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I removed the following passages from the entry, as embroideries on the texts, or irrelevent. Put any of this back if it stands up to scrutiny:

After death, the soul drank from a river of forgetfullness in the underworld and returned for another life, over, and over, and over till one had experienced everything... (What kind of acts? Libertinism or debauchery (without conscent) probably, but we do not know.)... (E.g. that the Christians ate children). We have no idea if any of these accusations, are to be taken seriously. How much accurate information was available? How much was ugly rumour? We have little information on religious practices before the 3rd century...Jesus was originally thought of as a "magician". Jesus seems to appear this way in early 3rd and 4th century Chistian art, where he holds a wand. Some argue he is a "Divine Man", and that the wand is only a symbol of power. (No one really knows). St. Peter also appears holding a wand, but no one else. No early Christian art seems to exist before the 3rd century. The art itself is a confusing mixture of pagan and Christian motifs. This is to be expected since Christianity was embraced by gentiles...One of the most honored ancient historians of our time, Ramsay MacMullen, an expert on the ancient Roman Empire and primitive Christianity, argues that the belief in the "healing power" of Christianity is the reason it survived and grew. Certainly a belief in immortality and a separation of the "good" from the "bad" was nothing new. Deeply believing in having a sense of control because one has a personal relationship with a loving God can do wondrous

things. --Wetman 01:52, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I've reworked the page substantially - both to make the sources clear and clarify the disputed nature of the Secret Gospel of Mark. Changes are...

  • Moved the material about Secret Mark down and added a few words to indicate that this is a controversial source
  • Added a link to Clement's Stromateis
  • Split out the material between Irenaeus and Clement to make the source clearer
  • Added material from both sources
  • Added a list of other citations, Origen etc
  • Emphasised the questionable reliability of Patristic sources in the first paragraph

The G Man 21:53, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

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