This is the third post in the series: A Simonian Origin for Christianity.
From the previous post:
Cerdo, from Antioch, learned his doctrines of two gods from the Simonians. (Irenaeus: Against Heresies, 1.27,1).
Cerdo, like Marcion after him, also believed that the Pauline letters had been interpolated and some forged. (Tertullian: Against All Heresies, 6.2).
Cerdo arrived in Rome shortly before Marcion. Marcion incorporated much of Cerdo’s teaching in his own work, Antitheses. (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 7,25)
In the previous post I showed how my hypothesis would tie the inconsistencies in the Pauline letters to the early conflict between Simonian and proto-orthodox Christians.
- The inconsistencies would have resulted from proto-orthodox interpolations made to letters that were of Simonian provenance.
- The intent behind the interpolations was to correct Simonian errors.
- I noted how the earliest known Christian to claim that the Paulines had been interpolated was someone associated with a Simonian from Antioch.
- And I provided from the first chapter of the letter collection an example of an interpolation that appears to have Simon in view.
In this post I want to show how the three earliest Deutero-Pauline letters would fit into my hypothetical scenario.
I will show how Simon’s successor, Menander, makes a good candidate for author of the letters to the Colossians and the Ephesians.
Three Deutero-Paulines: Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians
Colossians and Menander
Even though what the extant record says about Menander is meager, the little it does provide is sufficient to show that he should be considered a good candidate for author of Colossians.Justin, our earliest source on Menander, says that he, like Simon, was originally from Samaria but “deceived many while he was in Antioch” (1st Apologia, 26). His activity in Antioch occurred presumably in the last third of the first century. And the theological development that occurred within Simonian Christianity when Menander succeeded Simon looks very much like what took place between the seven so-called undisputed letters and Colossians, the earliest of the Deutero-Paulines..
In Colossians, someone claiming to be Paul says that those who have been baptized into Christ have already experienced a kind of spiritual resurrection. . .
This is something the author of the seven undisputed letters never says. For him, resurrection is something he is striving to obtain.
There are many considerations of both writing style and theological content that have led scholars to recognize that Colossians is a pseudepigraphon. But one of the most easily-noticed ways it differs theologically from the undisputed letters is in its eschatology. In Colossians, someone claiming to be Paul says that those who have been baptized into Christ have already experienced a kind of spiritual resurrection. He tells his readers that God “made you alive with him [Christ]” (Col. 2:13). They were “raised with Christ” (Col.2:12 and 3:1). And he locates this resurrection in baptism (Col. 2:12).
This is something the author of the seven undisputed letters never says. For him, resurrection is something he is striving to obtain: “if somehow I might obtain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:11). It is part of a salvation that will be obtained in the future. Continue reading “A Simonian Origin for Christianity, Part 3: Three Deutero-Paulines”