Mark — modern meets gnostic interpretation?

The Gospel of Mark is a parable or largely allegorical according to scholars such as Kelber, Tolbert, Weeden, and others Thus Galilee and Jerusalem have theological meanings, the former representing the Kingdom of God and the latter, opposition to that kingdom. The twelve disciples led by Peter are the seed found in rocky soil that sprouts quickly with promise but just as quickly whithers into failure. And so forth.

Such modern interpretations of Mark sit in remarkably close conjunction with the (second century) Valentinian allegorical interpretations of Paul’s letters as explained by Elaine Pagels in her The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters. And is it significant that the Gospel of Mark is sometimes argued to be embedded in Pauline theology? read more »