Secret Book of James

02 Sep

So I’ve been reading about Cerinthus, who was apparently someone who John, son of Zebedee (the purported author of the gospel of John and the Book of Revelation) really didn’t like. It seems as though Cerinthus was a gnostic and the gospel of John was written in retaliation to Cerinthus’ beliefs. However, another sect of Christians pejoratively called “Alogi” (literally ‘without logic’) said that gJohn was actually written by Cerinthus. Neither camp – modern Christians or the Alogi – have any evidence either way as to who wrote gJohn. Attribution of gJohn as being written by the actual Apostle John was done in an ipse dixit fashion by Ireneaus. Who really doesn’t have any more authority than the Alogi other than his say so. Anyway, reading on wikipedia, some scholars think that the Secret Book of James was written to Cerinthus.

James is mentioned by (Jew) Josephus in his “Antiquities of the Jews” as the “brother of Jesus [son of Damneus]”. I wonder who Damneus is, since Joseph is supposed to be Jesus’ father. Anyway, according to the Secret Book of James, James is the one who continues Jesus’ ministry after Jesus is executed for sedition. This also follows the theme of gJohn and the Gospel of Mary where Peter fails to get Jesus’ message and James does. Near its beginning the Apocryphon (revelation) of James mentions another “secret book”, which may have described a different revelation from Jesus to James. But if this other book actually existed, it has apparently been lost.

The Apocryphon also says that this story takes place “550 days” after Jesus’ resurrection, but before his ascension! I thought he was supposed to ascend up to heaven after 40 days (10 days before pentecost)? Not 550 days!

Of course, all of this goes contrary to what the churches teach, since most churches – oddly enough – follow more of a Pauline Christianity (Christians don’t have to follow Jewish laws) moreso than a James/Cerinthus/Gnostic Christianity (Christians do have to follow Jewish laws, Jesus wasn’t god, etc.)

Which is also really weird because Valentinus, who I think is like the most influential Gnostic, was also a follower of Paul.

Anyway, none of these writings exist until Eusebius and Constantine – so who knows what they did to the writings to suit their own agenda…

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Posted by on September 2, 2008 in cerinthus, gnosticism, james, josephus, paul, valentinus


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