Thursday, December 6, 2012

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

Epiphanius Panarion 43 Scholion 8. 'Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me,' is altered. For he had it as though with reference to John.

(a) Whether this refers to John or to the Saviour himself, he still says 'blessed' of those who do not stumble, whether at him or at John, so that they will not make things up which they do not learn from him.
(b) But there is a more important consideration here, the real reason why the Saviour spoke. Lest it be thought that John, whom he had ranked as the greatest of those born of woman, was greater even than the Saviour himself—since he too was born of womanhe says as a safeguard, 'And blessed is whoso shall not be offended in me.'
(c) Hence he says, 'He that is less in the kingdom is greater than he.' Chronologically, counting from his birth in the flesh, he was six months 'less' than John; but as John's God he was plainly 'greater' in the kingdom.
(d) For the Only-begotten did not come to say anything in secret, or to tell any lie about his own message. He says, 'I have not spoken in secret, but openly.' For he is truth, as he says, 'I am the way and the truth.' The way, then, contains no error; nor does the truth lie by concealing itself.

Scholion 9. 'He it is of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face.'

(a) Elenchus 9. If God's only-begotten Son recognizes John and foreknows him, and because he foreknows him tells those who are willing to know the truth that this is the one of whom it is written, 'I send my messenger before thy face'
(b) then the one who said in writing, 'I send my messenger before thy face,' God the eternal who has spoken in the prophets and Law, was not foreign to his own Son, Jesus Christ. 
(c) For he sends his messenger before his face—before the face of a Son honoured by a Father. He was not sending his messenger to serve a foreigner of whom, as you say, Marcion, he was even the opposite.

Scholion 10. 'And entering into the Pharisee’s house he reclined at table. And the woman which was a sinner, standing at his feet behind him, washed his feet with her tears, and wiped and kissed them.'

Elenchus 10. 'Entering' is indicative of a body, for it indicates a house and the dimensions of a body. And 'reclining' can be said only of a person with a solid body, which is lying down. And as to the woman’s washing his feet with her tears, she did not wash the feet of an apparition or phantom; she wiped, washed and kissed them because she felt the touch of the body.

Scholion 11. And again, 'She hath washed my feet with her tears, and wiped and kissed them.'

Elenchus 11. Lest you think, Marcion, that the sinful woman's washing, anointing and kissing of the Saviour's feet was merely people's supposition, the Saviour himself confirms it and teaches that it did not take place in appearance but in reality—confidently affirming, for the Pharisee's refutation and your own, Marcion, and the refutation of people like yourself, 'She hath washed my feet and kissed them.' But which feet, other than feet made of flesh, bones and the rest?

Tertullian Against Marcion 4.18 -
But John is offended when he hears of Christ's miraclesbecause, he belongs to the other. I however shall first explain his reason for offence, so that I may the more easily show up the offence of the heretic. When the Lord of hosts himself was by the Word and Spirit of the Father working and preaching upon earth, it was necessary that that apportionment of the Holy Spirit which, after the manner of what was measured out to the prophets, had in John had the function of preparing the ways of the Lord, should now depart from John, having been drawn back again into the Lord, as into its all-inclusive head-spring. And so John, being now an ordinary man, one of the multitude, was offended, as indeed a man might be: not because he was hoping for, or thinking of, a different Christ—for he had no ground for such a hope—since he was teaching and doing no- thing new. No man can have doubts about one who he knows does not exist, and of whom therefore he entertains neither hopes nor understanding. John however, both as Jew and as prophet, was quite sure that no one is God except the Creator. Evidently it is easier to think that his doubts were concerned with one whose existence he was convinced of, but was not sure whether this was he. So it is in this fear that John asks, Is it thou who earnest, or do we look for another?—a simple inquiry whether he whom he was looking for had come. Is it thou who contest—that is, who art to come: or do we look for another—that is, is there another whom we are expecting, if thou art not he whose coming we expect? For he had hopes—and all were thinking on those lines—arising out of the similarity of the evidences, that possibly for the meanwhile a prophet had been sent, and that it was a different one from him, a greater one, the Lord himself, whose coming was expected. And in fact that John's being offended consisted in this, that he was not sure whether that same one had come whom they were expecting, that one whom they ought to have recognized by the works prophesied of him, appears from the fact that the Lord returned answer to John that it was by those same works that he ought to be recognized. And since it is agreed that these were prophesied with respect to the Creator's Christ—as I have proved in regard to each of them—it is worse than ridiculous that he should have sent back the answer that a Christ not the Creator's was the interpretation of those signs by which he was the rather urging his recognition as the Christ of the Creator. It is even more ridiculous if a Christ who is not John's bears witness to John, giving assurance that he is a prophet, yea even more, a sort of angel, affirming that it is even written of him, Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way:a for in kindly fashion he recalls the prophecy to the former mind of John who is now offended, so that by thus assuring John his precursor that he has really come he may extinguish the doubt involved in that question, Is it thou who earnest, or do we look for another? For as the precursor had now completed his task, and the Lord's way was prepared, he himself must be understood to be the one for whom the precursor had done service. Greater indeed is he than all that are born of women: but the reason why he is less than the least in the kingdom of God is not that there is a kingdom of one of the gods in which every least person is greater than John, and a John of another god who is greater than all born of women. For whether it is that he speaks of some particular least person because of humility, or that he speaks of himself because he was taken to be less than John, in that all men were pouring out into the wilderness to John rather than to Christ—What went ye out into the wilderness to see?—in either case it has reference to the Creator, first that it is his John who is greater than men born of women, and again that it is either Christ or every least person who is to be greater than John in that kingdom which no less is the Creator's, and is even now greater than that great prophet because he has not been offended at Christ—for this it was that made John little. Concerning forgiveness of sins I have already spoken. The story of that sinful woman will have this in point, that when she kissed our Lord's feet, and watered them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and covered them with ointment, it was a true and actual body that she handled, and not an empty phantasm: and that, as might be expected with the Creator, a sinful woman's repentance won for her pardon, for he is wont to prefer it to sacrifice. Also, since the urge to repentance had proceeded from faith, it was through repentance justified by faith that she heard the words, Thy faith hath saved thee, from him who had already declared by Habakkuk, The just shall live by reason of his faith. 
It isn't just that the two section (a) follow the same material and (b) develop the same interpretation of the material.  Epiphanius is clearly following the same source as Tertullian before and after this section too.  Of course Epiphanius is only loosely quoting what he has in front of him.  He is only drawing a line here or there.    I defy anyone to defy the common source material now.  We should also take note of Ephrem's parallel section in Against Marcion.

Ephrem Against Marcion 3-
As Malachi testifies concerning John, 'Behold I send my messenger before thee,' and our Lord confirms it that John was Elijah, give me evidence from the other Scriptures that John is [the messenger] of whom Malachi spake. Therefore according to the testimony of David and the confirmation of [our Lord], David's son, concerning this son of David [and] about this Lord of [David], are there then two Messiahs or two natures ? For [if in some respects he is the son of David] and in some respects the lord of David, is it not [clear that the two natures come together and] are mingled as one, and in relation to the manhood (he is) the Messiah and in relation to the Godhead [he is lord]. For why was a body required for God ?  . . . so that if ye believe and do not doubt and "if there is in you belief," is it false belief, like (the belief) of that blind man or the belief of strangeness ? "Because John was near to die, he sent his flock by the hand of two under-shepherds to the Lord of the flock : our Lord began to teach concerning him—' Did ye go out to see a great man on account of his raiment ?' " This man, the meek and humble, and, if not, a trembling reed shaken by every wind, does he not thus go astray [a little], and is bent and beaten about by all manner of reports ? Because he knew whose coming he announced (lit. before whom he announced), for the witness of the truth and the herald of the kingdom of the Lord of the kingdom is taught by the truth. If our Lord Isu, therefore, bore witness to John that he was meek, let us learn from this humility which of the Messiahs the humble herald resembles (lit. approaches), that Messiah (who is) the source of humility, or that one at whose side thousands fall. For it is necessary that the herald of the dispensation (lit. time) should be himself similar to the dispensation. But Malachi says, The messenger of the covenant, lo ! he cometh, and who endureth the day in which he cometh ?' But if the herald is humble and meek, and he who is heralded is set on high and exalted, lo, in this also there is strangeness ! But (as for) our Lord who says, 'John is greater than all who are born of women,' not because he saw the greatness of the herald, as ye say, that it was great and splendid like that of him who was heralded, (it was not) on account of this that He said (it). Either give us the splendour of John which was eminently great as (befitted) that of the herald who (went) before the Pre-eminent One, or explain to us why our Lord called him great. For even as all the prophets were 'just,' like Him who sent them, so also this man, His herald, is like Him who is heralded. For if the greatness of him who is heralded is not shown in the announcement concerning him, who will believe that he is a great one? And if He performed signs, read (of them), and if He worked miracles, declare (them). For (with regard to) those messengers whom our Lord sends at the last and that token which appears before that terrible coming, is the sign (shmeion) thereof terrible and glorious like the thing itself, or can it be that it is alien to Him in His lowliness ? But it was not Moses or one of the prophets who said concerning John "He is greater than all who are born of women." What is there about him that magnifies John? But can it be that the bonds of Herod magnify him, or that the head-asking of the daughter of Herodias exalts him, or that the executioner confirms for him (the application of) that (passage), 'Who can endure the day in which he cometh ?' A herald who was humbled and slain came before Him who comes on the clouds to destroy the slayers, and a lowly messenger who did not stand up for himself was sent before the King before whom no created beings can stand ! And he with whose head the girl played, who will believe that he was the apostle of that Stone which will cause all falsehood to pass away ? . . . and let us bring forward the aspects of the two Messiahs, and let us look at the aspect of John and see which Messiah he resembles — that Stranger [in whose] days he came beforehand, or this (Messiah) who is in the Law, of whom as yet not even a rumour had been heard ; for even from . . . and proximity (?) it was possible to learn their true nature. Set therefore the two Messiahs over against one another, and set John between (them) ; with whom then does the slain herald agree, with the slayer or with the slain one ? Whom does the meek and [despised] one resemble ? Him who was humbled or the shatterer of all ... ? And if it was because John announced the coming of that Messiah (lit. announced before that Messiah) that he became great, it is still the same thing ; for he caused us to ascribe the majesty of that King to the herald and the messenger who preceded Him, as is also the custom of kings and their messengers. Or can it be that the majesty of him who was to come consisted in humility ? For lo ! [the majesty] of humility was also upon His herald, together with the rest (of His qualities). But because John was the messenger of the kingdom he was also wholly forgotten by them (?). When he comes, that Just One and the greater of the [two] Messiahs, does a herald or a messenger go before him ? Or [will it be sudden ?], that terrible coming of His, and does no messenger and herald come before it ? But if another herald does come before it, . . . he is greater than John. For that majesty which was ascribed to John bears witness concerning this (Being) that He is greater than John. And is that messenger who comes before that subjugator of the nations thus subjected and humbled and persecuted as John was? If thus is his coming (?), the contest is ours, for if the messenger is thus humbled and scorned, how does the lowly announce the coming of the Mighty One, and the scorned (announce) the coming of the Exalted One ? Who will believe that he is the Messenger of the Saviour in a case where he cannot stand up for himself, or does not show terrible signs and does not cast fear and trembling upon mankind ? But if the messenger who comes is great and mighty, how necessary is it that He too should be great! For (He is) like the Sun, and the herald also is a ray that precedes Him. If therefore it is so — as indeed it is — John, the humbled and lowly, announced the coming of Isu, who differs, by reason of his lowliness, from that high exalted King who is coming ; and he is alien, by reason of his abasement, to that mighty messenger who is sent before the face of that Mighty One. But does the Messiah come to save Israel or to torment it ? If he comes to save it, his messenger therefore convicts of sins or preaches salvation. But if he is one who convicts, when they repent then they are saved. And if they do not wish to repent, does he preach to them ease or salvation ? But if he preaches destruction to them, all those things which Israel expects are annulled. And if he preaches salvation to them, by his character of Saviour he offers them a foretaste of the great salvations which come after him, as Moses did in Egypt. Let us see therefore what foretaste of salvation John offered to them ; and, in the second place, lo, the Jews acknowledge all (manner of) prophets and righteous men, and this man, who is greater than all of them, they not only slew but do not even acknowledge ! When therefore the Just and Upright One comes, whom this persecuted and slain one announced beforehand, will He avenge his ill-treatment and murder and the refusal to acknowledge him upon all the tribes of the Jews, who unto the last continually refuse to acknowledge him, or will He not ? If He does not avenge (him), where is the Just One who delivered even the observer of the Law (and) avenged him on the Gentiles? This man, who is greater than all the Prophets,  He does not avenge ! And if He executes vengeance on all these Tribes, who disbelieve in John and continue to do so, then He who comes is the destroyer of the Jews and not their Saviour. For those who slew His messenger slew Him Himself, and those who deny His herald are not able to acknowledge Him. But if when all these sins are openly committed (lit. are in the midst) they are not punished, why was it necessary that John should come to baptize and absolve from transgressions, seeing that not one of the transgressions is punished ? But there is no one who is kinder than He who forgives all these transgressions ; and how is it that this justice shows neglect, (this justice) which in no case neglected to punish ? Has that grace which comes to Israel at the last compelled us to say that it is alien to that justice which wrote for Israel 'blow for blow' ? But if sins are punished, that baptism which remits sins is necessary at the last; for lo, the baptism of John ceased (to exist) among the Jews thenceforward. Who therefore can bring it (back), and who can baptize, now that John is dead ? And if it (i.e. baptism) is not necessary at the last, why was it formerly necessary ? Is it withheld by Grace or by Justice ? But (thou wilt say), ' Lo, these very things by means of which thou judgest me, (by asking) why they are not found in connection with John, are the things by means of which thou too art judged as to why they are not found in connection with John. For lo, the prophet testifies and our Lord confirms that those things which are said concerning Elijah are fulfilled in him (i.e. in John).' But I say that the herald is like Him who is heralded, that as about Him terrible things are written and as if in this world He is doing them, but it is at the last He is ready to do them. But the roots (i.e. causes) of retribution, since they come from this quarter, prophecy takes up, in order to pluck the fruits from their roots, according to that (passage), 'Lo, the kingdom of God among you !' —And they did not (then) see those good things and the pleasures of the Kingdom, but because He is the root of the aforesaid pleasures He says 'Lo, the Kingdom !' Because those words which John proclaimed [give an earnest of what is to come]10 he called things of Yonder things of Here, just as in the case of a murderer who is slain after twenty years, the hour in which he committed the murder has slain him, as (it befell) Adam.

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