25th April 1792. Rule of Four.
The early Church was obsessed with matter and spirit, mystic unification through numerology, and Gnosticism.
The Latin Bible was born out of thousands of texts circulating among early Christians, a unified Bible of the persecuted Church Fathers achieved by discarding those considered heresy. The result was the magic number, the Four Gospels of [St] Jerome.
Thus the Biblical canon of Matthew: The Lord’s human genealogy; Mark: calling on the prophetic spirit; Luke: the sacrificial offering of Zaccharius, and John: the spiritual gospel of son and father.
The greatest heresy was the 3rd century Gnosticism, which was robustly attacked in his ‘Adversus Haereses’, by the 19thc Tractarian and translator of Iraenius, John Keble, born Today in 1792, (1)
Marcion(ism) of Sinope (c 85-c 160), was the first to delineate a canon-a list of officially sanctified religious works-used by the early Church Fathers as a Measuring Stick (Greek Kanon), to separate sheep from goats.
With Iraenius (c 180) we have some acceptance of Four Gospels-the Canon of Belief, which didn’t include Gnosticism.(2)
The number Four had a powerful mystical attraction for early Biblical compilers; Daniel (11:3-4): ‘But there will rise up up a strong kingdom [will] will be shattered and will be divided towards [into] the Four Winds of Heaven’.
In Ezekiel (1:10) we read Four Cherubs and Four Pillars of the Church.
In Revelation (4:7) there is Four-Fold Inspiration against heresies: Revelation (12:9) has Four Corners [zones] of the World: ‘And [the evil one], shall go out to deceive the nations which are the four corners’, where the world was conceived as a square plane.
Living creatures are quadriform via the Four Humours.
Four Covenants are represented by Noah and the deluge and the rainbow; Abraham and circumcision; The Law of Moses and finally The Gospels.
When the Muslims invaded the west they brought the idea of chahar bagh (paradise garden) in the form of a cross with Four Channels, the Rivers of Paradise, which divided the Four Corners of the world.
The psychoanalyst Jung said that the ‘Myths and Cosmology of Classical Gnosticism, have much to offer despite the Catholic position of discarding them as ”sad, sorry off-shoots’’. So the insights and wisdom of the Classical World are ignored as Pagan and Heretic’.
(1) On St Mark’s Day (April 25th in 1868, the Archbishop of Canterbury laid the first stone of Keble College, Oxford.
(2) The Gnostic Gospels, a collection of about 52 texts, are supposedly based on the teaching of the prophets and include texts ascribed to Jesus. Written from the 2nd to the 4th centuries, many were found in a cave in Upper Egypt.
The doctrine of salvation by knowledge, the basis of Gnosticism (knowledge). It is largely pantheistic and unjoyous whose end is metanoia (repentance), and the undoing of sin, of material existence, prior to return to Pleroma.
These writings offer profoundly different accounts of the death of Jesus; the Gospel of Philip for example ridicules the Virgin Birth and Jesus’ rise from the dead as physical. The Gospel of Mary suggests a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Also Judas Iscariot is portrayed as a friend, one who helped Jesus to be seen as the Messiah, rather than the traitor reviled for centuries by anti-Semitic church officials.
Ref: slideshow.net/Pic Image.