Saturday, October 2, 2010

Against Polycarp [Part Twenty One]

There is thus very good reason to believe that Irenaeus was consciously imitating Polycarp's original Aramaic when he developed his 'Roman addition' to the hypomnemata. The idea that a character called 'fox' - cerdo - was introduced to this section seems vaguely reminiscent of parallel references to the craftiness of the animal in contemporary rabbinic literature. There is an interesting parallel which develops in Jewish literature between the word 'fox'(shaul) and the word for 'depth/hollowness' (shal) which is worth citing - "they (the Egyptians) were the foxes (shaulim) who went down to the bottom of the sea (shual'im)." Yet for the moment let us just acknowledge again that the 'Cerdo' who came to Rome during the reign of the ninth bishop, Hyginus must have originally represented a generic - even poetic - reference to 'crafty heretics' burrowing under the walls of the Roman faith.

Irenaeus's fullest description of Against Heresies is clearly attempts to connect a figure not mentioned in the hypomnemata - 'Valentinus' - with this generic 'fox.' The structure of Against Heresies makes this absolutely clear. So we read Irenaeus write:

Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too, Marcion's predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus, who was the ninth bishop. Coming frequently into the Church, and making public confession, he thus remained, one time teaching in secret, and then again making public confession; but at last, having been denounced for corrupt teaching, he was excommunicated from the assembly of the brethren. Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus, who held the tenth place of the episcopate. [AH 3.3.2]

Our guess should be that this basic understanding that a cerdo came in the time of Hyginus, who was the ninth bishop from Peter and Paul was originally written in the hypomnemata after Polycarp's death.

Indeed it is important to note that as we saw with the Ignatian material, there seems to be a consistent and growing outward expansion of material over the generations not merely within the original narrative but in terms of later textual developments (1 Clement). In the case of the hypomnemata it is clear that Irenaeus after adding the bit about the 'fox' at the time of Hyginus, he also added later intimations in Against Heresies and elsewhere that the 'fox' was Valentinus and a secondary figure - eventually identified as 'Marcion' - became associated with his sect. First of all let's note the consistent preservation that (a) the hypomnemata referenced the idea that cerdo came during the reign of Hyginus and (b) that later Church Fathers read and were confused by these additional claims - because they had no basis in reality outside Irenaeus's political authority - and so continued to develop ever new layers of invention.

Let's bring the example of Epiphanius to the fore as we have already seen that he has been demonstrated by Lawlor to have been very faithful to the original hypomnemata. Epiphanius seems to know both the hypomnemata's reference to Cerdo arriving in Rome in the middle of the second century AND Irenaeus's subsequent development of the material in Against Heresies. Let's start with proving the first claim that there was indeed a reference to Cerdo in the hypomnemata. Epiphanius notes at one point that the "one through four gospels" came "to shame Marcion who has come so many years later, after the time of Hyginus, the ninth bishop of Rome following the perfecting of the apostles Peter and Paul." Is the reference to 'Peter and Paul' an intimation that the word cerdo appeared in the hypomnemata? Well certainly Irenaeus references the same information and it could be argued that Epiphanius is just paraphrasing Irenaeus. However there are good circumstantial reasons for believing that bit about Cerdo appeared in Epiphanius copies of the hypomnemata.

The most compelling evidence that Epiphanius is not merely paraphrasing Irenaeus comes from the section on "the Cerdonians" in the Panarion. Epiphanius says there that:

Cerdo, then, lived in the time of Hyginus, ninth in succession from the apostles James, Peter and Paul. Since his preaching has some of the other heresiarchs' foolishness it appears to be the same. But he has a variation of it, nd this is what his is like: He too has preached two first principles to the world, and two gods, if you please! One is good, and unknown to all, and him Cerdo has called the Father of Jesus. And one is the demiurge, who is evil and can be known, and has spoken in the Law, appeared to the prophets, and often become visible. Christ is not born of Mary and has not appeared in flesh. As he exists in appearance he has also been manifest in appearance, and done all that he has done in appearance. And Cerdo too rejects the resurrection of the flesh, and repudiates the Old Testament, which was given by Moses and the prophets, as something foreign to God. But Christ has come from on high, from the unknown Father, to put an end to the rule and tyranny of the of the world-creator and demiurge here — the very story that many of the sects have told. After a short time in Rome he imparted his venom to Marcion, and Marcion thus succeeded him." The reference to James and "Peter and Paul" seems to confirm that Epiphanius was drawing this information from our hypnomata as we have just mentioned that the account went from the Jerusalem Church and its apostolic succession to that of Rome by a later addition.

While Irenaeus has been confirmed to have used the hypomnemata in the very same section (AH 3.3) that he references 'Peter and Paul in Rome,' their establishment of an episcopal line, Cerdo's coming during the reign of the ninth bishop, Hyginus, and Marcion coming after him there is never any reference to 'James AND Peter and Paul' which clearly reflects the contents of the original hypomnemata rather than Irenaeus's citation of that material.

The implication seems to be then that Cerdo and his coming to Rome appeared in the hypomnemata.  There cane be no doubt that there was no reference whatsoever to 'Marcion' or the Marcionites which was developed by Irenaeus in subsequent texts - i.e. that 'Marcion' was part of the school of Cerdo mentioned in the hypomnemata.  Yet we should also think that Epiphanius was confused by all these developments.  For when we really think about it, Epiphanius must have thought it stranger that Irenaeus could cite with such conviction that this Marcion figure was opposed by Polycarp but Polycarp himself never referenced Marcion in the hypomnemata.  The only figure out of the pair that gets any mention is Cerdo and so when Epiphanius read Irenaeus original description of their relationship "Cerdon, too, Marcion's predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus, who was the ninth bishop. Coming frequently into the Church, and making public confession, he thus remained, one time teaching in secret, and then again making public confession; but at last, having been denounced for corrupt teaching, he was excommunicated from the assembly of the brethren. Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus, who held the tenth place of the episcopate."

Epiphanius must have been puzzled by the fact that no mention was made of 'Cerdo' and his 'coming frequently into the Church' and his 'teaching in secret' and the rest in the hypomnemata.  So it was the Epiphanius applied this new information developed by Irenaeus as if it was a reference to Marcion rather than Cerdo.  So we read in Epiphanius his re-interpretation of the original material that the 'he' who was excommunicated from the assembly was Marcion not Cerdo:

As Marcion could not get what he wanted from him by fawning, unable to bear the scorn of the populace he fled his city and arrived at Rome itself after the death of Hyginus, the bishop of Rome. (Hyginus was ninth in succession from the apostles Peter and Paul). Meeting the elders who were still alive and had been taught by the disciples of the apostles, he asked for admission to communion, and no one would grant it to him. Finally, seized with jealousy since he could not obtain high rank besides entry into the church, he reflected and took refuge in the sect of that fraud, Cerdo. And he began—at the very beginning, as it were, and as though at the at the starting-point of the questions at issue—to put this question to the elders of that time: “Tell me, what is the meaning of, 'Men do not put new wine into old bottles, or a patch of new cloth unto an old garment; else it both taketh away the fullness, and agreeth not with the old. For a greater rent will be made?'" On hearing this the good and most sacred elders and teachers of God's holy church gave him the appropriate and fitting answer, and equably explained, "Child, 'old bottles' means the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees, scribes, which had grown old in sins and not received the proclamation of the gospel. And 'the old garment' received a 'worse rent' just as Judas received a further rent through his own fault and no one else's because,al though he had been associated with the eleven apostles and called by the Lord himself, he had grown old in greed and had not received the new, holy, heavenly mystery's message of hope. For his mind was not in tune with the high hope and heavenly call of the good things to come, in place of worldly wealth and vanity, and the love of passing hope and pleasure.” “No,” Marcion retorted, “there are other explanations besides these.”  And since they were unwilling to receive him, he asked them plainly, “Why will you not receive me?

“We cannot without your worthy father's permission,” was their answer. There is one faith and one concord, and we cannot oppose our excellent colleague, your father. Becoming jealous then and roused to great anger and arrogance Marcion made the rent, founding his own sect and saying, “I am going to tear your church, and make a rent in it forever.” He did indeed make a rent of no small proportions, not by rending the church but by rending himself and his converts. But he took his cue from that charlatan and swindler, Cerdo.  For he too preaches two first principles. But adding something to him, I mean to Cerdo, he exhibits something different in his turn by saying that there are three principles.  One is the unnameable, invisible one on high which he likes to call a “good God,” but which has made none of the things in the world. Another is a visible God, a creator and demiurge. But the devil is as it were a third god and in between these two, the visible and the invisible.12 The creator, demiurge and visible God is the God of the Jews, and he is a judge.

While there are slight differences in the narrative there can be no doubt that Epiphanius is trying to reconcile the original material in the hypomnemata with what is said in Irenaeus.  Indeed if we look deeper into the history of this heretical literature we see that there can be no question that various later Church writers in trying to reconcile what was written in the hypomnemata with Irenaeus's writings was leading to ever new fables about the various heretics. To this end, Tertullian - who likely never saw the hypomnemata first hand - is undoubtedly drawing from a lost source that did with his story that Valentinus and Marcion:

lived not so very long ago in the reign of Antoninus for the most part, and that at first they were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church in Rome during the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until, on account of their ever restless speculation whereby they corrupted the brethren also, they were expelled more than once — Marcion, indeed, with the two hundred sesterces that he had brought into the Church—and when at last banished into perpetual separation from the faithful, they spread abroad the poisonous seeds of their peculiar doctrines. Afterwards, when Marcion had professed penitence and agreed to the condition imposed upon him, namely, that if he could bring back to the Church the residue whom he had instructed to their perdition, he should be received into communion, he was prevented by death.

This story is wholly fictitious of course but demonstrates clear contact with the hypomnemata's specific reference to the development of specific 'breaks' from orthodoxy in the time of Eleutherius.

In other words, there is a distinction here between the appearance of Cerdo, Valentinus and Marcion 'appearing' in Rome and the ultimately manifestation of 'heresies' per se by the second subscription in the Roman report in the hypomnemata. Once again, we have to reinforce that someone originally tacked on a line about the author coming to Rome via Corinth and then compiling a list of bishops down to Anicetus. A reference to 'Cerdo' might have appeared here in reference to the reign of Hyginus. Then, as we shall see in our next chapter, there was a list of heresies mentioned which followed in a new section dated to the reign of Eleutherius which was used to date 'all the breaks' and schisms within the Church to this time.

So again Tertullian drawing from some unknown source dates Marcion's arrival in Rome to the reign of Antoninus in Against Marcion 1.19. Tertullian says that he is not sure "in what year of the elder Antoninus the pestilential breeze of Marcion's salvation ... breathed out" but he does have a calculation in mind nevertheless. Something compels Tertullian to add one hundred and fifteen years to the one year of Jesus's ministry in that section. Tertullian writes "now from Tiberius to Antoninus there are a matter of a hundred and fifteen and a half years and half a month. This length of time do they posit between Christ and Marcion." Yet it is difficult to figure out the calculation has in mind. Tiberius's reign began in 14 CE and 115 + 14 = 129 CE a number which has no relationship with Antoninus Pius. Similarly adding 115 years to the end of the reign of Tiberius also leads us nowhere.

The only solution that makes any sense is that Tertullian is adding 115 to the end of Jesus's ministry. Moll calculates the chronology from the fifteenth year of Tiberius owing to the introductory Tertullian's opening words in the section, however Tertullian makes absolutely clear that he argued for a three and a half year ministry for Jesus. As such the original tradition Tertullian is advancing - note "this length of time (i.e. 115 years) do they (i.e. his source) posit between Christ and Marcion" - is clearly inferring a crucifixion in 32 CE.  This source cannot be Irenaeus who understands Jesus to have been crucified in the reign of Claudius.  Yet this source seems also to have been used by Eusebius who connects the solar darkening in the gospel narrative with the 18th year of Tiberius’ reign and the earthquakes to the year of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Since Tiberius (42 BCE – 37 CE) ascended the throne in 14 CE, the 18th year of his reign would have occurred in 32 CE, or, using Jewish ecclesiastical reckoning, between Spring of 32 and Spring of 33.  It is very significant that the year 147 CE - the date we have already determined the original hypomnemata was written - is 115 years after this date for the crucifixion.

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