The Curse of the Creator: Galatians 3:13 and Negative Demiurgy

Book chapter


Litwa, M. David. (2020) The Curse of the Creator: Galatians 3:13 and Negative Demiurgy. In In Francis Watson and Sarah Parkhouse (Ed.). Telling the Christian Story Differently: Counter-Narratives from Nag Hammadi and Beyond pp. 13-30 Bloomsbury.
AuthorsLitwa, M. David
EditorsFrancis Watson and Sarah Parkhouse
Abstract

Of the many counter-narratives in early Christianity, one of the most scandalous is the various presentations of the creator as a hostile or evil being. For short, I will refer to these presentations by the term ‘negative demiurgy’. My proposal is that some early Christians arrived at negative demiurgy in part because they believed that the creator cursed the crucified Christ. In Galatians 3.13, Paul confessed that Jesus, when crucified, became a curse. The text he cited ( Deut 21.23 LXX) says that the curse was effected ‘by god’ (ὑπὸ θεοῦ). Early reception history indicates that Marcion and his communities used Galatians 3.13 to show that Christ belonged to a different god, a solely good deity who did not – and could not – curse. Patristic writers tried to mitigate the curse or even deny it outright. In texts from Nag Hammadi, the curse against Jesus is acknowledged, but in several cases it applies only to his mortal part. His spiritual core escapes the curse. This pattern reflects a Christian hermeneutical framework which was applied to the early chapters of Genesis in which Adam, Eve and sometimes the serpent are said to be cursed, though their spiritual essence remains untouched.

Page range13-30
Year2020
Book titleTelling the Christian Story Differently: Counter-Narratives from Nag Hammadi and Beyond
PublisherBloomsbury
Place of publicationGreat Britain
ISBN9780567679529
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Apr 2021
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8v984/the-curse-of-the-creator-galatians-3-13-and-negative-demiurgy

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