Christology and Canon Formulation

I ... II ... III ... IV ... V ... VI ... VII

A Dissertation from David R. Graham


The New Being {Jesus as the Christ} is not dependent on the special symbols in which it is expressed. It has the power to be free of every form in which it appears.

The Rev. Dr. Paulus Johannes Tillich

Laborers are built for lifting.
Farmers and Business-People are built for producing.
Rulers are built for commanding.
Theologians and Scientists are built for teaching.


 
  The suppression and destruction of evidence engaged in by episcopal and cenobitical officials during the first three centuries of the Common Era make Ronald Reagan, John Pointexter, the NSA and Oliver North look like the Vienna Boy's Choir. Any appeal to what survived -- for example, the New Testament or Nag Hammadi -- as the evidence of history, as authoritative on its face, is a non sequitur. Those who make such an appeal are fools or charlatans or both. 

Today, there is no catholic standard of Christian Religion or Christian Canon. Those standards which stood for 1600 years among the various Christian groups have all been vacated for one reason and another. Turns out, none of them was catholic and all of them were provisional, relative to a context. As historical conditions subsided, so did the standards of Religion and canon that were constructed for those conditions. What was asserted as eternal was really conditional. What was announced as plenary was just pomposity. This is the central truth which has the Church today in an uproar. 

What is the Christian Religion now? What is the Christian Canon now? What is the standard of canonicity? What is important about Jesus of Nazareth as Jesus of God, the Christ? None of these questions is being answered compellingly today by any leaders of any Christian denomination. The leadership is in a panic or in a rut.

Time destroys all plans.

Duration consumes all buildings.
Supreme Reality is the only economy
(economos = building up).

Christianity as we know it is a Hellenistic Religion which defines itself not de novo but contra Stoic, Pythagorean, Epicurean, Eclectic, Skeptical, Platonic and Jewish monasticisms. 

Christian theological formulation occurs because of the presence of Greek philosophy, and it is done, in the main, by students of Pythagorean training. Mr. John the fisherman does not produce the doctrine of the Logos from his nets in the Sea of Galilee. He does not come up with it at all. Neither does His Master, Jesus. Quasi-Pythagorean/Neo-Platonic students at Alexandria import the doctrine of the Logos into Christian usage. They import this doctrine from a known source. 

Semitic Religion does not produce a Trinitarian stochastic foundation for its step-child, Christianity. Egyptian Hellenic Religion does. And it does this knowing where that foundation came from. Egyptian Hellenic Religion imports the Trinitarian stochastic foundation of Christianity from India, where there is the world's only native Trinitarian stochastic foundation, its only native Trinitarian culture. 

Christian doctrine and polity during the first four centuries of the Common Era are taking shape deliberately with a view to distinguish themselves from Greek and Hebrew cenobiticism and cenobitic philosophies. 

Customarily, it is thought that Christian Theology is formed by the Christian Canon. In truth, however, the orthogenesis occurs the other way around: Canon is formed by Theology. First Theology, then Canon. This is how the orthogenesis of Christian Literature proceeds. Theology governs Canon. And we can extend this tracking interiorly within the realms of causality: Church governs Theology, Hermitages govern Church and Sages govern Hermitages. Ultimately, therefore, the cradle of Religion, which is the cradle of culture, is Sages (Brahmarishis in Sanskrit).

Sages » Hermitages » Church »
Theology » Canon » Culture.

This is the orthogenesis of Life.

Masonry in its more-public/less-circumspect forms is an attenuated or defective reading of Pythagorean monasticism. Masonry exhibits the Pythagorean trait of deliberate misleading in order to throw off the merely curious. The attenuation which produced Masonry occurred early on, probably prior to the First Century, but certainly during and after it. 

Genuine Pythagoreans are strict vegetarians. Masons have not officially adopted this necessity of spiritual progress. 

Pythagoreans are aware of the significance of Number. Number is the key to Truth. Number is Truth. Truth may be examined and discussed as Number, as 3, as 7 as 108, etc.. All numbers are significant, on way and another. For example, the number 4 is the domain of soldiers, the four elements of an army: Infantry, Elephantry, Cavalry, Chariotry. The number 5 is the domain of Sages, who control the five Elemental Principles: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, Earth. Masons inherited the Pythagorean relish of Number, but in their more-public/less-circumspect forms they took 4 to be more primal than 5, and this is a mistake. 

Masonry and the Church are intertwined. They have been together since the First Century Common Era. They cooperated during the early Medieval Centuries, especially during the Christian Crusades. Masonry and the Church are intertwined because Pythagoreanism and Christianity are. The parties fight philosophically and politically, but they are really two peas in a pod. The one is not existing without the other. They are aspects of one phenomenon, the efflorescence of Vedic Religion in Hellenic and Semitic Civilization. 

Geometry and Masonry are synonyms or at least similarities. Euclid's Elements is a theological treatise. It is the GUT (General Unified Theory) our scientists say they seek. 

The Church represents the Saivite aspect of Western Civilization while Masonry represents its Vaishnavite aspect. These aspects are integral. 

Masonry is directly related to the Abrahamic lineage of Semitic Religion, which is Vaishnavite. It is indirectly related to the Mosaic lineage of Semitic religion, which is Saivite. It has spiritual affinity with Islam, a Vaishnavite religion, more than with Christianity, which is a Saivite religion. 

Like Christianity, Pythagoreanism is a Saivite Religion. It is based on the Pythian (Reptilian/Numeric) Oracle (Christ) at Delphi. 

Vaishnavism and Saivism are aspects of Vedic Religion, the original name of which is Sanathana Dharma. Sanathana Dharma is the ancestor of every religion employed by mankind for spiritual progress. 

Among many Romans and Protestants, Masons are taken for anti-Christ and considerable energy is spent hating and fearing them. However, Masonic iconography is on the reverse of our unit of communication and our country's founding documents are written by Masons with Masonic aims and philosophies in mind. If "by their fruits you shall know them" is saying true, then Masonry is a good thing indeed. 

The persistence of Masonry indicates the puissance of its Greek monastic lineage. Nothing else besides the Church from the First Century survives in a viable form today, excepting these children of attenuated Pythagorean monasticism. 

Between the Church and Masonry there is some legitimate difference of view, but distaste or exclusion are inappropriate. They are of the same family. 

Mrs. Eddy's chapter on Apocalypse, in Science and Health, is a Masonic Treatise. And since, in Systematics, the nature of a theology is taken from the nature of its eschatology, I am wondering if Christian Science isn't really an aspect of Masonic Religion, which itself is an aspect of Vedic religion.

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The same folks who produced what became Masonry also produced the final redaction of the Christian Canon, 1 the Christian Christology and Christian Creeds. They were Alexandrine students who added and adjusted in order to get things the way they liked to see them. 

However, there was also an individual who made original decisions regarding the proper course and content for a Christian Canon, decisions which comprised the seminal redaction of the New Testament. I call this individual the seminal redactor

A redactor is an editor and publisher of texts. A redactor is not an original author of texts. Redactors compile, edit and publish existing materials. Sometimes they add to them. Always they make these materials into publishable works which suit their aims and tastes. A redactor is an editor, not an author, and often they are an editor with broad or even unlimited leeway in conforming texts to their own wishes. 

We should grasp this distinction between an author and a redactor. It is especially important with respect to the texts we call the Bible. For, the Bible is the work not of an author or even of several authors, but rather, It is the work of quite a few redactors. This means that every text which comprises the Bible has levels of composition in it and each of these levels of composition has its own aim. Sorting out what these aims are and who the redactors are is a task of Biblical scholarship. This task is very important to understanding the Bible and even more so to understanding the Christian Religion and its Founder. 

One thing certain is that the question of authorship of a text is nearly superfluous. To say that God is the author of the Bible is a very ridiculous and insensitive thing to say. There is almost no way to know who is the author of the Bible. So much redacting has occurred, from such a number of aims and through so many points of view, many of them contradicting one another or not even of the same logical type .... 

In this situation, it is possible and useful only to try to identify redactors and then to intuit whether and to what extent these redactors' points of view are genuinely congruent with the wishes of the bearers of the Prophetic Imperative, the genuine and continuing Christian Religion. We have to intuit and otherwise grasp the wishes of Moses, David, Elijah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, Paul, Jerome, Francis, Luther, Calvin, Teresa of Avila, Jeanne Guyon, Mary Baker Eddy, Teilhard de Chardin and Paul Tillich if we are to discover who redacted the Bible and to what extent the Bible is a genuine standard (Canon) of the Career of Jesus and of Christianity and the Christian Faith. 

About each text we must ask: does this express the wishes of these people who represent the Prophetic Imperative, the core of the Religion?

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Above, beyond, behind and before every other consideration, life is always, everywhere and inherently personal. We must not lose sight of the fact that, ultimately, our Scriptures and Traditions are evidence of the wishes of Sages. These wishes comprise the matrix of opportunity and risk, of triumph and defeat, which are the operational parameters of our lives. We don't get beyond the wishes of Sages. And we do work within the boundaries those wishes are whether we care to or not or care to recognize the fact that we do or not. Everything happens because of the Wish of a Master

At its core, life is personal and nothing more. Cosmogenesis is Christogenesis, insisted Teilhard. Everything else comes and goes. But life remains, always, personal. 

I am saying that there was a person who started the process which led to the final redaction of text we call the Bible. This person is the key to understanding the Bible. He got things going in the right direction. 2 No committee could have done it. Bill Knudsen used to say, rightly, that committees are composed of persons who individually can get nothing done and together decide that nothing can be done. There was an individual who got things going in the right direction and in the right way. Not with a big lot of input, sheaves of paper and all that, but with a few conceptual principles that were self-evidently valid and self-originally puissant. 

This individual I call the seminal redactor. He was a redactor, not an author. But he was a proper redactor, in the spiritual lineage (gothra in Sanskrit) of Moses, Paul and Jerome. 

Who was this individual? The regula fidei (The Tradition) is deliberately amnesiac regarding him. A Second Century Christian eremite, from Sinai, who visits Jerusalem. Stoic and Pythagorean background. His decisions are carried to Alexandria by devotees who know the students there. At Alexandria his work is accepted, because of his spiritual excellence, which makes it compelling, but it is also adapted to local and less cultured tastes, the tastes of students, of scholarly academic faculties. 

Students -- scholarly academic faculties -- are unseasoned by spiritual discipline, and for that reason they are not qualified to propound a Canon.

Deservedness is the key to Life,
just as preparedness is the key to victory.

Jesus was a Unitarian Monotheist, not a Trinitarian one. The Christian Canon is Trinitarian Monotheist. Between Jesus and our Canon there has been some construction and also some mess of writing, part of which we call the Bible. 

How did Trinitarian Monotheism come to support a Religion whose Inspiration was a Unitarian Monotheist? 3 This question has to be answered before progress can be made identifying the origin and intent of the Christian Canon. Theology governs the Canon. 

Trinitarian Monotheism exists in only two places, Indian Culture and Christian Religion. But it does not exist in any necessary way in the Christian community prior to about 150 CE, that is, during the time of Tertullian, who gets credit for introducing it. 4

There was no effort to compile a Christian Canon until the time of Marcion, during the Second Century. This is very late for such a thing to happen. Usually, canonical literatures form rapidly following the return of an Inspirational Personality. Often, they form before the Personality departs, such as with Mary Baker Eddy, Baha'ullah and Mohammed. But for over a century Christians did not feel that a Canon was necessary. This is an unusual and therefore highly significant fact. 

Christian Episcopacy developed before Christian Canon did. Christian Canon developed comparatively late in Christian history. It was not felt to be needed until Marcion came along with a Christology that was not Christian but that he claimed was and from which, therefore, he claimed the ability to form a uniquely Christian Canon. This raised eyebrows, so to speak. Before Marcion forced the issue, Christians were content with a not-uniquely-Christian Unitarian Monotheistic Canon -- the Torah, Prophets and, especially, Psalter -- and with an immense variety of native Christian writings having an immense variability of authenticity, therefore quality and therefore useability. 

Marcion raised the question of Canon by raising the issue of Christology. Christology became a problem because, in the post-Apostolic years, the pneumatics had passed on or become sequestered and cracked-brains were attracting followers. Marcion answered the need for a standard of Christian Religion, but the standard he provided was not correct. So the question became, what is the correct standard of Christian Religion? And behind that question was the more fundamental one, what is the accurate view of Jesus as the Christ? In other words, what is proper Christology? 

This is how it actually happened, historically. Theology drove Canon. Christology drove the assembly of a Sacred Literature that is uniquely Christian. Theology is always anterior to Canon. This was the significance of Marcion. By forcing a theological question, the question of Christology, Marcion forced the development of what theretofore had not been considered necessary: a Standard of the Faith delineated as a uniquely Christian Canonical Literature. 5

Prior to Marcion, Christians used a Canon which was Unitarian Monotheist, the LXX. They did not feel the need for a uniquely Christian Canon, much less a Trinitarian one. They were content with viewing Jesus in a Unitarian Monotheistic context and invoking His Name within that order of logic. 

However, by the Fourth Century, Trinitarian Monotheism is the core of Christian preaching and dogma and it is taken for the substance of the Religion. 6 So we must ask, how did this happen? Where did this transformation come from? 

Obviously, Marcion was the goad. But who gave the response? Who answered Marcion with Trinitarian Monotheism, a thing unlooked for in all of Semitic Religion and, so far as students today are aware, in Greek Religion as well? Who answered Marcion with a first cut of a Christian Canon, rightly called? Who selected elements of Marcion's canon for inclusion in a Christian Canon? Who did this seminal labor? It had to have been a single person. Life is personal. It came from one I call the seminal redactor

And again: there is good reason for taking Threeness for primal and foundational for everything, but where did the seminal redactor get the principle of Threeness and why did he want it in the Canon? Where did Trinitarian thinking come from? It did not drop from the sky. It was not infused by a Divine Hand holding a human one that held a pen. It did not seep up from the bottoms of the Jordan or down from the tops of the Golan or the sweeps of Ariel. Did it ... ?

Footnotes

1- The Old and New Testaments. Return

2- It was a man who, as great men always are, was ably and necessarily seconded by the Inseparable Other, a woman. Return

3- Anyone who wants to argue that Trinitarian Monotheism is not the base of Christianity is welcome to make the effort but should expect an audience that is thin, uneasy or both. Return

4- Luther was not the first to deplore the tragic necessity of discourteous logisms such as homoousias and trinitas. Return

5- Christology leads rapidly to Ethics. In fact, Ethics was the real concern elicited by Marcion's Christology, which was supported by his Canon. His Ethics could be construed as an endorsement of such license as was already habitual in the Empire, especially among the leadership. Christians were at pains to promote a manner of living, an Ethics, which was superior to that of ordinary Romans, and in fact, it was their superior Ethics which finally won for them Imperial endorsement. Strict discipline, such as Christians promoted, is always preferrable to license. Humanity may be truculent for spells, but its common sense always prevails. License is dissipation and culture neither can be built nor maintained by or through any kind of license. 

Their Ethics won Christians the respect of the Empire. Marcion's Christology, with supporting Canon, threatened the source of this hard-won respect, the kind of life Christians led. Marcion could make Christianity sound like an endorsement of license. But Romans had had enough of that. They wanted to clean up. So, the Church had to demonstrate the errors of the Marcionite Christology and Canon and It had to declare his work heretical. This was done with salutary effect, although the moral and epistemological weaknesses which produce a Marcion produce also his clones in regular batches down through the years. Many such strut about today as Church Executives and lesser clergy. 

And by the way: the lineage of Karl Barth and Neo-Orthodox Theology, which today is taken for liberal, although it is not called that and although the word liberalism meant something very different a hundred years ago when it was first used, is a Marcionite lineage. Neo-Orthodoxy starts from the premise that there is something fatally wrong with the world. The old slogan of the National Council of Churches -- A Broken Church in a Broken World -- communicates this Barthian-Marcionite attitude, which is heretical. 

The world is fundamentally sound and so is the Church. This is the Christian attitude and the Truth. Neo-Orthodoxy contains an inaccurate grasp of the phenomenon referred to by the classical Doctrine of Original Sin. Return

6- Unitarian Monotheism as a legitimate ground of Christian Religion is asserted at various times and places in Christian Culture. Bahá'ís, Calvinist Unitarians at Harvard and Mary Baker Eddy, also at Calvinist Boston but including influence from the American South, come to mind. Return

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The picture at the top of this page was drawn by Mary Graham and colored by her, also. Its title is Brahmarishi and it is part of Faces of the Incarnation, a coloring book from Adwaitha Hermitage.

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