Friday, December 7, 2012

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

Scholion 12. He did not have, 'His mother and his brethren,' but simply 'Thy mother and thy brethren.'

(a) Elenchus 12. Even though you falsify the Gospel's wording earlier, Marcion, to keep the evangelist from agreeing with the words which some had said, “thy mother and thy brethren,” you cannot get round the truth.
(b) Why did he not call many women mothers? Why did he not speak of many countries? How many persons say any number of things of Homer? Some claim he was Egyptian—others, that he was from Chios; others, from Colophon; others, a Phrygian. Others, Meletus and Critheidus, say that he came from Smyrna. Aristarchus declared him an Athenian, others a Lydian from Maeon, others, a Cypriote from the district of Propodias in the environs of Salamis—though Homer was a man, surely! But because of his having been in many countries, he has caused many to (give) a different description (of him).
(c) But here, when they were speaking of God and Christ, they did not suppose that he had many mothers—just the one who had actually borne him. Or many brothers—only Joseph's sons by his actual other wife. And you cannot take up arms against the truth.
(d) And do not let the thing the Lord said, 'Who are my mother and brethren?' mislead you. He did not say this to deny his mother, but to reproach the untimely speech of the person who spoke when there was such a large crowd surrounding him, when his saving teaching was pouring forth and he himself was busy with healings and preaching. For the speaker to cut him off by saying, 'Behold thy mother and thy brethren,' was an obvious interruption.
(e) And if it was not because he received the message with joy—not that he did not know they had come before he heard it, but because he foreknew that they were standing outside—then he would have said this to counter the speaker's untimely utterance with a rebuke, as he once told Peter, 'Away from me, Satan, for thou intendest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of man.

Against Marcion 4.19 -

We come now to the standing argument of all those who bring into controversy our Lord's nativity.  He himself, they say, affirms that he has not been born when he says, Who is my mother and who are my brethren? In this way heretics are always, by their theories, wresting plain and simple expressions in any direction they please, or else, on supposition of simplicity, giving a general meaning to expressions based on special conditions and particular reasons, as on the present occasion. We on the contrary affirm, first, that there could have been no report brought to him that his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to see him, if he had had no mother or brethren, and if he who brought the message had not known who they were, either by previous acquaintance or by having then and there been informed, either when they asked to see him or when they themselves sent the messenger. To this first submission of ours our adversaries' usual answer is, What then if the message was brought with the purpose of tempting him? But the scripture does not say so, though its custom is to indicate when anything is done for temptation's sake—Behold a doctor of the law stood up, tempting him, and in that question about tribute-money, And there came to him pharisees, tempting him—and consequently, where it makes no mention of temptation, it does not admit of its being interpreted as temptation. For all that, though I have no need to, I demand the reasons for such temptation, in what respect they can have tempted him by the mention of his mother and his brethren. If because they wished to know whether he had been born, or not—had there ever been any doubt of this, which they could resolve by means of that temptation? Yet who could have any doubt of the birth of one who he saw Was a man, whom he had heard declare himself the Son of man, who in consideration of all his human attributes they hesitated to believe was God, or the Son of God? They found it easier to esteem him a prophet, some great one no doubt, but one in any case who had been born. Even if there had been reason to tempt him by investigating his nativity, any other means would have been more in keeping with such temptation than the mention of those relations whom, in spite of having been born, he might by that time have lost. Tell me, does everybody who has been born, have a mother still living? Does everybody who has been born, have brothers born to him as well? Is it not more likely that people have their fathers living or their sisters, or even no one? Also it is well known that a census had just been taken in Judaea by Sentius Saturninus, and they might have inquired of his ancestry in those records. Thus in no respect has this suggestion of temptation stood up to examination, and it really was his mother and his brethren who stood without. It remains for me to ask what he had in mind when in some figurative manner he used the words, Who is my mother, or my brethren?, giving the impression of denying both relationship and nativity—yet arising from the requirements of the situation and conditional upon a reasonable explanation. It was that he was rightly displeased that while strangers were within, intent upon his words, such near relations stood without, and what is more, sought to distract him from his appointed work. This was not so much a denial as a disavowal. And consequently, after his first remark, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?, he added, Those only who hear my words and do them, thus transferring those titles of relationship to others, whom he should judge more closely related to him by their faith. Now no one makes a transference except from one already in possession of that which is transferred. If then he made to be his mother and brethren those who were not, in what sense did he deny those who were? Evidently on conditions of their own deserving, not from denial of those close relations, giving in himself an example of his own teaching, that he who should put father or mother or brethren before the word of God was not a worthy disciple.d For the rest, the admission that they were his mother and his brethren was even more clearly expressed by this refusal to acknowledge them. By adopting others he confirmed those whom through disfavour he denied, and the substitution was not of others more real but of others more worthy. In any case it is not surprising that he preferred faith to blood-relationship, when he had no blood.

This is perhaps the clearest proof that Tertullian is using an earlier source which Epiphanius also had access to.  Epiphanius only says that the Marcionites 'removed' the reference to 'his mother and brothers' (ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) for Luke reads:

Now his mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd.  Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” 

This seems pretty straightforward except for the fact that Tertullian puts the question, 'Who is my mother and my brethren?' at the forefront of his argument that the Marcionite misrepresent the meaning of the section.  The problem of course as we see is that these words are not recorded in Luke.  The original author (whom Tertullian and Epiphanius are using) is using one of three possible gospels (a) Matt. 12: 48 (b) Mark 3: 33 or (c) the Diatessaron.

On the surface of course the Marcionite gospel is not Luke or at least simply Luke with 8:19 missing.  It is a gospel much closer to either Matthew or Mark (or the Diatessaron).  It is impossible for us to know what the gospel looked like because - as most scholars forget - Tertullian and Epiphanius's source is not citing from the Marcionite gospel at all but his own variant gospel.  Look carefully at the argument above.  The person making the argument is assuming that Mark 3:33 helps his argument against the Marcionites.  There is nothing decisive in this which proves one way or the other than the Marcionites had or didn't have the line.

The same argument resurfaces in Tertullian's De Carne Christi and it is worth noting that both the section in Against Marcion and here in On the Flesh of Christ make reference to heretics in the plural.  One wonders whether this also was in the original:

Tertullian On the Flesh of Christ 7

But as often as there is discussion of the nativity, all those who reject it as prejudging the issue concerning the verity of the flesh in Christ, claim that the Lord himself denies having been born, on the ground that he asked, Who is my mother and who are my brethren?  So let Apelles too hear what answer I have already given to Marcion in that work in which I have made appeal to the Gospel which he accepts, namely that the background of that remark must be taken into consideration. Well then, in the first place no one would ever have reported to him that his mother and his brethren were standing without unless he were sure that he had a mother and brethren and that it was they whose presence he was then announcing, having either previously known them, or at least then and there made their acquaintance. This I say, in spite of the fact that the heresies have deliberately removed from the Gospel the statements that those who marvelled at his doctrine said that both Joseph the carpenter, his reputed father, and Mary his mother, and his brothers and sisters, were very well known to them. 'But,' they say, 'it was for the sake of tempting him that they announced to him the mother and the brethren whom actually he had not.' Now the Scripture does not say this, though elsewhere it is not silent when any action respecting him was taken with a view to temptation. Behold, it says, there stood up a doctor of the law, tempting him:2 and in another place, And there came to him the Pharisees, tempting him.3 And there was no reason why it should not have been indicated here that this was done to tempt him. I refuse to accept an inference of your own, which is not in Scripture. Secondly, there has to be some ground beneath the temptation. What was it they could think worth tempting in him? 'Whether, of course, he had been born or not: for as his answer constituted a denial of this, this was what the tempter's announcement angled for.' But no temptation, which has in view the ascertainment of that in doubt of which it makes the temptation, proceeds with such abruptness as to dispense with a precedent question which by suggesting doubt may give point to the temptation. Consequently, as there had nowhere been any canvassing of Christ's nativity, how can you argue that these people wished by means of a temptation to elicit something they had never brought into question? To this we add that, even if there had been a case for tempting him in respect of his nativity, the temptation would certainly not have proceeded on the lines of an announcement of the arrival of persons whose present existence was no necessary consequence of Christ's having been born. All of us are born, yet not all of us have either brothers or a mother: one is more likely at any point to have a father than a mother, and maternal uncles than brothers. Thus there is here no room for a temptation respecting his nativity, for this could quite well be a fact apart from any mention either of mother or of brethren. It is in fact easier to suppose that, being assured that he had both a mother and brethren, they were making trial of his divinity rather than of his nativity, by attempting to discover whether while busy indoors he knew what there was out of doors, when assailed with a lying report of the presence of people who actually were not there. And yet, even in this case the device behind the temptation would have failed of its purpose: for it could have been the case that those whom they reported standing without were known by him to be absent, through the claims of illness or of business or of a long journey, which he was already aware of. No one frames a temptation in terms through which he knows that the embarrassment of the temptation may recoil upon himself. As therefore there existed no pertinent ground of temptation, it remains for us to admit the candour of the messenger and to acknowledge that his mother and his brethren really had come for him. But let Apelles, as well as Marcion, hear from me what was the reason behind the reply which for the moment denied mother and brethren. Our Lord's brethren did not believe in him:1 this also is included in the Gospel as it was published before Marcion's day. His mother likewise is not shown to have adhered to him, though Martha and other Marys are often mentioned as being in his company. At this juncture their unbelief at last comes into the open. When Jesus was teaching the way of life, when he was preaching the Kingdom of God, when he was occupied in healing infirmities and sicknesses, though strangers were intent upon him these near relations were absent. At length they come for him, they stand without and will not enter, evidently not valuing what was being done inside. They do not so much as even wait, but, as though bringing more important business than what he was then engaged upon, they go so far as to interrupt, and wish him to be called away from so great a work. I put it to you, Apelles, or you if you like, Marcion, if perchance when playing dice or laying bets on actors or jockeys you were called away by such a message, would you not ask, 'Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?'? When Christ was preaching God and giving proof of him, was fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, and was dispelling the darkness of long ages past, was it without justification that he used this expression to castigate the unbelief of those who stood without, or at least to expose their unseasonableness in calling him back from his work?  For repudiating nativity, on the other hand, he could have chosen the place and time and occasion of a different discourse, not such as could be uttered by one who had both a mother and brethren. When indignation denies kindred, this is not a denial but a reproof. Besides, he gave others prior place, and when he reveals what has caused these to deserve preference, namely the hearing of the word, he makes it clear on what terms he has denied having a mother and brethren: for on the terms on which he adopted to himself those others who clave to him, on these he repudiated those who stood apart from him. It is Christ's custom himself to put into practice the teaching he gives to others. Then how could it be possible for him, when teaching men not to value mother or father or brethren so highly as the word of God, himself to desert the word of God when his mother and brethren were reported waiting? So then, he denied his kinsfolk for the reason for which he taught they ought to be denied, for God's work's sake. And further: in another sense there is in his mother's estrangement a figure of the Synagogue, and in his brethren's unbelief a figure of the Jews. Outside, in them, was Israel: whereas the new disciples, hearing and believing, and being inside, by cleaving to Christ depicted the Church which, repudiating carnal kinship, he designated a preferable mother and a worthier family of brothers. To conclude, it was in this same sense that he answered also that other exclamation1--not as denying his mother's womb and breasts, but as indicating that those are more blessed who hear the word of God.

The point of course here - is the very point in this series.  The superficiality of scholars is almost unbearable.  Why would Tertullian have been bringing up Mark 3:33/Matthew 12:48 - as if Luke had the very same line - when his point was to accuse the Marcionites of corrupting a commonly held gospel.  The fact that on more than one occasion Tertullian explicitly accusing Marcion of removing things from 'Luke' (= the commonly held gospel) which have never appeared in Luke but only other gospels seals the deal.  The original source was not making a 'Marcion corrupted Luke' argument but some other gospel - undoubtedly the text we'd call 'the Diatessaron' (i.e. a gospel harmony). 

There simply is no other plausible explanation of this consistent phenomenon.  Epiphanius clearly has before him Tertullian's source - i.e. Irenaeus's Against Heresies or perhaps even the source behind this text - and has adapted that its original (and entirely problematic 'Marcion corrupted another gospel' argument) and extracted only what still applied to Luke.  Yet the implication clearly is that the source did not use Luke against the Marcionites.  This layer was added later possibly by Irenaeus.  Tertullian mentions at least three layers of revision to the current 'Against Marcion' and multiple authors (cf. Against Marcion 1:1).  

It is hard to know who was the original author of the material but Theophilus of Antioch is certain a likely possibility.  Justin Martyr is another.  This original text would have been reshaped by Irenaeus, copied and reworked by both Tertullian and Epiphanius.  Tertullian for instance brings back knowledge of this original argument here to a particular section in Against Marcion 3:

Against Marcion 3.11 - 

Also that woman Philumena did better in persuading Apelles and the other deserters of Marcion, that Christ was indeed clothed with veritable flesh, yet without nativity, having taken it on loan from the elements. But if Marcion was afraid that belief in the flesh might also carry with it belief in nativity—there is no doubt that he who was seen to be man was naturally thought to have been born. A certain woman cried out, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked:a and how comes it that his mother and his brethren are reported standing without? But we shall consider these texts in their proper place.

This reference very closely resembles the context of the On the Flesh of Christ.  The reference to a subsequent book in the series that the reference was made by Tertullian himself.   There is also a similar discussion in the Acts of Archelaus:

Acts of Archelaus - 

Archelaus said: Neither am I greater than He, for I am His servant nor can I be even the equal of my Lord, for I am His unprofitable servant; I am a disciple of His words, and I believe those things which have been spoken by Him, and I affirm that they are unchangeable.

Manes said: A certain person somewhat like you once said to Him, Mary Your mother, and Your brethren, stand without; and He took not the word kindly, but rebuked the person who had uttered it, saying, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And He showed that those who did His will were both His mothers and His brethren. If you, however, mean to say that Mary was actually His mother, you place yourself in a position of considerable peril. For, without any doubt, it would be proved on the same principles that He had brethren also by her. Now tell me whether these brethren were begotten by Joseph or by the same Holy Spirit. For if you say that they were begotten by the same Holy Spirit, it will follow that we have had many Christs. And if you say that these were not begotten by the same Holy Spirit, and yet aver that He had brethren, then without doubt we shall be under the necessity of understanding that, in succession to the Spirit and after Gabriel, the most pure and spotless virgin formed an actual marriage connection with Joseph. But if this is also a thing altogether absurd— I mean the supposition that she had any manner of intercourse with Joseph— tell me whether then He had brethren. Are you thus to fix the crime of adultery also on her, most sagacious Marcellus? But if none of these suppositions suits the position of the Virgin undefiled, how will you make it out that He had brothers? And if you are unable to prove clearly to us that He had brethren, will it be any the easier for you to prove Mary to be His mother, in accordance with the saying of him who ventured to write, Behold, Your mother and Your brethren stand without? Yet, although that man was bold enough to address Him thus, no one can be mightier or greater than this same person Himself who shows us His mother or His brethren. Nay, He does not deign even to hear it said that He is David's son. The Apostle Peter, however, the most eminent of all the disciples, was able to acknowledge Him on that occasion, when all were putting forth the several opinions which they entertained respecting Him: for he said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God; and immediately He names him blessed, addressing him thus: For my heavenly Father has revealed it unto you. Observe what a difference there is between these two words which were spoken by Jesus. For to him who had said, Behold, Your mother stands without, He replied, Who is my mother, or who are my brethren? But to him who said, You are the Christ the Son of the living, God, He makes the return of a beatitude and benediction. Consequently, if you will have it that He was born of Mary, then it follows that no less than Peter, He is Himself thus proved to have spoken falsely. But if, on the other hand, Peter states what is true, then without doubt that former person was in error. And if the former was in error, the matter is to be referred back to the writer. We know, therefore, that there is one Christ, according to the Apostle Paul, whose words, as in consonance at least with His advent, we believe.

On hearing these statements, the multitudes assembled were greatly moved, as if they felt that these reasonings gave the correct account of the truth, and that Archelaus could have nothing to urge against them; for this was indicated by the commotion which arose among them. But when the crowd of auditors became quiet again, Archelaus made answer in the following manner: "No one, truly, shall ever be able to prove himself mightier than the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, neither is there found any name equal to His, as it is written: Wherefore God has exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name. Nor, again, in the matter of testimony can any one ever be equal to Him; and accordingly I shall simply adduce the testimonies of His own voice in answer to you—first of all, indeed, with the view of solving those difficulties which have been enunciated by you, so that you may not say, as is your wont to do, that these are matters which are not in harmony with the Person Himself. Now, you maintain that the man who brought the word to Jesus about His mother and His brethren was rebuked by Him as if he was in error, as the writer was in error. Well, I affirm that neither was this person rebuked who brought Him the message about His mother and His brethren, nor was Peter only named blessed above him; but each of these two parties received from Him the answer that was properly called forth by their several utterances, as the discourse will demonstrate in what follows. When one is a child, he thinks as a child, he speaks as a child; but when he becomes a mature man, those things are to be done away which are proper for a child: in other words, when one reaches forth unto those things which are before, he will forget those which are behind. Hence, when our Lord Jesus Christ was engaged in teaching and healing the race of men, so that all pertaining to it might not utterly perish together, and when the minds of all those who were listening to Him were intently occupied with these interests, it made an interruption altogether inopportune when this messenger came in and put Him in mind of His mother and His brethren. What then? Ought He, now, yourself being judge, to have left those whom He was healing and instructing, and gone to speak with His mother and His brethren? Would you not by such a supposition at once lower the character of the Person Himself? When, again, He chose certain men who were laden and burdened with sins for the honour of discipleship, to the number of twelve, whom He also named His apostles, He gave them this injunction, Leave father and mother, that you may be made worthy of me; intending by this that thence forward the memory of father or mother should no more impair the steadfastness of their heart. And on another occasion, when a different individual chose to say to Him, I will go and bury my father, He answered, Let the dead bury their dead. Behold, then, how my Lord Jesus Christ edifies His disciples unto all things necessary, and delivers His sacred words to every one, in due accordance with what is meet for him. And just in the same way, too, on this other occasion, when a certain person came in with the inconsiderate message about His mother, He did not embrace the occurrence as an opportunity for leaving His Father's commission unattended to even for the sake of having His mother with Him ... Nevertheless listen to me for a brief space. For if you choose, indeed, to consider those words somewhat more carefully, we shall find that the Lord Jesus displayed great clemency in the case of the former of these two parties; and this I shall prove to you by illustrations stilted to your capacity. A certain king who had taken up arms, and gone forth to meet an enemy, was earnestly considering and planning how he might subdue those hostile and foreign forces. And when his mind was occupied with many cares and anxieties, after he had forced his way among his adversaries, and when, further, as he began afterwards to make captives of them, the anxious thought was now also pressing upon him as to how he might secure the safety and interests of those who had toiled with him, and borne the burden of the war, a certain messenger broke inopportunely in upon him, and began to remind him of domestic matters. But he was astonished at the man's boldness, and at his unseasonable suggestions, and thought of delivering such a fellow over to death. And had that messenger not been one who was able to appeal to his tenderest affections in bringing the news that it was well with those at home, and that all went on prosperously and successfully there, that punishment might have been his instant and well-merited doom. For what else should be a king's care, so long as the time of war endures, than to provide for the safety of the people of his province, and to look after military matters? And even thus it also was that that messenger came inopportunely in upon my Lord Jesus Christ, and brought the report about His mother and His brethren unseasonably, just when He was fighting against ills which had assailed the very citadel of the heart, and when He was healing those who for a long time had been under the power of diverse infirmities, and when He had now put forth His utmost effort to secure the salvation of all. And truly that man might have met with a sentence like that pronounced on Peter, or even one severer still. But the hearing of the name of His mother and His brethren drew forth His clemency.

But in addition to all that has been said already, I wish to adduce still further proof, so that all may understand what impiety is contained in this assertion of yours. For if your allegation is true, that He was not born, then it will follow undoubtedly that He did not suffer; for it is not possible for one to suffer who was not also born. But if He did not suffer, then the name of the cross is done away with. And if the cross was not endured, then Jesus did not rise from the dead. And if Jesus rose not from the dead, then no other person will rise again. And if no one shall rise again, then there will be no judgment. For it is certain that, if I am not to rise again, I cannot be judged. But if there is to be no judgment, then the keeping of God's commandments will be to no purpose, and there will be no occasion for abstinence: nay, we may say, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die. For all these consequences follow when you deny that He was born of Mary. But if you acknowledge that He was born of Mary, then His passion will necessarily follow, and His resurrection will be consequent on His passion, and the judgment on His resurrection: and thus the injunctions of Scripture will have their proper value for us. This is not therefore an idle question, but there are the mightiest issues involved in this word. For just as all the law and the prophets are summed up in two words, so also all our hope is made to depend on the birth by the blessed Mary. Give me therefore an answer to these several questions which I shall address to you. How shall we get rid of these many words of the apostle, so important and so precise, which are expressed in terms like the following: But when the good pleasure of God was with us, He sent His Son, made of a woman; and again, Christ our passover is sacrificed for us; and once more, God has both raised up the Lord, and will raise up us together with Him by His own power? And there are many other passages of a similar import; as, for example, this which follows: How say some among you, that there is no resurrection of the dead? For if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is not Christ risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain. Yea, and we shall be found false witnesses of God; who have testified against God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ risen: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins: Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are more miserable than all men. But now is Christ risen from the dead, the beginning of them that sleep; and so on. Who, then, I ask, can be found so rash and audacious as not to make his faith fit in with these sacred words, in which there is no qualification nor any dubiety? Who, I ask you, O foolish Galatian, has bewitched you, as those were bewitched before whose eyes Jesus Christ was evidently set forth, crucified? From all this I think that these testimonies should suffice in proof of the judgment, and the resurrection, and the passion; and the birth by Mary is also shown to be involved naturally and at once in these facts. And what matters it though you refuse to acquiesce in this, when the Scripture proclaims the fact most unmistakeably? Nevertheless I shall again put a question to you, and let it please you to give me an answer. When Jesus gave His testimony concerning John, and said, Among them that are born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that is less in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, tell me what is meant by there being a greater than he in the kingdom of heaven. Was Jesus less in the kingdom of heaven than John? I say, God forbid! Tell me, then, how this is to be explained, and you will certainly surpass yourself. Without doubt the meaning is, that Jesus was less than John among those that are born of woman; but in the kingdom of heaven He is greater than he. Wherefore tell me this too, O Manichaeus: If you say that Christ was not born of Mary, but that He only appeared like a man, while yet He was not really a man, the appearance being effected and produced by the power that is in Him, tell me, I repeat, on whom then was it that the Spirit descended like a dove? Who is this that was baptized by John? If He was perfect, if He was the Son, if He was the Power, the Spirit could not have entered into Him; just as a kingdom cannot enter within a kingdom. And whose, too, was that voice which was sent forth out of heaven, and which gave Him this testimony, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased? Come, tell me; make no delay; who is this that acquires all these things, that does all these things? Answer me: Will you thus audaciously adduce blasphemy for reason, and will you attempt to find a place for it?

It would seem then that here as well as throughout much of the material in the Acts of Archelaus material from Against Marcion have been incorporated against Mani.

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