Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

Why do almost all authors have a "pseudo-author"?

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

#1  Postby Leucius Charinus » Oct 13, 2015 10:37 am

Mike S wrote:Christian writers?

Literary-wise there’s been never anything like it, fraud, invention, fabrication and forgery on an unimaginable scale, including where third-party works like Josephus or Tacitus are concerned, rendering reliance on any one single passage fraught with peril.

The very fact that early Christianity found it necessary to resort to falsifying such works, including those of Josephus, where they didn’t burn them, that is, readily demonstrates that they themselves lacked any evidence of Jesus historicity.


Yes it is a very sorry state of affairs. We don't know who wrote any of the Christian material or indeed the century of its provenance. We think we know who wrote the works attributed to the early church fathers, and other identities in the Roman Empire during the early history of the nation of Christians. But do we?

What we do know is that for almost every Christian author in antiquity, we invariably find a "Pseudo-Author".

    Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

    Paul and Pseudo Paul
    Peter and Pseudo Peter
    Mark and Pseudo Mark
    John and Pseudo John
    Luke and Pseudo Luke
    Matthew and Pseudo Matthew

    Justin Martyr and Pseudo Justin
    Clement and Pseudo Clement
    Hegesippus and Pseudo Hegesippus
    Lucian and Pseudo Lucian
    Tatian and Pseudo Tatian
    Irenaeus and Pseudo Irenaeus
    Tertullian and Pseudo Tertullian


    Eusebius and Pseudo Eusebius
    Cyril and Pseudo Cyril
    Augustine and Pseudo Augustine


    Barnabas and Pseudo Barnabas
    Polycarp and Pseudo Polycarp
    Origen and Pseudo Origen
    Ignatius and Pseudo Ignatius

    The TF and the Agbar correspondence might permit two more:

    Josephus and Pseudo Josephus
    Jesus and Pseudo Jesus



    EDIT: Please feel free to dig out any more !!!!

Where does this lead the historical investigator?
What provisional conclusions (if any) might be drawn from this state of affair?

Without the "Sacred Seal of the Church Industry" the entire scenario appears to have little or no integrity.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

#2  Postby igorfrankensteen » Oct 13, 2015 11:27 am

I think you're chasing a pooka. So to speak. Mostly, you are assuming, without defining for yourself, or recognizing in others who you try to study, a mutually shared motivation for research. There are actually numerous motivations, many of which are in direct contradiction with each other.
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Re: Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

#3  Postby Leucius Charinus » Oct 14, 2015 12:25 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:There are actually numerous motivations, many of which are in direct contradiction with each other.


This is very possible. Maybe we should make a list of these numerous motivations? What motivations should be up the top of the list in order to explain the large distribution of texts attributed to "Pseudo-X' where X is the name of some important Christian literary sources? Literary forgery?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

#4  Postby igorfrankensteen » Oct 14, 2015 1:45 am

What I was referring to, are the three general motivations:

* Believers seeking purity or accuracy of texts;

* Anti-believers, seeking to emphasize the purely human sources of the texts;

* Political Historians, seeking to use the arguments, changes, and apparent multiplicity of authors and interpretations to come to a better understanding of the politics and circumstances of life in the time of the struggle over religious authority.

The accusation of forgery has a very different function and meaning, depending on the goals and motivations of the accusers.
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Re: Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

#5  Postby Leucius Charinus » Oct 14, 2015 7:22 am

That's a very good answer igorfrankensteen. Thanks very much. I will meditate upon these three motivations for a while.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Authors and Pseudo Authors in "Early Christianity"

#6  Postby Leucius Charinus » Oct 18, 2015 10:12 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:What I was referring to, are the three general motivations:

* Believers seeking purity or accuracy of texts;

* Anti-believers, seeking to emphasize the purely human sources of the texts;

* Political Historians, seeking to use the arguments, changes, and apparent multiplicity of authors and interpretations to come to a better understanding of the politics and circumstances of life in the time of the struggle over religious authority.

The accusation of forgery has a very different function and meaning, depending on the goals and motivations of the accusers.


A mutually shared motivation for research was mentioned in the OP with the question ... Where does this lead the historical investigator? This matches your third example above. FWIW I see myself as an amateur historian, and neither a believer nor an anti-believer. Perhaps I should be discussing this in the history section? I don't care where its discussed, I am just seeking some informed discussion on the question in the OP.

Your last comment about the accusation of forgery is echoed by Momigliano ...

    But it must be clear once for all that Judges and Acts,
    Heroditus and Tacitus are historical texts to be examined
    with the purpose of recovering the truth of the past.

    Hence the interesting conclusion that the notion of forgery
    has a different meaning in historiography than it has in
    other branches of literature or of art. A creative writer
    or artist perpetuates a forgery every time he intends
    to mislead his public about the date and authorship
    of his own work.

    But only a historian can be guilty of forging evidence <<====== EUSEBIUS ?
    or of knowingly used forged evidence in order to
    support his own historical discourse. One is never
    simple-minded enough about the condemnation of
    forgeries. Pious frauds are frauds, for which one
    must show no piety - and no pity.


However your mention of the motivation of believers and anti-believers got me thinking about the motivation of those authors name 'X' who on the one hand produced the Christian related texts attributed to 'X', and on the other hand the motivation of those authors who have been named 'Pseudo-X', to write the texts attributed to them.

In order to answer the OP I guess each of the instances of the Author/Pseudo-Author needs to be looked at. They are all different texts for a start. So there's no simple short cut. There is also the question, for the historian, as to who it was that named "Pseudo-Paul" etc etc, and attributed to this name one or more specific texts.

There may be no one simple answer to the appearance of so many writings attributed to "Pseudo-Peter", "Pseudo-Paul" and "Pseudo-Mary". I agree with the notion that they may have written at different times with different motivations. I have seen no study on this question. I have no problem with the assumption that the believers and the anti-believers both forged manuscripts in the name of Christian identity X, which were later discovered to be forgeries, and were then associated not with Christian identity X, but with "Christian identity Pseudo-X".
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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