Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sebastian Moll is Plainly Wrong - 'Instrumentum' Clearly Means Something Like 'Codex' in Tertullian's Against Marcion

I have discussed the background to this discussion in a previous post.  For some reason Moll opposes Evans translation of instrumentum in Adv Marc 1.19.4 to imply that Marcion's 'Antitheses' stood at the head of a codex of scripture.  Moll cites a great deal of support for this understanding but then summarily dismissing it without giving so much as an explanation.  Nevertheless I think the authorities misunderstand Tertullian.  The 'antitheses' is 1 Corinthians which stood at the head of the Marcionite Apostolikon - i.e. the collection of Pauline letters.  Before we get there, let's demonstrate every use of instrumentum in Adv Marc.

Denique maior popularitas generis humani, ne nominis quidem Moysi compotes, nedum instrumenti, deum Moysi tamen norunt; etiam tantam idololatria dominationem obumbrante seorsum tamen illum quasi proprio nomine deum perhibent et deum deorum, et, Si deus dederit, et, Quod deo placet, et, Deo commendo [Adv Marc 1.10.2]

Holmes translation - The greater part, therefore, of the human race, although they knew not even the name of Moses, much less his writings, yet knew the God of Moses; and even when idolatry overshadowed the world with its extreme prevalence, men still spoke of Him separately by His own name as God, and the God of gods, and said, "If God grant," and, "As God pleases," and, "I commend you to God."

Digna enim deo probabunt deum. Nos definimus deum primo natura cognoscendum, deinde1 doctrina recognoscendum, natura ex operibus, doctrina ex praedicationibus. Sed cui nulla natura est, naturalia instrumenta non suppetunt [1.18.2]

Holmes translation - For things which are worthy of God will prove the existence of God. We maintain that God must first be known from nature, and afterwards authenticated219 by instruction: from nature by His works; by instruction, through His revealed announcements. Now, in a case where nature is excluded, no natural means (of knowledge) are furnished. He ought, therefore, to have carefully supplied a revelation of himself, even by announcements, especially as he had to be revealed in opposition to One who, after so many and so great works, both of creation and revealed announcement, had with difficulty succeeded in satisfying men's faith.

Separatio legis et evangelii proprium et principale opus est Marcionis, nec poterunt negare discipuli eius quod in summo instrumento habent, quo denique initiantur et indurantur in hanc haeresim. Nam hae sunt Antitheses Marcionis, id est contrariae oppositiones, quae conantur discordiam evangelii cum lege committere, ut ex diversitate sententiarum utriusque instrumenti diversitatem quoque argumententur deorum. [1.19.4]

Holmes translation - Now, to prove clearly what remains of the argument, I shall draw materials from my very adversaries. Marcion's special and principal work is the separation of the law and the gospel; and his disciples will not deny that in this point they have their very best pretext for initiating and confirming themselves in his heresy. These are Marcion's Antitheses, or contradictory propositions, which aim at committing the gospel to a variance with the law, in order that from the diversity of the two documents which contain them, they may contend for a diversity of gods also. Since, therefore, it is this very opposition between the law and the gospel which has suggested that the God of the gospel is different from the God of the law, it is clear that, before the said separation, that god could not have been known who became known from the argument of the separation itself. He therefore could not have been revealed by Christ, who came before the separation, but must have been devised by Marcion, the author of the breach of peace between the gospel and the law. Now this peace, which had remained unhurt and unshaken from Christ's appearance to the time of Marcion's audacious doctrine, was no doubt maintained by that way of thinking, which firmly held that the God of both law and gospel was none other than the Creator, against whom after so long a time a separation has been introduced by the heretic of Pontus.

Quid enim, si medicum quidem dicas esse debere, ferramenta vero eius accuses quod secent et inurant et amputent et constrictent, quando sine instrumento artis medicus esse non possit? [2.16.2]

Holmes translation - Censure, if you please, the practitioner who cuts badly, amputates clumsily, is rash in his cautery; and even blame his implements as rough tools of his art. Your conduct is equally unreasonable, when you allow indeed that God is a judge, but at the same time destroy those operations and dispositions by which He discharges His judicial functions. We are taught God by the prophets, and by Christ, not by the philosophers nor by Epicurus

Contra Hebraei mutuas petitiones instituunt, allegantes sibi quoque eorundem patrum nomine, ex eodem scripturae instrumento, mercedes restitui oportere illius operariae servitutis pro laterinis deductis, pro civitatibus et villis aedificatis.[2.20.2]

The Hebrews assert a counter claim, alleging that by the bond of their respective fathers, attested by the written engagement of both parties, there were due to them the arrears of that laborious slavery of theirs, for the bricks they had so painfully made, and the cities and palaces258 which they had built

Et ut fidem instrueret, dotem quandam commentatus est illi, opus ex contrarietatum oppositionibus Antitheses cognominatum et ad separationem legis et evangelii coactum, qua duos deos dividens, proinde diversos, alterum alterius instrumenti, vel, quod magis usui est dicere, testamenti, ut exinde evangelio quoque secundum Antitheses credendo patrocinaretur. [4.1.1]

Holmes translation - Every opinion and the whole scheme of the impious and sacrilegious Marcion we now bring to the test of that very Gospel which, by his process of interpolation, he has made his own. To encourage a belief of this Gospel he has actually devised for it a sort of dower, in a work composed of contrary statements set in opposition, thence entitled Antitheses, and compiled with a view to such a severance of the law from the gospel as should divide the Deity into two, nay, diverse, gods----one for each Instrument, or Testament as it is more usual to call it; that by such means he might also patronize belief in "the Gospel according to the Antitheses."

Constituimus inprimis evangelicum instrumentum apostolos auctores habere, quibus hoc munus evangelii promulgandi ab ipso domino sit impositum [4.2.1]

Holmes translation - You have now our answer to the Antitheses compendiously indicated by us. I pass on to give a proof of the Gospel ----not, to be sure, of Jewry, but of Pontus----having become meanwhile adulterated; and this shall indicate the order by which we proceed. We lay it down as our first position, that the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors, to whom was assigned by the Lord Himself this office of publishing the gospel. Since, however, there are apostolic men also, they are yet not alone, but appear with apostles and after apostles; 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.

Porro Lucas non apostolus sed apostolicus, non magister sed discipulus, utique magistro minor, certe tanto posterior quanto posterioris apostoli sectator, Pauli sine dubio, ut et si sub ipsius Pauli nomine evangelium Marcion intulisset, non sufficeret ad fidem singularitas instrumenti destituta patrocinio antecessorum. [4.2.4]

Holmes translation - But we prefer to join issue on every point; nor shall we leave unnoticed56 what may fairly be understood to be on our side. Now, of the authors whom we possess, Marcion seems to have singled out Luke for his mutilating process. Luke, however, was not an apostle, but only an apostolic man; not a master, but a disciple, and so inferior to a master----at least as far subsequent to him as the apostle whom he followed (and that, no doubt, was Paul) was subsequent to the others; so that, had Marcion even published his Gospel in the name of St. Paul himself, the single authority of the document, destitute of all support from preceding authorities, would not be a sufficient basis for our faith.

Si vero apostoli quidem integrum evangelium contulerunt, de sola convictus inaequalitate reprehensi, pseudapostoli autem veritatem eorum interpolaverunt, et inde sunt nostra digesta, quod erit germanum illud apostolorum instrumentum quod adulteros passum est, quod Paulum illuminavit et ab eo Lucam?  [4.3.4]

Holmes translation - And, in like manner, if false apostles also crept in, their character too showed itself in their insisting upon circumcision and the Jewish ceremonies. So that it was not on account of their preaching, but of their conversation, that they were marked by St. Paul, who would with equal impartiality have marked them with censure, if they had erred at all with respect to God the Creator or His Christ. Each several case will therefore have to be distinguished. When Marcion complains that apostles are suspected (for their prevarication and dissimulation) of having even depraved the gospel, he thereby accuses Christ, by accusing those whom Christ chose. If, then, the apostles, who are censured simply for inconsistency of walk, composed the Gospel in a pure form, but false apostles interpolated their true record; and if our own copies have been made from these, where will that genuine text of the apostle's writings be found which has not suffered adulteration? Which was it that enlightened Paul, and through him Luke? It is either completely blotted out, as if by some deluge----being obliterated by the inundation of falsifiers----in which case even Marcion does not possess the true Gospel; for else, is that very edition which Marcion alone possesses the true one, that is, of the apostles? How, then, does that agree with ours, which is said not to be (the work) of apostles, but of Luke? Or else, again, if that which Marcion uses is not to be attributed to Luke simply because it does agree with ours (which, of course, is, also adulterated in its title), then it is the work of apostles. Our Gospel, therefore, which is in agreement with it, is equally the work of apostles, but also adulterated in its title

nisi quia ideo ipsa voluit eos appellatione filii hominis ex instrumento Danielis repercutere, ut ostenderet deum et hominem4 qui delicta dimitteret; illum scilicet solum filium hominis apud Danielis prophetiam consecutum iudicandi potestatem, ac per eam utique et dimittendi delicta (qui enim iudicat, et absolvit), ut scandalo isto discusso per scripturae recordationem facilius eum agnoscerent ipsum esse filium hominis ex ipsa peccatorum remissione. [4.10.13,14]

Holmes translation - What I have advanced might have been sufficient concerning the designation in prophecy of the Son of man. But the Scripture offers me further information, even in the interpretation of the Lord Himself. For when the Jews, who looked at Him as merely man, and were not yet sure that He was God also, as being likewise the Son of God, rightly enough said that a man could not forgive sins, but God alone, why did He not, following up their point about man, answer them, that He had power to remit sins; inasmuch as, when He mentioned the Son of man, He also named a human being? except it were because He wanted, by help of the very designation "Son of man" from the book of Daniel, so to induce them to reflect as to show them that He who remitted sins was God and man- that only Son of man, indeed, in the prophecy of Daniel, who had obtained the power of judging, and thereby, of course, of forgiving sins likewise (for He who judges also absolves); so that, when once that objection of theirs was shattered to pieces by their recollection of Scripture, they might the more easily acknowledge Him to be the Son of man Himself by His own actual forgiveness of sins. I make one more observation, how that He has nowhere as yet professed Himself to be the Son of God----but for the first time in this passage, in which for the first time He has remitted sins; that is, in which for the first time He has used His function of judgment, by the absolution.

Nam et abscondit praemisso obscuritatis propheticae instrumento, cuius intellectum fides mereretur (Nisi enim credideritis, non intellegetis) et reos habuit sapientes atque prudentes ex ipsis operibus tot ac tantis intellegibilem deum non requirentes vel perperam in illum philosophantes et ingenia haereticis subministrantes, et novissime zelotes est [4.25.3]

Holmes translation - Therefore, since he had neither provided any materials in which he could have hidden anything, nor had any offenders from whom he could have hidden himself: since, again, even if he had had any, he ought not to have hidden himself from them, he will not now be himself the revealer, who was not previously the concealer; so neither will any be the Lord of heaven nor the Father of Christ but He in whom all these attributes consistently meet. For He conceals by His preparatory apparatus of prophetic obscurity, the understanding of which is open to faith (for "if ye will not believe, ye shall not understand"); and He had offenders in those wise and prudent ones who would not seek after God, although He was to be discovered in His so many and mighty works, or who rashly philosophized about Him, and thereby furnished to heretics their arts; and lastly, He is a jealous God

Quamobrem, Pontice nauclere, si nunquam furtivas merces vel illicitas in acatos tuas recepisti, si nullum omnino onus avertisti vel adulterasti, cautior utique et fidelior in dei rebus, edas velim nobis, quo sym- bolo susceperis apostolum Paulum, quis illum tituli charactere percusserit, quis transmiserit tibi, quis imposuerit, ut possis eum constanter exponere, ne illius probetur qui omnia apostolatus eius instrumenta protulerit [5.1.2]

Holmes translation - Indeed, when I hear that this man was chosen by the Lord after He had attained His rest in heaven, I feel that a kind of improvidence is imputable to Christ, for not knowing before that this man was necessary to Him; and because He thought that he must be added to the apostolic body in the way of a fortuitous encounter rather than a deliberate selection; by necessity (so to speak), and not voluntary choice, although the members of the apostolate had been duly ordained, and were now dismissed to their several missions. Wherefore, O shipmaster of Pontus, if you have never taken on board your small craft any contraband goods or smuggler's cargo, if you have never thrown overboard or tampered with a freight, you are still more careful and conscientious, I doubt not, in divine things; and so I should be glad if you would inform us under what bill of lading you admitted the Apostle Paul on board, who ticketed him, what owner forwarded him, who handed him to you, that so you may land him without any misgiving, lest he should turn out to belong to him, who can substantiate his claim to him by producing all his apostolic writings.

He professes himself to be "an apostle"----to use his own, words----"not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ." Of course, any one may make a profession concerning himself; but his profession is only rendered valid by the authority of a second person. One man signs, another countersigns; one man appends his seal, another registers in the public records. No one is at once a proposer and a seconder to himself. Besides, you have read, no doubt, that "many shall come, saying, I am Christ." Now if any one can pretend that he is Christ, how much more might a man profess to be an apostle of Christ! But still, for my own part, I appear in the character of a disciple and an inquirer; that so I may even thus both refute your belief, who have nothing to support it, and confound your shamelessness, who make claims without possessing the means of establishing them.

Sit Christus, sit apostolus, ut alterius, dum non probantur nisi de instrumento creatoris. [5.1.4]

Holmes translation - Let there be a Christ, let there be an apostle, although of another god; but what matter? since they are only to draw their proofs out of the Testament of the Creator.

Quodsi et ex hoc congruunt Paulo Apostolorum Acta, cur ea respuatis iam apparet, ut deum scilicet non alium praedicantia quam creatorem, nec Christum alterius quam creatoris, quando nec promissio spiritus sancti aliunde probetur exhibita quam de instrumento Actorum. [5.2.7]

Holmes translation - But you thus entangle yourself still more. For this is now the mesh in which you are caught. To affirm that there are two gospels, is not the part of a man who has already denied that there is another. His meaning, however, is clear, for he has mentioned himself first (in the anathema): "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel." It is by way of an example that he has expressed himself. If even he himself might not preach any other gospel, then neither might an angel. He said "angel" in this way, that he might show how much more men ought not to be believed, when neither an angel nor an apostle ought to be; not that he meant to apply an angel to the gospel of the Creator.  He then cursorily touches on his own conversion from a persecutor to an apostle----confirming thereby the Acts of the Apostles, in which book may be found the very subject of this epistle, how that certain persons interposed, and said that men ought to be circumcised, and that the law of Moses was to be observed; and how the apostles, when consulted, determined, by the authority of the Holy Ghost, that "a yoke should not be put upon men's necks which their fathers even had not been able to bear." Now, since the Acts of the Apostles thus agree with Paul, it becomes apparent why you reject them. It is because they declare no other God than the Creator, and prove Christ to belong to no other God than the Creator; whilst the promise of the Holy Ghost is shown to have been fulfilled in no other document than the Acts of the Apostles. Now, it is not very likely that these should be found in agreement with the apostle, on the one hand, when they described his career in accordance with his own statement; but should, on the other hand, be at variance with him when they announce the (attribute of) divinity in the Creator's Christ----as if Paul did not follow the preaching of the apostles when he received from them the prescription of not teaching the Law.

Iesum autem et secun dum nostrum evangelium diabolus quoque in temptatione cognovit, et secundum commune instrumentum spiritus nequam sciebat eum sanctum dei esse et Iesum vocari et in perditionem eorum venisse [5.6.7]

Holmes translation - But it is no longer open to me even to interpret the princes and powers of this world as the Creator's, since the apostle imputes ignorance to them, whereas even the devil according to our Gospel recognised Jesus in the temptation, and, according to the record which is common to both (Marcionites and ourselves) the evil spirit knew that Jesus was the Holy One of God, and that Jesus was His name, and that He was come to destroy them. The parable also of the strong man armed, whom a stronger than he overcame and seized his goods, is admitted by Marcion to have reference to the Creator: therefore the Creator could not have been ignorant any longer of the God of glory, since He is overcome by him; nor could He have crucified him whom He was unable to cope with. The inevitable inference, therefore, as it seems to me, is that we must believe that the princes and powers of the Creator did knowingly crucify the God of glory in His Christ, with that desperation and excessive malice with which the most abandoned slaves do not even hesitate to slay their masters. For it is written in my Gospel that "Satan entered into Judas." According to Marcion, however, the apostle in the passage under consideration does not allow the imputation of ignorance, with respect to the Lord of glory, to the powers of the Creator; because, indeed, he will have it that these are not meant by "the princes of this world." But (the apostle) evidently did not speak of spiritual princes; so that he meant secular ones, those of the princely people, (chief in the divine dispensation, although) not, of course, amongst the nations of the world, and their rulers, and king Herod, and even Pilate, and, as represented by him, that power of Rome which was the greatest in the world, and then presided over by him. 

Et quare adhuc eodem et deus instrumento et apostolus nititur? [5.6.9]

Holmes translation - Thus the arguments of the other side are pulled down, and our own proofs are thereby built up. But you still maintain that our glory comes from your god, with whom it also lay in secret. Then why does your god employ the self-same Scripture which the apostle also relies on? What has your god to do at all with the sayings of the prophets? "Who hath discovered the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor? " So says Isaiah. What has he also to do with illustrations from our God?

Quantas autem foveas in ista vel maxime epistula Marcion fecerit, auferendo quae voluit, de nostri instrumenti integritate parebit. [5.13.4]

Holmes translation - But what serious gaps Marcion has made in this epistle especially, by withdrawing whole passages at his will, will be clear from the unmutilated text of our own copy.  It is enough for my purpose to accept in evidence of its truth what he has seen fit to leave unerased, strange instances as they are also of his negligence and blindness. If, then, God will judge the secrets of men----both of those who have sinned in the law, and of those who have sinned without law (inasmuch as they who know not the law yet do by nature the things contained in the law) ----surely the God who shall judge is He to whom belong both the law, and that nature which is the rule to them who know not the law.

Inde ergo exclamatum est: O profundum divitiarum et sapientiae dei! cuius iam thesauri patebant. Id Esaiae: et sequentia de eiusdem prophetae instrumento: Quis enim cognovit sensum domini, aut quis consiliarius eius fuit? [5.14.10]

Holmes translation - For where had been their sin, if they only maintained the righteousness of their own God against one of whom they were ignorant? But he exclaims: "O the depth of the riches and the wisdom of God; how unsearchable also are His ways!" Whence this outburst of feeling? Surely from the recollection of the Scriptures, which he had been previously turning over, as well as from his contemplation of the mysteries which he had been setting forth above, in relation to the faith of Christ coming from the law. If Marcion had an object in his erasures, why does his apostle utter such an exclamation, because his god has no riches for him to contemplate? So poor and indigent was he, that he created nothing, predicted nothing----in short, possessed nothing; for it was into the world of another God that he descended. The truth is, the Creator's resources and riches, which once had been hidden, were now disclosed.  For so had He promised: "I will give to them treasures which have been hidden, and which men have not seen will I open to them." Hence, then, came the exclamation, "O the depth of the riches and the wisdom of God!" For His treasures were now opening out. This is the purport of what Isaiah said, and of (the apostle's own) subsequent quotation of the self-same passage, of the prophet: "Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor? Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? " Now, (Marcion, ) since you have expunged so much from the Scriptures, why did you retain these words, as if they too were not the Creator's words?

taceat et anus illa, ne fascinet puerum. his opinor consiliis tot originalia instrumenta Christi delere, Marcion, ausus es, ne caro eius probaretur. [De Carne Christi 2.2]

Clearly enough is the nativity announced by Gabriel. But what has he to do with the Creator's angel? The conception in the virgin's womb is also set plainly before us. But what concern has he with the Creator's prophet, Isaiah? He will not brook delay, since suddenly (without any prophetic announcement) did he bring down Christ from heaven. "Away," says he, "with that eternal plaguey taxing of Caesar, and the scanty inn, and the squalid swaddling-clothes, and the hard stable. We do not care a jot for that multitude of the heavenly host which praised their Lord at night. Let the shepherds take better care of their flock, and let the wise men spare their legs so long a journey; let them keep their gold to themselves. Let Herod, too, mend his manners, so that Jeremy may not glory over him. Spare also the babe from circumcision, that he may escape the pain thereof; nor let him be brought into the temple, lest he burden his parents with the expense of the offering; nor let him be handed to Simeon, lest the old man be saddened at the point of death. Let that old woman also hold her tongue, lest she should bewitch the child." After such a fashion as this, I suppose you have had, O Marcion, the hardihood of blotting out the original records (of the history) of Christ, that His flesh may lose the proofs of its reality. But, prithee, on what grounds (do you do this)? Show me your authority. If you are a prophet, foretell us a thing; if you are an apostle, open your message in public; if a follower of apostles, side with apostles in thought; if you are only a (private) Christian, believe what has been handed down to us: if, however, you are nothing of all this, then (as I have the best reason to say) cease to live. For indeed you are already dead, since you are no Christian, because you do not believe that which by being believed makes men Christian,----nay, you are the more dead, the more you are not a Christian; having fallen away, after you had been one, by rejecting what you formerly believed, even as you yourself acknowledge in a certain letter of yours, and as your followers do not deny, whilst our (brethren) can prove it.

De sideribus, inquiunt, et de substantiis superioris mundi mutuatus est carnem: et utique proponunt non esse mirandum corpus sine nativitate, cum et apud nos angelis licuerit nulla uteri opera in carne processisse. agnoscimus quidem ita relatum: sed tamen quale est ut alterius regulae fides ab ea fide quam impugnat instrumentum argumentationibus suis mutuetur [ibid 6.4]

To the arguments, however, which have been indicated just above, we have now to show our resistance.  They allow that Christ really had a body. Whence was the material of it, if not from the same sort of thing as that in which He appeared? Whence came His body, if His body were not flesh? Whence came His flesh, if it were not born? Inasmuch as that which is born must undergo this nativity in order to become flesh. He borrowed, they say, His flesh from the stars, and from the substances of the higher world. And they assert it for a certain principle, that a body without nativity is nothing to be astonished at, because it has been submitted to angels to appear even amongst ourselves in the flesh without the intervention of the womb.  We admit, of course, that such facts have been related. But then, how comes it to pass that a faith which holds to a different rule borrows materials for its own arguments from the faith which it impugns? What has it to do with Moses, who has rejected the God of Moses? Since the God is a different one, everything belonging to him must be different also. But let the heretics always use the Scriptures of that God whose world they also enjoy. The fact will certainly recoil on them as a witness to judge them, that they maintain their own blasphemies from examples derived from Him. But it is an easy task for the truth to prevail without raising any such demurrer against them.

Quibus fuit propositum aliter docendi, eos necessitas institit aliter disponendi instrumenta doctrinae.   Alias enim non potuissent aliter docere nisi aliter haberent per quae docerent. Sicut illis non potuisset succedere corruptela doctrinae sine corruptela instrumentorum eius, ita et nobis integritas doctrinae non competisset sine integritate eorum per quae doctrina tractatur [Praescr. Haer. 38.2, 3]

Where diversity of doctrine is found, there, then, must the corruption both of the Scriptures and the expositions thereof be regarded as existing.  On those whose purpose it was to teach differently, lay the necessity of differently arranging the instruments of doctrine. They could not possibly have effected their diversity of teaching in any other way than by having a difference in the means whereby they taught. As in their case, corruption in doctrine could not possibly have succeeded without a corruption also of its instruments, so to ourselves also integrity of doctrine could not have accrued, without integrity in those means by which doctrine is managed. Now, what is there in our Scriptures which is contrary to us? What of our own have we introduced, that we should have to take it away again, or else add to it, or alter it, in order to restore to its natural soundness anything which is contrary to it, and contained in the Scriptures? What we are ourselves, that also the Scriptures are (and have been) from the beginning. Of them we have our being, before there was any other way, before they were interpolated by you.  Now, inasmuch as all interpolation must be believed to be a later process, for the express reason that it proceeds from rivalry which is never in any case previous to nor home-born with that which it emulates, it is as incredible to every man of sense that we should seem to have introduced any corrupt text into the Scriptures, existing, as we have been, from the very first, and being the first, as it is that they have not in fact introduced it who are both later in date and opposed (to the Scriptures). One man perverts the Scriptures with his hand, another their meaning by his exposition.
Neque enim si Valentinus integro instrumento uti uidetur, non callidiore ingenio quam Marcion manus intulit ueritati.[Praescr. Haer 38.7]

For although Valentinus seems to use the entire volume, he has none the less laid violent hands on the truth only with a more cunning mind and skill than Marcion.  Marcion expressly and openly used the knife, not the pen, since he made such an excision of the Scriptures as suited his own subject-matter. Valentinus, however, abstained from such excision, because he did not invent Scriptures to square with his own subject-matter, but adapted his matter to the Scriptures; and yet he took away more, and added more, by removing the proper meaning of every particular word, and adding fantastic arrangements of things which have no real existence

Ceterum si Numae Pompilii superstitiones reuoluamus, si sacerdotalia officia et insignia et priuilegia, si sacrificantium ministeria et instrumenta et uasa, ipsorum sacrificiorum ac piaculorum et uotorum curiositates consideremus, nonne manifeste diabolus morositatem illam Iudaicae legis imitatus est? Qui ergo ipsas res de quibus sacramenta Christi administrantur, tam aemulanter adfectauit exprimere in negotiis idololatriae, utique et idem et eodem ingenio gestiit et potuit instrumenta quoque diuinarum rerum et sanctorum christianorum, sensum de sensibus, uerba de uerbis, parabolas de parabolis, profanae et aemulae fidei attemperare [ibid 40.6 - 8]

Suppose now we revolve in our minds the superstitions of Numa Pompilius, and consider his priestly offices and badges and privileges, his sacrificial services, too, and the instruments and vessels of the sacrifices themselves, and the curious rites of his expiations and vows: is it not clear to us that the devil imitated the well-known moroseness of the Jewish law?  Since, therefore he has shown such emulation in his great aim of expressing, in the concerns of his idolatry, those very things of which consists the administration of Christ's sacraments, it follows, of course, that the same being, possessing still the same genius, both set his heart upon, and succeeded in, adapting to his profane and rival creed the very documents of divine things and of the Christian saints —his interpretation from their interpretations, his words from their words, his parables from their parables. For this reason, then, no one ought to doubt, either that "spiritual wickednesses," from which also heresies come, have been introduced by the devil, or that there is any real difference between heresies and idolatry, seeing that they appertain both to the same author and the same work that idolatry does.  They either pretend that there is another god in opposition to the Creator, or, even if they acknowledge that the Creator is the one only God, they treat of Him as a different being from what He is in truth.  The consequence is, that every lie which they speak of God is in a certain sense a sort of idolatry

Satis haec de prophetico instrumento. [De Resurr 33.1]

That is enough concerning the prophetic document. I now make my appeal to the Gospels, intending here also to confront first of all that same subtilty of those who, because it is written, All these things spake Jesus in parables and without a parable spake he not unto them,1 namely the Jews, immediately claim that the Lord made all his pronouncements in parables.

Male deum norunt qui non putant illum posse quod non putant. Et tamen sciunt potuisse, si instrumentum Iohannis norunt [ibid 38.4]

They know God badly who think him unable to do what they do not think him able to do. And yet they know he was able, if they know John's document: for God who subjected to view the souls, as yet bodiless, of the martyrs, which were at rest beneath the altar, could certainly without flesh have made them evident to men's eyes as they rose again

Quam Christus ediderit resurrectionem apostolica quoque instrumenta testantur [ibid 39.1]

Also the apostolic documents give evidence of what resurrection Christ has announced. For the apostles had no other task, at least in Israel, than the unsealing of the Old Testament and the sealing of the New, and now rather of preaching God in Christ. Thus even concerning the resurrection they introduced nothing new, except that the resurrection itself they proclaimed to the glory of Christ.1 Apart from that it was already accepted in simple and acknowledged faith without any question as to its nature, the Sadducees alone objecting: so much easier was it for the resurrection of the dead to be totally denied than for a different construction to be put upon it. You have Paul as a professor of his own faith before the chief priests, under the chief captain, between the Sadducees and the Pharisees

At ubi iam nationes praeconium resurrectionis inauditae retro ipsa novitate concussit, et digna incredulitas rei tantae quaestionibus fidem torquere coepit, tunc et apostolus per totum paene instrumentum fidem huius spei corroborare curavit, et esse eam ostendens et nondum transactam et, de quo magis quaerebatur, corporalem et, quod insuper dubitabatur, non aliter corporalem.

Nihil autem mirum si et ex ipsius instrumento argumenta captantur, cum oporteat haereses esse: quae esse non possent si non et perperam scripturae intellegi possent. [ibid 39.8 - 40.1]

But when the preaching of a resurrection previously unheard-of had shaken the gentiles by its very novelty, and condign unbelief of so great a matter had begun to torment the faith with questionings, thereupon the apostle also took care throughout almost his whole writings to confirm the faith of this hope, showing both that it exists and has not yet been accomplished, and (a matter that was more often brought into question) that it is corporal, and (a point which was further in doubt) that it is not corporal in some unusual sense.

Now no wonder if captious arguments are drawn even from the apostle's own writings, seeing there must needs be heresies,4 and these could not exist unless it were also possible for the scriptures to be perversely understood. The heresies then, seizing upon the fact that the apostle has set forth two men, the inner, which is the soul, and the outer, which is the flesh, have adjudged salvation to the soul, the inner man, but destruction to the flesh, the outer man, on the ground that it is written to the Corinthians, For although our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is being renewed from day to day.

I think even the most casual reader can see the Corinthians first paradigm at work here.  Instrumentum is used here to describe the collection of writings of the apostle where Corinthians is the chief text used to bolster the heretical position.  I believe this qualifies as 'brilliant' - a breakthrough in New Testament scholarship.  Maybe the rest of you can't see it yet.  But we have just turned upside down two hundred years of Marcionite scholarship!

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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