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6234Re: [Gnosticism] Re: Gnostic Gospels Chapter 1

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  • Enheduanna
    Jul 1, 2002
      Yes this is all very strange, and it seems odd that the Papacy to find it necessary to bring in this notion of Peter as the 'first witness'. 
      In Matthew 16:13-21  immediately before he starts to speak of his impending arrest and death, Jesus explicitly appoints Peter as the 'rock' on which he wished to build his church ( presumably in the sense of "ekklesia"?!).
      The entire passage is most interesting, and I also quote the verses immediately following as they seem clearly to put the identification of Jesus as 'the Christ' into a Gnostic context:

      "16:13Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? 16:14And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 16:15He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? 16:16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 16:18And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 16:19I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 16:20Then charged he the disciples that they should tell no man that he was the Christ.

      "16:21From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. 16:22And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. 16:23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. 16:24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. 16:26For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? 16:27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds. 16:28Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. "

      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, July 01, 2002 6:01 AM
      Subject: [Gnosticism] Re: Gnostic Gospels Chapter 1

      --- In gnosticism2@y..., coolas25 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > Elaine Pagels says that "Even today the pope traces his--and the
      > primacy he claims over the rest--to Peter himself, 'first of the
      > apostles,' since he was 'first witness of the resurrection."  Now,
      > I've gone to Catholic school for about 12 years.  We were always
      > taught that Mary Magdaline was the first to see Jesus resurrected. 
      > So I guess my question is.  Does the pope really believe that Peter
      > was the "first witness of the resurrection"?  If so, why is it
      > in Catholic school that Mary was the first to witness Jesus
      > resurrected? 
      > Thank you,
      > Colleen

      Hi, Colleen,

      You are undoubtedly more acquainted with the Catholic tradition than
      I, but I'll take a stab at your question.  Please feel free to
      correct any misconceptions I might have about Catholic apostolic
      succession.  The literal view of the resurrection was useful for
      orthodox Christians in validating apostolic succession and authority
      as successors of the Apostle Peter.  Catholics believe Peter was
      chosen as the new leader because he was the first apostle to see
      Jesus after he had risen.

      Even though Mary Magdalene might be named by some accounts to be the
      first witness to the resurrection, she would not have had the same
      status as Peter according to Catholics.  My understanding is that she
      would be considered an apostle to the apostles by Catholics, but
      certainly not in the running for leadership, since delegated
      authority, according to orthodox tradition, was reserved for the
      eleven remaining apostles (after Judas' death).  Catholics believe
      only the apostles could designate their successors, and legitimate
      heirs are seen to be the Pope, bishops, priests. 

      Suffice to say that Mary Magdalene certainly was quite a prominent
      apostle in the Gnostic tradition, to the dismay of the other
      apostles, Peter in particular.  :-)  Gnostics, not sharing the
      orthodox belief in bodily resurrection, would attribute more meaning
      to those who receive Gnosis.  "Resurrection of the spirit" is
      important in this lifetime.


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