Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Demonstration that the Claim the Marcionites Called Their Collection of Pauline Letters 'the Apostolikon' Has Very Little Going For It

In our previous post we demonstrated how the claim that the Marcionites called their collection of Pauline letters 'the Apostolikon' is really quite weak given the corrupt state of the one source that mentions this - the so-called Dialogues of Adamantius.  The Dialogues were clearly written after Methodius had already written his anti-Origenist treatises - so they fourth century compositions.  It was only in the fourth century that the term τὸ ἀποστολικόν became used to denote 'the collection of Pauline writings.'  Yet scholars have come to use the term as if it were originally used by the Marcionites.  Yet is this all a misunderstanding developed from the late composition of the original material?

Some scholars point typically point to the second use of the terminology in Adamantius's debate with a radical Marcionite dualist named Marcus:

AD. If I should prove that the Good God does judge, would you be convinced that God is a Unity, and that there is not another?

MK. You cannot prove it.

AD. Would you be convinced by the Apostle?

MK. I would be convinced by my Apostolicon.

AD. I have your Apostolicon here, and I read: "God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel"

Yet we see in the earlier dialogue with another 'moderate Marcionite' named Megethius we clearly see that the term 'apostolikon' seems to have been used by both Catholics and Marcionites alike:

MEG. It is impossible that these men ever saw Paul.

AD. I can show the apostle himself testifying to Mark and Luke.

 MEG. I do not accept your spurious Apostolicon

AD. Produce your Apostolicon — even though it is much mutilated and I will prove that Mark and Luke worked with Paul.

MEG. Prove it.

AD. I read at the end of Paul's letter to the Colossians ...

Almost the same logic used to identify the Marcionite collection as 'the Apostolikon' could be used here to determine that the Catholic collection was also so called.  As such it is easier to attribute the identification of the Pauline collection as an 'apostolikon' as being reflective of the general terminology of the period (= fourth century) rather than any special name given to the collection by the Marcionites in the third century and earlier.

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