Monday, December 3, 2012

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

Tertullian Against Marcion 4.18:

He also raised to life the widow's dead son. Not a novel piece of evidence. The Creator's prophets had done this: how much more his Son. Until that very moment Christ had made no suggestion of any other god—so much so that all who were there rendered glory to the Creator, saying that A great prophet is risen up among us, and, God hath visited his people. Which god? Evidently he to whom that people belonged, and by whom prophets had been sent. Now since those people glorified the Creator, and Christ who heard and knew it did not correct them when they honoured the Creator for this great testimony of a dead man raised to life, without doubt we must either admit he was the messenger of no other god than the God he did not object to them honouring on account of the benefits and miracles he himself had wrought: or we must ask how it was that for all that time he tolerated their error, when his coming was for this precise purpose, of curing their error.

Of course this section of Luke is unmentioned in Epiphanius which raises an interesting question - why not?  My guess is that it wasn't originally a part of the Irenaean Against Marcion they both used or at least the original version of the text.  Why so?  The first reason is that Tertullian himself says nothing about the Marcionite interpretation of the passage.  The second reason is that Irenaeus had an early variant of the material which seems to indicate that the material was added to the gospels later against a popular heretical resurrection narrative which was used to prove that the baptized 'die' and assume new (spiritual) flesh.  Irenaeus's account reads:

And that he, the apostle, was the very same person who had been born from the womb, that is, of the ancient substance of flesh, he does himself declare in the Epistle to the Galatians: "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles," (10) it was not, as I have already observed, one person who had been born from the womb, and another who preached the Gospel of the Son of God; but that same individual who formerly was ignorant, and used to persecute the Church, when the revelation was made to him from heaven, and the Lord conferred with him, as I have pointed out in the third book,(1) preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, his former ignorance being driven out by his subsequent knowledge: just as the blind men whom the Lord healed did certainly lose their blindness, but received the substance of their eyes perfect, and obtained the power of vision in the very same eyes with which they formerly did not see; the darkness being merely driven away by the power of vision, while the substance of the eyes was retained, in order that, by means of those eyes through which they had not seen, exercising again the visual power, they might give thanks to Him who had restored them again to sight. And thus, also, he whose withered hand was healed, and all who were healed generally, did not change those parts of their bodies which had at their birth come forth from the womb, but simply obtained these anew in a healthy condition.

For the Maker of all things, the Word of God, who did also from the beginning form man, when He found His handiwork impaired by wickedness, performed upon it all kinds of healing. At one time [He did so], as regards each separate member, as it is found in His own handiwork; and at another time He did once for all restore man sound and whole in all points, preparing him perfect for Himself unto the resurrection. For what was His object in healing [different] portions of the flesh, and restoring them to their original condition, if those parts which had been healed by Him were not in a position to obtain salvation? For if it was [merely] a temporary benefit which He conferred, He granted nothing of importance to those who were the subjects of His healing. Or how can they maintain that the flesh is incapable of receiving the life which flows from Him, when it received healing from Him? For life is brought about through healing, and incorruption through life. He, therefore, who confers healing, the same does also confer life; and He [who gives] life, also surrounds His own handiwork with incorruption.

Let our opponents--that is, they who speak against their own salvation--inform us [as to this point]: The deceased daughter of the high priest; the widow's dead son, who was being carded out [to burial] near the gate and Lazarus, who had lain four days in the tomb,--in what bodies did they rise again? In those same, no doubt, in which they had also died. For if it were not in the very same, then certainly those same individuals who had died did not rise again. For [the Scripture] says, "The Lord took the hand of the dead man, and said to him, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And the dead man sat up, and He commanded that something should be given him to eat; and He delivered him to his mother." Again, He called Lazarus "with a loud voice, saying, Lazarus, come forth; and he that was dead came forth bound with bandages, feet and hands." This was symbolical of that man who had been bound in sins. And therefore the Lord said, "Loose him, and let him depart." As, therefore, those who were healed were made whole in those members which had in times past been afflicted; and the dead rose in the identical bodies, their limbs and bodies receiving health, and that life which was granted by the Lord, who prefigures eternal things by temporal, and shows that it is He who is Himself able to extend both healing and life to His handiwork, that His words concerning its [future] resurrection may also be believed; so also at the end, when the Lord utters His voice "by the last trumpet," the dead shall be raised, as He Himself declares: "The hour shall come, in which all the dead which are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." Vain, therefore, and truly miserable, are those who do not choose to see what is so manifest and clear, but shun the light of truth, blinding themselves like the tragic OEdipus. And as those who are not practised in wrestling, when they contend with others, laying hold with a determined grasp of some part of [their opponent's] body, really fall by means of that which they grasp, yet when they fall, imagine that they are gaining the victory, because they have obstinately kept their hold upon that part which they seized at the outset, and besides falling, become subjects of ridicule; so is it with respect to that [favourite] expression of the heretics: "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;" while taking two expressions of Paul's, without having perceived the apostle's meaning, or examined critically the force of the terms, but keeping fast hold of the mere expressions by themselves, they die in consequence of their influence (periautas), overturning as far as in them lies the entire dispensation of God.

In Luke the resurrection of the widow's son does not reference 'holding Jesus's hand' (as in Secret Mark) nor Jesus commanding the youth to eat.  It is possible that the original Against Marcion accused the heretic of excising these details owing to his fear of admitting Jesus could be touched or that Jesus didn't eat (familiar topics).  Yet since the actual narrative edited these details out the narrative could also have been removed or ignored.

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