The Passion Of Christ In The Valentinian Sources From The Nag Hammadi Library, And Its Relationship With The Fourth Gospel -- By: Michael Makidon

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 19:1 (Mar 2015)
Article: The Passion Of Christ In The Valentinian Sources From The Nag Hammadi Library, And Its Relationship With The Fourth Gospel
Author: Michael Makidon


The Passion Of Christ In The Valentinian Sources From The Nag Hammadi Library, And Its Relationship With The Fourth Gospel

Michael Makidon

and

Dan Lioy1

Abstract

Although the passion of Christ in the Valentinian Sources from the Nag Hammadi Library and the passion of Christ in the Fourth Gospel seem to share many commonalities, the Valentinian understanding of the passion events has much less to do with the historicity of the crucifixion, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ than with what they symbolised. Likewise, the passion can only be properly understood in light of the Valentinian myth, through which the Valentinians understood their theology. The following article analyses the passion of Christ in the Valentinian Sources from the Nag Hammadi Library in light of its relationship to the Fourth Gospel.

1. Introduction

The passion of Christ in the Valentinian Sources (VSS)2 from the Nag Hammadi Library (NHL), when compared to the Fourth Gospel (FG), appear quite differently and must be understood within the Valentinian

myth. The events of the last days of Christ bear more meaning symbolically than historically. While the crucifixion includes the idea of redemption on the cross, the cross symbolises the barrier between the physical and spiritual. The suffering takes on the meaning of being detained within the physical realm, the death is the separation of the physical from the spiritual, and the resurrection describes the reunification and restoration of the spiritual body with the Pleroma. Thus, while the passion events appear in the VSS, they must be understood within the Valentinian myth. The following sections will further analyse the passion of Christ within the Valentinian myth.

2. The Crucifixion Of Christ

There are several passages in the VSS that refer to the crucifixion of Christ. The GT states that he was ‘nailed to a tree’ (auaftf auše, 18:24; 20:25). Ménard believes that this reference should be taken spiritually. In other words, Christ was enslaved to humanity, which would be consistent with the death of Christ in the VSS (1972:88). Theodotus equated the cross with the boundary between the unfaithful and faithful and the world and the Pleroma. He pictured Christ as the head and Jesus as the shoulders carrying the seed to the Pleroma (Exc 42).

IK 5:30-32 and 13:25-37 both refer to the...

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