These are my notes on the surviving excerpts available from the so-called Gospel of the Hebrews:
– The Gospel of the Hebrews does not exist, except as excerpts from Cyril of Jerusalem, Origen of Alexandria, Clement of Alexandria, and Jerome.
– This Gospel has some interesting angelology, Mariology, and understanding of Christ. Michael the Archangel is a “Power”, so is Mary the mother of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is called the “mother” of Jesus.
– Jesus baptism, and anointing by the Spirit, is included in this Gospel.
– Jesus’ resurrection is followed by his visit with James, his brother. James refuses to eat until he sees Jesus. Jesus appears, breaks bread with him, and there seems to be an echo of Luke 24.
– There appear to be a few sayings attributed to Jesus that we don’t find in the canonical Gospels.
First ‘The Gospel of the Egyptians’, then the ‘Gospel of the Nazoreans’, and now the Gospel of the Hebrews’ … I hadn’t heard of any of these. I assume they’re Gnostic texts.
Where are you finding these things? (I guess, alluded to in the Church fathers).
Question: If an idea is is examined through the lens of ecclesiastic orthodoxy, and discarded – is there still value in the idea? (This question is double-edged – on the one hand is there value in looking at ideas found in the rubbish bin of Christian theology, on the other is ecclesiastic orthodoxy a valid vetting filter)?
I admit – I am mildly curiosity to read Arius’ own words, rather than the characterizations of his words that exists in the polemic against him.
Brian said “The Holy Spirit is called the “mother” of Jesus:
This idea is surprisingly ‘Hebrew’. The Holy Spirit was often personified in ancient Hebrew text – seen most clearly as the feminine ‘Wisdom’ found in Proverbs ([Prov 1:20], [Pro 3:13-14] etc).
Ancient Hebrew did recognize God having a Holy Spirit and attributed gender based upon usage. Since ‘Wisdom’ was linguistically feminine, Wisdom was portrayed as ‘her’ in that form, but took masculine forms in other manifestations (so the language drove the perspective, not ancient theology).
Devoid of the linguistic baggage, we could just as easily read (in English) [Prov 3:13-14] as “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from him (or ‘it’) is better than gain from silver and his profit better than gold (while recognizing, with Hebrew containing gender, such a reading would be neigh impossible)
What’s interesting about your comment Brian, is that many early Christian’s equated the personification of ‘Wisdom’ with Jesus (assuming ‘Wisdom’ was not the same as the ‘Holy Spirit’), so the Greek excised the feminine element (because Jesus was masculine). However, your observation here is suggesting that rather than seeing ‘Wisdom’ as Jesus, these gnostic’s saw ‘Wisdom’ in a more traditional Hebrew sense as the ‘Holy Spirit’. This would credit the Holy Spirit with the feminine role of conception in [Luke 1:35] (rather than Mary), even though the role of impregnating a young virgin is clearly a masculine act.
That’s correct. What we have available are quotations in the writings of other writers. I wish we had something intact. Honestly, I don’t know if we should categorize them as gnostic texts. I’ve seen it catergorized as a “Jewish-Christian” Gospel, like the Gospel of the Ebionites, or the canonical Gospel of Matthew. In other words, it seems to reflect a Christianity far more aligned with what we see from the Church in Jerusalem in the Book of Acts than the Pauline Churches.
This may explain the Hebraic depiction of the Spirit that you observe. Indeed, gender and language were as complicated then as now. Wisdom could be “Lady Wisdom”, but as you observe, the earliest Christians, and the Patristic writers, equate Wisdom to Jesus.
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