Monday, November 29, 2010

More Intimations that the Marcionites Did Not Identify Their Apostle by the Name 'Paul'

Should you, however, disapprove of these types, the Acts of the Apostles, at all events, have handed down to me this career of Paul, which you must not refuse to accept. From them I prove that the persecutor became an apostle, not from men, nor by a man: from them I am led even to believe him: by their means I dislodge you from your claim to him, and have no fear of what you say. Therefore you deny the Apostle Paul. [emphasis mine] I do not blaspheme him whom I defend. If I deny, it is to force you to prove. If I deny, it is to enforce my claim that he is mine. Otherwise, if you have your eye on our belief, accept the evidence on which it depends. If you challenge us to adopt yours, tell us the facts on which it is founded. Either prove that the things you believe really are so: or else, if you have no proof, how can you believe? Or who are you, to believe in despite of him from whom alone there is proof of what you believe? So then accept the apostle on my evidence, as as you do Christ: he is my apostle, as also Christ is mine.

I desire to hear from Marcion the origin of his apostle (Et ideo ex opusculi ordine ad hanc materiam devolutus apostoli quoque originem a Marcione desidero)

• Evans translation: I desire to hear from Marcion the origin of Paul the apostle.

• Holmes translation: I require to know of Marcion the origin of his apostles

I am a sort of new disciple, having had instruction from no other teacher (novus aliqui discipulus nec ullius alterius auditor).  For the moment my only belief is that nothing ought to be believed without good reason, and that that is believed without good reason which is believed without knowledge of its origin (qui nihil interim credam nisi nihil temere credendum, temere porro credi quodcunque sine originis agnitione creditor) and I must with the best of reasons approach this inquiry with uneasiness when I find one affirmed to be an apostle, of whom in the list of the apostles in the gospel I find no trace (quique dignissime ad sollicitudinem redigam istam inquisitionem, cum is mihi affirmatur apostolus quem in albo apostolorum apud evangelium non deprehendo)

So when I am told that he was subsequently promoted by our Lord, by now at rest in heaven, I find some lack of foresight in the fact that Christ did not know beforehand that he would have need of him (Denique audiens postea eum a domino allectum, iam in caelis quiescente, quasi inprovidentiam existimo si non ante scivit illum sibi necessarium Christus), but after setting in order the office of apostleship and sending them out upon their duties, considered it necessary, on an impulse [ex incursu] and not by deliberation, to add another, by compulsion so to speak and not by design (sed iam ordinato officio apostolatus et in sua opera dimisso, ex incursu, non ex prospectu, adiciendum existimavit, necessitate, ut ita dixerim, non voluntate)

So then, shipmaster out of Pontus, supposing you have never accepted into your craft any smuggled or illicit merchandise, have never appropriated or adulterated any cargo, and in the things of God are even more careful and trustworthy, will you please tell us under what bill of lading you accepted Paul as apostle (Quamobrem, Pontice nauclere, si nunquam furtivas merces vel illicitas in acatos tuas recepisti, si nullum omnino onus avertisti vel adulterasti, cautior utique et fidelior in dei rebus, edas velim nobis, quo symbolo susceperis apostolum Paulum) who had stamped him with that mark of distinction, who commended him to you, and who put him in your charge? Only so may you with confidence disembark him: only so can he avoid being proved to belong to him who has put in evidence all the documents that attest his apostleship (quis illum tituli charactere percusserit, quis transmiserit tibi, quis imposuerit, ut possis eum constanter exponere, ne illius probetur qui omnia apostolatus eius instrumenta protulerit)

He himself claims to be an apostle, and that not from men nor through any man, but through Jesus Christ (Ipse se, inquit, apostolum est professus, et quidem non ab hominibus nec per hominem, sed per Iesum Christum)
• Evans: He himself, says Marcion, claims to be an apostle, and that not from men nor through any man, but through Jesus Christ.

• Holmes: He professes himself to be "an apostle"----to use his own, words----"not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ."

Clearly any man can make claims for himself: but his claim is confirmed by another person's attestation (Plane profiteri potest semetipsum quis, verum professio eius alterius auctoritate conficitur)

One person writes the document, another signs it, a third attests the signature, and a fourth enters it in the records (Alius scribit, alius subscribit, alius obsignat, alius actis refert).  No man is for himself both claimant and witness (Nemo sibi et professor et testis est)  Besides this, you have found it written that many will come and say, I am Christ (Praeter haec utique legisti multos venturos qui dicant, Ego sum Christus)

• Marcion is the subject cf Tert Against Marcion IV:39 “So then those people will come, saying I am Christ. You, will receive them: you have received one exactly like them. For this one too has come in his own name.”
If there is one that makes a false claim to be Christ, much more can there be one who professes that he is an apostle of Christ (Si est qui se Christum mentiatur, quanto magis qui se apostolum praedicet Christi)  Thus far my converse has been in the guise of a disciple and an inquirer: from now on I propose to shatter your confidence, for you have no means of proving its validity, and to shame your presumption, since you make claims but reject the means of establishing them (Adhuc ego in persona discipuli et inquisitoris conversor, ut iam hinc et fidem tuam obtundam, qui unde eam probes non habes, et impudentiam suffundam, qui vindicas, et unde possis vindicare non recipis)

Let Christ, let the apostle, belong to your other god: yet you have no proof of it except from the Creator's archives (Sit Christus, sit apostolus, ut alterius, dum non probantur nisi de instrumento creatoris) [Tertullian Against Marcion 5.1]

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