Thursday, November 20, 2014

48. Epiphanius was heavily indebted to Irenaeus, another unreliable source

As Williams notes in his translation Epiphanius's source material is clearly distinguishable.  Making reference to the entire section which precedes his lengthy discussion of Marcionite corruption of scripture he says:
this Section follows the outline of Hipp. Synt., which is represented by PsT 6.2-3 and Fil. 45; it inserts data from Irenaeus. (Fil. may have used Epiph as well.) Epiph has also read Eusebius (H. E. 4.11.1; 5.13.1-4) and his data about Marcion's 'gods' may be based on a faulty memory of this author.
Since Epiphanius passes off this first section on the beliefs of the Marconites as his own, it would stand to reason that his main two sources here - i.e. Irenaeus and Hippolytus - are Epiphanius's sources for the scriptures associated with the Marcionites.  Unfortunately both Irenaeus's Against Marcion and Hippolytus's Syntagma are now lost to us.  All that we have available to us is Tertullian's reworking and Latin adaptation of the former.

So why would Epiphanius have passed off a composite list of 'scriptural references' to Marcion's gospel as his own?  There are many explanations for this of course but the most obvious as we shall see is that Epiphanius 'cherry picked' his evidence from these sources - i.e. he didn't make mention of the many times that his sources either gospel references from Marcion's gospel which came from the other gospels besides Luke (if that was really was evidenced in his sources) and more importantly still when they accused Marcion of cutting things from his gospel which aren't found in 'according to Luke.'

We will have more to say about this later but let's scrutinize this first section of the Panarion for examples of Epiphanius's borrowings from Irenaeus. Unlike Irenaeus, Epiphanius acknowledges the Marcionites said there were three powers (the good god, the just god and the devil) rather than Irenaeus's dualistic claims.  Nevertheless a great deal of material still comes from Irenaeus, and much of that is preserved in Latin by Tertullian. For instance when Epiphanius says "Marcionite supposed mysteries are celebrated in front of the catechumens" William's rightly notes that this is derived from a statement in Tert. Praescr. 41.1-2, although Tertullian does not specify Marcionites.

We read there "In the first place, it is uncertain who is a catechumen and who a baptized believer; they all alike reproach, they all alike hear, and all alike pray— even heathens, if any should have chanced to enter. They will "throw that which is holy to dogs, and pearls" (albeit false ones) "to swine." While it is true that 'Marcionites' are not specifically mentioned in Praescr 41 the material continues to 42 where they are identified alongside the Valentinians. It is important to remember also that Cyril of Jerusalem identifies Irenaeus as the author of a like-named treatise.

In the very next sentence Epiphanius mentions that Marcion:
claims that we should fast on the Sabbath for the following reason: 'Since it is the rest of the God of the Jews who made the world and rested the seventh day, let us fast on this day, so as to do nothing congenial to the God of the Jews. (42.3.4)
Williams correctly points to Tertullian's discussion at Adv. Marc. 4.12 as the original source for this idea.  The next sentence is correctly identified as Iren. 1.27.3.  There follows a few sentences on baptism which doesn't derive its origin from Irenaeus but the next section certainly does. After copying word for word Iren. 1.27.3  Epiphanius goes back to Praescr 41.5 (the section cited above). Compare:
They even permit women to administer baptism! For, given that they even venture to celebrate the mysteries in front of catechumens, everything they do is simply ridiculous (Pan 42.4.5)
the very women amongst the heretics, how precocious they are! They presume to teach, to dispute, to practise exorcism, to promise cures, perchance also to baptize! (Praescr 41.5)
And then finally, just before he goes on to cite his treatise on the Marcionite gospel this long section from Epiphanius's attack against Marcion which is again identified as deriving from Irenaeus by Williams.  Compare:
And how can Marcion's own tally of three principles be substantiated? How can the one which does work—either the work of salvation, or the other kinds—in the bad god's territory be considered 'good'?  For suppose the world does not belong to him, and yet he sent his Only-begotten into the world to take things from someone else's world, which he neither begot nor made—it will be found, either that he is invading someone else's domain or that, being poor and having nothing of his own, he is advancing against another person's territory to procure things which he does not already have. And how can the demiurge act as judge between both parties? Whom can he judge, then? If he presides as judge over the articles which have been taken from the God on high, he is more powerful than the God on high—seeing that he hales the possessions of the God on high into his court, or so Marcion thought.

And if he is a judge at all, he is just. But from the word, 'just,' I shall show that goodness and justice are the same thing. Anything that is just is also good. It is because of his being good that, with impartial justice, God grants what is good to one who has done good. And he cannot be opposed to the good God in point of goodness, since he provides the good with good on the principle of justice, and the bad with the penalty of retribution.  Nor, again, can he be good if he gives the good reward to the unrepentantly evil at the end, even though for now he makes his sun rise on good and evil men and provides them with his rain, because of their freedom of choice at this present.  The nature of a God who provides the evil with the reward of salvation in the world to come, and does not rather hate what is wicked and evil, cannot be good and just.

But as to Marcion's third, evil god. If he has the power to do evil things and master either the denizens of the world who belong to the God on high or the ones who belong to the intermediate, just God—then this god must be stronger than the two whom Marcion calls Gods, since he has the power to seize what is not his.  And then the two will be adjudged weaker than the one evil god, since they are powerless to resist and rescue their possessions from the one who is seizing them and turning them into evil.

And to realize what a joke the tramp's nonsense is, let us observe it again in another light. If the evil god is at all evil, and yet he seizes the good men from the good God and the just ones from the just God and does not seize only his own, then the evil god will turn out not to be evil—desiring the good and claiming them at law, because they are better.  And if, besides, he judges his own and exacts a penalty from wrongdoers, this judge of evil men cannot be evil after all.

And Marcion's thesis will turn out to be self-refuting in every way.  But again, tell me, how did the three principles come to be? And who was it that set a boundary for them? If each is enclosed in its own space, then these three, which are enclosed in certain places that contain them, cannot be considered perfect. The thing that contains each one must be greater than the thing that is contained. And the thing that is contained can no longer be called 'God' but rather, the boundary which contains it must (be so called).  But even if, when they met, each one was allotted its own place by concession and, being in its own place, no principle crowds or encroaches on another, the principles cannot be opposed to each other, and none of them can be considered evil. They mind their own business in a just, calm and tranquil fashion, and do not try to overstep.

But if the evil god is overpowered, coerced and oppressed by the God on high although he has received his allotment and is in his own place, and no part of this place belongs to the God on high nor has anything here, I mean in the evil god's territory, been created by him—the God on high will turn out to be the more tyrannical, certainly not 'good,' since he sent his own Son, or Christ, to take what belonged to someone else. And where is the boundary which, according to the tramp's statement of his thesis, separates the three first principles? We shall need a fourth of some kind, abler and wiser than the three and an expert surveyor, who assigned its limits to each and made peace between the three, so that they would not quarrel or send anyone into each other's realms.

And this person who convinced the three principles will be found to be a fourth—both wiser and abler than the others. And he too, once more, must be sought in his own place, from which he came to intervene between the three and wisely assign its portion to each, so that they would not wrong each other. But if the two principles are resident in the realm of the one, that is, the realm of the demiurge, with the evil one always active in his territories and the good God's Christ a visitor there, then the judge will turn out not be only a demiurge and a judge, but good as well, since he permits the two to do what they please in his domain. Or else we shall find that he is feeble and unable to stop the alien robbers of his possessions. But if he is even inferior in power, then his creation cannot exist, but would have given out long ago—carried off every day to his own realm by the evil god, and to the realms on high by the good one. And how can the creation still stand?
with Iren. 2.1.2-5:
In like manner, there is an absolute necessity that He should experience the very same thing at all other points, and should be held in, bounded, and enclosed by those existences that are outside of Him. For that being who is the end downwards, necessarily circumscribes and surrounds him who finds his end in it. And thus, according to them, the Father of all (that is, He whom they call Proon and Proarche), with their Pleroma, and the good God of Marcion, is established and enclosed in some other, and is surrounded from without by another mighty Being, who must of necessity be greater, inasmuch as that which contains is greater than that which is contained. But then that which is greater is also stronger, and in a greater degree Lord; and that which is greater, and stronger, and in a greater degree Lord--must be God.

Now, since there exists, according to them, also something else which they declare to be outside of the Pleroma, into which they further hold there descended that higher power who went astray, it is in every way necessary that the Pleroma either contains that which is beyond, yet is contained (for otherwise, it will not be beyond the Pleroma; for if there is anything beyond the Pleroma, there will be a Pleroma within this very Pleroma which they declare to be outside of the Pleroma, and the Pleroma will be contained by that which is beyond: and with the Pleroma is understood also the first God); or, again, they must be an infinite distance separated from each other--the Pleroma [I mean], and that which is beyond it. But if they maintain this, there will then be a third kind of existence, which separates by immensity the Pleroma and that which is beyond it. This third kind of existence will therefore bound and contain both the others, and will be greater both than the Pleroma, and than that which is beyond it, inasmuch as it contains both in its bosom. In this way, talk might go on for ever concerning those things which are contained, and those which contain. For if this third existence has its beginning above, and its end beneath, there is an absolute necessity that it be also bounded on the sides, either beginning or ceasing at certain other points, [where new existences begin.] These, again, and others which are above and below, will have their beginnings at certain other points, and so on ad infinitum; so that their thoughts would never rest in one God, but, in consequence of seeking after more than exists, would wander away to that which has no existence, and depart from the true God.

These remarks are, in like manner, applicable against the followers of Marcion. For his two gods will also be contained and circumscribed by an immense interval which separates them from one another. But then there is a necessity to suppose a multitude of gods separated by an immense distance from each other on every side, beginning with one another, and ending in one another. Thus, by that very process of reasoning on which they depend for teaching that there is a certain Pleroma or God above the Creator of heaven and earth, any one who chooses to employ it may maintain that there is another Pleroma above the Pleroma, above that again another, and above Bythus another ocean of Deity, while in like manner the same successions hold with respect to the sides; and thus, their doctrine flowing out into immensity, there will always be a necessity to conceive of other Pleroma, and other Bythi, so as never at any time to stop, but always to continue seeking for others besides those already mentioned. Moreover, it will be uncertain whether these which we conceive of are below, or are, in fact, themselves the things which are above; and, in like manner, will be doubtful] respecting those things which are said by them to be above, whether they are really above or below; and thus our opinions will have no fixed conclusion or certainty, but will of necessity wander forth after worlds without limits, and gods that cannot be numbered.

These things, then, being so, each deity will be contented with his own possessions, and will not be moved with any curiosity respecting the affairs of others; otherwise he would be unjust, and rapacious, and would cease to be what God is. Each creation, too, will glorify its own maker, and will be contented with him, not knowing any other; otherwise it would most justly be deemed an apostate by all the others, and would receive a richly-deserved punishment. For it must be either that there is one Being who contains all things, and formed in His own territory all those things which have been created, according to His own will; or, again, that there are numerous unlimited creators and gods, who begin from each other, and end in each other on every side; and it will then be necessary to allow that all the rest are contained from without by some one who is greater, and that they are each of them shut up within their own territory, and remain in it. No one of them all, therefore, is God. For there will be [much] wanting to every one of them, possessing [as he will do] only a very small part when compared with all the rest. The name of the Omnipotent will thus be brought to an end, and such an opinion will of necessity fall to impiety.
To be certain Irenaeus Adv Haer 2.1.2 - 5 isn't the only source here.  But that is the whole point.  Epiphanius blended together principally two separate sources - Irenaeus and his student Hippolytus - into one seamless unit much like the section that follows that deals with the Marcionite scriptures.

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