Simon Of The Queen

Simon of Cyrene featured prominently among early Christians.  My main contentions about him are as follows:

  1. Prior to his scene in Mark 15, Simon was earlier in the field, which was a reference to the “New Jerusalem
  2. He was a cipher for the Apostle Paul
  3. He was believed either to have been crucified in place of Jesus, or to have received the Christ Spirit prior to Jesus’s crucifixion
  4. His forced labor by the Romans was allegorical for Paul’s slavery to the Spirit
  5. His role as the cross bearer was necessary because it gave a plausible way for a non-Apostolic tradition to travel outside of Judea (Mark’s Gospel paints the Apostles as know-nothing dunces, and this polemical characterization was surely by design).

The New Jerusalem was the place where the Spirit would return to Earth; the current holy city was a stand-in for a more divine promise which would replace the ruined Jerusalem.  In Revelation, the city was a bride adorned for her groom (Rev 21), and she replaced the scarlet-clad harlot, who had previously replaced the mother of the messiah (Rev 12).  New Jerusalem would house the lady who was purged from the 1st temple, and who was chased out of heaven by the dragon in Revelation.

Mark’s Gospel seems to have several allusions to underlying historical references.  In this framework, we can analyze is why particular choices were made in the Gospel.  For instance, why does Jesus go out of his way to travel to Tyre (Mark 7:24-30)?  If we liken Paul to Simon Magus, we might presume Jesus went to Tyre to pick up Helen, who was from there.

Why does Jesus call Peter Satan (Mark 8:33)?  This is simply one more reference to the anti-apostolic sentiment pervasive across Mark.

Cyrene:  Why was Simon the cross-bearer from Cyrene?

Early Christians had a penchant to link their mysteries to female Greek mythological figures.  Apelles, the Marcionite, had a female companion named Philumene, who was presumably named after Philomela – the Greek character who was raped by her brother-in-law, and later chopped her sister’s baby and fed him to her assailant (the boy’s father).  Irenaeus made no secret that Simon Magus’ Helen was named after Helen of Troy.  Both these figures prominently featured birds – Philumene turned into a bird after her assailant chased her.  Helen met Zeus when he was transformed into an eagle.

In Greek mythology, Cyrene was a female figure.  She was the daughter of Hypseus.  The Greek term Κυρήνη means “sovereign Queen”.  Cyrene married the sun God Apollo and had two sons.  Simon’s hometown, Cyrene, Libya was named after her.  Her final fate was to become a water nymph, and eventually integrated with the waters there.


We must leave open the possibility that this portion of the story is true.  Another possibility is that Cyrene was a formulated pointer – the famous church father Tertullian was from Libya, and so it might be the case that this portion of the story was in reference to Tertullian (more likely one of his Libyan predecessors).  Cyrene may have also been reference to events of the day.  Cyrene was the site of a violent Jewish uprising against Greeks and Romans there around 115CE.

In the more likely scenario, though, most obscurities in the Gospels were carefully selected subtle references to deeper elements of the mystery.


Author: Tim...Stepping Out

Tim Stepping Out

20 thoughts on “Simon Of The Queen”

  1. What’s your opinion on Lukuas Andreas? He seems to fit the type of a Simonian figure, also hailed from Cyrene, and may have been crucified himself after he fled to Palestine. The figures of Lucius of Cyrene, and Simon of Jerusalem, are both quite extraordinary and, I think, extend from Lukuas.


    1. There’s a lot of parallels there. Although I struggle to synchronize L.A. and the Jesus who told people to render unto Caesar and turn the other cheek. If we presume there was some distance between the Gospel writer and Lukuas, then such evolution is really no trouble. And of course, it’s probably not a stretch to presume there were some violent lunatics in the clan…Sealots, etc.


      1. When Matthew had been composed there was already a movement to appease tensions between Jews and the greater empire. You can see this in the Justinian writings, particularly First Apology. After the bar Kochba revolt, measures would have been taken to ensure the survival of the Nazarenes. The Ebionites fully supported bar Kochba, and were driven to extinction. The Nazarenes managed to escape this fate by partially siding with the empire (another reason Paul is said to be their leader?).


  2. Simon of Cyrene and Simon bar Kokkhba both have a son named Rufus. That seems to way to coincidental. If Simon of Cyrene was a cypher for Bar Kokhba, that would explain why Gnostics generally believed he was crucified in Jesus’ place and why Jesus would laugh about it.


    1. Simon bar Kochba wasn’t crucified, though. And Lukuas was from Cyrene. Alexander and Rufus were Julian and Pappus, followers of Lukuas. Julian (who is called Shimeon), was probably bar Kochba himself.


    2. Hi Jeff
      I did a google site search on your site, and came across “/notes.txt” – not sure if you had intended that one to be found by google? Interesting to see some of the ideas you pursued. (Am I now initiated into your mystery religion?)

      “Rufus” seems like a fantastic lead but I do note that like most leads, is also ambiguous. We also have the Romans verse where Paul speaks of the mother of Rufus as also being a mother to him. Taken literally, you could even infer that Paul and Rufus are half -brothers.
      We also have Alexander being mentioned as a son of Simon of Cyrene. The mention of these two sons in Mark is quite obviously pointing to something, so I think we need a theory that explains both to really get a convincing ‘gotcha’ on this.

      It leads us to the possibility that Paul is the son of Simon of Cyrene ‘Alexander’, but this requires a nice alignment of the planets.
      ‘Alexander’ is an enemy of Paul in Acts and Timothy, a copper worker who makes idols in reverence of the Queen of Heaven.
      The fact that this is in the later works attributed to Paul does make the link between Paul and Alexander more interesting: Like an attempt to disassociate Paul from his other pseudonym?

      With regard to Simon Bar Kochba, I am not clear where the idea that he had a son Rufus comes from (Jewish medieval sources?). However, Rufus is normally associated with the Roman governor he drove out.


  3. “How does the anti Paul sentiments get into the canon then? Specifically James and parts of Matthew?”

    Because Matthew is a late compilation that originally favoured bar Kochba and reviled Paul. It’s the evolution of the text after bar Kochba that “render onto Caesar” comes from.


  4. Hi Tim, are you following Herman Detering’s take on Christian origins on Rene Salm’s web page?
    Rene is translating and making commentary on the essay.


      1. Years ago, I wrote several preliminary summaries of German articles then found on the site of Detering. This includes also works by GA van den Bergh van Eysinga, sort of the forerunner to Detering more than half a century ago.


  5. Way too many Simons in all this.
    Maybe it was a common name, but I think that at some stage one Simon diverged into many characters in different traditions.
    The only Simon we do know for certain existed was Simon bar Kochba, but I would think he is too late in history to be the root of all the different Simons, so he might be a red herring – however if Simon/Peter did cut off the ear of a Roman soldier (this would be very difficult) you could perhaps conclude that Simon here represents Jewish Zealotry.
    The Toledot Simon was a pharisee who went undercover to teach the Nasarenes to turn the other cheek – so certainly a long way from the Zealot.
    The evolution from Zealots to Pacifists seems to have occurred, as we note the ‘Chrestians’ were insurgents in the 1st century, but by the late 2nd century they were writing the Beatitudes.

    Perhaps a way of looking at the evolution is to consider the possibility not just that Nasarenes are reverting to a pre-Deuteronomy version of Judaism, but that essentially before the middle of the second century there really is no distinction between Judaism and Christianity. Jewish beliefs are characterized by Messianic beliefs that are recorded in Daniel and The song of the Suffering Servant (plus many lost writings). Jews in general believe in a Christ, and believe in a Christ spirit that is passed down. After the Bar Kochbar rebellion however, a new sect forms that is skeptical of all Messiahs past and present – the Rabbinic Jews.
    In support of this, consider how many ‘Christian’ belief systems have evolved by the 2nd century, and how many Jewish sects we have?
    Of course, we also have Mandeans in this – which 2nd century Christian writers had to acknowledge.

    The late 2nd century Christians write Polemics against an essentially extinct Jerusalem temple that they know almost nothing about except that which Josephus tells them, and the Pharisees and Sadducee’s get to play the villains, and the beliefs of the Rabbinic Jews get projected onto these groups.
    In many ways then Simon Bar Kochbar is as much a ‘Chrestian’ as he was Jewish, he was someone who claimed to be the receiver of the Christ Spirit. In this light I think it is possible he is at the root of some of these Simon myths. But like every good theory, it pushes another good theory aside, and it leaves me wondering how the ‘Paul’ mythology comes into it, and whether this can still work with Paul being Simon of Cyrene? The name ‘Paul’ in contrast is so sparse in all this, perhaps a less evolved legend?

    In many ways, all theories can work, because I suspect the 2nd century Christian writers have absolutely no idea who anyone is, and could be making plenty of contradictory linkages in their writings all the time.


    1. “but I think that at some stage one Simon diverged into many characters in different traditions.”
      Yes – I think so. Interestingly enough, this would be analagous to multiple Jesus Christs: the spirit bounces from one to another. The fact that Irenaeus says that Simon claimed to be God is really quite intriguing…that we have other literature which has Simon as the disciple of John the Baptist (in competition with Dositheus) corroborates that. In this sense, Simon and Dositheus are analogous to Paul and Peter. Both had sects which lived on hundreds of years after their deaths.

      ” not just that Nasarenes are reverting to a pre-Deuteronomy”
      There’s certainly a logistics and psychology aspect to this, especially after the wars…

      ” consider how many ‘Christian’ belief systems have evolved by the 2nd century, and how many Jewish sects we have?”
      Right. I think part of that is due to geography, culture and isolation. The other part is that we do indeed have the core “ministers” who were most successful in advancing their own version. The fact that sect competition was evident from the very beginning is telling. The orthodoxy wrapped it all up with Acts, and by pretending all these conflicts were resolved.

      “Simon Bar Kochbar”
      Other readers of this blog have really well developed theories on Simon, which they’ve been kind enough to discuss on other comment threads. I think Jeffrey Q writes about him on . You have to dig a bit, though.

      ” But like every good theory, it pushes another good theory aside”
      Yes. That is the trouble. All we can really do in that case is ask: “can both theories be true?” With the multi-layered philosophy that was integrated in early Christianity, odds are they can…

      “The name ‘Paul’ in contrast is so sparse in all this, perhaps a less evolved legend?”
      Acharya S theorized that Paul was modeled after Appolonius of Tyana…he probably was. There were definitely multiple things going on with Paul – lies, interpolations, legends, obfuscations, recasting of attributes and characters. With each of those, it’s difficult to know who was responsible. One possible clue is that the Ebionites hated Paul. Another is that the pseudo-Clementines and Acts of Peter clearly had Paul in mind when they were developing Simon Magus. Another is that even Acts admits that Paul went by a different name. When we presume that the Gospel is entirely fictitious, and simply modeled on a particular person, coupled with the assumption that it allowed for reincarnation and events occurring on different “realms”, it’s pretty easy to get from the cross-bearer Simon to the cross-bearer Paul…especially in the context of the divergence between Apostolic and anti-Apostolic traditions which had presumably surfaced by the time the proto-Gospels were being written.


    2. Maybe we are thinking of names too much from our cultural understanding.
      Names are much more flexible, and are a bit like titles in these writings.
      Simon means something akin to “the one who hears” *, which I suppose could mean a prophet or one who receives a calling. Perhaps our ‘Simon’ glut is explained as a name every leader who claims to be next in line calls themselves by?
      I would suppose the New Testament writers did not quite perceive this, so were unable to differentiate the origins of the different legends.

      * – It occurs to me that “one who hears” is also a common gospel motif.


      1. I have a couple different theories. I believe Paul’s name was actually Simon. I also believe Cephas became Simon Peter in response to Simon’s popularity. After all people didn’t have newspapers or pictures of these people… they only knew about them by name. So if you’re in 2nd century Roman Asia, and you come preaching the news and call yourself Simon, you automatically have more clout. Clearly writings were forged… why shouldn’t personas be?


  6. This might be worth a look:–jesus.html

    I note the writer disassociates himself from mythicism, and I think his theory works beautifully when tested against the limited criteria he uses. ie it is essentially a literal theory of messiah displacement.
    Nevertheless, it is interesting to note the importance of Judas the Galilean who I had forgotten about amongst all the other possible historical psuedo-christs.
    One very interesting point he raises is that the death of Judas the Galilean is conspicuously absent from Antiquities, and I have speculated before that if we are satisfied that interpolations are common in Antiquities, it is equally possible that passages will go missing for similar reasons.
    The Judas the Galilean story does provide us with another “Simon” and “James” for our collection who are certainly worth considering as great myth fodder.


    1. One interesting consideration is that in various traditions, Judas was the christ recipient despite taddling on Jesus. I actually suspect the Simon of Cyrene alternative came after the Judas tradition, though I have no evidence for that except that it seems more economical to me. But another consideration is that Judas=Jude=Thaddeus =Theudas…and as I’ve speculated, I think Theudas was John the Baptist. Also Theudas preceded the Egyptian in Antiquities…and the Egyptian looks suspiciously like both Paul and Jesus. And according to Clement of Alexandria, Paul and Theudas had a teacher/disciple relationship, which makes one wonder (based on pseudo clementines) if Theudas was Dositheus. Yes, I realize I’m a bit off the rails here…


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