Monday, December 3, 2012

Irenaeus's Citation of a 'Muddled' Resurrection Narrative

Let our opponents--that is, they who speak against their own salvation--inform us: The deceased daughter of the high priest; the widow's dead son, who was being carded out 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 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." (Sed enim apprehendit, ait, Dominus manum mortui et dixit ei: Juvenis, tibi dico, surge; et sedit mortuus, et jussit ei dare manducare, et dedit eum matri suae.) 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."  [AH 5.13.1]

Harvey argued that Irenaeus 'mixed together' the accounts of Luke 7:12 and Mark 5:41. Thus:

Dominus (κύριος = Luke 7:13) manum mortui (καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χεῖρος = Mark 5:21) et dixit ei: Juvenis, tibi dico, surge (καὶ εἶπεν νεανίσκε, σοὶ λέγω ἐγέρθητι = Luke 7:14); et sedit mortuus (= καὶ ἀνεκάθισεν ὁ νεκρὸς Luke 7:15), et jussit ei dare manducare (καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ φαγεῖν = Mark 5:43), et dedit eum matri suae (καῖ ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ = Luke 7:15).

I don't know how this can be explained as a simple 'accident.'  The accounts of the two resurrections are so similar to begin with it now seems confirmed that they were 'split' from an original account:

The Ruler's Girl (Mark 5)

And he took the girl by the hand and said 
The Widow's Son (Luke 7)

And he came and touched the bier and they that bare him stood still And he said
'Girl, I say unto thee arise.'
'Youth, I say unto thee arise.'
And straightway the arose arose and walked
And he that was dead sat up and began to speak
and commanded something be given her to eat
And he delivered him to his mother

I don't know know how any rational person can argue that Irenaeus's account is a fusion of two accounts which themselves are derived from the same original source.  Instead with Irenaeus we have found the original source.

This is of critical importance when we try and understand the context of the Secret Mark fragment.  For it dismisses the lame argument of Francis Watson that 'because Secret Mark is a patchwork it's a fraud.'  Look at Irenaeus's citation and tell me it is any different.  The Catholic narratives however are distinguished from Secret Mark's insofar as they are all used to reinforce the 'orthodox' notion of the bodily resurrection of the dead in the same flesh as you died in.  With Secret Mark's narrative things are murkier.  The three stories were often bundled together as we see from Aphrahat Demonstrations 8:

For when He raised up the widow's son, He called him twice, saying to him, Youth, youth man, arise.  And he revived and arose. And again, He twice called the daughter of the chief of the synagogue, saying to her, Girl, girl, arise.  And her spirit returned and she arose. And after Lazarus died, when He came to the place of burial. He prayed earnestly and cried with a loud voice and said, Lazarus, come forth. And he revived and came out of his tomb.

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