Thursday, November 20, 2014

37. 'Marcion cut Matthew 27:35'

If you require still further prediction of the Lord's cross, the twenty-first Psalm is sufficiently able to afford it to you, containing as it does the entire passion of Christ, who was even then prophetically declaring His glory. "They pierced," says He, "my hands and my feet," which is the special cruelty of the cross. And again, when He implores His Father's help, He says, "Save me from the lion's mouth," that is, the jaws of death, "and my humiliation from the horns of the unicorns; "in other words, from the extremities of the cross, as we have shown above. Now, David himself did not suffer this cross, nor did any other king of the Jews; so that you cannot suppose that this is the prophecy of any other's passion than His who alone was so notably crucified by the nation. Now should the heretics, in their obstinacy, reject and despise all these interpretations, I will grant to them that the Creator has given us no signs of the cross of His Christ; but they will not prove from this concession that He who was crucified was another, unless they could somehow show that this death was predicted as His by their own god, so that from the diversity of predictions there might be maintained to be a diversity of sufferers, and thereby also a diversity of persons. But since there is no prophecy of even Marcion's Christ, much less of his cross, it is enough for my Christ that there is a prophecy merely of death. For, from the fact that the kind of death is not declared, it was possible for the death of the cross to have been still intended, which would then have to be assigned to another (Christ), if the prophecy had had reference to another. Besides, if he should be unwilling to allow that the death of my Christ was predicted, his confusion must be the greater if he announces that his own Christ indeed died, whom he denies to have had a nativity, whilst denying that my Christ is mortal, though he allows Him to be capable of birth. [Tertullian Adv Marc 3.19.5 KROYMANN Aem., CCL 1 (1954)(p.534, l.6) BP1]
For in the person of Pilate "the heathen raged," and in the person of Israel "the people imagined vain things; ""the kings of the earth" in Herod, and the rulers in Annas and Caiaphas, were gathered together against the Lord, and against His anointed." He, again, was "led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearer," that is, Herod, "is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." "He gave His back to scourges, and His cheeks to blows, not turning His face even from the shame of spitting." "He was numbered with the transgressors; " "He was pierced in His hands and His feet; " "they cast lots for his raiment" "they gave Him gall, and made Him drink vinegar; " "they shook their heads, and mocked Him; " [Tertullian De resurrectione mortuorum 20.5 BORLEFFS J.G.Ph., CCL 2 (1954),(p.946, l.24) BP1]
Tertullian says (in the 4th chapter of the preceding Book) that Marcion erased the passage which gives an account of the parting of the raiment of our Saviour among the soldiers. But the reason he assigns for the erasure-`respiciens Psalmi prophetiam'-shows that in this, as well as in the few other instances which we have already named, where Tertullian has charged Marcion with so altering passages, his memory deceived him into mistaking Matthew for Luke, for the reference to the passage in the Psalm is only given by St. Matthew xxvii. 35. [ibid]

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