Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Common Source (= Irenaeus) Behind Tertullian and Epiphanius's Knowledge of the Marcionite Canon [Part Two]

Compare Epiphanius Panarion 43 Scholion 1:

from Marcion's Own Version of the Gospel 'Go, show thyself unto the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded—that this may be a testimony unto you' instead of the Saviour's 'for a testimony unto them.' 

(a) Elenchus 1. How could the Lord whose teachings—as you say—were always against the Law, say to the persons he had healed, I mean to the leper, 'Go, show thyself unto the priest?' Since he says, 'to the priest,' he does not reject the priesthood of the Law. (b) 'And offer for thy cleansing.' Even if you excise 'the gift,' it will be evident, from the word, 'offer,' that he is speaking of a gift. (c) 'For thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded.' If he advises obedience to Moses' commandment, he is not rejecting or insulting the God of the Law, but acknowledging that both he and God, his Father, have given the Law to Moses. (d) You have twisted the wording, Marcion, by saying 'testimony unto you' instead of 'testimony unto them.' In this too you have plainly lied against your own head. If he were saying, 'testimony unto you,' he would be calling himself to witness that 'I came not to destroy the Law or the prophets, but to fulfil.'

to Tertullian Against Marcion 4.8:

The rest of what he does follows the same course. As far as concerned avoid- ance of human glory, he told him to tell no man: as concerned the observance of the law, he ordered the proper course to be followed: Go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded. Knowing that the law was in the form of prophecy, he was safeguarding its figurative regulations even in his own mirrored images of them, which indicated that a man who has been a sinner, as soon as he is cleansed by the word of God, is bound to offer in the temple a sacrifice to God, which means prayer and giving of thanks in the church through Christ Jesus, the universal high priest of the Father. This is why he added, that it may be to you for a testimony—no doubt by which he testified that he did not destroy the law but fulfilled it, a testimony that it was he and no other of whom it was foretold that he would take upon him their diseases and sicknesses. This entirely adequate and necessary interpretation of that testimony Marcion, in subservience to his own Christ, seeks to discount under the pretence of consideration and gentleness. For, says he, being kind, and know- ing besides that every man set free from leprosy would follow out the observances of the law, he for that reason ordered him to do so. What after that? Did he continue in kindness, that is, in permission to observe the law, or did he not? If he continued being kind, he can never become a destroyer of the law, nor can he be taken to belong to that other god, since there is a cessation of that destruction of the law on account of which it is claimed he belongs to the other god. If he did not continue being kind, subsequently destroying the law, then it was false witness that he afterwards lodged with them at the healing of the leper: for he became a renegade from goodness, in that he destroyed the law. So he is now evil, as a subverter of the law, if he was kind while allowing the law to be kept. Yet even by his act in once allowing obedience to the law, he gave assurance that the law is good. For no man gives permission for obedience to an evil thing. It follows that in the one case he was bad, if he allowed obedience to a law which was bad, and in the other case worse, if he came as the destroyer of a law that was good. Moreover, if his command to offer the gift was contingent on his knowledge that every man freed from leprosy would make that offering, it was also in his power to have issued no command for an act which he knew would take place without it. Also in vain has he come down as with intent to destroy the law, when he makes concessions to keepers of the law. What is more, since he was aware of the habits of those people, he ought to have taken precautionary action to turn them away from it, if that was the reason for his coming. Why then did he not keep silence, and let the man obey the law without prompting? In that case he could be thought to have made some concession to his tolerance. Instead of which he adds even his own authority, strengthened by the weight of that testimony— testimony of what, unless of enforcing the law? Truly it makes no difference in what way he confirmed the law, whether as kind, or as disinterested, or as tolerant, or as inconstant, provided, Marcion, that I drive you from your position. So then he has commanded the law to be fulfilled: in whatever sense he gave this command, he can in the same sense have stated the principle, I am not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it. What good then did it do you to excise from the gospel a sentence which remains there still? You have admitted that he did for kindness' sake something which you deny that he said. So there is proof that he said it, because he did do it, and that it is you that have excised the Lord's words from the gospel, and not our people that have foisted them in
The difference of course - and this is critical - is that Epiphanius has claimed that 'a witness for you' is a Marcionite variant when Tertullian's text makes clear it was also shared in the original Catholic canon too.  In other words, Tertullian doesn't cite this as a mistake.  He takes for granted the reading 'a witness for you' which demonstrates in turn the likeliness of the scenario that Epiphanius was using the source to both texts and making inferences from the anomalies in that text about the Marcionite canon.  In other words, when that source (= Irenaeus) had a Galatians first canon, Epiphanius no doubt as we see here assumed that this was reflective of the Marcionite canon rather than a variant in the tradition associated with Irenaeus.  Very significant.

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