27 Apr 2013 
#69 More about the 'Ascension of Isaiah'

To Blog Entry Page / To Tags Complete List / To My Website
Emphasis mine

In order to use the Tags function, please copy selected {tag_name} (c/w brackets), then go to the Blog Entry Page and paste it in the FIND box of your browser.

Let's start by restating what I wrote in my post #22 (deleted as redundant): 

"On a debate with Mark Goodacre on Premier Christian Radio's Unbelievable here, at about 33:00 in the broadcast, Richard Carrier said (regarding the 'Ascension of Isaiah' (AofI), about what was heard or seen by Isaiah when in heaven (ch. 7-10):
“Jesus was a pre-existent being, who is going to descend and assume a body, and devil and Satan and his demons were the ones to crucify and kill him in the firmament in the lower heavens.

There is a problem with that statement. 

NEVER in AofI, it is written (or suggested): Satan and his demons were the ones to crucify and kill him in the firmament in the lower heavens. 

Furthermore, Carrier said Isaiah, according to the text, witnessed later these things. Again NOT TRUE. It is not here.

About the background of 'Ascension of Isaiah': 

The ascension of Isaiah is a very corrupted and interpolated text, which is considered to have two major sections. The last one, "the vision of Isaiah", chapters 6 to 11, mainly known to us through three Ethiopic (a, b & c), two Latin (L1 & L2)  and six Slavonic manuscripts (including SL2), is of great interest for mythicists, because it describes the descent and ascent of a docetic deity. And because 11:2-22 (describing his sojourn on earth from birth to crucifixion) is absent in some of the manuscripts (L2 & Slavonic ones, SL2 included) and therefore considered a late interpolation, mythicists conclude that the Son had to be crucified between earth and heaven. 

From now on, I'll work with the minimal (core) text, that is the one witnessed by all (or almost all) the main manuscripts and deemed the least interpolated. My reference here is "the Ascension of Isaiah" by R.H. Charles

Note: in the core text of the 'Vision', the divine entity who descends from the 7th heaven is never named Jesus, Christ, Firstborn or Son, only "Beloved" and "Lord". The crucifixion is only mentioned in 9:14 but the overall mission of the descending Beloved is repeatedly described as liberating the dead righteous' spirits from the angel of death and bringing them to 7th heaven.

Next, I'll make three points: 

1) The Beloved goes through the firmament to earth:

This is according to these verses:
10:29-31 "And again [from 1st heaven] He descended into the firmament, and He gave the password, and His form was like theirs, and they did not praise Him there. And I saw when He descended [below the firmament and into the air!] unto the angels of the airand He was like one of them.
[when down in the air, the Beloved changes state from the one he had earlier into the firmament]
And He gave no password;"

Let's go back to: 
9:13 "... when He has descended and been made in your form [Isaiah's form]" 

Where would the Beloved get the human form? In the air or on earth?

But 10:30 states, when in the air below the firmament, the Beloved "descended unto the angels of the airand He was like one of them."

Therefore the author thought the Beloved as becoming man-like on earth, not in the air!

Note: "been made in your form" is absent in one of the Ethiopic manuscripts (b) but all others have it.

2) In which "world" will the Beloved descend?

10:8 "Go forth and descent through all the heavens, and you will descent to that world [earth: see next]: to the angel in Sheol you will descend."

In the four closest previous occurrences of "that/this world", at 9:20, 22, 23 & 9:26, the expression means "earth".
9:20-23 "Show me how everything which is done in that world [earth, confirmation later] is here [7th heaven] made known." And whilst I [Isaiah] was still speaking with him, behold one of the angels who stood nigh, ... who had raised me up from the world [earth: 7, 2-3]. Showed me a book, and he opened it, and the book was written, but not as a book of this world [not written on earth]. And he gave (it) to me and I read it, and lo! the deeds of the children of Israel were written therein, and the deeds of those whom I know (not), my son Josab. And I said: "In truth, there is nothing hidden in the seventh heaven, which is done in this world [earth again].""

9:24-26 "And I [Isaiah] saw there many garments laid up [in the highest heaven], and many thrones and many crowns. And I said to the angel: "Whose are these garments and thrones and crowns?" And he said unto me: "These garments many from that world [Elects from earth (where else!)] will receive [in the future!] believing in the words of That One, ...""

All occurrences of "that/this world" and "world" from 9:20 to 10:7 are for the earth (exception: "holy world" in 10:6).

Why would the next "world" (at 10:8) mean the firmament or the air below it? More so when, in the 'Ascension of Isaiah', the firmament (and/or the air below) is never considered a world on its own! 

Note: at other times, in 'Ascension of Isaiah', the lower "world", as the one ruled by Satan & demons, includes the firmament, the earth & the air in between (7:12, 9:14). A "world"can also be in heaven, if so specified (7:24 (in third heaven), 9:9 ("upper world"), 10:6 ("holy world" in 7th heaven)).

3) Does Satan or/and his demons kill by himself/themselves the Beloved?

Note: verse 9:14 appears in manuscripts with different corruptions and interpolations. It is quasi impossible to reconstruct the original.
Regardless, R.H Charles did it as follows: 
9:14 "And the god of that world [Satan] will stretch forth his hands against the Son, and they will crucify him on a tree, and will slay him not knowing who he is."

What follows is the Ethiopic version without emendations, as far as I can understand it: 
9:14 "And the god of that world [Satan] will stretch forth, and  they will crucify him upon a tree, and will [?] him not knowing who he is."

Next is the L2 version:
9:14 "And the god of that world [Satan] will stretch forth his hand against the Son, and he shall hang him upon a tree, and he shall slay not knowing who he is."

Finally, here is the Slavonic version: 
9:14 "And the god of that world [Satan] [corrupted text here], and they shall hang him upon a tree, and he shall slay not knowing who he is." 

The two most contrasting versions are the Ethiopic and L2 ones. But about L2, does Satan catching & killing by himself the Beloved without knowing who he (the Beloved) is makes any sense? 
Not in my view. However, with the "they", obviously others than Satan (but directed by him), that is understandable.
Furthermore, the L2 version features "Son". This word appears only here, in the whole "Vision of Isaiah", which makes this verse from L2 likely not according to the initial document (also "crucify/hang (him on a tree)" occurs only here in chapters 6-10). 

It is also certain the author of that part of 'Ascension of Isaiah' knew about the book of Job: 
Job 1:11 NKJV ""But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he [Job] has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, ..."

The OT book of Job demonstrates the belief that Satan could inflict havoc on earth and have a long reach, with or without leaving heaven. According to an arrangement between Satan and God, Satan is allowed to test Job and to destroy everything dear to him (his cattle, servants and children).
a) 1:15: Satan employs the Sabeans to steal animals and to kill servants.
b) 1:16: Satan sends fire from the sky and burns sheep & servants.
c) 1:17: Satan uses the Chaldeans to take the camels and to murder servants.
d) 1:18-19: Satan arranges for a mighty wind to kill Job's own daughters and sons.

So Satan can remotely kill humans (and animals) on earth also, by using other people!

Satan and his evil angels can also be on earth:
Let's go back to the book of Job:
Job 1:7 NKJV "And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.""
and 'the Ascension of Isaiah':
7:9 "And we ascended to the firmament, I and he, and there I saw Sammael and his hosts, and there was great fighting therein and the angels of Satan were envying one another. And as above so on the earth also ..." 

Note: in the gospels, 'Satan on earth' is featured in the 'temptation in the desert' (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-14) and Luke 22:3 (NIV "Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, ...", enabling the arrest leading to the crucifixion) & Jn 13:27. 

In conclusion, even if it is undeniable the text (ch. 6-10) has Satan involved in the crucifixion, there is nothing to show he (with or without his demons) catch and kill the Beloved.

Overall conclusion (if 9:14 is not a later Christian addition on a Jewish text): 

The "Vision of Isaiah", chapters 6 to 10, indicates (or suggests) the Beloved descends down to earth, without any interference, to be crucified through, indirectly, Satan's action. 
There is no Crucifixion above the earth by Satan & his demons!

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Ascension of Isaiah} {Carrier} {mythicism}
Your comment: please copy "post #69" (to be pasted in your reply) and then click on "New Comment".