Thursday, May 9, 2013

Deciphering De Recta in Deum Fide

I've just ordered Pretty's 1997 translation of De Recta in Deum Fide. I resisted purchasing it because up until now I have been using Danny Mahar's private translation of the 'Marcionite portions' of the text.   Mahar sent me his original material at the end of the 20th century.  I considered it 'good enough' at the time because I was only interested in what Adamantius says about the Marcionite sect.  Yet now - under Harris's suggestion - I am increasingly convinced that the entire text has been transformed.  In my last post I demonstrated two reasons for thinking so.  Yet there are many more. 

I am going to set about proving that the original dialogue consisted of a debate between a Marcionite and an Orthodox named Adamantius.  This lost original text 'knew' or had access to the Antitheses of Marcion (as per Harris's thesis).  As such it must not only have been earlier than the existing text which is dated from at least the very late third to the early fourth century, but also must have been independent or perhaps even earlier than the rest of the surviving anti-Marcionite literature including Tertullian's Five Books Against Marcion.

As it stands now the Dialogue consists of a discussion between a Christian, Adamantius, two Marcionites (Megethius and Marcus) and a follower of Bardesanes (Marinus).  What we are suggesting is that our lost proto-text consisted only of a dialogue with a Marcionite and this original material was 'scrambled' - a consistent feature of the Orthodox revision of heretical material.  I can see clear evidence that the third or fourth century editor drew upon Irenaeus's Against Heresies to manufacture the new 'multi-person' text.  The question that stands before us is how effectively I can piece together the original proto-text from the existing - and necessarily corrupt - material. 

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