Wednesday, November 19, 2014

17. Tertullian his devoted adherent stops short of saying Marcion corrupted Luke

This is a point first noted by Hermann Raschke.  Raschke (p 37) notes that Tertullian's endorsement of the Marcion's = Luke is rather weak. It is only a presumption for Tertullian for he begins "It seems Marcion chose Luke as the one to mutilate" (caederet, tert IV. 2), for he says expressly 'videtur' or "it seems", which implies uncertainty.  The original passage reads, "nam ex iis commentatoribus quos habemus Lucam videtur Marcion elegisse quem caederet."  Evans translates the passage - "out of those authors whom we possess, Marcion is seen to have chosen Luke as the one to mutilate" but Holmes "now, of the authors whom we possess, Marcion seems to have singled out Luke for his mutilating process."

It isn't noted often enough that the entire thesis of Book Four is based on a superficial assumption which only 'seems' to be true. Tertullian does not claim to know 'for a fact' that the Marcionite gospel = cut Luke. Raschke also notes that elewhere Tertullian writes (IV 4) acknowledges the issue is not settled whether Luke or Marcion's gospel was the corrupt one. "I say that my Gospel is the true one; Marcion, that his is. I affirm that Marcion's Gospel is adulterated; Marcion, that mine is. Now what is to settle the point for us?" Raschke characterizes these statements of Tertullian by saying that he is someone (p. 40) who is unable to provide the proof of the correctness of his view. He sees the gospel of the heretic as a private and independent work. Epiphanius (XLII 10) says that Marcion partly shortened and sometimes adds things. Raschke (p 42) points out that Harnack did not pay attention to various phrases such as: "he has not", "he cut off", "he falsified", "it changed" and regarded as synonyms for deleted which they are not.

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