meme and dada in parenting of early christianity beforeit

Sun, 27 Feb 1994 22:03:33 EST

got too late:

Of the two-ish specimens of meme-ery adduced as type cases, one was Christi-
nity in its explosive-growth phase prior to the so-called conversion of Const-
antine, which or whereby the latter eventuated as the Stalin-ish figure of that
faith's social-transformative phase, butcher of his own relatives inter alia by
the thousands, where said relatives were hardly exempt from the autocrat's
habit of making an offer which could not be refused: This is how St Helena, the
Emperor's own mother, knew she'd better have found the True Cross, consider the
alternatives, one shudders.

Prior to this, when our documentary sources turn abundant with the uniformi-
ty we associate with the propaganda floods outgushed and precipitated upon the
Broad Masses and their consciousness by the disciplinarian state, we *don't
know* what was replicated, to the extent there was replication that is; nor do
we know whether what was more or less replicated was in any sense replicated
with uniformity deserving of the name replication.

Only by contrast with the polytheist religious chaos of the Roman Empipre
as a whole, with its legally recognized religions competing with fringe cults
without the Law (*barbara superstitio*); deities of the Greco-Roman pantheons
syncretized with wide geographically dependent differences, and patronage cum
nudges from the courts of successive autocrats and their families from the
Severi onwards, wherefor Christianity sought to present itself as the defini-
tive antidote resolution restorer-of-order, was the replication of Doctrine
within the Church the winner in the Uniformity sweepstakes against competitors
for Market Share including the prestigious Syrian Sun God and the Iranian-Devi-
ant-Deity Mithra. Here theft and countertheft was commonplace with the plagia-
rism of this tale from the miraculous birth of Brand X's Deitymadeflesh for
the greater glory of Brand Y's and Brand Z's analogues. Thus it came to pass
that, Aurelian (273-279) having created Dec 25 as the nativity of Sol Invictus
of Emesa, hence a National Holiday, slaves included in those who got the Day
Off, Jesus and Mithra both were in short order born on the same day.

The ever-deniable outcropping of Right and Left, replete with cleavages
across the line of exploiter-exploited so angular in the doctrinal faultline
with respect to the class-struggle faultline was such that in our time those
versed in Patristics, later too in Marxism, were disappointed in the evidence,
what with its absence of clearcut class character. Montanism, in Asia Minor in
mid-second century, ensnaring Tertullian himself, where the latter thereby
*hopelessly screwed* his chances for sainthood, till then a leadpipe cinch,
was from one view the social upheaval of the rural areas against the commercial
cities; egalitarian peasants and herdspeople against hierarchalizing establish-
ment in the sect's home grounds of Asia Minor (where Christians were thickest
on the ground); last stand of women in defense of their stature as backbone of
Church membership and Church organization in the teeth of the encroachment of
Patriarchal power; or: What the heresy said it was about all along: The admissi
bility of New Revelation, this having manifested itself to the unimpeachably
orthodox, self-made orthodox though this may have been and in the teeth of the
Judeo-Christians led by St James, brother of the Messiah. (Paul would dare to
say that the party led by James could have only known Jesus while the latter
lived; albeit he, Paul, knew Jesus more recently than that.) Montanus, fl. 140-
150, was declaring a New Revelation 80 years to a century after the Revelations
of Jesus and even Paul. His 18 disciples, upping the magic number by 50%,
accomodated a female representation of 33%; and the social content was hardly
making for good "press" (is there any person not aware that this is an anachro-
nism; or can I presume to rely upon the armenian educational system?). In the
end, desperate Church combined with nominally inimical Principalities and
Princes to stomp and snuff Montanism. (*Not one word* has been said about
Marcionism, this in the interests of brevity and clarity, though it is not
clear that omission of detail clarifies everything; the observed ANTHRO-L
data is also consistent with the minimizing of lynchmob activities among
neolurkers, pseudolurkers, and the Professionally Deprived; the latter, perhaps
merely posing as lurkers, might, following upon an excursus by the writer on
Marcionism, complain that they were deprived of their addictive Drug of choice,
with high anthrogibberish content; wherefor I forebore looking up Marcionsim
altogether. Donatism, in any case, was much more intricate and socially, eth-
nically, and linguistically tangled; for this there were plenty of trivia at
hand; but I spared you. On your knees and kiss my ring.

In the Latin areas, to a somewhat lesser degree in the Greek East, there was
consensus, this amounting to imprecision lacking vehemence of pre-schism facti-
onalism, lacking, finally, the all-out struggles of the nongreekspeaking *and*
nonlatinspeaking regions anent the nature(s) of God; this included Syria, Egypt
and Mesopotamia across the border in the Sasanid Empire; Armenia; Ethiopia. The
evidence for these culturally/linguistically distinct regions and nations
evolving doctrinally distinct variants of Christianity such that, applying meme
theory to Christian proselytization, we find nonreplication if anything, tells
us that Steve Mizrach stacked the cards at the outset when he adduced the
propagation of Christianity as a case study: All the proselyte would need to,
in Steve Mizrach's presentation of the message (memetic system) propagated by
the missionary, attain Eternal Heavently Bliss and avoid eternal torments of
Hell would be to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Not exactly.
What was propagated was a good deal more complex than this, involving the
Doctrine of the Trinity, for example, which is not simple. There is also what
proved, in the Latin West, a quite formidable hurdle in the guise of Ressurect-
ion of the Body. The latter the Latin writer Tertullian, fl. 140, and one of
the few Christian apologists not fully immersed in late Hellenism and writing
in Greek, managed to turn into a *religious mystery*, that is, a source of
strength rather than repulsion, or such may be the case, with the aphorism,
"It is absurd, therefore I must believe."

What Christianity was after 325 cannot be read back to earlier times; the
Latin translations of the proceedings of Nicaea are themselves not compatible
with their Greek counterparts. One of the most famous specimens of this pattern
was the Greek doctrine whereby the Holy Spirit *proceedeth from the father*; in
the Latin version the Roman love of symmetry is woven into the theological
edifice here: The *Spiritus sanctus* has a double procession, *ex patris et
filii processuit*.

Post-Nicaea, much more so post-Chalcedon (451), the voluminous, subtly
argued works of the Church Fathers, Origen, Eusebius, all the writers who
followed the Establishment of the Church, put the Eternal Squelch upon the
works of heretics, non-authoritative variants of orthodox-ish Christians,
and benighted Provincials lost out there in the sandy wastes and isolated
from the big-time disputatious intellectual life, such that what these were
have been lost to us, nay, deep-sixed to us, with rare exceptions comprising
papyrus scrolls of the Gnostics, most notably. Controversy has raged between
feminist theologians (led by E. Pagels) on one side, students of heresy adhe-
ring to Rome on the other. (The argument turns on whether the doctrine, which
posits equal but utterly abstract Masculine and Feminine Principles, is at all
reflective of egalitarian practices; it remains unresolved. Texts in Coptic,
Syriac, and Mesopotamian Aramaic, where these were beyond the power of the
Greek Church (following, usually, Arab conquest), give a belated picture fol-
lowing lapses of centuries.

*The image preserved for us by the Church Militant and Triumphant is of a
uniformity of Christianity which is mostly or wholly spurious*: This went
back to the first-century split between the Judeo-Christians led by James,
who kept the Mosaic Law, and the Pauline Christians, who had it as optional,
and with the latter's triumph vanished from historical memory. Extreme cultural
variability, with degress and modifications and variabilities of Trinitarianism
and other practices or articles of faith should be invoked when accounting for
the doctrinal factionalism, usually associated with ethnolinguistic blocs if
hardly the rule, and seriously examined - finding the evidence will be a
toughie - for particularlist and regionalist influences on the [spurious] meme
of Christian doctrine, from the earliest times; such that by the fourth century
their edifices of protonational church organization were beyond persecutory
legislation by Emperors and Catholics: Arians, Monophysites, Nestorians, Armen-
ian Church, Abyssinian Church, and so forth.

Conclusion: Apparent evidence for meme-ery derives from eradication of
variability by coercive apparatuses of repression following decisive state-
religious adoption of what had but shortly before had been an inchoate undisci-
plined quasi-muddle of beliefs and pieties. [Compare Chinese Buddhism, where
state action in creation of Established orthodoxy conduced to Mahayana fissi-

Daniel A. Foss
[What follows is the only rational motive for this writer to have sent the
foregoing stupid post in the first place. The text below was excerpted from
a long post to <>.

The answers to any half formed questions in your mind are: No. Reason:
There is one and only one, precisely and entirely limited to one, single
reason for getting practice under capitalist conditions for becoming accustomed
to getting called inferior and habituated to acknowledgement of one's Stupidity
whether it objectively exists or otherwise.

That single reason, not necessarily a good reason, but under capitalist
conditions a reason to be taken very seriously and to be considered weighty
indeed, is acquisition of the patience and longsuffering accommodation to
subordination, domination, and obedience associated with labor for which one
obtains pecuniary compensation from one's employer. As this is no longer
possible for me given available social services, and social services which
might suffice to accomplish the task are not even projected by any level of
government, I HEREWITH ADMINISTER THE USUAL BLOWTORCH. The only reason for
ceasing this continuing feature of my posts is NOT HAVING STARTED UP WITH ME
["Let them go to Lourdes," the noncripples & their government tell us.]

> Also squandered on were two comic books by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish
>(New Edition, 1989) and The Extended Phenotype, 1982. Occasion for belated
>effort to become Leriliterate in senility & debility is the usage of memology,
>disgrace enough to begin with, by an organism selfstyled Seeker1, Leriland
>alumnus, now graduate student in anthropology at Southern Leriland State
>University, Minusville FL. Whence he broadcast on ANTHRO-L under /nick Seeker1,
>refusing to divulge legalistictype name, which is Steve Mizrach, on grounds
>he is Surrounded By Enemies, has Received Death Threats (as if we don't know
>Lamont is a mere pussycat), and besides, for all *you*, ANTHRO-L, know, I might
>be "Dan Foss or Doctress Neutopia." The insulting intent whereof is *not*
>deniable if not logically provable.
> [We omit the process whereby a joke tangentially related to the publicly
>invidious pairing of "Dan Foss" with "Doctress Neutopia" eventuated in this
>writer, Daniel A. Foss, getting condemned by one Stephanie J. Nelson, Qualified
>Literary Scholar, as Racist. No use, quoth she, my saying I was making a Funny,
>in that only a personage of her Expertise notably in Deconstruction, coupled
>with her awesomely impressive Credentials, had the right to decide what the
>Thingie I wrote *meant*, and it was *her expert testimony* that what it *meant*
>was Racist.
> This is the essence of class war in our times, people. Them what are allowed
>to think is them what Them calls what they get paid for Thinking. Clear?