Sunday, July 7, 2013

When It Rains It Pours ...

I have so much evidence in favor of my thesis that I wondering whether I should just stop now and write the damn paper.  Seriously.  I was just flipping through my favorite anti-Marcionite treatise - De Recta in Deum Fide (commonly known as the Dialogues of Adamantius) and I discovered much to my surprise that Adv. Marc. Book Three and De Carne Christi are not the only places which identifying the Christian god as an angelic איש.  The topic comes up twice in Book Five (p. 152 - 156 Pretty translation) as we read:

MAR: Christ had a heavenly body, and we prove that it was heavenly.
AD: From what kind of substance?  From angelic substance?  or that of a ruling power? or of Lordship?  Please tell us from what source Christ assumed a body.
EUTR:  Your party has not proven that there is a substance, and yet you claim that he assumed heavenly flesh.  So you must believe that he assumed a body from non-existent elements.
MAR: We say that Christ assumed a body in appearance. Just as the angels appeared to Abraham and ate and drank with him so also he appeared.
AD: Why then did He come to teach us the truth so that we could be saved through Him?  Or did He, by your theory, speak falsely when He promised us salvation?  If indeed Christ calls us to life through falsehood, the false promise was not true; but if he was a teacher of truth it is clear that He was speaking the truth from the first.  Let Marinus and his friends therefore decide which of the two statements they intend to call false: that of themselves or that of Christ.  Since they deny the birth of Christ according to the flesh and the plan of salvation through Him, how is it that they listen to Him when He calls Himself Son of Man?  If He was revealed in a form that only 'seemed' to be man, what need was there to call Himself Son of Man?  He should have said simply, "The Man must suffer many things" (cf. Mk 8:31, Lk 9:22)  If He wanted to teach men the truth, why did he call Himself, not Man, but Son of Man, falsely claiming to be what He was not?  Rather would He simply and truly say of Himself that which He really was.  He would not make Himself more esteemed by being thought a man, instead of God, nor would they believe on Him more if they considered Him to be a man, rather than God.  Moreover, if He came into the world because He wanted the truth to be known as the teachers of Docetism understand it, he ought not to have been transformed so as to appear to be what he was not, but rather to have been unknown.  Again, He ought not to have kept secret what he really was, calling Himself man instead of God.  And He is Son of Man, how can my opponents cunningly contrive to put forward the lie that it was because He was seen in human form that he was actually thought to be Son of Man?  And why do I speak only of form?  For men are seen not only in form but also in substance, since they are human by nature.  Adam and Eve were not 'sons of men', nor were they so called.  If the term 'son' were indicative of the substance of human beings, Adam and Eve, being human beings, ought to have been called 'sons of men.'  The holy angels, too, ought to have used the name 'son of man' in this way, since they have very often appeared in the form and likeness of human beings.
EUTR: The word 'son' does not show the substance of human beings, but their birth from human beings.
MAR: I believe that just as the angels appeared to Abraham and ate and drank and conversed with him, so Christ appeared to humans.
AD:  They were types before the coming of Christ, but when the Truth had come, the types ceased, according to the Apostle; "The Law is a shadow of the good things to come"  (Heb 10:1) not the exact image of things.  So if Christ Himself came as the angels did - as a shadow and prophetically - we ought by your view, to look now for another who is truly Son of Man; One who truly dies, is buried and rises from the dead One who will give true salvation to humanity.
MAR: If the angels were types of Christ, how is it that they ate and drank with Abraham.  Did they really eat, or not? 

This evidence isn't just a third witness to the identification of the Christian god as one of the אֲנָשִׁ֔ים. It will complete Helm's work in helping us identify De Recta in Deum Fide as originally being directed entirely against Megethius (as testified by Anastasius of Sinai) and later reworked into a refutation of various sects.  In other words, in due course we will use this among other pieces of evidence to show that the section devoted to 'Marinus' was a reworking of Megethius material.   Why so?  Because, as I have said many, many times before - our existing information about Marcion was redacted in a later period to exaggerate its dualistic (proto-Manichaean) tendencies and - more importantly - to obscure its Jewishness. 

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