Sunday, December 2, 2012

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

Epiphanius Panarion 43 Scholion 3. 'The Son of Man is lord also of the Sabbath.'

Elenchus 3. The Saviour is acknowledging two things at once in teaching that he is both Son of Man and Lord of the Sabbath, so that the Sabbath will not be thought foreign to this creation, and he himself will not be thought foreign to the Father's Godhead—even if, in the last analysis, he is called Son of Man because of the incarnation.

Tertullian Against Marcion 4:11

Concerning the sabbath also I make this preliminary remark, that there could have been no ground for this objection either, except that Christ represented himself as Lord of the sabbath.1 There could have been no discussion as to why he was breaking the sabbath, if it had been his duty to break it. And it would have been his duty to break it, if he had belonged to that other god, and no one would have been surprised at his doing what it was incumbent upon him to do. The reason for their surprise then was that it was not his business both to represent God the Creator and to assail his sabbath. So then, that we may have a decision on all these primary matters, so as not to have to repeat ourselves at every quibble of our opponent which rests upon some new aspect of Christ's teaching, this postulate shall be taken as established, that the only reason why discussion arose at the novelty of any of his teaching was that nothing had ever yet been said about any novel deity, nor had there been any discussion of it: nor can the retort be made that by the actual novelty of each point of his teaching Christ gave sufficient proof of a different deity, since it is perfectly clear that there is no room for surprise at the existence in Christ of that novelty which the Creator had actually promised. Surely the natural process would have been for that other god to be first brought to notice, and afterwards for his moral code to be introduced: because it is the god that gives authority to the code, not the code that gives authority to the god—unless of course Marcion did not obtain his perverse writings from a teacher but learned of the teacher through the writings. The other considerations regarding the sabbath I set out as follows. If Christ did subvert the sabbath, he acted after the Creator's example: for at the siege of the city of Jericho the carrying of the ark of the covenant round the walls for eight days, including the sabbath, by the Creator's express command, broke the sabbath by working—or so those people think who have the same opinion also of Christ, being unaware that neither did Christ break the sabbath nor did the Creator, as I shall shortly show. Even so, the sabbath was on that occasion broken by Joshua so that this too might be taken as referring to Christ. Even if it was through hatred that he made an attack on the Jews' most solemn day because he was not the Jews' Christ, even by this hatred of the sabbath he, the Creator's Christ, acknowledged the Creator, following up his cry made by the mouth of Isaiah: Your new moons and sabbaths my soul hateth. Now in whatever sense this was spoken we know that in circumstances of this kind a sharp reproof has to be put in action against a sharp provocation. Next I shall argue the case in reference to the actual subject in which Christ's rule of conduct has been thought to destroy the sabbath. The disciples had been hungry: on that very day they had plucked the ears of corn and rubbed them in their hands: by preparing food they had made a breach in the holy day. Christ holds them guiltless, and so be- comes guilty of infringing the sabbath: the pharisees are his accusers. Marcion takes exception to the heads of the controversy —if I may play about a bit with the truth of my Lord—written document and intention. A plausible answer is based upon the Creator's written document and on Christ's intention, as by the precedent of David who on the sabbath day entered into the templeb and prepared food by boldly breaking up the loaves of the shewbread. For he too remembered that even from the beginning, since the sabbath day was first instituted, this privilege was granted to it—I mean exemption from fasting. For when the Creator forbade the gathering of two days' supply of manna, he allowed it only on the day before the sabbath, so that by having food prepared the day before he might make immune from fasting the holy day of the sabbath that followed. Well it is then that our Lord followed the same purpose in breaking down the sabbath—if that is what they want it called: well it is also that he gave effect to the Creator's intention by the privilege of not fasting on the sabbath. In fact he would have once and for all broken the sabbath, and the Creator besides, if he had enjoined his disciples to fast on the sabbath, in opposition to the fact of scripture and of the Creator's intention. So then, as he did not keep his disciples in close constraint, but now finds excuse for them: as he puts in answer human necessity as begging for considerate treatment: as he conserves the higher privilege of the sabbath, of freedom from sorrow rather than abstention from work: as he associates David and his followers with his own disciples in fault and in permission: as he is in agreement with the relaxation the Creator has given: as after the Creator's example he himself is equally kind: is he on that account an alien from the Creator? After that the pharisees watch if he will heal a man on the sabbath, that they might accuse him—evidently as a breaker of the sabbath, not as the setter forth of a strange god: for perhaps I shall everywhere insist on this point alone, that nowhere was there any prophecy of a different Christ. But the pharisees were utterly in error about the law of the sabbath, having failed to notice that it is under certain conditions that it enjoins abstention from works, under a specific aspect of them. For when it says of the sabbath day, No work of thine shall thou do in it, by saying thine it has made a ruling concerning that human work which any man performs by his craft or business, not divine work. But the work of healing or of rescue is not properly man's work but God's. So again in the law it says, In it thou shall do no manner of work, save that which is to be done for every soul, that is, with the purpose of setting a soul free: for the work of God can be done even by the agency of a man, for the saving of a soul, yet God is the doer of it: and this as Man Christ also was going to do, be- cause he is also God. Because of his desire to lead them towards this understanding of the law by the restoration of the withered hand, he asks them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath, or not ? to set a soul free, or to destroy it?: so that by giving approval to that sort of work which he purposed to do for the soul, he might give them warning of what works the law of the sabbath forbade, human works, and what works it enjoined, divine works, which were to be done for every soul. He called himself Lord of the sabbath, because he was protecting the sabbath as belonging to himself. Though even if he had broken it, he would have had the right to, because he who has given a thing existence is even more than lord of it. But he did not, as its Lord, wholly destroy it, and so it can now become clear that not even of old at the carrying of the ark at Jericho was the sabbath destroyed. For that too was a work of God, which he himself had commanded, and which he had ordained for the sake of the souls of his own men which were exposed to the hazards of war. And even if he has in some place expressed his hatred of sabbaths, by saying Your sabbaths,d he reckons as men's sabbaths, not his own, those which are cele- brated without the fear of God by a people full of sins, who love God with the lips and not with the heart: while to his own sabbaths, all such as should be kept by his rules, he assigned a different quality, and these he afterwards by that same prophet pro- nounces true and delightsomee and not to be profaned.f Nor then did Christ in any way revoke the sabbath, but retained the law of it both just before in the case of the disciples when he performed a work for their soul—for he granted to hungry men the comfort of food—and just now when he heals the withered hand: on each occasion he insists by his actions, I am not come to destroy the law but to fulfil it, even if Marcion has closed his mouth with this word. Even in this instance he fulfilled the law by explaining the circumstances which condition it, by throwing light upon different kinds of works, by doing the things which the law exempts from the restraints of the sabbath, by making even more holy by his own kind deeds that sabbath day which since the beginning had been holy by the Father's kind words; for in it he made himself the minister of those divine aids, which an adversary would have provided for on other days to avoid doing honour to the Creator's sabbath and giving back to the sabbath the works which are proper to it. If on that day the prophet Elisha restored to lifeh the Shunamite woman's son that was dead, you observe, O pharisee, and you too, Marcion, that of old it was the Creator's practice to do good on sabbath days, to set a soul free, not to destroy it, and that Christ introduced nothing new, nothing which was not in line with the example, the gentleness, the mercy, even the prophecies, of the Creator. For here too he puts into present effect the prophecy of a particular kind of healing: weak hands are strengthened,i as also were enfeebled knees in the sick of the palsy.

It has always struck me that Tertullian is not citing Luke 6:3,4 (the material about David which now defines the meaning of Luke 6:5 for all subsequent generations highlighted in red above). In other words, Tertullian's source (Irenaeus) is making a theological argument which later became incorporated into the Gospel of Luke which reads:

Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”  Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

There are many other signs that the original text behind Against Marcion Book Four was written before the invention of the Gospel of Luke.  For instance the consistent reference to Marcion 'removing' things never found in Luke and only in Matthew.  The suggestion then is that Irenaeus wrote Against Marcion before the invention of Luke (or perhaps that the text went back to Justin alternatively).

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