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Author Topic: Ancient Scroll Found  (Read 1098 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 01, 2006, 01:44:09 PM »

I though this news story was interesting due to its reference to Anaxagoras, but then I read of the potential link between Gnosticism and Orphism: were some early Orphists drawn to Christianity but injected some of their earlier presuppositions in their new faith?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060601/ap_on_sc/greece_ancient_scroll

 Ancient scroll may yield religious secrets

By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS, Associated Press Writer

 


ATHENS, Greece - A collection of charred scraps kept in a Greek museum's storerooms are all that remains of what archaeologists say is Europe's oldest surviving book — which may hold a key to understanding early monotheistic beliefs.

 
More than four decades after the Derveni papyrus was found in a 2,400-year-old nobleman's grave in northern Greece, researchers said Thursday they are close to uncovering new text — through high-tech digital analysis — from the blackened fragments left after the manuscript was burnt on its owner's funeral pyre.

Large sections of the mid-4th century B.C. book — a philosophical treatise on ancient religion — were read years ago, but never officially published.

Now, archaeologist Polyxeni Veleni believes U.S. imaging and scanning techniques used to decipher the Judas Gospel — which portrays Judas not as a sinister betrayer but as Jesus' confidant — will considerably expand and clarify that text.

"I believe some 10-20 percent of new text will be added, which however will be of crucial importance," said Veleni, director of the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, where the manuscript is kept.

"This will fill in many gaps, we will get a better understanding of the sequence and the existing text will become more complete," Veleni told The Associated Press.

The scroll, originally several yards of papyrus rolled around two wooden runners, was found half burnt in 1962. It dates to around 340 B.C., during the reign of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

"It is the oldest surviving book, if you can use that word for a scroll, in western tradition," Veleni said. "This was a unique find, of exceptional importance."

Greek philosophy expert Apostolos Pierris said the text may be a century older.

"It was probably written by somebody from the circle of the philosopher Anaxagoras, in the second half of the 5th century B.C.," he said.

Anaxagoras, who lived in ancient Athens, is thought to have been the teacher of Socrates and was accused by his contemporaries of atheism.

Last month, experts from Brigham Young University in Utah used multi-spectral digital analysis to create enhanced pictures of the text, which will be studied by Oxford University papyrologist Dirk Obbink and Pierris, and published by the end of 2007.

"We were now able to read even the most carbonized sections, as there were pieces that were completely blackened and nobody could make out whether there were letters on them," Veleni said.

The scroll contains a philosophical treatise on a lost poem describing the birth of the gods and other beliefs focusing on Orpheus, the mythical musician who visited the underworld to reclaim his dead love and enjoyed a strong cult following in the ancient world.

The Orpheus cult raised the notion of a single creator god — as opposed to the multitude of deities the ancient Greeks believed in — and influenced later monotheistic faiths.

"In a way, it was a precursor of Christianity," Pierris said. "Orphism believed that man's salvation depended on his knowledge of the truth."

Veleni said the manuscript "will help show the influence of Orphism on later monotheistic religions."

The Derveni grave, about five miles northwest of Thessaloniki, was part of a rich cemetery belonging to the ancient city of Lete.

"It belonged to a very rich man, a Macedonian nobleman, warrior and athlete who had a lot of very important and valuable artifacts in his grave," Veleni said. Finds included metal vases, a gold wreath and weapons.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 01:45:16 PM by chris » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2006, 05:50:09 PM »

were some early Orphists drawn to Christianity but injected some of their earlier presuppositions in their new faith?


what kind of injection? 
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2006, 11:57:18 AM »

what kind of injection?ÂÂ  

Sorry for the delay in response...I wasn't aware that anyone had actually looked at this!

Quote
"Orphism believed that man's salvation depended on his knowledge of the truth."

Veleni said the manuscript "will help show the influence of Orphism on later monotheistic religions."

Orphism then apparently believed that salvation depended on knowledge of truth.

Gnosticism, although it had many sects, tended to have a broad similarity among these different sects in that they felt salvation depended on discovery of hidden knowledge.

So we see the potential dangers of syncretism, if in fact there is a link between Orphists and Gnostics.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2006, 11:57:38 AM by chris » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2006, 09:42:29 AM »

To me, from the couple of clippings about Orphenism, it seems that there IS a lot of syncretism. 

There are TONS of Gnostic texts, I would say at least 90% of them talk at some point exclusively about hidden knowledge and how it was passed down, etc. 

That seems like a pretty straightforward correlation to that Orphenistic belief that man's salvation is dependent on his knowledge of truth. 

My question now is how come this isn't a reflection of Christianity.  Don't we have to know the truth in order to be saved?  If we don't know the truth are we saved?  (i.e. if we don't know the teachings of Christ, etc.)
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2006, 09:55:27 AM »

Quote
My question now is how come this isn't a reflection of Christianity.  Don't we have to know the truth in order to be saved?  If we don't know the truth are we saved?  (i.e. if we don't know the teachings of Christ, etc.)

We are saved via the Grace of God, not knowledge itself.  That is why infants and other incapable of "knowing" what is going on recieve the mysteries in Orthodoxy.  Also I think the Church doesn't judge the fate of those that never had the opportunity on earth to hear of Christ. 
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2006, 01:26:20 PM »

I think that's a pretty good response.  Thanks Nektarios. 

The question still is whether or not Orphenism has influenced later religions.  One of them being Gnosticism and the other being Christianity. 

I think the importance of having truth and knowing it is very prevalent in the Church Fathers.  I think we can all agree that it doesn't lead to salvation...

However, what about for those who arn't children?  Does knowledge of the truth now take a different spin??  I think it does, especially for those of us who are "in the church"  etc. 
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