Monday, December 3, 2012

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

Epiphanius Panarion 43 Scholion 7. 'I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.'

Elenchus 7. If 'even in Israel' he did not find 'such faith' as he did in the gentile centurion, then he is not finding fault with Israel's faith. For if it were faith in a strange God and not faith in his Father himself, he would not speak in praise of it.

Tertullian Against Marcion 4.18:

Likewise in his commendation of the centurion's faith, it is not likely that the statement that he had not found so great faith even in Israel should have been made by one to whom Israel's faith was of no concern. Nor could it become his concern from then onwards, that a faith which was still immature —not to say non-existent—should receive from him either approbation or preference. But, why might he not have used for an illustration faith in a different god? Because in that case he would have said that such great faith had never existed in Israel, whereas what he did say was that he ought to have found so great faith in Israel: for he had come in expectation of finding it, being Israel's God and Israel's Christ, and would not have criticized it except as one who had the right to demand it and search for it. An opponent would have preferred to find it as he did find it, for he would have come rather with a view to weakening and destroying it, not so as to approve of it. 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.

There is very strong evidence here for a relationship between the two reports of the Marcionite interpretation  of Luke 7:9.  Note again that (a) there is no report of a textual variant nor (b) is there any discussion of the rest of the narrative which spans ten verses in Luke.  The two authors chose the same line from the beginning of Luke chapter 7 and made the same point about it.  In other words, they both happened to ignore all of this:

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

It is very difficult to argue that the two reports don't come from the same report especially given the fact that they both bring forward the same two lines from the question of John the Baptist (7:23, 28), ignores the rest of the section and makes the exact same point about the material.  Once we acknowledge that Tertullian and Epiphanius were using the same source (= Irenaeus) all the inferences that Schmid et al make about the parallels in terms of the citation of the Marcionite gospel from these two sources melt away and we are left with an unknown (and probably unknowable) gospel problem.

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