Theory review: The earliest Christians remembered and altered an older version of Judaism which was more Henotheistic than the day’s Orthodoxy. This version had less concern for Moses’s law, and at the root of their mystery, had a deep concern for Asherah, the Queen of Heaven, who they remembered as, among other things, the tree. Accordingt to the Old Testament, Asherah was prominently featured for much of the 1st temple period in Solomon’s temple. The Nasar were the keepers of this older memory. It is not a coincidence then that Nasar also means branch in Hebrew (the written ancient Hebrew had no vowels, which allowed for much modulation between the written and spoken language). Branches are children of trees. This movement had lived for hundreds of years, particularly throughout the Diaspora. Jewish Orthodoxy countered this movement by rewriting the Pentateuch, and in particular, bastardizing an older tradition that gave reverence to the tree by contrasting two separate trees in Eden. The tree of Wisdom (Asherah was Wisdom) became associated with the serpent, and was altogether obsolete (the root of humanity’s fall). Wisdom was contrasted with the tree of life, which was a metaphor for Moses’s law.
For people who remembered the Queen of Heaven, they saw her as a Spirit which underlay the Holy City, and they awaited her return, perhaps expecting a male counterpart to be their proxy to her. This is represented in 2 Esdras 9-10, as well as Revelation 21. This is part of why there was so much concern for the New Jerusalem among early Christians.
There are various problems with this theory; one of the biggest problems is what I call the Solomon problem. Solomon is not remembered kindly in texts found at Nag Hammadi – the very texts which one would intuitively expect to remember Solomon kindly, if this theory were true.
Consider this excerpt from the Apocalypse of Adam:
Solomon himself sent his army of demons to seek out the virgin. And they did not find the one whom they sought, but the virgin who was given them. It was she whom they fetched. Solomon took her. The virgin became pregnant and gave birth to the child there.
Here is an excerpt from the Testimony of Truth
…and his son Solomon, whom he begat in adultery, is the one who built Jerusalem by means of the demons, because he received power. When he had finished building, he imprisoned the demons in the temple.
Why should we see such a poor opinion of Solomon in these texts? These authors seem to equate Solomon to the dragon who chased the crowned lady from heaven (Rev 12). One might chalk this up to evolution within the mystery over centuries and disparate cultures. Pre-Deuteronomists met post-Deuteronomists, and eventually the later Jewish Orthodoxy’s views won out.
Another possibility is that, in Christianity’s evolution, a dualism emerged which required material makers to be on the dark side. Indeed we see in Gnostic thought that Sophia gave rise to the Demiurge, who was responsible for material creation. She then became trapped by him. In other words, it might be that Solomon, the creator of the Holy and revered temple, represented material, while the lady of the temple represented Spirit – the Wisdom emanating from heaven. Her wisdom was blocked as the Moses sect came to control the 2nd temple.
Wisdom’s stifling explains why Jesus had to be offered up (in the process, tricking material’s rulers). The trick that was played (offering up a spiritually pure man), caused a rift in the material realm. The temple veil tore, and it opened up a pathway that had previously been closed by the Aaronic (Moses) priesthood.