Monday, June 14, 2010

Another 'Mistaking' of Marcion for Marcus AND IT IS A BIG ONE

Wherefore we must keep the [Passover] feast spiritually. And this is the beginning of our discourse; for we must speak, even if our speech do seem a little too discursive; and we must be diligent for the sake of those who love learning, that we may as it were mix up some seasoning with our solemn festival. The children of the Hebrews do honour to the number Seven, according to the legislation of Moses (as did the Pythagoreans in later days to the number Four, by which indeed they were in the habit of swearing as the Simonians and Marcionites do by the number Eight and the number Thirty, inasmuch as they have given names to and reverence a system of Æons of these numbers); I cannot say by what rules of analogy, or in consequence of what power of this number; anyhow they do honour to it.

One thing indeed is evident, that God, having in six days created matter, and given it form, and having arranged it in all kinds of shapes and mixtures, and having made this present visible world, on the seventh day rested from all His works, as is shewn by the very name of the Sabbath, which in Hebrew means Rest. If there be, however, any more lofty reason than this, let others discuss it.

But this honour which they pay to it is not confined to days alone, but also extends to years. That belonging to days the Sabbath proves, because it is continually observed among them; and in accordance with this the removal of leaven is for that number of days. [Exod. xii. 15]. And that belonging to years is shewn by the seventh year, the year of Release; [Ib. xxi. 2] and it consists not only of Hebdomads, but of Hebdomads of Hebdomads, alike in days and years. The Hebdomads of days give birth to Pentecost, a day called holy among them; and those of years to what they call the Jubilee, which also has a release of land, and a manumission of slaves, and a release of possessions bought. For this nation consecrates to God, not only the firstfruits of offspring, or of firstborn, but also those of days and years. Thus the veneration paid to the number Seven gave rise also to the veneration of Pentecost. For seven being multiplied by seven generates fifty all but one day, which we borrow from the world to come, at once the Eighth and the first, or rather one and indestructible. For the present sabbatism of our souls can find its cessation there, that a portion may be given to seven and also to eight [Eccles. xi. 2] (so some of our predecessors have interpreted this passage of Solomon).
[Gregory Nazianzen Oration XLI On Pentacost]

The regular readers of my blog know that this IS NOT AN ISOLATED EXAMPLE from Gregory of his 'mistaking' the Marcionites for the Marcosians.

But notice also that Gregory's information IS NOT ALWAYS DEPENDANT on existing sources. Consider this statement in the Fifth Theological Oration on the Holy Spirit "But if you would be silly enough to say, with the old myths and fables, that God begat the Son by a marriage with His own Will, we should be introduced (cf. Irenæus. AH. I. 6) to the Hermaphrodite god of Marcion and Valentinus who imagined these newfangled Æons." There is nothing in either of the Patristic accounts of Marcion and Marcus which suggest a hermaphrodite god (even though the Marcionite interest in eunuchs makes it understandable). I don't think Gregory is entirely 'mistaken' here as some might suggest.

As such we should note that Gregory consistently identifies the Marcionites were a group of heretics with a deep interest in kabbalah and numerology - exactly what Irenaeus says about the so-called Marcosians.

Just thought it might be important to share with y'all.

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