Monday, November 21, 2011

Yet Another Proof that Tertullian Appropriated Many of the Ideas in Against Marcion Book Five from Irenaeus

We have already established that there absolutely no reason to believe that Tertullian ever saw the Marcionite New Testament.  He was only using and adapting an older Greek source.  But whom?  Gilles Quispel argues that at least part of Against Marcion derived its origins from Theophilus's work of the same name.  Quispel tried to prove that Tertullian's source was Theophilus's lost writing Adversus Marcionem (see Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica IV.24). Nevertheless it is worth considering some of Quispel's observations. Quispel believed that the source of Tertullian's Adv. Marc. II was Theophilus's Adv. Marc., an argument he adduced by comparing particular lines of thought in Book II with Theophilus's preserved Ad Autol. (Quispel 1943, 34–55); as Quispel was aware (1943, 51), the similarities that he found between the texts constituted only a “possibility”. Secondly, Quispel saw particular similarities between Adv. Marc. II.5–6 and Irenaeus's Adv. haer. IV.37–39 (Quispel 1943, 46–50), without claiming, however, that Adv. haer. could be Tertullian's source (Quispel 1943, 52–54). Quispel then accepted Loofs's theory that in Adv. haer. IV.37–39 Irenaeus used a particular source that Loofs referred to with the letters IQT, which was identical with Theophilus's Adv. Marc. (Quispel 1943, 50; cf. Loofs 1930, 24ff.), and Quispel could therefore assume that this writing had been the source for both Irenaeus and Tertullian (Quispel 1943, 51–52).

Quispel also demonstrated that Tertullian's Against Hermogenes's text of the same name (a thesis first advanced by Harnack and supplemented later with arguments by Grant).  It may well be possible that Book Two of Against Marcion may have been originally written by Theophilus.  I am actually quite attracted to the idea given that it may help explain certain features of Against Marcion Books Four (the use of a Diatessaron) and Five (the Galatians first Pauline collection common to the Syrian world).  Yet I am quite certain that Tertullian's version of that Against Marcion passed through the hands of Irenaeus.  There are just too many similar features which tie Irenaeus's Against Heresies to Tertullian's Against Marcion Books Four and Five, and now here is another - Tertullian's strange insistence that the Marcionite conclusion of 1 Corinthians and 1 Corinthians 15:50 could be 'explained' or was connected with the Marcionite text of Galatians.  Let me explain that to my readers.

I first became aware of this relationship through a detailed examination of Clement of Alexandria's citation of 1 Corinthians.  Not only do the authentic works of Clement begin citing Galatians from Galatians 2:19 but the citations of chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians are quite sparse ending with 1 Corinthians 15:50. Yet the strange thing is that Tertullian seems to consistently reference a Marcionite interest in Galatians to explain 1 Corinthians 15:50. In other words, whenever Tertullian is engaged with these heretics who possess a different canon he makes arguments which say to the effect "look for yourselves at what follows 1 Cor 15:50 in your canon!"  Yet the idea, as we shall see isn't his own but something borrowed again from Irenaeus.  Let's start at the beginning.

Tertullian's polemic against the Marcionites is actually quite consistent.  He writes for instance in Book Five of Against Marcion in the section that deals with Galatians:

For what are this next words? "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." [1 Cor 15.50] He means the works of the flesh and blood, which, in his Epistle to the Galatians, deprive men of the kingdom of God. [Gal. 5. 19-21] [Tertullian Against Marcion 5.9] 

Of course this could be easily dismissed as one of many possible interpretations which just popped out of Tertullian's imagination if it were not for the fact that it is repeated over a half dozen times in his debates with the heretics. As such, it has to be assumed that this is not a random illustration but something which comes from a fixed literary tradition - i.e. that the material from Galatians may even have immediately follow 1 Cor 15:50 in the Marcionite

So let's start with the acknowledgement that Tertullian repeats over and over again the idea that the heretics misunderstand the material from Galatians (i.e. it is not about the rejection of the flesh but the works of the flesh):

It is not indeed the flesh which he bids us to put off, but the works which he in another passage shows to be works of the flesh. [Galatians 5:19] He brings no accusation against men's bodies [Tertullian on the Resurrection of Flesh 45] 

Tertullian again argues that Galatians can't be used by the heretics to develop their radical interpretations of 1 Corinthians 15:50 a little later:

Since, therefore, he makes the image both of the earthy and the heavenly consist of moral conduct— the one to be abjured, and the other to be pursued— and then consistently adds, For this I say (on account, that is, of what I have already said, because the conjunction for connects what follows with the preceding words) that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, [1 Corinthians 15:50] — he means the flesh and blood to be understood in no other sense than the before-mentioned image of the earthy; and since this is reckoned to consist in the old conversation, which old conversation receives not the kingdom of God, therefore flesh and blood, by not receiving the kingdom of God, are reduced to the life of the old conversation. Of course, as the apostle has never put the substance for the works of man, he cannot use such a construction here ...  It is after displaying to the Galatians these pernicious works that he professes to warn them beforehand, even as he had told them in time past, that they which do such things should not inherit the kingdom of God, [Galatians 5:21] even because they bore not the image of the heavenly, as they had borne the image of the earthy; and so, in consequence of their old conversation, they were to be regarded as nothing else than flesh and blood. But even if the apostle had abruptly thrown out the sentence that flesh and blood must be excluded from the kingdom of God, without any previous intimation of his meaning, would it not have been equally our duty to interpret these two substances as the old man abandoned to mere flesh and blood— in other words, to eating and drinking, one feature of which would be to speak against the faith of the resurrection: Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. [1 Corinthians 15:32] Now, when the apostle parenthetically inserted this, he censured flesh and blood because of their enjoyment in eating and drinking. [Tertullian Resurrection 49, 50] 
Tertullian's seems to be shared by Methodius who writes in On the Resurrection even without specific reference to Galatians:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. [1 Corinthians 15:50] By flesh, he did not mean flesh itself, but the irrational impulse towards the lascivious pleasures of the soul." [1.3.5] 

Clement of Alexandria also routinely connects Galatians to 1 Corinthians 15:50 yet they are not the source of the information that the heretical (= Marcionite) interpretation of this passage can be refuted by means of Galatians chapter 5.  Tertullian's source here is certainly Irenaeus.

Irenaeus starts with what is certainly the shared heretical interpretations of 1 Corinthians 15:50 (including Clement of Alexandria from Stromata 3) and then proceeds to assault it by means Galatians chapter 5:

[The apostle], foreseeing the wicked speeches of unbelievers, has particularized the works which he terms carnal; and he explains himself, lest any room for doubt be left to those who do dishonestly pervert his meaning, thus saying in the Epistle to the Galatians: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, luxuriousness, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions jealousies, wraths, emulations, animosities, irritable speeches, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and such like; of which I warn you, as also I have warned you, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19, etc. Thus does he point out to his hearers in a more explicit manner what it is [he means when he declares], Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God. For they who do these things, since they do indeed walk after the flesh, have not the power of living unto God. And then, again, he proceeds to tell us the spiritual actions which vivify a man, that is, the engrafting of the Spirit; thus saying, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, faith, meekness, continence, chastity: against these there is no law. Galatians 5:22 As, therefore, he who has gone forward to the better things, and has brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, is saved altogether because of the communion of the Spirit; so also he who has continued in the aforesaid works of the flesh, being truly reckoned as carnal, because he did not receive the Spirit of God, shall not have power to inherit the kingdom of heaven. As, again, the same apostle testifies, saying to the Corinthians, Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err, he says: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor rapacious persons, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And these you indeed have been; but you have been washed, but you have been sanctified, but you have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 He shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God. [Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.11] 
I think this is very significant.  It is yet another demonstration that the arguments in Against Marcion Book Five ultimately were copied out from Irenaeus.  The likelihood that Irenaeus's lost text of Against Marcion formed the backbone of Tertullian's Against Marcion should be seen now as highly probable given our last few posts.

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