Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Magister - The Essential Difference Between the Marcionite Gospel and the Catholic Texts [Part One]

I had never noticed this before, but there is a conscious effort to add the title 'magister' to the Catholic texts.  The Catholic argument from the time of Irenaeus's Against Heresies Book Two (when he claims Jesus was almost fifty years old when crucified) is that Jesus was a magister.  Why the emphasis?  I think we can use reverse inference to assume that the Marcionites did not understand Jesus to be the magister.  Why so?  Because Simon was the magister.  Could 'magi' be a corruption of magister?  I think so.  Remember how important Mark becomes as the interpreter of Peter in the Catholic tradition.  I have long argued that the name Peter was an Aramaism derived from 'interpreter.'

It is shocking to see how rare the use of magister is outside of the quaternion.  In Ephrem's Commentary on the Gospel I count only a couple including Mark 10:17 and John 3:10.  Yet what is even more fascinating is the realization that the proto-Catholic gospel and the Marcionite gospel preserve other 'master' readings beside 'magister.'  Mark 10:17 no longer has magister bone.  Moreover the Lord's prayer is introduced with 'Lord, teach us how to pray' instead of 'Master.'  The list goes on and on.  I think this is very significant.  Will lead to an important breakthrough.  All examples of magister in Against Marcion Book Four (the book where the gospel is cited line by line with variations). 

because the preaching of disciples might be open to the suspicion of an affectation of glory, if there did not accompany it the authority of the masters, which means that of Christ, for it was that which made the apostles their masters (illi auctoritas magistrorum, immo Christi, quae magistros apostolos fecit).[4.2.1]

Luke, however, was not an apostle, but only an apostolic man; not a master, but a disciple, and so inferior to a master (non magister sed discipulus, utique magistro minor)----at least as far subsequent to him as the apostle whom he followed (and that, no doubt, was Paul) was subsequent to the others [ibid 4.2.4]

Inasmuch, therefore, as the enlightener of St. Luke himself desired the authority of his predecessors for both his own faith and preaching, how much more may not I require for Luke's Gospel that which was necessary for the Gospel of his master (quae evangelio magistri eius fuit necessaria)[4.2.5]

But for all that, heresy, which is for ever mending the Gospels, and corrupting them in the act, is an affair of man's audacity, not of God's authority; and if Marcion be even a disciple, he is yet not "above his master" (non tamen super magistrum) [4.4.5]

For even Luke's form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters (capit magistrorum videri quae discipuli promulgarint). [4.5.2]

Nay, it is even more credible that they existed from the very beginning; for, being the work of apostles, they were prior, and coeval in origin with the churches themselves. But how comes it to pass, if the apostles published nothing, that their disciples were more forward in such a work; for they could not have been disciples, without any instruction from their masters (qui nec discipuli existere potuissent sine ulla doctrina magistrorum)? [ibid]

I will therefore advise his followers, that they either change these Gospels, however late to do so, into a conformity with their own, whereby they may seem to be in agreement with the apostolic writings (for they are daily retouching their work, as daily they are convicted by us); or else that they blush for their master (magistro), who stands self-condemned either way----when once he hands on the truth of the gospel conscience smitten, or again subverts it by shameless tampering. [ibid]

Therefore Christ belonged to John, and John to Christ; while both belonged to the Creator, and both were of the law and the prophets, preachers and masters (prophetis praedicatores et magistri).[4.11.6]

And it would have been, of course, but right that a new god should first be expounded, and his discipline be introduced afterwards; because it would be the god that would impart authority to the discipline, and not the discipline to the god; except that (to be sure) it has happened that Marcion acquired his very perverse opinions not from a master, but his master from his opinion (nisi si et Marcion plane tam perversas non per magistrum litteras didicit, sed per litteras magistrum) [4.12.2]

Will it not be just the same inconsistency to desert the prescription of their master, as to have Christ teaching in the interest of men or of the Creator? But "a blind man will lead a blind man into the ditch." Some persons believe Marcion. But "the disciple is not above his master." Apelles ought to have remembered this----a corrector of Marcion, although his disciple (Eligant itaque Marcionitae ne tanti sit de magistri regula excidere quanti Christum aut hominibus aut creatori docentem habere. Sed caecus caecum ducit in foveam. Credunt aliqui Marcioni. Sed non est discipulus super magistmm. Hoc meminisse debuerat Apelles, Marcionis de discipulo emendator.) [4.17.11]

one of his disciples came to him and said, "Master, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" (Domine, inquit, doce nos orare, sicut et Ioannes discipulos suos docuit) [4.26.1]

But, inasmuch as John had introduced some new order of prayer, this disciple had not improperly presumed to think that he ought also to ask of Christ whether they too must not - according to some special rule of their Master (ut et illi de proprio magistri sui instituto non alium) pray, not indeed to another god, but in another manner [4.26.2]

Moses voluntarily interferes with brothers who were quarrelling, and chides the offender: "Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? "He is, however, rejected by him: "Who made thee a prince or a judge over us?" (Quis te constituit magistrum aut iudicem super nos?) Christ, on the contrary, when requested by a certain man to compose a strife between him and his brother about dividing an inheritance, refused His assistance, although in so honest a cause. Well, then, my Moses is better than your Christ, aiming as he did at the peace of brethren, and obviating their wrong. But of course the case must be different with Christ, for he is the Christ of the simply good and non-judicial god. "Who," says he, "made me a judge over you? " [4.28.9,10]

They, indeed, who had caught the very force of His voice, and pronunciation, and expression, discovered no other sense than what had reference to the matter of the question. Accordingly, the Scribes exclaimed, "Master, Thou hast well said." (Magister, bene dixisti) For He had affirmed the resurrection, by describing the form1526 thereof in opposition to the opinion of the Sadducees. [4.38.9]

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