Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tertullian Also Seems to Have Known the Specific Aramaic Name אישו for the Christian God

I have already demonstrated that Tertullian demonstrates the Marcionite acceptance of the ΙΣ = איש formula we have been working to establish.  The lost original source has been re-used in two treatises of Tertullian - Adv. Marc. 3 and De Carne Christi.  Yet I just noticed that the specific allusion to our proposed Aramaic name אישו albeit translated now into Latin, in the material which immediately precedes our last citation of the text:

Consequently, it was not as belonging to another god that they objected to Christ and persecuted him, but as being nothing more than a man, whom they supposed to be a magician in his miracles, and their opponent in his doctrines: with the result that this man, as belonging to them, being a Jew, yet a perverter and overthrower of Judaism, they brought to judgement and punished by their law: a stranger they would certainly not have judged. So far are they from appearing to have taken Christ for a stranger, that it was not as a stranger that they brought his man (hominem eius =  אישו) to judgement.

It is now possible for the heretic to learn, and the Jew as well, what he ought to know already, the reason for the Jew's errors: for from the Jew the heretic has accepted guidance in this discussion, the blind borrowing from the blind, and has fallen into the same ditch ... [an extended discussion of the two advents of Christ follows] ... Let the heretic now give up borrowing poison from the Jew,— the asp, as they say, from the viper: let him from now on belch forth the slime of his own particular devices, as he maintains that Christ was a phantasm: except that this opinion too will have had other inventors, those so to speak premature and abortive Marcionites whom the apostle John pronounced antichrists, who denied that Christ was come in the flesh, yet not with the intention of setting up the law of a second god—else for this too they would have been censured by the apostle but because they had assumed it incredible that God should take to him human flesh ... [Adv. Marc. 3.7]

I strongly expect that the original source here is Justin and he seems to have either been aware of the Marcionite name or wrote his lost original treatise in Aramaic (?).  In Book Four of Adv. Marc. we read a very similar allusion:

When the Jews were taking account only of his man (hominem eius =  אישו), not yet aware that he was also God, as being also God's Son, and were (as might be expected) arguing that a man cannot forgive sins, but only God can, how is it that the answer he gave them concerning man, that he has power to forgive sins—when by using the expression 'Son of man' he implied 'man' as well—was not in terms of their objection? Was it not that it was his wish by this title Son of man from the book of Daniel to turn their complaint back upon them in such form as to prove that he who was forgiving sins was both God and Man— that one and only Son of man in terms of Daniel's prophecy, who had obtained power to judge, and by it of course the power to forgive sins (for he who judges also acquits)—and so after that cause of offence had been dispersed by his citation of scripture, they might the more readily recognize from that very act of for- giving sins that he and no other was the Son of man? Actually, he had never before professed himself the Son of man, but on this occasion first on which he first forgave sins—that is, on which he first exercised judgement, by acquittal. On this subject take note of what all the arguments amount to which our adversaries allege. They cannot avoid arriving at such a pitch of madness as to insist that Christ is the Son of man, so as not to make him a liar, yet to deny that he is of human birth, to escape admitting that he is the Virgin's son. [Adv. Marc. 4.10.13]

And again in Adv. Prax. 30:

Otherwise, if you will persist further, I shall be able to give you a harder answer and to put you in conflict with the statement of the Lord himself, so as to say, Why do you ask questions about that answer? You have him crying aloud at his passion, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Consequently either the Son was suffering, forsaken by the Father, and the Father did not suffer, seeing he had forsaken the Son: or else, if it was the Father who was suffering, to what God was he crying aloud? But this utterance of flesh and soul (that is, of the manhood), not of the Word and Spirit (that is, not of God), was sent forth with the express purpose of showing the impassibility of God who thus forsook the Son when he delivered his man (hominem eius) to death.

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.